Monday, December 29, 2008

HGR Ctd.

Everyone goes to so much work to make Christmas gifts for us and we really do appreciate them and I like to give them some recognition for the time & thought they put into making us these gifts.
Horse-stick from Grandma S. for Isabel

Lori & Rachael made Isabel some flowers.

Grandma M. made Isabel this bathrobe.

I made Isabel this super hero cape.

Homemade Gifts Received

Handmade soaps from BIL Tony.

Leg Warmers for Isabel from Godmother Jessi

Romper Dress for Isabel from Grandma M. (the shirt is store bought)

Andy made this plastic bag drying thing for me.

These are gifts my mom made for us, slippers on top & an alchoholic fruit/drink called Bounce on the bottom.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Homemade Gifts

Isabel & I made ornaments this morning. She made the beaded ones and I made the metal ones. We have one of the metal ones hanging on the tree and all of the other ornaments are being given away as gifts. I got the idea for the metal ornament from Natural Home Magazine.

I acutally made three of these capes. I got the pattern/idea from this website. This is the one that Isabel is getting for Christmas and I also made ones for 2 of her friends.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

St. Lucia Day Meal

We're not Swedish (not that we know of), but we decided to celebrate St. Lucia day regardless. It gives us a chance to taste different foods and have a meal that is not quite the ordinary. Plus, it is a chance to educate Isabel about other cultures & traditions.

The above picture is of the St. Lucia Rolls that I made. They were pretty tasty. These rolls seem to be the cornerstone for any St. Lucia meal, other things vary from family to family, but these rolls are a must.

You can go search about St. Lucia, but I will give you the short version of the story. St. Lucia is from Sicily and lived during a time that the Emperor was persecuting Christians. The Christians hid in underground tunnels to avoid persecution, but as a result were starving. St. Lucia (not a saint until after she died, of course) would wear a crown of candles to light her way as she traveled these tunnels with a basket of these rolls to feed the Christians. She was killed by the Romans because she was feeding the Christians. Apparently they tried to burn her to death, but that didn't work (guess fire was her friend) and then they killed her with a sword.

Andy & Isabel made a St. Lucia candle crown (out of paper) earlier today. But we did light all the candles in the dining room and ate among them. It is nice to eat with candles burning.

So, I mentioned Swedish above, but St. Lucia was Italian. Well, as it turns out the Swedish really celebrate this holiday, much more than the Italians.

To round out the rest of our meal I made a warm vanilla pudding sprinkled with cinnamon (tastes yummy to dip these rolls in this), some Brie cheese (also yummy on the rolls) and sausage & cheese plate, some wine, & a Margarita pizza. I think next year I would just expand on the meats & cheeses and make another kind of bread thing in addition to the rolls.

What's funny was that as I was researching (today) other foods to serve with the rolls, it mentioned many of the same foods we ate last night at our dinner party (like a Christmas ham & meatballs, which we had both plus many other yummy things.)

Our next fun meal will be next Sunday for the Winter Soltice. For that meal we have invited some neighbors over to join us. Isabel & I will make a Yule Log Dessert as the feature item. Plus, we'll eat by candlelight. The difference for this meal is that we will eat only by candlelight as I will turn out the overhead lights. Plus we'll have some mulled wine and some lasagna & spaghetti. When I researched the Winter Soltice it seems that the only thing that is a must is a Yule Log of some sorts, whether it be a real Yule log in the fireplace or something edible. I'm going for something edible. Plus, candles are a must too.

Last Night's Dinner Party

Since we have moved back we have now one again begun the dinner parties that we have quarterly with friends from Grad School. It was a good time and we had good food & beverages. We hired one of our babysitters to be here with the kids (Isabel & April's boys) while the adults had our own fun. It was nice to hold conversations and only be interrupted by the occasional child coming in to check to make sure we were still there.
Top Picture: Andy & Jason
Bottom Picture: Molly, April, Me, Traci

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flower Patch Kids?

So, does anyone remember what the "name" of these dolls were? Someone told me they were Flower Patch Kids and they were the imitation Cabbage Patch Kids.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Craft Projects

Isabel & I made 4 of these today. I made these ones first for my nephew & niece as part of their xmas presents and then Isabel helped me make 2 more, one for her and one as a present for her friend Rachael for xmas. The idea came from here.

The second thing I made was this holiday wreath, which is hanging just outside out door. The pine & pinecones I used on here here came from one of the pine bushes in our landscaping. No one came around this year selling wreaths (I think the Boy Scouts do that). So, I decided to make one for myself. I think I did a pretty decent job.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

New Haircut

Side View

Yesterday I got my haircut. Here is a picture. I think it is fun & cute. It seems like EVERY December I get the itch to change my hair by cutting it (still am not crazy enough to put in bangs though).

It is based on the trendy Victoria Beckham haircut, but with curly hair. With curly hair you don't see the slant/angle quite so much. So, it's longer in the front and gets quite short in the back. It's so weird washing my hair with the different lengths like this. I can still pull the front up into a ponytail, which is necessary for doing downward facing dog.

Back View

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fat Cat Bed or Dog Bed, Whatever.....

We bought this for Molly, but apparently she has to share it with Larry. Larry loves it.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Free Starbucks for Voting TOMORROW

I first heard about it on FB and then checked their website to make sure it was is....You can watch the advertisement on their website.

So, after you vote, go to Starbucks and pick up your free coffee. I imagine they may want to take/see your "I Voted" sticker.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Pirate Costume

Well, I dug out this pirate costume I bought about 4 years ago and never wore. So, now it was finally worn to a Halloween party we went to last night. It was a fun a party. Andy was a Groovy Gyno. Isabel stayed home with grandma & grandpa, but wanted to get on her fairy princess costume while we were getting into our costumes. There were a lot of really clever costumes at the party.
We did a lot of Halloween celebrating this year with Isabel. The next holiday is Thanksgiving which doesn't seem to have as many things going on. I am sure we'll be celebrating Christmas the whole month of December.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So, Andy blew up Isabel a balloon from out of our bag of assorted balloons that we bought about 9 months ago (they are not almost gone) and check this one out. Andy admits that he did blow the stem up quite a bit, as we think it is actually supposed to be a heart balloon, but that is not what it looks like. It's very phallic.

So, Andy told me that I would see some pictures on my camera that he took. Look what I found.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Room Re-do

So, this is a small room in the basement. Once upon a time it used to house the drum set, guitars, & bookcase of CD's & bookcase of movies. Now it is the arts & crafts room. When we thought we were moving Andy sold his drumset and his electric guitar (he brought his acoustic guitar into the office) and the bookcase of CD's and all the movies got moved into the living room area in the basement. So, I didn't think of taking a picture until I already started cutting in with the primer, so it didn't really look this shitty the whole time.

Remember, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them and see them larger & in more detail. Since the cash isn't flowing this too had to be done on the cheap. So, I finished off the primer that I used in the playroom & in the bathroom (oh, we fixed the wall in the main bathroom upstairs, which meant we had to repaint 2 walls, so we left 2 blue and painted 2 a high-gloss white). Then I took the leftover paint from the playroom and mixed it with the leftover high-gloss from the bathroom (which makes it washable and we need that in an art room). So, it's a lighter shade (& shinier too) than the playroom.

I used some leftover wallpaper paste to put up these borders we bought a long time ago for a penny a piece. I needed 3 borders, so that was 3 cents well spent. On the floor I put these foam puzzles squares that Target sold as part of their College series. I got them for 30% off, so the 2 packages (each makes a 4x6 area) cost me $35. I am using the bedrail on the wall again (mainly because I couldn't get one of them off) but this time I found some kind of metal trim in the garage that I spray painted with some leftover silver paint and nailed to the wood. Add a couple of magnets (which later we will make some kind of decoration to attach to) and we have a fun way to display her artwork.

The easel we had at the lake house rental with us; I got the little table & chair from Freecycle; the desk was mine when I was a kid & the chair was something I bought a several years back at a thrift store for $2 and painted black, and we are using the cabinet that once had movies in it to store art supplies.

Oh! And I put a set of double hooks I bought a long time ago for some other project (that obviously was never used) that holds her smock & some old t-shirts to use as smocks. And I think I literally paid 12 cents for that clock on the wall at Office Depot. Oh, and I bought a couple of bins (not pictured) for 75% off at Target.

So, for under $45 I have completely transformed this room and we are going to have a lot of fun with it. Isabel already found her crayons & a coloring book in the desk and was coloring in there tonight.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cholesterol Levels

So, I had my annual physical & pap smear this past Friday. With that I had a cholesterol test, which I was curious about the results because the last one I had was in 2005 before I got pregnant. At that time was borderline high, but they were not concerned because my HDL level was so high that they were happy and my triglycerides were very low, which they were pleased with. My LDL level was borderline high but because of the super high HDL they just weren't concerned.

Then the next couple years I could not get a test because I was pregnant or nursing and apparently that can give different levels. I'm not sure why that is, but I went with it. So, now in 2008, I finally had another cholesterol test and wouldn't you know it, but it was almost the exact same numbers.

You can learn about cholesterol levels here:

Calculate your risk for heart disease here. I have a less than 1 percent risk of heart disease in the next 10 years. The big things were that I am young, a non-smoker, have really great blood pressure and high HDL. It is the excellent blood pressure (usually around 106/65) and high HDL numbers that really lower my risk.

They say you are supposed to determine if you have a good LDL to HDL ratio and want it under 5:1, but with best level being 3.5:1. Well, Mine are just under 2:1. Pretty Good.

Total - 221
HDL - 70
LDL - 138
Triglycerides - 63

To firgure out your total cholesterol you do this calculation:

Total cholesterol = LDL cholesterol + HDL cholesterol + [triglycerides/5]

So, I guess my cholesterol is 220.6 and they just rounded up. My total level in 2005 was 220. So, it is basically the same and all the other levels are basically the same.

Since heart disease is common on my maternal side of the family I want to stay on top of my cholesterol levels. My mom had 2 siblings die of heart attacks before age 50, which is pretty scary. Although they both lead pretty rough lifestyles which contributed to their demise.

Kudos to HyVee

So, I went shopping with Isabel at HyVee this weekend and being on a budget (but even if I wasn't I would still do it) I pay particular attention to sale prices and make sure I am grabbing the right item and comparing prices.

When I got to the checkout there were 2 errors where things were coming up different than the price labeled in front of them in the aisles. The first was diapers, which did turn out to be on sale which they gave to me for free (store policy to give you the item for free if something that is on sale does not come up as free at the register due to human error of NOT entering it.) The second was some Kleenex with lotion that was labeled on sale, but turns out that variety was not on sale. They gave me the sale price because the label was indeed in front of it.

So, I was pleased that they took care of things and I wasn't punished for something that wasn't my fault. The manager then took notes on both these items and made corrections in signs & in the computer.

I was just glad I didn't need to go back & look for new stuff, as Kleenex was one of the things I specifically stopped to buy. And I wasn't going to just say that they should grab me any ole box because I would have wanted to know the price beforehand. It's just who I am.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The New Playroom

So, above are the before pictures. I thought of taking pictures after I took down the wallpaper border that was along the top. This is now the THIRD time in 7 years that we have repainted this room. When we first moved in we painted in a cornflower blue color and had a wallpaper border along the top. That didn't last that long because we didn't like it too well and then we painted it this brown color and put up a different wallpaper border and that was how it remained for about 5 years when it was our bedroom and then as a guestroom.
And now it is painted again and is a playroom for Isabel. Yes, that is a red light in the background. I thought that seemed more fun. This time we didn't do a wallpaper border and just primed and painted and then brought in all the toys. Isabel is very happy to have this playroom in the basement. I still have an area rug to put down in the middle which will be nice in the winter to give an extra layer against the basement floors.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Star Tribune Has Bad Customer Service

Today is my day to complain.....

So, before we moved I went online a started a Sunday subscription to the Star Tribune (a Twin Cities paper). That was at 8am on Saturday morning and I selected "When to Begin Service: Immediately". So, I figured immediately meant I would get it that Sunday. NOPE.

So, I called that Monday and asked and they said that online orders are only processed M-F during work hours. So, I understood and they said I would get a paper on Sunday.

Sunday came and there was NO paper at 8am (neighbors had one so I knew they delivered them.) I called and reported this and was assured that they would deliver a paper to my doorstep right away. We left and came back at 12:30 and there was NO paper. I called again and they said the only thing they can do now is credit my account because the cutoff to report non-delivered papers is noon and it was past noon. I told him I already reported it wasn't delivered and I was supposed to get one to my door & this was the 2nd time that day I did not get my paper.

He said there was nothing he could do about it. I got this sad excuse for 'Sorry for the inconvenience'. There was no offer to make it up my giving me a free week or anything. So, I cancelled my subscription and said I was going to go with the Pioneer Press (the St. Paul paper) and his reponse 'do what you need to do'.

Now today I get a call from the same customer service rep that promised to have it delivered to my door asking if it was delivered (yes, 4 days AFTER!). I told her it didn't and that I was very upset about all of that and how I called again at 12:30 and they wouldn't do anything. I just wanted a damn paper! She asked if I lived in an apartment or townhouse and it went somewhere else. I said, "Nope! I have a very large Victorian house that you can't miss." She aopolgized and assured me it would be there this weekend. I told her I cancelled my service last Sunday when they did not deliver my paper two times and she said "Oh, you cancelled. Ok, Bye." And then she hung up the phone.

I still haven't called the other paper and not sure that I want to.

I will have to think about if there are some good customer service things I can post or at least good reviews of products to balance out the bad reviews.

I Will Never Do Business with Coldwell Banker Again

So, our first relator was from Coldwell Banker Burnet and while she was nice and communicated with us a lot, she had a small office and just couldn't do much to advertise our house. The next Coldwell Banker Burnet office was AWFUL and we should have cancelled with them a long time ago. Here is the short list (yes, there is a long list) of why they were AWFUL:
* Didn't call us after open houses
* Didn't call us after private showings
* Didn't get info from people coming to open houses
* Never sent copies of ads to us as promised
* Typos & errors in the listing
* Didn't keep brochure box filled (was always emplty when we visited)
* Wouldn't return our phone calls or emails
* Poor at following up with prospective buyers
* Let our listing EXPIRE & we had to call them!
* Took several days to get us the cancellation paperwork
* Left their signs at our house for 2 months!!!!!!

The last is what I am complaining about today. The guy who they rent the solar sign from came today to retrieve to pick up his stuff & all the rest of their signs that they had planted. He was apologizing profusely saying he never got a call 2 months ago when the contract was cancelled or last week Monday when I called or this week Tuesday when I called again (all these calls were to the relator office.) What made him respond was the email that I had Andy send to him (since he has his email on a sticker on the sign.) After he got that email he called the relator office & they said "Oh, we meant to call you about that."

But you know what the office told me - they said they called him last Monday & on Tuesday this week. I don't believe that shit for one second considering the reputation of the office to not make calls in the first place.

When I called the office on Tuesday I told them if it wasn't removed in 24 hours I was reporting the property as trespassing to the police and then the signs would be removed by a garbage collector at THEIR expense (I knew this was the protocal as I had to call the police about a trespassing issue previously.) This is exactly what I had Andy email the sign guy & also that we had called the relator office several times & what they said.

The sign guy was very sorry and upset with the office, but at least someone does what they are supposed to do and he was apologetic, even if it wasn't his fault.

This particular Coldwell Banker Burnet office has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I will never list a house with them again and will NEVER recommend them to anyone else. If someone is interested in knowing what particular office & relators this is, please post in the comments. I will be glad to tell you which office in the Twin Cities it was.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back to MN

Well, it's final. Andy accepted a job offer back in the Cities and we are moving back in our house and taking it off the market.

We are sad to leave all the wonderful friends we made here in the Mke area, but it is finally good to have a job & house in the same state.

We honestly didn't think our house was going to sell at this point and we were just going to be squandering away our savings trying to make it happen and we could end up still being stressed about the house & the lack of funds we have.

He put in his two weeks notice today and we will head back to MN after that. We haven't decided on the exact date we will move back, but shortly thereafter. It's time we stop being freeloaders.

We'll have some time in-between jobs to be a family and relax. But he'll start at the end of August so our benefits with that company will start on Sept. 1st so that we don't have any gaps in coverage.

So, that's it. It's done and may be we can catch our breath.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Kitchen Re-Do

If we move back to MN, the first thing we are going to tackle (& by we, I mean mostly me) will be the kitchen. We won't have a ton of money to re-do it, but look at the difference some paint can make. This lady used $30 in paint and completly transformed her kitchen. Check out the

What we would do would be not too different. We would take down all the wallpaper (huge difference just in that) and paint it a nice solid neutral color. Then we would paint the cabinets (Andy says white, but I am not sold on white exactly.) We have all nice new white appliances, so I think those will be just fine. Next we will take down the other 2 brassy light fixtures and paint them black like I did over the eat-in space.

The next part will cost a bit of money because we REALLY need better functioning countertops. The small tiles don't work for making bread or rolling out cookies and it's a pain in the arse to clean in between the grout lines. We certainly wouldn't be doing anything fancy, just neutral & functional.

And I would really like to have better hardware for the cabinets. I like what I have on the drawers, so those will stay, but I think I can come up with something clever to make for handles so I don't have to spend a small fortune since there is so many to replace.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun (cheap) morning out with mommy

Isabel I started started out our morning kinda relaxed and slowish. Then we went to storytime at a nearby library, which is free. The lady sings a lot of songs & has puppets, so Isabel enjoys that. Then we went to Noodles & Co and used a certificate Isabel got from her library reading program to get a large bowl of Mac & Cheese with grilled chicken for free. We shared that, but we still had leftover. And afterwards we went shoe shopping. I have a little girl who loves shoes like her mommy, so that's fun. Anyways, my MIL gave me a coupon for $10 off $10 at Famous Footwear that she couldn't use before it expired. We got there and all shoes were BOGO half off. We tried on shoes and for $10 each, we each picked out a pair and with our coupon it ended up costing me $5.26 for 2 pairs of shoes. So, I think it was a pretty cheap & fun morning.

Updates......Are there any really?

We are still living with my cousin with some hopes of moving out during August.......we have been looking at places for rent and may start actually looking at houses for sale, not that our house has sold (because it HASN'T), but because maybe we will find a house that the owner will rent to us with a contingent offer. We really don't want to move again and have to move AGAIN. We want our next move to be final. Isabel & I are going to go look at a house tomorrow that is FSBO that would consider doing what I mentioned.

August is supposed to be the second highest month for home sales in the area our house is in, so if our house doesn't get sold soon & we are able to move all our stuff out here into a (hopefully) permanent place, then we may look into renting out our place. We won't rent it with all our stuff in it.

We found a couple of places we could live in, but wouldn't be the permanent move we wanted.

In other news, the city (after over a year) finally approved the sale of a small piece of our property to our neighbors. Now, we just need to get that letter from the city attorney to get that finalized. Could this be the start of stuff falling into place?

Andy did interview at a couple places in the Cities last Friday and is/has gotten offers from both. The first one he is turning down. Although, the second one said an offer is coming and is trying to make it as attractive as possible, which means getting the blessings from the right people to do that.

We have pretty much decided at this point that we want to stay here, but if we can't find suitable housing and he gets a really good offer from this place, well, we might just head back to MN. Andy still has a couple more irons in the fire for the job search, but we are just getting tired & worn out and ready to call it quits. Andy is still very optimistic about staying here. I think my spirit is too broken. It gets lifted temporarily and then it just falls apart again. And we haven't had anyone look at it since we turned down the CFD offer.

So, that's it. Maybe by the weekend I will have more to say.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Catch a Break?

So, this lady that went to look at the house and loves it and it's perfect for them. Her issues though are that she only 10K to put down (as the old boyfriend swindled her out of 27K) and she has a house of her own that hasn't sold. She has a good job that she makes good money at and can make the payments and needs to be in the area because her job has her on call (she works at the hospital) and her old house is an hour away. Oh, plus she has 5 kids, so they need the big house.

She wants to do a contract for deed, which I really don't want to do. As what happens if the roof (which will need replacing in a couple years) becomes an issue and she bails on us (she told us she is juts going to foreclose on the other place, so why not screw us over if things are bad or she needs to move again.) According to the bank, until she pays us off, we hold the deed and pay the mortgage and insurance and taxes. Oh, and get this, according to or relo stuff, a contract for deed is not a real sale so they don't pay any relator commissions. Andy is working with his manager & HR to see if they can get that changed. Otherwise, if that is the case, we cannot accept a contract for deed because the only reason we could lower our house to the price it is at is because they were paying relator commissions. If we have to pay them, then we will be in the hole big time.

So, the lady called Andy and said something is coming our way, whatever that means.

Our relator is supposed to be working on creative financing to get her a mortgage to pay for the house so we don't have this CFD crap. And if the company says they won't pay for relator commissions on a CFD, then the deal is done unless she comes up with a loan.

Andy is all excited because the house might actually "sell" (I am using that term loosely) and he can keep his job that he loves. I am crying because this is all too much. I just don't see any of this happening in our favor. I don't want to get my hopes up and find out that we have to pay the relators 15K because we just want to be done with the house (maybe) and still risk her bailing on us.

Sometimes I feel like I am the only one trying to make sure we don't go broke and in the process I feel like it makes me the bad guy. I kinda want to cry & go puke now (although that won't feel good for my strained back). I just feel sick to my stomach.

Ups & Downs

Today, after walking down the stairs I bent over to put down Isabel. Nothing unusual about that....but that WHAM! It felt as if the middle of my back was stabbed multiple times on both sides (not that I know that feels like.)

And down I went and up went the pain. I had no idea what was happening. All I knew was the no position was taking the pain away and the tightening back muscles were pulling so hard that I could hardly breathe. I briefly thought, how do I get to a phone (or get my kid to come quickly enough & follow my instructions) to call for help.

After a few minutes, I was able to get up from my fetal position on the floor. I still had to slip on some shoes & get some on Isabel & get out the door to check out a furnished duplex. I thought maybe the car ride would be enough time to relax my back. It wasn't. I called Andy to meet us there so he could carry the kid (it is an upper and she isn't fond of stairs these days.)

Anyways, it still hurts. It's been about 2.5 hours. No sudden movements or pain shoots through my middle back. It sucks. I took some Aleve right afterwards and maybe that is helping. I don't really know.

So, we are at the place and previously we thought we could move in August 1st or a few days earlier (maybe), but now it looks like it is more like August 1st or August 15th. Well, when you are already kinda homeless, another half a month is a big deal. And I am not about to ask my cousin to stay past August 1st. So, I guess we will have to see what happens. If all else, we can go live in a hotel for a month. My spirits went down when I heard the possible change in date.....kick me while I'm down.

And we lowered the price on our house A LOT and received some interest, but no one has actually made an appointment to tour it with our relator. The only up is that when I get back there is a email voicemail message (we still have our vonage number and our voicemail get emailed to us) and it is a woman who saw the craigslist ad who lives & works in the area and has 5 kids and is looking for contract for deed and HAS some money to put down (the other people who emailed didn't have anything to put down and wanted CFD or R2O - bah!). So, that brought my spirits up a little.

I think she will like the house once she gets in there and hopefully our realtor can work out some other financing with her so that we don't have to do CFD. I really want to stay completly away from that.

So, now I am going to spend the rest of my day down and hope it feels better later. I really wanted to take Isabel to a park this afternoon and this weekend we are going to be with family and had lots of plans for swimming on Saturday & Sunday. At least on the weekend I have Andy to help me, so he could do more with her then.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peace Jam

This last week, Isabel & I made jam with some friends. I had this weird sense of peace over me that afternoon after doing that. I didn't get to can anything last year due to moving & everything. But I like canning. I like preserving food for our future consumption. I told Andy it makes me feels like I am preparing & providing for us. It is my peace jam.

I never knew that canning had that affect on me. But I also really miss my plants & garden. I bought green plants while we were here, but now they are being taken care of by someone else. And last year I only did container gardens of tomatoes & peppers because I knew we would be moving out of state that summer or fall.

I miss my crafting supplies & sewing hobbies & interests. And I want them back.

This Is It......

Well, we are pretty much down to the wire and decided to lay down our cards and let the chips fall where they may (any more cliches I can get in there?)

We contacted our realtors and told them to lower the price to basically what we owe, which puts the house at the next lowest search price point. So, maybe we will generate some interest from people who couldn't afford it. So, that price gets lowered today.

We also told them to hold an open house (since this may be a different group of people) coming through. Our open house this weekend brought NO ONE! And we told them to take a couple of new pictures and update the description so that everyone who might have this in their saved search will get notification of changes to the listing and maybe go check it out.

The company Andy works for said there is nothing more they would do for us, as they have a corporate relocation policy and that's it.

In the meantime, Andy is interviewing with a company in the Cities. He is at the stage for a face-t0-face after two phoners. The hiring VP is out of town this week so the F2F won't happen until next week. Plus, there are still a couple other places out there he is interviewing with as well (those are out of MN & WI.)

So, this is it. We want to stay here and we ar doing what we can to make that happen. So, someone needs to buy the house at this low price or we move to where the next job offer is.

In an ideal world none of this would have come into play and we would already be living in a house here, but it's not. If things would work out now, we would get an offer on the house in the next 2 weeks (before he has to make a decision about an offer) and we could stay here.

So, that's it. We made the decision to get this house sold NOW and if that doesn't happen, we move (whether it be back to MN or to another state is TBD.)

We figure rather than squander our savings away on paying for two places and being in limbo still for however long, that we would just make a huge price drop on the house and use our savings towards a down payment (if we can.)

So, we hope to know what state we are living in by the end of July. Until then, we are living with my cousin (we move in there today.) We certainly don't want to overstay or welcome, so we have explored our option here for August 1st (if we happen to be still waiting) and at that point we will live in a hotel until the house is sold or a new job offer takes us elsewhere or we will move into corporate housing until the house closes and we can find something new.

It feels good to have made some decisions. We could have stayed in limbo for a long time and tried to make more money on the house (although, at what cost to our sanity and our pocketbooks since we would be paying double anyways.) We just had to face up to the fact that maybe Mke wasn't it for us. We're doing what we can to influence that, but it just might not be so.

We pretty much decided this all at church this weekend. It was like the sermon was directly to us. And we had to decide how we could influence these issues and do it. So, we did.

It still isn't fun living out of suitcases and without our stuff or our animals or a place of our own. So, we need to change that. Our life is done being on hold.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Quit Your Bitchin'

So, we were at church on Sunday and the series over the next few weeks is the Fruit of the Spirit and one of the sub-topics is Joy (last week it was Love). They read & discussed a scripture passage in which Paul & Silas were joyful in praising God even through they were flogged, inprisoned, and shackled (tough times, not sure I could make it.) But the point of it all was that they were joyful in spite of all these awful things and how we have bad and awful things happening in our lives and we can't let that consume us and we have to find joy in spite of these things.

So, I thought I would express some of the things I am thankful for and find joy in even though we have a lot of stress in our lives and are kinda homeless. (Yes, I am a wee bit buzzed after a girls night out, but sometimes the best honesty comes out through that.)

I first have to say that I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and daughter. I love them both so much and am so thankful they are in my life. The most important thing is that the three of us are together and we can figure the rest out. It might not be how we wanted it to go (& it hasn't), but we make it work and and are thankful for how they have worked out. I am joyful that Andy chose a good major & career path (thankfully he decided against a music major - seriously, that was his major when he first started....we would be in a very different place if it still was, not that a music major is a bad thing, but I might not have the opportunity to stay home with Isabel if he had chose that.)

I am blessed I get to stay home with my beautiful and intelligent daughter. I amazed by her all the time. Yes, there are stressful moments and there will be more. But there are so many joyful moments.

I have been blessed with so many awesome friends. Not just here, but also in MN. My friends in MN are doing such a wonderful job watching over our house & caring for it. They are also my neighbors. I seriously doubt we will ever find neighbors/friends so wonderful. And then there are my friends here in WI. Can you believe how great they have all been? What did I ever do to deserve such loving & caring people as friends. I have people letting us house sit for them, offering their homes to live in, inviting us over for meals, taking in our possessions and animals. I sometimes feel like I am not a good enough person to deserve everything they offer me.

Our families have been wonderful and offering to help out wherever they can. Andy lived with my sister & BIL for a while, my in-laws have the cats, my parents have the dog, and there are numerous other offering they have bestowed upon us as well. And soon we will go live with my cousin. It amazes me that he will open his home to us....not that he wouldn't, but that it is just such a gracious thing. I am still not sure I deserve the generosity.

I am joyful about the church we found. At last I don't feel guilty about not going (residule Catholic stuff), but I want to go. I want to know what God wants me to do and how I can be a better person. I feel blessed they have such a great kids program that Isabel loves. It feel really good to go to this church and to praise God. I even found myself singing one of the songs from church this week while at "home". I keep calling everything "home" to Isabel, because I finally get it -- 'Home is where the heart is'.

Seriously, it just feels right for us to stay here. We feel so blessed and so whole. The sticky piece is our housing, but we're making it work and hopefully not upsetting anyone (I don't think we are, but I don't like to think that we are an inconvenience to anyone.) We might be back in a hotel room with 2 beds, but that's ok. We are together and that is what matters really.

I kinda feels weird to not be joyful or blessed over anything material.....we don't really have anything that we "need". We have our suitcases we take from place to place and we make do (although every place has been very comfortable, we by no means have had to sacrifice.) I do kinda miss our stuff, but it can be replaced if it has to. It is my relationships with my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, & God that I am joyful over.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

What to do?!?!?!

I don't expect anyone reading this to have the "wise" answer. I don't presume there to be one out there even.

So, we fired our relators. We had these ones for 11 months and they didn't get out house sold. Now we are onto our 3rd relator. Not sure that I have any confidence that he will do any better, but we had to change something. Actually, this is the first relator that TOLD US what to price the house. Neither of the other two would do that, even when we specifically asked them to. This guy also offered suggestions on little things to fix or tidy up, although it's too late for that. We just can't go back to MN every week to trim around all the landscaping & pull weeds. The neighbors are graciously mowing the lawn, we can't ask them to trim around everything. Plus there was some thing in the bathroom he thought we could fix & replace a couple of shingles that blew off this winter, but other than that (oh, and dust the entire place -- what so I can have to go back in 2 weeks to dust again?!?!) he thought the house was great and beautiful. Now, if either of the other 2 would have given us ANY suggestions we would have been there and done them. But that didn't happen. Too bad we didn't have this guy right from the get go. Maybe our house will have a chance of selling with him.

So, we'll see.

But here is the next dilemma. So, we're still basically homeless in WI and are about to begin our 3rd housesitting stint and may live with my cousin for a couple weeks. We started looking for places to rent and some places just won't allow any pets (we need to being the cats) and some places require a year lease and won't budge on that (we'd like the freedom to *maybe* buy or find that nice long-term rental when the house sells). We have been paying double rent/mortgage & utilities for too long.

Right now the best solution we may have come up with is to live in a hotel for the month of August and then move back to the lake house. They said they plan on taking our the oil furnace and putting in forced air because the heating bills were so high this past winter. We couldn't really afford to move back there if they didn't do something about the heat. They said they would love to have us come back and stay there and then we know we have a place with plenty of space, that is furnished and we can have the animals with us again (although I think the in-laws want the cats gone soon, cats have quite the personalities and Larry's personality is a big one.)

We went to look at a house for rent today. It would be like living in my own personal wood paneling hell. What the heck is it with Wisconsin & wood paneling? It's just not cool! Not at all. This house was wood paneling on every wall in every room....and the house is only 7 years old? C'mon people. Who does that? For the price it was, it would be cheaper to go back to the lake house.

We've called on a couple of other places...even *grumble* apartments.....although the thing is - we have a toddler who loves to dance & play steam roller and jump/hop. We just can't get an upper unit with out having neihgbord below us who hate us.

I have lots of emails & messages out there to places with ads online or signs outside the place.

Now, Andy & I have pretty much decided we want to stay in the Mke area and he wants to stay at his job, but if this one company he interviewed with (the one that will buy our house after 120 days) offers him an obscene salary, we might just have to move to another state.

We can find some mediocre palce to move into on July 15th, but then we are stuck living in a dump for a year (or at least paying rent there) when our house could sell. If our house isn't sold by Nov. 1, it probably won't sell until the spring -- that is just the way the housing market goes....nobody *sane* moves in the middle of winter in MN.

I'd like to see what kind of rabbit this new relator could pull out his hat so that we can find that permanent house to live in. Although I am afraid the rabbit is dead....Hey, I know I am supposed to be positive, but it's really hard not to be cynical.

Once we only have one payment, then we can afford much more than we could with two. Well, we can't afford two, it's our *in case we need it* savings being eaten away (so, Andy better not lose his job or we could end up in the poor house.)

This is my place to vent about the situation and try to sort things out. I don't talk about it much with my friends because it's just too hard and I already feel so indebted to everyone for how much they have helped us already.

I just finished reading "Stop Whining, Start Living" (for the reading program at the library, otherwise I may have never picked this up) and you know what I got out of it (in my words using some of the authors):
"Whine if you have to -- ONCE -- then shut up and suck it up because some people have it worse than you and some have it better. Then start living, keep doing what you do, because whining & complaining isn't going to change your situation. Pretend everything is great if you have to, and it might start to feel that way."

So, I may whine & complain a lot here, but I can. And you can choose to not read it if you don't want to. But I can't whine & complain out loud to people. So, I do pretend and I get a lot of "How are you handling this? You seem to be doing great." It's all pretend. I cry a lot.

And this is our choice...we could move back to MN at any time (especially now since we have no lease anywhere).....and Andy could find a job there (but it's not quite that easy or quick). But we are choosing to stay in WI and with the job here and leave behind the house there. So, Andy & I need to pretend things are find and keep living, but I worry about my baby girl and how she is really handling this and if she'll wake up tonight as she sleeps in ANOTHER new bed. She doesn't get a choice in all of this and has to come along for the ride.

Well, enough complaining. I feel like I sometimes type the same things over & over again. Maybe I do, or maybe I just think about it so much that it seems like I do, but I probably do.

Time to finish packing for our next stay.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Not sure how much there is to update......things are still chaotic......we are still house-sitting......our house in MN has still not sold......and Andy is interviewing......I guess that is something new.

Although, he did come to the realization yesterday during the day his phone & face-to-face interviews, that he really likes working for the company he works for. He likes living in this area and he likes the friends we have made and bascially, overall, just want to stay here.

But that darn house is what my mom said very accurately, "Is the stone around our neck."

Andy is in the process of firing this relator. Our contract is not up, but he certainly has not held up his end of the contract, so hopefully he lets us out of it without any issues. Andy will work on finding a new one through the referral the relo company gave him. So, hopefully that will happen soon.

While he does that, I am trying to find a place for us to rent. It's hard because we need to find a place that will allow the cats (both the cats and dogs will be very hard). At this point we are squandering away any savings on paying for rent. So, we need to keep it low at this point so that we can make it last as long as possible. But c'mon, I don't want to move again and then again once we sell the house. Because once we sell the house we can afford more and the house/apt/townhouse we find to rent might not be the most ideal (but works for the interim because it's cheap). We would love to find a place where we don't have anyone living under us, because - let's face it - we have a toddler who loves to jump & play "steam roller" and dance and downstairs neighbors probably won't appreciate her getting rid of her energy as much as we do.

In the meantime, both a cousin & his girlfriend has offered up their homes to us for the end of July in case we don't find a place that we can get into until August 1st.

I have been scanning craigslist & the newspaper for ads, but I know there are more places out there that are for rent than have advertisements. So, I think this weekend we will spend sometime driving around finding places. One of my friends says there are 2 houses near her that are for rent.

I really wish we could buy, but it's pretty much impossible at this point and we will have to spend the next couple years building up our savings again to be able to buy something.

Well, our playdate should be arriving soon. Time for some bounce house fun!

Monday, June 30, 2008

FOUR Years

Can you believe I have been documenting little things of my life on this blog for the past 4 years? It's crazy. And it will be three years in a few months that I have had the baby blog. It's hard to believe that my baby girl is already 2 years old. My how things have changed (and how they haven't - 4 years ago I was blogging about how much rain we had and it seems to be the same story this year, just in a different location.)

Skeeter Beaters!

Ok - well, I got everything I need at the grocery store today to try this homemade mosquito trap. So, we'll see how it turns out. I don't really have to invest much in this.....just an empty 2L bottle (which I get to enjoy the contents of) a package of yeast (which our grocery store sells them singly if you so choose) and some sugar.

The other thing I might try is the Listerine "Spray", which you are supposed to spray Listerine around the area you plan to hang out 15-30 minutes beforehand. This link has lots of other ideas as well. We don't use listerine (or even the Target version), so I may wait to see if anyone I know tries this and it works for them before I spend the money on buying some. I very curious about the claim of using pure vanilla as a repellent....Interesting....

There is also a claim that a fabric softener sheet in your pocket repels them.....interestingly I have read the same thing ( & tried it!) about mice. I used it one winter when we had several mice in the house and the cats just were not getting them fast enough. I put fabric softener sheets in areas where they had been and lots of other places.....I didn't see them again that winter, although I am sure my cats were disappointed in that. They liked the challenge of catching them.

Safe & Secure

Well, it happened daughter was locked inside somewhere with me not being able to get in. This time it was the house we are house-sitting at now. Isabel just happened to be sleeping in late (which was a good thing in this case) because she had a rough night in a new bed/house. Anyways, I went out the door to put the garbage out for collection and unbeknown to me, it was a self-locking door. From the inside it turns like it is unlocked, but once you go through it, it is locked from the outside.

So, I ran next door to my friend's old lady neighbor and she said to go across the street because they hang out with them sometimes. So, I ran over there (hoping he had a spare key or knew where they kept on, or at the very least to call 911.) He only had their home numbers and no cells (which I found out later it would not have mattered because they don't have a spare key outside). The neighbor used to have a spare, but they had house guests lock themselves out a while back and they came to retrieve the key and never returned it. So, 911 it is.

So, after a while I heard some sirens & hoped they were coming for me. There I was, with my bed head and jammies standing in the front yard waving down the firetruck. They came and "pushed" open the locked door. When I tried it I just turned the handle and apparently their door jam isn't lined up properly and if you use a little bit of force you can push the door open while it is locked. Isabel had just woke up, so thankfully she wasn't sitting there scared wondering why mommy wasn't coming to her. Turns out my friends forgot to tell me about the door needing to be slammed shut or it won't secure (which is why they always lock the garage as well.)

Isabel got to see a fire engine closer than ever before, so she thought that was pretty neat. we just put together a couple puzzles last night that had fire engines in them, so she was all excited to see the fire truck up close. They really do exist!

So, after that exciting morning, things were way off schedule and we never made it tot he Y for my class. Not sure that I will make it on Wednesday either, as we have Isabel's 2-year doctor appointment before that and I don't know how quick they will be. It should be fairly quick if she is on time because she doesn't need any shots this time around.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One Questioned Answered

Well, we now know that Andy has a job and his position was not eliminated due to the layoffs. I guess most people found out either way today. I guess there was about 30 people within the overall marketing department that were laid off, but none of them were in his direct sub-department.

He felt like throwing up all day as they waited for their meeting.

So, now we know Andy still has a job here. But that still does not sell our house and we still cannot afford a mortgage and rent and I don't know that we want to try renting out our house......we might not even find anyone for that either.

Not sure how much that answer really gave us answers, but at least we know there is some income coming in to pay for the house we don't live in.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fuzzy Brain

There is only so much information and stress that a brain can handle before it gets all fuzzy. I feel lucky that I have always been one to write down stuff, although I rarely needed to reference my calendar unless it was a far out date because I would always remember every playgroup and playdate and plan we had made for several weeks out. That's not so anymore. Right now I have all I can do with remembering where we are living that day or week, let alone what we are doing from day to day. I need to remember everything we had unpacked and where the kid might have stashed it. It's exhausting to have to remember so much extra stuff. At least we have reliable vehicles now. That was just downright trying with having to worry about that.

So, today we begin our first house/cat sitting stint for 11 nights, then we go to another place for house sitting for 7 days, then finally one more place for 10 nights of house/dog sitting. After that we are up in the air. I am pretty stressed out about that.

We had a private showing yesterday, but they said it wasn't the house for them. To be honest, I don't have any hope at all that our house will sell. I think what it will come to is that we will have to move back and Andy will have to find a job there or he will take another job some where else and that company will buy our house. We won't relocate again to be still sitting here trying to sell our house.

It doesn't help that we keep sleeping in different beds and my back and neck is all screwed up.

Sometimes I do all I can to keep from crying. My child is stressed and having nightmares, although I guess those start happening anyways around 2 years old, but they coincidentally started when we moved to a new place. I don't think she had any (or many) when we stayed at familiar places (the MN house or my parents house.)

Well, I need to go workout now. It at least makes me focus on something else.

It sucks not knowing when I will be living in a month, or even what state we'll be living in. And so my brain must stay fuzzy.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Dug Up and Buried Again....

Sounds like a title to an episode of a soap opera, doesn't it. Well, I am talking about St. Joseph. we buried him in December in our basement and obviously he didn't like our prayers or we didn't bury him good enough. In MN you can't dig outside, it's just impossible. So, we though we would try the small unfinished area of our basement where there was dirt. We couldn't dig too far because it was rocky (this whole town was built on a gravel pit basically), but he was buried. Well, it's 5 months later and we still have not sold this house and we are way below our assessed value and fair market value on the house. We keep dropping the price and we're pretty much at the point where if someone does finally buy it we will not be able to buy another one and are going to have to rent.

It makes me sad that we are giving up this 5400 sq. feet beautiful Victorian Queen Anne home to have to rent something. But I need to be positive and see everything we will be gaining. Isabel & I love everything we have available to do all the time around us. We love being members of the Y and having zoos very close to us. We have this wonderful support network of friends that we just don't want to give up. Andy loves his job.

At church last weekend, our minister said something about that sometimes God wants us to prove how much we want something and often that means making sacrifices. The topic that week was on marriage, but why should that not apply to everything. I asked Andy what he thought about that statement and whether or not he thought God's plan was for us to stay in WI.
His response was comforting, but still doesn't bring us a buyer. He said that he doesn't believe that God would bring us to this new & wonderful church that we really like and give us all the opportunities that Isabel & I want, and bless us with this fabulous support network and give Andy this job he really wants if he didn't want us to have these things. I gotta wonder though, how long are we meant to have them. Is it only for a year?

I know we didn't just wait around for God to hand us these things. We made them happen. Andy really wanted that job and we waited & sacrificed for it to become a reality. We went searching for a church for us. We forged these relationships. We went searching for opportunities. But God gave me the strength and curiousity and determination.

So, anyways, I had never read anyone burying him in the house and apparently it didn't work for us. So, I dug him up and tried to figure out just what worked most often. So, now he is buried 12 inches in the ground facing our house while being upside down and underneath one of the realtor signs. Will it happen now? I don't hold my breath anymore, but we'll see. I said my prayers to st. Joseph. There is an open house this weekend and a realtor tour next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

It's my middle sister's birthday today!

You Could Have Sung the Phone Book.....

If any of you are watching American Idol this season, then you are aware that this is Randy's catch phrase this yes, "You could have sung the phone book, Dawg!"

So, I watched the top two contestants and I am a big fan of DC. He's hot and I love his sound. DA is still such a baby and I don't honestly think his voice is all that special. I don't see him as the "prodigy" that someone coined him earlier in the season. And it kind of drives me nuts how exasperated he acts when the judges give him his feedback.

I know that Simon basically predicted that DA would win with a knockout. They both are going to end up with contracts whether or not they end up as the winner of American Idol. And honestly, I think some years the person who comes in 2nd place ends up being bigger than the 1st place person.

It will be interesting to see which performers go on to do what. It seems like with each year there are more & more performers who do not stop with American Idol, which great. I like to see that they don't just fade away.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm Fine. Is That What You Want Me To Say?

When someone asks you "How are you?" in some form or another. They want you to say something along the lines of "I'm good" or I'm fine". But what happens when you don't say that and you say something else.

It kinda cracks me up (& actually makes me feel a little bit better inside) to be honest and tell them everything is not fine and to watch their reaction. All of a sudden this quick greeting or small talk has been changed into this uncomfortable conversation that must occur (otherwise they would be thought to be insensitive.)

Sometimes I indulge people (or myself because I don't want to talk about it) and say everything is fine or good. I did that today when we met our playgroup at the park. They asked how things were and I smiled and said "good", even though they know we are soon to be homeless and be living out of suitcases. They know things aren't "good" and one will be brave and ask if our house sold yet and I will say "No" and try not to think about it or cry. That's why I indulge myself in saying everything is good, because I don't want to think about it or cry again. Thankfully, to stop further inquiry, someone else stepped in and said "I am sure she will tell us when it sells." And you better believe that I will!

But then we had this conference call with our Realtors and one of them asked me how I was doing. I didn't feel like indulging him, as I feel they have repeatedly let us down over & over again. So, I told him I was stressed. SILENCE. I wish I had the luxury of actually seeing their faces, but the silence told me it wasn't what he expected to hear. But I hoped it added a layer of guilt.

The conference call overall was good and Andy & I were way prepared. He made up an agenda outline and we followed that straight through. They probably thought we would talk for 10 minutes, but we had 30 minutes worth of talking to do and things to discuss. I took notes and was a "commitment" Nazi. I kept asking if they would commit to doing different things and got time frame or dates for commitment. If I didn't we would never get anywhere because it seems that our realtors do nothing but talk in circles and riddles without ever committing to anything. And that doesn't fly with me. So, I typed up all the notes and a plan of action sent everyone copies.

And next time someone asks, "How are you doing?" just test it out and see what happens.

Does it make me a little sick that when I am honest and tell them I am stressed or sad or upset or whatever and I like seeing them squirm a little bit because it wasn't what they expected/wanted to hear? It probably does. And I'm ok with that.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What do I Want/Need

I am not sure if these thoughts were spurred by the sermon at church last night or just the constant re-evaluating that is going on in our lives right now. And getting up at 5:30am to go to the bathroom not being able to fall back asleep with all these thought spinning around in my head has not been helpful.

We have lived 9 months without 95% of our possessions and "renting" someone elses. There have been some things we have brought back with us when we have made trips to our mortgage payment, but some stuff we just couldn't. Now, we do miss our bed and comfy couch, but it doesn't necessarily need to be those particular items, just something that isn't 20 years old and needs to be comfortable.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are lots of things that I miss and which I had to use or enjoy and I don't feel the need to give away all my worldly possessions.

We've been talking about the need to rent a house for a while rather than buy so that we can allow the market to stabalize. Even though it is a buyer's housing market, is it really if you are worried about the job market.

I feel like I am rambling all over the place......well, my first dilemma is to rent or not for an extended period of time. After you own a home with your own yard & garden & space and ability to paint walls and change light fixtures as you wish, it's hard to think of not being able to do this long-term. Now, I've not been able to do this for 9 months and I don't particularly care for it.

I enjoy decorating my home the way I want and that includes painting walls and changing light fixtures. And even though I hate the expense of it, I want to be able to install new energy-efficient windows if I so choose. I hate these drafty single pane windows here that cost us a small fortune in oil bills this winter.

I was ok with no yard work until recently. I want a garden, even if it is a small garden or containers. I like plants and growing things, and I need that space to do that. I feel good about growing food to provide for my family and I enjoy the canning I do with all that produce I have grown. I feel like that is missing right now. I have no garden to plant or care for or enjoy.

Now if we could find a suitable house to rent that allowed me to paint the walls and plant a garden, I would be pretty happy. I need to be able to enjoy my interests and hobbies.

But then there is this feeling os stability that I get from owning a home. There is no guarantee that person you are renting from wants to be a landlord long-term and might decide to sell the place, leaving you trying to find new housing. I did not enjoy how often I moved throughout college, both undergrad and graduate school. I did enjoy living in one house for 6 years.

I also want space to play outside with Isabel. I know we can always go to a park and since joining our playgroup we have really learned to utilize parks. But I want our own outdoor play space.

I also want safety. I have no plans to move into Mke. It's just too dangerous. It's pretty scary watching the news. Mke is pretty violent and has a lot of shooting deaths. I seriously don't remember the news in the Twin Cities mentioning as many shooting deaths. My friends from the Chicago area say the same thing, that the news here reports much more shooting deaths. I am too much of a country girl to ever be happy living in the city for long-term.

Even though we can't afford to have multiple mortgages/rents, we did decide that the most important thing is that we are all together.

Ok - I am rambling here because I don't know what conclusion I am trying to get to. But that's the point. What do I really need versus what I want?

Well, Andy & Isabel have gotten up and it's time to be with them. But aren't you glad you aren't in my head spinning around with all my thoughts.

Friday, May 09, 2008


I feel bad....I went to a home party my friend had, it was CAbi party....they have cute clothes and some of them look so great on, not to mention that the sizes run big, so you wear a size 2 sizes smaller than normal. Anyways, I had to leave w/o buying anything. She just bought stuff from my home party and I was planning on buying as much as she did, but this CAbi stuff is quite expensive, at least more than I am willing to pay. I don't pay $89 for a pair jeans. I tried on a few of the cheaper (not cheap by any means - we are talking $30 for the cheapest item which was a thin, kinda see-thru tank top). I couldn't do it. I tried on things that cost more, but again, I couldn't justify paying that much for something. I apologized to my friend and told her I couldn't afford anything. I was talking about it with some other friends before I said anything to her and I was doing all I could to not crying...bless their hearts they were trying to justify for me why I couldn't afford it, but I didn't want to be reminded that we will in essence be homeless in a few weeks and in a few weeks more Andy could be out of a job.

The clothes have very flattering cuts and I can see how people can get swept away in purchasing items when all their friends are telling them how great they are. I almost bought this skirt for $79, but that is a lot of groceries. And it was too dressy to wear to often.

Then my bad habit of mentally comparing sizes came back to me. And I should have been hapy putting on something that was 2 sizes smaller than normal, but I just felt blah! because several others were another size smaller. How petty, can't I get over that stupid high school and college mentality of the "size"?

So, I left the party feeling like crap, like I am poor & fat. I want to cry.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Knock It Off

I have to try to be positive because all this worrying is not good for me. I mentioned how the stress has manifested itself physically in the previous post, but I never mentioned that I tend to talk in my sleep when I am stressed, but the reallys scary stuff is when I get really stressed I start walking in my sleep.

The other night Andy caught me opening the bedroom window and asked what I was doing and I told him "I had to go meet someone," but then I woke up just enough to see that it was 1:45am and said, "well, I guess that doesn't make sense that I need to meet someone at quarter to two I the morning" and then crawled back into bed.

I went to the Y yesteday for my spin class and then lifted weight afterwards for 15 minutes. And then in the evening we went to the park to play with some friends and then for a walk. Currently, I don't have anything physical planned for this afternoon (this morning is a combine birthday playgroup for Isabel & another friend who has a 2nd birthday this month), so I think I better figure something out. Andy thought I seemed less stressed and happier after he came home (which was after the exercising).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Count Down from 27

Yikes! That's it! 27 days left in the lake house rental and then we are kinda homeless. Sure, we still have a place in MN, but Andy still has to work in WI (nearly 5.5 hours from the MN place.)

We decided that what was most important is that we are together, even if we are basically living out of our cars. At this point we can't afford to stay in a hotel or rent another place & continue paying mortgage because there are those impending layoffs at his company and we will have no clue how they will affect us until mid-summer (when he has been here for a year, which he signed a contract to work.) So, it's not like we can all leave and figure out things in MN and we can't really figure out things in WI either.

And with gas at near $4/gallon, we certainly can't afford to drive back & forth to see each other on weekends, so we all must stay in WI. Both our families have offered to lebd us money, which is kind of them, but doesn't help because we still have to pay that back and how does that help us if things get worse (or even if they don't) and we have payments to our family to make as well as all our other bills. So, what does that mean?

Hell if I know!!!

Because we have not sold our house we have the
Homeless Plan:
* Rent a U-Haul & bring our stuff back to MN
* Deliver our pets to their 2008 summer homes (cats: Andy's parents, dog: My parents)
* Stay at MN home for a couple of days & breathe & try not to cry that our lives are a mess
* Return to WI and live at a variety of locations that include a couple of stints of house/pet sitting for 10 days at a shot, as well as living in our friends' furnished basements.

If our house (by some miracle) happens to sell we have the
Rental Plan:
* Rent a U-haul & move our stuff into that place
* Keep our pets with us (hopefully)
* Have our possessions from MN stored in a warehouse until we know Andy still has a job
* Find temporary furnishings (some have already been offered up by friends here)
* Breathe and try not to cry that our lives are a mess

Now, July could come along and Andy could find out he is indeed going to be laid off. We hope this isn't the case, but we can't trust that it won't be. So, we must rent so that we are not stuck trying to sell another house while Andy finds another job. And at this point, I think we have decided that we will just continue to rent. We really didn't want to. We wanted to buy a house, but we just can't trust this market (both housing & job) and the last year (yes, the house has been on the market for almost a yeat already) has not been good on our stress levels.

And to make matters worse, Andy had that accident which leaves him with a fractured radial head and more money to pay to the hospital & out of our pockets. We have decent insurance and after this episode we will have met his portion of the deductible, so everything beyond that is coverd 90%, but that means we still have to pay the rest of the deductible & 10% of the rest. As well, as he will have several visits (I am sure to a bone doctor) which we'll have 10% to pay. So much for getting a stimulus check. I guess we are supporting our local medical system with that.

How am I handling it? People say I am handling it well because I don't seem stressed to them, but inside I am bawling my head off and screaming. In the last couple of years I deveoped this eye twitch when I am stressed...just today that sucker has been twitching all over the place. I can't sleep for shit. I fall asleep for a few hours and them I get up every hour starting at 2:30am. I try to nap when Isabel does, but that doesn't help and is never long enough. And when I am trying to sleep, my body is so damn tight that I wake up with cramps all over the place and a stiff neck. I think that maybe I need to start drinking or using the pain meds Andy was prescribed but isn't really using.

I've been going to the Y & exercising or meeting up with friends and walking and just trying to stay busy & active, otherwise I fear I will go completly downhill.

And to make matters worse, our relator continues to be a POS and he told us our open house times would be 11-1 today, and we made out paid & free ads say that, but their website says that it is 1-4 today! What the hell!!!! I hate him.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Lake is Thawing

Andy wanted me to take some pictures to show how the ice line is receding and things are thawing. Some of the trees have buds and most of the snow (except the big pile) is gone. We didn't get hit with the snow that apparently hit MN yesterday. Finally - one didn't hit us here.

We went to check out about 6 or 7 open houses this past weekend. Nothing that we HAD to have. And then we find out no one came to our open house, which break my spirit just a little bit more. At this point I am not sure how much spirit I have left. Although, yesterday a lead did come through of someone who is interested in the house. I don't hold my breath anymore.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Birthday Freebies

Here is what I got from businesses:
Pizza Ranch: $5 off (I used this.)
Timberlodge: $10 off (I used this.)
El Tequila (local restaurant): Free shot of Tequila (I passed.)
Cold Stone Creamery: Free Love It Size Creation (I might use this.)
Culver's: BOGO Sundae (didn't use)
Dairy Queen: BOGO Blizzard (didn't use)
Ponderosa: $5 off (didn't use)
O'Charley's: $5 off $20 (didn't use)
Aveda: Free Sample & Free Shipping Online (A bunch of other online retailers sent me coupons for free shipping as well, but I didn't post them because I wouldn't use them and deleted them)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Have I Been Up To?

Well, it's been a while since I felt good enough, had the energy or time to do some stuff for me. I was so sick through most of my pregnancy and had awful food aversions and was so exhausted that I just stayed home sleeping on the couch most of the time I wasn't working. Then I had Isabel and she was so resistant to the bottle or being comforted by anything but my boob, that I just needed to be there for her all the time (when I wasn't at work -- she would take a bottle ONLY from the daycare lady). For the first year of her life, any free time was if I would run errands between work & picking her up. And then we moved and there was all sorts of new things to get used to, find, and people to meet.

Well, I am back in my groove. This fall I started taking a cycling class and a yoga class with another "mom" friend. It takes time to make friends and get to know people and feel comfortable hanging out with people. I feel now that I have made a pretty good base of friends and it feels good (finally!) It was hard to leave all my friends in MN and have to meet all new people.

Now I take a cycling, yoga, & group power (weight lifting w/cardio). I tried Zumba (see previous post) and will occasionally meet another "mom" friend to walk around the track. I went with some friends ( I should just say friends, because they are all "mom" friends, I know them all through our playgroup or through to for drinks & to see a comedy show. Tomorrow is Ladies' Night Out. I actually decided to give the book club a try (meeting was this past Thursday) and I thought it was a good time and I didn't mind reading a book I normally would not have chosen.

It feels good to be something else than just Isabel's mommy. I love being Isabel's mommy and I will always be that (& most of my day, that is what I am,) but it feels good to be someones friend, a workout partner, someone to laugh with. To be Jessica.


Well, I got home about an hour ago from taking this Zumba class. I have not danced that hard since college (undergrad), 10 years ago already....yikes! About 10 minutes into the class I realized it was kicking my ass! I wasn't sure if I would make it through the entire class at that point and told myself I could leave after 30 or 45 minutes....but I am proud to say I made it through the entire hour long class. Although, I don't think I would have made it (very well) if I wasn't already working out and have lost weight. It takes a lot of work to move your body around. I was sweating like a pig through the entire thing. I drove home in a zombie like state and am tired. I think I will sleep good tonight.

The class is only offered one time a week and next week it conflicts with a wine-tasting for our club. I told one of my "mom" friends that I needed someone to go with me next week for me to probably make the better decision.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Spirit is Crushed.....

So, our house is off the market. Not because it sold, but because our 6-month contract expired and so did the listing. We have not heard from the realtors (which is no surprise since they have been awful with communicating with us from the beginning.)

I just feel at a loss. Andy is trying to contact the realtors, but I haven't heard anything about that yet. His aunt had referred us to them since she works in the relocation department for Coldwell Banker, but apparently their office is closed today for President's Day. And he can call the relo company that is working with the company Andy works for and have them give us a referral.

BUT - we are here!!!! and a new realtor means new contracts to sign and that we probably need to go back and give them a tour of the house and tell them stuff about it. Although, I should still have all the documents I typed up on for the current/old (whatever they are now) realtors.

I just feel like we are being beaten down. I was feeling good this morning because I did lose weight this week after hitting a plateau last week. But those nice feelings have quickly gone away. I just want to curl in a ball and cry all afternoon. And to top it off, it keeps snowing here and we'll probably get enough that we have to pay the plow guy AGAIN. We are seriously going to end up in the poor house for how much we have to pay to have this place plowed. We have been in a perpetual snow globe all winter.

I kinda feel like saying F-it and go find a big bottle of my favorite wine & a huge cheesecake and totally over indulge. But working out and losing weight seems to be the only thing I have any control of anymore and I don't want to throw all that out the window. But there is really not much else I have any control over, which is really hard for me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WW Stuff

Well, one of my new friends here has also decided to do WW and wanted some tips on breakfast. So I told & gave her some links to favorite recipes for breakfast foods. But I thought I would share that with all of you as well.

We tend to eat the same weekly menu for breakfast, but some of that has to do with the classes we have, so they need to be quick to make.

Mon: Yogurt (Roundy's FF kind), Weight Watcher toast with fruit spread (I buy the bread at Brownberry), and fruit (often it's a orange, peach or berries, since they lower in points that some other fruit)
Tues: Some kind of homemade muffins & fruit
Wed: Eggs, toast & fruit spread, Turkey Bacon
Thurs: Homemade pancakes or Old Fashioned Oatmeal w/ berries or banana
Fri: Waffles (can't remember the name, as I throw out the box after I open it and put then in a freezer bag, anyways, that are flax ones in the frozen organic section @ PNS) & fruit

A couple of other things to note is that I usually use Smart Balance Light and I have Sugar free syrup. Andy & Isabel use butter & light syrup and other whole grain bread. I use egg beaters for my eggs and A&I have whole eggs. I also top my eggs with hot sauce or salsa to give them more flavor & kick, although I have always done that regardless. And OF oatmeal has more fiber than quick cooking or instant, so I always use that. It only take 5 minutes to cook after it starts boiling. I usually make 1.5 servings for each Andy & I (& Isabel has a little out of it). And I add some frozen berries the last 2 minutes it cooks. I put Splenda in the water while it boils to help sweeten it.

Weekends I usually make homemade breads and pair it with some eggs and/or fruit or pancakes or crepes. I also bake primarily with whole wheat flour because it has a higher fiber content, which helps lower the points, plus I like whole wheat flour.

Often I will drink peppermint tea if I am feeling hungry. The water will fill me up and peppermint helps curb your appetite.

Here are some of my favorite breakfast recipes:
** 100% Whole Grain Pancakes:
** 100% Whole Wheat Banana Muffins: These 2 recipes are from the same site, I still need to try other recipes from her site as I love both of these.
** Moist Pumpkin Bran Muffins This site takes a while to load
** Low Fat Crepes

And here is a fabulous slow cooker oatmeal recipe:

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (Make Overnight)

I found this recipe, then altered it when I was doing WW so that it was even more friendly on the waistline.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings
2 WW points per serving

* 2.5 C water
* 2.5 tsp powdered creamer
* 1/4 C Splenda
* 1 tsp molasses
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1 1/4 C old-fashioned oats
* 1 C peeled, chopped apple
* 1/8 C raisins

Spray the inside of a 3-4 qt. slow cooker. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and mix well. Cover and turn cooker to "low" setting. Cook overnight or for about 8 hours. Stir well before serving. Tastes great topped with a little whipped topping.
>>NOTE>> If your slow cooker is larger than 3-4 qts, double this recipe. Size matters with this recipe. The ingredients should fill the cooker at least halfway, but no more than 2/3.

All the recipes are so yummy that Andy likes them even when I am not on weight watchers.

Hopefully some of these are helpful. I also keep veggie dip that I made with a mix & FF sour cream in the fridge & chopped up veggies. Isabel & I tend to eat veggies & dip as a snack in the afternoon after her nap.

A couple of other things......I was a little bummed because I had only a -.3 weight loss this week. Bah! But we have weeks like that. I should just be happy that I didn't gain.

Allison - did you get my email with links to those recipes. I sent it the day after (I think) that you posted asking for them. Let me know. I just wanted to make sure it didn't end up in your junk mail.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

WW Update #3

Well, here are the losses in total through today:

Weight: -11.5 pounds
Chest: -1.5 inches
Waist: -.5 inches
Hips: -.25 inches

I was surprised at the loss in my chest. I don't think it is my boobs too much. I think it is back fat that is going away. Woohoo! And I was very happy to see my waist go down. My waist is really where I was seeing it as a trouble spot and making me have to wear a larger size. For the first time in my life I was living with an apple shape and I am trying to get back to that healthier pear shape.

So, I am happy at how things are turning out so far. I started WW at the first of the year, so it has been a month now.

A Dollar For A Dream

No hopeful leads on the house yet. I try not think think about it because it can really be an emotional roller day someone wants a tour and I get excited and hope that it is it.....then it turns out to be a dead lead and I get all sad and think we have to move back (Andy looking for a job was very stressful on all of us and I don't look forward to that happening again) and then I go buy a lottery ticket and hope I win (even a small lottery) so that we can afford a down payment on a new house and 2 mortgages until the MN house sells.....but then I don't win and I forget about it all again until we get that next call.....

Sometimes I get too many people asking me about the house and I get really stressed and go buy a lottery ticket. I only buy one and it's only $1, but it at least picks me up a little bit so I can day dream for another day or two about being able to move on & out......and the low after losing the lottery isn't nearly as bad because after a couple days of holding onto that ticket I forget about it until I come across it in my purse.....and then check the numbers and I am usually lucky if I even match one.....and then I throw it in the recycling and it's done....

Some people need crack for their pick me up......I just need to dream a little bit, and buying that $1 lottery ticket allows me lots of dreams for that dollar.....I know I'll never win, but the dream helps.....really, I've spent less than $20 on lottery tickets since we listed the house 8 months ago....depressing....eight months on the market.....It will have been on the market for a year if we move back.....It just twists my stomach all up.....

It's a great house and I really loved it, but it's time to move on -- just seems like the house won't let go of us....

Anyways, I think I need to bundle up the kid now and go buy a lottery ticket....although I don't get to dream very long since the Powerball drawing is tonight....bah! Maybe I'll just uncork some wine and read a sad book and keep the low going until I can buy one tomorrow and then my dollar will buy a few days of dreams rather than a few hours.

**Note: This was originally an email to my dear friend Kendra, but I thought it summed things up well for people and thought I should post it