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General thoughts

I haven't said much since moving down here really - at least not on my journal. I've posted a few things to facebook, but that's about it. Life is going pretty good down here. I have a job that I enjoy. I'm still not where I want to be as far as a living situation - but, even that isn't so bad and there's a bright horizon on that front. I don't have a car, but the bus system here suffices for the time being. Again, a bright horizon for that. A little planning and things are doable.

Loosing weight has been put on hold for the move and then getting settled in here. I keep thinking "well, I'll get back to that when we find a better place..." or find a place where I have room to exercise. A better grocery store near by, whatever. I need to get back to that. The weather has been excellent out for the most part - warm and sunny. I can always walk somewhere and explore - dual purpose! The grocery store near us is almost like an extra large convenience store - it has some grocery items in it that are worth buying, but the majority of it is canned goods or junk food. I've fallen prey to that. There is a City Market (I hear it's similar to Pike Place, only it's just on weekends.) that sells fresh products - meat, produce, etc. I hope to take a trip down this weekend on Saturday and take a peek around. I'd like to have some fresh food for breakfast and to fix with dinners. Also, I'm looking into my fitness pal again to track my eating and exercise - I used it a long time ago, but haven't in a few years. I may like it better than sparkpeople for tracking. We'll see.

The journey from there to here...

I haven't said much about it, haven't posted it anywhere, really...but, I've moved to Kansas. The kids are with mom in Seattle still, until the end of the school year. The trip down had been delayed a week or so for various reasons, but I'm finally here.

We left Seattle Sunday morning. We stopped by Freddie's for coffee and last minute supplies. The route that gps had planned for us took us on I90 through Washington and Montana and parts of South Dakota before turning us southward. The first part of the trip was pretty uneventful. The car towed the trailer just fine. It snowed in the passes, but the roads were fairly clear with some spots of slippery stuff. On our way out of Snoqualmie pass, we did end up in a snow bank. No injuries to people or vehicles. But, there was no traction to get us out of the spot we were in, so we had to call AAA to come tow us out. Another delay for an hour or so, but doable and not as bad as it could have been.

Late Sunday night, we arrived in Montana. We stopped in Missoula to visit a friend and ended up sitting at IHOP for several hours. It was fun though and D needed the break from driving. Early Monday morning, we left Missoula and headed east to Butte. Along the way, we discovered that the trailer lights weren't working. It was a little stressful driving, for me, because I kept thinking the big trucks wouldn't see me in time. Fortunately, it wasn't true - they all saw and passed on the left with no issue. Not to mention that for a big chunk of the trip, there weren't many on the roads at all.

Monday mid-morning, we arrived in Butte. The car was having issues, stuttering when it revved up over 3000 rpm and not really gaining speed. We stopped by an auto shop store, then by an auto repair place. Spent way too much money, but the car is fixed. We needed one tire, a windshield wiper, a new airflow system thing and a new O2 sensor. Yikes!!! I learned that if the O2 sensor is off, and the airflow system isn't working right, it floods half the engine. With that fixed, we did get much better gas mileage. While we were in the repair place, a guy came in with a dog. I have a couple pictures that I'll post later...but he's a pit bull mix. Very good dog, very pretty. He sits, shakes, rides in the car well...very, very friendly. He was saying hi to everyone. The guy said the dog (which he called "CJ" for short, calling him by his own name with "junior" tacked on) had been following him around for a couple hours, but it wasn't his. So, we made room in the car for him and stopped by a grocery store to pick up some food, containers, water and a toy.

CJ was very, very good. Loveable dog, young. He got in and out of the car without issues, slept for the most part when we were traveling. He was good about letting us know when he needed us to stop. He'd even stretch when we stopped for gas and let him out and told him "stretch it out boy..". Someone put time into this dog - all the training, he was in good health and he's fixed. Unfortunately, Kansas City Kansas isn't pit friendly - and since the place we had lined up isn't ready yet, we couldn't keep him. We did find a no kill shelter for him though - and if he's still adoptable when we're set up, we'll adopt him officially. We can own him legally, he just has to be indoors for the most part - which he seems okay with. When we take him out, we have to have him muzzled - so, I guess if we get him back, we'll be purchasing a muzzle for him.

On our way out of Butte, we had the trailer hooked up again and stuff - and it blew out a few fuses. D found the connection wires were frayed. So, we couldn't even hook up the electrical. There's NO U-haul between Butte (I don't think there was one in Butte either, come to think of it) and Leavenworth KS. None. I was surprised by that.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. We drove all Monday night, stopping only for bathrooms. I drove through a good chunk of Montana, most of Wyoming (into Gillette, where D took over again for awhile) and I think some of South Dakota. We arrived in Kansas City, Kansas Tuesday evening. We found a place to stay for the night, snuck the dog in. It was a small place, really...but, doable. And it had a shower - which felt *so* good.

Yesterday, we went to the mobile home place that we were supposed to have a place at. It isn't ready. There won't be one ready for at least a couple weeks. We did look around the place a little bit, I'm not sure I'm really enthused about it...but, if it's what we can do, it's what we can do for a bit. So, now, we have an extended stay motel for a week. We've spent the day looking for jobs and applying to anywhere we could. I'll be doing that again soon. Yesterday was spent putting stuff in storage - thank god for Uhaul giving us a free month. We've returned the trailer. We spent a good part of the afternoon looking for a place to take CJ - and at the vet's office while they looked for a microchip and helped us with where to take CJ. I know where I'm adopting and taking my pet to now - they were very good. They even called the numbers in the microchip - both of which were disconnected. That would explain though, why CJ always wanted to be close to both of us.

D just got his cousin from the airport and is bringing him back. Hopefully, between the three of us, it won't take us long to be able to get set up.


Oh - side note...coming out of Missoula, it was about 4 am or so. The sky was light, but not too light. The mountains were covered in snow, but you could see the dark patches where trees and rock showed through. It was beautiful! The contrast was breath-taking. I wish I were a better photographer, cause that would have been a picture well worth taking. Unfortunately, I tried and it just came out dark.

I do have some pictures and when I can, I'll post them. They aren't anything spectacular - most just snap shots along the way, but nothing too touristy, since we didn't really stop.

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Settling in

I think things are finally settling in. We've been in the apartment about 2 months now. I still need to find some places to put things and there are still things we need, but it's working. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, really.

Jae's finally going to the same school as Garrett. At first, I was going to leave her where she is, because they have a dance opportunity there she might not have anywhere else. We talked about it Monday though, and she decided she wanted to go where Garrett is. It was really weird to have both kids gone at the same time this morning! I don't think that's ever happened before with school. LOL

Yesterday was her first day there. I had to drive her in, because transportation said it'll take about a week for her to get on their list to ride with Garrett. In the meantime, she has a green card to board the bus with. She's in Garrett's old class and she already has a friend in that class - someone she knew from NW Center. He was excited to see her. She said she had a good day and was excited to *finally* have homework. I think she did at least half the packet for the week.

Because I didn't have to walk Jae to school, I did manage to get a few things done before 10 am. Though I am going to have to start working out, since I won't have that walk in the mornings anymore. This morning, I did dishes, made some struessel bread and cleaned the bathroom some. Yay me. I now have my desk cleared and my coupons organized. Tomorrow, I'll attack the new things of coupons an add those to my chart. I've been applying for jobs in the morning too, before the kids leave for school and then when I get back. I only walk them to the first floor now for the bus.

I thought for sure it'd be a pain to be up early in the mornings, since I have to have the kids up about 7 so they have time to get ready and catch the bus. So far, it hasn't been, really. I'm up about 6:30 so I can shower and have a bit of time to myself. This morning I dragged a little, but it wasn't bad...still had time to get the kids up and stuff. I've been going to bed about midnight and reading for a little bit before bed. That seems to be working out.

First day of school

School started for the spawn today. I missed them...but damn, it was good to have the quiet!!

Garrett catches his bus at 7:45, so we had to be up at like 6:30ish. I think tomorrow I'll wake him up just a little later. The bus was late this morning, which was kind of expected since it's the first day and all. We stood outside for awhile...poor Garrett said he got stung by a bee, just under the eye. When the bus pulled up, he was crying and upset. He looked fine this afternoon when he got home. Mom met him up at the school this morning and walked him to his new class, met his teacher and stuff. He said he had a good day - and he even got a point chart. He made his day :)

JaeLynne didn't have to be in to school until 9:20. I thought we'd hit the school about 9ish, see who her teacher was and what room she was in. Yeah...that plan failed miserably when I spent 30 minutes looking for parking. We were late. Fortunately, first day of school, so we weren't the only ones late. We were directed to her room. I stayed for a few minutes, then ducked out to talk to the OT and speech therapist to make sure that the IEP was in or on it's way. OT said that the OT she had at her old school sees a couple students at her new school, so they knew all about her and the lady will bring the file. Speech therapy isn't quite so lucky, but they said they'll have her information and start it in a couple weeks probably. When I went to pick her up this afternoon, she told me with a worried voice and tears in her eyes "but, mama....they put me in a FIRST grade class!" So, we got it all fixed at the office after school. She's considering tomorrow her "real first day". She was soo excited about 2nd grade. I think tomorrow we'll walk to the school instead of drive. I don't really want to go through the parking mess again. I'm not sure what to do about afternoon, since Garrett gets home about 4 pm. I think I'm going to see how long it takes us to walk and go from there. He was home before us today - but then, we did have to fix Jae's class and stuff. Tomorrow shouldn't be so bad. We have her on a waiting list for Garrett's school, so maybe she'll get in there. Sibling ride along should happen if she does.

I'm tired now...since I was up much earlier than I'm used to! In that time though, I looked for a job this morning as I had my coffee. I got school sorted out, I mopped the kitchen floor and I cleaned up my desk some. Not quite as much as I wanted to accomplish, but not terribly bad either.

Tomorrow's to-do list:

Clean bathroom, including floor
Fold laundry
Empty dishwasher
Vacuum
Finish cleaning desk
Finish organizing my coupons - which I started and revised the system to before I got tired of it.
Search for a job

Yay me. Lots to accomplish and if I just keep going on it, it shouldn't take me *that* long to do. Off to bed with a book for me! Night cyber world.

New family member...

We have a new member of the family. Her name is Ziggy. No, I didn't name her. She's a little tabby brat cat. Yes, she *is* a brat. We got her last night from a neighbor. They have a young baby, got the cat from someone being evicted. They've only had her a couple weeks. Apparently, they bought a stuffed animal at the thrift store and she flipped. She went for the stuffie, husband got in the way to protect wife and Ziggy scratched him up pretty good. She bit him too. He's alright - he's been to the doctor and got meds. She got put outside.
Last night, she was crying outside in the little courtyard I overlook. I went down and she let me pick her up. The wife came looking for her because she felt bad that her husband had chased her outside. We brought her back up to their apartment. I guess when they left early this morning, she followed them out and got outside again - attacking in the process. When they found her again in the evening, she was under my window again. She'd hissed at a few people who tried to get to her and the wife put out food for her, but she wouldn't come to either of them. When I went outside, she let me get close and pick her up. So, she's been her since last night.
She did the usual cat thing of peruse the apartment. I left the kids' door open so she could check them out before they woke up, which she did. Then she camped out under the couch. That's where she's spent her day, by the way, under my couch. I was kind of worried because she hadn't really come out to eat or drink until we put dry food out for her in the afternoon. She had tuna before that, which I ended up throwing out because it'd been out overnight. the lady said she likes tuna, but she hardly touched it. I felt better when she came out to at least check out the dry food and the water. Yes, we had water out for her all day. She didn't eat until a little while ago though, but at least she's eating.
So, in the last couple hours that she's ventured out from under the couch - which was only because the lady came to visit her and was able to coax her out - she's had food, made a mess of the water bowl on my kitchen floor (which means she got herself all wet too), shared space with the sleeping spawn and argued with me over the counters. She wasn't vocal about it, but boy did I get the dirty looks. She got up on the table where the computers are - which I'm sitting at - and tried to step over my shoulder (like literally) from the table to the kitchen counter which is right behind me. When I'd catch her (cause you know, you can't sneak right in front of someone...silly kitty, tricks are for kids!) and tell her no while putting her on the floor, she'd look at me like "Uh, scuse me? I don't think so.." and try it again a few minutes later. It took 3 or 4 times before she went to sulk under the couch.
I have the kitchen clean and have changed her water into a smaller bowl; the one that's attached to her food bowl which is fairly shallow. Little brat waited until I put an ice cube in the water before she came over to drink. The smaller bowl seems to have helped though - no water all over my kitchen floor and when she came over to try once again sneaking over my shoulder, her chest wasn't all wet. This time though the little brat got smart - instead of trying to sneak past me, she went to the counter by the fridge and got up there and onto the fridge. Made me climb up there to get her down! Brat cat. She's so cute though.


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Good day.

The kids did their chores today. No arguing, no talking back, no whining, no stalling. As a result, they got to go to Greenwood parade today with mom. I told them yesterday it wasn't going to happen if they were going to continue behavior like yesterday. I don't expect this to last forever, but damn, it was *really* nice. There were only a couple times of arguing with each other during the day, but it's a small place, so.
This afternoon, we walked down to Bitterlake park. The wading pool was open. I didn't bring any towels or suits or anything, unfortunately. It was warm enough though, that I let them go in and they could air dry on the walk home. They had a great time! There were free snacks and juice for the kids, provided by T mobile, I think. When we got home, I fixed them a quick dinner (well, heated up left overs) while they changed into dry clothes before mom took them down to Greenwood. Mom said they had a great time at the parade and they seemed to be excited when they got home, too. They marked points on their charts and got ready for bed - again, no complaints or stalling!
I got everything and then some done on my to do list. I cleaned the kitchen, even rearranging the drawers some so that my spatulas and can opener and the like aren't in with my silverware anymore. I moved some food to a plastic chest of drawers I have just off the kitchen, right by my computer chair. I even have some organization to that. Yay me! I cleaned the bathroom - everything but the floor. I got all the laundry done. Now all I have to do is take the last load out of the dryer and fold them all - which I will do here in a few minutes. I feel pretty damned accomplished.

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Quiet night

D's gone off to work and the kids are asleep. We've had Pan until today, so I've had someone up with me since we've moved in here. Now, it's just me that's up. It's really quiet. I like it. I'm not used to it, really. At the other house, I had mom up with me usually - or another adult there at night.
The kids were supposed to go to a block party this evening at mom's, but they didn't. Instead, they argued and didn't listen when it was time to do chores. Garrett did the vacuuming without an issue, but when it came to making his bed area and stacking his clothes neatly, he argued with his sister and then with me. Jae filled the dishwasher and swept the kitchen floor without too much complaint, but had a melt down when it came to the room. So, I told them simply that if they weren't going to listen, I wasn't going to take them on the bus to go see grandma. Mom of course had the perfect solution - take them outside and get them out of the house! Because, *rewarding* them for bad behavior is an excellent idea.
We did go outside though. We went for a walk on the Interurban trail, up to just past the Shari's and that area. Very nice walk. We got back and had an early dinner, then a little while later went out to the playground on the property. There were a couple other kids out there that they got to play with. The mom was telling me about Bitterlake Park, which is down the street a bit from us. Apparently, they have a wading pool there that's open when it gets to about 80 degrees. We'll have to walk down and check it out.
I mopped the kitchen floor today, with some simple green and a sponge. It's a small enough floor that I can do that. I'm contemplating doing the same with the bathroom floor tomorrow, but that's a bigger floor. Not sure I want to do that. I don't have a mop though, so, I may have to break down and do it.
We have a futon in here now for a sofa. Found it curbside a few blocks away. The living room has been rearranged to make room for the couch. The computers have been moved over to the other corner by the kitchen, the tv in the middle and the couch by the door of the kids' room, along the wall. The tv can be swiveled for either the couch or the computers, which is nice.

On the to do list tomorrow:

Clean the bathroom
Laundry
Rearrange entry hall
Move movie shelf

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Things I have learned making breakfast...

1. The smoke detectors in my new place *do* work - well.
2. My grandfather was the king of using bacon grease for pancakes and eggs - I am not.
3. One can have an epic fail when it comes to pancakes.

Chores

I found an excellent site online to keep track of chores for the kids. Each chore they are assigned and complete earns them X amount of points. For example vacuuming earns 10 points. Right now I have each child doing it 3 times a week, so that it gets done every day (either the oldest or the adults will complete the 7th day). When they redeem their points, they have the option of sharing (donating to charity), saving (depositing a dollar amount to a savings account) or spending. There are several options for them to spend points on - tv time, computer time, picnic, park (the park down the street for us as opposed to the playground on the property.) and a few other things. Each reward has a point value to be cashed in. They even have a "money" reward - they get paid an amount of money if they earn 1000 points. I just started this today, so there may be some adjustments and additions to it. So far, it works out pretty well. The kids can send me messages via this site. I can respond and/or send messages to them as well. Both kids, so far, have decided to share and save points. Each point is a penny. I think when it gets to like $10 we can actually go to the bank and deposit it for them. I think part of it is, I messed up on how to allocate the points. I didn't realize that you needed to put some in the "spend" pot to set it aside for spending on rewards, rather than saving. Once you allocate them, there doesn't seem to be a way to redo it. Oh well. Over all, I like this - no more printing out charts and such. Yay!
In fact, I've moved. We have our own apartment now as a family, up near shoreline. I've discovered a plethora of things that I had at the house and could use here, but didn't think about until I needed it. Sponges, for example. Or, better yet - went to open a can of veggies the other night for dinner - no can opener. I think I'll start a wish list for all those little things.
It's affordable housing, so with it comes that kind of crowd. Well, some anyway. Seems to be a nice "mix" of people here - but there are some that look like "affordable housing" clients. I'm determined *not* to be one of those! The building isn't bad. Secured doors on the outside - have to have a door card key to open. There's trash chutes with their own rooms, so the smell doesn't get too out of hand in the hall. We're in a corner apartment, separated by a stairwell to the neighbor next to us. The only "close" neighbor is across the hall. So far, I haven't heard anyone upstairs. We're on the second floor (out of six), so I worry about the kids making noise - but so far no complaints. Of course, we've only been here a few days! There's a playground on the property for the kids. There's a YMCA on the property - it's not part of the apartment complex, but they lease a space in the building/complex. It's right on a main bus line. Our view is not so spectacular, but it isn't terribly bad either. We overlook a nursery, a car lot and Aurora Ave. On the other side, we have apartments and a courtyard we can see - but, I don't mind. The only apartments I see have their blinds closed most of the time, anyway.
The apartment itself is kind of small, but we'll be fine. Two beds, one bath. The kids are sharing a room, which has been alright so far. Of course, when we get settled in, it may be different. *laugh* I like the kitchen. Even though it's tiny, it's open, so I can be with the family when I cook and clean. We have room for a small couch. It's very workable. I have nothing up on the walls yet. We have an in unit washer/dryer - which I like. Been doing laundry non stop for awhile, but once I get the three week build-up done, we should only have a few loads a week. Right now, we're lacking in furniture, so I'm sorta in the air as to where to put all the clean clothes - but, we'll figure it out. We got a queen sized mattress last night. It's a pillow top - oooohhhh my, comfy, comfy. The kids still need beds, but I hear Kmart has a bunk bed set for like $200 that comes apart, so when the kids are tired of the bunk beds, we can take them apart. Hopefully next week we can do that. Dressers are back at the house - not sure how we're gonna work that yet, as we only have 2. But, again, we'll figure it out!!
I'm just glad we have our own spot and are out from under the family thumb. It's been kind of stressful to move, and I'm sure as we continue to move and help clean the house there will be more stress, but it's all worth it.

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