by jcastles | Jan 31, 2017 | Family, Moving
Back in May I posted that we were building a home near Austin, Tx. If you follow me on Instagram you know that we did not move into that home. I am sad about it but I’m totally happy where we wound up. Here’s the story of what happened.
Over the summer last year we went to my husbands grandfather’s funeral. After, we went to a family members house and chatted for hours. It’s then we realized we really missed being around family. For weeks we talked about it. So the hubs decided to just ask his boss if he could work from home and we move back home. Lots of people do it at his company so we figured it’d be ok….and it was. We decided to pull out on the house we were building, that was 2 weeks before closing. Better than after though.
We spent a few weekends looking for a house in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We really wanted to be near family that lived near Dallas but Fort Worth has all our friends. Yah, it seems close to those not in Texas but it’s really an hour distance or more with traffic and just isn’t one of those hop in the car in the afternoon to go to a friends house. We found a few houses in the Fort Worth area and were out bid every time. In the end we wound up in the Dallas area near family, which was our goal anyways. So it worked out.
It’s been a month since we closed on our house and I can’t tell you how happy I am!!! Even friends on FB are noticing my mood change. I’m just a family person! I’m always here for anyone really. We’ve made some friends in the neighborhood already too. It’s nice to be home.
by jcastles | Jul 22, 2016 | Family
So in addition to our normal craziness around our house we’re having to do something I never thought I’d have to do. Jayson has had delays since 4 months old. Potty-ing has been one of the major ones. He was almost 5 years old when he got out diapers. At one point we even had a parent trainer come to our house to help him understand better. He wasn’t very verbal until about 3.5 years old. Mostly grunted….major signs of Autism. Thanks to the help of some teachers in Keller he progressed very quickly. Then we threw a wrench in our family and moved to Seattle. He regressed a little but quickly caught up. He’s still a little behind on social interactions but we’re getting there (reason we’re out and about a lot!).
So….back to my post about something I never thought we’d have to do. He still wears diapers to bed at 7 years old. But I’m very happy with the sheets I have got for myself and him. Most of the time they leak because well he’s 7 and has a lot of pee! He sleeps so hard he never wakes up at night. He usually can sleep 10-12 hours straight (maybe that’s why the bugger is so happy all the time). He also gets the best mattress from https://eva.com.au/pages/bed-in-a-box, which improves his quality of sleep. The owner at his swimming lessons facility and I were talking and she told me about the potty alarm. I’ve heard of it but never heard feedback first hand from someone. She used it on all 3 of her boys and it worked quickly.
So of course I bought one right away! Me being me I didn’t want to put him in undies because well…you guessed it…the clean up!! I HATE messes and if I can keep them from happening I will. So we started using it with a pull-up. We used it that way for a whole week and it worked! I figured I’d be up all night but turns out he only pee’s twice a night. And one of those times is around 7am so he’s just been staying up for the day. Well all of a sudden the potty alarm quit working…sort of. It was working as in it was constantly beeping. But his pull-up was dry! But it was after a large pee that soaked his pull-up so I thought maybe the sensor wasn’t dry. So I shelf it and email the company. They flat our asked me if I was using undies or a pull-up (uhhh, I haven’t responded to their question yet).
The instructions didn’t come right out and tell me to not use a pull-up but since they asked like that I decided to put him in undies that night. And you know what?! It wasn’t beeping non stop. About 2am it went off. I was still watching tv on the couch (ok ok…and playing Pokemon Go) and heard it so I ran upstairs to assist (you will need to assist your child with this contraption!). The drill is….put dry undies on, attach sensor, alarm goes off when the sensor detects moisture (mom freaks out because of the possible mess….extra laundry), child is to stop pee’ing as soon as the alarm sounds, detach sensor, turn alarm off, go finish peeing in the bathroom, parent helps get clean attire on/clean bedding/etc. So back to that night at 2am. It goes off (I do think the sensor was just too wet btw). I go upstairs. He’s already heading towards the bathroom. He finishes and comes out to his room and his clothes are dry…his bed is dry. I look real close and I see a dot…yes a dot! You know that dot after the man goes and puts it back in his pants…that dot. That dot was enough to set the alarm off and stop him from peeing. He gets new undies on, attaches the sensor and alarm and put him back to bed. I also decide now’s a good time to go to bed myself. I know this could be a fluke so I was prepared to wake up a lot. And because I know this I kept waking up all night long thinking I was hearing that damn alarm. It was like having a baby in the house again, but not.
So fast forward to 7am. I wake up and check the time…no kid coming in my room. So I’m like OMG did he really just sleep the entire night in undies w/out peeing the bed? Well, no. About 30 min later he comes in asking for help to button his shirt up (we call them day clothes). I’m all…did your alarm go off again? He was like yup. I said was there a lot of pee? He’s like well kinda. I’m all here dragging this info out of him so I decide to get my sleepy butt up and go check it out. He did everything he was suppose to do. Detached sensor, turned alarm off, put wet clothes in the wet spot on the bed (so i’m not cleaning multiple wet spots up), cleaned himself up (wipes in closet), and got dressed for the day since it was daylight outside (thank god he didn’t wake up at 6am when it’s daylight outside). I then threw a load of laundry in the washer and went back to sleep for a bit.
So another wrench got thrown at me. The master bathroom shower has to be redone here at our apartment. It’s leaking into the downstairs neighbors apartment and causing electrical issues (knocked their cable out…what’s next..OMG!!!). So we have to stop using it and put 4 people in 1 shower (no, not all at once you weirdo). Luckily we have 3.5 baths in this apartment. So we decide to put all 3 boys in the older kids bathroom and then me and the hubs just use the little boys bathroom. Cause I’m the only girl….let’s face it…I don’t want to shower where my tween is. So at the same time I’m struggling with the trip I was suppose to take out of town. So with all this change and uncertainty the hubs and I decide to hold off on the potty alarm until we know what’s what. I didn’t want to put extra laundry on family and friends that we planned on visiting. So back to my story……instead of putting underwear on and completely stopping the potty alarm I decided to try the pull-up again.
Of course my brain is racing with everything going on right now so I couldn’t sleep. Also because I took a good nap since I didn’t sleep the night before. So yah, i’m stuck in that damn cycle (well until today….3 hours of sleep and appointments all day will cure that for you). ANYWAYS!!!! I put him to bed with the potty alarm on a pull-up and I move into the bedroom from the living room about 2:15am. I’m still playing on my damn phone and at 2:30 Jayson walks in the room asking which bathroom to go potty in (remember the bathroom switcheroo?….this is why I told you). I told him to use the 1/2 bath toilet if someone’s in the shower…but his sleepy self couldn’t remember that. I tell him to use the one upstairs and he goes. I follow….knowing I’ll need to help him change his pull-up. But then I see that the sensor was still attached to the pull-up. But the alarm wasn’t sounding. I asked if he turned it off. He said no, it didn’t go off. I woke up to go pee. OMG OMG OMG!!!! Say that again!!!! So I put him back to bed, I go bed and lay there until I fell asleep and only got 3 hours of sleep. I get up at 6:30am, no kid is up…no pee issues. I shower in their bathroom. I get ready for the day and no kid still. I had to wake him up for swimming lessons at 8:15am. Sensor still attached, not beeping, I check pull-up, NO PEE!!!! He seriously made it an entire night with a dry diaper.
Today I figured out my traveling plans and pushed that out 2 weeks. So we’re going to continue with undies and go with it. You all know I’ll tell you how it ends. But so far I’m quite impressed. Here’s the product we’re using if your interested.
by jcastles | May 6, 2016 | Family, Moving, Uncategorized
After 17 years of renting homes and apartments we decided it was time. We finally feel like we’re in a place where we’ll stay for years to come. So we decided to BUY A HOUSE just similar to those dream houses here!!!! I actually grew up in Arlington, Tx. Met my hubs in 1999 and from there we went to Keller, Texas where we spent most of life together. We lived in the Frisco, Tx area for a few years but quickly moved back to Keller. In 2013 we had the chance to move to Washington state. We lived there for a miserable 2 years there we started looking to come home. Hubs found out that the company he worked for (Amazon btw) had an office in Austin, Tx. Not home home but 3 hours away was better than 35 hours. So we jumped at it. We’ve actually been back in Texas a whole year now!
We couldn’t find a house to rent before our corporate housing ran out and I just so happen to find an apartment complex in a good area that had 4 bedrooms. Smaller than we’re use to, yes. But doable. So we did it, luckily there are Residential Moving Companies which help, so moving wasn’t a big deal. And we HATE it! We’d been renting houses for so long we haven’t had to deal with maintenance crews coming on their schedule, loud neighbors, smells coming through the walls, etc. Since our lease will expire in August we decided to start looking for rent houses. Then we thought….wonder if we could buy (lots of past job lay-offs have really damaged our credit…reason we jumped at Seattle). So we started looking and getting advice from lenders and BAM! We can actually do it. Never thought we could. We’ve always rented big homes. But we quickly found out that buying a home at the size we want with the upgrades we want was going to be difficult. Especially in the Austin market. So we looked and looked and looked. Yes, we bribed our kids with candy and eating out on the weekends. We brought iPads and iPhones for them to play with too.
We looked at so many areas and so many models we had no idea what we wanted. Some sales guy said when you walk into a home you’ll know if it’s yours. And you know what….that totally happened. Unfortunately not with his builder but the one next to him. We went with Chesmar Homes. Why? Well they have really nice freaking homes! The base price of our home is not bad at all, but of course we have upgrades. But not the kind you’d think. See, the reason we liked Chesmar is the homes sounded solid. By that I mean when we walked into a KB Home you could hear so much outside noise, kids upstairs, etc. This home you couldn’t hear all that. They use a cellulose spray insulation which helps reduce sound. And since we’re in a typical neighborhood where you can practically hear the neighbors in their home next-door you want quiet. And this home offered that. Not only that but wood faux blinds are standard, 12×12 tile is standard, large master shower is standard, huge kitchen island is standard, granite counter tops in the kitchen is standard, garage door opener is standard, full sod and sprinklers front and back is standard!! All those were upgrades in the other homes we were looking at and it was making it to where we wouldn’t be able to buy a home. But not Chesmar. And it’s still all quality brand names that they were selling too. And it was in the same neighborhood we wanted. So yah, why wouldn’t we go with that!
So we picked all of our choices (and upgrades–mostly electrical) out and gave them a check to start the contract!! We are now waiting on our pre-construction meeting. We expect to close on the house in late October for an early November move in!!
Here’s the spot of dirt/rock where our house will go!!
Here’s our choices!! I’m ready! Is it done yet?!?!
by jcastles | Apr 15, 2016 | Family, Holiday Crafts, Uncategorized
At the end of Easter last year I bought a box of fake eggs on clearance for like 25¢ that look like real eggs. I bought them because my kids like to dye eggs but they hate hard boiled eggs. So my thinking was why waste real eggs. Why not buy a box of these every year and let them color them and we get to save them every year. Yah, no. They suck….BIG TIME!!!! But the egg dipper was neat so we saved that!
So here we are ready to start. They were so excited to have 3 dozen eggs to color cause I hate coloring eggs. Actually it’s fun. I hate the set up and the sharing the eggs and colors. So this year with the fake eggs I decided to let them each choose their own coloring kit too. No fussing right! Well that actually worked. Problem is these eggs float. You have to hold them down so they’ll color. Then they don’t hold color that well so every color came out pastel, no matter how long you left it in there. UGH!
End result….SUCK! I do not recommend these for regular coloring. Maybe drawing on them with sharpies would be good but I dunno, I trashed them and will not buy anymore. Back to wasting regular eggs for this family!
by jcastles | Jul 24, 2015 | Family, Moving, Uncategorized
Our kids are not good in the car….well they can be. Problem is they hate being in the car (we like to drive around and explore….a lot). But when we told them we could stay in Washington or move home to Texas they obviously chose to deal with the long road trip….like they had a choice, lol!!!
We have an 11 yr old and a 6 yr old that would be traveling with us. They each have an iPhone with the best mobile plans (don’t worry…no service is on my 6 yr olds….it’s and old phone of ours and is basically a Nintendo DS but with better games, lol!!) and iPad (and these were handed down so it’s not like we completely spoil our kids with new flashy items). So first things first on a long trip like this is you have to completely give up all rules and allow them to use them…a lot!!!
A few days before we were to leave for our moving adventure I decided I should get some things for the kids to do so they’re not completely bored or on devices all the time.
Since we’d be going through 7 states I went to the Crayola website for some free state color pages. I printed 2 of each state we’d be going to so each kiddo had their own color page. The great thing is it also had state facts on them. I also printed a US map so they could follow our route. That helps eliminate questions.
Since we’d be traveling on July 4th I printed out a color page for that holiday. I also printed out a few miscellaneous color pages I knew the kids would enjoy. I printed out the kids favorite zoo animals since we’d be visiting the San Diego Zoo. I put all the prints in order of travel, in a sheet protector, clipped to their travel clipboards we’d made a few years back. I also added our Surprise destination of LegoLand!!! I took their favorite Lego character from google images and edited it in photoshop. I didn’t edit the photo…I adjusted the size so I could add words to the top. I added Let’s Go to LEGOLAND!! They were ecstatic when we revealed the packets and saw LEGOLAND was one of our destinations!!
Did our kids do all the activities in their packet…no. But they did read them and learn about each state. They also knew where we were going and what we were doing in each state. And that itself was awesome because it lessens the amount of what are we doing here questions.
I hope this helps you plan a long road trip. They barely fought, were not bored much, and overall just had a great trip.
by jcastles | Jul 24, 2015 | Family, Moving, Uncategorized
I believe it was the last day of school when we were finally told we’d be moving in one week. In Washington state school didn’t end until June 19th. The flyttebyrå Oslo. movers would be at our house on June 26th. We’d already started to declutter but we didn’t think we’d decluttered enough. on the go moving in bellevue company arrived at like 8:15 that Friday morning…..three guys. They had almost everything packed by 5pm!!!! The only things they didn’t pack was the bedding so we could sleep that night and the few bathroom things we weren’t letting them pack just yet (shower curtain and towels). They weren’t bothered by it as it’s normal for them I suppose. They had actually started loading the 18 wheeler believe it or not. Good movers like the Big T Moving (Alpharetta Location) are flexible and helpful like that.
The next morning they got there at like 8:30/8:45. They immediately started tagging and loading. They also finished up the packing and were done by like 3pm!!! I was able to clean and let them take the vacuum cleaner and they left. It was definitely a better experience than the move to Seattle. Those movers were slow.
We took up 3/4 of that dang truck!!!
We dropped my husbands car off with friends (for transit pickup in a week). We finally got to our hotel nearby by 10pm and we got a pretty good nights sleep before we headed out the next morning. And since this was a vacation as well as a move we were taking it kinda slow in the mornings. Trying to make sure we were all ready and stuff, since packing everything well is important for this, as explained by Sky Van Lines an expert moving company that help people with this difficult task.
Sunday morning came, we ate the hotel breakfast, loaded the jeep up and we were off for our adventure!!
30 days of clothes and necessities!!
Dog needs, medications, snacks, and of course the ice chest!
The backseat trio! Btw, I recommend a dog seat belt! That was a lifesaver!