Friday, February 20

Up for sale

A real estate lawyer friend  of mine showed up on my Facebook feed, predicting the collapse of this latest housing bubble.  I told him of our plans to sell next year and asked him if we'd still have all this equity then.  He was positive we wouldn't.  

So I calculated how much money we'd get if we sold right now, and divided it by the months we have left.  When we crunched these numbers last year, our home was worth less, and there were more months to divide the money by.  We would have broken even.  Now- we'll come out ahead, even if we live somewhere nicer, and bigger, and most likely with a real pool.

So we put the house up for sale!  Yesterday was our first showing.  It took our good friends who have an identical house just one street up from us over 6 months to sell theirs, and they weren't backed up against a busy street, so it's a good thing we're starting now.  But ours is also like new inside because it was just remodeled three years ago, and has a backyard like none others I've seen in Vegas.  Landscaped with tons of lawn, a covered patio, room for a pool and a sandbox. The couple that came yesterday said they were looking for a place to start a family, and I was happy to show them our yard, ha. 

So we've got our fingers crossed that all Zach's hard work will pay off.  The entire backyard was covered in rock as you can see from this photo:
 He hauled about a ton of rock to one side of the yard and put in a sprinkler system, and planted a lawn.  (In all of his "spare" time... see why I call him an elf??)

video
And now we have this! Believe me, for this part of the desert, it's a pretty awesome yard. ;D





Wish us luck. :)

************************************************************************

So while I was writing this, our agent was writing me.  The couple that came?  Just offered on our house- full asking price, no seller concessions. Ta da! Wouldn't that be hilarious if they get the house? 

  

Wednesday, February 11

My baaaaaby!

I am most definitely done having kids.  I thought I might be when we had Kael, but I wasn't sure.  I thought he needed a brother, and thought my body might be able to pull off making just one more person.

After a while I was quite convinced Kael would be getting a brother.  I just had to convince the brother's father.  He finally came around.

People would ask me, "What will you do if it isn't a boy?"

Can I just say, I've never been one of those people who "just knows" anything.  My friend went to the temple and had a vision of her next kid.  My cousin gets prompted to move to certain cities. My friend was prompted to marry her husband.  When I pray, my answers are all pretty much, "whatever you do is fine, I think you'll survive either way, and I can do blessings anywhere."

So when people would ask me what I would do if it wasn't a boy, I was quite surprised at myself when I realized I "just knew" he was a boy.  I would tell them "I will be very disappointed."  Because that sounded less crazy than "It's a boy.  I already know."

So he's here. And he's the last.  And he's growing up fast.  And I can't get enough of him.

He comes into my room to wake me in the mornings.  For some reason I don't hear him in the mornings lately. (Fine, I know the reason.  I stay up too late plotting spider murders.) But the girls do hear him, so they get him out of his crib and then he comes and gets me.

"Mooooom!" And he climbs up and snuggles under the covers with me just long enough for me to feel how cold his little feet are and then he starts playing with my face.  He uses my nose and chin to open and close my mouth, and then says "Don't bite me!" when he closes my mouth on his finger.  Then he usually pulls a few WWF moves on my abdomen until I give up and get out of bed.

All day long the girls and I are charmed by everything that comes out of this kid's mouth, and I truly have no idea if I'm just bewitched into thinking he's the most capricious kid I've ever encountered, or if he really is as funny as he seems.

Then I put him down for naps or bed, and pretend while I'm holding him that he isn't getting as heavy as he is.  The other day my hormones were in full swing, and I just let it hit me.  I let my tears fall the whole time I held him, looking around at my last nursery: The little blankets, little curtains, little baby books, the diaper changing pad he's almost outgrown, the crib that has held all 5 of my babies, and I don't think I can part with, even though it has technically been recalled...

He whines "My toooes,"  every time I hold him before he sleeps. And I have to pull his baby blanket off his shoulders so it will cover his poor naked toes.  He's inherited my Can't-sleep-with-cold-toes gene.  I keep wishing I could somehow figure out a way to videotape him saying that.  Re-enactment never works with this kid-- too aware of the camera.  I think half of my home videos are of me saying "Say what you just said a minute ago!  Do that again!  Aw, nuts."

When I got called to Primary last year, I had just heard that nursery was also in a major calling upheaval.  I did the unthinkable, and asked if they would consider putting me in there instead.  Declan had been having trouble going in, and I just plain wanted to be in there with him.  I've been lucky enough to be able to hang around all my kids in nursery a few times.  It is my absolute favorite thing, watching them interact with kids their age for the first time.

They really needed someone in CTR 4, though. So I went.  A couple of times Declan wouldn't go to nursery, and I had to bring him to class. It worked out well, since one of my little students really needed someone to be in charge of, so as not to disrupt class herself. :D  Then one week he just went in and didn't mind at all.  It's been a little better ever since.

A couple of weeks ago they called Zach into nursery.  Aw.  I would have been jealous, but I was glad he got to be in there with his boy.  He gets home a few minutes before the boys' bedtime, when he comes home at all, so this calling essentially doubles the time they see each other.  It's really perfect.  I selfishly asked if he would trade me one week, after I stood in the hallway by the nursery door window waiting for my class to get out of the bathroom, watching my baby navigating the snack table so much more easily than he did the last time I was in there.

Then I got a call from our Primary president asking if I wouldn't mind if they put me in nursery.  I don't think I've ever been more excited about a calling, and I have had some really fun ones.  I was so excited to be a choir director, and a music director, and a Young Women camp planner, and a ward missionary with Zach.  But all of those were also mingled with large amounts of anxiety, and came with plenty of challenges.  This one is just pure heaven.  The first calling I've been really excited about since we moved here, now that I think of it.  Perfect timing, perfect everything.

I get to hold onto my baby just a little longer. :)




Friday, February 6

This time last year: February


I actually did post once in February last year!

The main thing I missed was Zach getting shingles.  He was stressed out, studying for the ABSITE, one of the tests they have to take each year.  If they get a certain score, they get money, so of course he was hitting the books hard to score some bucks.  Our neighbor's three dogs were all keeping him from sleeping at during the day (he was working nights,) and we were trying to figure that all out with the city since our neighbors refused to be considerate or try to cooperate.  He suffered through the shingles for a few days before getting diagnosed (because cobblers' children have no shoes, yada yada) and was healthy after a couple days' worth of Valtrex.

He's still got the scars on his forehead to remind him how stressed out he was, so he didn't go overboard with the studying this year.  We were kind of worried about a relapse on this last service- he was pulling about 100 hours a week.  One day, I was curious, so we added up his hours at work, studying, and calls at night, and we calculated 115 hours in just one week.  You'd think that by itself was extraordinary, but what's really remarkable about those hours is that they aren't much more than the usual 80-90 he puts in every week (for almost a decade,) and that he will probably continue to do an average of 50 for the rest of his career.  But, luckily, he made it through this winter bug and virus free, without so much as the flu that hit the rest of us.

Thankfully, another difference this year is that our neighbors decided to patch things up with us.  They got rid of one of the dogs that turned out to be a stray, and bought a barking device for the one dog they actually care about.  The third dog was stolen/ or escaped and taken in somewhere else in the neighborhood.  The whole situation was ridiculous.
I'm glad it's finally over with, and we're not afraid to deliver Valentine cupcakes to those neighbors, too.

Here's our calendar page with last year's pics.



And this came out in Facebook last year- right while I was feeling like we were drowning in crap.  It was a nice little memory jog: "Look!  See how much you've done!  It's not always like this!"  :) I was just floored, it was so cool. I love it.


Thursday, February 5

There's no good reason for me to be this tired. But it makes a good story.

I haven't gotten a good night's sleep yet this week.

Sunday. I play a new game I discovered: Settlers of Catan as an app!  Since the kids kept losing to me and once Zach, (we even gave ourselves handicaps!) they refused to play it anymore.  So I was thrilled with this new game I could play that didn't involve crushing my kids' competitive little egos. This night, I think I'll try a new board with a bunch of new rules and twists.  It lasts a LOT longer than the other versions, so I don't finish until after my bedtime.  And then I discover that I can't turn my brain off for an hour after I play a game like that.  So Sunday night is shot.

Monday. Mia went off on how much she loved this book "Guitar Notes" by Mary Amato.  She finished it for the third time, and I figured I'd better see what the heck this book is all about.  I think I will read it to let my mind wind down and get me tired enough to sleep after playing a much shorter version of Settlers, which game I'm obviously addicted to now.  I make sure to stop playing an hour before bedtime, so I won't be all wired.  But then the book, an hour in, turns out to be a really adorable page-turner.  And you know young adult fiction- you can finish the little thing in a couple of hours.  So I go ahead and finish it.  An hour past my bedtime.  Here's the thing about when I lose sleep.  I become an insomniac.  So it takes me a while to fall asleep, even though I'm totally wiped.  (But that book is seriously so cute.)

Tuesday. Boys are down, and it's "me" time. I'm determined to just go to bed at the appropriate hour.  Zach is downstairs in his "on-call" bed, so I sit alone upstairs, pull out my contraband chocolate and play one little 10-point game of Settlers, lasts 30 minutes.  I look for my last chocolate- I swear I had three, where's the last one?  Guess I ate it. Read a different book that is taking me forever to finish because it isn't that interesting, and I know I won't be tempted to stay up reading it.  Get up to go to bed dutifully on time, and realize I have mashed melted chocolate through all layers of my clothing and bedding.  ALL LAYERS down to my mattress topper.  It is time to sleep, but I have to strip my bedding, including the full slip-cover to the mattress, soak the stain, and re-make the bed.  Which is unfortunately really hard for me.  We have a Tempurpedic because I have a stupid back that goes out whenever I sit on the couch, vacuum, whatever.  It's a crap back.  And our massively heavy mattress is sandwiched between furniture and really hard to make.  So it takes a lot longer than a bed should take to make.  I'm shaking my head the whole time at my dumb back, cursing chocolate (forgive me chocolate, I didn't mean it,) starting to curse my beloved Tempurpedic, but no- I will never do that.  A half hour after I should have been in bed, the thing is done, and  I am quite worked up.  I don't fall asleep for another hour.

Wednesday.  I WILL GO TO BED!  ON TIME!!  I finish the game I started at lunch and didn't have time to finish.  (Oh my gosh, I'm addicted to this thing.  But once I've defeated the most difficult opponent on the most difficult board, I'll be sick of it- that seems to be my M.O. And I think that will happen within a few more games.  There may be hope for me.) I do some dishes and realize my back is still very out.  I sit around talking to Zach, lecturing him about getting more sleep because it leads to insomnia, until he finally gives in and goes to bed.  I go upstairs to GO TO BED, and stop to rotate some laundry.  Lo and behold, there is a spider.

Scratch that, there is a monster.  It is missing one of it's legs. I wonder if we've been accidentally using it as a paintbrush.

We have been remarkably free of bug sightings this year.  It has been almost weird.  Our bug spray guy hasn't bothered to do the upstairs because we just don't  think we need it. Well it turns out the reason we didn't need it is because this gargantuan arachnid has been doing his job for him all winter!  And it is parked in this weird six inch area on the wall below my laundry cabinet and above my dryer!

He has to die.  Before he eats one of my children.  I can't do the squish-the-bug-under-a-tissue thing.  Too many traumatic encounters with spiders as a child- I seriously have a phobia.  I WILL throw stuff at them, but this thing is in a spot where I will either hit the cabinet or the dryer, and then he will fall behind my dryer, and then he will hide until he can lift it away from the wall just in time to pounce on one of my children and eat them.  I go searching in the garage for the bug spray I know isn't there because I looked months ago when I saw the last spider who was 1/4 this size.  I look in all the possible places we could have ever stowed a can of bug spray.  I look up common household products that can kill bugs. I'm in a huge hurry because I know he's going to hide and then I will die of terror. The internet says window cleaner, and of course we don't have any because that is Kael's favorite job, and while he sucks at cleaning windows, he's very good at using up window cleaner.

I close my eyes and sigh.  It has to be done.  I wake up the man I just lectured about getting too little sleep.  My knight in cotton underwear.  He comes in and freaks out appropriately, just enough so that I don't feel completely unjustified in my need to be rescued.  He goes to smash it with a paper towel and chickens out.  This thing is tarantula size- there's no way you wouldn't feel that pop.  Just... ugh.

So he gets a shoe and covers it with the paper towel.  Good idea.  He goes to smash, and it leaves a smudge, even though we can't see where Mr. Monster ended up.  I have to believe he's really dead.
Zach goes back to sleep.  I get in bed and lie awake listening to my heart pound for the next hour, imagining the beast, missing another leg, and coming for vengeance.

I am going to bed on time tonight.  So help me.