Monday, August 31, 2009

house blog...again.

I must say, I am getting a bit tired of some of my homeowner friends, reassuring me that it is a good thing we didn't buy a house 4 or 5 years ago, because (gasp), houses have gone way, WAY, down in value.


in fact, to be perfectly honest, I get a kick out of some of my homeowner friends informing me that they are thinking about buying a house to flip, like they are some sort of investor.


You see, while a lot of people understand the current housing market, a lot of people don't. And I am not saying I am some sort of expert (I am far, far, from that), I am saying I've had some experience in the last few months.

First of all, the people saying they want to flip houses are the same people who have heard some story about a neighbor, friend, relative etc. who bought a house for $40,000. It makes sense that someone else would want to do the same thing, because paying that little for a house is a very good deal. But unless you have cash, you aren't buying anything for that price. Basically if you decide that the house you want is in foreclosure, you better hope no one else wants that house. Then they will take the highest and best. Who has the best financing. Cash/mostly cash typically wins on these houses, and I don't have to tell you why.

Then comes the short sales. You put your offer in, the seller essentially co-signs on your offer, saying they are in agreement with it, then it goes to the bank. Usually some far, far away bank with thousands of houses just like the one you put your offer in on. They will assign someone to work on the case. Then they will send an appraiser out to your house in order to see if your offer is respectable. Depending on what price they get back on the house, the bank can either accept, reject, or counter your offer. That will usually happen within 60-90 days of the price opinion. Then another 3-=60 days to close. In short, short sales, can take months.

Finally, if you just want to buy a regular old house that is owned by someone other than the bank you will most likely run into 1 of 2 problems. The house will either be priced right, will fly off the market, for more than it was listed for, or the house will be over priced because they bought it 4 or 5 years ago when everything was over priced. The owners either need to get out what they financed the house for or what they put into it. Makes sense, who wants to write a check at closing? Those houses sit on the market because they aren't worth the high price tag, and who in their right mind will pay over market price in this market?

Overall, the market is crap. So, if you own a house, don't move! You won't find anything better unless you are willing to be very patient.

Tomorrow we are having the appraisal done on "our house."

I gave our 60 day notice today.

Step of faith? No, leap of faith.

Friday, August 28, 2009

To Do.

Do you ever just have a list of things you need to get done? Of course you do, who doesn't? It becomes annoying though, when the list keeps getting longer and nothing is getting checked off...

1) Mail some random bills.

Don't worry I am well aware of bill pay. I use it, but I have the occasional bill that still needs to be mailed. I've been trying to get these out the door all week. First the stamps were in the car, but not my car, Mike's car. I keep forgetting to retrieve them. No use writing the check if I can't mail it anyway right? Today I realized I left the checkbook in the car now too. And I can't easily run out there and grab it because I'd have to drag both kids with me, and that isn't happening. No checkbook, no stamps, no crossing off on the list.

2) Print of my syllabi for my classes.

I've looked at them online, because I had to order my books, but I haven't taken the time to actually print them off. Now I really need to do this, because my books have arrived, and I would like to get started. So I went online today to get them and I can't log in for whatever reason. I could log in before just fine. So I had to call the help desk, but it's Friday and I won't be surprised if no one gets back to me until next week. Can't cross that off the list either.

3) Speaking of textbooks.

I ordered them online, I had one book that was $200, but it was the main book I needed. I ordered it, then received an email 2 days later saying that it wasn't available anymore. So I ordered a second one. You can guess what happened, I got 2 books in the mail. That's $400 of books. I get to return one now. Which is super easy and convenient to drive to a UPS drop off location, with 2 babies and haul them inside for a 3 second transaction. Love that.

4) Laundry

I really need to do laundry but I don't have any quarters or cash. I can't cross that off my list now either.

Mike's off tomorrow and you won't believe how long my "to do" list is. We might just have to skip it all and go to the fair.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I met a friend for lunch yesterday. A gal I used to work with before we moved to WA. We get together once or twice a month and she catches me up on the office gossip. She's a doll. She's 10 years older than me, no kids by choice, but has been married for 15 years. She just bought a convertible. We used to sit in cubicles across from one another and yap the day away. She. is. great.

But this post is not about her, so I digress.

Any way, I met her for lunch yesterday. I was running late, because that is what you do when you have 2 kids. I couldn't find my keys, or my gum. Then I remembered that I had left my gum in the stroller, and the keys were probably in there too. The stroller was in the car. No problem, just use the spare key.

We trucked it out to the parking lot and I looked around and made sure no one was watching before I quickly sneaked the spare key out from under the car. Not an easy task while holding Miles and making sure that Lacey doesn't run into the parking lot and get ran over by a careless driver.

Got the key, stood up and turned around. There was a suspicious (okay, ghetto) looking couple watching me. Dang it. How did I miss them? They watched me reach under the car, stand up and then put a key in the door. Who the heck puts a key in a Nissan Murano? Hello, keyless entry? I knew they were on to me. I was annoyed, but figured I would just have to find a new place for the key so I don't wake up one morning to find my car missing...

I meet up with my friend, we walked, she shows me her new car, and then she helps me load the kids into their seats. I set my keys next to Lacey's car seat while I was putting her in. Friend stared at me and said "Andrea, you CANNOT put your keys there, you are going to lock yourself out of the car!" Nah, I said, I do this all the time, plus I have the spare key in the diaper bag, which is in the stroller, on the outside of the car. But I grabbed the keys anyway to make her happy.

Fast forward.

Mike and I went DT Minneapolis yesterday. We live a hop, skip, and a jump from DT, we lived right DT for 5 years, its a second home to us. Where one individual might be stressed about one ways, traffic, and parking, we know all the "spots" and sail through with ease. We arrived, parked and started to unload the kids. I should say I did, because Mike was on the phone. I grab the stroller and then I grab Lacey and put her in the seat. Mike got out of the car at that point and I figured he would grab Miles, he didn't. He was still on the phone, so I walked over to get Miles. His door was locked, so I tried the passenger door. Locked.

"Mike, can you unlock the doors for me?"

Uh, no, my keys are in the car. Fine, I go over to the stroller to grab my keys.


My keys are in the car, ironically next to Lacey's carseat, just like I was warned NOT to do. I'll just grab the spare, Mike says. Double S***. Because that key is still in the diaper bag from earlier. The diaper bag is in the car.

To make a long story short(er). We called 911. They gave us a number to a locksmith, and told us that if a baby was in the car, there was no charge. They were able to get there in about 15 minutes. Miles was curious, and started crying towards the end. I am sure the thought of "why aren't you getting me out of this HOT car" was going through his little brain.

Poor kid.

Lacey just kept talking about how Jamba Juice got her blanket dirty. I don't think she cared one bit her brother was stuck in the car.

So that was that. Lacey ate a whole hot dog from a street vendor, and Target Corp (which is located DT Mpls) had a huge convention that day and we were being overtaken by red shirts and khaki pants. I assure you corporate doesn't have to wear that every day, but the visions of Target Team Building exercises were dancing around in my head. I am sure they were figuring out ways to further take over the world. But if you live in Minneapolis, they already have.

Starbucks on every corner? No.

Target on every corner. Yes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

school days.

The MN State Fair starts tomorrow and school is starting in 2 more weeks. Here in MN public schools don't hit the ground running until the day after Labor Day, St. Kate's took note, and I don't start until September 12th.

Have to make summer as long as possible up in these parts.

Anyone else Remember these:

I died to have one in the 5th grade. I think they were $28, but I was lucky enough to have a best friend with an older sister, who just happened to have 2 of these bags. She sold them to us for $7 each. Mine was purplish-blue. I was cool.

We also wore matching outfits the first day of 5th grade. We were cool so we did stuff like that. White shirts with the big ruffle/flowy neckline? Remember those? You know you had one too.

You were cool too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday- Week in Review

1) We celebrated both Mike's birthday and our Anniversary this week. I believe he said something along the lines of "why on earth did we get married 4 days after my birthday? you know no one has any money this time of year!" (i did?) We went to Punch pizza for both of those events because it is so yummy, close to our house, Lacey will eat it, and Miles will sit in their high chairs and entertain himself.

2) I ordered my textbooks for this semester in school and was tickled to find that in both of my classes, new editions of the textbooks had come out. Perfect. Absolutely Perfect. I spent $300.

3) Miles' new carseat is supposed to arrive today!

4) Miles has slept for 12 hours at night the past 3 nights. Happy? Yes. A bit sad? Yes. My little boy is growing up.

5) Found out my cousin, due in January, is having a baby GIRL!

6) Our friends brought us a COUCH yesterday! Amen for good friends. What a great anniversary present.

7) My recent post on the house? We've decided to dive in to the house search again. Maybe we can find something else.

8) Went walking with a friend yesterday. She is preggo with #2. I think I was walking too fast, and had to keep reminding myself to slow down. Can't help it that I have a stroller which practically pushes itself.

9) It's been rainy all week. We've been a bit bored. Not a lot of places to go when the rain breaks either because the parks are all wet!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

3 years!

On one hand I can's only been three years? Geez, so much has happened in a short period of time. I mean moving, a new job, school, moving, a new baby, a new job, moving, moving, a new baby, moving, school, moving (common thread here perhaps).

Wears me out just thinking about it.

But on the other hand I can's already been three years?? Time flies when you are having fun. And I'm having lots of fun! I can happily say I love my husband more today than I did on my wedding day.

Here we are making it official...

By the time we celebrated our 1 year anniversary, I was looking something like this...33 weeks pregnant with Lacey.

And then last year, I was along these lines...14 weeks pregnant with Miles.

Today, I am happy to report I am not with child. I can finally eat an anniversary dinner without wanting to throw it up everywhere. I embrace that. Except reality is my anniversary dinner might be left over mac and cheese from lunch, but I'm cool with that.

(my attempt at a "what we look like this year pic" it didn't work).


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


We drove by our hopeful future house yesterday. We needed inspiration. It's only been 3 months since we put the offer in, but with the idea of moving again, and then again into the house (hopefully, finally), we needed to try to remember why we are waiting....

...why we are waiting and why we aren't spending an extra $100,000 (yes, you heard that right) to get into another house. I told you it was an excellent deal. And even if we miss the $8,000 tax credit, we will still be coming out ahead. I think so anyway.

So we drove through the alley, which was something we hadn't done yet. Odd, how you can look at a house 4 times and then forget to drive through the alley. We had been back there, to look at the garage of course, but driving the entire block of the alley can give you a good or bad feeling about your potential future block. It was clean, and functional (something to be said about s. minneapolis alleys for sure). Whew.

Then we talked to our agent. He made it sound like there is no way we should still be working on this deal come Christmas...we should be long closed by then. One can only hope. Or maybe I shouldn't hope because do you know what moving in Minnesota in December would be like? I don't think you want to know. I'll tell you though. It would be cold. frigid. There would be snow on the ground.

I could totally post pics of the house but I am waiting because I have grand ideas about doing before and after photos. Not before and six month after photos. But I dream of refinished wood floors, freshly enameled built in bookshelves and dining room buffets. I dream of finished basement playrooms, and paver patios with fire pits and pergolas, and a Rainbow play system in my ceder fenced backyard. I dream of glass tile and viking ranges, because according to mike, we will most certainly have a viking range, and I am okay with that.

I dream of a washer and dryer that doesn't take quarters. And bringing groceries directly into the kitchen. Parking in a garage, and not trying to manage a toddler and an infant through a busy parking lot while carrying bags. You know that kind of stuff.

So cross your fingers and toes, and lets all hope that this moves quicker than expected. For everyones sake!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

CPA Realities

I became a member of the Minnesota Society of CPA's, which has been a great resource, but has also forced me to face realities.

Reality #1...I am going to be registering for it before I know it. In fact, I can register a year from now. Truth be told, I am starting to get a bit freaked out.

Reality #2... I should be networking like crazy, applying for internships, and studying by butt off, I am doing that last one.

Reality #3...I may need to seriously consider going back to work...maybe by the time Miles turns one? I don't know. For the record, going back to work isn't something I dread or anything, the plan all along is for me to do that and I want to. It seems to be coming up fast, but I need some more concrete experience, and I need employer reimbursement for these exams.

Reality #4... is that the CPA is not cheap. It's almost $200 to apply/register. Each section of the test is between $175-$275, and the basic review course is $3,000, and that doesn't even include some of the added prep study materials. That's if you pass each exam the first time. It seems that is quite rare and I'll be retaking a few (well, I hope not, but we are trying to be realistic).

To become certified you need to take tests in 4 different sections (Regulation; Financial Accounting and Reporting; Business Environment and Concepts, and Auditing and Attestation). Each section is broken down into 4-5 modules. When you are testing, you are given 3 sections of multiple choice, and 2 simulations. Apparently the simulations are the parts that really freak people out...real like situations for you to analyze. Yeah, its a little scary.

You want to know what I am most scared of? Working, going to school, remodeling a house, being a wife, taking care of 2 young kids, and studying. I read it was recommended to study around 3 hours a day, but to give yourself Friday's know, for a break.


Kiss my social life goodbye. That is, if I had one now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

blog randoms

1) Today marks the FIFTH day of overlapping naps.

2) I get super annoyed when you are trying to sell something on craigslist and people keep emailing you with endless questions. Come and look at it! Save us all a bunch of time.

3) We watch Finding Nemo Sigh...

4) We are finally going to have a price opinion done on the house we are trying to buy. Let's remember that we put that offer in the middle of MAY. Unfortunately it could still take 3-4 months.

5) I have no idea where we will be living come November 1st.

6) My lower back has really been hurting the past couple of days. I don't think it could be my mattress, since its only 3 years old....but the fact that we don't have a couch and I sit against the wall when I watch TV might have something to do with that.

7) This is probably the longest week ever. Mike has to work all weekend too, which will make it even longer.

8) I would love to have a blackberry (the phone), but I am too cheap to pay the monthly service fee : (

Thursday, August 13, 2009

February 13th 2009

August 13th 2009

Miles is 6 months today! Hooray!

A wise friend once told me, "when you have 2 that young, just make it through the first 6 months. It will start to get easier after that." Although, I haven't felt that having 2 really little kiddos is the most difficult thing on this planet, I have clung to those words. I sure hope she was right!!

At 6 months Miles can...

Sit up somewhat, with help. I think his length is throwing him off a bit. It won't be long.

He has mastered rolling both ways, much to my delight because now we are all sleeping better.

He goes for the toys he wants and will get them almost always.

Can put himself to sleep, after we read a book.

Miles ditched the paci, much to my delight. I told him I was going to cut it off at 6 months but he got rid of it on his own.

He can slide out of his bouncy seat and get onto his stomach on the floor...

He adores eating from a spoon! So far he has had apples, sweet potatoes, and pears. We mostly just stick to rice cereal though and he loves it just the same.

Not sleeping through the night yet, but we are making progress. He is usually up once (thankfully no more than that!), but the times vary. Sometimes he sleeps 4 hours, eats, than another 8. Sometimes 8, up to eat, than another 4, sometimes it's 6 and 6. We just roll with it.

He really enjoys watching his big sister Lacey, she does not enjoy sharing her toys with him, which I am already seeing might be a big problem.

and finally, he can still keep up with even the best spitters. that reflux isn't going anywhere fast!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Anyone else ready for FALL??

Fall brings new jeans...

...and sweaters...

...pumpkins for carving...

...and apple orchards... babies...

...pumpkin spice lattes...

...and birthdays for little girls.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

one week ago...