We’re Ready For A Summer Of Fun- 2015!

isaac pool

We kicked off our summer with two trips to the pool last week.

Today Isaac hopped on the bike with no training wheels and just took off! He doesn’t know how to stop the bike really. That’s a minor problem that we’ll deal with later 🙂

I did a little work in the front flower garden with all the lillies. We couldn’t tell where one plant stopped and another started and there were lots of weeds. Once the weeds were pulled, it looked so much better. The flowers are getting ready to bloom!

And then I took the kids with me Sonic for happy hour and treated them to half-price cherry limeades.

It has been a great day!

Free Money! Not Really. . .

On Saturday, we got a check in the mail from the insurance company that had insured our home in MN. They can’t insure it anymore since it is vacant. So, they sent back the money that had been sent to cover the premium. Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if that money was actually ours?

But alas! It is not our money. It never was our money. Any money sent to cover the cost of the insurance premiums would have come from the bank’s pocket.

I called State Farm and told them that the money should not have gone to us. The agent said that we are the customer and that we get the refund. So, they won’t reissue a check. It is up to us to figure out how to deal with it. We are going to “deal with it” by trying to get the bank to tell us how to get the money to them. Now we get to see how difficult it is to give away money 🙂 Is it possible that they will help us move along our Deed In Lieu process? Please!

Apparently I’m a Parent of a Preteen

Well, that was surprising.

Ethan is moving up to the next Sunday School class in June and we got an invitation to a parent meeting about how the new class is set up. It’s a class for 5th and 6th graders. No big deal, right? But the notice of the meeting was for “parents of preteens”! Preteens???!??!?!?! How did I get here and is a 10 year old really a “preteen”?

What a strange new world we are entering. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Wrapping Up Our School Year

We only have 2 weeks of school left! We are ready to be done.  It’s amazing how quickly Ethan can finish his school work when he doesn’t have homework to do for tutorial. He really only has Math and Language Arts to work on each day. He is behind a little. So, he needs to do 4 lessons a day to finish. Those 4 lessons can any combination of Math and LA (until he finishes this year’s curriculum for either one of them– then he will just have the remaining subject to do). Ethan did his end of the year testing last week. I should get those results next month.

Today, Audrey finished her very last reading lesson from the All About Reading series. I added up the number of lessons we had done since we started that program a year ago January. There were 217 lessons! The last several lessons had some hard words- Italian, Greek, Spanish and French words that have found their way into the English language. They don’t follow all he traditional English rules.

I happy to have 2 proficient readers. That means that 2 of my kids can actually read their own assignments and instructions all by themselves. They don’t need me for every assignment they do. Hallelujah!

Now Isaac gets more of my time and attention to help him with reading. I should be done teaching reading in about 2 years 🙂

Garden Therapy

Every year around Mother’s Day, my parents would go and pick out their annual plants that they wanted for their garden/yard. So, yesterday, inspired by the season of gardening, I took the kids to the local nursery to pick out some flowers.

I planted a few flower bulbs a while ago, but Nathan accidentally weed whacked one of the sprouts down. So, I decided that the little ring in our front yard (we used to have a tree there, but it died) would be a perfect place for some flowers. I let Audrey take charge of that location and pick out and plant flowers there. I believe the white ones are petunias, purple are vinca and the yellow are marigolds. Don’t quote me on this though.


We also filled the pots on our patio in the backyard. Ethan picked out these plants. I think they are begonias.

back flowers

Ethan had his heart set on a venus fly trap. The local nursery had one, but Nathan made him research them a little more before buying one. Ethan learned that there is quite a bit care involved. I think he has moved on from that. He is currently reading about blanket flowers that attract butterflies. He is turning into our local botanist!

I also picked out a hanging basket for our little flower hook I have just waiting to hold some pretty flowers and a flower to plant by the mailbox. My next task is to dream about what I want the front garden at the end of the court to look like. That’s a project for next year though. I neglected thinning out the lillies last year and they have taken over. I’ll let them bloom this year and then at the end of the season figure out how many to keep and how many to move. Right now, pre-bloom, it looks pretty overgrown.

House Update

Last week we received an update that our file had finally made it to the USDA and they had made the determination that they would not accept the offer on the house because they decided that our situation did not qualify us for a short sale. So, it wasn’t a problem with the offer. The bank that holds the mortgage was okay with the offer, but our loan is back by the USDA because it is a rural FmHA loan. So, the USDA has the final say.

We were shocked. Our realtor was shocked. She has done other short sales with the same exact loan situation that we had where a family relocated due to a  voluntary job change and the USDA okayed the short sale. The only difference she can see if that those people, when they decided to move, immediately started the short sale process. We didn’t do this. We really wanted to do the “right” thing and keep paying for the house and decided to rent it out. It seems that the government basically sees us people who lost our investment income. Any other hardship we have had in owning that house is not their problem.

It was a huge blow and we now are working through the emotions that go with having our home foreclosed. In the end, it probably wont impact us anymore than having a really big hit on our credit and it would put us in a position of not being able to buy another house for 7 years. It just feels really terrible. It’s humbling, embarrassing, and stressful.  We don’t have any other options at this time.

We’ll sign the cancellation with our realtor today and have her notify by the buyer that we are unable to sell it and I will contact the utility companies and tell them the house will be bank owned and to shut off the utilities. At this point, I just want the bank the move forward quickly so that the foreclosure can officially happen with the sheriff’s sale and get the clock ticking on having this behind us.

Thanks for praying for us and supporting us through this.

Healthy Eating Update

You’re probably on pins and needles wondering how Nathan and I have been doing with our eating.

We were following an eating plan that supposedly helps to get your metabolism working great in 28 days. I say “supposedly” because I’m a little skeptical of the specific “science” claims behind eating certain things on certain days and times. However, the foods we were eating were very healthy. I couldn’t argue with that. So, Nathan and I decided we would stick to the plan for 28 days and then decided from there how to go forward.

I finished my 28 days last Monday. Nathan finished his 28 days yesterday. As of today, Nathan and I have lost a combined total of 30.3 lbs! Nathan is down 18 and I’m down 12.3 (some of that weight was after I was “done” last week!).

We plan to keep with the main principles of how we have been eating. So, that means lots of veggies and fruit, some lean protein and healthy fats and a little grain (not a lot– in the past, our entire diet was completely filled with grain and not a lot of nutrients were in those grains). And as for sugar? Well, we’re trying to keep that to being a very tiny part of our eating. Not eliminating it altogether, but being much more restrictive. We have not been having any caffeine with this plan, but I’m going to let myself have a cup of coffee a day. I’m still going to avoid soda for the most part and make sure I’m staying hydrated with water. I had been terrible about drinking enough water before really working on it last month.

I’m feeling really good about our progress! I’m really proud of us 🙂

Wrapping Up This Season of Bible Bowl

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Ethan and his team had their last round robin tournament of the season yesterday. Ethan studied hard and he did really well. I was very proud of him. Nathan and Audrey and Isaac came and watched as well. I know that Ethan loved that!

They ended up winning 4 and losing 2 yesterday. One of the rounds they won in over-time with Ethan answering the question correctly! Yay!

They took 2nd place for the month!

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