Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pregnancy Plague

Last time around, I, for the life of me, could not remember to turn my headlights off. This particular failure on my part plagued my pregnancy with lots of frustration and tears. I remember that it started my first day of work in Chambers County. New teacher. Dead car. Not really an impressive combo. And there are a myriad of other times that I was stuck with a dead battery--times I've shared and times I've kept to myself--but in all honesty, too many times to count. It's depressing.

I think the worst part of that plague was that it started during pregnancy but didn't stop. However, with the onset of my newest pregnancy plague, I've remembered to turn my headlights off. Unfortunately, I would rather jump start my car than...


It just disappears and I can't find it for days at a time. So if you call me and I don't return the call, I probably can't find my phone. It's maddening. In the worst way.

Others might argue that losing my keys and running out of gas in the school parking lot are more serious, but I think of those as minor byproducts of pregnancy brain.

The good news is that I found my phone...again.

This particular situation makes a good argument for getting a land line when we move into our house. :)


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

We've been married for almost seven years, and in that time we've gone to three churches. In Waco (Hewitt) we went to a small church that had a very active newly/nearly married class where we fit right in. In Tuscaloosa we went to a church where we were the only young married couple without kids (one of two young married couples in our 20s), where all the married couples hung out and bonded over kid activities. We felt like it was where we were supposed to be, though we still felt disjointed/disconnected.

And then we came to Opelika, where we visited a couple of churches, but we visited them each once, because the first visit was enough to know. Honestly, I was hesitant about visiting First Presbyterian Opelika for a couple of reasons -- 1) I've never been Presbyterian, and 2) Eli's boss invited us to go, and I wasn't sure if that would make for weird working relationships.

Glad to say, almost a year and a half later that it was the best decision we could have made. The church is small, but it is growing, and it's growing with young and old alike, and we are excited to be a part of it. The Lord is working here.

Today was our first Holy Week come-and-go communion. We finished watching Baylor lose to Duke in the Elite Eight and then went to church for reflection and meditation. And here's why I'm writing this post at all: I have found a body of my intellectual peers in this church. Our topic for meditation this Holy Week is "The Ironies of the Cross" and we will be considering the ironies of Jesus' journey to the cross, starting with how the soldiers mocked Him as if He were a king, humoring themselves, when in fact, He was THE KING (not Elvis). The prayer for the week is [a poem-prayer] called "Paradoxes," from The Valley of Vision. I read that prayer tonight and I felt so small, so imperfect, so wretched. And then I smelled a poopy diaper. It was quite fitting.

Irony. Paradox. Word meanings. I feel challenged and fed. And challenged.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Random Week

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. First of all, it has been state testing week. Second of all, it has been the week after spring break, so the kids are crazy. Third of all, well...I'm not sure. It's just been weird.

I opened my classroom door for some other reason two days ago only to discover two of the students on our team in a fist fight while at their lockers. The other students standing around watching had no inclination to get an adult, so I had not idea how long it had been going on. Not wanting to be on my own, I just yelled at the two boys to stop (because you have to tell them to stop--and they usually won't--for them to get into big trouble), hoping to be loud enough for the only two other adults on the hall to hear. They heard and came running, and the first thing the science teacher did was to take me by the arm and pull me out of the way instead of trying to break the boys up. I'm not afraid of boy fights, particularly if the boys are 5' nothing, 100 and nothing (which they both were--little for 7th graders).

Today, on the way back from lunch, two of our ADVANCED girls starting talking back and forth ("What you gonna do about it, huh?" Stepping up. "What you gonna do about it?" Shove...and...all heck breaks loose.) I actually didn't witness any of this because my class is always last to come back, and this week, during testing, we have the misfortune of returning to class while the sixth graders are trying to transition to exploratories. So, my line got broken up with the front half going on to witness the fight, and the back half held up by a hoard of children trying to cross the intersections. By the time I got up to it, M (my pregnant friend) was telling my class to get back in line, nothing to see here. I was confused because the principal and assistant principal were already on the scene, and I was particularly not shocked when I found out who it was that had been fighting--best friends, worst enemies, depending on the day. Broken shoes and ripped clothing, hair all over the floor (some of the kids took some as souvenirs--gag me).

I DO NOT get in the middle of girl fights, as a general rule. And neither did any of the teachers on the scene, but in this case mostly because there wasn't any opening because these girls were throwing punches. Something about trying to jump into a game of double-dutch jump-roping. The men came and broke it up. It was, by all adult accounts, the worst fight we've had all year. The girls sat down in the office with their hands iced afterward. Glad I missed it.

But, if that's any indication as to the state of things this week. Ugh.

We're headed to Mobile tomorrow after school. Elsie's presence has been requested as one of Eli's aunts will be in town and has never met Elsie. And, since she can't go by herself, we're going as a family. Should be fun.

I need sleep. Goodnight.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Broke

This is going to sound weird, especially coming from me, but I am soooo ready to be back at school this coming week.

In reality, spring break was not a break at all. It was more work than taming a classroom full of preteens. I'm not saying that I'm not cut out to be a stay at home mom, but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it whole hog, and not just a week here or there. Oi! And when a girl has things to do, it is much easier to do them without toting one or two babies around. God bless stay at home moms and single parents everywhere!

One thing I did accomplish this week was to get around to visit some area daycares with my friend M from work. We haven't decided what we will be doing with the girls (see, I did it again), er..the Babies Beaver during next school year. The whole mortgage thing is almost a given that I will be working for the next 15 years at least (but hey, that should be enough to retire in AL!). Can I just say a couple of things about the state of daycare today: 1) It's overpriced. 2) The "good" daycares are on the other side of town, and I'm being generous putting good in quotation marks. 3) I should probably start my own daycare and make as much money as I do teaching middle school. All in all, I am disheartened by what I found, the state of facilities and that attitudes of workers. I am disheartened by the costs--it will be about equal to a mortgage payment to put both babies somewhere. (We're not having any more children until the first two are in FREE public school, just for the record. I haven't discussed this with Eli, but it seems the only reasonable thing to do...haha.)

On a totally different topic, our deacons at church are starting to use a couple of Sunday afternoons a month to complete service/ministry projects. Today, Elsie and I got to tag along with a group of church members to visit a widow from our church. Her husband, a doctor, died last fall. This particular couple has always piqued my interest because they are D & B Griffith, with the same names as my aunt and uncle in Ohio. Freaked me out the first time they were on the prayer list for medical concerns. Miss B is not doing very well now that her husband is gone. But she was very talkative and loved having the children there with "all the young people." I'm glad we went, but when we left I told Eli that if he dies before me, some 60 years from now, that I would be terribly and utterly grieved by his loss, but God willing, I hoped I would be able to go on until it was my time to join him. It was very sad being there, but we tried to help. We cooked lunch, and while some of us sat around chatting with Miss B, others of us tried to clean up her kitchen, do some dishes, dispose of trash, etc.

Now, we're home, are fully napped, and I fixed the mic on Skype and I need to finish my grades before I go back to school tomorrow.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guessing Game

I woke up this morning and for some reason (maybe dreams I had?) in my mind, this baby is a boy. However, when I refer to our collective children, I refer to them as "the girls." This last reference, I fear, is tainted by my own experience as one of "the girls." I can't really even imagine what it would be like to have a boy. This is nerve-wracking and exciting.

I've also not been sure whether or not I'm feeling movement. If I remember correctly, gas bubbles and baby movement feel very similar. So, I have no idea. But any day now I'll be able to tell the difference.

And finally, my back has been killing me. My upper back, that is. I went to the pulmonologist (a new doctor--it's good to have friends with connections) on Friday and we reworked my asthma regimen, but I still don't feel like I'm breathing as well as I could. He did give me a refillable prescription for albuterol for the nebulizer, so that's a relief. I've been using my steroid inhaler as prescribed (which is a big deal because it's expensive and I ordinarily would only use it on an as needed basis) even though sometimes it makes me vomit. I keep the rescue inhaler nearby and have been using the nebulizer once a day. And still, by the end of the day I have to take a hot shower just to relax those upper back muscles that have been strained by a day's worth of mildly-labored breathing.

In those six months between Elsie's birth and this pregnancy, I breathed fine. So, because I'm still kinda' having the same problems, nothing much different with this pregnancy, I'm leaning toward BB2.0 being a girl. I've had several people tell me that their pregnancies were different when the babies were different sexes. Who knows if that holds true across the board? :)


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Ides Marched By

Yesterday was a full day of mortgage shopping. And since it's spring break, most of the potential babysitters were not available, or they had sick kids of their own, or their in-laws were in town, or they were refusing to get out of bed and let my call go to voicemail. (Do I blame them? No. I'm jealous.) But, a mortgage was needed, so Elsie got dragged all over tarnation, and all in all was good sport about it.

Can I just say that the lending business is shady at best? And can I tell you that the Lord had his hand firmly fixed in this process? I started the morning by heading to State Farm so that I could get a quote on homeowners insurance to better get mortgage estimates (escrow, prepaids, etc.). The agent I wanted to talk to wasn't there, so I headed across the street to Keystone Bank to talk to their mortgage guy. Eli had spoken with him earlier, so I was just following up with some questions. Elsie amused herself by banging one of our dinner spoons on everything in his office, including his window. At one point I got a whiff of something unpleasant and so resolved to just go home and take care of it (1/2 mile down the street). But, on the way out, one of the State Farm agents had been at the bank and the mortgage guy said something to him, so he chased after me and let me know that he would be happy to help us with a quote. And off we went, to change a poopy diaper on the floor of the State Farm bathroom.

I left there with a quote in hand and headed out the end of the parking lot by Sips N Strokes. I pulled back onto University and looked over at the State Farm office and noticed that in the suite next door was a mortgage lender. How could I have missed this? And so, I made the block, pulled back in, and parked pretty much in the same spot I had just vacated and went in. Got a good faith estimate, and left.

We left the house at 8:15, and didn't get back until 4-ish. In that time, I stopped at various banks and mortgage brokers to get estimates. I was on the phone with USAA about insurance and with our friend/agent about getting together in the afternoon to complile data.

Elsie screamed every single time I put her back in her carseat. But every time we went into a bank or a loan office she was a googly-eyed flirt. She loves people. We met Eli at Target cafe for lunch (yes, that's the cafe inside Target--love the breadsticks combo in ours, but they were out of breadsticks... boooo). At some point as Elsie was eating her puffs that we put on the table to keep her occupied, she started with a string of dadadadadadadas. I thought I had heard some other consonants (singly) over the weekend, but this was a definite D. And it was so cute to watch her move her mouth to make that noise. (She has since learned to manipulate that sound to make a kissing sound, which I heard from the backseat over and over today.)

We spent some time at G's office (friend/realtor) while they sorted out these estimates that we collected, and the best one was the one I had gotten offhand at the mortgage place next to State Farm (Iberiabank Mortgage). I had even told Eli as much over lunch, that something about that one felt right. G confirmed it, and she's known the loan officer for over a decade and felt good about his work. That means a lot coming from G, the guru of Auburn/Opelika real estate. Anyway, Elsie made fast friends with every one of the ladies in the office, crawling all over the place, giving five to one of them (I didn't even know she could do that!), chewing on another's necklace, making faces at one through her glass office door, giggling, cooing, talking. Yup. She loves people.

So, here's where I tell you what I learned about a company that I love.

USAA Federal Savings Bank.

I've been a member with them since I turned 18. My first (and now only) credit card is from them. I have numerous checking/savings/investment accounts with them, and we even used them for our auto loan back in 2004. I love USAA. If you are a military, former military, or dependent thereof, you qualify for membership (thanks, Dad!). Oh, or you can be married to any of the above...even dependents.

Here's what I've found that I don't love: USAA Mortgage Bank Services. I mean, seriously, I was thinking we might go with them for our mortgage, even though they're not local, because they offer so many good products and have been good to me. And then I actually had to work with them and I'm displeased.

1. I went online and started the process for pre-approval. We were not under contract yet, so I put an amount a little over what the house would cost, just in case this house was no longer for sale and we would have to buy in the top end of our price range. Unfortunately, Eli's information was not updated in the system, and since it was a Sunday, we had to wait until Monday for him to call them and get his info up to date. While he was on the phone with them, the guy told him that it would cost $1000 in a good faith deposit to complete the pre-approval. Eli balked, told the guy he would talk to me.

2. I called USAA and asked about it, and the guy I talked to said there must be some sort of miscommunication, that it always is a $50 good faith deposit (non-refundable, come to find out). I completed the pre-approval process online, paid my $50. Somehow, my pre-approval ended up being over what I had put in for, so then the 24-hour period for approval was exceeded as the underwriters needed more documentation of assets. I waited on hold for 45 minutes after school as the underwriting team got us pre-approved. I was told that the pre-approval letter (which was needed for our seller) would be sent via the USPS and also delivered to my electronic documents. I checked twice before I left school and it wasn't in my e-docs. I also asked for a good faith estimate, as G had asked me to do, but was given the runaround.

3. Two days later, I have to call USAA and ask for my pre-approval letter. They apologize for letting me slip through the cracks. I let them know that we are officially under contract for this house and she asks me to fax them a copy of the contract so that they can get the loan process started. I told her that we hadn't decided to go with USAA yet, that I would like a good faith estimate (which for you non house buyers, is real estate lingo for an itemized list of fees necessary for closing on the house) at the current purchase price. She gave me the runaround and would only do an online quote, giving me total closing costs, but not itemizing them. Grrr.. Oh, and she had the gall to give me a spiel about how rates are important, but so is thinking about whether or not you want to deal with the mortgage company in question for the next thirty years. Yes. She did.

4. How easy it was to drive around yesterday and get these good faith estimates from companies who hadn't even pre-approved me yet! Why was it so difficult for USAA to answer my request BOTH TIMES I asked? And since I didn't have their itemized numbers to compare after asking TWICE, they didn't get considered for this task. What kind of mortgage company do I want to work with for the next thirty years, indeed.

5. I called USAA yesterday to let them know that we would be going with another company and wondered how I could get my $50 back. It's non-refundable, but they'll do me a favor and keep the pre-approval open just in case our current scenario doesn't work out and we can have a backup plan. Riiiiiight.

So, IberiaBank wins! USAA loses. I can't believe it. I really liked them before this. Just to be clear though, their banking/investment business is separate from their mortgage business. I still love their banking. Boo mortgage.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Casa Futura

(Image courtesy of local MLS)

Yup. It's ours, pending financing. Unbelievable.

Here's the mirror-image floor plan:

Can't believe it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

10 Months

I can't believe we're at the ten month mark already. I was thinking last night about how I wasn't going to have much to post about since Elsie was an overachiever in her ninth month, but she stayed up working on something to share. More on that in a minute.

Today is that last day of nursing. I'm sad in a weird way. I dropped the bedtime feeding a week ago when she didn't really show an interest, and have only been nursing first thing in the morning. Today, we nursed and then talked and made googly eyes at each other before I remembered that she had had food in her hair yesterday and desperately needed a bath. After her bath, I had her all wrapped up like a baby bath taco, and she was smiling up at me, and I had to take a second look.

I stuck my finger in her mouth, and sure enough, there it was. The sharp corner of a white thing poking out of her lower gum. Just a wee bit. Just enough to notice. I called Eli in for a second opinion. He concurred.

So, Ladies and Gentleman, we have a TOOTH (sort of). At least this month, there will be one.

And leave it to Elsie to be the best baby about it. Her appetite and sleep haven't been affected heretofore. Our good friends watched her two nights ago while we went to a high school play (Southern Hospitality...very funny) and when we came to get Elsie, AB said that that was the easiest time she's had putting a child to bed in three years (she has both a 2- and an almost 4-year-old) and I believe her exact words were, "DON'T pay a babysitter to do that." I laughed about that all the way home.

Anyway, I guess this means I'm going to need to start thinking about a birthday party for a one-year old. Time's a tickin'.

Oh, and Stacey, her favorite teething toy has been the wire (the red spiral one) from the bead toy you got her for Christmas. :)


Saturday, March 6, 2010

When Daddy's in Charge

Elsie received an invitation to a friend's birthday party--her first official social engagement. I was very sad I had to miss it, but I had to work at Sylvan and go to a Sun Belt meeting immediately after, so I made sure that Eli could take her. It was the birthday boy's 2nd birthday, and it was a pajamas and donuts party (cute idea). I figured Eli could handle it.

At some point during the morning I received a text message, something cryptic about chocolate milk being Elsie-approved! You know, my first reaction was WHAT?!?!? But, I think that was the control freak in me. I mean, I know that pediatricians recommend that babies under twelve months NOT have cow's milk, but I didn't think that Eli knew that. And then my more laissez-faire side kicked in. In all likelyhood, Elsie's pediatrician would be at that party, and I'm sure she would say something if it were a major problem. Right? :)

And then I received incriminating photographic evidence that is too cute not to show you. So, I didn't have to 100% miss out on this...milestone? And, yes, that's Eli's hand holding the bottle.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some Love

It's been too long since I shared some bloggy love about my husband, so here goes.

I am married to a wonderful man.

(And he's pretty cute, too...)

Thank you, God, for this blessing in my life.

Thank you, Eli, for all you are and for all you do.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Okay, yes, if you know me, you know that I'm a number nerd.

The Beavers were all born on prime number days.
Elsie was born on 5/7/9.
My favorite time of day is 12:34 (both a.m. and p.m.).
I also enjoy 11:11, 1:11, etc. and 1:23, 2:34, 3:45, and 4:56.
6:13 is my "magic birthday time" since I was born on 6/13.

And....(drum roll)

I have been excited all day because the date is 3/2/10.


Sweet order in the chaos.