Saturday, December 31, 2011

Going, Going gone...

After 5 months of living with us, Kaytlin left us this morning to head back to school. Sad day. This is the second time she's lived with us, and the second overly teary goodbye! I'm pretty sure she'll never be roommates with us again. She's starting her senior year in college, and is pretty attached to a certain guy - there's no chance she's coming back to stay with us. Once again, sad day!

Goodbyes are always so hard. As we embraced in a tearful exchange there were very few words but yet so much I wanted to say. Words of gratitude and appreciation. Words of love and encouragement. Words, words, words. So, to my sweet sister...
 
Dear Kaytlin-
It's been an hour and half since you left. Hunter took Hallie's blanket, Hallie hit Hunter in the stomach, Hunter threw himself on the floor, Bennett was smothered with blankets from helping siblings, Hunter locked the door, Hallie is trying to make Hunter play a game and he has no interest in. So... Bennett's been crying in his bed trying to take a nap, Hunter and Hallie are both in timeout until they can play nicely and Steve is enjoying tennis with his brother. Please come back. Doesn't that description make you miss us?

I have a feeling it will be a rough week. We're used to having you around as a babysitter, a referee, a housekeeper, a chauffeur and a sounding board. Life will need a little adjustment with you gone.

We really loved having you here. Steve liked having a little sister around that he could tease and I liked the companionship of a friend in our new circumstances. I love that with age we've grown to not only tolerate each other but enjoy and look forward to spending time together! It's amazing what time and maturity can do!

I was thinking back to your time with us and there are a couple things that really stood out in my mind as things I will miss.
• Our weekly tennis lessons - I wish we would've started them much earlier
• Afternoon swim time when you would take Hunter out in the pool
• Bennett snuggle time as I would take Hallie to school in the morning
• Multiple frozen yogurt runs
• Late night talks
• Endless conversations over a bowl of salsa with chips
There are many more things I will miss, but those few things were more special than all the others.

I love the relationship you have with the kids and how special you make them feel. You go above and beyond in your "Aunt" duties. Years from now they might not remember a whole lot about your time living with us, but they will have a very special bond with you and that can only come from your time with us.

We love you so much and are so grateful you chose to spend the last 5 months with us. We're excited for all the changes you have coming in your life, it's a good time of life. We love you. More than you know. And more grateful than you will ever comprehend for all that you did for us. Steve and I spent more time together than would have been possible otherwise...My teary eyes are prohibiting me from seeing the screen to type more!

We love you!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas...

Christmas was awesome. We were excited to be in our own home, and really we could've wrapped most of our boxes and unwrapped the things we hadn't seen in a year. But what fun would that be??

We spent Christmas eve surrounded by Steve's family and two special visitors, Cameron and Kaytlin. We came back and celebrated the rest of the evening with just our small family. We drove around and saw Christmas lights, we did the nativity, drank hot chocolate and ate panettone (peru tradition) and let the kids light some sparklers, followed by "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and our annual Christmas jammies. And then they were tucked away to dream of sugar plums.


Christmas morning lived up to all the hype. It's easy to please your kids when they ask for gum and trains. Definitely something we could handle!

Bennett spent the morning like this before he became too angry and we put him down for a nap.


Hallie and Hunter enjoyed every single gift and spent sufficient time with each gift before moving on to the next one. We played with toys, looked through books, put on chapstick and then repeated it all over again.





After all the presents were opened we hosted Steve's brother's family for Christmas brunch. There are very few meals that I really look forward to - but Christmas brunch is one of them. French toast from homemade bread, fresh squeezed orange juice, egg casserole, monkey bread and sausage...you can't go wrong.



We were able to attend church with family as well and listen to Steve's parents share a Christmas message.




It was a grand day. Steve expressed that it is his favorite when Christmas falls on Sunday - so this year was indeed a favorite.

We feel so blessed this holiday season and have much to be grateful for.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Making progress...

Our inspector made it clear that there were a few necessary repairs that needed our immediate attention. The exterior paint job was one of them. It had been so long since the home had been painted that the siding was starting to see damage.

So we put it on the list and received a few bids.

I clearly underestimated how much money it would cost to paint the house and then was very discouraged thinking of how much we would have to give up in other areas in order to have the house painted. So my creative problem solving kicked in. After several ideas we finally settled on flying my brother down to do the job. We would save a lot of money and he could really benefit from it.

We started with prepping the house before he even arrived. We removed the gingerbread and repaired the posts, we power washed the home, and sanded and primed areas that were severely damaged. When Cam arrived he then caulked areas that separated and finished nailing siding that had come loose.

Then the painting started. He (with me as his trusty sidekick when the kids were sleeping) rolled and brushed the whole house. Probably something we could've sprayed, but we knew the prep work/taping would be atrocious and we weren't super comfortable with a project so massive. We brushed underneath all the ridges and then rolled the rest with a six inch roller. Our biggest setback: There were some dangerously tall areas that required an extension ladder at an uncomfortable height. Those areas took forever. But once both feet were on the ground we were in a good position and the painting went quickly.

There were some areas that were a little sketchy. Like in this picture when Cameron used the extension ladder on top of the lower roof, while Kaytlin sat at the foot of it to make sure it didn't move. Sometimes I had to just shut my eyes and pray that he didn't fall off!

We're not quite finished, but we're getting closer.

It feels good.

I like to walk across the street and marvel at the progress. The neighbors probably think I'm crazy always standing in their driveway!

Final product coming soon...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

35 weeks...


We're really hoping his hip fracture heals quickly - he's having a real hard time sleeping with his feet up in the air like this! We've had some really long days but I think we're in a better place now, each day seems to be just a little bit better than the day before!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Baby's first Christmas...

These photos were taken just three hours before the "incident".





Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mother of the year...

I mentioned on Tuesday Bennett's amazing sitting abilities. I spoke too soon...

This picture was taken around 4:30 in the afternoon. We were outside. The kids were jumping on the trampoline. My brother was just finishing some painting on our house for the afternoon. And Bennett was having his first experience with grass. A while later I was inside finishing up dinner and Hallie was sitting with Bennett on the carpet in the living room. I hear him start crying. I keep working on dinner until I hear Hallie's plea - "Bennett won't stop crying will you come and get him."

He must be hungry. So I fed him. Still he's fussy.

He must be tired. So I put him down for another nap. He doesn't ever fall asleep.

He must be so tired he doesn't want to take a nap. So we sit with him through dinner while he was on and off crying. I could tell something was wrong but I didn't know what. Maybe he's teething?

Hallie nervously approaches me..."When I was sitting on the floor with Bennett he fell forward and hit his face." Luckily it was a short fall and padded to say the least. I start to poke at him trying to figure out where his pain is coming from and he seems to yelp with every touch. We decided to get him to bed and keep an eye on him.

He falls asleep but wakes up periodically crying. I feed him at 10 at night and while I was feeding him he was calm. So once again I start to poke around to see what really hurts. When I get to his leg he yelps (just like a dog) in pain. That's it. He had to of hurt his leg in the fall.

The next morning we get into the doctor first thing. She diagnosed it as toxic synovitis - inflammation in his hip from the fall. But she sends us to get x-rays to rule anything else out. We got the x-rays and by this point it is totally evident his hip is in pain. Every time we moved him, he yelped or winced in pain. Unfortunately there was no cure for his problem, only time would help. We went home and started to nurse him back to health. Six hours later I get a call from the doctor - she reviewed the x-rays. He had several fractures (spiral) in his hip. When he fell forward, he must have twisted in the process. I felt awful. He's so little to have such severe pain!

Fortunately, his age limits the type of cast he could have. Instead of a cast, they put him in a harness. (typically used for infants with hip dysplasia). It doesn't keep him from moving it around, but it keeps it in place for the most part. The first day was rough, you could tell from his face he was in serious pain. But each day seems to get a little better. He's sleeping better now with it and we've finally found some positions we can hold him that's comfortable for him.  We call him our little frog!

So there you have it - my campaign for mother of the year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More holiday goodness...

The December is by far my favorite month...it is also the month I can't seem to slow down. There's always another program, gift exchange, party or some other obligation. I love it all - I just wish it wasn't all in one month. Let's try gift exchanges in November perhaps. Or programs in January. There's got to be some way to space it out, right? Regardless - we go to all the programs and parties and make it all work.

We had yet another santa sighting and although one santa sighting a year is plenty for me, Hunter's eyes were wide with amazement and adoration and it's kind of hard not to love it all over again!


Hallie also participated in the kindergarten program were they sported their handmade Ruldolph shirts. Hallie had a speaking part and she nailed it! In fact, because they practiced the program so many times, she had the four other speaking parts memorized as well! She sang with sass and animation and she was definitely entertaining on the front row!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

34 weeks...


Gearing up for baby's first Christmas...I can hardly contain my excitement!!

He decided it was finally time to sit on his own, and let me tell you- he can entertain himself much better these days. He doesn't like mashed potatoes, but he does like any and all fruits. He's starting to babble a lot more, and I'm trying my hardest to get the word "mom" to come out first!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Visitors...

We were lucky to have my parents come visit for a week. We were really hoping to have them over Christmas, but it just didn't work that way. Looking at how much we got done over the course of one week, I'm glad they came when they did!

I had grand vision and plans for my parents visit. We were going to knock walls out, resurface the fireplace, unpack boxes, decorate a little and if there was time perhaps do some painting. Did any of those things get done? Nadda! My grand plans were all made before moving into the house - after living there for two weeks, we realized there were much more pressing projects that needed to be completed.

It started with the leak in the closet which led to a quick closet revamp with new and improved shelving! (here)

Then of course there was the large storm we experienced which showed us that the sky lights were leaking. So we fixed those. (Its been raining on and off for a couple days and no leaks!)

The garbage disposal didn't work - fixed.

Hallie's door was unusable - fixed.

The fridge water line leaked - fixed.

The house was in desperate need of an exterior paint job, so we prepped. We ripped out gingerbread. (here) Powerwashed. Sanded. (Painting starts tomorrow - lets hope we love the paint color that we just bought gallons and gallons of!)

The exterior lights needed some tlc - fixed.

The closet doors were all sorts of messed up - fixed.

I think there was a trip made to Home Depot every day for something we were working on. We were busy. My mom organized some things in the house and answered to every whim the kids had. But even with all that busyness we still managed to fit in some fun.

Two of the days we dropped my dad off at Bass Pro shop for hours while we went shopping.

We saw the beautiful temple lights, which really is quite the show.



We went out to lunch with Steve on his afternoon off.

We went to an incredible train show. Two weekends a year (near Christmas) a homeowner in the area opens his home for everyone to come view his outdoor built-in train set. It was crazy! And it was huge with extreme detail. Hunter was in heaven.


So although we didn't accomplish any of my grand plans- we got down to business and fixed a whole bunch of stuff that had been neglected for quite a while. I'm so grateful for my parents who spent their vacation working. They really were amazing and we loved having them here.


Friday, December 16, 2011

No more gingerbread...


We bought a victorian home that had little swirly do-dads in all the corners and peaks. Steve and I were not digging on all the swirls.

 
So when my parents came to visit (more on that later) I put my dad to work removing all the swirls. My mom informed me that the correct term is not swirls - but instead "gingerbread". I questioned her knowlege on the subject but she seemed more than confident. I later googled it and it was no surprise she knew what she was talking about!!

So it seemed fitting to remove all the "gingerbread" before the holidays...or at least before we paint the house next week. With a crowbar and hammer in hand, my dad went to work on the demolition - sadly no picture.  I will admit, I was extremely nervous to see my dad straddling the roof at the highest peak, leaning over to remove some of it. And although there were plenty of nerves, I was overcome with gratitude that it wasn't me leaning over the edge of the roof.

After all of it was torn off, we then went to work repairing the surface.


In the process we had plenty of people comment as they were passing by - mostly positive. However one lady was a tad disappointed. "But they've been up there for over 25 years!" Then they were due for a makeover!

I'm loving the new look!


Now off to pick a paint color to further update the home!

I'm thinking a warm gray...more neutral than the current cottage blue. Hopefully I can get some paint swatches on the wall tomorrow because painting starts Monday. I'm giddy!

Thanks again dad!
(A further tribute post will come shortly for all the projects he helped me complete!)
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