Tuesday, April 28, 2015

House(s) and a mouse: a weekend recap

We'll start with the houses. Because there have been many, many of those this weekend. By my rough estimate I have researched 30+ houses and Joe toured at least a dozen. But I'll just cut to the chase here. Have we found "the one"? Yes! We think so. Nothing is final yet. But it looks like it's going to happen. But the process of finding our house sure has been...interesting! 

[STOP here if you don't want to read every nitty gritty detail.]

Its gone a little something like this. 

Friday evening. Serve the children a deluxe meal of "racaroni" and cheese, chicken nuggets, fries and frozen mixed veggies all while trying to make my final list of houses for Joe to see the next day (because I can't relax and trust the realtor to find us a house). After allowing the children to run wild for a few hours I put them to bed and continue my online house search. Graphs and charts are created...the old fashion way...with pen & paper. Finally go to bed and dream bizarre dreams of bizarre houses. 

Saturday. Continue to throw random food and toys at the children while continuing to research houses. I've started looking at Google maps street view. Investigating the public elementary schools even further. And mapping each house out in comparison to the hospital. Houses too close to major roads or assigned to "bad" schools are automatically eliminated. Create a new list of possible houses. Email the list to the realtor...just hours before the actual, physical house hunt is to begin! Realtor kindly tries to work some of them into their already full schedule.

Late in the afternoon the actual house hunt begins for Joe and the realtor. I hear nothing for hours. But fall in love with one particular house I know Joe is touring.  Finally as I am putting the kids to bed I receive a text. A list of half a dozen NEW houses Joe is going to look at in the morning. Houses I know nothing about! Thus I start researching all over again. Oh and the house I loved? Joe liked it best too:) Its spacious and has a good school. He also likes a smaller, cheaper option...but it doesn't have as great of a school. So I'm not thrilled. 

After the kids are all asleep I start my research on the new houses. And for some dumb reason I decide to check in on the kids one last time before I go to bed at an already too late hour! Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Because there was a mouse. Or at least the scratch scratch scratch of what I assumed to be a mouse in the kids' closet! (I am terrified of mice. Like frozen with fear terrified! The sight (or sound) of mice makes me a little sick to my stomach even. Which I know is extreme and unreasonable. But don't tell me that when I am in the presence of an actual mouse. Mice are my kryptonite.) So after half a dozen panic laden texts to Joe I set a trap and try to go to bed. No go. Instead I pick up and carry my sleeping children one-by-one upstairs to the guest room. Then I stress-eat ice cream directly from the carton...while looking at houses online! Finally go to bed and dream of rats and houses. 

Hannah's crazy haired house hunt! Just like her mama.

Sunday. The kids and I attend church. We were only a few minutes late. Because admittedly without Joe's help I can't get out the door on time! I may or may not have daydreamed about houses for much of the service. Oops. 

After church as I am nursing the baby and Hannah is crawling on me begging for food, Joe calls. Actually he facetimes me to show me the house he wants to put an offer on. Perfect timing. NOT. I convince Isaiah to serve Hannah lunch. Cold leftover pizza so I can "tour" the house in relative peace and quiet. It's the smaller, cheaper house. I'm not impressed. Later Joe calls from the bigger house. Despite a terrible connection and only seeing parts of it, I like the house. A lot!!

Later in the evening Joe and I decide we will put an offer on the smaller house. It's the responsible financial decision. Maybe we'll put a really low offer on the bigger house too. Can't hurt to try, right?!  I want to make the offers ASAP! But Joe wants to wait and see a few more houses in the morning and then make an offer. I'm okay with this decision until Joe sends me the list of houses he is going to see in the morning. And they are all bad! Automatic NOs in my opinion. Now I'm annoyed we are wasting time. Let's get this show on the road. 

Monday morning. Joe calls from a new (to us) house. He's excited. He likes the house. It's got plenty of room at the right price...with lots of "potential"! I ask for the address and as soon as I hear Joe's answer I groan. It's the house that I crossed off the list first because it is "A MAJOR FIXER UPPER". And I'm fairly certain we don't have the time, money or energy for that kind of project during residency. Joe keeps telling me it's decent but the pictures on zillow are telling me a different story! So Joe snaps pictures and texts them to me...lo and behold it's a different house. A better house! Zillow has the wrong pictures posted!!! And Joe's right. It's a good house at a good price with a good neighborhood and school! We quickly decide it's THE ONE and Joe gets busy drafting our offer. 

Joe makes an offer, buys some "we-are-moving-to-Texas" boots for our girls and hits the road! It was a successful 48 hours in Texas.

Okay so maybe that wasn't all that interesting after all. It felt a lot more interesting as I was living it! Sorry.

[Since Monday morning there has been a counter offer (which we accepted!) and a contract! Now it's just a matter of setting up a home inspection and financing and all that really important but boring stuff that goes into buying a house! Things are getting real around here. Soon we'll have to figure out how we are actually going to move the six of us and all our belongings across the country. Which reminds me the other day while talking to my mom I mentioned "moving halfway across the country". Isaiah was quick to correct me. To quote him directly, "Um mom. Don't you mean ALL the way across the country? Minnesota to Texas is all the way across the country. If we only went half way we wouldn't get there!" Smart kid.]

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Levi : 12 weeks

Likes: looking at "the baby" (ie himself) in the mirror on his swing, the morning...seriously this boy wakes up happy to see the world! Lots of smiles and babbling. Napping in his swing (see picture below). "Talking" with people. Lots of goos and gahs and even a few mas from this guy! Dressing up in matching outfits with his siblings. It was so fun Easter Sunday he did it again the next Sunday as well! Oh wait. Maybe that's just something I like. But he tolerated it so it counts!

Dislikes: When his mom doesn't hear his cries at night and he has to wait to eat! Over the past four weeks his cry has changed. It's no longer squeaky and sqwauky....and sometimes I don't recognize it at night and it takes me longer to wake up. Oops. Its terrible but true.

Quirks & habits: He is finally sleeping better at night. More like a baby and less like a newborn. He eats around 8pm and then not again until sometime between 2 and 5 am. And it's awesome! I feel human again. Up until this recent change in sleep habits he had been my worst sleeper yet. All of his siblings were sleeping through the night (like a solid 8-10 hours) by two months. Not this guy. Night time is quality mom-son time in his world!

Oh and he has on his own accord decided he prefers to eat every 2.5 to 3 hours instead of every 2 hours during the day. This change has also been awesome for me!

This last one I am labeling as a quirk. Not a habit....

Because there is no way my baby is old enough to roll over! Nope. Not my baby. Plus it can't be a habit until he does it A LOT. And the three times in a row during tummy time at 11 weeks doesn't count as a lot:)  Funny...not much tummy time has happened this past week. That's odd;-)

Reasons why I am currently smitten with him: Um. Hello gorgeous blue eyes! Whats not to love?!

But seriously. He's at a great stage. I just love everything about him right NOW. He eats well. He sleeps well enough. He smiles and babbles. He loves interacting with people. Especially his big brother and sisters. And yet he is still small enough that he cuddles great. And he is happy to be along for the ride (wherever that may be!). He has no real set schedule so we can go and do whatever we please when we please because he will nap pretty much anywhere. I want to just freeze him at this age forever...or at least a few more months!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The end and the beginning

Today was Joe's last day of medical school. I know. I know. Enough already. How could anyone forget?! I've only babbled on and on about THE END for months. Ironically I almost forgot that today was the day until my sister sent me a text last night asking about it! Eek. Oops. (Thank goodness for sisters.)

{I would include the picture of my handsome husband at his school from earlier today HERE but I promised not to blog it...so I put it on Facebook instead! I was just too proud not to share it with the world! I mean the last day is totally share worthy, right? Right. 100+ of my "friends" agreed within hours of said post.}

The reason I nearly forgot that TODAY is the last day is because for me it was just an ordinary Thursday with the kids. We had a play date this morning with friends and dinner this evening with the grandparents. Life as usual. Plus Joe is in Chicago for his last rotation. So it's not like I actually saw him on his last day. 

And I won't be seeing him for a little while longer yet...because he is on his way to TEXAS to (hopefully!) find us a house!!!! 

Yep. He's house hunting without me. Am I incredibly jealous that he's going to Texas to look at houses? No. Not all. I love doing bedtime with four kids (and morning time and day time) by myself. And who needs to see their future home in person anyways?! I love a good surprise;)  OK. Ok. All sarcasm aside. Yeah. I'm a little green with envy. Who wouldn't be? 80 & sunny (and kid free!). But truth be told, him going solo just made the most sense. Logistically and financially. And most of the time Joe and I are extremely responsible with our resources. Probably to a fault.

So I'm holding down the fort...and obsessively checking zillow, trulia and realtor for new house listings while Joe is on the hunt for the perfect house for our little clan. Or at least a good enough house. Because is there really such a thing as the perfect house?! My extensive research tells me "NO". Although I keep looking like the neurotic nut that I am. I am sure my husband is enjoying the gazillion real estate related texts I am sending him day and night. Husbands love those kinds of things;-) I mean who wouldn't love being bombarded with mixed messages like these...

"Have fun house hunting. Send me lots of pictures. Remember we NEED X, Y and Z for it to be the right house"

"Come home NOW! Seriously. Buy a house. ANY house. I don't care. We just need a roof over our heads. I'm not picky. Come home!!!!"

"I just found this house! (Listing link included) I love it. It's perfect!! Make sure the realtor shows it to you."

"Never mind. That house is terrible and it won't work for us. Don't go see it!" 

"So which houses are your favorites? I want to make a chart comparing and contrasting our favorite homes." 

The house hunting drama is getting real over here. And we haven't even stepped one foot inside a potential house yet! 

My poor, poor husband.
But looking on the bright side, he's done with school!  He survived medical school. Now he just has to survive buying a house with me. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The light at the end of (this) tunnel

It snuck up on me. 'It' being the end of medical school. Somehow FOUR YEARS has dwindled down to a mere THREE DAYS. Three little days is all that stands between Joe and his medical degree!!!

It doesn't seem possible. There really is an end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are almost there! Its shining bright these days. I thought this day would never come.

First day of medical school (orientation) - August 2011

And yet it seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. Okay a really long blink. One in which our family went from four to SIX. And my babies went from...well...babies to school aged kids (and now I have new babies)! And as Joe would say we've gotten older, wiser (him! Not me!) and fluffier (both of us!). I definitely have a few more wrinkles than I did four years ago.

First med school test done celebration - August 2011

Our family - September 2011
I imagine in a few years we'll look back at these med school days and reminisce about the "good old days". But we aren't quite there yet. Right now we are just happy to have these days (almost!) done.

Our Family NOW - April 2015

PS - If anyone would have told me back in 2011 that we would have not one but TWO MORE children during medical school I would have laughed and laughed and laughed at them. Because at the beginning of this med school journey I was sure I was DONE having kids. Ha! Life's funny like that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Experiment

Being a parent of small children is incredibly humbling. And most of the time you don't see these humbling moments coming until they've smacked you square in the face...right between the eyes! I mean I've always known that I'm not a very patient person. But now that I've tried to teach a two year old to use the potty and a kindergartner to tie his shoes or waited while the preschooler buckles her own car seat (painfully sloooowly)...now I know it. Like really, really know it. I'm impatient. But that's not the point. The point is this. I had one of those unexpected humbling moments the other day. And I never saw it coming!

Charlotte came home from preschool with this completed worksheet:

At dinner she excitedly explained the "experiment" to us. It's pretty self explanatory. Basically Ms Kathy showed them an object and the students were to predict if the object would SINK (S) or FLOAT (F) by circling the corresponding letter on the worksheet. Then the objects were placed in a tub of water and observed. Finally the students circled the correct letter. All very thrilling for the four and under crowd! 

I quickly noticed that ALL of Charlotte's guesses were correct. Being the proud mother I am I praised her for her good work. (I mean clearly she is a genius.) Charlotte then went on to explain that she had spent her free play time watching Ms Kathy do the experiment with the first group of students. She gave up her play time in order "to get all the right answers". 

I got a good chuckle out of this. I could just picture her vigilantly watching and memorizing the results. And then I stopped laughing. Because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! This one sheet basically sums up my four years at college. (Although admittedly the experiments I was conducting as a biology major were far more complex.)

A decade ago as a college student I was too busy studying and preparing and making sure I had the "right answer" to stop and play. No time for fun when there was work to be done!! Friends. Who had time for them?! Certainly not me. Ok that isn't completely true. Besides Joe I had two good friends. Both named Jen(n). Both are now physicians. Coincidence? Nope not at all. I was pre-med/pa and only had time for study buddies. I, like my preschooler, gave up opportunities to play in order to succeed. In fact I actually graduated college a semester early...by accident! I took too many credits each semester. 

Am I proud of myself for graduating early and getting into a very competitive PA program? Heck yeah! Was it a major accomplishment completing college  (while pregnant with my first child)? Of course. But do I wish I would have taken the time for fun too? Yep. I sure do. College is important and should be taken seriously. Don't get me wrong. But it's also a time to goof off and have some fun. I don't have many regrets in life but not enjoying college more...it could be considered one of my regrets. 

And seeing these same all-work-and-no-fun traits in my four year old? That's humbling. Because clearly I haven't changed that much in the last decade. And I don't want her to be so focused on success that she forgets to enjoy life. I don't want her to think that she always has to have the "right answer". I realize some of this is just her nature. Who she is. But I want to make sure she realizes that it's okay to just play at play time and work at work time. 

And sometimes it's even okay to eat ice cream for lunch...

I must be getting better in the patience department. At least a little. I allowed the girls to scooter to pick up Isaiah from his bus stop. Fifteen minutes of scootering to cover two blocks and I didn't lose it once! Now that's patience. 

Monday, April 13, 2015


From this...

to this...

And the next one should be gone any day now!

Too bad the tooth fairy forgot to come until after toothless woke up.
Whoops! Tooth fairy get on your game.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Yesterday I took all four kids to the eye doctor...during Hannah's nap time! Why I ever thought THAT was a good idea I'll never know. It was two hours of pure torture...eerrrr...I mean being a responsible parent and having my kids' eyes checked. Two hours! At one point Levi's crying during my exam got me so flustered that I was sweating and steaming up the eye checking gadget. So the kind (and EXTREMELY patient!) eye doctor had to check my eyes AGAIN! In the end the kids were given a clean {eye} bill of health. Me and my dilated eyes were not so lucky. It looks like glasses are in my near-sighted future. (Aren't I punny?) Speaking of dilated eyes...now that is a terrible idea!! Dilate a mom's eyes and send her out the door with four kids. Yep. Bad. Bad. Bad. We made it a whopping two blocks down the road before I knew we couldn't go any further. It just wasn't happening. We stopped and my eyes recovered at the new-to-us public library. 

Library for the win! 

The whole experience was exhausting and left me wishing it were bedtime already. Unfortunately it was 3:30 in the afternoon. Womp. Womp. Womp! Seriously though my 21 year old self is laughing at my 31 year old self....because going to the eye doctor wears me out! Sad but true. What's even more sad? Today I am going to the gynecologist ALONE and I'm really looking forward to it. Secretly I hope she's running behind and I have to wait. I might even go wild and pick out glasses afterwards! 

Wild and crazy times be mine! 

Maybe I'll take all the kids to the dentist next month. Maybe. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Selective Listening

What I say: Stay in bed! If you get out of bed I'm taking away your (toy) phone!
What my 2 year old hears: I'll just hand over my phone to mom and do whatever I want! It isn't really bedtime yet is it?!

What I say: Don't check out ALL Beast Quest books from the library. 
What my 7 year old hears: I'll get five Beast Quest books plus one of these books...which is basically an underwater version of Beast Quest but not technically Beast Quest. And then I'm good to go!

What I say: Go downstairs and get dressed. 
What my 4 year old hears: Time to get dressed...in the pair of socks, undies and leggings I dig out of the dirty hamper because they are the only ones that fit just right! She never said they had to be clean!

What I say: Get in the pool and learn to swim! (at swimming lessons mind you) It's good for you. Trust me. 
What my 7 year old hears: My mom is trying to torture me. I know it. She's lieing. It's not good. It's very, very bad!

All of the above scenarios did in fact occur this week. And three out of four of them (while somewhat frustrating) made me laugh. I mean it's funny when my kids can legitimately outsmart me. (And a little scary.) But that last one...downright frustrating. That kid is determined to NOT grow up and learn new (and necessary!) skills. It's taken some tough love to get him to try new things. Threats of Legos being taken away. Plus many big fat reminders that "I am your mother. I love you. I only want good things for you. And while this doesn't seem like a good thing to you at the moment, it is! Trust me. I love you." It's becoming my new mothering mantra. 

And it seems to be working. Because look who got in the pool...
It wasn't me!

 (Though the swim instructor did suggest that! Um who was going to watch my other three kids then?! And aren't I paying them to teach him how to swim?! If I knew how to teach him I would save myself the hassle and money!) 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Their Easter Best

Bow ties and elbow patches! Ruffles and tulle too! 
I know its not the real meaning of Easter. 
But it sure is sweet. 


Not Pictured: The fact that my children were running on chocolate chip pancakes (thanks church!) and candy (thanks grandmas!) ALL DAY LONG! Seriously I am not sure how they managed to function properly. They ate nothing of any real nutritional value (despite our attempts to feed them real food). And how were they not more hungry?!

Hannah's hand first dive into the toilet in her Easter dress. It was equal parts disgusting and hilarious! I was laughing too hard to snap a picture..or even think to take a picture! This of course led to an impromptu bath time and wardrobe change...and then she was good to go....eat more candy!

And lastly, I accidentally dressed Levi in newborn pants...so basically it looked like he was wearing shorts with his cardigan and bow tie all day! He's a real trend setter. Or his mom isn't quite on top of her game these days. One of those two. I vote for the former. (However the fact that I never got my teeth brushed before church makes me think it's probably the latter...) Oh and I guess this one is actually documented in pictures...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Go Isaiah GO!!

It was a long overdue milestone for Isaiah...and us as parents:) He was determined to NOT learn to ride without training wheels and we were (MORE) determined that he would learn to ride without training wheels. Score 1 for the parents! Now if he can just get him to wiggle those (very loose) top teeth out...