Monday, July 30, 2012

A Fun Little Interaction

Saturday night, Jeremy and I went to dinner with my parents. There, I had a fun little moment with the hostess.

Hostess: Hello, would you like a booth or a table? Ooohhhh ... you need a table right? (*pointing at my stomach*) You won't fit in a booth, right?

Veronica: Right. I'll be needing a table, thank you.

Hostess: How many babies you have in there? Two?

Veronica: Ha ha ha, nope, just one.

Hostess: No, in here (*touching my stomach*). How many babies? Two?

Veronica: No.

Hostess: Three?!?!

Veronica: ONE BABY. IN HERE.

Hostess: Two big boys in there, you'll see.

Veronica: ONE GIRL.

Hostess: Oh no, two big boys. You'll see.

Veronica: So, about that table?

Later, she heard me call my mom "Mom" and said "No way! She's not old enough to be YOUR mom!"

Well shit. Thanks, lady. You made my evening, to be sure.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mission Possible Book Giveaway

The authors of Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School have sponsored a post I have up over on my Review blog AND I have a copy of the book to give away to one reader! Head on over to read what I have to say about education and enter to win a copy of the book.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Crazy Lady Writes in Bullet Points and Uses Caps Excessively. Enjoy.

Nothing like a little prelabor to turn you into a crazy, scatter-brained bitch. Ha! Ha ha ha! (that's the laugh of a crazy person, in case you didn't recognize it in print.) Without all the specific gory details: dilated, baby low as she can be, can barely walk, want to punch everything I see, etc., etc., etc. BUT, I fixed my computer and I can type and load pictures from my camera and all is right with the world. Instead of a real post, however, my current state has reduced me to bullet points. So here you go:

  • Went to the doctor on Wednesday for an ultrasound. Apparently it's standard for them to do one at 35 weeks to double check on growth and see if the baby is head-down and whatnot. At my old doctor, they basically told me I was lucky to get an ultrasound at 20 weeks at all and I would never get another one unless there was evidence of a huge problem. They were of the opinion that there is no evidence that it is actually okay to be sending those rays in at the growing baby, so why do it more than absolutely necessary? Crazy how different doctors are.
  • ANYWAY, the ultrasound revealed that while I was 35 weeks and 2 days at the time, the baby was measuring at 37 weeks and 4 days. Ha. HA HA HA! (crazy laugh, redux) Hilarious, right? I most certainly do not have gestational diabetes, and I am actually very healthy, so they think she is growing normally, just ... a lot. And quickly. Just a big ol' baby. Their best guess was she was already around seven pounds or more. Great. Bring it, Baby X. I expected nothing less of you, really.
  • We got an okay look at our darling's little face, but she had her hand in front of her face for most of the ultrasound. When the tech started the 3D ultrasound and tried to get pictures of her face, she started waving her arms around all crazy-like and scrunching up her face. So ... she is officially uncooperative. Again, I'm not shocked in the least.
  • After an exam, the news that the baby is already so big was actually kind of good news, as I am already dilated and effaced and the baby is "engaged." The nurse said "Oh, you're right! She is REALLY low!" THANKS, LADY. I KNOW. I KNOW. So, in the world of baby business, this could mean nothing -- I could walk around like this for weeks -- or it could mean things are happening. I'm not a fan of the idea of having a baby at less than 37 weeks, but if she is already seven pounds, at least that makes me feel a little more secure in her growth and development. You gotta take what you can get.
  • I'm taking my superstitions to the extreme. I've decided the baby won't come until I allow myself to nest. No nesting, no early baby. BOOM. So, I have been trying my best to ignore all urges or outsource the work (My mom cleaned out my pantry today. Heh.). Oh, and also, my mom is staying with me and asked if I wanted help with a sewing project I never managed to get started for Baby X. I told her hell to the no, because last time she came to stay with me and help me with a sewing project, I went into labor. I'm not messing around here. NO BABY.
  • Josephine's second birthday party is tomorrow. Which, of course, is another reason there is no way I am going into labor tonight. Can you imagine me telling Josephine in a few years, "Oh yeah, we had to cancel your second birthday party because I was having your little sister!" I'm sure that would do wonders for sibling rivalry.
  • I decided we needed to nail down this baby name once and for all, since, you know, baby could be coming any damn time she pleases. We were both like 95% on the name I think, but we never really talked about it, and we don't call the baby that name (mostly because my brain is so addled that I would probably start referring to the baby by the name IN FRONT OF people, and that is the exact opposite thing we are going for. So we talked about it on the way home from the ultrasound, and Jeremy told me what he imagined he would call the baby for short ... and I had a complete breakdown. I told him I hated that nickname and everything was ruined and we couldn't name the baby that and NOW THERE IS NO NAME AND WHY DON'T WE JUST GIVE UP AND NAME HER X. It was a nice drive home.
  • When we got home, we both got baby name books back out, made new lists, cross-referenced, discussed, yada yada yada, and decided we didn't like any name more than the one we picked out. I went to bed feeling great.
  • This afternoon Jeremy sent me an e-mail that started out "I know we thought we decided on the baby's name, but I can't get _______ out of my head ..." (i.e., a TOTALLY DIFFERENT NAME). OKAY, AWESOME, LET'S DO THIS AGAIN!
  • I could probably add in about 78 more bullets, but instead I will call it quits and leave you with this gem from Jeremy. Consider it your Funny Stuff My Husband Says fix. 

          Talking names:
          Me: UGH! I HATE that nickname! I would rather die a fiery death than have someone call  
          my child that name!
          Jeremy: I've said it before, and I'll say it again ...
          Me: WHAT?
          Jeremy: You hate everything.
          Me: I'm writing that down so I can tell everyone on the blog you said that.
          Jeremy: Be my guest. If they're regular readers, they'll know it's true.

THE END. Until I do a birthday party recap. I'm sure you're all on pins and needles, so I'll throw that together ASAP.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway

I'm sure a few of you thought I was dead or enduring preterm labor, but I have actually been having computer problems (pray for my little gal!) and blogging on my phone just isn't an option -- it's smart, but not that smart. Or I'm not that smart. One or the other. Anyway, I'm busting at the seams with things to tell you, but I had to borrow my mom's laptop and sneak away from my little sweetie to bring you this book review on time, and using someone else's keyboard is in my top five most frustrating endeavors, so I may or may not have time to write all the things I've been dying to write when I'm done with this. We shall see.

What I DO have for you is a review of the novel The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns
by Margaret Dilloway. I may be the only person who had never heard of Dilloway before this, who knows, so what I got was a nice surprise of a read. 

The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns tells the story of Galilee Garner, a single high school biology teacher, long-time dialysis patient waiting for new kidneys, rose breeder, and above all, curmudgeon. You definitely think you are reading about a jaded older lady, but you are actually meeting a 36-year-old who is much much older than her biological age and doesn't care one bit. Gal's teenage niece shows up unexpectedly one day, and, as you might expect, her life changes drastically.

My opinion of the book is very easily broken down, really:

What I didn't like: Within the first few pages, Gal says her roses are "Difficult and obstinate. Thriving under a set of specific and limited conditions. That pretty much describes me. Maybe that's why I like these roses so much." I NEVER want to read lines like that. Let me connect the dots myself (especially in this case, because honestly, who WOULDN'T). I also wasn't a HUGE fan of how predictable about 95% of the plot was. After reading the first three chapters, I pretty much had an idea of how the rest of the book would play out, but honestly, that ended up not bothering me at all, and I kept powering through the book, even though I assumed I knew how it would turn out.

What I really liked about the book: The characters! I would find it very hard to believe that someone could read this book and NOT like at least one of the main characters and not also marvel at the beautiful way Dilloway brings ALL of her characters to life, even the "scenery" characters. Like I already said, I had a good idea of how things would play out, but because the characters were so amazing, you wanted to read every little detail about them that you could. I also thought all the details about rose breeding were very interesting. Even more fascinating to me was the fact that Dilloway had gone to such lengths to research and present the information she did. Even if she herself were a rose breeder, it would be a lot of work to organize and get on paper. In addition to that, I went back and re-read a few sections, skipping the parts where Gal is describing the intricacies of what she is doing in her greenhouse, and the book reads just as well, which is great for any reader who decides they love the characters but are over the "rose stuff." It must take a lot of hard work to make the book read just as well both ways, so I applaud Dilloway on that level as well.

What I didn't like about this book was very minor in comparison to what I liked about it. Like I said, if I am unable to put a book down, it's definitely working, since I have become that type of person who, if I roll my eyes and get mad about something in the first few pages, I'm much more apt to put the book down and never return than to press on. The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns was a nice read that left me thinking about the characters long after I finished the book. Brava!

If you'd like to see what other bloggers in the BlogHer book club had to say about this book, click on over HERE, and if you've read the book yourself, be sure to join the discussions going on there or read a post by Margaret Dilloway

I was given a free copy of The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns and was compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sponsored Post: Dove® VisibleCare Softening Crème Body Wash and $500 Spa Finder Gift Card Giveaway!

I have a pretty sweet deal going over at the Review page, so click on over HERE to see my review of Dove® VisibleCare Softening Crème Body Wash and enter for a chance to win a $500 Spafinder gift card!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Going to Complain. How Unlike Me.

I'm sitting in my bedroom, listening to Josephine talking and kicking the wall between our bedrooms. I am SOOO close to losing my mind that it's not even funny. 

I had (stupidly) come to count on the fact that Josephine had a schedule she liked and thrived on. She would get up between 8 and 9, eat lunch from 12:15 to 12:45, say good-bye to MoJo and Cleo, and then happily go upstairs and go down for a nap. Sometimes these naps lasted LONGER THAN THREE HOURS. Usually it was closer to two, but STILL. We had a little routine, then I put her down in her crib and she snuggled up and was silent until it was time to get up. It was amazing. In the past few months, it was the only thing that got me through the day. 

Since being on "bed rest" and not really being able to "rest" all day like I should, I would do my best all morning, then collapse for her entire nap to build my strength and get me through the last few hours until Jeremy got home from work, which include the most trying hour of the day -- standing in the kitchen and trying to cook dinner while Josephine wails at my feet and begs to be picked up. 

Side note: I think Josephine is actually KNOCKING on the wall between our rooms right now. Yesterday I had to take the camera from its prime location jammed between the crib and her wall, supported by a chair rail, because she wouldn't leave the damn thing alone, and kept smacking it around, laughing and shouting "CAMERA!" Now it is on the floor, pointed up at her crib, which means I can see next to nothing, but she can't turn it off or mock me through it. She must have gotten bored and is trying to signal her displeasure to me.

When she does this -- this flailing and talking and calling for daddy (because she knows mama isn't coming), it literally gets me so stressed I feel like my head is going to explode. 

Just go into another room or turn off the camera, you say? Well, I had been doing that until she fell asleep, then I would go to bed and turn the monitor on so I could hear when she woke up. Then, THEN, the other day ... she ALMOST GOT OUT OF HER CRIB. I put her down, got in the shower, and then when I got out, I peeked at the monitor just in time to see her hoisting herself up -- she had her entire body on the highest rail of her crib. I dashed in and screamed "NO!!!!!" She flung her body onto the mattress and pretended to be asleep. I told her she could never ever do that again and asked her if she understood. She said "yeah," and I proceeded to go outside her door and collapse into a hyperventilating pile of mush. 

This GD house is so old that none of the doors actually CLOSE. Now, all night long I have nightmares about her getting out of bed and rounding up the most dangerous items in the house and quietly doing dangerous things with them while I sleep, blissfully unaware. She hasn't tried to climb out again, but I know it's only a matter of time.

Thankfully, I have had help for the past week. Last Friday, my mom and sister came and helped me set up for a yard sale, then my mom sat with me all day Saturday while we sold some of our crap, and she stayed until Monday when we had to drive home to close on the house. THEN, my little sister came back on Tuesday and has been here ever since. 

I still do stupid things like tell them "no" when they ask if I want them to do something, like make Josephine lunch or make dinner for the whole group, because I ... I just can't. They do enough. I can't ask them to do EVERYTHING. I feel stupid enough sitting on the couch while they get up and scoop crayon bits out of Josie's mouth, or when I collapse from the effort of going up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom (PRO TIP: If you are supposed to be on bed rest, HAVE A BATHROOM ON YOUR FIRST FLOOR. Oh, wait, this tip applies to EVERYONE EVER. Not that I'm bitter about living in a house with ONE bathroom on the SECOND floor. No. Not me.). I can't help feeling like they think I am lazy and exaggerating and milking it, because, honestly, it's hard to believe. Just heaving yourself off the couch is causing you enough pain to cry out like you've been shot? REALLY? 

Unfortunately ... yeah. Just the baby sitting WAY too low and the round ligament pain combined make for a very special type of hell. It's horrible. And every single time I do something and it hurts, I panic -- I'm HURTING THE BABY! This is it! I ruined everything! We have a preemie because I got up to get more ice for my water! I'm the worst mother EVER!!! This line of thinking ... it doesn't help.

I think what I set out to say here is that I am so lucky that my mom and sister have been here during this time because Josephine's schedule has gone all to hell and it is causing me stress. I have lost my stress-free nap time, and by the time she gets up, I am more frazzled than when she went down. Plus, I am at the magical time in my pregnancy where I cannot sleep comfortably at night and once I DO fall asleep I wake up about every half hour ALL night having to either go to the bathroom or flip over and try to find a comfortable position (which is impossible). If I didn't have them to help out and send me upstairs to rest occasionally, I would have been done by now. Just done. 

But her nap schedule. GUH!!! Get this: She will flail and talk and sing and sometimes freak out in there, sometimes for TWO HOURS, then all of a sudden she will just fall asleep, and take a normal-length nap, sometimes LONGER, then go to bed at her normal time, like it's no big deal! WTH, kid? 

I know what people will say: 

Maybe she wants a later nap. I can see that, except that she is EXHAUSTED when she is finished with her lunch, and she still says "nap" and says goodnight to everyone, all adorable-like, but then she starts running laps around her crib when I put her down. Plus, there is not one consistent time that she finally falls asleep. If I put her down and she was staying awake until a specific time and THEN falling asleep, I would definitely consider making that the new nap time, but she has a different time every day that she finally gives up and falls asleep (which definitely makes the stress worse for me -- will it take 20 minutes? 3 hours?)

Maybe she is outgrowing naps. First of all, SHUT UP. This child will NOT shirk her naps just when I am about to bring a newborn home, so you can FORGET IT. Also, she clearly still needs a nap if she can sleep for three hours during the day and still fall asleep at 9 and sleep for 12 hours at night, you know?

All I know is, I am sticking to my plan of "this is your nap time, stay in your dark and cozy room for the entire time, I don't care if you don't like it" because ... I don't know what else to do. Maybe it is totally the wrong move, but what else should I do? Give in and go get her up after 15 minutes of squawking and miss out on the eventual nap because I couldn't handle the noise? 

I don't know what the point of this whole post was, except that I simply HAD to get it off my chest. I had to complain. I know, totally unoriginal topic to complain about, and also likely infuriating to mothers who have kids who boycott sleep altogether (trust me, I had one for an entire year before she gave in and became a sleeper), but I simply had to vent. I also fear that I am the cause of the changes in Josephine (obviously, because mothers are so good at wrecking their kids), but I fear that is a post for another day, as I believe I have just written a few thousand words about my kid not taking her naps properly and giving me rage. 

Until next time,

Veronica M.D., Crazy Lady, Nap-Lover, Writer Who Lacks Focus

Monday, July 16, 2012


So ... we closed on the house today. It was ... not what I expected. It was nice. It was a relief that we now OWN the house and those people have to pay us to stick around, but it was not what I expected.

There were a few bumps in the road, including the homeowners saying at the last second they weren't ready for us to do the walk-through and we then had to wait for them to get out and only had five minutes to run through the house before leaving to get to the closing on time. There was also the series of unfortunate events that began with me messing up my eyeliner and ending with lotion, concealer, and mascara stains on my shirt and tears in my eyes. 

I guess what disappointed me the most was that I had a short list of what I REALLY wanted to have happen today, and none of those things actually happened. I didn't think I was really asking all that much. What I wanted to do was:

1. Take pictures at the house during the final walk-through. Seriously, my mind has been going overtime trying to figure out exactly what needs to be done and what could actually be done in all the different best-case and worst-case scenarios based on when those people move and when this baby comes. Plus, I have a million questions a day about the proportions of things or the finish of woods, etc., etc. I just wanted some pictures. Alas, we had 35 seconds to go through and make sure there had been no major changes since we were last there.

2. Get a picture of me and Jeremy in front of the house and the SOLD sign. Not only was there NO sold sign, it still had a FOR SALE sign up. That was not how I imagined things. ALSO, I was so frazzled about getting to the mortgage office on time (it's not their fault the homeowners messed up our schedule), that I forgot until we were all in our cars and driving. Then I cried. (What?) 

Then, at the office, they had a big "Congratulations Dimick Family!" sign up and balloons and all that jazz, so I got out my camera to get a picture of Jeremy and I in front of it, but both our mortgage broker and real estate agent were like, "Oh, we've got it!" and took pictures of us on their phones. But ... how will we get copies of those? I'm unsure.

I then took an AWFUL picture of us at Jeremy's favorite Coney Island where we popped in for some celebration food. So this picture represents us becoming homeowners. 

Excellent. I think my neck is larger than Jeremy's WAIST in this picture. 

But, BUT, I guess I CAN say this: 
1. I couldn't stop yawning while I signed the 58,000 documents during the closing, and I kept thinking, Well that's good. I could be all hopped up on adrenaline because something went awry. Boring and predictable is SO GOOD right now.
2. Josephine had fun with her grandma while we were out signing papers.
3. We did it! We own that mother-effing house. We own the SHIT out of it. 

BOOM. Homeowners.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Small Victories (and Other Unrelated Things)

Some great updates regarding Baby X and her imminent arrival.

1. Josephine has mastered newborn care:

I got that baby out to have her get used to having a newborn around, and she holds it and kisses it and gives it knuckles and is generally adorable. Why I never bothered to put some clothes on the thing? Your guess is as good as mine. Even my cat is hanging his head in shame in the background. I figure if I post this picture and feel the shame, maybe I will open up the newborn clothes bin and give the kid some dignity. I'll let you know how that works out.

2. We have a place to camp out for the beginning of August that is only FORTY minutes from the hospital. Big improvement! We are going to stay at my parents' house since they will be out of state and needed a housesitter anyway. However, I DID have to promise my mom I wouldn't have the baby that week while she was far far away. So ... I guess it doesn't help being close to the hospital if you are contractually obligated to NOT use it. But hey, they also have central air and a pool, so, SCORE. If Baby X still hasn't arrived by then and we aren't in the house yet, we will figure it out then.

I still wish my news was we are getting into the house like, tomorrow, but this takes a load off my mind. I'll keep you abreast of all other important developments.

Also, this is unrelated to Baby X, but you'll thank me later. Here's this:

(my dad loves Star Trek and made us watch a lot of it growing up) :)

Happy Almost Friday!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There's really no way to use the word "bathroom" in a title without people assuming you're going to talk about *using* it, is there?

Two posts in one day? Why yes! I happen to have a sponsored post over at my Review page, right this moment, that talks all about my (soon-to-be) new bathroom and how I'm going to spruce that sucker up and get it guest-ready. The first interior picture of the house? Can you handle your excitement?

I didn't think so. Head on over to read all about my plans.

Buying a House Can't Always Be Sunshine and Roses and Rainbows. SIGH.

We are reaching the end of the posts catching you up on The House Saga. If you need a refresher, we decided to move, went house hunting, made an offer, and here we are ... the wrinkle in our plan. (I'll warn you now -- this is the longest of the bunch.)

It all seemed to be working out. We put in an offer on a house at the very beginning of June and it was accepted the next day. We can DO this, right? If closing is in six weeks, we can get in that house before the baby arrives, even if she comes early like Josephine did! WE DID IT!

Except, no. I mentioned that the sellers wanted to have the option to stay in the house for 45 days after closing, since they had not closed on the house they were buying. Since the house had only been on the market for 12 days when we made the offer, we could see their position and put in our contract that they could stay up to 30 days if they paid us for every day they stayed. Our real estate agent assured us that generally motivated people to get out as quickly as they could. We didn't want to lose the house and start all over just because of that, even though it could put us all the way at AUGUST SIXTEENTH for a move-in day (Important reminder: Baby X is due August 27th, and Josephine came 3 weeks early).

This sounds kind of like no big deal, because, come on Veronica, you can do that. You can move a week before the baby's due (KILL ME NOW) OR move right after the baby comes if she comes early (KILL ME FASTER). It will be stressful, but you can do it!

HOWEVER, when Jeremy took the new job, he got new insurance, and this new insurance will not cover the OB/GYN I had in Lansing or to deliver in any Lansing hospitals.


In fact, the closest place I am covered is an hour from Lansing. My choices were basically: 
1) Stay in Lansing and pay for prenatal care and the delivery out of pocket (ha!)
2) Pick a random doctor and hospital based on proximity to my home and risk being more than an hour away, whether we ended up staying in Lansing or moving, OR
3) Pick a doctor back home and hope we get over there in time to have the baby there and not be still stuck in Lansing once I went into labor

I had a feeling that most OB/GYNs would not be all that willing to take on new patients who were, say, 37 weeks pregnant, so it's not like I could just wait it out and see where things took us. There was the option of going with choice #2 (picking a random doc an hour away), getting all transferred and having my check-ups covered, and then if we got a house back home I could find another new doctor and transfer all my paperwork again, but then I was definitely running the risk of not being able to find a doctor in the Bluewater area willing to take me so late in the game, and then we were in the exact same position of being far away from the hospital when I went into labor.

Supposedly most doctors don't have many qualms about taking a patient late unless she is high risk, but how the heck am I supposed to know what they consider high risk? When I tried to get in at my new doctor's office, they said I would have to release my files to them and the doctor would review them and decide if she would take me as a patient or not. I was under the impression (at that point, at least), that I was having a very healthy and normal pregnancy, but who knows what she might have considered a red flag and not worth it to take me on?

I did, in fact, get a doctor in the Bluewater area to take me as a patient (and then I started having problems! Ha! She never saw it coming!), but for months before that, I was so unbelievably stressed. I cried every day for MONTHS, and I have had hundreds of horrible dreams about every possible thing that could go wrong. I feel much better now about having a doctor, but ... there is still the small issue of us not knowing if we can get into the house before August 16th.


This means if I go into labor before we move, I will need to drive TWO HOURS to get to my hospital. Since Josephine was three weeks early, there is a pretty good chance Baby X will be early as well (all three of my mom's kids were early -- healthy, but early). Plus there are all those people who keep telling me that their first labor was 30 hours and their second was like TEN MINUTES. And if I am delivering early, it could be all smooth sailing and NBD like Josephine was, or it could be an emergency situation. To say this has been stressing me out is the biggest understatement ever in the history of anything EVER. (EVER)

Then we got a glimmer of hope. Things were moving right along, and everything was coming up Dimick for once. We got an e-mail from our agent asking if we wanted to close on July 3rd! JULY THIRD! Which means they could only stay 30 days past then, and we would be in by August 3rd at the latest!

We rejoiced, we started packing with renewed vigor, we couldn't stop smiling and high-fiving each other.

Then, the next day, our agent informed us that the sellers were unwilling to sign on the 3rd, and since our contract stated we must close on or before the 16th of July, we couldn't legally "force" them to close before the 16th, even though we would lose our loan lock, which expired on the 5th, and would have to pay to get a new one.

Our agent said our only hope was to offer the sellers the option of staying until August 16th no matter what, as long as they closed before the 5th so we wouldn't incur any penalties. They declined that offer.

On top of all that, our agent told us they have not even gotten their appraisal back (!!!!), and the type of loan they are getting needs to be underwritten by the bank and THEN underwritten by the government, which can tack on WEEKS. PLUS, the the listing agent of the house they are buying said there is not much chance of the seller of the home they are moving into being ready to close before the first week of August, and then he has 15 days before he has to move out. So, it looks like the people who are selling us the house are going to need every last day and will be there until the 16th of August.


Our agent said to put ourselves in their shoes -- parents with four kids and nowhere to go -- and I thought, LET THEIR AGENT STAND UP FOR THEM! YOU'RE ON OUR SIDE!!! WHAT OF MY BABY?!?!?!?!

It's a good thing we decided to do this whole thing when I wasn't at all hormonal and stressed.

I get it. It's not like they're doing it on purpose, and I'm sure they're also anxious to move out, but it doesn't feel like that. To get my hopes up for getting there early and getting time to settle in and not be worried every day for the remainder of my pregnancy and then have the opportunity ripped away was horrible.

Anyway, that's our frustration. I know you can't count on anything going according to plan when you are buying a home, especially when you are trying to do so on a timeline, but it makes it even worse that everything on our side of the equation moved quickly and efficiently.

We found out today that we will be closing on the 16th for sure, and then the sellers have those 30 days. At least we are set to close, right? And, I know It's still worth it in the end, because we are getting a home we really love, but ... tick tick tick ... I am pretty freaked out over here, what with this baby growing away and acting like she wants to get out early (Did I mention at my 33-week appointment yesterday I was measuring 34.5 weeks, just like with early-bird Josephine? HA HA HA! Hilarious!).

And yes, I am working on a plan in case this baby comes while in transit to the hospital. It involves ... catching? I DON'T KNOW! I'm working on it! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Offer

I realize, obviously, that this may be of no interest to you. I am doing this mostly for us, so we can look back and remember all the details. And if you happen to be a real estate junkie or are thinking of doing this thing for the first time, there's that too. Oh, and for all the people who love my stories. This is for you to read, too. Everyone else? Sorry. 

Okay, you know we found a house, you know how we found it, now The Offer:

Even though it was a Sunday morning, as soon as Jeremy said he was ready to put in an offer, I let our agent know, and wouldn't you know, that guy e-mailed me ten minutes later with all the paperwork for me to look over and okay so he could contact the seller's agent. We were shocked.

We decided on a VERY fair price, with them paying the closing costs. The only problem was they wanted to have 45 days after closing to be able to stay in the house, as a buffer, in case they couldn't get into their new house. After discussing it with our agent, we put in our offer that they could stay 30 days, if they paid us for every day they stayed. 

Then, fifteen minutes later, he contacted us again to tell us the sellers were meeting with their agent the next morning at 10 AM and would give us an answer by noon! Whooo!

Of course, I assumed since they needed to meet with their agent it meant that they were going to discuss a counter-offer, but the offer we made was generous, and I wasn't all that concerned, to be honest. I figured it would either be a little haggling over nonsense or they would act all crazy since the house just went on the market, but in that case, we could put in our final offer and tell them to take it or leave it, and if they were unwilling to be reasonable, it was their loss.

The next day, I had a playdate with my friend and her son, who I rarely see, and our agent called me when we were about a mile into our walk in the blazing sun while I pushed our umbrella stroller, which you cannot push with one hand, and, of course, I was a big old pregnant lady with decreased lung capacity, so I was pretty much huffing it through the next huge series of events.

Our agent called and said they weren't putting an "official" counter-offer, but wanted to gauge how we felt about a few things. Umm? Okay.

They wanted to ask for $5,000 more, not pay the closing costs, and wanted to keep the refrigerator and range. I love our agent, because he said he told them, without even asking us, that there was no way we would ever pay closing costs, and they could count that out of the equation, and the real issue was the appliances -- how big of a deal were they to us?

I told him I had an answer for myself, but I better call Jeremy. So I did. For a HALF AN HOUR, and dang him for being a Very Important and Busy Person who has important and museum-y things to do at work, because there are times he can't be reached, and I was freaking. 

But, as I kept calling him and getting his voicemail, I realized that we obviously had the upper hand. Why didn't they just make a counter-offer with those requirements? They were worried about scaring us off. 

So, since their deadline for responding was approaching, I called our agent and said if the appliances meant that much to them, they could keep them, but they shouldn't expect any more money from us and we would not pay any of the closing costs.

When I finally heard back from Jeremy, he said the exact same thing, so that was good to know, but in the meantime, since I was taking too long, apparently they got scared and just accepted our original offer! 

And we had done it. We made an offer and it was accepted! And that was it! I never expected it to happen like that, and I'll be honest, Jeremy sounded like he was going to throw up when I told him, but we got our fist house with the first offer we ever put in. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

House Hunting: I Might Hate It Almost As Much As Regular Hunting.

And I REALLY hate hunting. (sorry, hunters.)

I realize, obviously, that this may be of no interest to you. I am doing this mostly for us, so we can look back and remember all the details. And if you happen to be a real estate junkie or are thinking of doing this thing for the first time, there's that too. Oh, and for all the people who love my stories. This is for you to read, too. Everyone else? Sorry. 

In case you missed it, we are buying a house (SQUEE!)

We started house hunting a LONG time ago. In fact, we started way back before Jeremy had his new job. We had gotten fed up with how unhappy we were in Lansing, but had decided that we couldn't fix the other most hated things on our list (living so far from family, having no support system, and only having a handful of friends in the city), so we decided to fix the other big problem -- STOP RENTING and find somewhere to live that we loved. We moved into our rental home thinking we would be here for a few months, tops. It's been three and a half years and counting.

Every time I wanted to do something, from getting a library card to planting anything in our yard to signing up Josephine for swim lessons, I always had that thought in the back of my head -- Well, we could leave ANY TIME. Why bother with that until we have our REAL home? When you keep doing that for three and a half years, it starts to get ridiculous really quickly.

Then there is this house. Now, we got a good deal on the rent in this house, and we like the person we rent from, but MY GOD. From the lack of living space to the scary basement to doors that don't fully close to the only bathroom being on the second floor to the oven that hasn't worked since February? That all gets old real quickly too. And don't even get me started on the paint colors. I really get what that prison in Arizona was going for when they painted everything pink to punish the prisoners. Having to stare at walls that make you want to puke, day after day, year after year? NOT PLEASANT.

Wow, I didn't mean to complain about this house that much, since that's not very nice of me, but I'm sorry, it's been a hard few years.

Anyway, we decided if we could find a house in the area that we loved and were happy in, that would make life easier. So we started looking at houses in the Lansing area. We spent MONTHS looking online, making lists of houses that looked like possibilities, packing up the whole family and driving past all of them, crossing the ones off the list that were automatically nixed by sight, then sending the rest of the list to our realtor. Then we went to see houses TWICE A WEEK, EVERY WEEK, for MONTHS. It was terrible. I don't know how other people handle it -- the disappointment, the time, the energy, and having to pack up our one-and-a-half-year-old every time. DEAR GOD.

Josephine had also just reached that lovely point in her life where she would rather be laying face-down on a bed of hot coals than be strapped in her car seat and driven somewhere. No amount of toys or snacks or songs could keep her happy in the car. THEN, we would go into at LEAST three brand new exciting and novel places and tell her not to touch things and stay away from dangerous (fun) things and not play with all the toys in the kids' rooms. She was not a happy camper. Twice a week. For months.

I became an expert on real estate in our area. I could tell you if something was priced high for the area, priced to move, or just right. I knew the taxes in every little neighborhood and town in a thirty-mile radius. I had school districts permanently ranked in my mind, and we were only willing to look at houses in the top three. I knew of every house for sale in the greater-Lansing area. And we went to see a LOT of them.

And then ... we actually found a house. We went to see it three times. We were discussing putting in an offer. And that night, Jeremy got the job offer an hour away from Lansing.

I cannot even begin to explain how guilty we felt. If we had the money, we would have bought a house from our AMAZING real estate agent anyway, just to compensate her for her time. Unfortunately for her, we are poor, and also, that sounds like a terrible idea. But that's seriously how much we liked her.

We stopped house hunting for a while and were struggling with our options. Stay? Move? Where to move? Once we made the decision (a few months later) that we wanted to start over in the Bluewater area, I was over house hunting AND much more pregnant than before. Plus there was the whole issue with living two hours away from the houses we wanted to look at. Meaning every trip was a LONG trip for Josephine and at least a $75 hit at the gas station, and it had to be on a Saturday, meaning our whole weekend was basically shot because Sunday was just recovering from the chaos. 

Thankfully, it didn't take quite as many trips this time, because I was done dilly-dallying and spent a LOT of time using my new online real estate research skills before we bothered to set up an all-day house-viewing marathon. We had a few VERY depressing Saturdays, even though my policy was to keep my expectations super-low and assume we wouldn't find anything good, but we were determined to find something.

Finally, my "go in assuming the worst" strategy paid off. We had decided on a particular city in the Bluewater area, for a variety of reasons, but one week our new realtor sent us a listing for a house in a city nearby, which was also the city where Jeremy grew up and 98% of his extended family still lives. I had nothing against living in that city, but every house we had seen there in our price range had been a massive disappointment, and the taxes were higher. 

The house he sent us was a tiny green bungalow. "What the HELL?" I asked Jeremy. "Why would he send us this listing?" The first pictures we saw online were also a little off-putting, because as much as I hate to admit that those idiots on TV house hunting shows are right, it can be REALLY hard to see past horrible paint colors. After looking at all the pictures a few times, I realized the house was growing on me. I decided it was worth seeing in real life.

We pulled up in front of this little house on a street lined with MASSIVE old trees, and we sat there in silence for a little while. How could I have such warm and fuzzy feelings for this tiny little house? But I did. Then we walked in, and the house was far from perfect, but it felt like we were walking in the door to OUR HOUSE.

It was the first house we were scheduled to see that day, so we went to see a few more, including one I really liked and wanted to see a second time. We sat in that house I thought I liked so much, and I found myself asking "Do you think the owners will let us walk through that first house again?" Our realtor made it happen, and we walked through again. What happened every time I see a house a second time happened -- I noticed all the little "not-so-great" things much more clearly. But, BUT, this time I didn't think, Okay, never mind, this house isn't all that great after all. This time I thought, Let's make an offer!

We stood in the backyard and talked about the pros and cons. We talked about the only two options we had in our price range -- buying a house that had much more space but needed work (and money out of pocket) to make it livable, or a smaller place that was practically move-in ready. Our realtor wanted to be sure we knew the pros and cons of each and we were on the same page. We were. We are not in the point in our lives where we can buy a bigger space and hope for the best when all the remodeling starts. We are also not in a place where months and months of (possibly very costly) remodeling is something we can handle. We loved this place, and we wanted it.

Jeremy had to sleep on it that night, but when we woke up the next morning, he said "Let's put in an offer."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I've Been Keeping a Big Secret (NO, IT'S NOT TWINS)

I've been hinting like a cryptic ass about "big decisions" and "issues" and whatnot for months and months now. Sorry about that. We had to keep secrets for a variety of reasons, and I still can't tell you all the reasons it was so complicated for us, but I can tell you the biggest things.

It all began when Jeremy got his new job. I mentioned it very briefly back then, but to say it put a few wrinkles in our life as we knew it was an understatement of epic proportions. Old job was a few miles from our house in Lansing, and new job is an hour away. However, it is also one hour closer to back home than we are now -- essentially, his new job is exactly in between where we currently live and where we want to live. This was actually one of the big factors in us deciding he should take the job; it meant that one day we might be able to move back home, something we have been dreaming of. 

Now that Jeremy doesn't work five minutes from our house, I still need to commute to work, none of our medical needs can be met (did I ever mention new insurance doesn't cover any doctors in Lansing? Yeah, HILARIOUS, right?), we live in a rental home that I HATE, and we only have FOUR friends in this whole city, so we really didn't see many reasons to stay living here. However, that left us with a few options that all had pros and cons: 

1. We could move to the city where he works. No, no, a thousand times, NO. There are a lot of cities in Michigan I can think of that I wouldn't be excited to move to, but this is the only one to which I would NEVER move. And no, it's not Detroit, so don't be mean. 

2. We could move to some random city on the outskirts of the city where Jeremy works that is still kind of close to work, and also closer to back home. We considered this one for a long time, but it definitely didn't seem right. The only upside would be a shorter commute, and the downsides would be we know no one there, we know nothing about the area, I would have the same (45 minute) commute to work, and we would still be far enough away from family that we probably wouldn't see them any more than we already do. Plus, with all these downsides, it would make it really hard for us to want to buy a house there, and we are NOT renting anymore. NO.

3. Try to move home or close to it. With this scenario, we would be within spitting distance of both of our families, plus Jeremy's extended family, in an area we really love and feel comfortable buying a home, BUT Jeremy would still be commuting as much as he is now. I would not be able to keep my job, but would likely be able to work in the branch of the college in the area.

There were actually a whole lot more issues all tied up in this, many of which it would not be wise to discuss on the ol' blog here, but our main issue was deciding where we wanted to be in the long run and if all the other factors in our life could match up with that. 

I think you know where this is going. We decided to move home. And we ARE.

WE ARE BUYING A HOUSE! It took me a long time to be able to say it, and I still feel like I am going to jinx something, because it's not done until we close, and that is FREAKING ME OUT, but we are supposedly closing in about a week.

I KNOW, right? 

When we put the offer on the house, I wanted to tell everyone. When the offer got accepted, I wanted to tell everyone. When we went and signed all the paperwork with the mortgage company, when we had the home inspection, when the appraisal came back --  I wanted to tell everyone. Since we are now so close to closing, I decided to stop being so superstitious and finally tell everyone! 

Here it is. It's a tiny little bungalow that has strangely been painted Christmas colors, but it has better layout of living space, a better yard, a better neighborhood, better schools, and closer proximity to family than where we are now. We're a short drive from the beach and close to all the places we loved growing up. And it's going to be OURS.

I have a lot to say about it (lucky you). Coming up: house hunting, making an offer, the "wrinkle" in our best-laid plans, and the details of what makes this house great and what we plan to change. 

We're so excited to finally be homeowners. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

I WILL Be Okay

I'm angry. I'm very very very angry. About multiple things. These things are out of my control, but I can't stop being angry about them. Today I let myself get angry enough that I started having contractions. When I did some deep breathing, they stopped. Obviously, I need to find a way to get over these things or get over myself. 

I made a list of the things that were making me the angriest of all the problems we are having, and there are five things that are making my blood boil.

So, I decided that a good little exercise for myself would be to think of TEN things that are making me over-the-moon happy right now, in the midst of the five things that are making me consider vehicular manslaughter.

1. Josephine is going through a phase in which she runs at me, arms spread wide, with wild abandon and great urgency, shouting "Mama, HUG!!!" -- about a million times a day.

2. My camera has made its way from the church where I left it to my brother-in-law's house, and by this weekend, it should have made its way to my mother- and father-in-law's house, meaning I should be able to go pick it up when I go to my doctor's appointment in Port Huron on Tuesday. This also means I will only be driving 40 minutes out of my way instead of taking a 4.5-hour round trip to the middle of nowhere to fetch it. THANK YOU ALL INVOLVED!

3. Josephine officially knows ALL OF HER LETTERS. She still has a little trouble saying "H," and sometimes when she sees a "C" she just turns it on its side and calls it a "U," but that's also pretty clever, so I'll take it.

4.Jeremy brought home Chinese take-out for dinner, which not only means deliciousness, but NO COOKING FOR ME. HUZZAH!

5. We got two A/C units for upstairs and we slept in relative comfort last night for the first time in a long time.

6. Josephine and I spent about a half an hour watching old videos of her on my phone today. This one pretty much takes the cake:

7. I took a nap today. A NAP. It was so glorious that when Josephine woke up from her nap, my nap-brain thought, "Maybe she's just goofing and will go back to sleep so I can too."

8. Someone posted a picture on facebook of Josephine in her flower girl dress (made with love by me and my mom)! You don't see much detail, but you get the idea. CUTENESS. She can rock any look.

9. Tetris on my phone. Try and make me feel ashamed. You'll never do it. I play it in bed after Jeremy falls asleep and while I'm trying to turn off my brain and wind down. Love it.

10. Josephine's new "chicken" sound. (We have a little chicken toy that makes a rooster cock-a-doodle-doo -- irresponsible to say the least, but it did bring you the following cuteness, so I forgive it)

Okay, that list might have been harder without all the cute Josephine bits, but I am okay. I will be okay. It will all be okay. Sometimes I just need to remind myself.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Into The Darkest Corner

When I first started reading Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes, what (obviously) jumped out at me was the way the book is narrated: there is a dated entry from 2003, then a dated entry from 2007 ... and back and forth and back and forth for the rest of the book. I was like NO. I just can't do this. Set-ups like this generally give me intense rage and make me give up on books. Shockingly, by the third page, I didn't mind anymore, which is a true testament to the story.

The back-and-forth follows the same character, Cathy, leading up to a traumatic event, and following her post-trauma. Since you already have a general idea of what happened to Cathy in 2003, reading the story of her increasingly abusive stalker boyfriend is very tense -- you know something terrible is about to happen, but you don't know when and you don't know how crazy things will get before it happens. In the "post-attack" timeline, you see a shattered woman trying to rebuild her life, but something tells you that you are not just reading a story of overcoming PTSD and OCD -- something else is going to happen to Cathy. But what? It's a nail-biter, to say the least.

It's more than just a suspenseful novel, however. It touches on tough subjects, like abusive relationships, stalkers, and mental illness. It's uncomfortable to read at times, and you will find yourself screaming at Cathy in your head, but you will also put yourself in her shoes and wonder how you would find a way to escape and what you would have the strength to do. At one point the character tackles this idea head-on, saying she always thought women who didn't leave abusive relationships were lying to themselves when they said it wasn't as easy as it seemed to just leave.  

This book is certainly well-written (I often found myself stopping to think how she actually wrote the two separate but complimentary storylines and got everything to match up so well!), it is different, and it is definitely a page-turner. 

If you'd like to read what the other bloggers on this TLC book tour had to say about this book, click HERE for the master schedule. You can also check out the author's website, facebook page, or Twitter account if you'd like. 

I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. I was not compensated, and the opinions expressed are solely my own.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What We've Learned Here Is Most People Want to Know If They Have Boogers Hanging Out of Their Noses

Remember when I asked you to pass judgment on our marriage? Well, today is they day I share results and reveal the identities of Spouse A and Spouse B!

Thanks to everyone for playing along, because that was really fun. But man, it also turned out differently than I expected. I expected a lot of "Spouse A all the way!" and "Spouse B 4-eva!" comments in the spirit of debate, and obviously I wrote this post to be funny, but then my very first comment went ahead and gave ACTUAL advice. Man. 

In case you didn't read the comments (and if you didn't, do it, because there were some awesome and hilarious ones!) or didn't vote (shame on you!), like five minutes after I published the post, Leeapeea said:

I think I actually blushed, because DUH, and also, that had obviously never really occurred to me.

Here's the rub: I discussed it with Jeremy, and he is AGAINST IT. AGAINST IT!! Can you believe it?

I guess now would be the time to reveal the mysterious identities of Spouse A and Spouse B. I know this might come to a shock to some of you who know me in real life, but ... I was Spouse A. It's true! 

I must, MUST know if I have something going on with my appearance that could easily be fixed to avoid embarrassment, and I would MUCH rather have that come from my husband than anyone else, because I know he is not judging me. Others? They judge. OH, they judge. 

I also think that, in general, people would rather know these things than to go on about their day only to find toilet paper in their shoe at the end of it and curse me for letting them go on their merry way to do any number of important things. If I like you, I tell you about the spinach in your teeth. It's a sign of love. Therefore, the thought of NOT telling Jeremy, just because that is his preference, is very disturbing to me. That would place him in the "people I don't like" category in my brain, and that is just not computing. I'm also willing to admit that every time I would "helpfully" point things out to Jeremy, I was hoping he would think, Wow, Veronica saved me from embarrassment in public. She's right! I should do this for her, just like she begs me to all the time! Obviously, that was not the case, and I should be willing to give in and do what makes him happy in this instance. I'm willing to give it a go.

Jeremy, on the other hand (Spouse B), said he straight-up will NEVER make a comment on my appearance, because he thinks it is not his place to decide what is "not good" about the way I look. Now, I agree that I would prefer he not say things like "Man, are you going to do your hair before we leave the house? Because you look like a refugee." or "You know that shirt makes you look frumpy, right?" but I DO want him to tell me when I have stray hairs or boogers or food in my teeth. I want him to with ALL OF MY HEART, and he says he refuses. REFUSES!

In any case, it was nice to hear that so many people said they were Spouse A types and wanted to know themselves and would tell others to help them out. It made me feel like I wasn't totally ridiculous or anything. And I was definitely (not-so-secretly) hoping that there would be more votes for me because YOU WOULD TOO. Spouse A was the clear winner in the comments, as long as it is said kindly and in private, and that is how I roll, so I felt a little better.

However, that advice about respecting each others' wishes? I don't know how that's going to work. Jeremy is sounding pretty stubborn.

I, on the other hand, refrained from telling Jeremy about a booger hanging out of his nose that I noticed moments before we were going to get out of the car and head in to a family party. ONE POINT FOR ME. 

Then, after said family party, I got in the car, looked in the visor mirror, and noticed my eyeliner was smeared all over my face, in full-on Joker fashion. NEGATIVE ONE POINT FOR JEREMY.

Which means, if marriage were a competition, I would be WINNING. WINNING, I TELL YOU!

Not that marriage is a competition.

(But if it were, I'd be WINNING!)


Monday, July 2, 2012

How We Named Josephine AND a HUGE GIVEAWAY!

OH BOY, do I have two great things for you over at my Review Page! Not only will you get to hear the story of how we named Josephine, but you will have the opportunity to enter a fabulous giveaway worth $500 of cards from!! Head over to the Review Page, ASAP!! You will not be disappointed!

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