Sunday, February 28

Sold!

Here it is!!! Our house is officially sold! We closed the deal on Friday afternoon, then Ryan and I immediately went to look at the house we plan to buy to get a few last measurements. We will find out on Monday when we're able to close on our new home. In the mean time, we still get to live in the house as tenants, which is sort of funny because we know that technically means we're renters now. Saturday we had the pleasure of having all-day babysitters (aka Grandma and Grandpa) so Ryan and I went out to buy a few things for the new house- paint for the master bedroom, two baby gates for the staircase, and a few odds and ends from Wal-Mart. We have very big plans for this new house, but I suppose first we have to actually own it!

A friend had moving boxes for us to borrow so Ryan went and picked some up today and we started packing. After my first box I realized how sad this process is going to be! Definitely exciting, but definitely sad. But anyways, the kids loved the pile of boxes!


Wednesday, February 24

Snow Day

Yesterday it snowed. I know, it was random, but we live in Texas so I expect random. It wasn't even that cold outside to me, and the ground was too warm for anything to stick, but it snowed enough that the kids could go outside and check it out. I will say that these were the biggest darn snowflakes I have ever seen! I tried to get pictures of them but of course it didn't work. I don't know how else to describe it other than they were just huge snowflakes. Beth liked trying to catch the snowflakes while I think Luke was just happy to be outside! After a few minutes outside, their little noses were bright pink so I brought them inside and we all had hot (well, warm) chocolate.

One of the cutest things is while we were outside, there was water coming out of the gutter. Both kids were so fascinated by it and wanted to play in the water, and I was just like- come on, it's a gutter! Then I realized they really don't have any experience with rain water and gutters, as we're always inside when it rains! So I taught Beth about gutters!

at first, luke was hesitant to come off the porch!

"catching" snowflakes

Monday, February 22

16 Months

My sweet Luke has made such huge developmental milestones in the past couple of weeks. Only two weeks ago I took him to the pediatrician for a 15-month well-baby visit, where he weighed in at a little over 22 lbs and measured in the 25-50th percent for height. The doctor ran over some "benchmarks" for his age category and Luke seemed to be a little behind- he wasn't talking more than a couple of words, wasn't pointing and gesturing much, etc. I kid you not though, he has absolutely blossomed since that appointment. He mimics our words wonderfully, looks at me when I call him and will follow directions, and he recognizes that things in our home have meanings and uses.

I want to always remember our bedtime routine. After his bath with Beth, and putting on his jammies, I put him down on the floor in his room and ask him to go pick out some books to read. He walks over to his shelf, with a huge smile on his face, and will bring me one at a time. When he's done picking out books, he backs up to me instead of climbing in my lap- readying himself to be picked up, plopped in my lap and read to. He snuggles up to me, lays his head back on me and listens to his books. We turn off the lights, say our prayers and rock for a couple of minutes before I put him in bed. I'm sad that my belly is getting so big that it's becoming hard to snuggle up together, but it's such a sweet time of day for us, and I love it. :-)

Luke will not sit still for anyone or anything- making it nearly impossible to get a picture of him! He's constantly on the go, and is constantly surprising me with the way he expresses his knowledge of the world around him. Today we were playing in Beth's room, and he was "mixing something" in the kitchen. He brought the pot and the spatula over to me and put the spatula near the mouth of the stuffed dog I was holding for Beth, and make an eating sound- like the dog was eating off the spatula. What a smart boy!

Edited to add: I'll probably continue to edit this post as I think of more things to add. Like the fact that Luke cut a molar! He has four teeth in the front, though two more upper teeth look like they're going to break through at any second. I was letting him chew on my finger a couple of nights ago after he busted on the coffee table, and I noticed the molar on his upper right side coming through. I even got a peek at it!

hopefully beth will teach him how to pose soon!

big sister wanted a picture taken too!

Saturday, February 20

Lenten Reflections

Lent has started and each year I am so grateful that I'm given the opportunity to "go into the desert" with Jesus and walk this journey with him.

As a mother and wife, I really feel like I walk through the desert every day. Every single day the devil tempts me: he offers me luxuries I know I don't need, he tells me to tempt God by relying on myself, and he pressures me to worship him through temptations of the world instead of following God. Daily temptations... Laziness, vanity, jealousy, greed, pride... My list goes on and on, but you don't need to know everything I bring to the confessional!

I know that the idea of "giving something up" for Lent is something everyone has heard of, but I truly believe it's something very few people understand. I just read on another blog that, "Fasting without prayer is just dieting," and I think that a lot of Catholics forget to pray during Lent, or to offer their sacrifices as redemptive suffering. It's pretty easy to not eat meat on Friday but to visit a seafood restaurant instead, but where's the sacrifice in that? This year, I'm not focusing on "giving up" one or two particular things, but instead offering my sacrifices and joys throughout the day, and on making sure that God really comes first. Prayer will come first, even if it means trying to pray through our noisy breakfasts! I have other resolutions as well, but I don't plan on sharing them- they're between me and God. :-)

I think part of the reason I tend to think outside the box a little on this is because for the past four years, I have not been obliged to fast since I've been pregnant and/or nursing. Instead, I've come up with alternative ways to offer sacrifices, because not eating is certainly not a good thing for expectant mothers!

Instead of seeing my days as trips through the desert, I'd prefer to call to mind the image of the tree in Jeremiah 17- the tree who has deep roots planted next to the river. (This reading has come to me several ways in the past week.) It says that even though heat comes, the leaves will stay green. I know that I walk through the desert daily, but as long as my roots are planted next to Christ's stream, my leaves will stay green too!

I know my thoughts are scattered, possibly because I'm blogging in front of a Rockets game (not that I'm paying any attention!). I might decide to blog some more about it when I get my thoughts together a little more...

Saturday

Boy we had a long day today. After a late lunch, and after Ryan fixed our bathroom fan (as requested by the buyers- he fixed it for free!), we decided to head into town to Ikea to maybe get some inspiration for the new house. Of course it was packed! I feel like I came out with a couple of new ideas, and a couple of ideas that I thought were good were shot to the ground. Instead of coming home after Ikea (and leaving empty-handed), we decided to meet up with a friend at a nearby mall. This had to be one of the most crowded malls I've ever been in in my entire life. We stopped by the jeweler that Ryan bought my engagement ring from to get my ring polished and inspected, and Ryan chatted with the man who actually sold the ring to him. He was making small talk and asked what we'd been up to, then looking at the kids said, "Apparently very busy, huh!" I laughed because he has no idea!

We left around 5:00 and Beth was chatting up her usual storm, then after about 3 minutes on the highway we realized how quiet it was...she was passed out in her car seat! That never happens anymore, so we know we must have really worn her out! She and Luke slept the whole way home and were very groggy by the time we got back, so we had dinner, baths and early bedtime for the kids. Niiiice.

I took Luke to the pediatrician yesterday afternoon (third time in three weeks) because he was miserable grumpy and his cough was horrible. As it turns out he was working on a full-fledged double ear infection, so I am SO glad we got the antibiotic prescription before the weekend! Today he was hardly grumpy at all (but we were also very busy), though his nose is still runny and he is still coughing. I am ready for this cold winter weather to be over so he'll get well, I hate that he's been sick for a month!

Friday, February 19

Update on the house situation

We had a big day today!

First off, we close on our current home next Friday, the 26th. We had a new roof put on for the buyers this past Monday; luckily insurance paid for it and it wound up being not a penny out of pocket- wohoo! By the way, if you ever get a new roof put on your house, plan to go out of town for a couple of days because it's loud and obnoxious!

Yesterday we found out that the bank said no to making any repairs on the house we want to buy. I scrambled around and found specific inspectors to look at the house today since our option is over on Sunday, and overall it was generally good news. The trusses are apparently fine- they need to be repaired, but it won't cost more than $300 (quotes the contractor- ha!). We were just happy to hear the house isn't going to come crashing down! The septic tank is fine, and the A/C needs a new coil for under $2k, but our Realtor seems to think we might not really "need" it and could get by without it for now.

We're going to ask the bank to lower our asking price a little and see if they go for it. The probably won't, but we decided we're still most likely going to buy the house. We're really buying it for a steal, and there's no way we'd be able to afford this house under conditions other than a foreclosure! Ryan and I have said we feel like huge snobs telling people our new home is over 3,000 sq feet! I think our closing date on this house is mid-March sometime.

We've arranged a lease-back with the buyers of our current home so we'll be living in this house until we move into the new one, which I am so thankful for. I was dreading the idea of temporary housing, moving our furniture to storage, and being uprooted for too long. It's starting to hit me that we're moving out of this house- our first house- and I'm a little sad! But the home we're buying is the home we hope to stay in forever, and that makes me really happy. :-)

Thursday, February 18

New Shoes

We've been shopping!

Tuesday, February 16

When neglect pays off


I've been very neglectful of my winter garden- so neglectful that I haven't bothered to cover it at all during the freezes, haven't pulled weeds, haven't even so much as gone to look at it in a couple of months! Last time I went out there was to pull carrots so Beth could eat them. So what do we have here? A seemingly happy garden, overgrown with weeds but oh well. The broccoli looks terrific (though I'm not positive what it should looks like), the arugula is totally overgrown and has started sprouting flowers, and my one measly head of lettuce is still alive and growing. Works for me! Looks like we'll have some fresh broccoli next week!

broccoli- i had no idea this is what it looked like on the plant!

overgrown arugula, i promise it's not a weed.

the inside leaves of this lettuce look very crisp!

Monday, February 15

Science experiement

We studied birds a couple of weeks ago and learned about some birds commonly found in our area, and now Beth has been very interested in birdwatching. Every morning at breakfast we open our blinds and look outside to see what birds we can identify- the usual ones we see are cardinals, robins, mockingbirds, doves, and some little brown birds. Since Beth doesn't like to eat crusts on her bread, we've been saving them in a bowl and letting them dry out, and on Saturday Daddy helped her get them ready for the birds. Beth crushed them up then threw them out on our back porch. Unfortunately the huge flock of robins in our yard on Sunday morning didn't notice them, so the crumbs are still sitting out on our patio! But Beth anxiously waits for the birds to come eat them- maybe next time we'll just save them up for some ducks and turtles at a pond!

making a "tent" with daddy

Cousins


I was going through my blog and realized I forgot to post other photos of our visit with Ryan's brother and family. Here are a few good pics of Beth, Luke and their cousin Chris!

Sunday, February 14

Valentine's Day





i think this boy should be a model!

We celebrated Valentine's Day this year as we usually do- PF Changs! This year Beth decided to try out the chopsticks, which resulted in sauce-covered broccoli in her lap (just missed the bib!) and Luke stuffed his face with chicken fried rice. We had a yummy dinner, then I picked up my annual piece of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, and we all walked to Barnes and Noble and the kids played in the children's section while Ryan and I looked through a couple of baby name books! Ryan bought me a CD for us to share- Owl City. I'm so excited, I know I probably sound like a big dork but I really like his music!

We also celebrate Finley's birthday on Valentine's day, since it's about the time of year we adopted him. He got a bone to chew on, something incredibly unhealthy I picked up from the grocery store! He is truly a member of our family and as lazy as he is, he is the absolute best dog for our family. Happy 4th birthday, Finley!


a happy dog :-)

Wednesday, February 10

22 weeks

Bending over to buckle a shoe
is becoming a near-impossible task to do,

And sometimes I could swear this baby is going to stick an arm out
just to wave hi.

My bones creak and ache
as my hips prepare to separate
during birth.

He moves around so much,
flipping, kicking and punching.
Daddy hopes for a future soccer player,
I'm just hoping to make it another 18 weeks.

I can't pick up my daughter for fear of strain,
and my son is becoming aware of the pending change
as we frequently talk about the baby in mommy's growing belly.

My tummy now rumbles all the time,
begging for a snack,
I stuff my face with food so fine,
then am ready for a nap.

With new resolve to care for my baby and body,
I hope to start full of gumption,
Afraid of a 10-pound baby I am,
so I must reduce my sugar consumption!

Vitamins and stretching,
exercise or walking,
I must get out there and "just do it,"
and stop my incessant talking.

My hopes and dreams for this boy
still without a name...

God has big plans for him,
this I have no doubt.
From the moment of his conception,
Another little soul for Christ,
His praises to holler and shout!

Precious babies


"B" week


Beth and I finished up our "B" week yesterday with a couple of coloring pages and a lesson on butterflies. We watched a of video on youtube about how butterflies are born as caterpillars (I turned off the sound and narrated it to her level), and we watched another video of a butterfly actually coming out of his cocoon. She was very intrigued! Afterward she had a coloring page on the process. We turned in all of our "B" books to the library (with a few new favorites- she loved the rhyming bear books by Karma Wilson) but checked out the last one to come in- Owl Babies. I don't know if it's the way this book is published or if it's just the copy I reserved online, but this book is HUGE. It's probably the biggest book we've ever had; when it's opened, it's probably 3 feet across! Beth loves the book, she says she likes the owl Sarah the best, but I think she just loves the obnoxious size of the book!

luke loves to color too!

Last week we made banana bread, Beth had a difficult time mashing the bananas but loved adding in all the other ingredients. The girl loves to cook, I can't wait until she's older and can make dinner for us!

Tuesday, February 9

Nuk De-Tox

Luke is flat-out addicted to his pacifier, there is absolutely no doubt about it. He uses it all day, takes it out when he wants to say something, then pops it back in. It's to the point where I am worried it's affecting his speech since he's only recently really started to "talk."

Around 12 months, Ryan and I started limiting Beth's pacifier use to mostly sleep and church times. Mostly- we definitely weren't insane about it or anything- but she didn't walk around with it all day while she was just playing around the house. Luke's been a little more attached to his, and since he just weaned and has been cutting teeth and sick, we just haven't wanted to try to limit its use much lately.

Until now.

This weekend we spent time at Grandma and Grandpa N.'s house, and Luke stayed very distracted the entire time. He slept like he's never slept before- sleeping in till 8 am and taking record-breaking naps (one nap was nearly four hours long!)! Since he stayed so distracted, he never asked for his Nuk, so we never offered. Since we've been home, we've kept that up by keeping him distracted and not leaving them out where he can see them. He's asked for them a couple of times (sadly he calls his pacifier a "mama") but we quickly change the subject and he's onto something new. He's had it for naps and for nighttime sleep. Whether or not these things are related, he's been sleeping for longer stretches and eating SO well compared to his usual self. Last night I made Chicken Parmesan, and he ate more in one sitting than he usually eats in a day! He's cold hasn't completely gone away, but he's feeling better. He hasn't finished cutting those teeth yet, but maybe they're not coming through as quickly as I thought they were.

Regardless of what's going on, we're going to keep up with the nuk detoxification program! We don't have a goal to be rid of it completely by a certain time, but I love the idea of not having to carry around three with me at all times!

Monday, February 8

A wedding

On Saturday we attended the wedding of a family friend of Ryan. Beth loved the wedding from start to finish, from watching the "beautiful ballerina" walk down the aisle to the cake at the end of the reception! She kept calling the bride and her bridesmaids ballerinas, and said she wanted to have beautiful dresses like them. She asked me if she could get married too, and I suggested she wait awhile and be a little kid first. ;-)

Beth, Luke, and three little friends were totally "those kids" at the wedding reception. The minute the music started, all five of them hit the dance floor and were the ones everyone else was ohhing and ahhing at! Beth got chummy with the ring bearer, danced with some of the "ballerinas" (the flower girl and bridesmaids), and did not want to leave! I had a lady ask me if she has taken dance lessons because apparently Beth "feels" the music very well, following the tempo and of course, pointing her toes!

We had a really great time!
waiting for the bride to walk down the aisle
brother and sister hitting the dance floor

beth and our friend h. dancing, i think luke wanted to cut in!

beth dancing with our friend c.

mommy and daddy got to dance a little too. luke's nearly passed out on my back.

the entire n. family, having a great night!

Thursday, February 4

Videos of Beth singing



I've just uploaded a lot of videos of Beth singing various sings, click on the link to the right in my "favorite places" column and you can go to all of my video uploads!

Monday, February 1

Entertaining

One of the hardest times of day for us is from about 4:00-6:00. Two kiddos are usually grumpy and hungry, and mommy has been known to be tired and grumpy too! I usually start to think about getting dinner together at about 4:15, right when the two of them are usually at their worst! One is whining for a snack and the other is whining to be held, which makes cooking nearly impossible. I was just reminiscing the other day about the old days when I used to enjoy cooking and trying new recipes- now it really seems it's a race just to get something edible on the table. Beth usually eats what I prepare for the family; she has always been a fantastic eater. Luke is a little picker; we usually try to get him to sample everything, but more often than not resort to some cottage cheese and fruit.

I've been experimenting with ideas to entertain them during this period so I can get dinner together (we eat between 5:30-6:00), and short of turning on the television for Beth I haven't found a perfect solution yet. A friend suggested arts and crafts for Beth, but she's really not too excited about that yet. Or possibly, I don't have the right stuff for her (what, like broken crayons aren't fun?!). Today she was content to make some Valentine's Day cards with some glitter glue I bought for her. I spent too much money on some special toddler snack sticks for Luke but, surprise! He doesn't like those. So he found happiness playing in the pantry instead. Beth soon joined him, but the party ended abruptly when Luke grabbed- and subsequently dropped- a glass bottle of cider vinegar. Apparently old cider vinegar because it STINKS. The jar shattered and I had two screaming crying babies while all the food was about to be done at once. The were both fine, just very disturbed by the noise and commotion!

The kitchen has been thoroughly cleaned (we have an inspection tomorrow, so really it was good timing) and the kids are sleeping soundly. Maybe tomorrow at 4:00 pm we'll try something new instead...

 
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