>House Hunters

19 Jan

>

So around Christmas, I got this bee in my bonnet that we needed to buy a house. To say that I’ve been scared of buying a house up until this point would be the understatement of the century–the very thought of it literally made me panicky. But one day, it’s like a light bulb switched on and we were just ready (although it didn’t hurt that Sam found out we’re going to be here for at least another 3 years). So we started house hunting. And obsessing. I swear we saw everything in our price range. We fell in love with a house only to discover the second time around that it needed a LOT more work than we were willing to put into it (and the fact that when you tell someone to turn right at the Dominoes Pizza, 2nd house past the old apartment complex, that you could probably be living in a nicer neighborhood). Knowing we couldn’t make it work in spite of the fact that the outside of the house was awesome, we very sadly and frustratedly moved on.
We found another two houses that we really liked. I made my pro-con list. Sam did not agree with my methods and made his own pro-con list. There was some yelling about whose pro-con list was better. But what it all came down to was this. How could you say no to this master bedroom??

One of our contingencies is that the ducks stay. And yes, that is a camo comforter with pink John Deere throw blanket.

Justkiddingjustkiddingjustkidding (said like Kristen Wiig). We actually did really like that house, but we liked this house better. And made an offer on it today.

It’s way bigger than it looks from the outside and I love the neighborhood, PLUS it’s super close to the Expressway which, for those of you not from here, is GOLDEN because probably my #1 gripe about this place and finding a place to live is that everything is SO spread out and unless you’re near one of the few main roads, it can be a major pain to get anywhere. The kitchen sold us–it’s huge and ALMOST has more custom cabinets than I know what to do with. Also, I’d have 2, count ’em, 2 ovens AND fridges. Be. Still. My. Heart. Pretty much the whole house has to be painted, the bathrooms HAVE to be gutted, and the backyard needs some (a lot of) work, too, but it’s all good old-fashioned elbow greasy fun, not ripping down walls and rearranging rooms, you know?

Anyway, our offer was on the low side, and I’m sure they’ll counter, but our fingers are crossed that it’ll all go through! Here’s hoping! 🙂

>Happy January!

14 Jan

>I suck so bad at blogging right now that I’m not sure anyone even reads this anymore. So if you are still reading, I’m sorry. I literally couldn’t sleep last night because I feel so guilty about my little blog that I love so much, so I’m making it a goal to update at least once a week.

Life has been crazy. Good thing it’s been good crazy because while 2009 had it’s good parts, I honestly wasn’t too sad to see it go. From the middle of 2007 through 2009, I just felt like things never let up and I feel like we’re starting to get back to a really good place.

So…what’s been going on with us since Thanksgiving? Here’s a brief recap:

–We spent Thanksgiving with our good friends the Whites and their family. They’ve always been so nice to have us orphans over for major holidays and we just love them.

–Clark went on a field trip to an old plantation and was completely and utterly disgusted that they had dirt floors back then. He refused to step on them.

–I chopped off all my hair the day before my birthday. While Nicole was cutting my hair, Clark ran in VERY excitedly with a Book of Mormon. This was our conversation:

Clark: Mom, LOOK what I found!!
Kate: Wow, buddy!! What is it?
Clark: It’s a Book of Mormon!!
Kate: Awesome! Can you tell me what it’s about?
Clark: It’s all about SATAN!!

SO glad that’s what he’s absorbed in his 5 years. In case I have non-LDS friends reading my blog, the Book of Mormon is not in fact about Satan, but rather another testament of Jesus Christ.

–I turned 29. Blah.

–I went to Utah without my kids for 3 days in early December. I got to stay with one of my favorite friends, Adriann, who has left me in Louisiana. We had some Our Best Bites-related meetings and business to take care of and then Sara and I were on Studio 5:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

Coming back was really hard–in addition to the inevetible post-trip slump, I felt like while travelling without my kids was infinitely better than travelling with my kids, it was still a long, hard trip and it made me feel even further from “home” (wherever THAT is!)

–Clark got to play Joseph in his preschool Christmas pagaent. He was SO cute I could hardly stand it.

–We found out we’re going to be here for another 3 years. It’s actually good to know–I feel like we’ve been in transition for so long that it would be SO wonderful just to settle down for a little while.

–With THAT news, we got pre-approved for a home loan and have since been house hunting. It was exciting and fun at first and now it just sucks, but we’re holding out hope that we’ll find a perfect spot for us.

–The other day, he was sitting there playing with his Ben 10 Aliens, singing, “Jesus is a Friend of Mine.” It was so funny and cute and a total paradigm shift from what I imagined my kids would experience growing up. While we don’t want to be here forever, I’m glad that we can have this experience now.

–Clark turned 5. I can’t believe it. We had banana pancakes with buttermilk syrup, bacon, and orange juice (which is RARE at our house because I’m an OJ snob and I’m too cheap to buy the good stuff on a regular basis) for breakfast and then that night, we went to McAllister’s (his choice) for dinner and came home for presents, cake, and ice cream. Grammy Jones got him a gift certificate to Build-A-Bear, but the closest one is in Lafayette and we haven’t had a chance to go yet. I’m just so proud of him and what a smart, sweet, funny, conscientious boy he always has been and continues to be.

–Sam brought home 5 cases of laundry detergent yesterday–16 boxes of Original Tide (be still, my heart…I don’t think anything in the world, except for maybe a new baby, smells better than Original Tide!) and 6 bottles of Cheer. Subsequently, there was a major detergent reorganization last night and Sam was pretty sure I’d gone crazy. I also decided my life was too complicated for the three cases (20 bottles) of liquid fabric softener that we got in October, so I unloaded them at the church last night. It warmed my heart to see everyone walking around with a bottle of Downy… 🙂

That’s about it. Keep your fingers crossed that we find a house before I lose my mind…

>Today, the Day Before Thanksgiving

25 Nov

>Since tomorrow is a day of thanks, today has become a day rife with irritation. Here are the things/people that have bugged or are bothering me today:

–Children who want jack-o-lantern socks instead of “Happy Halloween!” socks.
–Cats who knock over every single glass of water that is poured in this house.
–Tutoring students who want to discuss the hotness of Derek Hough and her likelihood of marrying him rather than working on homework.

–The car battery dying in the Walmart parking lot

–The idiot guy helping me at Autozone. I was quite certain there for a few minutes that he was going to set my car engine on fire.

–Idiot Autozone guy’s boss for making Idiot Guy look like a bigger idiot.

–Girl smoking outside my car window while Idiot Guy replaces my battery and talking to me while I’m CLEARLY involved in a very serious game of Super Mario Brothers 3 (on the Gameboy that somehow made it into my purse).

–Everyone at Walmart. The employees blocking the aisles. Stupid people blocking the aisles. Pre-pubescents out of school, running up and down the aisles.

–Whoever laid out the new Sam’s Club food court. As it currently stands, you have to fill up your drink, but can’t get a lid for it until you pass the place where you pretty up your hot dog, but there’s barely enough space between the drink place/hot dog place/drink lid place abd the tables to park your cart. I’m not doing a very good job of explaining this, so here is an illustration:

–People who check out ALL of their Thanksgiving groceries at the self checkout.

–People who lurk in my blind spot while I’m backing out and then start walking when I start to back out and THEN glare at ME when I have to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting them.

–Coming home to find a cherry picker in my driveway while they cut someone else’s tree branches.

–Telemarketers. I had the following conversation with the same employee from the Louisiana Department of Health from my most recent post this afternoon:

Surveyor: May I talk to the oldest male of the household?
Kate: He’s at work right now.
Surveyor: When will he be home?
Kate: Next week. He’s out of town on business.
Surveyor: During the week of Thanksgiving?
Kate: We don’t believe in Thanksgiving.
Surveyor: But doesn’t he get the time off work?
Kate: They don’t believe in Thanksgiving, either.
Surveyor: [Awkward pause]. When would be a better time to reach him?
Kate: I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him.
Surveyor: But how can I ask him if I can’t reach him?
Kate: [Out of lies. Hangs up.]

The fact that the public school system has essentially failed American students in respect to proper use of the dash vs. the hyphen, they’re/there/their, and proper use of the apostrophe, which is linked to the failure of teaching students how to properly pluralize. Also, when people literally have a full keyboard at their fingertips, is it SO HARD to write “what” instead of “wut”????? [Punctuation snobbery over.]

Now that I’ve gotten ALL that off of my chest, I have to share that Meredith was convinced there was an “Indian Boy” standing outside her window when she woke up this morning. I don’t even know where she picked up the term “Indian Boy,” but she was convinced he was going to get her.

Also, Clark told us the cracks in the floor at Sam’s Club were “most important.”

Today, we got the car washed, which was necessary but highly emotionally traumatic for Meredith. Midway through the car wash, she started yelling out things that would make her happy: “Chicken nuggets! ‘I Am a Child of God!’ Target! Sleeping Doody! Fish balls! [sushi]”

ALSO. I had a dream that I was staying at an all-inclusive mountain resort where they were filming a segment on mountain climbing. I was supposed to participate in the mountain climbing, but I was scared so Alton Brown, who was hosting the show (naturally), strapped me onto his front side in a Baby Bjorn-like contraption and we climbed up the mountain together. The whole time, I was thinking that my friend Jen (who loves Alton) must be incredibly jealous. It was highly disturbing on my many levels.

All right, I think that’s it. Check in tomorrow and see if I’m feeling slightly more thankful then…

>Halloween and More!

10 Nov

>So I just had the following conversation with someone from the Louisiana Department of Health:

Interviewer: Do you currently live at the address that is served by this phone number?
Kate: Yes.
Interviewer: And are you male or female? [because I’m always being accused of having an androgynous-sounding voice]
Kate: Female.
Interviewer: And how many people over the age of 18 live at this address?
Kate: Two.
Interviewer: And how many of them are male?
Kate: One.
Interviewer: And how many of them are female?
Kate: Uh, one.
Okay, is it just me, or are there some math and/or deductive reasoning skills seriously missing here?

In other news, this month has been crazy. I’m not exactly sure where October went, but somehow, we just kind of went from September to November! After the hell that was Halloween, I decided to scale WAAAAAY back on the rest of the holidays, or at least as much as we can, because by the end, no one was having fun at all the “fun” stuff we were doing because I was NOT being nice! However, they looked pretty darn cute in their costumes:

Also, I recently bought a gallon of milk at Sam’s club that was expired by a week and a half. Then today, I came home with a loaf of bread from Walmart, thought it felt a little stale, started spreading peanut butter on it, noticed some mold, checked, the expiration date, and it expired on October 15. It is November 10! I mean, REALLY? I always say I’m going to quit Walmart, but I just can’t do it.
OH! And a few weeks ago, I was at Walmart and had this conversation with the lady in the fabric section:
Kate: I’d like 6 inches of this fabric.
Walmart Lady: [Not cutting, but looking at me accusingly] What do you need it for?
Kate: A Halloween costume.
Walmart Lady: [Still not cutting] What are you making?
Kate: Cat ears.
Walmart Lady: For who?
Kate: My daughter.
Walmart Lady: How old is she?
Kate: Two.
Walmart Lady: Is it just the ears, or is it for a tail, too?
Kate: Just the ears, although if I have time, I might make a tail, too. She’s going to be Hello Kitty.
Walmart Lady: Hellooooooo, Kitty! Me-OW!
So if that wasn’t weird enough, I was looking for a replacement needle for my sewing machine a few minutes later and heard her having this conversation with a boy who was about 12:
Boy: I need some string.
Walmart Lady: [Accusingly] Why?
Boy: I need it to tie something up?
Walmart Lady: What?
Boy: I dunno…just something..
Walmart Lady: [Still very accusingly, especially when discussing string with a pre-pubescent boy in a Catholic school uniform]: What are you going to tie up? A package? A hand? A CHICKEN??
I then had to leave so I could write down their conversation and post it on the blog before I forgot what they said…

>I Suck. I Really Do.

10 Oct

>So, yeah…I’ve really sucked at updating the blog. The school year started up again, meaning I’ve been tutoring more, and then I’ve been busier than ever with the food blog, so I’ve kind of been trying to figure out how everything all fits again. So much I want to do, you know? And then it’s just so easy to update my Facebook status without committing to an entire blog post, so Facebook has kind of killed the blog. But I’ll do better. Heard that before? Yeah, I thought so.

Anyway, this is what we’ve been up to! No hurricanes this year, thank goodness! After Labor Day, Clark started Pre-K, which isn’t a big deal any other place I’ve lived (in fact, it’s just kind of called “preschool” everywhere else I’ve ever been!), but here, Pre-K is basically Kindergarten. Except if we wanted to send him to public Pre-K, he would have to go all-day, every day, and wear a uniform. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around sending a 4-year-old to school full-time in a uniform, so we’re sending him to the Pre-K program at the preschool he went to last year and we’re in love with it. In their recent circus, he was assigned to be the strong man. He was not thrilled at ALL when he first got dressed up, but after being oohed- and ahhed-over all day, he was more than happy to mug for the camera.

We got a giant load of new laundry supplies! We got 6 giant bottles of detergent, 16 bottles of liquid fabric softener, and 9 cases of dryer sheets. It’s taken us 1 year to get through a case of dryer sheets, so I’m not exactly sure what we’re going to do with 9 cases! There are 7 boxes to a case, so that means we have 63 (had to use a calculator, lest I publicly humiliate myself with my rudimentary math skills) boxes of dryer sheets.

Meredith has been sick for the last couple of weeks, but she’s starting to act like herself again. She’s obsessed with the “Walking on Sunshine”/”Halo” mash-up from the most recent episode of Glee

and insists on watching it over and over (and over) again while she sings and dances.

My parents came last weekend and we had a great time with them! We went to Natchitoches (that’s “Nackitesh” if you don’t happen to be from Central Louisiana) for a day and had a great time there–it’s SUCH a cute little town! The last time we went (with Sam’s parents, actually), it was pouring rain on Mardi Gras weekend and the famous meat pies were kind of a let down. We ended up going to the same restaurant we went to last time and the food was SO much better this time. Really, really good, actually. We also went to the zoo and were pretty much the only people there, so that was really fun. My kids cried and cried when they left and I felt like the worst mom in the world for making my kids live on the other side of the country from their grandparents.

That’s about it! Our lives are good, and we’re very blessed, but I do wish we lived closer to more of our family and friends! You’ve heard it before, but I promise I’ll be better about updating!

>Lady, From the Moment I Saw You…

21 Aug

>So the kids and I went to Sam’s Club to get milk and cheese today and the Inner Blogging Voice was just screaming at me the whole time! I’m very pleased to announce that our Sam’s Club is being remodeled and now, sometimes I actually think I’m at Costco. In fact, the other day, Sam asked if we should get gas at Costco (he meant Sam’s Club) or Safeway (Kroger). There’s not a Costco or a Safeway here in Louisiana. I’m not sure if this was a good or bad indicator of his current state of mind… 🙂

Anyway, we were checking out and our cashier was a lovely woman named Ms. Cherelle. How did I know this? Because “Ms. Cherelle” was tattooed across her chest. I really, really would have loved to have taken a picture, but there’s just no good way to ask the sassy black lady if I can take a picture of her ample bosoms.

After we checked out, Meredith announced she had to go potty, so we went and waited in line for the family bathroom which has a cute little Meredith-sized toilet. We waited and waited. The person in there flushed and flushed. There was a Sam’s Club employee waiting in line ahead of us and Clark was charming her (as he always does) and she said, “Oh, you’re cute!” He paused for a second and then said, “I AM cute, huh?”

After waiting for a long time, we just opted for the regular bathroom. Meredith sat on the potty for about 2 seconds and then said, “I’m done!” I was not super happy about that. She then requested to have another look at the “Sleepy Doodie” dress-up kit.

My unhappiness at Meredith’s unsuccessful potty trip was mitigated by seeing a man in a red long-sleeved Henley (bear in mind that this is one of the muggiest days I’ve EVER experienced in Louisiana!), suspenders, wire-rimmed glasses, and the CRAZIEST white hair and long, bushy beard I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Both Clark and Meredith were freaking out–they really thought Santa was at Sam’s Club.

Now…for all you Scrubs fans. Remember Janitor and his girlfriend Lady?

Well, it’s a popular thing here for the schools to provide parents with window decals that have the school, symbol, and student’s name on them. These decals are placed in the rear windows of the parents’ vehicles.
Well, I got to my car and this car was parked next to mine:

Yes. You’re seeing that right. Someone named their baby girl “Lady” and now she goes to the hardest, most competitive public elementary school in the area. Go get ’em, Lady.

And finally…the pièce de résistance. This isn’t my picture–I actually stole it from the Facebook page of one of our former missionaries. But it’s too good not to share.

>Mowin’ the Lawn

18 Aug

>Devil Dog’s owner is mowing the lawn. I wonder if he’ll notice all the poo that was on our lawn that Sam flings back into their yard on a nightly basis. It’s part of our routine–kids to bed, lights out, fling some poo.

>Jealous Much?

15 Aug

>Meredith: I wuv you, Daddy!

Sam: I love YOU, Meredith!

Clark: Dad, you should love me and not Meredith.

>My Nemesis…

7 Aug

>Devil Dog has been running up and down the street, barking and howling, for the last two hours. Devil Dog could very well be back in hell by tomorrow morning if it’s not careful…

>Wild Kingdom

4 Aug

>For Family Home Evening last night, we went to Sears to get a water filter for our fridge water dispenser. Totally spiritual and uplifting, right? So anyway, apparently a few families of mosquitoes have decided our van makes a nice home and we were seriously eaten alive on our way there and back.

We survived the mosquitoes and were watching TV before we went to bed when we heard a scratching noise in the doorbell box. Yeah, apparently a giant cockroach found his way in there and couldn’t get back out again. It’s little antennaes were poking out of the holes. I wanted to kill myself.

And THEN Devil Dog has had puppies (again). And while they may be spawn of Satan, they’re very cute spawn of Satan and, in true Devil Dog fasion, they’re allowed to freely roam the neighborhood. Well, after being ravaged by mosquitoes and tormented by the trapped cockroach, I was reading before I went to sleep. I heard a little puppy yelping outside my window like it was in pain, so I threw on a pair of pajama pants and some flip flops so I could go rescue the puppy from the mutant armadillo or whatever was attacking it. By the time I got out there, the puppy was gone, but a SNAKE slithered across the walkway, seriously RIGHT in front of my feet, and into the grass. Shudder.