Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good News

We bought a house! We've been looking since late 2008 without much success - with three separate houses they sold or were pulled from the market right before we could make an offer. We thought it was a buyer's market, but apparently that doesn't apply to foreclosures in our area - they are selling like wildfire when they're at the right price. My sister Megan is our fabulous realtor and she took us to see a listing, a foreclosure that had just come on the market on Saturday. We fell in love with it as soon as we walked in the front door. There's almost nothing we need to change, and it's big enough that we can potentially stay there forever (assuming I don't have sextuplets next time we do IVF.) The yard is large for the neighborhood and already landscaped. We were anxious when we heard that there were other offers but figured if it was meant to be it would work out. We heard from the listing agent this morning that we were tied with someone else for the highest offer, so we increased our offer by just a little bit hoping it would be enough. Apparently it was, because we got it! We're closing in February.

And now you know why I didn't blog about it before, because the details of real estate transactions are only interesting to those directly involved with them.

Here are some pictures - that's less boring, right? I'm already thinking about how I'm going to decorate. Once we save up some money after blowing our life savings on the house itself.


Front hall staircase

Living/Dining Rooms

Kitchen/Family Room


Breakfast Room/Solarium


Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Learn Your Rules

My favorite bit from last week's Office. Instant classic!

And a great rendition from some cute kids (not mine).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Like sand through the hourglass...

I was talking to my mom the other day about how crazy the past year has been for our family. To protect the innocent I won't go into (too much) detail, but let's just say there have been lots of surprises and enough drama that any soap opera writer would be inspired.

One of the recent developments happened after my brother participated in a deep roots ancestry DNA study. The results of the test tell you where your distant ancestors came from. Since my mom is an amazing genealogist, we have our family history going back for years, and as far as we knew all our predecessors were straight up European. So it was a little surprising when my brother's results came in and revealed that he was one eighth Native American. That means one great-grandparent was full Native (or multiple great-greats, or even more great-great-greats, and so on.) Despite her thorough research, my mom had no idea we had any Native American ancestors, so naturally she was curious about where that lineage could have come from. She remembered that my great-grandfather (her grandfather) Fred used to talk about his father working with the Indians in Colorado. And thus her theory was born. She thinks Fred was actually Native American and adopted. There's no proof of this yet, but the pieces seem to fit; he was dark complected and in pictures he looks nothing like his siblings who were all fair. At the time it was normal not to talk about a child having been adopted, especially a child of another race. Fred ran away from home at the age of 15 and had no contact with the rest of the family after that – my grandfather never even met his aunts and uncles even though they lived fairly close to them.

Here's where it gets juicier (and, coincidentally, ties into a recent post.) My grandfather's brother married a girl who happened to be their first cousin. They were shunned by the family and pretty much cut off all contact, especially after they had a child who was born with Down Syndrome. If my mom's theory about great-grandpa Fred being adopted turns out to be correct, they aren't really first cousins at all – in fact, they would have no blood relationship whatsoever. So the whole family drama would have happened for no reason. Does that sound like the plot of a depressing turn-of-the-century novel or what?

We may never know the truth, but my grandfather is waiting for the results of his own DNA ancestry test to determine if the Native American line goes through him. If not it may come from my dad's side. Either way, if the test is accurate I may have a whole line of family history I never knew about. Which is really cool. As long as I don't find out later in life that I also have an evil twin in a coma.

Monday, January 12, 2009

How to tell good from evil.

Last night's episode of "24" confirmed something I've always suspected:

Clean shaven = good.

Scruffy half beard = evil.

Slumdog Millionaire

Eric and I don't go to nearly as many movies as we used to since finding a babysitter is always a challenge, so when we get a chance to see one we feel pressure to make it a good one. On Saturday my dad offered to babysit and we went to see "Slumdog Millionaire." We weren't disappointed. It's hands down the best film I've seen this year. And since it won a bunch of Golden Globes last night (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score - it won every category it was nominated for) it should be around in theaters for quite a while.

The story is about a young man named Jamal who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, India. Now working as a chai wallah at a cell phone call center, he gets the chance to be on India's version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." He surprises everyone by answering every question correctly, right up to the final question. Convinced that he must be cheating (he's completely uneducated and even doctors and lawyers haven't made it that far in the game) they arrest him and question him. During the questioning we see flashbacks of his life, and the things that happened to him that allowed him to know the answers to the questions. It's a love story, a coming of age story, and it transports you straight into another world. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Something New Every Day

I learn some pretty wild things at ChaCha, in between questions about penis length and Twilight movie trivia. The other day someone asked me where it's legal to marry your first cousin. I was surprised by the answer. I grew up hearing jokes about West Virginians marrying their cousins, but as it turns out, it's illegal there...and legal in Virginia! First cousin marriage is legal in 21 states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. (http://www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/cousins.htm)

I also learned that the US is virtually the only country in the western world to prohibit cousins from marrying - it's legal in all of Europe, Mexico and Canada. Apparently the chances of birth defects in the children of cousins have been grossly exaggerated in the past due to some spurious studies in the 1800s - the chances are almost as high when you marry someone of your own race. One source says that 20% of the world's current marriages are between first or second cousins, and nearly 80% of marriages in human history have been cousin marriages.

I also learned that Eric doesn't like to hear about cousins marrying each other. I started telling him about it and he told me to stop IMMEDIATELY. Like with so many other things, no matter how good the science is, it's hard to get past the "ick" factor.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Someone posted this on my soap forum and I thought it was really funny. (Warning: he drops a couple of F bombs right at the end, so it's not kid friendly!)

It's nice to know there are men other than my husband that appreciate women who read. Although, for the record, I do like Harry Potter.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Back to my roots

For some reason I've been thinking a lot about the origin of my blogging career (using the term "career" very loosely, since my posting is sporadic at best, and no one is paying me. I have to pay people to read it. Usually with favors.) When I first started blogging, it was about our adventures with infertility and IVF. Since Sawyer is now 3 1/2 we've had a lot of people asking us when we're going to do IVF again. I've brought the questioning on myself by being way out of the IVF closet, and by announcing openly that we were going to transfer our embryos last year - before we found out our insurance was cheaping out on us. Anyway. It's really hard to explain to people that I'm just not ready to go through the whole process again. I know my kids (if we're successful) are going to be several years apart, which is probably not optimal, etc, but...I just can't bring myself to make that phone call to Dr. A right now.

Part of the problem is that people don't realize what the IVF process entails. They think of it as a one-time visit to the doctor, one procedure, and then you find out if you're pregnant or not. In reality, it's a multi-step, months long process of painful testing, invasive procedures, lots of money spent, more needles than I ever thought I'd see in a lifetime...and the whole time no one knows whether or not it will even work.

And I haven't even experienced what a lot of IVFers do. We have an official diagnosis - at least 10% of IVF patients have "unexplained" infertility. Knowing what our problem is (bad sperm) actually makes us feel better about going through the treatments. Our first IVF cycle worked, which makes us extremely lucky and probably means I shouldn't complain about the process at all, given that a lot of couples I know have undergone multiple cycles with no success. I must be a wimp, because just that one cycle (and the testing/surgery) that preceded it makes me terrified of doing it again. Maybe terrified is too strong a word. It's more of a big, fat, "I don't want to."

Of course the end result is worth it. Of course. I would go through 100 IVFs to have Sawyer again. But when the best chance anyone has of success is 30% (much less for a frozen cycle, and less now that I'm over 30) it's difficult to be excited about going through it all again. I definitely want to give our frozen triplet embryos a chance. And doing a transfer only cycle will be a lot less stressful than a full IVF cycle, in theory anyway. It's just going to take me a little while to work up the courage again.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

What have you done?

I saw this on my friend Suzie's blog. If you want to play, just copy/paste to your blog and bold the items you've done. Here's mine:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I sang)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept overnight on a train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden a gondola in Italy
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen Amish country
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (just on an indoor wall though)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in movie
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (if crabs and fish count)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (1/2 credit - I stuck my toes in)
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. One cavity or less

Maybe I'll accomplish some of these in 2009. Probably not the bungee jumping though.

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