Friday, July 29, 2011

Remember when....

...I told you I was going to be a regular contributor over here?

No lie. First official contributor post is up. About flying solo with kids. Which I will be doing more of in the coming weeks because we bought a house. Buried the lead. I know. More on that later.

For now. Hop on over to Poop. and check it out!

Happy weekend Friends.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Observations and Revelations. Two weeks in.

Today we have lived in Tampa as a family for two weeks. But 'lived' is a term I use loosely. See, you don't 'live' in a furnished apartment with almost none of your own stuff (save the Keurig, God love my husband for packing it in the van). You exist. By the end of the day you are literally crawling on top of each other and bedtime never comes soon enough.

A few numbers. I suck at math, FYI.
14 days here
17 houses seen
4 offers made
1 contract signed. Almost.
2 offers rejected.
3 head colds.
4 bottles of sunscreen.
0 sunburns.
1 trip the the beach.
28 times I almost killed the dog.
14 the number of days it took the dog to get smart and realize if he hangs out on the bed, the baby can't get to him to pull on his various appendages.
Lost count on the bottles of wine.

I really believe though, that with red wine and peanut butter m&m's I can do just about anything. Working hard not to run out of either. But at any given moment I could lose it.  Literally teetering on the edge of a colossal meltdown of epic proportions.

The people above us now have a pony and a chainsaw. Although, as a Facebook friend pointed out, they could be bagpiping cloggers.

I have taken to using the Bob to haul in groceries. It's quite the workhorse. Even used it at the beach. There's a baby in there somewhere.

I am getting my hair done on Saturday. It is long overdue. It's also the first time I will pay for a cut and color since 2002. The only thing about television I miss, free hair dos.

I joined Google+.  No idea why.

I am going to do it. I am soaking in information, chatting people up, offering to take pictures of anyone and anything for free. I am gonna do it. The Best part photography is coming. Mark my words.  Stay tuned.

Also in exciting news. I am now a regular contributor at over here at The Poop Whisperer!. Super excited to write with these ladies! First post coming soon on flying with your kids without any help.

The Best part?  I haven't teetered on the edge every day.  Just some days.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saturday Morning Scene -- Sunday Styles

So yesterday afternoon I decided to link up with Katie over at Loves of Life cause I hadn't in a while.  And, well, I had a Saturday Scene to share.  So I did it. But then I didn't do it or it didn't work and I got distracted by alone time pool side.  So.  Without further adieu. 

Our Saturday morning scene.  On Sunday.  15 miles from the front door, or parking garage.  Perfection.  When we went to bed last night we each said, 'it kind of feels like we're on vacation!'.

Clearly, this, is the Best part.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Oh hey weekend.

Three offers made on three different houses and three different people don't want our money. One didn't even counter offer. Um. A-hole. That's how this works. Yes. We didn't offer your asking price. Because it's too high and your house needs new countertops and new appliances. So we made an offer. You are supposed to make a counter offer. The reason your house has been on the market for six months is that it's priced too high and you apparently are unaware of how to play the game.

On another one. They countered by dropping their price 5k. We were like 40k apart. They were being annoying about terms and not telling our agent if they could close when we want to close (cause that's a HUGE factor for us... Remember, the apartment?) so we walked away. Today. They dropped their price 10k. And sent our agent an email telling her they are motivated. Um. What changed in 24 hours?

Anyway. We are taking a step back. A breath.

We are going to the beach tomorrow. And we might not come back. And by 'going to' I mean we are driving 25 minutes. Pinch me.

The right house is out there. Patience is a virtue. One I don't have.

Did I mention the people upstairs bought a pony? I mean why else would the stomping be out of control? And who drops weights on hardwood floors?

Good news of the day is the pink eye appears to finally be gone. Thank you stronger eye drops called in by my kids former pediatrician. I put makeup on five minutes ago. I feel pretty. Oh so pretty.

Dinner tonight with my oldest friend (not like she's old, like known her the longest) and her family. Can not wait.

And. We are three swim lessons in and he is rocking it. Kicking, blowing bubbles. He swam 15 feet across the pool today to his teacher. Without floaties or help. Major.

The Best part? The weekend is here. And I will be putting my toes in the sand. Boo. Yah.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Well. That sucks.

Last night I had pink eye and a house. Tonight I still have pink eye. No house.

In a shitty nutshell between the husband and wife signing the contract they got a better offer. Sucks. But. If the shoe were on the other foot, we would have done it too. But from the buyers perspective this blows.

So tonight we drink red wine and eat peanut butter m&m's and let our kids destroy the place while we sulk. And we make an offer on another house.

Cause I know this one, wasn't right. Wasn't meant to be. And thats ok. Its for the better actually.

And PS if they come back, cause the 'better buyers' fall through we aren't interested. At all. This is a sign. Duly noted.

The Best part? It's not the only house on the market.

Monday, July 18, 2011

O&R Five days in.

We looked at 13 houses in two days. With two small children. This is not for the faint of heart. Or the sober.

We saw the water. Twice.

Apartment living with two children and a dog is also not for the sober. The 3am upstairs stomping warranted a nasty email to management. We'll probably get one back for the baby screaming at 7am. Oh well.

I miss my friends. Sundays are not the same.

There are large brown bugs here. The husband calls them 'palmetto bugs'. Fancy. I call them roaches.

Made an offer on a house we like in an area we love. Offered about 50k less than asking price (has anyone read the papers? This is a buyers market) and they came down 2k. That's almost like bargaining. Something makes me think this one might not work out. On to the next one.

We did see two houses I love. But I am just not sure about the neighborhood. Kinda far. Off the beaten path. And I know no one.

I talked a big game about taking pictures and shaming home sellers. But then I went house hunting with two children. In Florida. I took pictures at the first house. Foggy lensed blurry pictures. Then I quit and just tried to remember which house was which. And which direction was up.

So. It's not that hot here. Like high of 90. In the Midwest it's like 105. Y'all should move to Florida. It's humid. And when you are in the sun it feels like you are sitting on the surface of it but it's not that hot.

Oh and we swim. A lot. Cause we can. And cause it's fun. And cause it wears the kids out. We are perfecting our circus act.

The Best part? I have thus far, managed to stave off any colossal breakdowns with some deep breaths, a run, and some wine. Sometimes in that order sometimes not.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

O/R: we live in Florida now.

So. Here we are. With two days worth of clothes. In an apartment.

It's a lovely apartment. But this morning I heard the guy upstairs pee. And I am pretty sure they rearranged their furniture last night. I will get used to it. I will get used to it. I have to get used to it on the temporary.

The movers pull out with all our earthly belongings today. Tens of thousands of pounds of stuff they say. Who knew Christmas decorations were so heavy.

I plan on house hunting with the camera this weekend. A post to follow to prove what I said before about people not knowing how to show their houses. Watch out Tampa homeowners trying to sell who just happen to read my blog. I am coming for you.

Speaking of camera. I don't have it right now. Will tomorrow. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I miss it.

The baby has a double case of pink eye. I dare you to have a kid with pink eye and not constantly think about, touch, itch your eyes. I thought for sure we would all wake up with it today. Thank God for a pediatrician who gave us his cell number and called in a prescription before we left.

The husband who lost even more weight once he moved down here, has a pantry full of crap. I fell victim last night. I will not tonight. Cause my runners they're not here either.

That's all I've got. Off to put the baby down for her nap. She's sleeping in a bathroom. Judge away.

The Best part? We made it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Boxes abound...

When I came home from dropping the kids at school this morning this is what I saw as I pulled onto our street.

I cried. For a lot of reasons. Today is going to be an emotional one.

But. If I hadn't loved. If I hadn't celebrated. If I hadn't shared myself with others. If I hadn't given all that I am and shared who I want to be. Then I wouldn't be sad. But I wouldn't be me either. So I will take the tears and the emotions. Because it's who I am. And I leave knowing that this place, these people will be part of who we are always. It's not 'bye' it's 'later'. Cause where we are going, there is beach, and Disney, and sun when there is no sun anywhere else. So if we aren't enticing enough, that stuff should be.

Also. My rational mind is slapping my emotional self. Because we are moving to Florida, not China. No one is going to war. No one is fighting a disease. This is a life passage. An exciting one. That we are doing for the right reasons.

Also. I bought a sheet cake, cupcakes, one package of baby food, and two six-packs of beer at 8:15 this morning. My coping skills a marginal at best.

The Best part? Knowing that we are taking the friendships, the love, and the memories with us. Now, off to make sure the diaper genie doesn't get packed with dirty diapers in it. To sit in storage for weeks.

Monday, July 11, 2011

O/R the movers are coming...

... tomorrow. They come tomorrow. Like less than 24 hours. I am mildly freaking out.

Have you ever packed for an indefinite amount of time knowing whatever you don't take you won't see until you close on and move into a new house. A new house that right now doesn't exist. It's not pretty.

I was gonna stop nursing. Then I wasn't. Then I was. Now I'm not. Stay tuned.

I have a vision of a dozen sweaty ex-cons taking over our house tomorrow. Haphazardly throwing things into boxes with no order, organization, or care. This would keep me up tonight if I didn't drink a few beers in a pool in 100 degree heat tonight.

Unrelated. My 8 1/2 month old weighs as much now as my toddler did when he turned one. 19 pounds 7 ounces of love.

My head is spinning. Think I may be in denial.

More when I sort it all out.

Probably when we live in another state. Near the beach.

The Best part? Like it or not, they are coming. Tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Groove Thang

A post on a best's blog got me thinking. About things. About my thing. She gave me the most wonderful compliment calling me an 'amazing mom'. Not sure there is a better compliment. But it got me thinking about my thing.

I don't think I have a thing. I mean yeah, I am a Mom. An amazing one, her words, not mine. I am a wife. A daughter. A friend. A sister. A blogger.

My thing used to be television. I worked in television. That was my thing. And I did my thing. And I did it well. And it may still be my thing. But I am closeting it for a while to see if I can find another thing. To explore new things. To see what things may present themselves.

See this Tampa thing, is an opportunity for me too. To find another thing, maybe. To learn something else about myself.

Whenever a professional photographer (or just one better than I am) takes pictures of my kids and I see them, I get tears in my eyes. Maybe it's cause I am obsessed with my kids. Or maybe it's seeing your kids through a different eye. I want to capture those moments for other people. I think. That could be my thing. I know it's not using my current skill set. Or really even my degree. But I think I could be good at it. And what better time to learn, grow, improve and maybe even embark on a new adventure, than my 30th year in a new city, with a new beginning.

If you are a real photographer you may be laughing at me. And that's ok. I may find myself in way over my head. Or I may find my groove. My moxy. My thing. You know what? I will never know unless I give it a shot. Or at least consider giving it a shot.

The good news is that I will never forget how to talk. Or how to look pretty. Or how to write. So I can always go back to that TV thing.

And before I find a new thing, I need to find a new house.

The Best part? That best who got me thinking about my thing? I think she's phenomenal at everyTHING she does.

What's your thing? Ever thought about it?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ink is dry.

Big gulps huh? Welp. See ya later. We are currently living in a house we no longer own. Hoo. Ray. Guess that means I can stop cleaning and mowing and maintaining, right? Kidding. No one wants that kind of karma hanging around.

If you like to snoop around other people's houses, this is the post for you. You have hit the jackpot.

I should be a professional stager. Or someone realtors pay to come in and give honest opinions. Say things like,'wallpaper is the devil, especially if it has bears on it' or 'while your children's school pictures from 30 years ago are precious, they would look better in a box, in the garage.'

I composed this post before closing. And am posting it after. I am a tad superstitious.

We sold our house in five days. Using pictures I took. In a horrible housing market. For more than we bought it for. We got lucky. But I will share what we did and hope it helps.

First. We weren't greedy. We wanted to get out. And fast. So, we priced the house at close to $8,000 more than we bought it for 5 years ago. We have put close to $20k in the house. But. We put that money in the house because we were living in it, not to make money on the house. And we knew that it just wasn't realistic in this economy. And the comps in our neighborhood suck.

Second. We took the first offer. Didn't counter. Took it. It's more than we bought it for. All we wanted to do was break even (ignoring all the improvements we made) and walk about with the 20% that we put down.

Now. The house. Go ahead, look around. Catch you after the pics.

We pretended like we didn't have children. We put all the toys away. And with the exceptions of their bedrooms, our house was kidless. No gates. No toy bins. No bouncers or highchairs or race cars. No diapers. Nothing.

Also. The dog disappeared too. No bowls. No hair. No toys.

We had the house professionally cleaned. Floor to ceiling. Blinds. Floorboards. Fans. Everything. Scrubbed.

My phenomenal better half worked his ass off on little projects. Painting. Aesthetic stuff. Upstairs in the hallway I put up about 20 different frames with family pictures. We took them all down. He filled the holes and repainted the whole hallway. The mailbox got a facelift. The deck got stained. Anything that a buyer could look at and say 'well if that is worn out, what else is worn?' we fixed.

The house was on the market for a week-ish. We had showings daily, sometimes more than one. Every night I cleaned. I made sure that if i got up in the morning and had a showing at 9 we would be ready.

I have spent the last 6 weeks selling a house and virtual house hunting. I am not an expert. But. Here's what I do know. Even if you think your suff is awesome, your kids are cute, your paint selection is phenomenal, and your decorating style rivals that of Martha's. If people can't picture their stuff in your house, they will not buy it. My kids are cute. Like really cute. I take tons of pictures and display them. But if you came over right now, you'd never know. My decorating style is pretty Pottery Barn esque. But my paint, is neutral. There is no wallpaper. No strange window treatments. No themes. Have sticker charts on your fridge? Take them down. A potty seat resides in your bathroom? Hide it.

The reason stagers make money and are successful is because they make a house look like the perfect people, with the perfect amount of furniture, the cleanest closets, and the shiniest countertops live in a house. It's a farce. Because no real person lives like that. But we did. On the temporary. And it worked.

The Best part? It worked.

Observations and Revelations: a catch up

Oh hey. I am here. Back from a fabulous fourth weekend. The fridge looked like this when we arrived at my parents lake house. I did not take an after pic. Trust me. We took care of it.

We flew both ways without incident. Even had a bunch of people tell me yesterday how good my kids are and how they didn't know they were on the plane. Bragging. Yep.

And speaking of bragging. For 90 solid minutes last night neighbors on all sides held their own private fireworks shows. Neither of my kids made a peep. Neither. But it turns out people do shop at those tents that pop up for a month every year. Our neighborhood kept them in business this year.

We talked for weeks about Cannon going with Daddy and Doobie to see Cars 2. And despite hearing from other moms that it was violent and nothing like the first movie, we promised. Well. They got to the theater and a storm caused the roof to collapse. No movie. Probably a sign.

I got some cute wedges. I actually went back to the store for them after thinking about them for a few weeks. Found the last pair in my size (they're 11's, be jealous) on the sale rack. Meant to be. Told my Mom and she said, ' are they comfortable?'. Irrelevant. They are five inch wedges. They are cute. I am not running marathons in them.

One of my favorite times during the holiday weekend was a a very hot five mile run (fine, walked up the hills) with my husband. You know, the one I have seen for two days in the last six weeks? So fun. He is fun. And funny. And I love him.

We visited a flea market near my parents lake house (rural Missouri... Like a whole hour outside a major US city) and I have never seen anything like it. And I have spent a lot of time in Walmarts across the midwest. Like a lot of time. I heard a guy saying to his wife/girlfriend/sister/mom (maybe all of the above) 'if they have those brass knuckles this time, I can buy them cause I got money now'. Cause if I was broke and then had money brass knuckles seems like the right thing to buy. If I had only had my camera. Oh my. It could have been amazing.

Speaking of camera. Got some good ones this weekend and one of  my faves I posted yesterday from the iPad looks crappy from the app. Remedied below.

The only thing in my fridge is breast milk and beer. And string cheese.  We are moving in a week. I am not good at shopping for only a few days.

Speaking of moving. Major milestone should be complete by COB today. We will celebrate once it's done, mkay?

Oh the unpacking and the packing and the madness. Bring it.  Getting so close.

The Best part? A wonderful relaxing weekend before the madness.

Monday, July 4, 2011