Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Surviving Nicely

After a very rocky start to the week, all has settled down and we're settling in. Everyone seems to be well rested (except me) and adjusting well. The girls have already started calling their new daycare lady Grandma Barb. She said she tried to explain that she's just Barb, but they don't get it. I asked if she minds, and thankfully she said she's flattered.

We had a picnic supper at the park on Monday night and a pizza party at my cousin's house last night. She has a one-year-old daughter who graciously shared her toys and her mommy's attention.

I'm not sure what tonight will bring, but I bought teddy bear harnesses (gasp! the inhumanity!) to put on the girls so that we can be more mobile without me panicking in fear that they will pull their favorite trick of running in different directions. We'll try out our new "backpacks" and see where that takes us.

We're closing on The Pretty House next week some time, and DH is coming down here this weekend to deliver a trailer full of our storage unit contents. We'll be able to get into the garage. Yay! And then he can see where we're holed up. Things are definitely looking up!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hell Night

Last night sucked. Big time. Thank God it's over with and today is a new day (and going much better).

After loading up all the kids and all of our stuff to last us all week (including 3 pack and plays!), we drove to DL. My folks are staying at the cabin, so we decided to meet at the Speak Easy for dinner and a travel break for the kiddos. As I pulled into the parking lot, DH called and told me he'd found my office keys and apartment keys for MN in his pocket. He drove up with them just as we finished our meal. It was nice to see him again, but what a waste of gas.

On the road, the girls whined, screamed, yelled, cried, shouted, and pouted. All right, I get it. I'm an awful mom for confining them in the car. I know - they hate car rides. But what could I do?

Once we pulled into the parking garage, after 10:00, with everyone awake, we proceeded to unload the van. Breanna walked around, hands on her belly, saying, "Tummy owie." I thought she was complaining after several long, but failed escape attempts from the car seat. Once everything/everyone was in the elevator, we started up. The girls went crazy. Bloody screams of death and torture! Finally the doors opened onto second floor. We proceeded to unload everything into the foyer. And then walk it down to the door. And then up three stairs and to our door. And finally inside.

Breanna still crying and holding her tummy, she cried louder. True wails. I gave her a TUMs, but she didn't like it at all. I then tried some of Grant's gas drops. Still crying. Grant was hungry, so I nursed him on one side and had Breanna in my arm on the other side. All the while, cute little Lillian walked up and offered Breanna a shoe. And then a sticker. And then my keys. She continued to cry.

We hauled into the bathroom and I put her on the toilet, thinking maybe she was constipated. Nope. By this time, I'd put Grant into a bouncy seat, given Lillian a bottle of water, which she spilled all down the front of herself, and was walking and rocking poor Breanna. DH called Ask-A-Nurse while I wondered how crazy it would be if I had to take all three to the ER.

Finally, Breanna threw up. Relief! But she'd whipped her head back and forth, so she spewed all over the sink, cupboard, and floor. And onto Lillian, who of course, was right at my heals, still trying to help. Into the shower they went. (I don't have a tub there.) Of course, this didn't help the mood. Lillian smiled about the tickle of the spray, but Breanna just sobbed. My heart broke as she continued to say owie and hold her belly.

In the meantime, Grant needed to be burped some more, but since I was covered in puke, I really didn't want to pick him up, too, so I draped a towel over myself and picked him up to burp. Thankfully, that's all he needed.

So, I jammied the girls, brushed their teeth, and then remembered that I still needed to set up their pack and plays. Just after midnight, all the kids were finally in bed and I was able to scrub the bathroom and get in the shower. I climbed in at 1:03. At 1:23, Breanna woke up, crying some more. I took her to the living room and rocked her to sleep. Then at 10 after 2, Grant woke up to eat. Breanna woke up once more before my alarm went off at 6:30.

It's going to be a long week ahead. But at least last night is no longer. The kids seemed to like their new daycare lady and Breanna was back to herself this morning. I called to check on them all at lunchtime and was reassured that everything was going quite well. Thank goodness! Wish me lots of luck in surviving.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Who's in the Hospital?

Four of my loved ones are the hospital right now - some for good, exciting reasons, others for assistance.

My sister gave birth to a beautiful little girl yesterday afternoon. Mom and baby are healthy and doing well.

Our dear family friend, Vivian, had open heart surgery earlier this week. She's had some complications, but appears to be recovering well. Please say a prayer for a continued good recovery and for peace for her family.

Our sweet Grandma Becky, who has lovingly cared for our children for the past couple years, is going in for surgery today to remove a fast-growing, painful lump on her neck. Please pray for wisdom for the doctors, healing for Becky, and patience for her family.

A close family member on DH's side is battling alcoholism and intense depression. The intensity of the disease is escalating quickly and destructively - with the sufferer not acknowledging the problem, and the family all acting in panic mode. As a result, everyone is constantly on the phone (thankfully we're communicating) and taking crash courses in how to handle this most effectively. I pray most intently that he gets into the hospital so that professionals can begin treating him.

It also means that I've lost my backup daycare for the kids while GB is unable to care for the girls. My other two backups (my sister and parents) are busy with new baby excitement and C-section recovery, so now I'm four deep into backups. Meaning: I'm next on the list.

I'm heading back home this afternoon, with plans to stop at MeritCare Hospital to meet my new niece and congratulate my sister and brother-in-law, and then go to the hospital on the other end of town to wish Grandma Becky well. And then try to figure out logistics from there. My folks are going to take the kids tonight while we attend DH's class reunion, and I'm pretty sure they'll all be staying at the lake cabin. I suspect we'll be traveling to the cabin tonight after the reunion, too.

Because Grandma Becky (GB) is out of commission for an undetermined amount of time, I'm planning to bring the twins back to my new place for the work week. Three kids, two and under, along with a frazzled mom, packed into a one-bedroom apartment with an industrial-sized (yet empty) kitchen two floors down - should be interesting. I think I need to buy another pack-and-play this week so everyone can at least have a place to sleep. And then figure out meal logistics. I suspect Papa Murphy's is going to become a close family friend. Whew!

My incredible husband has really stepped up - with GB suddenly going through health ickiness - he's needed to spend several days at home with our girls instead of going to work. He's had them out and about all over the place, including a trip to see his aunt and jump on her trampoline. He's very far in the hole in terms of work to do, so next week, he'll be hitting it hard, trying to play catch-up day and night.

I hate to say it, but the idea of hiring movers is growing more and more tempting. I've always thought of it as a luxury for rich people, but I just can't imagine how else we'll squeeze time in for getting out of the Fargo apartment and settling in down here. If I have to give up lattes for the rest of the year in order to justify the expense, I may just have to do that. Whew!

On a little bit more of a fun note, I'm looking for books on tape/CD. With all my car time, this type of listening has helped a ton. Have any you want to lend me? Or any recommendations that I can search for at the library? I just listened to one that had a lot of recipes added into the story, which wasn't very fun to listen to as I drove. I found myself frustrated as I fast-forwarded through them, and then stopped at the nearest drive-thru.

Happy weekending, my friends! I hope you can enjoy a slow pace and some hospital-free peace. That way perhaps I can live vicariously through you.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We Decided on a House

Finally, after going in and out of what seems like 10 million houses, we decided on one. It's a little more than I'd originally wanted to spend, but both my DH and my dad agree that we're getting a lot of house for the price and it's a darn good investment. I hadn't realized what a cheap-ass I've been until I've heard it from my husband, our mortgage broker, and now my Dad. I guess I'm just kind of chicken in this economy - I've seen enough layoffs affect friends and family (myself included), that I just want to save as much as possible.

Anyway, back to our future home. It's a new rambler - the builder had too many spec homes on the market and had to give some back to the bank. So, we're buying it from the bank. We've been working on getting the price down - we've got it down $80k from it's appraisal price - hopefully Monday will result in still a little more reduced. It still needs gutters, a central air unit, appliances, and a yard. But the main floor is finished with 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms and nice-sized rooms all around. All the hardware is oil-rubbed bronze, which we also put in the house we built and sold this spring. The woodwork is beautiful and the home has slate tile. Plus, there's a full walk-out basement for DH to finish, so we won't have to worry about him getting bored too quickly.

We've been nicknaming homes as we've been remembering them. There was Clean as a Whistle. The Sinkless Foreclosure. The Victory Home. Terra Bronze. 420. The House with the Sliding Hill. The one we're buying is The Pretty House. It has a pond with geese in the backyard and is in a great location. The neighborhood is great - lots of other pretty homes with beautiful yards - and supposedly lots of families.

My only drawbacks are goose poop and a new neighborhood - which means trees are few and far between. I guess that just means we have some planting to do this fall.

I had my third oil change in 6 weeks on Thursday as I prepared for another trip home to Fargo for the weekend. I'm here, the kids are in bed, and DH went out to pick up a movie. I can't even fathom the last time we sat down a watched a movie. I'm really looking forward to it. I have about 4 loads of laundry to fold, so I won't be a total waste of space. When I suggested we consider packing tonight instead of lounging, DH quickly talked me into some much-needed and much-missed R&R.

Now that my evenings won't consist of drive-through dinners while perusing neighborhoods, desperately looking for FSBO signs (our Realtor has been taking care of monitoring the MLS changes), I will finally get some down time. What a relief! I look forward to the weeks ahead - lots happening, but at least the one biggie is out of the way. Finally.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hello from Central Minnesota!

I will be starting day 2 on the new job this morning. My first day was fun and exciting - my new colleagues are wonderful. The demands of my position will keep me hopping. I've already had two conversations with reporters and have been called in to consult on a few hot issues. There is so much to do and so many immediate ways we can make improvements - it's certainly energizing to look ahead.

My employer is housing me in a beautiful furnished apartment in Sauk Rapids. The building is new construction that's connected to an old church. I have underground parking and lots of privacy (because the building is brand new, only two people live in it and they are on floors beneath me in a different wing). I can't believe how quiet it is - I sleep like a rock! And so does Grant!

One secret perk to being here is that I don't have chores to do at night. No dishes. No laundry. No bills. No anything. Just enjoying Grant and going to bed. Tonight, I'm finally going to finish up baby announcements. (Am I just the worst or what? Four months later!) And there's no TV, so I'm not even tempted to zone out with a show before bed. Last night was the first night I've been to bed by 11:30 in ages. I'm going to aim for 11:00 tonight.

Grant is going to a wonderful daycare grandma who came highly recommended from some of my colleagues. When I picked him up yesterday afternoon, he was smiling and laughing like crazy. His caregiver had created a page for a booklet she's starting, which had a photo of him smiling with her granddaughter, and then a little story written in his voice that told about his day. It said when he ate, slept, played, and took a stroller ride to the neighborhood park, and even had a checkmark for each wet diaper. What a relief to know he's in good hands!

DH and girls are doing fine back home. DH made pheasant nuggets from scratch their first night alone, and apparently the girls loved them. (Blech!) He also sent me a text picture of the twins covered in bubbles from head to toe in the tub lat night. They've been going for evening walks and basically just hanging out. I miss them, but it helps to know they're having fun at Grandma Becky's by day and with Daddy by night.

We're in the counter-offering stage on a house - so we'll see how that pans out. I do have a couple backup plans, just in case it doesn't work out. That said, I'm looking forward to getting settled in. Grant and I will head back home tomorrow afternoon for a weekend with the rest of the family. I wish you all a happy short week!