Saturday, June 27, 2009

Refuge

Refuge. Respite. Driving to my parents. Laughing children with Happy Meals giggle in the back seat. Curving past waterfalls and rivers and waving trees reminding me of the glory of God's creation. Pulling up to windows that wink with hidden memories. Smiling parents come out to welcome and hug. Children jumping out squealing, "Grandma! Papa!" Shoulders relax. Small smile returns to my face. Children run to see bountiful garden and roll down grassy hill.

Ice tea offered. Recounting last hours of turmoil and stress surrounding decisions on selling our house--or not. Values questioned. Principles considered. Tears fall. Decisions made. Memories fill with signatures placed on black waiting lines one minute before deadline.

Wise parents giving understanding nods. Encouragement. Advice. Assurance.

Deep breath. Bigger smile. Relax into comfy old chair.

One step closer to moving.

Refuge.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Grandpuppy

On a better note than my last post--I'm now a Grandma! To a new puppy!

Will is getting a lesson in parenting his new puppy who keeps him up all night:

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It is so much more fun to have a grandpuppy as opposed to a pick-up-the-poop-take-to-the-vet-feed-repair-the-sofa-sweep-up-the-doghair-24/7-puppy! He comes over and plays and then goes home! (Do you think it will be similar to have grandkids?)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New House?

I think I'm finally ready to unveil pics of our new house.


You ready?


It's really cool!


It ended up costing us a lot less than we expected too!


Here it is!!!

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LOL! At this point in the house stress, I would be very happy to have this as my new house. I am SO DONE with all this buying and selling STRESS that I just want a HOUSE and I want to know WHERE I am going to LIVING at this time next month!!!

Whew! Thank you! I feel better!

I did have to smile when we were having an especially stressful house selling day and Patrick came over, gave me a hug and asked me if it was my worst day ever!

Uh, no son. Not quite. Nothin' like puttin things in perspective!

Do I dare say it looks like the dominoes are going to fall and the house thing is going to happen after all? Stay tuned . . .

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

Since Eric's bday gift was selling the house I told him that for Father's Day I would have all the paperwork signed and finalized--we were so close. I failed. In fact, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction! Not sure how the dominoes will fall now. I seriously do not know how people go through this move thing as often as most do! IF it happens, I will never, never, never, move again!!!

My gift didn't come to fruition but Lizzy came through with a beautiful apple pie.
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We had a BBQ and my niece came and our big boys came and even the neighbor kids were here having some watermelon.
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Then we watched the movie the kids picked out--Mall Cop--hint of the day--rent, don't buy. Maybe don't even rent. The kids had some laughs tho.

And of course, I recycled Eric's Father's Day card. It's a family joke of sorts--I bought him a card 20 years ago with a baseball team of kids drawn inside. The first year of the card, the two older boys each picked a kid on the card and put their names under it and as more kids were born, we would "name" each player on the team with the new child's name. It got to where all the players were designated a name and so when Vu came, we actually cut out a picture of him to put on the card.
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Regardless of where we live, our kids are blessed to have a super-duper, cookie baking, bike riding, baseball playing, science project making, homework helping Dad!
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Happy Father's Day to all dads everywhere including my own super-duper Dads!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Birthday James!

My first-born turned 26. Where did the time go? I can tell you, I don't regret a single moment of the life I've spent with him--the sleepless nights, all the ear infections, climbing into our bed in the middle of the night until he was about 10--or so it seemed, the midnight talks as a teen.

James has always been a man in a little boy's body--only now he is no longer a little boy at all--just a man. He is the kindest person I know and loving, funny, smart, and hard-working on top of it. I love him more than life itself.

I was so young when I had him that people often thought he was my brother and not my son. When Eric and I would go in for parent-teacher conferences the teacher would look at us in disbelief and finally, after a shocked pause say, "Are you James' PARENTS! You look so YOUNG!" (I can assure you, that doesn't happen now when we go to our younger kids' conferences and in fact, the day is probably approaching when a teacher says, "Are you the GRANDPARENTS??? LOL!")

Anyhoo, despite having parents who were young and dumb, James turned out to be an awesome guy! I am so proud of him.

Eric, my dad, and Will took James out fishing and here James recounts the big fish that got away:
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Then, we went out to the local sports bar with the big kids of which Lizzy is now considered :-) (She used to always fall into the category of "the little kids"--they're all growing up too fast!)
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Wrestling session with the little kids when we got home:
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Cake:
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And then presents--with plenty of help:
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And since Glamour Girl couldn't join us for the party I will at least include a pic of her with James:
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Happy Birthday James! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner

We are now in the appraisal, banking, inspection part of buying and selling. There is the domino effect for four families. Why didn't anyone ever tell me that selling and buying a home is stressful? I think I learned this once--fifteen years ago when we built this house but we were only buying, not selling, so perhaps it wasn't so stressful? Or, perhaps I am just old with an old brain that filters out old, stressful memories.

I am also old enough to know of plenty of horror stories of buying/selling gone wrong at the last minute so until I am really certain we are moving I refuse to start packing. Should be fun packing with limited days, huh? Ahhh . . . procrastination at its finest!

Since I'm not sure I actually have a new house, I can at least share pictures of my new, old house--the one I now live in. In our mad dash to get it ready to sell, we spent four days nearly 24/7 working, not eating, not feeding our kids, not caring if they watched too much TV and played too many video games. The end result was worth it!

The handy husband (along with designer Will) came through with new sink and granite tile counter tops--the old ones were scratched up white laminate--so BIG change!
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And, just a couple of weeks ago we painted Kim's room from pink to bright, robins egg blue--the pics don't give the brightness justice:
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Our agent said the blue must go so now it is a pretty pale yellow:
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We now have a dining room for the first time ever! Years ago we walled it in the official "dining room" with French doors so it has been a den/piano room, a bedroom (for various kids), and most recently, a TV room. I love seeing it as an actual dining room:
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And since we moved our kitchen table into the dining room, we now have a cute little kitchen table and bar stools borrowed from our oldest son, James--those older kids keep coming in mighty handy!
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We planted flowers:
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And put down new cedar chips for the playset and barkdust in the flower beds compliments of Will--yes, again I say it, those older kids come in super handy!
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The only bad part is that we will never again have excuses for not doing a project--we now know how much we can accomplish when panicked.

The best part was actually the organizing, cleaning, purging, and decluttering that went with it. We took our agent's suggestion of taking out some furniture, taking down some wall pictures, and minimizing trinkets/dresser decorations/kitchen counter-surface things etc. Not only do we love the final look but our kids love it too and want to keep it this way! It feels so much cleaner and fresher! We also took lots of stuff to a storage unit and I can hardly remember what--which means we do not need it and it's not coming back--not even to the new, new house, assuming all the dominos really do fall into place and it all comes to be.

Regardless, I've learned some great lessons and should the dominos not fall, I love my new, old house too. And ultimately:

"We don't need walls or rooms or gardens or furniture or flowers or familiar scenes and neighborhoods in order to be home. Wherever those we love are, there home is."
From Jaroldeen Edwards in one of my favorite books-- Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

DC

Such good advice in your comments my dear sisters and friend. Thank you. I have truly been trying to just live in the moment and witness all the little miracles in every little thing. Something that also helps my spirits is that when I have negative thoughts, I just start mentally listing off all the things I am thankful for. It helps.

We took the kids over to see the inside of the house today. It really was very fun and exciting to imagine actually living there, entertaining friends, having room for church group and sleepovers and company! My parents won't have to stay in a hotel when they come to visit! Horray! (Then again, they might want to--perhaps the fact we were a bit crammed here has really just been an excuse for them to find some peace and quiet!)

And finally, some pics! I don't have any of the new house to share but FINALLY, pics of DC :-) We had SUCH a GREAT time! Thanks Nicole! You are such a great hostess! (And the pics don't do justice--I forgot to bring my charger so only have a few.)

My boys were SO happy to see their cousin!
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My nephew getting his first trophy:
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Worlds' cutest baby:
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Landmines

Have I started packing? No, I have not. According to the papers we've signed, we will be moving in just three short weeks but it seems surreal, it's all happening too fast--too storybook like. Nobody buys and sells like this, so fast, so smooth.

My lack of feeling like I can accept it all has made me wonder why I'm so slow to get excited. To prepare. To start to pack.

What I've discovered ain't pretty.

I'm an eternal optimist. Or maybe I should say, I used to be an eternal optimist, but what I've realized now, just now, is that I'm still optimistic about life--but with a big chip jaded into my shoulder. It bothers me that I let it happen, that I allowed life to painfully gouge it out, yet it is past tense, it has already occurred, and I don't know how I can ever repair that big hole that's been carved out of my hope.

Thinking back, I know exactly when it happened--when Joe died. Newsflash. Bad things really can and do happen to good people. His roller-coaster of being sick, then cured, then sick, then cured, then sick . . . then gone--all in quick succession--has left me with the feeling that when good things happen, I shouldn't get too excited because the yellow brick road of happiness can still have landmines.

I hate this truth that I've discovered about myself. I kick myself in the night for nightmares that make no sense and reading books like The Secret only make me feel that I will somehow be responsible for any more bad things that happen in my life. As much as I tell myself to only think good thoughts--the bad thoughts creep in. I'm not really talking about the new house here because I honestly don't think it will be a bad thing if this whole thing falls through and we stay here. I love it here. It just really bothers me that I don't get as excited as I used to. I know happiness can be fleeting. Maybe I'm just a realist now or maybe this is how it feels to lose ones' innocence.

I don't know this new me. I don't like this new me. I want the old me back so I can be free and happy and always hopeful--the eternal optimist, singing a crazy song at the top of her lungs, laughing and dancing and fearlessly skipping down that yellow brick road of happiness.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So You're Telling Me There's A Chance

We have one determined real-estate agent. She's smart and wonderful and not pushy at all and she's a friend on top of it--but she's determined too.

When we were thinking about moving last summer we asked her to keep an eye out for us if she ever saw anything in our school district. But then, we decided against moving for a wide variety of reasons--mostly because we like the idea of having our mortgage almost paid off (make that now past tense), we LOVE certain neighbors (some of our best friends), we are very happy with our schools and we have an unheard of location--walking distance to elementary, middle and high school and walking to shopping, parks, movie theater etc.

We decided that even if we felt a bit cramped here, we were happy, our kids were happy, we were here to stay.

We remodeled the bathrooms. We painted and updated some things. We re-arranged rooms--AGAIN!

Then our friend the real estate agent called about a "house that screamed Crazy Family!" A house that was our dream. IN our school distict. And BIG.

Honestly, we weren't interested. I didn't even return her first phone call because I was out of town. When she called the second time I told her we had decided not to move, but she was really insistent that I must at least look.

I didn't want to mislead her in any way. I didn't want her to waste her time showing me the house (even tho I admit I was curious) because WE WERE NOT MOVING! I actually said to her that there was--AND I QUOTE--"WAY less than a 1% chance we would move."

Well, we laugh about that now and we are both reminded of the clip from Dumb and Dumber which I have included for your viewing enjoyment:



Signed papers tonight. It looks like it's a done deal. Oh, and I'll need more lamaze, we have to move in three weeks!

I Can Really Deliver

I delivered big yesterday--but speaking of delivery--that Lamaze breathing thing I learned 27 years ago that didn't help one iota for the actual use it was intended for (breathe!) has actually come in quite handy the last few days. Between finals, my 60 page paper, a mini kitchen remodel, lots of painting, and general cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, I've needed to breathe--a lot. I've needed to sleep too but that's apparently over-rated when doing all the above.

Anyhoo, it was my Honey's birthday yesterday and between all that was going on my party planning was ZERO. The day before, when we put the house on the market, I told him I would sell the house for his birthday.

Guess what? I sold our house for his birthday.

One day on the market--one house sold. At least, it looks like it--still working out the details.

I wonder what he's going to give me for my birthday? That's kinda hard to top!

But I could probably think of a thing or two--running and jumping and hugging "things" to help fill that space in the bigger house :-)


Now, to breathe. And, to sleep!

And I promise, at some point, I will actually do a thinking post with some actual pictures of something!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Buckle Up--It's Going To Get Crazy!

Oh my! People, people! Where are my baseball fans? Cal Ripken Jr.--Baltimore Orioles--2632 games in a row--Vu's names sake--we were in Baltimore :-) Jenna Bush also lives there--hence the second clue. We had a ubber fantastic time! Pics and update later.

FOR NOW, Sally's guess ends up being where I am--over the cuckoo nest.

While in Baltimore, we put an offer on a new house here and they accepted (not quite that smooth but long story short). Part of the acceptance was that we have OUR house on the market within seven days.

Remember when we talked about moving long ago?

We decided not to.

We are not any where near ready to move. Since we weren't going to. But now we are. And I am going crazy over the cuckoo nest to get my house ready to sell in . . . let's see . . . three days! Yikes!!!

For those who live here--we are moving to a house near this one so, no worries, I will still be able to come and borrow all your stuff all the time.

Any and all "Moving 101 Advice" welcome!!!