Monday, August 31, 2009

Birthday Party Moms

Molly's second birthday party is Saturday. I spent a portion of my free-time (Molly's nap time) today researching ideas for activities and favors for her Sesame Street-themed party. I happened upon a site in which scores of moms shared their plans for toddler Sesame Street parties. After browsing for a bit, I concluded that "birthday party moms" need their own category alongside soccer moms and hockey moms.

After reading some of the elaborate invitation and decoration ideas, I assertained that many of these people spend the equivalent of an entire 40 hour work week in party planning. I wonder what they sacrifice to pull off the perfect party for a toddler- sleep, personal hygiene, time with their kids??? Then, there are the things I just shake my head in amazement about- inviting 24 toddlers to your home for a party? Why?

I then read the synopsis of a party that was in a league of its own. I was skimming when I came across the part about the rented tent and tables to seat 150 adults and 45 children. This party for a one-year old featured ponies, followed by the appearance of several life-size Sesame Street characters in full costume. At the end of the party, the delighted guests ran out to make their selections from the ice cream truck rented by the hosts.

I can say proudly that I am not a BPM, a Birthday Party Mom. The only thing homemade at Molly's party will be a layered bean dip (and of course, my mom's cheese ball). The Elmo cake will be competently made by Sam's Club. I also spent more time with my birthday girl today than I did party planning. Hurrah for run-of-the-mill birthday parties!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Journey Through Home Buying

We are almost entirely unpacked from our move. Of course we still have lots of stuff stored at my parents'. They gladly bring a load of items everytime they visit. They'll enjoy the extra room!

During our house search, we put bids on several houses available through the HUD Good Neighbor Next Door program. We did not love any of these homes, but the program offers them at half-price to teachers. So, we would have gladly purchased one of them at a 50% discount. We did not win the lottery on any of these houses because there were a lot of people competing for this good deal.

We then looked at houses available through the general HUD listings and private sales. We found a couple HUD homes that we liked and put bids on them. On neither of these did we have the highest bid. We weren't really discouraged because although they were very nice houses at great prices, we didn't fall in love with them.

We then found a home in a short sale in a beautiful neighborhood. We really liked the floorplan and yard. We put a low-ball offer because we had heard that often great deals can be had on a short sale if you are willing to wait it out. So, we put our bid in and waited.

As we continued to look, we found the home that we loved, a foreclosure fresh out on the market. We had been looking in a price range for which we could afford a fifteen year mortgage. This one was a little out of that price range. We felt like this was the perfect house for us, and it was the one God wanted us to have. Writing our offer, I felt like God was telling me to just submit to Ryan and go with the amount he decided on. On a Friday, we put a bid a little higher than the list price and decided to go with a twenty year note.

On Monday we learned that the selling bank had received three offers after ours. Each bidder was asked to submit their highest and best offer. We increased our offer by a few hundred dollars. Again, I listened to Ryan and didn't give any input.

Several days passed, and we didn't hear anything. I fretted about whether our offer was high enough. Again, I felt like God was going to provide this home for us, and if so, our offer was good enough.

On Saturday morning, we got a call from our realtor. "Are you sitting down?" he inquired. Surprised, he told us that even though our offer wasn't the highest, the bank had chosen ours because we were using a conventional mortgage. Both he and the listing realtor had never seen a bank take a lesser offer. We believe that God works in unconventional ways to accomplish His purposes.

It is a great responsibility living in this home that God provided. Since He worked it out for us to be here, we need to use our home to serve Him by loving our neighbors and blessing others as they visit.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Molly is a bundle of energy from the get-go in the morning. However, when Sesame Street is on, she lays down on the floor and watches intently. I am hurriedly catching up on email, packing for our move, and making phone calls. When Elmo is over, she'll be ready to GO! Doesn't that characterize the life of a mom- rest for the child equates to work-time for mom? While she is storing up energy; I'm expending it!

I've decided that it is somewhat silly to use the baby jogger. I get a lot of exercise while Molly SITS! When we are in our new home, I'm going to jog to a nearby middle school. I'll get Molly out, and we'll jog a lap together on the track. Then, she comes home a little tired, too.

It is getting a little easier at the park. I used to get more exercise than she did: scrambling after her, lifting, sliding, and pushing on the swings. Now, she can safely be more independent on the play equipment. Yesterday, I strategically placed myself so that I could grab her if she got too close to a place where she could fall (Actually I point these spots out to her and tell her "Danger!". She'll repeat that every time she climbs up, pointing and repeating, "Danger!") It felt weird to be at the park and be just standing in one spot. A little rest for mom- how unusual!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I love visiting money saving sites like,, and I would love to start a blog like this, but there are already so many good ones out there that I don't know how to make it unique. I did just get an e-mail from, and they gave me the opportunity to place a link here so you could sign up for a free sample of their Hand Relief cream. I think you can redeem it at an aveda salon or retail store. Check it out: Join Aveda's Birthday Program