Archive for September, 2011

Baby On the Move

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Evelyn has decided that it’s time to walk this week.  She started with a few small steps and is now unstoppable.  At 10 1/2 months, she’s a few weeks ahead of Oliver.  She walked for her daddy on the skype video call last night and it made his night.  She tries her hardest to follow Oliver everywhere he goes.  Poor little dude needs some mommy enforced alone time!

Skype Video Call – Remote Parenting

Monday, September 26th, 2011

One way that we are going to stay connected while the hubby is in Atlanta is to use Skype video for the kiddos.  The hubby normally tucks Oliver in every night.  Last night, without Daddy, Oliver had a hard time falling asleep and kept waking up.  Tonight we tried Skype and it was a big hit!

Oliver was a little nervous at first, but he kept pointing at the screen and saying “Dah dee?”.

The hubby and Oliver did the Itsy Bitsy Spider together with perfect streaming video and audio.  It was so cute I could have died.

Oliver spent about 15 minutes talking to his Daddy.  Daddy even got Oliver to pick up his room and put all his legos away.  I panned the camera so the hubby could watch and coach as Oliver cleaned up.  Oliver didn’t put up any fuss at all for virtual Daddy!

The best part about it?  It was free!  Well the Skype Video service is free, but there are some sunk costs involved. 

First, you need a computer/laptop/tablet/smart phone of some sort that you can install Skype on.  Second, you need a video camera and microphone (We bought a little Logitech webcam/microphone combo for only $35 and it is amazing.).  Third, you need a decent internet connection for smooth operation (The hubby had to pay to upgrade his service at his hotel after the first test on basic wifi hardly worked.)

After you have all that in place, you need to go to skype.com and download the software, create an account, hook up your webcam/microphone, and call away!  There are a few tests you can run to check the sound quality, but overall it’s been decent for  us. 

BTW – Oliver went right to sleep after video calling his Daddy.  He hasn’t uttered a peep so far tonight.  Looks like we have a new bedtime ritual!

Sunday at the Park

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

It finally has stopped raining and just in time too.  One of Oliver’s friends turned 3 today and we went to her birthday party at a local park.

Oliver got to feed the ducks, but I’m told there were no ducks in sight.

Instead of bread, Oliver threw rocks — and he loved it!

At the playground daddy helped him down the big corkscrew slide.  After a few helping turns, he was zipping down all by himself.

There was even a section of the play gym for Evelyn too.

She tried to walk down the slide and after a near disastrous fall daddy stepped in to help her out too.

Her first slide ride!  She is not the thrill seeker that Oliver is.  She is perfectly happy to stand at the top and boss everyone around (ahem…).

Our fun was shortlived as daddy/the hubby had to leave for Atlanta today.  We went our separate ways after teary goodbyes and that was that.  I just have to remember that tomorrow is another day.  Soon enough daddy/the hubby will be back for a visit.

Winds of Change

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The cat is out of the bag — we are moving to Atlanta folks.

In what has been a flurry of activity, the hubby applied and interviewed for a job in Atlanta last week.  They told him this week that he got the job and he starts next Wednesday.

So much for taking it easy and waiting for the house to sell!  We’ve spent the last 7 nights going through scenario after scenario.  What do we do about the house?  What about Oliver’s school?  How can we afford two households?  How will mommy survive by herself without selling the kids at the flea market?  How will the hubby get there?  Should we move too?  Where’s he going to stay? 

The minute we found out he got the job, we sketched out a quick plan. 

Step 1: Buy the hubby a reliable car.  Check (gotta love the crown vic). 
Step 2: Get rid of the Maxima.  Check (we sold it for scrap). 
Step 3: Get the hubby some housing. Check (found a room to rent on Craigslist).
Step 4: Update business wardrobe.  Check (Joseph A. Banks has a sale going on right now).
Step 5: Pack and make shopping list of necessities.  We are doing this tomorrow.

5 Steps in 5 Days.  Not too shabby.  The bigger picture is that he will go down and share a house for a month or two while he aquaints himself with the city.  Meanwhile, I will do my research up here and send him apartment/house hunting after hours.  He will come home on the weekends until we move down there – probably in November.  We are dropping the price on our house in October and hopefully we’ll find a buyer soon.

The hubby spent last Friday tooling around Atlanta and he really likes it.  He said it was like Baltimore on steroids.  Atlanta is much, much bigger than Raleigh, so we’ll have to see.  I will like having new things to do.  I’ve visisted Atlanta a dozen times and haven’t seen it all yet. 

There are a million details that I have left out (our walls are plastered with decision charts), but we’ll work it out as we go.  I am the queen of “If this then that” thinking.  No sweat.  (YIKES!)

Bought a New Used Car

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

We took our 1996 Maxima in to see what it would take for it to pass inspection and be trip worthy.  They came back with a detailed list and a grand total of $4,400 for the repairs.  $4,400 is worth more than the blue book value of the car!  We decided to bite the bullet and bought a “new” car today.

I searched on www.autotrader.com for 4-door sedans, less than 70,000 miles, and less than $6,000.  This 1999 Ford Crown Victoria popped up for $5,800 with only 61,000 miles.  I showed it half-jokingly to the hubby and he fell head over heels for it!  It’s an old fogey mobile! He said, “Didn’t you know you married an old fogey?  See?  I have grey hair right here…”  geez.

This car had a clean Carfax report, had one owner (an old man), and had all the maintenance records dating back to 1999.  There’s one scratch on the body, but otherwise, the car is in immaculate condition.  I couldn’t believe how well maintained it was.

Tell me this doesn’t look like a cop car 100%.  Look at that rear!  You can fit alot of junk in this trunk.

We ended up buying the car on the spot (after talking them down $300) and my hubby got his Foginator.  He loves how much room there is inside.  He is a big dude and he always felt cramped, near claustrophobic, with all the kids in the Maxima.  But that’s not the best part.

On the way home, the cars parted like the Red Sea when he drove up behind them.  Driving a classic cop car make/model does have it’s perks when you are trying to get from point A to point B.  I told him he needs to install a ski rack to really freak people out.  :-)

(btw – they wouldn’t touch the Maxima with a ten foot pole.  They suggested junking it…)

Catch That Train

Monday, September 19th, 2011

So the house has been on the market for over 3 weeks and we’ve had 3 or 4 showings so far.  After working hard all summer, we find ourselves lost on the weekends with *gasp* free time.  It has been hard to adjust to just sitting around, so I went and volunteered at the kid’s consignment sale last week to take up some time.

Lo and behold, if you volunteer you get to shop early at the 50% off days (as I’ve written many, many times).  Waiting for me last Saturday was a little battery operated train set for only $7.  My little man LOVES trains and I hoped he would like it…

Oliver and his daddy set up the tracks together and gave the train a spin.  At first, Oliver was a little scared by the noise the train made but…

after a few rounds, he couldn’t get enough!!!  The train makes a half dozen laps on the track singing songs, talking, blowing whistles, and making the chugga-chugga sound. 

Oliver was a happy camper.

Evelyn, on the other hand, was not.  She was uber frustrated that we wouldn’t let her derail the train.

She gave it her best shot and managed to catch it enough times that daddy had to corral her.

Look ma, I’m a tunnel!  (He thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread.)

Woo, woo!  Watch out for those little fingers!  Silly mommy, don’t you know that Babyzilla is impervious to plastic trains?

Once Evelyn found the magnet play book that I picked up for Oliver, she lost all interest in the train.

So instead of working all day on Sunday, we played with trains all afternoon.  I’d say that’s a good trade-off don’t you think?  Woo Woo!

Time for a Trip to the Park

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

We had a showing today from 1145 – 1245pm.  These were the same people that came yesterday.  We thought we had Plenty of Time to get ready for this one and we were doing fine until… a half gallon of paint dumped in the middle of the living room rug at 1130am.

The hubby tosses the kids into Oliver’s room and locks the baby gate.  Here’s how things went after that:

stomp, stomp, stomp, jump, stomp, stomp

Me – “Get a towel!!! Grab the wet vac!!!”
Hubby – “Where’s the scraper??? I need a scraper!  I need something to put the paint into.”
Me – “Grab a bowl.  Grab a spatula. Grab something!  I don’t care what you grab, just do it!!!”

The hubby manages to scrape up the excess paint and dump it into a bowl.  We pour about 1 gallon of water onto the paint in several turns and suck the mess up in a wet vac.  After about 10 minutes, the water is coming out of the carpet clear and the dinner plate size stain is barely noticeable.  It is now 1145 and we are nowhere near ready to go. 

The hubby is walking around asking, “How do you clean this thing?  (the vac)”  I’m running around screaming, “There’s NO TIME!!! There’s NO TIME!!! Put it in a bag!!!”  I’ve got a garbage bag in hand and everything that is out and about gets chucked in from books, to socks, to dirty dishes, and hairbrushes.  Meanwhile, he’s walking around doing nit picky stuff and I’m yelling, “There’s NO TIME!!! Leave IT!!!  Get the kids and get in the car!  Grab the baskets and put them in the van!  Hurry, HURRY!!! We have to go!”

We all pile into the van by 12:05pm and tear out of the culdesac just in time.  Talk about shell shock!  I think the hubby is suffering from post traumatic stress.  After a morning like that, we all needed to blow off some steam.  What better place to go than the park?

Oliver hasn’t been to a park all summer.  He loved swinging high on the swings!

Evelyn didn’t share the sentiment!  She was fine swinging backwards, but not to thrilled coming down.  Don’t worry, we didn’t torture her (much). 

She was much happier with her feet on the “ground” and liked watching all the kids from the bench.

After a half hour or so, the hubby didn’t want to kill me anymore and we were beginning to enjoy ourselves.  It’s amazing how quickly you forget your problems when you have little ones to remind you what is important.

Now that we have the ball rolling, we want to find ways to make it easier for us to show the house.  We can’t be running around like crazy people every time someone wants to drop by (and the hubby will divorce me if I put him through the ringer again!).

First Showings

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Two significant things happened today: 1) we had our first showings and 2) our closest competitor dropped the price of their home 5 grand to come in at 124k.  We had listed our home at 128k to be 1k less than their house.  Their house has been on the market for a year now and started at 131, then dropped to 129k and then dropped to 124k the day our photos went online.  Coincidence?  I think not.  My awesome homestaging skills put the fear into them.  :-)

Speaking of home staging, it is officially impossible to keep a house clean for showings with 2 little rugrats constantly upending their toys.  It became a game to them – the cleaner the house got, the bigger the mess they made.

With an innocent little faces like these, how could I get mad at them?

I had two separate showings today and was running around like a crazy woman trying to clean, declutter, and organize.  The kids were so good playing together and staying out of the way. 

I’m such a horrible mom though for putting them on the back burner.  Oliver stepped up and fed the both of them when they were hungry.  He went into the fridge twice and pulled out a loaf of bread.  He ate a slice and gave Evie a slice too.  He also grabbed a can of soda and sat there for 20 minutes trying to get it open before I realized what he was doing!

I hope the stress pays off.  We have a second showing tomorrow for the people who came last today.  The hubby is also home tonight from a business trip and will be able to help me get the house ready tomorrow. 

With Evelyn as my sales person, how could they refuse?

Sell, Baby, Sell!

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

COME SEE THIS LOVELY SINGLE STORY HOME. RECENTLY UPDATED WITH NEW VINYL SIDING 2011, ALL NEW INT/EXT PAINT, KITCHEN COUNTER TOP WITH FULL CERAMIC BACKSPLASH, DOOR HARDWARE, PLUMBING FIXTURES AND SINKS, ELECT. FIXTURES INCL UNDER CABINET LIGHTING. THIS HOME SITS ON A FLAT WOODED LOT. REAR YARD IS FENCED AND IS AT THE END OF A CUL-DE-SAC. 2 CAR DRIVEWAY IS CONCRETE & BRICK LINED.

It’s official!  The house is on the market and we are ready to rock and roll.  It was listed on Tuesday and on Wednesday they came to take photos.  The hubby and I probably slept 3 out of 48 hours trying to get ready for the big day.

These are the photos off the property listing.  The hubby was upset that his brickwork can’t be seen.

Our living room looks huge!  My dad was right, the clock belongs with the house.  We hauled all the extraneous kid’s stuff to the shed for the pics.

I am in love with our dining room!  Anyone who’s been here in the last year or so, will know what I mean when I say that I am not missing the industrial shelving that lined our dining room.

Our kitchen looks so clean and bright (dirty dishes are in the oven)!  I love the new countertops and backsplash.  I especially love the undercabinet lights.  We plan to do similar upgrades in the next house we buy.

I can’t believe that we actually have carpet in our bedroom!  For the past 2 years our master bedroom has been the junk catchall as the kids took over the other 2 bedrooms in the house.  We had huge industrial shelving units in our room piled high with Rubbermaid totes.  Now, we can actually relax and sleep…

I can’t believe this is our bathroom either.  It’s so clean!  No clutter on the countertop…wow.

Oliver has a true big boy bedroom now and he loves it.  His little dresser holds all his clothes and he picks out his outfits every morning by himself.  Well, dad usually picks his pants and he picks the shirt and socks. 

And after 10 months, I finally have a nursery for Evelyn!  Makes me want to have another baby just so we can use the nursery again… (and yes, we used to have industrial shelving units in her room too.)

I cannot believe the difference that a coat of paint made to our deck.  It also helped that we cleared off 4 years worth of junk too.  We gave our chest freezer to my brother and with that gone, I was up until 11pm painting the deck – in the dark – Tuesday night.

The pictures turned out nice, even though the wide angle lense threw the rooms out of proportion a bit.  Believe it or not, we have more to do still.  There are a handful of little projects that we need to finish.  I’m willing to show the house now, but we will be working hard this holiday weekend to finish EVERYTHING.  I will be so happy to stow the tools and other gear in the storage unit.

On Tuesday, our realtor’s company will do a tour of our house.   They round up between 15-20 other realtors and they check out 3-5 new listings.  We’ve been forewarned that the house needs to be in immaculate show condition and that our curb appeal needs to be rockin’.  The realtors do this to a) provide feedback to us on the condition of the house, b) give their opinions on what the house should be priced at, and c) check out the house for their clients.

Just when I thought we could relax, we’ve got to bust more butt for Tuesday.  After that, we will be truly DONE and can sit around and eat bonbons.  Wish us luck!

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