Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Different Kind of Christmas

For the last couple years my family has been trying to keep Christmas about the birth of Jesus and less about the gifts.  We typically accomplish this by giving practical gifts on Christmas (clothes, toothbrushes, books, etc) and the fun stuff on "Loot Day" - aka New Years Day.  A day our family uses to celebrate American materialism  ;-).

This year we got a little help.  The last couple days a stomach bug has been going through the house which has meant that any shopping we normally would have done (which to be honest is not much) didn't happen.  I was able to send hubby on a last minute run yesterday (he and my mom are the only ones who have not been hit), but it was for supplies for the sick ones (you know, ginger ale, 7-up, etc).

The only gifts that we had to open today were given by out-of-town family members and my parents.  They were obviously going to be primarily fun gifts, but we decided that under the circumstances that was ok.  Before we opened the gifts we discussed the reason for Christmas and the significance of gift giving at Christmas.  And my kids got it!  How happy was I?  Extremely. 

And to top it off... although my kids didn't get much, they were happy.  They realize the quantity of gifts isn't what matters.  It's the thought that matters.  And the most well-thought out gift imaginable is the gift of Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas everyone!  God bless.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Week of Surprises

This week we surprised the kids twice.  The first was a trip to Busch Gardens on Wednesday.  We have passes that expire Dec 31 and with schools being out for the next 2 weeks we decided to go when it would be less crowded.  Less crowded was right.  The longest line was 10 minutes for the front seat in the most popular coaster in the whole park.  Normally the wait for ANY seat on the coaster is 45 minutes or more. 

The second surprise started when my parents contacted me on Tuesday asking if they could show up today.  Hubby and I decided not to let them know Grandma and Grandpa were coming.  The surprise and joy on my daughter's face when they walked through the door was priceless (my son was in a different room).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Breathing Easier

I have a client that I've been working with for 2 months.  They have been looking for a house though for 9 months total now.  They were getting to the point where they were thinking maybe they should stop looking.  I have put in a total of 5 offers for them and until today all of them had been turned down.  Usually because someone else offered to pay with cash.

Today their offer was accepted and we hope to close by the end of January.  To say they are happy is an understatement.  They are still guarded in their excitement, and rightly so considering all they've been through, but it's still nice to know they have attained a step they haven't before.

I got into real estate because we needed the money, but part of the reason I chose real estate rather than something else was because I wanted to be able to help people.  It's so rewarding to see the happy faces of a new home buyer.  And I hope next month they will be among them.

Some of my friends and family are aware that yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me.  That was because I had a deal close.  You would think that would be a good thing, but some documents surfaced at the last minute that surprised me and my buyers and made things a bit dicey to say the least.  The deal is closed and I think things are ok (I haven't heard anything today to the contrary anyway).

The deal closing yesterday and my clients having an offer accepted is certainly making today a much more relaxing day.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Time4Learning Review

I was recently given an opportunity to review Time4Learning.com free of charge for 30 days.  Well, those 30 days are up so here is my review.

My 6 year old daughter enjoyed the website.  In fact, it was hard to get her off.  The problem is that she was on my computer which I need to work.  Because of that, she was not able to use it as often as I would like, certainly not enough if I were paying for access.

My 8 year old son on the other hand was less than enthusiastic.  I think the primary reason for that is that his grade level seemed to require a lot more reading than he likes to do.  He is what I call a reluctant reader.  I was hoping that Time4Learning would have short snippets of reading followed by games and or videos, but we never got that far.  There seemed to be large sections of reading which just bogged him down.

Would I actually pay for Time4Learning?  Perhaps, but just for my daughter for now.  If I had a dedicated computer for her that is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


This morning I'm up bright and early so that I can take the two kittens we have been fostering to the vet to be fixed in preparation for their adoption. 

It brings my thoughts back to a summer day many years ago when we were watching a friend's cat for the summer while he took a summer job and couldn't take his cat.  While the cat was in our charge he asked us to have her declawed.  So here starts the memory, taking a cat that is not ours to the vet to have a procedure.

On this particular occasion, the vet convinced me that I should get the cat a pain patch.  It wasn't my cat and I couldn't reach her owner so I agreed (out of guilt I suppose).  Anyway, the pain patch came with instructions.  Very specific instructions.  Such as, don't touch it or you could get violently ill and die.  Don't let it stay on the cat for more than 2 days or it could get violently ill and die.  Not what I was expecting when I agreed at all.

The time for the patch would have expired while we were at work and I knew my hubby would either forget or would be running late for work himself so I decided to do it before I got in the shower in the morning.  That way if I touched it I could immediately wash any remnants off (and not die).

Anyway, I took the cat to the bathroom so I could take the patch off and dispose of it in the toilet (per the instructions).  The cat didn't like it, but she didn't scratch at me or anything so I figured we were ok. 

I guess I was wrong.  The cat really didn't like having a 2 X 4 patch of hair pulled at so what did she do?  She hopped on my bed and peed on my sleeping husband.  What a way to wake up!  Needless to say, he got in the shower while I cleaned up the mattress. 

For years that cat hated my husband (not sure why since I was the one to remove the patch).  Today she is living with us again (her owner moved overseas and couldn't take her) and doesn't seem to hold it against us any longer.  Not that we let her near our mattress (just in case).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Over Analyzing

I'm not sure if it's a result of my type A personality, but I tend to over analyze.  Especially when things don't go the way I think they should.  I wonder if I could have changed things.  If I caused the issue.  Whatever the case, it's left me a bit sleep deprived lately.  I'm finding it hard to fall asleep and then when some strange noise wakes me up in the middle of the night I start thinking about it again, thus making it hard to fall back asleep.

Do any of you find yourself in similar situations?  If so, what have you found that helps you stop analyzing and get on with life?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Hilly Ride

Today's day has looked something like this to me

UP:  The kids had a field trip to make pizza's at a local pizza shop.  I was able to go, but had to leave a little early because I had a closing.  Yep.  I officially sold another home!

DOWN: After that I had to race over to a house to be there for an inspection.  Until I got into the house I wasn't sure it had power (when I checked it yesterday it didn't). 

UP:  Thankfully the power and water were both working. 

DOWN: Unfortunately, the gas was turned off so the water heater, stove and ovens couldn't be tested. 

UP:  Good news... the buyers were planning on replacing those things anyway so not a big deal.

DOWN:  Had a client who was scheduled to see one property decide while we were there that he wanted to see another.

UP:  Although the property was occupied we were able to get in with only 30 minutes notice.

DOWN: Starting after the kids field trip, I found out one of my buyers wants to back out of a deal.  I'm not sure why and I tried finding out all day.  It may be something I said was misunderstood, it may be that their expectations of how a short sale process works was not what they expected, or it may be buyers remorse... I'm not sure because I've not been able to get them to say anything that makes sense to me.  Whatever the case, multiple people have tried contacting them and all we've been able to get is that they are not going to proceed.

It has definitely been a roller coaster of a day.  Which brings me to my last

UP: The kids and I are meeting their Oma in Orlando and are going to Sea World tomorrow.  Oh, and with Oma there, I will get to ride the coasters with my son.  Those are the kinds of ups and downs I like.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 30

Today I am glad that the daily blog entries are officially over.  Although I have many things to be thankful for each day, they are sometimes a repeat of something else I've already blogged about so coming up with a "new" idea has been hard.

I've also found that my readership has waned over the last week or so which makes me think my readers are feeling that it's a bit mundane.   Good news!  I'm going to take a few days off and when I come back it will be with something new and fun and interesting (I hope).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 29

I don't have an alarm clock next to my bed, so I bring my cell phone into my room each night (that way I can also make an emergency call without getting it from somewhere in the house in the middle of the night if needed).  Anyway, one of the first things I do before even getting out of bed is to roll over, check the time on my phone and check email. 

So this morning, the email at the top of my lengthy list of new messages was a signed contract back from a seller.  I was expecting this contract to come back; we'd come to a verbal agreement so that's not what surprised me.  What surprised me was how quickly it came back.  I wasn't expecting it till next week.  So this morning I am thankful to wake up to a new contract waiting in my inbox. That means that I currently have 5 contracts that I'm working on. 

Another thing to be thankful for?  These 5 contracts are set to close in such a way that for the next few months I think our bills will be covered just in time if not a little early.  I love to see how God provides, don't you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 28

Today I am thankful that knitting is a lot like riding a bike.  It's been a LONG time since I picked up the knitting needles but I did so again last night and I made some serious progress on a project I want to finish before Saturday.  Although I have a self-imposed deadline I also find it a bit relaxing (another plus).

I'm also thankful that a friend of mine introduced me to a website that has videos that help me when I forget how to do something... very useful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 27

Today I am thankful for my parents and the example they have set for me.  You see, today is their 38th wedding anniversary.  38 years ago, they were married in blue jeans and turtle necks, at sunset on a beach not too far from where I am living right now.  38 years... by today's standards that's rare.

My parents decided long ago to weather the storms of life together.  To say things haven't always been easy for them would be an understatement, but rather than play the blame game, rather than run away to where the grass seemed greener, they've stuck together and come out on the other side, together.  And as a stronger couple and even as stronger individuals in my opinion.

I love you both!  Happy Anniversary!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 26

Today I am thankful for "girl time" as my daughter likes to call it.  I had a little grocery shopping to do today and my daughter went with me while my son stayed home.  We got to talk, do some math (aisle numbers, estimating how many things we are buying, etc), and just be girls.  It was nice and I look forward to doing it again.

Gratitude Challenge - Day 25

Yesterday (yep, I'm a day late), I was thankful for the help of a colleague.  I had some concerns and she was able to alleviate them.  This colleague is also the reason I decided to go into real estate and she's also the reason I am working for such an awesome company (RE/MAX doesn't usually hire new Realtors).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 24

Today I am thankful for my yard.  Today I walked around my yard and there are 3 trees with oranges on them and a banana plant that has ripe bananas on it and another that is about to start to grow some bananas.  I also have 10 pineapple plants (none have a fruit yet), but it's a step in the right direction.

I can't wait till we can get our garden going.  I love having a space big enough to enjoy such things.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 23

Today I am thankful for technology.  So far it's:

  • allowed me to get some work done all from the comfort of my home (while in my PJ's and slippers too)
  • entertained my children while I was getting said work done
  • helped my children learn things they didn't already know (yeah for Netflix and Youtube!)
  • allowed me to talk to my little brother on the phone for almost an hour (we've both been very busy so it was long-overdue and we had lots to catch up on)
  • Add to that, modern conveniences such as a stove rather than an open fire, a dishwasher rather than doing everything by hand, and a washer and dryer so again I don't have to do it by hand and technology has been very good to me today.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 22

Today I am thankful for peer pressure.  Last weekend my family was on a camping trip with other homeschoolers.  While we were there, I had a few of the other families convince my hubby that we should go to Busch Gardens for Thanksgiving.  Since the other families were already planning on going and had gone last year, he was easily swayed.

Can't go to Busch Garden's without seeing animals.
Peer pressure was at work even further today because my daughter's friend convinced her to ride things she'd never ridden before. 

No my daughter didn't ride this, but the boys were on this coaster when I took the picture.

A good time was had by the entire family.  Add to that the fact that I didn't have to cook or clean any dishes except those from breakfast and I had a terrific day!

Lunch I didn't prepare + a Christmas show = priceless

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 21

Today I am thankful for a rather slow day, that was still productive.  After 13 hours of going non-stop yesterday and a very busy afternoon the day before that, it was nice to have a much more leisurely day.

Don't get me wrong, doing my weekly grocery shopping the day before Thanksgiving was not my brightest idea, but there were quite a few things I needed that go off sale after today.  And boy am I looking forward to poppy seed cake and pumpkin roll made from ingredients that were all on sale.  It's not like I didn't intend to do my shopping earlier in the week, I was just really busy showing houses. 

It also warmed my heart to watch my daughter give coupons to people shopping in the store (I knew I wouldn't be able to use them before they expired).  Not only did it surprise and make the people happy, but it was nice to see my daughter come out of her shell and not be so shy.

Oh, and I found out this evening that one of the offers I wrote up from those showings was accepted today so it was totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 20

Today I am thankful for others who've gone before me and found ways to help my family save money. 

In particular I'm thankful for www.TrueCouponing.com who is responsible for helping me cut my grocery bills by about half over the last few months.  I'm still getting the same amount of food, I've just learned how to do it for less.  They've also allowed me to donate free or inexpensive items without feeling like I'm putting a strain on the family budget.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 19

Today I am thankful for my car.  We bought the Fiat a little over a year ago.  The idea was that it would allow us to save money because at the time our only other vehicle was a Ford F350 diesel pick up truck.

Needless to say, that decision was God ordained.  After driving 150 miles today for work it became more evident that although my car can't necessarily fit my clients in the car it's ok.  I've had 1 client complain but my wallet isn't complaining like it could be.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 18

Today I am thankful for homeschooling friends.  Although I started my homeschool journey in Ohio and then moved it to Virginia for a while, it wasn't till I moved to Florida till I realized what it truly means to be part of a homeschool community.

Yes, everyone who homeschools is part of a community.  How can you not be, when you all have something so basic in common?  The way it's been different for me in Florida is because my family has numerous opportunities to participate in various activities with other homeschoolers.  We've gone on field trips and we've participated in co-op classes (and even helped teach them).  This weekend, we went on a camping trip with other homeschoolers and we've also been invited to spend the day with some of them on Thanksgiving. 

This weekend has meant so much to my family.  There is nothing like a camping trip to get your kids to come out of their shell and actually get to know other people.  Hey, it even got my husband out of his shell a little. 

Did I mention, hubby was the one who really thought we should go on this trip?  I was reluctant because I was afraid work would call me away.   And I was gone for 6 hours on Saturday, but you know what... they had a great time without me and it made me appreciate the time I was there even more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 17

Today I am thankful for my church and my small group in particular.  We recently started attending a small group at our church.  We felt that was necessary since there are 3 church services each weekend and it's kind of hard to connect with people. 

Today I got to participate in an outreach our church did and I LOVE the fact that they even consider such things but also that they pulled it off quite well (at least from what I could tell).  You see, each small group was responsible for one small part of what they called a "Free family fun day" at a local high school.  Different groups set up various carnival games, gave away hot dogs and cotton candy and then inside my group gave away gently used tennis shoes and jeans. 

Considering the area we were in, it was very needed and you could tell by how the families reacted when they found out there was free clothing (they were not told about that part in advance).  Not only was it wonderful to see a small need meet for some of these families but it gave me an opportunity to get to know some of the people in our small group just a little bit better and it was fun.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gratitued Challenge - Day 16

Today I am thankful for my long-time friends.  I don't have many of them, maybe 4 that I know from high school and early college age that I still stay in contact with.  Today one of them in particular comes to mind because tomorrow is the last day of a hard-earned fight.  Tomorrow is the last day of J's college classes to get her bachelor's degree. 

This is a BIG deal.  A HUGE deal in fact, and I am very proud of her.  You see, J has been working on this degree for many years.  As someone who took 10 years to get her bachelor's degree I know how hard it can be.  There were many days I asked myself why I was putting myself through all the effort, through all the sleep deprived nights so I could get something finished in time. 

The last 2 years of my degree I was a stay at home mom with one small child.  J has been working on her degree while holding down a full-time job (where she is a supervisor which means she doesn't get to have 9 - 5 hours), being a hands-on mother, and a supporting wife.

She truly is an inspiration.  And I want to take this time to thank her for her friendship.  To thank her for the inspiration to never give up.  And to invite her to visit as soon as she can so that she can relax and get warm, but also so we can catch up.

Love you J!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 15

Today I am thankful for my extended family. 

My parent's have been such an example to me over the years and they continue to do so.  They listen when I need to complain, they give advice when that is needed, and of course they show me love on a regular basis even though we are many miles apart.

Although my little brother started out as a bit of a pain (he is 10 years younger ya'll) we have grown closer in recent years.  It's been fun for me to watch him grow as a person as he realizes his passion and follows it.  Again, what an example.

My grandparents have all passed away, but my husband still has one set of grandparents.  Not only are they a wonderful example of a lasting marriage (they've been married for 60+ years), but they are a wonderful example of praying without ceasing.  I KNOW for a fact, they pray for us every day and it is felt by us.

My husband's parents have been a good example to us of working hard.  Although both of them don't need to work, they have both held jobs for many of the years since my husband entered college.  Part of this was to avoid boredom, but also to help others (my mother-in-law is a nurse), as well as be able to save up for retirement.  Although they have not retired yet, they do have the ability to visit us on a somewhat regular basis (which is good because we find it hard to get to them).  In fact, they are coming in a few weeks and we are looking forward to their visit.

Although my brother-in-law and his wife are relatively new parents, they have shown me the importance of not only working hard, but of having a good time.  A good time as a family, as a couple, and as an individual.

And for the rest of you... my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.  I love you all too and yes I have learned things from you as well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 14

Today I am thankful for Craig's List and it's ability to help us make progress on our house.  Yesterday, we picked up a few pieces of furnture that help us complete the set for our master bedroom.  Less than a week ago we were sleeping on a mattress directly on the floor.  Now we have this.

Headboard, night stand, & dresser were purchased off Craig's List.

The dresser and trunk in the corner of this picture were left by the previous owner.
Including the mattress, sheets, dressers, etc...we furnished our bedroom for less thank $200.  I do plan on upgrading our curtains soon but that shouldn't add that much more.  Perhaps another Craig's List purchase in the making?

We've also found tile for our hallway on Craig's List.  It's too bad Craig's List can't help us find extra time in our schedule to get more things done, like getting said tile installed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 13

Today I am thankful that I found a temporary job doing bookkeeping while I waited for my real estate work to pick up.  Today I stepped away from the bookkeeping work because that real estate work is keeping me very busy. 

I'm also thankful they were been able to find a replacement who I got to work with today.  My job over the last few months has been to get them to where they are today.  My replacement is going to take them where God wants them next.   I think he will do a wonderful job.

God brought me the income when I needed it (and my services when they needed it) and now someone new has come along when it was needed.  God's timing is awesome!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 12

Today I am happy for warmer weather.  For the last few days we were getting down into the 40's or 50's at night.  That has made for some chilly mornings when I wake up.  You see, my bedroom is over a crawlspace and we have pergo floors.  Brrrr....  And until Saturday we were sleeping on a mattress directly on the floor (see pic for old bed vs. new bed).

I suppose I shouldn't complain since if we were still in Virginia the highs there are what my lows in Florida have been.

I was also able to enjoy the weather today while "studying" math today with my kids in the lanai.  Ah, the joys of homeschooling.

Homeschooling Help - Yippy!

As my regular readers know, my family is homeschooling.  We have done everything in our power to make it seem more like fun and less like work (very important when they are younger).  That is why I am so excited about an opportunity I was recently given.

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gratitude Chalenge - Day 11

Today I am thankful for all those who have or are serving our military.  I have numerous family members and friends who served in the military and I am very proud of them for their service.  It takes a special kind of person to serve their country and put themselves in harms way for complete strangers.

And for those who've paid the ultimate sacrifice: Thank you and I love you too.

John 15: 13  "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 10

Today I am thankful for yard sales.  Recycling at it's finest.  Last weekend we were able to sell some stuff we didn't use, and today we went and bought things we needed at a greatly reduced price. 

My favorite find for the day?  A practically pristine King size mattress, with box springs, and frame... all for the low, low price of $10.  When we found it we were in our Fiat so of course we thought about strapping everything to the roof (for like a second - cause it would be funny to see). 

So we went back home, got the truck and went back to pick up the mattress set.  Have you ever tried fitting 2 twin box springs and a king sized mattress into a truck with a topper?  It doesn't work.  So we had to strap the mattress to the roof of the topper.  Unfortunately, we were short on bungees and tie downs so we pieced together 3 small ones to make one large enough to reach across the mattress and the top of our truck.  The place where we found the mattress was only 1.5 miles or so from our house and the speed limit was never over 40mph so we figured we'd be ok.


About half way there, the middle bungee snapped and the mattress skittered off the back of the truck in the middle of a 4-lane road.  Luckily there was no one right behind us and we were able to stop the truck and get the mattress out of the road before someone ran over it.  We were eventually able to get everything home but needless to say, our mattress is no longer practically pristine.  Now it has scuffs and rips that I will be sewing closed tonight after the kids are in bed.  But hey, it's all good.  We only paid $10 for it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 9

Today I am thankful for the freedom and ability to homeschool my children.  That and the fact that my husband is willing, able, and quite good at helping out in this reguard.

Tonight, my daughter and son both read to me and it warms my heart to see them improving.  My kids have also been happily working on their writing and math.  It's nice to get my husband's help with coming up with different methods of getting these things accomplished.  Sometimes a change is just what the doctor teacher ordered.

The ability to watch my kids grow, at their own pace, and while learning about what they want and not what others think they should know, is priceless.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 8

Today I am thankful for my families love of animals.  I have always been an animal lover.  I even thought about becoming a vet at one point (till I thought of the fact that some of my patients might die - I just couldn't handle the thought of that at the young age of 18).  To see that my family is just as enamored with furry little critters makes me smile.

That and seeing cute little faces like these.

Meet our newest foster kittens: 
Mork & Mindy 
(note: they came to us named)

They were found with their mother (a stray) so needless to say they are quite shy considering they haven't had much human interaction.  After being in our charge for only 24-hours they are already opening up to us.  Looking forward to some good cuddles from these 2 in the very near future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 7

My job.  It truly is a gift from God. 

It came out of necessity, but the way I got this job is a testament to how God works.  I was flipping through Craig's List looking for jobs that would allow me some flexibility and I came across an add for a class to become a Realtor.  I had thought about it in the past, but hadn't thought about it in a while.  I then decided to ask the agent who had helped us buy our house for advice on who to take the class from and what other things I might do to prepare myself for a life of real estate.

She asked me to come in to her office to talk to her and her partner.  I was still thinking I was just going to get some advice, but I left with a job offer!  I hadn't even taken the class or passed the test.  That was a little over 4 months ago.

Things haven't always been smooth, but I can honestly say I am enjoying my job;  so far it is not only supplying for my family's needs, but it's allowed my husband to spend time with our kids (which they are all really enjoying).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grattitude Challenge - Day 5

Today I am thankful for my house. 

After traveling around the county I live in looking at 5 different homes today, I am very grateful that I have the home I do.  Yes it needs some work, and in one case probably less than one of the homes I saw today.  That said, I love where we are located.  I love how much land we have.  And I am so thankful we were able to buy it all.   If we were to try to get the house today, we probably would not get bank approval.

God's timing is AWESOME!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Grattitude Challenge - Day 4

Today's grateful will also be a summary of the last couple days.

Today I am grateful for my children.

Are they perfect?  No.  But neither am I.  I guess that's where they get it from.  :-)

The last couple days, my family has had a yard sale where we are trying to get rid of (and make a little money doing it) the stuff the previous owner left in the house when she moved out.  The kids have been real troopers helping us sort through things, set things out, and move things (on two different days no less).  It has also meant a strange sleep and meal schedule for the family for the last couple days.  Yet, my kids haven't complained.

To top all that off, yesterday started out pretty rough.  We "opened" at 9:30 but didn't get our first customer till 11.  That is so out of the ordinary for where we used to live in VA.  In fact, in VA we would have had people trying to come into our yard at 7AM (even though signs said 9) hoping they could score a deal as we were setting everything up.  With all the disappointment that this could have brought, my kids handled it surprisingly well.  Needless to say we didn't make that much money yesterday.  After the yard sale, I went to show a house to someone and I had 30 minutes to get ready to go to church and write an offer on the house I'd just seen.  My kids were instrumental in making sure we were only a couple minutes late to church rather than very late.

Today, we set up our signs in a few different places and considering where we live we had quite the stream of people.  We also got to meet most of our neighbors for the first time which was nice.  While all of this was going on, my kids were not only excited (they sold a few of their old toys), but they were very helpful when needed (for example when one family came in and bought 3 tables worth of Christmas decorations all at once and we needed to get everything boxed up).

Needless to say, the last couple days have shown what my kids are made of, and I really like what I see.  One proud Mama here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grattitude Challenge - Day 3

My husband.

He is smart.  He makes me laugh.  He lives up to his nickname (for those that don't know it - MacGyver) which I think it very sexy.   He is becoming quite the chef.  And I love how hard he works to make money and or to help around the house.

He is just plain awesome! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 2

God's care and provision in my life.

Although my life has not always been easy I can honestly say I have always been able to see God's presence in my life.  Perhaps not during the trial I was facing (my fault for not looking hard enough) but certainly when it was all over.

Today was another example of that.  Today I meet with my tough client for the inspection of their hopefully new house.  Things went well so we are certainly moving forward.   Hopefully I will have money to buy some Christmas presents soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude Challenge - Day 1


Today my son had his annual check up and my daughter had hers last week.  It was confirmed by their new doctor that they are both tall and thin and healthy.

These trips to the doctor also reminded me that this time last year we were dealing with a recurring illness for my daughter which I think we have finally been able to defeat.  It took a lot of research and a physician who would listen, but I think we are on the up side. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Things that Make you Go Hmmmmm...

My Facebook friends are probably aware that I have been having a rough week at work.  I've been called a liar and been threatened with a lawsuit for the supposed lie.  Anyone who knows me knows I don't lie.  In fact, growing up, lying was punished more severely than anything else I can remember.  Although I know I didn't lie and I know they don't have a case, it still hurts that someone accused me.

This year we signed our kids up to participate in 2 group classes.  One was science and the other was also a bit science related but was based around Lego's or K'Nex.  This week it was decided the science class was going to be cancelled for the rest of the year.  Apparently a few of the families who were participating just couldn't make it anymore and we couldn't hold the class with the few people remaining.  The group is still going to try to get together once a month but it's going to be a bit more laid back.  A part of me is sad and another part of me is happy because my schedule only seems to be getting busier.

This week I ended up teaching my daughter's Lego class and my husband ended up teaching our son's K'Nex class.  I've taught the Lego class last year so it wasn't that big of a deal.  Technically it was the second time my husband filled in for the K'Nex teacher, but it was the first time he actually taught the lesson rather than just helping the kids build something with K'Nex.  Not only did he enjoy himself, but the kids he taught enjoyed the class too.

My husband is also in the process of figuring out the feasibility of teaching a class starting in January about building and programming robots.  They wouldn't be competing with other schools or groups like some of the robotics groups out there, but this would be the first step toward that (we hope).

One night this week, my daughter and I were reading a book.  I read a page and then I had her read a couple pages.  Then my son volunteered to read!  Not only was that a surprise in and of itself, but his reading has improved.  I know he's been reading in his room at night and I was hoping it would help his reading improve.  It was nice to actually witness it.

I don't know what's going on, but my husband is really getting into the whole stay-at-home Dad thing.  He's been enjoying the time with the kids.  He's volunteering to teach their classes if needed.  He enjoys cooking and he's getting good at it too.  He's even getting to the point where cleaning is becoming part of his routine.

A little over a week ago we let my daughter's hamster go free.  It was a hard decision to make, but his brother (from the same litter) passed away suddenly a few months ago and the remaining hamster seemed to be getting sick.  He had a growth on his neck that kept getting bigger and bigger.  He only cost $5 so taking him to the vet just wasn't in the cards.  We though about putting him out of his misery but no one was willing to do it and no one wanted to watch him slowly die.  So my daughter decided to let him go in a secluded and safe area in the back yard so that he could live out whatever life he had left in the wild.  We have seen no sign of him since and that's particularly important since we have an outdoor cat that likes to leave us presents.  In fact, the first few days after we let the hamster go, part of my morning routine was to check the present location before the kids might stumble across something.

I think the lack of small furry things has finally hit us.  We got a call from a woman who runs a cat rescue the other day asking if we would be willing to take a litter of kittens.  Being the suckers that we are, we said yes.  They will be joining our family this coming week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gonna Take Some Getting Used To

Today is Sunday, but it doesn't feel that way to me.  Why?  Because we aren't going to church.  Why?  Because we went last night.

We recently decided to join a life group (aka, small group or Bible study) at our church and it happens to meet on Saturday evening right after the Saturday night church service.  So we decided to try the Saturday night service yesterday. 

It truly was a lot like the Sunday morning service we've been going to with one exception.  There were fewer people there.  And for my family, that's a good thing.  You see, the main reason we joined the life group was because the church is so big it's easy to get lost amongst everyone.  Don't get me wrong, there were still quite a few people there, but the difference was noticeable.  Especially for my kids.  They've never liked big crowds and church is no exception. 

In fact, till we found this church, my kids would give us a hard time when it was time to drop them off.  The fact that there were 50+ kids at drop off didn't seem to matter at this church because at drop off there is a bounce house in the gym.  Last night with only about 20 kids, drop off was a breeze. 

 The other thing I noticed... my kids remembered more of their lesson.  The lesson discussed wasn't something that I would consider that memorable (it wasn't any of the typical stories we read our kids so they didn't have that memory to fall back on).  My theory is that fewer kids leads to fewer distractions and that leads to better concentration. 

As odd as it may feel for a while, I think I may enjoy going to church on Saturday evening.  Except for the fact that we don't get to have dinner till 7:30 at the earliest.  Now to start planning one meal a week that I can have ready when we get home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Working Hard For the Money

The hectic, non-stop pace that I endured over the weekend hasn't really stopped.  Luckily most of the busy, has been work I can do at home.  Being able to read to my daughter at bedtime today was the first time in many days and boy did I relish it.  Not to mention the cuddle time I got with my son. That's probably been months because he's getting to old.  Maybe Mommy being gone some makes it more ok.  Whatever the case, I'll take it.

What do I have going on right now?  I have been working on hashing out a sales deal since Sunday evening.  I hope that wraps up tomorrow.  I've also been showing 3 other eager buyers homes on a very regular basis.  We were in the process of getting a contract together when I found out the seller had just accepted an offer.  I have another buyer that wants to buy a property if only they can get the financing in order before someone else scoops it up (there were other people there when we were looking at it today and they seemed just as interested).

Add to that, trying to get regular stuff done around the house such as grocery shopping, laundry, and keeping up with the kids.  Oh, and I worked in my pineapple garden for a couple hours (boy did it need to be weeded).

And hubby has been pretty busy lately too.  He's obviously stepping up (and waking up) to watch the kids when I have to go out in the middle of the day.  This is a big thing especially since he's been working at night lately for one of his clients.  He's also been very dedicated when it comes to going to the kids homeschool classes.  He's also been working on helping the kids with there handwriting and math.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Whirlwind

Have you ever had those days where it was so busy it felt like a whole week?  Well, I've had 3 of those days back to back.  Add that to the 4 other days this week and it's made for one busy couple of weeks this week.

This week:
  •  I've had 4 days with showings.  One of which had 18 houses and another day with 14. 
  •  I taught my daughter's Lego class.
  • We attended 2 different small group meetings from our church to try to pick one
  •  Tonight we went to a church-wide party where we got to spend some time with the group we decided to join.  After a wonderful picnic dinner we got to listen to Christian comedian Bob Smiley.  What a wonderful way to end such a busy week.  It was glorious to laugh for pretty much 1 hour straight... to the point tears were flowing down my cheeks.  Look him up on Youtube... you will not be disappointed.
  • Apparently my picture was in the local paper today.  One I my local clients told me about it.  I didn't get a copy though.  Probably a good thing since I wasn't a big fan of any of the pictures they had to use.
  • And the buyers who saw the 18 houses (and 7 of the ones on the day with 14), are in the process of putting in an offer on a house.  So nice to see all that hard work and time away from my family the last couple days is paying off.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Long Overdue

I am a list person.  I have been known to break down what some would put as one item into multiple items just so I could check off more items (think: wash laundry, fold laundry, put away laundry rather than just laundry).  Or maybe I do that because the clean laundry has been known to sit in the basket waiting to be folded and put away for a couple days.

I digress... I'm a list person.  And I LOVE to check things off.  That's why when I am finally able to check off something that's been on my list for a while I feel extra accomplished (I know that's not correct grammar or whatever, but I don't care).  The last couple days I've been able to check off some things I've been wanting to do for a while.  Some fun, some practical, and some absolutely necessary.

For example I baked cookies.  I LOVE cookies and have been craving some good homemade cookies for a while now.  It's a good thing I freeze most of the dough so we can have fresh cookies every couple days or they would probably all be gone by now (I made them yesterday). 

I also vacuumed and washed my car.  As a Realtor you have the potential to drive people around in your car.  My car is a bit small so unless I'm dealing with one person my clients tend to follow me around.  That doesn't mean my car wasn't in dire need of a good cleaning.  I have a white car and it was starting to turn a light brown.  And of course there are the hand prints from closing the trunk (you know the area my clients see when they follow me) that were really getting annoying.

And the one I am most (and least) proud of.  I cleaned my bathroom.  And I mean cleaned!  I even scrubbed the tile ceiling in the shower.  I am not going to share with you how long it's been, not because I think you would think less of me for telling you but because I honestly can't remember how long it's been.  Yes.  It's been THAT long. 

Needless to say this Realtor / homeschool mom thing still has a few kinks to work out.  We're making progress.  Hubby helps in the kitchen a lot now.  If only I could convince him he enjoys cleaning toilets too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week in Summary

Not much to share for this week.  Here goes:

  • I've had a lot of showings this week, but no new contracts.  
  • The kids had science class where we got to make plastic out of milk.
  • We have been watching 2 cats while a couple we were put in contact with were out of town (the lady we fostered for recommended us as people to board their cats).  They are going to be picked up this week.
  • I've almost gotten the books for the company I've been bookkeeping for to the point I've been shooting for since I started.
  • Hubby was finally able to diagnose a problem with our pickup truck so now we have 2 vehicles again.
  • Have I mentioned how much my hubby enjoys cooking.  It's been great for me!  He cooks dinner and I get to make phone calls for work.
  • After closing on the house a little over a week ago we went out to celebrate at a Japanese steak house.  We knew it was risky with our picky eaters but the novelty of the chef cooking in front of you made them willing to try numerous things I didn't expect them to.  They even claimed to like some of them (yippy)!  It's extended to our meals at home too.  Maybe they've realized that trying different foods might help them find something new they like.  Or maybe they think Daddy is a better cook... hmmm.....

Monday, October 1, 2012

In His Time

... all things are beautiful, in His time.

The last few weeks, this chorus has been going through my head quite regularly.  That and the Bible verse that says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11)

When I first started college, I was required to take a test that was supposed to help me find the perfect career.  This was done by asking a bunch of (strange) questions about my personal and working preferences.  When it was all said and done the computer spit out a result that said I should be an entrepreneur.  It shouldn't be any surprise that I ended up getting a business administration degree.  After all, what better way to be prepared to run my own business some day.

I've had numerous jobs over the years that ranged from shipping, project management, training, to bookkeeping.  In fact, I've been doing the bookkeeping for my husband's business for 8 years.  Until I became a Realtor, the closest I've come to running my own business is selling jewelry as an independent distributor. 

As I've been watching our savings account get smaller and smaller, I've had a few thoughts.  The first is that I'm so thankful that we had been able to save up some money for the proverbial rainy day.  The second thought is that I wish we could have saved up more.

The third thought is that it is only because of God that it hasn't dried up before now.  Every time we seem to need money something comes along.  Maybe not enough to cover all the bills but enough to help our savings account last a little bit longer.  For example, this week we got the deposit check back from the rental house.  I also closed on my first house.  Now I know I have enough in the checking account to cover our bills for October without dipping into the savings account.

Anyone who knows me, knows I believe God will provide.  Do I wish we would have money sooner so I can breathe a little easier... sure.  But you know what.  If I were in that position, I wouldn't be depending on Him to provide for my needs.  I would be thinking I could do it all on my own.  If it means I can be a witness for His provision and love, I will happily wait for His timing.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week in Summary

Let's do this shall we:

  • I got my picture re-taken for work, this time inside so I wouldn't be squinty.  Honestly, I think the picture my husband took looks better.  Glad I didn't pay for it.
  • Hubby dropped off me and the kids at Sea World in Orlando while he went to a surplus store that happens to have stuff from NASA.  He spent hours there.  I was amazed at his self restraint.  Perhaps it was because we took the Fiat and not the pickup truck.  :-)
  • I went to a homeschool mom's night out where I heard a WONDERFUL speaker and got to know other homeschooling moms in the area just a little better.  It is so nice to get pointers and to know you are not alone in your struggles. 
  • My nephew turned 1 last Sunday and was admitted to the hospital on Thursday with a serious infection.  He's still in the hospital but he seems to be getting better slowly.  Praise the Lord!
  • My little brother had a birthday this week.  You know that speaker who I said was wonderful?  Well she was talking about brain development a little and said that boys don't usually outgrow that stage where they have no concerns for danger till they are about 23 or so.  My brother didn't get the memo.  He's older than that and he jumps out of perfectly good planes for fun (on a regular basis I might add).  I guess I should just be happy he made it one more year, huh?
  • I had a pretty good week at work (more on that in another post soon).
  • And my son submitted his first lab report for his K'Nex physics class this week (you know the one another mother said he was too young to be in) and his lab was used as the example of how to do it.  Can you say proud Mama?!
I guess that's about it.  Did any of you do anything particularly interesting last week?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delayed Birthday Gift

Yesterday, I was finally able to take my kids to Sea World.  This was a trip that we had promised my daughter for her birthday back in May.  Needless to say, the weather in May was a bit too hot.  Technically, I would have liked to have waited another month or so, but a cold front came through recently so the temperatures were a little bit cooler and I had a free night in a hotel that was about to expire so I figured now was a good time.

So how did it go?  I think this tells it all.

If only the glass wasn't in the way.

OK.  So I will tell you a bit more.  The kids and I spent about 8 hours there.  We saw 3 different shows, various animals and even rode a couple of the rides.  To say my daughter had a good day is an understatement.  She enjoyed the whale show

but she enjoyed the dolphin show the most.

After seeing this

She's "surfing" with her feet of the back of 2 dolphins.

my daughter told me that she wants to work at Sea World when she gets older so she can ride on dolphins too.  She has been interested in animals for as long as I can remember (she plays with stuffed animals and not dolls).  We saw Winter the dolphin earlier this year and that ignited a passion for dolphins that hasn't gone away.  She's mentioned in the past that she wants to work with sea animals, but after Sea World she seems to have narrowed it down to one animal.

I think the next trip might have to involve a hands-on experience for my daughter... ok, and me too.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week in Summary

What did we do this week (besides the normal boring stuff):

  • Hubby ended up helping teach / facilitate my son's K'Nex class because the regular teacher was out with a sick child.
  • I got a professional head-shot taken.  It was taken outside and I have a serious squinting problem as a result of an eye problem I was born with.  That means we will be taking the pictures again inside tomorrow.
  • I got my Realtor pin.  Guess that makes it official somehow.  Doesn't feel like it.  I think the interactions I've had have made it seem more real than getting a pin and a certificate.
  • We went on a field trip to a local newspaper.  This is a rare opportunity.  It just so happens that my son's K'Nex teacher works there so he was able to get a group of people a tour (pays to know the right people).
  • Hubby has made more progress on getting our closet floor done.  I'm hoping I can unpack my luggage of dress clothes by next weekend.
  • I had the scariest home showing to date this week.  I took my client to what appears on paper to be a very nice neighborhood.  It is gated and the condos look very nice.  Unfortunately, it backs up to a less-than-nice apartment complex.  As we were walking back to our cars they were explaining to me that in their line of work as a local prosecutor they have learned that (in our area anyway) a white t-shirt means the person has more than likely been in jail.  (Apparently in the jails they are only allowed to wear white t-shirts.)  Anyway, they further explained that the longer the t-shirt the worse the crime or longer their time in jail.  I guess it gives them some sort of street-cred.  All I know is that as I'm walking next to this prosecutor, an SUV with 2 big guys with white t-shirts drive past us very slowly while looking at us.  The fact that the prosecutor was between me and the car didn't ease my mind at all.  Needless to say, I will be hyper-vigilant about where I take this client in the future.
  • Looks like this coming weekend is going to be busy but in a good way.  Can't wait to update you all on how things went.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Coming Out

I'm going to admit something you that may not know about me....  I like love musicals.  I'm not sure when this enjoyment obsession began, but it's goes back as far as I can remember.  The first musical I remember watching over and over was Annie.  You know the one from the 80's.  I'm pretty sure my parents rented that movie just about every weekend for months.  Finally they broke down and bought a copy.  I still enjoy watching Annie on occasion and my daughter enjoys it as well (she doesn't walk around the house singing the songs like I do though).

Of course I enjoy musicals such as Grease, Dirty Dancing, Sound of Music, etc. but one of my favorites is a movie most people haven't even heard of.  Fans of Christian Bale may know the movie I'm talking about... Newsies.

As the title would lead you to expect, it's a movie about newsboys growing up in the early 1900's.  It delves into the lives of the newsboys and how, many of them were orphaned (do you see a theme here) and how they were newsies just to survive.  The producers did a wonderful job of bringing in time period props such as a very old treadle printing press.  You know the kind where they had to hand place each letter and pump their foot to make it move all while manually changing the printed piece of paper for a fresh piece of paper. 

One of the things that interests me about the movie now as an adult is that it was based on true events.  A few years ago my brother got me the collectors edition of the DVD and it has a special feature that lets you in on some of the history behind the movie and it is very interesting.

I think that's why when we were given an opportunity to tour a modern day printing press I jumped at the opportunity.  In fact, I was probably more excited than my kids.  It was so interesting for me to be able to compare a modern day paper printing press with a press from 100 years ago.  It was also fun to see my kids asking questions and learning how things work.

Part of the machine that inserts the sales flyers into the paper.

They keep enough paper on hand to run the paper for 28 days.  This is just some of the rolls they have on hand.    

There are actually 2 presses side-by-side.  They are both 2+ stories each.

So high above you it's hard to tell where each page starts and ends.

The paper winds through the press like it's going through a maze.

All the kids who were on the trip with us.  Such a great time!

What's next?  Getting my kids to watch the Newsies with me  :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Feelin' The Love

Today has been a hectic, on-the-go, don't have time to stop kinda day for me.  I work up at 6AM with a headache and didn't fall back asleep very easily (thankfully I did).  Even better, was that my kids let me sleep in till 9.  After that, things haven't stopped.

That said, I have had a couple really nice "surprises" today.  This morning my son asked if he could make himself scrambled egg for breakfast.  He's made pancakes a couple times and has done a great job so I figured why not.  Not only did he make himself an egg, but he offered to make me one. 
It. was. perfect.

Then when he realized I was going to be leaving for an afternoon meeting without having lunch, he walked up to me and handed me a snack pack of craisins so I could at least eat something in the car.  He also got me a glass of ice water for in the car.

When I got home from said meeting, I was greeted by the smell of banana bread and a fridge door full of homemade mocha coffee drinks.

Now that I've taken a break for a few minutes to let you all in on the joy that has brightened my day, I need to get back to the list of work I still have to complete before I can go to bed tonight. 

Here's to hoping you have all felt a little love today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week In Summary

I think I'm going to try something new.  I'm going to do a post on either Saturday or Sunday of each week that is going to summarize the different things of importance or interest that our family has done during the previous week.  To make seeing the different things easier I'm going to use bullet points and perhaps a few pictures if I have them.

  • Besides continuing to find current clients the home of their dream or trying to pick up new clients, I had my first home inspection this week.  I still technically don't have a completed contract (long story), but I hope to have that early this coming week. 
  • The kids had their science class and Lego / K'Nex class this week.  After the K'Nex class one of the other parents walked up to my husband and suggested that our son be moved to an easier class (he is 2 years younger than the recommended age) because he didn't know how to do division (they were figuring out speed using distance and time).  So what did we do?  We sat down that night and in about 10 minutes our son had figured out what division is and how to do it (using a calculator at this point, but that's ok because everyone else in his class is using a calculator too).
She tried to copy the picture.  She did not only the fence but a tree.
  • We went to Cheeburger, Cheeburger for the first time since the kittens were all adopted (the pet store was right next door).  The kids had been asking for a while but it's all the way across town.
  • We made use of the trip to Cheeburger, Cheeburger by also going to the Trader Joe's that had opened only days before (OK so this was really the reason we were in the area.  It just so happened that it was around lunch time).
  • The kids and I went to a bee keeping seminar where we learned about bees and raising them.  We also bought some local raw honey after taste testing a few different kinds (yum!)

  • The whole family went to the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary where we got to see lots of various monkeys and apes, as well as some birds and alligators.  And the kids got to hold a baby (just under 1 year old) alligator too.

  • On the way home from the primate sanctuary we passed a Krispy Kreme so of course we had to stop.

  • In addition to working on a programming project he's been trying to get to a point where it can be sold, my husband has also had the time to work on installing the last of the Pergo flooring in our master closets.  He still has one more closet left (there are 2) but I'm guessing that will be done very soon.  
  • My husband's also been doing a lot of cooking lately.  Not because I've been gone at dinner time but because he realized that he likes to cook.  I can sense a battle in the near future.  Perhaps when we upgrade our kitchen it will be to a gourmet kitchen where we can both work together.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Plee From This Mother's Heart

I've been following a blog for a while now (An Inch of Gray).  It came to my attention from another blog I'd been reading (Momastery).  Both of the authors were from Northern Virginia, so in a strange way it was my way of keeping up with people from where I grew up even though I've never met either of the authors. 

After following An Inch of Gray for a while, I discovered something about the author and her family.  She had lost her 12 year old son Jack to a tragic accident.  Yesterday, was the one year anniversary of that accident.  Momastery had an outpouring of love for Jack's family on their Facebook page that was just a.ma.zing.  It had me tearing up just seeing how much love complete strangers can show to others who are in pain.

Then late yesterday afternoon, a friend of mine from Florida posted a request on Facebook to pray for her 17 year old cousin who was in a terrible car accident yesterday.  As of now, she is in a coma and is hooked up to various machines to help her breath.  The doctors don't believe she is brain dead, but she is still unconscious and unresponsive so they are not sure of the damage. 

Please pray for Sierra.  Pray that she will be completely healed.  Pray for her family as they deal with this tragedy.  Pray for the friends who were in the vehicle with her and also got hurt as well as their families.

And I have one more request for all of you...  Love on your children.  Love them like you may not have tomorrow, because you never know what can happen.  On that note, I'm going to go spend some quality time with my kids.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Steppin' Up

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you wish you had someone to help you out?  A maid, a personal chef, or a chauffeur to get your kids from place to place.  I have.  Many times.  And now that I find myself out of the house for a few hours every few days (if not every day), I find those feelings coming less frequently.  WHAT you say?

Since I started working more, my hubby has really stepped up and is helping out more around the house.  Not only is he watching the kids while I'm gone, but he's making sure they do their school work (he's even gotten my son to do some handwriting = a miracle!).  He's made dinner a few times (and not just something grilled either).  In fact, as I write this, he's making homemade pizza.  He's done laundry, dishes, and even cleaned the bathroom (my least favorite thing to do in the world).  I've come home to a mostly-clean house a couple times too (The kids rooms could use a little more work but even I have trouble getting that done.  At least the main part is clean though).

And the other day, my hubby did some experimenting in the kitchen.  He made me homemade mocha / coffee drinks that turned out really well.  Sometimes I think he's trying to show me up; to prove that he can do things better than I do.  Then I remember that he's not like that.  He's just trying to be helpful and make my life easier... He's definitely a keeper.

My kids are even being more helpful.  When asked to be quite so I can make a phone call, they get quite (most of the time).  When I ask them to help me clean up a mess or gather together dirty laundry, they do it.  It's been refreshing.

This is the way I always thought a family should be... helping each other out just because we are a family and we love each other.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Kittens Strike Back

No the kittens are not back, but they are still haunting us.  You see, one of the last times they went to the pet store they came back with flees.  We think they were dog flees because they were BIG.  We treated the kittens and before we handed them over to their new owners we think they were flee-free.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of our cat.  The poor thing has been scratching and licking herself raw for the last few days.  We've even treated her and although it helped, we are still finding live flees on her.  My daughter even has a few bites (they seem to find her before any other human in the house).  Tonight I tried a home remedy that some say works wonders.  I'll let you know how it goes.

This experience certainly makes me rethink the whole fostering process.  We were already thinking of fostering for a different group but now I'm going to have to do some research to see if the kittens we foster could infect our house again cause I'm really not liking this.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I have learned recently that my line of work can put you into some very interesting situations. 

I've taken people in my car and had to tell them in advance that I didn't want them smoking in my car (thankfully they were nice about that).  I've been standing on a porch trying to open a door to hear and feel something running under the porch.  Needless to say, we didn't go into that house.  My family has even been invited over for dinner because "You're just so nice and fun."

And the one that's surprised me the most... how much people will tell me about their lives.  I've had people tell me that they were about to go into foreclosure, so they wanted to try to buy a house with the cash on hand as fast as possible (before they couldn't anymore).  I've had people tell me about their marital issues.  In one case, I feel a bit like a therapist because I feel like I have to help keep the peace so they don't fighting in front of me (nothing physical mind you).  What they're thinking when telling me all this I'm not sure. 

All I know is, when you go looking for a house you don't need to tell your Realtor EVERYTHING about you.  Some things we just don't need or want to know.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Planning for the Unknown

is H.A.R.D.

My family has never experienced a hurricane before, so now that Isaac is on it's way, we are getting to experience all kinds of new things and a few somewhat familiar things too.

For example, things fly off the shelves here just like they do in Northern Virginia when there is a threat of snow.  We went to the hardware store yesterday and there were stacks of tarps, gas cans, batteries, etc set out for people to purchase in preparation.  And there were definitely people buying.  We even saw someone buying a generator (the biggest he could get of course).

We went to a discounted bread store on Wednesday (keep in mind the hurricane wasn't even a tropical storm yet I don't think) and there were people stocking up.  We were there to stock up too but just because it was time to do so and they have an extra 20% off on Wednesdays.  I do admit that I got a couple extra loaves of bread in case we find ourselves without power and eating lots of PB&J or PB&H.

We've been able to talk about how the track of the storm is affected by weather in other areas.  We've been able to discuss the kinds of damage usually caused by tropical storms and hurricanes and how thankfully this one will not be as damaging as Andrew (the 20 year anniversary of landfall was yesterday so it made the news). 

We are just North of the Action area.  Our rental house is even closer to the Action area.

It's all well and good to read all the emergency preparedness flyers from the various agencies, but when I was looking into my yard today I got to thinking... they say to put your lawn furniture away and other loose items in your yard.  What about large potted plants?  Will they be heavy enough?  What about the glass table top that is not actually attached to the base of the table in our lanai?  What about our grill? 

At this point, my plan is to pray, store what I can, and pray some more.  Although it's unknown to me, nothing is unknown to my God so I'm just going to leave it up to Him.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making an Appointment

Lately, I have been booked s.o.l.i.d.  I've either been showing houses, meeting clients to work on contracts, or making phone calls - lots and lots of phone calls.  That's why it was very important to schedule some family fun time. 

We have season passes to Busch Gardens.  Over the summer they have later hours as well as an acrobatics show and fireworks display as the park is closing.  We knew we were about to run out of time to see the fireworks display so we scheduled a trip for last Wednesday.  Unfortunately, life and work happened and I couldn't go that day.  Luckily we didn't tell the kids our plans so when we ended up being able to make it on Thursday they were extatic.

Right before we got there we drove through a thunderstorm.  It was still raining when we pulled up to the park at 6PM.  We sat in the car for 5 minutes while the rain passed.   The temperatures dropped substantially so that was nice.  And many of the people who got soaked decided to leave the park.  There were still lines, but they were shorter I'm sure.

Of course the boys went to ride the coasters.  The thunderstorms meant they didn't open right away but they still got to ride multiple coasters including one pretty much at dark.

My daughter and I went in search of the animals.  Unfortunately, the thunderstorms meant most of them were not out.  We were able to see a few animals though including these beautiful flamingos. 

And she rode the carousel an played on the biggest moon bounce I've ever seen.

After all the rides closed down they had an outdoor acrobatics, light, and lazer show called Kinetix (pretty cool stuff).  The grand finale was a fireworks display... also very cool.  One of the best displays I've seen in a long time.  Can't imagine what it's like to live nearby during the summer since they do it every night the weather cooperates.

It was so nice having a little break.  Needless to say, I didn't know the following week (last week) would be so hectic.  I am SO glad I got the break.  It made this last week more bearable.

She wanted her picture with something.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bringing Things to Light

I have a thing about clean bathrooms.  I hate having nasty bathrooms.  I also hate cleaning them, but not more than I hate using a nasty bathroom so a couple days ago I spent about 30 minutes scrubbing my shower.  I. mean. scrubbing.  I used a course brush and even a toothbrush to get in the grout lines.  When I was done, I felt pretty accomplished.  My shower was "clean."

Or so I though...

Yesterday my hubby decided to put a new light bulb in the shower (you know those extra white ones), and now my shower looks like I didn't even touch it the other day.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rockin' It

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like your wheels were spinning and you were just getting nowhere?  Yeah, me too.  In fact, it seems like I've had a lot of them lately.

Today however was not one of those days.  Today, I had a great day.  Don't get my wrong, I was busy, but I felt like I accomplished a lot of things.  I made contact with a new client who seems very serious about buying soon (yay!).  I worked on organizing the accounting work I've just started working on. 

And the thing that made my day... spending time with each of my kids.  I helped my daughter work on a lapbook we put aside a long time ago.  And my son and I spent some time reading about the history of robots.  And of course I had to see his most recent computer program in action.

Today I realized two things about myself:

1. I like to work under pressure and
2. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment than spending time with my kids (even if it means something else gets put off till after they are in bed).  After all, who doesn't like it when their kids tell them "You rock!"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What just happened?

The last couple days have been rather hectic in my household.  I've been going in to the office more lately to meet with various people who are trying to help me learn how to use the systems they have to my advantage (I'm all for that).  I've also spent a few hours on the accounting job I got recently.

Yesterday, we spent a few hours with my Aunt and her boyfriend as they made final preparations to move from Florida to California.  We ended up coming home with a few things they couldn't take with them and went back today for a few more things we couldn't fit in the first trip.  Rather than sleeping on a double mattress on the floor, we now have a queen size mattress and box spring on a frame.  We're too tired to unload it tonight, but I'm looking forwarding to an excellent night's sleep tomorrow.

This morning we got up very early so that we could pick up a wall unit that someone had listed on Freecycle.  We've been looking for something like this and hubby had found something a week ago for $100 but it was just a little bit too tall (our ceilings are kinda low).   This is such a blessing not only because it fits the space and our needs, but it cost us nothing but time.  I really need the space it offers so that I can be more organized while working from home so I can't wait to get it all set up. 

Top all of this off with the fact that today I got to meet my first clients!  I took them to see two possible homes.  Although they don't want to purchase either of them, they want to look at another house in the same neighborhood as one of the houses we saw as soon as we can get in (it's being painted right now).

Oh, and Sunday afternoon I'm doing an open house for a $1.2M house that is just GORGEOUS!  Do I expect to sell the house?  No, but I hope I get a few new clients from it.  At a minimum I will be able to get all kinds of ideas on how I would like to renovate our house.  It's a shame I can't move our house to a canal with an 80 foot dock.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lazy Me

I'm sorry I haven't been that communicative lately.  Needless to say things have been a bit hectic.  So here's what has kept me so busy:

1.  My parents visited for just over 2 weeks and we got all kinds of things done while they were here.  Among them, fixing a leak in our pool, cutting down and hauling away 6 or 7 trees, removing a couple sections of wooden fence that was starting to fall apart, preparing the area around the pool for my pineapple garden, and just doing some visiting (one of our favorite methods of relaxing was in the pool right after doing yard work - can you blame us?).

Dirty?  Nah!  Can you say pool time (after rinsing with the hose first)
2.  Starting my new career.  When my parents arrived, I was studying for and taking my real estate license test.  Since then I've been filling out paperwork and getting settled at the office.  I think I will be ready to take calls and emails the middle of next week.  Yay!

3.  I've been trying to organize the house more, so that it will run a little more smoothly in my absence.  I've also been showing hubby how to do some things that I usually do (like grocery shop using coupons).

4.  I made these poor man's curtains.  The blinds that were here before were cracked and would not open correctly, so I made these curtains out of table cloths found at the local ReStore.  I added mattress covers to the back to make them a little thicker.  With the thread, costs were less than $7.

5.  We had to move our business bank account (again), because the new bank started charging us fees (you know the reason we moved from the last bank).  I'm loving the new bank (a credit union actually) so we may move our personal accounts there soon too.

6.  We've also been busy shuttling the kittens around.  Saturday and Sunday they go to a pet store that is about 30 minutes away so that they can be seen and possibly adopted.  One of the kittens also got hurt and has required a couple trips to the vet.  None have been adopted yet, but a couple of them have gotten some attention so I think it's a matter of time.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today I went into the real estate office where I'm going to work to speak to the broker who is going to be responsible for my actions.  Makes sense to me that he would want to meet me before agreeing to be responsible for me.  I was told the meeting would be about 30 minutes or so.  He would talk to me, ask me a few questions, and then I would have a few papers to fill out to get my license activated.

Needless to say, it didn't go quite like that.  I did talk to the broker for 30 minutes, but then he brought in an HR guy to go over the paperwork with me.  I didn't leave the office for 2 more hours after that.  Near the end of the paper signing I know I had a glazed over look in my eye (I was told I did).  Part of it was that I was anticipating a 30 minute meeting and the other part was that my daughter had a playdate scheduled which I got home 1 hour late for.  Thanks Mom for covering for me.

Now that the playdate is over, I've had a little time to contemplate all that was discussed during the 2.5 hours of meetings today.  My life is about to change!  In a big way.  I'm about to get busier.  I'm about to learn lots of new things.  And it's going to require an outlay of money on my part, but hopefully I will be making some money soon too. 

All of this is exciting (I get to act like an adult again), and a little scary (I HAVE to act like an adult again). 

Right now, I think I'm just going to relax and spend some time with my kids.  You know before my life gets even more hectic.