Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lauren!!! (emotional and sappy Mommy post to follow later)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grant - Eleven Months Old!!
There isn't much of this sitting still w/the giraffe business going on these days. This boy is ON.THE.MOVE! His knees are calloused from the miles he's traveled at warp speed. He's crawling, pulling up to a stand, moving along furniture, bouncing, jumping almost (crazy, I know!), dancing back-and-forth and just plain BUSY! As proof, here's what the rest of the 11-month home photo shoot looked like:

He babbles a lot these days - although nothing really identifying. I guess Ma-Ma and Da-Da sometimes - but mostly just baby babble. He has finally taken to the "So Big!" game I've been pushing for....and it is super cute! (video coming soon) He also has gotten a bit mischievous in his old-age. He points his finger - shakes it up and down (a la "no-no") and then smiles and then BOOKS IT to a naughty. Maybe it is the stairs, maybe the lamp or the outlet....but he KNOWS what he's doing. I guess I should be glad he's giving me the courtesy of a warning first. ha.
He has more hair now - but it is still so blonde you don't notice it unless you are up close. He almost always eats table food now - because the teeth count is at SIX! (i think...sheesh - they are popping in so fast it is hard to keep track!)
He is still a crappy least compared to my snooze-hound Lauren. He is staying asleep through the night (at least we aren't getting up with him...he DOES wake...but goes back to sleep in 5-10 min.).
He isn't showing any interest in walking. He'd rather get down and ZOOOOOM!
He's an amazing baby. Happy almost ALWAYS. Two moods really - happy and naughty. I can deal with that. I love my little man - can hardly believe he's going to be ONE in just a month from today. Soon the bottles will be history. Soon the formula will be gone. Soon no more exersaucer. Soon he'll be facing forward in his car seat. Oy.....too much to think about. I think I'll just enjoy my 11-month-old BABY boy in the now.
Til next time...
The Mom of 'Em

Monday, August 25, 2008

The big 13th b-day party...

Saturday night Bailey invited 14 friends - both boys and girls (yes, we ARE awesome parents, aren't we?) to her 13th b-day party. They arrived one-by-one at 6:00 p.m. Saturday night. With each new face to show up at the door, Lauren became more and more ecstatic. She LOVES to be included in the big-kid fun. The kids hung out at our house until 6:30. During that half-hour I heard lots of laughing, screaming, guitar-playing and general chatter. It was a wonderful sound....of teen excitement and happiness. Here is what it looked like just inside our front door during that first half-hour. I love this picture and hope our home can always be a place where Bailey and her friends can "hang out."
We then loaded everyone into two mini-vans and headed HERE where we were able to score the special spot designated for youth groups. Extra nice stone fire pit with benches surrounding it....lots of grass and trees. A beautiful spot! Mark & Bailey had gone out earlier in the day to set up a volleyball net and a canopy tent, so the kids immediately started playing volleyball (after circling in text messaging circles that is - ha). Anyway - Mark & I began unpacking all of the snacks, drinks, etc. and realized that I forgot the giant pack of hot dogs I had bought at Costco earlier in the day. AAAGH! Home is at least 20 min. away, so I drove about 10 miles back to civilization to buy more hot dogs.

When I returned the kids began roasting...and purposefully charring hot dogs. They listened to music, they made S'mores, they laughed and talked, played flashlight tag and had a really good time.
I'm so happy everyone had a good time - including Bailey. For a couple hours anyway - we were cool parents. I'm going to hang on to that memory in the coming years...I'm sure I'll need it. =-)

* A HUGE thanks to Grandma & Grandpa (again). Without their help this would NOT have happened. Grandma watched the little ones and Grandpa was INSTRUMENTAL in helping find this campgrounds for us. THANK YOU!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, Bailey! (Well...yesterday anyway). Bailey turned 13...a TEENAGER! Surely I am NOT old enough to have a teenager! (sigh). The day started with special b-day pancakes (special part = I made them). We let her open a couple gifts. This from Grant and this from Lauren. Then off to school she went.

Mark took the afternoon off, so we busied ourselved buying a new fridge (compressor on our 5 1/2 yr old fridge went ka-put), viewing our MAYBE...big MAYBE new home (more on this later...) and then picking Bailey up from school.

We took her here for a pretend Mark errand. While there she and her guitar-lovin' Dad picked guitars off the wall and played...fantasized about expensive Taylor guitars, etc. Little did Bailey know that SURPRISE! This beautiful (yet reasonable) guitar.....YOURS! Happy 13th Birthday, BAiley!!! I wanted her 13th b-day to be marked by something special. I considered a necklace....a concert....but THIS....this was perfect. (much prettier in person, too). She loves playing guitar and I know she'll play her whole why not get her first guitar (first one that is truly HERS) for her 13th?
Then we headed home to celebrate with Grandma & Grandpa. We ordered THIS pizza (yummmm) and had b-day cake! A great time.
Although 13 and the months leading up to it have been challenging....NEW challenges not seen before in the pre-teen is still an amazing time. I can survive the eyerolls because I am also seeing the amazing young adult she is turning into. Her talents and gifts are more pronounced...her compassion in friendships....her academic skills blossoming...her beauty both in and out breathtaking.....her overall evolution as a person more evident. All of this is so exciting to see...even if that means the occasional parenting struggles.

When I held her in my arms the first time...August 21, 1995 at 8:45 p.m.....I didn't think it was possible to love her more. I was wrong. Each day...each year...she fills me with more and more love. I'm so proud of her - and so proud to have the amazing gift and responsibility of being her Mom.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So yesterday I let Lauren pick a few flowers from my "garden." She looked so darn cute holding the brown-eyed susans that I thought I'd teach her the 'ole "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" routine. I took a short video of her - just listen to how she took this game and totally took control of it....SHE'LL decide, thank you very much....not some stupid BOY!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oooh! Oooh! How could I forget? Remember just a few posts ago when I mentioned that Grant had four teeth now? Well, after reading THIS I remembered to tell you! I looked in Grant's mouth yesterday and SIX TEETH! No wonder that kid has been miserable! Teeth are shooting through like popcorn popping!
2 days and 5 minutes until the Realtor comes. AAAGH! So much left to do! My parents have been absolutely wonderful and helpful watching the kids so I can work/clean....but I don't want them to have to do that EVERY day...and I don't want them to feel like they ALWAYS watch the kids. So, today I'm cleaning with the kids here (you can only imagine how that goes - ha).

Yesterday Bailey was a tremendous help. After the first 30 minutes of cleaning the attitude MOSTLY left and we actually worked well together. (are pigs flying?) We cleaned the carpeting, cleaned the garage (all almost 1,000 sq. ft of it!), washed bathroom walls (seriously - how DO walls get dirty? And no - not because of the man and toddler in the house....just funky dirt on the walls. Hairspray? dust? who knows. Let's see - what else. We "staged" the front room and the basement rooms, we did a couple loads of laundry, we emptied/filled the dishwasher, we boxed up toys for the garage and a ton of other things, including a little Olympics watching. How about that U.S.A.?! So much more fun to have a well-recognized athlete from our area, too. Hoping Shawn Johnson wins the all-around. Now THAT would be cool. I digress.

Today I'm removing "haze" from the tile Mark put up in the bathroom. He did a really great job. It isn't a professional job - but it looks nice and WAY nicer than it used to. Tonight we are sealing the tile and then caulking. Also on the list today is getting Bailey's birthday invites addressed and insert maps printed, cleaning up my bedroom, changing everyone's sheets, boxing up more stuff and more laundry. Oh...and still haven't spackled that spot by the shower - need to do that.

And then there is the daily maintenance stuff like changing diapers, preparing/cleaning up meals, emptying/filling dishwasher, etc.

Tired yet? I am. To bed at 2 a.m. last morning...and up before 6. SUCKS! I know it'll only get worse before it gets better, but the thought of just being in a new home where we will STAY PUT....OUR HOME...not getting ready for it to be someone else's home will feel soooooo good!

Monday, August 11, 2008

August = CHAOS!

August is always a hard month. You have to deal with the fact that summer is drawing to a close. The evidence is in the back-to-school preparations, the two August birthdays I have to plan and the flower beds looking a little less than prime. This year we add to that a bathroom tiling project (thank you, Mark!!), other home improvement projects, calling a realtor (yep! I DID IT! We'll be meeting with her later this week hopefully), a million trips to storage and Goodwill and a 10-month old with horrible teething issues. Shwew - August = CHAOS!

Today I'll be working on the carpeting, dining room chair seat covers, thinning out closets, cleaning bathrooms (can't wait) and general room pick-up plus laundry.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Spoiled by Grandma & Grandpa all afternoon/evening long, Lauren takes a break at the "Diet Coke House." Think she enjoyed the individual attention? Just look at that face.
Viva La FEMA!!! Wow. We applied for FEMA assistance on Tuesday. The inspector arrived this morning and by afternoon we were APPROVED for approximately the amount we spent to fix the basement after the "Floods of '08." Now, we lost carpet - but didn't replace it. We lost furniture that we didn't replace too. So we didn't actually break EVEN...but we will be able to cover the expenses we incurred re-drywalling, painting, trimming, etc. Can you believe the process was that speedy? I'm still in shock. My expectations were low re: FEMA....but they came through - so only fair to share the positive experience with all of you.

I am praying that those really devastated by the floods are able to get back to normal with FEMA assistance as well.

And you know...this would all be a non-issue if insurance policies covered you when you needed them...don't ya think?
In the spirit of the greatest STATE FAIR on earth, check out this sinful recipe! It is both fried...and you COULD say on a stick. (toothpicks, anyway). So wrong...yet oh-so-good. If we don't make it to the Fair this year (hope to go some evening - but pretty costly when you aren't riding the shuttle (who can w/a double stroller, three kids and a diaper bag, purse and camera bag?!)...then I'm for sure making this one night, corn dogs another night and a big-fat tenderloin another night. It won't be the same....but it'll be cheaper with the same artery-hardening effect.
The FEMA inspector was here this morning. We should know in 3-5 days if/what we are getting from the government for the damages/repairs in the basement thanks to the "Floods of '08." I know so many had DEVASTATION compared to our inconvenient, yet costly damages....but we ARE tax payers and we DO pay for a homeowner's insurance policy that basically told us thanks for your donation all of these years, but now that you actually need our dice.

The process was painless and fast. We were told that the government classifies rooms as essential and non-essential. Since our living space downstairs is not our ONLY living space in the house, that's gonna be non-essential. Bailey's bedroom = essential. That doesn't mean you don't get anything for non-essential rooms...but....

Who knows how this will work out - but we are dealing with the my expectation is low. We'll see!

Taking the kids to Grandma & Grandpa's this afternoon for their nap so Mark & I can work on that darn bathroom. I want that project DONE!

Sorry no time today. Thanks for readin' anyway!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Monday I took the girls to the dentist. This was Lauren's first cleaning, so we talked about it quite a bit before-hand so she'd know what to expect. Their appointment was at 3 p.m., so I had to wake her up a little early from her nap to get there on time. I brushed her teeth, combed her hair and then set off to pack the diaper bag for Grant. Finally we were ready to roll. When I turned around to gather the kids, there was Lauren with a mouth full of DORITOS!! I didn't have time to brush her teeth - AGAIN, so off we went - two-year-old w/Dorito breath. (sigh).

I explained to Lauren on the way that if she was a really big girl and listened to the dentist that when she was done he'd let her pick a "prize" from their basket of prizes! This excited her!!

She & Bailey went back at the same time. When they were finished, out comes Lauren with the prize she picked out. The prize in a basket FULL of cheap trinkets to choose from.....THIS was her choice:

How totally Lauren is that?! Bailey told me later that these glasses were not her first choice....that first she asked for her candy prize. (eye roll) No cavities for either girl - shwew.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

After performing...and I DO mean performing a little number of "Itsy Bitsy Spider," Lauren took a bow and proclaimed "Rubo! Rubo!" (ummmm...I think you mean Bravo! Bravo?"

Also out of Lauren's mouth this weekend - "I hear the crickets (pause) cricket-ing!"

Don't ya just love toddler-talk?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Detaching A Tub Spout 101...or...How to NOT hunt down the previous owners of this home and beat them silly with a pipe wrench. (Don't worry - wouldn't do that...but thinking about it seriously at this moment).

Ugh - we are into week whatever of home repairs so we can get this house on the market! Up today is the blasted tub/shower in the main bath. Under the crappy glue-up shower walls (exhibit A), there was what appeared to be rotten/wet drywall. Whether this was a poor caulk job or a plumbing issue or what we wouldn't know until we took down that shower wall and looked.

Well...first you have to unhook the shower head, drain thingy and tub spout so you can get the wall off. I learned a little lesson in detaching a tub spout HERE. Apparently there is the type that requires an allen wrench and then there is the type where the whole spout screws on to the pipe. We had the latter. So we followed the INSTRUCTIONS , which said it would just screw off. WRONG. In fact, after following instructions to a T, it snapped the copper pipe completely OFF! Why? You might ask? Because...take a look are looking INSIDE the tub spout from where it would hook on to the wall/pipe.

Ok - now see way in there? See that white crap all around at the top of the picture? Kind of looks like caulk? Well, it is NOT is apparently some sort of cement/super-glue crap that they put on the threads and then quickly screwed on the tub spout....the tub spout that would ONLY come off of the wall by unscrewing it from the pipe....but of course that couldn't happen now....because it had been permanently affixed to the pipe! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

Next we tried to pry off the wall boards - thinking we could get them off in one piece and reuse them. Wah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! As-if! These cheap (and dare I say deceptive) people LOVED them some GLUE! So crack - there goes that idea. Now we have a plumbing project AND have to replace all of the boards lining the tub/shower area.

Now - back to our original problem....the wet drywall (or what we THOUGHT was drywall) by the base of the tub...behind the shower board. Well....turns out there is about a 2-3 inch gap between the drywall, which is partially covered with something called DuRock (a water-resistant and mold-resistant material probably not recommended for behind a shower wall). This gap was filled in NOT with actual drywall...but "mud" - which I believe is a a drywall compound or heavy-duty spackle-like material. So the fact that it was wet and crumbling away was probably more an issue of the material used and not that it was getting wet. Here's the gap I'm talking about (just above where the tub ends and the "wall" begins:
So now we are researching what to use there - GREEN BOARD I would imagine? Still researching options. Anyway - you can be sure we will be doing the RIGHT thing...even though the right thing is a pain in the tookus. Why? Because we want the next owners of this home to be assured that THIS owner did things the right way...even though we know we'll be leaving. If you find something half-a** around wasn't us...and we just hadn't found it yet or we would have fixed it.
Man, blogging is therapeutic! I'm just steaming mad desire to hit anyone with a pipe wrench! Shwew. But stay-tuned...things could change.
Why "date night" is a total bust - check THIS out! Thank God my parents live here and are willing to watch the kids whenever we need to get away, spend time without interruptions fixing the #!%&* bath/shower in the main bath upstairs, etc. Thanks Grandma & Grandpa!!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Check out this Family Travel blog! I know my state rocks...I know it is much, MUCH more than corn fields and pigs...but I have to admit.....I didn't realize it had so many cool things for families to do! If Jessica (who wrote the post) says these places are cool....I believe her!
Gotta find me one of these!