Wednesday, August 25, 2010

APCO softball Tournament 2010

Wow, I've been gone a while!
To say that things have been busy around here would be the understatement of the decade!
But back before things got so busy, we took an impromptu weekend trip to Oxford, Alabama to watch Mikey play in Alabama Power's annual softball tournament!
We knew we were going (without Charlie b/c it was 96 degrees that day) all day Saturday, but late in the evening Friday, we decided to head on down and spend the night! Mikey's first game was at 8:30 the next morning which meant we would've had to have been on the road at 4:30 AM which we were not looking forward to, so this solved that problem!
The boys (and their parents) were so excited! There is just something about spending the night in a hotel room that we LOVE!
So, the next morning, the games were delayed two hours due to rain so we got to sleep in and take the boys swimming at the hotel pool before we checked out and headed to the games!
Aren't they truly their father's sons?? I sent Mikey to Hibbett's on his way home from work that week to pick up Sam a new pair of "basketball shoes" (that's what Sam was requesting) because his shoes were too little, and he comes home with all new outfits for him and the boys so they could have matching Jordan shorts, shirts, and he even bought Huett another new pair of shoes. Let me just say that I learned a valuable lesson the day he came home with all of that (expensive) merchandise. Don't send him to a sporting goods store alone, especially when it comes to shopping for the boys. The man has no restraint. He would've bought something for Charlie but he said he just couldn't find anything in his size.

So here they are at the park, bright and early! Aren't they handsome?? I can't wait until Charlie can walk so that I can take them all with me! We don't do very many activities by ourselves ( we travel with some part of our families for almost everything we do) and this is one thing I love to take my boys to! Can't wait 'til it's all three ( or four) of them!

Aren't they all handsome! And grown-looking! Sam's shoes are Under Armor but if you ask him, he says they are Under Arm shoes! That's funny! I laugh every time!

Mikey's on third, about to score!

He played first base all day and he was really good at it. I guess being 6 foot 4 inches helps him stretch out and catch those wild balls! There was a monster of a guy playing short stop, and when he would throw that ball at Mikey like a rocket, his life flashed before my very eyes. Seriously, the speed at which he was throwing the ball, it would KILL someone if it hit them in the head! Luckily, Mikey caught it most of the time!


Throughout the course of the day, he hit four home runs, like over the fence home runs!! That was exciting for me and the boys!

Glazer was the coach of the team, and he is so funny. We all went to eat lunch at The Olive Garden between games and Glazer and the Perkins Brothers and another set of twin brothers that were playing kept me laughing the entire time! And yes, I was the only girl there, which is just fine with me! I could totally call myself their "Team Mom" because I spent a good part of the day getting them bottles of water, but I guess it's the least I could do!

In between games, Mikey would take the boys out to play and run the bases! They loved that, of course!

They still don't quite get the concept of how the game is played, but they are getting better at it. They continually ask to play, but after Mikey coached them in ragball last year, we promised ourselves that we wouldn't let them play again until they were old enough to go out onto the field by themselves and bat as well as field the ball without crying to come off the field to sit with us. It was so stressful, for us and them. Also, the 5, 6, 7 year old teams where we live practice FIVE nights a week and have games on the weekend. That is insanity to me! Can you say BURNOUT?? I mean seriously, how many professional baseball players do you think started playing baseball at five years old six days a week? Anyway, we'll let them play, maybe when they're seven, or six if they really beg. I don't think it will be Huett begging, anyway. So that gives us another year to wait for Sam to play.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I don't want them to play. Not at all. I just don't want to push them into playing. Some of my fondest memories are of spending all day at the ballpark when my brother played every summer when we were growing up. He probably started playing around seven years old and he was pretty good so maybe my boys will follow in his footsteps (except the part where he hurt his back playing his senior year and still has back trouble today)

I love baseball y'all! I am super competitive and I just don't get it when people say that baseball is a slow sport. I mean every pitch is exciting to me! Oh I hope one of my boys (or Archer) plays! My whole family would be obsessed, I think

This field looks like wet red dirt, but it is really crushed brick. It left Mikey with a pretty significant strawberry (that's the giant skinned place on his shin that looks like someone filleted his outer layer off).
It was filled with dirt and when he went to the trainer's tent, they rinsed it with normal saline and proceeded to scrub it clean, and I have not seen Mikey in that much pain since he got his last name tattooed on his upper back when we were dating in '04.

If you notice, the ground outside the fence is wet. It came a fast and furious Alabama thunderstorm, there one minute with lightning and thunder, gone the next leaving sunshine and cloudless skies. For some reason, Huett was terrified of the storm. We were outside under a shelter, but it was raining sideways so there really was no escaping the rain. He calmed down eventually but he was near hysterics for the majority of that storm. Thankfully it came and went pretty quickly.

This picture gives you a pretty good look at his strawberry. He got that on his very first trip around the bases. And just to be honest, he would've been safe without sliding, but that's just between me and you.

Here he is, putting his 78 inches to good use.

At the APCO tournament, they had a moonwalk (or bounce house, whatever you call it in your neck of the woods) and a giant slide. They also had a train that went around the ball fields.

Riding the trains provided us with a nice breeze in between ballgames. The boys were enamored with the train, and I think I busted their bubble when I told them that it was just a lawnmower with a train-painted box sitting on top. I can only imagine their disappointment when they find out Santa Clause isn't real.

Here they come, down the slide!

Sam looks a little apprehensive. That isn't an expression that crosses his face very often.

There was a playground just down from one of the ball fields. The boys had a great time running back and forth and telling me what they were doing "all by themselves" at the playground. I don't think they realized I was watching them the entire time! You can see the playground fenced in behind the bounce house and the only exit was that gate you can see. So it was pretty perfect!

They are so competitive with one another. It's becoming an issue lately, but I guess a little healthy competition can't hurt?

I caught myself at the pool yesterday telling them that they couldn't be brothers anymore if they couldn't stop arguing with each other. Oh, the things we say when we're frustrated and tired. I'm sure I'll come to regret saying that when they start telling me they don't want to be brothers anymore. Can you say backfire?!?

When they started deflating the slide, the boys were mesmerized. They could not wrap their little heads around the fact that those things could fold up so small. It's funny to watch them mull things over in their heads. It's like you can almost see the wheels turning.

Now, back to the game. Mikey hit two... count 'em, TWO grand slams during the game!! I've watched him play a lot of softball in our seven years together and he was playing better on this day than I think I've ever seen. This was the first time he's played in over a year so I was pretty impressed!

I kept meaning to catch one of the big hits on video camera, but I never did :-(
It was very exciting, though!

Celebratory gathering at home plate!!

Obligatory man-hug!
For a 28 year old with a wife and three kids (which would be enough stress to age most men) I think he is working it pretty nicely, don't you agree?

This man has the most seniority over all the guys in the whole Birmingham Division. He's been with the Power company forty something years. He plays travel softball and his wife was there with him. She was so cool and she liked talking to the boys a lot. I can just picture Mikey and I in our sixties, still going to softball games. At least I hope we're still kickin' it by then.

This is the monster rain cloud that ended all the fun. We watched it slowly creep towards us from MILES away as everyone kept getting phone calls about how bad it was (not tornadic, just super-rainy). We all ran to our cars (which freaked Huett out all over again) and then it hit. We waited for about thirty minutes, hoping it would pass. All the coaches met to decide whether to postpone it until the morning or cancel it all together.

Ultimately they decided to cancel it all together because the majority of the teams (which came from all over Alabama and parts of Georgia) weren't prepared to stay another night, including us! We had to get back home to our Charlie, after all! It was quite the bummer, because we were all tortured with the fact that we abandoned that tournament with no clear winner and there was an entire table FULL of trophies that no one received. Also I'm pretty sure that they were going to go on to win the whole thing, but that is neither here nor there.
No worries, The Cutters (that's their team name. It is some kind of lingo for hard workers in the power company...) will return next year, with a vengeance!
We are officially moving this weekend, so wish us luck on that and feel free to show up and help if you so desire (I'm kidding, no really).
Also, to Mikey's sweet relatives in Florida, whom I've never had the priveledge of meeting, I know this is belated, but I wanted to say thank you so much for the card and gift you sent us last month. It came on the day of Huett's fifth birthday party, so while I'm not sure that is what you intended us to spend it on, you can be glad to know that your gift went directly toward furnishing his party. We'll just pretend that we didn't use some of it to buy the balloons that Sam let go before the party even started ;-)
I've been meaning to send you a thank you card in the mail, but somewhere in the packing of our house, I've misplaced the envelope. Not the card, just the envelope, go figure. Anyway, we really do appreciate it.
We are tentatively planning a trip to Disney World for next Summer/Fall and I'm sure we'll be making a detour to Lakeland as Mikey and I both have relatives there (go figure) so we would be delighted to plan a visit so we can meet. I know you guys would be proud to see the man Mikey has grown into. I wish his Paw Paw were still around because he would still be beaming with pride. Also, you must meet our boys! They are Mikey's sons, no doubt about that!
So, thanks again!
House pictures soon, everyone else, I promise!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The rest...

So, I left you all with the tale of the selling of our first home, our starter home, if you will. Now if you'll just give me a few minutes of your time, I'll regale you with the story of how we came too acquire our new home as well!


So, it all started back in March when a friend of mine (who will one day be the guest of honor at our house warming) called me and asked me if Mikey and I were still looking for a house in the Bagley area. I told her we weren't really actively looking because we hadn't actually even put our house up for sale yet. She told me that she knew of a house that was about to be put up on the market that would be available for short sale(which is when a buyer offers less than the original owner owes, and the bank has to agree to take a loss to prevent the house from going into foreclosure). I knew which house she was talking about, and I loved that house! So, I sprung into action! I called my old pal Susie from my days at the bank because I knew she would know how I could get in touch with the girl who owned it.


In a brazen move that paid off tremendously, I called her up. I told her that she didn't know me, but that I heard that she was trying to sell her house, and that Mikey and I would love to come look at it. She obliged and we met her that afternoon and looked around! When she was showing us around one thing led to another and I asked her about how much she was going to be asking for the house. She told me she just wanted enough to pay it off, and she told me the approximate amount, and I, of course, made a mental note of it. Well, then her realtor showed up, and told me they were listing it for sixty thousand more than the owner had told me she wanted, and I knew that was out of our price range, so we left, and that was that...or so I thought.


The next day, my brother called (he's my real estate agent) and I told him about the night before, with a loaded sigh, basically telling him to forget about it. I told him about the conversations we'd had with the owner, and the agent and he said, "Well, let's just make them an offer, and if nothing happens, then oh well." So, we did. A month or so passed with no news. I was persistent, and at my urging, so was Chad. He called every few weeks just to ask the status of the sell, and time after time we were told that our offer still stood.

April, May, and June came and went with not much news. honestly, by this time, I was over it, and had pretty much given up. It was also in this month that we found out that we had basically sold our house right out from under ourselves, so...that was a little unnerving.


Well, early in July, the realtor told us that the bank had accepted our offer, but that we were waiting on the PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) company to accept it, but that she felt certain they would!! Yay Us!! That's what we'd been waiting for four months to hear.


Shortly thereafter, she told Chad to proceed with the appraisal for our loan, and off we went!

We closed on the house we'd been fighting five months to get just six days after we sold our house! Talk about perfect timing!


So, here we are, owners of a new home, one I never truly thought we'd get, and I could NOT be more excited about it. This house is perfect for us! And I'll tell you why:

It has plenty of parking and driveway for our friends and family, it has a big yard, but not too big for Mikey(and eventually the boys) to cut and weed eat in a few hours.

All four of the bedrooms are upstairs, which is ideal for us now because the boys would be afraid to have us all the way downstairs at bedtime, and perfect in the future, so that we can keep a closer eye on them and ensure that they aren't trying to sneak out. Who am I kidding? They are perfect angels and would never even think of doing something like that.

It has two different dens which is handy when the boys want to watch cartoons and we don't. It is on the end of a cul de sac so the boys can ride their bikes in the street (while I watch them from the porch, of course). It has a full basement so Mikey can finally orchestrate his (small) tool collection just like he likes it. It also has a "Man Cave" that can be finished in the future, and for which Mikey has big plans.

It also has a fenced in backyard, so if and when we decide to get a dog, we have a backyard ready and waiting!


When we were looking at the house, we were always rushed through, and there were lots of cool details that I never noticed. It has crown molding in almost every room, it has a water filtration system that has a specific spout on the sink (too cool!), it has a central vacuum system (for those of you who don't know, that's where you have an outlet where you just plug the hose into the wall, and the dirt, etc., actually goes to a canister in the basement). We had one of those at the house I grew up in and it was pretty cool. And my favorite feature of all, on the staircase, there are actual vent lights along the walls to light up the stairwell. Fancy Pants, no?!? There are outlets and cable hook-ups everywhere (six different cable hookups in the one den, which is ultra-convenient and will allow for multiple different furniture arrangements, which were severely limited in our old house.


So, we had the carpet shampooed Monday, and the painters (who are painting every single room, and touching up all the trim) started today. They are, no doubt, the most vital part of restoring this house to it's previous condition, as it SEVERELY needs to be painted. Anyway, we should be moved in towards the end of this month, and that is right on schedule!


I will be taking before and after pictures because the transformation will be magical, well to me atleast. Mikey and I were physically sore from working so hard this weekend: me cleaning, him doing yardwork.
Busy month for busy parents with busy jobs. But fun stuff!!
More house postings to come!

Friday, August 6, 2010

SO much to tell!!

I guess I'll do one post on the selling of our house and then another post on the buying of our new for those of you who didn't already know, you understood that correctly!! We've already sold our house and bought another. I was just scared to jinx anything by mentioning it on here until all contracts were signed, and there was no going back!!
No pictures, though, yet. Only because we closed on our new house yesterday (details to come) and I had to work today, which sucks because everyone is over there working and I'm stuck here :-(
Anyway, back to the selling of our house. As you all remember, I wrote a long detailed post about our old house, which was very near and dear to my heart. We knew (or at least I did) that when we bought that house for our first, that it would only be temporary, and we would be moving before Huett started kindergarten.
So, it was time to face the music, and get the ball rolling. And in this market, I just knew it was going to take months or even years (trust me I know people who've been trying to sell their house for YEARS, right April T.)! Anyway, we kinda put the word out...Mikey and I are pretty much open books, not embarrassed to discuss finances or money, which I know is bad etiquette, but whatever. Just doesn't bother us! Anyway, it's a good thing we did.
Our friends Cody and Whitney told us about another friend that was wanting to buy her first house, and they thought ours would be perfect.
Shortly thereafter I wrote the post on here with photos and a house description, but by this time, she had already seen the house. We showed it to one other couple, and before too long, she was back a second time, and this time she brought reinforcements with her! I took that as a good sign, and I was right!!
A week or so later, she called and wanted to buy it!
I was so happy because I do think our house is more than perfect for a first home, and great for kids! I know it will make her as happy as it's made us!
So we scheduled our closing, and the plot thickens...
Well, not really, but that sounded exciting, didn't it??
We went to our scheduled closing after thinking we had crossed all of our T's and dotted all of our I's.
Upon arrival we were shocked and surprised to find out that part of our wood inspection didn't pass. No one bothered to call and tell us that in the four days since the inspection, so we called the guy who did it, and he said it wasn't really anything, but due to the condensation from the air conditioning ducts, there was a potential for mold.
Hello, it was the END OF JULY! He came at 4:00 in the afternoon, and I'm pretty sure it was 100+ degrees outside! Of course the air conditioning ducts were sweating. That's what they do.
Anyway, he gave us no real solution for this except to put new wrap around the ducts, or have HIS COMPANY put some vents in, which I am sure they would've gotten paid a pretty penny to do!
So, long story short, the lawyer at our closing deemed that inspector uncooperative, and we were allowed to hire another inspector to come out and do the inspection.
It passed with flying colors, and after all was said and done, I talked to him (we made no mention prior to his inspection about what the previous inspection said until he had completed his) and he said he saw no sign of any issue AT ALL, and that unfortunately, some companies do that at closings because they get you caught between a rock and a hard place, and know that you will be desperate (which we were) and willing to pay THEM for whatever repairs are needed. So we rescheduled the closing for the next day, and luckily for us and her, everything closed fine!
To say that I was stressed out about this situation that was seemingly completely out of our control is an incredible understatement! Selling a house is beyond stressful!
Not to mention the fact that we, along with the people that owned the house before us, had paid yearly for an inspection that obviously was useless. I mean how can you say something didn't pass inspection when it was YOUR JOB to be inspecting it every year for the last 30 years in the first place! Don't even get me started! It passed, that's all that matters. I digress...
Anyway, the happy new homeowner is so gracious to let us remain in our house (as renters) until we get moved into our new house, which we are attempting to do at a feverish pace! Well, feverish for the last 24 hours because that's how long we've had the keys!
I'll follow up soon with a post about the unbelievable story of how the selling of this house and the buying of our new house (which was a long shot in the first place) fell together better than if I'd been able to plan it myself.
Until then, we'll be taking volunteers (ha!) and working diligently to move into our new casa!
And the boys are simply beside themselves with excitement~
I still don't think they are as excited as mommy, though!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

broken glass

These two

are too funny!
They play pretty well together, but occasionally they will fight over a toy. If Charlie sees Archer coming after something he's playing with, he starts shaking it in an attempt to keep Arch from snatching it away from him. They are so funny!

Sometimes Charlie will be sitting down, and Archer will come and sit right down on top of him.

Yesterday, I was holding Archer, and Charlie crawled over and pulled up to stand. He had his hand on my leg. Archer shoved Charlie's hand off of my leg. Well, when that didn't scare Charlie away, Archer shoved Charlie in the face and made him fall. (He got a little spanking for that) But the kid's got some attitude.

So imagine our reaction when we were prepping for Huett's birthday party, and we heard a loud crash from the dining room.

Arch-Man had struck again.

Mom was bummed, but on the bright side, the picture might just look better without the glass because now it doesn't have that bright glare.
I'm surprised, because out of seven SMALL grandchildren, that is the worst thing I can ever remember being broken.
Not too bad, huh?!?