We Have Two Babies Under Two!

“Please send me all updates.  I am being held hostage by two tiny dictators.  Not sure when I will be released.” — Me to a group of friends, three minutes ago.

Well, we did it.  We have two babies under two living at our house.  It’s been a week and no one has been severely injured.  There are lots of things I should probably say about having two kids under two, but honestly I’m not sure what day it is.  So, I’ll just do an update on the babies and maybe some miraculous thoughts will happen later.

Me and my girls!

Annie’s birth.

I had another giant baby.  Annie Claire weighted 9lbs 6oz when she was born at 39 weeks.  If I had gone to 40 weeks I’m sure she would have gone into the double digits.

After much stewing, I decided to have another C-section.  Mostly because I was terrified of going through the same birth experience I did with Vera Faye (14 hours of labor, emergency C-section, 4 days in the NICU…).

I’m happy to say that Annie’s birth was such a different experience.  Choosing to be cut open in an operating room felt very clinical and cold, but it went so smoothly that I think I made the right decision. We just showed up at the hospital, and the doctor was ready.  Less than an hour later it was all done.  Annie Claire was ready to party.

Annie is…

A great baby.  She loves to snuggle.  She loves to sleep in late with me.  Yesterday, we laid in bed until 11:00 and it was amazing!!!  But, last night, she was up for four hours… so you win some and you lose some.

Annie is also…

An aggressive eater.  I’ve nicknamed her “Shredder.”  She took to breastfeeding like a champ, but dannnnnng I’m not sure I will recover.  I want to hand her to anyone who says breastfeeding doesn’t hurt and let her attack.

Vera Faye update.

She is as full of life as ever.  She loves to talk… and say “no” to everything.  She probably knows 100 other words/sounds, but “no” is definitely her favorite.  What other word does a spirited child need?!  She’s getting into puzzles more and more.  She loves her blanket and her book “The Pout-Pout Fish,” and she’s officially smarter than me.

Vera Faye is also…

Pissed.  For the first few days she wouldn’t look at the new baby.  I’m pretty sure she thought that if she didn’t look at Annie, she would disappear.  A week in, she is doing a little better, but she still doesn’t like me holding her sister.  Also, her dad is officially her favorite person.  I’m a little sad about it, but it’s also probably for the best.  Selfishly, it takes a little pressure off me.

Miraculous thoughts.

I still don’t have much to say, but I would like to this: I think I’ve been trying to be a perfect mom.  And, I’m officially over it.  Trying to be Super Mom is an impossible quest, and I’m tired of trying.  Also, I’m tired of feeling guilty for failing.  From now on, I’m just going to be the best mom I can be.  Please remind me of this in an hour when I’ve completely forgotten my mission.

P.S.

We bought our first multi-family rental property about a month ago.  I’ll write about it next, so you don’t have to read all this kids stuff all the time :).

Be Proud of Yourself!

I joined a moms group.

One of my cousins recommended that I join one about a year ago, but I was skeptical.

  1. What would I have in common with random moms?
  2. Would they be welcoming?
  3. Would I have to play weird games, like the ones at baby showers?

Naturally, number 3 was my greatest concern.  I hate that baby shower game where they melt perfectly good candy bars into diapers and ask you to guess which candy bar it is.  Ugh, why can’t we just eat the candy bar?!

Anyway, just so you know, there aren’t any weird games at mom’s group.  It’s mostly just talking and eating- two of my ultimate favorite activities.

During one of the meetings, one of the moms brought up this question, “What are you proud of—besides being a mom?”

Answer: I had no idea.  It kind of stunned me.  Being a mom is so all encompassing; I had forgotten that I did other things, other things to be proud of.

We all get so wrapped up in a certain part of ourselves—work, friendships, relationships, kids, that we forget about all the different parts.  There are so many things you do to be proud of!

So, I’ve been thinking of things I can be proud of.

  1. Writing.  It always makes me feel better.
  2. Selling houses. I’ve sold 8 houses this year.  I never thought I would sell even one!
  3. Growing a baby. Just impressive, am I right?
  4. Relationship with my husband. He makes it easy.
  5. Keeping a clean house—just kidding! I’m avoiding an avalanche of laundry right now.

But, I don’t want this post to be about me.  I want it to be about you.

What are you proud of?

Are you a great cook?  Do you kick butt working out?  Do you have a great relationship with your dog?

See, you have so much to be proud of!  And even if it seems small to you, it isn’t.  What you’re proud of really matters.

Lately, with 2016 passing so quickly, I think there’s a huge need for us to reflect on what makes us proud, because reflection stops time.  Refection makes you appreciate who is around you.  Reflection makes you focus on what matters to you.  And mostly, reflection makes you thankful.

And, here’s the magic.  Thankfulness is magic.  It kills bad stuff.  It kills discontent and depression– it’s like life’s bleach.

I hope you give it a try!

If you find at least five things you are proud of, I’ll send you a candy bar.  It might be a little melted, but it won’t be in a diaper.

10 Jobs You Automatically Get as a Mom

We went to toddler yoga.  There’s only one rule in toddler yoga:  you cannot run around the room like a maniac.  What is the only thing my toddler wanted to do?  Downward dog?  Nope.  Sing wheels on the bus? Nope.  Moo like a cow? Not a chance.  She wanted to rrrrrruuuuunnnnnnn!!!  She knocked down other toddlers.  She stepped on the instructor’s phone.  And, she face planted into a stranger’s mat—all while having the biggest smile on her face. 

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Can someone get this baby a pumpkin modeling contract?!

After spending an hour chasing her around the room (almost 7 months pregnant), I thought, ‘when I became a mom, this is not what I expected.’  So, in honor of my toddler, here are 10 jobs you automatically get when becoming a mom.

1.        Lion Tamer.  This is what I felt like at toddler yoga.  Trying to chase, wrestle, and corral a toddler is like trying to tame the most fearsome of beasts.  Only the strong survive!  Watch out for the sharp teeth!

2.       Teacher.  She is really into books right now.  She brings me one at least a couple of times a day, and she sets in my lap while I read to her.  It’s so sweet… makes me forget the Lion Taming I’ve just endured.

3.       Nurse.  “Do you think she needs Tylenol?”  This is a very common question around our house.  Pair that with the question, “Is she teething?” and you’ve just heard 50% of our conversations—you don’t even have to tune into our future reality show :).   I wish college would have included a semester class in child health, because we have no clue what we are doing.  Sometimes we just look at each other and shrug.

4.       Transformer.  The first time I was pregnant my husband looked at me one day and said, “Woah, your body is like a transformer!”  Since having a baby I’ve realized my mind is also like a transformer.  I’m constantly thinking about how to get tasks done during the day while watching out for sluthey baby hands that get into everything. 

5.       Referee.  I actually haven’t encountered this one yet, but with only a few months before the new baby arrives, I thought I would put it on the list.

6.       Therapist.  “Toddlers love big and live big,” I read that in an article on Facebook (it must be true,  right?), and I thought it was the perfect description of Vera Faye.  Everything is SUCH a big deal right now.  If Netflix doesn’t load her favorite video quick enough—she throws on the floor and starts screaming.  When she touched the lace on her pants this morning—she thought her life was over.  There are good sides to this too, like last night I was trying to rock her to sleep and she wouldn’t stop laughing.  So, I really don’t mind this job.  It makes me smile to see that much life going on in such a little package.

7.       Janitor.  Duh.

8.       Fortune Teller.  This one is kind of cool.  I know what is going to make her mad, happy, sad, even before she does.  I didn’t think I would be able to know her so well before she could even speak.

9.       Chef.  She loves spaghetti, Hawaiian rolls, and bananas.  Anything else, she might taste on a case by case basis… if you’re lucky.  Don’t even THINK about giving her food that is anywhere close to hot.  She will not wait for it to cool down. 

10.   Detective.  Sometimes, I’m a Nose Detective searching out something that smells.  Other times, I’m trying to locate the last landing spot of her shoes.  Usually, I’m trying to figure out what she’s chewing on.  It doesn’t matter what the question is, I’m just always trying to find an answer.

There you go.  Ten jobs, you get when becoming a mom.  Do you have any more to add?

Best and Worst of Times

Worst of Times

I don’t know how to write this post.  You need words to write a post, and I don’t have many.  I guess I’ll just say it.

Rick died.

About a month ago, he was ran over– and we still haven’t recovered.  First of all, I feel like the worst dog mom ever for letting this happen.  Secondly, I keep thinking, “What can I do to change it?  What can I do to save him?”  I feel like life should have a giant undo button that you can press when something terrible happens.  Or maybe, like in a Nintendo game, we can have another “life” and get to play the level one more time.

But, I haven’t found those buttons yet, so we’re just sitting in the middle of all the feels.  We’re remembering a great dog.

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His big smile, his uncontrollable dinosaur tail, his goofy walk, his goofier run, and his amazing ability to get into trouble.  As one of our first children, he was a highlight of our life.   We’ve cried a lot for that big puppy.  And, I cry for Pink.  He  seems so lonely now.  Since the day he was born, he had the ultimate companion– a brother.  Pink and Rick were our dogs, but they cared more for each other than they did about us.

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I’m still not sure what to say about all this.  Except, I’m taking solace in a movie from my childhood, All Dogs Go to Heaven.  I know he will be there with a big yard to dig holes in, lots of food, and no scary storms.  Love you pup.

Best of Times

Life is weird. Happy and sad events sometimes coincide– leaving an emotional mess (me)behind.  Earlier this summer, a couple months before Rick died, we got some awesome news.

I’m pregnant again!  I’m 25 weeks this week, which means I’ve almost made it to my third trimester.

Just as I’ve been hesitant to talk about Rick, I’ve also been hesitant to talk about the new baby.  After the emotional rollercoaster it took for us to get pregnant the first time, I could hardly believe it could happen so easily the second time.  So, when I started feeling a “swampy” feeling, I completely wrote it off.  I was still breastfeeding Vera Faye at the time, and there were no signs my body was ready.

But, my swampy feeling wouldn’t go away!  While my husband was away on a business trip I decided to take a test.  I was tired of thinking I might be  pregnant, and I was ready to be done with my crazy thoughts!

Well, I wasn’t crazy- at least not about being pregnant 🙂

We’re having a baby!  Definitely a miracle after all we’ve been through.  At first I wouldn’t let myself believe it.  Then, as my belly kept growing, I got even more worried because I couldn’t feel the baby move.  At my 16 week appointment the nurse said I should feel it any time, but I didn’t.  As the weeks passed, all I felt was heartburn.

Luckily, when we went in for our 20 Week ultrasound, the tech said the baby is great, and I wasn’t feeling it move because of the position of all the baby accessories in there.  Now my worries have mostly gone away, and I’m trying to enjoy the last part of my pregnancy.

Since this baby was such a surprise, we’ve decided not to find out the gender.  There’s a mystery baby growing inside of me.  It really hasn’t been hard to keep from finding out the gender.  I was so worried about not feeling him/her move that I didn’t even think about gender, and now I’m so relieved the baby is doing well, that I still don’t think about gender.

I know one thing about the baby.  I’m betting no matter the gender, he/she will be just as rowdy as our first fur child…

Tale of Two Rentals

First Rental: Backstory

(Two weeks ago)  I’m sitting on the floor of our old house.  I’m surrounded by four trash bags, a blender, and a pizza pan.

If I stood up, I’d be surrounded by a lot of kitchen stuff piled on the counters, but I just ate a bunch of Mexican food so I won’t be standing up for a few more minutes.  I stare at the tile floors beneath me and remember the day our parents helped us lay this floor five years ago.  I also never thought this house would become our first rental house.  I never thought we would have a rental house at all.

(Today)  I’ve heard a lot of scary things about being a landlord.  1.  Renters will tear up your house.  2.  Renters won’t pay their rent.  3.  Renters will become zombies and try to eat the neighbors.

Basically, anyone I’ve ever talked to about rental properties has told me, “it’s a terrible idea.”  Even though most of these people have never owned a rental property, I appreciate what they mean–“it’s risky!”  And, I AGREE!  I’m terrified.  I’m terrified of failing.  Also, I’m terrified of snakes, spiders, plane crashes, and I really dislike Jello.  But, I still get on planes, and I still go to the grocery store.  Why? It’s good for me to travel, it’s good for me to buy groceries, and I think it will be good for us to have a second source of income.

First Rental: Practical Info

We are managing this rental ourselves with the help of a lawyer and this book from Bigger Pockets.  If you want to know anything about how to set up a rental property, I HIGHLY recommend this book.  It walks you step by step through the rental process.  Here’s what we did (there’s way more detail in the book if you’re interested):

  1.  I read the rental property book and did exactly what it said.
  2. I advertised the house.  I didn’t have to do much advertising because we got 20 calls after we put a sign in the yard.
  3. We took applications, ran background checks, and chose a renter.

Rent.

$700 a month

Expenses.  Luckily, we don’t have a mortgage on our first rental because we paid it off a couple years ago.  Unfortunately, we still have to pay for a few things.

  1.  Insurance: $600 a year
  2. Taxes: $600 a year
  3. Lawyer fees: $350 so far…
  4. Repairs: ???
  5. Vacancies: ???

So far, this rental has been smooth sailing.  Our tenant moved in on the 1st, and we haven’t heard a peep.

Second Rental: Backstory

Our second rental is the house we flipped last year.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to sell for what we wanted, so we decided to rent it.  Instead of us managing this one, we are using a property manager.  All property managers work differently, but typically they find tenants and take care of rental properties for a small percentage of the rent.  For this property, our manager gets paid half of the first months rent and 10% of every month after that.
Rent:
$795 a month.
Expenses.  Unfortunately, we do have a loan on this property.
1.  Insurance: $600 a year
2.  Taxes $600 a year
3.  Loan payment $1,200 a year (interest only loan payment)
4.  Property Management:  $1,360
5.  Repairs: At least $500
6.  Vacancies: ???
So far, this one has NOT been smooth sailing.  On the day our tenants were supposed to move in the air condition stopped working.  Next, we had a plumbing issue.  We haven’t got the final bills, but it’s looking like we’re not going to make money on this house for a while.  Awesome.

What now?

Well, nothing fun.  I would love to say that we are using the rental income to plan a vacation to Aruba.  Or Jamaica.  But, it’s way more dull than that.  We’re going to use the money for the foreseeable future (and if the air conditioners keep going out, we will never make it to the Caribbean) to pay off the loan on the second rental house.  As you can see, the loan we have only requires an interest only payment.  So, if we aren’t proactive in paying it off, it’s going to hang around forever.
Through this process, I’ve learned one thing.  Building a business takes FOREVER!  I thought I was supposed to be rolling in the greenery by now!  But, I guess it’s going to take a little (lot) more time.
On a completely different note.  Our baby turned one last month!  Currently, she is thinking about walking, she loves her blanket, and she is babbling in full paragraphs.  She recently had watermelon for the first time, and that is the only food she wants to eat.  So, she’s basically a real-life humming bird.
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We are totally in love.  She is the reason we’ve worked so hard to get these houses up and going.  Hopefully some day she won’t scream bloody murder as we work on them.  :/
Anything going on with you lately?  Ever thought about getting a rental property?