Monday, May 30, 2011

May 2011: On like Donkey Kong: Bonus Round or How I figured out how Demi Moore pulled off Striptease.

Back on May 1st I proclaimed this month would leave me either:

1. insanely proud of my ability to deal under lots of stress
2. in a corner crying uncle while sucking my thumb in a fetal position.

While I am equally enamored with to-do lists and the crazy high of 3 am productivity, I know where over scheduled insanity leads. I pulled it off minus a few items and I'm telling you there was some insane work that went down in May 2011.

This list of 17 items was the weekend to-do. Note that only 3 remain including de-greasing a grill. I have skills I never knew I had in all this house prep.

Did I plan to find a new house in the midst of all this insanity? No. Did it up the insanity meter, yes. It also pushed us to list as soon as we could and get this house packed provided everything works out with the closing. And for that, worth it.

Here's the wrap up:

1. Wrap up Spring teaching. Already have turned down extra Summer work commitments in light of maintaining two houses and that during summer the course compresses 18 into 8 weeks. Good Decision and one I'm already not regretting. I SO want there to be pool lounging and good times with the boys to recap our summer.

2. Celebrate mothers day the way I've always wanted, at home. Bill took the kids and I got a boatload of work done. PERFECT.

3. Keep moving with 300 mins or 20 miles/week. Kinda. I logged somewhere around 12-15 most weeks and if I could count all this house prep work I would have killed my goals. I never made it to ONE day of 30 Day Shred. Maybe if the title had been, "30 Minutes More and Jillian will tuck you into Bed"

4. Sleep. Keep a good thing going.. up until last week. Finishing this semester will help immensley get back to the good thing.

5. Get out of the house at least once a week nightly- 3 out of 4 weeks not bad and none of those outings was I sportin' the sun visor that is normally permanently attached to my head.

7. Bust it to get this house market ready by June 1st. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! And I now know how Demi Moore was glistening in Striptease... she stained a deck. Good God Almighty, I'm still finding stain in my hair 48 hours later.

May, you were put on notice for serious productivity and brother I delivered.

Bring it June. I got only one thing on my TO DO list: MOVE!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Gumbo with pics

This is the current state of my garage in progress. All hopes for more organization by Monday including staging area by area of the house.

And to think this time last week we were still waiting to hear if the 2nd counter was accepted. In one week we have moved quickly for our loan, all inspections, getting Ben registered at a new school, checking out daycare options nearby.
We are meeting with our agent to list ours next week with a plan of staging the garage with a whole house pack up by close date.

I took advantage of the few hours of being in the new house to also meet up for carpet measuring and our contractor. We now have estimates on painting and some playroom build-ins including a toy/box windowseat/booknook and walling one of the dormers for a secret hide out for the boys.

I've been checking out ideas for playrooms on line and am IN LOVE with some of the ideas. Esp this from pinterest for book storage

It's been a really busy week but much done. I'm feeling a little better knowing we are going to be gone for a week and that things are in motion. Ben has a friend over tonight for a sleep over and Bill's "camping" as in backyard version in hopes of the real deal next month.

Paired my 60 students down to the 15 with a shot of finishing by Wednesday final, final, deadline and have officially turned down all but one summer section of classes to focus on the houses. Yay to saying NO when I normally would say yes and then complain all summer about being stressed. I've also said no to a leadership role for consideration that I just cannot stretch myself more when I and the kids pay the price.

Bill's taking the kids to Charlotte tomorrow to check out playroom storage ideas while I really try to knock out the last bit of work. Thank you Bill!

The best pic of the lot. I knew this was a great house when I saw the porch, the backyard begging of boys to play, and a fulling blooming hydrangea hedge.

When I got to the house yesterday the current owners had left a very nice note and a bouquet from "our" yard. Really thoughtful and indicative of how despite all the craziness of the past few weeks everything is falling into place.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May. June. Insane in the Brain. Period.

No, not a self portrait. Yet. This will likely be my only post this week and maybe next. It's hell week at school wrapping up the first of 3 deadlines to get my 60 kido to the finish line either Friday, Tuesday or the final, final, final deadline of next Wednesday. Don't ask but it's the mother of multiple chances.

SO why no post other than work...because I signed a contact on a new house on Friday. to close on June 30th and have to have everything inspections done by June 10th.

did I mention that I will be gone from June 1-8th driving to Florida?

The super.awesome.fantastic.bursting at the seams happiness news is that this is our dream house. More to come later including pics once I feel I won't jinx myself by publicly publishing.

Know that when I questioned on Friday if all this stress was worth it.


A million times YES.

A wink and a nod from the Universe YES.

2011, the year of YES.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Because Dylan and Brenda can SO pack it up

So this was a post intended for like days ago, but life has just circled (and smothered) any time there was to finish. We are a week out from the home hell repair and I *wish* I could say I had gotten so much done on packing, cleaning, all the fun stuff still to do since Sunday's uber productivity but I haven't. If you find my productivity mojo, please return.

I hope the weekend brings some good tidings to report of where a substantial part of the week went. Really and truly I need to be reminded that it's all worth it. Return thoughts of the upcoming FL trip to their upright position every time I'm feeling stressed.

If EVER I wished to have family close to just take these kids for a few hours and let me get something done it is now. There simply are so many hours in a day to cram the extra insanity on top of the already insane going down in this house.

Enough with my personal whine. Let's see some before and after pictures!!!

So just to recap the great reveal of what farming out the contract work brought.

First up, gone is my late 1990's wallpaper and border.From my lovely and very cluttered with kids stuff/art kitchen. Anyone want the Lenox china spice set seen in the background I traded the surplus of 28 dinner plates in my Christmas china to buy in 1996. Really no takers. Guess what, I never even put real spices in there anyway.

Without the kitsch we are now sportin' a streamlined non cluttered kitchen. Note the Diaper Genie and Pack and Play will be put up before showings or I may just early potty train Ian. Right We also banished all toys downstairs to Ben's room as NOT to look like a Babies/Toys R US exploded.

I bought big portfolios to keep special items each boy. We are drowning in papers that don't need to be packed to move. I for see some midnight trash removal as not to upset Ben that we didn't keep everything.

Our dining room was a lovely red/burgundy that was nice, about 10 years ago when it was trendy, back with 90210 was heading into the geriatric years and Donna Martin still was a virgin.

The room was always really dark, esp in pictures. I like how much lighter everything seems.
I didn't take pictures of the floor repairs, Ben's room, or the porch re screening but they too look refurbished. I also didn't take pictures of the master bath before but due to the layout of the master bedroom into bath, we wanted to try to separate the rooms more. We took down the large mirror and replaced with smaller picture ones. In addition we swapped out fixtures. Both look more updated. I still have to repaint the bathroom which will also help. Nor did I take pics of the deck and porch which as of today are only 1/2 finished with plans somehow to finish this weekend.

It feels like we really didn't change that much, since we left the upstairs alone. Still, everything looks fresh, cleaned, less cluttered.

Well worth it and kinda sad I most likely won't get to enjoy nearly as long as I did Carol Walsh's kitchen set.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestickmaker

We survived ripping the band aid off home repairs in a single week. As I literally am the landscaper, the cook, the cleaner, the laundress, the primary child care provider, the organizer, the planner it is no surprise to know that the only way this house is going to be ready by June 1st is because I have made it happen.

Not to brag but I have pulled off some amazing feats in the past 2 weeks. In addition to ongoing cleaning out every closet,drawer, container of toys with Ben's help, my stuff (which is mainly baby/kid related stuff) in the walk out attic I’ve also been farming out the work I literally not physically able to do.

Yes, I agree I *could* have rented ladders and painted our vaulted ceilings, yes I could have borrowed a powerwasher and cleaned grime off the house and roof, yes I could have dug out ginormous bushes and chopped them up. But there is a physical and time limit to what can happen in 24 hours each day.

Given I have 60 students in the final weeks of class to finish or they do not graduate I’m a little busy with daily (or nightly) mounds of grading and school contacts even before the recent decision to push getting the house market ready.

May '11 is going down as a Cluster**** of insanity not seen since our summer of IVF and Bill's simultaneous surgery. I'm really trying to keep it together and just hunkerdown with a daily to do list and keeping my eyes on the prize of just getting to the end of May. Needless to say that the only way I am handling stress is sleeping as a priority and trying to get to the gym or outside to run with the dog. I literally use every single minute from the time I wake up to I finally collapse to get something done.

Yeah, yeah quit complaining, but allow me to detail what has gone down in the last week. Part of me loves this type of (temporary)stress from the high of productivity. Kinda sick, right? The other part is reeling from exhaustion when I stop at the end of the day. Telling you, amazing feats in the past 15 days.

Contractors here the entire week. They were AWESOME and I highly recommend them if local. I got them to beat a bid to re screen my porch as well as powerwash my driveway and outdoor swing for free by bundling jobs. Super Score for some negotiating.

So what happened during the week of home hell renovations:

Stripped my icky 90210 era wallpaper
Repainted the kitchen, dining room, and living room, stairs, hallway
Took down my gaudy brass light fixtures and ginormous mirror in my master bath and replaced with portrait mirrors and new lighting
Rescreened the porch including the damage from the tornado
Fixed siding that I had hit with the weed eater
Reattached the downspout
Replaced boards in the hardwoods
Fixed some cosmetic issues (aka 5 year old fun)in Ben's bedroom and then repainted the wall

Yes it was crazy not having use of most of the downstairs for most of the week, Yes Ian's napping with airguns and powerwashers going off was less than stellar with several days of NO nap at all or an abbreviated version of his already short one nap a day schedule. Yes I got behind with my class and worked late into the night almost the entire week to catch up.

Sunday while Bill was at a birthday party with Ben I took advantage of Ian's crazy long 3 hour nap (all the time he didn't sleep during the week I'm guessing) and mowed the grass, scrubbed down all the porch furniture, and stained the porch.

I had started Sunday by running 3 miles at the gym thinking it was going to rain and I would punt on the outside work so needless to say I am crazy tired and sore today.

On the punch list is ONE item still to complete before month end:

Final contractor to jackhammer out and re pour the front porch.

On my list: buy and plant 3 bushes, annuals and flower pots for the porch. 2nd coat of stain on the porch and also stain the deck that I skipped yesterday due to time. Weed the hosta bed as well at the mailbox planting (note site of the nasty poison ivy), put out mulch, paint the master bathroom, attach new master bath fixtures (Bill's job I hope while we are in Florida, if not I'm calling the contractor again as I have no idea how to do plumbing). In the meantime I am sorting, cleaning, tossing, donating, and in general doing everything I can to move with the least amount of stuff.

Yeah, I'm tired. Crazy, insane tired hence why I've been very MIA to most everyone not named Vinson and under 5 or one my students. Even students I am keeping office hours to manage my time during the day. Things will definitely slow down after the end of my classes on June 1st and hopefully once we get the house listed. Did I mention that I am driving the boys to Florida on June 2nd with absolutly nothing to do but side by the pool, enjoy the extra help from grandma, and if I'm lucky read Rob Lowe's new trashy tell-all book.

All hopes that all this hard work is going to pay off with a house that sells over the summer and in the meantime make it 15 more days.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

And On My Mothers Day Weekend,

I busted it out with a 120 min workout on Friday. Barbell Strength + 60 mins of Cardio. Man I was tired and sore come Saturday.

Heard back about my December surgery. I have a date with Dr. Troy, finally.

Had a date night involving 4 house walk throughs (one we both loved and may go back again). Hello playroom and bonus room and TWO, I tell you TWO, kitchen pantries.

Talked over the INSANITY of the upcoming week with contractors here every day over dinner at a new restaurant. Logistics of working from home are going to be ROUGH (add to it a mobile baby to contend with this week.)

One final freeze ahead Session with a friend about to pop with a baby 2. Seeing that my mom lost a bunch of the food I had taken last trip due to a power surge that killed her freezer it looks like my lot is spoken for next trip down.

Went to a surprise baby shower where the only way the mom to be would come into the restaurant was being told they were giving away free gift cards inside. Watching her frantically ask everyone at the hostess station from afar was just next to funny.

Packed up and took down everything downstairs in prep for painting.

Settled on paint colors. Sad to see my dining room color go but this kitchen wallpaper can suck it. It looks like 90210 was filmed in my kitchen it's SO dated.

Bought a haul of mastery bathroom fixtures being replaced including new lights, mirrors, hardware to be installed.

Picked out flooring for the kitchen. Finalized work on the porch.

Whew... tired yet.

But wait....

Working on deadline to get 60+ progress reports and individual make up plans sent to my classes, their schools, and parents.

Getting financial stuff together for a meeting with a mortgage lender tom morrow.

Bought all of Ben's birthday party paper goods and treat bag stuff. Also scoped out soccer goals for my mom to give him.

Watched not one but TWO really crappy movies while working on grades. Do not watch 127 Hours or the HBO doc about Jack Kevorkian. You will wish you had a suicide machine or at least those hours back. Really.

Celebrated mothers day by sleeping in until 8:30am ( granted I HAD stayed up until almost 2am working)

Bill took the kids the bulk of the day so I could work on my classes. YAY. They brought me flowers, cards, and best yet

I'm mom to a bonafide TODDLER... Ian took 6 steps in row right before I put him down so I'm counting it as an awesome mothers day gift.

It was a great mothers day. Better yet the best I think I've had. Minus having to punt on outside plans due to rain, I was with my boys and that was just what I wanted and needed.

Love you Ben, Love you Ian. My Cup Runneth over to be your mom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Putting Mothers Day on Notice

I am asking for 4 things on this first ever mothers day. I say FIRST because I cannot remember a time since I went away to college that I didn't drive home for mothers day.

I decided to go and pull out all the stops for Easter in SC to have Mother's day to myself, with my own kids, not on the road and frankly so tired once home (and usually frustrated) that the day is chalked up to "next year I'm going to do something different and not feel guilty."

Next year is this year and I'm asking for 4 things:

1. Please let me sleep. Please take the boys anywhere away from the house between the hours of 7-9 am and let me sleep and not awaken to crying/screaming/yelling/running/whining/ TV blaring or any combination of the usual way I wake up the other 364 days of the year.

2. Please don't give me anything (no flowers, no promise of a watch to replace my old that has now been offered up for at least 3 different holidays, not even a loaded up Starbucks card). Other than not minding me spending $ to print some of the recent family photos, I want to spend the day with my family.

3. Please plan some type of Sunday outing with the kids. A picnic, go karts, paddle boats, ice cream, anything that is outside and the only phrase I hear is, "it's planned, the kids/car is packed, just be ready by say 10 am once you have leisurely gotten up and I can stop by the house to pick you up.

4. Please keep these kids entertained when I stain and seal the deck. No plans for Mothers day labor, all bets are on next weekend if the weather holds out. I don't need helpers, I need the time to do it in peace.

Thank you.

Love your spouse, the mother of your children, the good daughter, the really tired mom.

Happy Mothers Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Of Baby Chain Smokers and Pint-Sized Hobos

*****Team 317 (Vinson vs. Vinson) are the Meet the Challengers Interview today in the Move It 2011 Competition****** Come check out our story.

Really I needed some more stress this week given we moved up painting the entire interior by 3 weeks to save money. Painters are here Monday-Wednesday. Direct quote from our realtor, "you are not letting any grass grow under your feet." After a day with a professional landscaper I will answer, "and how much would you charge me to cut said grass and get me on the market faster."

But back to the fact by day-end yesterday I had managed to sadden both kids by medical appointments for each.

Kid #1 sounds like a pack a day smoker. Most people almost immediately ask if Ian is sick with a cold after being around him. No, he was diagnosed with tracheomalacia or a "floopy trachea" 2 weeks after birth. At every dr appointment I have asked if we needed to be seen by a specialist. No, by 12-18 month it should disappear, nothing to worry about.

At his one year appointment I brought up that I don't think it's getting better, rather that he frequently begins to choke and gag on just air, even when not eating. At meals it's even more pronounced as he often sucks his thumb to push the food down making the choking worse.

We saw a ENT yesterday and after running a fiber optic scope down into his trachea through his nose he confirmed no structural issues, he looks fine, even good. Luckily I was expecting my super wiggly boy to be super duper wiggly and also crying. I asked Bill to come and help me hold him.

After the initial crying he was ok with hugs and kisses. To our complete surprise nothing is structurally wrong with him and the ENT questioned the original diagnosis. So at this point, he is still gagging and choking with no answer. We are going to evaluate if this is more of an eating issue and consider a swallow study if by his 15 month appointment he is not better. We also are going to reevaluate what he is eating as with only 1 tooth even with smallest bites of cut up food he is swallowing most everything whole. We may move back to a stage 2 soft diet. Overall I am thankful that while they didn't find anything, frustrated wondering what is going on with the choking on simple air. In the scheme of issues this is really not a big one, just one we would like to find the answer for. Believe me this kid is thriving. Just check out my grocery bill.

Kid #2- The pint sized hobo
- Prior to both pregnancies I never had a cavity. After Ben I had 9. After Ian 7. The only explanation I have is being post bariatric surgery and missing the ability to metabolize 12 known vitamins, likely more I take a lot of supplements. As in in have two separate pill cases I filled to the brim daily. I should get reward points at Target pharmacy. And you might want to consider buying me a cane for my 37th birthday.

When Ben showed up with two small cavities at his cleaning recently I immediately wanted to die the bad mommy death in that I *think* I do a good job. He brushes every night, uses a fluoride rinse, doesn't drink juice at home, has never had a soda in his life.

Ugh. Super Ugh. We have not been making a big deal about his sick tooth. I mentioned in the morning that we had to go back so his sick tooth could get medicine. He was good with this explanation and not until we were going in did he pull the rarely seen shy Ben mode of standing behind me and tugging on my leg.

Enter shy Ben. I asked if he wanted me to go back. Yes, please Mommy. I had to change Ian and the hygienist came to tell me he agreed to walk back with her and to meet them in exam 8. Good. I was hoping if she could get him settled watching the tv then he would not be scared. When I wheeled back I was standing where he couldn't see me and the hygienist was talking to him in preschool terms about picking a mask for the nitrous (he picked pink, his favorite color)and talking about painting tooth shampoo (the filler) onto his tooth. I gave the thumbs up and wheeled Ian back to the front. The Dentist came to talk to me about 15 mins later and said he was fine just a little confused why he couldn't feel his mouth. We paid, booked the other appointment and headed home with one quick stop.

I had promised Ben a pink sprinkle frosted doughnut if he was brave and let the dentist make his sick tooth better. Don't even comment on the whole Doughnut=Brave at the dentist thing. I know but in desperate times, I will opt for desperate measures. You better believe we were barely in the car before he was asking about his doughnut.

As I was crashing from the stress and late nights this week I had to get some coffee so we stopped. I told him that he could have it for dessert to which he said, "you can have yours too for dessert". Obviously he doesn't understand the immediate need for caffeine. He promptly ate, no inhaled, the doughnut and chewed it on the non numb side.

Not that I wish for him to have a mouth full of cavities and seeing we are remembering to floss every night plus add am brushing he did really, really well. In part because I think we didn't play it up other than in some simple preschool terms and I left the room when the momma bear really wanted to stay.

Glad that the only appointments today are 2 house related events. Mouth of a hobo and my little chain smoker, you bet. Pros at being a big boys(both of them) makes be happy to see them able to handle the an out-of-the ordinary dr appointment without a meltdown.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2011 is on like DONKEY KONG!

ok folks, May is rolling and based on the CRAZY productivity over the weekend this month is going to leave me either:

1. insanely proud of my ability to deal under lots of stress
2. in a corner crying uncle while sucking my thumb in a fetal position.

I'll opt for 1.

As I mentioned on Friday in my April wrap up, by month end we are facing end of Ben's preschool, final push to get students to finish my class allowing them to graduate, and oh yeah getting a house we have lived in a decade ready to list.

No stress here. NOPE.

While I am equally enamored with to-do lists, the high of crazy productivity at 2 am, and my overall sense of accomplishment I also know that this could also lead to ever present slippery slope of where lack of sleep and over scheduled insanity leads.

So I'm keeping the list short:

1. Wrap up my spring online sections. Note to self that I kicked my own butt thinking I could pull of 3 full sections and camp mommy at the same time.

2. Celebrate mothers day the way I've always wanted, at home. Hopefully on a Bill planned, organized day out with all my boys. (hint, hoping for a picnic or other outside event.)

3. Keep moving with 300 mins or 20 miles. Adding 30 Day Shred to help on the days I know I will never make it out the house due to insanity. Exercise cannot take a back burner with all this house prep.

4. Sleep. Keep a good thing going, don't be my own worst enemy.

5. Blog posts for Move It 2011 participant interview (done and running this week), Disney guest post, keeping up here at least 3 times a week, and even post a couple on the Freeze Ahead blog (2 already up for May since this is my long lost child.)

6. Get out of the house at least once a week nightly, with earrings and without a sun visor on to be around someone whose name is not "vinson"

7. Bust it to get this house market ready by June 1st. SO much here it's a post unto itself. SO much work, donating, cleaning, purging already happening. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy to see organization out of chaos.

*note to Bill don't ask me should we keep this, my answer will always be NO and why the heck do you have that anyway"

May, you have been put on notice for serious productivity and hopefully not losing my mind in the process.