Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

1.  As alluded to previously, we are attempting to get our house ready to sell.  It is all consuming, stressful, and moving in fits and starts.  On the one hand, we (with help from my siblings and their spouses) are almost entirely packed up of the things inside our house that we can live without for a couple months.  We still have to work on the garage, backyard toys, and attic.  So that's good right?

2.  The carpet people are driving me insane.  They set a date, twice, and changed it. This causes a cascade of rescheduling every appointment after theirs that requires that the carpet be finished first.  This made me exceptionally angry and was the straw that broke the "holding myself together." There were tears and curse words.

3.  The Wainrights spent an amazing 24 hours helping us.  During the course of which, we painted two rooms, touched up the woodwork, emptied more rooms of stuff, sorted, trashed, laughed, hauled stuff out to the POD, ate, and generally had an awesome time together (yes, we managed to get a ton done with SIX kids around -- totally awesome).

4.  We've thus far looked at four possible houses to buy.  House 1 - we loved, but it sold before we could make an offer.  House 2 - I like a lot, particularly the neighborhood, but there are a few issues.  House 3 - no one liked, not even the kids for a variety of specific reasons.  House 4 - Brent liked, I did not.  Part of the problem may have been that the people had way, way too much furniture in it to the point it felt claustorphobic and small even though it is more than 1000 sq feet bigger than our current house.  The search continues.  I've now decided to add stressing out about not finding a house to by to my other list of stresses, which prominently features the fear that no one will buy our house.... which technically would alleviate the need to have somewhere to move.... It is a circle of crazy.

5.  Our house needs a few touch ups to fetch the price we want.  By touch ups, I mean replacing the carpet, painting those rooms, touching up the wood work, replacing the stove knobs, fixing the exterior faucet, a good deep clean, and some styling.  All of those things are scheduled.  So long as the carpet people or some other vendor doesn't jack it up again....sigh.

6.  As you might surmise, this decision to list our house came pretty much out of the blue.  It was a "someday" thing right up until it was a - we must do this ASAP thing.  As a consequence, the timing isn't great.  It is Brent's busy season at work, which is busier still as he is launching two new camps this summer.  It also coincides with my long-planned girls weekend in Fort Worth this weekend and will probably still be happening when I fly off to DC in less than a month.... Not to mention the end of school, little league, archery, language lessons, and, you know, our normal jobs and life.

7.  I am forgetful as I try to juggle all the things - One thing I forgot to mention was B's incredibly cute Pirate square dance program last week.  I loved it.  Each class did something they work on in PE, but his class' square dancing section was obviously the best :)

8.  Yes, I am still training for the race which is ummmmm 10 days a way or so.  My last two runs have been less than amazing.  I entered Sunday's run completely exhausted from a late night and insanely busy weekend so I knew it would be hard, but am glad I did it anyway.  Last Thursday, I think was my best 4 mi run so far and was so encouraging that I was on the right path.  I'm trying to cling to that.  I still have, roughly 4 more runs before race day.  I used to worry about my relay teammates in this race, but as the stress, allergies, exhausting, etc of my current life have increased I'm just more worried about my own ability to do this.  Here's hoping!

9.  My sisters are amazing.  My actual sister has been the absolute rock of this whole operation.  She has packed, trashed, brought caffeine fed us, watched kids, counseled, and helped in every way possible, including taking kids off our hands and doing kid pick-up on Friday so I can go to my Grils' Weekend and Brent can attend his big meeting.  My SIL Kari has been awesome too in that she sorted every bit of our kids' insane crafting collection while Able and I were at Lowes and packed several other boxes on multiple days at my house as well as counseling me out of keeping random things.  My chosen sister Chrissie to some degree got us into this mess as she is a great house - buying enabler, but has just been so incredibly emotionally supportive every single day as well as donating her entire weekend to the cause last week. Just amazing.

10. Today at Target, I felt a twinge in my sternum.  This is a very bad thing.  Long time readers know of my history with chronic costocondritis.  It is debilitating and horrible.  I haven't had a flare up in nearly 2 years, which is awesome.  There has been a running theory that my flareups increase when I am stressed, which I very clearly am.  It was a huge reality check that I just need to chill and go with the flow even when things spiral out of my control.  So, I'm going to try to do that.  For now, I'm off to pack something and maybe go to bed early.  Thanks to everyone for their help.  We love you!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - Easter Weekend Edition

 1. As usual, we spent a lovely Easter weekend at the farm.  We all dressed up for Easter vigil Mass and the cousin picture is awesome.  I think E and RO are the cutest.

2.  Getting a picture of our kids was a little less successful and involved some tackling, but we managed it.  
 3.  M had some rough moments over the weekend including a big bloody nose during mass and a black eye on Sunday, but definitely was an enthusiastic participant in everything from naps to planting and Easter egg hunts.
 3.  B did a great job as the big kid and did not pick up any of the "easy" eggs at the Easter egg hunt.  In part because we actually went to creation story practice this year he got to bring in lots of the cooler items, including tadpoles that we brought along for the adventure.  Still prone to crazy eyes in pictures.

 4.  E was not in to pictures, but was completely adorable and moved easily between Aunts, Uncles, parents and Grandma during mass and the festivities.  I am suspicious that some people in Bison may think that he and Ro are Audra and Zach's twin boys.  They are very cute together.
 5.  B went with super cheese face here? No clue.  Otherwise, it worked out pretty well this time.
 6.  Yes, I did crop a child out of this photo.  We didn't get much sleep as E was a noisy, needy companion, but did have a great time watching our kids and nephews play and enjoy Easter together.
 7.  Otherwise, Easter was a lot of chasing each other,
 baskets of goodies,

 So many sweet treats and chocolate bunnies,
 lots of cousin time,
 Fun exploring the farm,
 coffee outside by the fire,
and snuggling,
 8.  There was also, of course, an epic Easter egg hunt on a chilly, windy day.

 and more candy.
 and more coffee by the fire.
 9.  There was also an awesome treasure hunt.  I helped B and E who had written riddle clues.  They took a bit longer than team Z&M, but had a great time.

10.  We ended the celebrations with smashing cascaroes and getting confetti everywhere.  In the middle there somewhere was an incredibly awesome fish fry that we have to make a tradition. I also got to go for a run in the country with Zach, Able, and Kari on a very windy day.  It was hard to run in to the wind, but great to do it together. 

This week is all about packing and more packing here. .... this whole moving craziness is moving right along.  Thanks especially to the Korenaks for all their help!

Friday, April 3, 2015

House Musings

Let's begin with the general premise that I love our home and feel very lucky to have it and to have lived here for the last 6.5 years.  I do.  We bought this house one whirlwind weekend in 2008 when we ventured to Oklahoma to find somewhere to live and had about 48 hours to find something and very little knowledge of how Oklahoma had changed in the 7 years we'd been living in Virginia.  I think we did well given the time, money, and knowledge constraints.  I would pick this house again and positively love all the things we have done with it to make it our own.  I've loved it more in the last year than in the prior years.  Also, our yard is so beautiful right now.  Love it.

That said, when we moved here we had one 18 month old kid.  He was, as you might guess, quite small and had very few belongings.  Now, we have three children all of which are larger than he was then and have more stuff.  Also, we didn't know then that telecommuting was going to be a longer term set-up for me.  We need a dedicated office as I work here.   We also need a middle school that has less issues.  Looking forward to the next seven years, we want more space, and more permanence.  This home was intended to be ours for 5-7 years.  I think for that reason I didn't let myself bond with it, at least until recently.  I want the next home to be ours for as long as we live in Edmond or until our kids finish High School or longer (yes, this makes the purchase more stressful).  (There remains a possibility of moving back to DC and they constantly tempt me with it, but I've turned down that temptation for now.  That answer could change, but for now, we're here and we're going to love here while we're here, but I digress).

We hadn't planned to move for a couple more years, but I think our minds our changing.  If we move before August, M can start kindergarten in a school where she can graduate from 5th grade.  B can make friends in a new school system before the horror that is middle school, and we can have more space and hopefully less clutter.  We are financially able to do so, but plan a conservative approach. The market has improved substantially where our house is located and there is enough equity in this house that if it sells anywhere close to projections it should all work out.  So next week, someone comes to our house to tell us what to fix, how to style it, and then we take about 1/2 our stuff and put it in a storage pod, replace some carpet, fix some a few more things, and list it.  

We have spent this week visiting a house that I think would be very good for us.  That said, it is likely we won't get it as our house isn't ready to list so we can't make an offer and time is probably short.  The house in question isn't perfect, but very close given all the constraints I'm imposing on the next space.  Our aspirations for the next house is that it have some combination of the following:

-- 4+ bedrooms
--3+ bathrooms (but seriously 5 or 6 is just too  many, who wants to clean that?)
--2700+ sq ft (ideally closer to 3000)
--less than 350K - We could borrow more, but I really don't want our mortgage to be painful. I want it to leave room to spend money on travel, experiences, and life without stressing about house payment constantly. 
--3 car garage or space to add a garden shed of some kind
--substantial internal storage spaces, lots of closets built ins are a plus.
----Edmond/Deer Creek Schools -- really a specific combination of school districts that does not include middle school at Summit or Central
--close to I-35 or the Kilpatrick Turnpike - we don't want Brent's commute to be longer or more miserable than it currently is
--high ceilings - I feel claustrophobic in low ceilings.  My dad says it is a waste of square footage, but it isn't to me if it makes me feel more at ease. I am from Oklahoma and use to open sky, I like that openness. 
--flexible spaces that will adapt with our family as we and our children age. I like spaces that bring us together in our free time, but know they will need some alone space too as they age. 
--a neighborhood that has a park or is close to a park/pool
--near things we want to do (Target, parks, church, baseball, dance, activities, gym, sidewalks for running, etc).
-- Mature trees (this is unlikely in Oklahoma, but I'd love it--- current house we're visiting has lots of them).
-- kids in the neighborhood to play with
--a room that can by my office that has a door to shut the kids out in the summers
--big enough bedrooms for growing kids
-- no major issues to fix --- no water damage, walls to tear out, termites, rotting siding, nasty flooring, kitchen that need gutting, etc...  We are fine fixing things like light fixtures, knobs, paint, landscaping, trim, etc...
-- sprinkler system (optional, but love ours)
--storm shelter (we would be willing to install it, but having one there already would be a bonus and would pay more)
-- covered porch OR substantial tree canopy so it is shady in the yard
-- space for a raised bed vegetable garden
--at least as much counter space as our current kitchen
-- spaces that work for our family (vague, but hard to explain fully)
-- I really want to like the bones/shape of the exterior of the house.  The more I look the more I realize there are shapes I like and shapes I'm not interested in--- seems to correlate to houses with high ceilings which is good. 
-- lots of natural light
-- window seats or places we can add them or other reading nook type areas --- love them, current house has them, but open to houses that would allow for installing them later.
-- would love white trim, golden oak and I have had our moment and I'm ready to move on. 
--solid core doors--- yes, we can replace them, but this is a dreaming list, right?
--wood floors in the living space or that wood-look tile would be amazing (preferably not golden oak :))

So what do you think? What would you add or remove from the list? Any neighborhoods/schools you would strongly recommend or avoid in our area? Wanna help us move?  

I feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start, but I think we'll start and see how it goes.  It may not work at all, but the thought process will continue and if we end up still here, that's OK too because we love this place. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

 1.  We are finally making progress on the great garage trim project.  This project should probably take like a day or two, but think it has taken us all month and there are a couple steps left...

 2.  As usual, these items are in no particular order --- here are moments from Sunday's Discovery kids concert.  We all went and had a great time. It was a really good mix of interactive elements, dancing, singing, art, and great fun.  We are definitely singing up for the season tickets again in the fall.
 3.  Tonight was the second game of the spring baseball season.  It went MUCH better for our blue falcons.  B was late in the batting order this time, but it was worth the wait for a single drive down the 3rd base line.  He then stole two bases and was batted home.  This is actually the first time I've seen him score as I was traveling when he scored last season.  I think I might be more nervous than he is when he is base running.  Granddaddy asked him how it felt to touch home plate.  He said it was annoying because everyone was "yelling at me" --- I don't think he gets "cheering" but whatever, he's silly.  The team had one very awesome inning and pulled within one run, but lost.
 4.  We enrolled M for Kindergarten at long last . She is very excited and ready to go come August!  E was a patient attendee for the big event.  I'm a little amazed still that he'll just hang around and color while I fill out paperwork. I don't remember M being quite so patient at this age.

5.  Prepare for many pictures of Easter fun at Grammie and Granddaddy's.  My DSLR had some SD card issues so sadly all iphone photos, but we'll do our best.  

 6 I feel like this should be called subdued M - she is quite and a little hesitant here as she didn't find her allotted 10 easter eggs and Kaedyn was forced to share her excess with M.  A bit sheepish, but I think she'll figure it out before egg hunts end in a week or two.
E of course loved it and is getting so big

7. Here is the whole crew lined up - 1 kid hid, 7 kids hunted and the 9th is a bit too small.  Right now our generation is three families of three kids each. One more cousin will marry in the fall so there may be another couple cousins for this great-grandchild line up. 
 8.  Since B began Kindergarten, we've had lunch at school together once each month (sometimes more).  Occasionally, I think he isn't that in to it, but on Monday he asked whether I would be coming Monday or Tuesday as I hadn't come this week.  I of course came today and brought him Tuckers as an extra treat.  One student I heard call me B's beautiful mommy, so high point of the day for sure.  (And this is a day when I called the President of the NY Yankees direct line and chatted... so that's saying something.

9.  Palm Sunday I attended Sunday School with M's class.  They made some art that involved feet prints and washing people's feet (forshadowing Thursday's mass).  Then they had a mini last supper (tortillas and grape juice), a little venerating the cross that mostly involved hugs (Friday's mass) and then songs and preparation for the very last week of Sunday School, which is a pizza party (and apparently a quiz for the parents that I'm certain to fail).  Sunday School has been great for M.  She loves Ms. Maggie and her class and telling us all about it. I hear less from B, but he seems fine with it and I'm very glad we've done it and will again next year.

10.  Storm season is here.  I loved walking away from the ball park tonight to the smell of dirt and rain in the air.  Our yard looks phenomenal and our new little tree from last year and all the bulbs are blooming.  Ironically, just when our house is coming together we're toying very lightly with moving across town.  We shall see.  It would make for a couple tough months, but when has something being hard ever stopped me from doing it? We'll see if I can work that old magic again and if it doesn't work out.  I'll just enjoy our beautiful soft, green grass on this side of the fence :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Zane at bat!
B's first at bat of the season.
Baseball boys in the excitement of game day!

1.  Little League season is in full swing. (Pun intended).  B and Zane are both playing this season and happened to both have games on the very first night.  Zane's game really made one appreciate how much the 8 yos know about baseball rules, but was completely adorable.  Everyone had a great time and he did seem really glad to see us.  The red fez was a gift from the Blakleys upon their return from Turkey.  And yes, if you want to turn lots of heads set 5 boys loose at little league with red fezs on.  B and Zane were both second up in their batting rotations and both got thrown out at first on at least one of their turns. B's team seems to be doing much better at fielding and his game ended tied 0-0 in OT. It was a lovely evening and great to share it with our family, the Korenaks, Grandma, Granmmie, Granddaddy, and the Blakleys.  LOTS of family support here and I love it. 
 2. On Friday afternoon, we joined Zane, Ro, Grandma, and Audra for some fun in Bricktown to wrap up spring break.  E and I were only along for the canal ride.  I thought it was fun and happily no one threw themselves (or was thrown) into the canal, although E was clearly tempted. Grandma also took the bigger kids to the banjo museum (yes, that's a thing) and on a horse drawn carriage ride.  Very exciting! We ended the outing with frozen yogurt and then I went home and ran for an hour to beat back the crazy :)

 3. After much dithering we have started reading Harry Potter as a family book, even though B could easily read it on his own.  Brent has never read the series and thus reading it together made the most sense.  So far so good, and much more manageable chapters than the Lord of the Rings. Here's hoping he loves it!
 4.  One day last week the kids randomly asked to make and decorate sugar cookies. I acquiesced despite my lack of enjoyment in decorating cookies.  Happily, we discovered that M and B are now quite old enough to do all the decorating and clean up from that activity themselves, which made everyone happier.  B made St. Patrick's Day themed cookies a few days late and they were quite delicious.

 5.  We also broke out a lot of our board games during Spring Break. Friday's choice was Mouse Trap.  Technically, B, M, E, and I were playing, but most of the players lost interest quickly and we "might" not have been exactly following the rules due to a small misunderstanding at the outset.  B did complete the whole thing and got to share his creation with Grandma who stopped by to watch them while I worked.

 6.  Sunday morning, M discovered that the faeries had visited overnight and added new flowers and moss to our faerie garden and a little plant in the front yard as well.  She was, as you would imagine, overjoyed.
 7.  Saturday evening, we all went to the Big XII Gymnastics Championships at OU.  The boys haven't been to a gymnastics meet this year, so M was cluing them in on all the cool parts.  OU won handily and we had a great time.

 8.  Tomorrow, at long last, this little lady will be enrolled in Kindergarten.  It is definitely time, but I'm also so going to miss our time together.  This photo is from a small morning Starbucks date before French.  So cute.  (Yes, I still can't make dog ears even....) I have enjoyed our year together even if it has been a little different than I might have imagined. No clue what I will do without her for those long school days.  Also, no clue what it will be like to have just one kid here in the hours before and after MDO while the bigs are still in school.  Hanging out with one kid routinely hasn't happened in, well, about 5.5 years :)
9. Today was archery lessons, week 3.  B seems to still enjoy it and is working on his aim, I'm told.  Each week, the kids have wanted to play on these "landrun" statues near the parking lot and today they again asked that I take their photo.  Archery days have been pretty fun for everyone as M&E have been playing outside at Y childcare while I run and B works on his archery.  A very engaging use of 45 minutes.

10.  The race is 5 weeks away.  Sometimes I say that and it seems so near.  Mostly it seems so far and I find myself counting how many runs there are between here and there.  (Probably 13ish....)  It looks like I'll be running a 10K leg, which is a little daunting, but I accidentally ran/walked for 6 miles on Sunday and it was OK. I mean it took a very long time and was very slow, but I did it and felt OK.  It was the first time this training cycle that my feet have really hurt though so I remain nervous.  Here's hoping I can keep up the program for another few weeks and that the rest of our team pulls through their various struggles.  Our goal is to finish in less than 6.5 hours, which seems very modest for a marathon,  and I think doable.  I think we'll be able to finish it in 6 hours, but we shall see. I apparently am running the last leg so the later it is when I start the hotter it will be and if anyone has to run past the 6.5 hour mark when the course ceases to be fully closed to traffic it will be me.  So, yeah, I'm nervous about my own body, but also about the timing.  I'm sure it will all work out somehow, it usually does.  


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