Thursday, April 28, 2011


All this rain has me going crazy! I love rain, and as a gardener, it makes my life easier. Just so happens that I'm trying to transplant a good portion of my garden, and I'd like to get everything potted up while it is just breaking dormancy- and mother nature will just not stop dumping rain on us. I've been living in muddy boots and clothes- even grocery shopping in them, because the second the rain stops, I run out and get a little work done. Last night, I even had mud in my hair before I showered. So silly.

But yesterday, the rain was just too much- lasting too long. I did my household chores, and found myself standing here with nothing to do. Scrap!

I found these two layouts from my last scrap-time, and thought I'd share it. I love the colorful boyish papers on the market right now, and my mom bought me some Ali Edwards stamps I am LOVING playing with.

I made this lengthy layout yesterday. This is one of my favorite kinds- stream of consciousness journaling about one of the kids to capture his essence at the time. I'm certain in 20 years I will cherish these layouts.

And this fun one of for the 2011 family album, documenting something the boys do all the time now- play legos together, build something, and come together to share the story.

Happy spring everyone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Relaxing Easter!

We headed down to Pekin, Il for a nice visit with Theo's side of the family from last Thursday until yesterday. We had planned on returning Sunday morning early so Theo could head back to Minnesota for a early flight to Phoenix Monday, but while mowing his mom's lawn a rock hit our car window and shattered it to bits. All the window distributors were closed all weekend, so we were "stuck" relaxing a bit more, and spending more time together. Costly, but we're all better now.

While there we celebrated an early birthday for this little lump:

Everyone came over for an Easter style dinner with ham and hot potato casserole. I made this over-the-top bunny cake with a foot of frosting on top. Hunter enjoyed playing baseball with daddy and his Uncle Trash, and having a water gun fight with his brother aunt, and cousin. We (mom and dad) got Hunter a grown-up adjustable T for batting practice. He played with it all week long, between rain showers. He also marched around in his new Buzz Lightyear flip flops, belt, and tennis shoes care of Memaw.

Sunday morning the big Bunny delivered some generous baskets full of trinkets and candy. Notice Hunter's huge mouthful of cadbury egg?

My generous sons each gave me one of their Cadbury eggs. Not the least of the reasons I began weight watching again this morning, for the first time in months. Feels good to get this first day over with. The boys have been enjoying the markers the bunny brought- as well as work books about cool stuff, like Jesus, Math and Scooby Doo.

Speaking of Scooby- we've begun planning Hunter's at-home-with-kids-from-school birthday party and he asked for a Scooby theme. Grandma Anita ordered plates, etc. and a pinata, and even treated Benjamin to a Shaggy costume to wear. Wow, right?

Oh, and here's a grainy cell phone picture of the house we will be officially renting in Minnesota. Theo gets the keys in a few short days. So excited to have a cottage to go with my cottage style garden and style. We move up at the end of the school year- about one month from now. CAN'T WAIT!!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Funny Conversations.

Awesome conversation in the car this morning with Hunter Joe after we dropped of Ben at school. H: Mom, when I g-wow up who is gonna be my mom? Me: I'm always going to be your mom. You only get one mom. When you grow up you don't live with your mom, you live with your wife and make a family of your own. H: How do we know who our wife ih gonna be? Me: When you grow up, you go out and meet people, and when you find someone you really like, and you get along with well, you ask them to be your wife. H: How do you know? Me: You just feel right together, you enjoy them. H: Is it duh ring? Me: Oh, yes, you know if someone is already married if they have a ring on. Yes. H: What ih day are already married? Me: Then you don't ask them. Wondering if I should have elaborated on this. H: Duh Daphne have a ring on? Referencing some recent pictures he saw of Scooby, Shaggy, and Daphne at Universal Studios with Flat Stanley and Grandma. He's been talking about how pretty Daphne is for the last 24 hours. Me: Laughing. No, I don't think so, Hunter. H: Okay, well, I will look when I am there. Me: Okay. pauses H: Daphne is already married. She ih married to Freddy. Me: Oh yeah? Did you see them get married? H: No. You juh know, mom. Later. H: Mom, do grown-up-ez ever get wii taken away for the ret of the day? Me: laughing No, grown ups can do what they want. They don't get in trouble. H: I want to be a grown-up den. Even Later. H: Mom, I don't wanna die. Me: You won't any time soon. You could live a long, long time. H: Like a thousand? Me: No, but some people live longer than a 100 years. H: How long ih that? A long time. Me: Yes, that's a pretty long time. Going inside we see a man walking his tiny dog. H: Mom, dat dog is so cute. It ih tiny. Me: Yeah. H: Why are all dogs different? Waura is not dat mall. Me: All dogs are different sizes and shapes, just like people. H: Yeah, like on wii. Duh people are all dih-ent. Some have gray faces, and peach faces. Right? Me: Right. At home later. H: Mom. Daphne is prettier dan you. Me: Yes, she is.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A teachable moment.

All afternoon I was very frustrated with Hunter Joe. He simply was not listening to me. He left trash on the living room floor, and I had to ask him to pick up something else 3-4 times. He talked back to me pretty intently, and I had my last straw- I sent him upstairs to give me some air. He drew me a picture, and wrote some awesome words. He brought it downstairs, and I praised it accordingly, and thanked him. He then got in trouble one more time, turned right around and ripped up picture he had just made me, and stomped up the stairs. I let him know it hurt my feelings. He remade the picture and brought it downstairs to apologize, and Ben followed him with his own two cents: Ben wrote a note with a peace offering, "I wish we there was a time we could all just play together." So cute. I told him maybe if we had time left in the day after they took a bath, and I showered, we would. He climbed in the tub and looked up at me and said, "Mommy, can't you just take a quick shower, so we have time to play?" I explained, "Mommy's a lady, and we rarely take short showers. We take longer. I have all my hair to wash and everything... " He cut me off, "Maybe if you were a little bit thinner... you could save just a little bit of time." Wow. Poor kid. He doesn't know any better. But what a day to say that to me, right? I took a deep breath, and thought about what to say. I knelt down, and I told him it was not okay to ever make a comment about a women's body size. I added, "Everybodys' body is different. My body is beautiful just the way it is. My belly grew two perfect babies. Daddy loves my body just the way it is, too. You should never tell a woman that she is too big or thin. Ever. Okay?" He nodded, and looked at me a little crazy.

Fighting Mad.

As you know, the Army moved Theo from his job here in Madison to one in Buffalo, Minnesota at the end of January. We were forced to sell our home, found some wonderful buyers who love it, despite its flaws- and made an offer the second day it was listed. All was going wonderful, and everything the inspector mentioned the buyers were okay with. Many days had passed, and we decided it was time to make an offer on a home in Buffalo. Life was looking pretty peachy. I pulled out my garden sketchbook and began plans. I showed the kids cool options for their own rooms finally- a Buzz colored room, and a place for all Ben's lego creations where his brother couldn't get em. Then... The buyer's bank's appraiser came in and said the house was worth about $26, 000 less than the buyers were willing to pay. 6 Years ago we paid $109,000 for our home. Our full asking price to sell this house was $110,00, the buyers offered 110,000, but because the appraiser says our home is only worth somewhere around $84,000, the bank can only give the buyers a loan for that amount. The market here is awful- and almost all sales are short sales. This forces us to either the keep the house, and live apart from Theo- which is not fair to Theo or the kids, or me- because I'm over being a single mom and spending $150 on gas every weekend for Theo to be here for less than 48 hours. Or sell it. We can't rent it out, because it apparently needs repairs (according to the inspector and appraiser) that would need to be fixed before it could be rented. On top of that- we're going to be living 7 hours away, and don't feel comfortable being lanlords from so far away. We thought we'd found the solution in something called a VA compromise- We used a VA loan to purchase our home, and they've created this compromise to help military folks who are forced to sell their homes in less than ideal market conditions. It looked the VA covered the amount between what we owed and what the buyers are paying, and we did not have to take a hit to our credit. Ride the rollercoaster with me... Not so. VA compromose hits our credit just like a short sale- so that pre-approval for a home loan that we had is now gone. No matter what your credit is, you are not allowed to purchase a home for 2 years, sometimes 3, after a short sale. Devastated doesn't begin to cover it. Angry, bitter, confused, nerve-wrecked, shaken, hurt, heart-broken, unnerved, spitting, fighting, mad. We've spent the last year and half building up our credit after my husband got sober. We've paid our bills, even when it meant we had $.30 left in the bank every two weeks. We've sacrificed so much- not having enough money to go to California to say goodbye to my grandpa, or being to able to go out give my grandma a hug at his funeral because we put every penny we had into getting this house ready to sell- and now that was a waste of time. I'd like to thank the folks who foreclosed on their homes all around our town for screwing over the people who paid their bills, and making the market value of homes in Milton "40% than it was 6 years ago," according to that lovely appraiser. Now, we will have to rent a home. Not the end of the world, except when you consider we have pets and I'm a gardener. I'm not a one bed of flowers kind of gardener, but more of a massive rip up all the lawn type. I'm unwilling to budge on the gardening thing... it's as much a part of me as my hair, or my kids. I know how childish and unnreal this sounds, but gardening is a part of me, and if I can't have my own patch a dirt, I don't want anything at all. Period. And I don't want to just keep my plants alive until we get a house in a few years, it's not that, I want to tend to them every day I want to kneal down and watch God's miracles as they evolve and grow, and share their beauty with me. I live for my garden- for the physical aspect, the teaching, the wildlife. Some people watch TV at night, I garden with my headlamp until I can't see. I spend a 100 hours a week, however I need to come by them, in my garden come spring. My kids grow their own stuff and are always out there with me. Dirt runs through my veins, and my kid's veins now, too. I feel like this- this not haing a garden after having a massive, extensive garden with thousands of hours of labor and love, hundreds of roses, hundreds of perennials (most raised from seed), and shrubs- I feel like someone has stabbed me in the heart and left me bleeding. I feel like I'm drowning. We will have to get rid of some of our pets. The Humane Society isn't even accepting cats, so I don't know exactly where we're supposed to take them- or if I even can bring myself to do it? Am is supposed to dump my pet, my family member, in the woods? Leave em' in a box on the doorstep the Humane Society in the middle of the night? Why not just shoot me? Just thinking about it makes me sick. Nevermind the process of telling my kids they have to get rid of their pets! A little mercy would be nice. None of this is really our fault. We bought a house like many young couples did, and at the time, it was a wise choice. I believe, in military circumstances, we should be allowed to not take the hit on our credit. Like I said, mercy would be nice. It's not like we're asking for much. We don't need some fancy home- we were offering on the most plain house you've ever seen. We don't need lake frontage, or granite countertops. We don't need 3 car heated garages or fancy pools or fountains. I'd settle for 4 walls and some freakin' dirt. A simple $118,000 home- so small in our world, nothing to most of the banks who are punishing us. The balls rolling with the short sale and my husband calls the bank to ask some questions and they told him they won't approve a short sale until the house has been on the market for 90 days- so now we're being penalized for having a buyer? Seriously... what is wrong with our country? This doesn't make any sense! They are going to end up getting nothing but a trashed house in foreclosure if they don't take this offer- don't they realize that? A few ago, I didn't understand why people did that when they lost their homes, but now I feel like I'll need to sell the fixtures just so we don't end up homeless. I'm not going to just sit here while my husband lives in his office on a cot in Minnesota? Sweet heaven, I am so over this! So, that's where we're at folks. The whole story. Fun, isn't it?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Day!

I turned 32 earlier this week, but Theo was working in Minnesota- so we celebrated today. He made me a huge dinner (anything I wanted, he said!) of BBQ'd chicken, pasta salad with sun dried tomato and artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, and potato salad- so delicious. Tons leftover for tomorrow's brats, too. Yum. And it would not be my birthday without a rainbow chip frosted cake. I worked in the yard all day long- said hello to a ton of perennials and bulbs coming up. I woke up at 1:50 am, and I'm still sitting her typing at almost 8pm. Wild what digging in the dirt does to me, makes me feel alive. She enjoyed the spring day with a sunbath also. Our Laura Lu. And these two made the most adorable birthday cards for me- I will hav to photograph the and post them here soon. Adorable! Happy spring!