Thursday, July 31, 2008

Change of Plans...

Originally, I was planning to stay home full-time with the kids once we moved, at least until school started. Tommie & I have talked it over and agreed that being the home manager and caretaker for our children is a very important job. However, I still thought that I would either get a part-time job or start a business this year - just to stay busy and bring in a little extra "fun" money.

I'm planning to take the boys to their new school tomorrow to find out what we need to do to register them for school (now that we know what school they will be at!). I was on the website for the elementary school and I stumbled upon some highly valuable information that caught me completely off-guard:


I was not expecting 1/2 day kindergarten at all. In fact, it's not even half of the day - it is 2 1/2 hours per day! Who has that in this day & age? This will be a complete shock to Truman and myself, because for the past year, he has been in a learning environment (daycare) for 9 hours per day. It would be impossible for me to get a part-time job during school hours, because they only offer bus service one way for kindergartners and there's not nearly enough time to do anything but run errands during the time he'll be in class. Wow! So... I'm having to re-think my plans for this school year. Guess I won't be having leisurely lunches with friends for one more year... ha, ha (just kidding!)
This also throws off our plan for my return trip to Dallas to pack/move the house. Tommie was planning on taking off of work early to pick up the boys at 3:00. Now, we're enlisting the help of my mom (who lives 4 hours away) - but we're not sure how it's all going to work yet.

I'm off to re-think all of my plans...


One of my best friends had her baby girl this morning! Congratulations Ben & Rachel! Baby & Mom are healthy & doing well. I cannot wait to meet the little one...

Born: 7/31/08 4:42 a.m.
7 lb. 15 oz.
20" long

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


We have good news x2!

1. The buyers accepted our cash offer (with some negotiation) in leiu of repairs. Even though we have to give them some money, we don't have to fuss with trying to hire repair persons from 4 states away!

2. Our offer on house #4 was negotiated & accepted! We will be closing on September 2nd! The house is in move-in condition and we are already researching ways to make it more upgraded & less boring! ha, ha

I'm feeling very good about the negotiations on both ends being completed. Now, we just have to manage all of the details associated with closing two loans! My throat is improving, but still not back to normal. My poor kids have been trapped in the apartment for the 3rd day straight. I cannot wait to move into our fenced-in backyard house where the kids & puppies can run free! Here's a pic of the front of the house...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ups & Downs

I made it to a doctor's office today (by myself - thanks to Tommie!) and got some antibiotics, so I'm already feeling much better. That certainly helps my outlook on life. Which is good, because...
  • We offered the buyer of our house money to help cover the cost of repairs. We're awaiting a response.
  • We went to look at house #3 and after careful scrutiny, we decided that an awesome yard is not worth all of the money we would have to put into the repairs - roof, plumbing, electrical, etc.
  • We wrote up an offer for house #4 and our realtor called us back within an hour to tell us that someone else has already put in an offer & they are in the middle of negotiating. We went ahead and submitted our offer anyway - so if they don't accept ours, we are back to square 1! The house has been on the market since April 2nd - what are the chances someone else would put an offer in within one day of us?!?!
So... here we sit. Not sure of the future. At least we have a roof over our heads and food to eat. We are praying that God would lead us to the right house for us at the right price in the right timing.

Dissapointing Day & Rough Night

Well, yesterday turned out to be a pretty discouraging day. We got the results back from the inspection on our house in Texas and there are several things that the buyers want us to pay for. It is very frustrating, because it seems like they are being nitpicky. We just forked over about $8,000 this spring for updates/upgrades including a new roof, new fence, new flooring, etc. and they want us to pay for silly little repairs like a ceiling fan that doesn't work and cleaning out/servicing the HVAC system. It seems that they want a 12 year old house that is in perfectly mint condition. We haven't responded yet, so please pray that we would come to an agreement easily.

We also sat down with our realtor last night to hopefully write an offer on house #5. He brought with him the disclosure and a recent inspection report for that house. Unfortunately, it has major issues - too big to fit into our budget. The basement foundation is cracking & bowing, there is evidence of water damage, there are termites, etc. So... we're letting that house go and moving down the list. Rather than just going for house #4 (the newer boring one), we're going back to the drawing board with house #3. We're going to look at it again tonight. It looks like it might have scary issues too, but we're going to make an offer on it & have it inspected and then decide. If it turns out that the issues are cosmetic, we'll buy it. If they are bigger issues, we'll buy house #4 and try to "un-boring-ify" it.

Also, I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with strep throat. I've had a sore throat since the demolition derby last Saturday - I thought it was sore from inhaling exhaust fumes & dust. Unfortunately, it has only gotten worse each day and today I can hardly swallow or talk. I haven't slept well for the past two nights. I've had strep many, many times and I know that if I can get an antibiotic, I'll feel better in 24 hours. So, today my mission is to find a new doctor and get a prescription (all with 3 boys in tow!). My patience with the boys has completely run out, so I need lots of prayers to return to happy mommy fast! Mean mommy seems to be living here right now!

So... I'm feeling very exhausted, irritable & discouraged right now. However, I'm trying not to live by emotion. I know that God has a plan and that He is good. I just keep having to remind myself of that right now!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Good Ole Indiana Fun

On Saturday night after my family left, we went to the County 4-H Fair to see the demolition derby. The boys had never been to one, so it was really fun to watch their reactions. After attending the Texas State Fair a couple of times, it was fun to go to a "rinky dink" fair - one where you can actually see fun stuff without spending a fortune!

It wouldn't be the fair without a tasty funnel cake! Yum!

Mom & Dad Visit

My mom & dad drove over to visit last weekend. It was a short visit (less than 24 hours), but it was so nice to see them again. We had not seen them since our trip to Illinois for Christmas. It is so wonderful to know that we are only a short 4 hour drive away now! They brought my 3 nieces with them. The kids had a fun time getting reacquainted with their cousins. I hope that their relationships will get closer now that we will see them more often.

My dad & mom

"The Girls" - Megan, Gracie & Hope

Truman getting a ride in the pool from Hope

Majeres girls & Payne boys

I think we've made a decision...

Drum roll please...
We have selected house #5! We are going to do some research to see how much the updates/upgrades would cost before making an offer - we've got to be sure we can come in under budget for the total home cost. However, it tops the list! As a backup, we will go with house #4 - a couple cans of paint and a few decorator touches can turn it from boring to enjoyable. House #3 was bumped off of the list because of the scary amounts of repair/updating required. We were drawn mostly to the lot, but the lot for house #5 has all of the elements we wanted with less money required for updating.
Here are a couple of pics of house #5...

Entryway - love the 70s light fixtures...
Living Room fireplace & stairs to entry/upstairs bedrooms
Back of house & some backyard landscaping

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Choices, choices

Well, we've spent a LOT of money in gas this week - househunting, exploring the area, taking a "tour of libraries" and looking at neighborhoods. But, we've narrowed our search to the top 5 houses. I should say that "I" have narrowed the search. Tommie will get the grand tour of all five houses on Saturday. I hope we are able to make a decision and put an offer in this weekend on a house! On our househunting trip today, I was hoping to eliminate all or most, because we've already got some really good choices - unfortunately, I added two more to the list! It is both unfortunate and a blessing!! Is that possible? I feel blessed that there are so many houses that would fit our needs, but it is very hard to decide.

Those of you who visited us in Texas understand that we are leaving a gorgeous house with a wonderful floorplan - a newer home with many upgrades. Well, our price range here dropped about $40,000 from the house we just sold, so we are not looking for a house that is newer & gorgeous - nope, we are deciding which 1970's house will work best for us! ha, ha Each house has something very good to offer and a thing or two that can be overcome with a little elbow grease and/or money. It will be interesting to see what features win out over others. Without disclosing our future address & location to any unknown readers, here are the top 5 (from least expensive to most):
  1. 1977 bi-level, 2090 sq. ft., 3 bed/2 bath, yard: 100x120 grassy - nice screened in porch, needs some updating in bathrooms, overall good condition, quiet no-outlet neighborhood with rolling hills
  2. 1968 two story, 1890 sq. ft, 3 bed/2 bath, yard: .33 acres grassy w/basketball court - immaculate, small but lots of storage space, move-in condition with nice upgrades, spacious quiet neighborhood (house next door is rundown)
  3. 1972 1 1/2 story, 2300 sq. ft. (1400 sq. ft. unfinished basement), 4 bed/1.5 bath, yard: 1.14 acres (1/2 grass, 1/2 woods) - very large, needs a LOT of updating and work, yard is very appealing, house has good layout and good potential, but needs help, quiet no outlet neighborhood with lots of boys
  4. 2003 2 story, 2568 sq. ft., 4 bed/2.5 bath, yard: fenced 62x135 grassy - newer, very nice, lots of big closets, boring yard & house - not much character, but move-in condition, cookie cutter neighborhood with lots of young families
  5. 1972 quad-level, 2220 sq. ft., 4 bed/2.5 bath, yard: 1/2 acre landscaped, backs up to woods - funky 70's decor, but custom home quality workmanship, yard needs TLC, floorplan is great, wooded neighborhood with hills

Place your vote! :) Any comments or thoughts that would help us make a decision? I know it's hard to imagine the houses without seeing them, but any opinions voiced will be considered!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big Puppies!

The puppies are settling into a new life & are enjoying their large cage. When we first brought them home, they both curled up in a tiny portion of this huge cage. Thank God we were able to transport the cage on top of the car (under the cartop carrier), because they have outgrown sharing half of the cage. The large cage comes in handy when they aren't getting along or after Max's surgery when he needed peace & quiet.
Max (left) & Lucky (right)

Me with Lucky - two girls in a house full of boys

Where we took Max for his surgery - they are so busy that they cannot get Lucky scheduled until the end of August. Good thing we were able to get Max in right away!

The puppies have grown from 5 pounds each to 22 pounds (Max) and 19 pounds (Lucky)! I'm always amazed at how fast some things grow - kids & puppies!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I have been fed up with having really long hair - it's way too hot & it needed to be cut anyway... so here's the new "do"!


Quote from a mom of 3 boys

Do you ever find yourself saying things out loud that you never imagined you would ever, ever, EVER be saying? Things like what I said last night as we were clearing the dishes from the dinner table...

"It's not a fart stain if there are chunks!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Final remote update...

Okay - here's the deal. We have an offer on our house. We are waiting for the relocation company to sign the paperwork to make it "official", but the buyers are pre-approved and all paperwork is in order. We have begun househunting here in Indiana and have one good prospect so far. We are going to look at a lot more houses before making an offer, but it looks like a good possibility. We finally broke down & purchased a laptop - YIPPEE!! We both had laptops for work, but had to return them before we left Texas - our PC fell out of the back of the Rondo during our trip (when we were stopped) and the front cracked open, so we're hoping to recover all info from the hard drive but aren't sure of the condition of the rest of the CPU, because we didn't have a monitor to plug into it (ours was a dinosaur & we didn't have room to pack it). A new laptop only cost $400 more than a new monitor, so we went for it! In light of our difficulties getting to the library or apartment office when they are open (mostly during business hours only), we are having internet hooked up in our temporary apartment tomorrow! Yippee! So, starting tomorrow, I should be able to blog WITH PHOTOS again. :) Until then...

Friday, July 18, 2008


We have an offer on our house & will be closing at the end of August!!!!!!!

(I would elaborate, but I think this news deserves a post of it's very own!!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Computer Issues...

Well, I can honestly tell you that the most difficult thing about the move so far is not having my own computer access!! I'm at the library right now & have a timer ticking down my "allowed" time on the internet. ha, ha We are doing well - even better now. The apartment office sent someone to clean my carpets today, so it's feeling much more clean & like home. I guess part of feeling like home to me is cleanliness - Tommie thinks I'm a clean freak, but that's okay!! I miss my friends & am having trouble checking everyone's blogs because unless you comment & have an open profile, or I have your blog address memorized, I'm out of luck. I had a huge section in my favorites for my daily blog checks and I don't have access to that right now. So, keep commenting... (no, this isn't just a way to get people to comment either!) :)

I don't have a lot of updating to do. They boys & I are swimming, exploring our area and playing with the puppies. There's not a whole lot to do right now. Today, we took a tour of our local YMCA. We would get a $20 per month discount on a family membership because of the company Tommie works for - yippee! We'll have to see if it fits into the budget.

Anyway... time is ticking... We miss everyone already! I'm looking forward to meeting a friend...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Apartment

Well, the good news about temporary housing is that it's just temporary. We're settling in - we've only got one car load + one cartop carrier load to put away, so we've got plenty of closet space! The apartment is fine - small & previously smoked in, but it will serve our family well until we are able to secure a new house! The boys are LOVING the pool and the puppies are LOVING the attention because we are all home every day. I'll update more later... borrowed time on the community computer...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Officially unemployed & LOVING IT

Today at 11:45 a.m., I drove away from my job. I had just turned in my keys, my laptop and the remaining paperwork that someone else will have to follow up on now. I have loved my job at our church, and while I am sad to leave, I am grateful for the 2nd opportunity I have to be a stay-at-home mom. I laugh when I hear the term "stay-at-home" mom. When I was a SAHM before, I rarely stayed at home. I would imagine it will be the same this time around. I am not one to sit still for very long. Here are some plans I have for the next couple of months:

* Resume couponing - grocery game & more
* Go swimming with the boys (A LOT)
* Return to my Flylady ( habits
* Manage my home with love & organization
* Eventually... get a part-time job or start my business to stay busy while the kids are in school
* Attend a Bible Study
* ... oh yeah - settle into our new home (when we get one) by unpacking & decorating & organizing

I'm thrilled to return to my career of choice - professional motherhood. Thank you, Tommie, for working so hard to provide for our family so that I can provide a place of refuge and love for our family. I love your hard work & dedication to your career that allows me to have any career I choose. You are an amazing husband & father. I love you!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Drift & our Moving Log

Because we are moving to Indiana, I've been spending a lot of time contemplating friendships. Friendships are fluid. I want them to be cemented & permanent, but they are fluid. Some friends come & go easily - others stay forever. But, all relationships have times of closeness and times of not-so-closeness. Someone once e-mailed me a poem about friends. It talked about being friends for a Reason, friends for a Season and Forever friends. It has stuck with me for years. I'll try to find it & post it sometime.

This is our fourth "major" move. We have been married 10.5 years and have lived in 8 different apartments or houses. You could say we have moved a lot. In fact, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on moving. There is a HUGE difference between simply "moving" and a "major move".

To me, a "major" move is when you have to change churches, schools, doctors and more. A "regular" move is when you move within your comfort zone and you are simply sleeping in a different place. (There is no "simple" in moving, but you know what I mean!) Unfortunately, with a "major" move, the vast majority of your friendships change also. I resist change. Probably because I have moved so many times - duh! I want everyone to be my Forever friend. I want every friendship to stay the same. There's not a conscious effort to "end" a friendship - it just happens. People drift apart. Lives change. We no longer see each other at a weekly gathering or drive past each others houses. Drift... It's a natural thing, but I try my hardest to rebel against it. In fact, I could probably use the HATE word here (and I try really hard not to use that word). I definitely have used the word HATE many times when talking about moving.

Anyway, I digress... I have been blessed to have a lot of friendships in Texas and though I know that some friendships will drift, I also know that many will not. I am blessed to have called so many people friend. In fact, I've contemplated having an entire blog devoted to the people that God has brought into my life and the impact they have had on me. I'll let you know if I start that blog someday. It may look something like this sweet post from my friend Jenny. (Thanks, Jenny! I hope that my friendship with you doesn't drift...)

While we're walking down memory lane with all of this moving business, let's review the places I've lived (red capital M indicates Major Move - remember, major move means changing our church/school/doctor/friends/learning a new area/etc.):
  • Auburn, Nebraska (7 years, 2 months)
  • Decatur, Illinois (10 years, 9 months) M
  • Macomb, Illinois (3 1/2 years, minus summers - college) M
  • Potosi, Missouri (summer job - 2 summers)
  • Amboy, Illinois (summer internship) M

- marriage to Tommie -

  • Beardstown, Illinois (2 1/2 months)
  • Pontiac, Illinois (7 months) M
  • Gridley, Illinois (2+ years)
  • Bloomington, Illinois (7 months)
  • Peoria, Illinois - house #1 (1 year, 11 months) M
  • Lewisville, Texas - apartment #1 (7 months) M
  • Lewisville, Texas - apartment #2 (2 years, 2 months)
  • Lewisville, Texas - house #2 (2 years, 4 months)
  • and now... Evansville, Indiana - temporary housing M
Wow. This is what I hope & pray the next entry in my list will read:
  • Newburgh, Indiana - house #3 (20+ years and counting...)

[Side note: Just in case anyone is curious - the boys & I arrived in Texas on July 7, 2003 and we are leaving on July 12, 2008. Five years and five days later. And, the longest Tommie & I have ever lived in the same town - by far!]

I'm so grateful for our time in Texas and so grateful for friendships, but that is a post for another day (or a whole other blog). I'm exhausted just remember our moves... I'm going to bed.


Yesterday evening, the boys & I were jamming to some worship music in the car and Truman says to me:

"Mommy, you sing pretty!"

My first thought was: Awwww... that's so nice of him. Isn't it wonderful to receive compliments? And, my, how my little boy has a sweet spirit and loves his mama.

Honestly, my second thought was: OH NO! My poor little Truman has absolutely NO ear for music! I guess he won't be a musician of any sort when he grows up.

I realized what I was thinking & had to laugh out loud. I am certainly not a great singer - in fact, when I was young, I would sit next to this middle aged lady in church occasionally and cringe at the awful sounds coming out of her mouth during worship (the "make a joyful noise" verse could be applied here - but I'm not even sure God thought it was a good sound). I literally used to pray every day that God would allow me to have a singing voice just good enough that when people sat next to me at church they wouldn't wish they had sat somewhere else. Well... God answered my prayer - and with not a bit more than I asked, I'm afraid! To my knowledge, people don't avoid sitting by me in church due to horrible singing, but I certainly haven't been asked to use a microphone while singing either!

Lord - I pray that Truman would have musical talents & abilities when he's older and would STILL think that his Mommy's voice isn't horrible! (I believe God still performs miracles...)

[ps. As I re-read this post, I realized that people might think the "middle aged lady" is my mom (since I sat by her in church almost every Sunday) - but it is NOT you, Mom! My mother has a wonderful voice and is also a talented pianist.]

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Clean Puppies!

One of the hardest things about having our house on the market (besides keeping it clean 24/7) is keeping the puppies at friends' houses. We have gotten to visit them a couple of times, but it's not easy to continue intruding on a family by bringing 3 boys over to play with 2 puppies. We are ever grateful for those who are willing to watch them for us! It has been a huge blessing & a challenge at the same time.

This week, I picked up the puppies and took them to the local vet for their final puppy shots. We have loved our vet - Dr. Parker!
The next day, I picked them up and took them to PetSmart for baths & nail clippings. They got fun red, white & blue bandanas and SMELLED SO YUMMY!!

The kids really miss the puppies & cannot wait for them to return home. I recently purchased a leash splitter, so we don't all get tangled up when two puppies on two leashes decide to go two different directions. It makes walking them SO much easier. Aren't they cute?

4th of July Celebration

This year, we decided to go to the fireworks in a nearby town. One of the things I have always enjoyed about watching fireworks in a large metro area is that you can usually see multiple fireworks at the same time. From our former vantage point, we could see approximately 10 sets of fireworks displays. This year, we could see six - and when our fireworks ended, we could even hear the next closest display.

The event itself was a lot of fun. The town offered free entertainment before the fireworks - a local symphony played, bouncehouses, face painting and more. The fireworks display itself was a let down, because strong winds continued to shower the crowd with debris (some of it still burning). After pausing & restarting the display twice, they finally ended it early. It was still wonderful to get out of the house with 3 kids & do something FUN!
I guess the boys decided they were more loyal to Texas, instead of the U.S. - they dressed themselves in "Texas orange" for the 4th of July...
Franklin coming out of the bouncehouse maze...
We went with our friends - the Hair family...
We all got tattoos - I got one too, but I cannot show you where (just kidding!!)...
The fireworks in our town (top) and a neighboring town (bottom)...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy Birthday, America!

This 4th of July, I'm most grateful for our freedom to worship God in public. I love it that I can blast worship music from my car stereo and sing out loud. I'm glad that we can meet together at church and openly proclaim that Jesus is Lord. It thrills my heart that we can rent a HUGE tent and put it outside of our church to host crafts for VBS. I'm grateful for a paycheck for "working" serving God.

Whenever I'm at the airport and every other person I pass is in fatigues, it hits home how grateful I am to the men & women who serve the United States in the military - guaranteeing my freedom. Especially my freedom to worship the God who sent his Son to die... for me. Wow.