Monday, February 12, 2007

the easy and the not so ...

If I was calm, I doubt I would have been awake at 3:03 AM this morning.

I doubt I would have stared at the clock for an hour with a million thoughts running through my mind.

I doubt I would have tossed and turned for another hour, frustrated that I wasn't asleep, when every other person in the house - and the dog - were snoring.

I was tired. Really tired.

Our bed was comfortable. Really comfortable.

But still, sleep eluded me - until 5:30 AM when I finally dozed off.

Carolyn woke up within moments. By 6:00 AM, she was in our bed - with her leaking sippy cup of orange juice rested on my head and an elbow dug in to my rib cage. The next think I know - there were two more toddlers in my bed. Their leaking sippy cups were also, situated on my head and their small elbows were digging in to my rib cage. Through the fog of exhaustion, I could make out three beautiful little faces, peering down at me and loudly whispering "Mommy! Wake?!"

For a moment, I was wondering if I had died - and this was my wake. But then it dawned on me if I was really gone - I probably wouldn't be bothered by six small elbows, three leaking sippy cups, and one husband who was trying desperately to go back to sleep and clearly excited that the kids weren't climbing all over him.

What kept me awake half the night, was wondering if the old adage "The answer was right before my eyes" couldn't have been accurate. Or, at least the catalyst for us to make a decision regarding the next stage our lives.

It turns out that the 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom house - directly across the street from our home ... in full view from our kitchen window ... is about to go on the market. The family that currently lives there, with 4-year old twin boys, will be moving to New York later this week. We have first dibs to purchase the house, before it is listed. If we so chose.

We've been approached by two highly interested families - out of the blue - within the past month to purchase our house. It's a desirable one-story, on a corner lot with incredible views. We could quickly sell our wonderful little home and walk away with a good portion of equity, in a very short period of time. If we so chose.

Potentially, we could save a bundle on the sale of our home - and the purchase of this new home - if we don't hire a realtor. The new house would provide us an additional 600 square feet of living space. Come to think of it ... that's not really a lot more space when you consider the property tax on this new home would rival the mortgage payment.

Upside to purchase: we'd have two additional bedrooms, a bathroom and a 3-car garage. The floor plan is wonderful. We already know all the neighbors and like the neighborhood.

Downside to purchase: the backyard is small. Even though it's across the street - there's more traffic then in front of our house. The view is not nearly as magnificent as what we have, now.

In the past 24-hours, we have oscillated from keeping our house and renting it, to selling our house - immediately - and purchasing this new house.

In the past 12-hours, we have oscillated from keeping our house and renting it, to selling our house - immediately - and moving out of state.

In the past 6-hours, we have been pre-approved for a loan to purchase the new house and have organized all of our finances to make it work. In my mind - I have thoroughly decorated the inside of the house and know where the majority of our furniture will be placed.

In the past 3-hours, we have identified two ideal properties in Massachusetts - close to my family, where we could see ourselves living for the next 20 years.

But what do we want?

Honestly, I have no idea.

Upside to staying in California: We have awesome jobs. The weather is great. We have a lot of friends and networks. We have 2-months remaining on our season pass to the Museums in Balboa Park, 4-months remaining on our season pass to the Zoo, and 7-months remaining on our season pass to SeaWorld. I wonder if I would have the patience and fortitude to load four small children - clad in snowsuits - in to their carseats.

Downside to staying in California: We have no family in the area. There is one season ... sunny. I cannot imagine us remaining in this location for the next 20 years because it makes more sense to settle down someplace where you actually stand a chance of owning a home in less than 30, 40, 50 60 years. I miss the seasons. I think....

As of right now (this very instant), our dominant plan involves selling our house and moving back to Massachusetts. I don't know what we'll do for work - or where we'll live. We should probably line up jobs and/or let my dad know that we'll be bunking with him, indefinitely.

These are some really tough decisions to make - and as much as possible, we're trying to rely on our parental instinct to do what is right.

I had my 20-week ultrasound today. Going in to the appointment, it was not my intention to find out the gender of our baby - because I thought it would be nice to be surprised. But then, I reconsidered. Our lives are almost devoid of any certainty at the moment ... and it would be really nice to have one nugget of information regarding our future family development.

Thus, I learned that another tough decision in our future, will involve picking out a name for William, Elizabeth & Carolyn's baby brother ... who weighed in at exactly 1.0 pound, today. With 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, he looks incredibly perfect and is measuring a full week ahead of schedule.

Absolutely everyone that I've spoken to, said that they knew we were going to have a another boy. Interestingly enough, Charlie and I were completely convinced that we were having a girl. Considering we both missed this, I think our parental instincts are severely challenged.

It is for this reason, that from now on, we are going to rely on a Magic 8-Ball for all of our big decisions.


  1. Yippee...congrats on the BABY BOY!!!

  2. A big CONGRATS! Two boys and two girls... just how it is with me and my siblings! So much fun!

    Also, I totally hear you on your flip-flopping decisions about selling your house/moving to MA/moving next door. When you're considering a move, every decision seems to need to be made NOW. It's frustrating!

    I'm sure you'll make the right decision for your family, whatever it is!

  3. Yeah...William will have a brother! Yippeeee! I am so happy for you. Congrats!

  4. Congrats on evening things out with another boy!!!

    As I was first reading your post, I was thinking "move across the street. It seems to be working out so clearly for you." Then as I continued to read and you mentioned family, I though "oh, you definitely need to get busy on finding jobs closer to family and move there, then." So I thought I had it figured out for you, but then I didn't. Glad I could help.

    Actually, family is a very strong pull. You know your family. Will it be just like you imagine when/if you settle near them? Will they be a support system? Will they be your soft place to fall when you are exhausted? When all 3/4 kids are throwing up for a week, will family step in and help?Can you, at this time, imagine managing a move like that in the near future? If all of these things are likely, I'd say go for the "closer to family" option. But then there is that house across the street.....

    As for the weather, I am sitting here listening to a blizzard howl outside, wondering if I need to attempt to get to work, and praying "Please God let them call me and tell me not to come in...."

    I will pray for you to find peace in your heart and ease in your decision making.

  5. As I walked out my front door this morning and into a blizzard, I slipped on ice, and fell down the 6 concrete stairs of my front porch. I slid down on my back. Landed at the foot of the stairs, dazed, hoping I wasn't hurt. Then I had to get into my car, and drive 10-mph on the slick icy streets of Chicago to get to work.
    Please tell me again why you want to leave sunny, snow-less Cali? Snow is VERY over-rated my friend.
    Good luck with your decision.
    Linda (Chicago)

  6. Dad and Kathleen2/13/07, 8:08 AM

    Dear Guy and Jenna:
    How happy we are that your new baby boy is healthy and looking so adorable already! William will have a little buddy and your lives are just once more enriched. "Alex" is a fine name.
    As far as where or if to move.....we believe in the less stress on all is the best place. Keep it simple, pray for guidance and you will be just where you are supposed to be.
    This part of your family is only 6 hours away and as soon as our grandson and daughter from New Mexico leave, we will be over for some R&R for you. LOOOOONNNNNNGGGG Naps
    for Jenna. Hugs and kisses to all.
    Dad and Kathleen

  7. Congrats on the new baby boy! 2 boys, 2 girls how perfect, I always wanted a family where everyone had a brother and a sister. Good luck with your decision, it isn't an easy one. Make a pros and cons list to each one (I'm sure you already have, lol) and then review.

    Darlene, mom to Wyatt & Paige 5 & Claire 3.5


  9. Since I'm since a close and personal friend, I must say that I knew you would have another boy. You had to make things even steven in the house.

    I'm sorry your mind is racing so much. The house across the street sounds heavenly and what a convenient move! Obviously you have more to consider though. I wouldn't trade having my family close for anything though.

    We need to hear more about this pregnancy....are you feeling kicks and getting to enjoy it at all? I sure hope so! Please don't stress too much.

    Congratulations on finding out it's a BOY!

  10. Congratulations...a BOY...whoo, 2 girls and 2 boys...lovely! It will even it out for William! Congrats!!!

  11. By the way, Jen. I totally thought that you were going to have a boy too. Not sure why, just a gut feeling. :)

    Good luck deciding on what to do about the house.

    I know I would prefer Massachusetts to California...but that's just because I like CHANGE(in weather). I love fall, and the cool weather that it brings, but it's still nice enough to go enjoy a picnic in the park.

    And what's better than going on a picnic with your kids-2 boys and 2 girls?! :D

  12. I forgot...
    Here are my choices of boy names:
    1. Neil (for Neil Diamond, of course)
    2. Barry (for Barry Manilow, of course)
    ...or you could always name him, "Rolfe." AH-HA

  13. Congrats on a new baby boy! I don't even know you and I found myself thinking that you would be having a boy! How funny is it that we form these "cyber" relationships? I am with you on moving closer to family, but only family that doesn't live where it snows! We have family in Illinois and South Carolina. South Carolina wins because it is warmer. Good luck on your decision and congrats again!

  14. Wow, tough choices indeed. Well losing sleep will definitely not help you make the right decision, but I so understand it. And it seems like you're already weighing the good and bad. I wish there was a perfect answer. What does the 8 ball tell you?

    And congrats on a healthy baby thus far. And a little brother, how nice.

  15. Oh My God!! Oh My God!! Oh My God!!I am so glad it's a boy!!! Yipee. Yeah for William! too!

    Buy the house next door. It's perfect! and an easy move. Then buy the lot next door - Wa La - knock down the house; if one is there for more room - fence it off and you have a wonderful play area for the kids (and the neighborhood kids -- Your gonna need it with your social butterflies.)

    But...We still have a lot of land in SC -We started the building of our GORGEOUS home on 2 1/2 acres - the view alone is fantastic. The house is simply "shock and awe" beautiful.

    So far it's been a great experience to build! with FINNELL REALTY AND CONSTRUCTION in South Carolina!!!!! (little plug)

    Congrats on the baby news! You could name him "Itsaboy"!!
    Love ya.

  16. As someone who is fortunate enough to have my mom come over once a week and watch my son, I vote for moving toward family...also, I thought the most telling thing you said was along the lines of "we can't picture living here for 20 years." I would start planning for those 20 years as soon as I could.

    I had my 20 week ultrasound last week...It's a boy too! Boys names are TOUGH...good luck and congratulations.

  17. Congratulations on a baby boy! What wonderful news.

  18. 2 and 2 -- that's exciting! I think you should definitely move to Massachusetts so I can meet you! I grew up in LA and moved here 18 years ago and love the seasons. You'll make the right choice but let me know if it's to MA!!!

  19. Since we have lived in So CA AND MA - I vote for CA.

    Taxachusetss is expensive and right now - COLD.... brrr - we are waiting on a HUGE noreaster to hit tomorrow/Thur - YUCK.

    Change of seasons is highly overated, esp if winter is one of the seasons. Consistancy , as in "sunny" CAN be a good thing.

    Good luck and CONGRATS on the baby boy.

  20. CONGRATULATIONS on boy #2! :) So much fun.

    I vote for staying in SoCal. Four littles are a TON easier to do in sunny, park weather than battling snow/mud/ice. You can visit the seasons -- just a hop to Big Bear.

    Remember, living close to family can have its drawbacks.

  21. Whoohooo Congrats on a boy :-) I agree with HW, I had it all figured out for you until the end... :-) And I agree with Dad & Kathleen, Alexander is a wonderful name *nodnod* I made a pact with my bestest friend when we were 12 that whoever had the first born got the name "Alex" in whatever form... she beat me by 7 months so since I can't use it, you should *beam*.

  22. My thoughts are with you on this hard decision. I don't even have kids yet and love having my parents nearby to leave to dog with and keys to my house when I leave town, but that's only my humble opinion.


    Woohoo!!!! Now you've got two and two just like us!! Can you imagine that we both just GOT PREGNANT after years and years of infertility and we both ended up with triplets and then we both ended up pregnant again with BOYS????

    ISN'T IT BIZARRE????????


    Oh and about your house, I have NO IDEA but you can definitely cram the boys together now!!!!!

  24. Congrats on the boy! How exciting! BTW-I got an email today with pics of the snow back East, and for 1 split second I missed it. Then I remembered shovels. Shoveling snow is no fun.

  25. another baby blue! congratulations =)

  26. I just had to come back and tell you that last night my triplet son took his little brother by the hand, and led him all around the house while he giggled and giggled. They love each other soooooooo much! I can't tell you how happy I am that you are having another boy. It makes everything just perfect and I don't think we could have planned these families any better if we tried!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  27. Congrats on the baby boy! Perfect little family... 2 boys, 2 girls.

    I feel you on the moving business. We are the same way. I wish we were in the Dallas area where all my family is. Tough being away from family. Good luck with the 8 Ball decision making :)

  28. congratulations! good luck figuring out the name and the future location of your family...

  29. Good luck on the decision with the house! And yeah on the baby boy. I have tears in my eyes for you, and an aching in my body for another baby now. NO KATIE NO, you don't need more childeren!


  30. Congrats on your baby boy!! How wonderful. Good luck with the house decision - it's a tough one.

  31. Hi Jen~

    Congratulations on your baby boy! I have to say that when I read your blog and you are enjoying the outdoors with your family, and going to the park, zoo, and for long walks, this Massachusetts girl gets green with envy. I think how different parenting would be if staying indoors AT LEAST 3-4 months of the year wasn't necessary. But then I have to say, I watch my boys playing in a pumpkin patch on a gorgeous fall day, or watch their faces as they look up at the sky at the snow fall and realize in my heart of hearts, I love it here. The seasons change and with it comes a new attitude and a new landscape full of possibilities. Good luck with your decision.

    Peace to you and your family~
    PGRAD (Karen)

  32. Jen,
    This is so exciting!!! A baby boy!!!
    I think it is really cool that William will have a brother. My brother grew up with four girls, he was the only boy! They wouldn't let him play barbies!
    Good luck on the housing decision!!!
    If it were me, and I could buy a house outright with the equity on my California house, I'd go back east! If you both still have to work, then it's less tempting...