Thursday, February 28, 2013

The fruits of my labor...

I don't know what it is about a perfectly clean kitchen that makes me want to mess it up, but I spent the afternoon baking a double batch of banana bread and a delicious shepherd's pie for dinner. I also cleaned up as I went so now I have yummy food and and still clean kitchen. Such a lovely feeling...

I also had some lovely company come over for lunch and to admire my freshly cleaned kitchen. Because if a mom cleans a room and no one from outside her family notices, was it really ever clean?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I found Jimmy Hoffa's flip-flop...

I spent over twelve hours today cleaning my kitchen. (I think that might be the saddest sentence ever written on this blog.) It was the last room desperately in need of the deep, deep cleaning to get rid of the construction dust. I emptied all the cupboards and drawers, scrubbed them and the contents clean, and did a major purging as I went. I rearranged a lot of stuff too, to be more user friendly to the vertically challenged.

I moved the hutch and cupboard, and discovered that that probably hasn't happened since Lila was a baby. I found multiple binkies (at last the mystery is solved!), countless toys, a fork(?!), and a flip-flop, all covered in a disgusting layer of dust and bits of food. Ugh, it's just so gross!

Anyway, all that cleaning gave me a lot of time to think. I am finally going to be brave and embrace the fact that I like chickens and am going to have a chicken themed kitchen. Here you can see the start of my collection, prominently and proudly displayed. So there you go family, I am out of the chicken closet and there is no going back. Also, just for the record, if anyone leaves a giant metal chicken on my doorstep... I know exactly where I'll put it.

Any incongruities in this post are directly attributable to the fact that it is almost midnight, and I'm still NOT done cleaning the stupid kitchen!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The return of Flat-Lip

It was one of those days where someone looking at my life from the outside and not knowing the back story would think, "Good grief, this lady is a mess!" 

Lila is still fighting off a head cold/pink eye. Brian took the kids to school this morning and she climbed back into bed with me and we slept until 11 a.m.! We slowly got up and cleaned up for the day, and apparently a shower drained her strength because afterwards she climbed into her daddy's recliner and just laid there watching the Disney channel in a kind of daze. I went to work cleaning up the kitchen and living room a bit, but she kept wanting me to stop and just hold her. A sure sign that a four year old isn't feeling up to par. Around 2 p.m. I took a break and sat down to hold her for a bit and she promptly fell back asleep. 

I didn't have the heart to wake her up from her nap and fight her into coat and shoes when it was time to go pick up the kids from school, so I just wrapped her in her blanket and carried her out to the car. She stayed asleep and I drove up and waited for Evie to walk to our meeting place. And waited... and waited... after fifteen minutes or so I got a call from her school that she was in the office and I needed to come inside and get her.

My poor Evie-girl.

She and a little boy crashed into each other during P.E. today just as school was getting out, and she ended up with a bruised cheek, a horrible bloody nose, a cut on the inside of her upper lip, and a big old fat lip...

Or as we call them around here, a flat-lip.

I drove up to the school, woke Lila up and carried her into the school thinking, "Awesome mom award right here. Middle of the winter and my child is outside with bare feet, no coat and wrapped in a blanket." 
I found Evie in the nurse's office, her clothing and boots covered in blood and a pretty pitiful expression on her face. We gathered up her coat and backpack and while I was helping Evie, Lila got off the chair where I had sat her down to wait and came up behind me. I didn't see her and stepped back on her foot, so of course she started howling and highlighting the fact that I had taken her out in the middle of winter with no shoes on.

We finally got back to the car and were only about ten minutes late picking up Jake. I was going to run to the store to pick up some laundry supplies so I could wash Evie's clothes right away and hopefully get the blood out before it stains, but halfway there I realized I'd left my purse at home. It's probably a tender mercy anyway, if I had drug my kids through the store shoe-less and covered in blood I would probably have had someone call the authorities to report me for abuse and neglect. 

We made it home and I was in the middle of getting everyone cleaned up and settled down when I got a phone call wondering why we weren't at Jake's dentist appointment. 
Sigh... and reschedule.

I think she looks like a baby bird, with that sad little lip poking out like a beak.

I decided to blog early, and then shut down the outside world for tonight. 
Hopefully tomorrow will go a bit smoother, and be less painful. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Avoiding responsibilities...

That's pretty much what I did today.

There were so many things I could/should have been doing, but I ignored them in favor of watching funny movies about pregnancy with my pregnant sister and knitting.

I feel good about my choice.

Nobody ever regretted spending more time with someone they love doing something they enjoy.

The chores will keep until tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh yawn...

What a strange Sunday.

Lila came down with a stomach bug last night. It was so sad, after the first go around she didn't have anything left to bring up but every 15-30 minutes she would start violently dry heaving. When it would pass she would tear up and tell me, "Trying to be sick makes me feel sad." This lasted until about 5 a.m., then she and I finally feel asleep.

We didn't wake up until noon. I guess we all needed to sleep in. We spent the afternoon doing laundry (my least favorite part of having a sick kid...) then went to my dad's for his birthday dinner. He made a full turkey dinner, and it was so delicious! Lila ate a small helping of potatoes, and she and her daddy cuddled on the couch and napped while the rest of us played a card game and watched the Oscars.

So in someways it was a nice, relaxing day... but in others it was completely exhausting!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Busy Bee and the Slacker

Brian has been a busy, busy bee today. He got up early and went to a seminar at the airport to learn about traveling in a wheelchair. Not that he/we travel all that often, and hardly ever by airplane, but there is a possibility he will have to travel for work this year so he is being proactive in learning what to do and what help is available for the disabled traveler. He came home for lunch, then went out with Jake to run some errands. Once he came home he was in a puttering mood. He folded the basket of laundry I had just taken out of the dryer, hung up my key hook by the door, installed the outdoor half of our new doorbell, (we haven't ha a working doorbell since we moved in five years ago, I'm excited!) and started to replace the thermostat but then Lila got sick so he stopped to help take care of her. Now he's sorting through boxes of miscellaneous crap that we are still trying to find new homes for.

Me... not so much. I made grilled cheese for lunch, and switched over one batch of laundry. I watched a couple of episodes of Hoarders in the hope that it would motivate me to clean my house. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect of making me think, "Wow. My house is looking pretty good..."

It's days like today that make me grateful for a marriage that is a true partnership, and a husband who understands that sometimes I just have off-days and is willing to pick up my slack. We make a pretty good team. :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

A nice dream...

I volunteer in Jake's class once a week, helping with Writer's Workshop. I love getting to see what these kids write, most of it is wildly creative and clever.

I haven't been for the last six weeks though, as I've needed to be home while we've had a constant stream of workmen in the house. I finally started back yesterday and my attention was caught by the bulletin board outside the classroom door.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I can't wait to wash something!

The washer and dryer were delivered today!

I almost have no words... I am so overwhelmed. I just sit and stare at them, then yell, "Holy Crap! This is AMAZING!" I giggle uncontrollably and do a happy dance. Then I stare at them some more in wonder.

I sent Brian a picture and captioned it "Have you ever seen anything more beautiful in your entire life?!"

I'm torn between wanting to rush right out and get some of that high-efficiency soap and start washing everything we own (twice), and reading through the manuals and figuring out how all the different settings work.

This is truly the most amazing and unlooked for gift, and I can't express enough how grateful we are for the generosity of our unknown benefactor.

What a great day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I lost my momentum!

I got up this morning full of plans to finish putting my house back together.

By breakfast I had scaled that back to finishing the upstairs. I started by doing the dishes.

By lunch I had scaled that back to finishing one room.

Guess what guys?

Today I did the dishes!

Tomorrow should be better. We are getting the new washer and dryer delivered, so Friday I plan to stay home and catch up all the laundry!

Maybe this weekend will see the house put completely back together...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Chrissy!

Though the title may be confusing, this is not Chrissy wishing herself a Happy Birthday.  This is Brian, taking the opportunity to make my 3rd guest blog appearance.  I want to take this chance to publicly wish her a Happy Birthday and let her know how much I love her.  I really do love you Chris.  I know I say it a lot, but I hope that I show it as well. 

I'm not the great writer that Chrissy is, but I'll do my best to sum up the evening and share a funny Jake moment from the night.  I got home earlier than typical tonight because I had the fun opportunity to have a dentist appointment.  We loaded the family up and went over to Farmington to see Jacobs entry in the Reflections Contest.  He made it to Regionals, and we are really proud of him.  Maybe Chrissy will post his entry in her blog for you all (I don't pretend to have her blogging skills!).  Caitlin and her friend Kaylee were down visiting with Chrissy today, so they came along too. 

We all then went to meet Chrissy's Dad at a restaurant for dinner.  Our kids were pretty well behaved, and Jacob cracked us all up as usual.  Shortly after getting served our appetizers, he flagged our waitress down with a "Excuse me, miss..", she politely asked "yes?" to which he replied (in a very official tone) "Would you please inform the appropriate parties, that it is her birthday?" as he gestured toward his mother.  We all got a good laugh, and the waitress replied that she was the appropriate party to inform, and that he had done an excellent job of doing so.  The kids all thought it was pretty cool when the server's all gathered around and sang their happy birthday song for her. 

I hope that it's been a fun and relaxing day for her.  She definitely deserves that!  We've had a crazy busy past couple of months, and she's had a lot on her plate.  I just want you all to know how much I love and appreciate her for all that she does and all that she is.  I know all of our kids adore her as much as I do, and I am grateful she is such an awesome wife and mom. 

Happy Birthday Chrissy!



Monday, February 18, 2013

Day three of the cleaning marathon...

I don't have much to blog about today. I got up, cleaned and organized stuff for twelve hours, and collapsed onto the couch again. Progress is being made, but oh so slowly.

We did get an electrician here today to hook up power for the new washer and dryer. We get them delivered on Thursday, I'm so excited! So now the only thing left is the plumber hooking up Brian's shower and we will be completely, 100% done.

If I can just survive the putting everything away stage I'm going to love getting back to living in a clean, comfortable home.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A good reminder...

I wasn't sure that I would make it to church when I got out of bed this morning. My back hurt so bad. Once I was there I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to sit through three hours. But I "endured to the end", and I'm really glad I did. The lesson in Relief Society was very good and at the end the sister who was teaching passed out a wallet sized picture of Jesus with a scripture on the back.

Mosiah 5:15- "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all."

The first part is what caught my attention, "I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable." It made me think of my goal this year of being calm and steady through the chaos of life. I have not felt very calm lately and have been feeling like I was failing at my goal. Today I had the thought come into my head that as long as I am trying and learning new coping methods then I can't be failing. Obviously if this was something I was already good at I wouldn't have picked it as an area to work on in my life. Also, it's only the middle of February... I should probably wait until later in the year to stress about not meeting my yearly goals.

I'm going to put my picture somewhere I'll see it every day to help remind me of my goal. Baby steps towards being calm.

Moving back in

I spent hours and hours today scrubbing the dust off our floor and blinds. Then my in-laws and Taylor came over this evening and helped me move furniture. Things aren't completely done yet, but we are able to sleep in our bedroom tonight! And sleep we will, the exhausted sleep that follows a day of heavy labor.

In a not so pleasant symmetry, I've thrown my back out again. Just like the day we moved everything out of the bedroom. I guess this means we are never, ever moving again.

Friday, February 15, 2013

If you give a girl a finished construction project...

Chances are she'll want to clean before she moves her furniture back in.

So she'll start to take an inventory of what needs to be done,

and then she'll realize that her fabric sorters are exactly what they were thinking of getting for the bedroom.

So she'll try to figure out where she can move her fabric to, 

and exactly how to organize it all in a usable fashion.

Then she'll realize that it's probably best just to move the whole dang sewing room into the old laundry room,

and give the children back the rec room to play in. 

So she'll look around the laundry room and realize that she'll have to find somewhere different for the holiday decorations to live.

She'll decide that the cold storage room would work with a little bit of rearranging, 
and a couple sets of shelves. 

And before you know it the only clean room in her entire house will be the storage room no one ever sees!

 (Although she'll feel better knowing one space in her home is organized...)

And chances are, after all that work, she'll fall into her bed (which is still in the living room) and think, "At this rate I may not get to move back into my bedroom for another month!"

By the time we're done it will pretty much be the same as if we'd moved. I am determined however, to take the time and sort through all the boxes of accumulated junk we have and get my home clean, organized and user-friendly again! I actually enjoy organizing and de-junking, now if I can just get my family to have the same good attitude we can get most of it done this weekend... and if I can find someone willing to make a run to the dump, since today was garbage day and the can is already full again.

One of the big jobs I got done today was sorting through the boxes and boxes of Brian's papers and pictures  that his parents sent down before they left on their mission. I kept the pictures and letters that had sentimental value and was able to pare it down to two boxes. Plus it was fun to get a peek into my husband's life before I ever knew him.

This is a letter he wrote when he was roughly the same age that Jake is now. 
So sweet... and excellent penmanship.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's/Birthday Brian!

We had a very nice, low-key day celebrating both Valentine's Day and Brian's birthday. Caite was down visiting while Patrick was working, and was very kind in helping me tidy up the house and run errands to get ready for our little party. We had a quiet dinner at home of tortellini and pesto, and I baked a chocolate cake. Then we all exchanged our gifts.

I've always thought that it was kind of unfair for my sweet husband that he has to get other people gifts on his birthday. But because he is such a sweetheart he never seems to mind, in fact he's always more excited for me to open my gift than he is to see what he got. Most years by the time we get to February we're pretty much tapped out, because we have Christmas, our anniversary, Valentine's day, and both of our birthdays within six weeks. So usually we give each other a card and a heart-felt "Happy Birthday!" This year we got the pleasant surprise of getting our tax return yesterday, so we both got to pick up a small present or two for each other. I got Brian some socks (I know, hold on to your hats!) and the new James Bond movie, and Lila picked out a bottle of Mt. Dew and stuck a bow on it. Not much, but when you really are only expecting a card it makes for a nice surprise. 

Brian gets major brownie points for my surprise. He got me a bracelet for collecting personalized beads, like a charm bracelet. I don't wear jewelry that often, my wedding ring and the occasional necklace or pair of earrings for church, but I love the idea of collecting beads that represent special things to me. Brian loves to give me jewelry, so he was very excited that I actually expressed interest in it. Plus now he has a go-to gift for any occasion, a new bead for my bracelet! 

One funny story from dinner. Jake has a tendency to wolf down his food and then be stuck at the table while the rest of us finish eating. Tonight was no exception, and so while he waited for us he started playing with a mylar balloon Brian had brought for the girls. He decided it made a nice mirror, grabbed a hairbrush, and started brushing his hair into different styles. The rest of us were eating and visiting, and suddenly Evie reached out and bopped the balloon floating by her elbow. It smacked into Jake's face, who was taken completely by surprise since he'd been concentrating on his hair so intently. It was such an AFV moment (Seriously? Why am I never filming when these things happen?! We could be making so much money!) and all of us were literally howling with laughter. Until I calmed down a bit and noticed that Evie was howling all right, but in tears! I think she thought she was in trouble and then we were all so noisy it just completely over-set her. Poor kid, it took a full ten minutes to calm her down and get her to get off my lap and finish her dinner. But oh! The look on Jake's face was priceless! 

Obviously a recreation for blogging purposes... but still very funny because as he was concentrating on himself in the balloon again Aunt Caite reached out and bopped him in the face with it again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ice cream makes everything better...

I am not the favorite parent today.

I took Evie in to the doctor because she's been complaining of an ear ache for the past three days. Fortunately it's not an ear infection, but since I had all three of them there I decided to get their flu shots done. And since we had waited so long it was the actual shot instead of the flu mist they've gotten the past couple of years. It was pretty traumatic. Both girls cried and screamed, and pretty much carried on like they were getting something amputated.

Not being above bribing my children to love me, and a firm believer that ice cream heals all wounds, I took them to Dairy Queen afterwards.

As we were driving over all three children were comparing their experience of the shot. (As if we weren't all in the room when it happened... we all heard you scream the first time.) Lila, quick to capitalize on the tiniest bit of sympathy, said in the most forlorn tone of voice, "Guess what guys, I got shot in the leg..."

"No, no, no," I jumped in, "You got A shot in the leg, not you got shot in the leg!"

"Oh, right. I got A shotted in my leg."

Close enough.

I didn't realize that my children have no idea what an Orange Julius was. There were signs posted all over DQ that Orange Julius is coming soon to that location. Jake, thinking that it was the same thing as OrangeLeaf got very excited and said, rather loudly, "Look Mom! Orange Hu-lee-us is coming soon!"

I burst out laughing and then said, "Who is coming soon?"

"Orange Hu-lee-us?"

"Ahh... Did you have Spanish today?"

"Yes, we have it every Monday through Thursday... why?"

"It's Orange Ju-lee-us."

"Oh... I guess that would be Naranja Hu-lee-us anyway."

Cheeky kid, he can even be witty in Spanish.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1/2 bath + 1/2 bath = ?

We almost have a completely working bathroom upstairs. The plumber was here finishing hooking things up but we ran into a couple of snafus. The toilet and the bathtub work in the hall bathroom, but the faucet we bought was missing a part so no working sink yet.

 In Brian's bathroom the toilet and the sink are working, but the tile was thicker(?) than they were expecting so they need an expansion kit to be able to hook up the valves. (I honestly have no clue what I'm talking about here, I'm just repeating what the plumber told me.) Anyway, here's hoping that by tomorrow all the plumbing will be in working order, even though there is no electricity until Thursday...

They installed the roll-under sink and mirror. I think it looks beautiful... I mean, manly. As I was talking to one of the contractors today I realized that we are going to have to get creative at figuring out some organization for Brian's stuff in the bathroom, since there are no cupboards or anything in there. I guess the best thing is to live with it for awhile and see just how much stuff ends up living on the counter top.

They also took the painter's paper off the floor, so you can see the paint and the flooring together. 
I like. :)

Another hold up, they were short about fifteen planks of the laminate to finish the room. Of course it's a special order so we have to wait another week for it to get here and be installed. C'est la vie. 

The contractor said we could start moving our stuff back into the room if we wanted. Um, no thanks. I want to make sure everything is done first, I don't workmen having to move my furniture and clothing around to install lights or touch up paint or whatever. Plus I also want a chance to clean everything really well too. It's barely been six weeks, I can live with one more. 

Now I'm off to scrub out my bathtub and enjoy the half of my bathroom that is working!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Temper tantrums, Lila style...

I know you might think that with her larger than life personality, our spunky four year old would have some pretty epic melt-downs... but here's the thing. She's a dang smart cookie, and she's already learned just how much that doesn't fly with this mama. No, her tantrums are more along the line of throwing herself onto which ever bed or couch is handy with great dramatic flair, and then sobbing loudly into the pillow. After a minute or so if she doesn't get a response she'll sneak a peek to see if you are still watching her. If you are then the noisy tears resume, if you've left the room she'll follow you and throw herself down onto another bed. It's so over the top it is just comical, and I usually end up laughing and telling her if she wants to cry to go into a different room because she's too loud. Since it's no fun to cry without an audience that's usually the end of that.

Our sleeping schedule and arrangements have been somewhat chaotic this last month, and especially the last few weeks with her being sick and then us staying at my dad's. What with one thing and another she has ended up in our bed more nights then not. Tonight as I was tucking her in I was very clear that she was to stay in her own bed... the WHOLE night. She started to whimper and then kick her feet under the covers, and cried, "But Mommy! I just want you!"

"I know you do, honey, but you need to sleep in your own bed. I will come and check on you and wake you up with kisses in the morning."

"I just want you!"

"Well, we can't always get what we want..."

"I just want you!"

"Well, I DON'T want YOU in my bed! That is final!"

As I was heading for the stairs there was an audible flop and the predictable noisy sobs into the pillow. Jake rushed to fill the void I had left with my terrible pronouncement and tried to comfort his little sister. Then I heard my baby cry, "I just want my Mo-om-meeeee! But she doesn't want meeeeee!"


It would take a harder heart than mine to leave a child suffering under that misunderstanding.

So I went back and hugged her and kissed her, and reassured her that I wanted her. I want her to be my little girl and my sweetheart. That I will always want her and be there for her. But that I still did not want her to sleep in my bed. It took awhile to settle her down and I kind of doubt that I will wake up without her draped across my half of the bed, but we both agreed to try.

Man, this parenting thing is exhausting...

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Yesterday it was the fourth anniversary of my mother's death. I didn't realize it until very late at night when I was reading back over some old blog posts. At first I was horrified that I hadn't realize the significance of the date, hadn't marked it in some way. Had spent it like any other day, running errands, doing laundry, taking care of my family, hanging out with friends.

But as I lay in bed thinking, the more I started to feel like this marks a serious milestone in my grief process. Not that I am done grieving, I miss my mom every single day, but that the pain isn't as sharp as it used to be. I feel like I've created a tradition of celebrating and remembering her on her birthday and on holidays, focusing on her life more than her death. I think that she would approve of that. Remembering her and talking about her without (and sometimes with) tears, and making sure she is still a part of the memories we are making now.

I thought back to the first anniversary of her passing and the way that I felt like I was coming out of a year of darkness and emotionally stagnant. The way that I could hardly bear to comfort my children as they grieved for their Mima. And each year, though it's been softer and lighter, the grief has still struck hard on the 9th and has been my main focus of that day.

Perhaps it's because I've been talking about her a lot lately, and sharing bits of wisdom that she has passed down to me, but this year it feels like my need to cry and wail, and tell the world about my loss is lessened. I know that grief isn't a straight line and sometimes the pain can sneak up out of nowhere and just about take your breath away with it's intensity. More and more though it feels like a tender mercy that missing my mom is settling into a familiar, bittersweet ache, one that I can live with. When I cry now it's less because I am sad that she's gone, and more because I'm so very grateful that she was my mother, that she is still my mother, and that she will always be my mother.  I am so grateful for a strong and certain knowledge of the eternal nature of families. I am grateful for my husband, my children, my extended families, and my friends that have made me feel so loved and comforted. For those who've helped me through the hard times, and shared my joy in the happy times. And many who've done both.

I love you, Mom. I miss you. I will be so happy to see you again. And in the meantime I will try my hardest to live my life, be happy and make you proud. I will find my joy in the journey.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

And the bad luck continues...

Lila was attempting to blow a bubble with her gum.


Friday, February 8, 2013

And that's why I'm the worst house guest ever...

So... do you remember two weeks ago when I took out the light post? Well today I went and paid that ticket, and then stopped by my dad's house to pick up a few things I had forgotten when I packed us up this afternoon. (We've been crashing there for the last four days while we were without toilets upstairs.) I left the kids in the car and ran inside, I yelled out hello but there was no answer so I figured my dad was out. I went into the family room closet to grab a toy Lila had forgotten, and as I walked back out to the kitchen I heard a  noise in the garage. I walked over and opened the door into the garage to see if my dad was in there for some reason. His car was gone, and I noticed the garage door was... not right. Then I heard my children screaming. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can move when I hear that sound...

My first thought was that one of my kids had climbed into the front and was messing around or bumped the gear shift by mistake, but one look at Jake dispelled that thought. He was white as a sheet and the girls were equally freaked out, the car had been moving so slowly that they didn't realize it was moving until they hit the door! I swear by all that is holy I had put the car into park, but I had to have put it into neutral by mistake. I called Brian in tears, and then my dad to tell him what I had done. The lesson learned is NEVER leave the car running, even for a minute! When I think of how easily it could have been worse, or if it had been in reverse and rolled out into traffic with my babies in the backseat I just feel sick...

I was already really shaken and upset on the way home, then Jake mused from the backseat, "Wow mom, that's two accidents with property damage in two weeks, and not even a scratch on your car..." 
I promptly burst into tears and cried the rest of the way home. Fortunately my dad called and said it took three kicks from the inside to pop it back out and that it opens and shuts just fine, so no real damage done. I feel a little better, but I am not driving anywhere for the rest of the weekend. I just feel like a walking disaster area!

On a more positive note we have a working toilet again!

My happy, clean, and white bathroom. 

One of my favorite features in this new bathroom, a heating vent! We didn't have one in there before so that bathroom was always hot in the summertime and ice cold in the winter. Right above it is where I plan to hang the towel rack, and just think how nice it will be to get out of the bath and wrap a lovely warm towel around yourself in the wintertime. 

A couple of shots with the paint color.

It's a very nice white and I'm excited to see what it looks like with the flooring when they pull up the paper. I definitely want to put more color on the walls, but this is a perfect starting point until I can decide exactly which color I we want. 

It's kind of hard to see but they also installed a rubber dam along Brian's shower. It's soft so he can roll over it and then it will pop back up to help keep the water in.

Doors and doorknobs!
And just for fun, here's what this hall used to look like.

So crazy. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Conversation with a four year old...

Lila gets very contemplative during car rides, and then she will ask the most random questions.

"Mom? How do cats move by themselves?"

"What do you mean?"

"How do they move?"

"Do you mean 'How do they walk around?' or 'How do they go live in a different place?'"

"How can they walk around?"

"Well, they have bodies with bones and muscles and brains, and their brain tells their muscles how to move."

Exasperated sigh, "Mom, cats do NOT have brains!"

"I know some people would agree with that, but they do have brains. All animals have brains."

"Hey, do you want to hear me sing the ABC's?"

"Yes I would."


"Wait, wait! What about E-F-G?"

"Oh right, A-B-C-D-H-I-J"

This went on for several minutes. If I sang it with her she could get all the letters, but on her own she couldn't remember E-F-G. When I asked her why she sighed and said, "I don't know... they just won't stick into my brains."

We sang it together one more time and the last line I sang in my best fake opera voice. "Won't you sing with meeeeeee!"

Lila giggled and said, "Why are you singing like an old woman?"

So I sang it as deep as I could.

"That's like a boy voice!"

Then I started to sing random tunes but using animals noises instead of words. I meowed, barked, quacked, mooed, neighed, baa-ed, and oinked. I was impressed that she even guessed fish right when I made quiet popping sounds with my lips.

As I pulled up to the preschool I sang one last tune in my normal voice. She thought for a moment and then guessed, "Walrus!"

I know I'm not a great singer, but I certainly don't sound like a walrus, thank you very much! Ah well, nothing can prick the ego faster than the honesty of a child...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why is color so hard?

I think we finally have the paint color!

I have to thank Emilie for coming over and holding my hand as I hemmed and hawed and dithered over the sample palette. I just had to get my head over the idea that I had to pick one color to go with everything and last forever. I needed to be looking for a good neutral as a jumping off point, and I have to be resigned to the fact that I will be painting again and again in this life... or finding a way to barter with someone. I'd be willing to swap knitting or sewing services for someone who wanted to paint for me. Or is willing to be paid with cookies, I make very good chocolate chip cookies.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blocks and Books

Today was a fairly normal day, but lots of little things happened that I apparently felt the need to document with a picture. So this post has a LOT of pictures.

 After lunch Lila asked me to play with the building blocks with her.

Who could resist that face? Not me.

We build a shop for Hello Kitty to sell baked goods from.

Note the Japanese influence in the architecture...

Lila decided that we should post armed guards at the base of the steps.

Then she thought if two is good, setting up a perimeter defense would be better.

Only serious buyers allowed.
I'm always glad when I slow down long enough to be treated to a game of make believe with one of my children. It's so fun to get a peek inside their heads.

We ran home to check out how the installation of the floors went.

I am so in love with my flooring!

 It's nerve-wracking when you're trying to envision how a room will look from a two foot long sample, but I couldn't be happier. It's exactly what I wanted!

Vinyl in the bathrooms.

Every day I get happier and happier with how this remodel is turning out.

Last month Jake had a pretty awesome accomplishment that I failed to blog about, because it happened on the same day that I got the call about the washer and dryer and that just put everything else right out of my head. He took third place out of the entire school in the Geography Bee. 

Today he was surprised with a gift card to Barnes and Noble as an award! It wasn't hard to talk this mom into swinging by after school to pick up a new book or two. I'm so proud of him, and grateful that he is good at geography in case we ever get lost.

We also stopped by the library so the girls could get a new book too, and I finally paid off all my fines. I love not having any late fees due at the library and have charged all three of my children to help remind me not to get anymore.

That is one of my re-occurring yearly goals: NO library fines!

Lila couldn't quite figure out the correct way to wear this hat, it's supposed to look like this.

I kind of love her unique sense of style though...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Knock, knock...

We have doors!

We are so excited, not only is it a step closer to being done with the remodeling, but it has been over a year since the hall bathroom has had a door on it.

Locking doorknob- $45
Bathroom door- $100
Being able to lock the children out of the bathroom for five minutes of privacy- Priceless

(Even though they'll just lay down in the hall and yell at you through the crack at the bottom....)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Random observations for the day...

We watched the Super Bowl at my Dad's and ate lots of nummy finger foods.

That's my favorite kind of meal, where the kids can graze as they like and don't need much if any help from me.

I finished January's baby hat.

We did our taxes.

Did you know that if you use Turbo Tax there is a button you can click after you e-file that lets you brag via Facebook and Twitter that you are all kinds of awesome and have your stuff together, and have already done your taxes?

I guess I'm old school in that I just brag about it on my blog...

I've spent the last half hour playing a fun new game called, "Let's hide our dirty laundry in random spots and really make Mom work for it."

I'm not a fan.

Tomorrow I have to try to do enough laundry to get us by for a week.

Nothing makes me want to own less stuff than trying to find something in this mess of half-packed boxes.

Except yarn.

I would be happy to look for things in boxes and boxes of yarn...

Saturday, February 2, 2013


I am trying to knit a baby hat a month (in addition to my other projects) for donating to Primary Children's Hospital this year. Myra mentioned that she keeps her hat in the car and knits on it when she's waiting for her kids after school, etc. All those little moments add up and you can have a hat done before you know it. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I grabbed a skein of yarn and a circular needle and cast on as we left to run errands this afternoon. 

I knit on it while Jake ran into the library to pick up a book he had on hold, and while Brian ran rolled into Ace Hardware for a new pair of gloves. 

The girls had both fallen asleep so I waited in the car while Brian ran into Target, and I finished the ribbing. 
I knit in the dark as we drove, because I don't need to look for plain stockinette. I knit a few stitches in Lowe's as we were debating which toilet to buy, but that didn't work as well because I had to keep stopping to push the cart. 

Yes, that would be me knitting while waiting for the gas tank to fill up. It kept my fingers warm while standing out in the cold winter air for at least two minutes, possibly even three! Brian just laughs at me and takes pictures. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

"It's Valentime's Day!"

Today Lila noticed that we had turned the page on the calendar that she made for me in preschool. Every month has a picture made with her hand prints, I love it and she is so proud every time she looks at it. This month is a heart and she knows what that means, Valentime's Day! (That's is how both my girls pronounce Valentine's, I can't convince them that it's an N and not an M.) All day long she's been telling me, "Happy Valentime's Day Mommy!" and giving me hugs. I love it. I foresee at least two weeks full of extra love and hugs.

I feel like I've started off this month on a good foot. Life is stressful and not easy, for many reasons, right now. But this morning once Brian and the older kids left for work and school, I climbed back into my bed with Lila and just snuggled her. Instead of tackling one of my many chores that needed doing, I decided to enjoy the peace and silence as I was waiting for the workmen to arrive for the day. I started to pray, but before I could even form the thoughts to ask for help with my worries, I had a story that I'd heard recently in church come to my mind. It was about a family that was going through a painful loss and they were challenged by a visiting church leader to pray, and not ask for anything. Just to offer a prayer of thankfulness and gratitude. I decided to try it, a prayer that simply listed all of my blessings and the people and things that I feel grateful for. It was hard at first, I kept having to stop myself from asking for help and just focus on what blessings I've already been given, but it got easier as I kept going. I think it was the longest prayer I've said in a very long time. I was amazed at the immediate change in my attitude, I feel so much calmer and hopeful about the challenges ahead. I've decided that this is how I will work on being calm this month, by trying to stayed focused on what I have to be grateful for... and there is a whole lot to be grateful for. :)

The tile is finished and grouted now and it looks great!

As we drove home from school and he saw the guy's truck parked in our driveway, Jake asked, "Who's here?"

"The tile guy, he's here grouting." I replied.

"He's pouting? Why is he pouting?" Jake asked.

"No, he's grouting. Putting the grout in between the tiles." Then I laughed, "Yes, he's sitting in the shower, pouting."

We also had a funny experience this afternoon that I feel perfectly highlights each of my children's personalities. One of them used a little too much toilet paper and caused the toilet to overflow. I was upstairs at the time and suddenly heard three panicked voices and running feet up the stairs. Jake dashed in the living room first and said, calmly but quickly, "The toilet is overflowing! I need the plunger and some towels!" He is my man of action.

Evie followed second, all flustered and upset, "...and then it flushed, but there was too much, and now there is water, and I think it's broken, and so we need to clean it up, and get some more toilet paper because we're almost out, so I need some towels... and your help... I think."  She tries so hard to be helpful, but it takes her awhile to get around to explaining what the actual problem is.

Lila, who is nothing if not dramatic, waited patiently for Evie to explain and then exclaimed, "And it's going to flood the whole house!"

Calm down, Chicken Little. Be grateful for running water, even if it makes a mess sometimes.