We’re remodeling!

Starting next week, the contractors will be here to:

  • Pretty much gut our laundry room, kitchen, and formal dining room to make more of a mud room and a bigger eat-in kitchen.
  • Re-do our master bath by removing the “plastic” shower and making a tiled, walk-in shower.  It’d be nice to get a tub in there, but I just wasn’t willing to sacrifice the closet!
  • Start finishing off our basement.

There’s much that we want to do with the basement, but this will be just part of it.  We’re removing a window and installing an egress window to make a conforming bedroom and walling off a storage room.  The rest of the basement will be mostly unfinished.  In a few years, we’ll carpet it, install a kitchenette and a bathroom.  The plumbing is all roughed in down there; it was just more than we wanted to pay for right now.

Here are the basic plans:


We’re just making a couple of changes to this plan:

  • The island will be shortened slightly on both sides to make “traffic” flow easier.
  • We aren’t installing the cabinets by the kitchen table right away.  I think I want a furniture piece (if anything).  That’s easy to add after the fact if I change my mind.

Here are the things that I think we’re going with.  When it’s all said and done, I’ll let you know what we really use!


Some cool 3D renderings:

Circle House-Kitchen6 3d view 1

From our living room, looking into the kitchen area. Current floor plan is totally different.

Circle House-Kitchen6 3d view 2

Standing at the soon-to-be island, looking into the dining area. Next to the fridge will be a walk-in pantry.

Circle House-Kitchen6 3d view 3

From the dining area, looking at the island. We put the dining area here because there are windows (on the wall “behind” this picture) that look out to a wooded area – great view!

We got the results of Sammy’s CT Scan.  No surgery is needed — at least not right now.  His skull hasn’t fused yet, so there’s nothing to be done.  The nurse who called with the results said that his skull is “small and narrow”, but I don’t know what that means.  We have to follow up in January, so I’ll ask then.  We also meet with our pediatrician next week for his 6-month check up; he might have an idea too.

It’s quite the relief!

No More Moving Parts!

I am stressed these days.  (You can tell by my Pepsi consumption, unfortunately.)

  • Projects are blowing up at work.
  • Changes are happening there that affect me and got me worried.
  • People there are being snippy.  I’m being snippy.
  • Sammy’s potential upcoming surgery weighs on my mind.
  • Our big remodel is starting in 2 weeks.
  • I have things to pick out for the remodel with lots of confusion on my lighting choices.  (It’s tough to find something that you LOVE!)
  • My sister recently moved to South Carolina, which really stinks as she was a huge part of my life, having lived just up the street and was my babysitter.  Really stinks.
  • Finn had really been acting up and potty training was just dragging on and on and on and on.  (Seriously…we’re 10 months into this and still having 5-6 ‘accidents’ each day.  We’ve had some recent success in the last 2 weeks which has made this much better.)
  • Sammy’s stopped sleeping through the night.  He had been waking up once each night, wanting a bottle and then being WIDE awake.  Now he’s just waking up once a night, getting stuck in the crib and needing help.  But it’s still interrupted sleep.

I’m just ready for no more moving parts!  I’m ready for January – things will be much calmer then!

Potty Training Woes

I hate potty training!  Believe me, I’ve read all the books.  Twice.  All the magazine articles.  All the blogs.  It has not gone well.

We first started training Finn at 18 months.  Within a day, it was clear that he wasn’t ready and didn’t get it.  (It was also really clear that apple juice gives Finn diarrhea.  Naked + diarrhea + 18 month old = no fun!)  So we stopped.

Several months later when he was over 2 1/2, we did it again.  It went well initially, but not for long.  Lots of accidents and he just didn’t care.  He knew how to go potty.  He could tell that he had to go potty.  He’d go potty if you took him there.  He just didn’t care if he had an accident.  The promise of being a big boy didn’t matter.  Promise of preschool and going to the beach didn’t faze him.  Getting M&Ms or smarties wasn’t enough to make him go.  Having him go to the bathroom every hour didn’t help.  Accidents would still happen 10 minutes later.

Then this past summer, we really focused on it.  Helped, but didn’t get much more progress.  In addition to potty training not going well, Finn was not very obedient.  He’d be mean (in ways that 3 year olds are mean).  He’d disobey.  He’d ignore.  Sometimes because he just had a different idea than you did.  But sometimes, he’d disobey just for the sake of disobeying.

Enough we said.  Jeff & I started seeing a counselor with Finn.  She gave us some things to try and they seem to be working!  We focused on some things that I had been doing.  Some different things that Jeff had been doing.  Things that our babysitter had been doing.  But we weren’t all consistent.  I did things just a little differently than Jeff did who did things just a little differently than our babysitter did.

Nothing new we’ve done is rocket science.  We’re focusing on the positive. We’re being very verbal with our praise so that he knows when he’s done well. We’re downplaying the misbehavior as much as possible (addressing it without giving it lots of attention).  We’re spending concentrated one on one time with him.  We’ve made sure that all of us are consistent.

And it’s working!  Accidents are now few and far between.  In fact, he went 7 days without an accident and earned a trip to the Ferris Wheel at Scheels (he had seen a picture on Grammy’s phone).  This was from the kid who would have multiple accidents each day.  We only met with the counselor 3 times over the course of 2 months, but it was time and money well spent!


Potty Chart

As I mentioned before, our pediatrician was concerned about Sammy’s head shape at his 2 and 4-month appointments.  Our first son, Finn, needed surgery to fix his skull bones that had fused too early (called craniosyntosis).  The condition isn’t supposed to be genetic and yet, we might have 2 out of 3 boys with the condition.  (Oddly enough, our local news just did a story about our surgeon and a family that had 3 out of 3 kids that needed the surgery.)

Anywho…we met with the team on Tuesday.  It went okay.  Not great.  Not bad.  Just okay.  We met first with the primary surgeon (Dr. Miller) and he agreed with our pediatrician: it looks iffy.  It isn’t a clear decision: the bones aren’t obviously fused, but the head shape isn’t quite right.  We learned that his forehead is fused, but that alone isn’t enough to need surgery.  That won’t be overly cosmetically weird nor will it obstruct brain growth.

But the bones that run from the front of the head to the back (like the ‘spine’ of a football if you will) are the ones that they’re concerned with.  Enough so that they wanted to get a CT scan.

One of the beautys of this practice is that it’s connected to the hospital, so off to radiology, we went!  Bad news: Sammy didn’t stay sleeping so his head moved too much to get a clean scan.  We’d have to schedule it for another time.

Back to the clinic  we went to meet with their geneticist.  Who turned out to be a former sorority sister of mine from college!  She’d like to enroll our family in a study being done in California.  It doesn’t take much from us to do this.  It isn’t like we’d need to fly out there or take medicines.  They just want a blood sample from each of us, so that they can map genes.  If Sammy needs the surgery, they’ll send a medical sample of his skull to see if anything can be learned from it.  Should he need surgery, this seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Next we talked with 2 brain surgeons and a medical resident.  They agreed with Dr. Miller’s assessment: looks iffy; need to see a CT Scan.

We have a CT Scan scheduled for Monday – hoping that answers starting coming after that.

Samuel: 5 months old!

Well, it appears that my last post was one month ago when Sammy turned 4 months old.  I used to blog more often.  But, you know what?  It doesn’t bother me.  It is what it is!

And what it is … is that Sammy is 5 months old!

His scrapbook page:


A recent picture:

(With his brothers who discovered their Halloween costumes from last year)


Samuel: 4 months old!

Sammy turned 4 months old last week!  I’m a little late on this post because I wanted to wait until after we saw the pediatrician, which was yesterday.

He’s growing great!  Staying right on his track for height and weight.  Rolls over front to back and back to front.  No teeth yet, but he practically always has his hands in his mouth, so it wouldn’t surprise if there are teeth coming soon.  And, to me, he’s starting to look like his brothers, although he looked different from them when he was born.

Now for the bad news: It’s likely that they’ll have to do SOMETHING for his head shape.  The pediatrician isn’t certain that the bones are fused yet, but it looks like something isn’t right based upon the shape.  It isn’t a flat head like some babies get, but our doctor thinks that they might recommend a helmet to help shape the head instead of surgery.  But we don’t know yet – we have an appointment at the craniofacial clinic, but not until the end of next month.  So we’ll wait and pray!

His scrapbook page:


A recent picture:



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