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Where do I even begin? I have started this post 3 times now. Our lives are in such a state of transition lately that there are times when I feel overwhelmed and just want to bury my head under the pillow and stay there all day. Baby steps, right? Okay then.
Things are going great. I am 27 weeks. The baby is finally moving around all of the time. I am just starting to get to the “almost” uncomfortable stage. I started Prenatal Yoga and love it. No, we are not having an ultrasound to find out the gender. In fact, there are many tests that we are electing to not have. Either because I am not at risk or because we feel it is too stressful for me & BTH #2 (gotta think of a better blog moniker for it).
This guy is amazing. Everything is so new, and every day is a learning experience. It is amazing to watch. His vocabulary is expanding, as I said before. He loves to say, “Sure Babe,” “Are you kidding me right now?” “Are you sure about that? I’m sure of that,” and his favorite swear word (at least I think that is what he is saying) is “Damn it!”, but he puts a “b” at the end of “damn” so it sounds more like “Damb it”. It is all I can to do tell him that isn’t something that babies say before I have to look away while biting the inside of my lower lip to keep from laughing. He loves to sit and play with his blocks and little toys and chatter away to himself, and he absolutely loves being read to. He has a pretty good collection of books and we go up and read books in his room once during the day to pass time, then he gets a book read to him before his nap and at least 30-45 minutes of book reading by either me or Papa before bed at night. I hope hope hope that he turns out to share our love of books.
It is gorgeous here. Chilly, but gorgeous. They already have snow in Fairbanks and have had snow in Anchorage. It is only a matter of time before we get it. And judging by the rate it is covering the mountain, it won’t be much longer…it is slowly making its way to lower elevations.
(I took this picture this morning while standing on our back deck)
Little things in life thrill me. Like last week when pumpkins arrived at the grocery store. I promptly picked out two to sit in the rocking chairs on our front porch. DH grabbed one of them and proclaimed that it wasn’t big enough, and replaced it with a bigger one. Because we lived overseas for the past 3 years, we haven’t had pumpkins and this just thrilled my little heart to be able to have them once again. And seeing frost on said pumpkins when we get up in the mornings, a sure sign that winter is indeed on its way.
The animals are having a hard time adjusting to the chilly weather though. They are all from Guam, so they are used to tropical temperatures. One kitty spends 85% of her day laying thisclose to the monitor heater in the main living room. The other one hides somewhere warm and cozy until about 10 pm when she comes out for some attention right before we go to bed, then she settles back in her cozy spot for the night. The dog though…oh boy. She refuses to go outside until almost 3 pm. When I open the door to let her out to pee, she runs the other way. And she is snuggled into her bed for the night by 7pm. Her name is Lady and I have started calling her “Old Lady”. We used to let her out right before we went to bed, but lately, she just barely opens an eye in recognition of us talking to her and offering her one more chance to pee for the night. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that she is fine after being shot by a porcupine. She really only had a half dozen or so quills or whatever they are in her face (one in the gums, ouch), so she was lucky. She let us pull them out with a pair of pliers. This is the culprit as we caught it sneaking under the fence.
This is the part that is the most worrisome.
When we bought the house, we knew that we wanted to make major improvements. The carpet throughout the house is old and repulsively stained. There was question as to the pellet stove insert’s ability to work. The vinyl flooring in the foyer looked original to the house (built in 1967). The exterior doors are dusty rose-pink. Almost every room needs a new coat of paint.
Then there are things that aren’t exactly necessary, but would make it how we want it. Like remodeling 2 of the baths to update / or add a bath tub. Expanding the back deck covering to extend the length of the deck to increase its functionality. And add a rail around the deck. Tons of re-working the yard and landscaping. Changing all of the exterior locks & doorhandles from cheap-o brass ones to more decorative ones that all match. Finishing off little things in the kitchen that were skipped when the previous owner remodeled it. Repainting the garage. Having an energy survey completed and acting on the recommendations. Painting the oil tank outside.
So far, we have:
1. Repainted the guest bedroom from deep lavender with plum trim to a warm sunny yellow (Warm Sunshine is the name, actually). They had even painted the ceiling lavender. It is now white. And all of the trim is white. Much, much better.
2. Painted the kids’ bedroom from a light peach color to a green hue…darker than celery, but lighter than pea soup. It is called Primitive Hedges. White ceilling also.
3. Purchased paint for the rest of the rooms.
4. Replaced all of the exterior door handles and locks (there are 5 exterior doors!).
5. Painted the exterior of the french doors off the dining room and the exterior door off the laundry room from dusty pink to forest green (we have light yellow siding).
6. Purchased the tile for the foyer. Pulled up the vinyl and particle board in the foyer. DH is working on getting the floor level, then the tile project will be fast-tracked.
7. Had the carpet guy come out and measure the entire upstairs for carpet. Picked out carpet and ordered carpet. Should be here and installed by the end of the month.
8. Bought hardwood flooring for the main living room (we have 2 living rooms and this is the big one at 375 sq ft).
9. Had the pellet stove insert cleaned professionally. Learned that it may not be functional and if it is, it will require repairs and updating to the chimney to make it efficient and use-able. The repair guy is on his way here as I type this, keep your fingers crossed that it can be fixed and for little $$.
Now comes the worrisome part. We bought the house for $50k less than the original asking price. It had sat on the market for over a year. We bought it with the intention of making an investment into our future. And we knew that we would rent it out when we left, as long as we could get a tenant in here that would cover the majority, if not all of the mortgage. We figured that in the 4 years that we would be here, we could get these things done and have time to enjoy our first home.
It is not to be.
We got word recently that DH made the cut to advance in rank, which means that we will be transferring again next summer because there isn’t a position available here for him.
It is fabulous for DH professionally. He has a sort of timeline of goals that he wants to achieve in the next 3 years and this is the first step. I am so happy for him. We didn’t expect him to make the cut this year, and it definitely puts a kink into our home-remodeling plans. We are going to continue on with the things that we have to do, and the things that we have already purchased (paint, flooring, etc). But we will not be doing all of the landscaping we had planned, nor expanding the deck covering, or remodeling the bathrooms.
Hopefully we can get a nice family in our house that will love it and take care of it for the time of their lease. We plan on buying another house where we go next as well. Speaking of, this is the list that we will be submitting. Basically a list of where we want to go. Keep in mind that we don’t get to “pick” per se…it is always up to the Detailer ultimately. This is just what they call a “dream sheet”. I am so keeping everything crossed that we don’t end up back in Guam. Because it is open again. Ugh. Anyway, in order of our personal preference:
- Tie between Anchorage, Alaska and Portland, Maine
- Paducah, Kentucky
- Duluth, Minnesota
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Buffalo, New York
- Seattle, Washington
- Louisville, Kentucky
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Detroit, Michigan
- Wilmington, North Carolina
- New Orleans, Louisiana (which I would love to move back to someday)
We are putting many Midwestern stations on our list so that we can be within driving distance/short plane flights from the majority of our families in northern Illinois. We just found out that Portland, Maine is on the list today and have yet to discuss if it will be #1 or #2. I dream of living in the northeast almost more than going back to south Louisiana. If south Louisiana got snow regularly, it would be even more of a competition between the two. Anyway. We have to submit our list by the end of the month I think. And if we are staying in Alaska, we should know before Christmas. Otherwise, we probably won’t know until spring where we will be calling home next. They say that you should put as many choices on your list as you can…you have a better chance at going somewhere on your list if you submit 12 vs. if you only submit 5. Good thing that we are pretty flexible.
But damn you, Murphy, and your stupid Law. Just when things were going great.
When my life feels like it is going in a million different directions, I tend to not focus on what needs to be done now and instead daydream of crafty projects. So, it isn’t a wonder that in the past week I have started 2 pairs of socks and a basic hat for charity. I still have to finish my Clapotis and BTH’s longies made from the yarn that I thrifted and dyed.
I decided to participate in the Through The Loops “Mystery Sock KAL” (there’s even a Ravelry group) for Socktoberfest…
I also started another pair of Monkey socks…
These are a long overdue present for a certain someone and I had to shoot it in black & white so that said person wouldn’t know by seeing the colors of the socks. Although she probably knows anyway since I have asked her about her foot measurements. I meant to do the no-purl Monkey version, but totally spaced it out when I started and only remembered when I was about at the second repeat of the lace pattern. Next time.
The longies that I am knitting for BTH are really almost making me lose my mind…
This has to be the most complicated pattern I have ever attempted (Itchy Fingers Longies free pattern). And it isn’t the math…I got that figured out just fine. It is just the instructions in general. There are parts that I can’t get my mind wrapped around. I am positive that I am making it harder than it is, as usual. So, for now they sit unfinished in the knitting bag. Plus they are turning out kinda huge looking (even though I measured BTH and did the evil gauge swatch), AND a little more pink-y than I wanted them to be. *sigh*
Did I ever show you my finished Monkeys? I don’t think so.
I adore them. Blue Moon Fiber Arts, thank you immensely for giving the world your medium weight Socks that Rock yarn, it is fabulous. And to my friend, Phoe, thank you for introducing me to this heavenly yarn. (By the way, check out Phoe’s new blog…I dare you not to love the header and the fabulous pictures.) I try to wear them at every possible moment and think that everyone should have some nice hand-knit socks. That means that everyone needs to learn to knit, my queue is full : )
Well, the pellet stove guy is here and I should really pay attention to what he is doing & saying, so ciao for now.
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.
I haven’t had much of a chance to read blogs lately, I have tons of unread posts in my reader. Our internet connection is iffy at times…we were without internet all weekend and I hate going to the lobby to use the computer there.
So, that said, I nominate these bloggers…
Some knit, some stamp, they are all immensely creative in their own their own ways.
Bad: Is it wrong that the way the award is spelled really annoys me?
Good: We got to see lots of whales. You can only go so close to them, they are protected. One snuck up on us on the side and came up and made us all jump, he was pretty close. We got out of there shortly after that. We also got to see lots of bald eagles…one even swooped down near the boat to grab something out of the water. Magnificent creatures. We also saw sea lions lounging on a buoy.
Bad: This is the only shot I got of what was a whale…my digital camera battery died almost instantly. DH brought along his big film camera, but only brought one lens. We are smart like that.
Good: We went to the DMV to find out what we need to do to get an Alaskan license (and so I can register to vote in November!). We got lots of information and all of the forms that we need to fill out once we get a home address.
Bad: Alaskan law states that if you don’t have a current, valid Alaskan license, then you have to take and pass the written test. Regardless if you were licensed in another state or are in the military. I am already nervous even though I know I will do fine. I will be reading up to make sure of that though.
Good: At least it will make me a better driver and more aware of the tiny details that I may have forgotten.
Good: I started a new baby sweater for a couple that we know that are expecting a baby boy soon. I love knitting baby sweaters and think that all babies should have at least one hand knit baby sweater. I am using Knit Picks Comfy in Planetarium and this fabulous free pattern. I love this pattern.
Bad: While perusing the Knit Picks website to get the above link for the yarn, I see that they now have Harmony Straights. Oh my! So pretty. They will go on the holiday wishlist this year for sure.
Good: I am finally on the decrease section of my Clapotis. It has been put on the back burner this week to work on the baby cardi, but I plan on finishing it up this weekend. I am using Noro Kureyon #150 and I adore this yarn and this colorway. My picture isn’t impressive, but rest assured that it is impressive in person.
Bad: While I love this design and the look, following the pattern freaks me out. Especially now in the decrease section where I am dropping 2 sets of stitches. I get nervous that I will screw it up again and end up with a hideous mess. Even more so considering this is intended as a holiday present for someone.
Good: We have rented out a vacation house for the next month until we get our house. I will be glad to get out of hotel living and be able to stretch our legs. My new cyclamen will be happy to have more windows to try to catch a few rays in. I adore cyclamen and african violets for indoor flowering plants.
Bad: Our household goods from Saipan aren’t here yet, and the vacation house doesn’t have a crib. We have been going over the pros and cons of moving BTH into a toddler bed when we go there later this month. I think that we are going to do it. He has gone quite a while without “his” crib now, sleeping in borrowed cribs and portable cribs/playpens so I don’t think that there will be an attachment issue.
Good: We put in an offer on a house and it was accepted! Yay! I am hesitant to put all of the details on here just in case…if you want to see it and the virtual tour, just leave me a comment and I will happily send the link to you. We are already thinking of ideas for new flooring, paint and window coverings.
Bad: I am a bit stressed about it because it is a huge mortgage and responsibility. This house costs double what a very nice house back home costs. And it is our first home purchase. We can totally afford it (thanks, USCG) and still have me stay home full time with the kids, but still…I am a worrier by nature.
And on a final totally positive note:
Good: There is a birth center here in Juneau! I am so happy! And they do water births! We had a consultation and a tour last week and we had our first appointment with our midwife this week. I love it and am so looking forward to an awesome birth experience at the birth center. They even offer free classes, prenatal yoga and belly dancing for pregnant women(!). I am all over the prenatal yoga but the belly dancing will take some convincing me thinks.
I haven’t been very inspired to blog lately. Oh, you noticed? Sorry. I don’t know what the deal is with the funk that I am in lately. Actually, that isn’t true. I have some ideas.
Might it be that I am almost counting down the minutes until we get to leave this place? Especially now that they have announced that the daily power outages shall resume? Power went out yesterday from 1:45 PM to 4:15 PM, then again at 10:25 PM until almost midnight. *le sigh* I am so over it already. I went from counting down the days until we actually leave ( 58 ), to counting down the days until we get packed out and move to the hotel ( 48 ) because it sounds better and we will have power 24-7, not to mention air conditioning.
Might it be that with this moving business, there are tons of loose ends to tie up?
- Health Certificates for the beasts(1 dog, 2 cats) to fly
- Schedule the beasts for their fun fun plane trip to Chicago (this one will make the checkbook hurt)
- Final garage sale planning to unload some
crapthings that we won’t be needing in Juneau.
- Scheduling the movers to come do a walk through, then scheduling the pack-out
- Coordinating the final cleaning of the house before we turn the keys over to the land lord
- Getting in touch with the landlord. Funny how important things originating from them need to be addressed post haste, but when we try to make contact, we almost have to send out an APB.
- Getting medical records for BTH & I.
- Getting BTH’s next set of shots before we go.
- Coordinating movers in IL to pack up Mom’s stuff.
- My head is hurting thinking about it all, so I will stop here.
Or, might it be this upcoming holiday, Mother’s Day? Yes, I do believe that is a big issue with me lately. Who am I kidding? It has been a big issue since Sept 14, 2007. *double le sigh*
Let’s talk about better things, shall we? How about my guys? Okay!
Last week we went to Tinian for the San Jose Festival. Actually we went so DH could do some work over there and I thought it would be fun to tag along. Plus, I am not one to turn down the offer of a hotel stay with aircon (see a trend here?). We zipped over there on the ultra-fast-like-lightning USCG Cutter, Sequoia.
Now, that isn’t true, either. Oh, we did catch a ride on the Sequoia, true enough. But the thing was powered by turtles I think. What is usually a 1 hour trip on the ferry was a 4 hour trip on the Sequoia. Lots of wandering and meandering.
BTH & DH on the deck of the Sequoia looking at a crate of fighting cocks going to Tinian. Cock fighting is allowed here and people seem to enjoy it. Why? I don’t know. It makes my stomach turn.
Remember that I told you about DH getting all into bicycling again? The mania continues. He is out the door at ugly thirty on Sunday mornings to go meet the bicycling group for an intense ride. His thoughts are consumed with pedals, clips, shoes, jerseys, new road bikes. Dura Ace this, Shimano that, Pearl Izumi this, the obsession marches on. c’est la vie I suppose. I am glad that he has a rekindled an old hobby.
He was in a bike race a few weeks ago. He was on track to do pretty well and got well over half way done when he got a flat tire. He was quite disappointed. I was proud of him for just wanting to do it.
I saw a short blurb about it in the paper recently and thought, “Whoa, that’s DH!” He didn’t think it was as cool as I did.
And because the world needs more BTH love, here you go…BTH trying to figure out what to do with my Birks.
And then him yelling at me with his new favorite phrase “Wait, wait, wait!” because he wasn’t ready for his close up, Mr. De Mille.
My guys, I do so love them.
Please keep your fingers crossed for DH today. He is taking the service-wide exam to advance to Chief. I think that he is prepared, we have been doing flash cards and practice tests like crazy this week. We won’t know his individual results until July-ish, then they factor in all kinds of other things and rank everyone…we won’t know where he stands on “the list” until early fall. How he does today could mean that we stay in Juneau all 4 years or transfer sooner.
It is Tuesday morning here and I am tired (literally) of staying up late to blog every night. So, while Connor is enjoying a snack, I am posting.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
We have an appointment today for “counseling” in regards to our new overseas transfer. Yippee. We went through this 3 years ago when we went to Guam. Basically they just want to make sure that we are financially responsible to handle living in a remote area, that we are aware of harsh climate changes, distance from family, etc. Yes, yes, yes. Move us already! It is nice to know where we are going (so we don’t keep wondering), but the crummy part is now we get to wait. And wait.
DH just called from work. He got an email from the Detailer saying that the overseas billots would be done by Thanksgiving, the higher priority ones would be done by Christmas and the others would be done in January.
Me: “So, are we considered overseas here in Saipan, or do we have to wait until Christmas when he does the higher priority ones?”
DH: “We are considered overseas now.”
DH: “Because we are going to Alaska.”
Yep, we are in for a big change. Tropical Island of Saipan to Juneau, Alaska. Juneau was our 6th choice out of 8. Not what I was expecting. I was planning on going to Cincinatti, OH. We wanted to go to Alaska at some point, but not yet. Disappointed, yes. I guess that the bright side is that we aren’t going somewhere that we totally didn’t want.
This makes getting our stuff that is stored in our families homes in Illiniois a little more tricky.