Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eight Month Portraits and Update

Eight months happened on the day before our big moving day (Saturday), so needless to say, the portraits had to wait a few days. The apartment we're staying in temporarily is a great place to shootlots of light!

Here's my precious girl:

This is Lorien's blanket made by Great Grandma Beam.
Every one of the Beam grandkids and great grandkids has at least one.
I think we currently have three in our house (two big-people
blankets and this little pink one).

Love her funny little expressions!

Can you tell she's blowing raspberries in this picture?
She blows really sloppy raspberries.

This is a getting sleepy pic. So typical: glassy eyes
and thumb in the mouth. That means it's naptime.

Here's another one we see almost daily: she blows little puffs of air
out the side of her mouth with a "p" sound. Closely related are the deep sighs she does out of both mouth and nose. So cute!

This is round two of photos...after the nap happened.

Love this sweet face!

This is my favorite facial expression of the day, hands-down

Slowly growing hair. Emphasis on slowly.

She is getting up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth.
Crawling is imminent. She just needs to figure out how to go forward rather than backward.

Here's what often happens as a result of her
not being able to put it in "drive."

And this too. Soon enough, kiddo, soon enough...

This has been such a lovely month. Mostly because Lorien got her digestive issues worked out and has been sleeping through the night again. Annnnd, I have finally gotten over my insomnia issues, so the past 3 weeks or so have been the best sleep I've gotten since she was born. (The angels are singing!)

She is at such a fun age right now. She is much more interested than before in playing with toys, and her fine motor skills are developing fast. She likes to explore the world around her by touching everything with one tiny index finger (and scratching with her even tinier fingernail.) The pre-crawl scooting is pretty cute too, as is her verbalizing.

Perhaps the most entertaining thing is watching her learn to handle finger foods. She's pretty good at getting the food into her hand. And getting her hand to her mouth. The problem is that she can't get the food out of her hand and into her mouth. She either drops the whole handful onto her lap, or she sticks her thumb/fingers into her mouth with the food and then can't get them out without also removing the food. The nice thing about this is that a few chunks of bread or spoonfuls of rice will keep her entertained for a whole meal!

Two of Us Came In...

... and three of us are going out.

Last night we finished cleaning out our Lexington Park townhome and locked up for the last time. In a snowstorm. I think the wild weather helped me not to be too sentimental about it at the actual moment of leaving. Still, I was surprised that over the past week, I've been more nostalgic than I thought I would be over selling this place.

We bought #7909 in the fall of 2005 when I changed jobs and moved out of the resident supervisor's apartment at the Institute. At the time, Josh was a full-time student, so our housing budget (well, actually, our entire budget) was pretty tight. We quickly gave up hopes of owning two full bathrooms or a two-car garage. We bought what we could afford, knowing that it wouldn't give us much room to grow. Because of that, we always expected to sell it within a few years.

But we did put a lot of work into making it our own. And we brought our first baby home there. And we lived there for four and a half years. So I guess it's only natural that I was a little sad about leaving.

Today we closed on the place, so it is officially sold. That feels good. We also heard that our short sale offer has moved along to the next step in the process: the negotiating officer. We are hoping that he doesn't want to negotiate much, because we don't have a lot of wiggle room in our offer. We may hear back as soon as next week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Short Sale Update

Nothing too exciting, but I wanted to say that we heard from our realtor late this past week that we may have an answer from the bank within 10 days. That's not a guarantee, and it doesn't necessarily mean it'll be an answer we like, but we're thankful to have some kind of timeline to go on.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

House Hunting Update

The last two weeks since we sold our house have been kind of crazy, but now we are in a little lull (the calm before the storm, maybe), so I can give an update.

For the same reason we decided to sell without a real estate agent, we had also initially hoped to buy without an agent. We looooove the agent who helped us to buy our townhome, but we were wanting to save as much money as possible. We reasoned that if a seller knew that he or she didn't have to pay a three percent commission to our agent, we could automatically offer three percent less on the home we buy, with no loss to the seller.

That's what we thought. Then we started trying to schedule property showings without an agent. As it turns out, there's a bit of a bully system going on in the real estate world. Agents don't want to work with you if you're not working with one of them. I have a philosophical problem with this. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or energy to fight the system right now. And fortunately, there was a very simple solution to the problem. We called Linda Mason, the agent who helped us buy our townhome in 2005, and she was glad to work with us again. Linda has been in the business for thirty or so years and she's good at what she does. In the end, I'm glad to be working with her again. She does so much of the legwork for us, and she is a great advocate.

We started looking at houses with Linda on the Wednesday after we sold our house on Friday. In a four-day span, we saw 16 properties. The first two times out, we saw some things that we liked, but nothing that we loved. We took a day off from looking, and then went back out again on a Saturday to see the rest of the listings that meet our criteria. Honestly, I didn't think we would find the house on that day either. I was hoping that by the end of the day, we would have a strategy and a timeline in mind.

But then we found this house. The pictures on the MLS listing really don't do it justice. But it has four bedrooms and 3.5 baths, so we could grow into it. It's also very light and bright and would be a great place to entertain. (Yay! I have really missed having space to invite people over.)

It's in short sale, so it's listed for significantly less than what it's worth. In other words, it's way more house than we could otherwise afford. And after viewing it, we decided to put an offer in. Without going back for a second look. Without taking our parents to see it. Which is not normal for us. We did both of those things later, but we felt an urgency about getting an offer in.

With a short sale, it could be a months-long wait before we hear back from the bank on whether they will accept our offer. Or it could be really short. We don't know. We have a temporary place to stay which is really flexible. So we can wait. And we will. Don't know how long. And we will keep researching other properties, in case this deal falls through. Meanwhile, we are trying not to get too attached to a house we don't own yet. So far, I'm not doing so well at that task.

I'll post again when there's news to share on this front.

Birthday Brunch

It's birthday week in the Keffer house. Josh's birthday was yesterday (3/13) and mine is coming up on Tuesday (3/16). My parents are in town to help us celebrate. OK, well mostly they're in town to get a grandbaby fix, and that's all right.

Yesterday morning, Bob and Lois hosted us for birthday brunch, and we recreated one of Josh's favorite breakfast meals from childhood: donuts and holes.

Bob cooks the meat. Mmmmmm ... sausage and bacon.

Mom makes fruit salad

Dad performs one of his favorite vacation activities:
reading all of the new coffee table books he can find.

And Josh and Lois do the honors on the donuts.

This is how they're supposed to look when they're ready to cook.

We used Pillsbury biscuits and cut out the holes
with a little bitty cookie cutter.

Then we fried them up.

Then we dunked them in glaze. This was my job, and I was
attempting to do it while taking pictures. Maybe not such a great idea.

The finished product: Yummy!

The finished product doubles as a birthday cake.
It is only 10:00 in the morning, after all.

Singing with Daddy

One of the things we will not miss about our current house is the fact that Josh's guitar equipment has to live in Lorien's room, because there is just no other space to put it. This often means that we have to choose between naps for Lorien and guitar practice for Josh. It's not really a choice. The nap always wins, but it has been frustrating for Josh not to get to play very often.

However, on the rare occasion when she is awake and he has a few moments to play, she does like to hang out and sing with him. And boy does she sing. As a matter of fact, once recently he felt he should probably stop playing, because Lorien was screeching so loudly that Josh thought she might bother the neighbors. :) (We also won't miss sharing walls with our neighbors.)

Here are some fun pics from last Saturday morning:

I love my Daddy.

All smiles.

The shirt is totally appropriate. It says,
"If you think I'm cool, you should see my dad."

Monday, March 1, 2010

The End of An Era

When I was in junior high school and my bedtime was 9:00 or 9:30 or something like that, I used to listen to Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family on the radio while I was going to sleep at night. (I know. I was a nerd. I still am. Or maybe I'm a geek now. At any rate...) I told my mom once that Dr. Dobson's voice put me to sleep. She thought that was funny and suggested I write him a letter and tell him that. I never did.

Who would have thought that nearly 20 years later, I'd be working at Focus on the Family and that my husband would be working on Dr. Dobson's personal security detail? It's primarily because of Josh's job that I had a front row seat for the big events as Dr. Dobson completed his transition out of leadership at Focus last week.

Here are a few shots of the events honoring him and Shirley:


At the Thursday night banquet in their honor

Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Mmmm hmmmm.

Friday Chapel: H.B. London gives Dr. Dobson a hard time. As usual.

Josh getting paid to be intimidating.

Last time in Chapel as FOF's big man

Here's the link to the broadcast of Friday's Chapel service. Well, part of it. It was three hours long.

Dr. Dobson plans to begin a new radio broadcast with his son Ryan. Not gonna lie: it has been a little odd for everyone involved as the old organization figures out how to relate to the new organization. But I like the way board member Paul Nelson expressed it: "If you truly feel that this is what God is calling you to, then we send you off with our blessing." We will see what God brings. Regardless, I have a ton of respect for Dr. Dobson and the resources he has offered to families over the years. And I am very enthusiastic about what's ahead for Focus under the leadership of Jim Daly.

Seven Month Portraits and Update

In all the craziness of house-selling, I didn't get Lorien's seven month pics posted as quickly as I'd have liked.

Here goes:

To be honest, reaching seven months was a rough time for us. I should have known when I wrote this update that I was tempting fate. Even though Lorien had been sleeping like a champ since 3.5 months, something went wrong at about 6.5. We had started her on solid foods just before she hit 6 months. It took her about 3 weeks to really get the hang of it. When she did, all kinds of stuff happened: She stopped sleeping well at night; her tummy hurt; she cried when she pooped; her nose was runny; her diaper rash was terrible.

After a couple of weeks of that with no letup, my mom suggested we stop the solids and go back to just nursing for a bit. Almost immediately, we could tell she felt a bit better, but she still wasn't quite normal. And we also noticed that she wasn't eating nearly as much (from her bottle or when she nursed) as she had prior to starting solid foods. I took her to the doctor just after she hit seven months, and the doc confirmed that she had simply gotten more solid food than her system could process (even though she was only eating 2T. at a time, at the most). She also surmised that the loss of appetite wasn't so much a lack of interest in eating, but an overabundance of interest in everything else that's going on around her.

Whatever it was about the solid foods that was bothering her, she must have gotten it all out of her system, because the day she went to the doctor (last Monday) she snapped back to her very happy self and has been that way ever since. So we are starting solids again, very slowly this time, and she seems to be handling it better. Because of the eating disruptions, she is needing to eat once in the middle of the night again, but that's OK. I know it won't last forever.

Other things she's doing these days:

  • practicing new consonants every day. She's got b's, l's, m's, d's, p's and th's now. She practices them over and over and over.
  • sitting really well. She especially loves to sit and play in the bathtub and suck the water out of her washcloth. (The funny thing is, I remember liking that as a kid too.)
  • migrating. She's not crawling, but she's mobile. She can go in reverse when she's on her belly and in forward when she's on her back. This last maneuver is a creative one: She arches her back and uses her heels to push herself along on the top of her head. I really should post a video of it sometime soon.
  • getting more adept at rolling over in both directions.

I am so glad to have my happy girl back. Even when she was feeling badly, she was still a pretty good kid, but it's nice to have her back to normal.