(See previous posts here and here and here.)  WOO HOO!  Our powder room is practically done!  We got the new sink installed late last week.  We installed the faucet over the weekend.  Then yesterday, we made a spontaneous decision to also replace the toilet too.  It was on our long term list, but thought we’d do it at the same time that we replaced the floors.  But we decided to chuck the ‘light tan toilet with a cream toilet seat’ in favor of a nice white one.  Looks great!

We ended up having to order the sink twice.  The first one was damaged in shipping, so back it went.  It was a small chip, but I just knew that I’d look at the sink every day and think “Man, I sure wish it wasn’t damaged.”  It’s one thing if WE damage it; it’s another to pay full price for something already damaged.

What’s left to be done:

  • I want to replace the outlets and switches with white ones.  Right now they’re an almond color.  This should be simple; I just need to learn how to do it.
  • Caulking the sink near the walls.  I need to do some more research on this first – use white to match the sink?  Use clear and paint it the same color as the walls?  Hmmm…

Total Cost:

This definitely wasn’t a DIY job meant to be done as cheaply as possible.  My sister did fix the walls for us and gave us the artwork and mirror as Christmas gifts, but…we ordered a custom sink.  And we replaced the functional-but-ugly toilet – that didn’t need to be done.  And we hired a plumber to install that toilet.

  • Sink: $240
  • Plumber & other plumbing supplies: $180
  • Paint & Stain & supplies: $35
  • Hardware: $10
  • Total: $465(ish)

Summary: My blog is not the place you should come to in order to find projects done as cheaply as possible!

The-pretty-much-everything-is-done-except-for-the-outlets picture:


Before-And-After Photo:


1 year old!

Stephen’s 1!  (And has been for a week. What my sister-in-law Amy says is true…You know you’re a first born when a) Mommy doesn’t mention your birthday yet on facebook and b) Your mom hasn’t posted pictures of your cake smash(es) yet, c) Your mom hasn’t blogged about your birthday yet and d) Well, lots of other things.)

But…he’s 1!  And he got 2 birthday parties to prove – one with each side of the family in each of the 2 cities that they live in.  This is the first time that we’ve a) hosted a birthday party and b) hosted many people at our new-to-us-but-still-got-it-a-year-ago house.

BUT…here’s some pictures to prove that it happened.

Our party in Columbus with Jeff’s side of the family:



Our party in Omaha with my side of the family:


It’s hard shopping for a 1 year old who already has lot of toys, plenty of clothes AND is getting things from other family members.  Stephen will often throw himself onto pillows and blankets that are lying around, so Jeff had the idea of making a big pillow just for him.  So I made one real quick with some super soft fleece and I think it was a hit!  (And not just with him — the other kids liked it too!)



His 12-month-old scrapbook page:



And a recent family picture (pre-cake smashes):


Open Enrollment

Medically insurance speaking, it’s Open Enrollment in this house.  When did things get so complicated?  Ah, yes, I remember now.  They got complicated when I stopped being single and started having more than 1 plan to choose from.

They got more complicated when we had kids and moved up into “Family” plans instead of “Employee” or “Employee + 1″.

They got more and more complicated when we had a baby last year and a head surgery — that will make you take “Max Out Of Pocket” really seriously!

Seriously, I had to end up creating the spreadsheet-to-last-through-the-ages to help us determine what our best options were.  Jeff’s HDHP?  My HDHP?  Cover Jeff as an individual, then do a family plan with my employer?  Cover me as an individual, then do a family plan with Jeff’s employer?  What if Jeff & I each took a kid onto our plan(s)?

AND…What are the results if we have practically no medical expenses next year?  What if we have another baby AND another head surgery?  What if every member of the family ends up visiting the ER 20 times?  What if?  What if?  What if?

The answer is different if we expect no medical expenses (which we don’t) compared to expecting every person to need a $50,000 surgery (we don’t expect that either).  So, I created a spreadsheet with all our options, all the possible coverage permutations and it allowed for inputs like expected medical expenses.

But, man, this used to be easier!  (Not complaining because we are truly blessed to have the medical insurance options that we do have in a place with excellent medical care and that we generally have good health.)

I Want To Remember

I made a list this summer of some of the things that I want to remember.  Time to add to that list!

The boys aren’t significantly older than they were then, but we’re always adding to the list of things that I hope I can hold onto in my mind.  Lately:

  • When Phinehas wakes up earlier than Stephen, he asks to make Peanut Butter toast.  We then sit outside on our back deck and look at the stars.  Our house backs up to a trail and a wooded area and it is DARK outside and you can see the stars perfectly.  We don’t stay long — either a toddler’s attention is hard to hold, it gets too cold or we hear Stephen wake up.
  • We look for the turkeys every day and we see them most days.  I think they sleep in a tree right behind our house.
  • Stephen usually always has something in his hands.  It started with a plastic toy magnifying glass, but lately, it doesn’t matter — a spatula is often a favorite thing to hold.
  • Both boys love to be naked after their bath and to “run” down the hall.  When there are no more babies at our house, I’m gonna miss the sound of giggles and the sight of little baby butts running down the hall.
  • We’re using up our last days of being a family without a mini-van.  We just bought one last night and we’ll have it on Saturday.  For 2.5 years now, the boys & I have done quite well in my little Corolla, but I’m looking forward to a car that Finn can get in and out of by himself (obviously, he’ll still need help with his carseat.)
  • How every once in a while, Finn wants to be rocked before he falls asleep.  “Mama, Rocky You”.  He really means “Mama, Rock Me”.
  • Phinehas’ language has just skyrocketed in the last few months.  Out of nowhere, complete sentences are there.  Common ones: “I do all by myself” and “Mama, stop doing that.”
  • I’m struck at how much they look alike.  Will this continue?  So intriguing!  Here are pictures of both boys at the same ages:

kids_week48 copy

kids_week51 copy

A few months ago, I read a fictional story based upon the biblical story of Ruth.  It takes the facts that the Bible gives us and makes up what we don’t know — things that might have happened, but we have no way of knowing.  The book is “In the Field of Grace” by Tessa Afshar and it was very well done.

One of the quotes from the book that really, really, really stood out to be was said by Boaz to Ruth about one of the things that he noticed about her.

“You chose to be an outsider for the sake of a hurting widow. You accepted loneliness so that she could have companionship. You did all this because you refused to abandon Naomi.”

I loved that observation: she took on loneliness so that someone else could have companionship.  What a beautiful way to say that she was a servant to someone.  When put that way, she is Christ-like, who took on loneliness so that He could be with us.  He gave up His intimate, hard-to-fathom, unique fellowship that He had with the Father and the Holy Spirit to come to a strange-to-Him place in a strange-to-Him body so that we might have Him – for a little while, but also forever, in eternity.

Ruth refused to abandon Naomi.

Christ refused to abandon us.

Ruth accepted the loneliness of a new culture and people group.

Christ accepted the loneliness of being a man.

Thank God for the example of Ruth.  And for authors who help make things more real

Grandma Ruth

My Grandma Ruth passed away yesterday, Sunday morning in her sleep.  She was 81 years old and had been married to my grandpa Delbert for 61 years (I believe).  She had 6 children, 15 grandchildren and at least 12 great-grandchildren (with more on the way!).  Her sisters had already passed away before her (all 3 of them were exactly 70 when they passed!) as well as my father, her oldest son.

She was a great grandmother to us.  Especially since my father passed away when I was just about 8.  My mom did a great job at keeping us involved with that side of the family – for holidays, random get togethers.  They were often at our Little League games growing up.  And they still came over for our birthday celebrations or “just because” Sunday afternoon dinners.  They were super supportive when my mom started dating again after my dad died — even encouraging her to remarry her long time boyfriend, Bill.  (My mom did – but 24 years after my father died after dating Bill for 23 years!)

She was great at cards, even though Alzheimers had set in the later years.  She knew how to play!  SkipBo and Phase 10 were favorites of our family.  And she was always up for holding babies – even when they become stronger and wiggly!

She was loved well by so many and we’ll miss her.



11 months old!

This past weekend, Stephen turned 11 months old!  Getting even cuter and more fun to have around.  Every once in a while, I’ll sense someone coming up behind me, only to realize that it’s a really little guy — yup, Stephen is a walker!  It’s strange to see someone so little walking.  (Not that he’s walking super early or anything, just that kids his age are well, small, yet they can fully move!)

His scrapbook page:


A couple of recent pictures:




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