Sunday, March 8, 2015

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Our house has been on the market for almost 7 weeks. And here we sit…patiently waiting. Sometimes not so patiently.

It's tough for several reasons:

1. Ripping the Band-Aid off something painful, like a huge cross-country move, would be much easier if it was quick and easy. Dragging out this process of relocating is making it that much harder for everyone, in my opinion. 

2. We begin to doubt our decisions. Is the house not selling because we made the wrong choice? Should we pull it off the market and rent it instead? Should we drop the price and take a huge hit financially? Is there something wrong with our house that is turning people off? We love our house - why don't others love it, too!?!

3. Should we start packing or just wait? Because, as it is, our third stall garage is filled to the hilt with empty boxes. If we attempt to being FILLING those boxes, we won't be able to fit either car in the garage. Then what happens if the house doesn't sell and Mike's company says, "Too bad, so sad"??? I certainly wouldn't want to UNpack everything we own!

4. Every conversation revolves around our move. With anyone and everyone. Friends, neighbors, acquaintances, people we run into at the gym and the grocery store the mailbox and church and Target. "So…how are things going with the move…?" It's an easy conversation starter for others and we are constantly reminded that there has been no movement in our situation.

5. We're on pins and needles knowing that the house has to be ready to show at a moment's notice. I've been in the middle of making dinner and a realtor called asking if he could come by with clients within the hour. In a split second, we need to decide whether to we rush through dinner or stop everything and go out to eat.

6. Speaking of "ready to show," the house has to look like a model home all. the. time. As you can imagine, this is fairly stressful with small kids, even more because we homeschool and are home all day long. We do a LOT of life within these walls from 6am-10pm, yet it's supposed to look un-lived-in all the time? It's an interesting balance.
It took a few weeks to get everyone in the habit of picking up anything and everything as it is used throughout the day. We aren't perfect, but we've gotten it down to being able to tidy up in about 30 minutes and get out the door if people want to walk through. 

The funny thing is that I have traditionally blamed the mess and chaos on my appropriately nicknamed Destructo-boy, Jason. Turns out, he's only one of three males in the house that don't pick up after themselves. As it turns out, Ryan and Mike also leave a trail wherever they go! Sometimes they do put things away, but it turns out that my 10 year old was even worse than my 5 year old. How had I not noticed this before???

But it's better now. And, as much as I hate to admit it, being on the edge of our seats and ready to show our house all day, every day has even resulted in me having better habits. Instead of leaving the last few dishes in the sink until tomorrow, I spend 5 minutes washing them. Instead of blowing off the most recent load of laundry, I hurry to fold the clothes and put them away. I'm more diligent about reminding the kids to put away their toys and activities before meals and bedtime and especially before leaving the house, instead of letting it pile up, little by little, until it's an hour-long project and everyone is angry and resentful. Paper piles don't exist. We no longer have a junk counter. Counters and floor are clear. It's…actually quite fantastic!

Tonight, as I was putting away stray shoes and finding homes for coupons and random paperwork, I came to the realization that it brings me peace to have my home neurotically picked up all of the time. It's not so bad having the excuse that "it needs to be ready to show at a moment's notice" to get everyone on board with picking up after themselves. Including me! 

Life has given us the "lemon" of being in limbo with our relocation, but I'm choosing to see the bright side. We've developed some good habits and my house looks amazing most of the time! And I no longer procrastinate housework. Or organizing. Or anything else seemingly minor that needs to be done. 

I wonder if I can keep this up in our new house in Dallas…???
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Thursday, March 5, 2015

#18 - Make a snowman with the kids

Until yesterday, my poor children had never built a snowman. Ryan is almost 11 years old!!!  What is the matter with his mother?!?!

This item was #46 on my first 101 in 1001 list and I had to cheat and build a sandman because my 1001st day was in September and there was NO SNOW to be had. 

I added it to my most recent 101 in 1001 list knowing that for SURE we'd make it up to play in the snow and build a snowman, but when we went up to go sledding, the snow had melted a bit, then refroze and it was great for sledding, but not fresh enough to build a snowman. 

Then this past weekend in Phoenix, it rained. And rained and rained and rained, which meant it was snowing in the mountains two hours north of our house. With Mike out of town in Dallas, I decided it was time to put on my big girl boots and take my kids on their very first road trip with just Mom. You see, I don't love driving…that's Mike's thing. I packed up the car with winter attire and snacks and we hit the road.
I made this sacrifice realizing that, once we move to Dallas, who knows if they'll be able to sled. (For the record, it actually DID snow in Dallas while Mike was there this week. How's that for irony?)

We hit the road mid-morning, ate lunch in the car, pulled over on a random dirt road, geared up, and set out to do some sledding. 
Poor Kaylin wasn't feeling 100%. She woke up with a sore throat, but she was a trooper. After resting in the van for the ride home, I took her to the doctor, only to be told that I needed to give her Motrin for the throat pain and have her gargle with salt water. Going to the doctor always ends up being a waste of time for us…I'm not sure why I even bother!  Her sore throat didn't keep her from playing for a bit before retreating to the van to relax and watch from afar.
Ryan's first step into the snow was not a frozen block of ice, like he thought, but a muddy, icy puddle nearly 12 inches deep. He flipped out, furious that his shoe and sock were drenched and freezing, then he stood by and watched us build the snowman without him, until he couldn't take it anymore and he decided to join in on the fun. 
Ryan and Jason braved the "puddly" side of the street, where the hills were steeper to sled, but on their way back to the road, Jason fell into the deep ice puddle - not once but twice - and he was covered in mud from his chest to his toes! That was the end of our snowy journey, he was done. A sobbing, cold, wet, furious mess. Thankfully, I bought him dry pants and socks to change into for the ride home. I had a feeling all of our jeans would be a soggy mess, so I planned ahead. 
All in all, I'm really glad we went. Four hours of driving for a quick hour of snow fun, but I wanted to make this memory with them. Hopefully, it won't be another two years before we see snow!
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#50 - Teach Kaylin to curl her own hair

We have a little neighbor girl who is going to be a cosmetologist someday, guaranteed. She's constantly doing everyone's hair and make up in the neighborhood and she is GOOD!  

She's gotten her hands on Kaylin a few times and peaked Kaylin's interest in using a curling iron, so I took this opportunity to cross #50 off my list of 101 Goals in 1001 Days.

I forgot to blog about it (you can see the Santa soap dispenser, so it was a while ago) and she's still far from a pro, but for now, she knows how to get by without burning her fingerprints off. 
How adorable is my sweet girl!?!?
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Monday, February 16, 2015

A {Seemingly} Directionless Day

I've mentioned many times that I tend to crave a sense of accomplishment. Today, I've been searching to fulfill that, all day, to no avail.

First thing in the morning, I headed to the gym with Jason while Ryan and Kaylin stayed home. They wanted to hurry through their independent school work, knowing that all of the kids in the neighborhood were home from school today for President's Day.

When I got home, we folded and put away laundry, then the kids scattered in three different directions to play with the neighbors. I threw dinner in the crock pot, baked some muffins, chatted with a girlfriend on the phone, made homemade soup and cleaned the kitchen.

I looked at the clock…it was only noon. All of the laundry and dishes were done, lunch and snacks were ready for hungry children, dinner was cooking, and I was showered and dressed with no where to go. I sat down to check some of the Tastefully Simple items off my to do list. That didn't take as long as I'd thought.

Throughout the afternoon, kids continued to sift in and out of my house. Kaylin and her friends played school, Ryan and his friend tested the frigid pool water (PS it's still too cold to swim), bikes were ridden, pictures were colored, screen time was used up, and all the while…I felt directionless.
Given all that I had accomplished already, that made no sense. I had taken care of myself, my house, my family, my work…so what was the matter?

When I've had this issue in the past, I've created a project. Organized a closet, painted a room, something like that. But because we're moving…what's the point, you know? I could pack some boxes, but in order to keep our house in showing condition, I've decided to leave it as-is until it sells. Our garage is already full of stacks of boxes, some that I've packed, items that I decluttered to make closets look spacious, there's not really room for more until we're ready to leave my van parked outside permanently.

I think the issue is that the kids are all entertained today, but I have to stay around the house (and relatively uninvolved in projects) because so many kids are in and out. And I'm not feeling like I can make too much of a mess (thinking scrapbooking) because WHAT IF someone calls and wants to do a walk through of the house on this random holiday?

I should relish these "boring" days, knowing that our life will soon be turned upside down with the relocation process. This is obviously the calm before the storm!
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

#5 - Get Lasik eye surgery

I finally did it!!! This has been on my 101 list from the beginning. We're talking back in 2008, people. Back then, it was an issue of finances, but since we have substantially more disposable income now (because of my business), I've been putting it off because I was being a huge chicken. 

Then a friend came over to pick up her daughter from a play date. She had a small red splotch on the white part of her eye, so I inquired. It turns out she had Lasik surgery the day before and was UP AND DRIVING that next morning. I was shocked! And intrigued. And suddenly very motivated. 

So I scheduled an appointment, worked it out with my busy weekend schedule (that took a few months) and pulled the trigger. The {stunning} picture below is me after getting my eyes dilated at the pre-op appointment last week. Hot, right? 
Here I am a week later and I still cannot believe I don't have to take out my contacts every night. The morning after the surgery, I actually walked into the bathroom and reached to take off my glasses out of habit. I poked myself in the eye!

I was fitted for glasses at 10 years old and started wearing contacts at 12. The eye chart goes up to 20/400 and I was off the chart. That is 28 years of poor eyesight!!! No more. It's not perfect (yet) but I was driving the next morning. I'm around 20/30 right now, but the doctor says it will get better each week for 2-3 weeks. I'm still very happy. 

#5 is finally, FINALLY crossed off my current 101 in 1001 list! It was #98 on my original list, because it was that much of a pipe-dream, after-thought, but here I am, free of contacts. Hallelujah!!!

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Will There Be a Wii in Heaven?

Poor Jason…the third child. It seems that I hardly record any of his Jasonisms, as I did with the first two kids. He cracks us all up on a daily basis, but I have none of it in writing. 

Until today! We were driving home from the gym and I didn't want to forget this sweet conversation.

"Mom, in heaven, will I be hungry, thirsty or tired?"

"Nope! Everything is perfect in heaven."

"Oh, good. Will I be able to play the Wii without asking God permission?"

(thinking) "Um, if there is a Wii in heaven, it's unlikely you'll have to ask permission to play it." 

"WOO HOO!" (it's the little things to look forward to in heaven, apparently)
Jason's begging face, usually accompanied by a fast, mouse-pitched, "Pweez?" Such a ham, this one.
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Saturday, January 31, 2015

December Photo-a-Day Challenge

In December, I decided to participate in a Photo-a-Day Challenge. I already take at least one picture per day, but the idea was that each picture would be Christmasy and winter themed! I posted these every day on my Facebook page and thought I'd put them together here, too. 
Day 1: Christmas Tree
Day 2: Lights 
Day 3: Baking
Day 4: Today's Weather
Day 5: Learning
Day 6: Sky View
Day 7: Red
Day 8: Serving
Day 9: Tradition (driving around looking at Christmas lights in our PJs drinking cocoa) 
Day 10: Warm
Day 11: Gifts
Day 12: Make a list, check it twice
Day 13: A Parade
Day 14: New
Day 15: Merry and Bright
Day 16: Peace
Day 17: Christmas Cards

Day 18: Cookies
Day 19: A Christmas Party
Day 20: Winter Wonderland
Day 21: Santa's Lap
Day 22: Caroling
Day 23: Gifts
Day 24: Christmas Eve
Day 25: Christmas Morning
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Monday, January 26, 2015

10 Days, 1 Showing

I can hardly believe January is almost over. It's been all about getting the house ready to sell and now that it's on the market…we wait. We've only had one walk-through in the first 10 days our house has been for sale. I'm feeling slightly impatient, yet wondering how this month has already slipped away.

January, week 1: 

Project "Put Christmas Behind Us and Fix Everything Possible with our House" was in full swing. Paint was touched up, the pool pump was fixed, the sprinkler leak was fixed, the leaky kitchen faucet was replaced, I continued decluttering and selling everything that's not nailed down. 

We got rid of so much of the kids' stuff, their friends started asking what to do when they came over. The answer was quickly discovered: girls play school and color, boys play football. Who needs toys?

Week 2:

I headed to Charlotte, NC for a Tastefully Simple Leadership Conference. My first time speaking in front of the whole group from the big stage! 
Southwest lost my luggage for two days, but I managed to have the foresight to bring my speaking dress and some toiletries in my carry on bag. 

It was so cold. So. Cold. 12 degrees cold. Five days of cold.

Week 3: 

Once I returned home, we had the house cleaned, had pictures professionally taken and it officially went onto the MLS and a million other websites. Every day since, we've been keeping the inside model-home ready, which is absolutely exhausting when there are 4-5 people spending this much time in a space. We do a lot of life between these walls from 6am-10pm each day. 
I crammed in 4 Tastefully Simple parties in 3 days, then 4 parties in another 4 days. My available "work" weekends in January were slim.

I tried to start packing boxes, but every time I'd go to pack something we "won't need for a few months" I decided to either sell it or throw it away. Including all but a short stack of pictures out of more than 25 photo albums that I've been carrying around my entire life. I kept every picture I ever took from 1987-2002, until I went digital. That's a lotta pictures. And a lotta boxes. And I don't even know most of those people anymore.

Week 4: 

I'm heading out of town once again. This time, Mike's taking a couple days off work and taking the kids to the Arizona Science Center and to the "NFL Experience", since the Super Bowl is in town this weekend. 

I was scheduled to have Lasik on my eyes (FINALLY!!!) but had to postpone when I was asked to fly to Tastefully Simple HQ to work on a training project. I've never been to our HQ and I'm SO EXCITED to go! Too bad it's cold there, too. Very cold. My Phoenix blood can't handle a "real" winter  anymore. I'm used to sunshine and short sleeves and mountains and hiking in January. But all that will change soon!
I'm prepared for February and March to start getting a little nuts. We dropped the price of the house today and we're hoping for more activity. Praying that the house sells soon so I can stop being neurotic about keeping it perfect. Then we'll start the task of finding a new house in Dallas and packing up everything here. 

In the meantime…we wait. We can't do much until the house sells, so we're enjoying the last days, weeks, and months that we have here in Phoenix. Squeezing every little bit out of this great city.
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