Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Feast or Famine

One of my favorite sayings is that I'd rather be busy that bored.  As the homeschooling mom of 2 kids I can never be truly bored but things can definitely slow down.  Especially when it comes to work.

For a period of a couple weeks, work has been kind of slow.  And when I mean slow, I've been able to do a lot of work from home.  I haven't had showings.  I haven't had inspections.  Until a week ago, all I had was a final walk-through and a closing.  Then I showed a client a house late one evening that meant I returned home later than I would have liked.

And now the flood gates have opened.  That deal is in the process of moving forward.  In fact, I'm in the process of trying to fit in an inspection for that house soon.  In addition, it would appear multiple out-of-state clients all decided now was a good time to come and look at houses.  I also have a couple local clients who've found homes they want to see as well.  So over the next week and a half, I will have showings on at least 5 days (a couple of them full days). 

Timing is an interesting thing.  During the slow time (specifically, at what I now know was the end of the slow time), I paid for access to a client list.  One of the draws for me was that I would be able to use that to try to get new clients when things were otherwise slow.  Well, here I am not having used that client list at all because I want to be able to do justice to the clients I'm working with right now.

So why am I not happy with a slow period?  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE those slow times because it usually means I get to spend more quality time with my kids.  However, it would be nice to see money come in a little more consistently, so I'm also looking into working with one of my partners on rentals (diversification is a good thing in my opinion).

Whether I'm dealing with a feast period or a famine period, it was all put into perspective for me recently when I realized that I started working as a Realtor only 9.5 months ago.  And in that time, I've sold 8 houses.  According to the people I work with, that is unheard of for a new Realtor.  All I know is that without these sales, my family would be in serious financial trouble right now.  So I am going to be thankful for the sales I've had.  I'm going to be thankful for the down times as well.  Because in the end, it's all going to work out the way God wants and that's way better than anything I could come up with for myself.

That said, after going to an awards breakfast today where I watched the two agents I work with most closely win something, I'm going to do my best to get an award of my own next year (I wasn't eligible this year).

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reaching for the Stars

For a long time my son took a break from his K'Nex.  As in, he's gone at least 3 months without making anything significant.  He was more interested in programming a computer, which is his ultimate goal in life, so I guess I can't blame him.

For whatever reason, a few days ago he got the bug again and he decided to build a tower and our 7.5ft tall ceilings weren't high enough for him.  So what did he do?  He devised a pulley system to help lift his tower in our front yard.

Getting the pulley ready

Attaching the pulley to the tower

After some trial and error, the first tower iteration is up.

It was a great idea and probably would have worked.   However we found that the first design kept popping apart as it was lifted, so it was strengthened.  At that point, it was strong enough that we could just tip it up and it did fine.

Doesn't it look cool?
The tower was so tall however, that he needed to include tensioned wire (aka yarn) to help hold it upright.  That worked like a charm which was really good since it stayed up overnight and it was a little windy that night.

Looks even cooler from inside.

So how did it come down?  By cutting "wires" till it fell.

BUT, I am a homeschool mom, so before we cut it down I used it as a teaching opportunity.  I had my son measure one section of each layer of the tower (there were two layers) and then use multiplication to help determine how tall each layer was.  Then we added the height of the layers together.  Then we used division to take it from inches to feet.  Then we took that number and compared it to something we knew the height of (Daddy is 6' tall so we used him).  When the math came out that it was 5 Daddy's tall we knew the math was wrong.  So we tried again.  After doing the math a second time we came up with 12.5 ft (or about 2 Daddy's tall).  THAT however was reasonable.

After that, my son decided to count how many pieces he used to make the tower.  So after taking it apart he first weighed all the pieces together.  It was about 6 pounds.  Then he counted them as he put them away (using an abacus he bought at Ikea a while back).  He came up with the astounding figure of 1150 pieces.
That's a lot of K'nex!

All I know is, he had a great time building it, but he also learned from it as well.  He learned:
  • How to make things more stable.  
  • How to make a pulley.
  • And he got to practice all kinds of math including addition, multiplication, division, conversions, and a bit of word problem solving.
And this folks is why I like to homeschool.  There is no better teacher than learning while doing something you enjoy.  It makes it more real and I think it "sticks" better.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Love and Compassion Taught by a Child

With all that's been going on in Boston this week, it's impossible to hide things from my kids.  Would I want to?  No.  Especially in light of what it has showed me about my children.

Earlier today I asked them, "What kind of person would do this?"
Their response: "I don't know."

My next question:  "Do you think they believe in Jesus?"
Their response: "No."

Me: "Why not?"
Their response: "Because Jesus said not to hurt others.  To love them."

Tonight, as I was putting my daughter to bed, we prayed like we always do, and one of the last things I prayed for was the safety of the police and that the suspect would be caught.

Then she tells me, "I hope they catch him and put in him prison instead of kill him, because then he can have a chance to know Jesus."  I am so proud of her for saying that.

How many adults would say the same thing?  Many want justice and not mercy.  But I firmly believe Jesus would be proud of my child's reaction too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

So Proud... And Guilty

I am a working mom.  Most of my work is done from home, but the nature of real estate means occasionally I need to show a house (or a few) or go to an inspection, walk-through, or closing.  Two nights ago, I was contacted by a client who I knew was seriously looking, asking how soon we could see a property that had just become available.  Because of my schedule and her work schedule we met at 5:45 yesterday.   That is right around when my family normally eats.

And here is where the guilt comes in.  My hubby had 5 hours of sleep the night before so he had gone to take a nap.  I didn't want to bother him since he's been working hard on a project lately.  My kids are very obedient and know what they are and are not allowed to do (they don't even eat candy they are given at church because they know they need to ask), so off I went leaving them with instructions on what they could do while I was gone.

The house I was going to see was 15 minutes from my house, so I figured I wasn't far away nor would it take long.  I left at 5:30 after having my kids eat a snack, thinking I should be back by 6:30 to feed them (I was going to bring back pizza so no waiting for me to cook would be involved). 

As if I didn't felt bad enough that I was going to make them wait till 6:30 to eat, my client saw the house and decided she wanted to put in an offer... NOW!  So rather than go to my house, I went to my office to work up an offer.

And here is where the pride comes in.  When I realized I was going to be late, I called the house (note: I have not given this number out to anyone.  I don't think my hubby even knows the number.  Not because I don't want him to, but what's the point really).  The only other phone calls we get on this number are phone spam.  I recently taught my 9 year old how to tell if I'm the one calling.  I also programmed my cell phone number into the phone so he could call me if he needed.

Well, he picked up the phone right away (I was thinking I'd have to call a couple times back to back before he answered).  I told him that I was going to be later than I though and that they should try to find something simple and small to eat to tide them over till I got home.

As I'm on my way home from the office, I realize that my son had called me, so I called him back real quick to see if I needed to go to the house rather than the pizza place first.  He said he and his sister were hungry and wanted to know when I would be back.  I told him I was planning on making 2 stops (pizza & gas - I was running on fumes).

He said that was ok.  They understood that what I was doing was important for the family and that they could wait a little longer.  Needless to say, the pizza was a hit (I didn't actually tell them where I was getting dinner from).  The doughnuts I bought at the gas station as additional guilt appeasement didn't hurt either I'm sure.

Oh, and the offer I worked up....I should hear back on that tomorrow morning. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Take it However It Comes

Today was a relaxing day in our house.  This is my goal for every Sunday.  That isn't to say that we don't DO things.  I just don't stress and force us to accomplish any big thing.  For example:

  • I made a couple phone calls for work (setting stuff up for tomorrow)
  • Folded laundry I washed a couple days ago
  • Took the kids out to buy our weekly newspapers (for the coupons)
  • Helped my son sort and put away his K'Nex
  •  Washed and detailed the car

I will admit, those last 2 were kinda big and time consumptive.  But it gave me alone time with each of my kids.  My son and I worked on the K'Nex for at least an hour.  The whole time we were talking about different things.  My daughter helped me with the car, and we got to have some interesting conversations. 

Would I have rather taken each of my kids out for a date to say an ice cream shop or a movie?  Of course.  But then I think about how much talking would we have done watching a movie or stuffing our face with ice cream.  I'm guessing not much, so I am happy with how my day turned out.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Checking In

One of my dearest friends recently started grad school.  Needless to say, with her work/ school/ wife/ parent schedule, as well as mine, we don't connect as often as we'd like.  The other day she sent me a quick email seeing how things are going.   Then I realized.... she reads my blog and I hadn't updated anything in quite a while (almost 3 weeks now)!

I am SO sorry.  I realize my blog is the only way some of you hear about what is going on with me and my family so here goes.

In magical bullet form, here is a summary of what my family has done over the last 2-1/2 weeks.

  • The kids and I have been working on a unit study (an in depth study of one topic) on dolphins.  My daughter is LOVING it of course and my son is even finding it interesting.  The next unit study we will be doing is my son's choice - robots.
  • The kids and I attended an open house for a local homeschool group that we are seriously thinking of joining next school year.  Hubby and I are both thinking about becoming tutors (their way of saying teacher).  Not only would it help pay for the class, but I think it will help us be able to help them learn at home more.
  • Hubby has been teaching the robotics class each week.  From what I can tell all the kids (and hubby) are having a good time as well. There are only a few more weeks left, so now he's trying to figure out the contest for the last day of class.
  • Hubby is also working on 2 projects simultaneously for one client (they are similar so it's not a big stretch).  He was supposed to send one of them a while ago, but hubby wasn't happy with it.  The client said they would rather have a complete product rather than one that isn't quite right so they told him to take his time so he is still plugging away.
  • The entire family volunteered at an Easter egg drop hosted by our church.  We helped at the booth where pictures were taken with the Easter bunny and Mrs. Bunny.  The kids had a great time helping and of course being able to participate in the egg drop at the end was a bonus. Note: watching plastic eggs dropped from a helicopter is pretty cool.
  • We've also been getting some stuff done around the house.  My parents are in the process of packing up to move to Florida.  Hubby and the kids are planning a trip up to help them in a few weeks.  If I can get away from work, I might try to go and help as well.  My parents will move in with us initially while they look for a place to live (thus the need to do some work around our house).  The good news is that I know a really good Realtor who can help them find a place  ;-)
  • Taxes, taxes, taxes - ugh!
  • Today we took in 2 cats for an undetermined period of time.  Their owner is being evicted and needs a place for them to stay while he gets back on his feet and finds a place that will allow cats.  His story is so sad that we just felt we had to help him and his cats (he tried 30+ other shelters / rescue organizations before finding the one we help with).
  • I have shown / previewed 36 houses for 5 different people and drove 442 miles and have more on the books this week as well.
  • I have a closing scheduled for later this week.  This is the first one since the end of December.  Thankfully there is one scheduled for May as well.
  • I've also been knitting each evening as I have time.  I have a project I was hoping to have done a while ago, but alas here I am still working on it.  I'm about half way done now, so that's progress I suppose.