Sunday, March 28, 2010

Datebook March 28 2010

I usually copy and paste from Word, but am too lazy to do that, so I'll go from Memory

Outside - yesterday was gorgeous! Today pouring rain! Oh well. I have no idea the forecast for the rest of the week

I am thinking - I need to make sure I don't spend too much time relaxing this coming week. I think part of the reason we've never moved before now is that we're lazy. Also, only 5 weeks until I go back to work.

I am hoping - we can pull this house thing off within our time limit.

Weekend - Saturday morning we went for breakfast with my parents at White Spot. It's been months since we did that, and you can tell because Duncan was so well behaved. We just don't eat out a lot, but perhaps it wouldn't hurt once in a while. It could also be that he was extra good because Oma and Opa were there. Anyhow, we went home, cleaned out the shed, vegged for a bit while the kids napped - okay, Duncan didn't nap. And he was tired. And so we were going to go get him his bike, but said he'd have to wait b/c he didn't listen to us. It worked out better that we didn't get one because we had a busy day. Anyhow, off to Mom and Dad's dropped off stuff, helped them with computer problems, had a cup of tea, then we went grocery shopping, and then finally home. Sunday we went to church this morning, and in the afternoon Cordie and I went and looked at some show homes with Rhonda and Alexandra, and then we went over to the Bell's to celebrate Rhonda's 40th birthday today. It was nice to see them again - 2x in 2 weeks!

In the Kitchen: A little unprepared this week, I think pasta tomorrow, we have pork chops and chicken in the freezer, and also fish sticks and fries.

Plans: clean, sort, pack, blah blah... I need to run some errands, Oh, the realtor my brother is asking us to consider using is coming over Tuesday night. Bill is off Thursday and Friday. Oh and Duncan has swimming on Wednesday - he's starting to do better with it now.

I am reading: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie - it's cute

Picture thought:
I posted this one on facebook, but it's just cute.

Things to do

We had a good weekend getting a kick start on preparing to put our place on the market. Our goal was to empty out a good number of boxes from our shed and bring them to Mom and Dad's (aka Mom and Dad's House of Storage), so that we have more room in the shed. We want more room in the shed so as we get stuff boxed up we can just put them in there and we should be able to avoid needing to rent storage space like we did the last time.

Our brief stint on the market last time helped us get rid of a lot of stuff, and we made a lot of repairs at that time, so we're in too bad of shape.

So, what needs to be done:
Outside the gardens need to be cleaned up and we need to pressure wash all concrete
Inside: put the majority of kids stuff up in their rooms, pack away most dvds, find a nice table cloth to throw over the train table so that when we're showing it looks like a coffee table (although we're not going to try and totally hide that kids live here, kids do, after all, live here)

Not too much in the kitchen, although we're discussing moving the sideboard or sewing desk. We'll see there. Oh, and Jeff is supposed to come and tile a backsplash for us. I also want to see if I can find some reliable way to string a curtain across the washer/dryer area. So far spring loaded curtain rods have not worked. I already did a good declutter of that bathroom.

Upstairs - go through all closets, pack stuff up, move it around, make more room, etc... we want to paint the master bedroom (painting party next weekend if anyone is free)

And then clean clean clean.

Bill has a 5 day weekend over Easter, so we're really hoping we can get it all done and on the market by next week. We have 90 days to sell, buy, and move. It is 3 months, and not undoable. Let's pray it all comes together!

Friday, March 26, 2010

House Hunting

You know House Hunters and House Hunters International are two of my favourite shows on HGTV. I think I enjoy them for their simplicity, but we also enjoy guessing which one are they going to pick. I also like seeing some really fancy houses.

Anyhow, the reason I bring this up, is that we will soon be House Hunters ourselves.

Following a strata meeting a few weeks ago (which Bill described quite well on his blog here) I came home declaring we were moving. We've been here for 9 years, and when we moved here we figured we'd be here for about 10 years. And actually, we were going to wait until next year. We wrote a list of improvements we were going to be making because we were going to stick around a while long. But following this meeting, I realized I don't have much patience for some of the people around here any more, and that perhaps I'm done with strata living.

Don't get me wrong - this has been a great place to live. We've made friends, it's been an awesome investment, our daycare is 7 doors away (speaking of which, they've listed too). But with frustration, and the HST coming in July 1, 2010, I think it's time to go.

And so begins the process of cleaning, decluttering, repairing, sprucing, etc... We actually don't have too much to do in the grand scheme of things because when we went on the market a year and a half ago we got rid of a lot of stuff, and fixed a bunch of stuff. My brother is going to install a tile backsplash in the kitchen for us, we're going to paint the master bedroom, we need to powerwash outside, but otherwise we're good.

And of course I'm searching online for houses, even though we're not ready to buy yet. I've found this one, which I really like from the looks of it, but of course it probably won't be for sale any more by the time we're ready to look. We have a realtor coming over on Tuesday evening to just meet with us and say hi (someone my brother has worked with, although we'll see if we actually use him or our regular realtor). We also have preapproval from the bank for a mortgage - so we're on our way.

We have 90 days to get this done. Let the games begin!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Catch Up

Hi friends!
Sorry I've not been blogging. I write blog posts in my head all the time, but lately spending time on the computer has not been a priority, so I haven't :)

So what's going on - and I'll try and expand on a few of these later - but here we go.

  1. Return to Work (or RTW as we call it at work) is in 5.5 weeks. Not too happy about it. But you know, need the money and all.
  2. I've enrolled Duncan in the Pre-K program at Maple Ridge Christian School
  3. At that, I still have not received my cheques back from the other preschool and think I might put a stop payment on them
  4. We're hoping to buy a house soon. But we need to get this place read to list. Our friends in our complex listed on the weekend and have already had two 2nd viewings - so when we're ready it might go quick. I already found the house I want, but I doubt it will still be available when we're ready to buy
  5. My computer seems to be acting up. Hermmmm.... perhaps time to do a back up? :)
And that's it! Going to watch Idol and enjoy some time with my husband!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Swimming lessons

Oh, wait, I don't think you can call it swimming unless you get into the pool. :)

Duncan started swimming lessons today. Up until now it's always been swimming with Mom or Dad in the pool. Well now he's of an age where it's guppies 1 (which I think the goal is to get them to put their face in the water), and it also means no mommy or daddy in the pool. Aferall, the point is for him to learn how to swim on his own eventually.

I knew Duncan might need to do guppies 1 a few times before moving on, but I had to laugh when literally the entire lesson today was trying to get him into the pool. They tried everything (so did I!). A life guard came over to try and coax him in (it's just the kiddie pool), and then the head life guard came over and tried. Nope! There is this little ledge between the kiddie pool and the leisure pool, which is about 6 inches of water, and he had no problem wandering around there - after I took off my socks and shoes and rolled up my jeans and walked through with him. But he would not get in the pool. Until the end when it was time to go down the slide, and then he tried to push past the one other kid in the class to go first. Ah, that's my boy. So "no Duncan, it wasn't your turn" and he had to back up, let the other boy go, and then he went down the slide into the pool just fine.

So perhaps there is hope down the road (of course there is). I spoke with the teacher and the head life guard who both assured me there is always one or two in every class. But I also said I didn't want to be a meddling parent, and what would they prefer I do to help. They suggested we come early and go swimming together 1st. So I will try and do that on Friday (it's 2x a week, which I think will be good).

He is such a funny boy. I knew he would be hesitant, but I also know he's curious b/c they were playing some pretty fun looking games. We'll see!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Preschool update

It seems to me that since I made the decision I want to do a reviews and giveaways blog I have had no time to even think about it!! I still want to. I'll get there. But right now the kids are priority, especially since it is Spring Break.

So, an update on the whole preschool situation. Thanks to those of you how commented before. I did call the school to pull him for next year and they were surprisingly understanding and said they would get me all my cheques back to me. I'm happy about that. They said they only had 3 kids register new (aside from the 19 total returning). This only puts the school, which has no home, at about 1/3 capacity. What bothers me - among many things - is that, for example, they said they were advertising on Criagslist, but there is no ad on there since I think September of last year.

Now we need to find a new school. It has to be something on this side of town, reasonable price, etc etc... I have a few more I will be calling after Spring Break is over and finding out. I called on one last week but I didn't get a good vibe on them. I still think it's a shame we even need to do this.

On Friday I was talking to the friend of one of our current teachers, and they didn't know at all this was all coming. I feel so bad for them b/c they are great teachers.

Also on Friday afternoon one of the other Mom's was talking to us and asked if we'd rec'd the letter from the school basically indicating that if you had attended the meeting the week before you were agreeing to the extra money each money, and to the parents who didn't attend, that meant majority said everyone had to pay. This is getting a lot of backs up. Attending a meeting doesn't mean you agree to it. So now more people thinking of pulling the kids out, which makes me wonder again if the school will make it to the end of the year. I would like to see Duncan be there through June because he really does love it.

And finally on to the wine raffle. Well I called printshops to see if we could get free tickets and it kind of comes down to they have so much in sponsorship available each year and we didn't fit in that anymore. So I emailed the other people who said they would print up tickets themselves, but since it is spring break I don't think the fellow who said he would do it got the email yet, and we were hoping to have this all out on Monday.

It's just a mess. Thank goodness it's just preschool though!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Preschool drama

First let me say we love the preschool Duncan goes to. The teachers are fantastic. He absolutely loves it there. He loves his friends, the teachers, the songs, the playing, and we're really seeing him grow in his independence and abilities. Duncan is the kind of kid preschool was made for. It gets him used to group settings and having to listen etc... This year we did two mornings a week, and next year we registered him for 3 mornings a week. The year after that we're in full day kindergarten - eek! But that's still a ways away.

Back to the preschool - it's parent led. Which means that the teachers work for a parent board and the parents on the board make all the decisions and handle financials etc... This became quite a problem last week when we all received a notice - after we'd already registered for next year - that the school is in financial distress, and they are proposing each student pay $40 extra a month which might get the school through until the end of the year.

There was a meeting on Monday night. Lots of things came out of it - the school district has raised rent by $400/month, student enrollment is down by 18 students, provincial grants didn't come through, the teachers have had hours reduced already, the school phone has been cut to save a bit of money, and that the school has to find a new space for next year b/c with all day K coming in the school we're renting from needs the space back... We asked questions like when did you find out about the rent increase ("we just found out" we were told), what is going to happen next year? ("we need to get through this year 1st") what if we can't pay? ("we need everyone to pay"), etc etc etc...

A lot of things didn't sit right. Gina, a friend, had a good point, we don't understand what it's like to be running that business, so we should cut them a bit of a break, but we're all thinking you can't tell us you didn't know back in September that enrollment was low, you knew several months ago about the rent increase, why didn't you come to us sooner? Oh, and it came up that fund raising has not been too successful, and the fundraising parent in charge had left the board. Gina and I suggested we do a wine raffle to maybe raise a bunch of money (worked well for my Mom's school) and we'd spearhead it. So we were all there for probably an hour and a 1/2 talking and coming up with ideas... but Jen and Nikki had these looks on their faces like "I'm not too sure about all of this".

There is so much going on. The next morning I'm talking to Gina to start coordinating the wine raffle. She mentions she is going to put her son in another school next year b/c if these people can't handle this year and communicating with us, would they really be able to find a new spot, move the school, get the students etc... I thought that was a good point. Then I was picking Duncan up and chatting with the Moms outside and one of them is the fundraiser Mom and she told me the reason she quit is because they knew all of this a long time ago (last year) and made a conscious decision to not tell parents yet. Fundraising would have been effective but they weren't communicating with the parents (which they weren't at all). Anyhow, she left b/c she couldn't handle the way they were making decisions any more. They knew a while ago the school would need to move. They knew a while ago the rent was going up, not "we just found out" like they told us when I'd asked the night before.

Then I was talking to Nikki after and she says "I don't think the school is going to make it to the end of the year" and wondered whether or not to pull her son now. I said I would like Duncan to see out the year if we can - unless the school folds, because he really does love it there. She then told me that one of the board members (and this was just killer) had already decided to enroll her child in another preschool for next year. The board doesn't even have confidence in the school being around!! So we've decided we will look for a new school for next year for the boys. We will try and stick it out for the rest of this year - but apparently parents are already pulling their kids, so we don't think it will be around until the end of the year. I then called Gina and said "do we want to bother with the wine raffle if it isn't even going to make a difference?" she agreed and said she would talk to some people and get the low down. I also talked to Jen (who watched Duncan for us a few years back) and she has already registered her son in another school for next year.

It's just shame!! I just wish they had communicated with us more and more often. Keeping the parents in the dark and telling untruths to kind of protects themselves... I'm sure these women are otherwise good people, I don't want to slander them. I think they just didn't know how to handle the situation. But the long and the short of it is that my kid is being screwed out of this all, and I don't like that.

So now we're out shopping for a new preschool, and I need to get my cheques for next year back. I need to find out who to call about that actually.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Today March 2, 2010

Yeah I know I'm a little late. Oh well!

Outside my window: it's getting sunny now. It was spitting earlier. I brought Brayden too and from preschool with us today, and so Mom watched Cordie while I did that (thanks again Mom! (and she cleaned and put my groceries away too! My Mom rocks!)). Anyhow I was going to walk for the pick up portion of it but b/c it was rainy and cool and both Duncan and I have this cough, I decided to drive.

I am hearing: Rachel Ray.

I am thinking: I need to get the kids up. We're going to one of Duncan's friend's house for an afternoon playdate. I'm really glad Sarah (Dylan's Mom) and I get along and that we call each other to get the kids together to play. It's nice.

I am hoping: We can figure out our preschool problem. I'll post about that later. I'm hoping I can blog more. I'm hoping Cordie keeps sleeping through the night as she has the past 2 nights. Bless her!

I am reading: Both a Lion Among Men (bedside) and Unexpected Gifts by Holly Jacobs - that's the Harlequin Romance I won recently, and it's fun. Holly was very sweet to send it to me with a personal note inside and all.

I am creating: Nothing. I need to be! But I'm not.

I am wearing: jeans and green t-shirt

In the kitchen: So I won this subscription to this menu planning site, which is cool b/c it helps me think of new things to make, but at the same time, it makes my grocery list a mile long. So this week we've gone back to basics - burgers, tacos, tonight is a breakfast chicken and fries, also goulash, and shake and bake chicken. Groceries were still expensive but because it was one of those we ran out of everything weeks.

Plans for the week: well last night was preschool meeting. today we're going to Dylan'S house, tomorrow is MOPS, Friday morning Duncan is getting his haircut. It's spring break next week. I'm going to attempt potty training.

A few of my favourite things: Cordie learned how to clap and cheer watching us cheer for the Olympics. It's the cutest thing. Duncan learning how to jump and actually get his feet off the ground.

A picture thought: