Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Whirlwind July

On Sunday, Brandon, Brooklyn and I all took 3+ hour naps. It was amazing. While my definition of "nap" is that it is 3 hours long, Brooklyn very rarely will sleep that long, and Brandon never takes naps on purpose. His idea of a nap is if he accidentally falls asleep in his chair. This Sunday however, we all decided that it was naptime, and went straight back to our beds after lunch.

The reason for this absurdity? July 2012. I've never had a month like this before. The best way I can describe it is as "Whirlwind July".

If you notice, I haven't blogged anything since my 5th grade camp memories I put down on July 2nd. It's now July 24th, and this is the longest hiatus I've had between posts. Here's a timeline explaining why:

July 2nd- Our realtor, Butch Watterson, (who is awesome, by the way, and anyone selling or buying a house in the Houston area should use him) calls to tell us that we will not be needing to look at the two houses I had been mildly interested in, because the bank on the house we had been calling "ours" since the end of May finally accepted our offer and we started the ball rolling on owning our first home. I immediately start packing. Brandon doesn't help much, because he's focused on his first baseball head coaching interview at 4:30 that afternoon. Needless to say- BIG day.

July 3rd- We babysit Brooklyn's best little buddy Staci all day, having to drag both sub 2-year-olds around to Sienna to pick up our free lawnmower and a little play kitchen for Brooklyn (Thanks Kay Stacy!) We also find out that Brandon's Papa (his dad's dad) had a stroke the night before and is in ICU in Fort Worth.

July 4th- Independence Day cookout and fireworks at Matt and Jenna's house.

July 5th- OB appt where I get to hear Joker's heartbeat :) Our trip to Colorado that had been planned for a year with the Strother family gets cancelled because no one feels right about leaving Papa.

July 6th- Instead of driving to Dallas to then go to Colorado on this day, we decided to just drive to Fort Worth to see Papa and then stay in Dallas for possibly up to two weeks, depending on what we needed to do with the house in Rosenberg before then. Later this afternoon I receive word from our lender what all we will need to get to him in order to be approved for the loan. Luckily I had brought just about every piece of financial information we own to Dallas so I could work on this exact thing. Except that our 2010 taxes had disappeared. 06-09 and 11 are there, but no 10. Go figure. Brandon says don't worry about getting audited- they only do that to people who make money. And that's not us.

July 9th-12th- Brandon, along with 7 others, travel to San Angelo to pack up Mama and Papa's house. They had already sold their house in San Angelo and were planning on making a down payment on a house in the north Dallas area the day after Papa had his stroke. Needless to say, they didn't make that down payment and are not moving to that house. I stayed back in Plano with my family, had playdates with my beautiful niece Pearl and her friends, shopped online for all the things Brooklyn needs for a big girl bed (like a bed, and a mattress, waterproof sheet, rail, etc) and tried to track down our 2010 W-2's from our employers. Turns out we got the ones from Lamar and Needville and were missing income of 252.70 from somewhere. Super- that means Brandon's last Chick-Fil-A paycheck came in a year he didn't work in. Love when you work your last day in December and have to remember about it for the NEXT year's taxes because you're paid in January. Happened to me the year I had 11 W-2's to keep track of (no joke- including one from Texas A&M for 4.75 for the 45 minutes I wanted to be a bus driver).

July 13th-15th- We ask for the missing W2 to be sent to us, we fax the rest of the paperwork to where it belongs, and we learn that we'll be able to move into the house before we own it- we'll be leasing our house since we can't officially close til mid-August but the house is already vacant. Everyone at McDermott wonders why we're still in town for a second Sunday of church. We are too. We get to go to a small group devo and dinner at Evan and Rachel's house, which was awesome because we hadn't hung out with them in forever.

July 16th-7th- I take a little job entering some data into a spreadsheet and spend 8 hours doing so. Most boring thing I've ever done, but whatever. I love to work. It gives me a sense of importance and purpose. And I should get about $80 for it.

July 18th-20th- I spend my morning taking an ESL field test, making about $100 for doing so. AWESOME. Still in the Dallas area, we actually go to Dallas. Our 5-year anniversary is 3 days before baby Joker is born, so we figured it would not be wise to be traveling then for a getaway. Hence the two-night stay in Downtown. So many people would think our travels were boring... after all, what's in Dallas anyway? For us it meant eating out, relaxing in our hotel room (we were never back any later than 9 PM- we are so cool), going to historical museums (Old Red Courthouse- history of Dallas, and 6th Floor Museum- JFK) and not doing any kind of drinking... because I'm pregnant and he hates alcohol. Like I said, great fun for us, most would make fun of us. Whatevs.

July 20th- We got to hang out with Kerie, Chelsea and Brandon- that was one of the pluses of this day. The big NEGATIVE was we realized our engine fan finally bit the dust and guess what? The shop we always take our car to up in Frisco was too busy to take our car, so they couldn't get it til Monday. Well, we had to be back for the house inspection on Monday so that was not going to work. Also, we're going stir crazy because we've been here for TWO WEEKS and it feels like we live there again. NOT COOL. Luckily, our favorite mechanic, Jason, calls Brandon back and says he'll work on our van even if he had to get to it after closing. LOVE that guy. So we get it fixed, get a labor discount because he's awesome, and only end up spending about 6 hours worrying and 400 dollars total. AWESOME.

July 21st- Pearl's birthday party! She turned one on the 20th and Lindsay threw her a big birthday bash on Saturday that was so cute. The trip had obviously taken a toll on Brooklyn too, because she was so fussy she had to sleep in Pearl's crib and miss the entire party. So with our van packed to the brim with suitcases, 1/2 of Brooklyn's new bedroom furniture, 3 boxes of San Angelo keepsakes, acquired clothes and toys, moving boxes and packing material, we head to Fort Worth to see Papa in the hospital again. By now he has had another stroke but is out of ICU, had a temporary brain drain that didn't work so he had a shunt put in place, and he is talking more and hoping to get out of the hospital and into a rehab facility in Allen during this next week. We finally get home around 9 PM and all go to bed very soon after.

So for the past couple of days we've done the inspection, lots of packing, shopping for plastic and paper plates/silverware so we don't have to use any more dishes, change of addresses at about 10 different places already, and picked up the obnoxious number of boxes from Amazon, Target and Wal Mart that I had ordered while in Plano.

Can you blame us for the extended nap time on Sunday? We've still got a long road ahead of us- lots to do in very little time, including traveling to College Station on Thursday to pick up the rest of Brooklyn's furniture that has been sitting in the grandparents' garage for the past month or more. Friday is the Olympic Opening Ceremony party at church that we stupidly agreed to help host. I'm really excited about it, but we laughed about how dumb we are that we didn't realize we'd be insanely busy and stressed this week. Oh well. Our Bible Decathlon is going to be epic enough to make the work worth it.

Oh yeah, and we move on Saturday. UHaul on Sunday. Brandon has bus driver's training Monday-Wednesday and then I have an OB appt on Thursday on the way out of town to Alabama for a family reunion. Why does summer vacation not feel much like a vacation anymore? It's very fitting that Cynthia told me this on Sunday: "A trip to Target without the kids feels like a vacation. A vacation with the kids doesn't".

Maybe I'll just go to Target later.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Camp Classen

Well, we got the house we want! I cannot express my excitement. And just at the right time too- we had to give a 30 day notice to the apartment complex letting them know if we'd be moving out or going month to month for an expensive 170/month more. We will be moving by the end of July, so we've got a crazy 29 days in front of us. We're supposed to be going to Colorado and then spend some time in Plano, but who knows now. I just feel great knowing that I haven't been packing aimlessly but actually with some purpose! And since I got the call from our wonderful realtor I've packed as many boxes today as I had all month. Let's do this!

In honor of being so excited about this, I've decided to give you all something you've been asking for. For a while now people have been telling me I need to write. I have news for you: I do write. I write a blog. But you know this already. What you don't know is that I've been writing for years, since elementary school. In 3rd grade I wrote and illustrated a book called "The Phony Manager". In 4th grade I completed my autobiography, and in 5th grade I finished probably my masterpiece, "Barney in Jurassic Park". Not that I made these books of my own ambition- they were assignments. Which is crazy to think about now... I wrote more in a Plano ISD elementary school than most Houston schools do in a 4-year period of regular  high school academic classes. Talk about a disparity...

Anyway, since I've been packing anyway I rediscovered some of my classic elementary works and decided that I'm going to share them with you all, piece by piece, so you can see into the mind of Tracey Allen, 1994-1997. Today we begin with some 1996  work about Camp Classen. This would be fall of my 5th grade year. Every year the 5th graders at all PISD schools would take a weeklong trip to Camp Classen and stay in cabins with one parent. It was so cool to get away from school, our homes, and go on hikes, hunt for fossils, play on the lake. When we came back we had two writing assignments: one was to write a paragraph about our favorite Camp Classen memory for a 5th grade memoir. The other was to write a small chapter book about everything that happened at camp. You'll see my humor and enthusiasm for writing about the obscure and random began very early.

Hedgcoxe Fifth Grade 1996 Camp Stories

"My Most Memorable Moment at Camp Classen"

At Camp Classen, my most memorable moment was actually in my cabin. We had four imaginary angels in our bathroom. They were Joe, John, Moe and Will. We liked to pretend that they were there even though we made them up and we knew that they were not real. The angels stayed with us for the whole week. It was pretty cool actually. We pretended to talk to them when we were bored. They could not come with us, so they will stay at the best cabin at Camp Classen, Anthony, to meet the other people that will be coming in the years to come.

Story by Tracey Allen

(I'm a little surprised I didn't have to talk to the counselors about being in 5th grade and admitting to inventing imaginary friends).

Camp Classen

(I won't bore you with the details of every page in this oh-so-important novel. I'll include the noteworthy chapters with some 2012 commentary.)

On the Road- (I  made sure to write down who I sat next to, in front of, and diagonal from both to and from camp. Also, we apparently watched "Angels in the Outfield" and part of "Dragonheart" on the way there, "Homeward Bound" and part of "Fievel Goes West" on the way back).

Chow Time-
First chow time- I got 2 salads, 3 breadsticks and 1 cup of fruit punch. Second chow time I got 2 pieces of sausage, 1 cup of orange juice, 1 waffle and 1 bowl of cheerios. Third chow time... (and it goes on like that through the 12th chow time. Riveting.)

Cabin Counselor-
My counselor was Mrs. Ebling and she was very nice. She's Ian's mom and I am glad she was my counselor. She let us stay up on Halloween doing the laughing game and trying to make people float (some good old fashioned seance time never hurt anyone, right?).

Classen Comrades- (apparently I wasn't aware I was not living in the USSR during the Cold War when I wrote this. This is where I described everyone as "nice and" something. My adjective vocabulary wasn't great, obviously.)

Cabin Catastrophes-
1. Kerie thinks the fan is haunted- it keeps turning on by itself.
2. Stephanie, Kerie and I got stuck while in a John Boat on Lake Classen. (There is a picture of Kerie rowing saying "My arms feel like anvils", Stephanie saying, "We're gonna die!", and me saying "I wish I could row" with a big frown on my face. For being my best friend, Kerie sure was a bully!)
3. Wasps ate part of our pumpkin.
4. Our t-shirts and sweatshirts are smeared.
(Talk about your serious catastrophes!)

Bonfire Bonanza-
Our bonfire was fun... we sang John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt (which I think is a pretty impressive spelling for a 5th grader, and probably the way I would still spell that song today).

And of course, my final page simply declares: We will all miss Moe, John, Will and Joe- the Angels in Da Bathroom (which makes a lot of sense now that I read we watched "Angels in the Outfield" on the way to camp. Inspiration comes from many places).

Tune in next time- there's more where this came from!