Sunday, June 28, 2009

What a fun weekend!!!

So we had a fantastically fun time this weekend, trying out letterboxing. We only found 1 of the 5 we tried for, but we sure did have a grand time and definitely plan to make this a regular activity!
Lately, we've been having some stirrings deep inside on church matters, so we've been taking our attendance a little lightly! So today, we decided to go to the zoo instead (yes, we brought along our saw to cut off our arm and leg!) We ended up joining again since it was cheaper in the long run. We had a great time, especially watching Sophia freak out because she loves animals so much. But I was shocked at how much prices have raised! I knew the admission cost had gone up, but even the train has skyrocketed! Last time we rode it, about 3 years ago, it was $2.25 for members to ride. Check out what we spent today...
This is per multiply this by 5!

These are the same receipt, I just zoomed in for your viewing pleasure!

This was for 2 adult meals which we shared with the kids. We also bought them two elephant ears at the price of $4 each!
So, while we are glad that we bought the membership, we won't ever be riding that train again unless we ride MAX since you get a free train ride then! And we will ALWAYS bring our own food (which normally we do) and we will totally go back to the zoo just to see Sophia flipping out over all the animals!
But a message to the Oregon Zoo....I know times are tough, but please don't make the zoo accessible only to the upper class! We spent money there today that we should have spent in more responsible ways, but lots of people can't afford your prices to even get in, let alone ride the train. And eating there is just a big anyway, that's my soap box!
But we sure did have a fantastic weekend!!! :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trying something new

So today, we are going to try something new to our family....letterboxing! From what I can understand, it's a lot like treasure hunting. If you go to, there's a whole bunch of information on how to do it and why and where and all that! We're super excited and hope that we don't get lost and that we find the treasure!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A little bit of piss and vinegar to top off this week...

In honor of Ben and Madeleine's fantastic piano recital today, I thought it might be beneficial to post some etiquette rules. Not that any of the people who need to know these would be reading my blog, but just in they are. And since you'll most likely wonder....yes, I'm a bit frustrated. Enough so that I think next year, we might just host our own recital for our kids in lieu of the school recital.

1. A music recital is a time for if you are performing, don't wear jeans, a tank top and tennis shoes. It just looks cavalier and is so disprespectful to yourself and your audience, as well as your teacher. Of 12 kids performing, 4 dressed nice. Two of them were mine.

2. When you introduce yourself and your music, please say your first and LAST name. Also, please look at the audience and not at the ceiling, floor or turn sideways to introduce yourself. Oh, and speak up and don't slouch. The youngest kid performing was a victim of the broken microphone and he just spoke louder and made eye contact, with his sister following and doing the same. Oh yeah, they were CYT kids and happened to be MINE!!!

3. When you are not performing, don't whisper during other's performances. Especially don't continue to do it when the mother of the performing child gives you the evil eye. And don't expect respect and attention when it's your turn to play, because that mother may just be at the end of her polite rope and decide to crinkle her program a whole bunch and smack her gum loudly while you're playing. Just sayin'.

4. If you have a camera, please refrain from dropping it. It makes a loud noise and startles the pianists. If you're not using it, you could use the bag it came in; a purse; set it on the floor or even the chair next to you. And don't stuff it and the music your kid is done with into a plastic bag, especially while other kids are playing. And then please don't let your sniffling 4 year old play with that crinkly, loud, plastic bag. Thanks.

5. If you are a pianist, and you must tape or staple your music together to lay across the piano...please don't staple them together face to face like a book and still expect them to lay flat on the piano. Also, don't fold them in half or vertically and still expect them to lay flat on the piano. Oh, and please, when finished with said music, please don't throw it on the floor under your just looks sloppy.

6. We know that recitals can be boring...but really, is 45 minutes too long to sit quietly without playing a video game that makes noise?

7. If you are the lone guitar player in a group of piano players, please have your electric guitar unzipped and plugged into your amp when you come up. Ten minutes is too long for the audience to watch you set up and tune up and amp up, only to have you play 3 chords and a few notes that sound like something akin to a dying cat and a Motley Crue CD combined, and then stop and say you don't know your piece and you really wish you brought your music. Oh, and you're not a rock star yet, so don't dress like one!

8. If you say you're going to be there and you're in the program, perhaps you should show up. Or at least call your teacher.

9. If you are a parent and you want to video tape or take pictures, please do so from the side or back of the room, or from your seat. Please don't grapple with the battery and argue with your wife from the FRONT of the room next to your child while that child is playing. If you need a closer view, that is what ZOOM is for on the camera!

10. Lastly, maybe your child should actually practice prior to a recital. Because when your kid gets up there and doesn't do so well, but my kid gets up there and does fantastic....and when you come up to me and say she must be gifted to be able to play like that so young...I'm going to tell you the truth. I'm going to say yes she's been blessed with a gift, but please don't discount the 30-60 minutes a day she practices and the HOURS she put into her recital pieces. I'm going to say that maybe we should all work hard for something we love and not expect things to be handed to us. I'm going to point out my other child who, while not as advanced and gifted in the same way as his sister, still did great because he PRACTICED!!!

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So I've been thinking a lot lately about our house situation. I've had a perspective change a little and the past week I had a lot of time to wallow and think. This is because I've had a sinus infection since Friday night and was in bed most of the day Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The only thing that got me out of bed Monday was a phone call from my mom-in-law, telling me that my 3 week post-partum sis-in-law was on her way to the hospital. That began a 3 day journey for me, including 2 nights at the hospital playing baby nanny while my sis-in-law had her gallbladder taken out! So, I've had lots of time to think on life and death (since I was feeling like death!); to laugh and worry; and to see a lot of other hurting people.

So here's my thoughts from a new perspective. Please share with me if you think I'm crazy or if you have better suggestions or if you like Cookie Crisp, because lately I'm addicted.

Lots of prayer has revealed to me some things. First of all, our first home was quit deeded to us and then we refinanced. We purchased it for a sinfully low price and it was all guided along for us with lots of help and not a lot of knowledge on our part. Prior to that, we'd rented the house from my parents. When things went wrong in that house, we called my parents (even when we owned it). Changing and selling that house, and then moving across town from where I'd lived almost my entire life, was an act of cutting the apron strings for me. In a lot of ways, the past year living in this house we have now has felt like my college years, when I stretch my wings and learn how to fly on my own (at the young age of 34)!
So here we sit in this house, losing it; losing the sacrifice my mom made for us; losing the 401k money we put into it; losing the tax breaks...and I am okay. When we look at our house now, we still see it as something done for us by another person. If we get another house again, it'll be something done for us by God. So as I've looked at this journey we've been on, I see good coming out of it.
Our current plan is to continue trying for the modification and looking into refinancing, but we also are going to put it on the market and try for a short sale. I have nothing to hide here...we bought the home for $242k (and it was supposedly worth $248k). We owe $230k and one estimate we've gotten on it's current value is $214k! So we're upside down....and that took us by surprise.
Anyway, all this is to say that while I am immensely stressed by the ins and outs of the situation, I am even more at peace with the possibility of losing our home because I see some purpose in the whole situation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Okay, so when I started this blog, my plan was to write on a regular basis and have a fancy background and become like a favorite blogger of mine, Pioneer Woman. Maybe not as famous as her, but along the same lines as her! However, it has become evident to me that I do not have the ability to do everything that I already need to do, let alone keep up a blog of that magnitude. I also didn't intend on only writing when life is bad. So I failed on both points. But, I will continue to press on in hopes that I can someday make this more of what I'd like it to be!
So, a quick update and prayer request. I'll be brutally honest. We are losing our home and are 4 months behind on payments. We are working with a HUD counselor, and while I have hope that he knows what he's doing, I am losing hope that he will actually help us. Everytime I call him, it's like starting over--this is who I am, this is why I'm calling, this is what you told me to do and why didn't you call us back--that sort of thing. We're hoping that he will help a loan modification go through with our mortgage company, although we've been preliminarily denied for now. We're also trying to see if we qualify through Obama's plan, but we've not got a lot of hope there. Today, I contacted our realtors to see what the likelihood of a short sale or even regular sale would be, and I'm planning on contacting a mortgage person tomorrow about refinancing. I also began looking at apartments online today, and pondering what the good would be in the situation if we do lose our home.
All this, and our cars are about to die.
But really, we're not sick. Our marriage isn't falling to pieces, although it could be better..but still, we're good. Our other bills seem to be manageable, for now. I'm still in school and we're still homeschooling and the kids are still able to do CYT, take piano and play some sports (all courtesy of Grandma Faye). We still have an adorable new nephew/cousin and family that loves us. And honestly, we've seen a lot of postives in not having this particular home anymore. We also figured out that we would be in this situation even if we were still in our other home that we sold last year. So the only main regret we have is that we used $10000 of Teddy's 401k to get this home and we would basically be losing it if we lose the home.
So, that is what has been going on. You may be wondering why we're in this situation. Did Teddy lose his job? No. But back in November his work slowed down for 3-4 months and we were already living paycheck to paycheck. So, really, that situation combined with poor money management skills and debt have finally come to a head. And, finally, our house payment was 52% of our monthly income at the time of purchase one year ago...when work slowed down, it became like 65%. So--in our desperation of our previous house situation--we did bite off more than we can chew. There's some more to that situation and not all of the blame is ours, but we are taking responsibility for it overall. Which stinks to learn a lesson this hard.
Hopefully, whatever happens, we will grow up from this and won't make the same mistakes again. In light of what hurts other people are facing today, I am grateful for our situation. And what could be a bigger adventure than apartment living, right? :)