Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Christmas to all from our family to yours! Again, a day late...

The camera cord has been found (along with the bathroom scale, but we won't talk about that). So here are some photos of my gang from Christmas morning.

First we have Nate opening his Smart Cycle. This has to be one of the coolest things. An exercise bike disguised as a video game. I want an adult version. Would it be fun to ride a bike on the freeway dodging traffic without fear of actually being killed? Ok, I would rather pedal allow by a gently flowing river or through mountains, but I want to control the steepness, lol, and have the temperature control of my own living room. Anyway, here's Nate:
Then we have Jacob with the hit gift of the season. The only thing he asked for was a Nintendo DS, and lo and behold Santa came through. He's had a pretty good year, between getting his own bedroom, which was pretty cool and now his DS, he's a pretty happy camper. He's a pretty easy going and doesn't ask for much. But, it's really fun to see him excited. Here's Jacob:
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have Joshua, who at 16 doesn't all the excited about anything. Notice the t-shirt says something about sarcasm. He really is a great kid though, I'll keep him. He got some nice stuff. Although, the only thing he asked for was his driver's permit, which he hasn't got yet. Not for lack of desire for him to have it, just lack of time (and maybe a secret fear of him behind the wheel. Not really) Here's Joshua:

Finally, here is our family picture for 2007. Yes, our tree is proudly displayed in the dining room because the floor in the living room is currently concrete, wince we pulled up the poorly done wood floors only to discover we cannot repair them but have to have them re-done altogether. But, that's a blog for another time. Also, I took this picture with the timer on my camera and I could not see in the tiny window that none of the kids were smiling. Seriously, this appeared to be the best of several at the time in that we were all looking the same direction. It was also taken impromptu after putting up the tree last week. We look like a ragamuffin family. Here's The Family:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy! Five years ago today, our Christmas season kicked off with the birth of a third son. Nathaniel Joseph. We brought him home of Christmas Eve. I wish I could find the cable to attach my camera to the computer; I would share some pictures of my little guy. For now I will just have to share some Nate birthday conversation.

From last night:
Dad: Nate, what's tomorrow?
Nate: Birthday (he wasn't in a talking mood)
Dad: Whose birthday?
Nate: Mine
Dad: How old are you going to be tomorrow?
Nate: I don't know, ask Mom.

Mom: What would you like to have for your birthday dinner?
Nate: Cheetoes
Mom: What would we have with the Cheetoes?
Nate: Sandwiches. You guys can have the sandwiches. I will eat the Cheetoes.

So, today I tried again.
Mom: Nate what would you like to have for dinner tonight?
Nate: Birthday cake
Mom: What should we have before the cake?
Nate: We'll have cake first
Mom: Then what will we have after the cake?
Nate: Cheetoes

Happy birthday Nate. We'll have a proper celebration for you in January, after we are all settled into our new house and mom regains some sense of organization. For now, we'll eat Cheetoes and cake. Because really, that's what it's all about. I love you!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

WE ARE HOMEOWNERS! First time homeowners. As of about 4:30 last night. What a crazy day it was. We were supposed to close yesterday, but our loan agent is an idiot. He could not get anything done on time and was asking us for stuff up to Thursday still. Our real estate agent told me yesterday morning that we had reached the point that there was no way it was happening that day. The loan guy had not sent the documents to the title company. There was no way we could get the papers signed and get the money wired in time to close the same day. Besides, it was Friday and we know how hard people work on Fridays.

Then the title company person called, about 9:30, and said we have the papers and you guys be here by 10 to sign. Um, let me call Brian, who is a teacher, and see if he can drop everything and get across town in less than a half hour. "Yeah, we'll be there." We were, and had the papers signed by 10:20. I have no idea what we signed, but I have a huge stack of papers to read when I can't sleep.

I called my realtor and told her we had signed the docs. She was still pretty convinced that we were working toward closing on Monday, because we still had to wait for the money to be transferred. I told her the lady at the title was buzzing to get this done (seriously, caffeine overload). My realtor called me later and said that the title company lady had 12 home loans to close and she "bound and determined" that one of them would be ours.

All day, I jumped every time the phone rang. And finally, at about 4:30, I got THE call. "Congratulations, you are a homeowners!" My eyes welled up. Was this for real? Finally. Yes. My realtor said she needed to get the keys and we could meet at "my house" about 6:00. And so it was. We met. We walked through. There was no water. At 6:30 on a Friday night. The heater also was not working. But, it's ours!

My agent has a call in to the other agent to find out about the heater. It's probably some quirky thing or a switch that we don't know about. Ah, the joys of getting to know a our new house. And the water will be turned on MONDAY!

So, tonight we are staying at my sister's again for a hot shower and a warm place to sleep. But we are HOMEOWNERS!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It only gets better (sarcasm). So, we finished cleaning out the rental house on Sunday, to turn it over on Monday. Being the oh so organized person (control freak) that I am, I had packed a Ziploc big bag for each family member with clothes and such to get us through the week that we would be "homeless" since our house is not set to close Escrow until Friday. I also packed a bag with my textbooks and notebooks that I needed to finish my finals and assignments this week. They were all to be put in my car.

Monday night, at my mother in laws, I asked Brian to get the bag out of the car. He could not find it. I went to look myself. IT WAS NOT THERE! My brother in law, who had helped us on Sunday, said he saw a bag of books in the POD. It was one of the last things to go in. That was it. The last straw. I'm done. I give up. Just shoot me already!

I had a final paper due on Wednesday (today). I had started it and fortunately it is was saved on my laptop. However, the actual assignment sheet is in the book, which is in the POD, which is in a storage unit WHO KNOWS WHERE, until Friday when it will be delivered to our new house. HYPERVENTILATE!

BREATHE! THINK! FAST! I emailed my professor at 10:30 Monday and told him what happened (everyone is aware of my house woes this semester) and asked him to email me the assignment. He responded in no more than 5 minutes. Dr. H. you rock! Then I spent all day yesterday at the university library with a borrowed copy of the text. But, I got it done. Actually, I finished it this morning and printed it (in the library, since my printer is also in the POD) and made it to class only 5 minutes late. Time to breath? HA!

Only two more papers. One really big! One smaller, which I also do not have the materials for. Fortunately, it is not due until next Wednesday and I will have my stuff on Friday. Guess what I will be doing this weekend? And one in class final next Wednesday. Then I can breathe. In my new house.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I spent the morning at the boys' elementary school today, playing social worker, along with our awesome principal. One of our wonderful, very active families had a fire in their apartment last night. Fortunately, it was contained to their bedroom, doing no structural damage. However, they did lose their bed and bedding and carpet to the fire and their other furnishings and clothes to the "firefighting" and smoke. The "stuff" that comes out of a fire extinguisher apparently makes a huge mess and is really hard to clean up.

The principal got on the phone with the complex manager, who wasn't planning to do anything at all. Mrs D set them straight and told them that she was calling the fire Marshall. She did. I went to the fire dept, to find out from the "pros" how to clean up this stuff, as this family could not afford a service to come in and clean. The firefighters were very helpful (and HOT). When I returned, I found Mrs D had gone to the apartment complex and they were getting a service to clean the apartment. Go Mrs. D! The red cross was also called and is putting the family up in a hotel until it's cleaned up. We collected money from the staff to help them with food and whatever they need in the mean time. It was awesome to work with a group that was so diligent to see that this was taken care of. I love this school it's like a big family.

I also got to spend a lot of time talking to the parents today. Dad was very distraught as he felt he put his family at risk. Actually, his efforts to put out the fire before the fire dept got there, probably saved their home and their neighbors. It was nice to feel that I could be of help to them in just listening. Social workers do not always get to see the results of their efforts. It was nice to know that this family is going to be OK, in a small part due to my efforts.

It also puts my little problems into big time perspective. Sometimes you just need a reality check to realize how good life really is. My prayers tonight are with my friends, in their hotel room. I hope they get a good night sleep tonight, after movie night, which they promised to attend and help. You guys are crazy, but you ROCK!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wow, has it really been a week since I posted? The week is gone; the month is gone. Where did they go? Before we know it year will be gone too. Then I will have to learn to write 2008 on my checks, well, not that I use checks very often, but you know how it is.

So lets see what has transpired since my last entry? Packing and writing and packing and writing and packing. Did mention packing and writing? Oy. What a week. I had to call in the big guns for the packing: The mother in law. Now for me packing and moving means sorting and purging. I have gotten rid of a lot of clothes, mine and the kids. And went through their toys; got rid the broken ones and ones not played with. With Christmas coming and Nate's birthday in a couple of weeks, I don't think they will miss anything. Now, however, I have reached the point that I cannot finish going through everything and keep up with my school work (three big final papers due in the next two weeks).

So, enter mother in law, packer extraordinaire. She can pack up the Gates mansion in a weekend, so I know she can handle us. So, today she shows up with her husband and son in law. I showed them what needed to be done. Leave my bedroom and bathroom alone and everything else can be packed. Then I headed off to class. Four hours later, I get home and my house is virtually empty. So empty it echoes (I have four boys in a house that echoes!) Even the garage is empty. And there is enough room in the POD for the rest of our meager belongings. They should start their our moving company!

So what is left for me to do. Packing my bedroom and bathroom. Then it's off to live with the in laws for a week. YAY! (sarcasm) And I have three papers to write. I may not be the best house guest this week. Guess I need to come up with something really good for Christmas.

Hopefully, by the end of next week we will be homeowners. We have had quite the adventure with people along this journey that really do not seem to know what they are doing, but that is a blog for another time. Right now, I am thinking positive thoughts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What a week it has been. The day after Thanksgiving I spend packing and loading the POD with things that we don't have to have to survive for the next two weeks here. Well, some of those things anyway.

Then, I had to switch gears and work on a couple of papers that I had due this week. Just finished the paper from HELL on Social Security reform.

Now, I need to spend some more time packing. I am having the hardest time switching back and forth between student and wife/mom and I'm really not doing a very good job at any of them right now.

I feel like I haven't seen mine kids in a week. They spent a most of Thanksgiving week with the grandparents. Then this week I have been chained to my desk and pretty much un-accessible. I feel bad.

I haven't been a good student. I am a very anal student. I am freaking out about the prospect of getting a B in my policy class. I keep telling myself I need to let it go. I have so much on my plate right now. I just can't do it all and it's not like I'm slacking deliberately. But, I know me and I can't let it go that easy. I have to kick myself around about it.

I haven't been a good helper with the packing since last Friday. I want to help. Actually, I want to be in control, because no one will pack it the way I want it packed, so that I can find things when we move. I don't have time to do it myself, but I want to bitch about anyone else does it. Shame on me! I need to let that go too.

I haven't been a very good wife either. I don't remember the last time I had sex with my husband. It's not because he hasn't tried. Bless his patient heart. I'm just so tired mentally and physically, that I don't want to be touched.

I feel an ulcer coming. I just have to survive till the end of semester. The house is supposed to close sometime in the last week of classes. I guess when it's over, it will ALL be over. I just have to get there. I'm hanging on by my fingernail. Good thing I have a good support network to catch me if I let go.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Again, I am running a bit late in my holiday wishes and thoughts. I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone had plenty to eat. I know I did and I still have leftovers in the fridge, although I think I am over Thanksgiving food.

Here are some things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season, in no particular order:

I am thankful for the chaos that has been our home buying experience. Because it means we are in a financial position to (finally) buy a home. There are so many that do not have a place to call home and sadly there are so many losing their homes right now.

I am thankful for the term/research papers that I have coming due this week (Monday). They represent the fact that I have the cognitive and physical abilities to further my education. I also have the love and support of so many. I could not so it without them.

I am thankful for health insurance. Because without it Nate might still be without hearing in one ear, due to a big glob of wax. And even though co-pays were a killer last month, Nate got the anti-biotics he needed to fight off strep throat. I am also thankful that no one else got it.

I am thankful for extended warranties because I do not have to buy a new laptop, since one of my children kicked it off my bed cracking the screen. I'm also thankful that I have this dinosaur of a desktop computer to use while I wait two weeks for its return.

I am thankful for my crazy, often annoying extended family because I know my children are well cared for and not under foot while I am packing. They also pick up kids from school while I am in school, a gift words cannot express gratitude for.

Most of all I am thankful for my amazing family. I have a wonderful husband, who is supportive of me and is an amazing father. I couldn't ask for anything more in my soul mate. I have been blessed with three awesome boys and have the loan of a nephew who fits right in. I am thankful for all of them. They keep me grounded and laughing in the midst of all the craziness.

I am thankful for "the board" my online community of mommy friends. I look forward to hanging with the girls each year. Sometimes, you just need the support of a girlfriend and I have found some good ones there.

Monday, November 19, 2007

We signed the counter offer on house #3. Not any big changes, not really even anything that needed to be countered, but whatever. We have an official, accepted offer again. I am cautiously optimistic that this one is the one. Brian and I had been looking at living room furniture. The house has a long narrow living room space that has an opening in the middle of each long wall. One enters the dining room. The other is the hallway to the bedrooms. It will be interesting to figure out an arrangement for furniture in that space.

I have also been looking at paint colors. This will be our first owned home; the first home that we can paint the walls. We are not wild color crazy people. I am looking at faux treatments in warm neutral colors. We have been stuck in a blue phase for quite a while; I am ready for something new. But, I also do not want to shrink an already small space. Oh, the stress.

I am excited about decorating a room for Jacob. I think I have mentioned this before. I have bought a fleece throw that is purple (his favorite color) with flaming soccer balls. I also saw a purple lava lamp that I'm sure he will find intriguing. I took some pictures at his last soccer game that I plan to make 5x7 and frame them to create a border on one wall. He has one more game and I hope to get a few more good ones. I thought about framing his jersey too, like they do the pros. We'll see.

Nate had his own room here when we first moved here, until Shawn moved in. He will have his own room again. His room is done in Thomas the Tank Engine. So, we will just carry that over to the new house. The has a train table in his room and a Thomas night light (that needs a new bulb). I think it will be fun to have his own room again.

The older boys will share a room. I'm not sure about this decision. I hope they will sleep when they are supposed to. We'll see how it goes. We are getting a bunk bed set for their room. The rooms are kind of small; so I don't think both of their twin beds will fit in there as they are now. I want to get them new dressers and a desk too, so that will take room. I just want it to be more functional for two high school boys. I'm thinking of getting a computer for their room too, for school stuff. We won't connect it to the Internet though. It will just be for typing papers and playing games that we have approved/purchased. Internet access will still have to be in the family room where mom can supervise.

Can you tell I am getting a little excited about the house? Well, I'm not so excited about the moving part. We have started packing stuff this weekend. I hauled out 5 bags of clothes to Goodwill on Saturday. They were from the kids' "change of season" clothes; summer clothes that will not fit anyone anymore. And a ton from my closet that no longer fit, or that I just haven't worn in forever. It is liberating to get rid of stuff while moving. I'm still not enjoying the packing part.

Tomorrow, we will have a POD delivered. Whoever came up with this business idea is a genius. Someone drops off a huge empty box on my driveway. I fill it up with everything I want to move. Then I call them and they come pick it up and move it to my new house, where I unload it. Genius. So, I will be loading my POD during the Thanksgiving holiday "break" (when I am not researching, reading or typing the monster papers I have due next week). If I am not heard from in the next week. I might just be buried in my POD hiding from my responsibilities.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I am so tired. That's about it. I wanted to write something and I'm too tired to really sort things out in my head. So here's one of things that are in there right now:

Yesterday, Nate had an appointment with the ENT. This child has had ear problems since birth, and yes he was breastfed until he was two and a half (maybe I am a bit of an over achiever). Anyway, he had tubes put in his ears just before his first birthday and that helped, although it didn't stop the infections. In January, he had a hearing test that came back inconclusive. It showed significant hearing loss in his left ear, but since he was barely four it was possible that it was due to him not properly responding. The test was repeated in September; it was supposed to be June, but that's how scheduling goes. The results were exactly the same as they were in January. Mild conductive hearing loss in his left ear; mild because it was only one ear. He was referred to his ENT (the same one who put in the tubes four years ago), who promptly scheduled an appointment for the end of November. See what I mean about scheduling. Good thing it wasn't anything important. So they called me on Tuesday because they needed to reschedule the appointment. Great, another three months. OR we have an opening tomorrow at 9:40am.

You know those cartoons with the little devil and angel on each shoulder. Well, I had a little mom and a little grad student on each shoulder duking it out. I had class at 11:00. The appointment is expected to last two hours. I have the prof from Hell. I won't mention any names, but if any of my peers are reading they just snorted, because they know! Anyway, mom won out. I emailed my prof and didn't receive a response. I assume he got it.

The appointment started with another hearing test, which could not be done until the Dr cleaned out his ears. Apparently, they were pretty gunky. I think that is the technical word. So, we saw the Dr who had Nate lay on the table while he probed his ears with some funky instruments through a tube with a bright light. From his right ear (his good ear) he pulled out a glob of wax as big as the end of my little finger. Gross, I know. From his left ear, it was more difficult. The stuff was softer, so he tried a vacuum. I kid you not. But, it didn't work. It was so impacted in there. He continued to scrape little by little balls of wax out. Finally, the Dr pulled out the prize wax ball and picked it apart with his tools. He pointed out to me a tube. The tube that had been put in in 2003 and should have come out in about six months. It was trapped in the wax. That's how long this wax has been building up. How gross is that.

Now, just to reassure you (and me) there is nothing I could have done about this wax. It was way in there and I couldn't even see it. Apparently, neither could the pediatrician who has checked his ears many times in the last four years. I have an issue with that, but that's a blog for another time.

Next stop, back to the audiologist for the hearing exam. Which he passed with almost flying colors. Who knew a little wax could immobilize your ear drum and make you nearly deaf. His left ear is now on the low range for normal hearing. We have to have it checked again in six months. But, I am so ecstatically happy that we got good news. We do however have to deal with residual effects of the year plus of hearing loss. He has a few mispronunciations. The ENT said he could pick them up now and catch up. If not we will need to look into speech therapy for him. But still, he can hear!

Nate was so good until the very. He was getting tired of people messing with his ears. Instead of going in to class late as planned, the mommy on my shoulder suggested pancakes (one of his favorites), so we went to lunch and had pancakes. It was a fun time. A little break from the chaos that is my life right now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update on the house drama. It truly doesn't end does it? So, we have had an offer in on a house (the second offer since September if anyone is counting). This house is a "short sale" which I am told is just a step away from foreclosure. The owner is trying to get out from under the house before the bank forecloses and the bank allows them to sell for less to get it sold before they have to foreclose and sell it for the same amount anyway. So in theory, both parties want to move the house, right? Thus the term "short sale." That's what I thought. I was wrong.

So, my (wonderful, amazing, patient) real estate agent contacted the other agent to get an update on offer. Well, apparently what I thought was an accepted offer, as in we made an offer, the owner countered, we agreed, has not been accepted by the bank. And it can take "another month or two or more." WTF? I don't have three months. I need to move in three weeks. My agent's advice it to leave this on the table and continue to look at others houses. ARGH! I am so sick of looking at houses. I just want one to move into.

Ding. Ding. Round three. Saturday we looked at some more houses. We found a really cute little house, with a white picket fence around the front yard. It also has four bedrooms, instead of three, like the one are sitting on. It's smaller in square footage and the living room is much smaller, but doable. And did I mention 4 bedrooms? Jacob is going to be so excited. I haven't told because I don't want to get his hopes up and this one fall through. As you can see, I'm not too optimistic about this whole experience right now. But, I am so excited to "do" Jacob's room.

Oh yeah, we are putting in the offer tomorrow. Our agent and the other agent have been in touch. I hope this works out. We need to move. As it is, we will be living with my mother in law for about a week. And we will be unpacking during Christmas vacation. That will be nice, because the kids can stay with the grandparents. So, they say the third time's the charm right?

It's not all great. It puts all of the kids in new school zones, including the older boys' high school. I plan to transfer them back in. Joshua will be a senior next year. I'm not going make him take his senior year in a new high school where he knows no one. As for the little boys, I will tranport them for the rest of the year and next year we'll see what happens. For now, we'll just wait and see if we get the house. The agent says it could happen by the 14th of Dec. I will believe it when I have the keys in my hands.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

So, today I was thinking about husbands. I was thinking about how wonderful mine is. How supportive he is of me and my educational pursuits. He humors me when I have crazy ideas and goes along, when I know he doesn't want to. Even though our religious convictions are different, he goes to church with our family every Sunday and even helps when I teach Sunday school. He is smart. Now, I have dated less smart guys (I even married on of them). And I really appreciate being able to carry on an intelligent conversation. We do not always agree. As a matter of fact we can get a good argument going on. I don't mean a fight, I mean an argument, like lawyers. We get on different sides of a point and debate it. And this is fun, usually. We love to hang out together. We like to hike in Yosemite (which I am hoping to do again on Veteran's Day since there is no school). We like to stroll the beach. We genuinely like being together.

So, I was thinking about husbands and started thinking about my friends' husbands (not like that). Now Tracey's husband has already been sainted. He supports her pursuing another master's degree in a subject she is passionate about (so am I). Melissa's husband should be sainted too, well because he's Melissa's husband (just kidding Mel). But seriously this guy is a gem. While is away from home alot, they talk all the time. Did you know pilots talk on cell phones, scary! They have a great relationship. Then there's Aimee's husband. He is awesome too, plugging away at grad school, yet still making time to hang with his boys and play board games and video games with his wife. They love each other so much, she gushes when she talks about him. Then there is Jodi's husband. He's a bit on the quiet side, but also very supportive. He was kind enough to host the first night of our girlfriend weekend, so I got to see him action. He was so gentle with his sons. Jodi and her husband spend alot of car time together and do lots of home projects.

Kudos to Brian, Rich, David, Jason and Michael. We are blessed to have such awesome husbands. You are setting a great example to your sons of how to be real men and how to treat the women in their lives. You are also setting high standards for the way your daughters will expect to be treated by the men in their lives.

So, I was also thinking about a handful of other friends (acquaintances?). There is a group of stay home moms I know (I won't mention any names). Not that being a stay at home mom is the issue, these just happen to be. They are deeply immersed in their children's lives and school. They are very defensive of these roles. It seams their lives revolve around these roles. They rarely speak of their husbands. The husbands work alot or are gone alot. They often complain how their husbands disrupt their routines. I think how sad this is. How sad for the children. I wonder what will happen to these marriages, to these women, when their children are grown. Is there anything else out there?

Just thinking how lucky I am to have an awesome husband. Brian I love you!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween... Ok, so it's a day late. But, that's how I work lately.

Yesterday, I was able to hang around the little boys' school until their parade was over. That worked nicely as I was able to see both of them with their classmates in their costumes. I had class, so I was not able to stay for Nate's party. I'm ok with that. I did pack little goody bags for each of them to share with their classmates. I think there is some hidden guilt there that I am not the super mom who plans and attends all the parties with fresh baked goodies. Of course, we can't have fresh baked goodies anymore anyway, so that helps some. I did my part to add to the sugar rush in my little bags that they could take home. Actually, there was only one candy in there, a glow stick (for safer trick or treaters) and glow in the dark plastic vampire teeth (for some reason kids always love those).
So here are some pics of the kids yeterday (assuming I can figure out how to add pics):
First up we have Nate, my little red-headed spiderman (in Jacob's costume from last year), along with the others spiders who descended on his class yesterday. It seems Spiderman was a popular alter ego this year. Gotta love four year olds in big muscle costumes.
Then there is Jacob, who you can't really see because of his mask. But, that's him as the black Spiderman. See what I mean about the popularity of Spiderman; I had two in my house. The ninja next to him is his best friend Skylar. Of course, you can't see him either.
Next up we have Shawn. Dressing up is not so much for high school kids. It's more about how well you can freak out your teachers and fellow classmates. As I understand it, he got the desired responses with this little added affliction. This my friends is why we don't throw pencils in the air and try to the catch them in our mouths.

Here's Joshua, who likes to simply get a reaction. He did not wear this to school, just to his girlfriend's house for fun and teenage trick or treating. I actually bought this costume last year to wear when I was working at Children's Hospital. I had the honor of leading the Halloween parade for the children in the hospital on Halloween. But, on Joshua, well it's just different!

A few years ago a stange movie called Napolean Dynamite came out. When it did, my dear husband was repeated told how much he looked like a certain character named Kip. We had to rent the movie just to see, because he heard it so much from students and colleagues alike. Well, this year, he decided to go with it (and found a "kip accesory kit" since we do not own a "do rag"). I understand he got quite the reaction in his costume at school as well. Here is Brian as Kip. Another math teacher was Napolean, complete with curly wig and "Vote for Pedro" t-shirt. I'm still waiting to see the pictures from school.

There you have, my boys at there... um, most interesting. It also gives you a glimpse at their unique (well maybe not the little guys) personalities. (Now let's see if this works).

Hope you all had a safe and fun Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Oh yeah, I have a blog. Thanks for the reminder Tracey.

Life has been crazy this past month. I am in house buying hell. Somehow, I thought buying a house would be something like buying a car. You pick one you like. You sign a bunch of papers, that you barely skim over. Then it's yours to drive off the lot, or in this case, move in to. Well, buying a house is nothing like buying a car. It's more like some insane scavenger hunt with a huge prize at the end, but only if you acquire all of the things on the list, in a timely manner. Since we move here just shy of a year ago, there are many things still in boxes in the garage (some of which will not be moving to the new house, because if I haven't needed it in a year, I probably don't need it). Anyway, included in those boxes are important papers, like the last ten years of tax returns, work and bank information, etc. Um, now which box or filing cabinet would that be. Maybe, it would be easier to just request copies from the IRS. Yeah right!

So, it has been a long crazy month. In my efforts to get together our life history of "important papers," I seem to have fallen behind in my school work. Not a good thing or comfortable for such an anal student as me. I am scrambling now to get back on track, as midterms and projects and papers (oh my!) sneak up on me. I have talked to two of my profs and they are understanding; gotta love social work profs. But, I don't like it one bit. The stress has been really getting to me. My husband said to me at one point that he hadn't seen me this unsettled since I was postpartum. That was such an accurate statement. I was losing it. I don't like not being/feeling in control.

Fortunately, it's getting better. We have an accepted offer on a house. This is the second house this month that we have been to this point on though, so I am cautiously optimistic. The home inspection is being done on Monday. The pest inspection should be done sometime this week too, I think. We are kind of in a lull as far as things I have to do. We have an awesome real estate agent. I should be happy and tackling the work I am behind in. But, I am just so tired. I really need to get a grip. This semester is half over and it has totally been a blur. Hoping the next one is better.

Wow, what a pity party that was. But, it felt good to get it out. Now, on to the weekend. Lets see: Soccer, pick up parents from airport, birthday party on Sunday - 3 hours each way! Oy. Breath.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I have taken the day off today. Last night I had a melt down and decided that while I am very behind in my school work right now and anxious about the house stuff, I needed a break. So, I decided last night to give myself a break. I haven't done any homework or reading. I haven't done any laundry. I haven't called the real estate agent or the lender to check progress. The only productive thing I did today was taking the kids to school and picking them up. Oh, and I am not cooking dinner tonight either. Brian doesn't know this yet, but he's taking me to dinner.

If we do eventually get this house (or any house) we may never move again. I was thinking this is a nice starter house. We are planning to move out of this area when I get my MSW. But this thing has been a big ol' pain in the derriere. Not sure I want to do it again any time soon (or ever). Grrr. To those who made this happen NOW. This is really not a good time.

Then there is school. Well, school is ok. I really enjoy being a student, with the exception of homework. Not that I mind the homework, I just don't have time for it. I mean after school, I have four kids to chase, feed, bathe (well, maybe not the oldest two), supervision of homework. There is soccer practice and church. I have to put in hours in Nate's preschool class. Then there's the various school activities, open house, back to school, PTA, etc. Um, no I can't say NO. I've learned there is a technical name for this. It is called "Helium Hand." When someone asks for volunteers, my hand goes up by itself. I need to get control over that.

Lets see, what else. I'm kind of bored. I really haven't done anything today. It's kind of weird. I know I will be playing catch up this weekend. Luckily, the little ones are the grandparents. I guess it's time to get dinner. YUM! I might have to do this more often. I think I'll call it "self care."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

One might wonder, why on earth we would be shopping for a home and planning to move in the middle of my first semester of grad school. Well, it certainly wasn't planned this way and it is certainly a big ol' pain in the ass! But, here we are and here is why:

Last summer (2006) we decided that we wanted to buy a house. We were both in college when we got married and had been apartment dwellers for all of our married life (um, yeah that was 7 years, last year). We had two babies while living in the apartment. It was time for a house, with a yard and a dog for the boys. Time to be a grown up with grown up responsibilities. We had been careful with our credit and repairing mine from a nasty divorce. However...

Upon meeting with a lender, just to see what we would qualify for on a single income teacher salary, (I was back in school completing a second degree)... We were hit a credit score of 400-something for Brian. WHAT? There was obviously something wrong, something very wrong. Identity theft? His credit report was loaded with red flags. But, ultimately we had to figure out the stuff before we were going even think about buying a house with a reasonable intrest rate, if anyone would even look at us.

Well, it wasn't identity theft (yet!). Apparently there is another Brian (same last name) living in another city (same state). And a certain credit reporting agency had merged the their credit information. So Brian's credit report contained this other person's social security number and addresses (past and present) and all of his debt. To say the least, he was responsible with his finances. And, because of my Brian's good credit, they kept sending this clown credit cards. So began the process of straightening out what seemed like a careless, but easy to fix mistake. Most of the accounts could be easily attached to their rightful owner by SSN or by address.

It wasn't that easy and after about four months of calling and writing (certified letters) to credit card companies, banks, collection agencies, credit reporting agencies, etc., we realized that we would not be buying a house any time soon. So we decided to look into renting a house. We really needed the space (and a yard for Nate). We found a house that had been on the market for a while, as the market was starting to decline. They knew our situation and were willing to rent to us with the possibility that we would purchase the house when we got things straightened out.

Fast forward about a year. We have things straight, we think... So we go back to the lender and start again. WHAT'S THAT? New accounts? Those are not ours. Remember when we got credit reports with the other person's info, very personal info? Well apparently, he the same access to Brian's info. There was a credit card issued with my Brian's SSN, our local address, oh and will you send the card to this address in another city please? Um, NO. But, they did. Now, it's called identity theft! More phone calls, letters to write, oh, and police reports (locally and in the other city).

We've been in this house now almost a year. Now the owner has decided that he doesn't want to sell the house. Instead, at the end of the year he wants to move his daughter into the house. Fair warning, we appreciate that, but um, I'm a grad student. I think it is because the housing market has swung and they know they cannot get what they want (or need) for this house now. So, we have to move.

Um, I think we got all the credit stuff cleared up and we are in the process of getting qualified... again. Our realtor is a gem and has been with us through all of this. On a positive note, the housing market is much more in our favor than it was a year ago. So here we go again.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I should be doing homework, but I just had to share with you about this house we looked at last night. The owner has been placed in a care home, so I am assuming the family is selling to cover cost (or split the $, I don't know). Anyway, this was the most g*d-awful hideous place I've ever seen. Our realtor was there when we arrived (first of four to see). First we behold wall to wall carpet in the living room and down the hall in a "lovely" chevron pattern of blue, red, orange and goldenrod (?). I step back to catch my breath; the realtor smiles and says you haven't seen anything.

The family room had paneling on one wall with the fireplace (tolerable). But the same wall continued into the dining area where it was covered with a kind of embossed looking gold foil wallpaper! This complemented the lovely PINK linoleum covering both the open kitchen and dining area. Realtor: It gets better (sarcasm).

Down the chevron carpeted hallway to check out the bedrooms. Three of them. They were thoughtfully carpeted to matched the carpet in the hallway. One bedroom was carpeted in a golden mustard yellow, one in red and the master bedroom in orange shag. Oh, but there was one more sight to behold. The master bathroom. Realtor: If you are not a morning person, this will wake you up. It was painted RED, with two walls papered in a red foil patterned wallpaper, this likes of which I have never seen (and pray I never see again).

I am surprised I didn't have nightmares last night. I'm sure there are beautiful hardwood floors under the carpeting, based on the age and builder of the home. The paper can come down and the paneling can be painted. The house had great squared footage and a nice layout. It would totally be a flippers dream at the right price. But, we seriously do not have the time to put into it. So, now we know why there were no pictures listed on the website...

Friday, September 14, 2007

I have tried my hand a couple of times at blogging (or online journaling, as it was when I started on a couple of years ago). But, I just haven't been able to keep it up. Hmm, I wonder if it has anything to do with being a wife, mom of four and grad student. Throw in occupational therapy appts once a week, soccer practice twice a week and random things at three different schools that need my attention. Maybe, that's why I can never keep up. That and the fact that I can't imagine who would really want to read about the happenings of my daily life. I love to read other people's blogs. I like to know what's going on in other people's lives. Actually, it makes really good procrastination material. If there was a degree in procrastination I'd have a Ph double D. But, that's a blog for another time.

So anyway, my friend Tracey wants my blog site address. I open the page and realize that although I registered months ago, I had not yet written ANYTHING! I had to write something. I couldn't send her a blank page.

Because I have absolutely no idea where to start, this is what my day looks like today...
Friday, September 14th (I think the date is right)
6:30am ~ Wake up. I am so not a morning person. This is not pretty. Shower. This helps, a little. The bigs starts stirring.
7:00am ~ Wake up the little boys. Make breakfast (ego waffles, don't give me too much credit). Make Jacob's lunch.
7:30am ~ Brian leaves for work and takes the big boys to school. Search for wayward shoes, which are outside under the trampoline (don't ask). Round up backpack, make sure homework is in it; it should be, it was last night, but you know, gotta check.
7:45am ~ Walk the little boys to school. Yes, I walk them to school. Jacob scurries off. Take Nate to class. He has to sign in, then pick a book and sit on the carpet. Read book with Nate, then explain that I have to go work on my school work.
8:15am ~ Check email. Check boards/blogs. See what I mean about procrastinating? Start a load of laundry. Work on human subjects protection project (finished, only about 5 hours, not all today). Color my hair, when I get stressed I do things to my hair (another blog for another time), so I decided I wanted my blond highlights to be red again, now they are, strawberry blond actually. Read some policy text, I can't even remember what it said...
10:45am ~ Walk to school to pick up Nate.
11:15am ~ Back at home. Make lunch for Nate. Check email again. Look at listing for houses (OH another big blog for later). Set Nate up on so I can work on my stuff for a bit. Email from Tracey about my blog. Check my blog and notice I have not blogged on my blog. Must do something about that. Procrastination. And here I am.

And here is what the rest of the day looks like...
2:10pm ~ pick up Jacob from school. Fix snack. Do homework (maybe).
4:00pm ~ Take Shawn to counseling.
6:30pm ~ Meet with the realtor.
Then, a quick dinner. Drive to Mother in law's (about an hour away). Stay over, watch harvest parade with kids tomorrow. Go to carnival. (like I have time for all this fun stuff)

So that's a Friday in the life of Me. And I guess I have some things to blog about after all. Tracey, you might have to remind me to blog...