Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A house with a happy view

Today was the inspection on our new house. That's it in the top picture. We're pleased to report that the incredibly thorough inspector found nothing in the "deal breaker" category and created a long list of "honey dos"...pointing out trim that needs touch up, lose nails on the siding. Plenty to keep us both busy in the coming months.

The highlight for hubby was discovering that the garage has a SINK! Oh my, those pampered girls will get sponge baths year round now! For me, the surprise was discovering some built in cabinets in what will become the rec room in the basement and a ceiling fan in the front room (something I've always wished we had but the headache of installing in a room with a cathedral ceiling was more than either of us felt passionate about pursuing).

For Thing One, I think his pleasant surprise will be the view from the backyard. Yep, I've posted it below. That's our current house. Which you can easily see from our new backyard. He's been a bit worried about leaving the only home he's known and I think this will be a source of comfort for him. For Thing Two: it is hard to say what surprise he'll find. He was pretty excited to learn about that sink in the garage. He's gonna be a car guy just like his dad I think!

And for those that are curious, yes, I'm still on task with my to do list. Even managing to get to some over due letter writing to family and friends.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Keep Me Accountable

I'm hoping if I list my week's plan of attack, I might just have a chance of staying on task. We shall see if this theory actually works.
  • Monday: start to pack the upstairs. Work on the Curio Cabinet, and the Things Room
  • Tuesday: errand day. Bank, Post Office, drop off insurance paperwork, library return, meet with home inspector, finance man and security company.
  • Wednesday: work on the basement. Purge toys and other non essential items. Pack up the boys book collection and seldom used toy items.
  • Thursday: the craft room. Empty vertical file cabinet and white craft closet
  • Friday: take some time for myself. Hair appoint at 11am. LONG overdue. Not enough time to address the root problem but get a good cut.
  • Saturday: work with the family on their projects. And off to Chinese New Year Lion Dance. Try not to repeat last year's stunt: had the "Barcardi Flu" from the night before and couldn't manage to make it to the dinner/dance.
  • Sunday: Church and re-evaluate the progress made in a week

And to get me started, I'll post a before picture of the craft room. Ok, so not a real before picture, I had cleaned it recently, just forgot to vacuum. Gotta run, lots to do, little time to do it all!

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Ok, so that is the only phrase I know in Cantonese...but hey HAPPY NEW YEAR! Today marks the start of the year of the Dog. Something tells me I'll be working like a DOG in the coming weeks but I'm pretty sure it will all be worth it in the end!

Some have asked for pictures and I promise to take my digital camera to the inspection on Tuesday. But, if you are local, well, you will have a real sense of Deja Vu! But then again, don't we all have deja vu as there only seem to be a handful of ways that they design homes out in these parts. It is basically OUR same house only with a full finished basement (hello craft room/kids hideout) and a third car for the hubby so he can tend to the "girls" in a more spacious environment. And, the house faces more of a NE direction than our current eastern exposure. SHHHH...if ANYONE asks it faces due east, ok? Yes, I know there is probably only one person in the world that would ask which way the house faces and be concerned if the house faces the wrong way. But, this same person has believed I'm a dragon not a snake for ten plus years so I think we can manage this modification of Feng Shui. Mums the word, now, ok?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

See photo below...and you'll know why Thing Two

calls himself a "Chinese Cheese Head!"

I just realized while looking at this photo: he looks a lot like his dad MOST days...but in this particular photo I see just a hint of MY people.

And that, as us Marthas like to say...is a good thing!

Patience paid off...

we got some good news yesterday...and unless anything unexpected occurs in the next couple of weeks, we will be MOVING!

But, to quote Thing Two, we are THE CRAZY Changs....because like he pointed out "Mom, only CRAZY people move around the corner. That makes us the CRAZY Changs!"

And the boys are already arguing over who gets the "girlie room". One of the rooms has a floral border painted on the wall. No, not your usual testosterone argument of "I don't want THAT one, it has girl colors". NOPE, those crazy things are arguing over WHO GETS IT! I thought it was strange until I realized that room currently has a TV in the bedroom and they think EVERYTHING in that house becomes ours. Yeah right...Don't count on any tvs going in your room any time soon!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Being Practical isn't always the most fun...

The past 10 days here at the House of Chang have been interesting to say the least. It started when I noticed that our "dream house" was for sale. We contacted a realtor, toured the dream house, we fell in love with it (as we knew we would), we scrubbed our house, even had a showing. And then we crunched the numbers and our practical side took over. Yes, it is a beautiful home and has those few extras that we wish the current House of Chang had. But we just couldn't justify the financial chaos that would result if we paid the current owners what they were wanting.

So, for now we shall continue to call this place home! And you know what, it will be ok! We've pinched those pennies for so long, worked to get a household budget that doesn't result in frustration whenever an unexpected bill shows up and we've gotten to the point where Hubby can take the "risk" of being his own boss. Why risk all this household happiness for just another house?

Yep, being practical is a bummer some times....but at the end of the day it works for us

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mama Mia, Papa Pia...

Not to long ago, the Things heard this phrase. Who knows where they first heard it. I blame Cartoon Network. Regardless, I just COULDN"T resist the temptation to teach them how the rhyme went when I was a kid! Yes, file that one under "stupid things Moms do without thinking!" Suddenly my boys were saying it 24/7: loving the ending about the baby and his tummy trouble.

Enough I said! It is funny the first ten thousand times but we need to think of a different way to finish the rhyme. Thing One immediately came up with "how about Mama Mia, Papa Pia...Baby ate a bag of CHIPS!"

True, it doesn't rhyme but he thinks it is hilarious. And that is what makes it so gosh darn funny!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another Blast from the past...

Isn't he CUTE???? This weekend while searching the computer for some files, I found these digital pictures. I'm not sure how these pictures ended up on my computer: I didn't embrace digital technology until late in 2002. And as I look back I think: what a fool I was. Staying attached to film, negatives and no delete button for way too long!

Today we are off to the indoor swimming hole. The Things are "off track" (please don't ask me to explain, suffice to say they don't have school this week) and they have been SO patient with mom and dad these past couple days. Today is all about THEM!

And yes, I"ll be taking my digital camera with me to capture all the fun and excitement...
PS: check out those plump cheeks and those tiny hands. God makes them so cute...somedays that is their only saving grace, eh?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Remembering When...

This weekend hubby and I spent a lot of time clearing out clutter. Yep, I've been watching HGTV again. But this time hubby was on board with me which made the entire process go twice as fast. Thanks honey, luv ya!

So, one box I found had some notes from Thing One's first year of preschool. He was barely three in this picture and still couldn't say his name. Thankfully he was totally oblivious to the worry and waiting us adults were going through as we waited patiently for him to find his voice. And find his voice he did...about 4 months after this photo was taken. Now, if only he could find a pause or mute button and all would be perfect! :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Too much on my mind

You go from having not much to worry about...to having big things on the horizon that make you go "hmmm....those quiet days were pretty nice, weren't they?"

It has been a long day and I'm all tired out. but, I thought I'd share with everyone a picture.
Yep: it is getting to be that time of year...and the Chang Gang made their annual trip to the Things school. And, yep, even the lucky dragon made an appearance..

Start making your resolutions...we've got a new year just around the corner. The year of the Dog starts next Sunday, January 29th.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Snow...finally arrived...

I tell you: either Mother Nature is not cooperating or those weather men were looking at the wrong radars earlier in the week. FINALLY we are getting some snow. And as is ALWAYS the case, it is coming on my errand day! Oh well, back to the chores of the day. Too many things to work on to use this as my do nothing lazy excuse day. Snow or not...I gotta go!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Amazing What?

Thing One and Thing Two had the pleasure of learning all about shrinky dinks this weekend. Ok, so they call them something different these days, but the same concept. Color the plastic, cut the plastic, place in the oven and VOILA: You've got an AMAZING CROATIAN...at least that is what Thing Two INSISTED on calling his pieces. I tried to correct him: "don't you mean amazing CREATIONS?" Nope, he was sticking with his Croatians and if you spend much time with him, you know that I decided to just let this one go (and secretly thanked him for supplying me with yet another amuzing blog entry!)

Where is the snow I was promised?????

Ok, I try really hard not to use my blog as a space to vent. Ya know, once it goes on the internet, it is really hard to take things back. But, come on folks: the weather man PROMISED me some snow. He predicted 3-6 inches. So, just where the heck is it?

I so need an excuse to sit around in my jammies all day, drinking coffee and basically procrastinating. AND, I need some white stuff on the ground so that I can do this without feeling guilty. I need to be able to blame it one the winter blahs.

Yeah yeah, be careful what you wish for...frankly, I"m wishing for a big old snowstorm!
The pantry is stocked. The wine cabinet is full and every bathroom has at least 4 rolls of essential paper. Bring it on, Mother Nature! I'm ready!

After 8th grade, I guess they are on their own!

You Passed 8th Grade Science
Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

And just in case you are wondering...I got all 8 correct on the FIRST try, thank you very much!

So, I'm guessing this means the Things can count of some level of homework help until at least 8th grade. After that, well, all bets are off!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The ULTIMATE Cookie recipe

At least for those of us that live this far above sea level, baking is often a challenge. Getting just the right balance takes time and tweaking. That's why I'm so eager to share with anyone who might want to try...this PERFECT choc. chip cookie recipe...at least for high altitude. Just the right balance of crunch and chewy. Trust me, you won't eat just one. And before I forget, Thanks to Carol for sharing...

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
2/3 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 TBSP vanilla
Mix together THEN add 1 cup flour
Add chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 until golden (in my oven they take about 10 minutes)

Gotta go before Thing Two eats all them cookies...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Monday is a Holiday...

That much Thing Two understands.
He also knows there is no school and he gets to go to his pal's birthday party...
Which just happens to be the same day as "Arthur King JUNIOR"'s Birthday.

"Isn't that cool mom, J AND Arthur have the same birthday. Only, Arthur is dead. Some man shot him with a gun after he gave a speech".

Ok, I can see we need to work on that Auditory processing just a bit, and perhaps work on understanding the reason for the holiday as well!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thing Two...speaking the truth yet again...

Yep, sometimes the boy just says what he means and means what he says...
Last night, as hubby was assisting with a craft (thanks Uncle Mike and Ms. Terri: a million different pieces), Thing Two tells his father (retired Army man that he is)...

"Ya know Dad, I might not be strong enough to be a Marine Helicopter Pilot"
Followed by a pause...just long enough to finish with
"So, if I'm not strong enough, I guess I'll just have to join the Army, won't I?"

Yep, The Marines: the proud, the few, and even to a 6 year old, only the strongest of strong need apply!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Book Reviews

I readily admit that I've always been a bit on the bookish side. But, since we've got TiVo and high speed internet access, time I previously spent reading gets divided three ways (and not always in equal or appropriate proportions!). During the long holiday break, both hubby and I turned off the gadgets and got reading. I'd like to share with you a couple of the books I've read recently. I hope to keep this a recurring topic as a way to keep me on the path of reading as I always feel like I am doing something good with my limited free time when I read.

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. It is apparently the first in a trilogy and the story takes place in the coal mining regions of West VA. The author creates some colorful characters and has an easy way of writing so that you are quickly drawn into the storyline. It made for a quick and fun read. Perhaps the best way to describe it is "Chick Lit, medium roast"....by that I mean it isn't as light and goofy as some chick books nor was it as sappy of a love story as perhaps the works of Nicholas Sparks. I think I will look for the next two at the library. Not such a great work that you need it for your own library collection but definetly worth a look when you might be trying to get back in the routine of reading.

4th of July by James Patterson. This is a book that kept me up way too late in the days leading up to Christmas. Hubby remarked, must be some good book for you to stay up past 10. Well, if you've read any of Patterson's works, you understand, once you have been hooked, you just can't put it down! You just keep reading to figure out who did it and why! This book is in the series set in SF Bay area which I find so intersting since the inlaws live there and I can easily relate to the various geographical landmarks he references. I can visualize the setting and it makes it all that more enjoyable. And since all my favorite crime shows were in reruns, I got my "fix" by reading how Lt. Lindsey Boxer and her female pals solve who was killing off couples in the Half Moon Bay area. Again, it was a quick easy read and something you can easily read in the 3 week library time allotted. More like 24hrs once you get sucked into the plot line!