Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Raising tomboys

Sanaa and Layla have always loved playing outside and have always preferred playing in dirt than with toys. Sanaa loves to dig to find creatures and Layla just likes to dig. I have no problem with them digging and playing with dirt but yesterday they added a new fun activity to their outdoor play.

 Hunting for slugs.

In the past Sanaa has always been fine with just looking at all the slugs that come out when it rains. But yesterday she decided it was time to collect every single slug she could find and put them in her bucket. I'm sure she had at least 20-30 slugs in her bucket at one point. (Before putting the slugs in the bucket, she put in rocks and dirt to make a "nest" for the slugs. I tried to explain that slugs don't live in nests but she disagreed.)

We spent hours finding slugs and even Layla got in on the action. Layla has always done her own thing outside so I was very surprised when she began helping Sanaa by picking up the slugs that had crawled out of the bucket and dropping them back in the bucket. GROSS!!!!

I don't want to stop my girls from exploring outside but yuck! I did thoroughly wash Layla's hands (several times) after we were done playing outside.

This morning as we walked outside to head to the van, we saw more slugs and Sanaa was very excited. She wanted to catch them to put in her bucket again but we didn't have time. As we pulled out of the driveway Sanaa said to me, "Be careful mom! Don't run over the slugs my friends!" Oh dear. I really need to get her out of the house more and around kids her own age.....

Sanaa and Layla also enjoy playing near my dad's old pickup that he intends to restore some day. Here it appears that Layla is attempting to fix something on the truck but she's really pulling out rocks that she had previously dropped inside the truck.

Layla was doing her fake cry, so Sanaa sat down beside her to comfort her.

And then Layla rested her head on Sanaa's arm. I love seeing moments like this between the girls.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wry neck

Have you ever heard of wry neck? I hadn't until Wednesday. That day started off normal. The girls and I drove up to Portland to attend BSF (Bible Study Fellowship). It was my second time to attend and the girls first time.  I was in my discussion group when I ended up being pulled out by one of the childcare workers. I initially thought they were coming to get me because Layla wouldn't calm down. But it was actually Sanaa they were concerned about. She was complaining of neck pain and a headache. They asked if I'd like to check on her and I said yes since she's never complained about head or neck pain before.

When I got to her classroom she seemed okay. She held her neck a little but I wasn't that concerned. I tried to get her to go back to her classroom but she refused so I took her with me back to the main area so that I could listen to the main lecture. Sanaa did quite well and was really quiet during the lecture. However, during the last 10-15 minutes she began to whimper more and more. I had sent a text to my mom earlier who suggested that when I arrived back in Newberg I should take Sanaa to the Urgent Care clinic to get her checked out.

I left BSF early since Sanaa appeared to be in more pain and we headed back to Newberg. My mom met us at the clinic and watched Layla while Sanaa was checked out by the doctor. He diagnosed Sanaa with wry neck which apparently is common with kids. From what I understand wry neck is a strained muscle accompanied by muscle spasms. Most of the time kids will wake up with neck pain because they've slept wrong. But a child can also strain their neck muscles by just turning their head wrong or something simple like that.

Sanaa seems to be doing some what better today. She's kept her head tilted to the left over the past couple of days and doesn't turn her head much. But she's not whimpering in pain and doesn't complain about any pain. Hopefully she'll be back to normal over the weekend.

Sanaa watching a get well soon e-card from gramma Carol.

Painting with mud. We haven't had much rain but that hasn't stopped Sanaa from mixing up mud and smearing it on my parents deck.

Layla enjoyed helping Sanaa paint the deck with mud.

Ready for rain! Last weekend I bought the girls and I rain boots. Both girls really like their boots. If you're wondering if Layla is wearing boy boots the answer is yes. The store didn't have any girly rain boots her size but had a bunch of little boy boots. Do they think girls don't like to play in the rain or mud?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

House Hunting

On Friday Nate, the girls, and I went house hunting with our realtor here in Oregon. Earlier in the week we made the decision to walk away from the first house. We had a the home inspection done about a week and a half ago and some serious issues were found. The owner (Fannie Mae) was not willing to negotiate in regards to repairs. Instead they strung us along for a few days before making it clear that they were only interested in selling the house AS IS. They could have informed us about that when we first looked at the house instead of waiting so long. Since the repairs in question were going to cost us $7,000+ we terminated our offer.

So on Friday we started all over with the house hunting. However, much to our surprise, our interaction with the Fannie Mae realtor wasn't over. On Friday morning the Fannie Mae realtor emailed our realtor saying, "Termination received. End of conversation." A few hours later the Fannie Mae realtor called our realtor stating that they were willing to work with us if we'd like to come back and reopen the negotiations. They would pay half the cost for the furnace, take care of the plumbing, and the dry wall. Really? They couldn't negotiate earlier? Our realtor said she'd talk it over with us but we had no intention of going back to that house.

We looked at 8 houses on Friday and the girls did awesome! Sanaa viewed it as an adventure and towards the end started asking us if we could look at another house.

The first 3 houses we saw we liked. We decided to make an offer on the third house we saw. Our realtor submitted our offer this morning and this evening the owners accepted it. They didn't even make a counter offer! That caught us completely off guard but we are very excited! This Wednesday we'll have a home inspection done on this new house and we're praying no serious issues are uncovered.

If all goes well with this new house we'll close on Oct 27.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Play time

These pictures are a mix from my phone and the camera. Nate knew exactly where the camera cord was. Yay!

Layla attempting to wear grandpa's boots.

Swimming! My parents had turned their hot tub off and were planning to empty it so they could clean it. My mom let the girls and I use it as a pool. Sanaa LOVED it. I spent over an hour in the hot tub with Sanaa while Layla napped.

But Layla did get some time to swim with us as well.

Little monkey. Layla's new favorite activity is climbing on the side table so that she can climb onto the chair. She does it a few times every day.

Riding grandpa's motorcycle.

Rain! We've been in Oregon for almost two weeks and this afternoon it rained for the first time. The girls had a blast playing and running around in the rain. They have no idea that they'll get to see a lot more rain in the upcoming months.

Sanaa was most excited about the mud that the rain created. In fact when we came outside she yelled, "Yay! Mud!" Then she got to work "painting" things and had to include our van.

Layla's first experience with corn on the cob. Both girls really enjoyed the corn from my mom's garden. This morning Sanaa asked for more. Hopefully more of the corn will be ready by the weekend.

My mom has had an over abundance of tomatoes this year. Sanaa was helping us pick some. Layla helped too, but she preferred to pick the green ones so I sent her with my dad to pick some blackberries (which she LOVES to eat).

This bin of tomatoes was used to make salsa. We have since refilled the bin with new tomatoes and have 2 grocery bags full of tomatoes in a fridge in my parents garage (my dad calls it the shop since it's where my dad and brother fix things). And there are still A LOT of tomatoes on the vine that are not quite ripe yet. Have you ever seen yellow tomatoes? I hadn't, but my mom had a yellow tomato plant.

Last weekend we made 25 pints of salsa. This weekend my mom plans to make spaghetti sauce. I think we'll also end up just canning some whole tomatoes as well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First lesson learned in Oregon

Last Friday Nate had off so we headed out to the coast for a few hours. The girls had a blast but I definitely was reminded about Oregon weather. The weather at my parents house in the valley was great! It was warm (upper 70's) when we left and the high was forecasted to be in the 90's. Thursday night I had checked the weather at the coast and it was forecasted to be in the upper 70's-low 80's with sun (lots of sun). 

So Friday morning we woke up and dressed in shorts and t-shirts, packed a picnic lunch, and grabbed all the other items we'd need at the coast (buckets/shovels, blanket to sit on, towels, etc).

As we got closer to the coast I saw clouds and lots of them. I checked the current weather on my phone and it said it was foggy and 53. What!?!?! I kept hoping that by the time we arrived it would be warmer. I had packed extra clothes, but they were all short sleeve and shorts. I had no jackets or pants for anyone in the family. 

We arrived at the beach and it was foggy and cold. Fiddlesticks! Sanaa REALLY wanted out so I opened the door to the van and she said, "Oh no! It's so cold!" 

We had just driven 1 1/2 hours and I was in a foul mood since the weather had not cooperated AT ALL. I headed off to the bathroom (i.e. walked quickly!) while Nate stayed in the van with the girls and searched on his phone for a place we could buy warmer clothes.

Nate found an outlet mall and we headed over. I bought pants and jackets for everyone. Our cheap little excursion to the beach ended up costing us about $130 since we didn't have the appropriate clothing. 

Stupid weather. 

But all the items I bought we'll be wearing more as the weather cools.  

First lesson in Oregon learned: Regardless of the weather forecast for the coast, ALWAYS take pants and a jacket along.

Once we all had warmer clothing to wear we enjoyed our time on the beach digging in the sand, finding rocks, and watching the waves and seagulls.

Since arriving in Oregon we have played outside a lot! There is so much to explore at my parents house. Sanaa has also started going barefoot every where. She didn't do this in Texas, but here we'll head outside and one of the first things she does is take off her shoes (or flip flops depending on what she is wearing).

Layla loves being outside too and if I don't let her out when Sanaa is out she will let me know how much she disapproves of that decision.

I have more pictures on our camera (the above pictures were from my phone) but I have no idea where the cord to connect the camera to computer is. I had packed the cord in a place that I would remember, but I obviously packed it in the wrong spot.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our 4 day trip to Oregon

One week ago today we arrived in Oregon and I still haven't told you about our trip. So here is post with LOTS of pictures as I catch you up on our 4 day trek from Texas to Oregon.

We left Texas Wednesday around 11am after Layla's 15 month check up. We drove to Hesston, KS (where I spent 9 years of my life) and spent the night with a good high school friend and her family. Sanaa was VERY excited about seeing Ian and Bethany again. I let her stay up way past her bedtime (close to 10pm) so that she could play with them.

Sanaa and Ian playing on the top bunk bed.

We left Hesston early Thursday morning and drove to Cheyenne, WY where we spent Thursday night. However, we had one minor hiccup during our drive Thursday which I'll tell you about in a moment. But first, check out this McDonald's play area in Hays, KS. It is awesome!!! The girls had a blast playing as we stopped for a mid-morning snack.

The girls also worked hard on their drawing and coloring. Throughout the trip Sanaa would attempt to draw the different things she saw. She drew clouds (circles), mountains, (scribbles), and trees (more scribbles). But at least she's trying!

The hiccup in our trip on Thursday occurred just outside Oakley, KS. My mom was driving the van at the time with the girls and I in it when we heard a pop and the van began to swerve. She maintained control and we were fairly positive we had just had a flat. My dad and Nate were following behind in the moving truck and got to watch everything happen. My mom pulled over and since I was on the passenger side I jumped out to check the passenger tires. The front tire was fine, but the back tire was not as lucky. It wasn't flat, but all the tread on the tire had ripped off.

My dad and Nate took the bad tire off and put the spare tire on while I attempted to entertain the girls inside a hot car with the windows down. Both girls wanted out bad, but we were on the highway and there was no way we were getting out of the van. The weeds along the shoulder were quite tall and had small little prickly ball things in it.

Once the spare tire was on we drove to Oakley, KS where we inquired about a tire shop so that we could get a new tire for the van. The girls, my mom, and I had a small picnic in the waiting area while my dad and Nate stayed with the van. My dad apparently helped the tire store employee put the new tire on. This whole ordeal only took about 1 1/2 hours, which was much shorter than I expected. We got back on the road and drove until we arrived in Cheyenne, WY.

Friday morning we woke up early again and were on the road by 7am. We had a free continental breakfast at the hotel (which was really good!). While in Wyoming we made a stop at Little America for some lunch and $0.50 ice cream cones! Both girls loved the ice cream.

Friday evening we ate dinner in Snowville, UT which I kept accidentally calling Smallville. Oops, but it was small! We ate at a little mom and pop diner and at first were the only customers in there. By this point you can tell Layla and Sanaa were getting tired of sitting. Neither of them would stay seated during dinner. Layla preferred to stand in her high chair and plop down on top of her tray. Sanaa just liked to stand in the booth.

We spent Friday night in Burley, ID. Saturday morning we had another nice continental breakfast at the hotel and hit the road again around 7am. The girls were such troopers the entire trip! We had our moments where it was hard to keep Layla happy and that was definitely draining. However, we stopped about every 2 hours for a break and leg stretch which really helped the girls. Throughout our 4 day drive we stopped at various rest areas to let the girls run around.

During our trip we repeatedly asked Sanaa if she would like to ride in the big truck. She always said no. Layla rode in the truck with Nate and my dad and enjoyed it, but Sanaa really didn't want to. Saturday was our last day of driving. We stopped in Pendleton, OR for some gas and an early dinner. I told Sanaa I really wanted to ride in the big truck and asked if she'd ride with me. She said okay, so we jumped on the chance. We got her in the truck and as I buckled her into her car seat she started crying. But we drove off any way. She cried for a good 20 minutes, but then as she watched the scenery she started to enjoy it. We ended up seeing lots of fun of stuff and she had a great time pointing out different things to my dad.

We arrived at my parents house Saturday evening around 8pm. On Monday we unloaded all our belongings from the truck into a storage unit. I completely forgot to get a picture of how the truck looked with everything packed inside, but here are a pictures couple from when we unloaded it.

It's good to be here in Oregon, but still doesn't feel like we're living here. We are currently living with my parents so it honestly feels like we're just here visiting for a time. The girls are having a great time playing outside and really like to be back with our cats. However, we somehow managed to bring the hot Texas weather with us. This week has been the hottest week Oregon has had all year! It's not nearly as hot as Texas was over the summer but it has been in the mid to upper 90's most of the week and my parents don't have central a/c..... But at least the evenings/nights cool down into the 50's.

On a different note: the home inspection went fairly well. There are definitely some big things we would like to have fixed (heater not working, plumbing leaks, and chimney issues). We've submitted our requests and are now waiting to hear back. It's a foreclosure and we're dealing with Fanny Mae, so things are taking awhile. They definitely don't respond very quickly. Our realtor said that if we don't hear back from them by Monday or Tuesday we'll just start looking for a different house.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oregon house

I have a lot of updating to do for you all, so over the next couple days I'll try and catch up. But the first thing I wanted to make you all aware of is we may have a house here in Oregon. This afternoon (4pm PST, 6pm CST) is the home inspection.

But let me back up to the beginning. After our house in Texas sold at the beginning of August, Nate began looking at houses here in Oregon. He was only able to look on his days off and only had two opportunities to house hunt before flying back to TX with my parents to move the girls and I out to Oregon. The first day of house hunting Nate saw several homes that we liked and would have worked. However, we quickly discovered that the homes we like get snatched up quick. On the second day of house hunting, there were 3 homes (I think) that we thought about putting an offer on. However, the homes were either pending or had multiple offers (like 5) already on them.

One of last homes Nate looked at on the second day was the one that we are getting the home inspection on. Nate really liked the house and it met all of our criteria. So I let him put an offer down without seeing it. (I did see pictures and he did take a video of the house for me). I knew I'd be in Oregon before the option period was over and could see the house myself before we were stuck with it. Our offer was submitted the Monday before we drove out to Oregon. On Tuesday the bank countered back (it's a bank owned home). Their counter offer was only $2,000 less than what the house was listed for and we honestly didn't know how easy it would be to work with them. So when their counter offer came back we decided to walk away from the house. We didn't want to deal with negotiations while on the trip out to Oregon.

Wednesday we left Texas and began the long drive out. I think we were almost in Oklahoma when our realtor called Nate. The realtor for the house in Oregon called our realtor wanting to know if we were going to counter their counter offer. She told him no, to which he asked if we could make a counter, even if the counter was only $1,000 more. Nate and I just looked at each other. Seriously? How weird. So we went ahead and countered back adding only $1,000 to our initial offer. We didn't care if we lost the house or not.

The next day Nate got an email letting us know the bank had accepted our counter offer. That blew us away! Since we were somewhere in Kansas we couldn't sign papers. We had until this past Sunday to sign the papers and until this Friday (Sept 9) to get the home inspection completed.

We arrived in Oregon Saturday evening. On Sunday after the girls nap, my parents, Nate, the girls, and I drove over to the house to look at it and sign papers (if I liked it). I liked it. I REALLY liked the living area (kitchen, living room, dining room, den, and backyard). The bedrooms are small. Really small. The closet in the master bedroom is tiny. In fact I'm not sure where Nate will put his clothes. :-) The hall closet was tiny. All the closets seemed small. But we wouldn't be living in the bedrooms and I really wanted a nice living area, which this house had.

So we signed the papers and set up an appointment for the home inspection. If all goes well, we'll close on Oct 3. I've been praying for God to show us what house to get and have a complete peace about this house. If the house doesn't work out, I'm fine. If it does work out, that's awesome!

I'll let you know what happens!