Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Funny Signs!

Within three days I saw both of these signs in and around Jacksboro, TX:

One was while driving down a highway. There was a sign hanging from a guys fence that read, "ALL THIS STUFF FOR SALE". That just struck me as funny!

The doozy is this one: I was at one of the local grocery stores and spotted a booth tucked away in the corner of the "bakery" (The bakery is just a nook in the store where all the bread is located). Hanging on the wall above the table is a piece of paper with this phrase written in black magic marker: "Clean up after your break. I'm not your mama".

Believe me, the next time I grocery shop I'll be sure to have my camera with me!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Quick (OK, it's pretty long) Update

Things have been HECTIC in our household since I blogged back in March. The biggest event that happened was that we moved! However, the move did not go as we had expected.

When we wrote up our contract with the builder of the new home we would be purchasing in Graham, we told him that we needed to sell and close our house in Colorado before we could close and purchase the new house he was building. He was kind enough to let us rent the house until ours sold so we would only have to move once. We wrote the contract stating those terms and everything was peachy keen.

Unfortunately, two weeks before we were scheduled to move into the house the builder called me and told me we needed to schedule our closing date. I told him our house hadn't sold yet and reminded him that our contract stated that we would rent. He informed me that he couldn't rent it to us because technically the house wasn't his and his bank wouldn't let him, and insurance wouldn't let him, and so on and so on. My response was, "you didn't know all this before we wrote the contract?" His response was no but he continued to pressure me to purchase and close the house even asking if I have ever heard of a bridge loan. I told him we weren't going to do that because we were actively trying to sell our house and that I was confident it would sell. He threw that in my face and said that he was banking on the fact that I told him it would sell fast. I replied that I never said that it would sell the day the sign went in the yard, but that I was still confident that it would sell fast. (At the time it had only been for sale for three weeks. I also didn't tell him that I was doing For Sale By Owner). Long story short, I told him we needed to be released from the contract since he was no longer willing to follow through with his end of the bargain. He said all he had to do was call the title company and the earnest money would be released, but I knew better after selling real estate for a couple of years. I called the title company myself, they faxed me the earnest money release form, Greg and I signed it and faxed it back, and then we waited, and waited, and waited for the builder to go by and sign the paper.

In the meantime I had two weeks to find us a new place to live. Which meant we had to rent and wanted a short term lease or a month to month lease since we really want to buy once our house in Colorado sells. I spent a full day when I should have been packing making phone calls and scouring the internet. Low and behold I finally found an ad online for a furnished cabin in the town of Jacksboro, which is 30 miles away from Graham. I called, and the owner was more than happy to do a month to month lease and we signed the lease the next day. I must admit, I'm LOVING our temporary home. It is on a 90 acre RV ranch with a fully stocked fishing "lake" that Greg loves. There are hiking trails that Parker and I explore and even some swings that I can push him on. The one downfall: the cabin is one big open room. And Parker doesn't sleep through the night. I was afraid it was going to be a bad situation for Greg since he never realized how much Parker was awake during the night since I turn the monitor off in our bedroom when I am taking care of him. But, I began feeding him a bigger snack before bed and amazingly he is sleeping better through the night. Normally only waking around 3:00 for a nursing.

Since we were no longer moving straight into our new home, I was then forced to pack for several different situations. I had to pack boxes for storage. Then I had to pack for the necessities we would need in the cabin. And finally, we were spending a week in Oklahoma before we made our final move to Texas, so I had to pack for Oklahoma. It was crazy and I'll just leave it at that.

During all of the chaos of packing I was still actively trying to sell our house. And by active, I mean active. I had it advertised in the newspaper, online, and even on the local radio stations (One station asked me to come in and read the ad and I was more than happy to do so. I loved getting a chance to flex my theater muscle. After all, radio is the theatre of the mind. At least that's what the Manager of the radio station told me. She was impressed that I nailed the reading in one shot. But she also has DJ's on her radio station who say "Ummm" every two seconds. I'm just sayin'). We had an open house every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes on Mondays. I don't know if many of you who are reading have ever had an open house before, but let me just say that when you do, you want your house to look a certain way. As in, you want it to be PERFECT and CLEAN. Which meant that half of my week was spent packing, the other half was spent cleaning and staging the house for sale.

We were scheduled to do the big move on Saturday, April 9th. That meant the previous Sunday was my last open house. As fate would have it, a young couple came to our house and fell in love with it. The following evening they brought their entire family over to look at it as well. The next morning I got a phone call from the potential buyers mother. Apparently her financing wasn't going to work out, which was a bummer, but the good news was that she was interested in purchasing it since her daughter couldn't. By the following Thursday we were under contract and although I wanted to call the builder up and rub it in his face, I kept my cool since he still hadn't released us from our contract. I know that at that point we could have proceeded with the builder but Greg and I just felt that things were happening for a reason and that this would give us the opportunity to look at houses more thoroughly and not rush into something.

Obviously, the few days prior to the move were a whirlwind and were it not for the help from friends who came by to help us load the U-haul or baby sit Parker, I probably would have had a nervous break down.

Now, in the past, any time I drive away for the last time from a house that I'm selling I turn into a big bawling mess. I figured this time would be the same since it was the home I brought Parker home too from the hospital and he spent most of his first year of life there. Maybe I've gotten jaded in my old age, but I didn't shed a single tear as I drove away. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Maybe a good cry would have done me some good. But I had other things to stress over at that point. Like Parker's birthday party and then moving into a place I had never seen before. You know. Just normal things that happen every day.

The week in Oklahoma was great. I got to visit family and friends and had a great time at Parker's first birthday party (blog post coming soon)! The following Friday we drove down to TX and began settling into our "temporary home". The next day we drove into Graham to do some shopping at Wal-Mart and we drove by what would have been our new home. I was pretty surprised to discover a Realtors for sale sign in the yard. He still hadn't released me from the contract yet and since we had wrote a closing date of May 1st I knew he hadn't told the listing Realtor this information. I didn't hesitate a second to call that Realtor and explain the situation. They were very surprised but by Monday they had went to the builder and had him sign the paper work we needed to be released from the contract. The irony of the whole story is that they are now trying to close our house in Colorado by this Friday, which means we could have closed on the house here in TX by the date we established in the contract. If only that builder would have treated us better he could have had a sale. Instead, the house is still not completed. I told Greg things worked out just the way they should have because what would have happened is that even though he told us it would be finished by April 14th, we would have arrived that day ready to move in and would not have been able too.

Instead, now we have the joy of house shopping. I say that sarcastically. Don't get me wrong. I love looking at houses and could tour them all day long. But I don't like it when I'm willing and able to buy a house and the houses that are available for sale are priced at market value, yet we would still have to dump $30,000 into them to bring them up to date. Nor do I like the price of property taxes in the great state of Texas. Holy Moly! $300-$500 a month going to property taxes are ridiculous. Every one has told us that it's OK because Texas doesn't charge state tax. Well, we pulled out Greg's pay stubs and we would happily pay $120 a month in state taxes to not have to pay a larger property tax.

So that's where we are. We have an appointment to look at two properties tonight, but I'm not holding my breath. One I am in love with but it's at the top end of our price range. The other I haven't seen and it says it's updated but most people just throw some white paint on walls and call a home updated which just doesn't fly with me.

Wish us luck, and hopefully soon I'll be able to blog about purchasing a new house. And hopefully this time it wont fall through!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Parker is 1 year old!!

What a busy time this past month has been for my little Parker! He survived the confusion of packing and moving all of our belongings out of our Colorado house, and he celebrated his first birthday at his nanny and papa's house in Oklahoma, which is where we are until we venture down to Texas tomorrow.

I packed away his calendar that I mark all of the exciting "milestones" on, so I'm relying on my memory for this post (which means I'll forget to write something really important)!

He began walking with a push toy that he has. I'm sure most of my friends and family saw that on youtube. Then, last Thursday, he took his first steps! Granted, life has been a little hectic and fast paced for Parker this past week, so I haven't really seen him try to do that very often. He does like it when someone holds his hands so he can practice walking.

He loves watching his Baby Einstein videos. Sometimes they will hold his attention for twenty minutes, other times he will only tolerate them for thirty seconds. He loves watching the puppets on that show, and of course he loves anything that has a dog on it!

He has finally began to take an actual interest in books. Before, whenever I would read to him, he would just look away or try to eat the pages. Now he actually seems to look at what I'm reading to him. I do have to use books that have very simple pictures and not a long story line.

He began blowing kisses. Although he doesn't actually blow them. He just covers his mouth, and as he takes his hand off he tries to say, "Muah" but it just comes out as, "Ahh!" It's precious!

He is fascinated by other kids. I had several friends who either baby sat or came over with their baby so I could get some packing done these past two weeks. He is very affectionate with them and loves to give them kisses. Unfortunately, Parker's kisses quickly turn into bites. That's something I'm trying to work with on him, although I'm not sure how to break his habit at this age, especially when he thinks he is being sweet.

As far as food goes, I know I need to be more adventurous on allowing him to try more "table" food, but things were just so hectic that I relied on the tried and true 2nd and 3rd stage baby foods. I think once we are more settled into a new routine in Texas I'll start letting him have more fun exploring new foods. He does love feeding himself and his favorite food is still Cheerios! I'm pretty sure he can spot a bright yellow Cheerio box a mile away!

His new favorite activity was climbing up the stairs. He loved it so much that if I started going up the stairs with him in my arms, he would practically leap out of my arms so he could climb up them himself. What really cracked me up was that he knew what the phrase, "wanna go upstairs?" meant. If I said that, he would immediately begin to speed crawl to where the stairs were so he could have a go at it!

I can now tell him to say, "Hi" or, "Bye" to someone, and he will wave at them and say "I", without me having to wave. I was pretty impressed by that!

We are currently staying at my mother-in-law's house, and while we are here Parker has been having a lot of fun with this partiular toy:

Unfortunately, a few days before the big moving day Parker began showing the symptoms of the same illness he had a few months ago. I had already scheduled to have his one year well-baby doctor appointment for Friday since we would be in Oklahoma on his birthday. It started out as a runny nose on Tuesday, then vomiting on Thursday, and finally diarrhea on Friday. The doctor did prescribe him an antibiotic since we would be driving an eight hour trip the next day and warned me that the meds might make his diarrhea worse. (Greeeaaattt, was my initial thought) Parker and I would be driving in the truck while Greg drove the U-Haul so I was not looking forward to the drive. Luckily, Parker was a little champ on the trip. He didn't have diarrhea and he only cried for a total of maybe ten minutes during the entire drive! Tomorrow I have a three hour drive ahead of me so hopefully I will continue to luck out with a happy baby! Unfortunately, he did begin running a fever on his birthday and it has not broke today, so I'm hoping it's just a reaction to his meds or that it's just a reaction from all the stress and running around we've been doing. I'm trying to take it easy today for his sake.

I am 1 year old today!!! On Friday I weighed 19 pounds 9 ounces and was 28 1/2" long.