Everybody has their 15 minutes

Goodness!  It’s been a WHILE since I last wrote.  Sufficed to say, I’ve been busy.  I hate that word.  “busy”.  It’s way over used.

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Triple Crown Leadership <—– great piece on “being busy”

The word itself doesn’t even look like it’s spelled correctly.  Busy…..Bussy?  Bisy. Bisie, Bizy?  Anyway, I hate busy.  HOWEVER!  That being said…..I have been busy in a good way!

Right now I should be packing.  Why?  Oh maybe because we are moving in 2 days.  I am at the point where everything that can be packed is packed.  Everything else has to wait until the last few mad hours before we leave for good.  So I thought I would write……it may be another month before I get to again.  I can’t WAIT to be back into my normal routine.

I think I will start with probably one of the most exciting things to ever happen to me.

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There I am!  It’s finally out!  I didn’t think it would be out until today actually but much to my surprise it was early!!!  I was talking to my friend on the phone last week and she said “So, I saw your article in Women’s Health”.  I screamed “WHAT!?!?!?!?!”  I may have made her ear drums bleed.

“JEEEEEEREMY!!!!!  GO GET THE MAIL GO GET THE MAIL!!!!!”

“WHAT? WHY?  What’s wrong?

“MY ARTICLE!  CHERYL…..ITS HERE….MAIL!!!!!”

He makes a mad dash out the door.

And there it is!  Crazyness I tell you…..crazyness.  What an honor.  What a moment.  What validation.  Wow.  Jeremy went out and bought two additional copies at the store.  I am not ashamed to admit I will be laminating that bad boy, framing it and making it a focal point in my house.  Ok, maybe not a focal point, but it will be on the fridge, inside the pantry, folded in my purse, in my journals, and for sure framed in my office.  Not because I am trying to brag or show off, but as a reminder, when the days are dark and my mind tries to go back to the places I never want to return.

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One day I can show my clients, hey look at this….I UNDERSTAND!!!!  I can help, you can trust me, I have been there.

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So, here are some other things that have been going on…..

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Oh the blasted crane…..I finally did it!!!

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Valentines Day Happiness

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Cuddles with Cici.  When Aidan was learning to talk, he couldn’t say Trixie so he would say Cici.  That’s become her nickname…along with BRAT.

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Aidan’s 6 yr molars started coming in and his gums swelled up in the most alarming manner! Apparently it’s totally normal for that to happen.  Poor guy.  OUCH!

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Even though it’s been weeks since I have had a proper workout, except an occasional sporadic run, I have been getting plenty of physical activity in the form of packing and pushing boxes around…..so my foam roller and I have become BFF’s.  I am not sure what I ever did with out it.  Oh yeah…..I laid on the floor for an hour stretching and complaining…..

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I was fixing Aidan’s hair one morning and I see these two “bobbed” spots. He says bobbed instead of bald. I can’t bring myself to correct him. He also says thair instead of fair. Sometimes his cuteness is overwhelming.  Anyway, as a mother, my mind goes straight to “OMG what disease does he have?”   As I am looking at the spots he lets me know he doesn’t have some rare incurable disease, he just gave himself a little haircut.  Whew!!!!  Thank goodness!

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So as I was packing one evening I came across this little box of gems.  My past.  CRINGE! Look at those gallon zip locks of notes!!!!!  I didn’t read all of them but the ones I did read were awesome. They are priceless. Filled  with drama and silliness.  Lots of “oh my gosh…..I can’t believe I wrote that.” was said aloud.   I was a different person back then that’s for sure.

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The last few weeks I have been reading a book called May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. Finding it was a bit serendipitous but I am convinced it’s also one of those things that I was meant to read.  I heard about it a while ago and thought, Hmmm….that looks interesting, I will have to check it out.  Then while browsing at B&N one day I walked right into it.  SIGN!!!!!!!   It’s a little on the hippy dippy side but it has REALLY opened my eyes to so many things I was blind to.  The first two weeks were are about overcoming fears.  I was able to discover some fears I have that I never realized were there.  Being able to identify them has been life-changing.  In one of the first chapters she says this about fear.  “Love did not create this.”

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That simple sentence has altered my entire world.  I wish I could expound on how and why but….yeah…..you know…..too personal.

Just the other day I read this little gem of a passage…..

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Yes, yes and more yes.  Many have misconceptions about this.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation or relationship.  Ex. I have forgiven the man who took Daniel from us,  but I am not going to go have coffee with him. Forgiveness means that you have let go of the hurt and bitterness that once poisoned your heart and mind.  You are free to love and live the life you were meant to live.

I highly recommend this book.  It’s so good!  Read it with an open mind and get out of it what you can.

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So then there is this little thing we did yesterday!

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WE CLOSED!!!!!  So excited!  We signed papers for AN HOUR!!!! But….honestly, it was quite fun!

I can’t wait to start a new chapter in our lives.  I will be sad to say goodbye to our first house together. Sad to say goodbye to our sweet neighbors.  It will be an adjustment getting to know the new house.  I have said several times this week “I am going to miss my stove and microwave.”  Little things like getting used to what light switch goes to what.  Learning how to use the sprinkler & alarm systems.  I anticipate hilarity to ensue concerning those! Especially if I am the one operating them!  But I am excited about being able to take the boys to the neighborhood pool and play ground all summer.  Sitting on my covered porch that has a ceiling fan on those HOT summer days.  Enjoying our fireplace on the cold and dreary ones.  Getting to know some new friends in the neighborhood.  There are walking trails & several ponds with water fountains throughout the neighborhood as well.  I can’t wait to explore those.

Hopefully it won’t be another month before I write again but until then……

Uncle Si

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Oh Uncle Si…..you’re the best.

123 Days

The last 123 days have been some of the hardest days of my life and I wouldn’t change a single moment of any of them.

I have gone from bright eyed and full of hope and excitement!

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To questioning whether Jeremy and I were doing the right thing.

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To whether or not I deserved the abundance that God promises me in His word.

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To being angry at God, then having buried emotional baggage rear it’s ugly head at me.

Cries

To suddenly coming to the understanding that the trials I face make me stronger.

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To completely surrendering to God’s plan, not mine, for my life.

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To having a peace in my spirit that surpasses all understanding. Believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am deserving of His abundance and trusting Him more than I ever have in my life.

Finally finally, in an interesting turn of events, we have accepted an amazing offer that was over and above what we ever expected. God is GOOD.

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One day last week I had a last minute showing request.  I almost didn’t accept it.  But…..I did anyway.  I drove down the street (without shoes on) and watched a man drive up to our house, walk around our property, go into the house, come out and leave.  What in the world?  Jeremy called Mike (our realtor) and asked if that was normal.  Apparently it is….so I was like ok whatevs……that night Mike called us with an offer from that man!!!  Turns out he was from an investment firm who buys houses and rents them out.  The offer was ok….better than the Lowballers (funny story about that another time).  So we started working on accepting the official offer and then went to look at houses the next day.  With this offer there were a lot of hoops we were going to have to jump through.  A lot of things that were on their terms. First, they weren’t going to give us time after closing to close on our own home.  Then they weren’t going to do any inspections, then they were…..

The morning we were going to meet with Mike to look at houses we got a showing request for that afternoon.  I sort of laughed it off.  I checked to see who it was, to see if it was a second showing or not, and I didn’t recognize the name.  I approved it but we didn’t take any extra measures to make the house show ready like we normally do.  I mean we cleaned like we normally do but not with OCD-like detail.

When we met Mike he said “Hey guys you know that showing you have today? They are going to make an offer.” Jeremy and I were so confused.  Say what?!  They had been to see the house before but had a different realtor. That’s why I didn’t recognize the name.  I am going to assume they weren’t happy with her, called the number on our for sale sign and were assigned one of the agents who works in Mike’s office.  When he spoke with their realtor he told her “It better be something significant because what they are entertaining now is real pretty.”  That afternoon after looking at 5 houses, only one of which we liked that was also way overpriced, we were feeling really nervous.  We were looking at having to be out of our house in a month & having to rent something!!!  Not what we had in mind.  …..The cash deal was making Jeremy and I feel very uncomfortable.   I told Jeremy that ultimately, this was our house to sell and it would be on our terms, not theirs.

Ever true to his word, Mike called us later that afternoon and told us he had sent the offer from the couple via e-mail.  Sadly, it wasn’t any better than the cash offer and we were a bit disappointed. Then  I remembered something I had just read about making offers.  “The buyer’s offer will be low and is only an invitation to start negotiations.”  I told Jeremy, “They don’t know what the other offer is. They had to start somewhere. Let’s counter.”  They had asked for closing costs so we accepted the offer minus the closing costs.  That would have us making 2,750 MORE than the cash offer.  It ended up being exactly what our asking price was.  There were so many things to consider.  I felt the need to devour a bag of Peanut M&M’s.  I told Jeremy that if it weren’t for the cash offer we wouldn’t think twice about this.  We would be stupid not to take the extra cash.  The worst thing that could happen is that it could all fall through and we would be back on the market.  And you know what?  So what.  We’ve been doing it this long, we can keep doing it.  We are not desperate, we have 5 or 6 other people out there who have loved our house and will be back.  Decision made.

That night I couldn’t go to sleep nor stay asleep.  We accepted the offer officially and now….WE HAVE THE BIG FAT RED PENDING BANNER!!!!!!

But wait, there is still the issue of not having a house to move into……

Since we started looking at houses 4 months ago, there has been one favorite that has remained.  The only problem was that the living room was set up in such a way that wouldn’t allow for our oversized furniture.  We have a HUGE living room and we filled it up with huge furniture and a gargantuan entertainment center that took Jeremy almost a year to build.  Out of the blue, I am convinced it was divine intervention, Jeremy said,  “Amanda…..our couch comes apart.”  “What?” “Yeah, LOOK!”  He unconnected it and we moved it apart.

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I couldn’t believe it!  With what I am sure were Puss N Boots eyes,  I said “JEREMY…..this changes everything!!!!”  So we got on the phone with Mike and got all the goods on the house.  We are going to look at it again tomorrow at 2!!!!!  YIPPEEEE!  I have this intense sense of urgency to put an offer on it because I can just feel other people’s eyes on MY HOUSE!!!!

But…..deep in my heart.  I know.  That.  It has been on the market all this time, if He has been saving it for us….He will continue to do so.  If not, then He will provide something else.  Even if we have to rent some little shack for a few months…..the trust is there.

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Accepting an offer on our part is only half the battle. We still have inspections to pass and our own offer and inspections to get through.   I remain confident that it will be easy sailing from this point forward.

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Not for the Faint

I am quickly realizing that I have serious OCD tendencies.  I have always known this but they are rearing their ugly little heads as of late…Jeremy does too by the way.  His psych exam for the PD even confirmed it!  He’s my lobster.  Anyway, I digress…..Ok, so not the kind where I open and close the door 20 times, but the kind where I obsessively think about things over and over and overrrrrrr. I never ever solve anything this way. I always kick myself in the butt though for wasting so much mind energy on these things.

Take this for example.  There is a particular house I am IN freaking LOVE with…..and I check the status of it like 20 times a day.  Has the price dropped?  Has it gone under contract?  Regardless of the fact that I would immediately get an email if either were the case……I still check it.  I have issues.  So the last few days I have really been working on not trying to control the situation.  If it’s meant to be it will be, if not, there is something better for us.  It’s all about trust in the one who’s really in control of my life here, and it isn’t me.

We listed our house officially on Saturday and Sunday morning as I am walking into church I get a phone call asking to approve an appointment for that afternoon.  I thought “Oh dear God already?  That was quick!”  I mistakenly got my hopes up that for some freakish reason we would sell the house that day.  Hey, it happened to my friend!  Sadly we didn’t hear anything back and I got a little sad.  Nor have we gotten anymore calls to see the house since.  Our realtor (Mike) uses a professional photographer and we are having to wait until tomorrow to have photos taken.  I know once those are up, (hopefully) I will have to be vacating the premises many times a day (hello Target) so people can look through my cabinets and closets.

I haven’t been able to workout for 2 weeks since I had the stiches put in.  Without that outlet, being able to focus on something else other than keeping my house spotless, I am sure my anxiety is super elevated which contributes to the OCDing over houses.  I am normally super laid back but lately I feel like a rabid dog!

Buying/Selling a house = not for the faint.

I have some good news!!! TODAY…..I got the stiches out & steri-strips in!  Fun times!  Annoyed The other good news is that she said I could wait to have those other two spots biopsied at my normal 4-6 month check up.  The 3rd good news is that she cleared me to start running again!!!  Jillian & her plyometric torture will have to wait a while but running is ok’d!  I found it interesting that the skin is only at about 15% strength right now.  I still have to be careful and keep the area bandaged for further healing and reducing scarring.  I keep thinking I am very lucky this wasn’t in a visible area because it’s really not pretty!  SUNSCREEN my friends!  SUNSCREEN!

I would like to publicly thank my amazing husband for holding my hand through both processes.  The man deals with the most gruesome of situations like a champ, but felt slightly faint seeing his bride get cut up!  Sweet thing.  What a man!

Skin Cancer = not for the faint

I haven’t really eaten anything new and exciting lately except for two new shakes.  Aidan is still being a complete brat about anything that isn’t peanut butter, honey and bread or Chick-Fil-A so I am just over trying new recipes right now.  He threw a tantrum on Sunday because Luke and I wanted to go to Sweet Tomatoes and he didn’t.

“Chick-Fil-A isn’t open on Sunday Aidan James!  We are going to SWEET TOMATOES!”

When we got there he ate two bites of pizza bread and two bites of ice cream.. *EYEROLL* Steaming mad

So my shakes…..

This one was Dashing Dish inspired

“Lemon Cream Pie Protein Shake”

I used her base and added 2 tbsp. sugar free lemon pudding mix, & vanilla (to taste).   I also added 1 tbsp. chia seed.  I loved this one!

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This morning I made her Caramel Apple Pie Protein Shake

It was so spot on!  Delish!

I used Walden Farms Caramel Syrup instead of caramel extract because I couldn’t find it.  This was a GREAT substitution.  I was going to use sugar free caramel syrup but I saw that there were 90 calories in 2 tbsp. and there was no way that was going to happen.

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*****

So my boys…..my boys, my boys……

Luke's $ Ring

We have discovered Luke’s hidden talent.  Yes, that is a dollar bill folded into a ring! You want to know what he did with this?  It went into the offering tray the next day!

We won’t talk about how I witnessed him ALMOST getting hit by a car while he was riding his bike and crossing the street without looking (<—–knows better) while I was walking Trixie and Aidan was riding his bike in front of me.  No, we won’t talk about the complete come apart I had out in public in our neighborhood.  You know the kind where you are so freaked out that they are in trouble out of love and fear? He isn’t allowed to ride his bike ever again (<—- blatant lie).

raising kids = not for the faint

This would be Aidan’s report card…..

Aidan's 1st Report Card

Yes, my kindergartener. I don’t even know how to begin to explain it. It took two cups of coffee to get through and I’m still having to go back to it to make sure I understand what it’s saying.  He is doing great and even exceeded expectations in the Social and Emotional evaluation!  Way to Go A.J.!!!!  I must mention that while Luke’s wasn’t quite as spectacular of a presentation, he did make straight A’s!

I am really looking forward to getting a little bit of a jog in tomorrow.  I am sure it will be more of a walk but at least it will be a little something!  Slow and Steady!

Long Story

In 2008 Jeremy and I were living in a 1200 sq. ft., 2 bedroom apartment with our 6 year old and 1 year old sharing a bedroom.  We knew we needed a bigger place, ideally a house, but we didn’t have a small fortune to be able to buy one.  Til this day, I believe the only reason we were in a house 1 year later, was because of Jeremy’s faith and fervent prayer. His faith that some how, some way, when there seemed to be no way, God would provide.

In April 2009, the lease on our apartment was about to be up for renewal and the thought of spending another day in that apartment to me was unbearable.  We began looking for a house and realized that if we were going to buy a house, we would still need a small fortune.  Even though we had a little saved up, it would never be enough.  A long time friend of mine, who also has her realtor license, told me about HUD homes and foreclosures.  This was exciting news for us because if we could find one, it would be THE answer to all of our prayers.  All we would need was $100 to put down on the home and we could finance the closing costs into our mortgage.  We could do this!!!!  The problem?….Actually finding one.  We contacted a realtor to help us and she showed us one house…..just one.  One that happened to not have a bid on it already and that wasn’t a complete disaster.

When we drove up to the house I fell in love.  It was beautiful.  It seemed like a mansion to me.  One of the highest rated elementary schools in our town was right across the street.  It was huge, had tons of windows and was a blank canvas for me to paint and decorate exactly how I wanted it!  The realtor was impressed by the condition of the house. Not all HUD homes or foreclosures have been lived in by heathens.  Some folks have simply fallen on hard times or were victims of the variable interest rate fiasco.  We immediately put a bid on the home and didn’t sleep for a few days praying it would be ours.

A few days later it was ours.  Just in the nick of time too because our lease expired in just a few weeks.  I couldn’t pack up fast enough!  We were in that house everyday for two weeks.

We painted every white wall there was.

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I had lived with white walls for 5 years. We changed out light fixtures, door handles, put in ceiling fans, & cleaned.

We played in the new backyard

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and hunted lady bugs.

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It was a glorious time.

I thanked Jeremy for having the faith and I thanked God for showing me that He is faithful.

We always thought that this would be our forever home.  We had a lot of things we were going to do to the house.  New fence, replace all the laminate with ceramic or travertine, remodel the master bath, recess lighting, landscaping, sprinkler system.  These were our plans 3 1/2 years ago and until two weeks ago where still just that……plans.  Since January our “next project” was to lay tile in the laundry room.  Jeremy was building an entire cabinet system for me and had finished the first shelf.

But honestly, who has time for that?  Not us that’s for sure.  And honestly, who has the thousands of dollars to do all of that?  NOT us that is FOR SURE!  I guess that wasn’t something we really thought about.

The question for months has been “When?”.  “When Jeremy?  When exactly are we going to do this?”  “I think we should just hire some one.”  “No, we ARE NOT hiring someone to do something I can do myself for a quarter of the price.”  He usually got an eyeroll from me and that was the end of that.  The truth is that yes he absolutely could do all of these things himself and I knew that.  But he absolutely doesn’t have the time nor the help he needs to do them.  I am definitely no help.  I can hold stuff and that’s about it!

So two weeks ago I was incredibly frustrated with the fact that we still had yet to pick out tile or even a color to paint “my new laundry room”.  Life is crazy around here, just when we think we have time to get a project done, something comes up, someone gets sick, appointments are made, tired mom and dad just need a day off, and the list goes on and on.

So yet again, per usual, the conversation started like this.

“Jeremy, when are we going to fix the fence?”

“When we finish the laundry room.”

“When are we going to pick out tile?”

When, when, when.

That’s when the conversation took an unusual turn from the norm.

“Jeremy, I want a new house.”

It’s something that had been on my heart for awhile, but I never said it out loud. I really tried to be content with what I had. I mean come on! Some people don’t even have beds to sleep in Amanda, get over it! So what, you don’t have a separate shower form the tub, some people don’t even have showers. Let alone warm, clean water to bathe with.

He was taken by surprised and I think a little scared!

“Not a mansion, not even a bigger house. Just one that already has everything we want.  You know we have a lot of equity in this house and could make enough on it in order to buy a fancier house.  You know the interest rates are freaking amazing right now.  I don’t want the boys going to ________ Junior High and neither of us want them at  ______ High School.  We can move a little further south and they’d be in one of the best school districts in this area.  You know we wished we could have afforded a house down there in the first place and now we can…..”

He didn’t say much but apparently I was pretty convincing and part of me suspects he had been having the same thoughts but hadn’t said them out loud either.

I left because I was just frustrated and we also needed milk…..

When I got back he said, “Hey! I found a pretty house.”

The next week we started cleaning, fixing up little things around the house, taking stuff to Goodwill, and obsessing over houses on-line because………..

We are putting our house on the market!

The night of the “life changing conversation” I prayed.

“Is this what you want for us?  I thought this house was a gift from you, an incredible blessing.  I thought this was where we would be forever.”

“This was my gift to you.  This was a stepping stone.  You needed a house, I provided one.  You would never have been able to get to where I want you and where your heart truly desires to be if it weren’t for this house. It’s time to move on.”

So many other encouraging words have spoken into my heart and I have just been in awe of His great love for me, Jeremy, Luke and Aidan.  He truly gives you the desires of your heart.  Even when you don’t speak them out loud, He knows.  There is so much more I could say about the way God is moving in our lives, and how he has changed my life over the past year but it is just unspeakable the way things are falling together.

Blessed is She

I am sure you have guessed by now that this would be our “exciting news!” We had our 2nd “exciting news” meeting this afternoon.  I haven’t been that nervous/excited since I rode The Superman for the 1st time.  Waiting, waiting, waiting. “Oh should I do this? I am doing this…I can’t change my mind now.  I am on this ride.  The seat belt is locked.  No turning back now.  Oh……my gosh….”  Then before you know it its over and you are exhilarated and maybe slightly nauseated!  I am super excited but scared and nervous at the same time.  I know people buy and sell houses everyday but I don’t.  It’s true what they say about it being a nerve wracking experience.

Do it  afraid

So that’s that!  Keep us in your prayers!  There is a house I already have my eye on that I check obsessively every hour to see if it’s gone under contract would really love a chance at!