Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 9 - Going Raw

What a fun day this has been! Started out with a play-date with Maria. It's good to find a crafty-friend! We are finding we have many hobbies in common...gotta love that. She was sweet enough (and talented enough) to make me a smoothie lunch-to-go. Then I was off to the Jefferson County Travel Clinic for the rest of my immunizations for the missions trip.

I had a couple of hours between the travel clinic and my evening shift at work, so got caught up on some paperwork, email, and a few phone calls (until my battery died...sigh). Then I was off to work to teach a sweet little 10 yr old girl how to sew a pair of shorts. She is so fun to teach. When I asked her about the pillowcase she made in our last session she told me that she not only has it on her pillow, but ... she also taught her mom how to make one too! Isn't that adorable? What teacher wouldn't love that?!

Dilema of the day - Found out today that the house next door will officially go on the "market" ... owner called and offered it to us for $25k ... man ... we were so not going to buy another house (3 extra will be about 2 more than we planned...at least for this year). What to do? What to do? Prayers for wisdom please.

Breakfast smoothie:
     Frozen grapes
     Frozen cherries
     Hemp protein

Lunch smoothie ... Maria's yummy recipe (sorry, I can't remember what all went in, but it was FAB!)

     It's late (9:43) and I can't eat because I am taking a "live-virus" immunization capsule (1 every other day for 8 days) and can't eat for an hour before and an hour after ... waiting ... getting pow'rful hungry! Hungry I tell ya!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 8 - Going Raw

Busy day!

  • Gym
  • Shop to replenish fresh food stash
  • Finish sample for Jul-Aug Sewing 201 class
  • Finish three skirts for the upcoming missions trip
  • Pack suitcase for said missions trip
  • Make pair of shorts for William
  • Round up pattern for tomorrow's playdate with Maria L
  • Nap in the sunshine ... hey! it was important!
Weight-in reveals 4 pounds lost over the past 7 days ... now that is nice. I'll happily accept slow, steady loss especially if I'm feeling good all the while and not experiencing hunger ... WOOT WOOT!

     We had a breakfast wrap...a little treat for Mr (and me) for a week of cooperation.

Lunch smoothie:
     Key limes
     fresh pineapple (yummo!)
     Hemp protein
     spirulina (3 tablets)

Dinner smoothie/cold soup:
     roma tomatoes
     sweet baby bell peppers
     garlic salt
     hot sauce
     ice cubes
     DELICIOUS!  Even the Mr. is loving this one! He said it tastes "...like Wisconsin Cheese Soup w/o the cheese." I think what he means is that it is a very good summer cold tomato soup! We will definitely be having this one again. Thanks to my sister Sara for the veggie suggestions!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 7 - Going Raw

Sunday! Sundays are very busy days for us. Church service at 9 so we leave home at 8. After church we have small group (Sunday School for grown ups ... y'know!) which we normally get done with around 1. Then we generally drive over to Costco and have a pizza lunch before doing our grocery shopping for the week. By the time we get home it's almost always after 3:30 or 4:00.

This week we had to leave small group early so I could get to work. We stopped briefly to grab a bite for lunch. Given our rush, we just wen to ... man ... do I DARE put the truth here, in plain sight for all to see ... or just leave that part out ... hum ... what to do, what to do ...

I had classes to teach at JoAnns: a sewing 101 class for three gals from 1-3:30, followed by a sewing 103 class (basic skirt) for two gals from 4-7:00. Of course there's always clean-up to be done, paperwork to be filed, and getting out of the store (there's a process for that too!) ... got home at 9 ... long day!

Breakfast smoothie:
     Hemp protein powder

     McDonalds (burger w/half the bun and a soda...BAD, ay? sigh...no recriminations...it is what it is...)

     Not sure what Mr had, but I ate some celery sticks with raw peanuts butter when I got home.

NOT our best "food day" by far, but we aren't going to beat ourselves up, just moving on to the next day. Trying to be kind while also being wiser on our overall eating habits.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 6 - Going Raw

Today is a work day. I had a serger class from 9 to noon. Then a sewing social from 1 to 3 ... ended up taking until 4:30 (had some "machine" issues and just couldn't send them home w/o resolving them ... y'know ... it's me ... I have to "finish" what I've started.)

Sara (my sister) called while I was on my way home ... we had an awesome, long chat. She's doing green smoothies, too, so we shared our experiences and some recipe tips. Her Mr. isn't eating (drinking?) them, so she's been doing the veggie-based smoothies longer and has some great tips I'll be trying out! Yay! She recommended that I try a blend of:
     Celery (1 stalk)
     Carrots (1)
     Red Cabbage (small wedge)
     Ginger (small bit)
     Garlic (powder ... wondering if a bit of raw garlic would work?)
     Tomato (lots)
     Bell Pepper (2" strip)
     Onion (small bit)
     Mrs Dash-Spicy (I'm wondering about a small bit of fresh Habenaro, instead? LOVE that stuff!)
     Kale (she loves the reds ... I need to get to Whole Foods!)
     Spirunlina (3 tablets)

I think I'll make enough for just me and then let Mr. taste it. If he decides he can deal with the absence of fruit-sweetness then he can have some the next meal. Good thing this 1980s kitchen has the big-ish peninsula ... I am going to need room for all that produce and fruit to be processed every time we get hungry!

Speaking of hungry ... I'm noticing that we haven't been getting "the munchies" ... nice! I was worried that we would be getting too hungry between "meals" so adding the Hemp Protein was a way to make the full-feeling last. I've also been swallowing 5 spirulina tablets at breakfast and lunch. Have yet to feel any-kind-of-hungry! In fact, Sara and I were talking about how long it takes us to finish our meal smoothies. Seriously ... we can nurse that thing for the better part of an hour ... and that is not because of flavor ... these things are DELICIOUS (well ... esp. the ones I've been having because Mr. only wants the sweet ones!) ... it's just that it is very satisfying. The "gobble-it-up" drive isn't there. Weird. Nice! I've been gobbling far too long.

Drinking ... now that got your attention, didn't it? I am happily not drinking coffee ... six days now. The amazing thing is that I'm not having issues with energy. In the past, when I've quit, I have a struggle with low-energy. Last winter I used Shaklee's CorEnergy to help ... it rocked! Unfortunately when I tried to order some last week they were unable to ship because they are changing the recipe. I was disappointed. Fortunately the smoothies seem to be providing something helpful for energy. How awesome is that?!

Mr. has reduced his intact of diet coke (yeah...I know...it's ubber bad for him...have told him, others have told him, he's read research, ya-de-ya-da-ya-da ... he's an addict with all the symptoms and won't face it ... but ... who knows ... perhaps after spending the rest of the summer on Green Smoothies he'll see the light?)  The first two days of this experiment he didn't have any ... not sure why, but happy. Now it appears to me that he's only had 2 each day ... that is an improvement!

We've both been drinking filtered water (love our Shaklee water filter!) especially since we've been going to the gym! The trainer ran some tests on us when we started. Turns out our body-water-content was below 50% ... yikes! No wonder we have issues ... amazing that we don't have more, in fact! He told us to take our body weight, divide it by 2, then drink that many ounces of water every day. I told him that would be a really good idea after I lose 40 pounds! Of course, I was making a joke, but I was seriously thinking I would be spending my entire day in the bathroom. Turns out that is not the case ... not sure where it's all going ... sweat? Ha!

Enough! Mr. said it looks like I'm writing "an awful lot" ... so maybe I'll end here?

Breakfast smoothie:
     Strawberries (frozen)
     Key Limes (juice from 5)
     Hemp Protien
     (nice and sweet...just like the Mr likes it...surprised?)

Lunch smoothie:
     I had the left-overs from yesterday's lunch smoothie (stored nicely, probably not optimal, but...)
     Not sure what Mr. did (probably involved a burger joint?) as I was at work

     No smoothie ... I was on the phone with sister until after 8:30pm ... Yay! I chose to have some
     celery sticks with that yummy raw peanut butter ... delish.
     Mr. grilled us some Flounder and he had a salad with his.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 5 - Going Raw

NOTE:  I'm post-date posting this. Does that make sense? Day 5 was really on Thursday, May 18. Life was just moving too fast for me the past couple of days! So, rather than skipping it I'm just getting my notes and posting this after-the-fact.

YAY! My caffeine-addiction headaches are better! Washeew! My gut is "bloated" ... guessing it's from not keeping the veggie content equal to the fruit content ... need to move more into the veggie-based smoothie, less fruit. Just been hesitant since the Mr. has a definite distain for anything not sweet ... sigh ... really want to keep him going on this. Guess I'll be making two batches ... I can do it, right? That's totally going to cut into my crafty time ... spending more time in the kitchen ... awwww maaaaan (as our grand-daughter would say!)  But, I'll suck it up and do it ... the reward in the end will be worth it!

After posting the link to the free movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,  on my Facebook wall a friend from Iowa reposted it for one of our Homeschool-Contacts, Terri Camp. Turns out Terri is just finishing a 30-day Reboot! That has been very inspiring for some reason. Just having someone I know, who's willing to share her experience with this ... has inspired me.

So, today was a fun day ... I'm not working, not teaching, not running errands, a no to-do kind of day. Maria L is coming over for a crafty-day.  It may sound crazy, but I haven't "had a friend over" since we moved here! YIKES! Now that I wrote that down ... it really sounds crazy! I'm a social-girl ... how did that happen? We toured the yard, she shared lots of great landscaping and gardening ideas and enthusiasm (where has my love for all that gone? probably just in hibernation ... yeah ... I'm sure that's it ... right?) Then we had a Green Smoothie lunch and got started crafting. We were making a pillowcase sundress for her grand-daughter on the serger. It turned out adorable ... I can't wait to see a picture of it in use!

Turns out I'm not the only one with a bloat-y belly from smoothie meal-replacements. Maria has the same issue. We got a good laugh out of our bellie-antics! Might as well, ay? I am sure I totally impressed her when I was standing at my cutting table and stuck my belly out and then layed it on the table (nice word-picture right there, ay?)! Oh yeah! That's Cool!  I'll admit I was "sticking it out" (and my close friends all know I can totally make it look like a prego belly, right?) It's good to laugh at yourself ... and laugh we did. Mr. just doesn't get that sense of humor ... that's why we need girl-friends!

After Maria left, we called Paul to see how the popsicle shop was doing ... they passed health inspection, so the popsicle-making was going full-speed-ahead! They are going to have their carts hit the streets of Birmingham tomorrow morning! Talk about great timing ... lots of farmer's markets on saturday! We hopped on the motorcycle and headed into the city to see if we could help. Lucky thing, too! Turns out they needed help testing out some of the flavors.


You don't believe me? Fine ... they let us taste-test a couple ... made me real glad we'd been eating healthy so we didn't have to feel bad about enjoying a treat.

End of a long, very nice, day! So, here's a recap of our "meals" for today:

Breakfast smoothie:
     Spinach (LOTS! 2 fists full for each of us!) 
     Hemp protein powder (has Omega-3s...excellent!)
     Blueberries, frozen

Lunch smoothie:
     Key Limes (just the juice)
     Cherries, frozen
     Spinach (again, LOTS!)

It got late (the drive into the city and all...see above) so we went to Whataburger (it's okay to relax when it's call for!) and ate a burger (minus half the bun). MR was very happy to have "food" for a change. He cracks me up! The nice thing is ... he's happy to continue on the smoothie adventure in the morning. No worries. Life is good.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 4 - Going Raw

Today was crazy! We both totally missed out on breakfast ... we got up and got going on our to-do list and somehow managed to "forget" breakfast ... not sure HOW that is possible! Definitely not a good idea when trying to be healthy ... sigh.

I worked at JoAnn's today and had some errands I needed to run prior to work, so after our lunch smoothies I headed out, leaving Bruce in the midst of a small electrical project at the house. He is installing a ceiling fan/light in the living room and swapping out the old ceiling fan/light in our bedroom. Started the job yesterday, but ran into some issues and ended up using his project time at Lowe's finding solutions.

Things must have gone well, because I walked in and ... voila! The living room has a nice breeze coming from the new fixture! When I'm done with this post I'll be off to the bedroom to see how that one turned out ... hoping this means we'll be able to keep the air conditioner off even longer!

Breakfast smoothie:
     (we missed breakfast...see above)

Lunch smoothie:
     1 Mango
     1 Banana
     1 Lemon
     1 cup frozen cherries (pitted)
     1 apple (red delicious)
     4 tblsp Hemp protein powder
     Maca, raw (powder)
     2 cups baby spinach

Supper smoothie:
     same as lunch, I just made a double batch so I could bring one along. It stored in the work frig much better than I'd dared to hope! Good to know! I also had some celery sticks and 1/4 c raw peanut "butter" ... it helped with my munchies.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 3 - Going Raw

We've been going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday since January, so today was GYM DAY. We were there by 6:45am so didn't eat our smoothie until we got back home. Talk about HUNGRY!

Today we had an event for Maya (school program) that included a buffet ... we both did GREAT! We only ate raw veggies (and I think Bruce had a few grapes ... talk about will-power! There were some very delicious looking bars and cookies on that spread!

After the event we had to stop by church ... MERCY! All the restaurants were grilling meats and putting all kinds of tempting smells out into the public ... we were on the motorcycle so our bellies were going crazy! Now we know ... Birmingham smells GOOD around lunchtime!

Breakfast Smoothie:
Juice from 3 key limes
celery (2 stalks)
carrots (2)
Hemp (4 tblsp)

Flounder on the grill (no coating, no seasoning...just fish),  and an organic spring mix/spinach salad with a bit of Feta Cheese, sliced almonds, and some vinegar and olive oil sprinkled on to it.

I had to work, so brought some celery, raw ground peanuts ("butter"!), and an apple. Took some Spirulina to help with hunger ... it helped! Bruce grilled a piece of ham steak for himself.

While we didn't do only smoothies, we both feel successful given the challenges in front of us today!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 2 - Going RAW

This morning I've signed-up at Reboot, the official site for the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (the movie) community. I am making smoothies rather than juice (at least until I can find the moving box that has my juicer!) but think I like the idea of using their recipes.

Yesterday we made a trip to our local Health Food Store ... what a wonderful place!!!! We found Maca (supplement that helps with energy ... just sprinkle in the smoothie), coconut water, and natural peanut butter (they MADE the peanut butter while we watched! yummo! I know I can make it in the VitaMix, but ... hey ... that thing is going to get a real work-out the way it is!)

I woke up this morning with a headache ... detoxing side-effect I suspect ... am going to use a pain reliever ... I hate having to do that, normally I would just tough it out, but today I'll just fight one battle (the desire to sink my teeth into something off my food list for the day).

Interestingly, hubby is game to do the smoothie-thing (his words) this morning ... it might help that breakfast is a fruit-based smoothie?! He's such a boy!

Breakfast smoothie
     Spinach (see a trend here...woke up this morning worrying that my skin would be orange!)
     Coconut water

Lunch smoothie
     Natural Honey

Dinner smoothie
     Organic Spring Mix lettuce
     Hemp protein

Today I was DEFINITELY wanting some of the old "bad" foods ... had to keep busy to avoid thinking about it. Didn't take the aspirin ... decided to just tough it out. Need to figure out some sort of snacks as I got hungry a few times during the day.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 1 - Going Raw

WHAT in the world is, "Going Raw"?

Eating only raw foods ... yep ... RAW! No steaming, baking, frying, or grilling. You take your collection of raw foods, put them in your blender (VitaMix, in my case) or in a juicer (I have one, but I like the bulk/fiber you get w/VitaMix), then drink the resulting smoothie/juice.

Today was our first day of Going Raw. All three meals.

For breakfast today we had a blend of
     strawberries (frozen),
     red grapes,
     flax seed, and
     spinach (lots!)
     raw honey.   It was DELICIOUS!

For lunch ... more fruit
     strawberries (frozen),
     spinach (again...lots!)
     flax seed. Again, it was DELICIOUS!

For supper I made a veggie blend:
     spinach (yep...again),
     flax seed.
THIS TIME...our taste buds needed to make a bit of an adjustment as it wasn't "sweet" like the smoothies we'd had earlier! I think it has a "fresh" flavor, but hubby said ... YUK! I DON'T LIKE THIS ONE! (Even after I warned him that it would NOT be sweet...to expect 'veggie' flavors ... boys!) My smoothie is going down as easily as the others, but he is complaining that his is "growing" in his cup and he can't possibly finish it ... wimpy! He grabbed a ham steak, fired up his grill and put the rest of his smoothie in the frig (do you think he's expecting it to taste better by tomorrow?)

I am hoping to keep up the RAW food plan for at least 10 days, and maybe ... just maybe until June 2 (when we leave the country on a mission trip).

My goals:
     Improve energy levels
     Lose my "carb belly"
     Eliminate gut aches

I have decided to use this old blog of mine to document the process!

What precipitated this effort?  My sister, Sara, sent me the link to the movie on Hulu, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" by Joe Cross. After watching the movie, I decided I would take the challenge! Eat raw-food smoothies (or juices if you prefer) for an extended period of time.

So ... here goes!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My Life as a Road Warrior

I may as well admit it ... I am a Road Warrior! Not that I set out to be one, but there was one thing and then another ... soon enough I was a full-fledged member of the million mile club ... an offical Road Warrior.

My first "move" away from home (my hometown) involved a town 60 miles away. I was so afraid of traveling that far that I made it a practice to know exactly which mile markers I was between ... you know ... just in case ... there's just no telling what could happen to someone traveling so far!  Then I moved 8 hours from home ... catapulting my traveling life into high-gear (a term my mother likes to use when she needs extra emphasis for something). Years later, a move from Iowa to Indianapolis stepped things up a few more notches! Then there was the year when I stayed in Indy (until our home sold) while Bruce and Katy got our life in northwest Iowa started (trust me ... there were lots of trips that year!) After I joined them, I worked as a consultant for a company 2 and a half hours from Storm Lake ... now THAT was a commute! These days we have children (who, by the way, have our grandchildren!) living on each of the US coastlines and one holdout still in the midwest ... living in a vehicle has managed to become a way-of-life!

I tend to be a singularly-focused person ... getting so wrapped up in the moment (or task-at-hand) that I lose track of all else. Recently I got to thinking about how this attribute has created some interesting (and scary) moments along the path to the Road Warrior Club!

My sister, Sandy, once rode with me on the way back home many years ago. After picking her up in LeSueur, MN, I focused so much on our chit-chat while I was driving that eventually I had to ask her if she knew the name of the town we were approaching (it was after midnight...so I couldn't use any landmarks to try and guess, and obviously I hadn't been reading signs). She thought I was kidding because we were only 5 miles from mom's house! How can you not know you are approaching your destination? Well, it's easy ... if you are me!

On one of my trips from Storm Lake to Indianapolis the year we first bought the acreage ... I found myself reading a sign for Indiana's Exit 4 (our favorite exit for gas and refreshments along the I-74 route). The problem was ... the last stop I'd paid any attention to was the I-80 Truck Stop in Davenport, Iowa. My auto-pilot was apparently ON through the entire state of Illinois! You can bet I was thankful I hadn't run out of gas!

Then there's the trip north from Storm Lake to Alexandria (MN) one year when they were tearing up Hwy 71 and toally replacing the road (that means they totally remove everything ... all the way down past the road bed!) ...  I'd gotten so engrossed in a conversation with my mother-in-law (the co-pilot) that I simply went around barracades were meant to protect drivers from the dangers of a "missing" road! I didn't pay much attention to the decreasing quality of the road until it was impossible to not notice, "My goodness! This road is crazy bad!" I said.  To which, my rider replied, "Yep. That's probably because way back there you went around a sign that said, Road Closed!"

I don't know, but I'm guessing that the knowledge of these events is largely behind the fact that my sweetie doesn't ask me to be a "relief-driver" on our recent long trips to Birmingham? What do you think?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Where DOES the time go?

Today is our 25th Wedding Anniversary ... wow ... who would have thought so many years could fly by so quickly? Even worse is that I (ME!) can even say that! I'm starting to sound more and more like my Grama! Oh me Oh my!

I made this "card" for my sweetie ...
Bruce and I with The Fabulous Mr Elijah Brown on our recent visit to Birmingham (Left)
Shoppers at the auction looking at the stamping/scrapbooking supplies (Top Right)
Fire pit at the north end of garden with a couple waiting for woodburner or Cub Cadet mower to be sold. (Bottom Right)

Lots to do ... heading up to my hometown for the weekend! We have a family baby shower for Jason & Paula (my nephew and his wife) ... pretty exciting! I'm happy to have one last chance to make the pilgramage from Storm Lake to Alexandria and plan to take the time to stop along the way and take photos of some of my favorite scenes!
As Red Green would say, "Stay safe ... Keep it between the lines!"

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Almost Home

Our drive home is getting interesting. We pushed ourselves to drive as far as Memphis, TN today. Using my little Verizon MiFi connection and the Mac laptop I tried to locate a motel that wasn't charging an arm-and-a-leg for a room tonight (goodness knows we need all of our limbs, as rickety as they are!) ... to no avail. So Bruce decides to find a WalMart, buy a clearance blanket and just sleep in the Tahoe (isn't he romantic? Gotta love my frugal little Norweign!)

After some heated debate about how to get off the freeway and over to that WalMart on our left ... we find a comforter on clearance (imagine that! at WalMart? really? ... bwahhahhah) and eating a bad-for-you-and-the-world-McBurger we discovered every checkout station was at least 6 people deep. What in the world was going on? It's 9 p.m. Why would there be so many people at WalMart with their carts packed full rushing the checkout? Bruce cleverly decides to checkout in the jewelry department (he might be frugal, but he's also clever!)  I decide to ask a store clerk why the place is packed.  She tells me there's bad weather coming and folks are stocking-up.

Curious, we decide to hustle back to the Tahoe and check out the NOAA website's Doppler ... sure enough! There wass a severe weather warning covering the midwest ... all of it ... from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee to St Louis, Missouri to Des Moines, Iowa to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Well! That pretty much covers our path home!  YIKES! We decided, tired or not, we'd better skeedaddle!

About 2-3 hours down the road we began encountering some rain and even more wind than before. Forecast was calling for winds up to 75 mph, softball sized hail, and possibility of tornadoes. Bruce was way past tired and from the looks of the Doppler we were north of one tornado warning and south of another ... a "sweet spot" so to speak. It seemed like a good time to pull of the freeway and see if he could find cover (didn't want to have hail damage the Tahoe or the nice enclosed trailer he just got.)

This is where we begin to see God's hand covering us in a tangible way (as if getting us out of Memphis before it flooded wasn't enough)! At the end of the exit ramp guess what we found!?! A vacant BP gas station ... you know what they have don't you? BIG, strong awnings (where the gas pumps had been)! Woohoo! Bruce pulled in so the entire rig was under cover and we settled in for the night under our new blanket (for those of you that don't know our family's reputation ... we are known for all the quilts we make ... if you are in the family you've no doubt been blessed with many a blanket-gifts! Our motto: No family member should ever be cold due to the lack of a good, warm blanket made with lots of love by another family member!) As we settled in, we both gave thanks to God for the protection!

Six hours later, stiff from our nap in the back of a truck (we had an air mattress with us, but no power inverter to blow it up ... the plan was to only need it while at Paul and Andrea's ... who knew we'd be sleeping in our vehicle?!) Bruce decided to get out and check our rig ... make sure everything was in good order, then drive across the freeway to the other side where there was an open Shell station.

Nothing. That's what he got when he turned the key in the ignition ... nothing. The Tahoe was dead ... no battery power. Ugg! I guess leaving my Mac connected all night long was a bad idea ... oopsie! Apparently its an energy hog even when it's in sleep mode!

Just as he got his hat and coat on, in preparation for a nice long walk over to that Shell station, a car pulls up next to us. Bruce cautiously walks over and taps on the window (scaring the poor lady half out of her wits!) Turns out she was there to meet up with her carpooler (What do you think? I say she was actually an angel.) She happily jump-started our vehicle and then refused to accept any money for her help. God is GOOD, All the Time! Talk about provision!

The rest of the day was uneventful. The storm system was behind us and to the east ... not in our path! We made it to Kansas City with enough time to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Red Robin, meet Katy's latest beau, Todd, and then enjoy a movie together.
We finally got to meet Ms. Izzy, Katy's new kittie ... a ball of bouncing, running, climbing, and fighting fluff! She's adorable! I do believe that MC was quite happy to see us again ... she came right over for a leg rub and plopped herself down, rolled over and begged for a tummy rub. Later, during the movie she found her favorite snuggle spot ... Bruce's tummy when he's all sprawled out in a recliner!

Friday, April 30, 2010

So long ... for now!

Day Four - Grampa was on duty this morning. Paul needed to go to the store for some construction supplies and Andrea needed to sleep in as long as she could so she'd be full of energy at tonight's Secret Church meeting. Elijah is loving his Grampa J, so there was no trouble. I even got a chance to sleep in ... though I admit I did wake up from time to time to enjoy Elijah's chatter ... I'm not sure just what he was telling Grampa, but it was definitely something exciting!

Once Paul got home we set about trying to decide what we would do? Put in an offer on the Leeds house or the Center Point house ... or just continue our search. Both Bruce and I could easily argue the case for either house and the government's $6,500 incentive money was certainly tempting. Paul and Andrea helped us with our debate. I'm sure any onlooker would have wondered just who was voting for what, because we all flipflopped from house to house ... one minute passionately supporting Leeds and only a breath later strongly reminding the group of the drawbacks.

By noon Bruce got up from his place in the group, grabbed the phone and called Sonia. We all looked at him in wonder. What was he doing?

"Sonia, we'd like to come in and make an offer on the house in Center Point."

Hum ... so ... I guess the debate helped Bruce settle his mind.  We spent a little bit of time saying our good-byes to everyone (I so hate that part!) and sneeking a few extra hugs and lovies from Elijah, then it was off to the realty office where we spent the rest of our time in Birmingham.

Once all the papers were signed we began our long trip home ... to Storm Lake, Iowa.  Paul would have to be our proxy after this.

On our way out of town we met up with Paul at his rental house in the Ensley neighborhood (near downtown Birmingham). We'd seen the house before he took possession, back in December. Since then he's put a new roof on, new siding, new front porch and steps, new windows, fresh paint throughout the interior and is in the process of refinishing the hardwood floors. The transformation is beautiful! Between all the work he's done and that gorgeous, monstrosity of a Magnolia tree in the backyard someone is going to have a nice little house to call home soon!

Now we are on our way North ... hoping to get a call from Sonia about our offer! Pray for favor? (Thanks!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Hunt is On!

Day Three - We are off to an early start today ... 8:30 am ... no sleeping in for these two old foggies! Sonia is taking us to the northside today so we needed to get going!  We've been meeting her at the church and leaving our vehicle there while we tour. It's good to have "connections" ... LOL!

There were more houses to see that we had time for, so Bruce and Sonia went through the MLS sheets quickly and ruled out anything that had a lot smaller than 1/2 acre or had lots of steps leading up to the front door. Once the list was culled to a reasonable size we set out.

Driving around the northside and the northeast area is an amazing experience! There are so many trees and bluffs that it's very difficult to believe you are in a large metropolitan area! Breathtaking beauty everywhere you look.

We saw many nice homes, but there was one that really stood out:  2005 NE Reed Road, Center Point, Alabama.


What's not to love about a yard filled with flowering shrubs, fruit-bearing trees (pears, figs, pecans, apples) and home that's been meticulously cared-for the past 25 years? The listing descriptions said: 
Great full brick on shaded 1.6 acres with storage building, large detached garage and backyard fenced area. Living room with brick wood burning fireplace seperate dining area and kitchen with large breakfast bar(stove, dishwasher & microwave to stay)lots of natural light. Enjoy relaxing on the covered front porch and the large covered deck which is conveniently located near kitchen area exit. Three large bedrooms and 2 baths along with a bonus room that can be used as a sewing room, office, bedroom or sitting room and last but not least there is several closets. Lots of parking on the long driveway for all your guest when you have them over for the holiday BBQ's on the BBQ pit in the backyard. Easy access from kitchen eating area to partial finished basement allows for additional storage.
Later in the evening we decided to have Paul and Andrea come see the place ... needed to discuss some of the changes we felt we'd need to make to accommodate a workshop for Bruce and a garage/storage space for our "extras" (Fancy, trailer, car dolly ...).  Andrea tells us that the minute they drove up Paul said, "OH! My parents are SO gonna buy THIS place!"

Here is a VISUAL TOUR of the place ... enjoy!

Well ... we will sleep on it and see how we feel in the morning. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

House Hunting - Alabama Style!

Day Two - How fun it is to wake up hearing the sounds of a baby happily jabbering away in the morning! Elijah is an early riser and completely content to spend time in his crib before the rest of the household rises. We could listen in on him through the baby monitor in the living room. The temptation to get him out of the crib was great, but we didn't want to be in trouble on our first morning.

Paul has Wednesdays off so he agreed to accompany us on our house hunt, along with Elijah. The tour today focused on area East of Birmingham:

  • Leeds
  • Irondale
  • Cedar Point (East side)

While we looked at many houses, the one we liked the best from today's search was 6596 SW Lynn Ave, Leeds.  It's a foreclosure home, so poses some special issues as far as timing (no control over what a bank will or will not agree to for closing dates.)  

We like that this home has three nice sized bedrooms, two baths, and a family room, (in addition to a living room, dining roomkitchen, and a full basement.) It sits on a beautiful lot with a strong slope in the back so spring rain water has a definite place to go. There is a deck just off the kitchen wrapping around to the back and lots of old growth trees ... shouldn't be hard to find a place for the tire swing!  Just down the street is a beautiful park and the church is only 15 miles away.

I think it's fun that the street just south of the house is Katherine St.,  the street just north of the house is Carolyn St. and to the east is Elisabeth St. ... all familiar names (my mother and her two sisters!)


Drawbacks include a water/mold problem in the basement just under the front doorsteps (probably requiring some landscaping modifications and mold abatement). The living room and dining room need wallpaper removal and fresh paint, the kitchen needs to be gutted and redesigned (luckily we have great access with a fabulous cabinet maker!), the big bathroom needs to be gutted and have some redesign work done, the family room needs the dark paneling to be painted and we think the basement steps would need to be moved in order to make the kitchen work. THAT is a pretty long list!

In addition, Bruce would want to extend the parking slab to include room for the trailer and other misc odd vehicles we seem to have off and on. Then he would be converting the basement (which is exposed in the back) into his workshop, including the addition of a basement bathroom.

It's all do-able, but ... gives us reason to pause.