Saturday, May 2, 2015

We Bought a House!

After more than eight months living in the lower floor of my in-laws' house (for which we will be eternally grateful, but it's time), we finally closed on a new house this week!

Blue's first order of business was emptying our two smaller storage units so we don't have to pay for the month of May. His brother helped and they got that done, plus moved a bunch of patio furniture from the in-laws' house, which will save us some moving costs in a few weeks. Woohoo!

That's a lot of stuff. We just put it in the dining room and living room to begin with. Today, we moved it to the basement. The basement is huge, folks. The square footage of the basement is larger than the square footage of our entire old house. Ridiculous.

We put all the stuff from storage (and some from my mom and stepdad's house) into piles divided by room or theme (Christmas stuff, kitchen stuff, baby stuff, etc.) so that it'll be easier to organize later.

Like I said: HUGE. This was a major selling point for us. One of the biggest, in fact. We have big plans for this basement. Think projector, movie theater, poker table, pool table, a bar. Paradise, my friends. For now, it has all our stuff, so that we can refinish all the floors upstairs. A good portion of the main floor was covered in grody carpets that were probably 20 years old. Underneath which was imprisoned perfectly lovely original oak hardwood floors. So, of course, we had to free them.

Here are some before/after photos.

Old owners' listing photo

Not even refinished yet, and I love it more

The den. The carpets in here were multi-colored (not on purpose) and had to go.

A work in progress, of course, but so much potential.

Owners' master bedroom photo

Gorgeous flooring

It's amazing how much light the window can let in when not hidden by drapes!
Another big selling point for me was the master bathroom. After 5 years of having to go downstairs to pee in the middle of the night (extra fun when pregnant; you may remember we put a bed in the living room toward the end), I am super psyched to only have to walk a few feet. I won't even have to wake up!

So, that's what Blue and my dad have been doing the past two days. Blue did most of the ripping up himself yesterday, and then my dad has been helping pull up staples and nails today, among other things. Huzzah for helpers!

Meanwhile, I got busy as well.

Lining shelves and drawers might seem silly and unimportant, but it had to be done. Some of these shelves just needed to be hidden (after being washed, of course). I love the fun pops of color it brings to the otherwise fairly drab kitchen.

Listing photo
Plus, it allowed me to start unpacking (and washing) dishes that have been in storage for the past 8 months. The kitchen feels homey already!

Monday, the floors will start getting their makeover. We are going to refinish not just the floor we uncovered, but also this prettiness in the living room and dining room (unless they say they can match the color exactly, in which case we'll just leave it, but we're not terribly hopeful).

I cannot wait to tackle designing this room. I have curtains, rugs, and pillows all picked out. Blue tried to veto my curtain choice, but he was overruled. I told him to give them six months. I look forward to your opinions when that's done.

And yes, I hope to blog the next few weeks of decorating and home-making. The kids will show up too, don't worry! They are very excited to finally "go home" and love running around in the backyard. The first order of business out there will be to put up a fence around this bad boy:

It's like there's a magnet that draws them toward it. Exhausting.

We also have a friend who likes the pool, too!

 Yup, a duck. He came by twice today to take a bath. Methinks we need to add a bit more chlorine...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

So I don't forget...

These little snippets of conversation are so easy to forget, so a brief post from today, taken from my Facebook.

As she screams during bedtime, I must remember cute moments from today so she doesn't drive me completely crazy.

Me: (sneakily eats a piece of chocolate)
Peri: What is that? (how DID she see me?)
Me: Nothing.
Peri: Show me, mommy. Show me what's in your mouth right now! (perfect mom-flection)
Me: Here's some chocolate... you win.

Me: (singing Tomorrow from Annie)
Peri: No, mommy. No more Tomorrow. No sun tomorrow.
Me: Is my singing that bad?
Peri: Read a book.

Addendum: She's also good with the "Now let's calm down, Indigo" when he's upset, which is usually followed by "I don't want to calm down!" from him. And she'll take over negotiations with him when he's just manic for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Okay, we'll watch two Mickey Mouses and then Rapunzel, okay?" and he usually gives in. She's just so reasonable! It's sweet because she knows how worked up he gets and she legit wants to compromise to make him happy. Such a good sister!

They crack me up when they sound like adults.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Letter to Periwinkle at 2 Years (and then some)

Note: My new job is very strict about Internet usage, so I handwrote this at work at lunch one day and didn't get around to posting until today. It was written in mid-December.

Dear Periwinkle,

I'm sorry it's taken me this long to write your letter. I fully meant to do it by your birthday, but then there were parties and Halloween and friend birthday parties and Thanksgiving and my birthday (thanks for the birthday wishes, but you can stop now), and now here we are, ten days from Christmas. I'm sorry, and I love you, and I do hope you forgive me someday.

In any event, here we are. You are nearly 26 months old, going on at least ten years old. You are an excellent mimic, with the correct inflection, and hearing my words coming out of your mouth is both hilarious and terrifying. Thankfully, the worst you've repeated is "dammit." Repeatedly. What is perhaps most scary is that you remember everything,  and weeks later you'll bring out, "What are you talking about, Mommy?" with the perfect note of exasperation, or, "silly goose" which I really don't think I've called you for months now.

You love waking your brother up when you are the first one up. First we do some snuggles though. Then we give you permission and you bolt into your room to wake him, all smiles and gentle "Wake up, Inno!" and then some shrieking to make sure he really gets the message. Sometimes you try to wake him at night too, when he is asleep and you are still trying to preserve the resistance.  You get this sneaky glint in your eye and then take off for your room. I usually catch you in time.

We are constantly getting notes home from school about how you hug your brother and friends when they are upset and you ask them if they are okay. You are such a sweet and caring girl - Mommy Peri, they call you. I was Momma Red in college, so it's fitting, I suppose. Always care for your friends, and especially for your brother. It will always be appreciated in this world!

You are very opinionated about what you wear now. Your socks must be pink. Anything slightly resembling blue is deemed to belong to your brother. You prefer shirts that have rosettes or bows. I can sometimes get you excited about your Supergirl shirt, and red stars are permitted if we call them Wonder Woman socks. Sometimes we do great battle. Sometimes you are okay picking between two items, since it is your choice.  Sometimes I am tempted to just leave you in your pjs (I did once).

You love penguins these days, and a little figure of Dora the Explorer's mom you found at Nonna and Nonno's house that you call Little Mommy. You say it looks like me. I am apparently made of plastic and love purple. I'm pretty sure you think Santa Claus is the coolest guy in the world, and you don't even know he brings you presents yet! You love seeing "mismas lights" outside the car, and you sing a pretty good Jingle Bells. You are also getting really good at singing Frere Jacques and the ABCs, although QRSTUV are starting to take it personally that you always skip them.

In short,  you are curious, caring, smart, and strong-willed, all important traits to have as a young lady these days. I have little doubt that you'll be able to hold your own as you grow up. I'm so proud of the person you are becoming. Just don't repeat everything I say, okay? And for that matter, stop saying "Okay?" at the end of every sentence. You're only two, okay?


Addendum: it's amazing how much has changed since I wrote this, although she still asks for Christmas lights and thinks Santa should bring her more presents.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014

So here we are again, bidding farewell to another year. And what a year it has been!
It started off with us putting our house on the market. Four months later, almost five years to the day we offered on the house, we accepted an offer. It wasn't quite what we hoped for, but it allowed us to move onward if not upward. More like a side-shuffle.
In August we bid a teary farewell to our first home together (okay, maybe only I cried...) and to our two cats, who were going to spend some time with my parents while we crashed with Blue's parents (cue bawling re: cats).
We closed five years to the day we closed buying it. Fitting. Huge sigh of sad relief.
And here we are, four months later, all surviving our new digs with all the patience and grace we can muster. And while my stepdad seems to enjoy caring for the cats, I know he is battling allergies too. And my mom misses her plants, which are enjoying their study abroad programs at her sisters' houses around the corner. And while my inlaws always welcome us upstairs, I am sure they miss having their space to themselves.
So today I filled out some pre-qualification forms with various banks and have started answering fun financial questions, a month sooner than planned. We are ready to move onward and finally upward. The kids need their own rooms and a playspace bigger than a closet. I need office space for my freelance work (had a fantastic year there!). We need a house again. So 2015 will be the year of the house!
This year I also got a new job (again), back in publishing. That part has been fantastic, as has the much much shorter commute. I do miss horribly the kind and funny people I worked with. Happy hour must be arranged in 2015!
2015 is also going to be the year I lose 31 pounds, as I am 31 now, and why not? It'll get me back to my wedding weight. I do so want to be a good example for the kids. So wish me luck there!
I think that's it. The kids are great, and hilarious, and awesome. I owe you all Nora's two year letter, I know. Hard to find time lately...
Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Letter to Indigo at Two Years Old

Dear Indigo,

My, how time flies when you're having fun. Or when you are sleep deprived. Either way, here we are. You are two years old. Twenty-four months. 730 days. And not a baby anymore. You are a little boy, in love with trucks and school buses and dinosaurs. You rock a pink fedora and love pushing the pink and white pony toy around Nonno and Nonna's house. You are confident and loving and your laugh is definitely one of the best in the world. "Bubble Guppies" is your favorite tv show, and you love to dance when they sing.

I can't even list your vocabulary any more -- you pick up new words on what seems like a daily basis. When I walk through the door after work you turn around in your booster seat and your face lights up and you shout, "Mommy's here!" and then you point to the seat next to you and say, "Sit, mommy!" And Lord help anyone else who tries to sit there, in "Mommy's chair." Everyone has assigned seating, chosen by you and Periwinkle. You both love your routines, the familiarity of dinner at Nonna's table, with daddy in his chair, and mommy in hers, and everyone else settled appropriately. Dinner with milk, and then a cookie. Sometimes two.

You still resist going to sleep some nights, but there are more stretches of "easy" evenings, where Daddy and I get to eat before 9pm. Glorious evenings.

You are opinionated, refusing to brush your teeth until I threaten to use your toothbrush myself. You want to carry your own bag into daycare. You proudly lead me to the classroom door every morning, helping silly mommy who just can't seem to remember where it is.

You shout excitedly when we drive past school buses, letting me know, "Mommy, bus! Look there, mommy! Bus!" And then we drive away, and you sweetly ask, "More bus, Mommy?" as if I can make them materialize out of thin air. Luckily, the town usually comes through with at least one more bus as we drive along. Phew.

You still have a bit of a temper, an abrupt shift from my snuggly, sweet boy into a frustrated mess of emotion, and your go-to action is to bite. Sometimes you think it's funny and bite even when you aren't mad. If you try to bite your sister, she gets such a superior tone to her voice as she tells you, "No bite, Inno! Not nice!" It's kind of adorable, but please stop trying to bite her. Remember, angry dinosaurs can stomp and shout, but they never hurt other people. One of these days that will sink in. We are trying to help you express your anger and frustration in other ways, and you KNOW "No bite!" but you still don't always follow that rule. You, like all of us, are a work in progress.

You have had many successes on the potty, but we aren't pushing that too hard. It's fantastic when you lead me to the bathroom and then actually GO though. School is working with you on potty training, too, which is great. One of these days you'll get there! I'm just so proud that you are trying. I'm not going to lie, I'm looking forward to you both being out of diapers. So is my wallet.

You've been at your new daycare for two months now, and you are doing amazing. We have been told so many times how polite you both are, saying "Please" and "Thank you" without being prompted. Such a little man! You play with trucks nicely with your new friends, help clean up, and enjoy all the arts and crafts you do there. Last week you made a scarecrow, which you proudly show me every morning. I picked up your school pictures today, and was blown away by how mature you look.

They say we're entering the "terrible twos" but I have to say, you are at my favorite stage thus far (of course, I've said that at every stage thus far...). You are fun and funny, and we can have actual conversations. You are just starting to use your imagination, which makes playing with you so new and exciting. You are helpful and thoughtful, asking "Okay, Mommy?" if I seem upset and giving hugs all the time. Thankfully, you are still my snuggle bear.

Basically, I love you, little man. Now and always. Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ketchup and Lies

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, but it still seems like it came out of nowhere. One day, they were eating almost everything I put in front of them. The next day, everything required ketchup.

Their future.
And I do mean EVERYTHING.

Roasted chicken? "Ketchup?" No big deal.

Cauliflower? "More ketchup!" I can handle this.

Beef stew? "No! Want ketchup!" Excuse me while Mommy suppresses the urge to vom under the table.

Some sliced grapes? "Ketchup, mommy!" My stomach literally turned at this one, a real-life horror straight out of the book If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond, which mentions finding out "you like ketchup with your grapes." Who knew it was a real thing? And can we never do that again, please?

I wouldn't mind so much if they weren't starting to scoop the ketchup straight into their mouths, bypassing the nutritious food entirely. We've now taken to dribbling the ketchup on top of the food to ensure they eat something other than lycopene and sodium for dinner.

And yesterday on the way to daycare I caught Periwinkle offering her stuffed bunny "More ketchup, Bunny?" Adorable, right?

On a related note, I'm now lying to my children with regularity. They will eat pasta only if you assure them that the red sauce on top is ketchup. Also, all meat is known as "chicken" because that is all Periwinkle "likes." Don't tell her she's recently had salmon, beef, pork, and ham, if you'd be so kind. I'm not sure she could handle the shock.

What do you mean this isn't ketchup?

And they now refer to spaghetti as "pizza" and meatballs as "robots." Indigo requesting "More bobots, mommy?" is perhaps the cutest thing in the world. I claim no part in these mistakes -- they are all them.

However, Periwinkle referring to a stuffed lion as her "binosaur" is definitely my fault. Their recent obsession with dinosaurs has led to some serious tiffs over Indigo's red dino he got for his first birthday, and which is suddenly THE toy after a year of being ignored. So the lion has an identity crisis now.

Don't judge me.