Thursday, May 24, 2012

We're Legit Now

We've had an office in our house since we moved in, but it's never felt legit since it didn't have doors.  I go in there to pay our bills, and it's where we keep all our files and books, but neither Meezy or I ever work in there because we usually need quiet away from dogs and baby.  When we need to make important phone calls, we end up going upstairs to a guest bedroom.  Well, that time is over!  With my business really picking up, and Meezy working from home more often, we finally pulled the trigger on getting the office closed in with french doors.  It looks awesome!  Here's the transformation:







Cutie Pie

Dutch isn't tall enough for the Exersaucer yet, but sometimes I put him in there for a few minutes with a box underneath his feet, just to get him used to it.  He loves pressing against the box and trying to stand up, and he's gotten a lot more excited about the toys lately.  Warning: graphically cute video below:

 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Three Months Old

We've hit the three month mark, and so much has happened!  This little one is becoming such a big guy, right before our eyes.  Each time he does something new, Meezy and I get so excited and proud!  Dutch has these little toys that attach to his car seat, and he always gets so happy when he sees them.  Previously he could only smile at them, and that turned into being able to swat at them, and now he's able to push the button on them that makes a song play.  The same goes for the toys that hang from the top of his playmat - he actually grabs onto them now, instead of just staring and randomly swatting.  It's been pretty cool to witness his development.  He also has come to love his baths.  After we're done washing him, we let him sit in his little tub for a few minutes, just splashing around.  He makes himself smile, and it's super cute! Dutch has also started going to daycare part-time, and he has done amazingly well!  He only had one day of not drinking well from his bottle, and now he gobbles them down at each feeding.  He's also taking regular naps in a crib, which wasn't something we were able to do at home thanks to my inconsistent and hectic work schedule.  I'm so glad he's getting interaction with other kids and having days that are overall less stressful.  My stress level has decreased as well, so we're both benefiting!  Happy three months to the cutest guy I've ever laid eyes on.





 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Perfect Match!

We made a couple of pleas in the past few months among our family and friends to try and find a new home for our dog, Juneau.  Even though she's been with us for almost 6 years, her recent fighting with one of our other dogs necessitated a new environment.  Believe me, I struggled with the thought of giving her to someone else, even someone we knew.  Because of that, we spent about $1400 getting extensive training for her and the other dog she was fighting with, in hopes that it would mean they could both stay in our house.  When that didn't work, and our persistent efforts at home to get them to socialize failed, we knew we had to look for another solution.  We had a couple of people interested in adopting her, but we were super picky because she wasn't just a dog to us.  She was a member of our family, and we wanted to make sure she'd be moving into an equally loving environment that could provide her a house, a backyard, lots of attention, and no other dogs around.  When nothing panned out, we resolved ourselves to the fact that we'd just be stuck keeping them segregated in our house until the end of time.  There was no way we'd ever surrender her to a shelter, so this was our only option.

What this meant was that at all times, at least one of our dogs was in a crate or in the backyard.  They could never be in the same place at the same time, unsupervised.  It was quite a beating to keep up this arrangement, especially if we needed to be away from the house for an extended period of time, or had guests over.  "Don't open that door because Juneau's outside and she can't come inside with Casey."  "I've got to get home because Juneau has been in a crate for 4 hours and I need to let her out."  Add in the fact that we have a newborn, and things became even more stressful.  I knew this wasn't an ideal arrangement for anybody, but I still wouldn't turn her over to a shelter, no matter what.  So, this was our life for the past few months, and we figured it would be our life for the foreseeable future.

Then, earlier this month, my sister mentioned that a neighbor of hers was looking for a new dog.  He is a retired widower who lost his beloved dog recently, and was seeking a Shepherd about 6-8 years old.  Umm, Juneau is a Shepherd mix who is about 7 years old!  I jumped at the chance to introduce them.  He had already been a dog-owner for many years, had a house with a backyard with doggie door access, was home often, and was seeking the companionship of a new dog.  Could this be any more perfect?  Meezy brought Juneau over on a Sunday morning, and the neighbor said he'd spend a couple hours with her and let us know how it went.  Fast forward a couple hours, and he tells us he got acquainted with her, then left her alone in the house while he ran an errand, everything went really well, and he'd like to keep her overnight!  Meezy and I were starting to get excited, but we didn't want to get our hopes up too soon.  Over the next couple of days, the neighbor informed us about how Juneau immediately claimed his couch, made herself at home, and was enjoying the 2-3 walks he was taking her on each day.  2-3 walks a day!!  We knew Juneau was in heaven.  Since then, he's taken her to a local baseball game a couple of times where she's interacted well with adults and kids, and even did well meeting other neighborhood dogs on their walks.  But, when he told us he'd be dog-sitting for his daughter's male Sheltie last weekend, we cringed.  Would this be the end of Juneau's stay at his house?  Would she get nervous and apprehensive and lash out at the new dog?  We feared the worst.  To our surprise, however, Juneau behaved very well and the two dogs got along great over the weekend.  We breathed a huge sigh of relief.  It affirmed that Juneau's problems were with our other female dog, not all dogs in general.

So, where are we today?  All her vet records have been transferred over, she's got a new collar with a new address tag, her micro-chip owner record has been updated, and she's a happy dog!  The best part is that we can see her often since she now lives down the street from my sister.  I've already visited a couple times, and I saw her out on a walk yesterday when I arrived at my sister's house for dinner.  It brings me such joy to see Juneau in an environment where she gets so much love and attention, and gets to go on walks constantly!  It also makes me happy to see that she's bringing joy into someone else's life.  I think we found a perfect match!          

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Date Night

It's been a while since I've posted, and you can guess why!  My job and taking care of Dutch have kept me busy.  We're starting part-time daycare this week, so hopefully that means more time for catching up on a lot of things!  Meezy and I did get a chance to have a date night on Friday, and it was nice to get dressed up, spend some time with each other, and hang out with friends.  Thanks to Oma being the babysitter, we were able to eat at Jorge's and then catch the musical, American Idiot, at Winspear.  It was a fun show, and great company!  Here are some pics from our night out:

Finally had a reason to wear my Pucci shoes!

My beautiful friends, Stari and Sharon

Our handsome (and silly) husbands

I have more posts to catch up on, and we're having some home renovations done this week, so hopefully I'll get the chance to share them while Dutch is at daycare!  We shall see.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

You're Doing OK

One of my favorite commercials of all time:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In My Old Age

Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vindication

It was a huge leap of faith to quit my job last year and pursue a completely different career path.  I had been with my company for 4 years and was in a Senior position.  The pay and bonuses were great, I had made many friends, and there were lots of perks to working there.  But, it wasn't my passion.

I've been interested in real estate ever since I worked for a mortgage company back in college.  I serviced mortgage loans and also had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of building wealth through real estate holdings.  I dreamed of one day owning lots of properties, like my boss at the time did.  Around this same time, my hubby was looking for a place to live with some of his friends.  They had rented a house previously, but he decided he'd just try to buy a house and use his roommate's rent payments to cover his mortgage payment.  He found an affordable house near our college campus, bought it, and basically lived rent-free for a couple of years.  When it came time to graduate and move away from that city, he figured he could keep finding college students to rent it and just hang on to it instead of selling it.  Nine years later, we're still renting it to college students each year, and it's our best investment! 

That first house was a leap of faith in itself.  It's scary for a 21 year old to buy a house when he's still in college and only working part time.  That was just the beginning, though!  From there, Meezy bought two more houses to use as rentals, and then we've bought three more since we got married (one is our homestead).  It's kind of an addiction!  I get a lot of pride from walking into a house that I own.  Don't get me wrong - owning rental properties is a TON of work.  But, it's also very fulfilling, and I look forward to the day when I can sell one of them to pay for Dutch's college, and use the income from the rest to live comfortably in retirement.

From my previous work experience, and then our personal experience with our own houses, my fondness of real estate just continued to grow over the years.  I loved the feeling of buying a house and calling it my own, and I loved the idea of helping others do the same.  My mother-in-law was very instrumental in my pursuit of this dream.  She invested time and money into starting an office and being my broker, and then set me loose to see what business I could drum up.  I basically started from scratch and really wasn't expecting much.  Through the support and trust of my awesome friends and family, however, my business has really blossomed!  Half of my client base has come from referrals, which is a huge compliment. There were times near the beginning where I didn't think I'd be able to find enough work to stay busy, and now that feeling is far behind me! 

Today, one of my listings went under contract, and it was the fourth one to go under contract in just about a month's time!  All of my listings are spoken for, and that's a wonderful feeling.  I treat each of these houses as if they're my own, and I put as much effort into taking care of my clients as I would my own personal matters.  When I'm showing someone a house, I try to put myself in their shoes and really focus on what they've told me they want.  I do this because this isn't just a job to me.  I wouldn't have regretted quitting my old job and pursuing this path no matter what the outcome was; I would have regretted not trying.  But, it's still nice to know I made the right decision! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Best Gifts

Are when you feel loved!


From my sweet niece, Olivia.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

One More Year

One more year until I'm 30.  Ack!  This birthday was definitely different from all my previous birthdays, thanks to us being a family of 3 now!  Last year I was hanging out with this guy:

Partying at Hotel Zaza with my hubby and friends

This year I was hanging out with this guy:

Pretty much just a smaller version of the guy in the pic above

My how life changes in a year!  I've never been one to make a big deal out of my birthday, and now that I'm a mom, celebrating my birthday seems even less important!  But, Meezy did buy me a couple of thoughtful things, and I got lots of great messages from my awesome friends and family.  So, it's definitely nice to feel the love on my birthday, even if I had no energy to do any type of crazy celebrating this year!  

On Saturday, my parents probably gave me the best birthday gift by offering to babysit for us so we could have dinner with some friends.  It was nice to relax for a few hours and catch up.  On Sunday, we had Supper Club at our house, where we ate Mexican food in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  My friend, Rebecca, made flan, since it's my favorite (and it was my birthday and all)!  Afterwards, we sat around playing games and my slightly inebriated sister entertained us with her choices of words (sorry Jo!).  It was a pretty good weekend.  :)        

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Day in the Life

My life feels incredibly hectic these days, so I decided to keep track of everything I did over a 24-hour period.  I started the log at 9:30pm on Sunday night.  Here's a day in the life of a working mom, with a newborn:

9:30pm - Call to Client S about game plan for listing; Meezy keeps Dutch occupied during this time
10:00pm - work on getting Dutch to bed for the night
10:30pm - Dutch is asleep; call to client M about contract on her house
11:30pm - catch up on emails, get ready for bed
12:00am - I sleep
4:00am - Dutch wakes up for feeding/diaper change; I let dogs out for bathroom break and then rock Dutch back to sleep
4:30am - I sleep
7:15am - Dutch wakes up for feeding/diaper change; I try to lay in bed with him and snooze for a little longer
8:00am - catch up on emails; phone call with client M
9:00am - put Dutch in his bouncer seat to chill while I get ready for the day
10:00am - work on contract for client M
10:30am - put Dutch down for a nap; babysitter arrives
11:00am - head out for meeting nearby regarding client K's property
11:30am - back at home; randomly saw that the Budweiser Clydesdales were in my neighborhood. Weird!


11:45am - babysitter leaves; Dutch wakes up for feeding; we go on a walk
12:30pm - got docs I had been waiting on for client M; conversed with client K
1:00pm - ate lunch
1:30pm - Dutch is fussy and needy, so I hold him, rock him, walk around with him for an hour
2:30pm - put Dutch down for a nap; work on CPE for my CPA license
3:20pm - Dutch wakes up and I feed him and we have play time together
4:30pm - phone call regarding client M; review feedback for showings on client S house; catch up on emails
5:00pm - put Dutch down for a nap; ride the stationery bike while taking a call regarding client S; text with client MC; answer emails regarding client M
5:30pm - Dutch wakes up; feed him, and he wants to be held; make a phone call to our alarm company with a question
6:15pm - phone call with bff while walking around with Dutch b/c he still doesn't want to be put down
7:10pm - Meezy gets home
7:30pm - Dutch finally gives in and goes down for a quick nap; Meezy and I catch up on our day
8:00pm - Dutch wakes up; we eat dinner; watch some TV
8:45pm - give Dutch a bath and feed him
9:30pm - Dutch is asleep; start working on CPE again; watch some TV

Anytime that Dutch isn't napping or sleeping, he's probably on my shoulder or sitting in my lap.  Sometimes that makes it hard to take phone calls or work on the computer, but this is the reality!  I'm pretty tired at the end of each day, but I'm honestly surprised that I'm not exhausted at the end of each day.  I guess you get kind of used to it when you do it for a couple months.  It doesn't look like I have time to add anything else into the schedule, but I'm about to start going to baby boot camp a couple times a week, and play football one night a week.  We'll see if the exhaustion kicks in!