Monday, June 26, 2006

We sold the house - we hope!

We had an offer on our house again last week, but it was too low for us to consider. Well, they eventually agreed to our price. We hope that this will all work out - after our last experience, we know that an accepted offer doesn't always mean the end of the road. We are continuing to pray for all to go well.

I am trying to get everything ready for me and C to leave to go to a family reunion. C came downstairs three times tonight saying he couldn't sleep because he was too excited about the trip. He is very excited because we are traveling by train tomorrow. I agree that it is going to be fun. I enjoyed our last Amtrak trip (5 years ago), so I think this should be good for the two of us.

L leaves for camp while C and I are gone to the family reunion. I am not going to see her for 2 weeks - wow! She has a blast at camp, though. I'm sure she'll love it again this year. P is going to have to help her pack this year - he's already nervous about it.

Well, I'd better get off to bed. I haven't packed our clothes yet, but I can get those done in the morning. The other stuff is ready to go. We can't check our baggage on the train (we're getting off at one of the smaller stops), so we're packing light. I need to get a little sleep tonight!

Caterpie is now "Butterfree"

I looked at Caterpie last night and he was still in his chrysalis, but there were more gold dots on the crysalis. This morning, he had completely broken free of the chrysalis. L took him outside and let him dry his wings on a stick. Now he is free!! And his name is changed to Butterfree!

I found my socks yesterday!! This may not sound all that important, but I was running out of socks and I like to wear tennis shoes. P knew where they were all the time, but he is usually at work when I am looking for stuff like that.

I have had bad migraines the last two days. We have had really unpleasant weather, which was a major trigger. I was really bummed because I didn't get any unpacking or organizing done.

Well, off to get everyone ready for the trips the next week. C and I are off to a family reunion and L is off to camp.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The House is OURS!!!

We closed today on the new house (OK, the 75 year old house, but new to use). At about 12:30pm, it officially became our house. Home ownership is not new to us - in fact, we now own two homes. But, it is exciting that we own the house that we fell in love with.

We actually have an offer on the other house, as well. That is also exciting. The only problem is that the offer was too low to even consider. We have countered with the lowest price that we can accept. It is a reasonable price for that neighborhood and that house (and perhaps even a bit low). This is really not a good time to be trying to sell an upper middle class type home. I'm glad we're not trying to sell one of the "McMansion" type homes - the large (5,000 square feet or more) homes that take up the entire lot in neighborhoods where the houses are all pretty similar. I read in the Wall Street Journal that those homes are getting harder to sell, and that the sellers are really having to accept much lower prices these days. An acquaintance of ours sold her home within just a week or two, but it was priced about $100k lower (more like the home we just bought). We will keep praying for the house to sell at a decent price.

Otherwise, P and I were able to go out and celebrate our closing. The weather is wonderful, so we went to a restaurant with huge windows and enjoyed the view. We had ice cream at an outdoor ice cream shop after dinner. Unfortunately, I have a migraine tonight. It's manageable as long as I don't do much, so I've been getting pictures together for my and C's trip to the family reunion next week.

P and I have been talking about something I thought I would never have considered - a cell phone for the kids. I have thought that a cell phone for kids was the height of unnecessary luxury and just asking for trouble. Why do children need cell phones? It seems like the ultimate in parents getting out of their parental duties of watching out for their kids.

Well, I'm starting to reconsider. We were living in a subdivision (in a rather small town) where my kids could only ride bikes and scooters in the subdivision. I had to drive them to any parks or stores. Now, we live on Main Street in a smaller town and the kids can walk or ride bikes to the convenience store or the playground at the elementary school. It's a little further of a walk or ride, but they can also go to the grocery store or the big park with the swimming pool (with lifeguards). So, we're in a smaller town, but the kids have more opportunity. I don't have much problem with them riding or walking short distances, but I do get concerned when they go longer distances. Right now, they have to go together if they go more than 3 or 4 blocks. We have 2 way radios, but they're bulky, and I'm not sure how far they'll reach in town. So, now P and I are considering adding another cell phone to our account. They have phones that you can only put three numbers on so kids can't call all their friends. I'm not concerned about them calling every one - I can check the statement on-line. If they use it in a way that they shouldn't then they just can't leave the house at all. But, the kids are pretty good, and they're not to the teen years when they might want to do that kind of stuff anyway. I'm just a little concerned about safety. I would like them to be able to call me if they need help when they are so far away.

Life is so different than when we were kids. We would ride bikes 3 or 4 miles away and not worry about it. Mom and Dad just wanted to know our general whereabouts. Well, we'll pray about it and check how much it costs and whether it's worth it.

I've got two new knitting projects going. I'm making my husband a new guitar strap. I don't really like the one pattern I've seen, so I'm making one up as I go. I'm also making a blanket - mostly I'm learning new stitches with some nice natural wool and I'll eventually put the squares together for a blanket.

Tonight, though, I'll enjoy the first night in the new house that we own!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Settling In

We have been sleeping in our new home for the last five nights. It is so much different than our previous home, mostly in positive ways, but not always. Everyone is used to sleeping with our doors closed, but the second floor in this house has only one heating and cooling vent, and it is in our room. So, now, we all sleep with our doors open to let air circulate.

The house is a good bit smaller. The piano and TV are in the same room now. We also have the Nintendo set up on the main TV since the basement is too small to set up an extra TV for Nintendo. The basement is already pretty crowded, and we don't have P's woodworking stuff in there yet. The good news is that about half of what is there now is going to be sold in a yard sale. I am a born organizer, but even I'm a little intimidated by what needs to be done down there to get ready for a yard sale!

The bathroom was a real challenge to get cleaned. We had a bunch of duplicate (and triplicate and quadruplicate, etc.) stuff. I have found 10 or 15 unused or minimally used toothbrushes. I have no idea how we got all these. Some have dentist names on them, others don't. I'm going to sterilize them in boiling water, then we'll never have to buy another tooth brush. We also have enough toothpaste to last about 10 years.

One problem with only one bathroom is that it is on the main floor and we sleep upstairs. I was coming downstairs last night and lost my balance. I didn't fall, but I caught myself and twisted my knee and hip a little. We also have a toilet in the basement. It sits there all by itself - but, I'm sure it will be useful!

We're working hard to get the rest of the stuff moved and organized. It's going to be fun!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Moved!! - mostly

We are mostly moved in to our new house! Friday night, several other women came over and helped finish cleaning and then moving the first of the boxes in. The seller had a cleaning service come in and clean, so the house itself just needed to have the cabinets wiped out - that was nice. But the basement was a disaster! The stuff was all moved out, but the floors were all dusty and dirty, and there were cobwebs in every corner and on every beam. It took vacuuming, sweeping, and then mopping, but it is now clean! And, after the cleaning it got, I would have been OK to eat off those floors!

Saturday was the real moving day. We had about 14 or 16 people helping with the move. They got most of our stuff from the house (not including the storage shed) into this house. They took from about 3 to 8pm. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. Unfortunately, it was a hot day - temps near 90. We had lots of water, lemonade, and sodas for everyone. The stairs here are pretty narrow, so the guys didn't hesitate to take beds apart to get them upstairs and then put the back together. We are blessed to have friends with such diverse abilities.

The seller had left a bunch of stuff on the street for the trash service to pick up tomorrow morning. He included an old mattress and box springs. They aren't in great shape, but they're not completely trashed. We also had a twin size mattress and box springs that were going in our downstairs bedroom for a guest bedroom/craft room. Well, I told them to put one set of box springs and mattress in the craft room. Then, about 30 minutes later they came in with another set. I told them to put it in the craft room, but then went in and realized that there were two sets. L's room already had her twin mattress on her bunk bed. I decided not to worry about it until later. After everyone had left, I looked outside and realized that the seller's mattress and box spring were gone from the street. My husband and I got a real laugh out of it! We really don't want a second set. We may hold on to the second set and put it in our yard sale so that someone can use it instead of it going to the dump. Of course, a lot of people have already gone through the the trash on the road. If we put the mattress and box spring out, it might be gone by morning.

The house is definitely smaller than our other home. P and my bedroom fits our bed and cedar chest. We used to also have a large antique radio, a desk, and a treadmill, and the room still felt large. The kids rooms are also pretty small. We are having to do some serious furniture rearrangement. We haven't run into any real problems with size, though. The kids used to always want to be on the parents' computer so they could play computer but still be near everyone else. Their computer is right near the living room, so they are still right in the middle of downstairs.

The kids seem to be handling the change really well so far. They seemed to have dealt with all their general "I don't want to move" "It's so far away" "I like this house" over the last couple of months, so now they get to enjoy exploring the new house.

I was worried about the cats and the move. I was planning on putting them in a bedroom or in one of the large closets for the day (the closets in the eaves of the house are huge). Well, I needn't have worried. I put the cats in the basement in their boxes and then opened the boxes. Sassy and Sophie came slowly out of their boxes and we showed them their food and litter boxes. Over the next several hours, they came upstairs and carefully explored the house. Silver, on the other hand, would have none of that. She stayed safely in her kennel. I brought her out once to show her the litter box, but she went back to the kennel. She didn't come out until sometime yesterday. During the move, Silver stayed in her kennel. We got a little worried because we couldn't find Sassy or Sophie, but we figured if we hadn't seen them at all, that they probably hadn't been brave enough to get underfoot and escape. We found them hiding out in the back of a closet. The good news, is that they all seem to be acting somewhat normally today.

We had an Open House Saturday morning before the move with a separate showing before the Open House. The people who requested the showing also requested another showing Sunday morning, so P vacuumed the carpet one last time after the stuff was moved out. They are still interested, so we are hopeful that they may make an offer!

Hopefully, we can get the rest of the stuff moved in over the next week. I can take a month or so to get it all organized and get ready for a massive yard sale!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dance, Sunburns, Swimming, Baseball

Yesterday and today have been migraine days - ugh! But, we have muddled through and done pretty well. I took a friend's kids along with mine to a movie at the library yesterday afternoon. Afterwards, I offered to pay them $5 each for an hour worth of work. All of them except C took me up on it. I got 3 clean bathrooms, 5 vacuumed floors, and a kitchen of clean cabinet fronts for $25. That's a pretty good deal, considering that I spent the morning lying on the sofa instead of doing the cleaning that I wanted to do.

L had her first Irish dance class of the summer yesterday. She really enjoyed it. There are only 4 girls in the class altogether. One of the other girls is L's age and has been taking dance as long as L has. The other two girls are about 5 or 6 years old. This looks like it is their first time to dance. The teacher did a very nice job of working with the older girls and then having them practice while she worked with the younger girls and so on. They did try a few things with all 4 of them, like a pinwheel. L is having fun and getting to dance - it seems like it will be a successful three weeks.

We had a showing today - that is why I paid the kids to clean house for me. I still had a headache when I got up this morning, but it wasn't as bad as yesterday. The kids and I managed to get things pretty straightened up. However, I realized when we got home this afternoon, that I had left the vacuum cleaner right in the foyer. The cord wasn't even rolled up! Well, it turned out that the vacuum cleaner wasn't even the issue for the people who saw it. They didn't like the floor plan and they don't like all the blue in the kitchen - my kitchen has a blue counter and blue and white wallpaper - you can't just repaint. Well, we'll pray about the open house on Saturday.

During the showing, the kids and I went to Sears and purchased appliances for the new house. It really didn't take very long and wasn't very hard. I had already done a lot of research online and knew pretty much what I wanted. So, everything is purchased, and it will be delivered next week.

The kids and I went to the beach this afternoon. A friend of mine came with four of her daughters, which made my kids really happy. Both my kids and I got sunburns. I was really suprised about the kids. They rarely get sunburned because they have their dad's Italian skin, but we were out for several hours today. I was derelict in my duty as a mother - I won't forget the sunscreen next time. It was pretty cool today - only 72 degrees - but the kids didn't think the water was too cold, and the sun made it feel warmer.

C had a baseball game later in the afternoon today. It turned windy and downright cool - closer to 68 degrees. His team won 10-7, and C got one base hit and did a pretty decent job of fielding. He is learning more every game. C is very much a "leader" on his baseball team. When it is time to get started, he starts calling all the other players into the dugout. At the change of innings, he is continually cheering his team "Let's show them what we're made of!" "Come on, Rivercats! Let's get some hits!" What is really cool is that he is always so positive to his teammates. He tells them that they made a good try if they struck out or that it was a good hit even if they were thrown out. It's neat to see him grow up and step out into this type of role.

Time for me to go to bed. Hopefully, a good night's rest will get rid of this headache for good. We're hoping to move this weekend. The current owner of the house has had to work extra this week, so he's having a hard time getting everything out of the house. We may have to adjust our plans around that. But, we'll make it work. In the meantime, sleepytime for me.

Monday, June 12, 2006

June 12

Monday night - it was quite a busy day. Moving day is Saturday, so I got all the utilities set up today. Lots of phone calls. We also got scheduled for a showing on Wednesday, so house cleaning got moved up in priority. I mopped the kitchen floor and did some vacuuming tonight. The kids are getting a little stressed about the move. C did not want to sleep in his room tonight. He says that he is scared about the move. P and I talked and prayed with him, but managed to get him back to his room. He hasn't slept with us in several weeks, and we'd like to keep it that way.

C is only 8 years old, but he is asking some pretty tough questions for his age. Last night, he started talking about whether or not God is real. He is a little young to start developing abstract thought, for one thing. L has not asked too many questions about faith. It comes up on occasion, but usually when we are studying Scripture in her schoolwork or when the family is talking about something related to faith. C is much more likely to bring up issues of faith on his own. The discussion about the existence of God was pretty interesting. We talked about several different ways to think about why God exists and then talked about faith and what it means to believe. I think lots of it went over his head right now, but I'm sure there will be lots of conversations in the future.

Caterpee update - Caterpee is now over an inch long!! This is from his initial size of just a few millimeters. He can go through an entire milkweed leaf in less than a day. He has shed his skin at least once - it was really cool to look at the old skin. L is really enjoying her new pet. Thankfully the cats have not noticed that Caterpee is alive and tried to eat him.

Tomorrow is a 4H meeting at a sheep farm. Sounds like a lot of fun. But, then we have to be at the dance studio by 5:30 for L's Irish class. She has 6 classes in 3 weeks and is really looking forward to it. Well, off to bed for me. It's going to be a busy day tomorrow.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Moving and Caterpree updates

We are moving along with the purchase of the "new" house (actually much older than our current home). The good news is that we can go ahead and close on it because our financial stuff worked out. Someone else put an offer on it, so we have to be able to go ahead with closing or we would lose it. I'm glad we can go ahead with buying it because I really like the house. P and I have prayed a lot about it, and we really believe this is the house for us. We will still have this house, but we're hoping that getting the furniture out and getting the carpets clean will help it sell. We also have an open house next weekend.

I was doing a laundry marathon today, but I pulled a muscle in my low back while taking laundry out of the dryer. So, I have a backache and a migraine tonight. What a combination! Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow, because we need to go to Sam's Club. I'm looking forward to taking P, since he's never been. I'm figuring we can make a really romantic date out of it. Romance in the aisles of Sam's - I must really need sleep!

Caterpee update - he has grown to at least twice his size. He eats an entire leaf in a day. L has been good about keeping his little bottle cleaned out and keeping him supplied with fresh leaves. He's really pretty cute, but I can't say he has much personality yet.

Well, I'm going to try to sleep now. More later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bits and Pieces

C went to see L's dance recital on Sunday afternoon. He had a wonderful comment after her more difficult dance: "All I have to say is that, in my opinion, that is some impressive jumping." I absolutely agree with him. L's easier class did a number of sotee's in first and second positions and some sotee arabesques, but her more difficult class did things that I can't name and that are much more difficult. One of them involves starting in fifth position and then jumping and landing forward of where they started, but in fifth position again. They also did jete's (leaps) across the floor. L has really learned quite a lot this year. Not only can she do these new steps, but her body is straight and her arms are wherever they are supposed to be. It is quite a feat to get it all together.

L caught a caterpillar today. His/her name is "Caterpee". We tend to call it a him, but there's really no way to know for sure. You can't exactly check between the legs! Anyway, it's a monarch caterpillar. She caught one a few years ago, but she was so sure it wasn't a monarch because it didn't have the right color stripes. Well, it made a chrysallis right before family camp, and since we didn't know what kind of caterpillar it was, we took it to camp. Nothing happened at camp, but the day after we got back, the monarch came out of it's chrysallis. I have beautiful pictures of that. It was a truly amazing sight!!

Well, it appears that Caterpee is also a monarch, so we are looking forward to watching him grow over the next month or so. L is very good about making sure he has plenty of leaves to eat. He eats quite a lot. C commented how much he already ate and pooped in just one day. But, that's his job. All he is supposed to do right now is to grow and get ready to make his chrysallis. He appears to be doing that well. L is very good about feeding Caterpee. Things are going to be a little stressful, though, with the move. I hope she can find milkweed easily in our new neighborhood. And, she is going to be at camp for a week. Most of that time, P will be home alone since C and I will be at a family reunion. L will have to make a reminder so P will keep Caterpee well fed.

We had two sets of thunderstorms come through today. Because of that (I tend to get bad headaches with storms), P and I decided that we will have our anniversary celebration on Thursday. It turns out that since I treated my headache preemptively, I didn't have a really severe headache tonight. We did, however, get to see a beautiful, complete rainbow in the sky after the first set of storms. It was just beautiful. What a reminder that, even when things are looking dark, God promises to take care of us.

When I became a stay at home Mom, there were a few things in our routine that I wanted to change. I wanted my kids to eat sandwiches at lunchtime more often and to eat ramen noodles for lunch less often. I really don't like that they eat ramen very often because it isn't very nutritious. P let them have it quite often because it is easy and cheap. When they ate sandwiches they would also have chips. I rarely let the kids have chips, which is something they don't like about my being home.

Well, I have surrendered on the ramen battle! Let the kids eat ramen every day at lunch. Is it really going to kill them? I seriously doubt it. My concession is that they have ramen noodles. My requirement, though, is that they also eat a fruit and a veggie. So, they had ramen with grapes and carrots today. The ramen is really cheap. At Sams Club, I get 36 packets for $6. It's hard to beat that!

We still have our sandwich days. The kids aren't always happy, but they deal with it. Whenever we picnic, I make sandwiches - we usually have chips when we picnic. I treat them with grilled cheese sometimes. We sometimes eat leftovers or other somewhat more exciting things. The kids like their ramen plain, though. So, I have given up on the ramen front. I've "given up" on a lot of things, but we're better off for it. The more I relax on the little stuff, the more time I have to really teach the kids the important stuff of life.

Well, it looks like the move to the new house is "on" again. We are looking at closing in the next two weeks. All of our financial ducks have lined up - Thank You, Lord! So, we may be trying to get moving pretty quickly here. That is just fine with me. I have been very frustrated with living in limbo. I am looking forward to setting up housekeeping in the new house. I know it is smaller and probably less convenient (laundry in the basement, no dishwasher, etc.), but I have felt so strongly that this is where God is taking us and I want to get there and meet our neighbors, etc.

Well, I think it's time to see if I can get some sleep. I promised the kids swimming tomorrow if I don't have too much of a headache.

Our Anniversary

What a weekend! I had an awful headache Saturday night and didn't sleep much, but I did go to L's Sunday afternoon dance recital and took C and one of L's other friends. The Sunday show was also just wonderful. I thought that L's classes did even better than Saturday night (perhaps because they weren't so tired from a whole day of practice!). During Saturday afternoon's rehearsals, the dance teachers were talking to the girls in a completely different language than I am used to. They used ballet words that were foreign to me. They no longer talked to the girls as "little girls". They are older girls who can hear that "this is wrong and this is how to change." The teachers are never harsh (one thing I like about this studio), but L and her friends are now old enough to be with the teachers who are very matter of fact and don't treat the girls as babies. What a change from a few years ago. The biggest change is in their maturity. The girls can hear correction without hearing condemnation. They are physically mature - they can dance 4:30 minutes (yes, it leaves them exhausted, but they can do it).

Yesterday, we put on some of the tapes of previous dance recitals. The first one was from 2001 - L's and her friends first recital with this studio. They were 5 and 6 years old, respectively. What babies they were!! But, how precious! Sometimes I want to go back to that age again. But, I love to see what my daughter is becoming. I want to stay right here and now. I want to enjoy her company and watch her grow and blossom into a beautiful young lady.

Today is my and P's fourteenth wedding anniversary. It's really hard to believe. I feels like it was yesterday sometimes, but forever sometimes. I can't even imagine my life without him anymore. We don't have any specific plans - I'll get a raging migraine if we do! Hopefully, we can go out to eat tonight.

I received verbal confirmation from my disability insurance company that my benefits start this month. This is good news. We may be able to go ahead and get into the smaller house and leave this house empty with the hope that it may sell more easily without use living here. It will also be easier on my head to not have to worry about keeping the house clean for showing - that is such an annoyance. In any case, the benefits certainly make life easier since I can't help with bringing in income.

We aren't doing any school because all the school books are packed. The kids and I are reading and watching some movies on rainy days (like today). Hopefully, we can swim tomorrow. In any case, I'm enjoying the relaxation of summer. I haven't gotten to do this since college.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dance recital weekend

What a long day! Today was the first of the two day marathon of L's dance recital weekend. She took two ballet classes this year, so she has two dances to perform. She and P are also in both of the "Daddy-daughter" dances, too, so that makes another two dances, although the practice and performance requirements are far less! The dance school has a small Christmas show in a mall every year and a much larger spring Concert. The spring show is three performances, but most of the classes dance in two or three of the shows. I asked the school owner about this the second year L was dancing and was told that it is to help prepare the students for real life performance. Most of the time, they will be expected to perform more than once, and often, more than once a day. This makes for a very busy weekend when the kids are in more than one class, but it certainly teaches them about performance requirements. But, it makes for a long weekend. Today was dress rehearsal during the day and the first performance this evening. We are rather bleary-eyed.

The girls, of course, need to have their hair in a bun for ballet. This has always been a minor crisis because I am terrible with anything to do with hair and makeup. Until this year, the daughter of a friend could always do L's hair. She is the sister of L's best friend, but she is now living in Texas since she finished cosmetology school. So, I am now on my own. In these situations before, I have put L's hair in a braid and twisted it into something resembling a bun. I figured that plus lots of hair gel and hairspray should be passable.

Well, this year, I happened to come across directions for doing a ballet bun in the Sonlight forums (we use Sonlight curriculum). It was actually kind of funny because the person who gave the directions (along with two wonderful websites) is a friend of mine that I knew when I was in medical school who now lives in Texas who I found again on the Sonlight forums!! Anyway, this morning, I went back to that post (it took me about 10 minutes to find it) and studied up on how to do a ballet bun. I did L's hair and got it right the first time around. I was so incredibly proud of myself!! I took pictures of the bun and am planning a scrapbook page just about learning to make a bun! Another mom asked me to do her daughter's hair for ballet since she usually gets one of the older students to do it. So, I did it and showed her how I learned it. L's other friend needed her hair redone, so I did hers, too. And, it looked good. I feel like such an expert. I know this sounds silly - but I am feeling accomplished at my new skill. I tried to put a picture here, but Blogger and I aren't getting along, I guess.

The recital itself was, of course, wonderful. My daughter was beautiful and did a great job. It is amazing to watch all these kids grow up from little kindergartners who didn't know what to do with their arms and legs into young ladies and gentleman who are graceful and accomplished.

Two dances tonight were accompanied by live drums. One was a rather long modern dance improvisation session. It was a pleasure to watch, but was not very good on my head, which had already started to pound. So, I'm off to do some reading and then sleeping. There are two more shows tomorrow. I'm sure it will be a wonderful day!