Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1 comment

I seem to have a lot of photos of Emma Claire in the high chair while eating (or sleeping in the case of the picture in the center of the collage). For a child that didn't eat solid food until she was almost 1 year old, she does pretty well. Still need to work on her pincer grasp instead of the raking motion she uses, but all in all she gets the job done.

Christmas List

Friday, October 25, 2013 No comments
I like to have my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving which means the kids need to start making their lists. Yesterday at dinner seemed to be the perfect opportunity.

Chloe demanded to know why Santa needed this list so early. I think the "wonder of Christmas" is starting to wane. She's made several remarks as such.

Oliver made his Christmas wish list in about 5 seconds. When he saw he still had one blank left he said, "Let me watch TV and I will tell you what I want after I see commercials." Scary, especially since I tell him all the time that commercials and ads want him to want the product and it probably isn't as fantastic as they make it.

Emma Claire's list. We kind of did it for her. I added "my own room" because while we are in the rental waiting to move into the house she is in our room. We also need to purchase her a dresser for her new room.

Oliver's list. Somewhere underneath the squiggles is his name printed. He decided he needed to "sign" it in cursive instead.

Chloe's list. We have obviously moved on to the bigger and better (and more expensive) items.

Handsome Guy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2 comments
Oliver's pre-school photos came back yesterday. Such a handsome little guy....

Pumpkin Patch

Thursday, October 17, 2013 No comments
Oliver's preschool went to the pumpkin patch today. It started overcast and rain was in the forecast but just as we got there the sun came out and it got HOT!

Not the best pumpkin picking weather.

Emma Claire slept through the majority of the pumpkin patch romp and Oliver was all about playing with friends and the pumpkin was of no importance, which is why he jumped off the hay ride and grabbed the first pumpkin he saw and called that adventure "done!". 

On the hayride to the pumpkin patch.
Oliver in the pumpkin patch.

Playing with the water pumps for the duck race.

Getting filthy in the corn crib.

Me, completely sweating with Emma Claire sitting low in the carrier. I had to take off the carrier and just carry her as it was so hot.

House Work

Monday, October 14, 2013 No comments

Count down to move in....

Work has begun on the barn! It should take two weeks to remove all the pine boards and sheetrock. 

The "RainMeister" Scores Two Wins in Micro

Monday, October 07, 2013 1 comment
It was double-race day on Sunday and misty rain was coming down. Despite the bad weather and track conditions, Chloe managed to win her first Micro race, and then she did it again a few hours later.

It was some great racing and the second race was a battle to the end.

We are all proud of Chloe, but this morning, Oliver said, "Chloe, thanks for winning a micro race for me!".

Emma Claire is getting ready to watch the long day of racing. **Yes, the R*ed B*ull is a prop.**

Getting ready to win it!

The races finished late and part of the podium had already gone home.

14-Months Old Today

Sunday, October 06, 2013 1 comment

Emma is 14-months old today!! She has been home just over two months. Here is the 14-month Emma Claire update--

·         She can pull herself up to standing and cruise the furniture. She thinks this is the greatest skill and she loves to show it off. At night, when she wakes, even if it is 3:40 a.m., she will POP up to standing and giggle. It’s just unfortunate that no one else finds it delightful at that time of the morning.


·         She has started the monster walk while holding fingers. She is a little unsure about this still.

·         Her hair is growing. Still not long enough to put a bow in, but its growing.

·         Her feet have grown to “normal” size for her age. They are still small, but at 12 months old, her feet were tiny. About 3 month size tiny. The pediatrician told me we would “watch” them, but the small size shouldn’t delay her walking. But now, they have grown and she can wear socks now without them falling off!!
She can finally wear these darling leather and wool lined slippers brought back for her from by Bryan and Sue from New Zealand.
·         Emma Claire is not a sleeper. She is a cat-napper. She will steal naps in the car when we are picking up/dropping off older sister and brother at their activities. She won’t take a nap in her crib for anything and putting her down at night can be hard work.

·         She likes to play “peek-a-boo” and dancing is a new favorite activity.

·         She still LOVES to be held. Forget any brand of baby carrier. She isn’t having it and she will tolerate the stroller for just so long.  

·         She still prefers her meals in the liquid form. She takes 3-4 bottles a day. I am not rushing removing the bottles as she only started eating solid foods when we got her. Lately, she wants to feed herself the solids, so I have had to think of foods that she can eat easily and feed herself easily considering she hasn’t fully developed her pincer grasp. So far—pasta, banana (which is the one food that can be hit or miss with her), some soft cheeses, blueberries (which she doesn’t care for), cut up pancakes and waffles and peas. Mealtimes are a battle between Oliver and Chloe as to who will sit next to Emma Claire. The dogs have learned that hanging out underneath the highchair is easy pickings.



·         The kids and I finally decided on Emma Claire’s Halloween costume. There was much debate. Chloe wanted her to be a minion from “Despicable Me” and Oliver and I thought a caterpillar would have been cute. We then thought she should be a white tiger/Siberian Tiger in honor of Harbin, China, but the white tiger costume is on back order! After seeing the story of the panda twins on the news, the kids and I decided she should be a Panda. She’s going to be a cute panda.



A Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Saturday, October 05, 2013 No comments
Finally! There seems to be light at the end of the VERY long tunnel we have been in since committing to buying the new house.

We knew buying a foreclosure would/could take a long time, we NEVER imagined it would take this long and we never imagined it would all be caused to complete ineptitude.

The house we are buying is fantastic and we completely love it. It is a unique property, a large house on over an acre of land with a large, finished barn (That the listing agent and documents call an “outbuilding”. A shed is an outbuilding, this is not an outbuilding. It’s a barn.). Making it even more unique was that it was a foreclosure and it also needed to be brought to code. The previous owners made some modifications that didn’t meet code. They took out permits for the work, but never submitted plans or had the village inspect the finished product. Thus, the village will not give a certificate of occupancy on the house until the plans have been submitted and the work brought to code and it has been inspected. The bank that owns the property (it’s really not a “bank” per se, but a government-sponsored enterprise that is also publicly traded and holds the majority of mortgages in the U.S. Its better known as an old-fashioned girl’s name) hired an inspector/engineer, had all the modifications needed to bring the house to code listed, including the cost for the building plans, and came up with an estimate they were confident in. The bank and the listing agent promised us they did the “due diligence” and the repairs to bring the house to code wouldn’t exceed $xx,xxx amount. The bank did not want to do the work themselves and priced the house accordingly and offered a great mortgage to us to buy the house and make the repairs. It wasn’t until the house inspection that the engineer who originally looked at the code violations on the house realized that he forgot to include the barn repairs to the bank estimate. The barn has pine board over insulation, which is a huge fire hazard, and needs to be sheet rocked in order to meet village code and for us to be able to move in to the property. Seems the bank, listing agent and engineer weren’t as diligent as they thought. It was a BIG mistake and the repairs cost A LOT of money—like I could go buy a nice, new car kind of money.

The "outbuilding" in question.
Since this was a huge cost, deal killer and the bank was negligent in its due diligence when it “promised” us the repairs wouldn’t go past $xx,xxx amount, the bank was now on the hook for the repairs to the barn. It was the only option. BUT… It’s taken 9 WEEKS for the bank to sign off on the approval allowing the work to begin. NINE WEEKS!!!! It’s just beyond absurd that it takes that long for something that simple to get done, especially when this house is sitting on their books and they are paying for the upkeep, maintenance and taxes on it.

We have had to renegotiate the sale contract and resign it TWICE since the offer and closing date was agreed to back in May. Two closings were set and passed and we have waited and waited for this piece of paper to get signed. Each time we have renegotiated, interest rates have gone up and the bank has had to pay more money at closing because of it. It’s a better deal for us, but we are in temporary housing with all of our stuff in storage. Not a great way to live.

We have had to dig through boxes of stuff for items we packed that we thought we would have access to because we were supposed to close (originally) at the end of August. Things, like winter coats and all the automobile, RV and boat paperwork so we could get everything registered in NY.

I dug through boxes and boxes looking for which one contained my social security card. In order to get a driver’s license in NY, you have to show them your SS card. I’ve had no luck finding the box containing the card, I suspect its packed somewhere behind all the furniture in the storage facility. Since I couldn’t find it, I planned on getting a new card issued but can’t now because the government is shut down and the SSA is only handling SS checks/payments. Ugh!

But, now it seems there is movement. On Friday, we found out that everything has been signed off and the formal approval finally reached the contractor. Work will begin the week after next!!! Hopefully we can close in November.