Thursday, May 31, 2007

begin the paperwork, again!

Today we went to our local FIA office in a run-down & almost seedy (but not yet "scary") section of west Detroit. We were there to submit our "Request for Registry Clearance" from the Department of Human Services. After Russia, we knew it was not going to be as bad - but it was easier than pie. We filled out a form with our name, address, and SS# - I had to add "other names known by" - made copies of our driver's licenses... and that's it. We'll have our background check done and the "certificate of clearance" ready after 2pm tomorrow.

Honestly, this is ALL we have to do if we are willing to take in a 16 or 17 year old. Under 16 requires foster care licensing, which we are doing anyway. Huh.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

clearance for a teenager

Well. After quite a few weeks... nay, months of talking, and backing off, and talking, and definitely doing it!, and talking again... we announced officially this week we're going to take a teenager into our home. Be his guardians.

Anyway, Doug talked to his parents last night, I talked to mine tonight, and then I just sent a letter out to concerned citizens (aka family & friends).

Don't have much else to say at this point since the letter said it all, but we are going tomorrow afternoon to our local FIA (Family Independence Agency) office for our "security clearance" which is really a background check. You'd think if the Russians let us into their country, it'd be good enough, but NOOO.... American bureaucracies. Harumph.

Did I mention we are taking our house off the market? We told our realtor officially today. First we needed a bigger house for the three of us, now we are staying in the smaller house and adding a body. Smart, huh? But the way housing prices just keep dropping and dropping (our 2nd preferred house just dropped another $10,000 - did I mention the one we bid on back in December was flipped? It's gorgeous now - and $35,000 more expensive?!) we're NEVER going to sell at the price we need/want to. So we'll stay here, upgrade a few things (can you say refinished tub?), and focus on the family.

TOTAL SIDE NOTE: I did some research regarding printing my 12x12 digital scrapbook pages. I was paying 2.99 a page through Costco, which I thought was great, but with 33 pages done and having to "paste" them onto 12x18 sheets individually before I could send them to Costco, I had some long evenings ahead of me. I found this website called sbtoshare.com, which prints on cardstock paper rather than photo paper. I scoured the Internet and couldn't find one bad review, and their 2nd best paper is only $2.00! Plus flat-rate shipping! So I sent all 33 of my layouts to them (they take them as 12x12, no "pasting" necessary) and should get them back in less than a week. I am so excited!
This company also does duplicates of paper books - say you made a gift album with paper and real photos but wanted to have a copy for yourself, or multiple copies for family members - they can make digital versions of your paper book. Very reasonable. I am SO excited.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

All about Roman, this time

Roman, Roman, Roman. The boy is really adorable. He is almost 4, as he has taken to telling people recently. In fact, he even told the duck adhesives on our tub tonight, "my birthday is in a few weeks!" Yes, you read that right. The duck adhesives. The kind that stop you from slipping in the shower.

Everything talks now, didn't you know that? Blanky, his stuffed animals, his shoes, the door... anything. And Roman talks to them. And talks. And talks. Sometimes he disciplines them, which is funny. Sometimes he attempts to discipline us, which is funny too. The constant line I hear now is "I'm going to tell on you!" That means he apparently thinks that Daddy will come to his rescue, which is rather backwards - it's more likely me to come to his rescue. Sometimes when Roman gets really mad at one of us, he'll say "you can't come to my birthday!" Once he told Daddy, "you can only come for cake on my birthday, but not cake and ice cream."

Speaking of his birthday, it's on a Tuesday this year, so we get out of having to do a party. He's been asking about having a couple friends over, but we have told him since it's a preschool night it can't happen. I can't remember if I mentioned this earlier, but he wants vanilla cake with strawberry frosting. Daddy and I have finished shopping for his birthday, too. In the past it's been a "Thomas" birthday, now it will be a "Thomas & Star Wars" birthday. He wants a Thomas "with a new coat of paint" because his is all scratched up. So we found a deal at Costco where Thomas comes with a video, and bought that.
We ordered a really cool Star Wars toy off Ebay that was discontinued last year. It fits the "chunky foot" toys called "Galactic Heroes," little Star Wars guys made for 2-5 year olds, that Roman already has a few of. So the toy we got is the X-Wing fighter (with real movie sounds and phrases!) and it came with Luke, R2-D2, and Darth Vader. (personally, I wanted the Millennium Falcon, but it was going for $60-80). Then we bought a Boba Fett action figure, because it's his favorite character. Finally, he will get a "Cars" computer game because the racing game he has now is a little too old for him, and the "Cars" one says 4+ years.

Speaking of vanilla earlier, too, he's a vanilla-flavored freak. He downed 2 yogurt containers today of the french vanilla. He calls it the "flower yogurt" (because there's a flower on the front).

He learned that you can't push people down in soccer the other day, when he did it to his friend Garrett and got a talking-to. Miss Marcie tells me that Roman always cries whenever she has to speak with him, and I think that's good. At least he still has a conscience.

Roman still has a soft, gentle side though. After telling us he was "done with Dora" a couple weeks ago, he decided he did not want her sheets to disappear after all. And the look of excitement on his face when "Cinderella III" came from Netflix today was priceless. It required a popcorn-eating viewing tonight.

This weekend we're doing the Scottish Festival in Alma with my parents, niece & nephew, and Greenfield Village's Civil War Remembrance with some new friends from church. Should be busy and very fun!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend of Open Houses

Oh man, what a weekend. We had an Open House on Saturday from 12-3, and today from 1-4. As much as I like going shopping, there's only so much you can do with a husband and child in tow! Results of the Open Houses: 1 person on Saturday who is divorcing and wants to move to this neighborhood (a kid goes to the school near us). Today's was better with 4 groups coming through; 1 said he loved it "except it doesn't have a garage".... 1 lady who is trying to sell her condo and is looking to buy a house instead; and a couple who are renting in our neighborhood and want to buy. The fourth was apparently just looking.

We don't think any of these will pan out, although we were pleased with the turnout. Even the lady who ran it said she was surprised. I think we'll give it a week and if we don't get any "returnees" we're going to probably take it off the market. A part of me keeps thinking that summer (and catching the school crowd) is the time to keep it up; however, we're just tired of keeping things picked up and perfect.

Results of the shopping were much more fun. Doug refreshed his wardrobe at Kohl's; we bought an item for Roman's birthday, coming soon; and today we went to IKEA and bought a couple side tables for the living room (12.99! I know!). We (let's be honest - I) have been wanting to rearrange the living room for awhile, switch some things out, move the piano to the dining room... so we did that when we got home. Much cozier. Perhaps I'll post some pictures.

As for Roman's birthday, he has requested vanilla cake with strawberry frosting, topped with Power Rangers. What a silly boy. We're trying to not encourage the whole kicking, punching, fighting, "killing" stuff - he's getting a little carried away - so I may make it Hot Wheels instead.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

One decision down...

After a lot of ups and downs, but obviously mostly downs, Doug and I have decided to take our house off the market. We only have a verbal agreement to extend our contract, so we can cut it off with no hard feelings. What finally precipitated this event was me losing both my driver's license and a black sweater within 24 hours. I have no doubt both are tucked away somewhere in the house... put away on many of my "put it in a safe place temporarily" kind of cleanups. Why those two places aren't my wallet & closet, is another blog.

Anyway, we're both feeling all right about the decision. We're tired of living in limbo, with items packed away that we miss, or putting things off "until we move." Of course, since we made that decision on Saturday night, a realtor called to show our house today. And our realtor is trying to get an Open House going for next weekend... but then we're really done. We made a list of things that HAVE to be done, and really that's only three things - refinish the tub, fix the grading in the backyard (or put in drainage of some sort), and paint the burgundy room to make it lighter/brighter.

My mom and I went to the scrapbooking convention for 2 days this year and it was great. We took 2 classes on Friday, and then spent Saturday doing the shopping. While we were there, Doug, Grandpa, and Roman went to the zoo, which made Roman a very happy boy.

One story that occurred this weekend made me so proud. Roman and Grandpa went to McDonald's, and while Roman was playing with a couple other boys, a smaller girl struggled to climb up one of the sections. Roman noticed, climbed back down, and helped the girl up. Isn't that the sweetest thing?

On Thursday I went to a Mother's Day Tea at Roman's preschool. After two cute songs, tea and snacks (including pb& j cut in little triangles), I was presented with a vase that Roman had made (tissue paper on a glass bottle), and a portrait of myself along with an interview that Roman gave about me. He said that I am 5 years old, that I am prettiest when I have a wedding, I like to cook french fries, I always say "we will go to the zoo sometime," and I am funniest when I do knock-knock jokes. I love it!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another reason to dislike my city

I get so frustrated with this city. There is no way to learn anything that's going on. I check the city website and it's a bunch of links, none of which help me. I search for the topic I want, and it doesn't give me anything accurate. Here's the current example:

Roman's friends at preschool are starting to talk about playing soccer, so Roman has been asking if he can play soccer with them. I explained that we couldn't play in that city (nonresidents pay a LOT) but I would check into our own city. I Googled. I checked the city's website. I checked the Rec Center's magazine. I checked their website. I finally found 2 leagues listed - one sponsored by a group, the other by the YMCA. I checked the YMCA - he's too young by a year (and besides, registration was in January for April-June season). I checked the other group, and its website was so confusing, I couldn't figure out what was going on. So no luck there, I guess.

So then Roman tells me tonight he thinks he'd like to try baseball too. So I did this all over again. I searched for Little Leagues. I checked the Rec Center. I Googled. Finally I got some information that there is a T-ball league but for 5 year olds. So no luck there. Poor Roman wants to (finally) get involved in sports, and I can't find a pee-wee group for him to join!

They do offer Tiny Tiger Karate, so maybe we'll try that this Fall. But speaking of something I mentioned earlier - can you believe I have to register in JANUARY for a Spring league? That competition is too stiff! Can you believe it? January. The stress! I have to write it on next year's calendar already!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Roman was made fun of today.

A sad rite of passage for my boy. Roman wanted to bring a pillow to preschool to help with his naps on the cot. "It will make me sleep better" he said. Well, we grabbed a pillow not even thinking - it was the one with the Dora pillowcase. You can imagine what's coming.

When I picked Roman up, he said we're taking the pillow home - I don't want "girl Keegan" to see it. I asked why not, dreading the answer - "Because she laughed at me." Oh, it just broke my heart. Doug felt bad too - we should have thought about it. My poor, sweet boy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The house, or the popup...

Well, we put the house up for sale 6 months ago. And we sold the popup camper this evening.

Since we replaced the camper last Fall with the hybrid, it's just been sitting in our yard, as we figured Spring was the best time to try to sell it. We put it on our local craigslist.com, a free "classifieds" website. Within 6 hours Doug had received 5 emails and 4 phone calls. We had a solid agreement within 10 hours. They picked it up and paid cash this evening. Wow.

If only selling a house could be that easy.... hmmm... on that front, we're meeting with our realtor tomorrow late afternoon to see 3 more houses in the neighborhoods we've targeted, then tell him that we're going to take a couple weeks to "regroup." We may search out another agent, we may let things sit. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Partial Spring Break pictures posted!

Follow the link, and you will find pictures from our first 3 days of break, visiting the Chattanooga aquarium, S&S in Atlanta, and our visit to Stone Mountain!

Go to photos.yahoo.com/acstang/albums OR you can just click on it!