Sunday, November 19, 2006

Goodbye For Now

Well, tomorrow we hit the road and leave Southern California. Escrow was to close on Friday, but got delayed until Monday, which really saved our butts. It's now 10:00 pm on Sunday night and Vince is just now leaving the house from clearing all our stuff out. I can't belive we have so much crap. We've been on a packing marathon since Thursday, it seemed like it would never end. My back hurts, my feet hurt, and my poor little bicep muscles are aching. I'm such a wimp.

So good-bye for now. I'm not sure when we'll get our computer set back up again, probably not for a couple of weeks. So until then, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and doesn't suffer too much from the inevitable turkey induced coma.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Almost Gone

Four more days in our home of the past 8 years. I can't believe it. I'm trying not to think about it because I know I'll get over emotional if I do. The packing is not going as quickly as I had hoped, but I think we'll be fine.

My mom took Sophia and Harrison to see "The Grinch" at the Old Globe Theater this past Saturday. Harrison had never been to a play, so we tried to explain that it's like going to the movies but with real people. He was good during the play, but afterward my mom had bought the kids candy bars, Harrison dropped his wrapper on the ground and when my mom asked him to pick it up he got really stubborn, refused, and it all went down hill from there. Apparently the ride home was from hell with Harrison yelling "shut up, shut up!". All I know is that if I did that when I was a kid, the words would have gotten smacked back down my throat. I'm still wondering why she didn't pull over and beat him. The old softy, the years have mellowed her.

Today was Francesca's two month check-up. She is weighing in at 12 lb. 4 oz. (85%), and is 23 inches long (75%). My 8 week old is only 3 inches shorter than my 18 month old. Amazing.

We've decided not to stick around for Thanksgiving. Vince's dad has agreed to take our dogs while we're renting in Texas. That will save us the pet deposit and additional monthly charge for having pets. Not that we've found a place to rent yet, but that's another story. So we're out of here Friday, we'll stay the weekend with my mom and celebrate Harrison's 4th birthday on Saturday (if he survives), and hit the road on Monday. From here we're headed to Arkansas to drop off the dogs and spend Thanksgiving with Vince's family. I haven't been back there since 1999 so it should be interesting. On the following Monday we'll hit the road again and head to Texas. It's only about a 8 1/2 hour drive from Omaha, Arkansas to Plano, Texas, so not too bad. We're planning on staying at a Residence Inn or someplace similar and find a rental house that first week. So some decision have been made. Let's just hope everything goes according to plan.

We are taking a break tomorrow and spending the day at Disneyland. One last day at Disneyland until who knows when we will again. This year is their "Year of a Million Dreams", and we received a card in the mail for a free adult 1-day park hopper ticket. How could we pass that up? It expires Wednesday, but we wanted to be sure we were actually getting about of here before using it. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Buns of Steel

Not mine, I wish, my husbands. Vince left Dallas yesterday, around 2pm his time, and as of 10:00 am this morning, my time, he is already past Las Cruces, New Mexico. He's been driving, driving, driving, except for the four hour break he took to sleep last night. I wasn't planning on him being home for dinner tonight, but it looks like I was wrong. When he went up to Montana to get our stuff out of storage and move it to Texas, he left here Saturday afternoon. Got to Helena Sunday morning. Loaded up the trailer, and hit the road immediately. Went from Montana to Texas in about 36 hours, arriving in Texas Tuesday morning. Got back on the road Wednesday evening and arrived home in the wee hours of Friday morning. I'm telling you, Buns of Steel.

The house Vince found for us to lease is not going to go through afterall. First the house was suposed to be available immediately. Then the owner said he'd be out by the first week of December. We figured that was o-kay, we'd spend some time with my mom. No hurry. We filled out all the application stuff, made arrangements for the dogs (he won't accept pets), turned in our $50 application fee, and now the owner is saying he won't be out until after the 1st of the year. What a wanker! We're jumping through hoops to get everything done that we need to, and he's screwing around. I guess real estate woes are real estate woes and it doesn't matter if you're renting or buying, they're all the same. So now we get to start from scratch, and since we aren't actually there to check out houses in person, it's going to get tricky.

But back to packing for now. I'm getting discouraged and can't wait for Vince to get home to help because I don't feel like I'm making a dent.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Texas is a Big State!

So where in Texas are we moving? I wish I knew.

We' re looking in the North Dallas area. We have friends in Plano, Frisco, and Flower Mound. So we're starting our search there. McKinney, Allen and Prosper are other towns that stick in my mind. The house we're currently trying to lease is in Frisco. So the plan is to get a six month lease and get to know the area before we decide where to settle.

Oh, and Vince needs to get a job before anyone will approve us for a loan for a new house anyway. It's always the little details that get in the way, huh?

I'm still not getting near as much packing done as I'd hoped. I'm a bit overwhelmed. Plus being a mother of four all by myself is stressing me out. If one is poopy, then the other just fell down and is screaming, and the other two are hungry or thirsty and are underfoot. Bedtime is my favorite time of day. For them, not me. I hate going to bed when Vince isn't home. I'm such a chicken I leave the bathroom light on. Yes, that's right. A nightlight just doesn't cut it for me.

And since I mentioned Vince coming home, it looks like his return date is getting delayed by one day. Why? He was suposed to leave tomorrow morning, but he got a job interview tomorrow at 11:00 am. So he'll be getting back on the road sometime in the afternoon. I guess I can handle one more night with the bathroom light on if there is a possibility he might be getting a job. But we're quickly approaching one week mark before we have to be out of here, so he needs to get his butt home and start packing. Lord knows I'm not getting much done on my own.

Monday, November 06, 2006

American by Birth, Texan by Choice

I know moving to Texas does not make me a Texan, but we're in escrow again. And this time it looks like this one will be going through. Third time is a charm right?

So we have to be out of our house by 5:30 pm on Friday, November 17th. Vince is in Texas as I write this. He took another load of our stuff to our storage facility there, is meeting with a real estate agent tomorrow to find a rental house, and is suposed to be looking for a head hunter/placement agency to meet with on Wednesday.

My plan was to get one room packed each day, so when he got back we would be able to load our remaining belongings and not be frantic our last week here. Of course being home alone with four kids is a bit much and I'm not getting near as much done as I'd like. Things would be going more smoothly if Annamaria wouldn't freak out and start crying when she sees me packing up her toys. The child cannot be reasoned with, she just doesn't understand. And she may be small, but man, don't mess with her. I have to wait until she goes to sleep, pack her things and get the box taped shut before she can try to pull everything out again.

And since we have less than two weeks left in the house, I've been cooking every night, trying to use up all the food in the fridge/freezer. I'm not big on cooking when Vince is out of town. My kids are not picky eaters by any means, but they're still kids and are less than satisfying to cook for. I end up eating the majority of everything. Something I really do not need to be doing. Still, there is no way I can eat all this food in the time we have left. Non-perishables, no problem. But what am I going to do with that six pound pork roast in the freezer? I think my mom is going to find her already full freezer even more full.

Also I'm still home schooling Sophia, and her schedule got jacked up last week, so we were playing catch-up today. Hopefully tomorrow won't be so bad. We'll finish her week as scheduled, then she'll get an extra long Thanksgiving break until things calm down. One of the perks of home schooling. She's looking forward to it anyway.

We haven't decided if we're sticking around for Thanksgiving or not. We'll either stay with my mom and have Thanksgiving with her at her friends house, or head down to Texas and have Thanksgiving with our friends, the Jensens, who invited us. It really all depends on how the house/job search goes.

I'm getting pretty good at this "playing it by ear". Being the control freak that I am, I'm really impressing myself here with my newly acquired ability to go with the flow. And I know I should be happy, happy, happy that the house has finally sold, but of course now I'm just sad that we're really leaving. But like I tell Sophia, think of it as an adventure, and if we find out we don't like it there, we don't have to stay.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Finding Faith

Today at Mass was the Rite of Welcome for those going through the RCIA program at our church. I went through RCIA ten years ago, so I'm always interested in the program and when I see these people it touches my heart. RCIA stands for Rite of Catholic Initiation of Adults. Or something like that. Anyway, it's for those who are adults and want to become Catholic or finish the process to becoming fully confirmed in the Catholic faith. They may never have been baptized; maybe they praticed another faith and are converting; maybe they were baptized into The Church but didn't continue with their First Communion or Confirmation and now want to complete the process. But for whatever reason, they have come to get closer to God.

RCIA meets once a week, and at first they get to get all their questions about The Church answered. If they decide they want to continue on their faith journey with The Church, they get partnered up with a sponsor who is there to support them and answer any questions they may have. The meetings continue each week and they get lessons on the church's beliefs, history, practices, etc. I was lucky enough to get a wonderful woman for my sponsor. We connected so strongly that her and her husband (who is also a wonderful person) are Sophia and Harrison's Godparents. They are people who will continue to be in our lives no matter where we may end up and no matter how much time passes.

So this morning the congregation met outside the front doors of the church where the candidates were lined up with their sponsors and Father Fernando introduced them and asked them what they asked of The Church. Answers vary from learning more about God, to growing closer to God, to becoming who God wants them to be. The answers are endless. They are then welcomed into our Church and congregation and Mass begins.

What struck me this morning and made my eyes tear up a little were three people specifically. Two of them were a couple. And man and a woman, both about my and Vince's age, who were obviously married and had a baby girl with them about 10 months old. It reminded me of the importance of my faith in regards to my children. When I was young and single, I really didn't give my faith much thought, if I even had any faith at the time I don't remember. But once I was planning on getting married and having children, my faith became important to me. So important that even as a full-time college student who also worked part-time, I still found time to find a church, join the RCIA program, attend my weekly meetings with commitment, and attend the couple of retreats that were required. And no matter how busy I was with everything else, I looked forward to my RCIA commitments. I wanted my children raised with a strong belief in God, and good moral convictions. And most importantly, I wanted to be an example of a good person. I know that just attending Mass regularly doesn't make a good person, we also have to live our faith and follow "the rules". That's what Vince and I try to do. So it touches me when I see other families trying to do the "right" thing. No matter how many mistakes we've made in the past, we can turn it around and be an example to our children.

The other person who caught my eye was an older woman with white hair. I'm guessing she was in her 60's, maybe pushing 70. I think it takes a certain kind of courage when at that age to stand up in front of hundreds of people and ask for The Church's assistance with her faith journey. I know that as we get older we get settled into ourselves, and change gets more and more difficult. Did she never practice any faith before? Did she belong to another church and decide that it wasn't the right one for her? Has she been attending Mass all along, but was never able to partake of the eucharist and decided to finally become fully confirmed? I may never know, but she touched me the most. She reminded me that our faith is a gift from God. It's not something we earn or aquire on our own. And no matter how old we may be, God is there for us, welcoming us. It's never too late.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Happy Halloween

Our Halloween was pretty low key, only had about a handfull of trick-or-treaters. Needless to say we have waaaay to much candy left over. Annamaria slept through Halloween last year, so this was her first trick-or-treating experience. One she got the idea that the reason they were going house to house for people to give her candy, she got right on board. Vince was holding her though, so people didn't realize she was collecting candy too. If she got left out she would promptly start yelling to let people know that she wanted candy too. Of course she said "thank you" once she got hers. We have taught her her manners afterall. Harrison insisted on being Buzz Lightyear again this year. He didn't care that we had a bear costume, we wanted to be Buzz, so Buzz he was. Sophia was a perfect Snow White, her short haircut worked perfectly with her costume. And Annamaria was Tinkerbell. Even though Francesca slept through Halloween, I bought her a Pumpkin footie outfit. I'll try to get a better picture of her in it later. She had a diaper blowout in it, so it's currently in the wash.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Negligent Mother

It has occurred to me recently that I have been shirking my responsibilities as a mother of a new born child. Francesca will be six weeks old tomorrow, and since I posted a announcement of her arrival, I have not posted any other photos of her. What is wrong with me? Is it because she is our fourth child and the novelity has worn off? No. Could it be that with four children I simply don't have the time? Maybe. Could it be that the depression hanging over my head about this house not selling has just sucked the joy out of my life? Another maybe. But there have been over sixty photos on my digital camera, waiting to be downloaded, so it's not for lack of pictures. Lack of motivation maybe. But that's not fair to Francesca. She deserves equal billing. So I'll try to do better.

So we bought a new swing for Francesca when she was born. Our old one was fine, but it's packed up in storage, so that's no good. Part of the reason we chose this one is because the weight limit is up to 25 pounds. One of the highest we could find. And Annamaria weighing in at 18 pounds at the time, was thinking it was for her. So the swing gets double duty, both Annamaria and Francesca have become swing babies. Pretty funny since Annamaria wasn't interested in the old swing when she was Francesca's age. And no, we normally don't let them swing together, but this just made Annamaria so happy we had to get a picture of it.

And no, our funds are not so low that we've resorted to eating our own children, but since Halloween is coming, we decided to brew up a batch of Harrison stew just to get in the mood. Just kidding, but we thought this was pretty funny anyway.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Another Showing

So yesterday we had an agent come by to take a look at our house. She has a client that needs to buy three houses by the end of the year as investment properties. Can I just say here that that is one situation that I would much rather be in. She said our house may just work for him, and she'd call us today to set up an appointment for him to take a look at it. Needless to say it is now 12:30 pm, and no phone call. But our agent also called us yesterday to let us know that someone who took a flyer from out front called him and wanted to see the inside of our house. So he's bringing them by today at 3pm. This is the first time our agent has showed our house. Is that normal? Vince says he just must not have any buyers that are looking for what we are offering. But I'm thinking, who cares, you've got them hostage in the car anyway, bring them on by. You never know.

And just so no one thinks our house is a total hole, and that's why it won't sell, I've decided to post some photographic evidence of our hard work and effort that we've put into this place.

O-kay, so it's a 1972 ranch style house. Nothing to brag about, but we have 1/4 of an acre, and for San Diego, that's considered "property".

Here is my beautiful remodeled kitchen. Complete with double convection ovens and six burner professional range. Stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. Vince made the cabinets himself. Solid Brazilian Cherry wood. Top of the line drawer pulls and my sink is huge. I think there are photos of not only Annamaria but also Harrison getting a bath in it somewhere on this blog. I'm going to miss my kitchen the most.

In the living room, the fireplace used to be faced with slump stone ( I think that is what it was called). Anyway, we had it refaced with travertine to match the floor in the entry way and kitchen, and tumbled marble. Can't believe it's the same fireplace. I'm wishing we had before and after pictures.

In the family room we had a tongue and groove wood ceiling and 70's paneling on the walls. Can you say "yuck"? We had new walls put in and recessed lighting. There used to be track lighting. So much better now. I'm not ashamed to have people over anymore.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Where Are We Moving To?

No where. Last night we got the call that the deal fell through. None of the other buyers could qualify for the house, so that's the end of that. What I don't understand is why are people out looking at houses and making offers on houses that they either don't qualify for or aren't completely serious about. What is wrong with people? Don't they understand that there are other people's lives involved in the transaction? Aren't we all adults here? Can't we all just act like upstanding responsible adults and not jack around with each other's lives? Apparently not.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hold Everything!

I knew I'd find something to complain about. Last night I got a call from our real estate agent letting me know that one of the buyers, the one carrying the loan, was hesitating on being the only person on the title to the house. Now, I'm really not racist, or prejudice. At least I don't think I am, but this is the second round of real estate nightmares and both buyers were hispanic. The first, a Ms. Nunez, just backed out for no legitimate reason. At least none that she could give. And kept us off the market for three weeks during prime selling season while she made up her mind as to whether she wanted to go ahead with the purchase of the house or not. Now, the second, also involves hispanics. All I know is that there was a young woman, currently pregnant, her two small children, a young man, and an older woman were the ones who came to look at the house. When we got the offer, they were signed by an Amos someone. Now I was told that this Amos person doesn't want to be the only person on the title, but no one else has good enough credit to qualify for the house. And this was all suposed to be a done deal, he was pre-qualified and everything, so he knew he'd be the only person on the title and now he's backing out. Now when they had the home inspection, another young man by the name of Roberto, who is suposed to be the boyfriend of the young pregnant woman, showed up with the buyer's agent and the inspector. He didn't speak English so I didn't speak to him myself, but he is suposed to be living here too and wants the deal to go through. The young woman also wants the deal to go through. So who is this Amos person, and how does he fit into the puzzle? And why can't we just get some normal people in the door who have their act together, and can act like responsible and civilized people? So now Roberto is trying to get his mom to sign for the loan on the house. So say a little a prayer, make a little wish, do a little dance, whatever it is you do. We could use any help we could get at this point.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stole My Thunder

I was all set to blog about our real estate nightmares and the fact that our house has been on the market since May. We've only had two showings in September, and I've been throughly discouraged. We went ahead and had the house tented for termites at the end of August. We figured it had to be done sooner or later, so we packed up the kids and spent two days at Disneyland while the house was being fumigated. It was great, but more on that another time. Our last day at the Magic Kingdom I get a call from our agent saying that someone wanted to show our house the next day. I told them as long as the gas was cleared out and the house was free for reentry to go ahead. So we got home at 12:30 am, that night or the next morning, whichever you prefer to call it. Got a few hours of sleep, woke up and started getting the house ready for the showing. Of course I was about a week and a half from my due date at this point. The house wasn't perfect, but at the point my attitude was "whatever". Of course nothing came from that showing. We dropped the price of the house AGAIN, and had our agent put a notation in our listing that we had a new born and needed a couple hours notice for a showing. Then earlier this week we got a call from an agent who said he wanted to come check out our house for some clients of his. He set a time, 45 minutes to 1 hour from when he called, and we rushed around getting the house ready. And guess what. He never showed. Forty-five minutes later, Vince call him and he said he was looking at another house and he'd be over soon. Vince explained we were about to sit down to dinner and he'd have to reschedule. To say we're being less accommodating these days would be the truth. We're really tired of it all. The next day, Vince was out running errands with Harrison and I was home with the girls. Sophia was doing school work, Annamaria was toddling around, and Francesca was taking a nap. The phone rings and it's the agent from the day before saying he was down the road with his clients looking at another house, but his clients really wanted to come by and check out our house, could they come over in about 20 minutes. Screw it. So I told him I had a three week old down for a nap, so as long as his clients didn't mind us being here, to come on by. So they did. All six of them. And again, the house wasn't perfect, but hey, I have a three week old, give me a break. So the next day I sat down and started typing to vent about our real estate woes, when our phone rang. It was our agent letting me know that we had an offer coming in. Apparently they really did like our house. Now was their offer great? No. Were we excited to be getting an offer anyway? Heck yes. We countered to make the deal a little more palatable to us, and they accepted it. Amazing! Of course since we lowered the price for a second time, we'll be getting about $40K less than we really wanted when we started all this, but that was five months ago, and the times they are a changing. The market here is so flooded I'm really feeling quite appreciative that we even have a buyer at this point. And it looks like these guys are actually serious, unlike the other "offer" we had. They've already scheduled their home inspection for this Monday, so things are moving along. Oh, the only kicker, they want escrow to close by the 27th. Yes, October 27th. And we still have a house load to get moved out of here. And of course Francesca is being baptized on the 15th, and I've already sent out invitations inviting over 30 of our closest friends and family to come and celebrate with us. So it should be an interesting few weeks. I've been praying that our house sells "now", and we get moved and on with our lives "now". So be careful what you wish/pray for, you just may get it. But now what will I complain about? I'm sure I'll find something.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Two Week Check-Up

Today Francesca had her two week check-up. She's almost back up to her birthweight, weighing in at 9 lb. 3 oz. The doctor said it had been eight days since her last appointment and he would have liked to have seen her gain an ounce a day, but she only gained five ounces. Obviously she's not wasting away though, so he wasn't worried. And here I was thinking what a chunk she is, and he was expecting an ounce a day? Geez. Also, she measured in at 21 1/2", talk about a growth spurt. She's going to catch up to Annamaria before we know it. They're only one diaper size away from each other as it is.

She's still sleeping great. During the day anyway. She'll sleep through feeding time if I let her, and I can put her in her cradle and she'll sleep the day away. That is until the sun sets, then don't even think about putting her down. Maybe she's afraid of the dark? Doubt it.

On the fat front, as of Monday I was below five pounds below my starting weight. But today only four. I know it's only one pound, but I was getting exciting about actually loosing weight. Of course I made brownies yesterday, and felt the need to have a brownie sundae for dessert not only after dinner last night, but also after lunch today. And I wonder why the scale is creeping back up.

And since I'm still a lazy and haven't downloaded any more pictures of Francesca, here's a picture of Annamaria from my birthday dinner.

She's so happy to have a cup with a straw like the big kids. She cracks me up.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Introducing . . .

Francesca Diane
Born September 13th, 2006
5:15 a.m.
9 lb. 4 oz., 20" long

Sorry it has taken me so long to get the news out. It was really laziness and nothing else. We are all doing just fine, especially considering that we now have 4 children. My only complaint is that she's nocturnal. Other than that, she's a really good baby, the biggest by far. I can't believe she weighed over 9 pounds. I expected her to be another tiny considering I only gained 15 pounds with this pregnancy. Good news/Bad news: I'm already 3 pounds below my starting weight/I'm still about 35 pounds heavier than I should be. Oh well.

I was a little concerned about Annamaria being jealous, but she just loves her. She keeps trying to lie her head on the baby and gives her kisses whenever she gets the chance. It's very sweet. Sophia and Harrison love her too. Harrison is still not convinced that he didn't get a brother though, and calls her "him". Speaking of the baby, I hear crying, I'll post more later.

Monday, September 11, 2006

No Baby Yet

Well, today is my due date, and no baby yet. Perhaps I'm being a bit impatient, it is only 10 in the morning, but still. I'm tired of lying around the house, waiting to go into labor. Yesterday at mass, people would ask me when I was due, and when I would respond, "tomorrow", their eyes would pop out of their heads and their response would all be the same, "oh!". What do they expect me to do? Continue to lie around the house doing pretty much nothing? I thought I'd at least go to mass and do something good for myself. Of course if I was really on the ball, I'd have gone to reconciliation on Saturday, but I'm not that organized. So in an effort to get things going, this morning I vacuumed the house, swept the kitchen floor, windexed the mirrors, and emptied the dish washer. Still nothing. Patience is a virtue, but unfortunately not one that I possess.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Not A Good Sign

The other day we received a notice that our street would be closed for repaving on Tuesday, Sept. 12. They do this to us every few years, and the night before we have to park our cars around the corner, out of our driveways if we plan on leaving the house the day that the repaving is taking place. So since my due date is Monday, Sept. 11, I'm really considering this an inconvenience.

Now on my chart at the OB's office my due date is listed as Tuesday, Sept. 12, this is because the OB just couldn't stand putting 9/11 on my chart. But whatever, if anything a 9/11 delivery will just help redeem that day for me.

Then today as I was running errands, I was driving down Centre City Parkway, which happens to be a main road through Escondido, and the one that I use to get in and out of town from our house. While running my errands I see a big notice stating that Centre City Parkway will be closed on Monday, Sept. 11, and Tuesday, Sept. 12 for repaving. So the fact that if I go into labor when expected, I will not only have to walk down my street to get to my car to get to the hospital (luckily we only live four houses down from the corner), but we will have to find an alternate route to get to the I-15 to get to the hospital. Which by the way is almost 20 miles from our house, and getting from our house to Mary Birch (the hospital) in morning traffic can take over an hour. The past three times I've been lucky and gone into labor either at night or at some ungodly hour in the morning and have been able to avoid the traffic. So I'm hoping the two road closures and the distance to the hospital are the only obstacles we have to overcome. It's beginning to make me very nervous.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Birthday Update

O-kay, so the first half of my birthday was a bummer, but the second half was very nice.

My sweet, sweet husband, seeing how bummed I was about no chocolate cake, made a special trip to our local bakery and picked up a chocolate mousse cake for me. He returned with a very nice cake, and a bouquet of beautiful flowers.

Then we hit the road, picked up my grandma and met my mom at Buca di Beppo's for a very yummy dinner. Fried calamari, antipasto salad, baked ravioli and veal limon. A good time was had by all, and the kids were pretty well behaved. Especially Sophia. She enjoyed feeding her little sister, who sat in the booth with her and climbed all over her waiting for the next bite. For my birthday, my mom remade a lap quilt she had made years ago and I wore out with love. So she gave me the new quilt wrapped up in the old quilt, which at this point is still torn and worn, but I was happy to get it back anyway.

This morning my sweet, sweet husband woke me with a cup of decaf and a piece of cake for breakfast. A good way to start the day.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It Must Be The Hormones

Today is my 37th birthday. And all I really wanted was a really good chocolate birthday cake. I usually make my own birthday cake, being as picky as I am, but being in my 39th week of pregnancy I decided I just wasn't up to it. I also didn't want to spend a fortune on a cake that only I would be eating most of, so I thought Costco would do. They make this multi-layer "All American" chocolate cake that looks amazing. Then of course you can always pick up one of their sheet cakes, chocolate with chocolate mousse filling of course. So today my birthday consisted of working with Sophia through her school work, making french toast for breakfast for everyone, and that's about it. We went to Costco, needed milk and paper towels anyway, and what do you know? No chocolate cake. No "All-American" chocolate cakes anywhere. Of course they have them every other time I go in there, and I have to use great restraint not to buy one "just because". But today when I actually have a reason to pick one up, nope, too bad/so sad sister. So I head over to the sheet cakes, and guess what. No chocolate with chocolate mousse filling. If I wanted one I'd have to order one and wait until tomorrow to pick it up. Well, tomorrow is not my birthday, today is. They had white cake with chocolate mousse filling, and chocolate cake with cheesecake filling, but that's not what I wanted, and it's my birthday dammit, and I'm 39 weeks and 2 days pregnant, and all I wanted was a freaking chocolate cake! Apparently it's just too much to ask. I was so dissapointed, tears actually started to well up. It must be the hormones.

On the baby front, I had an OB appointment yesterday and the current conditions are as follows. 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, with a very soft cervix. And no, I don't think it would be neat to have the baby on my birthday. It's my birthday. And I don't want to spend my birthday in the hospital in excruciating pain. Not my idea of birthday fun.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"There Is Nothing Going On Down There"

I had my weekly check-up with my OB yesterday, and that's what I was told. Which is just fine with me. I still have two and half weeks to go anyway. Plus, there's so much going on in every other aspect of my life right now, I really down want anything going on "down there" anway.

Vince drove up to Montana and got our stuff out of storage up there. We didn't tell anyone we were planning on getting our stuff out because we wanted to avoid as much drama as possible. Of course that backfired. After removing our things and getting back on the road, Vince called my cousin's husband and told him he decided to not come and work for him afterall. Vince didn't want to get into any of the nastiness, he said/she said crap that has been trickling down, and just tried to keep it at that. But Chris wouldn't let it go. So Vince ended up telling him what he thought of all the rumor mongering, called him arrogant and judgemental, and ended the call by saying that he hoped their paths never crossed again. Of course being who these people are, and doing what they do, my cousin then called my 83 year-old grandmother, who by the way has nothing to do with any of this, and told her that my husband just threatened her husband. "I hope our paths never cross again", was twisted into "you better hope our paths never cross again". This is what they're good at, and since they really have nothing better to do, it seems they get a lot of practice. So now my uncle is calling my grandma, telling her Vince threatened Chris, so I'm wondering who will be next. Diane Sawyer? Ted Koppel? Barbara Walters? Who else can they go to to spead some more rumors? After calling my grandmother, my cousin then called me, blah, blah, blah. I held my own and kept my cool. But then she called me again last night, and I lost it. I ended the conversation by reminding her that I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and didn't need her calling and upsetting me anymore, so I asked to not call me again and hung up. Of course my phone rang all night. The only time my phone stopped ringing was when I placed an outgoing call and purposly stayed on the line for as long as I could. By time I hung up it was almost 10pm, so at least the rest of my night was peaceful. Seriously, what kind of psychopath repeatedly calls a pregnant woman to upset her?

In other news, our house has officially fallen out of escrow. If it technically was ever in escrow I'm not sure, but we're back on active status on the MLS. That's three weeks of our lives wasted. And now I need to get this house back into showing shape, which I'm really not up to. But I do what I can.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pissed Off!

O-kay, I wasn't going to say anything until is was a done deal, because I didn't want to jinx us, but we seem to be jinxed anyway, so here it goes. A couple of weeks ago we got a couple of offers on the house. One was total crap, we countered, and they walked away. The other was o-kay, except that they wanted more money back at close of escrow than we wanted to give. But apparently these people have no cash down and are financing 100%, we countered, they came back with basically the same offer, and we decided to take it afterall. After weighing the pros and the cons, we decided the market here is really getting soft, and we'd like to get on with our lives and what's $15K in the long run. So we accepted the offer and thought things were moving along. We called the septic guys to get the system inspected, we called the termite guys to get all that started, etc, etc. Then we get a call from our agent, who is our friend Dave, who tells us that the buyers have not dropped off their deposit check to the escrow company yet, have not scheduled a home inspection yet, and have come up with some cockamamey concern that their over-active five year-old is going to play on the propane tank and blow it up. What?! First of all, who lets their five year-old (over-active or not) play on a propane tank, which is in the front yard, next to the road, unattented, anyway? After talking to the buyers agent, Dave finds out that these people have been putting their agent through quite a trying time and he said if they don't go through with this deal, he's dropping them as clients. And I'm sitting here thinking that we took an offer we really weren't happy with, gave them the microwave and washer and dryer they asked for, gave them a short escrow (45 days, they wanted us out by August), even though I'll be moving with a 10 day old newborn, in addition to everything else and these people cannot even have the consideration to get off the pot or piss. Either sign the freaking release form letting us out of the contract with them, or get moving and get the things done that they need to get done to move forward in this whole debacle. Apparently they have 17 days to make up their minds. So once again I'm back to living in limbo, and frankly I'm really sick of it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Del Mar Races

My mom went to the race track on Sunday with some friends. I was hoping she'd have a good time and win lots of money. I just got this e-mail from her today. She cracks me up!

"Well your mother is no genius when it comes to betting on the horses. I'll be the first to admit.

But when in the 6th race, number 6 was named Cabo's Dawn - I figured it was a sign.
You were born on the 6th and the horse had your name. What else, the jockey was wearing hunter green with white diamonds - Vince's favorite color is green and you like diamonds. The owner of this horse's last name was Galleger, my favorite restaurant in Vegas - sure the stars and moon had aligned - this was surely a sign from God.

The horse came in last - fuckin horse."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh! The Drama

I cannot believe how long it has been since I've posted anything. I'll try to condense the goings-on over the past three or four weeks.

1) Vince headed up to Montana to start working and was gone for almost five weeks.

2) After five weeks of missing his family, missing Annamaria's first steps, Sophia and Harrison's week of Vacation Bible School, missing his wife getting larger and larger during her pregnanacy, he decided to come home for a week for a visit.

3) Vince got home on a Saturday night and was scheduled to return back up north a week later. The day before he was to leave us, a 16-year old with a driver's license less than a month old ran into Vince's truck which was parked in front of our house. I'm not sure how one hits a parked car, but she hit the back of his truck, which rammed it into a telephone pole, flipped her SUV, then landed on the front of his truck. Totalling his 2003 Tundra. See photos for full impact. I'm just thankfull she got away with only 16 stitches in her arm, and was the only injury.

4) Now Vince had been working for my cousin's husband's family landsurveying company. And they were very flexible and accommodating about when he could start, and promised so much overtime to make up for the huge salary cut he was taking to work for them, etc, etc. Vince called up to Montana to report that he would not be returning when scheduled and explained the accident. He was then critisized for not giving enough notice when he decided to come home in the first place. They were unhappy. Vince appoligized for taking advantage of his personal relationship with them, he thought they would understand, and they said they did.

5) A couple of days later we received another call from Montana in which we were critisized for our decision of me staying home with the house and kids until the house sells, and Vince going up north to work. A decision that they "would not support", we were told. Vince should be home with me and the kids, a decision they felt adamant about, ignoring the fact that we still have a mortgage to pay and are sacrificing as we see fit. But he was told he still had a position waiting for him when he did get back up there. I guess they were just going to give him a hard time if he came back up without the rest of us. What business it is of anyone else's, I'm still not sure.

6) Vince received another phone call from Montana in which he was critisized and his character was called into question because while in Montana he went to mass at the cathedral in Helena, instead of driving six-hours round trip to attend a latin mass with my cousin and her husband and kids.

7) While waiting to see what the insurance was going to do about his truck, Vince called up to the office in Montana to ask one of the guys about his truck. Word got around that Vince called and asked to speak to someone other than my cousin's husband. So my cousin calls specifically to ask into the phone call, correcting Vince that if he calls the office he needs to speak to her husband, not anyone else. We explained that the call was not work related, it was truck related, and Vince would never go over her husband's head regarding work matters. My cousin then went into some rampage about a "he said/she said" conversation, which even if "he did say" would not have been any of her business anyway. And instead of chalking the whole thing up to a miscommunication, she automatically jumps to the conclusion that someone is lying, which she'll need to "speak to" someone about. All I've got to say at this point is, Go sell crazy somewhere else, we're all full up here.

7) Needless to say, Montana has lost its luster for us. While the location is still appealing, the having every aspect of our life put under a microscope to be judged and critisized upon is not. There is enough drama in life, I don't need anyone adding anymore.

8) So Vince is now home where he belongs, waiting for the insurance company to get back to him with a settlement on his truck so he can replace it, looking for another job here in San Diego to tie us over until this house does finally sell, and looking into other areas of the country that we may be interested in moving our family to.

9)Oh, and my cat got out again, and this time he hasn't come back. It's been two weeks, I think he's gone for good. Very sad. And I could really use some kitty lovin right about now.

Monday, July 03, 2006

To The Day

Today was a milestone for Annamaria. She took her first unassisted steps. Five of them. From me to her closet. This will be easy to remember because today she is 14 months old to the day. Sophia took her first steps when she was 13 months old to the day. And Harrison took his first steps when he was 11 months old to the day. Weird, huh? I think I just have very timely kids. Both Sophia and Harrison were born on their due dates, and Annamaria was 12 hours late of her due date. Now what the heck is going on with Harrison and his potty training, I have no idea, but he's definetly late. So much for his timeliness in that category.

Unfortunatelly I don't have any photos to post. Not of Harrison and his potty training, but of Annamaria taking her first steps. Not only did I not have my camera handy, but it wouldn't matter anyway since I'm stuck using Vince's computer in the pantry which doesn't have the camera software loaded on it. Sorry.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Real Estate Agents Suck!

O-kay, first of all, that open house we had last Saturday? Not one person showed up. Nope, not one. Granted it was in the 90's, but I figure if you need to buy a house, rain nor wind nor snow should stop anyone from looking. That's three weeks now that no has even seen our house.

Then sometime last week I got a call from some real estate agent asking me about our house. She asked how much commission we're offering to the buyer's agent. 2 1/2 % I told her. She then tells me that no agent is going to bother showing our house at 2 1/2% commission when the market is flooded with houses right now and other people are offering 3% and higher. So even if our house is the perfect match for their client, the greedy bastards won't show our house to them because they want a higher commission. And while I appreciate her honesty, it just solidifies my opinion of real estate agents being as bad as used car sales men. So Vince and I have discussed it and we're going to raise the commission we're offering to the buyer's agent. Another 1/2% will cost us about $3K, that's about one months living expenses to stay here, so if it helps sell the house and get people in the door it will be worth it. It's just the principle of it all.

Also last week, at my OB appointment, my doctor told me I'm to the stage now where I need to start scheduling my appointments for every two weeks. What? Every two weeks already? Yikes! We better get this house sold and get my butt up to Montana before I really do go into labor here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Oh, I'm So Bored

I've been doing the "Stay At Home Mom" thing for a while now, but being at home with three kids and not catering is driving me a bit crazy. You'd think I'd be busier than ever with Vince being out of town and having to do it all myself, but no. There is only so much housework that needs to be done, there is no school to drive anyone to or from. And since I didn't think we'd still be here, I didn't make any arrangements for the kids to keep them busy. I did mow the lawn today though. There is a first time for everything. Yes, I'm 36 years old and have never mowed the lawn in my life. I'm allergic to grass and really am not suposed to. Vince made arrangements with the kid next door to do it, but it's been a week and I think it's rediculous that I should wait for the kid next door to get around to it when I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself. So today, about 6pm when it started cooling off outside I tackled the backyard. It reminds me of vaccuuming, only I'm cutting stuff down instead of sucking stuff up. No biggie. I'm glad we only have 1/4 acre and it's all flat though. I could see how it could be a real job over rough terrain or a large expanse of grass. Tomorrow's big plan is taking the kids to the farmer's market. The next day, the library. Thursday I have a doctor's appointment and my friend is taking the kids for the day. It's the little things that get me by. Friday I'm sure I'll be cleaning like a mad woman because we're having another open house on Saturday. Pray that it brings us a buyer. I don't know how much longer I can sit around and wait for this house to sell. Today marks my 28th week of pregnancy. It would be nice to not go into labor during the move. Whenever that may be.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

All By Myself, Again

Well, yesterday Vince left for Montana again. This time he's gone up to start working while I stay home with the kids until the house sells. Hoping that won't be too long. The house has only been on the market for 3 weeks, but we're loosing the Helena house if we don't sell this one in like three days. It's inevitible I think. That's o-kay, we've reconciled ourselves to the fact that we will be loosing the Helena house, and other houses will be built or come on the market, it's in God's hands. No use stressing about it, there really isn't anything we can do about it.

So Sophia is out of school as of last Friday. Glad that's all over with. No more Mrs. Umbridge. O-kay, so that's not really her name, but Vince and I like to compare her to the horrid teacher in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I enrolled Sophia in Seton Home School. I figure I'm not sending her to public school, the only Catholic school in Helena isn't accredited, and I don't want to be driving her to school in yucky Helena winter weather anyway, so we're going to try home school for the second grade and see how it goes. Seton is a Catholic home school program, and it seems a bit conservative for me, but as long as it works academically for her, I'll be happy. They sent out a California Achievment Test for her placement into the second grade, and she aced it. Seriously, 100%. And on the timed portions she had anywhere from 7 to 11 minutes to complete a section, and each one took her 3 to 5 minutes. I was impressed. I had to send her test back in for scoring, then a counselor will contact us about the results. I'm wondering about what level she'll be placed in. Opposite of my wonder girl, Harrison is still working on the potty training thing. He really couldn't care less. I've even tried bribery. Sophia got a Leapster for Christmas, and Harrison wants it in the worst way. I told him if he gets the potty training thing down, I'll go out and buy him one of his own. No, he doesn't want one of his own, he wants Sophia's. Figures. In Annamaria news, she's just cut her fifth tooth. That'll make three on the bottom and two on the top. And the two on the top are so stubby and there's a huge gap between them it cracks me up. I call them her little hippo teeth. No pictures though, because of course my computer is in the office no longer hooked up to the internet, so I'm stuck using Vince's computer in the laundry room/pantry. I'm sure I could find a way to transfer some pictures, I'll just have to think about what we've got around here I could use.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Our New House . . . Hopefully

Vince found a house while in Montana, and as you can see from the picture it isn't completed yet. Which is fine since things seem to take a lot longer on the California end than we think they should. Anyway, we made an offer contingent upon the sale of our house, and it was accepted, so now the only thing to do now is sell our house, and pray we sell it quickly. Talk about stress. We're preapproved and have been guaranteed a bridge loan in case our house doesn't sell in a timely manner so we don't loose the Montana house. But I really can't see us making two mortgages. One is enough, thank you. But if all goes well, which I'm praying, praying, praying it will, this will be our new home. We'll need to put in a lawn, and get the backyard fenced, and pick out appliances, but that's the fun part so I'm o-kay with all that. It's all just a waiting game for now. Oh, and our new address will be on #### Stetson. How appropriate.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A Bad, Bad Day

Let's see. First of all, yes I did get the dogs back. Another neighbor about a mile up the road from us called me at about 2pm on Wednesday to tell me she's had my dogs since last night. So I loaded Harrison and Annamaria in the car and hurrily got the dogs back home before having to go get Sophia by 3:15. I plugged in the electric fence, and secured any areas I thought they might take advantage of getting through. All was good. I thought. So Thursday morning I get up, get Sophia to school, make a short run to Target, come back home and get Annamaria some breakfast. I was feeling pretty good and thought I might have a productive day. While Annamaria was eating, Harrison was out back playing with the dogs. He comes running in the house and tells me the dogs got out. Apparently he pushed down part of their dog run and they skipped across the electric fence and squeezed between the gate and the fence. Ugh! So I run out to the front yard and start calling them. Nothing. I load Harrison and Annamaria back into the car and drive all around our neighborhood. Again nothing. I'm so angry at this point that I was in tears. Angry and fustrated, I returned home and called the Escondido Humane Society, for the third time this week, to report my dogs missing. I really was thinking that if they didn't want to stay in the yard then they could just go away, I didn't want them anymore at that point anyway. But I called them in anyway, just to clear my conscience. After a little while, I sat down on the couch with Harrison after putting Annamaria down for a nap. Somewhere along our day Harrison found some gum, probably already chewed but I'm not sure. I was even aware he had any gum and when I asked him about it he said he was hiding it from me. Yea, no kidding. He left said gum sitting on our couch and when I sat down with him I sat on it. Once again, here I am angry and fustrated. Now there was gum stuck to my butt and to our couch. So I changed my pants and got out the Folex to try to clean the gum off our couch. While I was cleaning the couch I sent Harrison to the bathroom to pee on the potty. We're still working on potty training. While he was in the bathroom he got into my makeup bag and came back with powder all over him. I got the powder cleaned off him, thankfully it was only powder, and went to take a shower. While I was in the shower, Harrison got the Folex and sprayed it all over the couch and the table. When I walked back into the den he told me he "cleaned up". My fault, I left the Folex sitting on the table. So after cleaning the puddle of Folex off the table I had to get ready to take Annamaria to her 3 o'clock one-year check up. Her doctor is in Encinitas and a pretty popular guy, so when you have a 3 o'clock appointment, that means he usually comes strolling into your waiting room around 4 o'clock. Knowing this I had already prepared myself for rush hour traffic on the way home. As expected, Dr. T came strolling into our waiting room about 4pm. I told him we'd be moving soon and let our insurance lapse since no where in Helena accepted Pacificare. I told him as long as her immunizations didn't come to over $800, we'd still be ahead of the game since that was what our Cobra payment would be anyway. Upon hearing this, he told me to save my money and take her to the Public Health clinic and get her immunizations there. Of course there are no appointments and I'm sure I'll have to sit there for hours, but he wouldn't hear otherwise. So basically my trip to Encinitas was for nothing. The only thing I got accomplished was getting Annamaria weighed and measured. She only weighs 16 pounds, she is 26 inches long, and her head circumference is 46.5 cm. She's a tiny. We got back to Escondido o-kay. Got Sophia picked up from the school extension program and were heading back home when my cell phone rang. It was the Escondido Humane Society. They had my stupid dogs. So I took a quick right and headed East to go get them back. Ninety-five dollars later in bail money, I had the dogs back and was finally heading home. I had planned on driving through Alberto's on the way home since it was getting too late to make dinner, and since the dogs were behaving pretty well, I decided to stick to my plan. I ordered cheese enchiladas for Harrison and Annamaria, tacos for me, and rolled tacos for Sophia. I pulled up to the window to pay, and the guy hands me two containers. So I repeated my order and asked that it was all there. He shook his head impatiently and tells me "yes, yes". So I took my change and drove off feeling like an idiot. I got home, got the dogs back in the back yard, the kids in the house and we settled down to finally eat dinner. I open the containers from Alberto's and guess what. No rolled tacos. I did the math in my head and at least I wasn't charged for them. Lucky for them anyway, because at that point, I was not to be messed with.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dumb Dogs!

While Vince is away, we've been having the house painted. We got a good price and decided not to do it ourselves and just have it done. Something I am very thankful for. On Saturday, one of them came by and power washed the house. In the process of doing this he moved all the stuff away from the house and unplugged anything that was plugged in. That means no front porch light, no back porch light, and unaware to me no electric fence for the dogs. So of course the dogs got out right after the painter left. I drove around looking for them and called the humane society. At about six o'clock that night, I get a call from a woman who lives a few miles north of us. She had our dogs. They strolled right into her house and collapsed on her floor. She called the humane society to see if anyone reported them missing and they gave her my phone number. Here I am, five months pregnant and home alone with a seven year old, a three year old and a one year old. Like I really need to be running up and down my street chasing after my dogs. I was so excited to get them back. Sophia was in tears all day. So yesterday morning they got out again. So again I drove around the neighborhood and called the humane society. It's been over 24 hours, and nothing. I was saying to one of the painters that I couldn't understand how they were getting out since we have an electric fence. "Oh", he says, "I unplugged everything when I washed the house to get it ready to paint." Nice to know. Would have been nice to know this before the dogs got out. I could have tied them up if I had been informed of this. So now I'm wondering if the $750 cost of our pure bred Airdale Terrier, Annabelle, will be deducted from the cost of painting our house. I won't hold my breath.

Monday, May 15, 2006

All By Myself

Vince left for Montana last Wednesday. It was a grueling two day drive, but he made it safe and sound. He took a load of our stuff up there and was suposed to look for a rental house for us to live in while we find a place to buy. The problem is that anyplace that allows pets, our two monster dogs and one crazy cat, also allows smoking. So the couple places he checked out reaked of smoke. I swear that stuff gets into the walls. So after some discussing we agreed that we could buy someplace modest, but clean and relatively new and our mortgage would be the same if not less than rent. So that is his goal during his remaining time there, to find a house to buy. He'll be home next Friday, so he's only got a couple of days in which to get this done. I think he has appointments at eight different places today. Our place goes on the market on Friday the 26th, so once he gets back home he needs to boogy and get all the little stuff done. My dream is that our house will go on the market, we'll have an open house and someone will fall in love with the place and we'll have an offer within a week. Happens on Designed to Sell all the time, right?

So Mother's Day was different being a single mom. I got the house picked and cleaned up. My mom and grandma came over with a friend of the family, and we had a fabulous dinner just us girls. Harrison was the only trace of testosterone in the place. I have pictures of Annamaria taken to give for the Mother's Day presents which came out really well. I have a tradition of taking the kids pictures in the baptism gown and in a Winnie the Pooh outfit I bought when I was pregnant with Sophia. So I owed my mom these two pictures, I'm way over due. Annamaria was baptised about nine months ago, but better late than never.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Big Birthday

First of all I want to start by saying that over the past few weeks, we've been asking Annamaria how old she is going to be. She responds by holding up her hand and showing us "one". Unfortunatelly I haven't been able to get a picture of this amazing feat. But honestly, she does do it. I have live witnesses, just no photographic proof. And not for lack of trying, I'll tell you that.

I think Annamaria had a nice first birthday. My mom, Grandma Dee Dee, and my grandma, Granny M, came over. Dinner went over very well. I made ciabatta (Italian Slipper Bread) and artichoke dip. She ate at least three pieces of bread before dinner. We had a spinach salad with a warm bacon dressing. I cheated, Annamaria is not suposed to have meat until she is two, but I figured a little bacon grease wouldn't hurt. And she loved it anyway, munching away on those spinach leaves. Now I've never made pasta primavera before, but now that I have I'm sure I'll be making it again. Even though I forgot to add the fresh basil and lemon juice before serving it. And I left the parmeasan cheese out by mistake too. But it was yummy anyway. Annamaria ate at least four helpings. And Harrison being the pasta boy that he is had several servings too.

The strawberry cream cake came out great. I think the strawberries were Annamaria's favorite part. And Sophia enjoyed having a slice for breakfast this morning. I figure it's fruit and cream, how bad could it be.

Annamaria was a little slow opening her presents, she just doesn't quite get it yet, but it was fun for us. I bought her a new package of tippy cups since she tossed one out of her stroller at Sea World the other week without me noticing, and we were down to just one. She was so happy to see the tippy cups she tried drinking out of them directly from the package. She knows what those are for. Sophia grabbed a stuffed animal from her room and wrapped it up for Annamaria. I thought that was very sweet, and Annamaria liked it so much she took it to bed with her last night. Annamaria also got a few very cute outfits, so she'll all set for summer. All in all I think it was a good day. Between that and packing up books and clothes for the move, I'm pooped.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Great Baby Mystery and Other Things

I had my sonogram, and all went well, but the sex of the baby will have to remain unknown until it's birth. So sorry for the teaser, but Vince really doesn't want to know, but if I know then he wants to know, and I don't want to ruin the suprise for him. The countdown from here is nineteen more weeks. So far this pregnancy is going very quickly, but I think that's because we're in the thick of getting ready to move, and I feel like we're running out of time. Vince is leaving for Montana this coming Monday for about a week. He's purchased a 14' enclosed trailer, and the plan is to move as much as we can live without this trip. He'll be going alone, that way we can keep Sophia in school a bit longer, and while he's up there he can find a place to rent until we find something to purchase. Moving is so expensive and such a hassle, I'm not looking forward to it. Our "To Do" list is getting smaller and smaller everyday, we should be done by the end of this week. Then the only thing left will be getting the outside of the house painted. We've gone back and forth over hiring someone and just doing it ourselves. It would take us about four or five days to do it ourselves, or cost us about $3,000 to pay someone else to do it. Decisions, decisions. And as I'm tinkering away on the keyboard, I look out the window and Cooper, one of our dogs, is in the front yard. He belongs in the back. It's not even 9am yet, I'm still in my robe and I'm having to rustle our 50lb, marshmallow of a moose size dog back into the back yard. Apparently the battery in his collar for the electric fence has died, and Vince still has to fix our side gate. I don't understand how such a large dog can fit through such a small opening in a gate, but there's fur caught on the gate, so the evidence is there. That's another thing about moving I'm not looking forward to. A pregnant woman, a seven year-old, a three year-old, a one year-old, a cat and two large goofy dogs trecking it up north on a eighteen hour road trip. This should be interesting.

Tomorrow is Annamaria's first birthday. I can't believe how the time has flown. She still only has two teeth, can't weigh more than sixteen pounds and is still wearing size 3 to 6 month clothes, but she pulls herself up on everything and motors around like she's got somewhere to go. And she's quite the eater, so her birthday dinner should be most entertaining. I'm making her a baby spinach salad, pasta primavera and a strawberry cream cake for dessert. I'll be sure to get lots of photos.

I've got laundry to do and dishes to put away, so I'd better get dressed and stop procrastinating, but here's a photo just for good measure. I took the kids to SeaWorld while Sophia was on Spring Break and Vince stayed home and worked on the house. I'm sure Annamaria will get plenty of photo space tomorrow, so here's Sophie and Sonny.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

To Know, Or Not To Know

As of yesterday, I am officially 19 weeks pregnant. The good news is that I lost some weight at the beginning of this pregnancy due to feeling green most of the time, and I'm now 19 weeks in, and still under my starting weight. Barely, but that still counts to me. Now that I think of it, maybe that isn't such good news because that just really says how much over weight I was to begin with. But since my last born was only seven months old, when I conceived this one, I'm cutting myself some slack. Anyway, today I have my sonogram appointment. The big sonogram appointment, where I have to drink 16 ounces of water in fifteen minutes an hour before my appointment and not pee before the sonogram is done. I really think that is cruel, especially when one has a tendency to pee when one sneezes when pregnant. I'm praying for a low pollen count today. So today is the day I can find out the sex of the baby if I wish. Now Vince likes the element of suprise. He places a little wager with himself on the sex of the baby and heartily stands by his decision if anyone asks him what he thinks the baby is. He answers as if he truely knows. And the first couple of times he was right. He was so shocked though that Annamaria was a girl. Honestly suprised that he was wrong. So I've indulged Vince in his request to be suprised, though he acts as though he has all the answers, and not found out the sex of the baby. It really is fun not knowing in a way, adds to the element of suprise, but I'm feeling restless about this one. I'm feeling like there is enough uncertainty in our lives right now, and maybe I would like to know the sex of this baby. Are we going to have a balanced team with two girls and two boys, or are we going to be a household of hormonal raging teenage girls in about ten years? Inquiring minds want to know. A friend suggested I ask the technician to write down the baby's sex on a piece of paper. Then if I decide later that I just have to know, the information will be there waiting for me. But that just seems torturous to me. Now if I find out the sex, I may be able to stop worring about a name. We have a boys name picked out already, so if the baby is a boy, I can just relax. But if she's a girl, I can get down to business and get serious about picking a girls name, since at this point I'm clueless. So really I'm torn. Ruin the suprise or be prepared. And I have about three hours to decide. And of course being pregnant doesn't help with the decision making process since my brain doesn't seem to function as well as it used to. Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Photo Bonanza

In all the stuff being done around the house lately, my computer has been unavailable to me. So I've been having to check my e-mail, etc on Vince's computer, which he conveniently set up for himself in the pantry. Anyway, he finally did our taxes yesterday, so he had to hook my computer back up since it's my computer that has the tax software installed on it. It is also my computer that has the digital camera disk scanner installed on it, so I was finally able to download the photos that have been sitting in the camera waiting to be transferred to the computer. That is why there have been no photos with my blogs lately. So here is my attempt to catch up . . .
Annamaria and the Pepper

Annamaria and the Marshmallow

Annamaria and the Cracker

Only having two bottom teeth doesn't slow Annamaria down in the eating department. Friday night she ate more than Sophia and Harrison combined.

Here are a couple of photos of Harrison after having a dirty good time in the backyard.

Thankfully he likes getting clean just as much as he does getting dirty.

Of course Sophia is usually away at school when I have the camera out, so I'll have to catch up with her later.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Injured, The Sick & The Cranky

My Friend Sue

I have a friend named Sue. Sue can cook, sew, can food, make candy, stamps her own greeting cards, etc, etc. She is a very talented woman. She is no spring chicken, about 53 years old, she's my sushi buddy. She'll call me unexpectedly and announce that she's hungry. So I ask what time she wants me to meet her at Sushiya. Really it is quite nice knowing someone who can eat the heck out of sushi like I can. No standing on etiquette when it comes to Sue and sushi. Order as much as you want and don't be embarrassed about eating way more than you should. Now Sue happens to be one of the most accident prone people I know. A couple of months ago, she was watching her grandson Christopher, who turned one in January. She tripped while getting his car seat out of the car, with him in the car seat of course. She managed to save the baby, but hit her jaw on a table in the garage on her way down, and dislocated it. She's been having trouble with it ever since and has been having to go in for therapy. Now her latest incident happened just a couple of weeks ago. She was dropping off her grandson at her son's place. She noticed her son, Chris, was having trouble opening the gate to his place while holding the baby and all the baby stuff, so she jumped out of the car in an effort to keep the gate from swinging shut on the baby. Unfortunately she neglected to put her car in "park". So while holding the gate open she noticed her car rolling backwards into the street. Also unfortunately, her 26 year-old daughter Mary, who happens to have Down's Syndrome, was in the front passenger seat. So Sue runs to the car, and tries to get in, but the door knocked her down and she ended up running herself over with her own car. Oh, and Sue drives a mini-van, not some tiny car like a Volkswagen bug. Her can continues to roll into the street and smashes into a truck in the road, while Sue is lying there stunned. She is able to keep her cool, and tells her son to get her cell phone out of her purse and call 911. In the meantime, Mary gets out of the van uninjured, walks up to her mom, and asks her why she's just sitting there in the street. Got to love the innocence of someone with Down's. So in the end, Sue ended up with a fractured knee cap on her left leg and two broken bones just above her ankle on her right leg. After one surgery, a whole lot of pins, and a couple days of morphine later I found her in better spirits. I brought her sushi in the hospital, then again while she was in a recovery care facility, and now she's back home. Well, not back in her home, at her parents home. While all this was going on, Sue and her husband, Dean, were closing escrow on a new property they just bought. So while Sue has been in recovery care, Dean has been up at their new place painting, spackling and installing new floors. She hasn't even been able to get there yet, never mind help with the move.

My Husband Vince

Vince has been getting a lot of work done around the house. We have a new slider door leading out to the patio. New French doors from our bedroom leading out to the patio, all new windows in the den and kitchen, and a new full length window in the short hallway leading to Harrison's room. Vince had to move the baseboard while installing this window and didn't reinstall it yet. The baseboards are made out of Brazilian Cherrywood, which is very hard wood and when cut on an angle can cut like a knife. Thursday morning, Vince was heading into Harrison's room when he slipped, ended up taking out Harrison with him, and sliced the underneath of his middle toe on the part of the baseboard that was left sticking out. Harrison was fine, other than being upset, but Vince's foot was bleeding in puddles on the floor. So we all got packed into the car, dropped of Sophia at school and headed to Urgent Care. The Urgent Care doctor took one look at Vince's foot, and refused to touch it. He sent us up to the Podietrist, who told Vince what a fine job he did on his foot. It only took one stitch, but he cut down to the tendon sheath. Uck. So now my husband is gimpy, and there is still a lot of work left to do around here.

My Daughter Sophia

Sophia woke Vince and me up at about 4am on Monday morning to tell us she didn't feel well. She had a fever, so while preparing some tylenol for her, she ended up vomiting. My least favorite symptom of all time. This lasted for three days. The only thing that kept the fever at bay was more Tylenol. She ended up getting sick three times, but by the grace of God, I was always out running errands when it happened. For that I am truly thankful. Poor little girl was quarantined to her room for three days. We didn't want Harrison or Annamaria getting sick either, so for three days, she slept, played with her leapster, drew pictures and played Polly Pockets in her bed. I think she was really looking forward to returning to school on Thursday morning. But of course that was when Vince had his accident, so it wasn't a calm, pleasant return to school. I think that just gave her more incentive to get away from the rest of us.

My Son Harrison

Vince was having fun with Harrison last night while putting him to bed. He does this all the time, and usually there are no incidents. But last night there was. Vince drops Harrison in bed, and he usually bounces on his pillow and just loves it. Last night Harrison bounced forward and hit his head on his nightstand. He hit the bone just above his left eyebrow, which immediately swelled up like a rhino horn, big and purple. Harrison really made a big deal about it for quite a while. And while I know that hurts, I think all the fussing was about the cold pack of frozen corn niblets that he didn't want put on his head. But I think it payed off because this morning he looks back to normal except for a little blue where the injury was.

And Me

Last Saturday, Vince drove up to Los Angeles to pick up a new sliding door for Harrison's room. While he was gone I thought I'd take it upon myself to raise the curtain rod above the window in the dining area of our kitchen. So I got up on a chair with Vince's power drill and got to task. A lot harder than I thought. I ended up hurting my back so bad, that I've been all but useless. My back finally started to feel better yesterday. That's a week of ice packs, heat packs, and Tiger Balm. Then the morning Sophia returned to school, and Vince sliced open his toe, I noticed my sinuses were driving me crazy. I figured it was allergies, but I'm very limited as to what I can take while pregnant, so it's been down to Singulair, which I take for my asthma anyway, and Alavert. Neither have been helping. So after a couple nights of restless sleep from my face hurting so bad, I awoke this morning and came to the conclusion that it's not allergies but a sinus infection. No wonder my teeth feel like they're going to pop out of my mouth.

I am happy to report that Annamaria is just fine. No accidents or illnesses. Although she can be quite the crank when she puts her mind to it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I was sitting here at the computer, just wasting time. Dinner is prepped, and I'm waiting for Vince to return from Home Depot to finish it off. Shrimp fajitas, in case anyone is interested. Anyway, I was wasting time, reading random blogs from people I don't even know, when it occured to me. I can feel the baby move. In my abdomen, just below my bellybutton and to my right, I keep feeling a little poking sensation. How exciting. I have an OB appointment tomorrow afternoon too. Not that that is really anything exciting, but it seems like progress in my otherwise limbo life.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

And So It Begins

The night before last, I woke up just after 1am, with the need to pee. I hate having my sleep disturbed. Not that I sleep all that great to begin with, Vince thinks I have sleep apnea, but who knows. All I know is that I never wake up rested, only sleepy wishing I could sleep longer. Anyway, aparently I've gotten to the point where enough pressure is on my bladder that I can no longer make it through the night without having to take a break from sleep to pee. As if feeling green most of my days were not enough. Also, a couple nights ago the acid reflux started. Last night it was so uncomfortable I fell asleep sitting up in bed. Tums did not help. At some point in the night Vince told me I was keeping him awake. So I moved myself to the big chair in our bedroom, and finished my night of fitful sleep there. I spent half of my pregnancy with Annamaria and Harrison sleeping in either the chair in our room or on the couch. I'm not looking forward to a repeat of that. So let the discomforts of pregnancy begin. My favorite of course is peeing my pants whenever I sneeze. Ahh, something to look forward to.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Little Sad

At our church we have a general reconciliation service twice a year. Once before Easter, and once before Christmas. At this mass, most of the priests in our area take turns at each other's parish to help hear reconciliation, or "confession". So there will be about eight or so priests at this mass, to help go through the crowds in a more reasonable about of time. Before this service, the "host" priest either takes out the other priests to dinner, or has them over for dinner to socialize before the reconciliation mass. For the past couple of years, Father Jim has hosted the dinner at his home, and I've been his caterer. Father Jim is known for appreciating the finer things of life, and really enjoys a good meal, so it's been a pleasure cooking for him. This morning I got a call from my friend Sue, who received an e-mail from the parish secretary, Elizabeth, this morning, asking her if she would be interested in cooking for the priests before the reconciliation mass this year. Elizabeth knows we're moving, and knows I've been turning down work, so I'm sure that is why she approached Sue. Sue called to ask what to expect, what I've been serving, etc, etc. It's just a little sad to work so hard to build a business, to gain a good reputation, and to have repeat customers, only to have to let it all go and move on. I'll miss those dinners for the priests. There is one priest, Father Beaugious, who's is retired but always shows up to help. And he is such a pleasure, so warm and friendly. I'm really going to miss him. And sometimes the priests conversations get pretty interesting. I felt like I had an inside tract on what was really going on sometimes. Sometimes it's just hard to let go.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blessed or Cursed, You Be The Judge

Well, the cat is out of the bag. The grand-parents have been informed, so the secret is out. Baby Booth #4 is currently in development. And I must say, I think I'm handling it all very well. Our house is even more of a construction zone than usual, but that's because of all the progress being made. My husband has been unemployed since December, but he has a job waiting for him in Montana. When we finally get there that is. And my youngest child is only 10 months old, and will only be 16 months old when this one is born. But I love her to death, so how bad could another be? I really freaked out about having #3, and she is nothing short of perfection, so I'm now actually kind of excited. In a "oh my gosh, what have we done" sort of way. A friend of mine once told me, "once you have three, you might as well as have six". Three is the breaker. Well, I don't know about six, but I'm really o-kay with four. Besides, I'm 36 years old. Advanced maternal age. And while I certainly don't mean to be greedy, that biological clock is ticking. Loudly. Who ever thought an only child, me, would end up having a large family? Not me. But they do bring me joy. Along with a lot of other feelings, but mainly joy. So I'll take the bad with the good, and consider myself blessed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Are We Really Moving?

The answer is yes, we really are. Vince was let go at work (again) back in December. That's five jobs in four years. I don't know what kind of company lets someone go two weeks before Christmas, but at least he doesn't have to work there anymore. He got a little bit of a severance, and has filed for unemployment. The job he left, Chemical Diversity, to go work at Structural Genomix said they'd always have a position for him. But they just laid off six of their chemists last week. This is one of the reasons Vince wants to get out of San Diego, and possibly stop working as a chemist. The pharmaceutical companies are just so unreliable, and there is no thought to the employee's welfare at all. So we're taking advantage of the fact that he is no longer spending a minimum of 60 hours a week in a lab somewhere, and he's busting his butt to get this house ready to put on the market. There is a lot to do. I also stopped catering for Titan regularly. I told them if they have a working lunch on occasion and need some meals to let me know, but it's too much bringing them lunch twice a week, taking care of three kids, and trying to get stuff done around here. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

We have a lead on some property in Helena. It's not exactly what we want, but it may be enough to get us up there. We'll be making another trip up there probably around the end of March to scope things out. My cousins husband, Chris, has offered Vince a job. Chris is a land surveyor. Something Vince knows nothing about, but he's a quick study, a hard worker and is looking for a change so you never know how things might work out.

It's all very scary, sad yet exciting at the same time. We really believe getting out of Southern California is what's best for our family. It's too loud, too crowded, too much traffic and too much crime. I know I'm glad I didn't grow up here, and really I just want the same for my kids.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Lazy Day

Today is Presiden't Day, so Sophia gets the day off from school. Unfortunately she's not feeling very well. She's been complaining of a sore throat for the past couple of days. She doesn't have the hacking cough both Harrison and Annamaria had, so far anyway. So she gets to spend her day in bed and on the couch vegging out. Annamaria is feeling much better. Back to her old smiley, kicky self.

We finally hired a dry wall guy to come in and cover our ugly, ugly 70's paneling in our den. Not only is it on our walls, but it's also on the ceiling. What were people thinking when they made that decorating decision? He's coming in on Friday to start work, so we have four days to get all the stuff in the den boxed up and moved out so he can get to work. I've been assigned the computer desk area, and let me tell you, it's not pretty. I'm wondering how much junk I'll be able to get rid of. I think once I get into it, it won't actually be that bad, but getting started is the hard part. And I need boxes. I can not box things up without boxes.

I did actually get some work done on the house this weekend. I got the carpets cleaned in both Annamaria's room and in the den. We're thinking about replacing the carpet in the den before we put it on the market, but I think just cleaning it really helped. It may not need to be replaced afterall. It would be nice not to have to spend that money.

So no more procrating, and off to work I go.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Happy Belated Birthday!

Wednesday, Febuary 15th was Vince's 39th birthday. Getting close to 40, too close. He's handled it very well. So our tradition is to stay in on Valentine's Day, and go out on his birthday. I hate going out on Valentine's Day. I used to wait tables, and I just remember how extra tables were packing into the dining room, and even the bar area. Being treated like cattle is not how I want to spend my Valentine's Day. So we stayed home, and I made us a four-course dinner. We started out with a classic Shrimp Cocktail. Then a Mache Salad with Seared Scallops and a Spicy Pecan Praline. Our dinner was Crab Cakes with a Chili Mayo, sauteed corn and fresh tomatoes. For dessert I tried my hand at Chocolate Souffle Cakes from Roy's served with French Vanilla Ice Cream and fresh raspberries. For my first attempt, they turned out pretty good. I just need to get my cooking time right. Vince bought me the rings that they're cooked in for Christmas, so having the proper equipment is helpful. So the big dilemma was where to go for Vince's birthday. He likes to be suprised. Oh, the pressure. So I chose the Four Seasons for cocktails. We have a special place in our hearts for that place since we had our wedding reception there. And really, who couldn't love the Four Seasons anyway? Then on to Pamplemousse for dinner. Pamplemousse used to be our special occasion place, but we hadn't been there in over four years. Too many other restaurants to try. I ordered my old favorite, the mixed grill of game. They do have the best truffled mashed potatoes ever. Unfortunately I was woken up at about 2am with a stomach ache, that quickly turned into a rush to the bathroom so my dinner could come back up. Let me tell you, it was much more enjoyable going down than it was coming back up. Since then I've been pretty much useless with nausea. I've been home, no catering for the past two days, and I've gotten nothing done on this house. And I think the part that bothers me most is paying that much money for a dinner that didn't even make it completely through my digestive process. I feel cheated.

In other news, Annamaria is feeling a little better. She still has a runny nose, but at least it's clear now. And her coughing is much less congested. She should be back to her old self in a couple more days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Baby's First Valentines Day

Unfortunately Annamaria is sick. It started off with a cough on Friday. We assumed she just caught the wheezy cough from Harrison since he's been sick the past week. But her's has progressed to a gunky nose too. And she sounds so congested, that it just worried me. We've been putting her to sleep in the car seat again so she can breathe. So after my lunch delivery, I took her to see the doctor on call. He said she needed a little help. He prescribed antibiotics and a light steroid to keep her lungs under control. Something to watch, since I have asthma I'm paranoid my kids will have it too. I did buy her a little outfit for Valentine's Day, but she's sleeping now so I'll have to get a picture later. I did get to find out what she's weighing in at these days. 14 pounds 3 ounces. That's fully clothed. Unbeliveable. She's nine months old and barely 14 pounds. She's a tiny. The doctor called her petite.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Because I'm A Dumb Ass

I was making Oatmeal cookies this morning for my lunch client today, and I mixed the dough and thought to myself that it seemed kind of sticky. But I haven't made these cookies in a bit, so I thought I just forgot their consistency. So I let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes like the recipe says, then scoop the dough out onto my baking sheets and pop them in the oven. As I turn around I see a bowl of flour, all measured and waiting, sitting on the counter top that was suposed to be added to the dough. No wonder the dough was sticky. So I quickly open the oven, snatch my baking trays back out of the oven, and grab the little balls of stickiness and toss them back into the mixing bowl. Add the flour and mix. I was then able to resume my baking routine. What a dumb ass!

The other night, I was just lying my head on my pillow to go to sleep, and suddenly it hits me and I sit bolt upright in bed. I forgot all about my cake decorating class, scheduled for January 8th. Completely forgot. And what really bites my heiny, was that I had to reschedule this class twice! The first time was because I was having a baby. The second time was because we decided to go to Montana at the last minute for the 4th of July. And this class is always full. Hence my having to wait until January to get into the class again. And I really need some help in the cake decorating arena. That's $59 tossed down the toilet. What a dumb ass!

Sometimes I really wonder how I function at all.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl Sunday

O-kay, so this is not my typical Superbowl Sunday experience. I have been known to take advantage of low attendance at Disneyland during the Superbowl. Or even a chance to go to Old Town for margaritas and rolled tacos with minimal crowds. And if anyone asks me if I know the latest score, my reply is usually that I don't even know who's playing. Suffice it to say, I usually don't watch sports. Not football, not baseball, not basketball. And in general, I get very bugged by people who's lives revolve around the different sport seasons. Or let "their" team losing a game ruin their day. It is just a game afterall. There are much more important things in life. I did go through a Nascar phase about ten years ago, but really, that was just a good excuse to sit around, drink beer and wait for a car crash to happen. And I've been to a few Ice Hockey games back in my late teens. But that was back when I lived in the DC area and got to go see the Capitals play. But other than that, I really don't go in for sports. Unless you can count figure skating or gymnastics when the olympics are going on. But for some reason this year is different. I've been looking forward to it. Once I decided last week to actually sit down and watch it, I've had a strange sense of anticipation. We came home from Mass this morning, and I made a pot of chili, a big bowl of homemade salsa, guacamole and onion dip. I've got a fresh bag of tortilla chips, kettle cooked jalapeno chips, and a bag of Ruffles potato chips. I think I'm all set. The thing is is that I know the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing, because our friend from Pennslyvania is all excited that "his" team made it to the Superbowl. But I don't know who the other team is. Which makes me question my anticipation for this year's game. Is it all about the game itself, or is it all about food?