HELLO FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Possibilities.

We as a family visited our first church since the move last Sunday. Kevin checked it out last week, before bringing the troops (me and kids) along into a new place, and he came home reporting that we'd probably like it! He was right, and I'm excited about this maybe being our church home here!

It's a Berean church. We'd never heard of that before and were quite leery about it, but from everything we've read about their doctrine, they sound like just a normal, Bible teaching church! The name "Berean" comes from this verse in the Bible: "Now the Bereans...Received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day..." Acts 17:11 It all looks much like our last two Bible churches really. I'd link you to the church website with their info, but I try to keep our location private, and I can't find a general website for that "denomination".

This is what I was looking for in a church: a) good, Biblical teaching with life application, b) people with whom we could connect with, and c) more than just a once-a-week service. And this church had all of that. The teaching was good. The people are great! We even got invited to a family's house for dinner following church! Wonderful family! And there were a few people I talked to that I immediately felt comfortable with and could see future friendship. There's a young adult Sunday school class, Sunday morning church, Sunday night church, and Wednesday AWANA. The music was a nice mix of contemporary songs and the old hymns we like. And even more than all that, when talking with the family over lunch (the husband is the song leader), it came out that they could use more piano players and vocalists, both of which I could do. So that got me excited even more that I could even be used at this church and serve in a ministry besides just nursery duty! We also learned over lunch that there are several families that do homeschool. It's something we've been thinking a lot about, so knowing there are some families that do and some that don't gave us an open door to either option. (I didn't want to homeschool if there were NO other families in the community that did that. I think it's very important to have that network of support, encouragement, and fellowship.) So we'll see! There is still another church or two we might check out just to be sure we know our options, but this one does look like a good one! What an answer to prayer!

Possibilities

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy birthday!

Today Eli put this big funnel on his head and shouts
"Happy Birthday!"

Oh the imagination of a child is priceless!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All in a day's work.

Yesterday was a big day for Hannah! She...

#1 Learned how to go down steps! All of them!
video

#2 Learned how to get down off the couch.
video


#3 Puts her toy phone up to her ear.
video

And another video just because she's so darn sweet!
video

Monday, January 26, 2009

First tractor ride.

Last week on one of our warmer days Kevin took Eli on his first tractor ride. Eli just sat quietly taking it all in, but in the end I think he really loved it!


By the way, we don't farm or even have any land besides our big yard. Kevin's family does have a farm though and since we didn't know what kind of equipment to get for snow removal this first winter, they suggested letting us borrow one of their tractors that they never use. Kevin's dad had a blast getting it all ready for us! Turns out we put it to use yesterday, and with one quick drive down the lane the snow was all scooped! Nice!

And while Eli went for a tractor ride, Hannah got a wagon ride!


And towards the end of it all we saw another beautiful sunset. I have not figured out how to take a good sunset picture, but this is what I did capture.


I love my kids.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yay for furniture!

I just wanted to report that moving day went VERY well yesterday! Kevin's family was coming to help with the kids, and I was nervous about juggling his parents, the kids, and the movers as I checked off the item list when things came in the door and gave orders for where to put everything. But it all went great, and I couldn't have been more pleased!

The driver told us he'd arrive between 9 and 10am yesterday, so I got up early to get myself dressed and ready and then as soon as the kids got up (7:30/8ish) I got their breakfast going right away and got them dressed quickly. But just as I was about to change Eli, I saw the truck pull up in front of the house at 10 minutes before 9:00. So in record time, 30 seconds flat probably, I had Eli changed and ready to go, and I dashed out the door to greet the moving guys. They said they were going to figure out where to put the truck and they'd be in in a minute so I put Hannah in the pouch and Eli in the playroom with a movie, and we were set to go!

I am such a nerd and labeled the upstairs bedrooms, so when I told them which room to put things in, they'd know without me having to lead them around. I hadn't anticipated though, and it was great, that we did a quick walk-through before starting, and it gave them a great idea of what was happening with our house (with carpet coming soon) and which doors would be good to use. Just as they started to bring boxes in Kevin's family pulled up, so it was all just perfect timing! Nannie and Mom kept Eli company in the back room as he watched the Cars movie. And Hannah was happy as could be in the pouch and she was all warm, so I kept her there, and together we checked numbers off the item list (it kind of felt like we were playing Bingo!). Eli was SUCH a good boy and stayed in the back room watching the movie with bear and blankie, despite the commotion just outside the room. He watched most of the movie and then when he decided he was done, Grandpa took him outside to watch the moving truck and walk around a bit. And when his wagon was unloaded off the truck, he was happy as could be and then went for a ride in his wagon with Grandpa. Grandma and Nannie then were still inside finishing that movie and then once the couches were unloaded, they came out by me and sat on the couches. When the movers took a short break, I put Hannah down for her morning nap, not knowing if she'd be able to sleep very long at all with all the noise in the house, but she ended up sleeping a solid 2 hours, despite the noise right outside her door!

Now I knew it would be cold with the doors open all day and had turned the air down appropriately, but I hadn't expected was HOW cold it would be!!! It was about 30 degree outside, a few snow flurries, and overcast for most of the day, so it was FREEZING inside! I had Mom and Nannie buried under blankets the best I could. And I doubled up my socks and had gloves on. Brrr! Kevin got home from work around 10:30am, and he helped watch box numbers, so we could mark off the list. And when a very cold Eli finally came back inside, he watched the movers for awhile and was good about staying out of the way. But after awhile I just thought he looked sooo cold, even though he was still wearing hat and gloves, so I set him up with movie #2 (Finding Nemo) just so he'd stay in the back room where it was a lot warmer. When Hannah woke up from her good, long nap, she snuggled up with Nannie and Grandma who were back watching the movie with Eli. They gave the kids graham crackers for snacks, since we were kind of skipping past lunch time by this point, and everyone was happy.Anyhoo, it all went really really well except 1) our boxsprings for the beds don't fit around the turn in the stairs so we still have to figure that out, and 2) just as it was getting to the end we realized we hadn't seen my French horn. So we dug through EVERY box to try to find it and much frustration and a phone call to the packers later, we FINALLY found it out in the garage packed with garden stuff. Go figure. But what a HUGE relief! On packing day it wasn't allowed to be considered a valuable since it's not an electronic (seriously...), so it was just thrown in with everything else even though it's worth almost $1000 probably and it's not even mine, it was my mom's! So what a relief it was to find that! Then we could finish up and sign all the papers that everything was received. The only thing noticeably damaged was our microwave--the handle had snapped off. So we go pick a new microwave sometime and they pay for it, easy as that!

The kids were FANTASTIC! I was sooo proud of them! I hadn't had time to nurse Hannah at all since she woke up in the night at 5:50am, and she made it all the way 'til almost 2:30pm!! And Eli was a charm! He was understanding, stayed out of the way, and had fun doing his own little thing for the day either watching his movies or being outside playing with Grandpa.

The moving guy was soo nice--the big teddy bear kind of guy. When I told him we're getting new carpet upstairs in a couple weeks, he understood what we'd have to do to make it easier for us to move things later. He was so easy to work with and made me feel comfortable that I was handling the move on my own for awhile until Kevin got home.

The whole move finished around 2:00pm, then we heated up some smokies to snack on for lunch, and we got the kids down for their naps. They both woke up around 5:00 and we all headed off to Omaha to celebrate Mom's birthday (which is today) at Cracker Barrell. It was a really late night for us (really late bing 9:45, haha!) by the time we got the kids in bed finally, but overall it was a very good day!

Now we have a house FULL of furniture of STUFF! I cannot believe all the stuff we have! After going 4 months without these things and being just fine for the most part, I decided I really want to downsize and get rid of a lot more things. We thought we did that before the move and got rid of a garage full of things on a sale, but even still there is just so much! I'm overwhelmed at all the boxes to unpack and all the PAPER! Oh my goodness, the PAPER! There was a MOUNTAIN of paper piled up in our house yesterday, but the guys burned a good portion of it during the kids' nap. And that's only the START! Ugh! It's so exciting to see furniture in our house though. It's really starting to feel like a home, even with the mess or maybe because of the mess. And once we get thing rearranged a bit, those boxsprings out of the living room, all the boxes unpacked, and the paper thrown away, we'll finally be able to breathe again! So fun though! Okay, and I'm off to work--there's much to do!

Monday, January 19, 2009

2 1/2 Years!


I can hardly believe that Eli is officially 2.5 today! Wow, where has the time gone?! Here are his updates:

* Stats: 35 1/4 inches tall, ~37 lbs, blond hair, brown eyes, size 2T/3T, size 7 shoe (just recently got Thomas the Train velcro shoes with the red lights that flash when he walks!)
* Lately it appears that he's becoming more and more left-handed. He used to use both hands equally but at meal times I'm noticing a preference for his left hand (like Daddy).
* Bedtime favorites: pillow and 2 blankies. As long as he has those he can sleep anywhere. In a big bed, small bed, or even on the floor.
* Sleep patterns: takes a 2-3 hr nap around 2pm, bedtime at 8:00pm, wakes up between 7:30-8:00am. He stays in bed and waits for me to come in, saying "Mommy, I awake!"
* Big brother things to do: feeds Hannah, gives her toys (more on this), cheers for her when she goes up the stairs, protects her and tries to pull her back when she might be close to falling down the stairs, says "No, no, Hannah" and tells me when she's getting into something she shouldn't (trust me though, I do watch her too)
* When she has something he wants, he'll find a different toy to give her and then takes hers away, saying "My took away". We're working on that. He's trying to be nice but it's still not quite right.
* His favorite thing to do is play in the sink. He literally could play in the sink for a full hour and not make a peep, just playing in the water and "washing dishes". Unfortunately he doesn't get to do this too often because everything gets very wet in the process.
* No matter what you're doing in the kitchen, he'll always drag a chair over so he can see what you're doing.
* He loves trains and even watched a entire show on the History channel about trains.
* He likes to pretend that Hannah's push walker is a vacuum.
* He pretends talking on the phone all the time.
* He loves to play kitchen and pretend he's making cookies, sharing coffee, adding salt to something, or eating an ice cream cone.
* He pretends the garage is a car wash every time we pull in.
* He pretends his closet is an elevator.
* After bath he loves to wrap his towel around himself and call himself "King Elijah!"
* He loves containerizing and dumping things out, or putting things in and out of buckets.
* He loves finding water towers and silos when we're in the car. If the water tower is hiding behind trees he says "Shh, sleeping". Then when it's in clear sight again, he says "Oh, awake!" He does the same thing with the moon behind clouds.
* He loves to make up his own songs.
* He talks all the time, but around others he's usually shy.
* He still has no real interest in potty training.
* Good manners: says "oh, excuse me" when he burps; says "bless you" when you sneeze"; says "privacy please" and hides somewhere when he needs to poop; is quiet and whispers when you're on the phone, Hannah's sleeping, or we're in church; says "May I have...please" when he
asks for something; says "thank you" when you give him something
* Favorite chores: dishes, putting laundry in the washer, vacuuming, and sweeping
* Favorite movies: The Lion King, The Sword and the Stone; Ice Age
* Favorite shows: Bob the Builder, Thomas the Train, and Sesame Street
* Favorite game: hide and seek
* Favorite craft: anything really. loves play dough, gluing things, and finger painting.
* Favorite foods: anything noodles. MILK. cereal. he eats most everything, once we get him to stop talking and just eat of course.
* Dislikes: peanut butter

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Moving day!

The movers are coming on TUESDAY!!! It's been 4 MONTHS since we've seen any of our things, so it's going to feel like we won the lottery as we open all the boxes! I so can't wait to turn our house into a HOME! I get all my recipes back, spices, cooking utensils, baking dishes, and real plates! We've just been washing and re-using disposable plastic plates. We get a washer and dryer back so we don't have to go to the laundromat again. And we get BEDS to sleep in! Man, I will never take these things for granted again! I am thankful for how comfortable we've been despite the circumstances, but I'm excited to be done with it so we can finally FINALLY get settled! An exciting week it's going to be!

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's frustrating when...

...you keep spilling $90 eye drops all over your cheek! Ugh! Why can't I get better at this?!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A message for Emily.

When we lived in Connecticut, Eli was good friends with a girl named Emily who was a little over a year older than him. Here's his little message for her today:

video

11 Months.

I didn't do as good about writing things down this past month but I'll do my best at remembering Hannah's updates:

* She's definitely getting more and more interactive and fun. She's a silly girl and likes to shake her head "no" a LOT and do little wiggles and dances. She's a quiet, content little thing and still has the sweetest little coos and goos. You can't help but go crazy over her!
* She's trying to form words as she smacks her lips and says "mamama" "dadada" "bababa" "and "hah"
* A couple times she copied the sign for "more".
* A big thing of this month is that she's shifting into table food. Baby foods that she used to love, like sweet potatoes, she's refusing. Table foods that she likes: grapes, cooked carrots, celery, hominy (don't know what that is? click HERE to see), green beans, yogurt, cottage cheese, peaches, pears, bananas, noodles, crackers, pretzals, nutri-grain bars, animal crackers.
* She likes to drop her food on the floor, then lean over to look at it.
* She's getting even closer to walking. She stands on her own for just a second before toppling back down to the floor. She can walk when you just hold one of her hands. She practically runs across the house with her push walker. And every once in awhile she tries to walk on her to get to you, but she takes half a step and falls back down.* She will put everything in her mouth, including those Asian Lady Beatles (yuck!!), so you have to keep very close watch on her all the time.
* We started her on another type of sippy cup, and she does very well with it, but still doesn't drink all that much to count for anything.* She's figured out how to get her cute little hair bow out in about 2 seconds flat from when I put it in.* No new teeth, but we're pretty sure she's getting her top fronts in very soon.
* Feeding patterns-- she nurses at 5:30 am (we're in process of nixing that), 9:30am, 2:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:30pm. Sometimes we drop one of those during the day. Plus she eats breakfast, lunch, dinner with us. Seeing that she's one month away from turning 1 YEAR we're definitely moving towards weaning!! Not an easy process though!
* Sleeping patterns-- 2 hr nap around 10 am and 2 hr nap around 2pm. Bedtime at 7:30/8:00 . Sleeps solid until 4:30 or 5:30am, eats and then back to sleep until 7:30/8:00am.
* Stats: rough measurements are 20-21lbs and ~28 inches tall.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A new life.

We have been desperate to get outside lately and since the winds were back down today, we bundled up and out we went while Hannah was napping. Here was this morning's activity: picking up corn cobs in the yard. It's a hefty fee for trash pickup, so instead we're trying to burn what we can and recycle the rest. So the corn cobs help keep the fire going. Sorry to you environmentalists! I guess it's just an experiment for now to see if it will work.We don't have Eli's wagon right now so we just used Eli's Scooby Doo popcorn can.

I saw this right away when we were first looking at the house: a perfect tree for sitting, so it's about time we tried it out. About 4 ft off the ground, a perfect perch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eye update.

Wow, you all overwhelmed me with your kind responses and help regarding my eye problems! Thank you so much!!

I dropped the kids off at a friend's house and was able to go to the doctor today. The family doctor then referred me to an eye doctor and had an appointment set up for me for the next hour since he knew I was having someone watch the kids for me. Turns out I have a cornea infection (keratitis, I think it was), so it was very good that I got it checked finally before it led to scarring and permanent damage to my eyes. I was prescribed eye drops and given orders to wear my glasses as much as I can for the whole week. (sigh) But I'm sooo glad to finally get this fixed!! So, pray that I can get the darn drops in my eyes the next few days (that's sooo hard for me!) and that I'll be faithful about wearing my glasses even though I hate hate hate them. I was given a trial pair of contacts for when I do wear my contacts, so those should cover me until our household items get shipped to us and the rest of my contacts arrive!

Thank you all so much for your prayers! You've been so kind! Hopefully I'll have happy, healthy eyes again soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Prayer Request

Ever since we got back to Iowa 3, almost 4 months ago, I've been having real troubles with my eyes. About every 4 or 5 days or so my eyes get very very red, mostly just the left eye with a little bit in the right. When they're bad they burn a little bit, but mostly they get very sensitive to light, and even inside or with dim lights it just seems so bright and I can barefly open my eyes. Even with sunsglasses I'm squinting. It's hard to look upward, or they just sting. And I've noticed lately that when I take my contacts out after they've been red all day there's a white film of goo on them. I've tried and tried to connect it to something, to find some pattern, wehter it's a makeup or face wash or where I've been or just plain allergies, and I just can't figure it out. And like most pain, the more I think about it, the more it hurts. Clear Eyes drops help some, but it burns to hold my eyes open like that to get them in, plus the anxiety and anticipation of waiting for the drop to fall on my eyeball just about kills me in itself, or so it seems. But I have been doing the drops anyway. I can't not wear my contacts either. The most I can do is maybe two hours. Don't know why but I just can't see out of my glasses. Even with up-to-date lenses, everything's still so blurry, not to mention that I don't have any peripheral vision. For those of you who understand bad eyes, my prescription is -8, folks. I've got bad eyes. I'm used to that, but this red eye business I can hardly bear anymore. Now that we're finally moved and have insurance and an income, I'm going to try to get to the eye doctor this week. Not sure what I'm going to do with the kids, but somehow I've get to get this taken care of. So please pray that it will clear up for me this week, that I'll find some answers from a doctor, and that I'll figure out what to do with the kids. Thank you, hopefully there will be a good report soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Inside house pics

If you come in the back door you first see the kitchen.Off the kitchen are two small rooms: A pantry
...and a laundry room/mud room.But there is plenty of room in the basement for pantry and washer/dryer, so we want to combine those two rooms to make a dining room. Right outside this laundry room and the next room from the kitchen is the living room with a built-in hutch.Through French doors then is the office.Go back through living room and then into hallway area and you have a quarter bathroom (no sink). Behind that window is a closet so we want to take the closet out to make room for a sink.Next to the bathroom off the hallway is the kids' playroom.One of the four upstairs bedrooms. They all pretty much look like this.The cupboard in the upstairs hallwayThe upstairs bath (tub is behind front wall)And the attic. It's actually pretty nice, with a staircase up to it.There's an unfinished basement too, but it's not worth any pictures. haha

So that's the house!

No more waiting, here we are!

After we closed on the house Monday we camped out overnight, just so we could enjoy our house for a little while before departing again. (that and I didn't want to make the 3-hr drive with the kids twice in the same day). Kevin, however, did get to stay since he was starting work. The kids and I hadn't planned on moving in until furniture arrived, but after seeing how fine it was to camp out that first night, I decided I didn't want to wait anymore, and we'd come anyway. I'd rather be together as a family than have a house full of conveniences. So I gave Kevin a day to have a peace and quiet so he could get himself settled into his new job, and I got busy packing up the house where we've been staying for the last 3.5 months. I loaded up the van yesterday, left at nap time, and three hours later we arrived, stopping at a grocery store on the way.

As for the movers... apparently our stuff gets transported from CT to Kansas (the midwest region). Then from there we have to contact them to get a date set up for the final move. Might as well drag it out some more. ugh. It will eventually get here, and we will eventually have our couches to sit on, dressers to store our clothes, and kitchen full of spices and pots n pans. Kevin did buy a card table the other day so we'd have a table to sit at when I got here with the kids. Bit by bit our house is getting put together.

First projects for this weekend:
  • Change out the door locks. It is sooo sticky! The realtor says all the time to everyone, "just gotta work the key." But seriously, yesterday when I got here with the kids and I was outside in the cold jiggling that stupid thing around for a good 10 minutes, feeling like I was trapped out of my own house, I decided that I would not have that and it must be fixed pronto! I tried going around to the front of the house, but I think the screen door was clasped shut.
  • Install water filter system on sink. The well water here tastes terrible, and even with our Pur water filter pitcher it tastes terrible. So we need to figure something out so we don't have to always buy bottled water.
  • Fix sticky toilet. It continues to drain sometimes instead of plugging back, and especially with a septic tank that could easily get backed up we really need to fix that.
  • New outlet and light switch covers for the some of the rooms.
  • Find carpet company.
Until next time!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Homeowners!

We have a house now, as of about 4:45pm today!! We dropped the kids off with our friends who moved here just before us, put the kids down for their naps at 2:30, and headed off to sign a bunch of papers. Everything went pretty smoothly though a slow start, and off we went with keys in hand. We chatted for a bit with our friends then took the kids to see the house. Eli had seen it when we were first house-hunting, but the last few days we've been talking about how we were getting a house soon, so he was extra excited this time, running around from room to room. And all Hannah wanted to do was head for the stairs! We don't have much here at all, but we managed to find something to block the way. haha Since it was already so late in the day I decided that the kids and I would camp out for the night and wait to leave until tomorrow. Doing a 3-hr drive with 2 kids TWICE in one day really wasn't my idea of fun anyway. I should've known. All day yesterday I had contemplated whether we'd stay or not, and I had decided we wouldn't just because I didn't want to haul overnight bags and bedding and bathrom stuff and booster seats and extra diapers, etc (I am soooo tired of doing that after 3.5 month of that multiple times a week!). But in the end we decided to stay anyway. The kids are sleeping in their day clothes, and tomorrow they'll wear their "spare outfits", and I went to the grocery store for simple breakfast items that don't require any cooking or dishes since our house is EMPTY right now. Oh but it'll be fun! Because it's our house! Not sure when the movers will come--still no word. Somehow I'm not thinking it will be this Saturday. Bummer. So who knows. I think we'll just try to make it work for as soon as they can get here, even if it's a weekday and Kevin's not here and my parents can't help with the kids. Somehow we will get our furniture back, and boy, I can't wait!

As for pictures, I would LOVE to share pictures of the house for you, but unfortunately for security purposes I won't post any pics of the outside of the house, and it's really the outside that makes it so great--1.5 acres of yard, a screened in front porch, and just a nicely built house surrounded by scenic farmland. The inside is great though too, though it's in need of a little updating here and there. It has 5 bedrooms --1 downstairs (will be playroom) and 4 upstairs (one for each of us PLUS a guest room!), 1.25 bathrooms (downstairs bath doesn't even have a sink), another staircase to the attic, and an unfinished basement. It has a built-in hutch in the current dining room/soon-to-be living room and built-in pantry cupboards.

I was always a town girl, so it'll take some getting used to living in the country. It's only a mile from a teeny town, but about 10 miles from the town where we'll go for most everything. But I think we'll settle in just fine. I can't wait for the kids to have so much space to play in the summers, and to be able to sit out under the stars by a fire in the summer will be AMAZING. So quiet. So peaceful. And I can't wait to have a porch swing for the early mornings! Ahh... so many dreams...

There will be pictures of the inside later on as we start doing work and adding our touch! Thanks for all your prayers! It's exciting that piece by piece it's all coming together!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Simply discovering...


...BUBBLES!

Hannah loves bath time (well, both kids do actually). As soon as she hears the water start running she zooms her way straight to the bathroom to join the fun! Last week was her first bubble bath! Check out the pictures as she discovers what bubbles are all about! Usually she's all smiles and splashing about, but here she was very quiet and concentrating...

ooo, what's this?
can I grab it?maybe a closer look.