Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Alexis at 15 Months

Alexis had a very busy month! So many new and fun experiences! She:

*Got to touch the gooey inside of a pumpkin! She was very hesitant to touch and made such funny faces! But she was intent the whole time and loved the experience!

*She was Tinkerbell for Halloween...and all of the other events we went to! We even dressed her up for Disneyland one day and she literally stopped crowds with her cuteness!=0) And usually when I do her hair she rips it out in seconds flat. On Halloween when I dressed her, and then did her hair....she left it in...ALL NIGHT!!! It's like she knew it was a special night and that she looked adorable!

*She spent an entire day at Disneyland and DCA so we could see World of Color. She did great and had a fun day. She really likes to be out and about exploring the world!

*She got to experience the "snow" at Disneyland for the first time and LOVED it!

*Cute story. Tyler won an award this past month so we were up at the school one morning. As we were leaving a huge group of 5th and 6th graders were waiting to enter the gym. Alexis was doing what she does best...running from one place to the next....until she saw those kids. They started ooohhhinnggg and ahhhhiiinnngg over her so she promptly stopped running, stood right in the middle of them, and beamed!! It was hilarious! She loves to get strangers attention!

*She had her Dr appointment right on her 15 month birthday and has been feeling sick ever since. Poor baby has such an upset stomach and a horrible rash as a result. She doesn't usually react to her shots so I'm not sure what is going on. Thinking maybe the flu shot? She also woke up with a runny nose this morning and has been super fussy and clingy. She does not do well when she is at all "off".

*At her appointment she weighed exactly 20 pounds!! I'm thinking she may be down again due to her upset tummy but we are waiting a bit longer to turn her around anyway since she was so close to the line. She is in the 10th percentile for weight and height so her weight moved from the 3rd to the 10th. She is still wearing all of the same clothes but just yesterday finally fit in her 6-12 month Gymboree jeans! Yay! Good timing since it has gotten SO COLD the past few days!

*Down to nursing just in the morning and at night. Dr gave us some more ideas for getting her to drink milk. Hears hoping it eventually happens!

*She tries to say "blanket" now as that is her most prized belonging. She started barking this month after visiting friends that have a dog. She says, "Woo-woo, woo-woo! It's very cute. She will also do a cute kitty sound. She has "Ma-Ma" down and says "Dad-DEE!"

She is our Joy even when she's cranky! We are looking forward to seeing her experience the Thanksgiving feast and the Christmas season! We will see what damage she does to the tree!=0)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When it Rains...it Pours!

I have had so much going around in my head the past months I think I just need to get it out on paper so to speak.

A few years back we bought a condo as an investment property. We were advised by Craig's friend to buy one in Indiana where they were especially "cheap" at that time. He had been buying up real estate like crazy as the market was super hot at that point. We thought we were being responsible, making a wise decision. Soon after the market began to decline, and our first renters were a nightmare.

We finally got that situation cleaned up (literally) and after a few month's vacancy through the winter, had someone else move in. Right away there were domestic violence police calls made on her and her boyfriend. Things in the condo were broken...another unbelievable situation. Eventually boyfriend moved out after a restraining order was in place and peace seemed to follow for the next few years.

In the meantime we were in the hole over $200 every month. With the market tanking we had to lower the rent even more. On the plus side we thought we at least had a "good" renter in there because we didn't hear much from the agency we hired to take care of it. No news is good news right? WRONG! So began our nightmare this past July when we find out the tenant wants to move out. She starts getting really weird and doesn't want to let anyone in. Long story short on this part...agency finally gets in and finds the place a mess. They apparently hadn't been checking things out at all. We then have the agent who sold us the condo go in and take a look...and she came out appalled at what she saw. It was a complete disaster. A huge leak upstairs left for who knows how long caused major damage, slats broke off accordion doors, walls a mess, carpet a mess, a bathroom counter broke in half, knobs on faucets broke, junk left needing to be hauled away and new refrigerator needed to be bought...and on and on. It was devastating.

The tenant took forever to let someone in to get quotes. And then being a completely awful person, she skipped out on us without paying that last months rent. After leaving the place trashed. We didn't know what to do and I was terrified of all the options. We felt that fixing the place up was really our only option and hoped once it was, it would rent quickly.

Well, repairs took forever once they were actually able to get in the place. I watched our savings dwindle to nothing. After trying really hard to build one up, it has been super stressful to watch it all disappear so quickly. More and more money was needed. And this on top of paying the mortgage and insanely high association every month since August. The place has been fixed up now for nearly 2 months complete with new refrigerator. A few people came to look at it in the beginning. In the past 3 weeks, 1 person has been by. Now we are in the holiday season and winter will be picking up. Not the time people move especially in really cold areas.

And it seems we are completely trapped. I have been sick to my stomach (literally) over all of this. Especially the past week as I try to pull Christmas together for my family and our car just failed it's Smog Check. As I continuously think of all the other ways that thousands of dollars could have been spent. When I think about how our once amazing insurance has turned so bad that I'm afraid to go to the Dr. because every time we go, we get a bill for a surprise amount anywhere from $60 up. I feel so scared, frustrated, angry and helpless. I. Hate. It.

What's making things even worse? (Yes, it can get worse) We have been planning on taking a trip to Disney World for the last 3 years. We were able to go 3 years ago but we combined it with Craig's business trip to save money. We missed out on seeing so much because we fit everything around his time at a convention. So we left with the consolation we would do it right in a few years. Around June of this year I really started planning for our trip the following June 2011. We signed up for Disney credit cards just to earn 2 free $100 gift cards, I bought gift cards for the kids with special Christmas messages in them to give them at Christmas. I was theming our entire Christmas around the trip. Bought Disney clothes, games and an autograph book. I started putting money aside and selling things bit by bit to pay for plane tickets. I have been watching plane tickets daily. And pouring over all of the different options. We have even saved up our Amazon points for the last year and almost have enough points for TWO FREE plane tickets!! With Disney you need to book 6months in advance to get reservations for their restaurants. And their big dining offer ends in a month. That means moving on things now...or not moving at all.

I don't want all of this planning to go to waste. Thankfully only a small amount needs to be paid up front for the trip but it's still hard to go through with such a big trip not knowing when the condo will rent. This trip has taken so much of my thought and time and energy to find ways to save that with everything else it would crush me not to go. I've prayed for God to send someone. I've tried to figure out what I'm supposed to learn. I've tried so hard not to think about it or let it stress me out. But it's always, always there. Nagging at me. Freaking me out. Telling me how I could have used that money to get someone to paint our house instead of doing it ourselves. Or I could have gotten my new wedding ring we have talked about getting the past few years but keep holding off on. Or new floors for the house. Or sign the boys up for baseball. Or put Jacob in an actual pre-school instead of just a class through the city. The thoughts go on and on.

If anyone reads this your prayers are appreciated. Especially that I could somehow find peace in the middle of this stressful situation. And of course that we would find someone to move in quickly that will actually care for the place. We haven't talked much about this situation, especially me, because it's really hard to talk about. But, I just needed to get it out.

I hope to have a praise update sooner then later.