Saturday, November 19, 2016

Remembering Christmas' Past

Christmas 2008

We don't do alot during the holiday season - at least not the three of us. Jamie and I do a lot of running around. Saturdays she has Rythmic gymnastics at 9:30, and rehearsal for the Snow Maiden part of the Nutcracker in the afternoon and sometimes a Dance performance from her troupe from school - Dance ensemble. The performances are at places like the Fair, our local street fair under the bridge called Riverside Arts Mart or at JU or UNF ball games. Today was a football game at JU and the word their performance was to be televised on ESPN.

Mike on the other hand is really busy with grades/grading papers in the fall plus the Gators play each Saturday so that is never a day he will go anywhere. And if I have houses to show he will take over with the Jamie duty,,,even if just to be here in the house while she watches tv by herself.

So Mommy chauffeur to the rescue! On duty 7 days a week.

I was looking back at the blog...Today was National Adoption Day after all and I was remembering simpler times when we would both be by Jamie's side almost every day. (Except Gator Saturdays in the fall!) When she didn't have so many obligations.

When Mommy could rest on weekends!

Today was JU game at noon, then Dance rehearsal at 3 then I was to go to a Church group at 6 and bring a dish to pass. I emailed I had run out of Mommy juice and wouldn't be there this time.

So Mommy can rest!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Florida's Hardest Hit

Jamie has had two girlfriends (sisters) who have lived here for the past 2 yrs or so. They are one year older and one year younger - Lexie and Autumn. They fight like sisters (the three of them) but play together for hours at least twice a week or so.

Early in the summer they announced that their landlord wanted to sell the house and they were moving. Jamie cried and cried. She has gotten so used to the girls being right here across the street. This will be tough on her...But now for a Real Estate success story:

They looked for a rental house - I sent them rentals from the MLS but didn't really act as their agent as I don't usually do rentals. However when their Mom came in to my house all excited about this great house they were getting for only $1250/ month instead of $1600 my spidey sense went off. I looked up the property owner and yes they got scammed. They wired $2000 to this dude who SHOWED THEM THE HOUSE! Yes he had a key and showed them the house, had them sign a 'lease' and told them where to wire the money. So they lost that money and I started trying to help them.

The rental market here in Jacksonville is really aggressive - houses get rented immediately if they are under $1300/month.'s really really a good time to buy. I asked the folks why not buy? They hadn't even considered buying! And Florida has a program called Florida's hardest hit - help for First time Homebuyers - They are getting $15,000 in down payment assistance towards their closing costs and down payment - They just had to pay for the home inspection, Appraisal, credit app and Binder and the rest was covered by this program. Only a few counties in Florida are doing this - giving so much and not expecting it to be paid back so this is huge!

They moved in this weekend but the house doesn't close for a couple of weeks. So I got a sale, and my daughter lost her neighborhood friends.

I hope we can stay in touch...They aren't that far. But it will seem far after them being right across the street.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

UnGator Girls

My husband is a huge Gator - Not a Gator Fan but a Gator. You see he actually is an alumnae - apparently that makes one a Gator. So he likes to attend all home games since we live within 90 minutes of Gainesville this is doable.

So every year, it's been my time with my daughter but she went with him this year. So I had some ladies over who also could care less about football or the Gators and I penned us the UnGator Girls.

Now I am not saying I don't want them to win - Of course I want them to win! My husband is a bit of a pouty face and is super hard to be around after a Gator loss.

I just could care less about the games - No I didn't remember they were playing this week, but now I will. Every Saturday is Gator Day. Except for bye week.

Wonder if I can continue the UnGator Girl tradition each week?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Adoption Day or Gotcha Day?

Jamie was our foster child- we got her as a four and a month old baby who had been in 2 previous foster family's. We knew of her when she was two months old. Another foster family knew that she had been moved from her first family to the second. She was moved because the family who had her first wanted to adopt a boy baby, not a girl baby. So when a boy baby because available for adoption at the second family, they decided to trade babies so the first family could adopt the boy.

So poor Jamie was shuttled to this second family at two months old. The foster mom who told me about Jamie knew of her because she knew the first family and also knew that Jamie's parents weren't following their case plan and that Jamie may be heading towards adoption.

So we got her in May of 2006 - our license had just finally clicked in. We had asked about Jamie and were told her Social worker didn't want to move her again. Five days later Jamie's current foster mom called into the agency and said they wanted all their foster kids removed. That they wanted to stop fostering. (Or that was the story we were told).

I often wonder...I don't think Jamie got real good care there. We went there to get her that day on May 24, 2006 - our 'Gotcha Day'. Jamie came with a small trash bag with four or five outfits - all smoke filled and too small. They were also all long sleeved which isn't appropriate in Florida in mid May.

They didn't send any diapers, formula or equipment. Just a couple of toys - A rattle and a block.

Jamie's head was flat in the back and didn't cry. I mean when this baby woke up she would just lay  in the crib until I noticed her. Poor thing.

Anyway we went through a long process of extending the case plan to see if either or both of the parents would do what they needed to do to get custody of Jamie. They came to a couple of supervised visits the first month or two and that was it. So they weren't working their case plans...They didn't get jobs, they didn't get a place to live, they didn't do the parenting classes plus much more I won't reveal here.

So August 10, 2011 we adopted her.

Which day if any do we celebrate? May 24th or August tenth?

I am thinking August 10th - I really don't like that term 'Gotcha Day' it sounds like we caught her - Like a butterfly or a dog.

She is ten now -she is such a sassy beautiful loving sweet girl. I am so happy she is in my life!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thrift Scores!

How do you like my $6 outfit? And Jamies was only $5.

And why is this underlining everything???? 
Oh well, please wish me well - I desparatly don't want to go back over 200 lbs again! That's it I am not going to!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Time to Breathe

 Happy Spring! For us in NE Florida this time of year is Pool time. The pool actually warmed up earlier this year than usual. We don't get in until the last weekend in April and that is when I got in for the first time, but Jamie and the girls across the street were in there much earlier - Maybe even then end of March.

I have been super busy. I am on the Fund Raising committee at church as well as the O'Leno leadership committee. O'Leno is our annual church camp retreat the last weekend in April and I am the Food guru. I make the list of items to buy and buy the food at the local Winn Dixie in High Springs - the nearest town to our remote State park campground.

The campground has 14 or so cabins in a circle in the middle of wilderness with a Main kitchen/dining building and a rec building built by the CCC almost 100 years ago. The cabins have a fan and electricity but no AC so we make sure we go that last weekend in April before it gets too steamy. Food buyer dominates my time and thoughts for two months prior and a couple weeks afterwards as I tally receipts and get reimbursed etc.

I am also a board meeting in our Neighborhood Civic association - I am the secretary. We had our annual Fish Fry Friday night and it was marvelous.

I also have been substitute teaching as it is something I can pick up and make a little money if I am slow with Real Estate.

And I help feed cats a couple of times of week. Our church has a community of 5 cats who we feed at the back of the property - Each of us has a 'Day' to go feed them. Since my mornings are so chaotic I do two afternoons instead of twice a day.

I have been so busy this month I am thinking of taking a breather. Not sure I am going to church today or not.

It feels great to just breathe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A bit of a disapointing return from the consignment sale, But the house looks nice

I took over 175 things to the bi annual finders keepers sale last week. I forgot to pick up the items Sunday so they went to charity which is a bit of a drag as I only sold 69 items. I could have retagged and sold them next time, but less to have in the garage and move back and forth I guess.

A bit sad to see the last of Jamie's baby clothes gone forever instead of in various closets and locales throughout the house. I sold 69 items - which garnered $198 and I got a check for only $124 for today.

So poo. Not enough by a long shot for our weekend trip to Disney.

Unless we sell the jeep, walkers and scooter. But who has time for Craigslist? I wonder if I should do EBay?

Got an agreed upon contract so that is a good thing, it's been a bit of a dry spell.

But life is good, I have squash planted, the house looks pretty good (from our dinner party last Friday) and I haven't gained all of my weight back.

So life is good.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring Break and we are cleaning the garage

Not the most glamorous spring break ever, but it has to be done or at least started. I really should have taken some before photos - Our garage has been crammed full for 2 years since my mom died.

We got one piece of furnture up to my room - a bookcase with glass doors. It replaced a short squat tv table that went out to the street. Alas now I am afraid that my Huge 90s era tv is too heavy to balance on the top too long with kids and dog etc so now I need to get a new smaller tv and either mount it to the wall or replace that heavy bohemoth with something lighter and less likely to seriously injure someone if it tumbles over.

Ahhh the glamour. We normally travel at spring break - oft times we go on a cruise. Too bad we overspent last summer on our month long RV trip. So home we stay.

I did promise Jamie if we sold enough stuff we would either go out to dinner or maybe to Disney for a day. We have my Mom's scooter and two rolling scooters and Jamie's jeep which is fit for a 3-8 year old - she is past it.

So out to the saltmines... Here is the cruise Jamie and I went on last summer - ah the memories

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Spring Cleaning

We are having a dinner party next month and my house is never tidy! so I am trying to get some things in order. I spent the day yesterday trying to do so but got waylaid onto another project - Cleaning Closets! 

I know dumb! But sometimes starting with the inside bones helps with the rest of the house - Let's hope I can get the main living areas decluttered and clean by April 5th so I can concentrate on making homemade Beef Burgandy, Layered salad and perhaps roasted squash for those that don't do carbs (Rice and Bread).

I also spent time on the pool and leaves around the pool and the girls actually swam on Sunday! The pool water was only 69 degrees so I didn't join them this time. I prefer 85 degrees and above. 

Happy Spring!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

52 goals for 2016 De-stress with less mess!

 One of my favorite blogsters posts a list at the beginning of each year and follows up on her progress at the end of the year. I am stealing this idea from Lovey - see her post here:

They are all over the place - some are personal, or parent focused, and others are career focused and many seem to be about taming the chaos of MESS in my lives so I would say that is the main focus. Destress with less mess!
1. Lose the 8 lbs I have gained and get back to 158. I was 204 lbs last year in March and managed to lose 45 lbl by July. However I put 8 lbs back. Medifast is how I lost the weight so back on it I am.

 2. Get 6 listings by July - Listers last is what they say and boy is it true. The most successful agent in our office gets at least 4 listings each month and they seem to just come in the door for her. She has been an agent for over 20 years. This will be my fifth year - they say if I make it past my fifth year I can do this forever!
3. Exercise frequently - I do nothing but yardwork, housework and occasional walks with the dog. Get into working out somehow - Wii, Gym, rowing machine, free weights etc
4. Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day.
5. Clear the table in my room and keep it clear.
6. Build patio in backyard
7. Donate 1 -2 large bags to goodwill each month
8. Spend 1 day a month organizing the house.
9. Have at least 10 dates with Mike
10. Read 25 books.
11. Visit Fran this summer
12. Take Jamie on a hike
13. Fly a kite. 
14. Ride bikes with Jamie 1/month
15. Enjoy time with Jamie every week (Teach Jamie Michigan Rummy, Euchre, Spite and Malice, work out together etc.)
16. Seriously organize bookcases and make use of the space
17. Seriously organize my bedroom
18.  O'Leno Camp
19. Read with Jamie at least 5 times/week
20. Write blog posts at least 2/month
21. Keep hair cut and colored
22. Open a bank account for Jamie
23. Get Jamie a small desk and chair for her room
24. Declutter garage -
25. Have a path to my sewing machine and (set it up in the garage)
26. Perform 12 random acts of kindness.
27. Learn to use sewing maching
28 Teach Jamie to sew
29. Remove sandspurs from backyard
30. Get Kelly certified in order to substitute teach when needed
31. Work harder and smarter so I don't need to substitute teach!
32. Help at Jamie's school once per month or more
33. Help at church at least 6 times
34. Help at partner school in the community at least twice before school year ends
35. Find more blogs to connect with and read 
36. Set up a real estate blog and post at least monthly
37. Reach out to Circle of influence midyear (similar to Christmas cards - Happy Summer? Newsletter?
38. Doorknock once monthly at least 25 houses (Alderman Park; Greenfield Lakes)
39. Work on ACA 12 step program (Continue meetings, talk with Christy etc)
40. Keep below 160 lbs (when I lose the weight again)
41. Remove sandspurs from Side yard
42. Take someones floor when needed at least once per month
43. Focus on breathing when stressed
44. Eat more vegetables!
45. Call Charlene & Fran more often (My stepmom and Mother in law)
46. Stop swearing
47. Hit 2.5 million in production for 2016 (Did 2.2 last year and only 1.75 this year)
48. Keep kitchen clean (It makes me happy and keeps me less stressed)
49. New (used) couch for Living room (replace black one)
50.  Continue helping cats at church, help others when they need a substitute
51. Send third quarter somethings to Circle of influence (Happy Autumn? Back to school?)
52. Send out calendars to Circle of Influence, church and leads early December. 

Well - they say putting it down in writing is the secret to making goals obtainable. I know it will help as I have done this in the past mostly with Real estate - but I recently found a list from when Mike and I were first married and was thrilled to see all goals had been accomplished. Thanks Lovey!