Saturday, May 31, 2008

This time next week--

--I may be sitting on a beach in the Bahamas...
or, I may be sleeping in our kingsized bed.
Or I may be sipping an adult beverage at the poolside bar... yes, at 8:27AM--

Yes folks, for the first time in my life I am going on a grown up vacation. I have never ever been on a tropical vacation (except for Haiti-- and while that IS my favorite place to be, it's not really "vacation" :)

My husband woke me up in the middle of the night two days ago because he was too excited to keep the secret anymore. It's just for the weekend, but sans kids... ahhh. I can't even imagine.

Yesterday my friend Pam came over and she said, "Wow, Nick gets husband of the year!" Later I told Nick what Pam had said and he smiled a little mischievously and said, "Good. I fooled another one."

PS-- I am pretty sure this is the suggestion of our family counselor, Helen Hauser. Ladies, call me if you want her number... :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just to clarify--

I hope everyone realizes I was just being silly in the last post.

Of course I am not mad at or irritated at Josiah! I was just making a little joke. I think, honestly, that with all the junk and hard times we've been through this past year, my best way to cope is with humor. I sincerely apologize if, in my attempt to be humorous (which I apparently did not achieve), I offended anyone, or if I gave anyone the impression that I, IN ANY WAY, do not appreciate my son, or blame him for his heart defect/allergies! Of course he's more important than being on time + having clean clothes and hair. No contest. He's MY very heart walking around. (He's sassy and a bit defiant, just like me too-- I am IN for it.)

The entire post was meant tongue in cheek. I thought the smiley's :) made that clear, but I will try to be clearer next time.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Josiah, the Ruin-er

Josiah has this pesky habit of ruining special days with his medical needs. It goes back to the day of his birth with that pesky heart defect he decided to be born with :). What should have been a really happy, joy-filled day ended up being stress-filled and terrifying.

Today he decided that he didn't like that Nia was getting all the attention, you know, with it being her preschool graduation and all, and so he picked today to pull another one of his "medically needy" stunts. We had a nice leisurely morning planned. I had picked out nice matchy-matchy clothes for the boys, Nick was going to be wearing a tie, Nia was going to have her hair braided into a crown... it was all planned out. Being the diligent mother I am, I fixed a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs (with bacon and cheese), toast, apple juice and watermelon. We ALL sat down together and commenced eating at the same time-- a rare event these days. Josiah LOVED the scrambled eggs, so much so that I made everyone at the table give him a "tithe" of their eggs so I didn't have to make more. It was a happy time but then Josiah started wigging out. He was fussing, and rubbing his eyes and being all unhappy. It was clear he wasn't comfortable, but we didn't know what the problem was. It became very apparent about 2 minutes later when his face all of a sudden broke out in dozens of bright red hives.

I have never had a child with a true food allergy (Nia was sensitive to dairy, but it didn't cause any real "danger") so this began to freak me out a little. I ran to get the Benedryl and guessed at a dose (since they do you the disservice of not telling you what it is for a baby on the back of the bottle and I was too panicked to go look it up online). I didn't know whether to take him to the ER or just to his doctor-- so I called the dr. on my cell and they agreed to see him right away. We're literally 2 minutes from his doctor, so I was glad once we got there, even though I had walked out the door in such a hurry that I forgot my wallet and therefore without my insurance card or money to pay my copay.

Short story is, yes, he most likely has an egg allergy. He has to see an allergist to be tested to determine the degree to which he is allergic. The Benedryl worked and he's back to normal now. I got out of the doctor's office in time to get to graduation, but literally had 5 minutes to wash my hair and change my clothes. (I hadn't showered in like 3 days and knew I couldn't go without at least washing my greasy jungle hair.) Clothes were strewn all over my room by the time I picked something out to wear-- my hair was soaking wet and so, you know, REALLY beautiful. Nia never got her crown braid. Josiah never ended up getting any shoes on. Nico never ended up getting his good attitude on, so he was miserable. We forgot the teacher's gifts and Nick had to go back home for that later on. But we got there on time.

So much for a leisurely morning. Thanks Josiah. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Corn Nipples, Chip Tester + Blasphemer

Nia cracks me up pretty much every single day. She doesn't try to, it just happens. Here are a few of our conversations that have cracked me up.

*************************************
Sitting at the table. We are having corn with dinner.

Nia:
Mom, what are the little pieces of corn called? I can't remember.

Me:
You mean each individual piece of corn?

Nia:
Yes. I can't remember what they are called.

Me:
They are called kernels.

Nia:
Oh yeah, right. I always get confused about that.

Some time passes and Nia has run out of corn.

Nia:
Mom, could you pass me some more corn... nipples? They are really good.

*********************************************

Yesterday we took a walk to Kroger and picked up some groceries for the Memorial Day party we were going to. On the way home we had this conversation.

Nia:
Mom, when we get home I am going to have some of these chips.

Me:
Um, actually, no you aren't. The chips are for the party we're going to later. We can't eat them now.

Nia:
I didn't mean I was going to EAT them, I just need to TEST them.

******************************************************

This morning I was giving the kids breakfast and Nico asked for more mango. ('Meego' is actually what he asked for, but since I am relatively fluent in Nico-ese, I got what he was saying.) I brought Nico more mango and then this exchange occurred.

Nico:
Mommy, pray.

Me:
Nico, we already prayed at the beginning of breakfast, you don't have to pray again.

A moment or two passes.

Nia: (in a know-it-all tone)
You know Mom, Nico was right. The Bible says we should pray before EVERYTHING we eat, not just at the beginning.

Me: (in an equally know-it all tone)
Oh really? I was not aware of that. Where does it say that?

Nia: (in a sassy tone without missing a beat)
John 14.

Side note: First, I thought it was pretty clever of her, (while blasphemous and sassy) to make up imaginary Bible verses and references. But secondly, I was careful to look up John 14 to make sure she wasn't some sort of Bible savant... BTW- she isn't.
***********************************

Seriously folks, four-year-olds rock.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunshine and Lollipops it is not

One of the things I struggle with as I write on my blog is the balance between being real and trying to not share too much-- which apparently I don't always do well. (I have taken some flack for sharing the big V info... oh well.) We all have this filter that we pass all of our words and actions through so that we don't appear as we truly are to others (my pastor, Jonathan, calls it 'image management.') I try not to manage my image, but really, come on-- let's be real. We all do it even when we think we are not. Well, at least I do.

So I thought today I would share a little bit about my marriage today. My pastor is doing a blog series right now on marriage myths-- it's really good, and I think he nails a lot of these issues dead on. (Check it out at Jonathanbow.com-- at the bottom right there is a link to all of them.)

One myth I would bust is that marriage is sunshine and lollipops, especially when you are both Christ followers.

It is hard. It is really stinkin' hard sometimes. I remember being in my 20's and single and thinking, "Once I get married, I will be happy." And I was-- well, sometimes. Early in our marriage Nick and I fought constantly. It was pretty manic and intense. Really high highs and really low lows. And neither of us are very good at fighting fair. I get sarcastic and snippy, and he just blows his top. We both get mean. It's funny, because most people don't have a hard time believing that about me, but only a few select people believe that about Nick. :) After the initial year of marriage, we began to grow to a place of relative peace, but every so often (1-2 times a year) we'd just totally let it fly.

And then the boys came into our family.

Stress has really magnified the personality traits in me that I hate the most, and I think that Nick would say the same. We've noticed the tension and the spats have been increasing (as in, like, every day) and that was one of the biggest reasons we decided to see a counselor. And while I think long term, the strategies we're learning and the truth we're allowing to be spoken to us is extremely beneficial, it's still hard.

So what's the point of all this? I guess it's just to be real and try to present myself and my life more accurately. This past Christmas Eve Nick and I did a story for the children at our church. It was this silly thing, and (if I don't say so myself) Nick was hilarious. Afterwards someone came up to me and said, "I can't imagine how fun it must be to be married to Nick. He's a riot." (As if the character he was playing was how he really is as my husband.) I kind of laughed it off and said, "Well, yes, but that's not really what he's like." Don't get me wrong-- Nick is a great person to be married to. I love him (and like him) like crazy. There are a lot of things that we do very well together. But it is not easy, and there are also plenty of things we do not do well and have not done well. Sometimes the flesh just flies...

I am just babbling on and on now and have no way to wrap this up. So, yeah, if I was a pastor I would say, "Let's pray" to close but since I am not---

Over and out. (How was that?)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Random thoughts and questions

1. In the interest of trying to put myself back together after a year + of expanding girth, is anyone interested in some early morning walking? I am going to try to get back to exercising regularly and know from experience that I do best when I exercise very first thing. So I am looking to walk around Lake Pine starting at about 6:30ish (AM). Usually my best days will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. (Wed. + Thurs. are out) I can't make any promises about how fast I will go since lately just walking to the fridge gets me short of breath...

2. Does anyone need an exersaucer? We're done with it for good and need to get rid of it. If no one has claimed it by Wednesday, it's going to Goodwill.

3. The unpacking is seemingly without end. I am seriously starting to lose it. I am pretty much to the point where I am considering just throwing out the last few boxes.

4. How the heck does anyone out there get their laundry done on a regular basis? It is the BANE of my existence. It's just ALWAYS in some sort of state of undone-ness. If it's not laying in a pile dirty, then it's laying in a clean pile waiting to be folded, or laying in a folded piled waiting to be put away. I am know that heaven is this enigmatic, mysterious thing-- but I can tell you for certain, paradise for me includes no laundry.

5. Finally, I just want to give a shout out to all the moms out there who work outside the home. How you do it I will never know...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Just because I haven't posted any pics of my cutie kids recently...

Here's a few from our strawberry picking/park outing yesterday...





Less Like Scars

Hey, the things I was trying to say a few posts ago about this feeling of losing and starting to regain control are very well summed up in this song by one of my favorite artists, Sara Groves. I heart her.

Click here to watch and listen. (It's kind of a cool video...)

Less Like Scars - Sara Groves
It's been a hard year
But I'm climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it's

Less like tearing, more like building
Less like captive, more like willing
Less like breakdown, more like surrender
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel you here
And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars and more like
Character

Less like a prison, more like my room
It's less like a casket, more like a womb
Less like dying, more like transcending
Less like fear, less like an ending

And I feel you here
And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation
But you are able
And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars

Just a little while ago
I couldn't feel the power or the hope
I couldn't cope, I couldn't feel a thing
Just a little while back
I was desperate, broken, laid out, hoping
You would come

And I need you
And I want you here
And I feel you

And I know you're here
And you're picking up the pieces
Forever faithful
It seemed out of my hands, a bad, bad situation
But you are able

And in your hands the pain and hurt
Look less like scars (x3)
And more like
Character

Thursday, May 22, 2008

We're under contract!

Just wanted to let you all know that we just signed a contract for a full price offer...

:)

Thanks to everyone who helped us do this...
-Gwenn

"When you have no port of call, any wind will do."

I remember years ago being in an auditorium at NC State and hearing my pastor say those words. I wrote them down in the back of my Bible because I thought they were profound. I think it's a fairly well-used expression, but lately I have been thinking about it and realizing the simple truth behind it.

In just over a week, my little baby Josiah will turn one. June 1, 2007 marked the beginning of "survival mode" for the Mangine family. The incredible stress and heartache that would follow-- Josiah's heart surgery, Nico's homecoming and attachment, going from one to three kids, the zillions of doctors appointments as we bring two new immune systems and preschool into the family, slowly becoming more and more out of shape, Wake County evaluations, post partum depression, speech therapy, insomnia, the move, the packing, the unpacking... it makes me tired to think about it all. We've had no port of call-- no definite plan except to get through the day. We had this enigma floating around in our brains about Haiti. We knew God was calling us, but everything has been so vauge in terms of a plan and in terms of timing... My friend and pastor, Steve Daugherty, put the words to it that I was feeling but couldn't articulate-- my soul is tired. Both Nick and I had reached the end of ourselves and our bodies began to shut down amidst the stress and pressure.

But it's starting to clear. I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I am finally feeling hope, for the first time in a LONG LONG time, that things might begin to settle into "normalcy." (Whatever that is.)

I am ready for a plan. I am ready to move forward. This new home situation-- all of it, I feel like we're turning over a new leaf. This afternoon Nick and I have a scheduled time to work on some of the details of getting back into life. Establishing plans and patterns of discipline (spiritually, emotionally and physically) to help our souls "recover." We started seeing a great Christian counselor and have started just feeling a collective sigh of relief in our souls.

One of the greatest things that's come out of all of this chaos is that losing control of basically everything has shown me the awesome dependability of our God so much clearer. For months I was feeling so guilty as I couldn't get in my regular quiet times with God, I let the gym and my eating plan slide, I was so unhappy at my lack of "discipline." But I have come to see the truth in Ecclesiastes 3 so much more clearly--

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

I am thankful for the times God has brought me through. It's taught me so much. This might sound really silly but I am thankful for the time to be fat again. I really am-- because it's reminded me that it's not just all about me and what I can do in my own strength. It's about what God can do in me. God's love and care and constant hand on my has nothing to do with how many calories I am consuming or burning. God's love and care and constant hand has nothing to do with how many days/minutes a week I am quietly, earnestly seeing him...

There's a time for life to be out of control so that we can see how IN control God is. And while this last year has stretched me (and my skin:) farther than I thought I could ever go, it's all good. Even if I don't "recover" all the way-- it's still all good. He's made my inside so much more beautiful during this time-- and really, isn't that what we tell our children is what matters-- inner beauty is what counts? All along, God was using this time to teach me, His child, the same lesson.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Odd things about me.

Got a survey from my sister-- the blog has been kind of dry lately, so I thought I would enlighten you with these fun facts.

1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes. I especially LOVE the hot blue chips at The Loop. Serious yum. (FYI-- They don't taste like blue cheese dressing, so you should give them a shot even if you don't like bc dressing...)

2. Have you ever smoked? One time I tried a cigarette and thought I'd puke.

3. Do you own a gun? No, but not morally opposed to them. I would like to own one when we live in Haiti, but that apparently isn't getting the blessing of the ministry (for some logical reasons), so I most likely will not.

4. What flavor Kool-Aid was your favorite? Cherry.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Only at the "weigh in."

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Love em, but I have a strong preference for all beef.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? Hmmmm. Hard question. Probably "It's a Wonderful Life." (Nick has won me to his side...)

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee, light and sweet. Or a milkshake. Just kidding... sort of.

9. Can you do push ups? The girly kind-- but not a lot even then.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? I love the necklace charm I have that has John 14:18 on it.

11. Favorite hobby? Hmmm. Does eating count?

12. Do you have A.D.D.? I don't think so but I'd be willing to try the meds for it just in case.

13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? Is cellulite a trait?

14. Middle name? Goodale (my maiden name) Before I was married it was Liberty

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
A. I am really tired

B. This computer really needs a new mouse

C. I wonder if I could "rest" (yeah, right) on the couch if I let the kids watch a movie
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Coffee, water, coffee

17. Current worry? Why is my house not showing up on the MLS yet??

18. Current hate right now? I have more several: 1. Insomnia. 2. Being out of shape. 3. Not being all the way unpacked. 4. Not being all the way settled in.

19. Favorite place to be? Haiti

20. How did you bring in the New Year? At home with friends.

21. Where would you like to go? On a great vacation with my husband.

22. Name three people who will comment on this? My mom, Gretchen and Melody

23. Do you own slippers? Yes,but I never wear them

24. What are you wearing? Black V neck t-shirt from yesterday, gray stretch pants with a bleach stain on them. Yeah, I am really feeling pretty "put together."

25. Would you like to sleep on satin sheets? No, I would like some really great zillion count cotton ones though...

26. Can you whistle? Yes, but not the way people do it really loud with their fingers in their mouths... I totally want to learn that.

27. Favorite color? Olive green

28. Would you be a pirate? No, I get seasick and I am not into the whole pillaging thing.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? No, but you would be bound to hear-- "Get out. Mommy needs privacy... I don't care if Nico hit you, tell your father."

30. Favorite Girl's Name? I love the name Alanna. I also like the name Lucia.

31. Favorite boy's name? Nicholas Patrick Mangine :) But just because I like him.

32. What's in your pocket right now? No pockets in the stretch pants...

33. Last thing that made you laugh? Josiah mimicking me.

34. Best bed sheets as a child? I have NO idea. I think I had some Carebear ones...

35. Worst injury you've ever had? Hmmm. I think the most painful would be childbirth-related, but I probably shouldn't go there...

36. Do you love where you live? No, but I like it.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 1

38. Who is your loudest friend? Gretchen?

39. How many dogs do you have? 0 (tear)

40. Does someone have a crush on you? pretty sure that's a no.

41. What is your favorite book(s)? The Poisonwood Bible, The Westing Game (when I was a kid), No Compromise (The Life Story of Keith Green), anything by Barbara Kingsolver or Adriana Trigiani

42. What is your favorite candy? Just one? Are you kidding me? That's like saying who is your favorite child? Some in the running would be York Peppermint Patties, Twix, 3 Musketeers, Reeses Pieces

43. Favorite Sports Team? The uh, um, niner... ???

44. What song do you want played at your funeral? "The Morning Train" by Kickin' Grass

There. Done. Phew. Are you feeling enlightened?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

188 steps

from my front step to the pool gate.

It's a ridiculously short walk. We went for the first time today, not really to swim (or so I thought), but just to have lunch down there and put our feet in since I knew it was still pretty cold. I let the kids put their suits on ahead of time so we'd feel like we were really going. You can probably see where this is going. They didn't give a lick that it was like sub-zero temps and no sun to warm us up. They LOVED it. Purple lips, chattering teeth, and goosebumps on top of goosebumps finally made me tell them to pack it up.

188 steps and we were back. Ahhhh.... I LOVE having a neighborhood pool!

House is going on the market today!

I will post the MLS info when I get it...

Asking price is $159,900, which is totally reasonable for the area (Apex, 27502).

Please pray we can sell quickly. We're pumped at the prospect of being totally debt-free in a few months... no more school loans, no more car payments, and Nico will be ours fair and square-- no more worries that Chase Bank will repossess him. :) (Just kidding.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Just in case you're in the market for a GREAT first home--
check out 107 Breezemere Court, Apex, NC 27502.

3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 1252 sq. feet, end of a cul se sac, private backyard. Shed and jungle gym stay with the house!

Freshly painted. New upgraded carpet and vinyl.

See lots of pics here.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ng.mangine/107BreezemereCourt

(In case you're wondering, we don't have a price yet. Later today....)

My ungrateful heart

So as I speak, the carpet is being installed in our ex-house. The vinyl went in on Saturday and everything looks so great. I have started having a few "questioning" moments-- is this REALLY the right choice??? I know in my heart that it is, but it's hard not to want to move back in with the whole house spotless-- new paint, carpet, and vinyl.

I was kind of stewing on all of that on Saturday. Feeling grumbly in my heart. Thinking, "Great. I am so glad we're doing this so someone else can enjoy it. I want new carpet and paint and vinyl." (You know-- the REAL Gwenn... she's ugly.) And then I just felt the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit remind me, "You just moved into a great apartment with new paint and carpet and vinyl. And it's bigger than your house."

And once again I was reminded that God not only knows my desires, he meets me there before they are born in me.

It's 12:23 AM-- do you know where your children are?

Do you remember those commercials?

For the record, mine are upstairs sleeping soundly, but like so many nights of late, sleep evades me... I was so exhausted I did not take one of my beloved Trazodone pills (the latest thing I am trying to help with the old insomnia-- which IS working,)-- an error in judgment which I am now regretting. I don't actually take them everyday, just when I feel like I can't sleep. Which was not the case tonight. I fell right asleep a little after 9PM but an hour or so ago my eyes just popped open and have not closed since. (Well, except to blink, or else my eyeballs would dry out, which would probably hurt.) Since it's still early(ish) I just took one. I may regret that decision when it's time to awake, but right now I don't care. I will drift off peacefully in about 30 minutes-- leaving the consequences of taking a sleep-inducing medication too late to be dealt with at 6:30AM. I reason that it would be better to be tired at 6:30AM (which will wear off by 8-8:30ish) having slept for 5.5 additional hours, than be tired at 6:30AM (which won't wear off) having NOT slept if I didn't take the pill. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but I am ridiculously sleep-deprived from the past several weeks of packing/moving/unpacking/cleaning/painting..., so my judgment may be a little cloudy. Nick is sleep-deprived too. I actually found Nick's sleep deprivation kind of hilarious today because he kept falling asleep while reading a book to Nia. That and reading the wrong words as he was drifting off. Nia thought it was funny at first but then got all irritated. Ahh.... he's always good for a laugh.

Speaking of laughs-- I am feeling pretty clever. Last week I nicknamed my Trazodone, "Trazodonmi" as "donmi" (I don't know if I am spelling it right) is the word for "sleep" in Kreyol. Sometimes I am astounded at the depth of my dorkiness. :)

Woo. Okay. Trazodonmi is kicking in.

... And to all a good night!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Got R' Done

Man, many, MANY thanks to all our awesome friends who worked tirelessly today to help us get the house ready.

We are done except for the carpet...

I just got home. I am going to bed as soon as I spend the next 3 hours learning my lesson for tomorrow. :)

THanks guys. You rock our world.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Family" Movie Night

Since we ran into some last minute errands we needed to do before the big cleanup day tomorrow we decided to scrap family pool night and make a big deal about having a family movie night instead. So basically what that means is that Nia is watching a movie while Nico just sort of wanders around, Nick sleeps, I work on the computer, and Josiah tries to crank himself to sleep. Nothing like family togetherness, eh? :)

The end of all this craziness is in sight though... well, sort of.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mid-week update

Hello blog readers!

I finally have a few minutes to catch up-- hopefully... we'll see if the kids stay asleep.

Many of you have asked how we're doing, so I wanted to give you an update of how things are going so far. Well-- pretty good I guess. It's been a busy couple of weeks and we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. I would say we are about 85+% unpacked. It's not an easy feat with three littles running around tearing up the place. Our goal is to move that percentage to 100% by the time our heads hit the pillow tonight. I don't think that's too ambitious of a task, since a lot of what is left is putting books on shelves and placing pictures on the walls, and other decor type items.

Our adjustment to the new place has been great. I have to pat Nick and myself on the back for decluttering our lives a bit before the move. We got rid of a lot of stuff and moved into a bigger place, so we're enjoying the "extra" room. Now, we're only talking 150 extra square feet, but much of that is closet space, so it really works. (Especially since we no longer have an attic or shed.)

It's kind of fun living in an apartment again, and actually the place feels more like a townhouse than an apartment. I am LOVING calling in little things that need to be fixed. It's AWESOME-- and FREE. Woo Hoo! The kids like it here. The day we moved in Nia said, "Mom-- this is a very, very happy day." They love it that we are right on the trail around Lake Pine. Literally. We walk out our door and onto the trail. It's great because we're in the perfect spot where they can ride bikes easily.

Our house goes on the market next Tuesday. It's getting there. We feel pretty good about the likelihood of it selling pretty quickly as we're doing a l0t of work to it-- new floors, painting, etc... and it's in an attractive price point for a first house. Our good friend and realtor, Dave Anderson, told us yesterday that the market has really picked up around here in the past three weeks, so that's good. It's been a great house. Let your friends know. We actually already have someone who is very, very interested. We're offering him first crack on Monday... please pray about this. We'd love to sell it quickly and for a fair price.

Okay, well all three of my kids have woken up and are clawing at me. (Literally. Josiah hasn't had his nails cut in about a month... bad mommy.) So, hopefully I can get back to it later.... ha!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Clean up day this Saturday

We are out of our house and in our apartment. But the work is not yet done. We'll be having a clean-up day, this Saturday (May 17th), to get our house ready to go on the market.

A couple of friends have volunteered help us with the bulk of the painting and flooring but we have plenty for everyone to do, things like:
  • Cleaning windows
  • Putting up blinds
  • Tearing up floors
  • Mulching and weeding flower beds
  • Painting trim/doors
  • Cleaning bathrooms
  • Take stuff to the dump
  • and much, much, more! :)
It sounds like fun doesn't it. Here's the schedule for the day:
  • 7-10am - I (Nick) will be there to get ready for the linoleum to into the kitchen. We need to have the current linoleum torn up by the time our flooring guy gets in at 9 or 10 to put the new stuff in. I'll need a few people to help with that, I'm sure.
  • 10am-2pm - This is when the bulk of the work will get done. We can use all the help we can get. Gwenn has arranged to have babysitters for your kids at our new place so don't let that hold you back.
  • 2pm - If we can get one decent size truck to make a dump-run, we'd be willing to pay for gas.
Food will be provided for both breakfast and lunch.

So please, if you're willing to help out, comment on this post, give me a call (919-931-3704), or email me. Please let us know when you can be there, how many people will be working, and how many kids you need child-care for. Thanks everyone for being willing to help.

Update: Here is a link to the old place so you can get their too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Miss me?

I know, I know. I've been gone too long. Lots has happened and I will fill you all in-- we've been without internet for the past 5 days. It's actually been kind of nice.

Look for an update tomorrow. I am way too sleepy now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Just a clarification

I wanted to just clarify and reiterate that I am not claiming to support or validate in any way the organization mentioned in the photos 2 posts ago. Since that has been posted I got an email from someone I know on the ground in Haiti who is very ill-impressed with the way that organization is run and cares for children. I personally have no knowledge of anything having to do with the organization, I just wanted to show images of Haiti that spur us on to what we are doing...

Hope that makes sense.

Losing Steam

Man. Moving is NOT fun. It really isn't. I am not enjoying this anymore. :) Everything is just in such a state of disarray.

Thankfully, my sister and mom have taken my boys for the majority of the week. (Seriously, I do NOT know what I would do without them. They're amazing.... more on that later some time.)
I still have Nia here, but she's nearly 5 and would be content watching TV 24/7. TV gets a bad rap at times like this...

So, I may not have internet tomorrow, so just wanted to post that anyone helping with the move should be at my house (107 Breezemere Ct, Apex, NC 27502) at 8AM.

Any problems call me or Nick on our cells.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

more "not okay" pics

I recently found this website.
http://www.haitichildren.com/message/one.htm

I don't know anything about this organization, but the photos (taken in '03) speak for themselves. These are photos of severe situations in Haiti and be warned, they are graphic and disturbing. But they are also real. This IS what is happening-- especially with food prices soaring like they are. Recently I read a blog post on my friend Andrea's blog about how we're held accountable for the things we're taught in books/teachings, etc. Don't look at them if you don't want to but if you do, please remember that if you look at them then now you know. Does that make sense?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Twofer Tuesdays- My Mom and My Dad

You may be looking at the time stamp and wondering WHY I am awake in the middle of the night-- but that's probably not a surprise to many of my loyal readers. I am an insomniac through and through. It's just who I am, it's what I do.

Since I am awake, I am doing a Twofer Tuesday post, since it's technically Tuesday. In keeping with trying to use my words thoughtfully to build others up, I thought I'd talk about some of the awesome things about my parents. So I have pretty much the coolest parents a gal could have. They just flat out rock. Here's some of my favorite things about them.

Top 5 Favorite things about my Mama--

5. She lives and breathes being a grandmother. She loves it. It is what she was cut out to do. (Which is not to in anyway diminish her role as a mother.) She just loves her grandkids like crazycakes. And even more than loving them, she actually LIKES them. She's patient and gentle with them, while not taking any of their nonsense-- being firm when necessary... The kids totally dig their "Nana-time." And it's funny-- she really likes ALL kids. Not just her grandkids. She likes other people's kids too. She takes the time to make the humdrum of everyday kind of activities fun for them. She's like Mary Poppins. :)

4. She hangs in there even though she doesn't like her job so that her and my dad's future can be more stable. Just 4 more years until she retires...

3. She has a really healthy attitude about money. I remember several times calling my mom when just sobbing when I was in college/shortly after because of some sort of money drama-- either my car broke down, or I didn't have enough for rent or whatever... She'd always do whatever she needed to do to help, and even though I'd totally stress about it, she'd say, "It's just money. We'll make more." That's helped me as an adult to just let it go when financial curve balls come our way. She always finds a way for us to have the things we need, and sometimes the things we want too...

2. She has a heart for teenagers. She loves them. (Which I totally DON'T get.) Just kidding... well, sort of. She always has. She loves to lead youth groups, and gives 100% to make it fun and relevant. She's creative and truly puts her heart, her time, and her money into her ministry.

1. She loves Jesus with her words and her actions. She's not ashamed to tell people what she really thinks about Jesus, and she never tries to sugarcoat the truth when someone needs to hear it. She will pray for anyone, anywhere, anytime. She will also become personally invested, trying to figure out a solution to problems that people are going through-- even if it means moving in with her. :)

She just plain rocks.

Top 5 Favorite things about my Dad--

5. He's the hardest worker I have ever met. I mean that. He always has been. As long as I can remember he's always worked at least 2 jobs to support our family, and he's never complained about/ resented it.

4. He's very into physical fitness. At 55 he's in better shape than most guys 1/2 his age. Literally. He works out several times a week and wicked strong. So basically what I am saying is, "My dad could TOTALLY beat up your dad." ;)

3. He's VERY disciplined. He has routines that we sometimes tease him about, but have served him very well. He goes to bed early ("It's not the company, it's the hour") and gets up early and reads the Bible every single day. He's read a different version of the Bible in it's entirety every year for the past, I don't know, 8??? years.

2. He's wildly entertaining. He makes up these stories for his grandkids that have even adults holding their sides laughing. He has this elaborate set-up for every story he makes up, and carries it from one story to another. The lead character in most of his stories is named Angelina who has a dog named Skippy who predictably, closes each story by getting so excited he pees on the rug. He loves to play the guitar and sing silly songs for the kids never tires of singing the same ones OVER and OVER and OVER when the grandkids request them AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN.

1. He loves his family. He's always there when we need him. He's helped me with every move I have ever made. He comes out for visits all by himself (because my mom's work schedule often doesn't permit her to come at the same time). He helps with our kids. He'll drive anywhere, anytime. (Driving is also something he's really good at... seriously. He can drive big huge trucks with tremendous accuracy, he can back up a trailer like nobody's business, he can drive for hours on end without getting sleepy... he's a REALLY good driver.)

He just plain rocks.

Monday, May 5, 2008

PS--

The house full of happy memories (and soon to be filled with fresh paint and new carpet) can be yours-- look out for it in the MLS after May 20th(ish)... Think of all the happy times YOU could have here. And just in case you care-- the house has a good vibe. (j/k :)

Pangs

I will be truthful. I am starting to have some pangs about leaving our house. It's been such a happy place for us with great memories. All our kids came into our family when we were living in this house. It is our first home, and we love it.


I am also getting pangs about our dog Strom. Tomorrow he's going out to Manteo to live with my sister's family. It's breaking my heart a little. We've had him for about 7.5 years. However, we just feel like this is a better time to make that transition. We feel like breaking a few ties now will be easier (especially for our kids) in the long run. Besides since Strom is staying in the family, we can still have "visitation." And Strom loves Manteo. He will have another dog to play with, a fenced-in backyard, and 3 other kids to torment him. Throw in occasional trips to the ocean... well, you get the point. But we'll still miss him.









Saturday, May 3, 2008

2 points of clarification and some wondering questions

Because they just struck me... lest you think less of my husband...

1. The previous post was from when Nick was 18. He wasn't very... ehm... grounded in his faith at this point, and it was meant (obviously) tongue in cheek.

2. Yes, I did have permission from him to post it.

Hmmm.... wonder what it says about me that I helped him edit that? And... what does it say about me that we started dating that semester? Also, wonder if our kids really possess the "God-like" genes he spoke of?

"An Equal Opportunity Lover"

Okay, so this one is going to need a little back story.

Nick and I have a huge tub of old photos + notes + other memories that were in the attic that we're going through today. There were dozens of sweet love notes Nick sent me early in our relationship which he has no memory of writing-- I believe his exact words were, "I don't remember being this person. It's a little disconcerting." To which I replied, "What is? That you tricked me?" :)

In addition to all these things, we found this personal ad that Nick wrote during his first semester of college. We both have a vague recollection of him having to write it for English 111, and I know I was at least somewhat in the picture at this point since all of the spelling corrections are written in my handwriting.

Here it is-- exactly as written.

Young, white stallion seeking fillies to stud. I am 18, 5'8", 150 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. I am gorgeous and brilliant, funny and kind, loving and strong. I am looking for females to pass my God-like genes on to for the next generation. I am an equal opportunity lover; all humans capable of bearing children may apply. I do not discriminate on the basis of age, race, physical appearance, or personality. If you are interested in a nine month relationship filled with morning sickness and back pain, call me at 515-6067.

Looking for a few stong backs

To all my loyal local readers-

Saturday, May 10th. 8AM. MOVING DAY!
We're moving from our home 107 Breezemere Court, Apex to our new home at Camden Lake Pines apartments about 5 miles away. We rented a small UHaul. We need some more labor. Just as an aside, I try to be very organized about moves, and my dad is coming out to help us (moving people just happens to be his spiritual gift :) so it should be pretty simple. (I will have bagels/coffee at the apartment for the "help.") We hope to be done by around noonish??? (And if you have a truck-- bonus...)

Email Nick if you can help.

Thanks for considering this. (And we will be posting more about the clean-up day on May 17th later on next week as we confirm the people we already have.)

THANKS!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

His and Hers

As we've been packing, we've let go of a lot of things in the attic that had sentimental value-- or at least we thought did.

Here are some of the dumbest things that I had up in the attic that I was keeping for "sentimental value": (all are now in the trash)
- the pantyhose I wore for my wedding
- the engraved desk clock Nick got for having the highest grade in AP Math in high school
- the letters from my pen pal in prison when I was in middle school (yes, seriously.)
- my FFA jacket (Sorry Chuck...)
- a box of about 50 leftover wedding invitations (as if I was going to get married to Nick Mangine again on October 14, 2000???)
- my retainer from high school
- Nick's "For Goodness Sake" Customer Service Award from the Kroger seafood department

The treasure we couldn't seem to let go of was his prized bouncy ball collection. He had 307 of them to be exact. But we didn't want to just keep them in a box in storage for the rest of our lives, so we let the kids have a few of them, and then with the rest we made "His" and "Hers" bedside table lamps.

Ta Da!

Haggling...

One of the chores of moving is getting new phone/internet/electricity/gas hooked up. Most of the time it's pretty easy. But it gets kind of tricky when you are thinking of changing services. And it actually gets pretty fun.

So here WAS the deal.
I was just going to sign up for DSL Lite because it's less than 1/2 of what we pay for Road Runner($46.95), and I wanted to keep our phone number, so I was thinking one bill would just make everything easier. Then when I was online, I noticed that if you signed up for the DSL Ultra ($32.95/mo) and switch from cable then you would be eligible for $175.00 in rebates plus a free DSL modem. So that worked out to a better deal-- plus it was faster internet, so I decided to do that. I signed up so that I could just cancel the Road Runner and not have to migrate that. Once that was done, I called up At&t to have them migrate our entire account as of our moving day. Here was the problem. Even though we are only going 5 miles away, they told me that we cannot keep our number (WHICH WE HAVE HAD FOR SEVEN + years and 3 DIFFERENT LOCATIONS-- including a different town. ) That made me mad, and so I decided to just scrap the whole land line thing and just cancel it and get the Road Runner Lite package at the new apartment, figuring we'd just use our cells.

However, once I said I wanted to leave, they called in the big guns and the deals started coming in. But the situation was that I really didn't want their service, so I just kept saying no. I wasn't just holding out for a better deal, I just was trying to cancel. Well they finally made it so dang cheap it just became unwise to say no. So here's the deal I got-

For a land line (with a new #) AND our DSL Ultra service-- we're going to be paying a TOTAL of $24.70/month for the first 6 months, and then it will be $39.70/mo after that. Plus, we will be getting the above mentioned rebates ($175 + free modem) and then he threw in an additional $50 cash back since I still wasn't sold. So... even if you don't want to quit your phone/internet company, tell them you're gonna... You'll save mad money. (Just FYI the monthly total I was thinking we'd pay when I started the conversation would have been $60.99.)

If only we could haggle like that with everything in life. Somehow I don't think Harris Teeter would care if I told them I was going to buy my grits at Kroger...