Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Stocking Down

This one is Matthew's (of course.) It took me several hundred hours and months of work, but, dang it, it's done! Now I only have two left. Libby's I hope to have done by Christmas, but Steve's I'm not going to even try to finish before next year. I pawned mine off on my mom. My mommy loves me, but more importantly, she loves to cross stitch.

Sigh. I'm so over cross stitch. I most definitely bit off more than I could chew with this project.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

First Days

School started this week. We had three first days of school. Monday was Joshua and Rilla. Aren't they cute? Rilla is wearing her new outfit from Aunt Cathy. Cathy, aren't the shoes totally perfect? We do a group shot in front of the tree every year. When we started this, Rilla was the cute little toddler.
This is Matt from this morning. He was so excited. He was up and dressed with his back pack on by 6:20 this morning. He came in to our room to give me a hug and tell me goodbye. cracked me up. We made him wait until 8 to take him. He wasn't a bit nervous; he just sat right down and started coloring the picture his teacher had for him.

My kids are all weird. They were all up at 6 this morning. Since our room is right by the bathroom, I didn't get much sleep from that point on. Libby did though. that girl sleeps like a rock. The girls can turn on the light and get dressed and visit all they want and Libby doesn't even stir. This will be nice in the coming weeks. Maybe I'll be able to go back to sleep after the kids leave. Probably not, but at this point I'm willing to think positively.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

Why haven't I been updating my blog? Because I'm freaking stressed. I mean that freaking literally, by the way.

A little over two weeks ago we got a check in the mail from the mortgage company. A nice check that was more than our usual payment amount. I deposited it in the bank and then didn't touch it because I knew it was a mistake or the evidence of some huge mess up on the part of the mortgage company.

Three days later we got a nasty gram from the mortgage company. Your insurance is canceled! You can't not have insurance! We will buy really expensive, really lousy insurance for you! If you have a disaster this insurance will only pay off the mortgage and not actually replace anything in your home or even rebuild the home! You are bad! You will now have to pay through the nose! bwhaaaahaaaa! OK, not the last thing but it felt like it.

This is when I started freaking. I called the insurance company. Why yes, we don't have insurance. We haven't had insurance since last freaking OCTOBER. Wanna know why we didn't have insurance? BECAUSE THE IDIOTS AT THE MORTGAGE COMPANY DIDN'T PAY IT! sorry. breathing . . . OK. anyway, yeah, they didn't pay it. not at all. They just sent us an escrow "refund" ten months later and called it good.

It was not good.

I called the mortgage company. They proceeded to LIE to me. oh, they paid! They paid in November! and then the evil insurance company kept the money and didn't send it back! gasp! It's all the insurance company's fault! Mortgage company was good they did everything right and they feed the homeless and pet cute puppies. Seeing as how I got a late notice from the county for unpaid taxes last June, I didn't believe the story. I did however make arrangements for our new insurance to be billed to our escrow account directly and the mortgage company was happy to pay for overnight shipping of the check. Wasn't that nice of them?

I called the insurance company back and the lovely agent who's represented us in some way since we got married and is as honest as can be and runs a tight ship was happy to come out and assess our property. She called us back and said if we wanted "preferred rates" we would need to fix up a few things. Simple little things, like redo the roof, cover all the bare wood, get Britney Spears to act sane, etc.

So we redid the part of the roof that was bad. I'm still tired from that. Steve rebuilt the back steps and I painted them. We did a patch job with stucco (from a spot where we had taken out a window). I ran around for a week buying crap from Home Depot and spending several hours a day working on projects on the outside of the house. I am tired.

Today insurance lady came back to write up the policy. She walked around the house and admired all my hard work. She told me the story of how the mortgage company called her when they discovered their mistake in July (even though they had been sent notification of the problem at least twice at the time of the cancelation) trying to cover their own butt by asking her to reinstate our policy without telling us it had ever been canceled. Then she told me that she couldn't give us preferred rates after all because our roof has a sag in it.

After two weeks of stress and headache and expense I don't care. I just don't care. We have insurance. Our mortgage company sucks. I'm done with the whole mess anyway.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Every Once In a While I Turn Type A

I've been wanting to organize the girls hair stuff for ages, but I finally found the right container. The ponytail holders are on the top level, barrettes on the second, and the base is saved for bulky items like hair bands and claw clips. The container is a basic two tray tackle box from Walmart, I believe the brand is FlamBeau, but it's a classic design that would be easy to find anywhere. I paid less than $8 for this one. Seeing everything all organized actually makes me want to go out and get more now.

Funny Libby calls the ponytail holders in the top "berries" and carries them around like a toy once they fall out of her hair. She's quite attached to them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Just a bit Jealous

I want to be my sister today. Today Cathy is helping Karen Burniston work a booth at a scrapbooking convention. That sounds so much more fun than my day and not just because Karen is totally funny on her blog and therefore is probably funny in person or that Cathy is getting paid to do it. Actually I think I'd like to just be there with both of them because Cathy is cool and funny too.

No, I'm jealous because I have had an insane week and it's not over yet. My list today looks like this:
wake up
do laundry
get kids dressed
feed kids
walk three miles (I have a walking buddy, it makes it easier)
go school supply shopping (I took four kids. yes it was awful.)
register Matt for school
call the insurance agent
paint the parts of the siding that have peeling paint (There's quite a bit)
make dinner
get kids ready for bed
fold laundry
finish cross stitch stocking
stay sane

See. It would be so much more fun to be with Cathy and Karen today. I've got good shoes; I would welcome the chance to stand on my feet for eight hours at this point.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I should really keep my mouth shut.

I was not a nice person at the grocery store today. I ran to the corner store for a couple of things and had to stand in a long line because only one cashier was working. Some friends of the young man in front of me came in and struck up a conversation. They were both wearing full bike leathers and somehow this made the young man proudly proclaim: "I bought purple chaps!" and apparently they were for horse riding.

"what goes with purple chaps?" the biker woman teased him.

I couldn't keep my mouth shut. "A large floral bouquet for the horses rear end?" I said quietly, but loud enough to be be heard. This earned me a glare from the young man.

The teasing continued for another couple of minutes and I stayed out of it until the biker pair teased their friend about how long it was taking him to write a check.

"I'm not allowed to have a credit card." he said.

"well, that's probably a good idea." his friend responded. "a lot of young people your age have way too much credit anyway."

He was disgusted with such a sentiment. "I wouldn't get in trouble. What am I going to buy anyway?"

"Purple chaps." The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them.

I'm really quite surprised he didn't key my car.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back to School

We start school this month. I am slightly sad about this because we have had a good summer. I am however, mostly happy because I prefer our school schedule. Things seem to go more smoothly and we get more accomplished.

I took the girls shopping this past Friday for clothes. This was the first year Sarah could shop at the teen stores. She seemed a bit bewildered by the process. We gave her an armload of clothes to try on and she still hasn't worked out the whole try on an outfit at a time to save time. She kept changing shirts without ever trying on the pants or trying on a pair of pants in the same shirt she showed us last time. We caught a great sale at Aeropostle so there was a lot to try on. Good thing too, otherwise she would have walked out of that store with maybe one t-shirt. With the sale, the prices were better than I've seen at Target. I was even able to buy her a cropped jacket.

Now Rilla understands the trying on process instinctively. She loves clothes. Aunt Cathy treated the girls to a little something at Limited Too. Rilla went through the store gushing about everything while I followed behind blanching at the price tags. Cathy is my hero. I had only planned to buy one cheap T on clearance helped to be affordable with a $5 gift card (the only reason I was even in that store. Those prices are ridiculous!) Now I have Too Bucks that I have no clue what to do with because I'm not spending $20 on a size 6 t-shirt.

The boys were much easier. $9 jeans. get ones that fit. we were done in 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I called it.

Two years ago, I was called to work in the Young Women's organization at church. I was the Sunday teacher for the 12-13 year old girls. When I was called, Steve expressed how cool it would be when Sarah was 12 and I could be her teacher. I laughed and told him that no one keeps jobs that long in our ward.

I've never been so sad to be right. My ward released me one week after Sarah turned 12.

Usually, by the time the release comes, I'm about 3 months into being completely ready for it. This time I just kept loving the calling more. I can't see that happening with a calling again for awhile.

The nursery leaders have been in awhile. It's been a whole five years since I was a nursery leader; they are going to throw off my averages if I don't get called in there again.

Friday, August 03, 2007

In Which Amy Lectures

I have a rant for today. You can skip it if you like. This news story started me on it this morning: Mother cuts off 61 year old son's allowance. It got me thinking about how people put off marriage longer and longer these days. About 20 somethings who think their 20s are for playing around and getting drunk and they'll get serious once they hit 30 and then they hit 30 and can't stay married because their spouse wants them to actually be a grown up. About all the teenagers who are less responsible than I expect an eight year old to be.

Helicopter parenting, that's what's doing this. We have parents who can't let go and want to solve their kids' every problem and they end up raising kids who can't solve any problems at all, kids who are perpetually kids because they've never been given any responsibility.

Pain and responsibility make grown ups. That's basically all their is to it. Stress matures us. If we spend all our time making sure our children are never stressed, never in pain, they won't grow up. You'll find yourself having to do "tough love" on a 39 year old child who still thinks you owe them some kind of support.

Cutting the apron strings is not an abrupt action, or it shouldn't be anyway. Apron strings should be slowly left to fray and tear until all you have left is the last thread. If you desperately repair and rebuild every tear, there will come a day when you have to slash your child away from you and that wound will bleed you dry.

Sarah recently went on a handcart trek with our church youth group. She left the day of her twelfth birthday when she was still emotionally very much an eleven year old. She came back a full teenager. She stood there in front of me last Saturday night, covered in red dust, her hair barely combed, tired, but poised. She grew so much and it hit me within the first five minutes of our conversation. We could have spared her pain by keeping her home or insisting that we went with her to hold her hand and ease her through the experience. She would still be eleven then no matter what the calendar says.

Pain is growth. Imagine how shallow you would be if you had never experienced stress or hard times. Do you want your child to be that?