Monday, November 10, 2014

The New Master

Oh've been waiting for this.  And I've been busy doing everything but writing.

Actually, I've really wanted to get the house finished and all pretty and THEN post pictures.  But I've finally come to the realization that THAT just wasn't going to happen.  So you get to see it as it actually is.

You know, everyone asks me how it is now that the addition is built.  And let me tell's life changing.  We have so much space now and everything gets to have a home.  I'm unpacking boxes from when we moved in!  The whole process is time consuming, but in a very good way.  This is the entrance to the rest of the house - there used to be a wall there.  I love that we carried the same flooring and color through.  It really makes it all look like it's supposed to be there.  Well, I think so.  ;)

The master bedroom is where the dogs live, mainly because it's the only room that has carpeting downstairs.  It's a shag and has a lot of different colors in it.  Which is good...because it hides the dirt...ha!

View from the bathroom.  The window looks out onto the deck.

Into the hallway.  That's her, "Mama, I need a snack" face.  

Tina's corner.  "Oh, you're doing a photo shoot?  I won't get up.  Don't worry."

Ok, that's one room down, about a million to go.  Thanks for being patient with me, dear friends!  And thanks for loving on us through the renovation!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Family photo shoot...shoot me now!

So I was looking at the family pictures on my wall the other day, crying about how little my babies used to be.

This was our first trip to church with floopy Elizabeth.
The Christmas before Caleb was born.
The beach after Caleb was born.
Last year's professional beach session.
And then it dawned on me that we haven't had any decent family shots taken this year.  Well, unless you count these bad boys...
Easter...glorious Easter!  (Caleb didn't care that He had risen...)

Before church one Sunday.  Two out of three cooperated.
So I found a fantastic deal and booked a local photographer that's done a good job for some friends of ours.  I picked out outfits - which is a painstaking process, when you have a two-year-old that prides himself in wearing super hero shirts every day - and just prayed that we would have no rain when the big day came up and that there would still be some leaves on the trees.

Oh and that we would get one decent shot for this year's Christmas cards.

So this weekend rolled around and, I kid you not, Caleb hit his head on something every day.  He has a goose egg on his forehead, one in between his eyes and some sort of rash breaking out on his cheek.  Awesome.  And I have had no fewer than three zits on my chin.  When was my last acne attack?  I couldn't tell you.  But today, I have three.

God bless Photoshop.

As luck would have it, we had a beautiful fall day today - it was 60 and sunny and the leaves were just gorgeous.  Caleb was crabby and whiny in the beginning, Rachel was crabby and whiny at the end and Elizabeth...well she posed through the whole thing.

Let me stop here and say that my oldest is pretty much unaware of social media.  So I have no idea where she got that she needs to put one hand on her hip and do a kissy face any time someone pulls out a camera.  But that's been the latest trend.  All.the.time.

And she kissy faced and posed her way through all our pictures.  In fact, I am just hopeful that we have ONE that she is simply smiling that I can send my grandmother.

And I started to steam until I remembered a certain photo shoot when yours truly was around seven.  My mom did an awesome job having pictures made.  She bought the packages at a local photo place and we went every six months or so and had group shots and individuals done.  Well, I remember vividly that Allison was young and Andrea was a baby, so I'm sure my mom was just thrilled to sit in a chair without small people mauling her.  And somewhere I got the idea to curl my upper lip into my teeth when I smiled.  

Oh Lord, please no.  My stomach still churns at the thought of it.

I did it through the whole thing.  All the pictures.  I thought my mom was going to kill me when she got them back and saw my goofy smile.  

And of course, that very thing popped in my head while Elizabeth blew kisses at the camera today.  (That was YOU.  SHE IS YOUR CHILD!)

Good gracious.  We get them back in three days.  Here's hoping to at least ONE good one.  One more than my mom got way back when. 

:)  Cheers friends!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Potty all the time

Good gracious, I really thought I had experienced most parenting obstacles...and then I started potty training a boy.

Really, he started training himself.  We had been going to the potty before baths and just sitting on it a little bit here and there until one day, Caleb decided he DID NOT want to wear diapers and WANTED to "doe in da pobby, mama."  

This was one week before preschool started, mind you.  *Sigh*  And so we began.

Now, I should have started him at the beginning of the summer.  That's what I said I was going to do.  That's what I aimed to do.  But people, I was so tired,  And just letting him wear diapers was so darn easy.  

But whatever, so we started.  

Now, I have to tell you - as much as I moan and groan, it has really been easier than what I expected.  I potty train by stripping them naked at home and then gradually adding clothes back on.  Little did I know that this would be the boy's wheel house and this whole no-clothes thing would be his new favorite past time.  So we had gotten well past the point of figuring out when we had to go and he still refused to put clothes back on.

I am still apologizing for the early anatomy lesson to most of my friends who brought their little girls to my house to play.  Oh don't mind Caleb being naked...sorry!  Sorry, Mr. electrician!  We're potty training...  So sorry Mr. UPS man about my son standing at the door, smashed up against the glass...naked...

I swear, I should have made a yard sign.  

Him running out behind me to get Elizabeth from the bus...naked as a jay bird and the bus driver just laughing and waving.  I really do have a million of these.

The solution to my little pint-sized David?  Super hero underpants.  Once he saw those bad boys, he was over being naked.  And ran around in just his underwear for a while - which I'm not really sure was any better.

Besides the streaking, the hardest thing for me to get over was the cleanliness issue of boys and bathrooms.  And I hear this will not improve.  I've heard it from lots of people.  Thanks a lot for building me up, people. 

However, I was not prepared to live in a Clorox commercial 24/7.  

Like the time he came downstairs to tell me that he pee-peed in the potty...carrying the potty with him.  (Slosh, slosh, slosh)

Or when he called for me from the stairs that he had poo-poo'd.  And he was sitting (yes naked) on the stairs.  

(My poor stairs...)

But the story to top it all off came when Scott was out of town for a weekend.  I was in full survival mode and was just trying to keep the house from falling over.  Caleb was still naked most of the time and all three kids were just pills from the adjustment of school starting.  Well there was this leaf in the hallway that I had assumed the dogs brought in and I kept stepping over it and walking around it.  

Until one time, I accidentally stepped on it.  And it wasn't a leaf.  

It was a little squashed poopie. 


Happy weekend, sweet friends!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Making Do on a Monday Afternoon

I'm doing Beth Moore's Revelation study with a group of wonderful women and she has challenged us to pray for God to reveal Himself to us in our everyday lives.  This simple prayer has literally exploded my world, making even the smallest and simplest things wonderful.  

Take this afternoon, for instance.

I needed to go to the grocery store.  

I told Scott that very thing last night as I surveyed the contents of the fridge and planned on possibly sneaking in a trip after my morning Bible study.  However, life had different plans.  Life being my children.

Caleb woke up seven shades of crabby after a long weekend of interrupted naps and Rachel was ready to go home and relax after I picked them up from the childcare.  As I called Scott on my way home, I told him I would just skip the store and figure out dinner from what we had.  We would "make do."

My crew had a lazy afternoon dozing and playing and watching cartoons and I got my chores and most of my to-do list done. (Except for the bathrooms...why do I always put those off??)  As I started to prepare dinner, they climbed up to the island and ate snacks as they watched me chop and dump ingredients into my green, cast iron soup pot.  

It suddenly dawned on me what a change our family had been through in the past five years and what a difference "making do with what we had" meant now.  In my pot began the most fragrant soup.  Homemade stock, onion, garlic, chopped leftover bacon, italian sausage and grilled chicken...chopped mushrooms and a bunch of kale I needed to either use or lose...  Can't you smell it?  Oh, it is filling up my house with love and yumminess as I type this.

It wasn't too long ago that "making do" would have involved a can of tuna, a package of Ramen noodles and a can of diced pineapple.  (Duh, you make a mock tuna noodle and have pineapple for dessert...HA!)  

I am bowled over with God's provisions.  Healthy kids, a hard-working and loving husband, a home to care for, the skill of cooking that I very honestly haven't always had...I am so thankful for these things today.  

This is how God reveals Himself to me.  Almost as if to say, "Hey...consider this...pretty cool right?"

Thank you for letting me share.  I've missed writing so much and am going to try my best to get back into a routine - even if just to write little snip-its here and there.  I hope you are "making do" today!

Take care, dear friends!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Trim and Paint!

It's officially 10:15 p.m. and I just found my camera cord so I can download these pics of what's going on in the addition.  These are the lives of crazy people... :)

So much is happening every day, it's hard for me to keep up and get in there to take pictures before it gets dark.  But I grabbed these today and I'll try to get more before the weekend for inquiring minds that want to know. 

First, we lost the big, noisy old air conditioner and gained this lovely hole in the side of the house.  We gained a new pretty one on the other side of the addition (I forgot to take a picture).   The new brick is going in here tomorrow.  Scott and I have sat on the deck the past two nights and have just loved the quiet of not having it right there.

Entrance with walls and trim and concrete board on the floor.

Office.  I still can't get over how much light these sun tubes put out.  

Here's where the entrance will be into the house, leaving the brick exposed from the fireplace.  I think it'll look pretty neat.  They're supposed to cut this either tomorrow or Friday.  Then, they will have a full time helper in Caleb. 

This is how they painted the doors (this is the bedroom).  I thought it was so neat!  Hopefully, these will be done and hung back up tomorrow.

They started on the color in the bedroom.  It's a sea it?

Cement in the shower stall.

And that's it so far!  Please keep the prayers coming!  I'm off to bed.  ;)  Goodnight, my friends!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

House Update - we have a building!

I realized it had been a while, but didn't grasp the complete magnitude of not updating the blog until last night.  I got a text from my dear friend Julie saying, "Don't get alarmed at the car idling outside your fence...I just want to see what the addition looks like."  Needless to say, we ran out and offered her the tour by flashlight but today, I'll give you one in the daylight.

Also tomorrow (fingers crossed), they begin on the drywall - so this will give you a little before idea. 

One aspect of the addition is a new office and I am really excited about it.  Especially since I'm writing this with a two year old jumping from the bed to my lap, screaming at the computer, "Mama!  Yook, walls!  Walls!"  (That's what he calls the building project.)  I'm hoping the space will give me a place back on the ground floor to write and get caught up. 

We came straight out the back and added a covered porch.  This puppy already gets used almost every day and night and they haven't even installed the ceiling fans yet.  Not long after we started, we found out the  air conditioner was on it's last legs, so this unit will gone and a new one will be put on the other side of the house.  Scott's already taken out the bird feeder and I'm hoping to move that hydrangea today.

View from the side.  I can't wait to hang ferns.  We used to have them on our front porch in South Carolina and I miss having the shade to be able to put them out.  This angle gets the very early morning sun.
We really didn't lose that much space in the back yard.  Scott removed the apple tree earlier in the Spring so this should look really nice after it's graded and reseeded. 

Door from the porch to the mud room.  I asked for one with a window so we'd have more light.

The laundry room / mudroom.  I'll have to post a picture of our current laundry space so you can understand the full magnitude of my excitement.  This will be tiled and will also house the dog food and water.

French doors will lead straight into the office.  We're going to carry the wood floors from the house into the hallway and the office.  It has two sun tubes and a cigar fan and will have a full closet devoted to storage (glorious storage!!).  I guess you could call this Scott's man cave if he didn't have to share it with me (which he's been very gracious about).  We're looking forward to having a home for all the sports memorabilia and books we've been carting around for years.

This is the door into our master bedroom.  This will be carpeted and will have a ceiling fan.  I can't live without ceiling I a weirdo?   Or maybe I'm just Southern?

The master bath is kind of hard to picture without walls but to the left is a standing shower (the sun tube is in the shower) and the toilet is just to the left of the door.  To the right is a double vanity.  So it's not huge, but will be just what we need.  And that will be tiled. 

Beyond the bathroom?  That's the closet.

I'll give you a moment of silence on that one.

It spans the entire addition and is honestly mind-blowing.  My thoughts on organizing the thing will warrant it's own separate post.  

Double windows looking out to the porch from the master bedroom.  Window blinds are pretty high on my list. Because right beyond the fence is where the kids get the school bus...ahem.

This is the view off the you can imagine the air conditioning unit gone.

And so there's your update!  They say the drywall will take a couple days and then they will do the air.  After it's temperature controlled, they're going to cut the hole into the main house, which should offer it's own fun set of challenges. 

Until our South Carolina house sells, we're going to be pretty limited on what we can purchase as far as furniture, but first on the list is a new mattress and box springs.  Any advice on doing that?  We've honestly never gone mattress shopping before and don't know where to start amidst all the sleep numbers and Tempur-pedic and memory foam.  So if you have any horror or success stories, shoot them at me.  

Hope you have an awesome weekend!  Much love, my friends.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Failed Inspections and Personal Victories

I remember reading a devotional that FCA put out by John Wooden years ago and he was talking about dealing with the passing of his wife.  The two had been still very much in love after a long marriage and it had been hard on him when she died.  I remember him quoting James 1:2-3 (I love James...he's my favorite):  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  And he talked about how he had to make himself go through life (even after her death) and continue to "count it all joy."

I was coaching at the time and the thought stuck with count it all joy.  All the turmoil and bumps and bruises along the way.  

Well, it's funny how God reminds you of things before you really need them because we just finished Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued in our women's Bible study (which is FANTASTIC, if you're looking for a good book) and she talked about thoughts to help you take on situations with more grace.  The statement that stuck with me was something like If this is the worst thing that happens today, then it will still be a pretty good day.  

Again, I was reminded of the Wooden lesson and smiled at the similarities and preceded to dive head first into a home renovation.  

Which you know.

What you don't know?  Today, we failed the foundation inspection.

I know...but first let me back up.

Monday, we had tornado and flood warnings.  Wanna know what showed up at our house?  

The wood.  For our addition.  (And here, I get into My Cousin Vinny mode...if you look trew dat dirty screen, past all dos leaves and over da fence, what do you see?)

The guy attempted two trips into the back yard before the mud was too deep for him to get through.  (Cue the major divots in our yard.  Right beside the attractive dumpster.  There's a porta potty on the other side of the dumpster too...our neighbors love us.)

So he unloaded the rest in the front yard.  The boy was thrilled.

On Tuesday, I took a picture of the wood stacked out front.  Underneath the gutter.

More wood. Can you see the broken pieces?

So Tuesday, another guy came out and put this plate on the top of the block wall and we felt that we were ready for inspection.

Except we weren't.

Today, the inspector came out and several things were wrong.  We couldn't frame tomorrow, like we had hoped.  The foundation needed to be fixed.  The wood would have to stay in the yard.

Oh my, I had myself quite the pity party.

And then I remembered.  And so I said to myself, "If this is the worst thing that happens today, then it's still a pretty good day."

And it was.  The contractors addressed a major issue today by waterproofing the foundation.

And then the block company will come back out to repair the rest tomorrow.  The remainder of today?  It was gorgeous.  The weather was perfect.  I made dinner and my children had moments of sanity.  My husband came home a little early from work, our SC house that's for sale had a scheduled viewing, and I got to talk to some good friends on the phone.

It wasn't until I was doing dishes tonight that I thought, "I could have been so bent out of shape over the failed inspection that I would have missed the rest of the good of today.  Oh, thank you Lord for that silly sentence that can turn my brain around so quickly."

Oh, and the fact that the inspector was making sure that our foundation was of quality work for our new addition.  Yes, that really was a good thing know, if you're counting it all joy.  ;)

Have a great night, my friends.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Block is Down!

One week into the renovation and it's starting to look like something...
In the end, it's going to be about 800 square feet, plus a new covered deck.  This wall will be our closet and it will run the length of the wall.  Seriously...I'm going to be in storage heaven.
If my kids could get in that space, they would try jumping from block stump to block stump, guaranteed.  Before they added the block, there was just the foundation cement laid and I had just about had my fill of inside togetherness so I let the kids go outside and play.  Literally, they ran around the cement like it was a track, singing Katy Perry's "Roar" at the top of their lungs.  

No, I didn't get a video.

Yes, I regret it.  
To the left of Rachel there is a huge dirt pile and they love climbing it.  In their church dresses, obviously.
Why no, we don't have steps to the backyard yet.  *Twitch*  Luckily, the dogs have been really good about going in the front yard or walking around the gate to go in the back.  I will still never take the steps for granted again.
And you wouldn't believe how many people have asked how they got the cement mixer in our yard.  Well, if you can see, the fence is now junked from being taken apart at just about every point.  They're going to fix it in the end and grade the yard and put down seed, thankfully.  

And that bad boy also missed my pitching mat.  (Double thankfully.)

They're calling for rain and storms here for the next few days so I don't think we'll see anyone until the middle of the week.  It also makes me thankful that we don't have anything up that could be damaged.  

Stay safe, my friends!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cement Day

And, on day three, we got cement.

I walked into the kitchen after doing my Wednesday scavenge-of-toys-I-can-get-rid-of-while-the-girls-are-in-pre-school to see a cement truck staring into my back window.  As in, parked in the back yard.  Our fenced-in back yard.  Yikes!!

So I ran upstairs to get a picture.  (Excuse the screen.)

And then I peeked in Caleb's room to see if he was up from his nap.

He wasn't.

P.S.  I swear he grows every day.
P.P.S.  Spiderman is under the blanket.
P.P.P.S.  He wakes up quickly to a loud cough.

We rushed downstairs to watch the truck fill the holes with cement and my boy was enthralled.  When it was time to go pick up the girls, he called out the sweetest, "Bye big truck!" I've ever heard. Lucky for us, it was still there, getting hosed down when we got back and we got to go check it out up close and personal.

So now the holes are filled and there may or may not be a path of dog prints through one...

...I'm just saying.  I've been letting them in the backyard to do their business from the side gate and they haven't gone near the holes, so I really thought they'd be fine.  As I started on some dishes, I looked out the kitchen window to see Butch running around with front cement paws.  So I ran to the back to hose him off.  (Lord help me if they had hardened...what would you even do then??)  I tried walking over to see the damage, but in the process stepped in dog poop and, when I looked up, caught a glimpse of my baby in the middle of the street on his big wheel with no shoes on. 

Oh yes, mother of the year today.  I think the line of the day came from Elizabeth at dinner.  "Hey!  Sandwiches for lunch AND dinner?!  Yay!  Thanks mom!"

Nothing will say please forgive me for letting my dog in the yard like fresh baked cookies tomorrow, right?!  It's worth a shot...

More to come!  Thanks for reading, sweet friends!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter and Home Construction


If you've hung out with Caleb for even a little while, you would know that this is one of his favorite expressions.  

"Whoa!  Big truck!"
"Whoa!  Tractor!!"
"Whoa!  (Unintelligible whatever)!!!"

But this would be a very "Whoa!  It's been a while."

It suddenly dawned on me today, as I was battling ants in my kitchen, that I needed to make a better effort to record the events in my kids' lives.  I hate ants.  And I hate the craziness that keeps me away from writing and I hate that I've missed recording so much here in the past couple months.  Because Lord knows, I've done just a bang up job on their baby books...

But any-who.....I'll catch you up eventually.

Easter was awesome here.  Mom came down and visited and really created some great memories for the kids.  Caleb even gave her a name, which was kind of like "Eh-ma" and sounded like Elmo.  At first I couldn't figure out why the sudden Elmo obsession, until I realized that every time he called it, she answered.  And that just made my heart smile. I remember when I was pregnant with Elizabeth and she was really concerned with what her name would be.  Like what they would call her.  So far, it's been Grandma, but Caleb is so behind on his language, that he really hasn't called her anything.  Therefore, the Eh-ma was especially sweet.

Saturday was our big celebration because she had to go home on Sunday so she and the kids made a bunny cake (which is a tradition my aunt has amazingly done for years) and then she hid 100 Easter eggs in the back yard.  Each egg had a puzzle piece in it and the kids then came inside and did the puzzle with Grandma.  

And yes, the spatula STAYED in the boy's mouth
Mom videoed the whole egg hunt for my grandparents to watch later.  It took Caleb a little bit to catch on.
I don't know if you had beautiful weather this weekend, but for us, it was gorgeous.
Did I mention they tore the back off our house??  No??  Oh, that will come with the catching up part. 



So it took a while to get the puzzle together because, as seen in this picture, Caleb was on top of the table and had knocked a good half of them underneath.  I liked this tradition way more than candy, because they were all straight crazy people after eating the goodies from their school egg hunt. 

We went to church Saturday night and then had to say goodbye to Mom on Sunday.

Of course, I worked in bunny ears.  And no, the boy would not put his on.  Not that we tried...hard...

This is my "please don't leave, Mom...I'm so tired.  Can't you see that I'm tired?!" face.  She used to cry a little when she left.  Now she burns rubber and waves out the window.  ;)
Speaking of crying a little bit, this was last year.

Why yes, that is the same cardigan.  Don't judge me people.  It's very springy.  And just look at Caleb.  He was so drooly.

Here is was tonight, pointing out the holes in the ground.

OH, YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE HOLES?!  Fine, stop yelling.

Well, of course, I forgot to take a before picture.  So this was last summer and you can see that we have plants and siding and a deck.

This was after today.  They are laying the footers for an 800 square foot addition, that will have our new master suite, laundry room and office.

And new deck. Those are the holes for the base of the deck.  The real rub?  See them stairs over yonder?  That was what was allowing the dogs access to the yard.  

Yes, exactly.

So now I have to take the dogs AND my little children out front to walk and go the bathroom.  Tonight, we went for a stroll after dinner, both dog leashes in one hand, the handle of the wagon containing Rachel and Caleb in the other, and Elizabeth following behind on her scooter.  It was really fine until Elizabeth tried to take a hill too fast and bit it on the way down, skinning a knee.  So then I had a howling 5-year-old bringing up the rear.  It was awesome, really.  I hope my neighbors aren't fans of youtube.

Didn't you miss us??  :)  Much love, my friends.