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Everything posted by PhotoGal

  1. How is everyone doing? I'm a couple days behind right now. Not impossible, but it is getting tough to keep it up. Any past winners have some advice on how to keep going?
  2. I agree with the Avatar cartoon series. That is a good one. My kids usually watch Star Wars Clone Wars when they have TV time. They also like The Voice and The Amazing Race. They sometimes watch Pokemon. :)
  3. Does anyone have any tips? I find myself getting flustered by things that logically are no big deal. For example, the kids are bickering, the youngest is demanding something, then I accidentally bump a cup over spilling water on the table, then the phone starts ringing - I know none of these are really important issues, but it still gets overwhelming at times. We are hoping to have more kids, so I would love a way to rise above these kinds of things and focus on joy, connection, things that have long term impact. Has anyone been successful keeping things in perspective in the moment? I always look back and think, why did I get so flustered when small things "go wrong" during the day?
  4. Wow! I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your responses. It is so heart-warming that you all took the time to respond and advise me. Thank you! It feels like you are really looking out for us (which I'm starting to doubt about our realtor!). We decided not to go forward with the house. There were just too many issues and I felt that our agent, the inspector, and the sellers were downplaying them. Maybe if it had been a house we just loved, we would have gone to greater lengths to figure out if/how we could fix it. But that is definitely not the case. We are looking at rentals now and hopefully we can find something soon. The buyers of our house are pretty anxious to get us out (we are using a rent-back right now). Keep your fingers crossed for us! Thank you again for the advice. It was just the push I needed. You may have saved us from disaster (or at the very least - lots of stress and frustration!).
  5. I wonder if anyone here has experience with this. We are moving from CA to Oregon, and are used to a drier climate (to put it mildly!). We put a bid on a house and the seller (actually through a relocation company) had already had an inspection. They found standing water in the crawl space back in July. Our inspector found the same thing when he went down there yesterday. The sellers have a quote to fix it, but their quote is for smoothing out the ground and digging trenches down there so the water can get to a drain that is in the crawl space. I think that there shouldn't be water under there in the first place. I am not really satisfied with the idea that water would come into the crawl space and then drain away. Our agent seems to think that the sellers won't do anything besides what they were quoted. She also seems to think that water in the crawl space is really common and not that big of a deal. There is evidence of water down there, but no mold has set in. Our inspector said there was some white "fungus" that was easily wiped away. This was after putting in a bid on another house only to find out that it had mold throughout 3 separate (non-connecting) attics because the roof installers blocked the vents several years ago. The sellers were getting it taken care of by an excellent and thorough company, but I just didn't want to deal with that. (I have asthma, so mold and mildew are very concerning to me). I don't really love any of the houses up there, but our time is running out and we are getting into the slow season. If we don't buy this (water in the crawl space) house, we will probably end up renting. I really don't want to do that. However, I don't want to be pressured into buying a house that may have water issues that aren't easily solved. Our inspector recommended a drain outside the house and regrading the soil, but our agent says she doesn't think the seller will pay for that. We could afford to do it ourselves later, but we won't know if it will work for sure. The house also has an issue with the sewer line that the seller will have to fix or we won't buy the house (just because the cost of the project is hard to predict - we don't want to take that on). Sigh. I thought buying a house would be fun, but it has turned into a nightmare! Selling our house was way easier (and that was still stressful). I'm really disappointed because I pictured us finding a house we loved. This house is fine and has lots of good points as well, but also bad (it has a nice yard, playroom, but part of it backs to a busy street). I feel really desperate right now and that is not how I want to be making such a big decision! Anyway, any help would be wonderful. Did you buy a house with water in the crawl space? Or did it happen to you after you owned it? How was it to remedy? Am I crazy for buying this house? Crazy for making such a big deal about it?
  6. I agree that it sounds like reactive low blood sugar. It used to happen to me when I ate something that was all carb (for example, cereal with rice milk). An hour or so later I would feel shaky, flush, just generally bad. Do you drink diet soda? I stopped drinking it and I feel that has helped me. I just saw in the news they found out that diet soda can mess with your blood sugar. Anyway, yes - protein with meals, smaller meals/snacks more often is what works for me.
  7. Jinnah, I'm sorry it seems like people are ganging up on you and being nit-picky about your wording. I know what you meant. I think it would be sad if a healthcare worker died of ebola. It wouldn't be happy, would it? Frankly, this thread seems really disrespectful of the many human beings who are suffering or have died from this terrible disease. I guess if making BBQ jokes makes you feel better... Yeah, I will probably get attacked on this thread, too. I feel sorry for Jinnah - I would be really upset if so many people were having fun trying to dismiss what I had to say.
  8. Love this topic! My kids (and I) have been learning Chinese from before we were homeschooling. When they were fairly kid conversational level, I added very light Spanish study. We are starting to take it more seriously now (a couple years later). We do Chinese one hour each day, Spanish either 1/2 or 1 hour a day. Ds just asked to learn French and Latin - even though he earlier described himself as "not a language guy." :) We just added in GSWL and it is so quick and easy. He likes it and it is a nice introduction. For French, we are just watching a few kids videos online and other light things such as that for now. Maybe around January we will start something more. Ds has a great ear for accents and I think it is great to expose him to different languages now.
  9. Ds (age 10) just started a blog about Pokemon. If anyone else here has a kid who loves Pokemon, PM me and I will send you the blog address. He would love some comments! :)
  10. Be prepared that your hairdresser may try to talk you out of it! I tried letting the gray grow in for about 6 months. I liked the way my hair looks gray. I wore hats or a headband/bandana so the line didn't really show. The problem I had was that people were always looking at me quizzically - like they were trying to figure out how old I was. This was several years ago and my face still looked pretty young (I was in my mid-30s). They were trying to figure out what was going on. Was I old with a young face or young with old hair? I got tired of the attention, I guess. Also, for me, my hair looked thinner when it was gray. I think because my scalp got a little pink from the sun and it was much more visible with my gray (almost white on top). I realized why some older ladies sometimes puff their hair up from their scalp. Ponytails looked terrible on me at that time. I'm back to touching up roots, but I don't do the rest, so there is some gray in my hair still. I am fine with that until I actually have grandchildren, then I'm going all gray again!
  11. Zimom, you are completely right. If we could pick, we would choose that school district. It is almost impossible to find a house on one level in that area - they all have stairs. The kids love the stairs (even our youngest, who needs help getting up and down them) but they aren't ideal. We don't know what special need our fourth child will have, but a wheelchair is not out of the picture. If we found a house in the school district that was a ranch, big enough to make it easy to get around (that is one reason we are moving - our bathrooms are way too small if we ever have someone in a wheelchair here), a good sized yard... Keep fingers crossed for us! It is a tough search, since the vast majority of houses in the school district are cookie-cutters with stairs on tiny lots (and more of these will be built as time goes on!).
  12. I am not *that* comforted by it not being airborne. Think of the stomach virus. That is not airborne, it is usually spread by fecal/oral. Yet it has no problem spreading around. Studies have shown only about 2/3 of people wash their hands after using a public bathroom. So... That said, even though I don't feel the spread would be contained in the U.S. - there isn't much I can do about it. Hopefully things will start to improve. My heart breaks for those already affected.
  13. Because the flu doesn't kill 50% of the people who catch it...
  14. I really appreciate everyone's input here! This is such a big decision. It isn't an easy one! It is interesting, because we did see a few houses that seemed expensive for the area. There was one more expensive than two of these that was really out-dated and dark. Actually, our first day looking was really depressing because the houses looked so much worse in person than they did in photos. It made me realize how nice our old house is and thought maybe the prices here aren't as crazy as I thought. :) Renting with the dogs may be tough. There is one house for rent that says pets are okay and is renting month to month. It is not a nice house, but in the right school district for us to apply for the lottery schools. The owner is building two more houses on the lot and we would hear construction noise. Doesn't sound too fun. I'm not sure about HOAs, I know #4 is on a cul-de-sac with three other houses and they will allow or not allow changes. That sounds a little scary because I feel we would at least need to put a fence around the "pond" for safety and liability reasons. But what if they don't approve of having a fence? I would actually prefer to just have the house and the medium backyard and not all the dry grass/drainage pond near the road. The house with the transmission lines - it is really close unfortunately. Maybe 50 or 100 feet? I'm not a good judge of distance. Heating, taxes, etc. - yes. We will have to find out what those would be. I know #1 has a kind of siding that needs to be repainted every few years. :( KungFuPanda, you are right. I do NOT want to clean a big house. I think that is an advantage of our current house. I can plug in the vacuum once and vacuum almost half the house! I clean the bathroom floors by hand because they are so small. :) Dh really wants a bigger house. I would be happy with a smaller house with enough land for privacy, play and gardens. The wheelchair issue has crossed my mind. Our youngest has issues that effect her mobility. When we adopt again, our fourth child may have a physical need like that as well. House #2 has everything important on the level you walk in on - kitchen, living, master bedroom, and an office that could be a bedroom if needed. The other bedrooms are downstairs. House #4 has one room downstairs that has a sliding door to the outside, however getting upstairs would be an issue. #3 would be okay with the one bedroom downstairs. Yikes! Well, I guess part of the problem is that the houses we are seeing are the houses that have been for sale for awhile. Except for house 1, they have all been listed for a few weeks to a few months. It may be that the kind of house we are looking for is the kind you have to pounce on within a few days of listing.
  15. happi duck, Dh had the same question and I don't think it will work. I'm trying to remember how big it is. On pictures, you can see a bed, dresser and ottoman but that is pretty much most of the room. Plus, when we have our homestudy they probably won't like that. If we did build another room someday that would be a good temporary plan, though. HoppyTheToad, I have heard that from many people - rent before you buy. It makes sense. It is just that our little one has been home 6 months and the thought of moving house again in another 6 months or a year... it is just a lot of change. Well, keep your fingers crossed everyone that something will pop up in the next month or so! Our agent says that somehow these things usually just work out - we just don't know yet how they will. :)
  16. I hear what you are saying about listening to my gut. Number 4 is probably the most logical, but I just didn't feel right in it at all. Number 1 felt nice, but one reason we are moving is so the kids could have a yard. Number 2 is gorgeous, I would love to buy it just for the view alone. Not sure about living that far out, the transmission line, not the school district, more than we wanted to spend. Number 3 would be great if we had just one or two children. :)
  17. I totally hear you on #3. It is the most "our style." We will eventually have two girls and two boys, so though they will share rooms, they can't all four share one room. :) I wonder if there would be a war over whether boys or girls get a big master bedroom with large closet and bathroom... LOL! Dh was trying to make it work: "We could build another bedroom over the garage through this wall.." and I was looking at him like this: :blink: I'm not sure we are up for such a big project.
  18. Those of you saying we should wait are probably right. Yikes! It is going to be hard. I thought the process of selling our house was stressful enough! :) Still would love your input in case we get to a point where we just can't wait. There are downsides to each house. I think we could work around many of them, but they are going to make it harder to sell in the future if needed. Having just sold our old house (which went fairly smoothly anyway), I am looking at what will make it hard for us in the future. For example, the first house has a really small kitchen and we could work around it, but if we later are selling at a time when more houses are available, it is going to be hard to sell with such a small kitchen. Trying to picture renting with three kids, two dogs, out of state and with a month-to-month or 6 month lease. That isn't going to be easy, either! But I also don't want to get stuck or have to sell/buy again. If only we could combine the good parts of all four houses - it would be perfect! :D
  19. House 4: (Please note, house 4's yard does not look anything like this in person. It is all brown right now and along the street). The other building is a very tall extra garage. (pictures removed)
  20. Sure! Please note, I have never lived in such lovely houses. We are moving from CA to OR. Our current house is a 1435 sq ft, 70 year old house in an okay school district. One of the reasons for moving is that we can get a bigger house/yard and have a better high school for the kids (eventually). (Pictures removed)
  21. Wanted to add houses 1 and 3 would lower our mortgage, houses 2 and 4 our mortgage would be the same as our old house.
  22. Our house just sold and we have a few weeks until closing. We are moving out of state and just toured several houses in the new location. Right now the ones we liked best were: (1) House in the school district we like best (kids are planning to go back for middle/high school), smaller and sloped lot, small kitchen, but otherwise very nice with big windows. Possible water issue with a sprinkler? We aren't sure what is going on - maybe a broken sprinkler, but the back corner is very wet and muddy and it hasn't been raining there. (2) House up in the hills. Very nice and gorgeous view. In a different school district, but the high school is still good. Beautiful house - almost too nice for me (maybe will be less fancy when we live there and decorate). Very large. Also sloped, though. Power transmission line right next to it. Not on city sewer - uses a sump pump or something? I've only lived in the suburbs, so I don't know about this stuff. :) Everything in the house seems very well done, high-end materials, etc. (3) House in the forest. Very beautiful, artsy. Big windows and view of forest. Nice touches (pretty doorknobs, unique design). However, only has two bedrooms upstairs, one down (we have three kids). The downstairs bedroom is really tiny - just room for a bed and closet (otherwise, we would take that one and put the kids upstairs). Lots of land and I don't know what upkeep that would require. Same schools as #2. (4) House in district, but not the same middle school. The other middle school (house 1) has 28% Asian population (Important to us because our girls were born in China). This middle school has only 5% and is also rated lower - 7 instead of 10. Same high school as #1. Very big lot, but much of it is along the street - cul-de-sac. Has a small pond they made to handle drainage issues. House is big and beautiful, but doesn't feel right to me. Not logical, but there it is. The school district does have a lottery for other middle schools, so for this house we would have a chance to get into a really great school (not so for #2 and #3). (5) Wait longer! This is probably the best option, but is difficult. We have one month of rent-back available for our current house if we need it. I don't know if the right house will pop up in the next month or so. The school district we like has mostly new houses with teeny tiny lots. They are building more and more of these, so I'm scared the value will go down once the new houses are built. (Our agent said they have had low inventory for 2 1/2 years so the current prices probably reflect that). We are hoping having a larger lot will help protect the house value, but these are few and far between in that district. We could rent in the new location, but I hate to move twice and want to have as much stability as we can (youngest dd was just adopted 6 months ago and we are planning on adopting again - moving again would mean starting the homestudy over for that adoption). Sorry to be complicated! Anyway, thoughts? How did you know your house was "the one?" Or did you feel rushed and regret your decision? Feel rushed and grow to love your house? General advice would be great!
  23. I had no idea about the "other" box! Thanks for letting me know. OP, I understand your curiosity but I think it is probably best to let it go. :grouphug:
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