Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Answers

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we were overwhelmed and had a lot of questions and obstacles to get through.  Since then we've gotten a few answers.

  • The condo association got back to us.  They said we could rent out our condo for one year only.  After that, we would either have to re-occupy it or sell it.  They went on to say that the one year would start on December 1st.  We don't move until around January 1st.  That means we'd essentially have to find someone for an eleven month lease.  Not going to happen!  So we took that as a "NO" and are going to go with selling the condo.  We hope to meat with our realtor this week and get it on the market.  Pray for the right buyer to come along quickly!
  • We found a place in Texas to live.  We have it already reserved for us.  We will be moving in on the 2nd of January.  Originally we were going to stay in a 30 day extended stay (paid for by my boss), but we decided to skip that.  We are getting the first two months of rent for free because of a promotion that was going on, so we are happy about that.  (Plus, my bosses are going to give us some money, since we are saving them the expense of the 30 day).
  • We have our going away/birthday party planned.  This is a huge relief to me.  December is always a crazy month, and I was worried that it would get lost in the shuffle and we wouldn't have a chance to say good bye to our friends.  It is set for December 18th, and I can't wait.
  • I found out that the moving company packs FOR ME... not just loads the truck.  Originally, I was still going to pack almost all of it myself.  Then after realizing that the moving company would have better supplies and we also be held responsible for what they pack (and not what I pack), I decided I'm going to let them pack up my house.  I'll probably pack some items, but not most of it.  This also is a huge relief.
  • Michael has classes this week that are filled with papers and projects.  Then next week is exams, and then he's done!!!!  Please pray for him to have strength to finish strong.  It's a lot all at once (with the move pending).  I know he can do it, but I also know it's stressful.  We'll ALL be glad when it's the weekend of December 11th, because that means he'll have made it! :)
  • We decided that for right now, we weren't going to worry about a job for Michael.  It was just one more thing to add to the ever growing stress list.  Instead, we decided he should just finish out the quarter strong, help tie up all the loose ends here before we move, and then just start looking for one when we get down there.  Plus, once we get down there, we will know better where to look and what to look for.  It is unclear if he will work part time and go to school full time, or work full time and go to school part time.  We may need him to work at first to help cover the cost of rent AND our condo.  Plus, schooling is more expensive until we've been there a year and can get in state tuition.
  • My bosses were going to ship both of our cars down and just fly us down, but we decided that we didn't want to be without a car for the last week or two of our time in Columbus.  So they are going to ship one car for us, and we are going to drive the other one down.  It's a 16 1/2 hour drive that we are going to split up into two days.
 So while we have had many questions answered, there is still a lot for us to do and take care of.  I have a feeling this next month is going to fly by!

Here are some dates as of now:
November 31-Dec 1--Hopefully we will be meeting with our realtor one of these days.  We will be calling her today (Monday) to set something up.
December 2nd--Moving company is coming to assess our condo.  They will then tell us when they need to come to pack up.
December 6th-10th--Finals for Michael
December 13th--My  boss starts her job in TX, so my hours will go back to 50+ hours a week.
December 18th--Our birthday/going away party
December 20th--The moving company could potentially be coming this week to pack us up!
December 20th--Michael turns 33!
December 21st--Bethany turns 31
December 25th--Christmas!
December 31st--We leave town for our two day trip to TX!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bah Humbug?

Christmas is generally my favorite time of year.  I love it all--the decorations, the music, the snow, the goodies, the parties, shopping for the perfect gift, and on and on.  I love it.  It makes me happy.  Unfortunately, this year I seem to have been bit by the bah humbug.  I don't know what the deal is, but I am just not into it.  It may be that my head is swirling with a bazillion other things, but even so, I should be able to make time for my most favorite holiday of all.

Usually I am almost done with my shopping at this point.  If I'm not done, I usually have a list of what I want to get and just haven't had time to pick it up yet.  I think that's part of my problem this year.  I have NO IDEA what to get ANYONE!  It's like my creative mind has been wiped blank.  You may remember that last year I made a great deal of my gifts.  Yeah, that' not happening this time around.  Gift giving is fun for me.  I love to find the perfect gift for each person who is special to me.  This year--drawing a blank. Also, on top of just not having any clue what to get people, our budget has obviously been drastically cut.  Michael has been out of a job since April, so that changes things.  Then you throw in a move to Texas and that really changes things.  Sure, my bosses are paying to move us, but other expenses will come up (getting new drivers license and registration for example).  I've already had to narrow my list down to the minimum, but I'm still a bit overwhelmed.  Luckily, Michael and I have decided not to exchange gifts this year, so that will be a HUGE money and time saver for me.

I'm going shopping today with my sister and my friend Laurie.  Maybe they can inspire me?  Can you help me out?  What's on your Christmas list?  What are you getting those hard to shop for people?  Only 36 days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010


We had a great time in Texas.  Our flight got in Thursday evening.  After doing all the necessary airport stuff (waiting for bags, getting rental car), we headed to our hotel.  From there we went out to find a place to eat and explore.  We ended up at a place called Blue Mesa Grill, which was Mexican.  Turns out there is a lot of Mexican type food down there.  It was good though.

From there we went straight to the Super Target we had passed!
Neither of us had ever been, and we were dying to check it out.  It was AWESOME. 
It was huge and had tons of selection.  We walked the perimeter of the food section to sort of compare prices.  It seemed pretty good to me.  Their milk was $1.29!!!  I don't know if that's a Texas thing or if that's just Super Target's deal of the week, but that is almost half the price of what it is here in Ohio.

That was the end of our Thursday.  It was getting late and with all the travel and time change, we were ready for a good nights sleep.

We ended up getting up super early on Friday.  We didn't plan to, but our bodies woke up and we couldn't get back to sleep so we figured we'd get a start on the day.  I didn't get too many pictures of the day.  It was a lot of driving around and a lot of talking to people about apartments.  Before we went apartment hunting though, we checked out the community college and talked to an adviser there.  We checked out five or six apartments and ate both breakfast and lunch at fun new places.  Oh, and we checked out the athletic center/rec center.  By 3 in the afternoon (4 home time), we were beat.  I guess that's what getting up at 6 does to you.  We went back to the hotel and took a nap.  After our nap we headed out to dinner, drove around an outdoor type mall that is amazing, and then went to check out IKEA.
Again, neither of us had ever been and we were super excited to check it out.  It is going to be so close to where we live.  We loved it!  From there we drove to the OTHER community college location.  It's the one Michael will need to go to for his type of classes.  It's a little farther away, which sucks, but is very nice compared to the community college here.

Saturday was another early morning.  We headed over to the trendy outside mall for breakfast.
We ate at this cute place.  SO yummy!

Everything there is made with brick or stone.  (We didn't even see any siding on the houses.)

The streets were so nice there.  No pot holes or other crazy things like the roads up here have.  The one difference is that there are service roads that run along side the freeways.  (Also, there are toll roads. :( ) Then at the end of the service roads you can do a u-turn to get to the other side of the free way.  It's very bizarre to me, but seems to make a whole lot of sense at the same time.

Oh and at the end of all the parking spaces there is this
You can park IN the space, just not OVER the space.

Other signs that we were in Texas
(Did you notice the BLUE skies, the GREEN grass and the fact the leaves are still ON the trees?)

We also ended up at another mall to get a map, but ended up scoping it out.  It was huge.

We also put a deposit on an apartment that we liked.
It's a luxury apartment, but we'll be getting two months free with their promotion so it will all work out.  We are getting a two bedroom/two bath and it's in a gated area with a beautiful sea salt water.  It has other great amenities.  It's only been around for a year, so we don't have to worry about old or damaged stuff.  Also, all new apartments in Frisco have to be built energy efficient, so it has energy efficient windows/appliances and some special grade insulation.
On our last morning there we ate breakfast at our hotel.  I got a waffle.  :)

Overall, we loved it.  Everything was VERY, VERY nice.  It was a safe and clean city.  The buildings all looked brand new.  It is definitely a well and up and coming community, and we are excited to be a part of it.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I apologize that my blog has gotten thrown on the back shelf these last few weeks.  Since the opportunity to move to Texas came up, our life has been a little bit of a whirlwind.  There are lots of things to look in to, discuss, get sorted out, and plan.  Not only that, but our normal life has been taking place--me working, Michael going to school, spending an entire weekend at my sister's house...  As you are reading this, we are currently in Texas.  My bosses agreed to send us down so that we can scope things out.  We have done all the research we possibly could online.  It was time to see for ourselves if this is something we can really go along with.  I'll tell you next week how it went. :)

Right now we are dealing with:
  • Our condo--I think I explained that we are in between a rock and a hard place.  We wrote a letter asking for an exception to be made based on financial hardship for us to be allowed to rent out our condo.  They want LOTS of paperwork.  To me, a letter saying Michael lost his job and a letter from my bosses saying my job is moving--I either go or lose it--should be enough proof.  Apparently it's not.  So we are gathering up all the stuff they want--tax returns, a list of assets and liabilities, letters ,etc.  They are meeting on the 16th.  Hopefully we'll know soon after that.
  • IF we can rent it out, we then need to find a renter.  We need to get a contract together, do a background check, etc. to make sure we are not setting ourselves up for ruin.  IF they say no, we need to put the house on the market.
  • Trying to find a job for Michael in Texas
  • Trying to find a place for us to live in Texas
  • Trying to figure out if we should/where we should/when we should have a going away party.  December fills up fast!
  • When to start packing?  I don't want the place to look like a war zone of boxes for potential renters and/or buyers.
  • Michael finishing out his quarter (one month left) and giving it a good effort.  That's hard to do when all these other stresses are looming.
I'm sure there is more, but doesn't that feel like enough of a burden right now?! :)  Prayers appreciated.  We still believe moving is what's best for us and our future.  We're just a little overwhelmed with the process.  As soon as our condo is figured out--renter or buyer--life will ease up some.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh how I love thee... (15)

...let me count the ways.

It's Veteran's Day, so I thought I'd go with that theme.  I love that my husband is a Marine.  I am so proud of him.  I love that he loves our country and is a true patriot.  It's an honor to be married to someone so selfless, respectful, and responsible.  I love the Marines for making Michael the man he is today. :)

Happy Veterans Day to all veterans... especially my most favorite one.  Thanks for serving our country!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

List o'fun--Recreation Outlet

Are you familiar with those nice sturdy Rainbow playscapes that people have in their back yard?  Have you ever been to a place that sells them?  Around here there is a place in Powell called Recreation Outlet.  It's in a big red barn looking thing.  It's a huge showroom of all the stuff they sell.  Guess what?  You can go and play on the displays!!  How awesome is that?!

There is a huge area with tons of different sized basketball hoops (on padded flooring)

Then there are a ton of different playscapes--different sizes, different styles, etc.
They change the floor around every couple of months.  They also change some things on different sets--like the type of swing it has on it, or it may have rings one time and a bouncy thing the next.  There are usually between 10 and 12 sets displayed at a time.

They also have two huge trampolines!

There are also scooters, cars, bikes, bouncy balls... all sorts of toys.  
These too...
It use to be free to go in and play.  It go SO popular though, that they had to make some rules.  Now there is free play from 9 to 11 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  If you want to come at a time that does not fit into those hours, it is $4 per child and they can play as long as they want.  If you really want to go there a lot, you can get a year membership for $99 and go whenever.  It's great for those really hot days in summer when you can't be outside, or those rainy days in the fall and spring.  It's not heated (or at least not well), so sometimes in the winter it gets cold in there.  The kids are fine, because they are running around.  I, however, have to keep my coat on.  Not my idea of fun! :)

If you are not local, you may want to check some display rooms in your area to see if they do the same thing.  If they don't, you may want to give them the idea! ;)  Little Man LOVES going to Recreation Outlet.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Five for Friday

The dealer fixed the tire valves for free.  Good thing.  It would have been $160 PER TIRE to fix each sensor and someone would have probably had to see me go a little crazy on Mr. Dealer. :)  Thankfully, all is worked out and fixed.

Michael and I are staying with my sister's kids (and stow away niece) this weekend.  She is out of town on business.  I have already gone to a tennis banquet.  We have planned family game night for tonight too.  It should be good times.  Things have been so crazy the past few weeks that I am looking forward to a weekend of sitting around and not doing much of anything.  I am, however, reminded of why I don't want a dog.  First thing this morning I stepped in pee.  We have also had FOUR poop incidents.  Yep, no thank you.

My boss is sending us to Texas next weekend to check it out (all expenses paid).  We are looking forward to it.  We leave Thursday afternoon and come back Sunday afternoon.  It will be nice to go and check it out.  We don't have many plans.  We will possibly look at housing and maybe look into job opportunities for Michael.  Also, I want to go watch bull riding at Billy Bob's Honky Tonk.  LOL!

There was suppose to be a possibility of flurries this morning, and I'm not going to lie--it made me a little happy.  We've had a crazy summer as far as weather goes.  We've had a pretty warm fall too.  I'm ok with a little snow before I go.

The number one most asked question about our move has to do with our condo.  What are we going to do?  Well, we talked to our realtor and selling doesn't look good.  Not many one bedrooms have sold in the last six months, and the one that did was a bank owned.  It sold for a crazy low price, and
unfortunately that is our comparable.  So we're thinking about renting.  However, our condo association has a rule that only a certain percentage of units can be rented.  They are at that number and we are number 37 on the waiting list.  The by-laws did say that exceptions would be made for medical or financial hardships.  Michael not having a job and me losing my job if I don't go is a financial hardship in my book.  So we wrote a letter asking for an exception and are waiting to hear.  If they say no, then we will try to sell it for rock bottom prices and have to bring a butt load of money to closing (which we don't necessarily have).  That's where we're at.  Some might think it's crazy for us to leave when this is our housing situation.  We feel like we would be facing this same fact whether we stay or whether we go.  It's ONE BEDROOM--we're going to have to move sometime.  We've been wanting to leave for a while now and we would be able to stay that much longer--a year or two maybe.  So we don't feel like we are too crazy trying to get rid of it now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cool Kid Find

Alright, I realize this is super late in the day and some of you might not check back until tomorrow morning... that's because I wasn't going to post.  I've had yet another busy week and am about to have a busy weekend.  However, I happened to be browsing through the blogs that I follow and came across something I thought was pretty cool.  I know I have a lot of young mom's (at least my cousins) that might appreciate this. 

It's a bumpy name label.  I'm sorry, but I think this is genius!  It's a stretchy plastic band that slides over bottles, sippy cups, etc.  It comes in a variety of different  colors and your child's name is engraved on it.  I'm thinking this would be awesome for kids that go to a daycare or are even dropped off in a church nursery.  It's dishwasher safe, and from what I've heard are super durable and useful.
It's also suppose to be easy for small hands to grip.

Stocking stuffers anyone?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The News!!! duh duh duh....

Well, I'm sure you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about my big news. :)  I guess it's about time I shared.  Have any guesses?  I bet you'd never guess what it is.  So here it is......
TO TEXAS!!!!!!!
   It's true.  I wouldn't trick you like that.
I'm sure (if you know me in real life) you are beyond curious about how we arrived at this decision.  I'll tell you!
You may or may not know, but my boss lost her job back in April.  (Shortly after Michael lost his.)  Thankfully they chose to keep me on.  I continued getting paid my salary, but was able to work less hours.  I basically went in to work from about 8:30 or 9 to 3 every day.  I was there to take Little Man to his activities, play dates and classes, and then remained until he went down for nap.  K searched and searched for jobs and went on a ridiculous amount of interviews, but nothing was coming up.  The few jobs she was offered were out of state (LA and Portland specifically) and she didn't want to move so she declined them.  Well, that takes us to right now.  She was offered a very good job in Texas, and has decided to take it.  She's been out of a job for six months now and that just doesn't look good for a higher up.  She knew nothing was coming along here in Ohio.  Unfortunately, the economy sucks here!  The offer was too good to refuse, so with lots of encouragement from G she took it.  That leaves me...

She gave me two options.  Option number one, which is what they were hoping for, was that they could convince Michael and I to move with them.  They would pay to relocate us, I would get a rather large raise, and they would put us up in a 30 day extended stay place once we got there so we didn't have to worry about finding a place right away.  Immediately I thought, "Well that's not going to happen!"    I was sure Michael would want nothing to do with it, but I heard her out and planned to tell him everything I learned.
My second choice was to stay in Ohio, but lose my job.  They would pay me my salary until I found a new job.  Also, they would want me to go down for the first month or so and help get Little Man settled and help interview/choose a new nanny for him.

So I went home and told Michael.  When I told him that they were willing to pay to relocate us he got a little smile on his face and said, "Wow, really?" Then he told me that it speaks volumes for me and what they think of me.  He said, "It's worth considering".  Umm... what?  Did my Ohio born and raised husband--the one who left for the marines and missed home terribly--just say he'd consider moving to TEXAS?!?!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would move to Texas.  Honestly, I love Columbus and I was pretty sure I was going to be here the rest of my life.  I had actually told people that.  But God had other plans I guess.

Let me give you a little back story--you may have read some of my posts about decisions we needed to make and trying to be content in my current situation.  You may have read posts about knowing that God has a plan and is going to work all this crazy stuff out for good, but having no clue what that meant for us.  We have both been feeling unsettled for quite a while now.  There really wasn't any reason.  We just sort of felt stuck.  We were ready to move on to the next stage in our life--house and family--but by all accounts that we could see that was not happening any time soon.  We have prayed and prayed AND PRAYED for answers.  What's next?  What is Your plan?  Which way do we turn?  Do we start trying to have a kid?  When do we start trying to have a kid?  You get the point.  We felt unsettled and stuckLet me tell you, I am a pretty content person.  Plus, I have always had a plan or an answer.  So to feel these emotions and have no direction was no fun for me.  But, I judged Him faithful!  Then......... God drops a move to Texas in our laps.

At first glance the move might not make sense.  They are going to pay to have our stuff moved down there.  So what?!  I get a huge raise.  So what?!  Well, it's more than that.  After Michael and I talked and talked about it and explored every angle and possibility, I sent K an email with questions.  Two HUGE things that were answered through those questions were 1) I would have a job as long as I want it.  I wouldn't be done working for them when Little Man goes to school full time.  I will continue on during his elementary years--taking him to school, picking him up, going on field trips, being full time in the summer, etc. and 2) When we have children I can bring them with me.  HELLO!?!?!  I don't know if you know just how big of a deal that is.  I have dreamed of being a stay at home mom since I was a teenager.  Honestly.  I always knew I was going to go and get my teaching degree.  I always knew I'd be a teacher.  But when I had my own kids, I really wanted to stay home.  I know it's not for everyone, but it was my heart's desire and God knew that.  I will essentially get paid to be a SAHM.  Little Man will be at school from 8 to 3 or whatever and I will have that time with my child.

Not only that, but if we did choose to stay it wouldn't be good for us financially.  There is no way I would find a job making even close to what I'm making now.  Plus, they most likely wouldn't have a car for me to drive.  Also, I couldn't find a similar situation as far as family goes.  I have it good and I know it.

There are so many more details, but this post is getting long.  K starts her job on December 13th.  She will just commute at first.  We will most likely move around the first of the year if all goes well.  We will be moving to the Dallas area, more specifically Plano.  Which, by the way, was voted number one safest city in the US in 2010 by Forbes Magazine.  Just sayin! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

List o' fun--Fire House Museum

Alright, so this is a little later than I was hoping.  Fire Prevention month is October, and I had every intention of sharing with you the idea to visit your local fire house.  Yeah... I don't know what happened to October.  It flew by for me and seemed busier than usual.

Most fire houses let you come and take a tour any time.  You just have to check with them first, and try to go at an off time.  (For example, during mid morning when things are slower.)  They may turn you away if they are busy, but it's worth a try.  It's free!  What little kid doesn't think fire trucks are awesome?  I've even heard of people having birthday parties at their local fire house.

I know this is no help now, but here in central Ohio, all of the fire houses have some sort of open house and or special event the first week of October.  I would imagine something similar happens in your neck of the woods.

One thing we can do year round here is go to the Fire House Museum.  This is NOT just a local thing.  I've hear of ones other places around the state too, and possibly even in other states.

Ours is located downtown on 4th street.  It's open 10 to 4 Tuesdays through Saturdays.  
It's $6 for adults and $4 for children.
It's an old fire house from 1908.  It's sort of small, but still worth checking out.

A firefighter gives you a tour.

They have fire trucks that had to be horse draw, and some that were pulled by the fire fighters.
The fire fighter explains these things in the best way they can to be age appropriate to their audience.

The boys got to ring the bell

You know what I learned... dalmatians became the fire house dog because they got along so well with the horses.

They have an area that they use for field trips and education.  They gave us a quick overview.  We were with some friends, and both the mom and I learned some things we never knew.

Then the kids favorite part... the play area!
Sliding down the pole

Getting suited up

Calling for back up

Headed to the scene

Putting out the fire!

You can have birthday parties there too! :)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Color Words

One of our current goals is for Little Man to recognize and be able to "read" color words.  He has known his colors for a looooooooooong time, but he doesn't know color words.  Really, this is more of a Kindergarten or First Grade skill.  I think it will be helpful though, when doing some of our workbook pages.  Then he can read what color he is suppose to use.

There are a lot of color recognition pages in our workbooks, but I knew we'd have to do something else as well.

So I made some flashcards
I purposely wrote them out in the color that they represent.  He thinks he's a color reading genius!
I'm going to use these for a while.  He'll think he knows what's going on, but while easily "reading" the colors they will start to stick in his mind.  Then eventually I will rewrite them all in black and see how much he's picked up.

Also, we are using other methods such as reading books like this

I make him "read" the  color

He made this book in school and is IN. LOVE. with it.
Again, he "reads" the colors.

We'll get there... BEFORE Kindergarten! :)