Monday, July 31, 2006

My new job

Well, tomorrow morning I will start my new job...I am going to work in the coffee shop here at the camp. Now seriously, I am thinking, why did this idea just occur to us? I am up very early anyway, and Ben is home until about lunch time. So it works out pretty well. It will only be for a few weeks (obviously), and it's only for a few hours a day. But, it will be a chance for me to get out of the house, a chance for me to interact with some of the campers and the other staff, a little break from the kids, and oh yes....a paycheck!! =) So, all around, it seems like it will be a good deal. So, bright and early tomorrow, I will put on my LARGE Thousand Pines shirt and start something new. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Emma's First Prom...Well, Caleb too

Tonight the staff at the camp had "prom." I don't exactly know how it all came up at first, but I know that they took the idea and ran with it. The even decided to take donations for it to benefit Invisible Children, a Christian organization trying to raise awareness about the horrible conditions for children (starting with Africa).

We have had a long week, so we had a hard time deciding whether or not to go. But, we decided to throw caution to the wind and have some fun. So we got the kids and ourselves dressed up (as dressed up as you can be at 7 months pregnant!!) and went to prom. We even taught Caleb how to hold out his arm for Emma, and we enjoyed ourselves on the dance floor...not to mention the punch, cookies, and strawberries!!! We had such a great time with all the staff, and the kids felt so grown up with the strobe lights and loud music.

All in all, it was great. Now this was a prom I can handle them going to. Maybe Ben and I will have to go to all their proms. =)

Also, for more information about Invisible Children, you can visit their website at

Sunday, July 23, 2006

El Capitan Theatre

Well, needless to say, with no close friends or family here in Crestline, it makes it a little difficult for us to get out. But, all the summer staff was going to the El Capitan Theatre to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2. There is a really nice lady named Joyce who works in the kitchen, and she had sort of volunteered to watch the kids on a Saturday since her husband works nights. Well, Ben reeled her in and she came over to watch the kids last night. So Ben and I drove two of the other summer staff down to Hollywood and saw the movie. We didn't get home until 2am!!! Poor Joyce!! And of course, I didn't notice until later since it was so late, but she mopped our floor, cleaned our stove, and probably did at least two loads of laundry!! So, the Lord provided a little date night for us, and the kids did great. Emma came downstairs this morning and said, "Where is Joyce? I didn't want her to go..."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Homeowner's Insurance

Okay, buying a house is a lot more complicated than I previously thought. But, the only way you really learn all of this is by doing it, I guess. So, while we are still working through all of this "stuff" with the loan, etc...we are simultaneously trying to figure out a homeowner's insurance policy. So, our car insurance is with AAA, so I thought I would start there.
They ask me what year was our house built: 1932
Has the plumbing been redone: (uh, I'm not sure..., maybe) yes!
Has the electrical been rewired: (uh, I'm not sure..., maybe) yes!
Has it been retro-fitted for earthquakes: Huh? No.
Sorry, we can't insure your home.

Okay, so, now we only call insurance companies up on the mountain, because they are the only ones who will insure mountain homes. Lesson learned. The quotes range from $600 to $1700 for the year...some with requirements (like installing some sort of gas shut-off emergency valve, etc.)
Anyway, I'm sure we will figure it out, but it is just one of the many new territories we have ventured into lately.
Isn't it amazing that anytime you purchase something nowadays, you have to buy insurance for it???

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Too Good to be True

You know how they say that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is...well, that's sort of where we're at. This lending company promised us a certain rate, payment, etc...and within 24 hours they have changed their story twice. And it turns out that one of the other offers we received is better than what they are giving us now. SO, we are back at square one, trying to get our loan all figured out. It is frustrating and scary...but the Lord knows what is best for us, so we will just have to wait on Him. Please pray for us that we will get our loan stuff figured out since we're already "in escrow." And we will just all have to wait and see what God will do.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Swimming Lessons

Today was our first day of swimming lessons for the kids. Now last year, the kids went to the lifeguard training as guinea pigs, so to speak, as they were training all the lifeguards on how to teach swim lessons. They both clung to me for dear life...we had only been in Crestline a week, they didn't know anyone, and they had just left the only home they'd ever known. Ben was so busy, there was no way I could take two little kids to swim lessons all by myself. So, we skipped them.
What a difference a year makes!!! Now the kids are so much more familiar with the camp and the of course, while a few of the other kids were screaming the whole time, mine were happily swimming and I was just praising the Lord that they were enjoying themselves. Not only was Caleb jumping off the side of the pool and diving for rings (with daddy's help), but both Emma and Caleb were blowing bubbles, floating, and practicing "big kicks." It was great. And, it totally wore them out so they had pretty good naps and are in bed (7:40pm).
Swim lessons are a great idea!!

The War of the Lenders

I am totally new at all this mortgage, lender stuff. I have no idea what I am doing. However, our realtor has a lender that she frequently works with, so she kind of hooked us up with him and he is here locally (right behind the realtor's office, actually). Now, this guy has been so great to work with, he has really worked hard on our behalf, and provided the pre-approval letter for us when we made the offer on the house and everything. It just so happens, however, that I had gone on to before we started looking at houses just to see what they would say. So we had at least a couple of other companies contacting us here and there. Well, let me just say how that works to your advantage. We didn't mean to make all these people work so hard for us, and we certainly didn't even mean to work them against each other or anything because, well, we're just not that smart. But, it worked. So, we have chosen our lender...and let me just say to our local lender's credit...that when he saw the deal we were offered, even he said to take it. He just said that if it didn't work out to come back to him. So, hopefully it will work out because it looks like we will save almost $150.00 a month on our mortgage payment, not to mention about $1,000 in closing costs. Yeah!!!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Our first meeting with escrow

Where to start? The past week or so has been an amazing chain of events. The Lord has been with us, and we are amazed at His blessings!! Either today or tomorrow, we will open escrow on our first home!!! It is really tiny...less than 600 square feet. But we don't care!!! It met all of my main qualifications:
1. Level entry (a rare and precious comodity here in the mountains)
2. Flat land/yard space (an even more rare and precious comodity)
3. Two bedrooms

There are so many stories along the way of how God has worked...I will try to pick a few. First of all, we found a property that we really liked, and so we had one of the guys here at camp do an inspection on it for us (he's a general contractor). He said, "No way, don't buy it." It had structural problems, among others, which is not uncommon here in the mountains. Most of the houses we looked at are very old, some smell funny, and almost all of them have lots of stairs less than two feet wide which are really steep and just not super kid friendly.
Finally, our realtor took us to see this little had just been listed, and wasn't even on the computer's MLS yet. Right away, we loved it. But we had learned from the first property we really liked that there might be problems we couldn't see. This house was older as well, but had been completely redone, including the roof, the drywall, etc. There was a perfect little spot meant for a stackable washer/dryer, so that was a plus but there were no hookups. Also, we have no money for closing costs, so we made an offer on the house and asked the seller to pay our closing costs. He made a counter offer, and we decided to agree to his counter offer with the condition that he put in the hook-ups for the washer/dryer (in addition to paying our closing costs). He agreed!!!
Now, time for the home inspection. Our friend went over and did a two hour inspection and we received the report in the morning. There were no major problems, but a few things such as the water heater, bathroom window, and a breaker needing to be fixed. The seller agreed to fix all these things...he didn't even contest any of it!!! Next, the lender called and told us what our payment would be. It was about $25-30 higher than what I had budgeted, so I gave him my amount and asked if he could get it there. He got it within three dollars, so we were so excited.
So, it is with great excitement (and some trepidation for our first time paying a MORTGAGE) that we have our first meeting with escrow. It should begin today or tomorrow, and we will close and move around August 12th!! Yeah!! Just in time to get ready to have our baby....

Monday, July 10, 2006

Good-bye Cable...

Well, I guess technically we had dish, not cable. But, after our cable company raised our rates for no apparent reason, so we were now paying about $10-15 more a month for our service, and they didn't give me any warning, we finally decided it was time to be done with it. Altogether, this will save us $55.00 a month, which could be a lot of things...maybe even a gym membership for Ben and I someday. Who knows, but it was time to go, and so now it's back to the good 'ol days...DVD's, VCR tapes, and oh yes...books. =)

Yes, Jesus Loves Me...

At night, we read stories from a little children's bible story book. It's a green book, and the kids know this is their "bible." Sometimes during the beginning of my pregnancy if I wasn't feeling very well, Emma would run and get this book and assure me that it would make me feel better, and that Jesus would help me to feel better.

So, last night after we read our bible story, Caleb was holding the book looking through it and started singing, "Yes, Jesus loves me." After our story tonight, I was putting the kids to bed and we all sang "Jesus loves me" together. As I put them to bed, Caleb just kept saying over and over, "Yes, Jesus loves me..." Yeah, that's certainly a nice way to end the day.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Caleb turns two!

After a week of declaring, "I having birthday party!!" Caleb has finally achieved the age of two. We had a nice little family gathering at Soule Park, and although it was quite a warm day in Ojai, it was pleasant and Caleb felt loved. We enjoyed pizza and cupcakes (which Caleb also refers to as "birthday party").
We all ended up coming back to Crestline, a little earlier than we had planned, but the thought of possibly catching a glimpse of Ben here and there was just too tempting. So, this morning we tried to let Daddy sleep in while we ate breakfast, and rode scooters on the deck (well, I supervised.) Then once Daddy was up we enjoyed playing with new toys that Caleb got for his birthday. Then we sent Ben off to work and tried to settle back into life as we know it in Crestline. It's just nice to be a family again...even if we don't see as much of Ben as we'd like.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

More Garage Sales, and oh yes, the ache in my heart

Okay, so Saturday was Caleb's second birthday!! Yeah!! He has been stealing Emma's scooter (the pink one from the garage sale last weekend) and riding it. Then they fight over it, I regulate taking turns, etc. Well, the Lord was with us! Despite a busy morning trying to organize the most unorganized birthday party...we decided to go garage sale hunting again. We scored!! I found two more of the toddler scooters (the ones with two wheels in back) only $2.00 a piece. Also, I got a "big wheel" tricycle for $2.00. Too bad they are all pink...but Caleb doesn't seem to mind, he's just enjoying being able to ride his own scooter. Ben says he will have to spray paint it, and then paint a skull and crossbones or something over the pretty white basket attached to the front of it.

Ben came from Crestline, and made it to the birthday party at about 3:40pm. The minute I saw him, I was already crying. I miss him so much...and I've never really missed anyone before, at least not like that. Anyway, so when 2pm rolled around today (Sunday) and it was time for him to head back to Crestline for work, it was no shocker that I was an emotional basket case. But, we made it through, he's on his way home, and I will see him again soon...I will just have to keep myself distracted until I can see him again. I'm sure my hormones, and the fact that we really hadn't seen him at all for the two weeks before we left are all adding to the mix. And he's never really seen me miss him this much before, so he says it feels good...just not when I cry.