Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Saying Goodbye

After 3 surgeries and almost 4 months straight of being in a medical cone because of melanoma on her ear (which returned a 4th time), we decided that the quality of life for our cat was not what we felt it should be.  As of late she's been losing weight and hiding (something she hasn't done since we got her 4 years ago).  So today we did what my family does to pay homage to the pets we've loved. 


We had her put to sleep so she wouldn't suffer just because we wanted her around, and then we planted a tree over her as a tomb stone.


Although we got Mao almost 4 years ago when my husband's best friend moved overseas, we've known her for most of her 14 years of life because we kitten sat her before she was a year old.  Her name when she came to us was Raspkitten but we decided to change it to Mao because she said "mao" in our ears for a 10+ car drive when we took her home with us (and she acted a bit like a fuzzy little dictator when she entered our house). 

She will be missed, but we have the Mao tree to remember her by.  And we hope that we live in this house long enough to be able to eat the Palmello fruits that should grow in a few years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Music as Inspiration

I'm so proud of my son.  He's been telling me for a while that he wanted to learn how to play violin, so this coming school year I've enrolled him in a homeschool orchestra in our area. 

I got a really good deal on a violin so he's had it for a month and a half now and he's been picking things up on his own (thank you YouTube and Google)!  And he's been really good about practicing each day too (without me telling him to do it - yay!)

Here's one of the four songs he's been working on.  He's already talking about how he's planning on performing at the County Fair in March.  I can't wait to see his progress over the next 8 months.

video

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Complete Joy

It's interesting to see what can make your child happy.  For my daughter, it's books.  When I come home from the Goodwill book store with a book she's been wanting or even a book from a new series that looks interesting, her eyes light up and I get a hearty hug and a big thank you.

It's been a while since I've gotten a reaction like that from my son.  You see, he likes to program computers and build or fix electronics.  I don't really know much about those, and I certainly don't feel comfortable ordering something along those lines so I always leave that to hubby.  

Today I got a reaction from my son and it really made me happy to see him so happy.  I asked my son a few months back if there was an instrument he wanted to learn and he said violin.  There just so happens to be a local orchestra made up of homeschoolers, so a couple months back my son went to try out a violin as well as a couple other instruments (all stringed). 

Someone is just a little happy
After lots of contemplation about the commitment it would take for the next school year, he asked me to sign him up.  He's been begging me to get him the violin now even though classes don't start till late August or early September.  I've been pricing things online and found that the place recommended by the group leader had a "blemished" violin kit in my son's size for $39 less than than the kit I had been looking at.  The violin itself was a model one above the one I was looking at which means I got a better quality violin for $39 less than the one I was going to get. 

And the blemish?  In addition to the neck being lighter than the rest of the violin (see pic below), there are 2 small places (smaller than a pea each) on the back of the violin where the clear coat is missing.  Otherwise, it's perfect from what I can tell.

I actually like the color difference


Friday, June 12, 2015

Retrospect

Nothing like an anniversary to make you think back over the last few years and realize just how quickly time has gone.

Yes, folks... 16 years ago today I got hitched.  It's actually hard to believe that this was 16 years ago.


My husband and I met about a year before we got married which means I've known him for 17 years.  That means I've lived without him longer than I have lived with him (but only for a few more years).  It's hard to believe though because we've been through so much together.

We've experienced building a home (not for the faint of heart), Sept 11 (we were living outside of D.C. and I was working 20 miles from the Pentagon that morning and we had trouble reaching each other), the birth of our two children the first of which ended up with pneumonia and was rushed to the NICU in the wee hours of the morning (talk about traumatic for first time parents), the creation and closure of a business, a move that almost took us overseas but ended up resulting in us living like nomads for 8 months (3 of which were in a camper) and then moving 1,000 miles rather than across the globe, the sudden loss of a job which resulted in me going back to work while still homeschooling our kids, almost losing our homeowners insurance (and that possibility again), and the current layoffs at hubby's work that has resulted in reduced hours and a loss of insurance.

Although things haven't always been easy, I'm so glad I've gotten to take this journey with the man I have.  His ability to fix things (his nickname when I met him was MacGyver - and it fits him perfectly) is like no one else I know, his faith in me and my ability to do what needs to be done when he's not able to do it is refreshing, his ability and willingness to teach others how to do what he loves (programming and computer hardware stuff) is inspiring, and his willingness to try new things (he learned he enjoys cooking and he's good at it too) are just a few of the things I love about him.  And his sense of humor and ability to come up with metaphors has certainly made things interesting.  But I'd have it no other way.

I love you honey and I look forward to the next 17+ years!


Friday, May 29, 2015

Mommy Guilt

A few years ago I had a friend discover that her daughter had dyslexia.  At the time, I wondered if either of my children might have dyslexia.  My daughter wasn't really reading much at the time and neither was my son.  My hubby's always said he didn't really start to read (and comprehend what he was reading) till he was in 5th grade.  Hubby has a bachelor's degree so I chaulked my son up to being like his father and taking a long time to read.  My daughter has since started to read voraciously.

My son is now finishing up 5th grade and although his reading has progressed, it's not where it should be.  His penmanship isn't great either and his spelling is horrible.  I did a quick Google search with those issues and dyslexia was the first thing that popped up.  The last few days I've been researching dyslexia:  symptoms, best practices for helping deal with it, costs of various programs to help deal with it and have come to some conclusions:

1.  My son has dyslexia and he got it from his father (it's hereditary, and hubby has a few of the signs as well).  My son also appears to have dysgraphia (trouble with handwriting, spelling, and putting thoughts onto paper in general).
2.   Although my husband seems to have been able to overcome (for the most part) his dyslexia growing up (he has his bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering), I think intervention even as my son enters 6th grade is important.  I think my son's case may be worse than hubby's, and I think hubby still has some residual effects that intervention could have helped with.
3.  There are a few different programs that all use the same philosophy, and different programs work for different students.  And I've heard different people rave about different programs.
4.  As much as I wanted to try the cheapest program first, I read a few reviews which said that it was missing introductory pieces that the other programs have.  So what did I decide?  I'm not going to use the cheapest program and I'm not going to use the most expensive either.  I've chosen to use a package deal that has everything laid out easily for me.  It will cover reading and spelling spread out over various levels and has a one year money back guarantee if I'm not satisfied.  I figure it shouldn't take me the full year to figure out if I need to switch programs (at which point I will move to the more expensive option).

So when will we start?  As soon as it gets here.  I didn't catch this earlier and for that I feel lots of Mommy guilt.  The good news is that my son is eager to work on things immediately as well.  Being that we live in Florida, going outside can be a bit hot this time of year, so we homeschool year-round.  That allows us to take more breaks during the fall, winter, and spring to enjoy time with family and take advantage of local tourist locations when the tourists are in school.

For those interested, we did not have my son officially diagnosed.  I am comfortable that I will be able to help my son for the next few years, and since dyslexia is not currently a recognized disability in Florida, there really isn't a reason to have him tested.  If we discover down the road that he needs to be tested before attending college, we will address the issue then.

Friday, May 15, 2015

He Watches Over Us

Tonight my husband went into work fully anticipating on filling out paperwork that would terminate his employment.  They were making cutbacks and he had opted not to reapply for his position.

Needless to say, I was very surprised when my hubby called me at 6:45 and told me "I'm staying."  And he didn't mean just for the night.  He meant, for an undetermined amount of time.  The terms of his employment have changed some (he will only be working 32 hours a week and will not get paid vacation) but they were able to work it in such a way that he should be keeping his health benefits for a while.  After spending hours on the Internet and phone looking into our health insurance options that last part is such a blessing.

Hubby is not anticipating this on being a long-term solution (we think the place where he works will be closed in 6 months or less), but at least it gives us income and health benefits while he is searching for something better.

Although we've been anticipating for the last 2 weeks that hubby was going to be losing his job, we've been at peace the entire time.  Now I know why.  God knew what was going to happen and that we'd be okay.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Making Room

I mentioned a few weeks ago all the awards my kids got at the local county fair.  I also alluded to the fact that my son was going to get more awards.  A few weeks ago he received two more trophies.


These trophies were because of how well his robotics team did at two different competitions.  One trophy is for finishing first place with their project presentation (a skit they wrote and performed) at a practice tournament, and the other is for finishing first place in the robot competition at a qualifying tournament.  Anyone who knows my son knows the award for the robot is the award he's most proud of.  He helped put a LOT of work into it, so I don't blame him.

I've included the video of the winning robot run below for those who are curious about what exactly they did.

video

Although we will not be continuing with this robotics team next year (we wish them all the best), we are looking into how my son can continue to compete in a similar way in the years to come.  We know robotics is going to play a prominent roll in our son's life so we're making room now (starting with his first trophy).

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Doing it His Way

A couple days ago everyone at my husband's employer was called in to a staff meeting.  At this meeting they were told they were going to be cutting staff in half.  They are going to accomplish this by asking everyone to re-apply for their jobs and then they would fill the "open" positions from those applicants.  There are 3 people that do what my husband does, and at the end of this process there will only be 2 positions filled.

So after a couple nights of thinking on it, my husband has decided he's not even going to apply for the position.  I completely support him in this decision.  "Say, what?!?!?" you ask.  We saw the writing on the wall a few months ago when his company was bought out.  We knew this was going to happen.  In fact, we were thinking the company would be shut down in the next couple years.  We have since adjusted that guess to a few months.

We figure why delay the inevitable.  Not only that, but the two people that would remain need the income and benefits more than we do right now.  I am so thankful I decided not to give up real estate because that's allowing us to feel at peace about this decision right now.  I know the two left behind are going to be looking for a job (with so few staff it's going to be tough going), but this will at least give them more time do to so while still getting paid.

My husband has already been online searching to see what openings are available.  He's working on his resume and getting things together to present at any interview he may go on (he's a Computer Engineer so programming and circuit / computer design's he's done could play into whether he gets hired).

I am so proud of my husband for all that he's done with this employer over the last 17 months.  He's awesome at what he does and they know it.  In fact, one of the managers is so upset my husband plans to not apply so the other 2 can keep their jobs that he's trying to find money in the budget from somewhere else so they can keep all three of them.  And the thing I'm the most proud of... that he's thinking about the impact on his friends and coworkers just like I would do if I were in the same situation.  I guess that's one of the reason we work well together.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Drum Roll - part 2

As my regular readers know, last month my children participated in the local fair as part of their 4H group.  At that time, we found out how they did on the individual projects they submitted (to see the details, click here) as well as a contest they participated in.

Last night was an awards ceremony where they awarded trophies and ribbons for the contests as well as the superior exhibitor in the various categories.

My daughter received a trophy for best in show for a short story she wrote (I've included the story below).  She also received a 3rd place ribbon in her age group for participation in the consumer choices contest.


I am not one of those Mom's who pushes their agenda on their children, but with my daughter's love of reading and writing, I'm going to make sure I keep this trophy just in case we get to say, "I remember how you got your first award for writing when you were 8 at the local county fair."

Here's her story for those interested:


The Magic Forest

My name is Grace Clemens. I am 14 years old and in two months I'll be turning 15. I live in a two story house on Forest Drive in Hillsboro, West Virginia.
One week ago I was walking home from the store and I wasn't looking at the ground. I peacefully walked by a lamp post and then I took one more step forward and I went face forward down somewhere. Into some kind of hole. “AHHHHH!” Then in an instant I hit the ground with a thump.
I must have gotten knocked out because when I woke up I guessed it was 4:30 because of where the sun was in the sky. And I wasn't on my street anymore either! I stood at the edge of a dense forest. I heard nothing but the chirping of crickets and the buzzing of mosquitoes. Suddenly I heard the sound of singing. I made my way over to the sound of the music and found myself walking toward two trees singing in harmony! “Maybe I hit my head harder than I thought,” I said. The trees sang this song:

We have magical, magical, magical leaves,
Yes, us trees!
Our leaves are magical, yes they are,
Eat one and you will go far.
To a magical realm called Camelot.

I hid behind a tree. 'A talking tree! How is this possible? I must be dreaming,' I thought. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. 'Oh no!' I thought. 'I wasn't dreaming after all!'
“AHHHHHHH!” I screamed.
“What seems to be the matter?” said the tree I was hiding behind.
“AHHHHHHH!” I said again as I jumped away from the tree.
“What is causing you to be so scared?” said the tree.
“Um, you,” I said.
“Why?” said the tree.
“I've never seen a talking tree before. Are you nice?” I asked.
“Of course,” said the tree.
I was so scarred I was shivering.
“Do not worry,” said one of the trees that had been singing. “We are nice trees and we can take you to Camelot if you’d like.”
“No thanks,” I said, “But can you, umm, take me to the real world?”
“Not us,” said the tree I hid behind, “But there is one tree who can. To get to that tree, you must go further into the wood and you will find a maze. You have to find your way to the center where you will find the tree. Eat one of it's leaves and think about the place you love most and you will go there.”
“Thanks!” I said. I started walking into the forest expecting it to be dark and treacherous, but instead there were more talking trees who said, “Hello!” when I passed. As I got deeper, leaves of the trees covered any light from getting through and these trees didn't talk or say hello.
I emerged from the trees and into the light, and saw the maze standing before me. It was 8 feet tall and made of neatly trimmed holly bushes. I was really good at mazes, so it was really easy for me to get to the center. When I got to the center I stopped dead in my tracks. Two black growling wolves stood in my path. I ran back the way I came from as fast as I could, expecting the wolves to be right behind me, but they weren't. That didn't keep me from being scarred.
'Ok, you have to do this if you ever want to get home,' I told myself. So I headed back to the center of the maze and walked up to the wolves shivering with fear.
“What are you doing here?” a wolf said.
“I need one of this trees leaves to get home. I don't mean any harm,” I said.
“Fine,” said the wolf, “but remember, if you hurt that tree, you will be my dinner.”
“OK,” I said walking over to the tree. As gently as possible, I picked one of the leaves. I put it into my mouth and it tasted like peppermint. I thought of home and in a flash of light I was home!

----------
My son, won 1st place in consumer choices (so he got a trophy as opposed to the ribbon my daughter received).  At the ceremony we found out that their age group (the youngest) was accidentally given the hardest choices to make.  I was proud before, but I'm even more proud now (and so are they).

In addition to the trophy for consumer choices, my son also got a trophy for best in show in general crafts for a whip he made.  He also got a trophy (and money) for being a superior exhibitor in both food and photography.  Can you tell how happy he was by this picture?


I love it when my children get to experience first hand that hard work can pay off. It was also nice watching them cheer on some of their friends as they also won awards.

So, we are already planning on what we will be doing next year.  The sooner we start, the more they can enter, and the more chances they have of winning.  My kids may not be athletic like I was at their age, but they do have a competitive streak, so they got that little part of me.  And next year they won't be competing against each other because my son is moving up an age group (and this Mama is just fine with that).


Sunday, April 19, 2015

New School Year Preparations

My regular readers know that we homeschool our two children.  What some may not know is that doesn't mean we stay home and fill out workbooks all day.  In fact, I try to have at least one "fun" learning day a week.  I've found my kids learn better by doing and seeing things, so we try to fit in lots of field trips and hands on experiences.  We also try to get together with another family once a week for science and history.  This allows us to do some things that really only work well in larger groups. 

And right now, I'm also preparing for next year.  Already, you ask?  Yep.  You see, next year my oldest will be in 6th grade.  In my book, that's a big deal.  That means he only has 3 years to figure things out (studying habits, test taking skills, etc) before everything he does will be under a microscope by college admissions employees.

Yes, my son is 7 years away from college, but something I've learned recently is that you need to start planning when they are in middle school.  Say, what?!?  I was surprised when I heard that too, but I can say that I've begun to live it, and it's SO true.  And for those of you that don't homeschool, this applies to you too.

I realize that not all kids will know what they "want to be when they grow up" by 6th grade.  But by 6th grade, I'm sure you know some things your child will NOT be.  For example, I know neither of my children will be athletes.  I played sports through high school and LOVED it.  My kids could care less.

So what is a parent to do with the information you have?  Help them start figuring out what they DO want to be.  That means giving them opportunities to try different things they say they are interested in.  That doesn't mean letting them try a class and then give up.  It may be they went on the one day a substitute was teaching.  I've found you need to go at least twice but maybe even a month.  When my kids asked to take karate, I told them they had to commit to a full quarter before they could decide.  At the end of the quarter they both decided the were no longer interested, but I was happy because at least they'd given it a good try.

My friends, Jenni & Jody came out with an eBook a few months ago titled 7 Easy Steps to Writing a High School Transcript.  It is full of a treasure trove of information.  To see more information or to purchase click here.  To get a summary and see the part I've done, click on this link to their blog. 

Luckily for me, I have a pretty good idea of what my son would like to pursue.  He's been telling me for years that he wants to build robots.  We don't know exactly what type of robot but we know he enjoys the mechanical, electrical, as well as programming involved in robotics.  That means I have a rough idea of what degree he will need to obtain (some form of engineering is a safe bet).

So what I've done is called 6 different colleges that offer the type of program he would be likely to pursue.  My goal with calling them was to find out what their minimum requirements were (specifically science and math since he's going into such a heavy science / math field).  And it's a good thing I called 6 of them too, because for the most part they all told me the same thing: physics and chemistry as lab sciences.  Where things differed was the math.  The first couple told me pre-calculus but a few said calculus.  So next year (6th grade), my son is going to be taking pre-algebra.  That will put him one year ahead of the schedule he needs, but that way he has an extra year if he encounters a class that he has trouble with.

I also learned that grades are important, but so are extra curriculars.  And not in the way I thought.  I've been hearing quite a few high school parents mentioning the phrase "volunteer hours for college" lately.  I learned that some colleges like to see that kids are willing to help others, but the schools I talked to were more interested in seeing that my son participated in a few (or even one) extra curricular(s) as long as he kept doing it.  They want to see a passion that he's pursuing.  That doesn't mean he can't stop something and pick up something new.  They just want a way to prove he's found what he wants to pursue because someone that really enjoys what they are doing, tends to work hard and do well.

Next year is going to be a bit of a tough one for my son.  He's going to be attending a co-op (a group class) so that he gets used to the idea of someone else being his teacher.  He's also going to be required to take on more responsibilities when it comes to making sure he gets his work done.  After all, I'd rather he fall on his face in middle school than in high school when it matters so much more.

What do I think this will accomplish?  My prayer is that it will prepare him to pursue and excel at the dream he's had for years... to build robots.

And I'll admit it, the selfish part of me wants him to build me a modern day Rosie.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Drum Roll......

Today is the last day of the Sarasota County fair which meant that bright and early this morning the kids and I were picking up their projects and prizes (aka. ribbons and cash) and helping clean out the 4H mini building.  I know all you inquiring minds what to know how they did, so here's the breakdown:

MY SON

Items submitted: 10 (canned goods, baked goods, photography, and a general craft)
Demonstrations given: 2
Participation in other activities: 1st place in consumer choices contest
Blue Ribbons: 9
Red Ribbons:3
Best in Show for a para-cord whip he made
Monetary awards received: $72


MY DAUGHTER

Items submitted: 9 (canned goods, baked goods, photography, a general craft, and creative writing)
Participation in other activities: 3rd place in consumer choices contest
Blue Ribbons: 7
Red Ribbons: 2
Best in Show for an original story she wrote
Monetary awards received: $52


And technically we aren't done yet.  In a few weeks, they are having an awards banquet where they will each be receiving a trophy for their best in show items as well as a trophy or ribbon for the consumer choices contest! 

It was a lot of work (for the kids and Mom).  And there was whining going as we were nearing the deadline to hand things in.  Yet, just like childbirth, my kids have already forgotten just how painful they thought it was at the time, and they are talking about participating again next year.  Now that we've been through the process, we have some ideas of how to handle it better next year as well as some of the other activities we may want to participate in next year.

What's first on the list for my kids for next year?  My daughter wants to sew and my son wants to compete in the whip cracking contest (maybe even with the whip that won him best in show this year).  But first, this Mama needs a little down time.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Saga Continues

Home ownership is not for the faint of heart. 

As a Realtor, I see how hard it is to find "the home" and then get all the paperwork done before you are given the keys to your new home.  Right now, I have a client that is supposed to close on a house on Monday, but their paperwork has still not been cleared because the bank is waiting to get the appraisal report back from the appraiser (who completed the appraisal last Friday!).  To say my buyers are on pins and needles is an understatement.  Especially since they have to travel here to get to closing and they have a child in middle school that either needs to skip school or find a friend's house to stay while they are gone. 

I've seen it time and time again, no matter the stress leading up to closing day, the buyers are so excited to have a place to call their own.  Once those keys are placed in their hands, the troubles they just overcame are forgotten.  After all, they have a home that someone else can't tell them what to do (except if they live in an HOA where they restrict what you can do to the outside of the property), right?

Last fall I learned that's a bit of a fallacy.  My insurance company was able to force me to replace my roof (or else they would drop my insurance).  If I didn't have insurance on the house, my mortgage company would have forced me to pay for their policy (which cost 3X as much and only covered the structure of the house and not any of our stuff).

We closed on our house almost 3 years ago.  Since then, we have repaired or replaced:
  • Pool pump
  • Kitchen sink (rusting and ruining counter) and kitchen faucet (leaking)
  • Roof
  • Air Conditioner
  • Carpet through pretty much the entire house
  • Washer & Dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven element
  • "Storage Room" flooding with water when it rained heavily

And last night we had septic water start backing up into one of our showers.  We're praying it's a simple plugged pipe.  If it's not that, at a minimum we will need the septic pumped but we could also need to have our septic tank and or drain field replaced.  Add to that the fact that we have a detached pole barn that is beginning to fall apart and we've got more expenses on the horizon.

Like I said in the beginning... home ownership is not for the faint of heart.  We will get through this.  We always have.  But for those of you out there that think you'll get those keys and life will be easy after that.  Not necessarily true.  It takes work to keep the house in good shape.  It takes money (sometimes lots of it) to be able to sell your house a few years down the road and gain some equity (and that's not even guaranteed).  But it is nice being able to have a place that, for the most part, you can call your own and decorate it as you see fit.

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's Been Going On

I just realized that it's been a month since I posted a blog.  So here I am letting you know what we've been doing that's keeping us so busy:

  • School for the kids.  We've had a couple field trips as well as regular school work.
  • Preparing for the fair.  Not only are my kids both submitting things for the fair (food items, crafts, and even an original story), but my son completed two demonstrations a few weeks ago.  He got a blue ribbon for one and a red ribbon for the other.
  • I've been busier for work lately too.  I've been showing houses multiple times a week. I also had a house close a couple weeks ago and I have another scheduled in the next two weeks.
  • I'm taking a certification class for real estate.
  • Hubby has been working on the house (the yard in particular) as of late.  This time of year is not nearly as hot and hard to work outside as the summer months so he's taking advantage.

Other interesting items of note:

  • My son came up with a joke on his own a few months back.  His Oma and Opa were in town at the time and they told him he should submit it to a kid's magazine.  Yesterday we got a copy of the magazine with his joke in it.  For those interested, the joke is:  How does a yo-yo relax?  It unwinds.
  • For years, we've had an issue with the kids cleaning their rooms.  They would clean it and then a couple days later it would be a mess again.  We had a really big cleaning push a couple weeks ago and they're still pretty clean.  Praying it continues.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

What's Been Goin' On

I don't have any one particular subject to write on so I figured I'd share a little about what we've been doing lately and what's on my mind.

  • I finally have a home sale that should close (maybe even this month).  It's only been 8 months since my last closing.  The only thing that could prevent it from happening is the seller not being able to get my buyer a clean and clear title or if it burns down.
  • The kids have been plugging away at school and I'm definitely seeing some improvements.  They are also in the process of preparing to participate in the local county fair.
  • Hubby's company was recently bought by another company but so far there haven't been any changes to his schedule or anything.
  • Now that it's snow-bird season, I've been showing more houses.  Luckily the kids and I have found a bit of a rhythm so we can still get things done even on the days I'm away for a bit.  Hopefully I'll have another house sell soon as a result.
  • The last week, hubby's changed his sleep schedule a little so he's awake more during the day so he can spend more time each day doing things outside. The yard is really starting to look nice (considering we have 1.7 acres that saying something).
  • My son turns 11 in less than a month!  Where has the time gone?!?  Now to figure out how to celebrate on a pretty tight budget.  Suggestions are welcome.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Right Choice?

I recently made a decision to continue in real estate.  Why was that a decision I felt the need to make?  Because I haven't sold anything since May and I had quite a few fees due (annual renewal fees for various real estate related things) in early January.  I HATE the thought of spending money not knowing when or even IF I'll make money based on that spending.

Another factor is that I homeschool my kids.  I even had one of the brokers at my old office mention it to me after I'd left their firm as a reason why I hadn't sold much.  Totally not true by the way.  I was at a real estate function at the moment he said it, on a school day.  Oh, and I was homeschooling my kids when I sold 12 houses in my first year!

Although I need to be available to help my kids with their schooling, the beauty of homeschooling is that you can be flexible to do it when you want or are able.  My kids prefer to do school later in the day.  Hubby works nights so I have to be home anyway.  And we also do school over the summer (we live in Southern Florida and it gets a bit warm, so why not enjoy the cooler weather of the winter for all the fun field trips and do the seat work in the summer when you don't want to go outside and roast).  Oddly enough, my summers are pretty slow when it comes to real estate (as opposed to the rest of the country) so it works out nicely from that perspective.

I recently had a meeting with my new broker and really felt she wants me to succeed.  She's been giving me a few leads that seem like they might pan out (she's a practicing broker which means by doing so, she's not getting the full commission = she's awesome!).

Do I know if it was the right choice?  Not yet for sure, but if the last couple days are any indication, I think something's going to happen very soon.  I've been showing houses with some level of frequency.  I have people contacting me about possibly listing their homes.  And this morning I submitted an offer on a house and may have a second to submit this afternoon.  Obviously, neither counts till it's accepted, but it means I have people seriously looking and that's a good thing.

So what am I doing about it?  Praying that I prove the naysayers wrong and that 2015 is my best year yet!  I'm also trying to organize my life a bit more which means waking up earlier to get a few extra things done each day.  It also means I may not be posting here quite as often for the next couple months in particular just because real estate "season" has hit in Florida.

I'll be back as soon as I can even if it's just to give you a quick update on how the real estate and homeschool journey are going.