Monday, November 30, 2009

Meal Preparation Franchises

Before Julia, S and I used meal preparation franchises quite a bit. In these places, you can assemble your own meals & take them home and put them in the freezer. They are kind of a compromise between going out to eat and making the same ol' spaghetti dish each night. Around here they went by the names of Dinners Ready, Designed Dinners, Dinners Done Right & Dream Dinners. Yeah, they all had "dinner" in their names & they completely saturated the market. When the market was booming, that wasn't a bad thing. We had plenty of options, and S & I made a date of it once every few months to make a ton of meals to freeze. You see, S and I are very boring people, so assembling food on a Saturday afternoon while wearing aprons was our kind of fun.

As you can probably predict, the recession has hit these businesses hard. They were almost all franchises, meaning sole proprietors had invested their life savings in getting one of these businesses going in a specific territory. When the recession hit, no one was spending that kind of money on food anymore. Not that it was ridiculously expensive, but it was about $12-14 for a 2-person meal. Not as expensive as dinner at a restaurant but definitely more expensive than you would pay if you were to buy the groceries yourself.

When Julia came into our life, which coincided with the recession, we pretty much stopped going to these places. Well, we went twice in late 2008. Once in August when Julia was 2 months old, my mom watched her while we assembled meals. And once in October we took her with us while one of us made meals and the other held her. After October of 2008, we never went back. I dunno why, not necessarily because of the money - but maybe it was more that all of the ones around us closed.

We were on all of their mailing lists because we went to each different franchise a few times. When each location has gone out of business, our e-mail has been absorbed by the next closest competitor. In the last 2 days I have gotten e-mails from the closest office of two of the franchises. One's closest location is now 35 miles away (Dinners Ready) & one's closest location is 40 miles away (Designed Dinners). These far away franchises are willing to deliver down here since they're likely close to going out of business too.

It's all very sad. Yes, the market was likely way too saturated with these types of businesses. But it's so sad to see sole proprietors go out of business like that.

New Design

My blog looks different. Really, it's not by choice. This morning I saw that I was getting all sorts of Photobucket upload errors showing up, which is odd because I don't use Photobucket to upload pictures onto here. AND my husband pointed it out too, so it wasn't just me seeing it. My best guess is that something freaked out from the layout I had chosen. So I temporarily have a new layout because I don't want to figure out what's going on.

A little bit less stressed. I have lots to do on the home(s) front and work front, but oh well, I'm going to this conference and am going to try to have a good time.

I better pack for the trip. The photographer is coming to the house tomorrow, so I have to help make the house look immaculate before I leave for my trip.

The loan officer called me today to say that the appraisal is due today & he didn't have it. Okaaaaaaaaaay. Well, dude, that's your problem since you ordered it. Not sure what I was supposed to do about it. I don't have the appraiser's number. Yeah, there's a lot of that stuff going on. I just want to roll my eyes, and I do: frequently. No one is even worried about the appraisal not coming through for the right amount. It's just a formality that needs to be done before the bank will commit.

So that's about all that's going on. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep for all 3 of us. I always like to have a good Monday sleep. It seems to set the tone for the rest of the week.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

That pressure cooker

This 4-day weekend was nice. As always, I feel like I'm not doing enough. Trying to be a mother and never feeling like I'm doing a good job, working full-time, buying a house, selling a house/packing/moving/fixing little things on the house...ugh, I'm just mentally drained. And I'm supposed to be going out of town from Tuesday-Thursday. Had this house swap not been going on, I'd feel fine. But I feel like I need to do a zillion things, I don't feel rested at all, and discontent in general.

We did pick a real estate agent. We interviewed 4. One was awful, and the other 3 were good. It makes it easier when 3 are bad, and 1 is good. As luck would have it, we interviewed 4 good people. We think we did okay. It doesn't make things easy when we got a response to the rejection note saying that one could have done the same things as the one we picked.

Julia's had a rough weekend. She's been out of sorts (teething???) and hardly eating. She was up screaming last night for an hour one time and half an hour another time. For the past few months that's atypical behavior for her. It makes me uneasy.

If you add in the holiday stress, I'm just frantic. I HATE THE HOLIDAYS! I have serious PTSD from holidays with my mother. It's never enjoyable, and it's like some mind game from hell.

On Thanksgiving I asked my mother what she and her husband would like for Christmas. "Nothing." Ugh, I hate that answer. Because with my mother that means I need to read her mind or be in the doghouse for getting her the wrong thing. After more needling, I finally get somewhere. She said she'd like chairpads for her 6 dining room chairs. Okay, what color? She tells me beige. Thank heavens, give me a tangible thing I can actually buy. Hallelujah!

So today I go to the store, and I call her from the store. They had two styles of beige chairpads, and I wanted to know which one she would like better. Cuz after all I'm NOT a mindreader and have made this mistake one too many times with my mother, and I usually want to hibernate until January so I don't have to deal with Christmas at all.

Well, my mother freaks out on the phone. WHY am I buying her chairpads? She doesn't want anything for Christmas. So I say that I want to get her something, and I'd prefer to get her something she WANTS to get. And then she says she will get her own chairpads and hangs up. (As a side note, she already sounded annoyed when she picked up the phone, so she had probably just got done fighting with her husband.)

So what do I do? I buy a gift card for her from that store for Christmas. Yes, she will hate me for getting her an impersonal gift card. But I ain't got time for her crap, so there...she's getting a darn gift card.

Do you see why I get such terrible angst over the holidays? I can't do anything right, my mother's always angry with me for about 5,698 reasons, I don't have time to give adequate effort to anything, and I'm just so tired of it all.

Probably this whole house buying/selling thing is too much given my high strung nature + dealing with a toddler who doesn't eat well. I'd really like to be one of those people whose main stressor is putting up a Christmas tree. Or I'd like to clone myself x 6 and then send each clone out on a specific task: cleaning the new house when we move in, feeding Julia, doing my job, dealing with all the mumbo jumbo with the loan & real estate agents, etc.

I sooooo don't want to go on this work thing for 2.5 days. The timing is just awful.

And Julia appears like she'll have another rough night. I hear her whimpering in her crib. It just kills me when she's uncomfortable and out of sorts. At the same time, though, I'd really really like a good night's sleep. It's hard to sleep, though, when your mind is constantly going: making lists and reminding myself of the 1,243 things I need to be doing.

This is why I was such a reluctant house buyer. I really didn't want to deal with all of this in such a short time frame. On a positive note, S and I had a great conversation last night about what we would want to do to the new house and a general timeline of things. That helped ease my concerns. It is such a great deal, and I'm just going to have to suck up my stressful feelings. It would be nice if I could clear my schedule a bit. I'm going to have to look into whether it's too late to cancel the work trip.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

I love Black Friday. There's something about getting the actual newspaper on Thanksgiving and reading through all the ads, plotting your strategy for the next day. If JCPenney opens at 4am and Babies R Us opens at 5am, I hit JCP, then stop at the Krispy Kreme for a donut to waste some time before 5am and then hit BRU. Then swing by Fred Meyer on the way home and get some free donut holes and OJ. Then hit Office Depot and Old Navy, go home, help put up the tree, take a nap, get leftovers & take another nap.

This year my Black Friday plans didn't fall together like that. I'm not sure whether there actually wasn't a lot of deals out there, or the deals that are out there didn't appeal to me, or if I'm so freaked out over the moving thing that I'm not spending any money unncessarily. I looked through all of the ads today (yes, I had previewed most of them online but there's nothing like holding actual Black Friday ads). I had paper and a pen next to me, ready to jot all the items I wanted to buy and what store they were at. This is the "potential" list, and then I rewrite the final draft (i.e., battle plan). I usually discard some ads right away (Pet Smart, Sports Authority), take a quick look at others (like Best Buy), and then comb through several others methodically (Kohls, Fred Meyer, Macys, Target, JC Penney, etc.).

There were a couple of items that caught my eye ($10-$20 items), all at different stores, but I'm not waking up at 4am and driving 10 miles to save $5 on something that normally costs $25 on sale somewhere. So while I saw a few of those things, I didn't even put them on my preliminary list. I actually wrote down several things from the Toys R Us ad, and it was also the one that opened at midnight. Score!

Even before I attempted to go to Toys R Us, I knew the best time to go would be around 3am. The craziness from the midnight people would be just about ending (as in they would finally all get through the lines), but the 5am people wouldn't be there yet. So it would be halfway tolerable at 3am. But 3am wasn't quite working for me today since we have two real estate agents coming during the day on Friday & this whole moving thing has thrown me for a loop. I thought I might as well give it a try, and I couldn't fall asleep anyway, and I could say I went out on Black Friday.

Got to TRU at 12:30am, which was a horrible time to get there because everyone was still fighting over toys and trying to find a line. The main item I was getting was an Exergen temporal thermometer. You just swipe it on the forehead and get a temperature right away versus fussing over holding it in orifices for a minute. It turned out the line wound through all of the baby aisles, so all of these people with huge cartfuls of stuff were in the aisles standing there impatiently. I couldn't even get to the thermometers. BAH! The toys I had on my list were good deals but not THAT good of deals that I would spend 2 hours of my life standing in a line holding all the toys (since all the carts were gone), and since I couldn't get to the thermometer anyway, I just gave up.

And guess what, it's almost 3am! If I was crazier, I'd go back to Toys R Us!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We did. We went to my mom's and had a traditional Thanksgiving. Julia was in a good mood. She ate gelled cranberries (loved 'em) and turkey. She gave kisses and ran around grandma's house. She played with coasters. It was a grand ol' time for a 1 year old.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Do List

My mind has been racing with lots of things I need to do, but I haven't had a chance to consolidate everything into one cohesive list. I think I'm so overwhelmed that I'm making a list of the types of lists I need to make.

* Julia dr list (schedule 18 month, contact food therapist)
* Julia Christmas list (Magnadoodle - thanks LA for the idea!, I really want to get the Little People Amusement Park for her too ($20 at Target this week), already got her 2 small toys (shape sorter & Mrs. Potato Head), she's good on clothes so might that be it for her? I think in the summer, for her birthday, we'll get her a tricycle. Are we lame that we don't get our daughter much?
* S Christmas list: he still wants that office supply - need to get it. And a few stocking stuffers (toiletries). Gosh, we're lame.
* Work on that excrutiatingly long list o' crap that the loan officer needs. And pronto. Also need to send in that title document.
* Utility changeovers: call PSE, City of T Town, Click Cable & Advanced Stream (wireless) - make sure they are through 12/17, and we start 12/18.
* Downgrade current house garbage service once we move out. Also adjust thermostat.
* Figure out who we're going with to sell this house
* Long list of things to do to this house before we sell (mow, edge, paint pantry wall, paint bathroom ceiling, caulk skylight, move more furniture out, and so on)

Well, that's tonight's list. I think that's all that's going through my mind right now.


Before you think I'm the worst caretaker in the world, I must say that ear tubes in a child's ears can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that for those with ear troubles (and Julia was one), they can cure recurring physical ailments as well as help with speech. The curse of ear tubes is that they drain all kinds of gook into the outer ear. That's great because the gook isn't sitting in her ear canal anymore.

But how in the heck do you clean the gook? It's a constant struggle. Her ears are sooooo nasty. You're not supposed to use Q-tips. Due to the ear tubes in particular, NOTHING is supposed to get near the ear opening, including water. Should I just continue with a bit of hydrogen peroxide?

When I try to take a picture & get this:

I know it's time to do something, but I don't know what to do. Isn't that a wicked shade of amber? It's extra toxic ear wax. Not garden variety canary yellow. No, she's got some rust-colored, toxic crap.

By the way, I know her hair is simply awful. It's a hideous texture with some curl to it. I keep hoping it will grow long and weigh itself down. Maybe in 2015.

Cleaning like on Parents' Weekend

Today I took off work and was going to put the packing into high gear. Our initial packing strategy was to put all the boxes in the living room and dining room. Well, that got overwhelming really fast. Seeing the impending boxes and furniture of doom all of the time made my heart sink every time I went by. Plus it made it easy to lose hope that our house was ever going to look put together. On Sunday we changed strategies and decided to pack all of our crap into one bay of the garage. That helped immensely, but most of our house was still a disaster area. Hence, I took off today to try to put our house into some semblance of shape to sell. Move boxes, "stage," clean a little, you get the drift.

My other task today was to make appointments with a few real estate agents. The person we used to buy the new house is good, but she doesn't do a lot of business in this area normally. We want to list it with someone who knows this area a little more and can network the house with those who also know this area. We are going to let her try for the job too. She has already given us her marketing strategy, which involves putting it on the internet and getting professional pictures taken. She's really hot on the idea of professional pictures. Yes, I think good pictures are important - but I think we can take perfectly adequate pictures. She doesn't need to put the marketing budget all in a photographer. Again, I think networking the house is very important too.

I e-mailed 3 agents with a good reputation in this area for selling homes at 7am, and by 8am I had 2 responses. Love it. One of them was going out of town tomorrow, so she needed to stop by TODAY. Wait, our house is a packing sty!

So I revved it in high gear and went into the Parent Weekend mode. You know, it's the mode you go into when your parents come to visit you at college. You only have a few hours to make the place look presentable. By no means do you have enough time to do a good thorough cleaning, so you do the best you can with surface cleaning. Nope, not enough time to clean the bathtub, but I'll use Comet on the obvious rust stains. I couldn't even walk into 2 of the bedrooms due to our packing disarray, so I tried to stack boxes neatly & apologized profusely when the "parents" showed up.

I got done with the surface cleaning in time. The team really seemed to like the house, and they commented profusely on how well-maintained it was. Yeah, they were probably sucking up, as I haven't deep cleaned in a long time. :( They will be back on Sunday with their presentation. This was more of a walk-through. Then we have 2 other agents coming by on Friday. And then there's the agent we used for buying our new house, who I'm sure thinks selling our house is a done deal.

While I didn't get done what I wanted to today, I think it was a step forward. This whole thing may be on its way to coming together.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Weekend of Packing...and New Moon

Starting Friday night, we went into high gear with our packing. The sooner we get this house looking presentable, the sooner we can put it up for sale and (hopefully) the sooner we get a buyer for it.

Packing/Staging Achievements:
Master closet - done!
Master bath - done!
Powder room - done!
Family room - done! (except we have to decide if we're getting the carpet replaced since a little girl yakked up Alimentum all over that room - it STAINS!)
Julia's room - done!

That means that these rooms are ready to "show" in real estate lingo. We have 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, a nook, and a laundry room to go. All our crap is taking up one bay of the garage. I'm sure by Wednesday the other bay will be filling up too.

Today I went to New Moon. Nah, I don't like Twilight. I read the first book, didn't like it, and saw the movie with a friend. With New Moon, I didn't even try to read it. But her husband wouldn't go with her to see it, so I traded her packing help for going with her to see the movie. It wasn't bad. I think I'm on Team Jacob. Edward wasn't really even in this movie. I'm really not into the vampire inner circle fights - I really didn't understand what was happening with Dakota Fanning and the going to Europe thing.

Back to work tomorrow - at least it's a break from packing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let the craziness begin

For those of you who don't know (i.e., not very many of you since most of you are friends with me through Facebook), we bought THE HOUSE. Yeah, the one with the spiral staircase and water views. It was looking like we weren't, but then they came back to us & it's officially a 'go.'

I really need an IV drip of Xanax for the next 6 weeks. We have to get our house ready to sell (paint some stuff, declutter, yardwork, etc.), pack our crap, move, clean the new house, unpack our crap, and wait out til whenever our current house sells. And there's Christmas in there. I've just accepted the fact that we're probably not getting Christmas cards out this year, and Christmas shopping may be done in January. Oh well....

We're starting the moving box collection process and making baby steps toward packing. The thing with packing is that we don't really have space to put all our stuff that is packed since the goal is to declutter the house to put it up for sale. Our bright idea is to use one garage bay to stash our crap as we pack it up. Eventually we'll probably have to expand that to the other garage bay.

This weekend will mostly be a packing/decluttering/cleaning weekend. Then we have 4 days off coming up over Thanksgiving where we'll do the same thing & likely the house will go on the market Monday the 30th. We close on the new house 2 weeks after that. Sheesh, this is going to be a crazy 6 weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Picture Redux

Well, I suppose it's better than the last school picture.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Booooooo on Babies R Us

On Black Friday of 2007 I was about 13 weeks pregnant. On Black Friday I got up at 4am and stood outside Babies R Us & got a buttload of diapers when the store opened. I think I got something like 1,000 diapers and spent $80. That stash actually lasted me til Black Friday of 2008. Then I did the same thing again (12 boxes at $10/box). That stash I'm still using.

I was so looking forward to Black Friday of 2009 where I hopefully would be stocked up til next year around this time. $10 a box of diapers, just like the previous two years, right????

Nooooooooooo. The Black Friday Babies/Toys R Us ads have been released. Their diaper bargains suck this year. $5 for 36 diapers. There are coupons out there for $2 off a package, so I suppose you can get 36 diapers for $3, but you can only print internet coupons 2x. So $6 for 72 diapers, yeah, it's a good deal. But if you can only buy 72 diapers, sorry, not worth waking up at 4am for. The wipes deal is the same as last year ($5 for a big box). That's a good deal. I don't recommend the sensitive ones though. Those suckers fall apart if you yank on them. The regular ones are just fine. Still...not sure if it's worth waking up that early for 72 diapers and a few boxes of wipes. We still have a ton of wipes.

Booooooo on Black Friday this year. Guess I'll just sleep in unless something really strikes my fancy. :(

The gut says....

NO on the house. Yes, it's a good buy. Yes, it has a view. Yes, it has enough space to host 85 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it doesn't really have anything wrong with it.

And we said no.

Doesn't really make sense, does it?

It really comes down to feeling comfortable. Do we feel comfortable owning that type of house? No, it goes against our principles of living simply. Do we feel comfortable doling out that amount of money for the long term (mortgage, insane property taxes, utilities)? No. We can, but we don't want to.

I even looked back at all the pictures just now. Yeah, it's pretty. But it's just not us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oh, I don't know

This house thing? Oh, I don't know. Most of the time I am apathetic about it. If it goes through, it goes through. If it doesn't, it doesn't. Talk about passionless. We hate committing so much money each month til our house sells. We think it's much more house than we need. We like our current house enough just fine to get us through the next couple of years. Moving is stressful; we don't like stress. There's already enough stress around the holidays. We don't want any more.

So we still don't know. Our real estate agent hates us. Buying a house is typically on emotion, and she does not understand our almost complete lack of emotion. "It's a steal!?!" Real estate agent yells excitedly. We look at each other and shrug, "Yeah, we know." Then we look at the clock and yawn.

It's that time of year to do the Thankful List. Let's see how far I can get before sleep takes over:

1. I'm thankful for a wonderful husband who is rational, smart, funny, and a great daddy.

2. I'm thankful for a feisty Miss J who has an opinion on everything.

3. I'm thankful for our health.

4. I'm thankful that we're employed.

5. I'm thankful for a roof over our heads (or maybe two).

6. I'm thankful for our smart friends who are a constant source of knowledge and challenge.

7. I'm thankful that our parents are in reasonably good health.

8. I'm thankful that we live where we want to live (i.e., Seattle area).

9. I'm thankful for libraries and public information.

10. I'm thankful for all educators.

And after writing those 10 things, I feel like buying this house will go against the main thing I stand for, which is living simply. Life's greatest gifts are those that don't cost money or cost very little money. Why live in a constant state of stress (over money) during Julia's formative years? This is the time to enjoy walking through the fall leaves and watch her amazement, and I worry we won't be able to do that if we take on this house. It's not a huge worry, but I think it's a valid worry.

Enjoying house limbo

Being in house limbo doesn't seem nearly as stressful as making a decision. We'll likely know Tuesday whether we're going to make the leap or not. It helps that my mother the Rational Decision Maker thinks we should go forward with the house. She's probably even more cautious than I am, so if she thinks it's a good deal and worth it, then we should at least keep pursuing it.

Here are some pictures that S took while doing the home inspection. You wanted pictures, right??? There are no master bedroom pictures because the wife is ill and lives in there, and's very awkward to take pictures of an ill person in bed.

The view from what would be Julia's room:

The view from the living room (see, isn't it better than the view from the deck, which was posted a few days ago?):

The next two are the family room and the kitchen.

Ordinarily I like yellow, but there's something about this yellow that I don't like. Or maybe it's just not the color I want to see in a kitchen or family room. Any ideas on what color would work well? I was thinking standard tan would contrast well with the white. Or maybe sage, but greens are really difficult to get right. I do love the family room (especially with all those built-ins and the brick wall), but it's a logistical nightmare for putting a TV. The cable jack is in that top cabinet, which will likely hold a 27" TV. You can't put the cable through the brick, and the door to outside is on the other wall. Hmmmm.... You see the couch there? That is staying, and we were going to move it to the basement. There are fluorescent lights in the kitchen, as well as the laundry room. Those would definitely need to be changed.

The laundry room is huge. It's also outdated and has fluorescent lights, but you can't win them all.

Stairs...duh. Can you just see Julia coming down in her prom dress? I'm a sucker for spiral staircases. Not such a fan of the chandelier, but as I keep saying, you can't win everything.

In this one, you're standing right next to the window in the formal living room. Fireplace to the immediate right, and french doors to the den a little farther down. You can see the entry way and the stairs. Formal dining to the left (again, not fond of the chandelier there either) and you can see the entrance to the kitchen. I really like the color in here and think it would look good extended to the kitchen and family room. Or would that be too boring?

Wet bar in basement. There's also cabinets below the counter that's in the front of the picture.

One of the bedrooms in basement (there's a view of the sound from that window as well). And bathroom in basement. There are actually double sinks in this bathroom though the picture doesn't show it. Will need a bit of work, but it's certainly acceptable to put guests.

And that's all the pictures S could sneak in since the owner was following him around.


I am a sucker for indie coming of age movies. I am a sucker for the 1980s. I am a sucker for amusement parks. My favorite amusement park is Kennywood (where this movie was shot). So how could I not love this movie? It was a sure winner. Then if you put Whitesnake, The Cure & The Outfield on the same soundtrack, I am in heaven.

Of course I loved this movie. You could tell they wanted Michael Cera to play the lead, but he has likely moved on to greener pastures so they got Jesse Eisenberg to do it. The whole time you think it's being played by Michael Cera's brother. I suppose it's hard to get someone to pull off the good boy who's slightly obsessive, brooding, smart but naive. Jesse did a good job.

I must say that I'm not a Twilight fan. I just don't get the hype. Kristen Stewart is in this movie in her pre-Twilight days. She did okay.

As for plot, there's not a whole lot of it. Those indie coming of age movies don't really have a lot of plot - it's more like lots of spewing angst. But I like it just fine.

My favorite parts had to be when they were showing my favorite amusement park in the whole wide world that I haven't been to in 18 years. I figured out it was filmed at Kennywood from a faraway angle as it looked on to half a ride. That is how much I love Kennywood that I can identify a ride I haven't been on in 18 years from a weird angle. They had a scene at the Potato Patch (world famous cheese fries but no cheese fries in the shot) with the Thunderbolt in the background. Memories...

Teen angst + amusement park = fun summer

Since I have all these biases going into the movie, I can't give a recommendation. You either love this type of movie or you don't. I'm definitely in the LOVE category!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thoughts of Today

* When you take kids to a restaurant, ask for the bill asap so you don't have to wait around for 15 minutes after you've finished your meal while your kid goes into meltdown mode.

* House inspection on Friday. If anything major comes up, the deal is off. They said upfront they are not making any concessions after an inspection. S and I are already uncomfortable about our budget, as the house already exceeds what we wanted to spend & the property taxes on that place are insane. If it needs a new roof or the heat is on its last leg, then we just don't want to put any more into it. And we really can't until we sell this house. We really like the house, but we are both detached enough to call it off with little remorse. If we backed out now, we'd only be out the cost of the inspection.

* These new Jello Mousse Temptations are pretty good. Weird texture though (and I wonder where Julia gets her texture issues).

* Today Julia had quite a bit from the sippy cup. About 16 oz milk from a cup and only 4 oz from a bottle. It's not that she's attached to the bottle, but since she has been such an apathetic eater her whole life, it's been a struggle to get her to initiate picking up a cup on her own to drink. After her nap, she drank about 6 ounces from the cup over a course of half an hour. I was so impressed! Her therapists have been saying that bottles are more efficient to get calories into her. I was so impressed today with how fast she drank and how the tide may have turned toward the cup. She drank 2 ounces in about 10 seconds by cup. That's faster than she would drink from a bottle. Again, I'm thrilled. It's one of those things that probably only a parent of a kid with feeding struggles would understand.

* Took Julia to work today to weigh her. 21 pounds, 5 ounces with diaper, leggings & t-shirt. So I *think* she might be clearing 21 pounds naked. This is up half a pound since 2 months ago. That's not as much as I hoped for, but we did do the whole milk transition since then. We took her liquid calories from 30 calories/oz to 18 cal/oz over the course of six weeks. It's an adjustment to her system and forces her to take in more through solids. So given the radical change in diet (formula --> milk) and balance (liquids --> solids), I'd have to say the small weight gain is good considering everything. As for percentile, 21 pounds would be around the 10th percentile for weight. Yeah, she's a little thing ... but ... she's been hanging around the 10th percentile for a few months now. Julia's natural set point is probably to be a 10th percentile kid. I don't think I'll ever be saying she's a 90th percentile kid. She doesn't like food or eating that much, and she has a slender build. Let's say this all together: She takes after her daddy because her body type is certainly not mine.

* We ordered a down alternative comforter from We had a feather one, but I'm allergic to it. Plus it was all these feathers in a cover, and it got all clumpy and bunchy. This one is in a box pattern, so the filling doesn't move around. This new comforter is really nice and keeps us warm. $30 from Overstock in a king size. Great deal!

* Julia's daycare was closed today and I had off work anyway. It was great to hang out with her today. We played this morning, left the house at 10am, came home at 12:45pm, we both took a 2 hour nap, had snack, played a little, and then Daddy came home. The day really zoomed by. The nap was very, very nice. I have been sleeping so poorly that it was so great to catch up on some sleep. And if Julia was like how she is now back when I was on maternity leave, I would have enjoyed it so much more. She was so unhappy last year. Today she was just fine. She still has some major clinginess issues. If we're sitting down on the couch and I get up, she freaks. I'm only going to the kitchen (which she can see from the couch), but she starts crying if I don't pick her up and take her the 10 feet to the kitchen. She rarely wanders off out of sight distance. It can be good on one hand (she's not going to wander off and get into trouble), but on the other hand it's really frustrating to deal with a kid who flips out if you move more than 2 feet from her.

* In ten years when I complain that my daughter doesn't want to be seen with me, remind me of her first two years of life when we had to be within 2 feet of her at all times.

* That's all my thoughts for today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nobody Backs Us Into a Corner

Much of the day has been fretting. We saw the house at lunchtime. The views are marvelous. From every room (sans the den and bathrooms), you can see the water, the mountains, and Seattle skyscrapers. Some cosmetic work, but we've got time...

S and I ran the number a bazillion different ways today. Then we finally took a step back and separate the numbers into short-term (til our current house sells) and long-term (after our current house sells).

The sellers chose our offer to counter. They countered with some stuff that made us uncomfortable. Nothing bad, and they seem like decent people, it's just going down a road we don't want to go down.

When we were there looking at the house again today, another real estate agent came by with people to look at the house. Our real estate agent thinks it's the other offer that we beat out. She thinks they are going to raise their offer. That is why she is advocating we just take the seller's counter offer. If we accept the counter, we have won - it's a done deal.

Again, accepting the counter as is makes us nervous because we're just not comfortable with all of the provisions.

So, against our real estate agent's advice, we are countering. S and I both feel good about it. We feel we can sleep at night with what we offered, and we feel we tried to meet their needs while meeting our needs.

I'm sure our agent is pissed with us that we just didn't take it as is. Because this means they can accept all offers again right now. And, you know what, that's fine.

Real estate agent will be here in 2 hours, we'll do our counter to the counter, and if it's accepted, GREAT! If it's rejected, we won't be heartbroken.

More waiting, but this time I don't feel nearly as panicky.

Advice needed, my peeps

Lonnnnng night. We went to see the house tonight (see a few blog entries down for pictures). It was night, so it was hard to see the view and such. But the house was nearly perfect. As in, it had all of the features we've been looking for. ALL. Given all that the house has to offer, it's a steal. A steal that's above our comfort level.

The house has a den to the left when you come in. There is a formal living room with a fireplace, a dining room off to the right, and that goes into the kichen (needs to be updated at some point but tolerable other than the fluorescent light fixture). The family room is large but cozy at the same time with bookcases lining one wall and the fireplace taking up one wall. There is a hallway that leads to a powder room. There's a laundry room that has cabinets and a sink. The room also has enough space to set up an ironing station and a sewing machine. Then there's the 3 car garage (finished). The shelving + freezer in the garage stay with the house. Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms. The master is a horrid shade of sea foam green, but that's just paint. The master bath is okay, I seem to recall carpet, which isn't my favorite thing in a bathroom. The closet is a walk-in, and the interesting thing is that there's an unfinished room off the closet. It could easily be an exercise room or even more closet space. Maybe 200 sq feet - pretty big although it's a tad of an awkward shape (think traditional attic). Then you go down the spiral staircase back to the first floor and continue to spiral down to the basement.

If I haven't mentioned, every room except for the den and bathrooms can see out the back toward the water (didn't see the water since it was night, but I think it is indeed there).

Back to the basement. It has a spacious wet bar. Lots of cabinets, outdated, but still has a nice feel. There's a huge rec room. There's a Y2K pantry down there too. It's a walk-in pantry, so you can store a lot of canned goods, toilet paper, all that kind of stuff. Then there are 2 bedrooms downstairs and a full bathroom.

The backyard has two levels. I saw some sort of trellis thing down below.

Overall condition seemed pretty good. The owner escorted us and our real estate agent around the house. Kinda odd but whatever. We're not going to talk about the wife who was there but we never found.

The house went on the market yesterday. Today they got their first offer. Let's just say it's priced well. We came in with an escalator clause and put in $500 over asking (since we knew there was another offer).

At 11:30pm, we found out that ours was accepted. There's a weird provision they want, but I think it can be sorted out if we want the house.

Sooooooo....I'm at a loss of what to do. It is everything we want, but it's HUGE. 4,500 sq feet for 3 people is insane.

- Good deal
- Pretty much everything we want
- Preapproved at the higher price (remember it was $25k more than we were preapproved for, but we called tonight and got it through)

- Yikes, that's a huge mortgage! Of course, once we sold our house (which we own outright), we would refinance and bring our payment down quite a bit. Quite a bit.
- Ongoing expenses. The house is huge: utilities. I'm going to call tomorrow and see if I can weasel past heating bills out of the gas company. The property taxes on this house are killer. It is assessed for $150,000 more than our offer.
- Having a mortgage again and then what if our house doesn't sell, what if one of us loses a job, the what-if game. Actually, as long as that doesn't happen while we technically own both houses, it would be tolerable. We could still manage the mortgage if we sold our current house and one of us lost our job.

We're going to see it tomorrow during the day, I'm going to do some more data gathering, and the big decision will be forthcoming. If you have any opinions, please share.

Oh, and they want us to have it on December 21. Yeah, this year will be a Christmas to remember if we're lugging around boxes!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I didn't share the best part about grocery shopping with a toddler on Saturday. Toddlers have a way of spotting every balloon within a 500 foot radius. Adults apparently lose this skill. It's a shame, isn't it?

The first time Julia saw a balloon on Saturday about gave me a heart attack. She's sitting happily in the shopping cart (this was early on in the escapade), looking from left to right manically. Now I know she was on balloon patrol. At the time, I thought she was entertained by boxes of Betty Crocker. I'm ambling through the newly configured store trying to find stuff. As I turn to go into the next aisle, Julia bellows,


Then she tries to leap from the cart.

WTH? Was our shopping cart about to be bombed? What should I do? Should I duck and cover? But, as every mother knows, you should try to ascertain the real risk with adult eyes. I quickly figure out that Julia is in a frenzy over a display of balloons by the checkout lanes. KAAAAA KAAAAA sounds nothing like 'balloon.' So you can imagine that I was a little puzzled. "Balloon," I tell her repeatedly. We have to stop and let her touch each of the balloons. That must have done the trick because she lets me navigate the cart away from the balloons.

At the next store, I wasn't so nervous when I heard, "KAAAAAAAA KAAAAAAAA." I tried to find the balloons, we took a little detour to admire them, and off we went.

The third time I heard, "KAAAAAA KAAAAAA!" I just said, "Balloon," without even looking for the balloon.

And that's how children desensitize their parents.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Christmas Angst, it's only just beginning

I'm a terrible gift giver. Terrible gift givers hate the stress of Christmas. Why not just give everyone you know gift cards when you're a terrible gift giver? I would if I could. Oh man, I wish it was that easy. Or better yet, not exchanging gifts. That would be awesome. However, I've been down the road and have been burnt. Make a pinky swear pact to not exchange gifts, and then the stupid bugger arrives with a gift. Oooooooh, that irks me!

3 nephews and niece that live overseas: They're getting money. It costs a ton to mail them anything, plus I don't know what they like since we never see them. I've asked for Christmas lists in the past, and I get so confused. The older boys like Japanese toys that I can never make heads or tails of, the little girl likes My Little Pony stuff. But when I buy any of it, I never know if they already have that specific thing. Sometimes their mom has clothes on their lists, but kids hate getting clothes & I don't know their tastes. Money is just easier.

2 nephews who live up north: Since we're likely to exchange gifts with them, even if it ends up being in March, I'll get them toys or games. Usually on Black Friday I can find something age-appropriate for them.

In-laws: I dunno. We've made a pact to not give gifts this year, but they'll send Julia (and very likely us) gifts, so we feel we need to send them something. (And, no, we didn't end up offering to pay their airline tickets. We mentioned it to BIL, and he said immediately, "Well, who would get them for Christmas?" As if they are a prize, and frankly we don't have enough energy to deal with him. So we quickly retracted our proposal before we created more drama than we solved.)

My mom and her husband: I dunno.

My dear husband: He has one thing on his Christmas list. He wants a notebook that folds open and has a clipboard on one side and a pad of paper on the other. Yes, folks, he wants an OFFICE SUPPLY. Anything else, I ask? Nope. This gives me a headache. What does he want in addition to this? If there is nothing else he honestly wants, I feel crappy if I give him an office supply and some token stocking stuffers (shaving cream, anyone?) for Christmas. Yeah, yeah, the spirit of the season and all that, not gifts, but an office supply as your only gift????

Julia: I don't have any great ideas for her either. I was thinking maybe a toy cash register or a play garage/town thing. I'm sure I can snag something on Black Friday. She'll be easy this year. This might be the last year she's easy to buy for, so I should appreciate it.

Daycare: I was thinking of a nice gift for Julia's primary teacher and then a cookie platter for the other providers to share. Actually, Julia's teacher will be easy because I'll ask the center director (the teacher's aunt) for ideas. So I can crank that one out very easily. Thank goodness.

S's siblings: I dunno. Hopefully we won't exchange gifts.

What do I want: nothing. Except hubby already told me he found me a gift. Great, that adds the pressure to finding him a gift that's something other than an office supply. Yeah, of course me the terrible gift giver would marry the type of guy who has bought Christmas presents by November.

I would give him the tasks of getting all the Christmas gifts except that I know he sucks in getting gifts for his family. And his family are most of the gift recipients.

Lesson of the day: Marry someone who doesn't have many people in their family.

Be still my heart

A house just came on the market, and I am in love just looking at the pictures. It is everything we want, at least by looking at the pictures.

Curb appeal - CHECK

Turret - CHECK (I've always said I wanted a turret.) Want to see the turret from the inside? I'm already planning the prom entrance for Julia.

View - CHECK

Space and storage - CHECK

Did you see the 3 car garage? And this house has 4,600 square feet. 5 bedrooms plus a rec room and wet bar in the basement. Come on over, stay 3 weeks, and watch the fireworks over the sound.

I know we could technically pull it off, but it seems way too fiscally irresponsible. It's $25k over the purchase price we were approved for (I had just tossed a number out, so it is possible we'd be approved but who knows...). What would it cost to heat 4,600 square feet? And the property taxes are killer. I checked them out, and I nearly thought we'd have to sell Julia to pay them.

The downside besides the financial: The kitchen is icky. I think it's big enough, but it would require a remodel now the line...probably in 2022, which is when we could muster enough money to pay for new cabinets. There are no pictures of the bedrooms. We looked at a similar house nearby, and the master was teeny tiny. I wonder if this house will have the same problem.

Still, though, worth a look. The worst that could happen is that we fall in love and get way in over our heads. We would definitely have to sell our current house ASAP in order to not live on Top Ramen.

House Search = Disappointing

Our house is just fine. It really is. Our search for a house is mostly a buy low strategy, as in taking advantage of the current down market. If we can swing it, then we'll hold onto our current house until the market improves. In addition to taking advantage of the market situation, there are some other goals we'd like to attain:

1. More space. We have about 1,800 sq feet now. Not bad, but we would like a little more space for storage (indoor or garage).

2. When S's parents stay with us, the house feels REALLY small. All of the bedrooms are within a few steps of each other & we have poor insulation, so we can hear them snoring at night. We can even hear Miss J snoring at night, and she sleeps in the room furthest from us. The main bath upstairs (not the master bath, the main bath that guests use) is right up against our bedroom. So we get to hear doors opening and closing, bathroom noises, etc., ALL NIGHT LONG when they're with us. They tend to stay with us for 2 weeks, and the cramped quarters may have something to do with why we are all itching for the visit to finish as the two weeks wind down. A good start would be for the main bath to NOT be against the master bedroom.

3. More division of the bedrooms, i.e., put the in-laws (or other guests) in their own space with their own bathroom to give them a retreat-like feel.

4. We'd like a view. A water view would be very nice.

5. Our garage connects to our family room, so every time you come into the house from the garage, you walk right through the family room. It's a very awkward traffic pattern.

The thing is that our current house has a lot of good features that we don't necessarily want to give up.

* Nice neighborhood - location, location, location. We have the least expensive house in a neighborhood with houses that are much more expensive.
* Spacious kitchen - there's a lot of room to move around.
* Huge pantry and since I buy 72 cans of Progresso soup at a time, we definitely use the space.
* 4 bedrooms
* Okay closet space, including a nice walk-in master closet

We do know that since we'd like a view home that we'll have to compromise some.

Today our real estate agent was pushing us to look at two homes. We really weren't keen on either. They both compromise too much. The first home we ended up not seeing because it didn't meet our needs. It had a GREAT view, but it was 3 bed/2 bath. There was a bedroom on the main level with a full bathroom. The problem was that there were only 2 bedrooms on the upper floor, and they shared a bathroom. Since Miss J will likely have the bedroom next to us (which would put guests down below), we'd be sharing a bathroom with her. Not what we want. It was only 3 bedrooms, it didn't have a family room/den/other bedroom, so it was short on space while technically being a bit bigger than our current home.

We did look at another house. This one also had an incredible view. The view was on the side of the house. So from the driveway you have a killer view, just like in the backyard (though the front yard has a more unobstructed view). The master also has a view, but that's it. It's technically 3 bedrooms, but there is a den. That makes it okay. There are some serious drawbacks.

*Drawback 1: They converted 1 of the 2 garages into a bedroom and 3/4 bath. So it was one lone garage. Not cool. Then the conversion they did was whacked. The garage connects to the utility room. So if you're going from the laundry room to the garage, you pass through the room. There's no door to the room separate from the laundry room and garage. So if you open the laundry room door to go into the garage, you're stepping right past a shower stall (exposed to foot traffic), a small room, a sink, and a door to a toilet (thank goodness you have a door if you choose to pee). So while it technically is an additional room and bathroom, it's not really usable for guests unless you do not want to get to the garage.

*Drawback 2: The main bath is right next to the master. It's even worse than our current house. In our current house, the main bath is along the wall our dresser is on. In this house, the main bath is right next to where the headboard for the bed would be. Oh yay, I really want to hear everything that goes on in that bathroom.

*Drawback 3: The kitchen. It's tiny. The pantry's tiny. They did remodel the kitchen, and what they did is very taste-specific...and not our taste. They got these antique-looking cabinets (i.e., they painted their old cabinets), painted them cream, and then stenciled crap on them. They put a blacksplash up to the ceiling (why???). It's this black-and-white geometric stuff that, again, is not our taste.

We wanted to see a third house. It's huge, but it will need a lot of work. It's a good price, though, since it's a short sale. The owners don't seem all that cooperative - they're basically living there without paying a mortgage waiting for it to go into foreclosure. We would really like to get into that one. Maybe this week?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Grocery Shopping Escapades

I finally got the Winco picture posted!

Today I spent a lot on food. I did get a lot though. Our panty is a bit embarrassing right now. Ummm, I have 72 cans of Progresso soup, 20 cans of tuna fish & 30 cans of beans. It's kind of like I'm getting ready for a month-long blizzard or, as S says, I'm 9.5 years late to Y2K.

This morning S had to go to his tae kwon do competition. QFC was having a Saturday only sale, and Safeway was having a Saturday & Sunday sale. I thought that they might run out of some things, so I should probably go early. I tried to feed Julia breakfast with limited success (she's not a morning eater plus she doesn't eat much anyway), got her dressed, and we hit the stores.

I did have a plan. I had my list of things to get at each store. I took my coupons in the organizer, and I had a $5 off coupon for Safeway in my organizer + I separately had 4 coupons for free items at Safeway if I spent $50.

* Get to QFC. They had a promotion that if you spent $10, you could buy a gallon of milk for $1, get a free 2-liter of 7-up, and get a turkey for 29 cents a pound. They were also running a promotion that if you bought 10 mix & match items from a certain list of foods, you would get $5 off (or 50 cents off per item). I spent some time going through the store getting my mix 'n match items. Like I wanted some egg rolls but could NOT find them. So I had to substitute another item for the egg rolls. I had a coupon for $1 off Activia. After the mix 'n match discount, Activia was $1.50 for a 4-pack. After the coupon, it was only 50 cents! My original bill was $71, but I got out of QFC for only $22.50, including a 20 lb turkey, milk, 7-up & 10 mix 'n match items. Woot woot! I like our QFC because they are very good at customer service. Julia wanted out of the cart as I approached the check-out line. I was holding her and trying to pay (thank goodness you don't have to unload the cart there...they do it). The cashier insisted taking my cart to my car to help me out. I've never had that happen before. So nice! My only complaint with QFC is they kinda arrange their food in a funky way. Like I'm used to pancake mix being in the baking aisle next to flour or cake mixes. In QFC, pancakes have their own section in a different aisle than baking. Their pumpkin puree is with canned veggies, and again I'm used to pumpkin puree being in baking near pie filling. And I never did find those egg rolls...

* Then off to Safeway. I was planning on buying $50 worth of food because if you bought $50 worth of food you got $10 in free Kohls' dollars, 4 free items (eggs, bacon, bread & OJ), and I had a $5 off coupon if I spent $50. Stupid stupid me didn't have the coupons for the 4 free times with my other coupons, so I forgot. Safeway's doing a remodel right now, and they are switching all of their aisle contents around. Ugh! Julia was getting restless and NOT wanting to sit in the cart. And Julia's previous infant teacher Alyssa was working at the Starbucks in the store, and we stopped to chat with her. I just got unfocused and lost track of those free coupons. They had a great deal on Progresso soups, and I eat those at work a lot. Low points, filling. Safeway had a lot of deals going on this week that were Buy 2, Get 3 Free. Yet the ad didn't tell you what the price was for them, so you had to do the math at the store. Not difficult, but with a restless toddler and trying to find the right just made things more difficult. I got a buttload of soup, tuna and other food staples, got to $50, got my $10 in Kohls' cash, used my $5 off coupon, and totally forgot to pick up the free coupon items. I didn't even realize this til I got home. Original total was $114, and I paid $59.

* I looked at the free item coupons. I thought perhaps I could go back to the store and bring my receipt and see if I could get it to go through. Then I read on the coupon that it had to be shown at the time of purchase. DARN! I thought that the soup deal was really good and so was the Betty Crocker frosting deal (80 cents for a tub of frosting), so once S got home, I went out by myself to Safeway Part Deux. Total came to $119 before discounts, but I only paid $54. I got another $10 in Kohls' cash, got the 4 free items, and I used some coupons that I had in my organizer for Progresso soup AND frosting!!

* Now I have $20 in Kohls' cash to spend, and I have never been to Kohls. They just opened a store about 15 miles away last year. I thought I'd maybe get a Christmas present for Julia there. I have to use the $20 by November 21.

I spent $135 today on food. I did get a ton of stuff, including at least a 4 month supply of soup! And I got $20 to spend at Kohls.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The People of Winco

I went to Winco tonight and even took a picture. Within the span of 2 aisles, I saw three people in pajama pants - as in fleecey pants in pastel colors with cows and bears on them. One even had on slippers. But I wasn't brave enough to take pictures. Taking pictures with an iPhone is not something you can do subtly. Then there's that the giveaway picture click sound effect, which I haven't figured out how to disable.

What I did take a picture of was a couple with two very, very full carts. They must shop once every few months. I was in a different check-out lane and had been fascinated by them for the whole shopping trip and had an opportunity to finally take a picture. I still haven't figured out if they live far away & come every few months for the deals or if they're on food stamps (it is the 6th of the month, after all). If they are on food stamps, two overflowing shopping carts had to take most of their food stamp money for the month. I don't mind if those on food stamps shop at Winco at all because you can get more for the money. It's just that you don't want to be line behind them. If they're on WIC as well as food stamps, that's 3 separate transactions plus the cashier verifying all their WIC items.

Here's the pic. There's a couple a few checkout lanes away. The guy is blocking one cart and there's a woman behind the other cart. 2 full carts!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

3 i's with hearts over them

Blogging from work on my lunch break. I'm going to a fancy schmancy meeting at 1pm in nice clothes (dress to least 1 day a year, that's my motto!), so I think walking at lunch is out. I don't want to come back a smelly mess. And if I leave this building, I know I'm going to drive myself to Taco Time. Oh how I love Taco Time, and I'm having this huge Taco Time craving right now. I don't usually eat beef, but I love their beef crisp tacos, shredded lettuce, great cheese and token piece of tomato on top. I could literally eat 6 of those tacos. Each taco is 5-6 points, so that would put me way over points budget for the day. I will not say how many times I went there during my pregnancy for lunch. Let's just say Julia never went hungry while she was in the womb.

Even if I could restrain myself from going to Taco Time, I'm not in the mood to shop. I got another coupon for a free pair of Victoria's Secret underwear. The last time I blogged about it was way too traumatizing although I did go back afterward and successfully get my free pair of underwear. The thought of going back AGAIN does not thrill me, even if it is free.

So I sit here, eat my Progresso Chickarina soup and blog.

I saw a real estate agent sign where the real estate agent is named Tiffinie. Why oh why do parents do this? Personally I just have a hard time taking someone with the name of Tiffinie seriously. Not her fault that her parents spelled her name like that, but she's stuck with it forever unless she changes it somehow or uses her middle name. I just imagine hearts over the 3 "i"'s in her name with big, loopy handwriting.

We were so going to name Julia a trendier name instead: McKenna. I couldn't quite commit to it when push came to shove, but we both liked it a lot. The Mc thing, the capital letter in the middle, and the trendiness both dissuaded us at the end. We thought the Honorable Julia sounded better than the Honorable McKenna.

When I was at Winco one day (I should really start a People of Winco blog), there was a young lady who wasn't wearing much. On her back was a huge flower tattoo with the name "MacKennah" and a birth date of May something 2008. That was when it completely sunk in that I am SO glad we didn't go with McKenna or any such derivative.

I'm sure other kids do this earlier, but it's so fun to ask Julia, "Where's Julia?" and she points to herself. I think it's so cool!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Still Committed To Shredding

It's day 1,000,504 of the Shred. Ha, it only feels like it! It's more like day 14 or 15. I did skip 3 days, but on one day I did it 2x, so it's really like I only skipped 2 days. I keep plugging along, sometimes following Anita (particularly stuff in plank position) and sometimes Natalie (okay, maybe mostly Anita).

I love love love the resistance training. I've heard this is the key to weight loss. I hope it's also the key to taut arms. My arms are so flabby. I really carry the weight on top...the top 1/3. I canNOT wear a dress because it's so tight on top and sags on the bottom. Oh, to be proportionate... If I end up with even bigger arms after all this, I'm gonna scream.

I'm not in the mood to concentrate on anything. So I guess I shall hit the hay after a couple of quick e-mails.

On to Wednesday!

Let the leaves fall where they may

This sinus infection is kicking my butt. I can deal with the pain, but the full sinuses make me feel dizzy and disoriented all day. My throat is so sore too. My own darn fault for sharing utensils with a little girl who is also a petri dish. Last night I crawled into bed by 7:45pm and didn't wake up til 6am. That's a nice little prescription. I'd like that every night. But then things like blogging wouldn't happen if I went to sleep that early every night!

Today at lunch I took a nice long walk. I love long walks. It was a perfect day for walking - not cold, the crunch of the autumn leaves beneath your feet, very few people out. I was astounded by all the leaf blowers though. There was a guy with this industrial leafblower on the walking trail, and I saw another one near work. Ugh, leaf blowers! Maybe I'm bitter because leaf blowers are the reason for many truncated naps in our household. Or maybe I just do not have an affinity for gas-powered noise makers. I don't really get the concept. Why temporarily displace autumn leaves? They're so pretty. If they are piled 3 inches high, use a rake, fool. Don't be polluting the environment and hurting people's ears because you're too lazy to rake them. Oh, and walking trails do NOT need to be leafblown.

Tomorrow evening we're looking at a house. I'm such an apathetic househunter. I think it's because we have a perfectly fine house, and I am infinitely lazy. The prospect of selling our current house, packing, moving, unpacking has really no appeal to me. So why move? Well, the market is low right now, and if we can pick up a good deal (i.e., house with a water view that has more space), why not take advantage of it?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween was great!

On Friday was Julia's fall harvest (Halloween) party at school. They were begging for volunteers, so I signed up for set-up. Let's just say Julia had a cranky day at daycare due to set-up for the party, her teacher being gone due to set-up, teething (maybe?), and getting over a cold. I had a bazillion errands to do after work, get her fed, bathed, dressed in her costume, volunteer at the party, get her to the party, come home, 2nd dinner, and into bed. Julia was cranky, I was cranky. Thanks to S, things processed quickly on the home front.

I just knew I wouldn't be needed for set-up. Because for events like that they always have the employees on those tasks in case the volunteers don't show up. I tossed a few fake flower garlands up, and that was that.

Julia's poor disposition continued for the party. She did okay given everything we were up against, but mostly she just wanted to go to sleep and be out of her costume. I was feeling the same way.

We did get a family picture at the Harvest Party. That was good. It's so hard to get family pictures at events.

On Saturday we decided to take it easy. Keep it light, let Julia get plenty of rest before trick-or-treating. Julia and I made cookies in the late morning. She was so cute, wanting to stir and "help."

Both Julia and I took a long nap; it was a big night!

Trick-or-treating went really well. Julia really seemed to "get it" after a few houses. She didn't want to let go of her pumpkin full of candy. And she had quite a bit of stamina for almost 17 months old. I think we were out for about 90 minutes. Toward the end she was starting to sit down on the concrete every few feet or wander off into all sorts of directions. She did much better than I expected. She didn't care for the hat of her costume, which we predicted. She did okay with her costume except for random fits every once in a while where she'd try to peel it off.

All in all, a great Halloween and she really seemed more into it than I would have expected.