31 October 2011

A Fall Weekend

We opted not to buy costumes this year so Emi had to get really creative with stuff we already had around the house. We nabbed the rasta mouse ears at Disney a couple of years ago and Emi went with it...
Minnie Marley
Emi dressed up as Minnie Marley
We started the weekend with a trip out to my friends' place to experience their Haunted Forest. All week we'd been prepping David with the knowledge that yes, it will be frightening, but they will give you candy!! Every day this week we talked about the fact that the props were fake and emphasized the candy-giving portion of the event, but even with all the prep, David still freaked out walking around with all of us in the forest. Aubri would shake with a scare and walk past the terrifying prop to grab some candy.

29 October 2011

Oh Yeah!



True dat!
I don't have a twitter account anymore but I follow Sundry's tweets via her awesome blog, All & Sundry. This is one blog I can't live without! I was cleaning my tiny kitchen the other day intensely mopping when I noticed how dirty the floor boards were and I started feeling a wee bit of what she posted above...

27 October 2011

Sometimes My Heart Aches

Sometimes when I am not being a mean old mommy trying to ensure that my kiddos grow up to be responsible members of society, I cross over to what I imagine things must be like for my children being adopted. Openly adopted.

My parents divorced when I was 8 and by 9 I had a new life complete with the addition of another mother, brother and sister.  I lived in a new house, in a new city with a new haircut - my long savage hair was chopped. Gone were the days of running freely out in the country on the land where we lived with my grandparents (my Nanny and PawPaw) and getting dirty from swimming in the mucky pond and exploring the woods. 

Also gone were some cherished items:  my (and my sister's) canopy bed where we used to play a twisted volleyball with our dolls' heads; the side tables that used to house the frogs we caught; my white transistor radio where I first heard Feliz Navidad; our beloved tree house where I inverted my life-sized doll to mop up a cracked goose egg; the hill by the barn that I learned to ride my bike on....and so many things I knew as a child.

My mom was allowed visitation, and I can't recall how often exactly, but I recall spending some weekends with her when we were still living in Florida. When I was 10 we moved to Oklahoma, far away from my mom and my grandparents. My mom did not know where we were and my heart broke for a long time reconciling this information when I was old enough to understand it all. She was 23 when she came to this country and at 33, she was alone with no family. It brings tears to my eyes now to think about how she wondered where we were...we just dropped off the face of the earth. I was in the 4th grade when my parents divorced. At the tail end of 5th grade we moved to Oklahoma. In between, there were 2 other schools in Tampa. Whirlwind might be an understatement. Good thing I was a resilient child back then...

I talked to my mom last night as I often do.  She's retired now and finally has time to sort through the items she's accumulated over time (not that she will, mind you). We don't have that super tight relationship that many mothers and daughters have, but I am grateful that we have any relationship at all. My mom wondered where we were for a year or so after we moved to Oklahoma, the details are not quite clear. I recall trying to send her a red milk cap craft I had made for her stuffed into an envelope and then the next memory I have is being on the phone with her. That was so long ago (30+ years) and we've always kept in touch. I think the shock of everything that happened to her since she came here from the Philippines stunted her emotionally but she has survived.

I never thought that my mom rejected me because she wasn't in my life every day.  She had no choice in the matter. And we got into touch soon after moving so there was hardly a gap in communication, although she didn't see us nearly as often (obviously). We visited her over the years and she traveled here for high school graduations, weddings, etc....we've mostly always kept in touch.

Which brings me back to the original thought behind this post. My heart sometimes aches at the thought of any of my three children feeling rejected or unloved by their biological parents. They get to see them when we can make it happen and they are definitely shown that they are loved. But I'm sure that each of them wonders "why?" sometimes. I am sure my oldest wonders why her birth mom kept her 2 sisters and gave her up. I think that once she's completely cognizant of the timeline and reproduction, she will get it. She had 2 older sisters when she was born (they each had a different birth father), then her oldest sister died when Emi was 1 (Ty was only 4) and her little sister was born when Emi was 2 (and she shares the same birth father as her older sister.

In my sweet daughter's mind she must feel rejection even though she is loved by so many, including her bio mom. The best thing we can do for her is reassure her and guide her through life with her birth mom and family.

And young David, so smart at 4, you can see the wheels turning with him. He's been calling me "mom", "mama" and "mommy" for the past year and a half, but I am sure it's confusing to him when we see his biological mom and dad and they talk about memories they have of him as a baby. For someone who speaks his mind ("That sure is a goofy look"), he doesn't say anything as they are recounting a memory, but his face shows that he is thinking things.

My kids are all loved, very much so and by a good deal of family - biological and created. They know we are a family of 5 and so much more. They hear us talk positively about their biological parents and how much we love them too and I think that's healthy for them and for us.

I mentioned that my mom was 23 when she came to America. Pregnant and newly wed with absolutely no family. I can't imagine the culture shock or how she got through that time period (or the one that came 10 years later). I came along 10 months after my brother and my sister not quite 2 years after me. I guess being blissfully ignorant about things might have helped. 23 was the age that Emi's birth mom was when she gave birth to Emi and also the age that the Little One's birth mom was a few months after they joined our family. What is it about 23?

So, I worry about my kids and the feelings they might harbor regarding their adoption experiences.  But the pieces and people are here for them and will be for the foreseeable future. Mostly we take it day by day.  They may not understand the reasons now but hopefully they will feel the love from all of us and be comforted by that for now...

25 October 2011

Exorcising The Living Daylights

Scott and I have been in search of the scariest movie of all time...or at least something to give us a good fright this Halloween season. We're already hooked on The Walking Dead and American Horror Story shows so our tolerance has been increased. Images from these shows burrow their way deep into our brains and come out later in our dreams (which are ever so much scarier than the shows). And we watched The Exorcist a couple of weeks ago (I happen to think it's THE scariest movie of all time). A coworker said she thought that movie's effects were cheesy and suggested we watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose to see a scarier version of an exorcism with better effects. So we did and while it was a bit scary, and it did interfere with sleep patterns for the next TWO days, the movie itself paled in comparison with The Exorcist. I think the effects were good enough back in 1973 to terrify and scar me for life. If I even see a picture of Linda Blair without the demon makeup it sends shivers down my spine. Also, that demon voice ...{*shudder*}

We have gleaned a few more suggestions from fellow horror movie afficionados, but last night we had The Last Exorcism already DVR'd so we watched that. Yes, there were scary parts but they were getting to be a little old hat - young virgin girl gets possessed by a demon that makes her body contort in odd fashions and maybe there was some vomiting.  It's filmed as a documentary about the weird beliefs and practices in Louisiana and this preacher who is basically a fraud laughing about his "exorcisms". It was thrilling waiting for the bad things to happen to this guy and the camera crew (and that poor kitty cat) but the end wasn't scary as in WTF? but more like, ok, that's what I thought it was like in Louisiana already (having seen Angel Heart back in the day).

On the list to check out are:

  • Dawn of the Dead (I think we may have seen this already but I can't be sure)
  • 28 Days Later
  • Salem's Lot (this scared the bejeesus out of me when I was a kid)
  • The Thing (original version, scared me too)
  • Slither
  • Dead Snow

So, do you have any scary movie recommendations?

23 October 2011

Weekending...

Friday night we made quesadillas and had an indoor picnic in the living room while we watched Tangled...and then Toy Story 3.

Whatever, Kirby!
Kirby napping on our picnic blanket...he figured since he wasn't allowed on it Friday night, by God he'd be "allowed" on it Saturday afternoon while we were busy...

Slumbering Abbey
Abbey napped in her usual place in her usual position...do not adjust your monitor!

This Old Kitchen

My kitchen is small. I don't know the exact dimensions but my dad has referred to it as a "butler's pantry" {thanks, Dad!}. I think it may be a bit bigger than a butler's pantry but not much. It works for our family and I don't complain about having a small kitchen but I do complain when people and pets get into my personal cooking space because it's not a place to hang out.

There are many things I love about my old kitchen:

Like my spice cabinet...
Spice Cabinet
Love my Spice Cabinet!
And my pull out cutting board...
My Old Pullout Chopping board
I use this for extra workspace and sometimes to cut stuff up...I usually put a portable cutting board on top...

And the place where I put my odd sized pans and racks...
Cookie Sheet Storage
I store my cookie sheets, cutting boards, baking stone and cooling racks in here...

And my old cabinets - we plan to keep these when we expand...

Gonna Make this Mobile
This cabinet/counter will become mobile someday when we expand the kitchen....

And there are some not so lovely things in my kitchen, but these things don't keep us from cooking up memories and meals:

The Seventies called and they want their counters back!

Lovely Counter
You could seriously go into a trance looking at these squigglies!

Overhead lighting:
Lighting That's Lacking
New light fixture(s) once that wall comes tumblin' down...
This cheapo light bothers me more without the cover, but it disintegrated when we removed it to change a light bulb a few years ago. It's been such a hassle trying to find a cover (lens?) that I think it'd be better to just change out the fixture later. For now, we get by and don't look straight up often...

The Triangle tries my patience some days...especially when there's a dog or kid loitering begging for treats...
Butler's Pantry?
It's a little cramped, I mean cozy.

I don't want anything fancy, just enough space for my gargantuan fridge and a portable bar/type thingie...

22 October 2011

Random David Quotes

Tonight as I was putting the Little Ones down for the night I asked David what he wanted to be when he grows up. Without hesitation he replied "Batman!" He then amended his answer to be "A Transformer with a Batman costume." Okee...

Earlier today when I was in the kitchen he kept popping in every 17 secs for some reason or another and the last time he popped in I asked him what he was doing (with crazy eyes, I might add), he backed away towards the sun room and said "I'm backing off". Good boy. Quick learner.

And earlier this week at pickup David was laying on the playground talking with a little girl. He told me that she had pinned him down. When I asked him what he was saying to her he replied "Uh McKenzie, can you let me up? My mom's here." I could not stop laughing at this and he, of course, kept repeating it and then he tried to get more laughs by saying "Uh McKenzie, can you let me up? My cat's here." Then we discussed the concept of leaving on a high note.

17 October 2011

Weekend Wrapup

It was a fairly busy weekend, even for us Morgans! Friday at work we celebrated ROCtoberfest with a nice selection of German foods and some faux beer.  I searched for something to contribute that didn't include meat or potatoes or dessert (as they were already covered) and that would be at least sort of healthy. What I found was Rachel Ray's German Cheddar and Beer Fondue (I finally found a way to take beer in to work!) I love fondue and take advantage of any opportunity to use my fondue pot.

I've done the cheese fondue thing a few times for gatherings at my house and work and the chocolate thing too (yum!). My go to recipe for chocolate fondue is Michael Chiarello's Chocolate Fondue. And I like Rachel's cheese fondue better than the one I usually use. I normally use white wine (but I prefer to drink red, and FYI, Michael's chocolate fondue includes red wine) in my cheese fondue, but German beer tastes better (IMO).

German Fondue for ROCtoberfest
German fondue for ROCtoberfest at work

For dippers, I opted not to serve wursts or franks as listed in the recipe. Instead I served raw cauliflower, mini dill pickles, grape tomatoes, pretzels and sourdough bread. I almost got a marble rye (it was in my cart and I could not stop thinking of Seinfeld) but I figured a loaf of sourdough would not go to waste if we had leftovers (and it was cheaper). The fondue was really good and my favorite item to dip was the cauliflower. 

German Fondue (cauliflower yum!)
Dripping with goodness

Friday evening found us busy mowing, weeding and putting items out for Big Trash day pickup. We wheeled out an old grill, a broken wagon and a dishwasher box full of as much of the hot tub as we could fit (which was not much). Most of the hot tub is still in the back yard and we are planning a work weekend specifically to remove the rest... It was nice to have those other big items gone from their final resting places though. We burned the branches that were in the fire bowl and the kids helped (a little) in picking up all of the magnolia seed pods so no one twisted an ankle on them.

Saturday Emi had a soccer tournament (they won both of those games) and we were busy with that and cleaning, etc in preparation of friends and family coming over to eat lumpia, make music in the back yard and watch the game. That afternoon I rolled and fried up a big batch of lumpia before the guests came over for pre-game festivities. Scott put some pinion wood in the fire pit and that added to the ambiance of our Indian Summer evening. Good friends, good music, good food, good game (we won!) and good kids. 

Emi and Brogan feeding the fire

After a late night in the back yard we dragged ourselves to Emi's first soccer game of the day Sunday morning (they tied that game).  After we got home from that game, the Little Ones went down for a nap after playing with Emi's friend who came home with us, and I sought refuge in my own bed.  After naptime, me and the Little Ones had a snack while Scott and Emi headed off to her last game (which they lost *sad face*). I cleaned up the kitchen and started some laundry then we ran to Barnes & Noble to get a gift card and a reference book that I thought might freshen up some of the knowledge I gained in high school so I can be more prepared to help Emi with her homework. {she's doing algebra and geometry in 4th grade!} We also ran by the library to pick up some books Emi had reserved (Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing and the The Cricket in Times Square).

I was wiped out after that but the kiddos were not, so I set them up with their Legos in the sunroom while I intermittently read my book and catnapped. 

Luckily for us I had a stash of lumpia rolls that I fried up for dinner...we got our bellies full for sure. Also, luckily for us, there is no more lumpia in my house for us to gluttonously stuff into our food holes. [Note: I fried up the lumpia that Teri had given me a few weeks ago too and while I liked hers and it all disappeared very quickly - it's lumpia, what's not to like? - I prefer mine because I put a lot of garlic and crunchy veggies in mine: bean sprouts, water chestnuts and carrots.]

Pencil Sketch Me with the Magnolia and the Pecan

While we were tired from the many activities crammed into our weekend, we still had time to watch the 2nd season premier episode of The Walking Dead last night. Priorities, right?

I hope you had a great weekend too!

16 October 2011

Vigor not Venom

We have a lot of dynamics to consider in our home, and as you might expect, you can't just throw together a family and magically everything works out. I am sure that biologically made families face many of the same issues we do as well, but in our situation (3 adopted children) it's harder some days to drill down to what's really making that particular child act that way.

Is s/he sick or getting sick?
Is s/he hungry?
Is it due to hormones? (Please, God, no)
Could it be a reaction to a recent visit with bio parent(s) (or lack thereof)?
Is this normal sibling rivalry?
Is this "spiritedness"?
Does s/he just need attention, discipline or is s/he already a psychopath/sociopath?


Kidding about that last one (most days).

I'm still reading Raising Your Spirited Child (Kurcinka) to glean nuggets of wisdom in handling my spirited child(ren).  Some advice makes total sense like make sure you and your children are getting enough sleep, nutrition, exercise.  But this bit about yelling really struck me as funny. There's so much propaganda about not yelling at your kids, and I understand you don't want to hurl insults or bone crushing accusations at your child, but I think it is healthy for them to know that mommy has a boiling point too. Mommy gets frustrated too...and sometimes it's because of something you (kiddo) did.  Kurcinka says if you need to yell, "make it healthy". Not verbal abuse. She suggested something on the order of Tarzan yelling. I totally agree. I hope my neighbors can understand.

12 October 2011

Sundry

This past weekend was glorious with the rain and the cooler temps ....


It Rained!
2 inches of soaking rain!
Last week I was looking at moving my blog to my hosted domain on Webhero.com when I found almost $200 of referral fees waiting for me....the little bits here and there came from when I helped set up websites for other reunions/classes over the past few years. I had no idea the money was sitting there waiting for me. While it's not the lottery, any time I come into money, I am a happy camper!

Also, shoes make me happy and I think that's in my blood line. ;.) I got some new tsinelas (pronounced chinelas - the tagalog word for slippers or flip-flops) from Atwoods for only $9.94. I was looking at the BOGS boots for inclement weather when I got distracted by these cuties...  will have to go back to get the cute short boots when they go on sale...

Tsinelas
Please excuse my heinous toes!!  The 2nd toe was broken by a family member after the U2/BEP concert 3 years ago...he was going in for a hug and my UGGs didn't protect my toes at all when he stepped on that poor foot. ;.(
I got sidetracked by the plagues in my house that I forgot to check on this bloom until it was too late. I forgot that Passion Flowers only bloom for a day. Usually there is more than 1 or 2 blooms so I have a chance at capturing an open flower... maybe next time...

Missed Bloom
Missed It ;.(
We have a new dishwasher! This makes me so happy!!!


Yay!
Never have I been so excited about an appliance before...

11 October 2011

Monday Mulligan

Yesterday didn't turn out quite like I had planned. Not that any of my days really turn out as planned but I was so looking forward to my day off. No kids, no husband, no plans, just me at the house by myself with some books that I've wanted to finish and maybe a project or two. I really thought that I'd done enough "sacrificing" for the family, but I guess not.

Last week we had health issues with the kiddos that sidelined some of our plans, but no big deal. Friday, we drove 2 hours to visit with the Little Ones' birth parents for a little over 3 hours and then we drove back 2 hours plus some to pick up Emi from her Grandma Babe's house. That was a very long day, but still, no biggie because it was so sweet to see our 3 kids together again, loving on each other and playing with their new toys. It was obvious that they missed each other being apart for 2 days.

Hugs
Hugs

Party
Party Time


Legos
Legos

Back to yesterday. I had the day off and I planned to take care of the rest of the dishes in the sink,  run a load of donables to Salvation Army and then, read the rest of The Shack.  That was the original plan but last week when Emi was gone I really missed her, so I decided to have lunch with her at school. So after I dropped off all of the kids at their schools, I came home and immediately got busy with my projects.

I moved between the kitchen (washing a batch of dishes to dry) to the sun room (culling out toys for donation) to the basement (sorting out stuff for donation/trash/relocation). The good news is that I was able to fill the back of the Disco with 6 bags of kids clothing, toys and other sundry items AND I located our "set it and forget it" appliance that my mom gave to us many years ago. That baby is now safely in our pantry and we now have a little more room in the closet on my side of the basement.

Note: I also found a box of VHS videos that came with us in the move 6 years ago. I felt like chunking it in its entirety and I would have except for the fact that some of the labels had things like "Emi walks 2003" and "Mom visit" on them. My Pink Floyd The Wall video was in there too.  I really need to sort through that box for video to keep and convert, but that will be for the next time I purge the house of old and unused things.

After loading up the Disco, I headed out to drop off the donables, pick up some cleaning supplies and lunch, then meet Emi in her cafeteria. That was a crazy 30 minutes! Emi asked what I was doing on my day off and I told her about what I had accomplished and she chided me saying I was wasting my day, that I should do something enjoyable like read or nap. I told her that those 2 items were the last on my agenda and I would tackle them after I got home and had a shower. 

When Emi was dismissed for recess, I sped home to hang with Scott on his lunch break. I was home for all of 5 minutes when the Little Ones' school director called. She said that David was a little warm and he said he felt like throwing up. Great! It was nap time for the kids at this time and his temperature was low enough where I was given the option to pick him up after nap, but I decided to go immediately and take him to the doctor to make sure he didn't also have strep.

He knew I had the day off and he also knew that Aubri got Gummi Bears when I took her to the doctor so part of me was thinking that he was trying to work the day into his favor. {he can be very crafty} He had a low fever and the doctor said his throat was red and irritated and while he didn't perform a strep test on him, he concluded that he had strep (based on the fact that his sister had scarlatina and his symptoms). I let him have a few Gummi Bears and some watermelon so he wouldn't be taking his medicine on an empty stomach and he spent the afternoon in bed getting some much needed rest and I got a 10 minute nap before I needed to pick up little sister.

I didn't finish my book but I got a nice long bath and a couple of chapters read before I helped (watched) Scott uninstall our old crappy dishwasher. ;.)

Tonight, we are tired but we have a new dishwasher installed (I helped) with the first load of dishes running...

Maybe I will finish my book tomorrow?

09 October 2011

Something Wicked This Way Came

Contagion noun

1. the communication of disease by direct or indirect contact.
2. a disease so communicated.
3. the medium by which a contagious disease is transmitted.
4. harmful or undesirable contact or influence.
5. the ready transmission or spread as of an idea or emotion from person to person: a contagion of fear.

Something happened after we watched that movie for our anniversary date night....or maybe it was the flipping of the calendar to October.

Last Wednesday David came home from school looking a little green around the gills and said that his belly hurt. He'd had a rough week at school because a behavior notebook starting escorting him home and I thought maybe he was stressed about us knowing the dirty little details of his days at school. Oy! Emi was already en route to her Grandma Babe's for the beginning of Fall Break and the rest of us were getting ready to hit Sam's for a little midweek grocery shopping. The Little Ones were using the bathroom before we hopped in the car when David surprised himself and us by vomiting while he was standing in front of the toilet. Good timing! Thank God we hadn't rushed them to get into the car already...

So we had a change in plans and ended up ordering dinner in for the 3 of us who could handle eating that evening. David got the stomach bug that's been circulating around town and ended up puking several times through the evening (dry heaving at a couple of points, poor guy!) Scott and I downed Pau D'Arco and Activated Charcoal in a effort to NOT catch it (We were successful!). David was better on Thursday, not 100% but not throwing up and being cautious with what he did eat.

Later that day we discovered a note from Emi's school that lice was found on one of her classmates! She didn't bother passing the information on to us. We've never worried about Emi getting lice before because of the products we use on her hair, but still...would be nice to have a heads up on another outbreak.

Friday we planned on making the drive to visit the Little Ones' birth parents for their combined birthday celebration and we gave Emi the option to come with or stay with Grandma Babe for another day. She opted to stay with her grandma (good call) and during our 2 hour drive to the visit, it was obvious that Aubri was not feeling well. She didn't have much of an appetite that day and she started to feel a little warm. I kept bracing myself for the puking to start when we least expected it but she was fine. We gave her some acetaminophen that afternoon and she seemed better by bedtime.

But Saturday morning after Aubri helped Daddy with the shredding...

Super Shredder

...her face looked a little puffy and flushed. And at breakfast when she was putting a bite of eggs in her mouth, she gagged and actually threw up. I couldn't tell if she just gagged on the eggs, or if she had the stomach bug that David had, or something else. Her tummy and throat didn't hurt (according to her) but that flushed face started to look like a little sandpapery rash. When Emi was 18 mos or so (OU-TX weekend too, coincidentally enough) she ran a slight fever and gagged while eating, but we suspected the congestion made her throw up. Soon after, she developed a rash on her face that felt like sandpaper. Her doctor knew as soon as she stepped into the examination room that she had scarlatina. I suspected that Aubri had the same.

This morning we confirmed that Aubri had scarlatina! Poor baby girl. She is just not a complainer....so sweet even when she's feeling like total crud.

So to recap on our health: Uncle!

In other scary news, Scott and I have been preparing for the new season of The Walking Dead by watching some tried and true and also new scary shows, and I am here to let you know that American Horror Story is scary! (and disturbing, so extra scary)....in a Shining sort of way.  After we watched it, we had to watch a little Jimmy Fallon (so funny) to rinse our brains of the images embedded in there from AHS.

And the other night I noticed that The Exorcist was coming on and DVR'd it. I guess I was thinking after 31 years, I might be able to handle viewing such evil again. I saw the movie originally in the 7th grade (and then partially again in college) and it forever scarred me. So I guess I needed more scarring? Last night after we got all of the kids in bed, we turned out all of the lights and proceeded to watch it again, the original unholy and scariest movie of all time (in my opinion). There was gentle rain falling and breeze blowing in through the window at the time.

The BBC station edited out a lot of the really gory stuff and I blocked a lot of the other images and sounds that had gotten through when I was in the 7th grade, but I was still tensed up the whole time. There was a photo of Regan on her mom's nightstand that scared me and that was before the demonic-possession. We paused the movie here and there for bathroom breaks and to check to make sure the rain wasn't blowing in the windows and then during the actual exorcism, when I was turning my head to face Scott and block the demon noises from coming into my earholes, the electricity flickered for 1/2 a second and the movie was off. Was it the rainstorm jacking with the satellite or God trying to cut me a break? Or both? Either way, I was relieved that the show was off.

We watched The Time Traveler's Wife after that to purge the unholy images from our minds. I read that book and loved it and thought the movie was really good too.

We had planned on carving pumpkins for Fall Break but instead, we spent time quarantining our kids, enjoying the cooler temps and the RAIN...and trying to scare ourselves silly.

What about you? Have you been plagued by anything good or bad lately? Are you ready for flu season? and Halloween?

07 October 2011

06 October 2011

This Old House

I remember driving around our neighborhood 6 years ago and discovering a street I never knew existed in our town. Not exactly Narnia or anything, but a new discovery all the same. We drove to the end of the "cul-de-sac" (the street actually dead ends in my neighbor's driveway) and noticed a cute house that looked like it belonged in New Orleans. We took down the realtor information and then went home to check out the online photos of the house. We were a-mazed! The house looked so small with its unassuming front yard (think postage stamp). We wondered how that little house could hold 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a dining room, a breakfast nook, a sunroom and a basement. The house apparently goes out in every direction. But what really captured our attention was the backyard space. There were 9 photos posted trying to capture all of the TWO back yards! We immediately set up an appointment to look at the place.

We looked at the house a few more times, at different times of the day and also after a rain, before we put in an offer. It was touch and go with selling our place and buying the "new" place and we ended up with back-to-back closings.  There was a lot of stress leading up to that day.  It's hard to believe that we moved in 6 years ago this month! I remember we spent 11 days sleeping on the fold out bed - and getting used to the train and the clock tower - before our new bed arrived.    And we forced Emi to sleep in her own room (she was 3, poor thing).  We didn't do any renovating at that time...just changed the locks, installed a washer and dryer downstairs in the basement and a refrigerator in the kitchen. 

I don't even know what style our house is. Ranch?  Split Level?  I mean, while we do have an attached garage, it's not prominent (and we also have a detached garage). Our house is deeper than it is wide, so maybe no to ranch style? Split level? Sort of.  We have a half story room above the garage and the back of the house is 2 steps down from the rest of the house. Cape Cod? Hodge Podge? Hobo Lodge?{definitely that last one}

We know the house was built in 1952 by a retired Navy guy. {One of my neighbors has been in her house since she was a little girl and knows the history of the whole neighborhood. Very cool.}  She informed us that our basement is, in fact, a bomb shelter.  Wow! I do feel safe when I am down there and I love the extra storage it contains. I think the original owners taught school down in the basement as there is a chalkboard on my side (and an old timey pencil sharpener). And the front half of our house was added on later (1968, I believe).

While we haven't renovated anything, we did immediately change up the use of a few rooms -- some I had a hard time believing were used as the previous owners had listed. I could be wrong - it was just the 2 of them, no kids - but I don't see how they utilized the middle room of the house as their dining room. It's not a huge room and it has entryways from the main hall/living room, kitchen and the 3rd bed/bath/basement "wing". 3 entryways is a little busy for a dining room, in my opinion.  The back living room is just as big as the front living room and is located off the kitchen so it was a logical choice for a dining area, aka Gathering Room. Plus our dining table was a little too big for the original dining area.

Also, there is a small room off the kitchen that was listed as a breakfast nook.  I guess so if you like sipping your morning coffee in a closet.  It is "a snug area just off the kitchen that has enough space for a small table and chairs" yes, but definitely not the traditional breakfast nook which faces a window.  There is no window in this room but there is a ceiling fan (it's on the list to be replaced) What was once a small breakfast nook is now our sizable pantry (love).


Pantry Love
And we have painted all of the rooms in the house except for the Little Ones' room and the main hallway. And we replaced the windows in the Master bedroom and office and replaced the fan in the 3rd bathroom and added a fan to the 2nd bathroom. Not much, I know but we've been busy! And we did add the library...

A couple of years ago Scott and I painted the sun room and took out the 70's vertical blinds hanging in all 3 sets of sliding glass doors. We didn't hang curtains but the room was so cozy enough to hang out and drink coffee and take in the view of the big back yard....maybe we should have made this our breakfast nook? About a year and a half ago this room became a play room because all 3 kids were sharing a room and they needed a place for their toys. Slowly but surely their toys have encroached on more space in that undefined room.  They are trying to take over!

This room is not exactly energy efficient and we only use the doors to the west. I thought we could rearrange things in there again and hang up drapes finally but recently I've decided that I want to create a relaxing space where I can grow plants and read. Maybe wall it up partially, install bench seating under a huge (energy efficient) window. I have found no good options yet, but I am still dreaming.

I had thought about doing the same with the north glass doors but when we build that cabana, we can make use of those doors again... I'm thinking archway connecting the 2 structures... please don't wake me up yet...

These days I am feeling caught between wanting to get busy on the big projects and totally taking it easy...so I'm trying to compromise.

Office Side
I am obsessed with this wall coming down...
I can't knock that wall down in between the office and kitchen, but I can hunt for the replacement dishwasher that we've needed so badly.  And I can't cut up and haul off that hot tub by myself, but I can break up the frame and toss it little by little meanwhile. I can't carpet and replace the windows in the basement but I can purge the basement of all unneeded items that have found their way down there. Baby steps...

Hopefully by this weekend we'll have a sexy new dishwasher....

04 October 2011

Day by Day, Minute by Minute

MOrganic Eggs

Nice things I experienced this past weekend:
  • seeing a new release at the theater and going to old haunts {campus corner was hopping!}
  • the sound of the cello
  • a cool breeze through the open bedroom windows & the warmth of the heated mattress pad set to 1
  • hot coffee in a heavy mug
  • soccer victory in the morning dew
  • the smell of pumpkin bread in the oven
  • leaves beginning to change colors {I am hoping for some beautiful yellow this year}
  • a flock of PELICANS flying over the lake
  • the noise of cousins playing in PeePaw's basement
  • squeals of delight when MeeMaw took the kids for a spin on the Red Rider
  • Sunday afternoon nap
  • a dozen eggs in brown and baby aqua
  • hearty soup cooked by my darling daughter and husband
Scott and I saw Contagion at the Warren Friday and that was a good movie. I didn't know that Bryan Cranston was in it - what a pleasant surprise! We almost chose to see Drive because we knew he was in it, but we opted for a scary movie - Contagion - because it IS flu season and it seemed a bit scarier than Dream House. We shared a Warren "Grand" Burger before the movie: a hamburger patty nestled in between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches (one swiss, one american). Oy! They should probably hand out sides of lipitor with that yumminess. It was so good. There were only 7 people in the theatre with us and that was a good thing considering the movie we were seeing. Later we hit a few places on campus corner for drinks and appetizers.

Saturday we got Emi's soccer game over with early (they are undefeated!) and we came home to play (them) and work (me) in the yard. A few weeks ago Scott got me a handy dandy weeding device to help me in my quest to rid my yard of dandelions and dallisgrass.  The yard is not perfect, but it looks much better. It was a nice day for the kids to run off that extra energy and for me to get busy pulling weeds.  Later the kids helped me make pumpkin bread and mini-muffins.

We went to church on Sunday, the first time in weeks. It was nice to come back and we got to hear from a guest pastor. The band was outstanding and made me fall more in love with the cello. A few months ago our church band played the Gungor's Beautiful Things and I found the cello hauntingly beautiful.

Can you see the pelicans?

Sous Chef
Love my chefs!