Monday, September 30, 2013

My amazing, wonderful children

I don't think I usually refer to them that way. It's usually "the crazy one." Or "the one who talks back all the time." Or "the ones who won't stop fighting."
But usually they really are wonderful. Especially the past week. I mentioned in my last post that we are dealing with yet another pregnancy loss.  And to the family members who are saying, "Hey, she didn't tell me? I am reading about it on her blog?" I apologize. Things have been so crazy around here I just did not feel I could deal with getting into it at the moment. I really am sorry. But I am so, so tired.

Anyway, I have worried in the past that Benny was not compassionate. He didn't seem to care if people were sad or hurting. I would look at my niece who was so sensitive and was concerned about the difference I saw. But the other day he asked if we could snuggle in 2 days. I thought that was funny he was scheduling this in advance, but it made sense since it was past his bedtime at the moment, and the next night he wasn't going to be home. So he was scheduling a snuggling session. This of course delighted me since it NEVER happens. But I think in his own way he is sensitive after all, and somehow knew this is what is mommy needed. I didn't make him wait 2 days; I said let's snuggle now. I ended up telling him I was sad because I had a baby in my tummy that wasn't going to make it. The wise little boy told me that we didn't know that for sure, and that maybe the doctor was wrong, and we would just have to wait and see. He also said he was sorry this was happening and that after my next doctor's appt he would make sure to give me a big hug.

After this talk I wondered if I had done the right thing in telling him because he was getting excited and hopeful about having a little brother or sister. I tried to warn him that it actually wasn't going to work out, but he remained positive. Yesterday I was lying down on the couch for a few minutes, and he came and laid down with me. I can't remember the comment I made, but it had something to do with wishing things were going to go differently at my appt tomorrow (today). Then in a sweet, wise voice, he said, "Well, mommy, sometimes things happen in life that we just don't understand."
What? Could this be the same boy that is grounded for the next two weeks?  It reminded me of the time he was around 2 and our friend Norma was having some major health issues. We were at Target and he was playing with my phone. He had a pretend conversation with Norma, who he had met maybe twice, in which he said, "Be patient, Norma. Be patient." And then he moved on to whatever 2 year old babbling he was doing.

And Ellie. She makes going to Sacrament meeting on Sundays nearly impossible. But at least she loves nursery and will yell during sacrament meeting that she wants to go to nursery. So when I picked her up after church yesterday, the nursery leader asked if we had found a babysitter yet because she really wants her family to watch Ellie anytime we need them. The two nursery leaders then proceeded to tell us how much they love having her in class and how cute and fun she is. They love how much she talks and how much personality she has. And they whispered that they know they're not supposed to have favorites, but she is theirs. By then I was laughing pretty hard. Of course we adore Ellie, but we know how her strong personality can get going in bad directions sometimes.  But I guess when it's going in the right direction, she is delightful to be around. And that made me happy that other people could see that, too. I always wanted my daughter to have personality and be a strong person, and it's good to see that is exactly who she is. We just have to make sure we keep that energy of hers on a positive path.

I will never be one of those moms with a great quantity of children, but I definitely know that the quality is.

Story of a house

Last year at this time Ben had just found out he had lost his job. Things were stressful. But I had been on the phone with my sister Kimiko and she closed the conversation by saying, "When Dan (her husband) lost his job, we were able to look back over the year and see all the miracles that happened. I can't wait to hear about yours at this time next year." I was sure she was right, but of course had no idea how things were going to work out.

I had wanted to write this entry with a big finale surprise ending, with the exciting announcement of our 3rd baby. Well the 3rd baby part actually isn't going to work out after all, and while we are pretty bummed to say the least, the thought I had was that it doesn't need to be about the ending. Because is there ever really an "ending?" It's all one continuous journey. And although I was not feeling very grateful the past week--let's face it, I may or may not have had some mini breakdowns (I blame the hormones)--I feel like these things can't wait to be written down any longer. I'm sure none of it is earth shattering for anyone else, but for us it has definitely been a year of growth.

We closed on our home today.  Yippee! I knew this was an exciting time, but with all the stresses we'd been dealing with lately I don't think we remembered to be excited. But today as we sat chatting at the title company office, our realtor/friend expressed how happy he was for us, and I made the comment that a year ago Ben didn't even have a job, and now we're actually closing on a home for our family, the feeling I got was overwhelming. How could I not be grateful after everything that had happened?

So our summer went like so:
I think my last post was in April about Ben loving his new job. At this time it was taking us some time to catch up financially on everything, but we knew it would get there. I was still bummed we had drained our savings of our house down payment and was discouraged about building it back as it took several years to get where it was, and now we had even less money. But things were ok as we both had jobs we liked and the kids were happy. We figured we'd just stay in our townhome rental and figure things out as they came. Well, summer came and one day we got an email from our friends who owned the townhouse we were renting. They felt terrible about it, but they were going to be moving back and we would need to find another place to live. I started browsing listings for rentals and realized it is just not worth it to rent a house, and I was absolutely sick of moving, so what would it hurt to just talk to a lender and see if we even had a slim chance of buying anything right then. The worst they could say was we were crazy since we had pretty much no money and a lot of instability over the past two years. Imagine my surprise when the lender said it should somehow work out.

First we went on vacation to visit my parents and Ben's dad and stepmom, but when we got back we decided to contact one of our neighbors to be our realtor. I had not been interested in using someone we know, but for some reason we felt like we should go with Josh. And Josh worked hard. He also got us in contact with a great lender who also worked really hard. We sold our car that had just been paid off, of course. We sold my beautiful piano. We started pinching every penny we could so we could "hurry and buy a house."

Our realtor took us out many times, and some days were very discouraging as to what was available in our price range. We were running out of time and needed to have an offer accepted in the next few days. For some reason we decided to expand our search and looked at one in Saratoga Springs. My friend coincidentally lived just a few houses down from this one in Saratoga, so we picked her brain about the area and she put in a good word for us with the seller. And after all the great layouts and awesome yards we looked at that day, Ben said he really felt the Saratoga house was the one. I was shocked.  The realtor was shocked. We made our offer and started paperwork when our friend down the street mentioned that we might want to ask about some rural housing loan. The lender did some checking and said we could qualify for that loan for TWO MORE WEEKS and then Saratoga would not be considered rural anymore as it had grown so much. However, this loan would extend our time in escrow even longer and our realtor said that if he were the seller, he would probably say no at this point. Yet again, we were shocked when the seller agreed to push back closing as they really felt we were serious about everything and liked that we had ties to the area through our friend who lived there. They wanted us in the house.

So if anyone is still reading, good for you, I can barely keep my eyes open and I know I'm rambling. But it just amazes me how this has all worked out. I don't know why, but we really feel like this is where we are supposed to be. It's not a convenient location. Sometimes it's smelly. The house isn't the one I would have picked for myself. Yet at the same time there is no doubt we made the right decision, and we know it was not possible on our own. Once again, Someone helped us along the way and sent us to the place we needed to be. And so far we love it. The neighbors are all so friendly, and Benny always has kids to play with. Our door gets knocked on several times a day for various reasons, whether it be kids looking for a playmate, or neighbors introducing themselves.

Yes, the car accidents and packing and unpacking and the hormonal rollercoaster have made the past few months pretty darn stressful. So no, there is no baby, but there is a lot of everything else to be grateful for.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

House pics

I need some major catch up, but for now, some have requested pics of the house we are buying. They are just quick snapshots from when we did the home inspection last week.

 Dining area, obviously.

 Kitchen, which one day I will have to figure out how to expand.

 Master bath

 Master bed

 Benny's room which we will paint
 Living room into kitchen


 Play structure will be left behind for us

 Basement "bedroom." You will see from the pic below there is no door

 Basement study looking into "bedroom." The closet we are looking at is also the cold storage, so kind of a weird setup.
The bedroom also has a bathroom.

 Basement study which has daylight exit to backyard.

 Basement family room looking into study.

 Coming down the stair into the hall toward family room.

Living room again

Unfortunately I didn't get a shot of the front of the house. It's a cute neighborhood all named after fruit trees. There are a couple little parks nearby, and it's always breezy so the heat didn't seem quite as bad.
We look forward to moving in the end of next month if all goes well

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Job

I have been dragging my heels at writing some of this down because there was just so much stuff that happened over the past few months, it was overwhelming. But I guess the important thing is not to write down every single detail, but to remember the important things and how we have been taken care of (even on those days I don't feel very positive). And this will probably be pretty long and boring; it's more for me to have it all written down.

After Ben lost his job, I picked up as much temp work as I could in various offices and especially my old office. I even went to California for a week to work for the dentist I worked for in high school. It was crazy how jobs kept landing in our laps. We didn't get extra work, and we watched our savings continue to dwindle, but we were ok.

Finally when our savings was almost completely gone, and I was so fed up with the office where I was temping, I told Ben he had to have a job by the first of the year or I was taking a job in California and we were moving there and he would just have to be stay at home dad. I was not serious about this, but I was getting pretty frustrated with everything. Ben had also commented that if he didn't find something by January, it wasn't likely he'd have anything until the next school year. I was kind of starting to freak out as my temp job ended Dec 31 and our savings was almost completely gone.

Ben hadn't been able to look hard for a job until then as his teaching license had expired in the meantime, and getting verifications and paperwork from people in California took forever. Of course it would have been better if he had just not let it expire, but looking back I see how all these small details came into play.
So when his renewal arrived, he jumped on the ball and started making phone calls. He called several places, and when he called Alpine School District, he spoke with the director of Special Education (Eric) and told him he was going to drop off a resume. Eric did not sound super excited and told Ben there were a lot of people applying for jobs that were probably more qualified blah blah blah and there weren't any for sure openings anyway. But they continued to chat, and Ben gave great detail about what had happened at his last job. I was in the background cringing. Ben is pretty open, and I felt a little too open about his job history in this particular situation. I figured since he only worked there three weeks, he didn't even really need to count it as employment. Imagine my utter surprise that his honesty actually paid off, and by the time the phone call was done, he had an interview with Eric that Friday.

When I talked to Ben after the interview Friday, I did not know what in the heck was going on. Ben sounded completely euphoric. No, he did not have a job offer, but he said he had never been in an interview like that in his life, and he was pretty sure the interviewers hadn't either. It was completely obvious there was a higher power directing things, from the questions asked and the answers Ben had, to the letters from parents that he last minute grabbed on his way out the door and actually had opportunity to show the interviewers. Ben said he didn't know if he had a job there, but he at least felt completely at ease with whatever was going to happen next and confident in his abilities. I guess after losing his job there were times he didn't feel so confident, and the interview gave him that boost that we all need to know we don't completely stink at what we're doing.

Shortly thereafter the phone call came. Eric said he didn't know where he was going to put Ben, but they wanted him somewhere.  They would make sure there was a place for him if Ben wanted it.
And ever since then he has loved it. He loves his students. He loves the staff he has in his classroom. He comes home every day saying it was a good day.

There will be some changes next year, and I'm not sure exactly how everything is going to turn out, but at least for now there is no doubt in Ben's mind he is where he needs to be.

And since we are talking about jobs, I got one, too. At my old office, where I had hoped to stay since temping there after moving back. I had been very hurt when I was temping that the office had decided to take things in a different direction and not hire me permanently. But I did my best to get over it and eventually realized I wouldn't be able to stay there full-time forever, which is what they needed.
Then at the very end of the position I was dumbfounded when they said they had been evaluating everything and would I be interested in working twice a week, any schedule I wanted. I was so glad I had done my best to do a good job and not hold grudges about everything, because it worked out even better than it would have had I been given the full-time position.

I don't know when I will learn to have more faith that everything will work out, because it always does. Things definitely haven't been ideal, but we have been taken care of one way or another--every single day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

So You've Had a Bad Day

I've been a bit of a grumpus this week. The icing on the cake was when I went to Wal-mart to get this pineapple coconut water flavor-er, and THEY WERE SOLD OUT. I wanted to scream. But I also thought it was kind of funny that it was such a dumb thing to be upset about, so I called my sister Janice who introduced me to these so I could vent to her. That was two days ago.

Today I got the mail, and what do you think was in the mailbox? A small package with a couple drink enhancer drops, a bag of cadbury mini eggs, and a sweet note from my sister Janice.

Then I went to this "smile jar" and put a little piece of paper inside about how this all made my day. It's March right now and the jar is slowly getting filled with papers about the good things that happened that day. I think by the end of the year we'll have a lot of fun things to read about and remember, and the bad days won't seem so bad.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ellie's face

I really need to update Christmas, birthdays, the job situation, etc. But in the meantime enjoy this funny video of our cheeseball. It's not very long. Just click below:

The Face

Sunday, December 2, 2012


 Mr. Mom has been at it again. It drives me crazy that he is doing such a good job of being home with the kids.  They do projects almost every day.  These are their turkeys.  Now they're working on balloon santa claus.
I had a birthday a couple weeks ago.  Ben packed up the kids and surprised me at work with flowers and a handmade card by Benny.  I was such an emotional wreck that day due to some things with work (grateful to have some work for the time being, but the situation isn't exactly ideal and I have really struggled some days). When I saw them I just started crying.  How embarassing.  But they were so sweet and I sure appreciate them. Ben took me to Tucano's that evening and then we went to a movie on Saturday.  It was nice to get two dates that week! And although things at work aren't perfect, a nice coworker took me to lunch, and the boss got me a cake and gift. But yeah I pretty much cried my eyes out that day.  Don't know when's the last time I've been that emotional! I told Ben he had to get a job soon.  But then I see the things he does with the kids and wonder if maybe we don't need him to go back just yet;)

Benny just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
And Ellie is just as crazy as ever.  Yes, her head is stuck and she is not happy about it. 
And then we had Thanksgiving, which was a nice day. Ben's mom and brother came over and we had dinner here at the house.  Waaaay too much food. Ben got to watch the Cowboys afterward (and fell asleep during the game! Don't know if that's ever happened). And then we watched "Brave." Benny loves to watch "family movies," and he had been waiting all day:)
And Ben and I are trying to lose weight.  I'm trying to lose everything I gained AFTER the baby haha. My older sister has lost 40 lbs (way to go, Helen!) and finally made me feel like I could actually do it, too. It's annoying that Ben has been working on it for less time than me and losing more quickly, but at least it's nice that we both are trying to eat/not eat the same things. The holidays make it hard but hopefully we can be strong.
Ellie's 1st birthday is this week.  To be continued...