home depot

Hello, my name is Amanda and I was in Real Estate for 10 years.

I'm sure I should begin every day like that, but instead I self-medicate every morning through a routine of exercise and caffeine. Why? Because I'm a recovering Real Estate Broker. When driving through a neighborhood, I can recall how many For Sale signs there were and from which companies. Some people spend their professional lives honing their skills in science, an art form or people-management. I spent my 20s cramming my brain full of real estate statistics and marketing strategies.

A year ago next month, I closed my last transaction. I packed up my office, had a tearful exit interview with my Managing Broker, and closed up shop. Our move to Portland the month prior had presented both an opportunity and career change: being a stay-at-home-mom. However, it wasn't until yesterday that I opened the 3 boxes of office supplies I had packed up that last day nearly a year ago. David and Emily were playing in her room, and, left to my own devices, I took a little trip down memory lane, unpacked the boxes, and had to laugh at the end result.

What's left after blessing Goodwill with a large banker-box-full of supplies.

At the risk of competing with Home Depot, whom I believe annually moves up the date when they roll out the Christmas decor, please tune your dial to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and sing along...

On the first day of Recovery, my old office gave back to me...
  • 12 college rule notepads (in varying sizes, colors and binding locations, because you're never sure whether you're in a 'top' or 'left' spiral binding sort of mood)
  • 11 title company letter openers (with these convenient little magnets on the backside)
  • 10 letterhead-notepads (from varying insurance agents, title companies and inspectors who gave out plenty of free stuff but didn't see introducing themselves as part of their marketing strategy)
  • 9 highlighters (only 2 of which were the same)
  • 8 boxes of paperclips (jumbo too, in case of emergency)
  • 7 safety pins (serious emergency kit material if you're female)
  • 6 hundred Manila folders (refer to item 3)
  • 5 staplers (also useful as a weapon)
  • 4 boxes of sharpies (coloring is allowed when you're stressed, and these don't need a built-in sharpener)
  • 3 boxes of hanging file folders (i don't think i even had that much file space, come to think of it---)
  • 2 boxes of sheet protectors (i could cover each business receipt individually for our CPA this year)
  • and 1 THOUSAND mailing labels.
If you've ever wondered why your Real Estate agent has a trunk full of used Starbucks cups and has a little eye-twitch, now you know. Caffeine is sanity when you're surrounded by mountains of paperwork.

Here's to laughing at yourself every now and again.



When your baby is 3 months old, the needs are basic. Eat, sleep, burp, poop. If the baby is fussy, you can assume it has to do with one of the preceeding 4 actions. So when Emily was getting fussy one day at the beach house last year, we reviewed the timeline over the last several hours and concluded it had to be gas.

Then, as I'm reaching for the gas drops [that have saved my life on more than one occassion], imagine my surprise as David lets out a yelp. Not a manly yelp...a very girly yelp. Followed by a look I only expected to see when Emily would first tell us she has a boyfriend.

"She's teething."

She certainly was. Two bottoms had poked through, and a mouth full of rough gums foretold a small fortune would soon be spent on Tylenol and teething tablets.

[I'd like to take a sidebar and thank the authors of "What to Expect The First Year" for not offering the slightest hint of what the *bleep* to do about teething until several chapters past Month Three. Awesome.]

A few months after her first birthday, Emily had all her teeth. We're currently working on her "3-Year Molars", as our pediatrician refers to them.

Still, their dramatic entrance isn't what I will remember about her early set of pearly whites. I'll remember how she used what she was given to make the world a better place.

Every parent thinks their kid is the best thing ever. That some day, they're going to be a world changer, and a much bigger deal than sliced bread ever was [or Oatnut, which is an incredible invention, in my opinion]. And they're right - there's a very good reason God says we should receive Him like a child. But what's humbling is when your kid shows you up. Big time. Before age 2.

Going to the grocery store has become an event in our house. We don't run to the store for a few things each day like we used to. We plan it out. Not only because we're trying to be good stewards of our budget, but because Emily has taught me that grocery shopping is an event.

Sure, Emily likes to pick out her fruit and veggies and talk with the checker. But the prevailing reason for the two-hour grocery tour is because Emily makes it a point to greet everyone she sees. She seeks them out with this wise, sixth sense; when they're deep in thought, praying their kids won't notice the store brand because they can't afford the name brand anymore. Or when they're rubbing their hand, staring blankly at the arthritis medicine. She leans out of the cart, and with a near-shout says, "hi!", showing everyone what she's been working on since she was 3 months old. Then I remind myself to breathe, because watching a wave of peace rush over someone like it does when my daughter greets them is simply overwhelming. We should all put our gifts to such good use.

Silly me...all this time I thought teeth were for chewing.

keeping it clean.


the suitcase

I'm back from the blog principal's office. Apparently you're supposed to update these things, or your blog begins suffering from abandonment issues and starts acting up in class.

Let's see if I can schmooze back in to our blog's good graces with a current post.

There are times in life when I stop in my tracks, look around, and take in the moment. It doesn't have to be anything significant, just a moment. The other day I was unpacking a suitcase from our latest trip and I stopped. There it was, our life in a box with wheels. I thought, "if someone needed to know about The Lenkes, they could simply look at this suitcase."

Left to right were Emily's clothes, mine, David's. In the outside pocket, Bailey's gear. Everyone told us the dog would become a 'dog' again when the baby came - and looking at the suitcase, you'd see they were right.

Then there was the epiphany: two years ago the better of two-thirds would have been comprised of my clothes, shoes, extra in-case-we-go-out-fits, etc. David would have tucked his items around mine, likely shaking his head and leaving a shirt or pants at home rather than re-pack a larger suitcase. There it was, Emily's third, my third, David's third. A compromise had happened at some point, and who would have guessed...I don't miss the extra third of the suitcase. Not even a little.

Some moms talk about self-sacrifice as if it's some grand gesture; a slap-the-back-of-your-hand-across-your-forehead-Scarlett-O'Hara pivotal moment that changes everything. By the looks of the suitcase, I've come to believe it's more like a series of small opportunities you're given.

Here's to giving more space in the suitcase than you take up (well...most days, anyway).

the ooooooo-cean!


alki beach pier

pike place