Wednesday, March 31, 2010


For those watching our house hunt, the hunt continues. The market here is difficult because a lot of people are upside down and so you have short sales (which are not short) or bank owned (which are sold as-is) or houses that are outdated and they are trying to cut even -- in other words, they are asking for too much.

We are still waiting on the Bank of America to respond to our offer submitted December 31, 2009 for the Esperanza house. They need to order a new Best Price Offer (an appraisal for a bank to let them know what kind of offer would be appropriate) and that is going to take some more time, apparently.

It's more complicated this week as my two back-ups (the horse house and the Del Sol house) both went under contract this week as people are trying to take advantage of the tax credit and snatching up houses. The horse house (it had about twenty horses five feet from the back door) would have been tough during the summer and the Del Sol house had the bad garage. It was a side entry garage but the driveway was so narrow you could not maneuver into it. And it didn't have room for a dining room table anywhere. It had a beautiful kitchen island, but I did not want to eat around that every night.

We have prayed for the Esperanza house. We have fasted for the Esperanza house. We have gone to the temple to ask for help and guidance with the Esperanza house. I feel like I have sent flare after flare into the heavens, alerting of trouble, and no help has come. I cannot tell if we're being told that this is the wrong house for us or if we need to gain patience? I'm confused.

But I'm not alone. There are lots of flares out there. Friends and family who have experienced truly devastating losses and heartbreaks recently. We are together and healthy. We've just been a wee bit houseless the last five months.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Difference

For the last four years we have been creating camcorder tape after tape and not had the necessary wires/ports to make DVDs. But for Christmas Garry got me a fabulous DVRecorder which makes DVDs from many sources (tape, memory sticks, etc.) directly -- no computer required.

One of the DVDs I made show Baby Macey and Little Emma playing. It looks like such a wonderful and happy and peaceful scene, and I wondered where I lost it. The apartment is small, things get cluttered FAST, and I am overwhelmed with the noise and general chaos of living on top of each other.

I beat myself up over it for a few days, wondering where I went so wrong in my mothering, and I realized the difference. THEY COULDN"T TALK! When Macey was born, Emma was 16 months. Of course it was quieter!! Because now they talk. A lot. All day. Bad call on my part helping them out with that.

Monday, March 29, 2010

There Are TWO Things Wrong With This

Near South Jordan is a mall, the lovely South Towne mall. We do not go there very often, but when we do we tend to part right smack in the middle of the large parking lot. The other day I spotted a parking space really close to the entrance. Since the wind was blowing and it was raining, I was excited!

I headed toward the prime parking spot and realized that the sign said that the space was for "expectant mothers only". Deep sigh. I could park there, no one would care, they might even think I qalified (I DON'T!) but I just couldn't do it. I went into the other row and started looking for another spot.

Just then a little white car whipped into the spot. It may be petty of me -- but hey, I've never claimed to be anything different -- I watched this person get out of the car.

Not only was she not pregnant, she wasn't a she. I thought of rolling down my window and yelling, "Hey, mister, there's no way you're pregnant! You have the wrong plumbing!" but instead I just went and parked.

I should have left a note.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Now THAT'S Entertainment

Emma loves to sing. She loves to dance. She loves to sing and dance. And sometimes, well, actually, often, she shares her talents with friends, family, and other shoppers at WalMart. Normally it's really cute. When it involves a microphone at Target, it can become less so.

The other day Emma told me she wanted to dress up in a skirt, a shirt, fancy socks and sparkly shoes and invite friends over to watch her sing and dance.

I have no idea where she gets this from. I do not even sing in the shower.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's About The Food

Over the last 3 1/2 months Garry and I have probably looked at about 30 houses. Some we have really disagreed on and I could not figure out what he was looking for in a home.

I think I now know. When I think of a great home, I think about having a designated place for the girls to play. It's all about toy management. That's why I like the Del Sol house so much (A house on Del Sol Road). It has a huge bonus rooom upstairs, off of the kitchen, and there are two bedrooms and a bathroom off of the bonus room. I think of it as the Emma & Macey wing.

I have finally figured out that when Garry thinks of a great home, he thinks about having family and friends over for great food. For him, he needs a designated and spacious place for a dining room table for years of fabulous eating ahead. That is hard because the trend is away from formal dining rooms and formal dining places, instead making room for one large great room. Often the dining room table has to be tucked into some space, somewhere, and that bothers Garry.

Now that I figured it out, will it get easier?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh Good, They Speak English

I have already blogged about how many kids there are in Utah. There are kids EVERYWHERE. With one big exception: my apartment complex.

We are staying in the "Luxury" apartments, and our building was just completed a few months ago. We are the first tenants. There are six apartments in our section of the building. From what I can tell, only one apartment is vacant.

But I have never seen the people across the way. The person next to us is a man who likes to play music really, really loud at all times of the night (2 a.m. is Garry's personal favorite). I'm not sure about the other apartments upstairs but for one exception: the apartment directly above us.

They have kids. Two of them, at least. I hear them at all times of the day and night (2 a.m. is Garry's personal favorite) running back and forth, back and forth with an occasional STOMP STOMP in between. I've seen the kids Mom and the Grandparents. I am not sure how many people live there. It reminds me a bit of Maryland in that way with all of the mystery houses!

I have never really talked to this mother or gone up to visit because with all the stomp stomp stomping (truly, at 2 a.m.) I have grown to not like them much. And I was not sure if she spoke English.

But the other night (11 a.m.) we heard the baby screaming and then the Mother joined in screaming "get out! get out!" over and over.

I had three thoughts: (1) at least it's not 2 am. (2) If I hear one peep of "help" or anything akin to it, I am calling the police on the mystery apartment. (3) oh good, they speak English. Quite fluently.

I still do not have plans for a playgroup, though.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God Bless Girls

On Saturday we went and looked at a house. This house was actually occupied (most of the houses have been vacant), and we could tell fast that it was a house full of boys. There were cars and trucks and balls stacked neatly in the room. There was pictures of boys hanging on the wall. And in the living room. . .well, in the living room. . .

There was a big screen tv. Big and beautiful. And with a ball-sized dent right in the middle. Obviously a ball had gone astray and found its target right in the middle of Dad's tv.

I groaned when I saw it. We worry about this at our house. So we walked the girls right up and showed it to them and warned them that this is what happens when you throw toys in living room.

God bless girls.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Goodbye, Dear Friend

On Friday I took Molly & Macey to their well-visit at the pediatrician's office. After pronouncing them perfect and lovely, the pediatrician asked if I had any questions. In near-tears, I explained that Molly (nearly 16 months) still was not sleeping through the night.

She asked if Molly was still on a bottle. I was embarrassed as I confessed, "Yes!"

Let me explain. I know that at 12 months she should have been switched over to a sippy. But she does not like sippy cups. And when she turned one, we were living in a hotel. Molly had been moved away from her home and her crib was in storage, I was not going to take away her bottle, TOO.

The doctor promised that if I took the bottle away, she would sleep. There would not be anything worth waking up for. So far, it has worked. Four glorious nights of sleep.

But, getting her to go to bed and take naps is now IMPOSSIBLE. She hates sippy cups, and we have tried three different kinds. When we hand them to her, she screams and throws them on the floor, walks over to where we kept the bottles, points and screams. I think that sometimes I miss her bottle as much as she does.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Prom Picture

Garry got the official prom picture from his Daddy-Daughter night out. Very cute. That Macey, sometimes she can smile perfectly but other times. . .

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Then Again, It Could Just Be Stuff

My Mother is a woman of great faith. She sees God in the details of her life, and she acknowledges all things to Him. So when 'something' happens, she immediately looks to see what she can learn from it.

I have adapted a similar philosophy, and I think that it is driving me a little insane. We've had a really hard year with this move, and so I have thought that maybe we were not supposed to move, that I forced the move and am now being punished with obstacles being placed in every single step of the process. After all, we started the process of moving almost exactly a year ago, and here we are, a year later, far from settled.

Today at church there was a father who spoke. He told the story of going on his mission. He went into the Training Center and hurt his neck. He had to wear a neck brace for several months. Then he had an infected tooth which was a source of great pain. And then four months into his mission he was sent home for three months for double knee surgery.

Was he being punished? Of course not. I need to stop looking at frustrations as divine punishments and just as stuff. My job is not to interpret the stuff or find meaning in the stuff, because it could just be stuff. My only job is just to survive the stuff and try to survive it well.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I Wish. . .

I am starting to wish I had never seen the Esperanza house.

An update to the last posting: the seller provided the needed information and the bank determined that he did still qualify for a short sale. But one of the banks (there were two mortgages) decided that they wanted $7500 more than they were getting under the agreement. To just end this, the agent tried to see if the seller would agree to pay the $7500 and we could move to closing. He talked with his attorney and things got stuck.

Things got even worse because the Best Price Offer (kind of like an appraisal for banks) expired yesterday.

What does that mean? It means we start all over again. New BPO, new paperwork, new everything.

The BPO will take at least a week. The new paperwork will take an additional two, at least.

I am sad today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Come Along, Kids!

The thing about Utah is that there are a lot of kids. LOTS of kids. LOTS OF KIDS. In Maryland I heard at least once a day, "Wow, you have your hands full" as I went about with my three kids. Everyday. I have only heard it once in Utah and I think I literally had my hands full -- of Molly and shopping bags and a stroller. (Do not ask me why Molly does not like her gorgeous stroller. I have not figured it out.) I think that people look at me with just my three kids and assume I have older kids in school or think fondly back to the good old days when they only had three ;)

Garry has been gone most of March and so I've had to take my kids places I normally wouldn't: this week the oil change place and the lab for blood work on my thyroid. And both experiences were not too bad. The oil change place (Tunex -- thumbs up -- they vacuum your car) they were ready for kids with a huge coloring book and crayons. Wahoo! And at LabCorp they had a kid zone for the kids to play in. Another Wahoo!

It's hard to take the kids into these places but it's so great to be in a kid friendly state!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Yellow Day

The best part of having girls and girls and girls is dressing alike, right? Here's our yellow day! Oh, and check out Molly's itty bitty pony tail. Look hard, truly it is itty bitty.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Woo Hoo Emma!

Last Sunday I got up and Emma had set up the table. She put a blanket on the table for a decorative table cloth (I have since run out to Target to get her a more appropriate-kid-friendly option), placed big plates out for the big kids (parents) and little plates for the little kids, and set out spoons, forks and butter knives. She also got out two different selections of juice and little cups for the little kids and big glasses for the big kids. I credit my sister with this extreme creativity. I am not sure Emma saw a table cloth very often until we started hanging out with Aunt Rachelle!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Macey Turned Four!!

Remember this beautiful baby?? This was her last day in her crib. Oh, she was so cute!
Now Macey is four!! On her birthday I got her a little new outfit, a little pink hoodie with a skort. Way cute. Her Dad got her the biggest Princess balloon in the West. I am surprised she did not float away.

In Maryland we did not live near family and so we always celebrated with friends. Here we have not made many friends yet and so we celebrated with family! My sister threw her a party at her house. We had my sister Cindy and her whole family, my sister Rachelle and her whole family, Garry's grandparents, Garry's uncle and his family and Garry's sister-in-law. Macey got a lot of great presents and felt loved and special.

Here she is opening her Louie from Princess & the Frog.

She also got Bolt. The Disney store always does well right around my kids' birthdays.

We found a Princess & the Frog cake at Harmon's. I was worried that they would not have them out yet, but they did. Yahoo!!

We love Macey! She is smart, makes friends wherever she goes, is loving and HAPPY!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


We did hear back from the bank yesterday (PNC, the second mortgage). They have asked for updated financial information from the seller, since the short sale was requested over a year ago, to prove that he can no longer afford the mortgage payments.

The seller stripped the house down (light switches, shower heads -- everything) and so he's not my favorite person. I just hope he is punctual and provides the information they want in a timely manner. I also hope that since he moved to Arizona he has not found a fabulous job that pays him a ton of money.

I am frustrated and sad beyond belief. Yesterday Emma saw a commercial that had strawberries in it and she asked if we could plant a garden. I looked at my apartment and cried and cried.

I would like a house.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Monday, Monday

We finally heard from the bank on Wednesday! The second mortgage has said they'd have an answer in 72 hours and so hopefully we should hear something on Monday.

Although, what was supposed to take two weeks has taken over two months. . .so 72 hours is actually what? Two weeks?? Well, here's hoping!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

There's Big Money In Play Doh

Macey has a ballet recital in June. This week we have to pay for the dreaded, over-priced, wear-it-only-once costume.

Garry told Macey that she would have to get a 'job' to help pay for the dreaded, over-priced, wear-it-only-once costume.
She has thought about this since he mentioned it. It was clearly on her mind a lot because she would tell complete strangers in the store that she was going to be in a dance show but only if she could find some money.

Yesterday while I was taking a shower she brought in can of Play Doh. She told me that she was going to make a cake and sell it for her dance show.

As soon as he got home I told Garry to explain to Macey that her show was paid for and everything was okay. Because I don't think many people want to buy a Play Doh cake.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Back Up

You might remember that we put an offer on a house, known as the Felicidad house, in case the house we really would like does not work out. Remember, it had the awesome kitchen. Outside was nice. It has a three car garage, which is so exciting since we only had one with the townhouse and it was used only as storage.
We felt that the house was worth -- maybe -- $330,000. We put in a lower offer (it was a short sale, of course) and we were told that we would get a response in two weeks and we could close in three. This house could be ours in five weeks!
True to form, nothing after two weeks and after three weeks the listing agent came back and asked for $30,000 more. He had found another buyer, and though the standard practice was to just deal with one buyer at a time (which is why you work fast to get into first-place) the agent threatened to pull our offer.
We agreed to the higher amount.
But were cursing the listing agent's sketchy morals.
Then the banks came back (this house had three mortgages on it). The banks wanted $387,000. Beautiful kitchen or no, it's not worth $387,000. The banks will never get it, and house will be foreclosed on. Which means the owner will not be able to buy another home for eight years.
Still no word on the Esperanza house.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Don't Do Nothin'

Emma really enjoys crafts. When we go to my sister Cindy's house, she sits at the kitchen island with paper, markers, crayons, pencils, popcicle sticks, beads, pipe cleaners, poof balls of all different colors, etc. Emma can make amazing things with these supplies, MacGyver style, without any help.

I think that this both awes and intimidates Macey. On Saturday she tried. She colored a popcicle stick and glued a bead on top. Emma made a catepillar complete with eyes and a little mouth.

When we were ready to go, Macey handed her masterpiece to her Dad. "Here you go, Dad!" she said proudly. "It's for you!" Slight pause. Truthful disclosure in a happy voice. "But it don't do nuthin'".

So don't get too excited.

One day I might try to teach her "but it doesn't do anything" but for right now "don't do nuthin'" is just too cute.