Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Positive Thoughts Tuesday: Updates

 Switching it up a bit and doing my Positive Thoughts Thursday Tuesday, today. Thankfully, things are finally, slowly, starting to look up for us!

*A few weeks ago I posted about all of our house drama which is also starting to come together. We actually submitted an offer on a major fixer-upper a couple days after that last post, on a Wednesday, I believe. We offered low because it needed a ton of work and before the listing agent even presented it to her client, she told our realtor that she thought it was too low of an offer and was acting really rude. Then the sellers told us they needed to talk to their attorney about the offer and they'd get back to us by the following Tuesday - this just turned me off. I didn't want to deal with annoying listing agents, more attorneys and delays all over again. We ended up looking at a foreclosure in the mean time that we really liked, so we withdrew our offer on the fixer-upper to submit an offer on the foreclosure Monday or Tuesday. Before we could even get our offer in on the foreclosure, it had sold. :( This meant that we were back at square one with no house, again.
So we decided to just keep looking, and we ended up looking at four houses in one night on Wednesday of last week. The last house we looked at Tim and I both really liked! It wasn't an estate, it wasn't a foreclosure, and it's not even really that much of a fixer-upper! :) We ended up looking at it one more time Thursday night and submitting our offer on Friday! We negotiated a couple times with the seller over the weekend and accepted their counter-offer on Saturday!!! Yesterday I went in to initial the papers, so we're officially under contract with a house and we're both very excited about it! Right now I'm in the process of setting up our home inspection and getting our loan approval process underway, again. :-) Let's hope this one works out this time!!

*Last weekend Tim and I drove down to TN to celebrate our nephew, Cole's third birthday and also to see his new brother, Liam who was born in the beginning of May. It was so fun to be able to hang out with Tim's sisters and their husbands and their kids for the weekend. We had a great time, but I cannot wait until they are living in Illinois so we can do this more often!
Aunt Colleen & Liam
Uncle Tim & Cole
Aunt Colleen pulling Cole & Isaac in the wagon
Baby Liam :)
Aunt Colleen & Cole reading "The Pout-Pout Fish"
Cousin love! :)
*After we got back from Tennessee, we pulled our offer on the fixer-upper, saw those other houses and put in our offer on our current home. Then we left for the weekend again. Tim and I ran our first 5K together on Saturday, along with several of my old co-workers from DeKalb. We did Brett's Run, which was my very first 5K last year. It rained the entire morning while we were waiting for the race to begin so we were soaked before we even started running. Once the race started, the rain died down, but it picked back up again as soon as we were finished.
I had not been training for this run as well as I did last year, so I wasn't too pleased with myself when I had to stop and walk a couple times along the route. But, I am very happy that I was still able to finish in 35:29.7. Tim, on the other hand, blew right past me as soon as we started and finished his first 5K with an awesome time of 26:53.3, that's an 8:40 mile pace! It was really fun being able to do this with Tim and several of our friends this time! I hope that I can keep in shape and that this is something we can do annually together.
Tim & I post-race, drenched!
Our whole team pre-race, nice and dry!
Yay, we survived the rain! :) 
*The other big news of the summer so far is my job placement for next year. Long story short, the district messed up their numbers thinking there would be enough students for three kindergarten classes next year, allowing me to stay as a kindergarten teacher...well it turns out there are not enough students for three classes, so back to the original plan of me moving up to first grade in the fall. I will not have all of my same students from my kindergarten class because we mixed up all of the students at the end of the year, but I'll have a few of the same. I'm very happy that I'm staying in the same building because if you didn't know already, I love my coworkers & job! I will be moving rooms this summer (going from room 15 to room 9 - movin' on up!) which I wasn't planning, but that's okay. It'll give me something to do on those days when I'm bored out of my mind. So this fall will kind of feel like my first year all over again with a new room and new curriculum, but the first grade team is great (one of them is my mentor) and I'm looking forward to working with them. :-) Better start thinking of a clever name to go with their quotes this year, can't call them 'kinder quotes' anymore!

*Even with all of this craziness that's been going on, I've really had a lot of time to relax over the past few weeks, especially during the day while Tim's at work. I've been doing pretty good about getting in an extra treatment during the day - probably about 1/2 the time I do. I just finished up a few weeks of TOBI which really helped clean my lungs out and I've been feeling really good. I had a great workout today - did a 10 minute standing ab video and then a 20 minute medicine ball video that Tim and I did a lot over the winter. I've got about six more weeks until my next CF clinic appointment, so I'm really trying to get my lungs in great shape and really trying to gain some weight. My goal is to cut back on the running and to increase weight training exercises like these workout videos to gain muscle weight.

I've been watching a lot of HGTV & Dr. Phil, doing some cleaning and laundry, but I'm planning on adding more reading this summer. First on my list is The Walking Dead graphic novel! We've been watching the show since it started and I've really enjoyed it. Tim's aunt Linda read this already and said it was totally different from the TV show, so I'm excited to read it. This is the first graphic novel I've ever read, so I'm curious to see how I like it.

I'm also going to see "The Book of Mormon" with Tim's aunt Linda next week, too, which is supposed to be really funny. Then I've got a bachelorette party, bridal shower, Country Thunder, (hopefully moving into our new house), and my best friend's wedding all before the new school year starts! I love having summers off! :-)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Organ Donation In Children

If you've been following the news at all lately (which I rarely do because it's usually depressing), you may have noticed a story about a ten year old girl, Sarah, with cystic fibrosis who's in need of a double lung transplant. Thankfully, yesterday Sarah received her double lung transplant and it has been reported that the surgery was very successful!

This story has raised a lot of awareness for CF and organ donation, especially organ donation in children, which is what I want to touch on today. But first, here's a little bit about Sarah's story. Because Sarah is only ten years old, she is only eligible for donor lungs from a child, which really decreased her chances of getting lungs -- children need to be at least 12 years old to receive adult organs. Just last week Sarah had to be placed in a medically induced coma because of her failing health. Her parents fought in court for a temporary restraining order to be lifted so that Sarah could also be eligible for adult lungs. Thankfully, last week that restraining order was granted! And here a week later, Sarah received adult lungs! I read that they did have to modify the lungs to fit her chest, but otherwise the operation is said to be successful. Sarah has a long road to recovery ahead of her and is not cured from her CF, but this is an extension of her life and what a wonderful gift for her and her family!

After reading this quick story this morning, the last line really caught my attention and got me thinking, "They said pediatric lungs are rarely donated." I'll admit, this is not something I think about, and I could be that many of you don't either. When I think about organ donation, I've always thought about it with adults and never children, but the reality is that there are children out there, like Sarah, who are in desperate need of donor organs, too. It's difficult for people to think about organ donation sometimes because it unfortunately means that someone must lose their life to be able to give someone else the gift of life. It's even more difficult when those someones are children.

Obviously I'm not a parent, but one day I hope to be. I hope and pray that my child will never need a life-saving transplant, but nothing's certain. I also hope and pray that I never have to think about losing my child and whether or not I would donate their organs. But just as certain as I am about donating mine, I would definitely want to donate my child's organs, especially if it could save another child's life.

If you are a parent and you are reading this, what do you think? Have you ever considered what you would do if your child lost their life? Would you donate their organs? Has something like that ever even crossed your mind? How do you even notify someone about that? Is there a registry for children under 16?

The last line in that article just really stuck out to me and really made me think about my future, about my non-existent-hope-to-be children, and tough situations you hope you never have to be in, but things you should probably have a plan for....

Friday, June 7, 2013


**Warning: This post may have "TMI" for some readers - including talk about gas and poop.**
*Also, I am not giving medical advice, just telling you what has worked for me. Please consult your doctor before trying anything new!*

I started taking a daily probiotic (Target generic brand) shortly after my last clinic visit. I had talked with the nutritionist about what and how much I've been eating lately, and I how I was very discouraged because I wasn't gaining any weight. My whole life I've struggled with digestive issues, I think sometimes even more so than lung issues. I've always gone #2 at least twice a day growing up and I've always been very bloated and gassy. It's been extremely uncomfortable and embarrassing, but I just thought, "this is CF". And if you know me personally, or any other CFer (or you've read about it online), CF poop is not pleasant (loose & stinky)...especially when you're going more than once a day.
Here's a list of symptoms according to the CFF website:
People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including:
  • very salty-tasting skin;
  • persistent coughing, at times with phlegm;
  • frequent lung infections;
  • wheezing or shortness of breath;
  • poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite; and
  • frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements.
So, since that was on the list of symptoms, I assumed that all CFers had this problem, and that it was just going to have to be my 'normal'. Days when I went #2 once a day was like heaven!

Anyway, in April when I was talking to the dietitian we were trying to think of what I could do to help my tummy troubles and help keep weight on (because most of what I was eating was just coming out). She asked if I was trying to snack frequently and eat smaller meals - yes, I was already trying that. She asked if I was on an anti-acid (ie: Prevacid, etc) - yes, I'd been on one for quite some time. She asked if I was taking a daily probiotic -- No....that was something new to me! She was excited that there was finally something different for me to try. Probiotics help resort the healthy bacteria back into your gut, that could be killed by antibiotics, to help with digestion. She told me to try taking one a day to see if that helps. Oh man does it help!!!! This may sound ridiculous, but I asked Tim the other night, "When's the last time I farted?" Of course we started laughing, but honestly, it's made that much of a difference for me. It was sometimes daily that I could complain about feeling bloated/gassy/uncomfortable. I haven't felt that way in almost two months since I've started taking this! I now only go #2 once a day and it's formed and wonderful. I know it sounds crazy for me to be talking like this (especially if you don't have CF), but if you have CF and/or live with someone who does, you'll totally understand! I'm not sure if I've gained any weight yet (we don't have a scale in the house), but it's wonderful to be feeling better. I'm hoping this summer the combination of eating frequently and going to the bathroom less will help me gain the pounds I need! :-)

I think I should be a spokes-person for Probiotics!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Schedule?

Woo hoo! No school! Summer break! I can do whatever I want for the next 2 1/2 months! True...but honestly I'm struggling without a routine/schedule. It's so easy for me to lay around all day watching TV without keeping track of time and how much I may or may not have eaten throughout the day. Currently, I'm really trying to gain weight and keep my lungs as healthy as possible, so to keep that up this summer, I've decided to make myself a daily schedule. It's nothing set in stone, there are no times attached to each thing, but there are certain things I need to accomplish each day - this is what I've come up with so far.

  • EAT (breakfast)
  • Shower
  • EAT (snack)
  • Run any errands for the day
  • Housework 
  • EAT (lunch)
  • TV/read/etc
  • EAT (snack)
  • Hang out with Tim
  • EAT (dinner)
  • EAT (dessert)

*I'm going to try to fit an extra treatment in the middle of the day - why not, especially if I'm sitting at home all day. 
*I'm going to try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in everyday - whether its just walking around the neighborhood, going for a run, doing a workout video, something...anything!
*I'm really trying to eat/snack all day long. Sounds glamorous, it's not. I stocked up on protein bars on Monday to help me with snacks throughout the day.
*Now if I have plans for the day, then I'll just make sure that I get in my two required treatments a day and eat as much as possible. This schedule is for my lazy, nothing to do, days...which will probably be a lot of days this summer! :-)
*I tried this yesterday for the first time and did pretty well. I got in three treatments, 35 minutes of walking & running and ate several snacks on top of breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also gave me something to look forward to when I got out of bed. I knew that I had to do my treatments, but I was also mentally prepared to get outside and walk/run around the neighborhood. I like having a plan/schedule/routine. I don't do well with the 'unknown' as much. I think this is really going to help me make the most of this summer! :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Months of Stress

A couple months ago, I was hinting at some things that were going on that I couldn't talk about yet that had to do with my goals. One of them is still a 'no-no' for now (just wait about 6 more weeks! No, I'm not pregnant), but the other, I'm going to share with you today.

Tim and I are currently looking to buy a house! I'm very excited because it's always been a goal of mine to own my own home. We've been renting together for over five years and I hate that we're just throwing that money away. When we moved to our current city and got settled, I realized that I love my job and the proximity to all of our family, and Tim has a great job too. We originally told ourselves when we moved down here that we were going to stay in our rental for two years to build up our savings and not have to pack everything up and move again so soon (I hate moving!). Well, this winter, Tim and I started getting a little antsy. We started looking at homes online and we soon realized that we could be spending much less on a mortgage than what we are paying for rent! So in February, we went into the bank and talked to the mortgage lender and found out our pre-approval amount. Our mortgage guy, Dennis (he's awesome!), set us up with a realtor, Sandy, who's been wonderful!!

In February and March, we started to look at a few homes with Sandy. We assumed that we were just going to see what our price range could get us, not expecting to find anything yet, just because our lease isn't up on our rental until August 1st. We talked with Sandy about finding something and putting an offer in in May or June, which would be perfect timing to get out of our rental. Well of course, things never go according to plan, do they?!

We ended up finding a home that we really liked. It needed cosmetic updating on the inside, but it had a wonderful lot and was in the area we wanted. We put our offer in March 17th, and it was finally accepted on the 22nd. We soon realized, that the seller of the house moved at a very slow pace - he inherited the house as an Estate and lives in KY. The seller agreed to our low offer (because it needed lots of work), but he said he would not fix anything in the home. We agreed since Tim is such a handy man, plus we didn't see any major issues in the home that we couldn't do ourselves.

When we were looking at the home, we did notice that there was a 'too-green' patch of grass in the backyard and thought it might have to do with the septic tank. The home inspector didn't know much about septics, so he recommended that we have a separate inspection done on it. So we had a septic inspector come out and we learned that the septic was full and most likely backing up into the pipes and into the yard. They were going to have to do a soil test to determine what repairs needed to be done, ranging from $4,000-$8,000. We approached our realtor about all of this and she suggested writing a letter to the seller about covering the cost of the septic repair - since this was a major expense and something that had to be done whether we bought the house or not. After about two weeks (again, the seller moves VERY slowly! Returns phone calls on his time....ugh!) he finally agreed to pay for the soil test and whatever the repair costs were going to be. Yay! The soil test revealed that the more expensive repairs ($7,500) were going to have to be done. I was really glad that we caught that before closing and moving in!

As we approached our closing date (April 29th), the listing agent on the house sent the seller his closing documents to sign and return. Of course, he didn't. Did I mention this guy works on his own time?! On April 29th, both Tim and I took off of work to do our final walk-through of the home and go to the title company to sign papers and get the keys. While we were doing our final walk-through, the listing agent & attorney (of the estate) called to tell us that his paperwork was not in. We were pissed! We set a closing date for a reason! We were not allowed to fill out any of our paperwork or get the keys to the house until we had his paperwork in first. By the end of the week, his signed paperwork finally arrived and I was told we were closing that afternoon! I got all excited and was preparing to go there as soon as I got off of work. As soon as I was leaving, I noticed I had a voicemail from Dennis, mortgage guy, saying, "Don't go the the title company, we aren't closing today." It was like this for a week straight! Telling me we were going to close, then realizing we couldn't - it was so frustrating and stressful!

Turns out, the seller owed money at closing (the septic money + his closing costs = ~$8,000). When he found that out, he stopped answering and returning everyone's phone calls.....and here we are today, still without anyone hearing from him in weeks! It's like he just fell off the face of the Earth. No one knew what to do - the attorney, realtors, mortgage lender - no one had ever been in a situation like this before. We waited him out for a month past the closing date because we really wanted that house! We already started making plans for remodel, bought furniture and started looking at materials for remodeling the rooms. We signed an extension of our contract through June 1st, but that really didn't mean anything because the seller never signed it.

The week before Memorial Day, we finally decided that we should probably start looking at other homes, just in case this one fell through. I was determined to wait this guy out, but it's just getting to be way too stressful. We widened our search to include fixers that we can flip over a few years and hopefully make a profit when we go to sell. Last week, we decided enough is enough. We are currently in the process of voiding the contract and getting our Earnest money back. We lost out on the cost of both inspections, but there's really nothing we can do about that. Tim and I went to look at another house, for the second time, yesterday and as soon as we know that we are no longer tied to the first house, I think we're going to make an offer on this other one.

Tim's moved on already and ready for this next project, but it's been a lot harder on me. I was picturing us growing our family in that home and living there for a long time! I'll just have to deal with it though, there's nothing we can do about it. What's frustrating to me is how rude and disrespectful this seller was! Someone also messed up along the way...the seller found out that he owed money at closing a week after our scheduled closing date! He should have known that weeks before we closed!

Anyway, I can sit here and play the blame game, but that's not going to get me anywhere but more frustrated. We are moving on. We will find a home for us. Everyone says your first home buying experience is supposed to be so happy and fun. Ours has been a little more stressful than most, but I still think that everything happens for a reason. I have absolutely no idea why we're going through all of this right now, but I hope that down the road I can look back and see why it just wasn't meant to be. Congratulations on making it through this entire post, I hope I didn't confuse and bore you to death! I couldn't wait for the day to say on here the we were homeowners, that's why I was holding off on it all, but it didn't turn out the way I expected. Hopefully we'll get there before August 1st!