Sunday, September 11, 2011

America Shall Not Perish

[We] here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." ~ Abraham Lincoln, 1863

"That 'we here highly resolve...' in the midst of a bitter civil war, they came to listen: nearly twenty0-thousand people crowded onto a field in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was November 1863. Only a few months earlier seven thousand Americans had lost their lives on this ground.

"With his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln transformed a field of sorrow and ashes into a place of hope. He understood how precious it was for a nation to rededicate itself, in a war-torn world, to the twin ideals of liberty and equality. Today, those ideals still stand as our twin towers: beacons to guide us as we strive to fashion a world in which all people may freely live their dreams." - James West Davidson, co-author, The American Nation

Monday, September 5, 2011

Great grandparents

My mom called me on Saturday. My Granny's surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday, the 7th. I know I didn't get around to mentioning it before, probably because I was hoping to get some time to process it and write something poignant. But I'm pretty lazy when it comes to blogging I guess. My grandmother has breast cancer. And apparently it's pretty advanced, but it's isolated to a lump so her doctor was pretty confident that he could remove the lump and just give her radiation therapy to resolve it. My mom didn't think her health (she has COPD and was just getting to a point where she didn't need oxygen to move around anymore) would last through radiation treatments. So my mom had her doctor consider other options and they sought a second opinion. The next doctor told my grandmother that a complete mastectomy would negate the need for radiation. My Granny wasn't really going to go for it, but finally came around to our way of thinking. I think she was rather scared because my Papa passed away within months of his cancer diagnosis (when I was only 13). He had pretty advanced cancer too and when they went in to remove it, they found tumors throughout his body. He just never made it through the chemotherapy. But the reason my mom called, other than to wish me a happy birthday and apologize for not being able to visit, was to say that the surgery had been scheduled and Granny had taken a turn for the worse in health. She's been through a lot of tests to assess her for surgery and she's been getting progressively run down since Liam's birthday party. Well, it turns out that her potassium and sodium levels have plummeted again (this happened last year too). It leaves her so weak and unsteady; she's tired all the time.

We went to visit her today. She is pretty worn out. Her voice is deep and congested sounding. She was wearing her dressing gown. She hadn't made her bed in three days she said. We brought the boys to entertain her and just be generally cheerful, but I don't think her surgeon is going to want to do the surgery after I saw how she was doing. I made her bed. Jon went out and brought in the trash cans and took out the newspaper to the recycling bin. We brought in her walker and her toilet seat which upset her because she just got them out of the house at the beginning of the summer. She's back on oxygen, but only at night. She didn't have any water to drink the whole time we were there. Mom came in from work (she's just moved out of the house and back into her own house but is still working in Sac) and made Granny a sandwich and we had a little chit chat. I think it was a good visit overall and I'm glad we insisted on visiting. Who cares that she didn't have a gift or card for my birthday? I'm 32 tomorrow. It's not a cool birthday; I'm claiming to be 27 again. But she did give me some money. We stopped by Louis Cairos in Williams on the way home and brought home delicious steak dinner. I got a rib eye smothered in miso onion butter and grilled onion with ranch beans and minestrone soup. Yummers. So I still got a great gift.

On a side note, I also got a call from my dad yesterday. He was apologizing for being incommunicado the last 2 months and wanted us to swing by to pick up some money he wanted us to have for Liam's daycare. His van finally died last week and I guess he and my uncle Ted spent the day on Saturday shopping for my dad's first new vehicle since they bought my Garfunkle when I was 12 (um, 20 years ago!). He got a Toyota Tacoma pickup, new, and I think it will be a great investment for him and his property. But he also told me that my Grandpa Bert was in the hospital in Stockton, just having had surgery and was recovering really well. I thought this was for a kidney transplant that dad said he needed. But no. Apparently he had a brain tumor too. And his doctor had not originally wanted to operate on it; I guess he said "let's wait a couple of months and see, but I don't think it's malignant." So I guess my grandpa told him that if he didn't get the tumor out of his brain, then he would stop going to dialysis. I can understand his reasoning. The man's 90 years old. If his brain isn't good enough to rescue, why should his kidney be?

All in all, I'm so lucky that my boys have 3 great grandparents still in their lives, even though we only spend a significant amount of time with my Granny. I still have fond memories of my two great grandmothers, both of whom I knew throughout elementary school.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

make-up and la abuela

Too cute. Yesterday morning Liam was up while I was getting ready and says "wuss dat?" Make-up. "Cam I put on da make-up too? Weeum make-up?" So I took my older blush brush and swiped it across his face. "Dat tickles momma!" Then I brushed his hair with my big paddle brush (which is like as big as his face) and spritz him with a little hairspray. "All done mommy!" Ummm, I do think this kid is either destined for theater or drag (he also calls himself a "pwincess" when he grabs the laundry from the hamper and puts it up to himself). Either way; that's cool with me.

We also went to the park after dinner. He was running around in diaper and t-shirt and suddenly said "I puddon da sand-do-does. I go to da park." Do you want to go to the park? "YES PWEEZE!" So I let Jon stay home and relax since both boys had been up since 6:15am and I couldn't get home until after 5pm. I put Colin in the carrier, grabbed a sheet and the boppy, a juice cup for Liam and the Yam (yes, he did put pants on). He had a grand ol' time. I took him to the park instead of the elementary school across the street. It was a toss up really. The school means i can let him run around a little more since it's fenced in and only across the street in case of boo-boos. But the park has equipment more his size. I chose the park. While crossing the street, I was singing our little "hold hands, cross the street" chant and a sheriffs deputy stopped and said to me "you got your hands full there" before he continued into the intersection. :)

There was a little Mexican girl (maybe 2 years old) and her grandma getting to the park just about the same time. Thee little girl was quite the dare-devil. Yeah, my son will go down slides by himself even if no one is watching, but she was sliding down the tall, bumpy slide backwards and on her belly. Wow! It took about an hour before Liam went down that slide at all, but he loves the twisty slide there. When the street vendor came by with his cart, the little girl and her grandma got some Mexican junk food (those pork rind things that look like rings and a shaved ice. Liam whined once about wanted some "ice cweem" but yo no tengo dinero, so sorry buddy. It turned out not to be a problem because he was really too enamored with the playground equipment to mind. And then, the little ol' abuela started offering Liam some of their snacks. Wow, how nice grandma. I made sure Liam wasn't too much of a pest and that he said please and thank you. He and the little girl ran back and forth along the wall. They went down slides. He got so overheated that his little pale anglo-nordic cheeks were bright pink. He was hot and sweaty and very sad when I finally put the kybosh on park time and we headed home.

Considering he hadn't taken a nap and had been up since 6am, I wasn't surprised when he drifted off to sleep easily after his bath...I only had to read 5 Thomas stories and 1 animal book :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

long day

Just to bookend this first day of the weekend after going back to work, here's the post of today. Ummm, wow! My boys are the biggest whiney brats. I don't know why but my fuse was so short today. Everything the littles did seemed to frustrate me beyond measure. I do feel bad but it seems like I'm getting to the end of my rope so easily with Liam these days. I know a lot of it has to do with him pushing his boundaries a little further now that he's 3. But still, WHY?!!!

Liam got up a little after 7am and was totally happy just totally loud for the first hour. Then his day went downhill fast. He "made a mess" by spilling his dry cereal all over his Green Ghost (who we just frickin' cleaned last night); it wasn't a mess, but he refused to either eat it or pick it up. Colin decided that he wasn't going to be happy unless he was in my arms so I couldn't exactly get any chores done. Jon was sleeping the morning away on the couch. I figured if I couldn't do housework I could try to do some work-work that I brought home but the boys were not going to have it. Colin spit up on me at almost every feeding and he took two 30 minute naps (that's all). He also was just a major complain-atron for the whole damn day.

Liam did not nap, but at least he entertained himself for a couple hours in his room. He peed on the living room floor after twenty minutes of sitting on his potty and on the big toilet watching videos of peeing on the potty (yes you can find those on YouTube). He shrieked at the highest pitch he could muster and threw trucks at me so I sent him to his room. During his bath, he insisted on getting more soap for the bath pouf but I wouldn't let him have it. So he tried to "climb" the corner bath shelf and yanked it so hard that EVERYTHING flew off of it and into the tub around him and scaring him (except for the particular quart sized bottle of baby shampoo that he had been trying to get - umm yeah, that flew out directly at my head by the other wall of the bathroom where I'd been sitting).

He went down to bed easily but Colin decided that he was finally going to be happy and cheerful for the first time today when I was trying to put him down. Such a cheeky monkey :)

So yeah, it felt like everything happening in this house today was created to irritate me. If I hadn't just had a cycle, I would swear it was my TOM. Grrrrrr. It's a good thing they're so cute or I'd probably have eaten them out of frustration.

mega update

No, this will not be long like the title might suggest. I just have some mega news to report on.

#1) I went back to work this week. Well, technically I went back to school last week to start getting my classroom in order. And it was quite the ordeal as I left my room rather messy and told my substitute that she was NOT in any way expected to organize beyond what she needed to function. So when they took down my room for the summer clean-up; yeah, they hid my mess in all my little tiny cupboards. Oh well. I also have some big changes that I'm making to my teaching methods and I had to pick up a class of 8th grade US History due to the massive size of the class of 2016. They gave me the most challenging class; I've never had an aide in my room everyday but there are enough students that require push-in support that I get one. Frankly, I accommodate for all of my students. But I also got some low readers and some pretty lazy kids who could do a lot better if they just did their assignments. These will be my little loves. I missed them all a lot when I left for maternity leave, but they're mine again [cue megalomaniacal laughter here].

#2) Liam's daycare/preschool will be remaining open! Laura is moving to the Redding area, but she decided that her original plan of having a manager oversee the school in her absence would work after all. So this allows the daycare to stay open AND the gals to retain their jobs as teachers. I'm very happy all around. We won't be putting Colin in or having them go full-time until Jon gets a regular job however. For now, Yamster will continue to go in the mornings only.

#3) Colin finally (seriously we thought he was gonna be walking before he did this) rolled over on the 17th. This makes him just 10 days shy of being 5 months old. He's been scooting around and getting into all kinds of crazy positions when he's on the floor or in his crib, but he just hadn't quite managed that roll. And he did the more difficult one first. While I was on the floor watching him in the baby gym, he rolled from back to belly so quickly and got his arm out from under him in so short a time you would have thought he'd been doing it for months. Hooray! He's not done it many more times since then, but it's awesome knowing he can now. Just a side note on the rolling around in the crib thing ... well, several times now we've found him completely turned around from the direction we put him in and he's been managing to get those skinny little legs of his stuck out of the crib slats. It doesn't really bother him though. Have I mentioned before what an awesomely happy and chill baby I have? Well, I do; he is.

That's all for now. You wouldn't believe what a mess the house has become after 2 weeks of being back at work and the Hubster still needs to finish the craft project for the ladies room in the office at work.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

baby BooB camp

Well, I am officially a week away from school starting. I am still behind in planning for my 8th grade class, mostly because I am still trying to cling tenaciously to the time off I've enjoyed since Colin was born. In anticipation of my return, I decided it's time to put the kybosh on Coco's boob munching throughout the day. Afterall, I'm not going to be able to take the little guy to work with me. It's time to build up the milk supply in the freezer.

When I returned to work with Liam, I had about 14 packages already in the freezer. But he was 7 weeks old when I returned and wasn't drinking very much in each bottle. Plus, we were still having to supplement with formula after every breast feeding. The kid was hungry and I just wasn't providing enough. Add to it the fact that I could only pump breast milk once a day because my principal scheduled my prep period right next to lunch (BIG MISTAKE) so I had no time to build up for a 2nd pumping during the day. During this time, Liam got very very used to the bottle and became very impatient. Weekends and evenings were torture but I felt like I had to continue breast feeding because I was already cheating him by giving him formula. A week after his 4 month doctor visit, I had one night that he threw a major screaming fit at bedtime because I wanted to nurse him and he wouldn't latch long enough for me to get a let-down. It's a vicious cycle. No latch, no let-down, no milk, baby cries for milk so he gets no latch. Lather-rinse-repeat. That night I told Jon to make a bottle and there would be no more breast for Baby Liam. He agreed because he could see how stressful breast feeding had become for both of us. Liam just screamed until we gave him his bedtime food (this time in bottle form). It only took me less than two days to dry up; I knew I still wasn't producing very much milk so I wasn't surprised. We had enough milk frozen that we just gave Liam 1/2 milk/formula bottles for the next 2 months until that ran out. Then my kid was formula fed all the way (except he was also starting solids at this time ... and then he went cow milk transitioned at 11 months old).

Back to the Coco milk situation. As I'm home most of the time, I don't have a big supply of milk stored up. In fact, I only have three 6oz bag in the freezer and he pretty much drinks 5-6oz at a time now (we've given him bottles so we know this). I've been lucky that my principal fulfilled my request for an afternoon prep period so now I can pump during lunch and prep at school. I'm going back to work every day this week to get my room ready and fill out lesson plans, etc. So I made Colin's baby Boob camp declaration!
"Colin will no longer get boob from the hours of 6:30am-4:30pm! He may eat a bottle when he likes, but I need to pump so he must take a bottle. I will also be pumping only during the times that I would be pumping during school too."
It started off well because I was very full in the morning and he only took one breast at his 5am feeding before noddling back off to sleep. I pumped the other side (my fuller side) and got 7oz! (amazing for me). I then pumped at noon (should have been 11, but my mom had called). I then forgot to pump during what would be my prep period, but I took advantage of the fact that both boys were still napping and got another round done at 3:45p. Well, Colin woke up almost right after I finished, so I just gave him the milk that was collected rather than thawing out another older bag. Wow! He's falling into pattern just great. Not only that, but he didn't want to eat again until 8:30p which was perfect because that's just before his bedtime. Phew! Things are looking like they might be easier already (yeah, we'll check in next week after the stress of going back to work is freakin' you out a bit and drying you up!)

So far, (knock wood) Colin is now older than Liam was when I stopped breast feeding and he looks like he'll make it quite a bite longer. Even if he goes as long after I return to work as Liam did, that'll make him 7 months old as opposed to 4.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Preschool Rainbow Cupcake - Pt. 2

Happy birthday to my Big Boy . . . the Yam turned 3 years old today!!! Can you believe it. He's done some phenomenal growing over the recent 3 months that he's been in preschool; I was excited to make cupcakes for his class in the preschool (and the school-age room as well). It's a little thing that I probably won't get to do a lot since Liam's birthday is in the summer and even if he were to have a party at school, well guess where I'll be – at school in my own classroom. (Colin is a risk too as his birthday may sometimes fall during Spring Break.)

When we dropped him off at school this morning, they had written on the window a birthday message for him. There was also a giant banner in rainbow dots between the two classrooms. How did they know I chose a rainbow theme?! I asked when we should bring the cupcakes by and they said around 10:30am so that there would be sufficient time before lunch to get a bit of appetite back. The preschoolers/toddlers were so cute in their little chairs. They all started to sing to Liam while I was handing out the cupcakes and Liam tried so so so hard not to dig into his frosting (which is pretty much all he eats of cake these days) until everyone was served.

Even two of the infants got to have some cake. And the school-age kids were super stoked when I said they could all have a cupcake too. The teachers were so impressed by the rainbows and called me Supermom! Awww. I told them it was easy but it just took a long long time. The little kids exclaimed “Wainbows!” when they bit into the cupcakes and when they saw the papers. The papers are beautiful actually; Jon said they looked like little tie-dyed shirts with their circular pattern that wasn't always perfect VBGYOR order.

It was a cool feeling, being that awesome kind of mom. You know, I hate to have a Back to School whinge right now, but I feel like I put this much effort into everything I do for others and that includes my friends as well as my students. Why oh why are my efforts not viewed as spectacularly by the administration or the parents? Maybe I need to make rainbow cupcakes for everyone at “B2S Nite” to get their appreciation. Um yeah; like that's ever gonna happen!

I hope Liam always enjoys cupcakes and being spoiled a bit on special days. I know it seems like we're going a bit overboard this year, but last year I wasn't even home because I was at a CTA conference and besides, this is like the first birthday he's going to remember anyway.

Oh, we finally got to learn the names of his little school chums. When I was loading the photos onto the computer this evening, I actually got Liam to tell me who everyone was. Apparently this Cami girl that he's confessed to holding hands with before is an older woman (she's probably four by my best guess). That was adorable when I learned about Cami. “Cami an' Weeum hold hans. Hold hans's OK to hold hans.” Awww.

Preschool Rainbow Cupcake - Pt. 1 Tutorial

Liam was allowed to bring cupcakes to his school for his birthday. The only stipulation was that we bring smaller cupcakes to minimize the amount of sugar and filler before lunch. Oh boy. Making my first set of class cupcakes for the kids!!! I was really excited but for the life of me, we haven't done anything to plan for a “party” so I had no themes or anything planned. My one advice I found in the blog-o-sphere was that toddlers like sweet – plain and simple – stick to chocolate or vanilla. When I thought about the apple spice cake with panuche frosting that I made a couple of weeks ago, I recalled Liam actually barely ate the cake, but boy did he eat that frosting. Okay, simple flavors it will be...but that doesn't mean it has to be simple design.

Awhile ago, we had a friend from our junior college days post her daughter's 1st birthday party pics that included the most beautiful 6-layer rainbow cake with white frosting. Each layer was a different color of the rainbow and there was thick white frosting between all the layers too. Well, I decided to go for it in cuppy cake form. And, I have a mini-muffin tin from our Sunday Champagne Brunch days in college.

I got a basic white cake mix and made the recipe on the box:
1 box mix
1 C. water
1/3 C. veggie oil
3 eggs
Mix with electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Then separate the cake mix evenly into 6 separate small bowls. Add food coloring. I was lucky I didn't have to mix any primaries to get secondary colors. I had 1 pack of those Schilling 4-color liquid droppers with the pointy caps (you know the ones – all our moms had them when we were growing up). But in my recent forays into more talent required types of decorating (eg. Liam's 1st birthday giraffe cake with my first attempt at fondant), I've managed to acquire a few other gel colors which are great as they don't liquify your icing and have super vibrant colors.

I used Wilton gel colors in: violet, copper orange, and sunny yellow.
I used the Schilling liquid colors for: red, blue, green.

I was a little worried that the orange was too dark. I originally bought it because it was my substitute for brown since I didn't think that was appropriate for a child's giraffe cake. But as it turned out, the red was so pale, it was almost pink and that contrasted with the dark orange quite nicely.

Start adding your separate cake mix by spoon. I used a small tea spoon (note I didn't say teaspoon) and only about half of the spoon at that. The cake batter was full enough that it really didn't spread. Being that I was using mini-cupcake papers, I noticed I was already having trouble with fullness. So by the time I got to green, I realized throwing in a couple spoonfuls of water to thin it a little. The colors started to spread and I was chugging along.
Time for the oven. I was a little worried about the fact that my cupcake wrappers were so full because you normally only fill them 2/3 full to allow for rise. As I was using the mini pan, I shaved 4 minutes off so I'd have more time if the centers were liquid and wouldn't really risk burning them.

Oven at 350F degrees for 14 minutes. *

The timer went off, the toothpick went in and came out clean. They were super puffed over the top and running into each other, but they really had a great mushroom top (a la Mario Bros.) Allow to cool, and then frost with white frosting for the striking contrast. I used a new product from Pillsbury that was a pre-star-tipped, canned, pressurized icing tube. It was SO easy!!! But it unfortunately did not have enough frosting for 24 mini-cupcakes (probably would have, but I have made 2 larger cupcake in our silicon pan with the leftover colored cake batter and I frosted those first, oops). Luckily I had a regular can of Pillsbury white frosting as well.

* Tip: Don't preheat your oven until you're almost done with loading up those cupcake papers. It takes forever to load those little guys with 6 different colors and I was dying in the warming kitchen! Remember, this is August in the Sacramento Valley folks. It's hot in here!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First ever time at the cinema

No not for me, but yeah for me in a sense. I've been to the movies a grand total of 1x since Liam was born; Hubster and I were lucky enough to go see the first part of Harry Potter 7 last Fall while I was pregnant (Mannam came to babysit - and she frickin' cleaned the living room and kitchen while we were gone SCORE!!!). But yesterday was Liam's first trip to the cinema to see a movie properly - ergo our first time taking a child to the movies.

We got my colleague Luanne to watch Colin so it could be a "focus on the birthday boy" kind of experience. Unfortu-nately we had to drive all the way to Rocklin to see Winne the Pooh and it was totally a Murphy's Law kind of drive down. Traffic, mega-mobbed gas station, farm equipment chugging down the road, more traffic, and a detour through Lincoln all served to get us to the theater approximately 4 minutes after the posted showing. They weren't selling tickets to that showing anymore but that's fine because I wanted Liam to have the whole, find a seat, lights go dim, kind of experience for his first trip. So we had to wait 2 hours for the next show. To placate Hubster, we went to Guitar Center and I let both boys run around and "jam" on as many instruments as they could. We also ran around Joann's Crafts for a bit. Then we went through the drive through at McDonald's and parked in the shade so I could pump breast milk before the movie.

Then we got to the movie. We let Liam give our tickets to the ticket gal. Then we took him to the arcade and let him pretend to drive the race car game. Then I got us popcorn (his favorite!) and some M&Ms to share and we went into the theater. We found a great seat; the theater was only 1/3 full and it was all families with little children (Jon was the only dad in the whole theater - although there were some older brothers but they were like high school age). We noshed on popcorn and delighted in the animated short about Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.

Liam managed to only get up and want to run around 4x. I had to remind myself that he's just 3 years old and it was his first time at the cinema and he can't even sit through 70 minutes of movie at home. Once I thought I smelled a poopy diaper so Jon took him to the restroom but there was no need. Another time he was starting to get a little loud and antsy so I took him out in the lobby and he ran around, played on the car game again, and we went on a hunt for our theater by looking for the theater number (he's so great at his numbers). Totally forgot about the M&Ms, oops; I'll probably put them on the cake for his party this weekend at my Granny's house.

He was passed out by the time we got home and woke up enough to be cute for Luanne and her daughter (and our usual baby/cat/house sitter) "Towia" but was basically passing out on his feet. Jon changed his diaper and put him to bed in his street clothes. It was a wonderful special day to start our celebrations for Liam's 3rd birthday.

Monday, August 1, 2011

B2S Meme - August 1st

Back to School Meme

Back To School Meme - Found on this blog: MS Teacher
Completed in Reference to (Self or Child): Self

1. Number of years teaching or your eldest child has been in school (k through college) ? This will be my 6th year; my 5th in this district

2. Amount approximately spent on Back to School Items so far including clothes? $150 - still have much to buy ($250 if you count the whopping C-note we get to spend of the district's money)

3. Number of Days until school starts in your area (+ or - if it’s started)? 15!!! (And I've been out for 2 months longer than everyone else)

4. Approximate distance school is from your house? 21 miles

5. Amount of time it will take you or your child to get to school from your house by car or bus? 30-40 minutes, depending upon the farm equipment/harvest season

6. The actual or approximate number of students in the class you teach or your oldest child’s class? 100 students

7. The number of classes in your grade or your oldest child’s grade level? 5 World History, 6 US History (of which I'll teach 1)

8. The price to buy a full student lunch at school? I honestly have no idea, which is super pathetic considering 90% of our kids are on F/R lunch and I HATE what they serve my students and wish we could change it.

9. Number of schools in your district? 3 + 1 small school + 1 alternative high school

10. Early dismissal days already built into the calendar? yes

11. Price paid for the most expensive back to school item so far? I don't remember...the paint for my shield projects for the Medieval Faire; naw, that was pretty cheap

12. Time school day ends? 3:09 and 2:07 on Wednesdays

If you'd like to do the meme, please feel free!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Fuffoo

That's Liam's "I love you."

Liam is doing a great job showing love and affection for his little brother. This morning, I've only been awake for about an hour and already he's melted my heart again. Colin was fussing while I had Liam on my lap (we were watching Toy Story 3) so I had to put him down and pick up the bairn. Then I asked Liam if he still wanted on my lap and he replied he did. There I was, sitting with both my lads on my lap, and I took Liam's hand and had him hold Colin's hand (it was the part of Toy Story 3 where the toys are just about to be incinerated and they all hold hands - that part makes me tear up every single time I see it!). Anyway, Colin immediately grabs Liam's finger and just about bending his hand backwards. Liam turns to Colin and says, "I so much Cow'n. I SO much Cow'n." There was so much gentleness and genuine affection in that voice. So what that he missed the Fuffoo part. The fact is he said he loved Colin so much, to Colin, without prompting from me or Jon. Oh my, I'm getting teary just writing this. Can't believe my sweet little guy, my Smoochie, is gonna be 3 in two more days!!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

throw together meatloaf

What's for dinner? I've been wanting to make a meatloaf since last week. It's a little hard to want to make one though when the weather outside is so dang hot. I probably should have done it on Sunday when I already had the oven on for bread baking, but oh well, it didn't happen then. I don't have any exact measurements for this, but I'll give you the basics.

What you need for meatloaf, any meatloaf, is ground meat, a filler, a binder, and seasoning.

The meat: today, just 1 pound of 85/15 ground beef. I actually estimated the weight because our kitchen scale needs a new battery and a majority of the beef was still frozen although I had had it out on the counter to thaw all day; it was a 3 pound package that we hadn't separated before putting in the freezer.

The fillers: I started off making lardons (basically bits) from 3 slices of bacon. While they were frying, I julienned (you must get yourself a mandolin or v-slicer with one of these inserts) ½ a white onion, three stalks of celery, and 2 small carrots – the mirepoix. To boost the vegetable level, I also added about a ¼ up of broccoli slaw from the pack Jon bought for stir-fry the other night and a big handful of baby spinach leaves, diced. I cooked all that to soft in the bacon grease. We also needed breadcrumbs, but don't have enough bread, so I used the food processor to pulverize about a cup of butter & garlic flavored croutons.

Seasoning: The most basic seasoning is salt and don't you dare try to make any meat dish without it. Salt is the ingredient that makes meat taste meaty! I did not add any extra salt to the meat because I figured the croutons and the bacon grease were salty enough. Then I also added black pepper, a small amount of smoked paprika, and an even smaller amount of cumin (which I'm really not fond of). Oh, I also added some parsley flakes and some ketchup and yellow mustard.

The binder: one egg.

Mix it all together (by hand of course). Now here's the best tip. . . never cook your meatloaf in a loaf pan!!! The fat from the beef has nowhere to go and so the loaf essentially poaches in fat and you can't get a decent crust - possibly the bestest part of a meat loaf. Think about it. Do you really want to eat fat-poached ground meat? So I lined my loaf pan (I'd love another one for my birthday btw, hint hint) with foil and then packed the meat loaf into that. Then I lined a cookie sheet with foil and got the wire rack from our old toaster over out. (It also doubles as a great cooling rack when you're making just a couple of freezer cookies at a time.) Turned the loaf out onto the rack, peeled the foil away, and set in the oven at 325F; cook the thing until internally it reaches 160F and you won't get sick.

Sadly, we don't have any mashed 'taters to serve with the meatloaf. Oh well.

Colin is 4 (months)

The little Coco-butter is now 4 months old and becoming a better human every day. I'm getting a little apprehensive because I can't believe it's almost Back to School time and I'll be leaving my little guy and heading back to work in a couple weeks. Here's the latest on Colin Alexander Rogers: Age 4m.

  • sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed (no we don't co-sleep, but he falls asleep nice and hard after his early morning meal and can sleep a couple hours more if we leave him on the bed)
  • his JumperRoo (which he is now a pro at using and gets everyone in the house smiling when he uses it)
  • his feet - he hasn't quite gotten them into his mouth yet, but he loves to hold them and usually only talks when he's got his feet in his hands
  • LIAM!!! - zOMG his big brother is probably the most awesome thing Colin has ever encountered
  • diaper changes - probably the time Daddy and I get the biggest smiles from him is when he's trying to make diaper changing difficult by grabbing feet, diapers, or various articles of clothing
  • Lamaze toys - he was obsessing over Mortimer "Bruce" Moose earlier in the month but switched to Jacques Peacock. Then we got him a "knot monster" the other day when we wanted to go to Roseville and he love love loves that.

  • talking/cooing - he's a chatty little guy, but see above note about feet
  • rolling over - ummm, still trying hard on that one; Colin gets about halfway over and decided being on his side is better
  • no longer needs to be swaddled, but it still calms him down a lot of the time
  • can be put down for a nap/sleep without falling asleep in the arms
  • has basically outgrown the Puj (his baby tub)
  • almost reached out for me in his first moment of "Mommy, you need to come here and pick me up" when he caught eye contact with me after I had been at the grocery store and didn't come get him as soon as I got home. He also cried really loud then.
  • sleeping for long long stretches at night and on a good-night schedule that usually has him asleep within 30-45 min of putting Liam to bed each night (8-10hours of straight sleeping baby = bliss for Momma)
Growth/Doctor Stuff:
  • Dr. Honeychurch is still not concerned with Colin's poop-schedule. Yup, Colin is still pooping only once every 3-4 days. Because he's not straining and his belly isn't distended and there's no blood in the stool, he's just not a poopy baby. It's just so weird for a mostly breastfed baby to not poop all damn day. Liam pooped at least 3x/day and he was mostly formula fed by this age.
  • Jon thinks Colin's hemangioma is getting smaller. I can't see a difference. Doctor said it would actually shrink from the inside (middle) out so I don't think it is shrinking just yet.
  • Both Daddy and I were WAY off on our guesses for how big he would be. We had a bit of a cheat in that we weighed him the day we took Liam in to ask about his fever & rash. Colin was 14 1/2 lbs on that day.
  • 15 3/4 lbs (55th percentile)
  • 27 1/2 inches tall (99th+ percentile)
  • 42 1/2 cm head circumference - my babies have such enormous braincases
  • Got more shots at the doc's this time. Only, unlike the 2 month visit, he was not so much of a trooper. And boy was he miserably grouchy for the rest of the day.
  • Still mostly breastfed; he takes only about one bottle/day anywhere between 4-6oz of formula.
  • Had an allergy attack this week. Basically, seasonal/environmental allergies. Luckily his only reaction was red rimmed eyes and lots of congestion (which led us to haul out the dreaded sot snucker)
Where we've gone:
  • 4th of July celebration at the Stonehouses. Colin did a little better swimming in their pool than he did in Katherine's pool in June.
  • Spent a day at Granny's with Granny and Mannam while we were at a food & wine afternoon with friends.
  • We went to the doctor for Liam; ergo we went to ice cream at Ben & Jerry's scoop shop
  • We went to Roseville to go shopping for a breast pump adapter for the car; ergo we went to Big Spoon for fro-yo.

Happy 4 months my little man. I love you!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

big bedtime to-do

So today is sort of a milestone day. Colin is 4 months old today. I hope I'll have a post devoted just to him later this evening (if I'm not too lazy). But there's another milestone that I just had to blog about. When I got up this morning (the actual getting up), my whole family was in the bed!!!

So I guess 2 nights ago, around 3-something in the morning, Liam came into our room and quietly climbed into the bed next to Jon. I guess he would have stayed, but he started whinging for Green Ghost and so Jon went in to get it and by that time Liam was amping up with energy. Jon ended up sleeping in Liam's bed for about an hour before he came back to our bed. All during this time, I slept right through it all and had no clue. If I had known, I would not have kicked Jon out of bed to be with Liam when the kid woke up at 5:45a. Sorry!

Well, this morning, around 5:30, just as the dawn was breaking through our windows, Liam stood in the door of his room and whined a bit. I sat up sleepily and said, "hey kiddo." Whimper whimper "momma," whimper. Then I waved him over as my head was dropping stone-like back onto my pillow. The next thing Jon knew, Liam was scrambling over him trying to climb into the bed. He laid down but needed his Green Ghost. Jon grabbed it and wouldn't you know, within seconds Liam was snuggling into the pillow between us. I held his hand so he would know he was safe (he's never slept in our bed before - so um wow!). Boy has some RANK breath! Serious morning breath/stuffy allergy nose stank going on in that kids pie-hole. At one point he sat up and flopped head first toward the foot of the bed, promptly putting his knees in my chin and feet in Jon's face. I just sat up, grabbed him, and re-righted his little bones back onto the pillow.

At 7a, Colin woke up and wanted his breakfast. It's typical for me to take him back into the bed to nurse him in the morning and sometimes I even get to leave him in the bed with Jon because our new mattress has a sleep spell on my infant when his belly's full. Well I wouldn't leave him this morning with the squirmy preschooler in the bed (he's hard enough to wrangle carefully away from Colin when awake). But as Colin was finishing feeding, I realized my sweet, sleepy family was all in the bed in the morning light. It's not so bad when it's summertime and there's nowhere for us to go/be. We even had one of the cats in the bed. So really truly, almost my entire family was in the bed (Lily isn't exactly allowed on the bed as that's Poppy's territory - oh well). It was a sweet and special milestone. I did get up and change Colin's diaper (which he loves btw) and as he and I were leaving the room, I heard a squeak, so high and loud, I would have thought I had stepped on a toy. But it was Colin, looking at his daddy and big brother, making the coolest exclamation of joy I've ever heard. I'm shocked the bigger boys didn't wake up.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

title change

Yeah I changed the title.I really liked the old, original title of this blog, "Life on College Street," but we stopped living on College Street a year ago when we moved. Then I tried to keep the "Life on" idea by switching the name to "Life in Hyperbole." I thought it was okay, but it wasn't really my fave. I figured I was overreative enough to the things in my life that hyperbole was a good choice. But I frankly haven't been on the blog enough to even overreact. Hence I needed to get rid of the name. I'm not all that thrilled with the new name. We do joke that Liam and Colin are now our heir and spare (like we're some kind of royal family right). But I'm not really a princess or feel like one most of the time; although if we could afford it, I'm sure my hubster would treat me like a princess. And of course, I'm leaving the hubs out of the title (although I did put a "froggi pruta" on the graphic). Ugh. And it will probably be a long time until we're living on a cool sounding street again (right now it's 5th and hopefully soon will be living on 6th - seriously, how boring).

Hey. If anyone has a better idea of a name, please feel free to submit.

so far this morning

Liam: Momma, putda sunskeen on Weeum arm. Pweeze!!! Weeum wan peeut butter...peeut butter pop. And watermelon. I hungee hungee patterpillar. I hun-GEE! Dat's Momma's coffee. Weeum mess. Baby Cow'n's forehead! I found my twuck! Hanny Manny missing and da wheel!!!

He's just such a chatty Cathy in the mornings it drives me crazy with cuteness. - Yes, I put sunscreen on his arm even though we're inside and it was only 8:30a, he got a "peanut butter pop" (peanut butter on a spoon) with raisins, stuck his finger in my coffee, drank my cereal milk (that was the mess). Who knows what the deal was with Colin's forehead. He's obsessing over the fact that he can't find his Handy Manny figure or a wheel off of Handy Manny's race car.

All this while he's intermittently singing all his thoughts to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or "Old Mac Donald." Yesterday he decided I was the giant from Jack in the Beanstalk and he kept running from me screaming "Fee fi fo FUH, I smell da inchaman (Englishman). Be 'wive or be dead, grinda bones make da bwead!" Then he would hide under his green ghost on the middle of the bed while I "searched" his room or our room for him. Then he yells, "hidin' unda da bwanket!!!" That kid just doesn't know how to play hide and seek properly yet.

And of course we can't forget his "sand-do-dos" (sandals), especially his "cwokeedile sand-do-dos" his new crocs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

or happy? or sad?

I forgot to add last night the funniest, cutest thing that Liam said yesterday. I went into Liam's room and gave Colin to my hubs (who had spent the better part of an hour trying to get the toddler to nap). When I unlocked the door (yeah that's right, I said they had been locked in), the room smelled distinctly of poopie diaper and Liam said proudly "Weeum diaper is full," and he ran to his changing pad. This is a good thing because it's part of his Good Boy Chart and he gets to have pizza for dinner when he gets to 10 informs on the diaper - which means we all get pizza for dinner :)

When I came back into the room from the trash can, Liam was looking at Colin who was propped on his belly by Jon's belly. "Is Baby Cow'n happy? or sad? or happy? or sad?" Then Colin smiled a huge smile for his brother and then let out a little baby guffaw. "I fink he's happy!!!" Ahh, shot through the heart with cuteness. I also love that that was Liam's first time saying "I think." Man he's getting more and more language in these weeks before his birthday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

been awhile

Sorry that it's been awhile since I've posted. Funny how when I've really got all the time in the world, I never manage to get around to the blog. Maybe it's because I feel like I should have pictures to post each time or something truly amazing to talk about. But then my posts get SOOOOO long. They're probably that long just because it's always so long in between my posts that I feel like I need to get every detail in. Or maybe it's just because I'm long winded and could talk an ear off of something that has a reputation for ears. I do have some pictures from some fun stuff that happened recently. So I will be back posting when I get around to blogging about it. I'll let you know and link to them.

So today, woke up very sleepy to a little man who'd slept all night and didn't wake me up at 3:30 (honestly I don't mind that feeding). I was so full that I had leaked all over my bra and while I was up changing it and Daddy and Colin were in the bed and Coco spit up a good half of what he ate all over my side of the bed. Well that got the two of us out of bed. After I took Liam to preschool, Jon went into YC to do some shopping and have himself a morning alone. I did some elliptical trainer and then had a shower with Colin. He didn't fight me and took a nap like a good little boy. In fact, shhhhh don't tell child protective services, I actually left him sleeping all by himself in his swing while I went to pick up Liam at school.

The garbage disposal backed up again so I didn't want to run the dishwasher. Ugh. Had to wash sheets for today's laundry since there was our sheets with baby barf all over them and Liam leaked a little out of his diaper last night. I should have washed his Green Ghost (blankie) but I completely forgot. Oh well. It;'ll be stinky for awhile. Luckily, he doesn't have to have it every single second of every day so he doesn't worry when it's getting washed. Dinner was a new recipe of grilled Asian chicken salad. It had a peanut soy dressing that was fantastic and had a building spicyness. I served it with broccoli slaw because Jon accidentally bought that instead of coleslaw mix. Here's the link to the recipe; it's a Betty Crocker.

Liam had a pretty good day and got 5 stickers on his Good Boy Chart today. 2 for telling us when he needed his diaper changed, 1 for actually eating his dinner (he also got a slice of cake as his bribe), 1 for picking up toys, and 1 for not throwing a tantrum. Wish he had taken a nap today. Oh well. Both boys were down for bed by 8:15, but then Jon was in reading Liam another story because he got another gust of energy somehow. Then I had a glass of wine and finally got around to posting another blog entry which you are reading now. Tonight should be a quiet night, ahhhh.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Before nap: Momma, Weeum have a beiber.
No you don't. You're cool as a cucumber. 98.2.
Weeum sick. Come in Daddy. Need med'cin. Yeah, purple med'cin.
No sweetheart. You're fine.

After nap: Mommy, Weeum hot. Too hot. Weeum tired. Ouch.
OH! 101.8 Time for medicine and juice.
Night night Baby Cawn. Weeum go back to sweep.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

funny things they say

I wanted to just take some time to mention the funny things Liam has been saying recently. I'm really excited about his language growth since he started school in May. He's stringing together phrases and he's also able to tell us thoughts he's had out of his own brain (don't get me wrong, he's also still doing a lot of mimicking . . . actually, he's doing a ton of it and we've had to curtail our swearing - oops) without us doing any prompting.

My mom is now "Mannam" which is odd but I like it better than Nana. Visiting Mannam and Granny is one of his favorite things and after we do, he'll insist on going to see them for days afterward. "I get onda shoos and go see Gwanny an' Mannam."

He likes to wear his "sand-da-das" [sandals] and he's very excited when "shoos go inda cubby Daddy." Thanks preschool for teaching Liam where to put some stuff away.

Lily tries to run outta the house when we take him to school in the morning. If she manages, he runs after her and says, "d'ere she goes." Then he's actually able to catch her; lucky me.

We are now insisting he ask politely to be excused from the table at dinner. "Pweezegetdown!" (all run together).

While he was "napping" yesterday, I made him a tracking chart for good behaviors. When we showed it to him, he stood there studying it for awhile, stating what each task was and saying "check!" after each one. I had drawn pictures next to all the behaviors so he could conceptualize them. No Tantrums was difficult because how do you draw a tantrum? Well, I drew a kid on the floor crying and shaking. Liam didn't quite know what to make of it and came up with "Man fall down? Check!"

This morning, when I came out with him to get the day started, he said "I hungy Momma." So I said, "let's go find some breakfast." "Bwekfast, where are you?" And then when I brought him his milk, he sat down on the couch and said "I sittin' in mah seat."

Oh the precious things they say.

Edit 10:58pm: Just had to add the hilarity that came outta his mouth at dinner (which he didn't even taste so no sticker - sorry dude). He was putting his fork in his mouth with just ketchup on it and Jon and I were continuing to plead with him to try some salmon. The he just looked at Jon so matter of factly and said, "whutso funny?"

Summer's early mornings

The last week has been very interesting in the wake-up department. Starting about Thursday last week, our little mini human slept a full 9 hours straight. So awesome to wake up and realize that it was 6am when Colin was waking up. He continued to be a sleepy little bug for about 4 days and it was heavenly knowing that I wouldn't have to wake up at 3am for a half hour.

But, we didn't get to wake up to all sleepy and snuggly with our little man because somebody (ahem, the big boy) was waking up at the crack of dawn!!! Not fair. Saturday morning he was up at 6:30. Ugh. More amazing was the fact that he didn't fall asleep until after 9pm on Friday night because we drove into Marysville to meet my mom and grandmother at the house and then we went out to IHoP for dinner. He did crash really hard in the car on the way home though; when I changed his diaper and his clothes, he slept through the whole she-bang. So Saturday had an early wake-up and then no nap. Instead we played tag, red light/green light, and hide & seek all day.

Sunday we got to sleep in a little later as it was 6:55 when he came into our room and climbed on the bed. He was vibrating with energy all freakin' day!!! The kid didn't slow down once. He was a maniac. He was whiney. He was happy, then sad, then happy all within minutes. He was constantly glomming for attention. When I tried to sing the "inside voice" song, he countered by singing the "outside voice" at the top of his lungs. And of course, naptime was a bust as he spent 90 minutes locked in his room pulling clothes from the drawers, books off the shelf, jumping on the bed, and throwing his cup at the door (probably shouting some toddler obscenities too). By 6:30 he was begging for a bath. He and I hopped in the shower then I got him his evening milk but (bad mommy!) I drugged him with benedryl. Funny, he sipped that milk down tout suite. Then we went to his bed and I read him two books while he continued to talk and climb his feet up the wall and try to turn the pages on me. Then I started the second chapter of The House on Pooh Corner (which I grabbed at the thrift store for 50 cents last week). He mimicked me when I read Tigger's growl and mumbled some, then the next thing I know he's breathing slow, his eyes are closed, and I finished the page. He NEVER falls asleep while I read. He didn't even stir when I lifted him up to get him under the sheet or turn on his music. He was fast asleep by 6:55pm.

Yesterday, we were awakened at 6:15 by him crawling into our bed and laughing and giggling. Usually he says "goodmorning mommy, good morning daddy. Wake up." in his loudest whisper. But no, on Monday morning he woke us up with "I hungy, I soooooo hungy, I hungy." Luckily, he was loud enough to wake Colin (who was back to getting up at 3:30am again btw) so I got to stay in bed and nurse the baby for a half an hour while Jon had to get up and do the breakfast ritual. His school teachers were under strict orders to wear him out, but I guess that didn't happen since he didn't nap (although he did stay quietly in his room reading and playing for an hour which is, frankly, all I ask for) and then we played tag and MONSTER AHHH for an hour running around the living room table and back and forth. Surprisingly, Colin napped through all that commotion. During his "nap" I made a Good Boy Chart for him so we can reward him for doing his good behavior things. He barely touched his dinner which was funny because chicken nuggets are probably his favorite right now. It was a pathetic attempt to eat and around 6:30 he crawled up next to Jon on the couch and said "I so tired." Jon pulled him up onto his lap and then Liam was asking for his froggy and the next thing we knew he was sacked out! Again, he crashed so hard that we were able to change his diaper and get him snuggled into bed without a slight stir. I took this picture at 8pm to prove he was still totally asleep.

He slept through the whole dang night and guess what . . . at 5:55am he was running into our room whispering "wake up Daddy, wake up Mommy!" Jon tried to go back to his room with him, but after 30 minutes I was awake from feeding Colin and just got up with him. I was hoping that he would be able to expend a lot of energy at school again today, but as I sat down to write this, the freak summer sprinkle that was falling on us as I walked him to school has turned into a torrential pour strong enough to disrupt the satellite signal a couple times. Woah, I also just heard a good clap of thunder. What an odd day (oh yeah, and it's gonna be 104 on Sunday - wth?). Please please please take a nap Liam and then go to bed at your normal 7:30-8pm bedtime and please please please sleep in until 7:30 tomorrow morning. Ack!

Monday, June 27, 2011

house wishlist

About 2 years ago now, we started wanting to buy a house in earnest. We had a good amount of money from my mother-in-law's death and we intended to use it as a down payment. But as I'm the only income earner, we had to use my credit to obtain the loan. Turns out, both of us had pretty shoddy credit. 18 months ago, after enrolling in a debt management program and starting to pay off some of our bills, we tried again but my credit was still too low. A former student's mom showed us a house but, although only $54k, was going to need $150k more work in renovations. She sent us a guide for first time home buyers published by Keller Williams and one of the things it said to do was create a wishlist of things we wanted in our dream home. Then we needed to break it down into "want to haves" and "needs" that we weren't willing to compromise on.

Well, as we wait and wait to hear from the bank regarding our offer on the short sale, I started daydreaming about all the things I'd like to have in our new house. When i went to save the file, I found I already had a file on the computer with that name. When I checked it out, I found that it was the wishlist we made 18 months ago regarding the things we wanted in our house. I thought it would be fun to share it here.

Value Wants Needs
historic homes/ neighborhoods large yard good CH/A system
families Victorian access home repairs ourselves
older trees porch grounded electrical system
solid craftsmanship 3+ bedrooms dishwasher (or space for)
good education storage/closets a shower and a bathtub
community events new kitchen appliances 220 for the clothes dryer
individual space/ privacy fireplace large living room
energy conservation/ sustainable resources high ceilings access to broadband/cable

Built-in cabinets/bookshelves no more than 40 minutes from work

living room & family room 3+ bedrooms

wood floors hobby room

CH/A laundry space

house fan storage


hobby room

good sunlight in living space

large water heater

big bath tub

crown molding

3 season room/porch

room for garden

space for car work



ease of travel to shopping and work

larger trees

back patio

laundry space

kitchen for cooking

stained glass windows details


prairie style

good schools

double entry door

wet bar/butler's pantry

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 2011

Today is my husband's third fathers day. We probably won't do much. We were pretty lazy for mothers day too. The weather is supposed to be great, but knowing my man, he won't want to go outside. Oh well. I'm planning on making a lemon cake for him today. Maybe a nice chicken, potato, salad type dinner. Speaking of that cake...I should probably get to it soon. No gift for him today. But he got a tablet PC just recently and that's holding him over. Besides we're trying to not spend too much money since we need money in the bank for the home purchase and I only got paid $32 in May (since I took the whole month off for maternity). That's a pic of us for Liam's first portrait session. Look at that loving daddy!!!

Colin is 12weeks old as of yesterday and is thriving like crazy. He coos and is just on the verge of giggling. He's been grabbing a lot more and has started to intentionally bat at hanging toys in his baby gym. Diaper changes have gotten increasingly more difficult as he's also found a newfound wiggly-ness. He's a super smiley happy boy. Sleepy Daddy and wide-awake Colin.

Liam is doing wonderfully, although he is milking the cold thing since he still has quite a lingering cough. "I soooooo sick." Also, he's been saying the most ridiculous things lately which just proves what we've always thought; Liam is very smart and very imaginative, he just didn't have the ability to express himself. Yesterday he told us he wanted "ambooger, chicken nuggets, AND fwies" for lunch. Ummm, okay?! He's also pretty polite most of the time. "Yes pweez," in a sing-song voice is probably one of the cutest things we hear, and we hear it often which is wonderful. If Lily escapes the house when we're heading to school in the morning, he calls out "dere she goes," runs after her, and catches her for me (while she's distracted by eating grass). Last night, he put my old Freddy Bear on his head at bedtime and asked "whaddya tink of mah hair?" Where does he come up with that stuff?! He also has developed quite a funny run; it has a bit of an antelope leap in it and on really good days he runs around the daycare center barely touching the ground. He's a dancing fool and a singing machine.

Okay, I should be getting to that cake now while all the boys are still asleep.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Buying a house

We picked up Liam from school last Friday and met our realtor and her daughter at the house in Marysville. We went through the whole thing. I definitely felt strong about it; I felt positive. Jon felt really strong about it. Yeah, there are a couple of things I would change: I wanted to immediately change the paint in most of the rooms (liked to color, just couldn't live with it everywhere) and pull out the carpet in the dining/living room and extend the kitchen flooring through those rooms just so there would be a consistent feel tying the kitchen into the rest of the house (as it is very small and located in the dead center of the house). Diana had a couple other homes she wanted us to see since we could qualify for more money now that Dad said he's help us out. It was basically for comparables, a chance to see what more money could get us or what else was out there for $100k. But she wasn't pushing us to go see them; I was the one who said I wanted to go see the Victorian that she said was not too far and really had that "quirky feel I know you guys are into." Jon was serious about writing an offer on the house and frankly so was I. It was going to be easy in our price range and there would be plenty of space for the boys to run around in the front and back, the neighborhood was quiet and friendly feeling. It's a small house but we can definitely start and grow from there.

When we drove up to the Victorian, it was twice as big as the one we just left. There was an elementary school on the way there. As I go through the intersection, Liam shouts "Mommy go dat way," pointing at the park and the playground equipment. Then as I park in front of the house and across the street from the park, he yells "we're hooooome."

I walked in later than everyone else because I had to change Colin's diaper. By the time I went in the door, my husband, realtor, and her daughter were shouting "oh my god, look at this place!" It was beautifully painted, the rooms were large, the energy was uplifting. It's a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath house. It has a formal dining area, a large kitchen, one bedroom and bath on the main floor, a small basement store room, a laundry/mud room, a fireplace in the living room, and the stairs had cute tile facings on the risers. Upstairs was a large landing with vaulted ceiling and skylight, the second bath, a huge master bedroom with a small balcony, and a long third bedroom that was obviously a girly room because of the lavender walls (with green and orange accent walls). Then upstairs (yes, another upstairs) was a fully finished attic loft!!! I even love the orange paint up there. The backyard was smaller than the one on 17th street and there was no lawn. But there were three pergolas, a dove cage, and a fountain. It may be small but it will be aan imaginative yard for the boys to play in (not forgetting the giant big park across the street). Bella said it best when we were looking at the cement slab in the backyard that had glass beads and positive affirmations written in the cement, "someone incredibly creative lived here!" And I couldn't help thinking, and more creative people are going to live here. The house just feels so positive and uplifting and full of great energy. It has the feel that someone alternative was living there.

Our realtor called the listing agent to say we were interested in an offer. It's a short-sale and Friday was the first day on the market; we were the first people to get to see it. She told the listing agent we were a teacher and artist, both very creative, with two small boys. The seller is apparently a nurse (like my Dad) and we are exactly the type of people she wants in the home! It's more expensive and a stretch for our monthly payments but this is a house you can't pass up. So we offered $135k ($2k less than asking) with 3 1/2% down and seller to contribute 3 1/2% to our closing costs. There's only one loan on the house so a short sale might actually be "short." We wrote up a contract and Dad and Jon signed the papers Saturday night.

On Sunday, the realtor sent me a text to say the listing agent thinks the offer is strong and is putting our offer in the primary position, only accepting backup offers just in case ours isn't approved by the bank. Heaven forbid. Today, I got all of my paperwork together and turned into my lender. Now we're only waiting on Dad's paperwork.

It is quite conceivable that we may be homeowners before the end of the summer. :D

Friday, June 10, 2011

quick update

I'm sorry I get so sidetracked by Facebook and never get on here. I should just post all my status updates from the day onto the blog, just so I have a better record of my days, right?

I also thought I'd have more commitment to write in this thing since Liam started preschool 5 weeks ago. Well, nope. I don't. I do chores. I entertain the baby. I watch a lot of television. I nap. Then Liam comes home and he's usually tired enough for a nap himself (a new treat for us after almost a year of simply refusing). Do I blog then? Nope. Sorry.

The most important thing right now . . . we are in the process of house hunting again. I got my dad to consider co-signing a loan for us and yesterday we got the news that we can easily go ahead with the loan now because "your dad has SOLID credit." Well duh! That's why I asked him to help us out. As luck would have it, he just paid off his mortgage last week. Now he'll jump into another. The plan is that we will purchase the loan off of him in about a year when my credit score is improved and then he won't have to deal with "vacation/investment home" issues when he takes out a loan to put a brand spanking new modular on his property (the house he lives in now is pretty much a death trap and I won't take the kids there).

We are going to see the house we're interested in today so Jon can get a second look at it. It's small - <1100 sq. ft. and 4 bedrooms/2baths; the yard is generous and fenced both front and back. It'll double my drive time to work, but I'll figure that out time-wise and maybe we'll be able to afford a commuter car (one of those 40mpg jobbies). It'll put Jon closer to a stronger work market and us a little closer to friends (even though they'll be an hour away, we won't be in "the sticks" anymore). After seeing the place again today, I am looking forward to talking to the lender to see what our monthly payments will be like. If we can keep them low (like $500-$600/month), then we might even look for a little more house. But all in all, the neighborhood is terrific and I took my mom out there last weekend and it felt very comfortable.

Hopefully I'll get some good pics up soon as the boys are growing like weeds; Colin had a great 2 month check up. We went to the fair last night. I got to hold a monarch butterfly :) - that's our state insect by the way.

6/13/11: Okay, I went back and wrote a couple posts and added some pictures to them. Read further down the blog to look!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Colusa Fair

Tonight was the opening night of the Colusa County Fair. After an incredible day out with my big boy, shopping and lunch just the two of us. Liam was so so good for me. He did have a little accident with the diaper while I was unloading the groceries into the back of the Durango. Oh well, at least he peed all over the parking lot and not the restaurant booth or the grocery store floor. We saw chickens in the parking lot too and Liam told me that roosters say "whaddawegonnado?" which is so freaking cute in my opinion because he's now repeating phrases left and right and comes up with the most random thoughts (like two nights ago when he told us he couldn't take a nap because he was still hungry and wanted pancakes - pancakes!).

We had to go to opening night of the fair since my colleague's daughter (and Liam's occasional babysitter) was in the Miss Colusa County pageant. The fair was mobbed with people I knew so i at least felt justified in the 20 minutes it took me to find an appropriate outfit that would be cool enough (the weather has finally figured out it's spring/summer) and fashionable enough. Jon rolled his eyes at me all that time, but we didn't get 15 feet into the fairground when i was accosted by 1/2 dozen of my students from this year and then former students and then colleagues and then students with parents. See, I was right to worry about my wardrobe choice.

Liam did not do well at the grandstand. While we were waiting for the pageant to start he had to run me up and down the bleachers (not good for my thing with heights). When it started and he had to be quiet and still, he started whining, crying, kicking. Jon took him to run around. They got back about 2 contestants before Victoria and he continued to whine. But, as soon as Princess Victoria came out, he locked his sights on her and watched with a huge smile on his face. But then the girls were supposed to give speeches and we just looked at each other and knew Liam wouldn't make it, so we left. Sadly, Victoria didn't win, but she also wasn't favored to either.
We then walked around the fair for awhile. We traveled into the different exhibit halls and looked at the things my students made like jams and quilts and flower arrangements. Many of my students did very well and got ribbons. Another colleague of mine who I carpool with is an excellent photographer and always enters several pictures in the fair. Well I think he may have had 1 or 2 photographs without ribbons on them. He took 1st and 2nd place for his pictures from last year's fair (as he does every year). Liam got a balloon from one of the vendors and Jon put in an entry to win $10k at Home Depot (which would be fantastic if we end up buying a house soon - wish us luck).

One of the coolest things was a butterfly house. They had monarchs and painted ladies in the enclosure. You go inside, get a Q-tip and dip it in sugar water. Then you hold it close and still next to one of the butterflies and let it walk onto the Q-tip. Liam desperately wanted to touch one but he was covered in melted candy on his fingers and he doesn't understand yet that you can't touch a butterfly's wings. I had a huge monarch climb onto my finger and stayed until I finally handed it off to another kid who couldn't get a butterfly and was a little upset.

Lastly we went to the animal pens and I took Liam to stroll through all the sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, and chickens that my students and former students raised for 4H and FFA. I couldn't take him into the steer/cow pens because they just don't let anyone walk in between the pens. Liam liked all the animals and practiced his animal sounds. He kept wanting to pet them and it was difficult to keep him from sticking his fingers in the pens. Those lambs (they're still lambs even though they weigh 100 lbs and are 3 ft tall at the shoulder) and kids are so socialized that they come right up to the fence; they would not have thought twice about munching my boys candy coated fingers.

We stayed about 3 hours and then came home and put the boys to bed promptly. Everyone, especially Liam and I, was exhausted.