Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On being a S.A.H.M.

So I don't know about you, but I am starting to see a pattern.  The only time I actually have time to blog is on summer break or winter break.  I think that says something about how busy a teacher's life really is.

Another summer has begun.  Yay!!  I had hoped to be earning some extra income by teaching summer school but things did not work out as planned so I get another 8 weeks of being a stay-at-home mommy.  This is my second full week of summer vacation and I am already getting restless.  Don't get me wrong; with a four year old and a one year old I am always busy, but the ways in which I am spending my days are not exactly the most exciting.  The kids are having a BLAST but I am a bit bored.

A typical schedule is beginning to look like this:

Wake up when Jillian wakes up
Change her diaper
Feed her (this is about the time Jackson bee-bops down the stairs)
Feed Jackson
Clean up
Squeeze in a cup of coffee
Begin the process of getting ready for the day which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours - depending on how destructive Jillian is feeling that particular day.
Complete some sort of morning activity (coloring, walking around the neighborhood, playing on the church playground, story time at the book store, library, bubbles, patio fun, play dough, paint, etc.)
Lunch Time
More Clean Up
Naps (Ahhhh...the best hour of the entire day!) This is usally the time I can actually get something done like laundry, bill-paying, facebook checks, appointment calls, etc.
Prepare for afternoon activity (pack many snacks, several drinks, sun screen, bug spray, diaper bag etc.)
Park, pool, sprinkler, black top fun, or shopping
Dinner Time
More Clean Up
Bath Time
Play time downstairs aka destruction of play area (which is also our living room)
Kids go to bed
More Clean up

During all of this I feel as if I am spending the entire time picking up after them.  I know this sounds like a complaint but honestly it's not.  It is simply how it is.  Any tips from other stay-at-home mommy's on how I could make things less mundane would be welcomed!

On a side note I think I will start keeping a log of My Lessons on Being a Stay-At-Home Mom.  Here are just a few from the list I am compiling.  These are MY lessons and directed toward myself, so don't worry, I am not trying to advise you on how to be a stay-at-home mom.  If you will remember, I learned my lesson during potty-training time. I have no business thinking I know anymore than other mom's out there.

MY lessons (more to come as I continue to learn)
#1 Don't worry about rushing to the book store for story time at 10am.  Your kids aren't going to pay attention anyway. 
#2 Keep the kids out of the house- it's much less work for you and much better for the safety of the house!
#3 Don't bother to pick up the toys during nap time, they just get pulled right back out before the afternoon activity begins
#4 Don't worry about carrying your phone with you everywhere you go.  No one ever calls you until you put it down during dinner, bath, and bedtime, at which point; you will miss 2 to 3 calls and they will all leave messages griping at you for not answering your phone.  So really, don't worry about it between the hours of 8am and 5 pm.
#5 If you turn the t.v. to an educational show (like Sesame Street or Super Why) you will feel much less guilty about letting your four year old watch too much television
#6 Your toddler could care less about t.v. so you better find something else besides Big Bird to act as a baby-sitter long enough to do the dishes.  Turns out that Crayola comes in handy here, although you should be prepared to find "colorful" diapers later in the day.  
#7 Always, always, always, have plenty of goldfish, fruit snacks, or crackers on hand.
#8 There is no such thing as too much sunscreen.
#9 A little dirt in the diet never hurt anyone.
#10 The dirtier your children are the happier they will be.
#11 An extra nap in the car is totally worth the waste of gas!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Story of Stumpy...our Five Legged Cricket

So anyone who knows me is aware that I am not fond of anything classified as a creepy crawly.  If it creeps, I don't like it.  If it crawls, I don't like it.  If it JUMPS or FLIES, I REALLY don't like it.  My husband takes tremendous delight in this particular character trait of mine.  In fact within the past three or four months he has accosted me with a cricket spider (the very worst kind of creepy crawly), the shell or jacket of a dead June Bug, and just the other night he threw a cicada in the shower with me! I am perfectly aware that these little creatures are harmless but they are ugly and they scare me.  So a few weeks ago I sat down in the bathroom and gasps when I noticed a little black cricket tucked into the corner between our bathtub and the wall.  I gasped but didn't really freak because it was only a little cricket and I noticed it wasn't moving much so I figured I would get Charlie to come get it out of the bathroom in a few minutes.  Well, believe it or not I forgot about the little thing until later that night when I went back into the bathroom and saw it again, this time just a few inches away from it's original spot.  Charlie had already left for work so now I was on my own.  I tested it's bravery (as I have learned some bugs are more brave/stupid than others) by putting my flip flop close to it, waiting to see it's reaction, ready to strike if the little booger decided to jump straight at me.  Rather than jump it just moved an inch or so away, and that's when I noticed that he was handicapped.  Now this, of course, changed everything.

I do HATE creepy crawlies but I have a soft spot for ALL things injured.  I once cried (really cried) after killing a lady bug and then noticing another lady bug left all alone not far from the scene of the crime.  All I could imagine was that I was the reason this little bug would now be alone, what if I had just killed the love of her life?  Or what if it was her child?  Or mother or father?  Oh, I was so distraught!  It didn't help that the Titanic theme song "My Heart Will Go On" was playing on the radio at the time.

So here I was looking at this little creature who was missing one of his back legs and thinking "Oh, poor little guy."  Should I put him out of his misery?  After all, how could a cricket of all things survive with a missing leg?  I was completely puzzled about how and or why he had found his way into our bathroom in the first place, he must have been separated from his family somehow.  Poor guy.  So I decided NOT to put him out of his misery.  What if one of his buggy family members came to save him?  Or what he had an escape route in mind and he was just waiting for me to go to bed so he could travel without fear (I don't think he knew about Sammie...who just happens to be a fierce cricket huntress...if she had any idea that this bug was in her house then he would be DOOMED!)  So I turned off the bathroom light and went to bed so that this cricket could do what he needed to do.  I didn't think about him again until the next night.

This time, he was in the opposite corner of the bathroom just sitting.  I noticed him but again decided he was obviously no harm to me so I would leave him be.  The next day he was in the bottom of our bathroom closet.  The next day I saw him sitting by the bathroom trash can.  At this point I started thinking that we had a phenomena on our hands.  This cricket was never-ending.  He obviously had a passion for life and did not plan on giving up easily.  Surely he hadn't eaten since the time he got lost in our bathroom and had his unfortunate accident.  His buggy family had not come to his rescue.  He HAD to be in pain, and scared, and hungry.  I should put him outside right?  But how would he survive?  So about week and half after first noticing the guy I asked Charlie if he had seen this cricket living in our bathroom.  Charlie said yep and he agreed that this insect must really want to live.  So we decided to call him our pet and give him a name.  Stumpy was the obvious choice of course.  I went to sleep that night satisfied with our decision to accept Stumpy as part of our family.  The next morning as I was in the bathroom I let my eyes roam the room looking for our little friend.  He was gone.  Nowhere to be seen.  I assume his time had come.  I am convinced that Stumpy was listening to our conversation and that perhaps all he needed before crossing over was a little peace.  Once he had been given a name he was free to go.  I miss Stumpy.  I had made a little game of looking for him and yes even smiled when I found him a new a place.  Now Stumpy is gone.  I hope he is happy wherever he may be.  R.I.P. Stumpy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Potty Training....a Lesson in Humility

Well I think I can say it out loud now.  I think I can say it out loud and REALLY mean it.  I will never watch or listen to another parent again and think or say "they should do it 'this' way..." or "they're doing it all wrong..."  Yes it is now fully confirmed in my mind that I will NEVER again have an opinion about what parents are doing right or wrong with their own children.  What brings on this very strong conviction? The daunting realization that I have been blessed with the most strong willed child I have ever known.   

Now you may be thinking "Oh, Rachel you only have two kids (one of which is still too young to have a will of her own), you don't know what a strong-willed child is." Let me quickly remind you that other than my sisters three children and and the many other children I have come to know since the time of high school baby-sitting, summer day camps, volunteer work, etc. I have been a full time teacher to appx. 200 students.  200 kids whom I have had  in my classroom for 180 days at a time.  200 kids that I grew to know and love.  I have dealt with a huge variety of personalities.  The charmers, the hams, the smart ones, the not-so smart ones, the angry ones, the terribly sad ones, the overly excited ones, the rude ones, the quiet ones, the LOUD ones, the annoying ones, the obnoxious ones and the best-all-around ones.  Now each year I consider myself lucky to have 2-3 best-all-arounder's out of a group of about 22 students; so I should be very aware that these are few and far between.  And yet I somehow still expected my son to be one.

I have been anticipating the exciting task of potty-training for many, many months now.  In fact, I would have bet money that Jackson was ready to begin way back in December.  I wasn't ready in December but I was pretty sure that he was.  I made the decision to wait until this summer, he would have just turned three (the recommended age for potty training) and I would have loads of time to dedicate to this adventure.  Because I knew it was coming, I did what all modern mommies do.  I read several books, every magazine article I could get my hands on, and everything that popped up when I googled "potty-training".  I asked everyone I knew how THEY did it and listened to the advice of my sister, my mom, my best friends, and even Dr. Satterwhite (a well-known local pediatrician) who has two wonderful pod-casts available on the subject.   I was so prepared and thought it was going to be a piece of cake.  A walk in the park.  A few days of messy puddles and I would only have one baby left in diapers.

As the time approached I was spending time with a dear friend who is currently potty training her own newly-turned-three year old.  She has not gone through all the trouble I have to prepare so as I watched her change his pull-up for the up-teenth time since she has started training him MONTHS earlier.  The thought went through my mind, "she's doing it all wrong".  I didn't say anything because I DID learn a while back to keep my opinions to myself as far as parenting goes.  Now I know just not to have any opinions at all. From here on out I will watch and observe others and simply think "huh...I guess that works for them."  At the time however I was thinking; doesn't she know your not supposed to use pull-ups?  They are the same thing as a diaper.  Doesn't she know she can't just let him run loose without constantly reminding him and asking him? Doesn't she know that she needs to be rewarding him every time he DOES go to the potty or perhaps taking something away every time he DIDN'T?  Oh I was so knowledgeable on the subject, I wanted to share my worldly knowledge with her but as I said earlier I have learned to keep my opinions to myself (insert laugh here). 

I began on a Friday morning.  The plan was to have a potty training boot camp.  We would not leave the house for two maybe three full days.  Jackson would be pumped with salty snacks to keep him thirsty and tons of fruit juice to ensure that he would have to pee frequently.  We went straight to big-boy undies.  No pull-ups/diapers for this family.  I even recruited my niece Katie and nephew Matthew to help.  Matthew would be a wonderful model and Katie would be great at helping me with Jillian.  After all, since I do have an infant in the house there would be times when I would not be able to wait on Jackson to pee on the potty so they were there to help make sure Jackson was never left unattended.  These two days of boot camp were somewhat successful.  He DID pee in the potty several times and he did get super excited about singing the pee-pee song and being rewarded with m&m's.  But he never once said "I have to go potty", almost four weeks later and these magical words still have not been spoken. Although he never liked being told to go pee pee on the potty, by day three he absolutely HATED it.  He would get so angry that he would start screaming, yelling, crying, stomping his feet and repeating over and over again "I'm done, I'm done, I'm done."  Of course he was not.  It quickly got to the point that when he DID finally pee he would cry or scream the entire time it was coming out and he would rock back and forth saying "no, no, no, no."  As soon as he was finished I would get super excited and give high fives and he would say "I want M&M's".

After day five I was extremely frustrated and thinking "why isnt this working?"  rather than things getting better each day they were actually getting worse.  He got to the point he was AFRAID to have any kind of bodily function.  This was VERY bad news for us because we already knew that he was afraid to have a BM.  He actually held it  in for TWO WHOLE WEEKS not long ago, just because he thought it was grose and he didn't want to.  TWO WEEKS!  who does that?  So now he was/is afraid to pee and so had another opportunity to show just how stubborn he can be.  He sat on the potty for three hours once, I was DETERMINED to win this battle of wills.  Nothing.  He held his pee in for 15 hours straight one day.  15 HOURS!  When he finally did pee on that day it went EVERYWHERE and he was totally traumatized by the mess it made.  So only went once more within that 24 hour period and screamed the entire time.  On day five I realized that I had been so focused on him peeing in the potty that I hadn't noticed the fact that he had not had a BM since the first day of the training.  Here we go again.  So on day seven we gave him a suppository and sat him on the toilet.  He completely FREAKED out.  He gave himself a hemorrhoid.  We were getting ready to head to the ER when it miraculously seemed to correct itself but since then the boy has been pumped with whole grains, apple juice and miralax on a daily basis.  With all that he still only allows himself to go once every 2 to 3 days.  Our doctor, and common sense says that we need to back off.  At least until he overcomes this fear of his.  The doctor's theory is that he will get it when he ready to get it.  She says "he won't go to kindergarten without being potty trained."  I cant help but wonder if Jackson might just be the child to prove her wrong on this one.

This whole experience has caused me to spend quite a bit of time reflecting on other times in which Jackson has shown his strong will and stubbornness.  The first example I can think of is when he said "I love you" at 18 months old.  I was so super-excited that I yelled and clapped and gave him a big hug and asked him to say it again.  He did not.  He didn't say those three simple words again for another 18 months.  Another great example, when he was a little over two he took all of our DVD's and scattered them all over the living room floor.  I didn't really care, because I am apparently a SUPER laid back mom about many things that I never thought I would be, but I insisted that when it was time - he had to clean them up.  He didn't want to clean them up.  So he looked me straight in the eye and said "no".  45 minutes, three time-outs, and one spanking later I eventually had to physically wrap his fingers around the movie and pull his arm until it was placed back on the shelf.  We had to do this with EVERY movie.  It was a ridiculous fight but I won that battle and now when I say "pick up the movies." He picks them up.  Another example; he just recently started saying Amen at the end of each prayer.  We have been saying our prayers for meals and every night before bed time since he was a tiny baby.  The boy can say words like triceratops and tyransaurs rex but when we told him to say "amen" he just refused.   And last but certainly not least is his separation anxiety, since he was about 8 or 9 months old he began totally freaking out everytime I left him.  I know this is VERY normal for young children and everyone says "it will pass, it will pass."  Well Jackson has gone to the same day care since he was 6 months old. The morning routine is always the same, he sees the same faces every day but had JUST gotten to the point where he stopped screaming every morning at drop off before we pulled him out for the summer.  Now after spending all day every day with his mommy (his favorite person in the entire world) I can only imagine how horrible drop-off will be when he begins again in August. 

He didn't' want to say "I love you" because he knew how badly we wanted him to, he didn't want to pick up the movies because he knew how badly I wanted him to, the same with saying "amen" and now apparently he won't pee or have a BM because he knows that it is what I want more than anything else out of him!  I got him to pick up the movies with sheer determination and a stressful battle of wills, he finally started saying "I love you" and "amen" because we stopped asking him to; we stopped caring about it.  So now with this potty training business I realize that I probably could settle in for an epic battle of wills that could last days or perhaps weeks.  A battle that would probably involve a bladder infection and a trip to the E.R. due to being overly compacted.  Or I could stop caring, stop asking, and stop letting him know how important it is to me.  The bad news is.  Since he now understands when he IS peeing I just can't bring myself to put him back in diapers.  Besides he could use the continued practice of pulling his own pants up and down every time we change him so what does that mean for us? Pull-ups.  Yes, the one thing I was so determined to not use.  I am now living the life of the dear friend.  You know the one that I wanted to share my worldly advice with.  Last week she kinda laughed about my whole potty-training ordeal and said that when I told her about the potty training boot camp she knew it wasn't going to work for Jackson.  She said that after hearing about how long he went with a BM (two weeks) just because he didn't want to, she knew he would buck-up when I put him through boot camp.

Ahhh....so here I am.  Eating my own words and thoughts.  Hence the decision to no longer form opinions or make judgements about the way other parents do things with their own children.  I will no longer sit back and think that I could do it better.  I have had a wonderful lesson in humility and most importantly I have learned that I am the very LAST person to think they know squat about potty training.

On a separate note, in addition to potty-training, Jackson continues to be my daily test from God.  He wraps me around his little finger with his magical smile one minute and then has me ready to give him away to first taker the next.  He comes up to me at least five times a day just say "mommy, I want a hug."  He jumps up and down with excitement every time he discovers something new or happens to see something he is particularly fond of.  He sings songs and sways back and forth with no rhythm at all in the cutest way possible.  He has a heart of gold and would never hurt anyone (intentionally) and has his own little heart broken by just the smallest insult or injury.  If someone he considers a friend  says something hateful or gets a little too rough his little face will just crumble, his shoulders will sag and you can just tell he is heart broken.  So he is such a sweet sweet child.  However, if I am anywhere near him when we go out in public he acts like a completely different child.  He won't acknowledge others, he gets mad when people say hi to him, he doesn't play with others, in fact he is so up my rear that I am lucky if he leaves my side for more than five minutes.  He gives the impression of being a whiny little brat.  It absolutely mortifies me and at the same time breaks my heart to see him act like this.  I just wish he could show EVERYONE the amazing person he is rather than acting like such a terd (my favorite term of endearment for my little man).

So as I battle with my three year old I look across the room to see the sweetest and brightest smile imaginable from our sweet sweet Jillian.  She is such a little blessing from God.  Her smiles are endless and now to make it even better she has learned to laugh.  She can roll over in all directions like a little pro, she is trying to scoot with her little legs and forearms, and is now eating out of a spoon!  I love her so much.  And her favorite person in the world?  Her brother.  Every time he walks into the room she starts kicking her legs and squealing.  And he is so incredibly sweet with her.

Despite my ramblings about toddler troubles, believe me when I say I am having a blast being at home with my two babies.  I love them both more than words can say.  So here's to keeping my mouth shut and to no longer thinking I know what's best for every child.  I will never again say "my child will never (fill in the blank)".  I said my child would never wear pull ups.  I just bought a value box with 96 pull-ups yesterday.  Eating my words today.               
Charlie walked in on the middle of my blog and asked to add his own comment...

This is no longer Rachel blogging............it's Charlie.  I love potty training.  Between sitting down on a wet urinated spot on the couch and cleaning poop off of the floor like your child was a family pet, the joy never ends.  Diapers........things of the past.  We have upgraded to "pull-ups".  I realize that "pull-ups" are just another word for Diapers but it's what makes me sleep at night.  After all, the commercial says "I'm a big kid now" so it must be true.

 While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mother of TWO!!

So I am a bit surprised. When I anticipated this maternity leave I imagined being at home with a sleeping baby and more time on my hands than I would know what to do with. I envisioned little Jillian sitting peacefully in her little bouncy or swing or whatever type of contraption she enjoyed while I sat at the computer to blog, play on facebook, work on my photo books, etc. But somehow the majority of my maternity leave is over (I go back to work in two weeks)and this is the first time I have even thought about blogging. I did get one photo book completed but that was only because I had a shutterfly coupon that expired by a certain date; so I stayed up until 11:30pm the night of it's expiration just to make sure my book was complete and the order was placed. I have spent quite a bit of time on facebook but...don't we all?

I also envisioned using this time to exercise and loose some weight so that when I went back to work everyone would comment on how great I looked after just having a baby. If you could see me now, you would know exactly how that little fantasy played out for me. Let's just say there is a reason I became a member of calorie counter.com just this morning and why I recently placed an order for some diet pills.

Little Jillian truly is a very sweet baby. She smiles a lot. However, she IS a baby and like Jackson, she too seems to be what I like to call a "text-book baby." She does everything the books, magazines, and movies tell you she'll do. She fights sleep to the point of exhaustion, she requires a new diaper about once every hour or so, she is only entertained in one spot for about 20 minutes (ergo my vision of her sitting peacefully for hours while I play on the computer), and then if you throw acid reflux on top of all these typical baby antics you end with a sweet, chunky, little bundle of work. I am convinced that these people who brag about their babies sleeping through the night from day one, or NEVER spitting up, and hardly ever crying are delusional. They are simply people who live life always looking on the bright side. So they PRETEND that everything is perfect and then try to convince everyone else of the same thing. Well I am a VERY honest person; With myself and everyone else. So let me give it to you straight. Babies are HARD, they are difficult little creatures that take your sleep and all your energy.

Adding Jillian to our family has made one thing very clear to me. Mothers from earlier times are truly super women. They are Gods in their own right. How on earth any woman could be happy with a houseful of kids while the hubby stays gone all the time is beyond me. How did women find joy in life? Seriously, when I think of being a mom in the 1950's when it was common to have 4,5, or even more kids I am flabbergasted. They had to deal with babies and toddlers BEFORE all these wonderful modern novelties. They didn't' have everything right at their fingertips. If I need to warm a bottle I stick it in the microwave and WALA! I have a warm bottle in 30 seconds. If the baby has a dirty diaper, I take it off of her and throw it away, her new diaper will keep her clean and happy until it's time to throw it away. If she seems gassy, I give her Mylicon and WALA! She is no longer gassy. If she cries too much, I give her gripe water and WALA! She is calm. If she spits up too much when she is laid on her back I buy a fancy crib wedge and WALA! She is inclined. If my soon to be three year old won't sleep I "Google it" to find a solution. If I feel sad and lonely and like I am the only woman in the world going through this, I go to babycenter.com and immediately feel better after "chatting" with other moms going through the EXACT same thing! The list goes on and on. Being a mother is hard (in my opinion)but being a mother before "modern" times must have been TORTURE!!!! So my hat is off to all you wonderful and amazing women who paved the road for my own trip through motherhood.

I would continue with my ponderings but my bundle of work just started fussing so I will go feed her, burp her, change her, and then take little man to school for the day. I will then go to the grocery store for formula, diapers, bottle liners, etc. After her NEXT bottle I will start her laundry and finish Jackson's from yesterday. Later I have to sit down to pay all the medical bills from her birth that I have been putting off and I then I have to call my OB about permanent birth control. Hopefully I will find time to blog a bit more but I wouldn't count it;) Until next time...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm back...for now!:)

So my diary habits continue. Just as a young girl, I continue to go through my little bouts of journal keeping but then inevitably loose interest for quite a while. It has been 9 months since my last blog. The only reason I am here tonight is because I decided it was time to clean off my long list of "bookmarked" sites and found the link to my own blog. I have since spent the last 30 minutes reading over all my older posts which I thought were quite interesting. It's funny how quickly one forgets things; which is of course the whole point of journaling right? So you won't forget things that have happened?

We took our house off the market in October after 8 long months of waiting. Nothing ever happened. Not even one offer. Now is just a really bad time to try to sell a home. We have instead decided to put all of our energy into preparing for the arrival our new baby in February! That's right. I only have eight more weeks before the scheduled C-section. Jackson will meet his new baby sister, Jillian Rose, on February 10th. I will spend the next couple of weeks (out of school for winter break) setting up her room and transforming Jackson's room into a "big boy" room. I am excited about the final outcome for each but sure do dread the work!

Jackson has grown so much since my last blog. We made a HUGE discovery in early fall that truly changed his life. The allergy medicine we had been giving him for a little over a year was having a huge impact on his moods and his personality. When we took him off the meds in early October he turned into a whole new child. He smiles more, laughs more, talks more and generally enjoys life a bit more. I feel horrible that we let a whole year of his life pass just thinking he was a brat. Now we know it was largely due to his reaction to the allergy medicine. Now, this is not to say that Jackson is a perfect child now. No. He is your very typical two year old but he is much nicer to people and his language has improved DRAMATICALLY since being off the medicine. Today he came up to me holding his toy dinosaur and kept saying over and over "See-tops", "See-tops", I just humored him by nodding and saying "yeah" until I realized he was trying to say "Triceratops". He is so smart:) Last night in the bath tub he held up a clump of bubbles from his soap on the tip of his fingers, looked at it very closely and then said "humm...interesting." Three months ago, before taking him off the meds, I was beginning to think he would NEVER talk.

He is not at all interested in talking about the impending arrival of his new sister. He usually just refuses to acknowledge the subject whenever it is brought up. This makes me a little nervous about his reaction when she DOES arrive. Let's all hope and pray that he is more accepting once she actually gets here.

All in all things are going well. Perhaps this is the beginning of one of my journaling moods. I do have some pretty funny stories to share...

Friday, March 26, 2010

A lesson in Patience

I am so bad at waiting. I have always been REALLY bad at waiting. Sometimes my impatience pays off because it means I get to the front of the line quicker (on most occasions). I must clarify though that my dislike of waiting doesn't really mean that one could call me impatient. Depending on the subject; I am probably one of the most patient people you will ever meet. With children and the elderly I have the patience of a saint. With my own son I have so much patience that it may indeed end up biting me in the rear. But when I put my mind to something and when I have decided that I want something accomplished, I am really bad at waiting.

The most recent example of this is in the decision Charlie and I made about putting our house on the market. Poor Charlie. He always seems to get caught in the fire of it all. We decided we were going to do it and I immediately turned into a cleaning/repairing/staging monster. We had our entire house ready within 4 1/2 weeks and the list of accomplishments is incredibly long. Just to name a few; We pre-packed our home and filled an entire 10X10 storage unit, removed two doors and then repaired the frames they were attached to, added a handle to the oven door (it was broken off one day when Charlie decided he wanted to do a little dance move using the oven handle in the same way a ballerina would use a bar to keep balance), replaced the carpet at the bottom of our steps, replaced the back storm door, painted our hallway and stairwell, removed wallpaper from the guest bath, repainted the guest bath, stripped the master bathroom ceiling to make it smooth and repaint, and cleaned just about ever corner of this house. We did this all while working full time and being parents to a toddler. The list is longer (significantly so) but I think that gives you an idea of just how focused I can be when I set my mind to something.

Then we moved on to the task of looking for a new house. Although our own home hasn't sold yet we were told that it was very important that we start looking for houses now because as soon as we get an offer on our townhome we have to be ready to IMMEDIATELY make an offer on a new house. Of course that means I spend HOURS on-line looking at and reading about homes on the market. One house in particular captured our hearts immediately. The only thing that deterred me from looking at it in the beginning was that the location was not exactly what I wanted. But once I opened my mind to a different area we finally paid attention to a home that my Realtor had suggested for us MONTHS ago (before we had even decided to put our house on the market). It is beautiful, cozy, charming, unique, and perfect for us. So in fear of loosing it as the market hits it's busiest months Charlie and I made a contingency offer. Now we are waiting.

Waiting to find out if they accept the offer which gives us a maximum of three months to sell our home. This is the part I am really bad at. The sellers are out of town and won't be back until tomorrow. They want to be able to look at the contract personally before accepting anything. So we have to wait. We have to wait on them to return, look at the contract, and then let us know their decision. I just want to know right now. I understand there is no real true rush because we still haven't sold our own house but I still want to know. So I have to remind myself that I am a true believer in that everything happens for a reason. If this is the house meant for us then it WILL BE. If this is not the house God has in mind for us then it won't happen and we will be led to the right one. I can be patient. I will be patient. I have to be patient...

Monday, March 15, 2010

The adventures of home staging

So you haven't heard from me in about 2 1/2 months but I promise I have a really a good reason.  Charlie and I decided to put our house on the market.  Have you ever tried to sell a house before?  As a true HGTV junkie I consider myself an amateur professional stager (yes I realize that is an paradox but I still choose to use it) so I went into this whole ordeal with great aspirations!

We began with a VERY long list of "to do's" and knew from the beginning that we would need to hire some outside help.  We found one guy on craigslist which scared me just a little. You hear so many horror stories about people being ripped off through craigslist plus this guy was pretty rough around the edges.  During our first conversation he apologized for not being able to hear me too well but his "bird just wouldn't shut up" because "she likes to talk whenever I'm on the phone."  Randy was his name.  Randy ended up being quite the perfectionist and charged an amazingly reasonable rate although he did show up on Sunday slightly hungover and in a hurry to get home by 2:00pm for the NASCAR race.  Randy worked in our house for 2 1/2 days and charged just $200.  Would I invite Randy to join us for a family get together?  Absolutely not.  Would I hire Randy to paint another room in my house?  Without a doubt.

Then there is Bobby.  He has his own business and makes GREAT money.  He worked in our house for five full days and made $1500.00. Now Bobby's schedule stays pretty full so imagine that he makes at least that much each week.  Bobby must make about $6000.00 a month.  This just confirms it.  If I ever remarry, a prerequisite will definitely be that he must know how to fix things.  Would I invite Bobby to join us for a family get together?  Without a doubt.  Would I hire Bobby to paint another room in my house?  No...I will call Randy!

So while working full time and being essentially a single mom half of each month I somehow managed to get it all together.  My husband was a little help but...bless his heart.  I now refer to him as the Amelia Bedelia of men.  He tries to fix things; he really does but somehow he ALWAYS finds a way to make it worse.  I kept leaving task for him that would involve no power tools or innovation of any kind.  For some reason he chose to ignore my list and instead tackle the large jobs that inevitably led to more jobs for Randy or Bobby.  Living through this experience with Charlie made me realize just how much he is NOT like my dad!  I do love him dearly though.

Now we just have to keep it perfect for lord knows how many months while we wait for someone to come along and make it possible for us to find our "dream" home.  Or...our "meets the needs" home since really our dream home will probably always remain right where it is...in our dreams!  LOL  Now that my life it back to normal I can blog again. Yay!

I will keep you all updated. (although "y'all" is an official contraction in the dictionary I still can't bring myself to use it in my writing, it just feels wrong!)