Monday, January 30, 2012

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up with Carissa today.
Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters
I.  I attended a coupon workshop a couple weeks ago at my church.  Mikey, from Jeweled Crown facilitated.  She did a great job.  I learned a lot about the crazy world of couponing, and left feeling challenged to give it a go.  Pat and I did our biweekly grocery trip on Saturday and saved $11 using coupons!  Including price matching, we saved more like $15.  Not a lot, definitely not "extreme", but we only got things we were going to buy anyway, so that's $15 that stayed in our pocket checking account!  We were pretty excited about it.

II.  Our garage door is on the ground, and has been since Saturday afternoon.  For some reason, when I think about that, I get "Pants on the Ground" stuck in my head, except that now it goes:
  G'rage door on the floor
  G'rage door on the floor
  Looking like a foolish-woman-that-paid-way-too-much-for-this-piece-of-junk-house with your g'rage door on the floor.
I never was all that great with lyrics.  When I ad lib with Madi's nursery rhymes, "girl" always rhymes with "world", and "you" goes with "boo".  Oh, and that one time, "beautiful" rhymed with "beautiful".  Not one of my shining moments. 

III.  I'm re-re-reading Ender's Game right now.  It's definitely still a favorite.  Since I was too cool for school, I never read it until a few years after I graduated.  I wonder how many other required readings were actually good books? 

IV.  Am I the only weirdo that puts mini marshmallows in my ice cream?  When I did that at my parents' house yesterday, you would have thought I put cheese on my breakfast cereal for the reaction I got.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Run, Run, Run, As Fast As You Can!

Last night, Pat and his friend went hunting.  They saw a big deer, and Patrick shot it three times.  As it turns out, the big deer was his brother, Matt.  Pat apologized over and over, offering to help dig the bullets out, but Matt said it was okay.  Then, to make Matt feel better, Pat told him that he had seen another big deer, and Matt could shoot him if he wanted.  Matt said, "No, thanks."

At this point, Matt, John, and Patrick headed for the bar at the hunting grounds, since it was time for lunch.  The old lady behind the bar tried to give Patrick and Matt a five hour energy/alcohol shot.  They declined.  After lunch, they discovered that the hunting grounds were filled with dinosaurs and crazy people, so they started running through the woods, shooting said dinosaurs and crazy people. 

They ended up in the water, with sharks trying to bite them, and actually biting other people running/swimming away with them.  One of the "extras" yelled out that they should swim in the middle of all the people, so the sharks would get the others first. 

Then, on the ship, Matt, John, and Patrick, along with all the refugees, continued running from the dinosaurs, crazy people, and monsters.  They all tried to hide in a lifeboat attached the side of the ship, but realized after climbing into it that the monsters could still see them.  They moved to another lifeboat, into which everyone jumped.  With everyone in the lifeboat, the ropes started to break.  Thankfully, Patrick was wearing his harness, which he clipped to the side of the ship.  Once he was clipped on, he started helping people back onto the ship.  As soon as the last person got back onto the ship, the last rope holding the lifeboat snapped, and the lifeboat fell out from underneath him, leaving him dangling against the side of the ship.  He had to hold on with one hand, because his harness was trying to fall off.

Then, on the ground again, still running from the crazy people (with a few monsters and dinosaurs to boot), they found bullets for the automatic weapons they were now carrying.  They hid behind a big mound of dirt and prepared for the final stand.  The crazy people brigade arrived, and the battle commenced.  Patrick thinks he and the other refugees won, because then they were alive and heading back to the bar at the hunting grounds.  Upon getting to the bar, Patrick realized that someone had already consumed his energy/alcohol shot, but that was okay because he didn't want it anyway.

What did you do last night?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More Shameless Bragging

I promise this is my last time to brag on my husband this week, and I know you probably don't want to hear it, but I couldn't resist.  After you read what happened last night, I'm sure you'll understand.  Either that, or you'll question my palate.  Maybe both.

Last night, I opened the freezer to answer that eternal question: "What's for dinner?"  I knew that we were most likely out of chicken nuggets, aka my favorite meal, so I had pretty much come to terms with not having that.  But when I looked inside and saw a glorious bag promising Great Value chicken nuggets, I giddily turned to Patrick and exclaimed, "When did you get nuggets?"  His face fell immediately, tipping me off to the ugly truth.  The bag held only three nuggets, which, though by some would be considered a snack, I recognized as a mere tease.  Without any further discussion, he said, "I'll be back."  Before leaving, he did check to see if we had mac and cheese, because everyone knows that nuggets without mac and cheese are just shredded and fried chicken parts.  We didn't, so he planned to get both while he was out.

Upon his return, he grinned at me and said, "I bring chicken."  Strangely enough, he then said, "Oh, no."  Whether by ESPN or just good deductive skills, I instantly knew that he had forgotten the macaroni with all its elevating properties.  Here's the part where he gets bonus points: he again said, "I'll be back" and left to retrieve the noodles.  That's a good man.

Has your husband ever (without prompting) made two special trips to the store to make sure you have your favorite meal?  Do you feel the same as I do about nuggets without mac and cheese?  Did the phrase "fried chicken parts" turn you off to chicken nuggets forever for the next eight hours?  I know it did for me.  : )


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good Form

One of the two most pressing items on our get-it-done-before-listing-the-house list was to make the back porch not look like it's falling down.  I say "look like" because, in reality, it probably would have stood up just fine for another sixty-five years as-was (as opposed to as-is).  However, I don't know too many buyers that would pay more than $40,000 for a house with a back porch that looks like this: 
Please note: the back porch typically looks about 75% less trashy than this.  All our projects are going on at once, leading to the junkification of the back yard.  We are gradually putting it back to rights.
 The columns have been like this for, well, longer than Madison has been here.  The main thing that stopped us from replacing them sooner was that they didn't line up with the concrete.  In the next two pictures, the screwdrivers (they're black, so they're kind of hard to see) mark where the center of the post should be.

We finally came to terms with the fact that we would have to pour an extension of sorts next to the patio, so the columns would have somewhere solid to sit.  To tie the extensions (there are actually two, one for each column) to the existing concrete, Pat used a hammer drill to make holes for a few rebar pieces.

He inserted the rebar halfway into the existing concrete, so now the three slabs are all tied together into one big piece.

Next, he built forms for the concrete.  I didn't notice his good form when I took this picture.  Ms. Dorothy, you should have had this boy in ballet!  Look at that natural turnout!  : )
After setting the forms in place, he tied a line to the center of where the top of the column would be in order to find the right place for the bottom anchor.

 Then it was time to make some concrete!  He mixed up some maximizer concrete by hand (he's no stranger to the process).
 At that point, it was dinner time for the boo.  That meant that while Patrick continued working, I absconded to the kitchen and took pictures of this cutie instead of the other one. 
While Madison worked on her bananas, her daddy poured the concrete into the forms and centered bolts in it directly where the posts would sit.

Then he was done for the day.  Or so he thought.  While he was getting ready for his shower (don't think too hard on that one) I heard him start to grumble.  After a few incoherent mumblings, I understood "Are you serious?"  He stalked out of the house into the backyard, (no worries, he was still appropriately clothed) and I followed him to find out what was wrong. 

He forgot to put the rebar in the concrete!  He had the ones that tied the slabs together, but didn't lay the ones that make each new slab rigid.  Oops!  Thankfully, the concrete was still wet enough to work with. 

The slabs had to set for twenty four hours before we could put any weight on them.  Patrick finished the slabs on Saturday evening, so we ended up having to wait until the following weekend to continue work on the back porch.  Fast forward to the next Saturday...

The installation process was pretty simple.  He finished installing the first post before I could take pictures, but here he is measuring for the second post.  The dog in the bottom right of the picture is my parents' dog, Baby.  We were dog sitting while they went on a cruise.  Must be nice!  : )
After measuring how long the post needed to be, he marked the treated 4x4 on all four sides, then made the cut.  I couldn't take pictures of the cutting process, because it was too loud for Madison to be outside for.
 Finally, here is the (structurally) finished product.  An improvement, no?
Next up?  Repairing/replacing the vinyl siding/trim, paint, and staging. 

What have you been working on lately?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Madison-Seven Months

I found this letter to Madison by the computer this morning.  I'm sure Patrick won't mind me sharing.

My beautiful Madi,

Today you turned 7 months old, my angel.  I can't believe it has been 7 months since I met that beautiful, red-headed, show stopping newborn baby at the hospital.  It seems like you're growing up so fast, honey.  I just wanted to write down a little part of how I feel towards you.  From the moment I first saw you, I was blown away at your beauty.  I knew in that moment that God had given me the greatest blessing and that my life would never be the same.  I knew you were special.  Even when all the nursers saw you, they knew you were special, and they gathered around to see this beautiful sweet little girl.  I know I was hooked.  I can't bear any moment I have to spend away from you.  I cherish all the time we spend cuddling, taking naps together, and playing.  The brightest part of my day is when I come home, open the door, and see the world's sweetest smile.  Your mom and I adore you, sweet girl.  I want you to know, and never forget, that your Daddy loves you with all his heart, always and forever, no matter what.  You are cherished.

With all my love, my Angel Madi,

As for her seven month picture, let's just say we've got retakes scheduled for today.  She was teething all day yesterday.  This first picture is pretty much what she looked like all day without artificial help (i.e. jostling, singing, a dog or two to look at, or any kind of food or drink)
 I had the bright idea (get it?) of using the flash to make her happy, then switching right back to no flash to get a good shot.  Here's the second picture with flash:
Pretty big difference, right?  What can I say?  My vain little baby loves to have her picture taken, but the flash is kind of what clues her in to the process.  The only problem?  In the .08 seconds it took me to turn off the flash, she was right back to fussy girl.

At seven months, Madison:
  • is "talking" (babbling with mostly vowel sounds and a few ma's, da's, ba's, and ga's thrown in for emphasis)
  • recognizes the signs/words for milk, more, up, and all done.
  • loves to walk (with LOTS of assistance)
  • loves to feed herself avocado and mum mums, also loves to snatch her spoon from mommy's hand. 
  • still hates being on her tummy.  That crawling thing may not happen until she's in kindergarten.  
  • sleeps through the night, most of the time.
  • loves her walker!
  • loves to swing at the park.
  • gets excited when Daddy comes home!
Aside from the fact that she's cutting a tooth (or two) right now, I think this is the easiest time we've had with her.  Most days, she's a generally content baby.  I've got a feeling we are in the calm before the your-baby-is-now-mobile-storm. 

Happy seven months, Madison!
-Kelli (aka Mommy)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Surprise, Surprise!

 I've got a pretty great husband, and a pretty dirty house.  But let's focus on the great husband for a while, deal?

Here's the thing: I have the same breakfast every morning.  Not just the same food, but the same amount, routine, schedule, in the same chair, everything.  Missing out on that breakfast ruins my day.  An integral part of that breakfast is the milk that goes in my raisin bran.  When I don't have milk in the morning, desperation sets in.  About a month ago, I realized upon opening the fridge that we were out of milk.  I mixed half and half with water until I got it to the right consistency(about one part half and half to seven parts water).  The flavor was never quite right, but once I added it to my raisin bran, it was passable.  There is (almost) nothing I wouldn't do to ensure that I have milk with my breakfast.

That's why I say I've got a great husband.  He's totally jumped on the "there aren't too many things more important in this world than Kelli having milk in the morning" bandwagon.  Actually, there are three-and-a-half bandwagons, because the sign wouldn't fit on just one.  : )  So last night, after seeing that the milk level was below the danger zone, he went to the store to get more for me.  This is a pretty common occurrence. 

Fast forward to this morning.  In "my" place (if Patrick sits there during breakfast he will be ever so politely asked to MOVE) was my book, with a sliver of a note peeking out from underneath.  Normally, anything outside my typical breakfast routine would make me skeptical, but I noticed the word "beautiful", so the slight shade of crankiness instantly disappeared. 
 Then I moved the book, and saw the rest of the note, along with a cute ring from Old Navy!  You may remember me ever so subtly mentioning their jewelry department here.
How's that for a breakfast surprise?  After I finished my raisin bran and first of two cups of coffee, I headed for the office to grab the camera.  I wanted to record the moment!  When I walked in, I saw this:
Well, technically I just saw the wallpaper on the monitor.  The mess was invisible to me until I looked at the digital image of it.  Kind of like how you never realize how much weight you've lost(or gained) until you see a picture  of yourself.  It's funny how mirrors/real life don't register the same way.

Anyway, the new picture of Madison was the highlight of my morning.  Even better than the milk in my raisin bran and the ring on the sweet note.  Ha!  "Put A Ring On It" just popped in my head.  You're welcome if it's now in yours, too.  : )

Anyone else wanna brag on their husband today?  Do you have morning routines that determine the tone of the rest of your day?  Have you ever "made" milk (I'm not talking about lactation here, so don't get gross on me)?  Is anyone else humming Beyonce right now?


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The BIG Trip

 As I mentioned Monday, last week we traveled to San Antonio to see our friend John graduate from basic military training.  The trip was stressful, to say the least.

On the way to San Antonio, Patrick drove a friend's car (who otherwise would not have been able to come) while I drove Madison in the Explorer.  That meant that no one was available to pick up dropped toys, make funny faces, or pacify Madison in the backseat.  Thankfully, Madison slept for the first two hours of the trip, which was a miracle considering she had already napped for three hours before we left the house.  The next hour and a half, however, was far from miraculous.  That is, unless you consider me not having a full blown nervous breakdown a miracle.  In that  respect, it was a miracle indeed.

She cried.  And cried.  Then she slept, woke up, and cried some more.  I pulled over once to give her a chance to breathe.  It was that bad.  After an eternity of that, we finally arrived at the hotel.  At this point, it was about 7:30, a full hour after her typical bedtime.  Usually, that would mean relentless screaming, but the new environment was interesting enough to keep her curious and quiet.  Here she is with Patrick in the hotel lobby, waiting for our room keys.
 It probably took us forty-five minutes to get all our things into the room and start on her bedtime routine, meaning she went down for the night almost two hours late.  I expected to have a difficult time getting her to sleep, but she was all tuckered out. 

To minimize noisiness, Patrick stayed in the adjoining room with our friend.  We figured one of us would be half as loud as two.  Actually, I'm being generous here.  That boy is loud.  I wish I could say the whole night was uneventful, but she woke up crying three times, probably with flashbacks of our terrible drive.  She ended up staying in bed with me after the third time, at 4:45, a mere fifteen minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off. 
 As I mentioned Monday, it was cold that morning.  We weren't sure what to expect, or how long Madison would have to be outside, so we dressed her as warmly as we could.  First up was the most adorable thermal underwear I've ever seen.
  Then black pantyhose right over the thermals,
Notice my jeans are tucked into my soccer socks.  If that's not classy, I don't know what is.
 And a long-sleeved dress on top.
 Once we got to the graduation, we added a crochet cap, "fur" hooded coat, and our stroller blanket (which, by the way, is probably one of the most useful gifts we've gotten, diapers excluded).
 Immediately after this picture was taken, we realized that the graduation didn't start for another hour and a half, so the three of us got back into the car and chilled toasted until it was time to head for the stands.  Why do the best photo ops always turn out fuzzy?  Oh well, this is still a favorite.
 By the time we were ready to walk to the stands to watch the graduation, Madison had fallen asleep.  She slept through most of the ceremony, but woke up in time to see be completely oblivious to the fly-over.  Patrick was really impressed with it, though.  : )  There were three C-something-something gunships.  Or something like that.
 While that was one of Pat's favorite parts of the graduation, my favorite part was when the graduates took the Oath of Enlistment and recited the Airman's Creed.  The last part was them screaming, in unison, "We will not fail!"  Hello, goosebumps.
 The closest I came to crying (not counting the drive there) was watching Janese, John's mom, "tapping" him out.  The soldiers stood at attention until a loved one came and tapped them out by touching them.
 I love that John and Patrick are smiling at Madison, and she's not even paying attention.  I think she was still in a sleep state.
We all went to Saltgrass after the graduation.  While waiting to order, Patrick was trying to take a rare picture of me with Madison, and said "Wow, that was a bad one of Madison."  I argued that there could be no such thing, but then he showed me the screen.  I think this is Madi's first truly unflattering picture.  Maybe she is my daughter, after all.  : )
And here's another cute picture to balance things out.  You're welcome, Madison. 
The return trip was almost identical to the first, with one huge difference.  Our friend stayed in San Antonio for the weekend, so Patrick and I took turns driving the Explorer.  Madison did cry for about an hour on the way back, but it never grew into a full blown fit because we were there to distract her. 

If I had to sum the whole trip up in one sentence, it would be this: I am so glad we went, and I am so glad it's over!

Have you ever been to a military graduation?  What's the longest you've driven with a crying baby?  Do you tuck your jeans into your socks, too?  Yeah, I figured that last one was just me.


Monday, January 16, 2012

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up over here!

I.  We had the privilege of seeing a good friend (Madison "calls" him "Uncle John") graduate from basic military training in the Air Force on Friday.  If you've never seen an Air Force graduation, I would suggest adding it to your bucket list.  By the end when the airmen took the oath of enlistment and shouted the airman's creed, it was all I could do to keep all my tears in my eyes.
Sorry she's a blur.  But she is a really cute blur, isn't she?
 II.  Oh, Texans.  I hate to point fingers, but Jacoby Jones, really?  I could have done better.  I know everyone says that, and it's almost never true, but all he had to do was get out of the way!  Who goes for a ball on kickoff return at the three yard line with two guys bearing down on them?  Without that senseless seven point loss, it would gave been a "W" for the Texans.   Talk about Yates all you want, but what do you expect from the third string QB?  Jones, on the other hand, has no excuse.  Texans, if you're listening, I can make myself available next season for most Sundays and Saturdays.  I promise to never touch the ball, and I'll accept half of whatever you're paying Jones.

III.  When I went to get Madison from the nursery after Sunday School yesterday, she was asleep in Mrs. Bonnie's arms.  Why won't she ever do that for me?!  I was totally jealous.  Don't get me wrong; I was happy that she felt comfortable enough to go to sleep in the new(ish) environment, but still super jealous.

IV.  Work on our house continues.  I've got a few posts to write to catch you up on the progress, but I would have to slow down on the house to make it happen!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Beiging It Up.

Do you ever wake up with the urge to just hurry up and get something done?  Maybe something you hadn't really thought about doing until right that second?  Well, that happened to me Monday morning.  I decided that during Madison's nap (ha!) I would paint the bathroom.

Let's go over things that can get done during one of Madison's naps.  A load or two of laundry.  A load of dishes.  Sweeping/mopping the floors.  A shower.  Painting some frames.  Heck, it only took two of her naps to finish the fence last week!  But painting the entire bathroom in one nap?  Yeah, I must have been high on paint fumes when I thought this one up.  Oh wait, that comes later in the story.

So here was the plan:
  1. Put Madison down for her nap.
  2. Turn off air conditioner, seal off bathroom from rest of house, and nursery from rest of house, just to be safe.
  3. Paint the bathroom.
  4. Clean up and put away paint and equipment.
  5. Relax a little.
  6. Once Madison wakes up, bring her to Nana's and PawPaw's while the paint dries.
Step one went off without a hitch, and step two was a breeze.
 Now it was time for step three, the actual painting of the bathroom.  You can see in the next picture that I was all ready to go.  I was feeling pretty good about myself at this point.
 I mixed up the paint, which was free (my favorite color, ha ha) thanks to my parents having a little leftover from painting their house.
 I dumped it into our well used paint tray.  I count four (five, with the new paint) shades represented here.  I think we may have already gotten our money's worth out of this particular piece of equipment, and she's still going strong!  Hmm.  I never thought about it before, but it does seem like a "she", doesn't it?  With as much use as she's gotten, we should probably give her a name.  I like Patty.  Patty the paint tray. 
 So after Patty was filled with our free paint, I started rolling.  Here I am about two minutes into the project.  "I'm doing so well on time, why don't I stop for some pictures?"  If I only knew.
 Since our walls are paneled, I had to roll in two steps.  First, I'd press really hard on the roller to squish all the paint into the cracks.  I believe the technical term for this technique is the "press and squish", but I could be wrong.  Oh, and for some reason the next two pictures make the new paint look greenish.  It's not at all green.  The name of the color is "Desert Fortress", and it's a nice medium beige.
 Then I would do my Trading Spaces "W's" (or was it "M's", I don't remember) to smooth it all out. 
I worked for about an hour when I heard a terrible sound...Madison woke up early - like an hour and a half early!  My mom had already offered to watch her if I needed help, so of course I called Nana, then drove Madison over and got them all set up to play, then drove back home to finish the job.  Or so I thought.

I worked for another hour.  At this point I had already rolled the whole bathroom, and "just" needed to cut in.  Here's the thing.  There's nothing "just" about cutting in our bathroom.  It's practically all cuts.  I didn't think it would be a problem; I'm actually pretty good at it.  See below?  No tape necessary.
*insert pic of me patting myself on the back here

As luck would have it, somebody got hungry before I could cut in the whole room.  And it wasn't me.  Well, actually, it was me, too, but the "somebody" to whom I am referring weighs about a hundred and thirty pounds less than I do.  For those of you counting on your fingers and toes right now, well, I'm glad you'll run out of digits before you get to the result.  : )

So I ran drove down to Mom's, fed the sweet girl, put her down for a nap in her pack n play, then came back to the bathroom.  After about forty minutes of painting in the edges (as well as portions of the toilet seat, the faucet, the floor, and our new bath mat, since the paint fumes had reached their maximum concentration at this point), I was gloriously done.  Except for the touch up, which I have yet to begin.  But it's done enough for an "after" shot!  Forgive me.  I didn't have the energy to clean the mess out of the bathroom before taking the picture.  Actually, minus the radio and disgusting towel on the floor, it still looks a lot like this.  Maybe cleaning the bathroom is something I could accomplish during one of Madison's naps.  I might give it a week.  : )
Honestly, while I do think it's an improvement over the "before", it's a bit boring for my tastes.  Maybe with a new shower curtain and towel rack and other staging, I'll like it a little more.  Maybe not.  But who really cares if I like it?  It's time to appeal to the masses, yo!

Wow.  I painted on Monday, it's Thursday morning, and the fumes still have me doped up enough to type "yo".  Maybe next time I'll crack a window.   

Please note that no brain cells were harmed in the making of this post.  All necessary (and some additional) precautions were taken to protect myself and my family from any toxicity in the fumes.  It's just nice to have a handy excuse for embarrassing slips of the tongue and paintbrush.  So hang up the phone already, Mom.  Unless you'd like to come babysit.  Then you can carry on.  : )

Monday, January 9, 2012

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up over here!

I.  I know I usually leave my Texans comments toward the bottom of the post so as not to alienate my demographic.  But since this one consumes a large portion of my thoughts, I figure it deserves primary placement today.  GO TEXANS!  If only I could have watched the second half.  Stupid  DVR me who forgot that the DVR was set to record two other shows when I left to put Madison down for the night.  Imagine my dismay when I came back and found Fox News playing where Foster, Johnson, Yates, Cushing, and Watt rightfully belonged.  Oh well.  At least I'll get to watch 'em stomp on the Ravens next weekend.

II.  Excluding last night, Madison has been sleeping really well for us lately!  Praise God.  I do not function well on insufficient sleep.  Seriously.  For a while there I thought I was getting depressed.  After a couple good nights of sleep got me right back on track, I realized that lack of sleep was the only problem.  What can I say?  I love me some sleep.

III.  I have three weeks worth of pictures that have not been posted.  I've got a feeling my Facebook friends will be receiving an overload of Madison images during her afternoon nap.  Unless I decide to take an afternoon nap, too!  : )

IV.  Are you ready for this?  You might want to sit down.  No, we're not pregnant.  We finished the fence!!!!  Bella loves having a backyard, Patrick and I love not having to see a half finished fence when we get home, and Madison loves...well, Madison loves milk.  Which is not in any way related to the completion of the fence. 

V.  We are excited (and nervous) to go see our good friend, John, graduate from basic training.  We're also nervous to spend our first night away from home since having Madison.  I could spend the next two weeks packing and still probably not have all we'd need.  Any suggestions (or offers to come do it for me) are welcome.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

What a List!

Phew!  We met with our future listing agent for the first time last night.  We knew the news wouldn't be good, but secretly hoped that we would be pleasantly surprised.  Well, let's just say we were right the first time.  The news is not good.  It's not terrible, but it's not good.

As we suspected knew without a doubt, we paid between $14,000 and $20,000 too much for our house.  Another way of saying that is we paid between 20% and 28% too much.  Both ways hurt pretty badly.  There are two tiny bits of silver lining.  First, we've been here for a while, so we've paid down the principal a bit.  Second, we've significantly improved the interior.  Without those two facts, we'd probably be stuck here indefinitely. 

We're still not out of hot water, though.  In order to have a chance at selling where we need to sell to come out clean (walking away from closing without any money changing hands), we've got a long list of things to do before mid-March, our target time to list.  And by long, I mean 20+ not minor things to do to the house.  Deep breath. 

Most of the things that need to be done are very inexpensive, or even free since we already have materials(read: paint) on hand.  Only two of the items cost $50 or more.  Unfortunately, one of those items will be at least $2000.  Any guesses what that might be?  You got it...the roof. 

If I could talk to the nineteen year old me right now, I'd have some pretty strong words.  First of all, I'd tell myself to get a decent realtor.  Like, not my completely inexperienced self.  I'd also tell myself to find a house that's actually a good deal, not just one we can afford.  When it comes down to it, I'd tell myself that it would be better to rent until I grow a brain.  One that's not solely ruled by emotion.  Heck, I'd probably even tell myself to quit watching Property Ladder, Flip That House, Flip This House, and every other investment real estate show out there.  Those things are hazardous to your (financial) health.


Oh well, in five years, I'm sure I'll have another set of decisions to bemoan.  In the meantime, I guess I had better just do the best I can with what I've given myself.

Another silver lining about this list from h*** is that I'll have plenty to share with you guys!  For now, though, I'm off to start my "homework".  ha ha.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Six Months

 Madison, today you are six months and twelve days old.  Normally I would write this on the day you "gained" another month, but the last twelve days have been pretty rough.  Honestly, today wasn't a total walk in the park either, but I figured I had better write this before the big "seven" comes around.  For the first time, we didn't take your "month" picture on the right day (we were a day late), because that day you (and your daddy and I) were sick.  So technically the number in the frame should be 6.03 but since that wouldn't fit, we rounded down. 
 You are getting so big.  I think the most significant change you've had this month is that now you love eye contact.  Before, you would avoid looking anyone, stranger or otherwise, in the eyes.  Now, you'll stare long enough to make the other person a little uncomfortable.  I love that intensity! 

I told your daddy the other day that you'll get your frown lines even earlier than I did (somewhere around 14 or 15, I think) because of your intense concentration.  When you are trying to figure something out, you use your whole body, but especially the area around your eyes.  It's like your trying to focus every fiber of your being onto the object that has your attention.  This picture is a little old, but it's the best example I could find of your "concentrating" face.
Since you were sick a couple of weeks ago, your eating (solids) has been hit or miss.  One of the few things that actually works to get you to eat is to let you feed yourself.  You're surprisingly good with a spoon, but after it went wayyy too close to your eye the other day, I'm back in charge of dinner time for now.
 You're not crawling yet, but today, for the first time, you stayed on your hands and knees for a while.  Probably ten seconds or so, and you did it twice, back to back.  You looked a little scared, to be honest.  I think we've got a ways to go on the crawling front, and that is a-okay with me.

You love to talk, sing, yell, and laugh.  You also love to make me laugh!  Today you learned that if you "tickle" Mommy's belly, she will laugh just like you do!  That was lots of fun.  You "tickled" me for five minutes straight.

You hate bedtime, nap time, and being in your car seat or stroller for very long.  You also seem to have decided not to like sweet potatoes. 

Your mommy and daddy love you more than we knew we could.  And it's not because you're beautiful, sweet, smart, and patient(even though you are all those things).  It's just because you're you.


Monday, January 2, 2012

What's on My Mind Monday

Linking up over here!

I.  2012 New Years Resolutions:
  • Physical: Run five miles in under fifty minutes/run a 5k in under 25 minutes/run a 6.5 min mile/run a quarter mile in 1:05.  (That last one has me a little worried)
  • Financial: GET A NEW HOUSE without compromising our financial situation.  We've been working out the logistics of this move for about a week (which in real estate time is about a minute), but we're really excited about it!  I'll be posting more about our financial goals sometime soon.
  • Spiritual: First of all, let me say that I know our relationship with God is supposed to be a natural outpouring of our love for Him, not an item to be checked off a list.  However, there are times when the only way a conversation will happen is if you make yourself do it.  That's why a daily quiet time is one of my goals this year.  And from past experiences, I know that forcing myself to do it for a few weeks (maybe even a few months) will lead to me looking forward to that time.
  • Relational: Be a better friend!!!  With Madison, it's easy to get distracted for days at a time and forget everything else.  For example, Ana, as I was typing this, I remembered that I never replied to your text last year.  Sorry, there was a diaper Event (trust me, it's capitalized for a reason) and I didn't remember 'til now.
  • And more.  That really aren't any of your business.  And I mean that in the nicest way possible  : )
II.   Madison has a cough.  And she slept through the night for the first time in two and a half weeks last night.  Although I'm pretty sure the two are not connected.

III.  Patrick and I both got new running shoes!  Madison's health permitting, we're going to hit the trails with them for the first time today.  While trying them on, I jogged around Academy excitedly screaming things like, "No wonder my knees were hurting!  Is this what it's supposed to feel like?!"  In retrospect, I probably could have been a bit more discreet.  In my defense, these are the first new running shoes I've gotten since the fall of '08.  And I run A LOT.  I was more than a little excited.

IV.  Our Christmas tree has been prepped for burial.  And by burial, I mean taking full advantage of the lifted burn ban.  A new tradition?

V.  Our TV decided not to turn on yesterday.  We've got a Christian (!) television repair company coming out to look at it today.  We're really hoping it's a cheap fix, because while we are not above living without television until after we've got a new place, it sure is nice to have a mindless way to wind down at the end of the day.

Happy Monday!  Oh yeah, and happy new year!  I know I'm a day late, but with it being a leap year, we've still got 365 days to go.  So yesterday didn't count, right?