This disaster I call buying a house

I just have to share with you my journey through this-mostly because I want one of you to please comment and tell me that you had such a miserable experience as well, so I don’t feel like the universe is stacked against me and everything happens to me.

Several months ago, back in February, when we found out Little Mister would be joining us, we decided it was past time to upgrade to a larger house. When my husband and I got together, he already owned the current house we live in- it was perfect for what he needed at the time, but the moment I moved in with 3 kids, it immediately became too small. We now have 5 children with another on the way. Our house is 2 bedrooms and a bonus bedroom in the attic- which you have to walk through the master bedroom to get to. Not to mention, the second bedroom is barely big enough for an office/ guest room. At one point, before Ms. Mae joined us, we had all 4 girls in the one room in bunk beds, and the room barely fit one set of bunk beds and a dresser. The attic was a play room, and we had the master bedroom. Our current set up is Ms. Mae, Hubs, and I share the attic (which means stairs between my 9 month pregnant body and the bathroom every night), and all 4 older girls share the master. They have two sets of bunk beds, an entertainment center, and their toys are stored in the closet. The second bedroom has been converted to one big walk in closet / dressing room for all 7 of us- it is working, but definitely not comfortable. Everything is crowded and cluttered, and with another babe on the way- it just wasn’t going to work.

So back to this spring- after we found out Little Mister was one the way, we started going through the process of finding a lender and prequalifying so we knew where we stand- and that’s when the fun begins! After finding a lender, the house hunting began. I started off excited and optimistic and having fun! Every house you can imagine what you would do with it, where everything would go, whose room it would be, what furniture you would need!

So we found the perfect house- I mean perfect. This house was not only under budget, it was beautiful and old, and had all the classic tile and hardwood and wood accents of a house built over 100 years ago *swoon*. Plus, it had 8 bedrooms- that’s right, there was enough room for the kids each to have their own, a play room, a study room, everything. There was even a sunroom where I could put book shelves and my chair and yarn for reading and crocheting. Mama was in 7th heaven. We immediately put an offer in- and after waiting over a week, they turned it down. No bargaining, no negotiation, nothing- they turned down our loan type. They would not accept anything but a conventional (which meant we’d have to come up with an additional $15,000 for a down payment) or cash offer. As you can imagine I was devastated.

We looked online for a while but were very discouraged. The size house we need for a family of 8 just wasn’t in our price range. Then, by some miracle, our realtor found the perfect house- it wasn’t listed online yet because the seller was in the middle of switching agencies. This house seemed to fall into our laps, and be the “sign” that we needed. We even had our preapproval raised so could put an offer in on this house. 5 bedrooms, with an in-law suite we would convert into a master bedroom (and again a sitting room for my reading and crocheting!) Yard large enough for the kids to play in, separate laundry on the top floor so they could do their own! Oh- did I mention the hot tub?!

Another offer nightmare. We offered what our realtor suggested was fair, and after a week (we gave them 48 hours to respond) of both their agent and them ignoring our inquiries they just said no. After mulling it over a couple weeks, Hubs and I said this was the house we really liked, and offered more. Same thing- no communication for over their deadline to answer and again said no (no counteroffer or negotiation- just no). We decided to offer one more time- with the contingencies of cleaning the carpet and installing a few hand rails (the hand rails would be required by our lender- we previously were going to just install them ourselves), and not only did they take forever to answer- they were straight RUDE. Stating they weren’t running a charity here. Seriously?! I was so upset we just walked and gave them the finger.

But at this point it was June. And I am starting to doubt we will be able to make it into a house before Little Mister made his debut- after which I will be taking an unpaid maternity leave- difficult time to get a lender to approve a loan- when you have no income. Did I mention we have no where to put him if he came before?!

So I am getting hormonal and emotional- when we agree to look at 3 more houses- I told Hubs if we didn’t find it we were going to have to just stop because we wouldn’t have time to close before LM came. One of the houses only had a single picture online but we liked the neighborhood so we agreed to see it. And the heavens opened and angels sang. We saw the outside and the living areas and I said – oh man I hope it has enough bedrooms- but then there were only 3. I said “I don’t care, I like it enough to sleep on the deck.” Then we opened the basement and I swear I heard “ahhhhhhhh” (in my angel voice)- full finished basement with its own bathroom and garage access- perfect for a master bedroom! This was it!! We finally found something! Now just to rush and get an offer in before this baby comes.

The seller took a week and a half to respond- I guess he works for the railroad and the wife was then out of town for a week. But everything worked out and we had an accepted offer! Our prayers have been answered! Now we just need to get the bank stuff done and hope that Little Mister doesn’t come early because our proposed closing date is less than 2 weeks before his due date.

We thought that all the nightmare part was over and it was just a waiting game- NOPE. One problem after another with the lender. Problems with paperwork- ok fixed that. Then my VA certificate of eligibility came back that I’m not eligible- so now I’m fighting trying to figure that out. Meanwhile, our loan officer called yesterday and said the appraisal was done, but they need an entire wall of the basement to be re-sheet rocked with fire retardant sheetrock (to resist fire for 2 hours!), as well as both garage stall ceilings need to be done- as well as other minor repairs (hand rails, safety installed on automatic garage doors)- and to top it all off- we’re currently not eligible because Hubs is (falsely) coming up of the federal loan default list. Will it ever end?? Am I not meant to get into a house?? Our closing date is next week, and Little Mister is due the 16th– someone please rescue me?!?!

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The Pregnancy Metamorphosis- Becoming a Butterfly

So I don’t know if it is the pregnancy hormones, or just being a mom, or all the negative stuff I have seen lately, but I was thinking about this on the drive to work today.

Today is Thing 1 and Thing 2’s birthday- they turn 9. So bittersweet- their last year in single digits! This mama is getting old.

I was thinking about how much they changed my life with the surprise of having them- my ex -husband and I stream lined our marriage (young, dumb, and deploying)- we went from single to married in less than 3 months- and less than 3 weeks after our first wedding anniversary we became a family of four. So much changed then. I went from a girl (I was only 18 when we got married and I became pregnant just months later) to a mother in a matter of a year (though back then I am sure I would’ve told you I was plenty the adult- and I was, but not the adult I am now, ten years later).

That’s when I started to think about it- pregnancy is like a cocoon- a metamorphosis, where the caterpillar becomes a butterfly- only, when they baby emerges you are suddenly a mother. The twins were that metamorphosis for me, and I bloomed into someone I never knew I could be.

I am now the mother of 5, with a 6th on the way! I never thought I would be that person, but I look at each one of my children and I know that each one of them changed me a bit in their own way, and I would never be the same person without them.

So happy 9th birthday to my beautiful twins! Next year is a big one!

All those other mamas out there- what are your thoughts?

Not Your Grandma’s Orzo Fruit Salad-Tropical

Ok, so the name is a shameless plug for my crochet, but this is my take on the classic orzo fruit salad.

When I was pregnant with my middle daughter, the job I had did a lot of potlucks. One of the older women there always brought in this orzo pasta fruit salad that I LOVED. Now I don’t like pineapple (I just cannot deal with the grainy/ stringy texture) so I never ate that. She always added extra mandarin oranges for me! With Little Mister on the way- I was really craving it, so I looked up the recipe and tweaked it a bit, using the original for inspiration. Here’s what I did:

 

Ingredients:

1 16 oz package of orzo pasta

2 15 oz cans mandarin oranges- drained and juice reserved

1 15 oz can of diced pears- drained and juice reserved

1 32 oz bottle of L&A Pineapple coconut juice (24 oz used)

¾ cup white sugar

2 large eggs

3 tbs all-purpose flour

1 16 oz container whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)

 

Directions:

Bring pot of water to a boil- add a dash of salt and orzo. Cook, stirring occasional until pasta is cooked through but firm to the bite (al-dente); about 11 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl (like really large, this took my biggest mixing bowl by the end!)

Add drained fruit to the pasta and toss.

In sauce pan, combine the juice reserved from your fruit, as well as 24 oz (2/3) of the pineapple coconut juice. Add in sugar, eggs, and flour. Cook over low heat, stirring often until the sauce is thickened; about 5-7 minutes (tip, beat eggs to scramble before adding to the pan, and mix well when adding the flour- if this is not done and you do not adequately stir, you will end up with clumps in your final sauce, as well as portions of “scrambled eggs” instead of a custard.

Remove sauce from heat and cool, about 30 minutes.

Pour cooled sauce over orzo and fruit mixture, and toss to coat. I find that this is easier to do in smaller quantities, adding about ¼ of the sauce at a time, mixing and tossing, and adding more sauce.

Refrigerate until flavors blend- about 8 hours or overnight.

Before serving, fold the whipped topping into the orzo mixture (again, I find this is easier to do in batches, about 1/8-1/4 of the whipped topping at a time, carefully folding it in so you do not lose the fluffiness.

 

ENJOY!

 

Try it? Let me know what you think!

 

Fake friends- Let’s talk about it

So, I have been away from the blog a little longer than I had intended-but today I am 36 weeks pregnant with Little Mister, and things have been hectic and I have been emotional and busy! A couple weeks ago we planned a barbeque for the Fourth of July- we had ours on Sunday, as hubby and I both had a 4 day weekend that week. We bought enough food for all the friends that we invited- 18 people total plus kids! We were so excited, prepped burgers on Saturday so they had a chance to sit overnight, and everything. Sunday morning, we got a new patio set (something we are hoping to move to the new house- which that process is also currently a disaster) so we had more seating and everything. THEN… NO ONE SHOWED UP. I am not even exaggerating. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law are the only people who came to this barbeque.

Now, not only did that bother me, but one friend in particular I am over their excuses. I have literally not seen these people in months because everything must be on THEIR terms and nothing can be done otherwise. Their (husband and wife team with children) excuse was- well we would have to bring our own food for the boys because they aren’t eating hot dogs or mac and cheese right now. Mind you, we didn’t ask them to bring anything to contribute to the party itself, so the only thing they would have brought is for their own children to eat. Am I the only mother who thinks this should be expected? If I take my children somewhere and I know they won’t eat what is being served, I make other accommodations. This isn’t the hosts’ responsibility, it is mine as a parent.

But wait! It gets better. They never actually tell us they are not coming, just that they will have to see, and then never come. That night though, she posts pictures on Facebook of them out with other friends from out of town- indicating they never really planned to come anyhow- these other friends came from 3 hours away- this was obviously pre-planned. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. One- I am not a jealous friend. If you have plans with someone else, just tell me. I’m not going to be mad, but I also won’t count you when I buy food for my own event! Two, if you come up with an excuse at least pick a not lame one (like your kids won’t eat hot dogs and mac and cheese when I happen to know they love it!). Three, if you’re going to lie, at least don’t tell on yourself. Social media has made it to where we can share every thought we ever have at the exact moment we think it (thank you twitter!), that doesn’t mean we should. Sadly, this isn’t the first time this “friend” has done this.

The icing on the cake? Hubby and I woke up Tuesday morning to a group text of “hey were having an impromptu barbeque today- gonna have burgers and dogs! You should come out” UMMMM WTF?

Also on fake friends and social media- how many of you have those friends on (insert favorite social media outlet here-mine happens to be Facebook) whom you read their posts and think “you do know we know you in real life right?” You know- those perfect people who have the perfect relationship, and the perfect children and just the perfect life? “Oh Bob brought me home flowers for no reason today! He’s really something special and a keeper!” captions a picture of $3 Walmart bouquet- but you think “orrrr he brought them home because you went snooping through his phone over the weekend and found he was texting his ex gf and confronted him about it like you were just texting me about last night.” Or “they are just my pride and joy! Love how close they are!” captions the two ice-cream-covered faces with their arms around each other’s shoulder, the sister with a cute bob cut because the brother actually just cut off her pony tail last week and you had to rush her to the salon. Please people, you’re not fooling anyone.

Brownie Batter Overnight Oats

I adapted my own recipe for these after reading several others. These are DELICIOUS in my opinion, and also filling enough to get you through the day! Also great for breastfeeding mamas as oats are a galactogogue– and you can easily add brewers yeast (I suggest the non bitter) and the chocolate covers the taste. With the tons of variations you can make to this single recipe- you could have a different oat for breakfast every day and it only takes minutes to mix together!

I toss all these ingredients into a mason jar and then put in the fridge overnight- grab it on my way out the door in the morning and eat at my desk! I have also premade the dry ingredients in the mason jars for several days worth of oats, making it even easier to just pour in the milk the night before.

Ingredients:

1 cup old fashioned oats

3 tbs mini semi sweet chocolate chips

1 tbs chia seeds

1 tbs flax seed for flax seed meal

Once all other ingredients are added I shake the jar to mix, and fill to the top with chocolate almond milk (this approx. ½- ¾ a cup depending on how many dry ingredients you have added.

I put the above ingredients in all of my oats- the following ingredients are optional and variations

2 tbs peanut butter powder (or you can use peanut butter morsels- I do not suggest adding actual peanut butter as it doesn’t incorporate well)

¼ cup protein powder (or- as I am trying to add protein but not necessarily lose weight, I add ½ a bottle of ensure or pediasure- chocolate- I add this before the almond milk)

Chopped nuts- walnuts and almonds are an excellent addition

Another variation I enjoy Is instead of the almond milk- I add my favorite iced coffee mix

silky, crunch, scrunchy-what?!

Crunchy, Silky, Scrunchy….

I don’t think I can really define myself in one category- and I don’t know why it has become such a big deal recently. I guess if I had to choose one I would be scrunchy. I have gradually become more crunchy over the years- 9 years ago when I had the twins I didn’t even consider breast feeding, they were on formula, gerber baby food, disposable diapers. With Cali-land last year- we made a full year of breast feeding (more on that to come in future blogs), I pureed my own baby food (thank you baby bullet!), coslept, and even purchased some cloth diapers (we never used them though, Cali-land was always so small they never seemed to fit her right- and lets be honest I bought them more because they were cute and cost effective than really I cared about the environmental hazards of disposables- I just liked the idea of them more than the reality). We breast fed because I wanted that bond with her and it was more convenience than anything else!

Mothers today put entirely too much pressure on one another, and are too judgmental of one another. If the baby is fed, happy, and being cared for- why does it matter to you HOW they are being cared for? We, as a community of mothers (let’s be honest! That’s the thing I have most in common with other human beings at this point- the fact that we love these little monsters we created and spend 99.9% of our time keeping them alive!), we need to start supporting and uplifting one another, rather than judging and stereotyping. The truth is- you can look up a single parenting type and have mixed reviews from “experts” on all of it. My mother-in-law fought me tooth-and-nail with the cosleeping and how “dangerous” it was- my answer to her was “I have coslept with four other children and have yet to suffocate one.” Guess what? Cali-land survived her first year cosleeping just fine! We are currently trying to get her in the crib more now (still in our room) with her baby brother on the way, but those awesome morning snuggle moments are still the highlight of my days.

Terms such as crunch, silky, helicopter- these terms didn’t exist in parenting until recent years. Our generation is so intent on defining and creating their own language that these types of words have popped up. So what are they?

Fellow blogger Karlyn Bishop defines them for us:

Crunchy : In layman’s terms, a crunchy mom is a mom who practices natural living. She is an advocate of natural birth, non or selective circumcision, not vaccinating, baby wearing , breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, attachment parenting, homeschooling, organic and green living, etc.

Silky: A silky mom bottle feeds part or full-time, uses disposable diapers, pro-circumcision, pro-vaccination, takes all advice from medical professionals, don’t care too much about labels and usually buys products based on convenience. Homeschooling is usually not an option. Silky moms aren’t too bothered about being green or living an organic lifestyle either.

Scrunchy is somewhere in between as defined by Karlyn as: A scrunchy mom wants their child to live in a more natural, organic environment, but can’t quite commit to all the activities and practices involved in being a crunchy mom. So they do some, but not all of it. They are in between crunchy and silky.

Tying this back to yesterday’s blog– how can we expect out children not to be bullies if we are trying to force one another into specific categories, and not just embracing one another as mothers?

Here are my thoughts on this:

FED is best- breast, bottle, organic, pureed at home, jarred- as long as the baby is healthy and happy- who cares HOW the baby is getting the nutrition?

Diapered is best- until potty training – yes disposables are “clogging up the land fill” but ya know what else isn’t good for the environment? That 8 passenger SUV you have to drive to carry all your hippy kids. And Fluff butts (cloth diapered butts) are the cutest thing in the world- so if you can deal with scraping off poop go for it! If you are scrunchie but want the cute fluff look, check out best bottom diapers– they are used with liners that you can get either reusable or disposable.

Cosleeping comes with risks-yes you MAY just roll over on the baby (although I am very conscious of a baby in my bed so I don’t know how anyone does) or also scary- you may have a problem transitioning them out of your bed! Although I don’t know any kids whose parents had to accompany them to college to breastfeed or cosleep so you’re probably ok. Putting the baby down in a crib or bassinet is also ok! As long as the baby is healthy and sleeping, who cares?!

Baby wearing- honestly, I have nothing bad to say about baby wearing! Do it intelligently (ie don’t fry bacon with your newborn strapped to your chest) but man, when you have a cranky baby, having two hands to still be productive while snuggling them close? What’s not to love? I’m trying to convince the hubby daddy’s baby wear too!

I am an avid provaccinator- but that’s another whole blog in itself.

 

So what do you think? Do you fall into a “mom category”? Do you think these should even be such a thing?

Bullying: Are we raising softees or do others need to RAISE their children

Bullying: Are we raising softees or do others need to RAISE their children

Our community was recently rocked by the loss of not one, but two innocent lives. When I say innocent, I mean these souls were nothing more than children, a young girl of only 15 and a young boy of only 12. Even more senseless is these two adolescences took their own lives after feeling they had no other option due to bullying- and all in the span of a month. As a mother of almost-9-year-old twins, this scares me.

Bullying has been around as long as there has been humanity, it isn’t anything new, but that doesn’t make it right. It is my belief that tragedies like this can be stopped at home though. Parents need raise their children to embrace diversity instead of condemn it. Parents needs to raise their children to respect one another. Parents needs to understand that they are raising bullies, and often condoning such behavior.

A friend did bring up an interesting thought when the first suicide was making its way through the news- she is clear to state that she doesn’t want anyone to take offense to what is obviously her opinion, but she had seen a rise in antibullying posts. While she believed this is great, she goes on to say “can anyone remember a time where there were no bullies?… Bullies have been around long before us… They are here to stay in our schools (private, public, and Christian) and our place of employment. At the playground or at the supermarket. Even spouses and siblings bully each other. There’s no end in sight. I teach my kids not to bully and they better pray to God if I ever find out otherwise, but I also teach them to be strong. I don’t cradle my children. I’m not afraid to hurt their feelings. I pick on them, play pranks, and teach them to take a joke… I am training them to have thick skin, and to hold their own. I don’t like it if someone says something mean to them or if they start to cry because of a little jerk. But guess what? I will help them get over it and except it. Teach them to let lies and cruelness roll off their backs. We cannot control bullies, but we can control how we teach our children to deal with them.”

This raises an interesting question- do we, as parents, need to understand that we are raising our children to be weak? Weak willed, weak minded, and have so little self-esteem that they are allowing others to define them- especially those who don’t deserve to be our definers? Do we need to teach our children to cope with bullies as we cannot change the bullies ourselves?

It’s my opinion- and honestly my hope- that we need to support our children. If they come to us with such complaints, we need to validate their self-worth, be supportive, and not blow off such feelings. Shortly after the young boy- a 7th grader in our town with a population of just over 46,000, took his own life by firearm, there was a district meeting in which several families stood up to the district. This boy did not come forward to his family, but he did bring it up to several teachers, the middle school vice principal, and other school officials- and all his reports were ignored. Unfortunately, several other families had the same complaints. Their children’s calls for help were being ignored- and that is just uncalled for. I hope that if my children are ever in such a situation, they have the strength and courage, and feel they have the support, to come to me.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Are we raising softees? Or has bullying just gotten out of hand?