Monday, February 22, 2016

Eli - 4 years, 5 weeks; Ava - 2 years, 42 weeks; Mae - 17 weeks - Rolling Over!

BIG NEWS this week... Mae can roll over!!!!  But, as is typical, people in our little family do things a little differently.  Most babies roll over front to back around 4 months old and then back to front at 6 months old.  Mae started by going back to front.  Ya know... just doing things on our own terms here.

I tried and tried to get a video but I never could.  She did it once and then it was like she was too tired to pull it off again.  She got really close a second time though and I did get that on video.

"Check out my new trick, Mommy and Daddy!"

Just chillin having some tummy time.

"I've decided I'd rather eat my fingers than do more tricks now."

"Yep, I'm the boss and they can't make me perform."

The kids and I spent the end of the week just chilling around the house.  Brian had to make a surprise trip to Birmingham during the day Saturday so the kids and I just stayed home.  I did lots and lots of laundry, the kiddos played, and we all rested a little.  It was super nice to just have a day where we weren't running for a change.  I'm pretty sure the kids enjoyed it too because they got to spend some time being silly and relaxing.  It was a nice change of atmosphere for them I'm certain to see Mommy not stressing out.

Chillin on the couch with Mommy!

They (Eli and Ava) wanted a picture with Mae!

Then they wanted a funny one.

I asked them to give Mae kisses.  Mae is completely okay with them being all over her.  She even looks happy here.

Then Eli wanted to take a funny one alone.

And Ava had to follow suit as always.

And Ava had to try to help Mae be funny too!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eli - 4 years, 4 weeks; Ava - 2 years, 41 weeks; Mae - 16 weeks

It finally happened... We have a sick kid.  Mae was the first to succumb to the exhaustion and pushing for just one more day.  Fortunately, we managed to get all moved in.  On Monday, I kept her home from daycare with a fever and took her to the doctor.  Since she is so little they didn't want to treat her until they knew what to treat for so they ran some labs.  Tuesday afternoon, the labs came back that she had 2 viruses and 3 bacterial infections.  My little trooper had pushed through and hung on until we got moved.  So I guess I couldn't ask for much more.  We got an anti-biotic and are working her back to health.  We also tried switching her formula to one for spit-up since she's been having trouble keeping her food down.  It seems to have helped a great deal. 

After all the craziness and stress of moving, we all needed a little break.  For the Eli and Ava, that break came in the form of a day spent hanging out with Audrey and Brady at Aunt 'Tace's house.  Throughout the day I got these pictures of them having fun.

Aunt 'Tace has her hands full!
They spent some time in the floor watching movies.  Eli was cuddling his Brady.  He sure does love him! 

Later the girls helped bake a cake.  I bet there was flour everywhere!

Then on Sunday, we made a trip to Birmingham to visit Granny Grandma for her birthday.  It was quite an adventure.  We were trying to take a short-cut through Gardendale and then over to Roebuck and Brian had a pretty good idea of where he was trying to go.  Unfortunately, the road we needed to stay on was closed and the GPS just kept trying to get us back on the closed road.  We ended up driving around the north part of downtown Birmingham for about 10 minutes and that isn't one of the safer areas of town.  About that time, Mae woke up and started screaming for her next meal.  I fixed the bottle and was about to hold the bottle while she ate in her carseat when Eli grabbed it and said "I got it!" 

He's never done that before but before I knew it he and Ava were taking turns feeding Mae for me.  It was the best surprise I've had in a long time!

When we got to Granny Grandma's house she had a couple of little gifts that she had made for Mae.  They were this sweet little bonnet and sweater.   It's just too much preciousness for words!  The bonnet will look so sweet with her little Easter dress and I can't wait to see them together. 

That's all for now.  Another post coming soon to get me all caught up! 

Eli - 4 years, 3 weeks; Ava - 2 years, 40 weeks; Mae - 15 weeks - Moving is Hard Work

This week we're been in the process of moving.  Brian and I are tired, tired, tired but are forcing ourselves to keep going in spite of how we feel.  Ava and Mae are fighting off colds but since no one has run a huge fever or been violently puking, we are sending them on to daycare with the prayer that they can fight off whatever this is for another day.  Eli is the only one who hasn't acted sick, and (let's face it) it is probably only a matter of time before he catches whatever the girls have been fighting off.  We're taking the whole process one day at a time and pushing toward the finish line fortunately, it is in sight. 

We finished moving on Saturday a few days early and are now trying to settle into our new living arrangements.  I have already written a whole post on the moving process but since I didn't really get many pictures amongst all the packing and whatnot I'll share some more of our during and after pictures. 

One day this week while I was cooking supper and I thought Brian was holding Mae and watching the news in our bedroom I walked through and found this.  Yep, it pretty much captures how I feel right now. 

And once we finally had everything out Saturday, we started trying to get a picture.  Did you notice that Eli was flying?  Yeah, that's his latest thing and sometimes Ava joins him.  They hold their arms out and say "Flying my air plane." over and over.  Eli was way more into his air plane than taking pictures. 

"Flying my air plane. Flying my air plane."

Brian: "Eli, come here."
Eli: "But I'm flying my air plane."

This is what happens every time we try to get a family picture.  Mae needs to eat, Eli wants to fly, Ava won't stop picking at her face.  It's pretty much impossible to get one of everybody.  By the way, if you ever see me post a picture of multiple people in our family that is half-way decent, rest assured that I have photo-shopped the heck outta that thing.

That is all I have left in me for this week.  I'm gonna go fall out in the floor somewhere until I can convince my feet to hold me up again!

Our First Home - Before and After Photos

In honor of closing the chapter of our first home, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some before and after photos. 

We bought the house newly constructed.  They advertised landscaping and there was the start of some there but only across the front of the house.  Those baby plants look so puny in this picture compared to how full they are now.  And the grass was almost non-existent. 


We added flowerbeds surrounding the whole house including putting in some semi-automatic sprinkers (which you can't see).  

Looks pretty barren.
 Warmer and more inviting.  I planted the arborvitae within the last couple years and finally found some patio furniture for a reasonable price in the last year or two as well.  You can't see it in this picture but one of the first changes I made outside was to stain the stair rail and stairs.  Staining them a deep mahogany helped them to blend into the red brick much better.

I almost forgot about all the trees! It's really hard to see but we planted over 20 trees.  There were many many hours of hard digging to pull that off.  You don't just put your shovel in the ground and turn up fresh dirt, you have to use a maul and hack away at the soil like crazy.  It makes you really work to put something new in the ground.  Some of the trees lived; some didn't.  It was finally beginning to make a difference in the overall appearance of the place.  In another 10 years these trees will be fully mature and really looking fabulous. 


Now to move inside...

All the fixtures were builder grade when we bought the place and the whole house was painted a very yellowy crème color.  Every single room was painted, including the closets (except for the linen closet in the hallway which remains the original crème color.  We also removed the popcorn ceiling texture in the bedrooms and master bathroom.  I suspect the builders did that because it prevented them from having to do a good job on their sheet rock work, or it could be they has slightly dated tastes.  You can decide.

Can  you say brass dining room light??? YUCK!  I hate shiny brass fixtures.  Another super-early change was to replace that dining room light.  The one there when we bought the place looked terrible.  And why did they hang it so close to the ceiling?  I wanted to change out all the door hardware throughout the house as well but we only ended up changing the exterior door hardware. 

Dining Room Before
 One of the last changes we made was to replace the back door and add a storm door.  There was a little water damage to the kitchen floor from where the rain would pound against the back of the house.  The threshold was trashed as well, so we replaced the back door, repaired the sub-floor, and put in a new kitchen floor.  With a storm door there the new owners should not have any water damage problems.

Dining Room After
We only made a couple of changes in the kitchen, replacing the builder-grade faucet and adding a garbage disposal.  That, of course, was in addition to buying appliances and painting. But what a difference that paint made. 
Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

The master bedroom only needed some paint to make it pop.  Painting really helped the tray ceiling to show up.   We also replaced the ceiling fan when the original one stopped working.  
Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After
And then there was the living room.  Again, we changed out the exterior door hardware and painted.  This was still one of my favorite paint colors and Brian still hates it.  I've agreed not to use the paint color in our new house but I may use it as a starting point for what to choose. 

Living Room Before

Living Room After

The mirror and plates hung above the couch were placed too high.  I realized it after I hung them but I just never bothered to move them.  That is a mistake I won't make again.

Living Room Before

Living Room After

The master bathroom had a little extra work done thanks to a vent that stopped working and my trusty can of metallic spray paint.  We replaced the original light fixture instead of painting.  And since I hate brass fixtures, I pulled the light bar, towel rack, and even the toilet paper holder off the wall one day and sprayed them to a brushed nickel color.  This was another one of those things the builders did that I never quite understood.  The cabinet knobs and pulls were one color, the plumbing fixtures another color, and the lights and bath accessories a third color.  Why?  Me and my can of spray paint fixed that shiny brass right up!

Master Bath Before

Master Bath After

The kids' room was another simple fix.  Some paint on the walls, spray painting the brass light fixture, and it was good to go. 

Kids' Room Before

Kids' Room After

Our third bedroom that was used as an office space with a sofa bed for guests got basically the same treatment that the kids' room got.  Paint, spray painted light fixture, curtains, etc.  
Office Before

Office After
 The last room was the kids/guest bathroom.  Again we had the 3 color fixtures going on.  This time I painted the towel bar and light fixture a copper tone.  I don't know why I didn't just go with my standard nickel spray but I decided to do something different.  I must have been in a funky mood that day.  Again the vent/light fixture got replaced because the vent stopped working and a new one was needed.  And again, painting the walls made all the difference in the world.  Paint really is a cheap fix for many bad things. 
2nd Bath Before

2nd Bath After
I'm a little sad to see this house go.  We had some wonderful memories here and it's the only home our kids have ever known.  But in spite of that twinge of sadness, I'm excited for the possibility of building our new forever home and making new memories.  I can't wait for our children to have the opportunity to live on a farm and for us to get a few animals for them to see grow.  With three kids we really had outgrown the house and in a new home there will finally be room for all the kids' toys in a giant play room.  We'll also be right there on the farm so that the kids can see the otters playing in the pond (yep, we have otters).   And deer drinking from the creek.  I have to believe that we'll make some pretty magical new memories there and that no matter where we are it will be home because we will all be together.