Thursday, June 30, 2016

Flower Children

There is a field on the far side of our neighbors.  Calling it a field isn't quite right.  It's an open space next to a pond.  But the pond is only a pond during the spring and when it rains more.  It's been pretty dry here, so there really isn't a pond right now.  And even when it is a pond, it's more a goose-poop puddle as the Canadian geese who like to congregate in our neighborhood so to take a dip.   Wednesday evening, I was walking along the perimeter of our yard with Munk and saw a bunch of flowers out by the pond.  I went out and saw that they were at the perfect height for Finn.  A plan was hatched for the following morning (and I invited to take photos of our neighbor's girls as well).  Well, later that evening, the owners of the property started mowing back by the pond and I went to sleep thinking my beautiful idea was foiled.

When I woke up Thursday morning, I walked out to the pond expecting to find nothing, but saw that he only cut the far side of the property and I could still get some photos.  Unfortunately, the sun rose too quickly and it was far too wet back there to get the kids there, so I postponed until that afternoon.  I knew that I wanted to get into a couple of the photos as well, seeing as how the last photos I have of me and the kids was back in November of last year.  We got all ready, E came home and when we were walking over there, the owner was mowing again!  I was so upset, but we tried to grab a bunch of photos while he was mowing farther on the other side of the property.  I'm glad that E told me to just take some photos and see how they turned out.  They were amazing!!!!!!  (And when the neighbor came out with her girls, the guy stopped mowing out there so we could grab our photos quickly.  So kind of him.)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Stream of Consciousness

---It's been a LONG time since I've done an update.  So long in fact, that I had to check back in time to figure what I need to discuss with you.  The last "life lately" was WAY back at the beginning of December of last year!  Quite a lot has happened since then (obviously)...
---The first big thing I kind of hinted at in one of the previous posts.  In the photo of the kitty memorial garden, I mentioned Lucy.  Lucy got out of the house on December 20th when Eain's family was here for the holidays.  It was unseasonably warm outside (in the low 70s) and apparently, she had the serious drive to get outside, having tried to get out at least 6 times that day (with the kids going in and out of the house).  She got out one final time and hasn't returned.  We put up signs all over the neighborhood.  I joined two local pet lost & found groups on Facebook.  I still religiously post about her on a monthly basis in both the lost and found groups as well as our local Facebook community page.  The local people have been sooooo amazing.  I have to say that I have received no less than 75 phone calls over the course of the last six months.  Every one of them was followed up on and either the kitty that was called on had moved on or it wasn't her.  But just know that if she is still out there, someone will eventually find "the kitty with the circles on her side".  I think that it might be harder actually losing them than having them "go to Kelly's house" (our endearing term for heaven).  I constantly search for her when I'm out driving around in our neighborhood.  Hopefully she is either having the time of her life or resting peacefully with our other pets at Kelly's house.

---We are settling into our not-so-new home quite well.  In fact, the house that I wasn't that excited to move into has now endeared itself to me.  Our Cleveland home worked well for us during that time period in our life, the time period of us being a new married couple and then having one baby.  But once we had our second, questions were arising about how we were going to make the bedroom situation work.  The Cleveland home was set up with two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs and I wasn't really comfortable putting one child downstairs.  In our Pennsylvania home, all our bedrooms are upstairs -- so no issues!  In fact, our not-so-new home is the perfect setup for us.  There are two master suites, both having their own bathrooms.  So we naturally took the master that was next to the other two smaller bedrooms and had the potential to have a huge walk-in closet.  But now, any guest that we have stay with us basically has the entire opposite half of the our upstairs to themselves.  The kitchen in our not-so-new home is also so much nicer.  The porch is absolutely amazing and we are going to be living out there this summer.  & I feel like we have a lot of extra room.  And I feel like I can put my own touches on this home as there is much to be updated.  Where in Cleveland, everything was pretty much updated and we really couldn't see putting more money into something that worked just fine for us.  So overall, I'm so happy with my new home and realize the error of my ways in not wanting to move into this particular house back in last August.

---Speaking of our Cleveland home, it sold at the end of April.  And it sold in the same way as the move went.  In the worst, horrible way possible.  Our realtor really wasn't anywhere close to being in the realm of being on our side.  It left a terrible, terrible taste in our mouth.  It was a really sad way to close the chapter on our old home that I cared deeply for.  While I recognize that it wouldn't fit our family, I still miss being able to relive memories while walking through certain rooms and having flashbacks of different times over the past 7 years.

---And speaking of having a second master that is perfect for guests, life sometimes throws you huge curveballs.  And my best friend/sister from another mister had a huge curveball sent her way in January.  I won't get into her story as it's not mine to tell, but she chose to move to Philadelphia to start fresh.  She stayed with us for three months (February through May) and it was amazing to have my chosen sister back in my life again (chosen because I got to chose her to be my sister).  The last time that we had physically been in the same place was when she came to visit me in Cleveland the week before Finn was born -- so you can do the math on how long ago that was.  She quickly became a big part of our family and fit in so seamlessly, it was sublime.  She moved to Philadelphia in the middle of May and while I hadn't seen her for four years before, I miss her when I don't get to see her for more than two weeks.  But she is living an amazing life right now and I'm so happy that I get to be a part of it (and that I get to experience city living vicariously through her as well as sometimes going down to visit for a night here and there).

---Finn finished school and is out for summer break.  Holy hell, is it going to be a long summer.  I've made it through one week and I feel like she has already been out for about a month.  I'm in the process of making a bucket list for our summer to hopefully alleviate some of the summer boredom that is going to set in FAST and to hopefully make some amazing memories.
---In the fall, when Finn starts school up again, she will be in preschool.  She is going to be enroll in five-day preschool because we decided to enroll Fish in the two-day Step 1 program for two-year-olds.  It ends up that he is going to have either Finn old teacher or her old assistant -- they are splitting up Step 1 into two classes (the older class and the younger class), so we will see who he gets in the fall.

---An update on Fish.  I'm not sure if even mentioned at all our concerns with Fish's speech.  If I didn't, very briefly he wasn't speaking as much as he should have been and our pediatrician out here was concerned that he was lagging behind.  I wasn't particularly concerned (and neither was our pediatrician in Cleveland), but I had to jump through the hoops of getting him a hearing test (which he hated) and also scheduling an early in-home intervention evaluation (which he passed with flying colors).  I feel like he was always slightly behind linguistically -- but that he surpassed all the physical milestones that were supposed to happen at his current age.  Well, he is a jabber-jaw now.  He still uses a lot of vocal syllables that don't make sense in his sentences because he recognizes that everyone else is speaking in full sentences and he wants to as well.  He definitely gets his point across and I think it's beyond cute when it's all "aaaaaaah" and "uuuuuuuuh" in between the words that he wants to use to complete his thought.  He can easily say 5 word sentences, but will add in about 5-7 extra "words" to make it seem like he is telling a complex sentence.

---And lastly on Fish, he is still using his binky.  Finn had given up her binky already for a month at the age that Fish is currently at.  But Fish is very attached to his binky.  I'm hopeful that by the end of this summer that we will break him of the bink.  But it's going to be a LONG summer...  His current obsessions are trucks and doing anything just like sister (including wearing dresses and playing with My Little Ponys).
---Finn update would just consist of her being a serious sasser.  Not much more to say than that.  She is so smart -- too smart sometimes.  And she is the boss and the leader when she plays with friends (and on the rare occasion that she plays with Fish).  Her current obsessions are makeup and legos.

---We are trying to update the house little by little as you could have probably seen in the phone photo posts.  I've done a lot of painting with T (my bestie -- I put her to work).  We painted both the kitchen and the main master bedroom (both shades of gray).  We ungraded our closet into a walk-in closet -- which is absolutely amazing.  We also upgraded our pass-through fireplace doors (on both sides).  I'm currently trying to remove the wallpaper in the first floor water closet.  Knowing that it's a water closet, I'm sure you recognize that it's a teeny room.  But nonetheless, I will NEVER EVER wallpaper anything the rest of my life, just to save the person that comes after me from having to remove it if it's not their tastes.  I'm currently just using fabric softener and a putty knife.  It's easy work, but time consuming work.  Anther project in the works is the laundry room (upgrading our current slop sink into an apron sink and vanity).  On the further down the road list are all the bathrooms upstairs (two of them are still in their 1970s glory and the other was done to mimic the others, I think).

---The pets' update.  Munk is turning 11 this year.  He is overall doing well (I haven't taken him to the vet yet since being out here, but I'm scheduling that within the next month).  His lumps and bumps are getting bigger (in fact, we had one surgically removed in Cleveland and there is another growing underneath the other armpit).  We will see what the vet says about them -- none of them concern me but that one under his armpit.  He is moving slower, but still gets his puppy-on when someone breaks out a tennis ball.  Stella is turning 14 this year.  She has a really bad eye that was scratched two Christmases ago.  I took her to the vet out here and we were putting drops in her eyes multiple times a day.  Her eye hasn't gotten any better and there was talk of surgically removing her eye.  She also needs a bunch of teeth removed (probably all of them due to tooth rot).  I need to schedule her for a second opinion as the vet I was going to was the type that was quantity not quality of years (she wanted me to take Stella to a cardiologist for a heart murmur that was diagnosed back in 2011).  I need to see a vet that is going to shoot it to me straight about her condition.  Norman is doing great and turning 5 this year.  He misses Lucy dreadfully, but T had brought her cat Bennie with her when she moved up with us.  So for three months, he had a new kitty to play with.  In fact, he is so starved for attention and touch that he is letting the kids pet him (which is new to Norman).  He was always around the kids, but never letting them pull on him the way that Lucy would.  Now he sleeps with us sometimes and lets the kids pet them when we are going to sleep for the night.

---E's update is short and sweet.  He works a lot.  He tries to be present when he is home with us and tries to make it home in time for dinner every night.  Sometimes he makes it, sometimes he doesn't.  But he is home for dinner way more out here than he was in Cleveland.  I also try to keep him busy on house projects.  I make sure to do all that I can by myself, but I usually end up asking for some assistance and he takes over.  He moved all the motorcycles over to PA at the end of April and so with the summer here, I'm sure he is hopeful that he will be able to fart around in the garage.

---Speaking of the garage, he is going to have to share his garage for about4-6 weeks with a brood of chicks!  I'm getting chickens!!!!!  This has been in the works since December when E went and picked up our chicken coop for $200.  There will be a coop reveal later when we finish the chicken run (and I finish painting on the inside).  The chickens are actually on their way as I type!!!  They are getting overnight shipped to me and I'm going to be picking them up from the post office tomorrow morning (hopefully).  To say that I'm excited would be a small understatement.  And to say that E is not, would be the same.

---All the photos in the post were taken at the Please Touch Museum.  On Mother's Day, we headed down to Philadelphia and went to the kid's museum.  The kids had an amazing time and we will be heading back at some point.  I still get asked a lot of we are going to go back to the museum.

---I think that about gets everyone up to date.  If I think of more, I'll post it later.  I'm hopefully that I can keep in the swing of posting regularly again.  It keeps me behind the camera -- when I started looking at the photos from the past year for the kids' yearly updates, I realized how much I wasn't taking photos anymore.  I missed so many opportunities for photos, I felt like.  So hopefully, we are on the upswing of posting more.

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Week in the Life (v.2016.7)

The second half of May
This will finally make me update to date!!!!

School Daze 31.1
All of her babies see her off for the school day.

The peep show is coming!  The peep showing is coming!

This is totally staged by Finn (the two of them on either sofa "sleeping").

Our teacher's appreciation gift for the end of the school year.

School Daze 31.2

Someone was naughty and pushed the iPad off the counter.  The screen shattered, but it still works!  We put tape across the front so the pieces won't fall out and he is still using it (three weeks later).

His favorite song to sing.  In fact, if you ask him to sing a song, this is what he sings.

Being a silly boy

School Daze 31.3  Simply amazing...

Fish LOVES the garbage truck.  We have to stand outside and wave to them as they pick up the cans.

Static cling at the park for her picnic day at preschool.

Finn getting her certificate for preschool.  She isn't graduating yet (but this school also doesn't do graduation).

Sibling love

School Daze 32.2 (32.1 was picnic day and we were so rushed to get out of the house, that I didn't get a photo that morning).
Notice how he is posing like sissy.  This happens all the time.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Week in the Life (2016.6)

First half of May phone photos

I never learned how to french braid as a child.  So I taught myself on Finn's hair.  This is my best yet!

School Daze 29.1

Finn wanted to make sure that Unicorn got in the photo too.

Morning Fish

Sissy "painting' Brother's toes

School Daze 29.2

Daddy took them out for ice cream.  Brain freeze!

While Mama was away visiting a friend, they had a movie night!

The next morning, Daddy took them out for breakfast, but it was raining so they didn't get to play.  *insert sad face*

Another home project knocked out!  We replaced the old fireplace door in the kitchen with a new black modern one.

School Daze 29.3
It was her Mother's Day program at school so she had to dress the part.

Leather stud and studette

Her Mother's Day program was so sweet.  She sang songs and then gave me a flower & a special project.  We got to sit and eat a snack.  But I mentioned that we were going to have lunch with Daddy & Brother afterwards and she was over it.  She ran and got her coat and we were out of there so fast I couldn't even blink!

Her special song.  Makes my heart melt.

Lunch for Mother's Day (ish)

My babes

Sharing a soda-kind of date

That weekend we went to the "Please Touch" Museum in Philly.  They got to ride their first carousel. 

We also went to the thrift store that weekend.  Finn picked one thing.  Fish just couldn't stop picking things -- guess he loves a bargain.

This was my Mother's Day gift.  A teeny wine glass, a tiara, and a donut.  My kids totally get me.

School Daze 30.1
We are now starting to do "glamorous" poses.

Sharing some coffee in the morning

Everyone got in the act.

School Daze 30.2

Finn & Clifford

School Daze 30.3
All the "pets" had to get in on the shot and Fish's chest is all puffed out because he is Batman (duh!).

My house red and Norman eating my cilantro in the background.  Funny thing about this photo is that I had read that day that I should put my herbs in a vase just like flowers to make them last longer.  I put the cilantro in the glass that day.  The next day, it was DEAD -- like D.E.A.D.  Martha's going to have to do some great things to make me gain my trust in her again.

Finn's bestie at school had a birthday party.

This is after they took the cake off the table to cut it.  He was very concerned about the location of that cake.