Archive for the ‘our life’ Category

In this latest edition of “Things I want to Remember”…

Stephen had his 15-month check up at the pediatrician’s office last week.  Went great.  They didn’t write down his numbers for me (I thought they would, so I didn’t bother writing them down), but if memory serves, he’s:

  • 90th percentile for height
  • 20th percentile for weight (which surprised me a little bit cause that boy can eat!  And he’s got a little baby belly on him.  But I guess that’s why it’s called a baby belly — babies have them!)
  • 70th percentile for head size

None of those are radically off from where he’s been in the past, so he’s growing!  He isn’t saying as many words as they’d like.  He pretty much only says Dada and Daddy.  (Yes, no mama yet).  But he does ‘talk’ all the time.  We’ll just keep watching it.

Finn recently took the “child lock” off his bedroom door.  For about a year since Finn’s been tall enough to open bedroom doors himself, we’ve “locked him” in his room at night with one of those child safety locks.  I just had visions of him escaping at night, running down to the kitchen and practicing a knife throwing routine for the circus.  Last night, I was working in my room and he came in twice and handed me the lock. He hadn’t figured out how to open the door with the lock, but rather to take the lock off!  Oh well…we had been thinking that it was time to do so anyway since we’ll eventually want to night potty train him and we’ll want him to be able to leave his room to go to the bathroom. This is as good a time as any before he and Stephen share a room soon.

We’re eating through our freezer!  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here, but I blog occasionally for Mom Saves Money and I’ve been posting how my deep freeze has gotten out of control.  So, we’ve been intentionally eating from the freezer this month instead of adding to it.  Lessons learned: we don’t really eat frozen pizza, but we do eat cheese!  This week’s goal is to organize, organize, organize!  Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four.

Home improvements – but not the fun kind.  Our house has a toy room.  I mean, I’m sure it was intended to be a family room, but for us, it’s a toy room.  But man, it gets cold!  We suspect the fireplace is leaking and maybe the door to the back deck, so we had a home inspector come in who has an infrared camera.  Diagnosis: the fireplace is leaking, the door is fine, but your attic doesn’t have adequate insulation and your furnace is old.  Really old.  Like 28 years old.  Like “How are you all not dead yet?” kind of old.  And same with the water heater.  So, last week, we got a new water heater.  And a new furnace.  Next week is more attic insulation.  I need to price out getting the fireplace converted to gas.  It’s wood burning, but it’s been stuffed full of styrofoam from the previous owners and I’m afraid to look in it!

And man, my kids are cute!


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With a new baby coming, I started to think about Finn & Stephen sharing a bedroom.  At first, I was just going to set up Stephen’s bed in Finn’s room and move him in there when the time was right.  But I realized that the best room for 2 kids was actually Stephen’s room.  Simply because of where the closet was in the room, it gave more walls for more beds & dresser.  So that meant:

  • Making the nursery into a “big boy” room.
  • Moving Finn into that “big boy” room now.
  • Making the current “big boy” room into a “nursery”.
  • Moving Stephen into that “nursery”.
  • Move Stephen into the “big boy” room when Baby #3 comes.
  • Baby #3 sleeps in the “nursery.”

Since I was never really thrilled about the color of the nursery, I wanted to repaint.  I didn’t have to – it was a perfectly fine color; just not one that I wanted anymore.  And it’s easier to repaint it when you’re moving furniture around anyway AND before 2 boys sleep there instead of 1.  So I repainted it white.  Stark white.  Never had a white room before.

BUT…I also did a big stripe near the bottom (but not at the bottom) of the wall.  AND I painted the trim!  I didn’t do the door trim yet — not brave enough for that, but I did the trim next to the floor!  I LOVE the way it looks, so that’s further confirmation that it’s the path that I want to go.

I don’t have any BEFORE pictures, but here’s the AFTER pictures.  (BTW…one of my goals for 2015 is to photograph my house – as it is, in all it’s imperfections.  It’ll be fun for memory lane sakes.)

It isn’t done, of course.

  • I ordered curtains in navy for the room.  Didn’t like them.  Will keep looking.
  • We’ll set up a Toddler bed in there for Stephen in a couple of months.  It’ll go across from Finn’s next to the window.
  • The boys have coordinating bedspreads (which they didn’t get for Christmas).  Eventually, they’ll get those.  Finn already has a comforter, but with potty training, it’s easier to use blankets because when accidents happen, I can wash everything in 1 load.
  • I want to add more 8×11 pictures to the wall, which I’ll do over time.  When Baby #3 is born, we’ll take family pictures again, so that might provide a nice opportunity for more photos.


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Keeping Christmas Organized

A few years ago (probably when I married Jeff and doubled the size of my family and the people that I was shopping for), I started keeping a little file of Christmas things.  Mostly the gifts that I was planning to buy and the status of them – Had I bought the gifts yet?  Have I wrapped the gifts yet?  It’s super nice when I’m in the mode of “did I get this figured out yet or not?” brainstorming sessions.  Then I don’t end up buying 2 gifts for 1 person and no gifts for someone else.  And it makes it harder to forget someone — I just start with last year’s list and make changes.

I also include things that I made for different dinners…like green bean casserole when we got together with friends or Chex Mix when we went to Jeff’s parents place.  That way, I could remember if things were hits or misses.  Like last year, when we had 8 dessert choices for 12 family members.  This year, I brought something different!

It’s nice because I have a record of the gifts I bought people, so I can make sure I’m not the aunt “who always gives me a doll”.  Unless, that niece always wants a doll.

Anyway, it’s helped my sanity.  Maybe it’d help yours too.

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I want to remember these things, but I’m sure time will steal them from my mind to make room for other things.  I’m not good at taking pictures, I guess – too busy living in front of the camera instead of behind it (which is good in a way, not so good in others).  But here are the good and not-so-good things that I want to remember about Christmas 2014.

  • This was our year to travel to Jeff’s family’s town to celebrate Christmas Day.  Which meant the boys slept a strange-to-them place.  Tip for the future: They do better when they’re in separate rooms.  Once we separated them, instant sleep!
  • Putting toothpaste in your 2-year-old (Finn)’s stocking means that he’ll get into it when you aren’t looking and spread some on the table in the toy room.  And in his hair.  And 2 days later, you’ll discover more of it on his play fort and the carpet.  Smells yummy though.
  • Cheesy potatoes still rock!
  • Christmas ham is way better than Thanksgiving turkey!  (Even good turkey.)
  • 1 is such a fun age because everything is fun and they aren’t yet tall enough to get into too much trouble.
  • 1 year olds taken off milk & formula due to suspected dairy allergies eat all.the.time.  ALL.THE.TIME!
  • 2 1/2 is a fun age because they haven’t yet realized that Christmas means presents and they just think it’s so cool that they got anything.
  • In fact this year, Finn seems to think that Christmas = tree.  No matter how many times we explained that it was Jesus’s birthday or a holiday or a set day, it didn’t matter.  Anytime he saw a Christmas tree anywhere it was “Christmas!”.
  • Just because I think it’s a good idea to “surprise” your husband with a Christmas gift, don’t do it.  Even if you don’t really think it’s a Christmas gift, but something he would buy anyway and you didn’t wrap it, but just put it in his stocking, don’t do it.  It smells of violating agreements.
  • Spending nearly 2 days without facebook, personal email or work email is glorious.  Confirmed that while I want a smartphone, I don’t really want a smartphone.
  • 2 year olds that get really cranky and tired need trips to towns 40 minutes away “just because”.  It makes them fall asleep.  Even if it is 8:00 am on Christmas morning.  Even if all you do is see the town’s airport and turn right back around.
  • All the boys got from us (their parents) were a new toothbrush, toothpaste and socks.  No, we weren’t trying a new minimalist trend.  Or trying to prevent a feeling of entitlement.  We bought them more than that.  We wrapped more than that.  We got them books, puzzles, bedspreads, but they’d already gotten so many Christmas presents from other people that it’d be overwhelming at this point to give them more.  Should I save them for their birthdays?  I just don’t know what to do there.
  • I never even took Stephen’s Christmas outfit off the hanger.  Jeff’s family typically doesn’t dress up for Christmas, so while I took it with us to his hometown, he never wore it.  I guess I’ll take it back!
  • Highlights of the gifts for Jeff & I: an updated navigation DVD for our mini-van, money for a new desk chair for Jeff, gift certificates to Nebraska Furniture Mart, Ascension expansion pack and an additional crockpot!
  • Highlights of the gifts for Finn: Scooter from Jeff’s parents, Big Wheel from my mom.  Guess there’s gonna be a lot of speed in our future!  He also loves the take-a-part plane from Aunt T.
  • Highlights of the gifts for Stephen: a picnic table set, lots of books, and a toy ladybug set that shoots out balls.

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Protecting my sanity

As you may know, I work.

  • 3 days of the week, I’m home by 12:30.
  • 1 day of the week, I work til 2:00, so that I can pick up my niece & nephew from school.
  • And the other day of the week, I work my “all day” day — but even that’s only until 3:30.

But not so much this week. This week, due to a couple of ill-timed events (mostly a training class), I have to work all day Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday. And not to my definition of “all day”, but the traditional definition of “all day” aka: until 5:00 p.m.

As I plan out this week, how do people do this? Like on a normal basis? Sure, I have the added pressure of finding full-time daycare when I normally only need part-time daycare, but that’s easily handled in my situation.

The question: How do people do the “we’re both walking in the door at 5:30 and bedtime is in 90 minutes” evening rush? Even crockpot meals and heating up leftovers take time to put together. And who wants to be rushed all the time?

The answer: You just do it. Just like I adjusted to getting married and the changes that brought. Just like I adjusted to having a child and the changes that brought. Just like I adjusted to having a 2nd child and the changes that brought. Just like I adjusted to moving houses and the changes that brought.

When you know about it before hand and when something is temporary (like this week), you make small adjustments.

So, for us, it’s a take-and-bake pizza, a crockpot meal and leftovers. It might mean a slightly later bedtime for the boys. You just do what you gotta do. But it’s a nice reminder that I don’t want to live this way on a regular basis.

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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

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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.



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