Monday, November 19, 2007

Pull up a chair...

Okay, Folks...You better grab a cup of java, or whatever it is you drink, and pull up a chair. I've been absent of late, and have some catching up to do. I'm finding that when I get this far behind, it gets more difficult to sit down and blog because of the sheer volume of information bursting forth from my head. (Nice visual, eh?) In any case, I've been a busy girl, so here it is:

1) My sister's ordination in Spokane was a fantastic experience, and I'm so glad that my Mom and I made the trek to be there! She was surrounded by 300+ great friends and family members, and it was an occasion to remember. Many people flew in from many places so they could share in the celebration, and they were gracious and wonderful. Her church family threw a classy party after the ordination, complete with a great meal cooked by a REAL chef and live music. No paper napkins in sight! So a huge congratulations to Marj! We are so proud of you!

2) As a side trip with Spokane, Tiersten rode over with us with the idea that she would spend a few days near Spokane with her grandparents (Mike's parents) who live closeby. She is such a confident and spunky kid but, much to our amazement, she was NOT a happy camper with this plan. The biggest point of contention was that she was away from her SISTER. She demanded to talk to Jennica on the phone regularly, and absolutely insisted that she come back home with my Mom and I from Spokane when we left. So.......her trip was cut a little shorter than planned and we're all still a little stunned. We thought she would LOVE being the lone center of attention for a few days. Goes to prove.........just when you think you've got your kids figured out........ :)

3) Dane's Football Awards Ceremony also occurred in the last few weeks. I always find it enjoyable to sit back and watch my growing sons interact with friends and coaches in these settings and this time was no different. He is clearly respected and is often the brunt of large amounts of good-natured ribbing and harrassment, which he dishes back as well as he receives. Last year, he earned the nickname of "Dane-gerous" during football season. This year, they ended the season simply calling him, "Touchdown." He was elected by his fellow teammates as the "Most Inspirational." The team went through some real learning experiences together this year (more off the field than on) and I'm proud that he earned that award. Way to go, Dane!! Grant is very much looking forward to being part of the Junior High team next year, as Dane bumps up to High School.

4) On November 9th, Mike and I and six of our closest friends flew to LA and took a 4-day cruise to Mexico on the "Monarch of the Seas." Several of us had never cruised before and I admit to being a little skeptical as to whether this was going to be "our thing". Honestly, we had an ABSOLUTE BLAST! If you haven't tried it, I strongly recommend cruising as a GREAT way to travel. We have so many great stories and memories from this trip that will stay with us a long time. The international crew provided outstanding service and spoiled us rotten, the food was terrific, and the weather was great.........right up until we landed back in Seattle in the middle of a storm. :) The photo posted below is of the 8 of us in Ensenada! that I'm rather getting used to living out of a suitcase, we're home for a few weeks and then I'm off to a killer 8 days of continuing education. In the meantime, I hope this blog finds you all busy and happy!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Celebrating with my sister!

This weekend, I will be in Spokane celebrating my sister's ordination with her. I'm honored to be attending, and honored to be the youngest sister of this amazing woman. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for openly speaking her mind, but today, I see it as one of the greatest of her many assets. She is one of the most passionate people I know, and has the intelligence to turn that passion into positive things. Please read the following link:

Never one to travel the easy path,'ve earned this one!!! I'm so proud of you!! See you Saturday!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Some welcome news in the appraisal world

I do not often post about the many varied issues that are important to the appraisal world, as I use my blog as a personal place to share family stories and photos with friends near and far. However, today is a big day for appraisers nationwide, so I'm going to make an exception and celebrate in print just a little.

Dane had an orthodontist appointment this morning, so it was late morning before I reached my desk. One of the first things to hit me from my computer was today's headline that New York's Attorney General is pursuing a lawsuit against a LARGE business group, with some evidence that they have been pressuring appraisers to fraudulently inflate market values.

Virtually every appraiser in the United States has been subject to, at one time or another, pressure to state a market value above or below a certain range. Regardless of who has applied that pressure, it is a stressful component of a profession that, by sheer nature, needs a reputation for ethics and honesty. Unfortunately, many appraisers have fallen prey to that pressure. I myself have dealt with pressure and spent many a sleepless night staring at the ceiling and wondering if, by holding my ground, I have alienated enough clients that I will need to apply at McDonalds next week.

The current mortgage mess in this country can be at least partly blamed upon greedy lenders, greedy consumers, and greed at every other level of the transaction. Those of us that have steadfastly refused to fraudulently inflate values are excited to see some progress being made to regain professional appraiser independence. WAHOO!!! Its going to be interesting to watch this case as it progresses, and the "ripple effect" on the mortgage industry as a whole could be enormous.

We survived!

Well..........despite Tiersten getting sick yesterday and coming home early, and despite Grant's sickness Tuesday night, and despite Jennica being completely insanely hyper through trick-or-treating and until 10:30 pm last night.........we survived another year of Halloween!

I do have an amusing point to make......we were SO busy trying to get everything done and get everywhere we were supposed to go.......we did not take ONE SINGLE PHOTO of the kids in costume. My Mom did..........but I didn't.

And lastly, a funny story about Jennica. We got home about 8:00 pm, stumbled in the door with all four kids, and Jen promptly vanished. Five minutes later, Mike looked at me and asked, "Where did Jennica go?" I shrugged my shoulders and we started calling for her. I walked into her room just as Mike was dragging her out from under her bed by her ankles. Still dressed in full costume, and stuffing candy into her face as fast as she can unwrap and stuff. Mike looked at me with this totally exasperated look and said, "Guess who I found under her bed eating candy?" Before I could even answer, Jennica gave me this huge cheesy ear-to-ear grin and gave me a "thumbs up" sign. I couldn't help but almost laugh. So Mike turned to her and asked, "Jennica, was eating all that candy worth getting in trouble?" (She had been asked to take her candy bucket into the kitchen!) All he got was another big huge cheesy grin and another "thumbs up" sign. Yi Yi Yi!! What are we going to do with her??

Hope you had a Happy Halloween! The best thing about Halloween? It only lasts ONE DAY!!