Sunday, June 29, 2008

Waiting for the Paperwork...

Our offer, give or take a few thousand, was accepted. We're just waiting for the signed contracts to come through. There will be no chicken counting until I, or maybe Stephanie, have those contracts in my hands. The good news is that it's a fair price for as much as we're getting and in the neighborhood we want, and we will be able to move in a few days early, so there will be no sleeping on the side of the road for a night or two.

By the way, if there are any of you available to help us move on July 20th (Sunday) and maybe some of your with more flexible schedules that could do the 21st, we'll take it. Just mark your calendars...assuming of course that I get to count my chickens. I bet you're all wondering how many chickens are in fact in my basket.

Up For Grabs!

We have a toddler picnic table that needs to go. It's in decent shape, but needs a good cleaning. I'm offering it up to my friends before I put it on Freecyle. By the way, it's free! We also have 2 wood stool with black covers, but they need to be! I have a bunch of stuff going to Goodwill, so if you're thinking about these things and want to check out the rest, you're welcome to sift through and take what you want.

TV Armoire: made by Broyhill, good shape: $60
Desk w/hutch, 2 file drawers: $30
Small Black Chair, great for accents: $2
Pampered Chef Colander & Bowl Set, w/lids, it was just replaced with a new style & I don't need 2 sets: $6
Set of 4 blue wine glasses: $4
Vintage Coffee Urn/Perculator, needs plug in cord: $8
Real Crystal Vase: $3

I have more, but it's early and I can't think right now. Don't forget to read the post below about the new home prospect.

Not Counting My Chickens Yet...

But I'm hoping that the third times a charm. After our hot and sticky moving sale yesterday, we loaded up the cars (Wes & Katy were with us) and went hunting, for a house that is. There were 5 homes on the list, and Steph saved the one I favored the most for last. I'm glad she did. In my mind, despite the small exterior and less than perfect pictures, the Hubner House as I call it was our best option. It advertised 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, .2 acres, and fully renovated, but the big kicker is that it's literally right around the corner from the Glenmore House. Let me just say that the first three houses we saw were just not at all what we were looking for, the fourth was better but required some work (we all know how much I like the work), and then we got to Hubner. Now I'm telling you, the exterior of the home does nothing to sell help it sell. It seems tiny, but once you walk in, the space opens up entirely. Again, the entire second floor is a master suite, only this time, it has a walk in closet that's larger than what we have now (opposite of the Glenmore house). The bathroom has twin sinks, the coolest tile work ever and a step-in jacuzzi tub/shower combo with multiple shower heads. On the main level, there's a nice sized living room, two fairly large bedrooms for the kids and a full bathroom between them. There's lots of closet space in both room and the hallway. The dining room is open to the kitchen which was redone with white cabinets, wood counter tops, and all black appliances. From here you can walk out to the enclosed sun room, that opens up to a very large fully-fenced in backyard. It's perfect for entertaining and hosting playgroup. But I'm not done. Downstairs you'll find a fully finished, and finished well, basement including an amazing bar area with fridge, a large rec/play room, 2 full bedrooms and a bathroom. Really the only unfinished part of the house is the utility room right off the stairs. So it's clear to see how quickly I fell in love with this house. We put in the offer last night.

So what were my worries going in? It's still occupied. Would they be able to get out by the 22nd? They haven't come down much on the price? Would they be able to budge at all?

Well, it just so happens that the wife was there with her 3 kids. Okay so have you ever seen the old comparison between our presidents, Lincoln & Carter? This is similar, without the whole gunshot to the head thing. Her kids are 5,3, & 1 (the same distance apart that mine with be). Their dog's name is Reece. Coincidence? Maybe! But here's the kicker. A year ago, they put an offer on the very same Glenmore house that we did, it was accepted, and then reneged on. I think we might just be kindred spirits. As to the money issue. They actually had a contract on the house, and were supposed to be moving out this past weekend. It fell through because the buyer's lost their financing. So not only can they get out by the 22nd, there in a better place to negotiate a little (hopefully).

As much as I like this house, I'm desperately trying to not count my chickens before they hatch. But if we do one day call this place home, I can see why God allowed Glenmore to fall through. The Hubner house is bigger, 2400 finished sq, with a larger lot. It's fully fenced and has not only a 4th bedroom, but also a 5th. So, please start dialing up to our heavenly Father on our behalf. We should know something today on tomorrow.

Here's the link to the house.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Moving Sale Tomorrow...

Not sure where we're moving yet, but we're definitely moving somewhere. It might be under a bridge somewhere, but we can't stay here, so Katy and I are gearing up for a day of fun selling off all our extra stuff.

We'll have furniture, baby & toddler items, a toddler outdoor picnic table, household decor, kitchen stuff, Stair Baskets, Plate Racks, baskets, etc... So if you're not busy, come check us out.

3344 Cranberry S, Laurel, 20724
Saturday, June 28th from 8 am - 12 pm!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And Then She Mourned...

Not a person, but a place. The house we thought we'd call home was given to another family by a sleazy businessman. As promised, the man was the owner of Catonsville Contracting in Catonsville, MD. It's not that the man does shoddy work, at least not at first glance, but his ethics leave little to be desired. At the end of it all, there were no mistakes, just lying, manipulation, and down right deceitfulness.

Though I am sad, because I loved the house, I have to believe that God has something else for us...something that is a better fit for us as a family. Please join us in prayer for we are under 30 days from settlement on our house here in Laurel, and the pickings are slim for houses in the area we want to live. Pray that God would lead us to right house for our family and in a timely manner so that we don't have to move into temporary housing.

I'd write more, but Katy and Wes will be here soon, dinner is in the oven, and the kids are breaking down. Thank you for your support and prayer. I can honestly say I need it.

I Don't Want to Talk About It...But I Will

You know the saying, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch?" I suppose it applies here too. What we thought was a done deal, might not be. It turns out that before signing the contract on the new house, the owner got another offer, similar to ours but with no contingency to sell. Fourteen and a half hours ago, I was flying high, and now I'm lost in a fog. He was supposed to get back with Stephanie by 5:00 pm yesterday, but didn't, and Steph can't seem to get a hold of him. So here I am back in the unknown, only this time, I've already mentally moved into this house and I'm absolutely in love with it. My heart is saddened and confused, but it's not all a complete loss.

You won't hear full out ranting from me, though if the deal goes sour, I will let you know the name of the contracting group that owns the a fair warning. But for now, let's focus on the good.

Before Neil and I got married, we dated, and while we were dating, we broke up for a few months. It was during that break up, one night in December, that God convicted my heart. I had never asked God if I could have Neil, so I did, and thankfully, He said "Yes." There is much more to that story, but I think the moral of it is that I tend to leap through doors without first checking to see if there open. On one of Owen's shows, "The Upside Down Show," they go through a bunch of doors and some voice from nowhere will always remind them to knock first. My tendency is to storm through the door without knocking, without asking for permission. So it's not about God opening and closing doors and windows, I think it's more about how we walk through them, whether or not we acknowledge His authority in the situation. I'm not saying that we're being punished, or even that God is slamming this door in our faces because we didn't knock. If that were true, then God wouldn't be a God of grace. As well, I'm not saying that because we've realized our lack of dependence on Him that we're going to get the house, despite this other offer. What I am saying is that regardless of what happens, Neil and I have entered into a place we've never been before in our marriage, a place where we place our dependence on God together. I've been praying for this for 7 years, and if I have to lose my dream house to get it, then so be it. Granted, I'll be extremely sad if that phone rings and Steph tells us we lost the house, but the spiritual relationship with my husband is way more important. Last night, for the second time in two weeks, we prayed together, and for the first time, I saw Neil as the "spiritual" leader in our family. He's always been a strong leader, but struggled with revealing his very personal and intimate relationship with God to me. But last night he encouraged me and lifted me up. He didn't run from my strong personality and stubborn disposition. He embraced me, pursued me, and loved me. Together we asked God if we could have this house, much like the night I asked Him if I could have Neil. I just hope the answer is the same.

Now what this seller, who's selling buy owner, did was dishonest and cheap, but I'm choosing to believe that it was unintentional and not malicious. I'm choosing to believe that he simply didn't know the rules of the game, and we're praying that he'll do the right thing. He verbally agreed to our contract and should have sent the contracts right over, taken the house of MLS, and been done with it. But instead he sent the contracts over to Mister Lister to look them over, kept the house on MLS, showed the house, and allowed another couple to make an offer.

I ask that each and every one of you join us in prayer, for the seller to realize what the right thing to do is and do it, for God to continue to work in our marriage finding dependence in Him, and for God's will to be done in this situation. Also pray for peace in our hearts that whatever happens, God will take care of us. If we lose the house, pray that God will lead us to another one, maybe even a better one, and that we wouldn't have to move our family into temporary housing.

With a sad but almost peaceful heart (I'm getting there)...

And to my friends out there who are wondering why I haven't called you...I just wasn't ready to talk to anyone last night, and you're all asleep right now.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is it Luck?

Or are we just fools for listening to the media? In my limited experience of buying and selling a home, I'm not seeing this huge housing crisis. Sure houses aren't going for as much as they were a year ago, but seriously, weren't we all complaining then about the ridiculous prices and retarded bidding wars? And yes, sellers have to work a little harder to sell a home, but homes that are priced right and show well are selling. We sold this house in under a month. The house we bought had two competing bids on it and it was only listed for 15 days (when we put in our offer). I just think there is something we can learn from this experience. 1) If you're selling a home, invest a little money to make it look nice. Paint the walls a neutral color. Bright colors scare people off. Buyers prefer to have the option, at least, to move in and then paint. Change out brass or dated outlet covers and light fixtures, and add consistency. It does cost a few pennies, but it will pay off in the long run. 2) Clean out your junk and personal mementos. We went into a house the other night that was a complete mess. I couldn't even get into the laundry room because of all their dirty clothes laid out all over the floor. Who wants to see your dirty underwear? Just get a small storage unit (may cost a $50-$100 a month, but it's worth it), pack up your pictures, and extra junk, and make your home look clean and neat. 3) Stage your home. This doesn't mean putting on a Broadway production, but it is sort of like setting a stage for a mind-blowing performance. You want your home to appeal to a variety of people, and most of the time, what works for us won't work for others. So this might mean a few weeks/months of inconvenience. Even if your house is vacant, stage it. Borrow some furniture from a friend or rent a few pieces to make the home appealing to the buyer. Granted, the house we bought was vacant, but it was also perfect. Vacant spaces typically look smaller, but the right amount of furniture in a room can actually increase the perceived space. 4) Watch HGTV & TLC's home selling shows, like Designed to Sell & Get It Sold. Seriously, that's where I got my education. That and from my friend Jen whose a talented decorator. In fact, apply to be on the shows, and let them do the work for you.

I wonder how one would get into the world of home staging. I'm thinking that is something I'd really enjoy. Hmm, I'll have to think about that. I realize that most of my loyal readers aren't selling a home, but I just thought I'd vent again...but turn it into something positive.

Before we fell in love with the Glenmore house, we looked at 10-12 houses in person and probably a hundred or so online. Being pregnant with my third child (I have to keep saying it so one day I'll believe it), I didn't want a house that required a lot of work (hence the Glenmore house). With every other home, except one that was gone before we had a chance to place an offer, all I could see was negative dollar signs and all Neil saw was projects. Most of the homes that weren't vacant were not properly staged, or staged at all. Now I don't know how much of it is my bias, but I just couldn't get past people's junk. It's hard to see and appreciate a home when I'm overwhelmed by a mantle cluttered with family pictures of Uncle Buck and the family dogs. This one house wreaked of cat ammonia and the owners stayed in the house while we were looking. That actually happened to us twice in one night. Can you say awkward? Go to Chick-Fil-A or something, but don't linger around when your house is being shown. If you really want to see whose looking, just park your car around the corner and do a stakeout. They'll never know it's you. Just so you know, I never did that. I had my neighbor do it for me.

Anyways, today I'm going shopping...for a mortgage. Know someone who'd give us a competitive rate? I'd be happy to give them a call.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Wait is Over...

We are officially under contract. What a stressful few days. There was a competing offer on the house, but we raised our price a little and they accepted it. Yipee kai yai yay! Here is the listing, but go there quickly before they take it down. Look at the Featured Tour for more and better pics!

Yay, I'm so excited, but now I must go feed my family before they turn into vultures and eat me.

Thanks for walking through this with us. We needed all of your prayers, or at least I did.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Still Waiting, But It's a Beautiful Day

Besides the fact that I'm in desperate need of sleep, I'm actually doing okay today. I've had lots of things to distract me from the anxiety of waiting for a phone to ring, like packing, working on my Pampered Chef Inventory Blowout (see sidebar), and preparing for my realtor to arrive to go over the inspection report on this house.

So here goes my rant for the day. When we accepted the offer on our home, we told the buyers that the inspection was for information purposes only. The house is being sold "As Is." Not that there is anything wrong with the house, it's just that we've already agreed to plenty of concessions at closing. Believe me.

So they do the inspection for which I happen to be here for. Nice couple with two kids, and this is their first house. I'm delighted that our little home is going to a young family, but did they really have to ask for every little item on the inspection to be repaired. Seriously folks, all 16 items. Steph and James should be here soon to go over the list with us. We'll probably agree to a few things that Neil can do for $0, but that's it. And the thing is, they knew that. I guess they thought there was no harm in trying. I get that, and I can appreciate that, but I just think it's a little bold considering they knew our terms ahead of time.

Go figure. Just a quick rant. I'll let you know if we here anything on the other house. It's been almost 48 hours. That's not normal right?

Pampered Chef Inventory Blowout

I've finally gotten around to this. See sidebar for complete details and items for sale. I will update as items sell, but keep in mind that it might not be completely up to date.

Email orders to!

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

For Those of You Who Get Feeds...

New poll should really go vote.

For those visiting, there is also a new post below.

Offer In: Now We Wait!

Do you know why I hate to fly? Because I can't control a darn thing, and I can't figure out why something that large manages to get off the ground, much less stay in the air. The moral of the story? I like to be in control, and I don't tend to do so well with situations where not only do I not have control, but there is absolutely nothing I can do to influence the situation. For instance, in my marriage, Neil might be the head, but I get the unique privilege of being the neck and I can turn the head which ever way I please (analogy borrowed from My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

When it comes to the matter of house hunting. I have all the control in the world up until the point we place an offer on a house, then nothing. It's not like I can call up the owner every two seconds to see if they've made a decision. "Just accept my offer already...pretty please with Starbucks on top." I'm thinking that wouldn't go over well, so here we sit, minds racing, nerves shaking. They got the offer last night. It can't be that hard to read it over and decide on a counter. Seriously (man, I miss Grey's Anatomy already)! I wonder if their waiting for weekend's end to see if any more offers come in. That would be our luck, get in a bidding war in a "buyer's market." Except that we would never declare war. Going above their asking price isn't an option for us. It's already at the top of our budget. So what option am I left with, besides ranting on my blog for all the world to see (or the 20 or so people who regularly read it). I could be still and know that God is God, and TRUST in his perfect plan for our lives. How come that often sounds so trite? Does the word TRUST come with an instruction manual, or a 12 step program. Quick answer-no. I think that's the point. We're not supposed to know how to do it. Faith looks completely different depending on the person or the situation. Sometimes it's easy, and sometimes it's a little foggy, and other times it's down right near impossible. I've been in all those places.

In all reality, where we live should be an easy one right? Because why does it really matter, at least in the bigger scheme of things? It's just a house (fully restored 1920's cape cod), or just a school district, or just a neighborhood. In this case, it's all three. In my mind, I'm already moved in. I can see bamboo bench, now in our bathroom, gracing the foyer with it's presence, holding our kids winter mittens and scarves. I can see Owen and Blake playing with their train set in the family room while I fold a load of laundry in the neighboring utility room. I see Mom and I shopping for curtains, blinds, and accessories to put the finishing touches on our new home. You see, in my mind, it's already our home. I know, I know. Scold me all you want, but I'm a girl and that's just how our minds work.

So for now, we wait, impatiently, but still we wait.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thank God for Stubborn Sellers

Now you know that when I'm up past 11 pm at night chatting it up with ya'll, something's up, right? What does it say when Neil is up with me? We're lying in bed, over thirty minutes since we'd settled down, and I realize that Neil's not snoring. Suddenly he says, "It's a holly tree in the back yard. I was trying to figure it out." I'm used to random thoughts from my adorable husband, but few that come past his bed time. The man never has issues with sleep.

I'm not sure if this is a good sign or a bad sign, but it's certainly a sign. We went house hunting tonight, saw 5 homes, loved one. It's way up at the top of our budget, but beautiful, and in a simply adorable neighborhood, and great school district. I'd post the link to the listing, but don't want to jinx anything, so as soon as we have a contract on the house, we'll let you know. Keep your fingers crossed.

The kitchen-yeah-to die for. Although if I truly died for it then I couldn't enjoy it, so that would defeat the purpose. Granite counter tops and stainless appliances (including gas stove) literally make me want to put a cot in the kitchen and just live there. Just take my word for it, it's gorgeous. Both bathrooms are exquisite, one situated inside the master suite (which happens to be upstairs all by it's lonesome.) The door-solid wood, and fabulous. Fireplace-brick with white mantle. It just makes you want to shake your head and pinch yourself.

So of course every house can't be perfect, right? It needs a fourth bedroom and at least a half bath, but there is space to do those in the basement (where there also happens to be a nice sized rec room). The yard is in need of a little fencing to keep the children and the dog from wandering off. But really, that's it.

For a 1920's cape cod, it's in pristine condition. Just what I wanted. So please be praying for us tomorrow as we make the offer. It's only been on the market for 15 days, so we're not sure how much the seller will move if any, so it would be even better if you could pray that we'd negotiate a fair price. Assuming we come under contract, I'll post pictures and details of the house.

Let's see if I can catch a few zzz's before morning. I'm exhausted, but my mind is literally racing. I'm not sure how to shut it off.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

La La Land

Due to a stubborn seller who's living in "La La Land," we're officially back on the house hunting trail, which is fine by me. It's not like this house was our dream home, and it would have meant a ton of work, but it was a nice a price (at least what we were willing to pay for it). The poor house has been on the market for almost a year with no other offers. This guy finally gets an offer and refuses to budge much on his price. Apparently, he doesn't want to sell his house.

Anyways, on to more pressing matters, like where are we going to live come July 21. I'm actually fairly encouraged. After I went back and searched through hundreds of homes in the areas we want to live, I found 5 or 6 that we'd like to visit. So off we go tomorrow night to find ourselves a place to call home. Do you want to know the real reason why I'm encouraged? Neil and I were looking at the selected homes last night, and when we were done, he asked if I'd like to pray about this entire situation? So we did. Enough said for now.

On to something deeper. As you all know, there was a certain hallmark holiday last Sunday that was particularly difficult for me. Actually it wasn't so difficult until my MIL called to give Neil a special hallmark greeting. From that point on, I was pure mush. I literally sobbed through church. It got better once we got back to our house where we were joined by several friends to celebrate a birthday. Great distraction. See I had decided several weeks ago that I wouldn't celebrate the holiday on the actually holiday, as to attempt to avoid such emotions that drag me near to edge of insanity. At the same time, we choose to observe "Happy Neil Day" on Tuesday which I did by getting up and fixing him a traditional southern breakfast before sending him off to work. Seriously, it felt like I was more of a traditional housewife then the slacker I am. Maybe I should aim to do that once a week, or once a month, or every year on the Tuesday following the hallmark holiday I flat out ignore (kind of like St. Patrick's Day). We'll see how that goes.

On a lighter note, Owen is currently sitting in Neil's recliner (which I hope has a similar fate to Chandler's white dog statue on Friends) in his Thomas the Tank Engine underwear. Don't get all excited. I'm just praying he doesn't pee or poop before he messes up the chair. Oh wait, that might not be a bad idea. Neil couldn't blame me then, hmmm (except that he reads this blog, so no go). I told Owen a couple days ago while at Target buying a box of diapers that this was the last box I was buying so he better to learn to go to the potty. I'm mostly serious, so I hope he catches on so he doesn't have to run around naked, pooping all over the place. It would be quite embarrassing for me, and maybe a little for him. Great now he is sitting behind me on the couch. He's never peed on me before (I know, amazing isn't it?). Let's hope he doesn't decide to start now.

I'm off to get ready to go to camp, or at least work on camp. Three weeks from today, we'll be welcoming campers through the entrance of Grace Community Church. It seems like yesterday this venture was a simple dream, a vision, and now it's virtually reality. God is so good.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sorry to Leave You Hanging

I'm not saying my mind is any less troubled, but at the least, it's a little more stable. We accepted an offer on our house; we're officially under contract. This afternoon we'll be putting an offer down on a house in Catonsville; the right area, great school district, great deal, and needs some work. So it's not ideal, but really, what is? Oh yeah, the house I wanted that was snatched from underneath me, but it's not like I'm bitter or anything. Yes that house was ideal, perfectly DONE and we all know how much I wanted DONE. But it did have it's drawbacks. It was small, the same size if not smaller than our current home. It also didn't solve the problem we have now of having the kids on a different floor as us. And it gave Neil absolutely no projects to work on.

This other house, while not my ideal at all, offers 3 bedrooms upstairs allowing all of us to be together. It's much bigger than the one that got away, but it's far from done. However, I did get Neil to agree to gut and redo the kitchen (with a contractor) right away. All the light fixtures, door knobs, outlet covers, and hardware must be replaced immediately. It's like walking through a brass santuary. Everything needs to be painted, and I mean everything, but at the deal we're getting, we could easily do it all right off the bat. With the other house as my standard, I know now what we're aiming for. So we'll be putting through the offer and see where it goes from there.

So I gave up my 15 minutes of fame to do what is best for my family, and people say I'm not willing to sacrifice. Who knows? Maybe we'll get another show to come do something at our new house. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

I'll let you know when we do if and when we're under contract on the new house. Until then, I covet your prayers and thoughts, especially on this day that, by the way, I refuse to acknowledge. We'll be celebrating Neil on Tuesday, but today, I'm choosing to ignore the holiday. I think I'll probably come back this afternoon and write through my grief, but for now, I'll be joining my family for a nice sit down smorgousborg of a breakfast.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why is this so difficult?

It's 11:30 at night, and I'm up journaling, praying, blogging. For those of you who know me well, you'll quickly realize that I am up way past my bedtime. I tried to go to bed, and as I lay there, my mind was a flurry with activity, questions plaguing my very being. Uneasy and discontent with the position of my pillow, I flung myself from the bed and trotted upstairs to find my journal.

I wasn't shocked to find that my last entry was February 5, which read like a diary entry from sixth grade (minus the huge crush). Nothing major going on. My worry of the day consisted of Neil forgetting my counseling appointment which I in turn had to cancel. It was only four months ago, and yet seems like a year. There was no mention of my dad, baby #3, or a new home. I almost felt like I needed to fill God in on all the events of time passed, but He of course already knew. He was there. It was all part of His plan. If He had sat me down on February 5 and laid out the next four months, I'd be begging him to reconsider, attempting to negotiate a new deal.

My heart is not calm; my spirit unsettled. The closer we get to selling our house and buying another, the more anxiety builds up inside me. Yes, I realize anxiety is from the pit of hell, but you try telling the butterflies in my stomach that truth. Tonight we ventured into Catonsville to visit a house I've had my eyes on for a while. I was hoping to not fall in love with it, and like always, my earthly hope has failed me. It was utterly adorable inside and out. I could literally see us living there. It's not without it's quirks, but look at Neil and I still married him. Great location, killer school district, play-group worthy backyard, and absolutely fabulous kitchen. But loving this house only made us more willing to consider the offer on our house.

We're going to try and work with the buyers, even though that means giving up my Hollywood debut. Seriously this breaks my heart. I really wanted this. People don't seem to understand why "Get It Sold" was so important to me, and I honestly don't think I can explain. It would have been a dream come true, but so would moving back to Georgia, so I guess in this scenario, dreams are disposable. Listen to that cynicism; thick with bitterness. Hence the question: Why is this so difficult? Shouldn't this be a no brainer; an offer in less than a month, a house we love in the location we wanted (and Baltimore County pay their election judges a ton more than Anne Arundel), and it could all be over before Owen can start preschool in the Fall. This should be joyous, exciting even, and yet here I am crying over my spilled milk.

A Fun Place for Moms

So that enewsletter I was telling you about, Baby Cheapstake, had this great link to Freebies for Moms. It's a blog this lady started that has samples and such you can apply for. I don't know about you, but I'm a big fan of free stuff, and we all love mail (that isn't a bill).

She also had a link to the Dr. Pepper Sweeps on there. I entered and instantly won a movie ticket! Sweet. I'm not sure if it has to be used for Indiana Jones or not, but like I said, I like free.

I think I'll add her blog to my links list. Enjoy!

Now if only Owen could stay out of trouble long enough for me to fill out a few forms.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Singing the House Selling Blues

This is going to sound contradictory to my title, but I'll get to that in a moment. We got an offer on our house today, a low ball offer, but still an offer. Surprisingly, I wasn't the least bit excited. Our friends Todd and Melissa were over for dinner, and were shocked that we weren't jumping all over this. I don't think they expected us to take an offer $30,000 less than the offer price, but maybe a little excitement, a crack of a smile. Now Neil was a little busy installing an outlet on the back deck, so it's not that he wasn't excited, he was just preoccupied. I, on the other hand, was lacking the leaps of joy. Most houses around here sit on the market for months without any serious interest. We get an offer in the first 3 weeks. So why am I not shouting from the rooftops? I'll do a little introspection here for a minute. I don't think I really want to move, at least not around here.

It's scary, the idea of selling our house and buying another. What area do we choose? What price range are we looking in? What about taxes? And lastly, how long are we committing to the new house, or more importantly, to Maryland? I've asked all these questions before, but it wasn't so real before. Once we accept an offer and sign a contract, we're on our way out. We have no choice but to find a new house around here. I know I'm probably rambling on, but this is how I process through my feelings. Maybe it comes down to a reality check. Leaving this house means giving up my dream to move south, at least for now. That's frightens me.

Plus if we get a contract now then Get It Sold won't come, and I really want them to come. I want that more than I want to sell the house. People think I'm crazy, but being on that show is like a consolation prize for me.

We countered on the offer, so we'll see what they do. I'll keep you posted.

Owen Might Be a Redneck

You might be a redneck if you sit on the pot in the middle of the living room while watching the tube and munching on a snack. Yep, that would be Owen right about now. We're attempting to enter into the potty training phase, so I adopted the practices of my BFF Jo, allowing Owen to sit on his potty while watching a show. The only problem is that Owen is perfectly content sitting naked on his potty for hours at a time without actually pottying. Do you think I might have a problem? Neil was telling me about this lady featured on The Today Show yesterday who potty trains most children in a day. Clearly she knows something we don't. Neil is convinced we're doing it all wrong, which might be correct since we're raising a nudist at this point. But what am I supposed to do, drive Owen up to NJ, or where ever she's from, and pay out the wazoo to have her train him. I think not.

I suppose I could read more books on the subject, but that would require time, and we all know how little of that I have. You know, I used to be one of those people who didn't understand why 3 year olds were running around in diapers. Now I get it. It's hard work and takes discipline, and not so much from the kids, but the parents. And if they don't want to go potty, then why would I spend most of my day fighting with him to do something he clearly doesn't want to do?

On the other hand, I can't tell you how tired I am of changing his diapers. Blake is one story because I know he's still a baby. It frustrates me to all get out to know that Owen can go potty, he just doesn't want too. AArrgghhghh!

So I am at a crossroads, deciding which direction to go. Do I take a left and commit myself and Owen to nip this thing in the bud, or a right and let him do it when he's ready, or go straight and pay someone else to do it (not really an option, but I needed a straight)? I'm open to suggestions if you have any that aren't trite or common sensical, or require me to read another book.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Kelly just emailed me, like 5 minutes ago, and we were chosen to be on "Get It Sold." YAY!!!! Now we just have to work out dates around camp. You guys can keep the scheduling in your prayers. Okay, now I really need to go clean the house and get ready for the 1 pm showing.

Operation Sell Home Update

I'm anxiously awaiting news from "Get It Sold." Hopefully we'll be chosen for the first episode, and how awesome would it be to here a go ahead today? Crossing fingers, or in God-speak, praying away.

However, I do have a couple updates. We have two showings scheduled today. The first will be here from 1-2, like they really stay an hour, but that's how long I have to find something to do with the boys. The second are actually repeat visitors from Friday. They are trying to decided between two homes. Woo Hoo, propects galore. During the second showing, between 5 & 6, Neil and I will be meeting our realtors at a house in Savage to see if it would be a potential new home for us. It needs some work, but we're not sure how much, hence the showing. One of our realtors flips homes and will be able to help us determine what needs to be done in order to rehab it from it's current state.

So good updates, yay. Now if Kelly from "Get It Sold" would call with some news to send this day over the top. Oops, gotta go before Owen turns the carpet into a playdough playground. Why is it that they decide to trash the place exactly when you don't want it trashed?

For Those of You Who Use Huggies...

If you have no need for diapers, then simply disregard this post. But if you're like me, spending your child's college fund on diapers, then this deal might come in handy.

If you use Huggies, I'm sure you have a couple $1.00 coupons saved up. You'll need 3 for this deal. Go to CVS this week and buy 3 Jumbo packs for $7.99 each. Use your coupons, making them $6.99 a pack. See, I can do math. Then go here and download the Huggies $5 rebate. For brand name diapers, this is a sweet deal.

Now I have to give credit where credit is due. I found this deal through Baby Cheapstake, but since I'm retarded and can't find the link right now, you'll have to settle for googling the name (or Jo might be reading and can tell you how to sign up.)

This is not my "real" post for today, I promise!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Busy Days

Camp is just under a month away, literally by a day, and we're gearing up for an exciting summer. Our staff is hired, the curriculum is done, and the shopping list compiled. It's all coming together. So why are all the butterflies in my tummy coming out of hibernation. It's like they've had Red Bull for breakfast. Granted, it could just be the baby growing inside me, but really I think it's nerves. Of course I trust that everything that is supposed to happen will happen. Right now, Michelle and I are scrutinizing the budget in order to find money to buy the rest of our supplies. Really, if a few more kids would just sign up, we'd be solid. Let's just all trust that 10 more kids register for camp in the next week. Did you guys get that? Don't forget to add it to your prayer list. Good, now that we're done with that part, I'll tell you about our work day today. 25 people, mostly high school students, will be gathering up at the church in just over an hour from now to build benches and paint decorations. How exciting is that? We even have a camp parent and two campers joining us, and most of our staff. Side note: our staff is AWESOME! I can't wait, which is probably why I'm buying time writing to you all.

Update on Operation Sell Home: We had TWO showings last night, yippee! We haven't heard back from "Get It Sold" yet, but she did say it'd take a few days. I'm thinking we should hear something by Monday.

Gearing up for an all around hot and sticky day. Did I happen to sleep through June and July? Is it already August? What's up with the weather? And if you say global warming, I'll hurl. Literally, it's so muggy outside, I can see the humidity. It looks like fog, but feels like your walking through a cotton candy machine.

If you read my Dad's blog, I hope to update it today. Sorry I was MIA yesterday.

Owen Update: After 45 minutes of sitting on his potty while watching Diego & Backyardigans, and drinking tea and water, Owen FINALLY pee peed in his potty. There's nothing more exciting to a mommy than the prospect of changing one less diaper...only this morning he refuses to sit on the potty (rolling eyes).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hollywood or Bust?

Kelly from Edleman Productions, "Get It Sold" came by to meet with us today. Unlike our visit with the "Designed to Sell" scout, Kelly seemed excited to have us on their show. We won't know for sure for a couple of days, but lets hope we won them over. How cool would that be? Not only would be get to be on the show, but we get professional staging and all that entails for FREE. I love free. It's my favorite price point.

If we're selected, crossing fingers as I type (which takes some talent), we're also hoping to be chosen for their first show starting June 16th. Otherwise, we'll have to wait until August since I have this thing called camp happening all July. They require 4 filming days during the week, of which I'll need to find a place for the boys to go. Once I know the dates, assuming we get picked, I'll let you know and if any of you can take the boys for a day or two, you can let me know.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Grief comes in waves. I know this because I experience it. Some days I go about my life and end up just fine. And other days, like today, I find it hard to think without the grief taking over. I've been thinking about my dad a lot lately, and today ventured over to his blog to see what was going on. Not that I expected to find a new post, but I miss connecting with his readers like I did those few weeks in Georgia. I'd like to keep it updated, but I don't honestly know what to say, so I asked them to fill me in. I received several emails from dad's faithful readers, and as I opened them, I allowed the pain to seep in and the tears to flow. I guess I just really miss him, and still can't believe that he's gone. I was there. I saw him lying lifeless in that hospital bed and I still can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that my dad is gone. So tonight I am struggling to even regain my composure, not like I have to since I'm already snuggled down into bed.

A fellow Warrior, Manual, called Dad his muse and since his passing has struggled with the inspiration to write in his own blog (where he chronicles his battle with kidney cancer). I get that. I write because my dad flat out told me to. How can I betray that? And someday soon I hope to pursue a dream to become a professional writer, again because my dad told me to (or maybe it was that he gave me permission to.) Either way, I've found passion in writing, and I just wish my dad were here so I could say, "thank you." "Thank you for giving me a swift kick in the arse." I still remember it clear as day. He looked up at me from his bed and said, "You're good. If you want to write, then write. Stop piddling around." It seems like such common sense, right? But it wasn't the words that were spoken, but the man who was speaking them. It was the affirmation I needed. If David Foster thinks you have talent, then maybe, just maybe, you have a foundation to build on. And how much more does that mean when David Foster is your dad?

The more time that passes, the more I miss him. Is that really possible? I thought grief would fade in time. That doesn't seem to be the case. Of course, maybe time is not the issue. It could be a lack of dealing in reality. I've had my share of distractions lately. This is true. So for now, I'll just let the tears come when they choose, and in those moments, I'll write - for that is what he would have wanted me to do (except minus all the mushy stuff).

Thanks for tuning in and listening to my rants - which are more like therapy.

Operation Sell Home Goes Hollywood (maybe)

Some of you might remember when we applied to be on "Designed to Sell" on the HGTV network. That didn't work out because our house was too "done" when they came to scout our house, but they liked us and thought we'd be a great family to be on the show. A couple months later a woman from "Get It Sold," also a HGTV show, called me to find out if we'd be interested in being on their show. This was shortly after I returned home from Georgia and at that point we weren't sure what we wanted to do: sell, stay, give up all our possessions to the poor and become gypsies? I was supposed to send new pics of the house, but just never got around to it. I figured it was a lost cause...until yesterday. I got an email from another producer at "Get It Sold" who asked if we were still interested. Of course we are. It's a no brainer: get to be on television and a better chance at selling our house. I sent her a link to our listing (so I didn't have to take all new pictures) and profusely apologized for my pregnancy brain, and she said she'd see us on Thursday for an on camera interview to see if we (and the house) make the cut. Isn't that cool?

As per usual I have to play devil's advocate with myself for a moment. If our house was too done for "Designed to Sell" and we've done major improvements since then, how will it not be too done for "Get It Sold?" I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I know one thing though: I won't make sure the house is immaculate when she comes, and I might even rearrange a few things to make it look more junky. Do you think Neil would mind bringing a load back from the storage unit? Yeah, that might be asking a bit much. Maybe I should try and tone down the manipulation...any ideas? Oh and since she's coming at 12 on Thursday, I guess that means I either can't go to Pilate's or I need to cut my class short. Oh wait, tomorrow is Thursday. Wow, that is sooner than I thought.

Daily Cute Child Story: Did I tell you guys that Blake turned a year? I guess I did since I told you we got Owen a new seat for Blake's birthday. Good, now that's out of the way, I have a cute story for you. Yesterday I walked into the playroom to find Blake drinking out of Ashleigh's cup. I know, what's cute about that? He's a kid. All kids drink from each other's cups (and eat of the floor for that matter). I know, that's not the cute part. The cute part was that he was standing on his own holding the cup with both hands for all of 10 seconds. It's not the first time he's stood on his own, but it is the longest. When he was done, he simply placed the cup back on the table, plopped down on the floor, and crawled over to me. I don't even think he realized what he was doing. I'm hoping he'll walk in the next week or so; never been a fan of the crawling faze.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Could You Please Press the Pause Button?

Owen watches this show on Noggin called the "Upside Down Show." There is no use explaining it if you're not familiar with it, but just so you get the gist, it's interactive and the kids watching pretend they have a remote control and press the buttons they are told to press. Now, as a mom, I think it's a pretty ridiculous show, but Owen is infatuated with it and Blake is infatuated with Owen which leaves me a little time to talk to you guys. As I'm sitting here I'm thinking it'd be quite fabulous to have a remote control for my life, and at times like this, I really fell like just hitting the pause button...not forever, just long enough to have a full 24 hours to myself.

I'd start off my day with a nice cup of coffee and a bit of Fox & Friends. Then I'd head off to the gym for Pilate's, a nice lunch with a friend (who is also pressing the pause button), and finish off the afternoon (what would normally be nap time) at the spa for a massage, facial, and pedicure. For dinner, I'd meet Neil for a date at our favorite Italian restaurant, Pasta Plus, where we'd converse about non-kid, non-house topics. After dinner we'd retire home where there would be some nooky nooky, followed by a couple chick flicks while lounging on the couch. Of course, Neil wouldn't stick around for the chick flicks, so he'd be in the backroom watching MacGyver reruns on the Mac. I'd crawl into bed sometime around 11 (I know, late for me) where I'd sleep allergy free all night...until I heard a faint "mmmooommmmmmy" coming from somewhere inside the house. As I slowly began to regain consciousness, I'd realize that this sound was not faint at all, but was also accompanied by banging, stomping, and "I want a snack." I'd turn over to find Neil off to the gym, and my 24 hours over. Someone had pressed the play button. Oh well, at least I had the time I had, and now I'd ready to face whatever the day will bring.

No matter how great that all sounds, we all know what would inevitably happen. Eventually I'd start to miss the kids, and most of the conversations I'd have would revolve entirely around them or the new baby in my belly. It's just who we are as moms. Even when I get together with my friends here (& there are no kids around) we're telling stories about the preposterous things they did that day or what new and queasy feelings we're having in our pregnancies. Oh and the birth stories. Get a bunch of moms in a room and one pregnant lady, and you'll have the pleasure of hearing more birth stories than you'd ever have wished for. Don't worry, I'm not complaining, I'm the biggest culprit of all. Just making an observation.

My friend Angela asked me yesterday if the pregnancy has been a good distraction from the pain of losing my dad. To be honest, I feel like it's been more of a distraction than I'd like. Couple the pregnancy with selling the house, and I don't have time to think about paying the bills, much less dealing with the death of my dad. Sure, it hits me at times. The other day, "Be Thou My Vision" came on the radio. I just heard the beginning of it and quickly turned it off, but it was too late. My mind and heart had already traveled back to the memorial service. I fought back the tears, and luckily was interrupted by Owen's shenanigans in the car (which is another story I need to tell you). Don't get my wrong, I get that distraction is a natural coping mechanism that keeps us from dwelling on the negative, but is there such a thing as too much distraction? I don't know the answer, but it would seem to be true in my own life. I also know that God doesn't give me more than I can handle, with his strength of course. So with that said, do I really need to press the pause button? It would be nice though, wouldn't it?

P.S. Totally off topic, but I feel compelled to share this story. For Blake's birthday, we got Owen a new booster seat so Blake could have Owen's old seat (& face forward). Most boosters are 40 lbs+, but we thought this would be great, so we didn't have to buy a $80 seat for Blake and then a booster seat for Owen next year. Basically the seat uses the car's seat belt, and let's just say Owen can reach the red button. I'm driving down Whiskey Bottom talking to Michelle on the phone, and I see something move out of the corner of my eye. I turn to find Owen standing next to my seat. Do the words "freak out" mean anything to you? I quickly hung up with Michelle and pulled the car over, put Owen back into his seat and thanked God we didn't wreck in the process. Luckily for me, I had a set of Bamboo spoons in the car from a recent Pampered Chef order. They make great spanky sticks. Needless to say, the rule is now, "don't press the red button." If you do, you automatically get a spank on the hand. I wish I could say that was the last time I caught Owen without his seat belt on, but I can say that the frequency of said events are diminishing. Yesterday, we had a full day of no seat spankings. Now that is victory. If only I could convince Neil to set the example instead of fighting with me to put on his own seat belt. Yes I said Neil, not Owen. He has this thing about seat belts...part of his stubborn streak. I don't think he gets how closely Owen watches him, even when it doesn't seem like it. Maybe you guys could start a campaign to get Neil to wear his seat belt.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Great Debate

I love a good debate, especially when I win. But when you're debating with yourself, how do you decide who wins? Yesterday was our open house. We busted our butts to get our home ready to be showed. I even baked cookies, but to no avail. No one came. Do you know what this means? The house is clean, and we need to lower our price. The question how much? This brings me to the self versus self debate, but not over the price itself, but how much I really want to move.

Putting the house on the market was a leap of faith for us. If it sells, then it's clear that God wants us to stay here, but if it doesn't, then there's a different path for us out there, possibly including a migration south. In theory, this is a great plan, a test of our faith. In reality, it feels more like tug-a-war, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up in the mud pit considering I'm on both sides of the rope. It all boils down to stability. I want to be where I'm going to be. Wouldn't it be much easier if I could just make an appointment with God, like I do to get my hair done, and he'd just tell me what the future holds for us? Yes, that would be nice, but there is a reason God is not a fortune teller, because if I knew the whole picture, I'd probably run for cover. Seriously, if God had told me 6 months ago that I'd lose my dad and get pregnant with my third child in the same month, I would have tried desperately to avoid both. Who wouldn't? So in that sense, I get why he doesn't tell us everything, but right now, I'm frustrated, scared, and confused...and being the control freak that I am, these are not secure feelings for me.

I'll keep you posted on the inward debate, but for now I'm going to rush off to the gym and then off shopping with a friend. Enjoy your day!