Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

 The annual red-jumper Christmas picture.


Christmas morning.

Friday, December 14, 2012

This Christmas... I Choose Joy

In this land of "perfect" bloggy-world, I'm going to just say it like it is:  I'm not enjoying Christmas very much this year.

I *love* Christmas.  It is truly my favorite time of the year.  I *extra love* Christmas music and play it almost year-round.  Christmas music is one thing that I am really enjoying this year (thanks to Pandora and another radio station that is playing lovely Christmas music online).

The rest of Christmas?  Somehow the "Bah, humbug" bug came in a grinched away alot of my excitement.  I know what some of it is: busyness.  This past Monday at MOPS a mentor mom (who is also my "church mom" :) ) gave a devotional and in it she was talking about wanting different (to do more, to do less, to go to more, to go to less, etc.).  Afterwards I was sharing with her some of my frustrations with this Christmas, and one of them being that I do want to "do less" but I really can't!  I would love to have a much, MUCH clearer schedule, but I can't change that.  We have church on Sundays (usually 2x), this fall we're taking an 18 week parenting class every Monday evening (it is only offered in the fall), and this year our choir is involved with no less than TWO different Christmas concerts (one is our regular concert, the other a special concert with Steve Green).  So the concerts mean rehearsals... and extended rehearsals on Wednesday nights and then for several weeks rehearsals before church Sunday evenings.  With all of that, boom, I'm feeling rather scrooge-ish and just want (need?) to have some plain old me- and just us-time.  (Add in days that Daniel works 12+ hours, and yeah...)

Our tree is up!  It has lights on it. :)  Isn't it pretty with just the lights?  I think so!  Especially in the evenings when it's dark outside and just the lights on the tree are glowing in the living room.  Yeah, I want to put the other decorations on the tree.  I want to decorate the top of the piano.  I would love to hang and place other decorations around the house.  But it's not happening so far.  (Well, I do have a nativity up, and a Christmas centerpiece on the table.)

Today there's not even 2 weeks until Christmas.  In one way I think "what's the use?" in getting down the box of decorations and putting them on the tree.  Shucks, I still haven't taken down the last Thanksgiving decoration, haha!  (Maybe today Susannah and I will make some snowflakes to hang from the dining room light in place of the thanksgiving leaves!)

All this to say, my friend, Davene, posted over on her blog today, and her post spoke to me.  It's a short, simple post but it served as a reminder to me that *I* am the one who is in charge of choosing to enjoy Christmas or not.  I'm the one who can wish all I want that we didn't have as many things to attend.  I am the one who can make this Christmas be the very best that it can be (well, only within my own human limits, of course!).  That said, today is going to be a great day of having oodles of Christmas fun!

I mean, the house is never spotless to begin with, what does it matter if the floors aren't picked up for another 30 minutes while we make snowflakes?  Or put some pretty decorations on the tree?  Or find some garland to put on the piano?  Or wrap a gift or two and take time to have fun doing the wrapping?

Today I'm going to intentionally enJOY Christmas-time.

(And hey, I bet Mary had to choose joy when she found out she was gonna have to ride a donkey all those miles to Bethlehem while 9 months pregnant!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Great-Grandma's Love

 On Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012, I snapped these two pictures of my daughter and my grandmother.  I knew they were "good" pictures, but it wasn't until I uploaded them and could see them on a larger screen that I saw the precious expressions of love that I captured.

My grandmother, Susannah's Great-Grandma, is 91 years old (she will be 92 in February).  Susannah is 2 (she will be 3 in March).  89 years is a really big age gap.  Yet the love and tenderness that is evident in these pictures puts a teary-eyed ache in my heart every. single. time. I look at them.

I love Grandma's happy smile in the first picture.  I love how Susannah was automatically gentle and careful with her Great-Grandma, yet did not hesitate to climb up on her lap to visit, show Grandma her Bearie and Blankie, and spend several minutes just snuggled in Grandma's lap.  Grandma seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.  I don't know if Susannah will remember doing this, but I know I will always remember watching this happen.

My only regret from that day is not getting a picture of Grandma with Sylvia.  Lord willing, I plan to remedy that at Christmas-time.  These pictures I will treasure for the rest of my life, and I'm guessing that Susannah will, to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thanksgiving ~ 2012

This year for the month of November, I wanted to do something special.  Something fun.  Something meaningful.  Susannah is 2 1/2 now and comprehending fairly well.  I wanted Thanksgiving to be more than a day with a huge meal at Grandma and Grandpa's.  So I thought about it and thought about it.

I had heard of "thankful trees" before, and as they started being mentioned among my friends, I thought it sounded like the perfect thing for us to do as a family.  Terribly enough, I was not very great at planning ahead, so between the last day of October and the first day of November, I combed Google Images for Thankful Tree ideas, and came up with my own version.

I used 2 pages of brown construction paper and drew out the tree.  I taped it to a nice open spot of wall in our dining room.  Then I had to figure out what to do for leaves!  It ended up at the evenings that we "did" the Thankful Tree, I just cut some out of red, orange and yellow construction paper free-style.

Since this was a special tree, we did it on evenings that we were all home.  When I went to take the tree down yesterday, I realized that we obviously missed some evenings. :)  I saved the leaves and the trunk.  I don't know if we'll re-use the trunk next year or not, but I do want to keep the leaves for memories' sake.

I well remember the first evening that we did the thankful tree:  On my leaf I wrote "Warmth".  You see, this was the first evening that we had a fire in the woodstove.  It was so nice and warm on that cold day!!   In no specific order, here are the other things that we wrote down:

Susannah: "Thankful for Sylvia, Mama & Daddy"
Susannah: "Bearie"
Susannah: "Supper"
Sylvia (with my help ;) ): "Clean Diapers"
Me: "Time together as a family of four."
Susannah: "Riding with Daddy in his truck"
Daniel: "Employment"
Daniel: "Home-cooked meals :) " (with a crayon picture of a plate full of food)
Me: "Music"
Susannah: "Leaves" (this was her very first leaf)
Sylvia (with my help again): "Duck-duck" (her stuffed duck)
Daniel: "My beautiful family" with stick people faces for each of us (his first leaf)
Sylvia: "Blankie" (her first leaf)
Daniel: "Imagination and humor :)"
Daniel: "Gifts to us making a larger living space possible" (again with a line drawing)
Sylvia: "Snuggles with Mama"
Susannah: "Cheerios"
Me: "The hilarious innocence of a 2 1/2 y.o. ... "Daddy's belly goes *squeak-squeak* like Moosey-Moose!"" (quoting Susannah)
Me: "Expository teaching of God's Word in our church."


For Thanksgiving Day itself, we were at my parents house where most of my immediate family gathered throughout the day.  The girls and I actually drove up Wednesday morning, did some shopping and then went on to my parent's house for the rest of the day and overnight.  I took along ingredients and enjoyed making several pies as part of my contribution to the big meal on Thursday.

Thursday morning Susannah loved helping Namma wash dishes.  She took it quite seriously, and had lots of fun even though we had to change her into a dry shirt by the time the dishes were finished. :)

After a big Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixings, Sylvia went down for a nap and Susannah and I set off to walk around "Grandpa's farm".  Several weeks prior, Susannah had pointed out some silos as we were driving to town.  I told her that Grandpa (my dad) has silos, and that maybe we could see them the next time we went to Grandpa and Grandma's farm.  After that, she frequently talked about all the things she would see at Grandpa's farm!  Some of the things she wanted to see (pigs, horses, chickens, etc.) Grandpa doesn't have, but I told her that we would look around Grandpa's Farm on Thanksgiving.

The farm holds many, many memories for me and it was sad to see the barn and milking parlor sitting empty after decades of use.  It was bittersweet, for me, but for Susannah it was the most exciting thing ever. :)  She was so excited to see Grandpa's barn and silos, and I was excited to be able to show her first hand these things.   I'm guessing that when we are there for Christmas, she might ask to go see Grandpa's Barn and Silos again.  :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sylvia's Latest Adventures

Thank you, Emilie Barnes, for writing about 
feeding your kids snacks ON THE FLOOR. 
Great idea, and yes, I really do this sometimes.

Sylvia got up into this position over and over one evening.
(Don't you just love the big, cloth-diaper rear-end?!)

Then she'd get down...

...and wave for the camera, telling me all about how
exciting it is to do this.  Then she'd pull up all over again.
(Finding herself in the reflection of the oven door was pretty exciting, too!)

Another day she was studying world geography, 
perched atop Daniel's guitar case.

That evening she pulled into an actual standing position
for the first time.

Today she managed to get herself up on top of the toybox.
She was trying to get into or onto it more, but it wasn't 
working well.  Then she wanted down!

She does all of this, but doesn't crawl yet.  I don't think that's too far behind!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sylvia ~ A long overdue update

The summer months have flown past, without leaving me a whole lot of brain oomph at the end of most days. (Last night I was thinking that my brain felt the equivalent of toasted coconut rattling around up there!)  One thing that has been repeatedly shoved to the side, much to my sadness, has been regular updates on our girls.  This blog is the closest I come to journaling and I hope that I don't miss any of the important things.

On the evening of October 22, when Sylvia was 7 1/2 months, she graduated from sleeping in her pak'n'play - crammed into Mama & Daddy's room - to sleeping in the crib in her own room, the new nursery room upstairs in the addition. Since the sides of the crib are wooden, she bumped around a few times through the night, but did just fine.  I, on the other hand, felt a gaping void when I went to our room to go to bed... and throughout the night and in the morning when I woke up.  As much as I was so very ready to have her in her own room, it was still achingly strange.  I quickly grew accustomed to the new setup and it works out very well on all fronts.  I am grateful for the unplanned time she was in our room, but I'm also grateful that she now has a room of her own. :)

Sylvia's first night in the crib.

On October 28, Sylvia's very first tooth finally came through!  It was her bottom left tooth.  She had a few nights of waking up between 12:30 and 1 (always just as I was getting into deep sleep, it seemed) and would cry enough that I would go to her and usually nurse her to get her to go back to sleep.  Otherwise, she was a very easy teether.  Over this past Thanksgiving weekend, her bottom right tooth came through (I think on Saturday, November 24th).  Now her 2 front, top teeth are quickly getting into position to come through, but she is retaining her title of easy-teether so far.  One thing that threw me for a loop a bit was looking back through Susannah's baby pictures from the same age, and seeing Susannah with teeth well established already by this age.  I had not noticed that Sylvia was "late" in teething, but we are all different and she is getting along just fine how God is making her. :)

She loves books, and often I will give her a
board book to look at after she has finished her 
meal and while the bigger people finish eating.

Sylvia loves her Daddy. :)  We don't specifically read to Sylvia a whole lot yet, but on this late evening, I was reading to Susannah and Daniel was reading to a very tired Sylvia. :)

She continues to scoot instead of crawl.  For at least a month now, she does get up on all fours and will rock back and forth, but she is content to army crawl wherever she needs to go when she is on the floor.  One thing that she does once in a while is get up on her hands and FEET, so that she resembles a triangle.  I'm not sure how she manages to do it and not tip over sideways, but she does it!  Then after she's been up for a few seconds, she flops back down either to her knees or stomach.
She has not figured out how to get into the sitting position yet, but that is ok; she is happy and content how she is right now. :)

It took her a lot of practicing, but she finally figured out how to eat cheerios.  The first several times she would put one in her mouth and just gag and choke and have a very hard time.  Now I can regularly feed them to her as part of a meal or snack and she loves them.

Other foods that she eats are: homemade rice and oatmeal cereals, peaches, pears, kiwi, mango, avocado, green beans, peas, squash, sweet potato, mashed potato, egg yolks, plain yogurt and cottage cheese.

This walker is another favorite mode of transportation and entertainment.  Some would say that it is delaying development, but I say "whatever". :)  She is getting pretty good at navigating, but if she gets stuck somewhere, she does a good job of protesting loudly enough for a big person to hear and help her get un-stuck. :P

Another thing I want to note while updating is that she has quickly become a fast-to-smile little girl, just like Susannah was.  She LOVES to smile, and will smile and often even "talk" to anyone who smiles or talks to her.  Her current vocabulary consists of a grunt-sound that sounds like "uh".  It is fun to have pretend conversations with her... especially when she is considering doing a great no-no and looking at the cat food with great longing.  She will lie there and look at it and "uh! uh! uh!" and we will say things like "it really is beautiful, isn't it?  But you can't eat it."  ... "uh! uh!"  ... "I know, you want to taste it, but it's for kitty cats, not for little girls."... and stuff like that. :)  Speaking of cats, she gets very excited anytime she spies one of our indoor/outdoor cats.  I think our cat, Chubby, isn't quite as enamored with her, but I look forward to the day that Sylvia can enjoy Chubby gently and Chubby not mind. :)

Well, that about wraps up what I have for a 6, 7, 8... and a half month update on our "Pumpkin Pie".  (On Sunday night, when I got back into the car after a quick run in to Kroger - Daniel was in the car with the girls - I said "Hi, Susannah!".  Susannah then told me that "This - pointing to herself - is Sunshine, and this - pointing to Sylvia - is Pumpkin Pie."  Since then, when I've asked her which is which, she keeps it the same!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Unexpected Milestone - Stitches

The day started out as a "normal" Saturday does: Daniel and Susannah had their special Daddy/Daughter cheerio breakfast together while watching This Old House on TV.  I dressed myself and the girls in "we aren't going ANYwhere" clothes... you know the kind.  Susannah, in particular, was dressed in a Christmas sweatshirt and matching candy-cane pants.  It turned out to be a good thing she was wearing a red shirt.

A friend came over to help Daniel install the chimney for the addition, so Daniel and Shawn were outside setting up ladders and whatnot.  I was inside not being too picky about our morning, just getting things done as they happened.  I was planning to clean up the dishes and fold the mountain of laundry during naps.

Sylvia was getting fussy, so I picked her up to put her down for her morning nap in our room since the guys were going to be banging around on the roof right over her own room.  As I walked into the dining room from the [new] living room, I heard Susannah coming behind me and then I heard a very loud THUD.

I whipped around to see her getting up off the floor at the bottom of the steps.  I also immediately saw a gash in her forehead where she had hit the outside corner of the wall.  A million things started zooming through my mind all at once.  In lightening speed, I had Sylvia back into her playpen (a contained, safe area), yanked open the front door and yelled for Daniel to come inside "RIGHT NOW!!", and scooped Susannah - who was now starting to cry - up and ran into the kitchen and grabbed a paper towel.

I knew that being a head wound it was going to be bleeding like crazy, and it was.  As I wiped her head, face and hands and tried to keep pressure on the 3/4" - 1" cut, Daniel dug in the freezer for an ice pack.  While all that was going on, I was thinking both in my head and out loud.  Sylvia desperately needed a nap.  Daniel and Shawn need to work on the chimney outside.  The pediatrician closes at noon on Saturdays.  It's 10:30.  I wonder if they even do stitches there?  If Sylvia stays here, Daniel won't be able to work on the house as much.  We'll probably be gone for a while, it could be a long time.  Daniel's mom is off work today.  I would need to pack a bag of books, blankie and bear for Susannah... I would need to pack diapers, liquid and solid lunch for Sylvia...
I rattled off to Daniel, asking telling him to call his mom and see if Sylvia could go there.  Then I got on my phone to call the ped's office to ask if they do stitches.  Lo and behold they have what felt like 10 minutes of recorded information before it got around to saying that even though they are open on Saturday's, the answering service still takes all Saturday calls.  I hung up.  Daniel said his mom was coming to get Sylvia.

I attempted to put a butterfly bandaid on Susannah's head, just to hold it somewhat closed temporarily, but it kept bleeding and between the bleeding, the slight swelling and Susannah not really wanting me messing with the cut, it didn't work so well.  So I put her on the couch with instructions to hold a paper towel on her head. She was not crying by this time and was relatively ok mentally.

I tore around grabbing stuff for both Sylvia and Susannah.  I filled a bag with books to read in case we had to wait very long.  By the time I was unstrapping Sylvia's carseat, Daniel's mom pulled in.  Still trying to beat the clock - remember, the pediatrician closed at noon, it was nearing 11:00 and it takes about 30 min. to get there - I hurriedly strapped Susannah in her seat and lit off, leaving Daniel to transfer Sylvia and her stuff to his mom.

We got to the Dr's office right about 11:30, and the waiting room was packed.  *inward groan*  The first thing I did was ask if they did stitches.  Nope.  I asked where they recommended we go (not having actual health insurance I wanted to avoid the emergency room if we could), and they recommended a pediatric after-hours urgent care center.

We went there (just a few minutes away) and found that we had about a half-hour wait until they opened at noon.  BUT we were the first car in the parking lot! Yay!  I pulled out the bag of books and we started reading.  Closer to noon, other cars started pulling in.  I wondered how much of a mad-dash for the door it was going to be.  As it was quite chilly outside and neither of us had our coats on, I decided to not go stand in line at the door as much as I wanted to retain our place at the front of the line.

About 5 minutes to noon, they came and opened the door.  Sure enough, another set of people literally jogged to the door to get there first (Man, if that was me, I would've felt so guilty!  They had parked 2 spaces down from us and it was obvious that we were there first! I hope they had an even more urgent need.).  As I was helping Susannah out of the car, not wanting to bump her head, another lady and child were walking to the door but kindly said "you can go in front of us when you get inside".  I really appreciated their kindness to us, even if we were dressed in our frumpy, stay-at-home clothes!

Thankfully we were then the 2nd people to sign in, and we really did not wait too long until we were called back.  The nurse took Susannah's vital signs and then looked at the cut.  Then we waited for the doctor, who turned out to be a very nice, younger, lady Nurse Practitioner.  She looked the cut and agreed that stitches would be the best thing.  She applied some topical anesthetic gel that had to work for 20 minutes before they could do the stitches.  She brought Susannah a bag of Cheezits to munch on and we watched a show about cats on Animal Planet on the in-room TV.  Susannah really liked the Cheezits and I was grateful for the courtesy (which I'm sure we pay for) as it was lunch-time and we were both hungry.

When 20 minutes were up, the N.P. returned along with a large, African-American male nurse (I assume he was a nurse, it crossed my mind that he might just be the "bouncer", haha!).  The male nurse gently swaddled Susannah and laid her down while the N.P. got everything ready.  Susannah was all fine so far... as soon as she was on her back on the table, she said "Susannah has pretty shoes!"  That got laughs from all of us.

But then the un-fun part started. :(  She received some injections of anesthesia, and the syringe was not concealable.  Susannah started crying and crying, asking for her blankie and Bearie, which were over on a chair and she wouldn't have been able to hold anyway.  I'm sure some of her fright was a result of having intently watched Sylvia get "poked" for her vaccines a month ago, which resulted in Sylvia crying for a bit.  Then came the stitches, and she cried even more.  She did not say anything about it hurting, just expressing that she did not want touched or any more of anything.  The male nurse did a great job of holding her head still without being aggressive, and both he and the N.P. worked hard to comfort Susannah in the situation.  I was right there with her, touching her face and talking to her as well.  When the 2nd stitch was finished she said "All done!" and I was sad to tell her that there was one more.

As soon as the 3rd and final stitch was finished, they put on some gel and one of those cool, sparkly band-aids and unswaddled her.  I immediately hugged her and got her her blankie and Bearie, which she hugged tight.  By the time they were done cleaning up the room, she was fine and even obeyed my direction to tell them "thank you".

By this time it was 1:30 and my stomach was having conversations with my backbone.  Knowing that there was not really any big rush to get home, I wanted to do something positive to end the trip to town.  I took Susannah to lunch at Arby's and we finished that off by sharing an ice cream cone.  On the way home she talked about and liked looking at her sparkly band-aid in the mirror. :)

When we got home, I took a few pictures and them promptly deposited her in her bed for a much needed nap.

Then I sat down on the couch and my adrenaline crashed.  I had a headache and felt like I could sleep for 100 years.  I didn't have any specific surges of emotions through the ordeal, but it was exhausting and trying.  Some have asked if it was hard for me to see her getting stitches.  I didn't really think about it from that standpoint.  Yes, now that I think about it, sure, it's not something I wanted to see or have happen.  But it did happen and there was no way I wasn't going to be right there with her through it.  Blood does not bother me, so I wasn't queasy.  I was pretty focused on helping her get through the situation that I didn't think once about my feelings.

Yesterday, though, when she went without a band-aid for the first time, it did bother me and still does.  I just isn't right to see stitches in the head of my girl.  Cuts, bruises, scrapes... those are "natural".  Stitches are not natural.  Last night when I went to check on her before going to bed myself I just knelt beside her bed for a long time, looking at her.  I was reminded again last night while watching her sleep how much she really does not belong to me, but to the Father.  How I must not hold too tightly to my children because they are His, not mine.  How precious their lives are.  How much of a blessing and privilege it is to have been given to gift of being their mama, and yet they are not mine to keep forever and ever.  How thankful I am that God spared her of worse injury, and that I still have her to "keep" for a while.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tiny Talk Tuesday ~ Bring Back My Body!

 Wearing Daddy's knee-pads
(that Mama wore to paint in the addition) 

The other evening Daniel was looking for a certain part among his pile of "stuff" on the kitchen counter.  Susannah was watching him dig and sort to no avail.  I was at the stove cooking, and commented to Susannah that we could pray and ask Jesus to help Daddy find the diodes (a part for the generator).  When I finished what I was doing at that minute, I was going to pray with her about the missing diodes.  Before I could do that, she started praying out loud.  I turned around to look, and she was standing there with her hands together, looking up, saying "Dear Lord Jesus, please help find Daddy's diodes.  Diodes missing, help find them..." and so on.  After a bit, she gave an "amen" and was finished praying.  It was very cute, but also encouraging to see her copying a GOOD thing.  While I know she doesn't have a full understanding of praying yet, I am pleased to see the positive impression OUR praying is having on her.  (He did not find the diodes, and I need to talk to her about how sometimes God gives a "no" or "not yet" answer to prayer, even if she won't fully understand.)
In the new part of the house, we don't have registers over the floor vents yet.  One day Susannah was looking out the window, standing right beside the hole in the floor.  As I watched, she was debating stepping into the hole.  I told her not to step in the hole, and she piped up "Susannah would be missing! Daddy have to find you!"  I chuckled and assured her that she would not be missing (the hole is not big enough for her to fit down, of course), but that she could hurt her leg and mess up Daddy's hard work.

One day recently, Susannah went back into her room...
a few minutes later she came back like this:
Swim goggles, Sylvia's paci, blankie & Bearie! 

Susannah has a big fascination with anything bug-like that moves.  With the addition, we have spiders a-plenty in the house.  One night, with permission, she was chasing a Granddaddy-long-leg spider around the bathroom floor.  Then while my skin crawled, she picked him up!  And she thought his wiggling around was funny!  After a little bit, and some pictures, I helped her put him outside.

Susannah and the Granddaddy-long-leg spider

Yesterday Susannah was singing "Bring back, bring back, bring back my body to me!  Bring back, bring back, bring back my body to me!"  Of course she was singing "Bring back my BONNIE to me" but it was coming out as "body", which makes for quite a hilarious mental picture!

Sporting a band-aid on her VERY lightly "skinned" knee. 
'Cause at her age, "ban-aids" make EVERYthing better!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

One Goal

This week is the first part of a turning point for me, us and our house.  Or so I have decided. :) 

I think that since day 1 of moving into our original, tiny little house (Ooooh, sometimes I wonder why and how we EVER decided to purchase such a small space! The 2.5 acres in our price-range had something to do with it, I'm sure.) there has constantly been SOMETHING going on in the re-modelling department.  We are certainly no strangers to living around or amid construction, big or small.  It seems so long ago, but up until Susannah was born we always had at least 1 room out of commission because of construction.  Only when she was born did we finally utilize every room of the house for actual living space.  We've been working around the living, or living around the working, since.

Knowing that's not likely to change anytime soon for multiple reasons, life must go on.  This past week with much detriment to the normal housework that needs to happen, I gritted my teeth and with great determination got the new living room floor painted. I can't tell you how fallen-apart the existing house is as a result of weeks of painting as the main goal!!  Not literally, but in all manner of housekeeping - and add in that people have been giving/loaning us clothes for Susannah that we NEED for this winter but I don't have a PLACE for - the house is a wreck. A royal wreck. Haha, Daniel asked me this morning to find him 1 sock, a pair of jeans and a work shirt (he'd found everything else already).  When I cut the light on in the laundry room, I just laughed.  Folding laundry is only one of many things that has been dropped off the "need to" list for the past several weeks.  The method is wash the clothes, dry the clothes in the dryer, then when I need the dryer for a new, wet load, the laundry in the dryer comes out of the dryer and goes onto the clean pile.  When clean clothes are needed, you dig through the pile (and hopefully find what you're after...)!  We haven't had to go around un-clothed so it's working ok.

There is still the downstairs school/office/play room, 1/2 bath and foyer to paint, but for yet another construction project in the works (ripping out the old front door/wall), I decided to save the paint-job for after that is finished. So, where does that leave us?  With a pretty-much otherwise ready to move into addition. :)  Yep!  Oh, no, it's not anywhere near "finished" for real.  There is still much to be done out there to get it really and truly complete.  But it (aside from the bathrooms) is fully functional.  If you don't mind not having window trim, baseboard or any doors, that is. :)  Where's the adventure in having everything perfect?!  :-P

All that to say, I am ready - no, I'm BEYOND ready - to regain a sense of normalcy in our home and in our family.  The money is gone.  We can't do any more work on the addition without saving up to do it. (Thanks to the county for requiring us to bury about 1/4 of our budget underground in an expensive septic system upgrade, we joke that our doors, trim and floors are buried out in the side-yard.)  Not only for my own sake, but for the sake of the girls, we need to get back to normal.

So, what is this One Goal that I have titled this post for?  That one goal, my friends, is to START MOVING IN this week!!!!!!!!!

Actually, my goal is a little bit smaller than that.  My goal is to get Sylvia moved into the nursery and begin housekeeping and homemaking again.  My goal is to put my "working on the addition" hat more towards the back (waaay towards the back) and put my Wife, Mama and Home-Maker hats at the very front (this may even include showering more than absolutely necessary!).

For Sylvia to move into the nursery (and out of our room! Yay!), I need to come up with coverings for 2 windows and her door.  Those things are probably going to be very makeshift for now, but I have some ideas and plan to begin working on them possibly even today.  Then I need to get the crib taken apart and moved up there, and then I get to move her clothes into a dresser.  Finally!!  No more living from boxes, tubs and piles! Woot!

My housekeeping goals for this week are to get laundry and the kitchen back under control.  It really won't take that long to do it, but it might seem to take a long time as I work around potty trips, diaper changes, feedings, meals, COOKING AND BAKING! (Oh my, I hope I haven't forgotten how!), playing, reading stories, and oh, I can't tell you how happy and excited my heart is.

This is a huge, huge blessing and also it is going to be a huge, huge transition for us.  One we have been looking forward to for about 3 years now (we broke ground Oct. 2010 after about a year of thinking, planning and more thinking and planning). 

Ok, I am off to do a really quick Happy Dance, then it's time for little people to get up and I'm don't have to think about painting today!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sitting, Schooling, Sleeping

Just a few pictures from the past few weeks. :)

I have borrowed the huge story cards* from my Mom.  There are Bible Stories as well as animal stories to correspond with a letter/sound of the alphabet.  A couple times a week, I'll read one to Susannah.  Her favorite one is the Aging Ape story (long A sound).  One day she asked to read the story to her bear.

(It really is not that cold in our house to need a jacket and hat :)  We had just come in from being outside on a cool day.)

With all the painting I've been doing, Susannah has been able to join in with her "new" paint with water book from Grandma. :)

This has been Sylvia's sleeping arrangements from the first day she came home from the hospital.  Tucked into the only space in our room that we could fit the pak'n'play.   At first we didn't put her in Susannah's room because her middle of the night wakings would wake up Susannah.  Now they would probably just wake each other up earlier in the mornings that they should wake up. :)

Last week, at 7 months of age, Sylvia accomplished sitting on her own.  Surprisingly, she hasn't had any major falls or bumps from this position.  She looks like such a big girl, sitting up!

Susannah and Daniel one Saturday morning.

Sylvia and me.  There are so few pictures of me and the girls together, so I decided to start taking more of them, even if I'm in need of a shower or hair-brush!  Life has been exceedingly busy this season, and it is what it is!

*By the way, I would love to have a set of those large story cards but they are out of print.  If anyone has a set, or knows of someone that has a set, lying around collecting dust that you wouldn't mind selling, I would love to know!  :-)  They are from a homeschooling curriculum, A.C.E's Learning To Read program.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Addition - Floor Edition

Very high on my priority list this week are the floors in the addition.  My sister, Sally, has been wanting to keep Susannah for me sometime when it would be helpful to me, so Tuesday I dropped Susannah of at her Aunt Sally's to spend a few days playing with her cousins. :)  

To reduce splintering and improve appearance, I filled all the seams and nail-holes with a putty.  After vacuuming again to get up any new dirt or bits of putty that were loose, I started rolling the primer on the floor.  It. took. for. ever.  The roller cover I had wasn't the best for the job (a larger "nap" roller would be best), plus the floor soaks up the primer like a sponge.

This picture is after the primer was dried.

We are using a dark chocolate brown color.  Last night - using a larger napped roller cover! - I put down the coat of floor grade paint.  It went much, much faster with the better roller cover, and also because the paint wasn't soaking in.  This morning it looks so nice!  Yes, it is still "painted sub-floor", but it really makes the room look more completed and finished.

One thing that is new since the last update:  Electricity!!  Well, electricity in and of itself is not "new", but having it in the addition IS.  It is so nice to be able to work without dragging around extension cords and work lights. :-)

I must run.  Sylvia needs lunch and then I must get back to work.  Susannah is coming home late this afternoon.  I can't wait to see her (I have missed her so much!), but I need to stay busy and get as much done as I can before I have to work around naptimes again (because little feet and wet paint on floors just isn't a good combination. :-) ).  I think that by tonight the entire upstairs floor will be painted.

Yes, I am excited.  Also READY to be finished with painting!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Moments In Time

Sisters :)

Licking the beater after helping
make Mayonnaise Cake Cupcakes


Sunglasses and Sidewalk Chalk;
one of the last warm mornings of summer.

Sleeping Sylvia

Waking up with a smile as usual. :)

Having fun in the "car" :)

Another warm morning;
outside before breakfast.
(She is holding a Hershey's Kiss, her special treat
for sleeping without her paci.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Addition - On A {Paint} Roll

Upstairs:  Den

Little bit by little bit, the addition project is moving along.  It seems to have picked up a little speed, but maybe that is just because the work that is being done is much more easily seen. :-)

Drywall is up and we have started painting!!  It is a LOT of paint to put up!  We were given some paint from Daniel's parents (a lot of trim paint, some ceiling paint and some partial gallons of colors that I thought we could use), but I still had to buy 21 gallons of paint!  We prefer the high quality, Benjamin Moore paint and we get the primer tinted, so we only have to do 1 coat of primer and then 1 final coat of paint.

Much of the addition has been primed and I have been spending every afternoon possible working at painting the final coats.  I discovered that it is really hard for me to paint ceilings, so I cut them in and then let Daniel paint them.  (The white-on-white is REALLY hard to see, plus my neck feels like it is going to break in two from having to look up at the ceiling that much!)

Two rooms that we have not done anything in yet are the downstairs 1/2 bath and the downstairs school/office room.  I have not decided colors for those yet.  I need to do that soon, though, because it will soon be their turn to go under the brush.

Daniel painting the stair-way.
I leave that area to his balancing expertise!

Daniel's parents came over one evening and helped prime the master bedroom, and then one Saturday morning 2 friends came and help prime the entire "common areas" - the (upstairs) den and the (downstairs) living room, foyer and hallway.  It was wonderful to have that huge space primed in such a short time.

Master Bedroom
ceiling: (leftover) White Dove
walls: a home-mix of (leftover) Soft Fern and Silken Pine

We *think* we will be able to start using the addition by the end of the month.  We have been determined to not go into any debt at all to build this, so we will be moving in before some things are finished.  The biggest unfinished item will be the floors.  We really want to put down hardwood floors and possibly even use reclaimed barn-wood if we can find an affordable way to get it planed, but whatever we do, it will be a large-dollar item and I am guessing that it will be about 2 years before we can afford it.  In the meantime we're planning to give the sub-flooring a coat of paint (probably a brown color) to somewhat hide the drywall splats and dust that has been ground in, and then top it with a coat of shellac to reduce splintering (especially for little, bare feet).

Master Bath
ceiling: Simply White
walls: Sweet Bluette
(a little more blue than the picture shows)

Interior doors, trim and the master bath will also be things to happen after we move in and as we have the money.

ceiling: Simply White
walls: Vanilla ice Cream

Regardless, I am SO excited and eager to begin living in the addition.  One thing we are really looking forward to is being able to have guests.  Right now we can have guests, but it is very, very hard to host people for a meal when there is not enough seating!

Susannah "painting"
with a dry brush and empty paint can.

Anyway, working on painting is sort-of fun to do, and a large part in why I have not been doing much blogging lately. 

I've become pretty close friends with these: