Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's officially summer

My nephew Justus would like to announce that summer has begun. These are his 6-month pics.


I'm not sure what's cuter here:
his little muscle shirt & jams,
or that you can see Mom & Dad's hands helping him stand.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The new abode

Time to share pics of our new house in Dallas. It will be our new home on June 8.

Yesterday, as Mustang & I were landing at the OKC airport, the flight attendant announced:"If OKC is your final destination, welcome home."

Mustang looks at me and says, "Home for only 2 more weeks!"

Whoa. Pang of sadness. I can't believe we're finally moving - it's a deadline that has loomed for soooo long, and now that it's here, it's just surreal. I seriously think I'm in denial. Maybe it's because we're already planning to come back to OKC on June 14, so I don't think I've mentally cut the ties.

If I really acknowledge my feelings, it's bittersweet. Poor Mustang is so sensitive that if I mention that I'm sad to leave, he takes it to mean I don't want to leave. Not so. I'm excited for us. I believe Dallas will be a new chapter in our lives, and it holds new adventures & possibilities ahead. But, I think, it's also normal to feel two emotions about it - excited for the future, but it hurts to let go.

Mentally, I need to focus on the adventures awaiting us. God has already brought me a lot of extraordinary surprises in my life, and they've been better than anything I could plan. So I know he'll continue to do so, and need to pray for patience while they unfold.

Anyway, here are a few pics of our new house. There were better ones posted online of the living room & backyard, but they're already taken down. Dang. So these are the ones I took to remember details of the house. Not too sexy, but you'll get the gist.

The outside

The kitchen - sorry for the closeup; I wanted to remember the countertop.

The guest room

This will be our office.

The master bedroom

The master closet. Look at the lovely home for shoes.
It also has a great backyard with lots of roses, a covered patio, and a greenhouse! And it has two living areas, so we'll use one for the TV & one as a library/sitting area because it has built-in bookshelves.

Oh, and it has a wine cooler (the owner works for a wine distributer). Mustang & I aren't that into wine (only the sweet dessert stuff), so I guess we'll keep bottled water & cokes in there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Headin' to Houston, house news, AI observation

This will be a pretty long post, cause I'll be out of town this weekend. Mustang & I are flying to Houston tonight because it's his dad's 70th birthday. We're throwing him a surprise party tomorrow, and I admit I've been a little worried if surprise party + 70-year-old don't mix, i.e. cause too much surprise and induce a heart attack. Thankfully, he has no heart conditions so I think it will be okay, but if you're the praying type, pray for a good surprise, in every sense of the word "good."

Looking forward to seeing nephews. Oldest nephew's voice is changing right now. I tell Mustang that we should savor every visit with him, because right now he thinks we're cool, but any day now he could become a teenager who thinks we're so not cool and doesn't want anything to do with us. Hopefully that day will never come, but just in case, I always make an effort to be extra good to him because time is precious.

Also - great news: we FINALLY signed a lease for our rent house in Dallas! Long story short, it was the first house we saw. I have a problem that when shopping, a find something perfectly acceptable but I am convinced I still need "to shop around," then usually return to original find. Alas, the house was this way, too. Anyway, pics coming.

Finally, I have been dying to blog about the following comparison since the American Idol finale earlier this week. First though, HOORAY that David Cook won. Although I was a big fan, I was convinced David A. would win because of the judges' comments (which I agreed with - Cook was off that night). Thankfully his dreamy eyes and previous performances helped build him a devoted fan base.

Anyway, my observation is this: Carrie Underwood performed, which yay for our fellow Oklahoman, but I noticed her outfit resembled an outfit worn earlier in the season by another guest performer:


Not sure if this was Carrie's intention or not. Hmmm.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank God for friends

Last weekend, after I picked up my car from Dallas, I continued my travels north to God's country - Stillwater.

I had a weekend scheduled with two of my best friends from college, and even though I was tired from the hassles of Dallas, I knew I would be glad I made the trip.

These days, visits with the girlfriends (the "Ya-Yas," as we affectionately call ourselves) are fewer and far between. We live in five different states and two countries. Four of us have master's degrees; all of us work either full or part time. All are married (me being the last). We have five children among us and one on the way.

It's amazing to think back to a time where we shared rooms, shared trips to the grocery store, spent nearly every waking moment with one another. We brushed our teeth together, took one another to the hospital, pulled all-nighters, cried together. And of course, did countless goofy things together, like wrap another's car with saran wrap or drive by boy's houses just to see if their car would be outside (which helps explain why we didn't date a lot).

And now to think we go months without seeing eachother. Sometimes, months without talking, too.

I wish the future me could visit the college me. I'd tell her to stop studying so much. Definitely stop stressing so much. And to relish in all those moments with the girls that seemed so small, but now the mere thought of them bring tears to my eyes.

Eight years later, here we are, all grown up. I'm immensely proud of my friends. They have chosen wonderful men as their life partners and fathers for their children. They have exciting and successful careers. They travel, they volunteer, they take classes for fun. They are always on a quest to improve themselves. The only downside to all of these journeys is that they make it more difficult to keep in touch, but at least the reason it's hard to stay in touch is because all of our lives are so fulfilled.

So, back to Stillwater, where I spent time with J and her precious princess of a daughter, who is 19 months and loves to wear high heels and can identify and say the sounds of farm animals. She is her mother's daughter. I don't know if I found more joy in watching her child, or in watching my old friend who's become as a fantastic mother.

I spent time with my sorority Big Sister, who has gone through tremendous health challenges in the past three years, but still teaches business to high school students through Junior Achievement. She is the very definition of grace - grace through pressure, grace with mean people, grace despite getting dealt a bad hand that she didn't deserve, and never letting it get her down.

And even though we don't see one another much, that's okay, and here's why: one weekend with my friends fills my heart and revitalizes me enough to last weeks. I spend time with them and the world makes sense again. My priorities get back in order. Most of all, I'm filled with such gratitude for them and for the God that gave them to me.

There are too few times in life we're brave enough or jolted by our emotions (i.e. knowing a death is coming) to let down our guard, be completely transparent and tell our truest, deepest feelings to people. That's too bad. Because when we do that, it's incredibly freeing and beautiful. Several years ago, when I lived in DC, I was part of a group therapy session that lasted nine months. At our last session, we were asked to look at each person and tell them what we learned from them and what we admired in them. It was an incredibly powerful experience because, 1) it felt very unusual because we, as people, never do this, and 2) we could honestly confess our gratitude and not feel cheesy, worried about rejection, or whatever. It was AMAZING. What if we, as society, did that more often? How would we feel? How would others feel? Would it change the world?

Anyway, this is a very long post to say that I am deeply, deeply thankful for my friends. They challenge me. They make me want to be a better person. They open my eyes to the goodness in this world. They give me love, friendship and support that I never knew existed before college - and now that I've been in the "real world" for eight years - know you can't find that often.

How do you say thank you in a way that's appropriate for these feelings? How can you emphasize thank you enough? A blog is probably one of the most ineffective ways. So I will work earnestly and pray hard that I talk to them more often. Because I admit, I'm one of those people who doesn't keep in touch like I should. And that's too bad, because I have so much I want to tell them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Crazy times

Sorry I've fallen off the planet for a while. As many who know me would agree, when I get stressed, I tend to get withdrawn/seek solitude, and indeed I've done that.

And in times of stress, I get forgetful. Done that, too. On Tuesday, I drove all the way out to Piedmont for Bunko, and when I got to the house I was confused since no one was there. Proceeded to call fellow Bunko member and friend Dayna, who gently chuckled and said, "Bunko's next week."Then went to Walgreens with a prescription bottle on Wednesday - and the pharmacist says, "Uh, this isn't us" - the prescription was instead from Albertsons.

Why the stress? Well, in my last post, we had a contract going to sell our house and I was heading to Dallas to find a rental house. Since then, well, let's take it a day at a time:

Monday: last post, drive to Dallas that night
Tuesday: house contract fell through, had wreck in Dallas*, got rental car, found a cute rent house
Wednesday: took Mom in for outpatient procedure, hid from tornado
Thursday: took Dad in for outpatient procedure, scared after having nightmare he died during the surgery (of course he didn't)
Friday: I think I napped a lot, and been napping a lot since then

But on the positive side, this Monday, we found out we got approved for our rent house in Dallas. So yay! And photos are coming so you can see what it looks like. Turns out it's not one of the earlier houses I blogged about.

And we've had four house showings this week, and one is coming back tonight for a second showing (a good sign).

*Tonight, I think we're driving back to Dallas to stay the night & pick up my car from the body shop in the morning. Obviously, there's more to the story here - having a wreck that required my car to stay in the body shop for a week & a half, and I am now driving a rental Ford Focus. Don't worry, the story is coming. Photos too. Involving a semi.

Wish me better luck in Dallas this time.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Quick house update

I'll try to put this weekend in a nutshell.

The offer Friday on our house was lower than we wanted - by about six thousand dollars. So we counter offered Friday afternoon. I just got a call that the buyer then counter offered this morning, and we've just now counter-counter-counter offered. Our realtor says the buyers should take it because it's so close, so maybe in the next few hours we'll have sold our house.

In Dallas, we wound up seeing eight properties and driving by five. Why? Because after our original five we saw in the morning, we were so disappointed, we got online found a few more and kept looking. So we saw our 1st house at 10 a.m. and the last house at 9 p.m. We got back into OKC at 2:30 a.m. Of course, I was so tense from the day, that I didn't fall asleep until 4 a.m.

We have two top choices in Dallas, but are very tempted on one of the "drive-bys", so.....I think I'm going back to Dallas tomorrow to look at our top choices again (which happen to be the first and last house) and the drive-by. I'm bringing a camera, our completed applications, and prepared to get a money order while I'm in town so we can apply for whichever we choose.

Whatever we decide in Dallas, I can report our new zip code will either be 75214 or 75218.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Oh. My. Gosh.

I can't believe this as I'm typing...but this could be one HECK of a weekend.

Our realtor said we'll get an OFFER on our house tomorrow!

and

We're going to Dallas Friday/Saturday to look at two rent houses!

Trying to not get too excited. "An offer" doesn't mean it will be an offer that we want, and the Dallas houses may not work, but I just have to give a moment of praise for what will be a very EXCITING weekend, in the least.

I'm sure you're thinking, "What?? That was fast!" So lemme back up a bit:
  • Friday: house goes on market
  • Sunday: first showing
  • Monday: hear from realtor that lady from first showing was single and worried about the safety of apartments near our house. Well, if two streets away counts as "near," whatever. On a good note, she said she looked at several houses in the neighborhood and ours was the cutest of them.
  • Tuesday: while we were at the Kanye West concert (which was a 6.5 of 10 - another post), we had a showing.
  • Wednesday: In the morning, I find two Dallas houses online that meet our criteria and set up appointments to see them Saturday. In the evening, Tuesday's people come back for a second showing.
  • Today: At approximately 2:15 p.m., I couldn't wait any longer and called our realtor. He said the people are working up an offer and we'll see it tomorrow!!!
So, our plans this weekend were for me to pick up Mustang from work tomorrow and drive to Dallas, where we're staying at the Westin (thanks, Priceline). But now we may need to come home before leaving town TO POSSIBLY SIGN PAPERS!! Ahhhhh!

I'll keep you posted!!! In the meantime, telling myself, "Be cool. Be cool."