Saturday, February 27, 2010

Options Insomnia

Apparently I have house hunting insomnia. I am hoping that if I just blog about what we've seen and what our options are, I will be able to sleep.

This is the back of the house I liked the most from our house hunting jaunt yesterday. I will tell you why. It has a HUGE bonus room upstairs, off of the kitchen. And the bonus room has two bedrooms off of it. I can just imagine it as the Emma & Macey suite. All their toys in that main room, their bedrooms right there. Oh, it would be great.

But it has negatives. They did not leave enough room between the kitchen island and the carpet in the living room for a dining room table (woops!). The garage is on the side and so you have to do a tight turn from the driveway to enter the garage. In a van or the Jeep, it might not be possible without backing in, backing out, backing in, backing out. The backyard is fenced (yeah!) but a mud pit. 1/3 of an acre of absolute wasteland. I see possibilities! Garry sees money, hard work, and, oh ya, money. They also stripped out all window coverings and the basement is not finished and has water damage from improperly dug window wells. But did I mention the fabulous bonus room???
This is Garry's favorite from yesterday. It also has a great bonus room with two huge closets off of the bonus room with built in shelves. Hello toy storage!!! It has a circular driveway, which you cannot see from the picture, but it is awesome.

It has major negatives. The backyard is narrow, narrow and on the other side of the fence are a ton of horses. That's just going to smell really bad all summer long. The girls loved watching the horses, but I am not sure I want to smell them. It's off of a busy street (114th) -- second lot in. The basement is not finished, the landscaping is completely undone, even the front yard. Just dirt. Everywhere. They also stripped all of the window coverings. But Garry loves the driveway and in the kitchen they have a water spicket thing right over the gorgeous gas stove in case you need to fill a pot and are too lazy to walk to the sink.
We saw two new houses that looked identical. One had a fireplace and the other did not. And they had different railings on the stairs, but besides that they were identical. They were nice, but the loft was open and visible right from the entry. Who wants a toy area they actually have to clean? Backyards were unfenced, landscaping in the back was not done because it is a new construction, and the basement is not finished, and the window coverings have to be out in.
The neighbor on the other side of the fence put concrete in his entire back yard -- it's just a mass of concrete. I asked the listing agent why they did that. She said that he probably set it up for large parties/gatherings. It'd be easy to barbeque and have seats for everyone, etc., etc. I thought she was CRAZY for telling me that -- who wants to live behind the party house??

I know we will never find the "perfect" house, but do the negatives have to be so, well, NEGATIVE?

Friday, February 26, 2010


We broke every rule when we started looking at houses in December. Okay, I broke a very big rule. I got attached. First to Lizzie with its fabulous fireplace and fun bonus room that no one would ever see and therefore I would rarely have to clean! When it got snatched up just hours before we were thinking of putting in an offer, it broke my heart and was hard to look at other houses after that. They just did not stack up.

And now Esperanza. When the banks were within $5,000 of an agreement, the negotiator went on a two week vacation. She is now behind, not answering phone calls, her voice mail is full, and she is not returning the phone calls she has. There is no movement. What was supposed to take two weeks because we had a verbal agreement and all parties were on-board has taken two months and there is no end in sight.

So we're going to go out and look at five other houses (none of them are short sales!!). It'll be hard because each house will have something Esperanza does not have: a deck, a fence, landscaping, a finished basement. Big costly things.

Not sure if we should just forget about Esperanza or hold on because it has everything that we want?? We've been 'homeless' for three months and my sanity level over having three kids in such a tiny space is wearing THIN.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Friend

Garry and I have been going to the ward that we would go to if we got the Esperanza house. We have not become very active in the ward since things might not work out with Esperanza and we would have to start all over somewhere else. I am not sure if they have a play group or a book club.

So I have been going to my sister's book club. It's a little fluffy. January's book was fluffy. February's book was by a Mormon author and fluffy. In March we are reading a Sheri Dew book (sigh) and in April we are reading another piece of fluff by January's author (deep sigh).

So it was with great excitement that at the end of book club last night a member, Sarah, said, "If anyone is looking for a really good book to read, I highly recommend The Glass Castle."

I nearly jumped out of my chair and hugged her. Finally someone who read more than fluff!!

I gushed to her about how I LOVED that book and was starting her new book and on and on. I probably scared her with my excitement, but apparently good book club friends are hard to find.

She walked out with my sister and I and we talked about wanting to read more serious, good, stay-with-you, change-your-life, good books. She said that she felt like the 'liberal' of the group because she recommended a book that shocked the book club to its core and made the Relief Society book club change to the neighborhood book club.

Sounds like another friend I know ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I have a book blog.

It's not as neat or as cute as this one, but I hope one day it'll be a good resource for people looking for a good book to read.

I recently finished the book Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos.

At the end of the book, the main character, Cornelia, is talking with her father about happiness in the home. Her mother's life growing up had been very difficult and she swore that nothing like that would touch her children.

Her father explains happiness to Cornelia:

"Did you think all this was for free? Happiness isn't what happens when you whistle along, pretending bad things don't exist. . .Happiness is earned, like everything else. It's achieved. The problem is that your mother's made it look too easy. Which is exactly what she wanted."

It's a great little speech, but I was left wondering how she did it? How did she work and create happiness?? They should have written a book about THAT.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Going To The Ballet

My niece performed in the ballet Coppelia last weekend, and so on Friday night I took Emma and Macey to the auditorium to watch her dance. Here they are with the ballerina, Samantha. Isn't she beautiful?!?!
Here we are in the audience with Cousin Chloe. The girls enjoyed their first ballet, but Macey needs to learn to whisper! During the play she'd ask, full voice, "Where are they going?" "What are they doing now?"
After, we went out to ice cream, and I got the BEST surprise of the evening when I got home and Garry had cleaned the apartment. What a guy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day, Utah Style

Back East, Valentine's Day could be a little stressful. You had to find a babysitter that was not already booked and a restaurant that you could get into! Often Garry & I would celebrate Valentine's Day a little early or a little later so that we could get a babysitter and a table at a restaurant.

But, welcome to Utah where we have lots of options for babysitters and so many great restaurants to choose from. But, problem. This year it fell on a Sunday. (Sigh).

So on Saturday we went to a movie. The Blind Side. It's been out FOREVER and so I expected the theater to be pretty empty. Instead, it was packed. I guess everyone had the same idea. It must have been a great one!

Check out my roses -- aren't they beautiful?!? This vase was actually my first Valentine's Day present from Garry. Ahhhhh......

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Amateur -- Part One

I have found myself in two situations lately where I was a hopeless amateur, and it showed.

The first situation found me on a snowy day in Maryland. We were staying in the hotel and the only washer in the whole hotel was broke. It was time to visit the laundermat.

Even in my college days I did not go to laundermats. I either went to the laundry in the basement or to my sister's house. Being poor, really poor, it was almost always to my sister's home.

So I walked into this situation alone and confused. They had washers of all sizes! Do I go large? Medium? Normal? And the prices!! Did they really want $4 for a large washer?? Didn't they know that in the dorms, in the 90s, it was only 75 cents?

I made it through the washing process and headed for the dryers. All of the dryers were set to Medium heat, and I assumed that this was because hot was super hot -- shrink your clothes hot. So I kept it on Medium and waited the appointed time. The buzzer rang, I opened the dryer door, and my clothes were still wet! Suspicious, I walked down the aisle to see what settings the pros were using. Yep, all were set to high.

Sighing, I inserted more money and turned the knob to high. I could just imagine what the pros were thinking as I struggled through this process. "Sad, amateur. Medium! Hah!"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Aha! Caught Ya!

If you know me, you know that I am always first in line to feel sorry for myself. I really do not need anyone to do it for me because I do it myself SO WELL. Garry understands this and refuses to feel sorry for me, ever. No matter what. Ever.

So if I whine about the difficulties of having three kids at home, all day, every day, he merely reminds me that I am 'living the dream, living the dream.'

If I ever express jealousy over his workplace and adult conversation and quiet, cry-free lulls, he merely tells me that I can go back to work, anytime, and if I make enough money he'll stay home and start 'living the dream, living the dream.'

Now, I have never entirely bought any of this but thought that perhaps he might be serious because he does love, love, love his little girls.

But the other day he was sick and chose to stay home from work. Now, our Molly never wakes up happy. She wakes up a little mad at the world, like we tricked her into going to sleep and now that she's up she's furious at us! I was trying to help her through her latest crying fit when Garry rolled over in bed and uttered in disgust, "I should have just gone to work."


Sometimes the dream isn't so dreamy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

House Hunt Update

This is the house we are waiting on. When the realtor chose to present our bid to the bank, she said that she had a verbal agreement with all parties and we should be under contract in two weeks. That was nearly six weeks ago. The situation got a lot worse this week when the negotiator at the bank went on a two week vacation. It's good to be a negotiator, I guess.

We've been frustrated. Really frustrated. We've prayed for a house, fasted for a house, gone to the temple to ask for special help. But still the best case scenario is that we'll hear something in 16 days. Best case scenario. That puts us under contract sometime in March and since we are month-to-month in our "luxury" apartment, that keeps us in the apartment through April.

Deep sigh.

The frustrating thing, well, the most frustrating thing, is that the banks are fighting over $5,000. There are two mortgages on the house and one bank wants $5,000 more of the pie. We've told our agent that we will just pay the $5,000 but she said it does not work like that. If we add $5,000 the two banks will start fighting again over the additional $5,000 and it would actually make the situation worse.

Yesterday I was feeling really sad. I just want a house. It seems like everyone has one! I'd like one, too!! Some of you even have two or three for the love! I just want one! I want to send my kids outside to play. I want my own mailbox. I've never had a mailbox. Wouldn't it be great to walk to the end of my driveway and check the mailbox??? With the stress of buying this house and losing money when we sold our townhouse, I have felt forgotten. Like my guardian angel went on vacation with the bank negotiator.

But last night at Emma's Open Gym I met a woman who has five kids. She's been living in an apartment while she has been waiting for her house. FIVE KIDS. Age 18 months to 9. She and her husband bought a short sale and went through the nightmare process. But her house was under construction when the construction company went under. Actually, the boss embezzled everything he could and took off. They finally got the house but they still have to finish it. Now she cannot get the electric company to install a meter on her home and cannot get heat and cannot get drywall in her home. Everything has been at a standstill for three weeks as she waits for electricity. She hopes to be able to move in in about two months.

It could be so much worse! I could have two more kids in this lap of luxury!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Love This Kid

I love this kid. Who else tries to eat fruit snacks with a fork? She's like a little junior version of a Seinfeld show.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Daddy Daughter Grand Princess Ball

Garry took the girls to a Daddy Daughter Grand Princess Ball. My sister came over to help me get the girls ready. I put some gel in Macey's hair to make it curl a bit (cursed dry Utah air!) and I curled Emma's hair with a little curling iron. It turned out very Princess-e. When they arrived they were announced over the loud speaker (introducing Princess Emma and Princess Macey with their father!) and given flowers.
They took a carriage ride.

And felt like Cinderella.

They ate good food (though Macey's face says otherwise).

They met the Little Mermaid!

And Emma's favorite -- Sleeping Beauty!

And Snow White.

They had story time with Cinderella.

And story time with Snow White (check out Emma falling asleep).

They danced and made necklaces and had a magical time!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Heat Wave!

Molly has learned from watching Bear on Man vs. Wild that to survive really hot temperatures you can put your pants on your head. Obviously she thought our living room was getting TOO HOT!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Meet Princess Amerah!

Utah has a local princess. Who knew?? Her name is Princess Amerah. She has a website at and even has a blog. She recently wrote a children's book and did story time with the girls at the library. The girls got all dressed up to meet her!

Molly did not get to go, but she did want her picture taken.

We picked up Cousin Chloe and they got their picture taken with the local Princess.
Here is her book -- Princess Amerah and the magic dress. In the book she, um, gets a magic dress.

She gave the girls suckers and they made crowns. A great time was had by all!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thank Goodness For Small Spaces

After hating my little "box" of a townhouse, I have been humbled by living in much, much, much smaller boxes for three months. Sigh.

But, on the other hand. . .

On my sister's cul-de-sac sits a HUGE house. It was the talk of the neighborhood as it was being built -- it was just that big. It's a huge house where you can find silence in some corner, no matter what else is going on in the house. It's a huge house you know is blessed with enormous soaking, jetted tubs.

It was in that house, in that tub, that my sister's friend put her two little boys. They just had a few inches of water, and she walked away to put away some laundry. But one of the little boys turned the water back on and it ran and ran. The little one year old, just two months older than Molly, could not handle all of the water and could not get out and drowned.

He was dead for at least 13 minutes. After miracle upon miracle, he is coming home from the hospital today!!! He's a handsome little guy. Molly will have to try to meet him soon. Check out their amazing story at

I hate the fact that I can hear whenever someone in our building of six apartments flushes the toilet or runs the bath (you can hear the water rush down the pipes). But there are blessings to be found in small spaces.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Man, Three Ladies, A Chick Flick And A Pie!

I am having a great time living close to my sisters. Last weekend Garry rented the chick flick The Proposal and got me a chocolate pie from Marie Callendar's. What a guy. We invited my sisters over and had a great evening. Chocolate, Ryan Reynolds & great company -- what more could you ask for?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Our Big Girl!

Our Emma is getting so big!

The other day she was in the bathroom for quite awhile. We called in to see if she was okay, and she assured us that she was. When she finally came out we asked her what she was doing in there that took so long.

"I was reading a magazine," she said. Oh, of course!

She is also experiencing big girl things without having the big girl vocabulary to tell us about it. For example, recently she came into the living room expressing a sense of discomfort.

"These panties," she said, "they keep going up into my bottom." Ah, it's a wedgie. And it's going to be an ongoing problem, poor dear.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Jump On It!

Last week my sister and I took our kids to Jump On It! in Lindon, Utah. It's a warehouse full of trampolines. Trampolines everywhere! They can jump and bounce and get all their energy out. Well, some of it out. Here's Emma on one of the trampolines.
Here's my nephew heading to one of the baskets they hang about 20 feet high on the wall.

Here's Molly being ADORABLE! She tried one of the trampolines for about 5 seconds. Walking is hard enough when you are 14 months old.

They also had a few bouncing toys set up. Here are the cousins resting at the top of the slide.
Great fun!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our Search In Picture Form

Just in case things do not work out with the house we want, we put an offer on a house on a street called Felicidad. It means happiness ;) The house is a standard rambler, but it has an unbelievable kitchen.
Isn't that great! It has drawers upon drawers upon drawers. So much better than the two drawers I had in my townhouse!

We're still waiting to hear back from the bank on the Esperanza house.This is the one we want. We like it because it's done. The fence is in. The basement is finished. The landscaping is done. The neighborhood is established. Done. We need to replace carpet and they stripped it from everything to the fridge to the light switches, but, as my brother-in-law Brett says, it has good bones.

So while we're waiting, this weekend we looked at two houses. I was really excited about the one below. Doesn't it look nice? It's new construction, it has a different shape, a different look, and it was IN BUDGET. I was so excited. And then we walked in. Ugh. The master bedroom is to the right. There is no division between the bedroom and the bathroom. It's all just an L shaped room. So your bed would be two feet from your bathtub. And the area between the kitchen and the kitchen island was about 18 inches. Garry could walk inbetween but just barely. And where the kitchen ended, the "laundry room" began -- but it was not a room. It was just at the end of the kitchen. No door. No walls. No divisions. Just kitchen cabinet. And washer & dryer. It was ridiculous. Forgive me, Sarah Palin, but when I saw the master suite I exclaimed "This is retarded." I was disappointed. And then we walked across the street to this beauty.

Isn't she pretty?? Her price (she's so pretty she has to be a girl) has come way way down. She's actually just about $30,000 more than any of the above. But she needs window coverings, a basement put in, a fence, a yard. . .she gets pretty expensive pretty fast. But she was lovely.
I know that Garry is getting stressed out about all of this because he was started snoring again. Never a good thing. And I know I am getting stressed out because my eye twitch has come back -- right eye this time, though. I guess the left one needed a break.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Visit With Eddie

Have I mentioned how much the girls have missed their friends?? Luckily they saw Chiler and Xander over the Christmas break and this week they were able to see Eddie who was visiting his grandma. They met up at the Classic Family Fun Center to bounce and explore the "jungle". Great fun!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Long Awaited Pictures

Here's Emma! Our new little gymnast. The gym is very serious. Every lesson she practices tumbling, beam, bars, and they work on three different trampolines. Oh, and they even jump on the vault launcher. Too cute. Macey! She loves her dance class. She loves ballet. She loves tap. She just loves it all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One More Step

One of the things the girls miss most about Maryland is their dance class. They were really enjoying it, especially Macey, but they had to stop at the end of November.

This week we signed the girls up for dance (Macey) and gymnastics (Emma) at the Black Diamond Gym. Black Diamond was a really well known studio in Park City but in September they opened a new gym in South Jordan.

Macey was so excited! She got dressed by herself and found her ballet and tap shoes in the closet. All two hours before it was time to go.

After her 45 minute lesson, she skipped down the hall and said "That was AWESOME".

Pictures will be posted as soon as Garry downloads them to the computer. (Hint, hint).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So What You're Saying Is. . .

Do not think that it escapes my irony meter that after two years of HATING how small my townhouse was that for the last two and a half months we have been living in much, much, much smaller quarters.

I get it.

And I have often wondered if maybe we have struggled to find a house (we have two offers in to the bank on two different houses. and we might put an offer on ANOTHER house this week. surely something will come through???) so that I will learn to be grateful for what I have.

I am grateful to have my dining room table. I am so glad to have the girls' dressers back. Remember the hotel where we had three drawers? Total. We have really large closets here, which is great. And I have a soaker tub. How fun is that? So I get it. And I'm grateful.

The problem with small spaces is that small messes in small places make big messes. I know that the girls feel like they are constantly cleaning up but I have tried to be more diligent about getting things cleaned up before Garry gets home because the other day he asked me:

"What are you going to do when you have a house to clean?"

In other words, if you can't take care of this place, we're in a world of hurt if we do get a house.

Which is not accurate. Small messes in small places make big messes. If we do get the house I'll have thousands of feet to disperse the mess, and it'll look fabulous everyday.

Well, here's hopin'.