Tag Archives: home

Closing Out 2021

2021 has been one of the longest years I have experienced as an adult. I’d say it’s probably the second hardest year for me in my 41 years in this body, on this planet. I started out the year watching fireworks with my family from our livingroom window in Garner, NC. At that time, I believed all was fine. I was getting over being homesick for Iowa, and we were finally moving forward. Life went on, and we were good.

Of course to start the year, being carried over from 2020 was COVID. A neverending sickness in the general population and everyone resisting any type of mitigation efford – from mask wearing, to vaccinations, from handwashing to social distancing.

In March, something I have not discussed publicly happened, and I decided in a very swift change of heart that we were headed back to Iowa immediately. It was what was best for our family, and I made it happen quickly. We were back in Iowa by May. Of course you already know, if you’ve been following me for very long, that the moving company screwed us over. They didn’t deliver our belongings and I had to go the legal route to get anyone’s attention. But more about that later…

In April, Jarrod and I were able to get our COVID vaccines. I was still breastfeeding Felix at the time, so he possibly got some of the benefits of the vaccine.

When I was making arrangements to move back to Iowa, I found a nice rental house in Des Moines that we had all set up to move into on June 1. When we got back to Iowa, Jarrod and I went to tour the home and sign the lease. We paid our deposit and were all set to move on time. But when we left Garner, NC, the moving company showed up right at about the last possible moment, and we were unable to finish up cleaning before heading out to the airport. So because that upset the NC landlord, he decided to be petty and contact our soon-to-be landlord and tell him about the mess (which was not even as bad as what we had moved into and had to clean upon arrival the year before). So the rental in Des Moines got revoked, our deposit refunded…. leaving us essentially homeless.

We ended up moving into TWO apartments at a very low-rent drug-ridden apartment complex so we had a roof over all our heads, since Jarrod’s girls needed to stay with us for a while as well. And a few weeks later we moved into our current home, a brand new trailer in a trailer park. The apartment manager claimed damages, and tried to bill us for things that were pre-existing in the apartment when we moved out. But I’m pretty sure we were the only ones who had taken such good care of one of those apartments in many years.

I swore I’d never live in a trailer, but I must say, the property manager here has been an absolute pleasure to work with. Maintenance has been on top of issues, its clean and quiet out here. We’ve only had a couple storms that I felt could have threatened our livelihoods, but we remain safe and our home in excellent condition.

We added two new kittens to our family – Sage and Daisy.

As a good point to the year, Jarrod and I were able to take Felix on a mini-vacation to St. Louis. We visited the St. Louis Aquarium, City Museum, and the St. Louis Zoo. More photos can be found on my Instagram or Facebook pages.

In September another wave of things happened; Felix got his official diagnosis of ASD. He is already in many therapies, so nothing much has changed for him. We will continue therapy as we were, and do what we can to educate ourselves and cater to his needs.

Cassy had a falling out with their stepmom and got kicked out of their dad’s place, landing them back in my home. We haven’t had room for them here, so they’ve been sleeping in the living room this whole time, cramping up the whole house and how we do things.

We got our belongings returned to us after talking with a couple of different police departments and starting the process of legal action against our moving company. Several boxes and a few big pieces of furniture were missing. And many more items that were returned were broken or severely damaged. Needless to say, we will never be using a moving company to move our household again. Doing it ourselves with a UHaul may be a nuisance, but its definitely worth keeping all our stuff, and having it all in tact.

I started having severe sciatic pain down my left leg. An X-Ray showed it’s due to degeneration in my spine due to arthritis. I never knew I had arthritis, and as of now, the last day of the year, over 3 months later, I still have not been able to find a proper diagnosis or plan for pain treatment. It has been a very rough and painful 3 months.

Jarrod and I have definitely struggled to maintain any type of decent relationship through all of these struggles, but we talk every day and we’re working through it to the best of our abilities.

In 2022 I look forward to the approval of the mortgage for our home (pending inspection and repairs), and the comfort and security of living there, knowing we will never have to move again. And I hope for COVID to be at a state of acceptable control so we can safely attend public outdoor events again, such as amusement parks, the Iowa State Fair, music festivals, and much more. As simple as that all sounds, I’m sure it won’t be. But I still maintain hope.

Thanks to all my friends, family and followers of my blog. I wish you all a very safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and may your 2022 be more bountiful and serene than 2021.

Returning Home

Alright, so I know I already made a big long post about the trailer we moved into, and being so happy with it. BUT as a blended family with 7 children (and undoubtedly grandchildren in the future), we should have known better than to believe we wouldn’t need more space. Silly us!

So let me give you a little back story on this home adventure. During my kiddos’ childhood, we moved around quite a number of times. Apartment to apartment, small crappy house to small crappy house. In 2014 I checked out a big, beautiful rental house. As soon as I stepped foot inside I knew this was my home. It was comfortable, homey, and so entirely welcoming, along with having all the space we needed. At that time I couldn’t afford it and we ended up taking a less expensive house. So when it came open again with my improved income, I jumped at the opportunity to live there. The boys and I moved in February 2017.

In September of 2017, right after we got married, Jarrod and his daughters moved in with me and the boys. We became a blended family there, enjoyed our family holidays and gatherings there, brought Felix home from the hospital and raised Felix for his first year there. When we moved to NC in May of 2020, that was the one thing (besides my people) I had the very hardest time leaving behind.

Early this year I heard the landlord was selling the house. I contacted him, knowing we were moving back to Iowa, and told him I wanted to live there again. He told me he could not offer any rental or rent-to-own opportunity, and to contact a banker. Knowing Jarrod and I had less-than-perfect credit (despite our impeccable rental payment history), we sorta dismissed the idea. But as months went by and the house still hadn’t gotten new occupants, I decided to contact a realtor just to give the house one last walk through, as I missed it so much.

When we all arrived at the house and went inside, I told the realtor we had lived there previously for over 3 years, and we wanted it but we needed someone to work with us. As we walked through the rooms of the house, I talked more about our history there and our love for the house. So the realtor gave me the contact info for a banker that was good at working for people in our sort of situation.

The banker took a preliminary look at our credit histories along with a few other factors, knew right away he could make it work for us, and gave us our pre-approval. The realtor helped us make our offer on the house, and it was accepted! We have been working diligently with the banker and the realtor to get all the paperwork and inspections and everything else done to close in January. We’re officially first time homebuyers!!

Details: it’s a 3 bedroom, 2 full bathroom home built in 1940, with a partially finished basement and mature trees. It’s got a little over 1800 sq ft, an attached 2 car garage, and a nice big yard.

We went from believing we wouldn’t have a chance, to being just a few weeks away from moving into our forever home, in less than a month! I’m so incredibly grateful that I contacted someone about the house, and that we’ve been given this opportunity. Now we can provide the stability and permanence for Felix that we weren’t able to provide previously. THIS WILL BE OUR VERY LAST MOVE, EVER!! ❤️

I have so many ideas for improvements and renovations we can do over time. I’m so excited to move in and start the rest of our lives in the home of our dreams!

Thanksgiving for Grandma

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US, and we are blessed enough to be together as a family, feasting and enjoying each other.

But what it makes me think of the most is my Grandma. She passed away a few years back and I hadn’t been able to see her for a few years prior to that. Growing up, the holiday celebrations were always held in her home. She had all her recipes to make everything from scratch. And from my perspective, everyone was always happy and got along. She had the best stuffing, with raisins and giblets. She made the most delicious duck, alongside ham or turkey. And she was always so sweet, and kind.

In her last several years, even though she wasn’t in the best health, she did a lot of volunteer work, mostly in senior centers. Always giving and caring for others.

She was the woman who taught me about hard work, by having me “help” with the operations of her and Grandpa’s motel. She was the woman who fostered healthy neighborhood friendships for me around her town, when I stayed there during summers and visited around holidays. She was the woman who set such an amazing example for me by sticking with her marriage through thick and thin. She was firm but loving, structured but fun, and was always an understanding parent to my dad and aunt as well. I can’t say enough good about her. I miss her dearly, and that is what this Thanksgiving is about for me. Honoring her, and my other passed relatives. ❤️

I love you, grandma. I hope you’re looking down on me from heaven and I make you proud.

Me and my grandma, around 1985.

Fur Babies

When I was a little kid I loved animals. My mom had a black cat named Scorpio who I took naps with and played with every day when I was 3-4 years old.

Then we moved to an apartment where we couldn’t have pets. We were three for many years. I dreamed of becoming a veterinarian one day. Once we got out of there (when I was 12), we moved to a house out in the country and had many, many pets. Dogs, a bunny, a pig, an iguana, large aquariums, ferrets…. but specifically a great many cats.

The cats were mostly all outside cats. They weren’t spayed or neutered so they just bred indiscriminately. In the spring and summer we would end up with around 40 cats and kittens. But by the end of winter we would be down to 6-8. Between the brutal Iowa winters, disease, parasites, and the highway, there was a high cat death rate. At first I was naming all of the new kittens and getting attached to them all the time. But by the end of 4-5 years of seeing them come and go, I deemed myself NOT a cat person. To me they were too “disposable,” for lack of a better description.

Fast forward to 2010. I was living in an apartment with my older 3 kiddos. One of my friends down the hall had a cat who had kittens. I picked the only orange kitten of the litter. We named her Sunny. She became a permanent member of the family.

Andy and Sunny became inseparable. She claimed him as her human. We got 10 good years with Sunny. Unfortunately she was let outside during our stay in NC and disappeared. Despite all our efforts to find her, she never came home. Out of guilt I got Andy a kitten after that. No cat can replace our beloved Sunny. But Hera has brought Andy a lot of joy.

Then I started evaluating why I didn’t like cats. Yeah, litter boxes are annoying. But if kept clean they don’t stink. Yeah cats can be assholes, knocking stuff over and shredding toilet paper. But they can be the best companions. Then I thought back to the farm life and I understood where my opposition to cats as pets came from. I just didn’t want to get attached to something that was going to break my heart.

Longer story shortened, I decided to get a kitten for myself. I started looking around and found a lady here in town with several litters. I wanted a calico kitten originally. So I went to pick one out and immediately bonded with a grey and white kitten. So I brought both her and a calico home.

Meet Sage (grey and white) and Daisy (calico).

They have been with us for just about two months now. They are both absolute terrors, and sweet little cuddle bugs at the same time. I adore them both, but Daisy is a lot more aloof with me. Sage is my buddy. She sits on me every time I’m sitting down. She gets in my face and grabs my phone for attention. It’s adorable.

These kittens have brought a lot of joy into my life. I’m so glad I was able to move past the trauma of many lost kitty lives, and learn to allow myself to be attached again. It’s been so worth it!!

Snapshot Of Our Lives

Life is ever-changing. Tastes change, circumstances change, people grow and change. I know where I am now, and what I do on a daily basis is far different today than it was a year ago. Or the year before that. So I’m going to make this post once or twice per year. This is a snapshot of what my life looks like today.

Today Felix woke me around 10:30am, which has gotten earlier over the past couple weeks. He was sleeping in until noon. He cuddles me for a few minutes before he goes to play, a morning tradition I cherish. He and I woke Jarrod, and then Felix played for a while while Jarrod and I checked our phone notifications.

Felix and Scout, just starting the day.

Then Jarrod cooked some eggs for the three of us, and I got our drinks. Today we had cold cereal with our eggs, other days we have toast with peanut butter, bacon, or oatmeal. While we have breakfast we watch something on the iPad. News, game shows, reality shows, or sitcoms. Today it was Big Bang Theory. Once we were done eating, around 11:45am, Jarrod left for work. He works noon til 9:00pm right now.

Today we had no appointments. So we didn’t have much to do. I took a shower while Cory hung out in the living room with Felix. Felix played with his toys in the living room and rode his horsey all over the house. Cory played on my computer for a while and had a show playing on the TV. I chatted with him and cruised social media. I also did some light cleaning, and watched our kittens play. Around 3, Felix crawled up into my lap and passed out for a nap. He naps on me, Jarrod or Cory when he naps. Typically he sleeps for about 30 minutes, but today it was about an hour and a half.

Sleepy boy!

Other days Felix may have a checkup or therapy, we may have friends to hang out with, or shopping to do. Sometimes my mom or Jarrod’s will visit, Evan or one of the girls will hang out for a while, or we will go out to eat. If Jarrod has a day off we usually find something to do outside of the house.

Once Felix woke up from his nap, I fed him lunch. After lunch he watched a couple episodes of the cartoons Pablo and Simon on Netflix while I placed an order online at Walmart for pickup, like I do a couple times per week. As of right now, COVID and RSV are quite common amongst children, and though everyone else in the house is vaccinated against COVID, I’m doing my part to protect Felix by reducing my contact with the public. So currently (again) I’m not taking him into stores much. So our trips to the store for pickup are regular outings as well.

When we got back from the store we had a snack, and I put on some music on YouTube for Felix. He LOVES Billy Strings, so I just put some videos on and he will watch and dance. That has bought me a little time to write this blog post. Even though Andy just decided to emerge from his room for the first time since I’ve been awake today. Nevertheless, I’m continuing to write because I’ve already had too many distractions over the last couple days. Once I’m done, I’ll get supper started.

Felix on his horsey, Billy Strings videos playing.

We will eat late, once Jarrod gets home from work. Usually around 9:30-10pm. He will take a shower before he eats, and bathe Felix once supper is over. That’s their bonding time, since he’s gone for most of Felix’s waking hours. While that’s going on, I’ll get the kitchen cleaned up, and maybe tidy up a few other things. Lately I’ve been playing a lot of Sims 4 in the evenings before bed. Jarrod will have Friends or some other sitcom playing on the TV and will play with Felix or look at his phone if Felix is busy playing. We will talk about the day and update each other on anything important or entertaining that happened, or anything coming up either of us should be aware of.

Felix is usually ready to sleep around 12:30-ish. So we will head to the bedroom, read Felix a couple stories, and he and I will brush our teeth. And then we will get into bed. I hold Felix until he falls asleep, and then lay him down on his mattress, which is right up against ours. Jarrod and I both stay in bed at that point too. And the day is over.

The therapies Felix has are Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy. He currently has referrals to get his vision and hearing checked again, and has an upcoming appointment with the Developmental Specialist, and Genetics.

Today was a mellow, rather boring day. Not all days are like today. In fact, often we have so much to do that we’re all exhausted by the end of the day. But right now, I love where we are. I love how Felix is my best friend, and is so much fun to play with and go to appointments with. He enjoys therapy and all of our outings. There are times I feel overwhelmed by my lack of alone time, but then I just take a step back and remember these days won’t last forever. In fact, these days will be short and sweet, and someday not too far into the future I will miss my little boy and our fun times together.

Not today, but adorable anyway. 💕

This is a snapshot of now. I know things will change so much, so it will be nice to have this post as a little reminder of today.