Friday, February 26, 2010
9. I love interior designs from 10-15 years ago. New and nice things like granite and stainless steel are a waste of money (who am I kidding I love those things).
8. You can give in to the constant pressure to trade up. Everyone I know who has lived in their house for 25 years or more has seen a significant decline in their neighborhood over time. People with money move on to the bigger and better.
7. The American dream is overrated. We are brought up to believe in order to be successful in life you must own a home. We are also brought up to believe in order to be successful in life you have to get a college education. 10 years later and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and bachelor's degree later I am here to challenge both these assumptions.
6. Property taxes are someone else's problem.
5. Homeowners can't do crazy stuff like move across the country for a job with 2 weeks notice. Oh wait, some of you would never consider this, really???
4. Speaking of moving. If your neighbors suck you can move. Not that mine do, I actually love my neighbors. Or if you kids' school sucks you can easily move to a better school.
3. The price of a home is astronomical. A house our size, in our area is at least 5 times my hubby's annual salary, yikes! We will just disregard that fact that we pay more in rent monthly than a lot of people pay for a mortgage.
2. There is no guarantee your investment is going to go up in value over the short term. This is one of the biggest changes in my thinking. While everyone was making crazy money in the real estate market in the early 2000's the tide has changed and millions of homeowners are now upside down on their mortgages. That is a scary possibility for me, especially since if we owned a home we would've put little or no money down.
1. You don't have to deal with repairs! We have been in our house for almost a year and the landlord has replaced the garbage disposal, repaired the washer twice, sent a plumber and then two roofers to fix a mysterious leak in the laundry room ceiling, repaired the heater, and now the upstairs tub drain needs repaired, the washer is leaking water again, and the shed roof collapsed. I don't know if we could've afforded all that this year.
On a serious note we do want to be homeowners someday but have realized over the past year or two that waiting until we are ready both career wise and financially is a much better way to go for our family. Especially since making money when you sell a home is no longer a guarantee I am OK with renting and going with the safer, more flexible bet. I know some of you homeowners out there may disagree but we are young, we have plenty of time to own a home in the future.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Momz Share is a new local event for mom bloggers to get together, network, and have some fun.
Stop by and leave a comment so Jennifer knows you were there :-)
Have a great day!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I was looking back for an "about me" post and the last one I did was when I started this blog back in December 2008. Needless to say, a lot has changed since December 2008. Here is a little update on me and my crazy family. If you read my blog often you may know most of this, maybe not.
I'm Michelle, a 28 year old mother of three, wife, nanny, friend, sister, daughter. We currently live in Baltimore, Maryland and moved here from Colorado in 2009 for my hubby's job. Moving across the country, away from all my family and friends, has been quite the adjustment for me. I think I have learned a lot and grown a lot this year but still have a lot more learning and growing to do. In my past life I was a babysitter, child care worker, paralegal, lobbyist, and banker. I interviewed for corporate jobs when we moved out here but ended up turning down a job in banking to nanny for infant twin girls near my home. I couldn't be happier with my decision. I spend my days playing with babies and get to follow my kids school schedule. I leave for work at 6:15am which often leaves me feeling sleep deprived but this is as close to a perfect job as I can imagine for my life right now. I'm outgoing, a talker, love being around people, throwing parties, and doing "social things". I really enjoy scrapbooking but don't get to do it enough. I am just learning to sew and really like it so far. I read like crazy and loving being outdoors. Hubby and I both really like traveling, especially without the kids :-)
Me on the Brooklyn Bridge NYC
My hubby is great! He is loving, and handsome, and smart, but I may be biased. He is an engineer and works for a local company in the power plant industry. He served in the U.S. Navy for 6 years before we met. He recently got accepted into the Johns Hopkins master's degree program in applied biomedical engineering. He is my complete opposite but we we balance each other perfectly. There is no one I would rather share this crazy journey called life with.
Hubby in Vegas
My oldest child is B who is 9 years old and in 4th grade. He loves science, and math, and is an avid reader. He reads through 2-3 huge books a week. He plays basketball and is a Webelos 1 in Cub Scouts. He is really into video games, which I don't understand but I know is normal for boys his age. He loves to talk and has lots to say. His personality is very much like mine, God help him!
B August 2009
Wyn is my middle child. Wyn is also 9 years old but in the 3rd grade. Wyn is a goofball and likes being the class clown. She excels at most things she does. She is good at both art and music and I haven't come across a sport she tried that she didn't pick up right away. She is really into soccer. She is bummed here in Maryland they only play 1 season of soccer a year instead of 2 seasons per year like Colorado. She had also been asked to join pre-team gymnastics in Colorado so I really need to get her involved in that out here. She does great at school and is in GT reading and math, just like B.
Wyn November 2009
FiFi is the baby of our family and plays up that role as much as she can. FiFi is 7 years old and in the 1st grade. She is also a smarty pants, reading, writing, and doing math like crazy. She has been playing soccer since she was 4 and she has been lucky to always have daddy as her coach. This year she started dance for the first time and absolutely loves it. She has quite the sarcastic wit and gets jokes even the older two kids don't. Her personality is very similar to hubby's, quiet and reserved with people she does not know.
FiFi August 2009
Hubby and I meet 4 years ago when our kids were 5, 5, and 3. We were both married before. B is my biological child and Wyn and FiFi are hubby's biological kids. We were married on May 24, 2008. Blending a stepfamily is not easy work but I'd like to think we are doing it well. We started going to a stepfamily class at church last summer and have learned so much. The class follows a book and video series and we have small group discussions, I love it! Great marriages take work and great marriages with stepfamilies are no exception!
All three kids Christmas 2009
That's me and my crazy family. Leave a comment and I will stop by and check out your blog too. Hope this gives some of my fellow Baltimore Bloggy Boot Camp and Momz Share attendees a little better feel for who I am.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
On my trip to Colorado not only did I get to throw my sister a surprise bachelorette party and bridal shower I got to meet one of my best friend's new baby girl who was born in November. Missing out on special moments like baby showers and the birth of new babies is the hardest part of being so far away from my closest friends. I have a great group of girlfriends, all of which I have been friends with 13 years or more. I feel very blessed to have them in my life.
Here are some pictures from my first meeting with little R:
Have I ever mentioned how much I love babies?
Doesn't she have the sweetest little face?
A partial group shot, Catherine, N, Maddy, Becca (R's mom), and baby R.
I had a great time snuggling with and meeting sweet baby girl R.
Monday, February 15, 2010
As a mom of three, and a household manager of five, perfection is a unattainable goal. The members of my family are as diverse in personality as the colors of the rainbow. Some of my family members, while of course not perfect, handle this side of my personality well, other members of my family end up feeling like no matter what they do it is never good enough. This of course is not my goal.
Hubby is funny, in a smart aleck sarcastic way, but he is also loving, and caring, and an amazing best friend. I truly enjoy his company more than anyone else on this planet. He is not a planner, he is laid back, goes with the flow. He is not a perfectionist, he is a doer, he gets things done.
B is very similar in personality to me. Of course he is his own person, with his own traits, but he really is more like me than not, God help him! He does not seem to mind my perfectionism but probably since he is a lot like me.
Wyn is a different personality all together. She is not like me or hubby. Actually hubby says he sees a lot of his ex-wife's personality in Wyn. She is the middle child and often feels like she is stuck in the middle, not the oldest and in charge but not the baby and coddled. She is a bit of a pleaser and she gets most frustrated when she spends time cleaning her room and I find 10 more things that need done.
FiFi is very similar in personality to hubby. They both are more quiet and reserved in personality, until they are comfortable with you. FiFi is generally a very compliant child but more emotional than any of my other two children, as the slightest thing sends her to tears. She doesn't seem as bothered by my quest for perfection but sometimes simply asking her to clean her room can send her to tears so you never really know.
As a mother and wife, I have to balance my needs with the needs of my family. I struggle with my need for everything to be perfect. I want my kids to look nice, with matching clothes, and clean faces, and brushed hair. I want my kids to be well behaved but I think I have realistic expectations for how nine and seven year olds behave. My biggest struggle recently is in keeping the house clean. My kids think everything thrown about is a fine way to live. Hubby can step over the trash on the floor and wet towels on the floor. I cannot!
I know some people will say, "give up, just let your kids rooms be disasters and just focus on the rest of your your house." I have tried this. It simply does not work for me. I cannot handle the clutter! I am not a crazy clean freak myself but the clutter makes me crazy. I can handle clutter to a certain degree but when every room upstairs looks like a bomb went off I refuse to just leave it like that day after day. The thing I cannot understand is how is gets so messy so quickly. Within in an hour or two it looks like a bomb has went off again. It is not just toys, it is trash, it is dirty laundry, it is wet towels, and it is just too much.
I know it is their age but I do not understand why they cannot clean up an activity when they are done with it, before they move the next activity. It really is not that hard and would make picking up their rooms at the end of the day a snap.
So moms, weigh in. What are your house rules? Do you insist your kids pick up after themselves? Do you feel like a maid? Do your kids pitch in? Do you pay your kids allowance based upon their rooms being cleaned and helping around the house?
Generally my kids are very helpful and even help with household chores like taking out the trash or washing dishes when asked. I think they have gotten old enough that I need to institute some sort of chore chart and weekly allowance to manage it. In theory I think this would put the responsibility back on to them and leave everyone feeling less frustrated.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I believed the people who told me it didn't snow much. We moved here March 14, 2009 and lived here in Baltimore snow free for 8 1/2 months. Sure it was much more humid than Colorado but we never had to water our grass and had tomatoes growing in our garden at the end of November. These things would never happen in Colorado.
Then winter 2009-2010 began in December and it hasn't let up since. To say I am over the snow is an understatement. I am just hoping and praying the chance for snow will pass in the next month and we can slide smoothly into spring.
After being snowed in with three kids since Friday afternoon you can be assured I will be praying spring will make an early appearance.
This week we:
Played in the snow
and played in the snow some more.
We stayed in our jammies all day...
and ate lots of snacks.
Daddy worked from home some. His makeshift office consisted of two TV trays in our master bedroom. The only place he could work somewhat away from the kids.
and when daddy worked from home we baked him homemade oatmeal cookies.
Mommy might be over all this snow and being stuck inside for so long but the kids seem to being have a great time! Once their summer break gets cut short a week maybe they won't be as excited.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I love quick, easy, flavorful meals! I have posted several meals I have adapted from Rachel Ray's cookbooks and still love her cooking style. This cookbook has a similar style but the instructions are more detailed and it requires less multi-tasking. With some of Rachel Ray's recipes it takes several tries making them before I can perfect the timing. Her recipes often have 4 things going at the same time. This often requires me to ask hubby to stir or chop for me mid meal preparation. Needless to say I have found the Pampered Chef meals in this book just as flavorful but a bit simpler to prepare. Happy cooking!
Jerk Pork With Mango Salad
1 lb boneless pork chops
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp Jamaican Jerk Rub (You can get this from Pampered Chef. The ingredients in my rub are onion, raw sugar, spices, salt, red and green pepper, and green onion)
4 green onions
1 red bell pepper
2 large mangoes
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add oil to oven safe pan. Heat oil over medium high heat for 1-3 minutes on stove top. As pan heats, trim fat from pork and cut into thin strips about 1 inch wide.
2) Coat pork with 1 tbsp of jerk rub and rub into meat; for additional flavor add additional jerk rub to pork. Add pork to pan on stove top. Cook 3-5 minutes or until browned. Transfer pan to oven and roast 12-15 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 155 degrees.
3) As pork roasts, start salad. Thinly slice green onions. Set aside for garnish. Peel bell pepper. Slice top and bottom off pepper. Remove and discard seeds. Slice into thin strips. Peel and slice mangoes. Add mangoes and peppers to a medium bowl. Juice lime into bowl. Add 1 tbsp jerk rub. Toss thoroughly.
4) To serve, place portion of salad on plate, top with slices of pork, top with green onions for garnish.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
A shot for the bachelorette who NEVER drinks!
Catherine Evolving Mommy, one of my IRL best friends and my BFF Michelle, enjoying some Rio Margaritas at dinner.
After Andrea got embarrassed on stage and had to do the chicken dance in front of everyone she did get the requisite Sing Sing bumper sticker, front not rear application.
And just when you thought we were getting wild, the piano players encouraged all the women to give these birthday boys a bumper sticker, rear application. We of course obliged.
Video of Andrea getting embarrassed on stage at Sing Sing, doing the chicken dance.
I will miss all my friends and family in Colorado but luckily my sister's wedding is only 6 weeks away so I will get to see lots of family again in March. Great friends and family, great memories! Congratulations again, Andrea and Michael.