Thursday, June 22, 2017

Oliver is two

Oliver celebrated his second birthday nearly two weeks ago now, so I thought I'd get his little birthday letter up. Maybe this letter will inspire me to get Emerson's fourth birthday letter up [since you know, he turned for in January!]. But today is all about Oliver . . .


Today you are two years old! It's a little crazy to think it has been a whole two years since you came into this world, where has the time gone? But at the same time, it seems like you have been with us for so much longer. It's amazing how time works like that.

You are a blessing and a joy and I love spending my days with you. It seems as though just recently your little personality has just popped. You've always shown us who you are, but in the last month or so you're a whole new little boy. Maybe it's due to the fact that you are growing into more of a little boy than you are a baby, or being in a new house in a new place is good for you, or you're feeling better all of the time these days. Whatever it may be, I love it!

Your favorite things include: snacks [all the live long day], watching shows - especially Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, and Curious George, being outside, coloring [crayons/paint/chalk... doesn't matter], reading books, playing with toys - especially farm animals and Paw Patrol pups, your blankie and paci [you drag that thing around all day every day and hate parting with it, your paci is mostly just in bed now. mostly . . . we're working on it . . . ], cuddling with mama, looking out the window, spotting turkeys or bunnies in our yard, and stickers.

Right now you are a boy of very few words. Your limited vocabulary includes: Ma [how you say mama], Da Da, ba ba [bubble], pa-pa [for Paw Patrol], Daa Daa [for Daniel Tiger], eesh [please], Rubble [again, you're pretty smitten with that Paw Patrol ;], baba [balloon], don [done], and those are the main ones in rotation right now. When you see a picture of Peppa Pig you snort to let me know that's what you want - the book, picture, box, or show if we happen to have the DVD at home. You said "breakfast" the other morning when I told you breakfast was ready, when opening one of your birthday presents you said, "a present!" You have said a few other words and phrases here and there, but these ones are pretty much all your words right now. No one else would understand you, but you say: "here I am!" and "there he is!" - we play peek a boo a lot. I pray for your words to start flowing from your lips and I know that they will, soon, and then I will be trying to remember what the days were like before you talked non-stop ;) For having such a limited vocabulary though, you sure know how to get your point across and let us know what you want [most of the time - especially when you aren't bucked in your seat at the table]. You will either walk to where/what you want and get it yourself, point to it if you can't reach it so I can get it for you, or you take me by my hand and walk me to where/what you want and then put my hand right on it or point and "uh uh" if you can't reach it. When we are playing you do the same, if I'm playing with something the wrong way or playing with the wrong toy, you'll take my hand and put it on the thing you want me to have. You have a few signs up your sleeve: more, please, sorry, bird, drink, food, airplane, all done, and help. Your face is so expressive and you use your hands to gesture a lot too, like raising them in the air for "where" or clasping them together to pray, or covering your eyes to play peek-a-boo.

You love one on one play or reading books. You pour over and study the pictures. Animals are your favorite to look at, especially farm animals, and you'll choose most any animal book you see. Lift the flap books are one of your favorites, and you love to play "where is _____ ?" when we read together. Doreen Cronin's books are your absolute favorite, I can't even tell you how many times we've read "Dooby Dooby Moo" or her others. When we play you love to put a toy in my hand and move it how you want it to go and die laughing when I make the toys interact with each other. Even though you prefer playing with me, or sometimes Emerson [though right now you two still haven't mastered the playing together nicely most of the time skill], you are really good at independent play. I've caught you stilling in your bedroom playing with your horses or pups or cars or building towers. You take your horses for gallops around your room by crawling around on the floor, a horse in each hand. You love to play, I love to watch you play. Emerson never played like you do and has only to play like that recently, but you play and it's the sweetest.

Outside is one of  your favorite places to be, but when you're ready to come inside, you're ready to come inside. We've even been at the park before and you've walked over to the car because you're done playing and ready to cool down, have a snack, and a drink. You love bubbles and drawing with chalk [or drawing in general ;] and would do that all day if you could. We were gifted with a bubble machine in May and a certain little boy broke it [ahem... ] so you got a replacement as one of your birthday gifts, it broke just shy of you having it for a week [ahem ...]. I'm really tempted to get you another one, a more durable looking one, but they take tons of batteries and if you break it that's $10 gone so for now we're sticking with bubbles wands, which you love just as much. It's all good.

Since your days as a brand new babe, you've been a pretty good sleeper and I just pray that continues! Right now you go down to bed between 7 and 7:30 and I usually don't get you up until 8 in the morning. You usually wake up before then, but play quietly in your bed. I'm not sure when it started, but now there are a few toys and books in your bed and you play and read before you fall asleep and once you wake up. I'm not sure what your sleep will look like once you're not in your crib any more - but hopefully that day won't come too soon.

You are one picky eater and it drives me bonkers! I never know what to feed you. I give you what I fix for dinner or lunch, but a lot of the time you end up eating plain bread and applesauce. Though you like Mexican rice and jambalaya so, I don't even know. I'm trying to figure out at what point you get what you get and that's it. The few times I've done that you've just marched into the pantry and helped yourself to the box of Cheerios, so yeah. Help! Also, please just eat what I fix, it would make my life so much easier. You love to snack and it seems as though you snack all the live long day [maybe that's why you don't eat well at meals?]. But if I don't give you snacks you get mad and then you still don't eat your meal. I just don't know. [This is where I welcome all of the feeding toddlers tips and tricks and advice. For the real.] For breakfast every morning you eat a big bowl of steel cut oats. They must be steel cut with brown sugar. Any other way and it's not going to fly. haha.

because at GeGe's house you can eat your oatmeal however you want . . .

For the most part you like your big brother, but your relationship is special. Sometimes you love him and he cracks you up and you play sweetly together, but more often than not you're hollering because he's making you angry or taking your toy or something. I just pray that you'll be the best of friends when you get a little bigger.

Things you don't like include going grocery shopping or to any store for that matter. Our shopping trips are always very loud and wild adventures and we get the attention of everyone in the store thanks to you and your brother. Bath time is iffy for you - you mostly hate them and scream in protest [have you ever tried to bathe a screaming toddler? It's not fun] for the most part you hate them, but the last week or so you've been happy to take one and have even played in the water. Let's hope that continues. You hate having your diaper changed - there are more important things you have to do, you know. And not getting what you want makes you so angry. Oh man. But in general, you are a very happy and chill little guy.

We're having to wait to take you in for your two year well check because of new job/changing insurance reasons, and I hate that so I don't know your stats or anything like that. But we went to the doctor for other reasons about a month before your birthday and you were about 21 pounds, your height I'm not sure about. I suppose I could measure you myself, but I just haven't. haha. You are healthy and growing though so we are thankful for that. You've had another rough year health wise, in and out of the doctor more than I care for, but you have been in good health since our move and I'm praying it continues. Maybe you were just allergic to Illinois or our house there? Hopefully Kansas is good to you health wise.

Speaking of moving... You moved! We moved about one month before your birthday from Champaign, Illinois to a Little Town in Kansas. We had a crazy few weeks before the move and of course the week of the move was nuts too, but you did really well. Adjusting was a bit hard at first, though I think that was mostly because I was busy unpacking and your GeGe and Poppy tried to keep you entertained - you just missed me and our usually daily happenings. You love having a bedroom of your own now and you love running around our new home. Hopefully it's the last time we move.

Oliver, you are such a blessing and a joy. I love your sweet little personality so much and am just so very thankful for you. I want to remember everything about you at this age and sometimes wish you didn't have to grow up - but you do and I know that will be good too. My prayer for you is that you will love Jesus and seek after him all of your days, that you are a God-fearing man, and that you are filled with generosity, wisdom, and courage. I love you so much.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

coffee date

Let's pretend for a minute or more that we're having coffee together, because who doesn't like a good little coffee date? I think today I'd pick an iced coffee, I hear there's a new coconut drink at Starbucks, so that might be my pick. Anyhow, if we were having coffee today I'd probably tell you . . . 

I think Emerson is trying to kill me. The boy does.not.listen. He doesn't listen. No amounts of time-out, spankings, taking his favorite toy or book away, or reward stick charts work. Nothing. I mean, the kid laughs when I spank him. He laughs. He plays when he's in time-out and says that he doesn't want a sticker. Oh my goodness. We manage though the days, but come nap and night time it's a whole other story. Then it's just me trying not to curse or hurt him. It's not healthy. He thinks it's great fun to get out of his bed and leave his room - over and over and over again. I can't even tell you how many times I've put him back in bed. Sheesh. This morning when I got out of the bathroom, he was in our bedroom! Landon didn't even know it and as soon as I opened the door, Emerson saw me and bolted for his room. Only to emerge a few minutes later. I love him, but he makes me crazy. Four is not better than three. What do I do?!?! 

Finding a balance and routine is hard. I'm trying to keep up with everything that needs to be done, but it seems like now more than ever before there is so much to do. The laundry [more of it - how?!], ironing which I now have to do because Landon has a real job and no time for ironing his own clothes, meals, cleaning, spending quality time with the boys, sorting out bills and insurance that seem never ending, assembling furniture, making returns to various stores, getting the boys to bed at a decent hour, blogging - something I love to do and enjoy - is something I can't do as much because there are all these other things piling up. And Landon is working all the time so everything falls on me. It's hard. 

Our backyard makes me happy. We have a really nice shaded area and Oliver got some fun outdoor toys for his birthday so we don't even have to go to the park for fun play time. The boys love playing outside and I love the wind and the shade so we can without feeling gross after two minutes of being outside. Also, I saw a deer the other night in our yard, so there's that. 

I have anxiety problems. I'm afraid someone will break in when Landon is away traveling. I'm afraid something will happen to the boys if I go away [like if I were to agree to go away for a night or weekend or even a dinner date]. Even if the boys would be with loved and trusted people. I worry something would happen me if I were to leave them. Not that I have opportunity to leave them, but Landon's mentioned it several times and I just can't. I get all worried and anxious. He laughs and tells me it'll all be fine, and I know it will be. But that doesn't change or take away my anxiety. 

Oliver turned two on Saturday. I've been working on a little two year post for him for about a week now. My biggest hold up is the pictures. Apparently the storage on my computer is full [again] and I have to clear some space off so I can upload new pictures. But I have such a hard time deleting copious amounts of pictures from my computer even if they are backed up else where. 

My computer is pretty great, except the fact that it has no storage. I mean, I just deleted tons of pictures and other stuff and haven't added very much to it at all since doing so, and it's already full. It's just frustrating. The computer still works for the most part so I don't really need a new one. It would just be really nice to have one with a lot more storage than my current one has. Is that a good enough reason to justify getting a new laptop? Please say yes :) 

The longer I sit and stare at our bare walls and such, the more I know what I want to go on them - now it's just a matter of finding those things. There's also this bookshelf that I no longer need to use for all of my books and it has become our catch all place and it's driving me bonkers. We're waiting for one final piece of furniture to arrive and when it does I'll be able to move a lot of the catch all stuff to the other piece and it won't look nearly as cluttered and it will actually be organized and have purpose in it's new home. But in the mean time the clutter is making me crazy. 

Have you ever tried eMeals? I've looked at it before and have always loved the idea of it. Someone else planning my meals? And a grocery list and recipes are included? Sign me up! But some of us in this house are picky eaters [not to mention names] and from the sample menus I've seen it doesn't look like it would work for our family. But oh my goodness, I just want to sign up, and cook that meal for dinner and not have to think about it. And if someone doesn't like it, tough beans baby. But of course I can't do that. How do I make my picky eaters not picky anymore?! Help me. 

Thanks for a coffee date and letting me spill my guts to you. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

home decor inspiration

So we have this house, the unpacking is done. The settling in is happening. The living is being done on the daily. We are loving our new home and are already making life happen in a few days we even get to celebrate our first birthday in our new home! I can't wait - but actually I can because I really feel like Oliver's second birthday has snuck up on me and how in the world is he going to be two on Saturday?! Also, nothing is really ready for his birthday and I'm really tempted to go the easy route this year and order him a cake. Which of course I can't bring myself to do because I've never done that before so I feel like he'd be gipped and also he can't have dairy which all store bought cakes have. So there's that. I'll get my grocery shopping game on tomorrow and grab the necessities for his special day and then I'll get working ;)

Anyhow, as I said, we are settling in and enjoying our new home. But there is one thing that is still missing and that is the actual decor part. The walls are bare and there are no sweet little decor items out and about to help bring warmth and personality to our home. I have an idea for what I'm wanting but it's so hard to find it and then of course I think I'm just scared to take the plunge, buy the things and hang them up. Where do you even begin? It doesn't help that I'm used to having bare walls and little decor since our last house was exactly that way, but I have an itch to decorate these walls and make it pretty in here. All advice is welcome :)

In my thinking and looking at what I'm wanting done I've found a few bits of inspiration so I thought I'd share them here.

I couldn't resist the fall decor at Hobby Lobby any longer.:

My gallery wall in our kitchen. I'm @colewifey on IG . Come follow me and see how I continue to decorate our new home:

Rustic Glam Gallery Wall by Ellery Designs:

We crashed a friends house and built her a wide plank wall for under $100 and got it done in a few hours! Here's the tutorial and video to create your own!:

Lots of fun ideas and thoughts are floating round my head right now. Hopefully I'll be able to pull them off and make them look just as I hope! :) What tips or tricks do you have when it comes to decorating your house? 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

five randoms

For today there are just a few randoms I have the itch to share, so here goes . . .

an unrelated picture because every post need a picture, am I right? ;) 
also, I love this little nugget! 

one. Aldi
I hate shopping at Aldi. There. I said it. Sure, I know they're prices are impossible to beat and that you save a bunch of money when you shop there, but I still hate shopping there. Before we moved to Kansas I primarily shopped there and at another discount grocery store in town, and I just hated them both. Landon's parents knew this and teased Landon about letting me shop at a "real" grocery store once we moved and he had a real job again, to which Landon agreed. But even still, he talks about how much cheaper Aldi is [it is] and how we should shop there - and how he will shop there after his crazy schedule ends. Ugh. I don't mind grocery shopping, I just don't want to do it there. Does that make me a bad person? All I want is to go to one store and get everything I need for the week, which I can't do at Aldi. sheesh. He's got a lot on his plate and doesn't have the time to get groceries, and it's something I kind of like - if I can go to an actual grocery store and the boy are behaving ;)

two. dinner time
Landon has been working crazy hours lately and this has resulted in him getting home later, that's all fine and good and I understand that. The part about it that I'm not crazy about - fixing two dinners. One for the boys at dinner time, and one for him when he gets home. If you have an idea for ways that I only have to fix one dinner a day, please share them; I'm all ears. It doesn't help that the little ones are somewhat finicky eaters, as is Landon, so fixing a casserole or throwing some stuff in the crockpot isn't really an easy fix for me. And then, there come the issue, do I eat with the boys or do I wait for Landon to come home and eat dinner with him when it's much later? Oh the decisions . . .

three. June 
It's June, you guys! How on earth is it already June?! In just a few short days Oliver will be celebrating his second birthday! How is this possible?! It's really snuck up on me and now I'm over here trying to figure out what kind of theme to have for his birthday and figure out what to do for his cake. He has a few loves in his life, and I'm just trying to figure out which way to go with it. I'm also trying to figure out what to get him for his birthday, I have some ideas, but am trying to narrow it down. He loves to be outside, so I'm thinking outdoor toys would be a good choice. But what ones? We have a sandbox and that's about it. I'd love to get a playset for him [and Emerson] but they are apparently too labor intensive and the hubs just doesn't have time for that right now. sigh. So other fun ideas?

four. routine
Even though the boys and I spent our days at home before the move, our days seem different here and I'm still trying to figure out how to fill them while adding routine to them. I know it will come with time and I'm not too worried about it, it's just something floating around my mind these days, much like the other things I've been sharing.

five. decorating 
Our boxes are unpacked and we are settling into our new home. The only thing left to do is to really decorate our home. Something I feel like I have never really been able to do before. I'm excited to find pieces for our home and hang things on the walls to add warmth. I'm sure it will take time, but man I'm just so ready to just go buy the things I like and hang them up! Then I feel like really settled. In the mean time, I'm enjoying thinking about what will go where and how I'll make it look. The few pieces I do have, I've realized my taste has changed and few things I do have don't really fit any more, I'm just not sure what to do with them any more. Just more fun to be had figuring it all out I suppose. :)

Anyhow. That's all I've got for today. Have a happy weekend, friends!

Monday, May 29, 2017

welcome home

Goodness gracious, it's been too long, am I right? But oh, the things that have been happening in our lives have kept us so very busy for longer than I realized. Thankfully things are calming down a bit more these days and life is resuming a somewhat more "normal" rhythm to it.

Today marks two weeks of living in Kansas. Two weeks! It's hard to believe that it's that long, but at the same time it kind of feels like a lot longer than that too. Makes sense? The first week went by in a flash and a blur and didn't feel very real since we were still very much unsettled, were busy unpacking, Landon's parents were here, and Landon was gone for most of that week. So in a big way, it only feels like life is just now really getting started here. The house is coming together a little more with every passing day and we just have one box left to unpack and that's in a room that is used the very least. I'm hoping by the end of this week I'll have that room completely finished, but I have to put some hard work in and get painting a piece of furniture before I can call that room finished.

The last month in particular has crazy busy and very unusual for us. I hate it for the boys, Oliver, in particular, because I really think it's thrown them off. The first week of May I was busy trying to get all of the last minute things packed before we went to visit family in Kentucky for about a week. During our stay in Kentucky, Landon went off to a conference in Arizona and the boys and I got lots of quality time with family. We picked Landon up from a nearby airport and then the four of us drove back to Illinois to finish getting the house packed.

You would think that my working packing things up for the past two months would leave us very little to do during our last two days in Champaign, but unfortunately I still had more to get done than I wanted to. We spent the next two days visiting with Emerson's best friend, going on last walks around the neighborhood, playing at our favorite park, cleaning out the fridge, and of course, packing all of the things. My hope had been that when the movers arrived on Sunday morning everything would be packed in a box. But that wasn't the case. We still had a few things more than I would have liked, but in the end I supposed it was just two big boxes that everything got thrown into. It wasn't that bad, just not what I had planned. The movers couldn't complain, they had plenty to work with while I finished the two boxes.

Sunday morning was busy, the movers arrived right on time, and oh, how thankful I was to have movers! There were four guys and they loaded our boxes in recored time - a mere two and a half hours! I was amazed. Unfortunately for them, only one was able to come unload in Kansas and had to pick up a temp for extra help. Two guys unloading takes a lot longer. But they still got it done before the end of the day then we waved him off with loads of thanks and a bag of snacks. We used Movers 4 Less and they were amazing. I would highly recommend them to anyone. They came and loaded the truck like experts, everything fit into their truck just perfectly. Then they took of for Kansas to unload in our new house the following day. There was no wait, there was no surprise price increase, they were incredible.

Once the movers were on their way, we stayed at the house just a little bit longer to get things cleaned up before heading out. The boys started to get antsy and it was nearing nap time, so I took them to Subway for lunch and we enjoyed a meal out while Landon stayed to finish cleaning the house. It was Mother's Day that Sunday, and I'll forever remember the busyness of it, and taking the boys to eat Subway, just the three of us. We rarely go out to eat and when we do it's all four of us, so it was a special treat. I didn't get any pictures, but there's one marked in my mind pretty well that I will always love. It didn't take too long to finish lunch, so we ordered Landon some food and took it back to the house for him, took one last look around, and then the boys and I headed for Kansas.

Landon left a while later and eventually caught up to us and we went the rest of the way together, stopping for a picnic dinner when it was apparent food was needed. The boys did amazing on the drive, they were mostly entertained by shows, movies, and snacks. I don't care - whatever makes them happy in the car, I will do. When we finally made it to the hotel in Kansas that night it was around 11:30, I had packed extremely lightly for us all so getting in the room was not a problem. I had packed the pack n play for Oliver, though in the end [as I had kind of thought might happen] we didn't even end up using it. Emerson had a "sleep oder" with Landon in one bed and Oliver ended up sleeping with me in the other bed. Though the sleep part of that night didn't happen until around 2:30 that morning. So that was fun.

A few hours later, Landon left for the walk through of the house while the boys and I stayed behind at the hotel to eat breakfast and clean up the room. We all went to closing at 8:30 with lots of snacks and suckers in tow. I'm not above bribery ;) Closing hardly took an hour and we were owners of our new house! On the way home - which is still kind of crazy to say - we stopped at the store to pick up some cleaning supplies.

I did a little quick cleaning and then the furniture guys arrived with our new furniture. As they pulled out of the house, the movers arrived, and it was a busy afternoon getting boxes and belongings where they needed to go. Oliver napped the entire time the movers were here, and Emerson yelled to get out of his room for about two hours before falling asleep on the floor right by his door. They were tired.

It was a whirl wind, but we made it and were so happy to be home.

I'll share more on what we've done since then over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

things I won't miss

We are in the depths of packing and getting ready for our move right now. And when I say "we" I really mean, "I" - Landon is busy busy busy working away to complete his dissertation [!!!!] which leaves me and the boys to get all the other stuff done. So in the mornings and late afternoons the boys and I play and read books and I try to sneak in the occasional play date or little adventure. Play dates have been a little sparse as it seems all of our friends have just had babies added to their families which is wonderful, it just means a time out on the play dates. But, since I know we have such a limited amount of time left here, I have basically forced play dates on all of our friends, some more than others ;) haha.

When the boys nap [or some days just have a quiet time for Emerson] in the afternoons, I get busy and pack all of the things. I've also been using nap time to call and look into all of the furniture, utilities, insurance, and other important things that must be set up/arranged when it comes to moving. Goodness sakes, it seems never ending.

In the midst of my packing efforts and last errands that are having to be run before we move, I've been thinking on things that I'll miss or not miss about our house and town and wanted to take the time to go through a list of both. Today, is a list of things that I will not miss about this place. And some other thoughts in general.

Things I won't miss about Illinois: 

- the fact that we have to drive through the ghetto to get to our house. For real though.

- all of the jaywalkers. all of the time. especially at night. especially the ones who wear black. which is is basically all of them.

- this town in general. It's just so "meh."

- the lack of community.

- our house and it's lack of space.

- not having a bedroom for Oliver.

- living in a two story house.

- the unsettled feel our lives have had the past few years.

- our kitchen.

 - - - - - -

As we're less than a week away from our big move, I've been thinking a lot about our lives the past few years here and while there have been many many sweet spots, I also feel like these years have very much been desert years for me. The other day I was telling someone we were moving to Kansas and she looked at me, her eyes filled with sympathy, and reassured me that God will provide, it will all be okay. I know! He has provided! I am so happy to be moving to Kansas! It's not a bad thing! was all I could think. Being here has been hard. We moved here, away from having a rich community of friends and family that wasn't too far away. And while I'm used to not being near family, not having good friends and that sense of community was hard. Recently one of my friends shared thoughts on community at her church and passed it along to me; as I was listening to her talk about the importance of community my heart hurt for something I knew all too well and missed so very much. We were created for community and to not have it is so lonely. Then a few days later we passed through Louisville and stopped to spend the evening with the sweetest of friends and that time spent with them made my heart overflow. I was refreshed and renewed and was so very thankful for even a few hours with them. Community is so valuable and something I have missed so much.

There aren't many other people I know with husbands working on their PhD while raising a family. I know they're out there, I just don't know them. It's hard. Because even if Landon does have flexibly in his schedule, when he's home, he's not home. He's working on his research and papers and networking. When he's home I feel like I can't just say, "Hey, can you help me with the boys/dinner/cleaning up....?" And if I ever want at break from the day in and day out, it has to be during nap time or after the boys are in bed - and that's not a break, it's just leaving the house when I don't have to chase the boys around anyway. I'm not complaining. I'm just sharing my heart. These past three and a half years have been some of the very hardest for me and at the end of most days I just want to burst from exhaustion. I love my boys and I love my life, but goodness sakes, it seems like more often than not I'm alone in all of this and that is a hard thing indeed.

I know that moving to Kansas isn't going to fix that. I know that it's not going to be instantly better. I know the next few years will be hard ones too as Landon will have to work a lot as he starts his new position. But I do have hope. I have hope that I'm leaving my desert behind me and am moving onto something better. To a place where we find community again, where we can actually spend quality time as a family, as a couple, where I can maybe get a real break every now and then, where I can have a little more help with things.

Hope is carrying me through. Oh, how thankful I am for that hope.


Monday, April 3, 2017

little gifts [977 - 1000] - one thousand -

Hello and Happy Monday to you! Hopefully you all were able to enjoy your weekend and do a few little fun things and get some good rest in there too.

It's been a minute since I've shared some of the little gifts in my life and I've missed it. While I still see the little gifts, it's different when I take the time to write them down. So here we go, on to sharing a few little gifts . . .

977. non-chipped or peeling finger nails

978. fresh from the dryer socks hugging my toes

979. two little boys, playing contently side by side

980. music playing through the house

981. Peppa Pig that allows me to fix meals in peace - for 10 minutes at least

982. a report from the Nursery that Oliver smiled for them

983. getting Oliver into the specialist ASAP

984. friends bringing boxes to the house

985. being kicked out of the house with the boys for showings and inspections

986. crock pot meals

987. unexpected outings with the family

988. the hubby bringing a cupcake home for me at the end of a long day

989.  stacking books high in boxes

990. boxes packed and labeled, piling higher and higher

991. boys eating their dinners and not crying or screaming for something else

992. Spring colors

993. gray rainy days

994. little friends playing the morning away

995. bath time with two happy boys and no tears

996. celebrating new babies and their mamas

997. friendship with the girl and her little ones who live five minutes away

998. listening to Oliver "reading" "Dooby Dooby Moo"

999. being led around the house by a tiny hand pulling me by my finger this way and that

1000.  - gifts that have blessed me deeper than I can say - one thousand of them in all

One thousand gifts. Some of the very best little gifts I've been given. It feels like a milestone to be here, counting one thousand little gifts in my life. It feels like I've done something great. Counting these little gifts makes my heart thankful so many ways. Even though I've counted up to one thousand, I feel like I'm just getting started.

What are some of the little gifts in your life?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

house hunting

I'm just going to pick up right where I left off as best I can ;)

The other day I mentioned we went to Kansas for a little trip last month. Landon had some meetings and we needed to look at houses anyway, so we decided to knock them both out at the same time. On Wednesday, once Landon was finished with his meetings and his parents were set up in the hotel rooms with the boys for nap time [because his parents came to help with the boys. bless them], we walked over to our realtor's office, which was just a block down the road from the hotel and our afternoon of house hunting began.

We were working with a husband and wife realtor team and that afternoon we met with the husband, Jim, he was the one I'd been talking with and emailing back and for about a month prior. Before meeting him I had looked at hundreds of houses online, and after picking out some "maybes" Landon looked with me and we talked about which houses we liked, loved, and were just a plain "no." The week before our trip to Kansas I emailed Jim a list with our favorite houses as well as houses we liked and wanted to see. In total, there were about a dozen houses to look at. My only request was to look at all of the houses on the list and look at them in proximity to the others so as to make quick work of the showings as possible. We were only going to be in town for a few days so we needed to be efficient with our time. After going over some paperwork in Jim's office we headed out to look at the houses we had only seen pictures of!

It's one thing to see pictures online of a house, it's another thing completely to walk through the house and get a feel for it. We were able to see about half of the houses that first afternoon and had picked out a few favorites to hold onto for the next day. In some houses we stayed longer than others, but in every house I tried to picture us there as a family and see our daily lives. My Bible study leader had told me when they bought their house it just, "felt like home," and I was kind of going off of what she said. Did this house feel like home? Could it be our forever home? Because my prayer is that the house we pick there, is the one we grow old in. Though we shall see, I suppose. It was a full afternoon of looking at houses and we had a favorite picked out by the end of it! That night Landon had another meeting, so the boys and I ate dinner with his parents and then went back to the hotel to get the boys in bed.

The following morning we met with Leslie, the wife of the team. Our day started bright and early after we had a little breakfast with the boys and then gave kisses good-bye. It was so good to know they were being well taken care of and loved while we were out and about. There happened to be a discovery museum right across the street from our hotel, and Jim had gotten passes for the boys and the grandparents to go see it. With their day planned, we headed off to start looking at more houses. Leslie showed us around town some more and of course took us to see the rest of the houses. There were so many good choices! We kept saying to each other how we didn't know how we were going to decide which house to pick! I was kind of really hoping that one house would just really pop and that would be it. But really, there were a lot of good choices and we felt that a number of them could have been home. So I really started praying about which house would be home. And the more we looked, the more we kept refining our top three list and the more we kept coming back to one house from the night before.

After looking at all of the houses on our list, we asked to go back to what I'll call the brown house, just to see it one more time. As we were looking around again, we just knew that was home. So we made plans with Leslie to break for lunch, go back to the hotel, and then once the boys were up from their nap, go back to the house to let the boys and Landon's parents see it. We got to the brown house a few minutes before Leslie that evening, so we were able to walk around outside for a little bit and meet one of the neighbors who happened to be outside with her twin nearly two year old boys. As it turns out, we have a lot in common - and that's just from chatting for a few minutes. Meeting her gave me hope and even more excitement for the brown house.

The brown house is a ranch style house, with a finished basement [because tornados], with a flat drive [because basketball], on nearly an acre of land -the majority of which is wooded, at the end of a cul-de-sac, towards the end of a neighborhood. It was everything we were only hoping to have in a home. Everything about the brown house was perfect. We absolutely loved the house.

So we decided the brown house was the one. There were two other top contenders, we always tried to keep just three favorites in the running, but the location and lot is what really made us fall in love with this house. This is the house I can see us growing old in, that I can picture the boys bringing their friends home to, celebrating their graduations in, coming home to with their brides, bringing their babies over to play, a house that could be our forever home, that Lord willing, we never have to move from. Gosh, that's a lot for a house to say. But it's the truth.

The brown house felt like home. 

And oh, how I can't wait to make our home in it. While I've never been homeless, I have been rootless, I've moved once every few years since before I can even remember. To settle down and stay in one home for always is my dream. If the Lord will allow it, I would love to always be at home in this house. 

While I'm enjoying our days here and now, making the most of them and trying to fill them with fun things for the boys, I am very much looking forward to moving and settling into our new home. Shoot, Oliver will get to sleep in a bedroom and not the laundry room, what's not to be excited about?! The next few months are going to be unusually crazy and busy, but I think they will be oh so good.

The rest of the story isn't as exciting, we put an offer in, there were a few counters [so nerve wracking!] but in the end, we got the brown house and are so very excited to make it home in just a few very short months!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

a look back at February [part 1]

Hello friends! It has been too long. I didn't realize just how long until a friend pointed it out to me this morning. Anyhow, we have been keeping busy this past month or so and after thinking about it, I decided it was full of things I would really like to remember. Since that's the point of this blog I figured I should share about our little happenings before they're too long gone and forgotten. So, here we go, a little life lately post to give a short update. 

This winter has been so blah. It's been super mild for the most part, which I suppose is nice for most, but I like snow when it's cold and we haven't had much of it at all this year. So it was a nice little surprise when we had a decent snow fall in the beginning of February. I bundled the boys up after nap time and we headed outside for some play time. It may have only lasted ten minutes or less, but it was fun just the same. 

We also made a trip to Kansas. Landon had some meetings he had to attend, and since we knew we'd have to go out there in a month or so anyhow to look at houses, we decided it made the most sense for all of us to go when he had his meetings and just look at houses then. So I spent the week before our travels packing and organizing things to get ready, because it does take a week for me to get us all ready for a long trip like that.

The first two days of our trip we stopped in a town not too far from where we were headed for Landon to attend some meetings. It just so happens, that the little town was the very same one I have my first memories from and some family friends still live there. So while Landon was at meetings all day, I took the boys to a farm I used to play at all the time when I was their age. I hadn't been there in about 12 years, and a lot has changed and developed in the area. It was a fun way to spend the morning and I'm so thankful it worked out for me to see old family friends. We moved from that home when I was about four and apparently I clung to my mom's friend's leg crying to stay with her and not let me go with my family. I guess I didn't want to move? That was the very lady we spent the morning with and it was so nice.  The boys were able to play with toys run around and we didn't feel trapped in a hotel room which was wonderful.

Before we met up with my friend, I needed to grab something at the grocery store and the boys were delighted to find amazing car shopping carts. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bulky to steer around the store as I anticipated. It's the little things ;)

Right around nap time we had to take Landon to another meeting, the boys had slept poorly the night before and I knew they were tired so thankfully they fell asleep in the car while taking him to his meeting. After we dropped him off I just drop the boys around town for a while, looking at this and that. I even stopped by my old house. I wasn't born in Kansas, but it's where I have my very first memories, and this little house was the first one I remember. I sent a picture to my older brother and sister and we had a nice little text chat about how much they loved that house and Kansas and for some reason that was just really special to me. I'm glad I was able to find our house and send them a little memory. 

It just so happened to be Valentine's Day while we were there, so we celebrated in style, eating a picnic lunch in the hotel lobby to save some money. haha. I wouldn't have it any other way though. The boys got a little gift of stickers and coloring books and sunglasses. Big stuff I tell ya.

On Wednesday morning Landon had some meetings scheduled, but thankfully he had been able to reschedule them for the afternoon before because holy goodness sakes. Tuesday night was horrible. Emerson fell asleep after about an hour of whining, Oliver fell asleep after about two hours of fussing and crying. Then two hours later Oliver work up - not to sleep again. He wouldn't sleep in his bed, he wouldn't sleep in our bed, he wouldn't sleep in the chair with me. The boy would not sleep. After about two hours of me trying to get him to go back to sleep I woke Landon up to give it a try. He took turns with me for about an hour and Oliver still would not sleep. So at about three in the morning he called the hotel we were supposed to check in at later that afternoon and asked if we could have a very early check in. They agreed to it, and I have never packed our stuff so fast as I did that night. By the time Landon came back with the luggage cart, our bags were all packed we were ready to go. Thankfully the boys fell right to sleep in the car while we drove the hour to our next and final stop. We checked into the hotel around 5 that morning, in the hotel room we were exhausted but of course the boys were wide awake. Thank goodness for PBS and their sweet little shows. Oliver cuddled and watched/dozed while we lay on the beds to rest for a little while before having breakfast and Emerson was happy to watch the shows too. 

Landon had arranged for a few meetings on Wednesday morning in town, so after eating breakfast and getting ready for the day, the boys and I took Landon to yet another meeting and then we drove around town a little bit and stopped in at two preschools to check them out for Emerson in the Fall. I really just wanted to see the facility and meet the directors of the programs and was happy to be able to do that. I was hoping to visit one more preschool, but we ran out of time that morning, because we had to go meet Landon's parents who graciously agreed to come meet us in Kansas and watch the boys while we looked at houses. And oh, how very thankful were we for them doing that. We could have looked at houses with the boys... but oh my goodness, it would have been one hot mess. SO thankful for his parents coming to entertain the boys while we looked around. 

And I think I'll stop there for today. I have more to share about our trip and about house hunting, but that will need a post all of its own.

Happy Thursday to you all!

Monday, January 30, 2017

little gifts [962 - 976]

Hello and Happy Monday, friends! I hope your weekend was filled with all the good and nice things. Mine was pretty good. Anyhow, I thought I'd start this week with some little gifts . . .

962. snowflakes falling silently

963. balloons floating round the house

964. blue skies

965. watching Emerson give a dog a treat

966. tiny hands and arms reached out in excitement

967. blankets and beanbags

968. cleaning out the basement

969. grocery shopping all alone

970. visits from family

971. Emerson picking out a toy and using his birthday money to get it

972. a tiny tiny climbing into my lap to read

973. building tower after tower

974. baskets of laundry waiting to be folded - and put away

975. finding amazing surprise deals at the store

976. a new day

I'm so thankful for all of these little things, how about you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

these are the days

The other night I was fixing dinner [or lunch or maybe I was cleaning up from one of those meals?] and as I looked out into the living room to check on the boys I was overwhelmed with what an absolutely sweet moment it was. The sky was grey and overcast, the wind was howling outside. But inside? Two lamps were lit in the living room, two little boys were playing and reading books, and there was probably a show on in the background. We were warm and cozy and safe. Nobody needed me, they were content in their own little worlds and I was able to get some food ready or cleaned up, which ever it was.

Two minutes later the littlest came toddling into the kitchen, wanting me to hold him, to read with him, and play kitchen with him. A minute later the oldest hollered that he needed something and well, after that our house wasn't as quiet and peaceful. And even though the minutes that followed that peaceful moment were not as calm and were a little more hectic, they were still moments I had with my boys.

Some days the time just seems to tick tock on forever and a day. Some days seem to never end. Some minutes seem to be the longest minutes ever. But they're not. They are fleeting. In the morning when I wake the next day, the boys are one day older - as am I - they are doing some new trick or telling some new joke. They are one day closer to being completely independent of me.

Sure there are times that I cannot wait for those days of independence to come, like when we hang out in the bathroom for 40 minutes waiting for someone to be done on the big potty . . .  or when there are whines of, "but I can't do it!" over and over about something has been done independently countless times before. But I know that all too soon, those same days of wanting to play with me will be gone and I'll be wishing the long trips in the bathroom back again.

Time, you are a cruel one.

So I try to take the bad with the good and I try to make the bad into the good. Because if one thing is true, it's that these are the days that are best gifts of my life.


Monday, January 16, 2017

little gifts [941 - 961]

Hello! Happy Monday to you! I hope your weekend was warm and cozy and full of everything nice. We stayed pretty close to home this weekend as there was a "huge" winter storm [insert eye roll]. While the weather was pretty bad, it was nothing like the last winter storm we had which wasn't even talked about in anticipation. oy vey. Anyhow. On to other things, like the little gifts in my life from this past week . . .

941. grocery shopping with two little "helpers"

942. the softest t-shirt

943. little hands raised in question of where something is

944. a grin of triumph on the face of the littlest

945. quiet mornings

946. finding pretty paint colors

947. the pride of the little one when he draws his circle pictures

948. a fresh new planner

949. discovering the prettiest of washi tape while grocery shopping

950. an extra blanket on the bed

951. littles actually eating what they're given at meal time [on the rare occurrence of that happening]

952. part planning for a soon to be four year old

953. friendships made through blogging

954. how the littlest builds and builds all of the things

955. how the older one knocks down every.blessed.tower built

956. two sweet and fiercely different little boys making my heart burst on the daily

957. Christmas jammies

958. starting to plan for the next few months

959. hot water scalding my hands to wash dirty dishes clean

960. baby monitors

961. an apologetic pharmacy after a sticky mishap with my prescription  

And those are just some of the little gifts in my life right now. What are some of yours?

Friday, January 13, 2017

a sick week

This week has been spent at home. In fact, I've only been out of the house twice this week - once to take Emerson to the ER and the other time to go grocery shopping with the boys. If we weren't supposed to be getting a big ol winter storm this weekend, I wouldn't have even gone to the grocery store. Obviously, both were the best outings of my life. I kid, I kid. [warning: this is a post with mentions to vomit and such . . . don't say I didn't warn you . . . ] 

On Sunday night around 1:30 or so Emerson cried out that his tummy hurt. When I went in to check on him he just kept saying it over and over. I took him potty and had Landon fetch a bowl, just in case. I settled Emerson back into his bed and kissed him good-night. A few minutes later he cried for me again, when I went in his room to check on him again, and somewhere in there, he threw up. So so much. It was awful. And then a little bit more a few minutes later. Thankfully Landon was home and was willing to help, vomit and I don't get along at all, so I eagerly took him up on his offer to clean up and sleep with Emerson the rest of the night. 

Monday morning came and Emerson laid in bed all day long. He didn't move at all unless I carried him to a new spot, he hardly even talked. Which for him is so so unusual, the boy felt bad. He camped out on our bed until after lunch time, watching shows and sleeping off and on. I moved him to his bedroom for nap time and thankfully he took a good long nap. When it was time to fix dinner I carried him to the couch downstairs so I could keep an eye on him while I fed Oliver and fixed dinner. 

He cried a few times during the night, but was only sick a little bit one more time. Tuesday he was a little more peppy and he at least talked and asked me questions, but he still laid in bed or on the couch all day long. Oliver joined in the Paw Patrol watching and we all got some quality cuddle time that morning.

Even though Emerson wasn't eating anything, he was drinking a little bit of water and some blue gatorade. A few hours after the boys had been in bed, Emerson cried for me and told me that his tummy hurt. He was wide awake because he felt so bad. I didn't know what to do for him and hated that I couldn't make him feel better. As I was in his room with him rubbing his back and praying over him, he got sick again. Really really sick, except, there was nothing for him to give up because he had hardly had any liquids and had eaten nothing for over two days. He had one of the longest dry heaving episodes and it was horrible. Landon came in after a while and cleaned what little cleaning the bowl needed for me. I decided to call the nurse to see what we should do for him. While I was giving her the run down and answering all of her questions, Emerson had another horrible dry heaving episode. The poor sweet boy.

It was at that point the nurse advised me to take him to the ER, she said she didn't like how he wasn't sleeping because of the pain and how he was only throwing up. I grabbed our coats and took him to the ER [why do they have to be the sickest at night with the doctor and urgent care is closed?!?]. We got there around 11:30 and waited for two hours before we were taken back to a room. We waited longer for the doctor to come in and check on him. It was a long night. And Emerson never fell asleep once. Around 2:30 he was finally given some medication and a little while later the doctor brought him a popsicle, I was so grateful when he ate all of his double popsicle and even more so that he was able to keep it down. Soon after he finished his midnight treat, he fell asleep. Deep, deep sleep. The doctor came to check on him and our talking didn't even wake him. We were finally given the okay to go home, I got us ready and headed home. By the time we got home it was 3:45, I got Emerson tucked into his bed and then noticed that it was 4 o'clock when I finally laid down for the night.  

Thankfully Landon had moved some of his meetings around the night before when I took Emerson to the ER and when Oliver woke up a few hours later he took him and got him breakfast so I could get a little more sleep. I could have slept all day, but I heard them in the kitchen and knew Landon had to work, so I got myself ready and took over my parenting duties once again. I'm not a napper, but when the boys were both napping that afternoon, I just let myself fall asleep while on the couch, and oh how refreshed I felt afterwards. It was the perfect nap. Lamp light, a show on in the background, cold wind blowing strong outside. Per-fect.

We've stayed home and watched more shows than is probably healthy, but hey, you do what you have to, right? We've read books, eaten popsicles, and eventually played a little bit. I knew Emerson was on the mend when he started crying over a toy that Oliver had - even though he wasn't playing with it at the time and was playing with toys of his own. Now I'm just praying that the worst is behind us and that Oliver doesn't catch whatever Emerson had!  

So that's what I've been up to this week. Hopefully we'll have a less eventual one next week and can properly celebrate our soon to be four year old!! Oh my goodness, how is he almost four?! 

Happy weekend to you! I hope you stay warm and cozy.