Thursday, May 27, 2010

Questions Grace Has Asked Me Lately

  • Why is our bathroom so small and the rest of our rooms are so big?
  • Why do we wear underwear?
  • When will the mosquitoes go away?
  • What will our new habitat be like after we leave our habitat in Texas?
  • For my birthday, can I have chocolate cupcakes in white paper with white frosting and sprinkles? (Her birthday is in February.)
  • What kind of cake do you want for your birthday? (A more timely question, as my birthday is in just a few weeks.)
  • When will it not be so hot?
  • Can I watch more TV?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Familiarity Breeds Me Screaming "AAAAAAAAAAH..."

An all-too-familiar pattern emerged this week. We went to church on Sunday and put Violet in the nursery and OH LOOK WHAT A SURPRISE-- Tuesday she developed a runny nose that by Tuesday night had escalated into sleepless misery and fountains of snot and her habitual croupy cough, and now a few days into it we are again dealing with fever and fussiness and disgusting substances coming from her eyes and nose and general viral torment. I swear I have had it, HAD IT with the mental/emotional drain of dealing with an unhappy toddler all day who follows it up with not sleeping at night. TOO. MUCH. SICKNESS. This most recent virus has been the first time in my life as a mother that I have ever questioned if I really want to add a third child to our family. Do I really want to sign up for more baby and toddler sickness? That first bad night Rob declared that we are not putting her in the nursery again at our church EVER; we'll see if we actually follow through on that. She is getting so big and active now that it is hard to keep her with me in the service or during our Sunday night small group, but right now the inconvenience seems worth it to avoid yet another virus spread in the sea of drool and germs that is the nursery. I think we could expect it to get better when she gets a bit older and the kids stop being so slobbery and putting everything in their mouths and such, but of course we won't still be in Dallas when Violet reaches that milestone.

I still am not totally sure why this is so much worse than during Grace's toddlerhood. I was working when Grace was this age, so maybe Kristy's gorgeous boys helped build up her immune system while she was at their house? Is it just how huge the nursery classes are at our church here compared to our much smaller, more intimate church in Connecticut, and only one of the multitude of toddlers has to be sick to expose them all? Is it something about Violet herself? Rob and I keep having to convince ourselves that this is within the realm of normal; if there really was something wrong with Violet's immune system she should be getting much more seriously ill and, thank goodness, it has all been low-level stuff that hasn't ever sent us the hospital or anything. There-- there's something to be thankful for. And we had two full weeks of household health so there's something else to be thankful for. Focus on the positive, focus on the positive...

Speaking of the positive, I got a fabulous haircut yesterday evening.

My new haircut!

I had sort of been growing my hair a bit longer because I didn't have anything else in mind, but then I saw a super adorable haircut on some singer in a Lucky magazine I had picked up and I thought, "Yes! I want that haircut!" I don't have a great "before" picture, but this or this shows it generally; it was just a bit longer than in those shots. I really love my new cut; it is indeed asymmetrical like it looks in the picture and I feel like it is so chic and hip and fun. Yay! I am going to miss the stylist I have settled on here in Dallas when we move; he is really good and has a reputation for being especially skillful with curly hair. I have been super happy with him and would definitely recommend him to any fellow curly types here in Dallas.

And speaking of moving, dear friends, we are going to be heading out of Dallas in about six weeks. SIX WEEKS. The contract for Rob's job is still not signed but it is just some little details that are going back and forth with their contract committee or something so we feel very confident that it is going to work out. So confident, in fact, that we have had moving companies coming in for bids and all that. I feel a little silly not going public here and on Facebook and the like with where we're moving when we are taking such concrete steps and are so committed, but I guess I will hold off on spilling the beans until the contract is actually signed.

The two big uncertainties for us still are a) what will happen with our house and b) when will Rob's medical license get out of the mire of bureaucratic haziness and on to solid ground. Rob cannot actually start his new job (and thus start getting paid) until he has his license in our new state, so this is a source of some concern. It is very possible that it will not come through by the beginning of July so we may have a bit of an uncertain period there. Eeek! And on the first issue, showings for our house have slowed to a mere trickle since the homebuyer tax credit expired at the end of April. Our house has been on the market for 9 weeks now. We had a very unfortunate problem crop up during all of our travel this spring when we had a lot of showings; when we weren't living here in the house cooking and vacuuming and Febreeze-ing right before showings, apparently there was a bit of, um, DOG ODOR that bothered people when they came for showings. I feel so embarrassed! I am a pretty clean, neat person but I guess it's hard to fight bulldog genes. I will admit that Abbey has always been a bit on the smelly side (not as bad as a hound/beagle type breed, but she does smell like a dog) and I think it has gotten worse as she has aged and gotten sick. Anyway, no one ever mentions it when we are actually here in town and I have cleaned the house right before a showing and we don't have any more travel ahead of us, so hopefully it will be not so much an issue anymore. We are dropping the price on our house; this takes us into losing-money territory (although not upside-down territory, thank goodness) but hopefully will get us an offer. We have started to float ideas about what we will do if we get through the next six weeks and we don't sell. Will I stay behind Rob for a while to give us a bit more time to sell it with our furniture still in it? Will we move out and have some kind of magical smell-removing cleaning done and try to sell it while it's vacant? Does it make that much different to selling your house if there is furniture or not? (I feel like it doesn't affect my perspective on houses that much, but maybe I am deluding myself.) Finally, what is the magical secret to getting this place sold?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Say, "Cheese!"

Isn't that a fabulous picture of Violet? Grace's preschool had a fundraiser where we signed up for a photography session with Alison Fechtel; we got a great price on our session this past weekend and the money goes toward Grace's little school. Alison's work speaks for itself on her website and she was great to work with, even with a seriously uncooperative fussy attitude from Violet, and I am excited to see all of our pictures soon. I am keeping my fingers crossed for some good ones of the girls together. If any Dallas folks out there are in the market for a photographer, I'd highly recommend her.

In other photography news, another one of my photos got picked to be used in some random project. It's this picture and it is being used here, in a website that combines maps, photos, and reviews. It's a pretty cool concept, actually, and supposedly is a great iPhone app. Websites like Flickr must have really changed the whole world of stock photography; these publishers and website developers can just go and find a bazillion photographs of what they want and for nothing but the cost of asking nicely, use them for free. And there is no shortage of amateurish photographers like me who occasionally stumble on to a good shot and feel our egos stroked by somebody wanting to use it, right?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


It is a new week (well, it's Tuesday actually, isn't it?) and I think this may be the most calm, restful, "normal" week we've had in AGES. Rob got back yesterday from his last conference of the spring (Baltimore this time, in case you are keeping track) and we don't have any more trips on the schedule. I've done such nice normal things in the past few days like make bread and catch up on laundry and even do a bit of sewing. My beloved sewing hobby has been sorely neglected this spring, because of my exciting NEW hobbies of cleaning our house over and over and over again for showings and taking care of sick people. I am happy to report that our whole household is healthy now and has been for an entire week, which is a new 2010 record for us. Well, everyone in our household but sweet doggie Abbey is healthy. She, sadly, has cancer and after the last discussion I had with her vet, it appears that the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes and there isn't much else we can do but keep her comfortable. She seems remarkably happy and comfortable right now, come to think of it; hopefully the cancer won't start to interfere with any of her organs or anything for a good while yet.

I say there are no trips scheduled, which is technically true, but we will have to make a trip to find a place to live in the not-too-distant future. Rob is negotiating a contract right now for his new job this summer, and it is looking very promising. We have a bottle of bubbly wine chilling in our refrigerator, just waiting for everything to be decisively decided. It's not definite enough for me to feel comfortable announcing to the whole Internet where we are moving, but it is definite enough that I am researching preschools and rental houses and whatnot in what will almost certainly become our new city. I wish this house here would sell so we have more flexibility moving forward about houses and budgets and whatnot... It's been on the market for 7 weeks now and the showings have slowed down a LOT in the past week or so. I find that the longer our house is on the market, the less I like it. It was never a house that I felt strongly attached to, but I find what affection I had is dwindling.

We are crazy fools for mango at our house, apparently. There is some in our kitchen right now in fresh, frozen, and dried form. Speaking of our kitchen, remember when we had our kitchen counters replaced? We got a shiny new undermount sink and when we returned from our trip to California, I noticed that one side of it was starting to hang down a bit. Whatever magical glue they used to stick the sink to the underside of the granite had given way over on that side, the side that I normally fill with water and heavy cast-iron pans and babies and the like. I had the people who installed come out to fix it today and now we can't use our sink for 24 hours. I'm not sure if I'm going to make it, because over and over again this afternoon, I keep going to try to use it. It is just instinctive-- I need a glass of water, I need to wash my hands, and so forth. Maybe I should go put a sticky note on it or something to keep myself from forgetting and using it. This does mean I get to take the girls out to dinner tonight, though. Hmmmm, where shall we go?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back From California

A little chair for a little person

Yesterday we arrived back from our trip to California, from the balmy cool Sonoma sun and our time with Rob's parents. We had a good visit with them; we saw a fish hatchery and worshipped at their tiny Episcopal church and climbed at a playground and generally enjoyed their corner of northern California. Our children are still small enough that they rose to greet the day at 5:30am the whole trip and conked out very early in the evening; the 2-hour time difference is better than the 3 hours we dealt with when we lived in Connecticut, but is still exacerbated by the night-owl habits of Rob's parents. Is this what happens when you become a retired empty-nester? Your dinnertime drifts later and later into the evening?

Decorating cupcakes!

Our trip was slightly marred by sickness, because OF COURSE WE WERE SICK. IT'S WHAT WE DO. Rob had some kind of miserable cold, and I had food poisoning or stomach virus or something. Grace barfed on the plane back home yesterday but I think that had less to do with illness than just bouncing around and a giant butterfly-shaped cookie. (Still, vomit on a plane-- not fun.) And of course all our petty illnesses are put into perspective by Rob's dad dealing with cancer. He's doing well these days as he gets ready for his big surgery later in the month, and it was a pleasure to get to see him, eat his homemade bratwurst, and spend a few days in their company.

Beer and bratwurst