Monday, December 29, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Hunter is the Mancala Master.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Also, if you don't know, we have been going through the most excruciating, agonizing experience of our lives. The only thing that can even remotely compare to this stress was when Hunter was born 7 weeks early, but even that is a long shot because I always knew he would be fine, and that he was in good hands.
Upon deciding to join the army after much prayer and fasting, we expected everything to fall into place and that the house would magically sell, and I hoped we at least wouldn't lose the money we put down on it. But alas, in six months it hasn't sold, and with a 60 percent pay cut, we were reduced to using credit card money to pay the darn mortgage, months after we vacated the place. We lowered the price to the point that we would lose every penny of our equity, and still not a bite. That's just the market right now. Needless to say there have been many sleepless nights around here as we've pondered what to do. We have stellar credit, and that was on the line. It didn't make sense to keep paying the mortgage; it was a bottomless pit, and we were using one creditor to pay another. I've been job hunting, but being out of the workforce for 5 years, and not having a real "career" to speak of, I've had no bites there either. It wouldn't be worth taking a menial job, as the pay would barely make a dent in the mortgage payment, not to mention the cost of childcare for Kyler...
So a week ago I called our congressman's office back in Oregon (where we maintain residency) and asked if they could give us any guidance. While waiting a few days for a response, I even called Bank of America and asked what options we had. The front line customer service rep I got said there was not a thing they would do for us, since we no longer had the income to support the mortgage. That infuriated me, and made me realize we weren't getting anywhere by continuing to pay the mortgage.
Soon after I finally heard back from the congressman's office with a number to call. After explaining our situation, the HUD counselor advised that we stop making the mortgage payment. That was shocking, yet titillating at the same time. I then mentioned that Dean is in the process of getting a security clearance in the Army, credit being the first thing checked. She said in that case we might need to continue to pay the mortgage, but gave us several ideas to work on, and on her end she was going to send paperwork to the bank, petitioning our case. I called the bank on Saturday and asked to speak with someone about doing a Deed in Lieu (of foreclosure, which essentially gives the house back to the bank), and they tried to put me right through, but that department was gone for the day. I called at 8am today, directly to that department, and spoke to a nice lady who said to write a brief hardship letter, mention the Sailors and Soldiers Act, and give proof of our new income and fax it to a certain number, then call in a few days. She blocked any late fees, and put a block on our credit as well, as we will no longer be making payments. She said the Soldiers and Sailors Act would also protect our credit. So, hopefully everything will work out. We've now put this month's mortgage payment toward paying off one of those credit cards. Hallelujah! Now we just wait for it all to transpire, and keep praying and crossing our fingers. Thank you to all who have remembered us in your prayers!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Poor Kyler must have picked up another bug in the nursery. He doesn't really go anywhere else, except maybe the commissary with me. He started having a deep and nasty-emphysema-sounding cough mid week, which would only happen when he got up in the morning. We had already decided to not take him to nursery today, and that Dean would take him home after Sacrament Meeting. But he proceeded to cough and cough on the kids in front of and behind us, so Dean skedaddled as soon as the Sacrament was over. Tonight he woke up a few minutes ago and was in his room crying and coughing just a little, so I snuggled him back to sleep. He still has a red splotch on his face from a chicken pock. He hasn't really been sick since last winter (except for the pinkeye from the babysitting co-op in the spring). Poor baby! I remember being miserable and sick as a child, but that's what builds up our immunity. I have gotten out of the habit of giving them vitamin/mineral supplements, so maybe that's contributing. He eats lots of fruits and vegies, though. Maybe I'd better start sanitizing the shopping cart handles as well, but he's often not in the cart anyway, if he has any say in it, and I didn't go this week until he already had symptoms!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I noticed some spots on Kyler, and he was a little clingier and whinier than usual. He proceeded to develop a fever, and was willing to nap on the sofa, so I figured he must have the chicken pox. As far as I know he's been vaccinated, but Dr. Dean says they aren't 100%. The only place he really could have picked it up is the nursery at church. Oh, well. He was sick for the day, then quite back to normal. He looks so angelic sleeping . . . there next to his gun.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Well, yesterday was Hunter's turn. I had just left the commissary on the marine base and was heading home to meet Hunter at his bus stop. I got a call from his teacher on my cell phone stating that he had thrown up and she didn't want to put him on the bus if she didn't have to, so I went to the school to get him. The school is about 7 miles from the house, kind of out in the boonies. He was fine by the time I got there, and they had a spare shirt so he didn't have to wear the pukey one home. She said he even ran for the trash can, which is better than my first time in the second grade. Just ask my desk buddies Ronelle and Melania; I still hear about it occasionally.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday we decided to go to the temple in Raleigh, about 145 miles from here. It is a small temple, so we had to make an appointment, but it worked out nicely. I got on craigslist to see if I could find a sitter near the temple for the boys. It makes for one long day for a sitter when you leave them back home and travel hours away. I did get a sitter, but afterward we decided it probably wasn't the best idea to find a random person on the internet; she was a nice teenager in a nice home, and she apparently had other kids there as well, and she was only about a mile from the temple... it still made us a little nervous while we were separated from them, but whaddya do?
I'm not normally much into fishing, but a while back on a Friday night I wanted to get out of the house and go do or see something family friendly, so Dean's first thought was to go down in a bay on the base and try his luck at catching good things to eat. He caught a few fish that were too small, so had to throw them back. He set his crab net and actually caught a blue crab. He and Hunter both used their shrimp nets and later in the evening caught some shrimp. I don't know who first thought of eating shrimp! They look like a big nasty bug with legs and long eye things and antennae (not at all like the tasty things that are all prepared and ready to eat). The boys had fun running around with other kids that were there. That's a shrimp net in the picture, by the way. He and Hunter each have one.
Our back yard here is ginormous. It took me an hour and a half to mow the front and back lawn in Astoria. Dean said a while back that he had decided he should help with such things more. Lo and behold, he followed through and did it. It took two hours just to do the back! As I had never seen such an event, I took a picture. You can't much see it, but that's him in the surgical face mask, sparing his allergies.
I got together with a lady from church last week at a nice park so Kyler could play with her kids. He has been stir crazy at home with me. He rode that pelican like he was going to take off, and had lots of fun otherwise.
I am still unpacking and hanging pictures and all those things I do so often since we move so much. I am also job hunting, since the buyer for our house fell through, and Dean makes a fraction of what he did in private practice, and we are sinking fast. We haven't had any other bites on our house...
Monday, September 29, 2008
Dean has come to judge the quality of living in a particular city or area by how good the fishing is. We loved Astoria, OR, but he was never able to dig (clams), catch (fish) or trap (crabs) much, and was sorely disappointed there. Here, he is doing great in that department, and took Hunter shrimping the other evening. They came home with a 16" flounder. He watched an online demonstration on how to fillet it, and the next day I found a scrumptious recipe and cooked it up for dinner. The boys would hardly touch it, and Hunter even put on a show by gagging up the one bite he took. So Dean and I enjoyed most all of it.
Dean did have a discussion with the Sergeant Major, by the way, about how to respond to "Oorahs" from the Marines. It was a lengthy discourse about all the potential meanings or nuances that could be behind the "greeting", much like all the possible implications of an "aloha". There is only a subtle difference between a Marine's "oorah" and a Soldier's "hooah", so potentially they could be mocking him with a "hooah" (50,000 Marines and a dozen Army Soldiers makes one feel like a walking target), in which case Sgt. E. recommends hitting them. He says he does it; anyone below his rank qualifies for a hit. Hmm. That's an idea, but probably not one Dean will apply. Perhaps it is just a friendly greeting. He can't really respond with a "Semper Fi", not being a Marine. So at this point, still no definitive answer.
I did venture on to the base on Saturday for the first time without Dean. He was working, as the VTF was hosting a vaccine/microchip clinic outside. They had one of those big jumping things for kids to play in, so I took the boys (and a scrub top Dean requested) to say 'hi' to Daddy and to play in the jumper. The big mascot dog came by and gave the kids candy as well, and Kyler spent the rest of the day asking where the Army dog was. I also went shopping at the commissary. It's amazing! Not too much fun with the boys along, but the prices are sweet! I was disappointed in how expensive the potatoes are here. They were cheap in Oregon, like $2 for a 10 pound bag was the regular price. It was more like $6 here, at the commissary! Sweet potatoes were only .50/lb so I got a bunch of those instead.
I'm still getting the hang of being a military wife, and have been afraid of doing something wrong on the base and getting flogged - or whatever they would do to me. Dean tries to assure me that I have nothing to worry about but I have my doubts. I sure feel silly when the MPs at the gate to the base salute me; Dean says it makes him feel silly too. One of the techs called the other evening to ask him something. It used to be 'Dr. Lavallee'; now it's 'Captain Lavallee' that they ask for. He is loving the Army so far.
Church was nice today. People have been welcoming and Dean already knows a lot of them. The military people come and go as their assignments change. Kyler became a little aggressive toward the end in nursery, as another child got him with the door or something along those lines, and he had a little battle scar on his face to show for it. He hasn't been taking naps much lately, so is a grouch after noon most of the time. I cannot imagine how he is going to do as a Sunbeam in a few short months.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In Murdo, SD we saw this strange vehicle and had to take a picture of the inside and out - red neck limo perhaps?
Somewhere in Iowa we saw a real Dutch windmill, which was taken apart in the old world and reassembled in Iowa. We even ate at the Dutch restaurant next door.