Thursday, July 31, 2008

My cousin and his wife, Megan, are expecting a baby in September. Anna and I were invited to the baby shower this weekend. However, Anna got a better offer -- a birthday party at the bowling alley. Her reaction?

"Tell Megan hi...and good luck!"

Out of the mouths of babes...

In other news, I am sooo close to buying a laptop. I have found one that seems to have everything I want and more, and it is a very reasonable price. While I have been researching this particular purchase for a while, I still didn't want to make a hasty purchase -- it wasn't a brand I had reviewed very often. Since this particular computer will be on sale a few more days and they have 3 or 4 in stock, I'm planning to return to the store to buy it either tomorrow or Saturday.

My two youngest are staying at the grandparents tonight, so because I miss my babies (it's very strange only having two self-sufficient children in the house):

Monday, July 28, 2008

Close friends and family will tell you there are not many candy bars I don't like. When D and I were playing our version of the newlywed game with the class of nearly newlyweds we were teaching at church, D was asked what kind of candy I like. He, of course, said any candy and got it right.

The exceptions are Three Musketeers, Mars Bar and Milky Way. I've got to have some crunch in my candy bar -- nuts, cookie center, wafer, butterfinger, etc. Today I have found a new fave. PayDay is a good go-to bar when you want something sweet but without chocolate (which is very rare in my life). However, there is the new and improved PayDay Chocolatey Avalanche -- chocolatey covered peanut caramel bar. I haven't eaten the entire bar yet, but I can already tell I will be disappointed if the makers of PayDay take it off the market after a while.

It obviously has all the necessary ingredients for a great candy bar -- nuts, caramel and chocolate. I'm not ready to replace Kit Kat, Snickers or Twix, but I'm more than happy to add PayDay Avalanche to the rotation.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I love most musical theatre. Tonight D and I went to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Honestly, I love the MGM version more, but I did enjoy the stage version. Plus, we went with another couple that have nothing to do with our kids.

At this stage in our lives, it's not often that we have the opportunity to socialize with people we did not meet through our childrens' activities or school. We visit with people in our class at church, but we're all so busy with other things that we don't get together often.

It reminds me of a Seinfeld monologue where he says as an adult you don't add any friends to your life -- you're not taking applications. This is very different from when you were a kid and anyone you find a very remote connection to can be your best friend.

The couple with had dinner with tonight shares an interest in theatre, although the woman is not a fan of musical theatre. Fortunately, she is interested in a musical show every now and then. We are already talking about hitting some of the major productions this fall, two of which run during her birthday and then during mine. Perfect timing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I am having leftovers for lunch for the third consecutive day. For those who know me, they understand how amazing this is because I do not usually eat leftovers. What is even crazier is that it is the same thing -- remains of a pasta bake dish we had earlier this week. Just to clarify -- I'm not against leftovers. I'm just particular about what the food is. I will eat leftover soup, casseroles and sometimes pizza. Other than that, forget it, especially if the food is more than a few days old. Now to enjoy my pasta for the fourth time this week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I hope to finally get that laptop I have wanted for so long. A former co-worker and her partner, who design Web sites, have asked me to do some freelance writing for a client. They have said that they expect to have more clients in need of a copywriter, so that will be some nice extra money coming in.

Now if D's work situation will get resolved so he is actually paid what he was promised, we might actually have a shot at putting a dent in our debt -- at least after we get the kids back in school. School supplies x 3, lunch money x 2, Spirit Day money x 2, one school t-shirt and one new backpack = a nice chunk of change. However, that's a small price to pay to put some structure back in the kids' lives.
As long as Anna keeps this perspective, we shouldn't have a lot of boyfriend problems. Last night at the store she and I had this little exchange:

Anna: I can see that guy's underwear! (There was no way you could miss it.)
Me: Don't look.
Anna: That is horrifying.
A week and a half since the last post? That's pretty pathetic. I don't really have any good excuses -- except I've had a few migraines lately. Actually, house hunting online and in person took up a lot of time last week. However, the most exciting news I have is that we found a house for my brother to buy, and the seller accepted our offer.

My parents and I spent Friday morning looking at several houses. One looked like a paint store exploded. I'm very surprised they have not painted at least some of the rooms since I'm pretty sure they really need to sell. But not only is the paint color an obstacle, but the price is strangely high. Yes, it's a four bedroom with good square footage, and yes, it has a huge backyard, but they are asking almost $20,000 more than comparable homes. It doesn't make sense.

Anyway, the second house we looked at was the one we made an offer on. It has four bedrooms, but all of the rooms except the master are pretty small. But the kitchen is very spacious with a nice wide bar that will be perfect for family dinners. Even better, the back patio is covered and faces the east, so the folks should be able to spend some quiet evenings enjoying the backyard.

I think the folks will use it as a part-time home for now. We'll see how well Dad can manage living even temporarily away from our hometown. Even though he retired a few years ago, he still works for the new owner. That seems to be common in that side of the family -- I've had several aunts and uncles who "retire" but still work in some capacity for their old employer. I plan to avoid that impulse.

House hunting has been very interesting. It has also given me a strong desire (even though I have no money) to update areas of the house. My plan is to make a list of things that need to be done, and try to complete one project each year as money permits.

Even though I've looked at a few homes that were very tempting to buy for my own family, at the end of the day, I still feel very confident that we are making the right decision to stay where we are. I know it will pay off in the long run.

I'm signing off for now. I should be able to post again soon since there are some other interesting developments in other areas of my life.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ever since Anna was a baby, D and I have said that kids are the best entertainment investment. I still believe that, but I do have moments like the last few days when I can't wait for school to start so I can let them entertain someone else. So to remind myself how blessed I am, I'll post a few pics.
These three chose (actually it wasn't a choice for Spencer) to observe their father launching fireworks rather than attempt to light a few themselves, unlike Jeremy who preferred to be in the middle of the pyrotechnic action. That's my boy!

We bought the sled in late winter so they haven't had a chance to use it as man intended. But they have still put it to good use.

It's chocolate and he is my son. 'Nuff said.

How could a camp be any better? Climbing a rock wall, gun range and archery.

Anna has quite a collection of trophies/medals after three years of playing soccer. We'll see how big the collection gets as the competition gets tougher. Either the level of competition will get to her or the running. She loves playing defender because she doesn't have to run as much -- very smart girl.

The day will soon come when Jack won't have to climb onto something to be taller than me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

It is very difficult to be content with what you have when you are helping someone else buy a house. I've been looking at houses in my neighborhood with my parents, but it's my brother who is actually planning to purchase a house. Since he's not in the country, my mom and I get the luxury of spending his money.

When you have a family of six living in a three-bedroom house and the living area is not too big, things get a little cramped. Fortunately, the kids are still small enough that they don't take up a lot of room -- it's their toys that need all the space. However, I have looked at a couple of newer homes -- one is still being built and the other is six years old -- with four bedrooms. So let's recap: I live in a three bedroom with four kids and did I mention my house is 20 years old? These other homes I've toured are much, much newer and have four bedrooms. Contentment is hard to come by right now.

I'm trying to remind myself that my mortgage is much cheaper than it would be if we bought a bigger home, and my house will be paid off by the time Spencer graduates from high school. I can also watch my kids walk from our backdoor to the door of the elementary school. Those are some very attractive points. If we can just find a house for him to buy, then I can stop being tempted by these other houses!

Monday, July 7, 2008

And then there was one -- one child who hasn't been to the urgent care clinic. Which one made the latest trip you ask? My baby, Spencer. Poor kid tripped over a hose and hit the brick surrounding the neighbor's flower bed. When I came outside, D had his hand over Spencer's forehead and there was blood running down his face and turning his hair an interesting shade of strawberry blonde.

My boy handled it fairly well. He stopped crying on the way to the clinic, and while we waited, he even smiled and laughed a few times. He got upset for a while when I stepped out of the room, so I tried to make sure he didn't lose sight of me again. Of course, nothing was going to comfort him while the doctor put five stitches in his head. The nurse held his head, I had his blanket-wrapped upper body while D tried to keep his legs still. It was very exhausting.

He went to bed as soon as we got home and slept fine -- even though I had to wake him up every two hours to make sure he was OK. Today, he's acting like he's usual self.

What a weekend! We survived the 4th of July without any major mishaps -- other than a minor burn to Jack's foot while he was holding a sparkler and the pinata busting open before Anna had a turn. Of course, we are always wary of holidays. If a child is going to start running a fever or coming down with some other illness, it's usually during a holiday. Also, Jeremy got stitches a few days before Thanksgiving. Jack's hand incident, which required x-rays, occurred a few days before Christmas. So it's only fitting that Spencer's gash should occur during a holiday weekend.

Hopefully, Labor Day weekend will be uneventful.
Here's the before picture. It's the best I could with D's iPhone.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

OK, so the writing thing hasn't been happening. I've been reading a book, and that was far more interesting than writing something original. Also I worked from home yesterday, so that was two straight days of kids fighting, plus D was gone that last two evenings. I've also been helping the folks look for a house for my brother.
Anyway, I've been pretty tired and haven't been taking my vitamins regularly. (Don't tell Dr. C.) I think about writing, but then I look at the two story ideas I had and I don't really like them. I've got another idea in mind that I need to spend time fleshing out, but there's just been too much going on. I noticed our library has a quiet room. If I had a laptop and some time to get away, that would be a great spot to write. Excuses and distractions...I've got a million of 'em.

Speaking of distractions, aren't they cute kids? Hard to believe that they have fought so much over the past few days that I've had to order them not to speak to one another or play together, isn't it?