Tuesday, September 30, 2008

update on offer

Just really quick so I can get to bed: we didn't hear an actual answer about the offer we put on the house. But we did get more information about it, and a bit of an explanation of why we didn't get an answer as expected. It turns out that the bank has a process with this particular type of sale. Nothing like a short sale, which can take months of waiting. But there's a review period of offers that's about 2 days to 2 weeks. So... not a long time to wait, but longer than we thought. Oh well. We'll see.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


We saw more houses Wednesday night, and we saw one that we like so much that we put an offer on the next night. I'd go into great detail about it, but I think I'll wait until we hear the result. I don't want to get my hopes up too much. How it works is that if the offer isn't accepted or if they counter offer, we may need to move on to the next house. And that's OK because there's plenty of good options out there. The house is already listed at $55,000 below the assessed value, and we put in an offer just a little below the listed price to make it in our budget. So we'll see.

We should hear by Monday or Tuesday. Very exciting either way!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fair fun

OK, so this has been a little overdue. It's been almost 2 weeks since we were able to go to the fair. But it was such a great time that I have to post it regardless.

My mom came up for the day, and we put Catherine in shorts and sandals (it was still warm then), and whisked her off to her first experience at a fair. Along the way we picked up my good friend Heather - what a fun girl day! And what an experience for Catherine. Huge crowds, concerts with cheering and loud music, tons of animals, food, games, rides - wow!

I probably had the most fun at the concert - my favorite local band that I've been following for 15 years - the Coats. It was so much fun for Catherine to hear them for the first time, but I can't tell if she had more fun with the music or climbing up and down on the bleachers.

Catherine's favorite part was the animals. Everywhere we went she saw animals larger than life. She knows her animals so well, but this was the first time really seeing the big ones in person. I can imagine her thoughts: "a cow is really that big? Wow!" She learned how to say "big horsey". This is a picture when she saw the cows for the first time. I asked her if she knew what that was. The picture is her saying "moo!" But not everything was very big; she got to pet a baby goat!

We got to ride on the little train that goes around the kiddy area. Catherine surprised me again - she was scared to go on it! But I coaxed her through it and she was smiling the whole time - and then didn't want to get off. Figures!

There was this fun game up where kids could take drum mallets and bang all over crazy metal things that were hanging or standing around. Catherine had a ball and practically threw a fit when I told her we had to move on.

A few games (all three of us won little frogs for her) and an elephant ear later, it was time to go home. More fun next year. The only thing I regret? Not getting a picture of grandma Trudy and Catherine together. But thanks again mom for these incredible pictures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall is in the air

I think it's more of a coincidence that I happen to be writing this on the first day of fall. The signs have been coming for a while now. The leaves are starting to turn color already, there are Halloween costumes and candy in the stores, and Jen is talking about Toby's birthday (2 already!). We've had beautiful sunshine for weeks, then last week was suddenly overcast and really chilly. Where did that come from? Suddenly I have to convince Catherine that she can't wear sandals outside anymore. She's going to be heartbroken because she spent all summer practicing putting them on herself and finally mastered the skill just last week. Now she has to put them away and instead begin practicing with her sneakers.

The other clue for me that fall has indeed graced our lives again - I started my fall quarter of classes this morning. This time it's anatomy and physiology, 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. I'm nervous about the level of difficulty and the high expectations, but I'm really excited for the subject matter. But from now until December, don't be surprised if I sound really, really tired and braindead every time you talk with me. Yes, more tired and brain dead than I already am!

I suppose winter will be here before we know it, and then we'll be talking about Catherine's 2nd birthday and my (gasp!) 30th birthday. I want to have an enormous birthday party, but I have no idea how we'll pay for that after getting a house. We shall see. That's still a few months away. OK, time to begin studying. Oh boy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A new frontier

It's a buyer's market. We don't have a home of our own. Stephen's job is doing well and is steadily receiving raises and has good stability. What does this add up to?

Well, truthfully it adds up to my head exploding, but that's all part of the game.

Yes, we have started the official process of getting our first house. It's scary. It's exciting. It's nerve-racking. It's frustrating.

But I can't complain all too much. For the enormous life changing event that this is, it's gone very smoothly so far. Almost as if someone up there is saying "finally! It's about time!"

It started Monday morning. Stephen and I had an appointment with a mortgage broker. We came out with a pre-approval for a loan with a great rate and excellent terms and a referral for a real estate agent. I called Jamie (the realtor, who we LOVE), and by the end of the day she had already emailed me our first list of homes to look at. Wow! We drove by some houses Wednesday night and had our first walk throughs today.

Wow! What a whirlwind! Now you can see why I said that my head is exploding.

Now, I have to point out that we're not really intentionally rushing into this. We've been talking about this for months now and have been scouting out homes on our own for weeks. So we had an idea what was out there and generally what to expect. What I couldn't have prepared for though was how well this has been going and how fast.

So what have we found? A lot of very different houses. Out of the 5 that we saw today, 2 were nos. One was a remodel that was never finished, so that would be way too much work for us to take on. And the other was a decent enough house, but it was on an incredibly busy road. Not cool. The 3 others:

House #1: Unbelievable location - totally ideal for us. 3 blocks away from Jen & Phil, across the street from a huge park and a great elementary schools, close to tons of shopping. Oh, and walking distance to a Starbucks. Yay! We actually weren't able to get inside the house to look at it because the key box was jammed. But we took a walk around and were able to see into most of the house. We'll see what we think once we can get inside.

House #2: Good things: good location, proximity wise. Good amount of space, great layout, fabulous kitchen, gorgeous yard, updated electricity and heating. Oh, and did I mention that I'm in love with the house? Seriously, it's amazing. Bad things: parking is funky. It's on a semi-busy street, and you're not allowed to park on the street. There is room for parking 2 cars next to the house, but you have to drive up a sloped driveway and then drive backwards back down it into the street or turn around in a fairly tight spot. But 2 cars - that's it. What happens when people come to visit us? What? No house warming party? No birthday parties? Ugh. It's also a short sale, but we're waiting to find out where we stand with that. We'll see.

House #3: In the Stadium district of North Tacoma. Ideal location in the way of I've always wanted to live there. It needs some serious work, but it's pretty much stuff that we can do. It has so much potential, it's great. The amount of work scares me a little and it means that we'll probably be living there for a while before some of the work gets done. But Stephen was all excited about it - we'll see.

One thing in common between the houses - "we'll see". And we still have many more houses to see. So, more to come.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


It's been such a busy week - there are 3 or 4 big blog entries that I've been wanting to put in, but I haven't had the time or focus or energy to sit down and actually do it. It seems like everything has happened this week - we've started looking for houses, I'm getting ready for class starting next week, choir started again, my mom came up to visit TWICE in a week (how cool is that?)... wow, what else? Need I say more? There's a lot going on. I'm hoping I'll have a chance to spell everything out a little clearer tomorrow. Plus, I have pictures to post!

So, to be announced... more coming soon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another thought...

You've never truly seen a diaper at full absorbency until you've accidentally put one through the washer.

True story.

Special moment

There have been several times playing with Catherine that I lay down on the floor with her to play with her blocks. We stack them, count them, line them up and read the letters - all kinds of fun! It's a lot more comfortable for me to have a pillow laying on the hard floor, so I always grab one. And since I'm laying down, she thinks it's the best thing in the world to climb all over me.

I didn't think that I really did it very often, but a couple of times she would bring pillows down to the floor - one for each of us!

Then this morning I was in the kitchen finishing up the dishes and I peeked into the living room to check on her. She waved me over and said "come on!" She had set out two pillows on the floor and her box of blocks. She was all ready to go! How could I resist?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stuck in my head...

A disadvantage of being a mother of a toddler... and I'm sure every mother out there can identify... getting your kid's favorite song stuck in your head.

Catherine's latest favorite is the hippopotamus song. It's one of the songs that I play when she's in the car and now she fusses if I put anything else on. So now it's in my head and it won't get out.

So if you hear me singing it to myself, don't mind me. I'm just a mom.

... swimming in the river is the hippopotamus... splish splash stomp stomp...


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Progress and setbacks

Ah... the joys of potty training. We've done pretty well over the last couple of weeks with it. She gets excited about it and even asks to use the potty. She will sit down with me for a pretty good length of time. But nothing's really "happened" yet. Not a problem. It's easy not to be disappointed when you go in with no expectations to begin with.

One big lesson learned:

Do not let her stand on the stool to wash her hands after "using" the potty without putting the diaper back on first. Not going potty + running water = big mess.

We're all learning. That's how it goes.

Pictures of our adventures so far:

I'm queen of the potties!

I think I get how this works...

Oh boy! New Dora training pants!

Wait, do I put these on before my pants?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Here we go

(This brings new meaning to the term "potty talk")

We are entering the new phase of toddler-hood: the dreaded potty training! Part of me is scared, thinking that it will be frustrating for us, scary for her, and stressful for all of us. But another part of me has confidence in her, that she will pick it up fairly easy and will love the independence aspect of it. I think if I sit her down and have a discussion about it and tell her NO MORE DIAPERS, she'll jump at it and never look back.

But one thing at a time; we aren't pressuring her at all. And not pressuring her is pretty easy considering that we, as parents, really aren't sure what to do. We've been talking about it for a while, but then Stephen brought up the ultimate question that we had been circling around: "where do we start?" So after some books and getting advice from a few sources and some common sense knowing Catherine as we do, I think we have a "plan":

Step one: talk with her about it and share books. Well, we've been doing this for a while. She's super interested in coming with me when I go and I tell her "soon you'll be using the potty like the big kids and grown ups do". And she smiles. Her favorite part is to flush, and then she says "bye bye" and waves at the water swirling down.

Step two: get her a potty of her very own. Done. That was on Monday. And oh was she excited! We had looked at them in the store before and talked with her about it. So when I brought out the box and told her it was just for her, she started dancing around. She could barely contain herself as I pulled it out of the box. We let her get acquainted with it, so she played with it - taking it apart and back together, putting her toys in it, and sitting on it! She figured that part out all by herself!

Step three: setting up a routine, sitting on it at regular times. This we haven't done yet. I don't want to force too much on her at once. But within the next couple of days we'll be trying it out to see how receptive of the idea she is. And then in the next few weeks we'll be getting the training pants and using diapers mainly at night or for trips or things like that. And then from there... we'll see. No deadline in mind, just going from her reactions.

Stay tuned... this is exciting stuff!