I know there's a smudge on the lens, but I can't tell you how much I love this photo.  This is the kind of wonderfulness that happens when we have nowhere to go.  Love those kinds of evenings.  Daddy gets home from work, and sits in a chair, and memories happen.  <3
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Our 4 days in Chicago were exhausting and fun, the highlight being the beach for me, of course.  It was surprisingly aqua-colored and clean, and for a moment I could pretend I was back in Hilton Head.  Is that wrong, fantasizing about one vacation when you are on another?

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Braving the cold water together.

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Braving the deep, cold water together.


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Cutie patootie.


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Points if you can find the "that's so Matt" part of this photo.

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OK, I'm very sorry for the eyeball scars on this one, but I just had to document it because it was just so unbelievable.  This was the one bad thing about the beach -- families that lack etiquette.  She is -- you guessed it -- cleaning and clipping his toenails on the beach!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Quick, grab the barf bag!  Ugh!
 
 

Following is a lesson in the difference between boys and girls that I'm just now learning, since it took me so long to have boys.  I just LOVE little boys.


Owen
: Mom, an I gonna die? (pointing to himself)
Me: Well, we're all going to die someday, but you'll probably be old.
Owen: But if I ate five sugars, will I die?
Me: No.  Sugar can make you sick if you eat too much, but you're not going to die.  Why?  Who told you that?  Where did you hear about it?
Owen:  Nowhere.  I just went in the pantry and I stealed some sugar, and I want to know if I'n gonna die.
Me: You did?  Can you show me?
Owen:  Sure.  Here.  An' I sweeped all these crumbs away so you wouldn't see them.

Now, in my experience, most girls wouldn't be quiiiiite this forthright.  They have so many good qualities, but in this particular category (that being "candor"), there probably would have been a lot more song and dance.  Makes me want to hug my big sweetie, because he so much the same way about admitting his faults.  He's just a grown up little boy.  There really are so many good things about guys, aren't there?

 
 

In our homeschool group, everyone is supposed to organize one field trip per year.  I took the easy way out and organized a tour of the local firehouse because I knew it would be free, very convenient to me geographically, and best of all – my boys would LOVE it.

So, bright and early this morning we arrived at Station 55, with our very own little fire captain in the bunch.  He was wearing clothing underneath his uniform today.  J  These guys are the NICEST bunch of hunks -- I mean firefighters you’ve ever met.  It didn’t hurt that they didn’t pay a lick of attention to me (ok, I might have caught one or two of the single ones looking once or twice), but were absolutely focused on the little munchkins.  These guys put their hearts into teaching our little ones how to Stop, Drop, and Roll and not to think of the firefighters as monsters when they’re all dressed up in their gear.  (They told us that sometimes after a fire is over they find little ones in closets or under beds hiding!!!)

We split the kids up into older kids and younger kids, and let the big kids think they were getting something more.  I stayed with the younger group and got to see where the firefighters sleep and eat, and of course the fire truck. (I must say, my heart beat just a lil’ bit faster when one of the firefighters gallantly helped me off the truck.)  At one point I stooped down and asked Owen through his toy mask if he was having fun.  He was so serious up to that point, but when I asked him about the fire truck, he broke into a big smile and said, “This is MY fire truck.”  I think he was having one serious imagination trip in his head!!!  I asked him if he drove it, and that snapped him out of it and he told me that he could (and would) when he was “big.”  Mmmm … little boys are the MOST delicious of all!

If you’re wondering, yes, Matt knows about my crush.  He knows I’m a sucker for a man in uniform, and it was only compounded by how ADORABLE they were with the kids.  They’re my heroes too, for Heaven’s sake … what girl doesn’t swoon when she’s around these guys?  Hey … it just occurred to me.  I could start some more fires!!

 
 

Please tell me ... If you had a firefighter walking around your house looking like this, wouldn't you be starting fires all over the place just to keep him around?

 
 

We got an offer already.  It's not quite up to asking price, which is quite reasonable as it is, but they're not that far off either.  FIRST SHOWING!!  We're going to counter today ...

We feel it's an "Ace in the hole" because here are the details:  It's a contract that doesn't require us to mark the house "pending", which is good because I think that "Pending, may accept backup offers" is pretty much the same thing as saying "Please don't ever look at my house again.  Even if financing falls through, please consider my house off the market and possibly even damaged goods."  So it will remain active because their contract is, of course, contingent on the sale of their house.  If something better comes along, that we can accept more quickly or at a better price, all we have to do it tell them and generously give them the chance to offer us more money.

Is that sweet, or what?

I mean, who knows what could happen, at this point?  I'm almost not even excited about it because it's too good to be true, too many things could still go awry, and we have no freakin' idea where the heck we're gonna live.  I almost didn't post about it because my very next post could possibly be "God not only doesn't want us to move but He is also testing our Faith in Him".  But what's the fun of getting a contract on your first showing if you can't shout about it?

We had another showing last night, so we're going to find out the feedback there before we counter.  Pretty fun stuff!

Oh, and as for the comments about my clean house, let me say this:  First of all C, the reason the basement looks so incredibly good is that there are only about 5 toys in it.  No kidding.  I've been slowly weeding them out such that the basement has looked pretty decent for awhile now.  Gone are those days when I just shut the door.  It taught  my kids all the wrong things.  Plus, they are older now.  That makes all the difference.  That, and the fact that the previous owner's tacky paint and gross carpet have been replaced by beautiful neutral colors too.

And you know how you're imagining my life is total hell as we try to keep it clean?  Well, getting it fully clean -- every room perfect at once -- was very, very hard.  It took days, as I would clean one room only to find my previous work undone.  But now?  I LOVE it.  And so do the kids.  Our standards are UP THERE and all we have to do it raise our consciousness.  Clean up messes sooner, and be more aware of the number of times we set things down.  I'm sure we won't want to live this way for the rest of our lives, but we all agree that our new lives will be a lot more like this.  Keeping it up is so much less stressful than bad habits!

(One last thing -- Owen has been sick for almost 2 weeks now with a terrible infection.  He is getting a re-check right now after finally seeing some results yesterday due to the second try at antibiotics.  I will let you know how the appointment goes a little later.)