Monday, July 24, 2006

Stitching and Job Hunting

For those of you who do not already know, we were trying to buy a house about an hour south of here so that I could keep my old job and Dan could keep his. Well, we went down there and found some really nice places - four bedrooms, more than two baths, finished basements, etc. We were giddy with the anticipation of moving out of our little townhouse in Baltimore and giving the girls and the dog a proper yard, and us some proper space for an office, craft room, a real guest room (rather than having guests sleep in Sissy's daisy themed bedroom), etc. Giddy, I tell you! Then we met with Mark the Mortgage Guy. Dum, dum, dummmmm. We're not moving. Mark told us, in a perfectly cheerful and optimistic tone, that we had been approved for the new house. Yay! Then he told us what we would need to come to the table with for closing. This was within our realm of possibility. Yay! Then he told us what our monthly payment would be. Excuse me? Could you repeat that? Seriously? You have got to be kidding... Our new payment would be more than what we are paying here - we expected that. We were expecting it to almost double, and we had planned accordingly - we were going to have to be a little less cavalier about going out to eat and a little less generous at Christmas and on birthdays, which would be fine because we have a tendency to go overboard on gift giving occasions (see my Mother's Day post). No problem. But wait a minute. What was the total payment again? is TRIPLE our current mortgage. After we politely got off the phone and commenced puking with the stress, we had a conversation. Without boring you with all the gory details, let's just say that we will be staying here for at least another year. Our old, little townhouse never looked so good! It is quaint, well-painted, in need of some updating in the all-important kitchen and bath areas, and it is affordable. We are staying put. End of story.

That, of course, throws a kink into my "keeping the old job" plan. I had to call my principal and let him know that, although I love my job there, I cannot fathom a 90 mile commute each way every single day with a baby in the car. He expressed his disappointment and support and I cried. I really, really liked that school, and I am going to miss it. Honestly, I don't have a lot of time to reminisce. I must find a job. All of the schools have already hired most of their staff for next year. I quickly put together three application packets and sent them to Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Howard County Public Schools. I sent these off last Wednesday. On Friday, Howard called me. Today I had my preliminary interview with Danielle from Human Resources. I already have my second interview, with the Director of Language Arts for HCPS, scheduled for Thursday. I am a hot commodity, people of Baltimore County and City. What's the matter with you??? Better step it up, yo, or you will be losing out on a good thing. Snap.

Ok, time to morph into my goodie-two-shoes stitching persona. I actually got some done this week. Let it be said that I never, ever claimed to be the fastest stitcher in the world. Slow and steady, right? Jeez, I hope I get faster than this. Anywho, here is my progress on my three WIP's.

The Petal Fairy. Can you see how it looks like a fairy sitting on a poppy stem? Can ya?

Here is Summer Stack - every time I work on this I marvel at how easy it is to work on. So why isn't it done yet???

And here is Chatelaine's mystery sampler. The stitching on it is really hard to see. I personally think I should have used a lighter fabric, but this is the one she recommended, and as I have never done one of her pieces before, I trust her judgment. The rest of the colors are more vibrant, and will show up much more clearly. I hope.

Teasers for next time...moon bounces, twins, Abster's favorite new toy and A Child was Born.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oh Happy Stash

I know, I know. I have been really bad about cross stitching lately. I truly love my hobby and I even belong to several cross stitching groups on the web, but I have simply not found the drive to put needle to linen lately...however...I have managed to considerably increase my stash! Sometimes I wonder if my real hobby isn't collecting stitching patterns.

Imagine how my pulse rose and my heart went pitter patter when I saw these waiting inside my storm door late last week.

Wait a minute. What is wrong with this picture? Hmmm...

Don't worry. Upon opening this package, all of the contents were found to be in perfect condition. I must say, I really like Janlynn as far as cross stitch companies go. This is what I ordered...

And this is what they sent me FOR FREE!!!

The same day, I also got my Dinky Dyes from ABC Stitch Therapy and the Teresa Wentzler Christmas Collection book I won on ebay. It was a happy, happy day.

Yay me. :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Houses, Babies and New York

As you may know, we are house hunting. Now maybe it is because I have already moved twice in the last 10 months, or maybe it is that we have an eight month old child who has decided that it is a lot of fun for all involved for her to learn to crawl, vocalize and cut teeth all in the same 48 hour time span, but the house thing is just not a lot of fun for us right now. It is necessary, though, in that if we do not move, Abster and her momma will spend most of her life in the car. Not good.

We are looking for a new home in Frederick, MD, which would put us equidistant (for the most part) from both of our jobs. We have found a few neighborhoods that we really like, and are only slightly shell-shocked by the prices of the homes. Originally, we dreamed of building a home there, but were quickly brought to reality when we realized that we could only do this if we occupied one room in the house and rented out the rest of it to a wealthier family. Hmmm...on to pre-existing homes it is. That being said, we have found some really nice ones that we like a lot, but since the market there is so soft, we have to wait until we get a contract on our townhome in Baltimore before we can write one in southern Maryland. That's all I have to say about that for now.

Our neighbors had their baby girl - we will call her Elster here. She is a very sweet, tiny bundle of gorgeousness. Everybody is just loving that she is here. Everybody but their dog, Baxter, that is. Having formally been the king of the roost, he is not too happy about being knocked off of his throne. Outwardly, he is handling it and adjusting the best that he can, but I can just see his little mind working on how he is going to regain his spot on the family bed and the family laps. This should be interesting.

The coolest part, in my opinion, about this new addition to the neighborhood is that I got to be there for part of the labor. Granted, I was not present for the sweaty, bloody, grunting part, I was there for the peaceful dilation under the influence of the almighty epidural. I stayed with momma for about six hours - just long enough to become jealous and want to go through this again myself. It is funny how the brain blocks out the horrors of labor and just makes you remember a blissful time of anticipation while being waited on hand and food by a nursing staff, family, friends, and doctors. I am ready! When do we start??? Just kidding...sorta.

Dan's weekend in NY with Sissy went well. They went to The Great Escape and did fun things like ride in Cinderella's coach (over and over and over again), the carousel (until Daddy had to get off because he feeling pukey), and the swings - one ride on each of these would have been enough, but Sissy has a stomach of steel and wanted to ride everything multiple times. Poor Daddy. Perhaps the funnel cake and soda was not such a great idea...

We have a new camera. I don't know how to download pics onto the computer from it yet. This is Daddy's homework for today. Hopefully, the next entry will be illustrated.

Where are my ruby slippers? I wanna go back...

We are back from the Land of Oz, and it was a great trip. Although some may say that Kansas is not one of the top vacation destinations on our humble planet, we find it vastly entertaining and heart warming. Dan held up remarkably well and really seemed to gel with the fam. That being said, my family is hard NOT to get along with. I am definitely one of the more difficult people to hang with, and the man married me!

Kansas is slow, warm and laid back. Driving across the country with my mom and my daughter, I could feel my shoulders loosening and my thoughts becoming more introspective and free-flowing the further we got from the east coast. There are certain things that a body knows are going to happen in the mid-west - two of those things being fishing and beer drinking. We did partake of those, yes we did.

Abigail got to meet her great grandpa and her nana (we will not call her great-grandma because it doesn't fit her. Nana she is and Nana she will always be). More than one of us was surprised by the vitality and earnestness she brought to Nana. She may be almost ninety, but she can hand jive better than most! Great fun was had on Shrine Park Road!

We camped out at Grandpa's. His house is airy and bright. It overlooks a pasture from one side and his second son's home from the other. Daddy is buried right down the road. Family gathers there (at Grandpa's or Ron's, not at Daddy's grave) and there have never been more lawnchairs, beer and, yes, fishing.

Speaking of fishing. We finally got out to see Brian's place - talk about huge! This is a child's paradise. Around every corner is flora and fauna to delight the eye. Lizards, birds, a dog, swimming pool, impromptu golf course, game room and pond. Who could ask for more?? I swear, they could turn it into a resort and charge people for the fun that we had for free! Who could turn down a homegrown beer koozie, made from carpet padding and duct tape. No one with half a brain, I tell you! Not only that, but we caught a lot of pond weeds!

Oh, yeah. There was a wedding. Cousin married a non-cousin (which is no small feat in Leavenworth, where everyone seems to be related to everyone else, somehow). It was fun, even though we had to pretend to be grown-ups.

And, finally, let me throw a shout out to Coop, who will do anything on a dare for money. 'Nuff said.