Sunday, November 30, 2014


Our little girl had her dance recital last week.
Her costume was pink with sequins,
she got to dance with a wand
and she wore make-up.
It was the best night ever.

After she danced, we took everyone out for Italian food because lasagna is her favorite food in the world.
We hadn't taken all of the children to a restaurant in a very long  time and this place did not let us down.
It was very family friendly, providing pre-meal entertainment such as coloring, pasta necklace kits, play dough, a giant chalk board on the wall behind us and baskets of bread.

Even our littlest munchkin was well behaved!

In other news, I rarely do "friend" birthday parties.  I don't know why, really.  Maybe because our family is big enough to make every birthday feel like a party?  
But I'd promised the kids this year, so we're having friend parties.  
Since we don't have a house, we're navigating a new world: destination birthdays!
Last month was the 11th birthday at the ice skating rink.

This month is the 9th birthday party at the swimming pool.

These two middle girls have found a group of wonderful friends.  Having been through periods where one kid or another has had no friends, I know how valuable this group of girls is for my daughters.

Oh, yes.  And store bought cakes.  Unheard of! 

Our oldest waited 14 years for a brother.
I often have my girls match on holidays and Isaac usually matches them, but he couldn't be twins, exactly.
When the baby was born, Isaac couldn't wait to dress alike.
My boys were twins last week and they were simply adorable!

I tried it out for six months and have decided I absolutely hate using my phone as the camera.
It is a decent camera--for a phone--but that doesn't make them good pictures.
After one particularly aggravating lost moment a few days ago, I quit.
I've gone back to my $100 point-and-shoot.

Every once in a while, my son takes pictures of his dinner to send to his former roommate who is still starving in Russia.

Our house is sitting happily on the plot of land it was designed to inhabit.
We won't be living in it any time soon.
I don't really know why, but we can't seem to get anyone to work on it.
There have been some good things that have come of the delays.
We have a persistent leak that would have been a disaster if it hadn't been discovered until after insulation, sheet rock, paint and tile.

Since almost all of the bones of the house are complete, I thought it was a good time to document the skeleton.  I went through the house with a measuring stick and took pictures.
I tried to document every angle, capturing large expanses . . .

and small close-ups.

Who knows when this information will become useful, but once the wallboard it up, we won't be able to see what is behind it.  I certainly wouldn't want to decide to take out a wall or move a closet only to run into this!

I took 120 pictures and have them all labeled and filed.  I plan on printing them, too, so we have several viewing options.

The one thing that did happen last week was a high impact change.
We finally have a front door!!

From this,

To this.
I love it.

Speaking of things I love, I LOVE this baby.

I'm trying to wean him right now and it isn't going well at all.
It is 12:59 AM as I type these words and he is screaming bloody murder because I refuse to nurse him continuously through the night.
He took these pictures the other night.
Not just now.

He is absolutely not smiling right now.
He is cute, nonetheless.

*Update:  I gave in and he is watching Mr. Rogers.  
Whatever, just so long as he is happy--and not nursing. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

No Longer a Baby

This is one of my favorite sights as a mother.
I absolutely love catching an older reading to a younger.
The younger, in this case, is 19 months old.

He communicates very well and his constantly growing vocabulary is a delight!
He refuses a bottle and mostly refuses a sippy cup.
He sits at the table, still in a booster seat, but no longer eats off of his tray.
He LOVES Mr. Rogers, which pleases his mother greatly.

And then there is his hair....

His older brother insists that it is time for a haircut.  Insists.
I know that when you cut a baby's hair, they stop being a baby and turn into a child.
This makes my heart hurt and made me resist for a long time.
Last night, I finally gave in.

And, just like that, I no longer have a baby in the house.
Good thing I love toddlers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold, Cold, Cold . . . and Cleaning

We are in the middle of a frigid spell, the first really cold weather in our region this season.
I can't get my outdoor projects done and the house isn't ready for me to work indoors;
so I'm baking.
Few things taste as good when it is cold as a yummy homemade soup with bread, fresh from the oven.

There is one more thing, but you have to promise not to make fun of me.
You'll think I'm silly, but it is a big deal for me.

I've made a goal to keep a cleaner house and make my home a more inviting place.
It has been a struggle because I don't like the place, don't want to spend any money fixing it or making it flow for our family, and there is no such thing as everything in its place because there aren't places for a lot of our things. Our house makes everyone grumpy.

We began on a Saturday.
The kids and I put our shoulders to the wheel and got a giant portion of the house clean.  I took several bags to the thrift store and took a few loads to the dump.  (Granted, some of that was construction debris, but still.)

Months ago, I heard a friend of mine give a speech about her healthy weight loss last year--a thing with which she has struggled her whole life.  She said she went 1/4 of a mile on her treadmill and then buried her face in the couch, crying.  She couldn't even go 1/4 of a mile!  It was too hard!  But, in faith, she approached Heavenly Father and asked for help.
Her final statement was something to this effect:
Test the Lord.  
He has promised to help those who ask in faith.  
Try Him and see if He doesn't lift your burden so that you can carry it.

It worked for her; she now runs miles and miles.  I decided that I would indeed test the Lord.  On Saturday, I plead for help, outlined a plan, and got to work.
On Sunday I fasted and prayed for help in achieving my goal.

Then after the meeting, another good friend came up to me and said she had recently uncovered a tape set she'd bought years ago.  She wondered if I was interested in listening to it.  It is called:
The Industrious, Well Organized, Proverbs 31 Woman
By Sidney Launder

There is no question in my mind that these tapes entered my life because of the fasting and prayer.
Heavenly Father is helping me, step by step, room by room, dish by dish, keep my house cleaner and my home a refuge. (Thank you, Jen, for listening to a prompting and responding!)

12 days into November and my dishes are being done, my table has been washed, floor swept and carpet vacuumed.  Every day.
There is much work to do and they say it takes three weeks to develop a new habit, but we are all happier with this arrangement!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Please allow me to introduce you to your next favorite food:
Reese's Spread.

Reese's Spread on a banana.
Oh, my!

I spread mine straight onto a banana, but it was also good on apple and crackers.  
I can't wait to spread it on a few other things, but that is what I had available.

And the best part?

0 grams of fat!
You are welcome.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Siding Going Up

Looky what happened this week:

I cannot believe what a difference the siding is making.

Our GC paid the framer too much too soon, I fear, because he hasn't been back to finish up the front porch, install doors or fix the handful of problems uncovered by the framing inspection.  We almost lost the siders because they couldn't move forward until the doors were in.  Brett came through at the last minute.

A kitchen door!

The back and chimney are complete.
Looks so pretty!  Can't wait to see it painted.

 Now they are working on the dormer and the front of the house.  This part is making me giddy because it is where the tudor features show up.  

The arched front door isn't installed yet, but we are beginning to get a better cottage feel with the siding.
I met with a stone mason yesterday who gave me a bunch of tips on building my rock fireplace surround.  He and Brett (our contractor) both agreed that I need to build a rock arch around the front door.
We'll see. It would be cool, but the fireplace is a first priority!

First things first.  Paint.
We can almost begin painting the exterior!!

Just in time for the freezing weather.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

He is Home

At the bus stop.

Being the parent of a 15 year old boy is not the easiest job ever.  Sometimes I find myself holding my breath after delivering news or information that could elicit a negative response. His reaction could be humble and understanding, he could find it funny and respond with a sense of humor or I could get the dark cloud.  Some messages have to be given in such a way that he thinks that the desired action was his idea.  Others have to be given as a demand.  Still others have to be slipped into the conversation like it had been decided all along and there is no need or reason for dissension.

Even with all of the head games,
I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Why?
Because he is home.
With me.

It means I get to have intelligent conversations with someone who knows me pretty well.  It means we get to see him as soon as he leaves class and I get to hear all about it.  It means that if I'm still in bed when he gets up in the morning that he will come and cuddle with me.  It means that the other children have a fun big brother to invent new games--and he's big enough to carry them around.  Having him home means I can do my make-up in the car while he drives.  It means there is another big person in the house to help with adult sized chores.  It means I have someone who will tell me when my hair is aging me.  :)

One personality trait that I have battled since I was little is that I don't want to put anyone out.  Sometimes that means I overburden myself or don't require others to learn, serve or grow because I just do it myself.  Yesterday, I shared some of that struggle with my 15 year old boy.  He gave me permission to give someone an assignment and even showed me what a benefit that assignment would be to the other person.  What a blessing to have such a wise child in my midst.
And eventually he will no longer be 15