Friday, November 18, 2011

Oh, Caroline.

This morning, as with every morning, we were scrambling to get out the door for school. I had everyone dressed before breakfast (that doesn't always happen), everyone got a good breakfast (this doesn't always happen), and we started bundling up to head out to the car. I had "preheated" the car, since it was 31 out there this morning. I had found everyone's hat and mittens, everyone had on a coat, I had packed some things we'd need while we were out. I'd even remembered both Caroline's backpack and the gallon of apple juice she was supposed to bring for her Thanksgiving feast. (Because no Thanksgiving feast is complete without apple juice.) I had managed to keep my cool and not get irritated with anyone as we were leaving, and I was feeling pretty good about things.

Then, as I was walking her up to the steps to her preschool, I noticed that I had failed to do her hair. Or even brush it. Oh well, it was looking long and wavy and lovely nonetheless. No big deal.

It wasn't until I picked her up from school and brought her home that I discovered...

When I'd sent her upstairs to grab a sweater or sweatshirt for school, she had instead grabbed a white 2T (as in, for 2-year-olds) onesie and put it on under her shirt. And added a pair of tight-fitting pajama shorts under her jeans, just for good measure. (It's possible that she may know a man that wears boxer briefs, and she often tries to recreate that look herself.)

All would have still been well, except that she got hot at school. So she removed her shirt and just wore her onesie (!) and jeans ... with the top of her jammie shorts visible above the waistband of her jeans. I'm still slightly mortified.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Toilet, I still miss you.

It's been 11 1/2 weeks since our bathroom was intact, though I suppose "intact" may be a bit of stretch in describing its condition.

However, since then, it's been much less intact.

The room has been stripped down to just walls and subfloor, with a hole in the floor where the toilet will be. Meanwhile, the foyer has become the storage area for all the new fixtures. If you were to come visit our home, you'd be greeted by boxes and boxes (and boxes). A sink, a toilet, four boxes of tile, sconces, faucet, toilet paper holder, towel ring, etc. Lots of boxes.

I really thought this project would take about a week. I was trying to be cheerful about the lack of first-floor-bathroom. In week two, I started getting grumpy. At about week eight, it ceased being that big a deal. It's irritating when someone has to wait while someone else is in the bathroom, but we're getting by.

That said, it will be lovely when this bathroom is DONE.

At the beginning, I ordered a light fixture for the ceiling and learned that it was on back-order. They estimated 4-8 weeks. I was disappointed that the bathroom would be done long before the light came in, but I decided not to worry about it. Now, it's unclear which will be ready first, the light or the bathroom.

The tile guys came this morning to prep for the tile. Our house is 100 years old, so the floors aren't totally level. This morning, they pour self-leveling compound so that the tile will have a totally flat surface to mount to.

Tomorrow, they'll lay the tile. And then we can get to the fun stuff of installing all the things in that are in the foyer. This is the first time I've ever designed a room, top to bottom, and I'm excited to see how it comes together.

I'll do a photo tour of the room (which Bob is calling the Fritz Carlton, thanks to all the work that our friend Fritz has done for us) as soon as it's done.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I miss having a toilet.

Downstairs, that is.

Anyway, we're in the midst of a bathroom remodel, by necessity.

The sink didn't drain (we've had that fixed now), and the toilet was about as bad as it could be.

It sucked, but only figuratively.
It rocked, but only literally.

The toilet had to go. And since the floor around it was soft, we ended up in the "while we're at it..." mindset.

Now, everything will be new except the medicine cabinet. I can't wait.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I don't get it.

We had a wonderful weekend visiting friends in Ohio. We stayed with some dear friends who have a dairy farm. Before we left, we stopped by the calf barn so the kids could see (and smell, and hear, and touch) some calves. They were beautiful, and we had a lot of fun.

However, as we got back on the road, I just kept stewing about what we'd seen. I grew up on a (small) farm, and we raised beef cattle and chickens, and had two big gardens. I know where my food comes from ... or so I thought.

I watched Food, Inc. over a year ago, and it was depressing, eye-opening, etc. And that prompted me to begin my first vegetable garden. We now love eating our own produce. I buy organic milk for the kids, and I figured that was the way to go.

Now, organic isn't enough for me. I keep getting crunchier by the year, and I suppose that it only makes sense. As I learn more, I adjust to it.

Anyway, when we pulled up to the calf barn on Saturday, I said to Bob, "Where's their pasture??" And he said, "There is no pasture." I was stunned. Bob, of course, thought I knew. But no, these calves (and all the dairy cattle) never go outside. They're in their little pens in the barn all their lives. From the minute they're born.

My question to Bob was this:

What kind of world do we live in, that we take newborn calves away from their mommas and give them 'milk replacer' so we can drink the cows' milk, while we feed our own children formula?*

This is messed up.

[Raw milk, here we come. And it is almost enough to make me move to a farm.]

*This is in no way meant as a criticism of women who must feed their children formula. I know there are good reasons for it. But I believe whole-heartedly that the best food for a child is its mother's milk, whenever possible.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nine Years Ago


I married Bob.

July 7, 2002.

I blogged a little about the wedding weekend last year. And followed it up with a (not comprehensive) list of why I married him.

This year, I'll show you something Bob's doing for me.

I've learned that one of my love languages is home improvement. Bob's speaking my language:

In case that's unrecognizable in the picture, Bob's working on our downstairs half bath. Our friend Fritz has been gutting it, and now Bob's working on eliminating the texture from the walls. (We really love smooth old plaster walls.) And he's working with a toddler in his lap, who desperately wants to be involved.

I love this man.

Happy anniversary, Bob. Nine years, and I pray for many, many more.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The wisdom of Caroline.

"I don't know if we're going to have any more babies, but God knows, because He's the One who gives us things. And babies is one of His presents, right, Momma? I don't know what His other presents are, though."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

That poor chair.

I suppose it has a better life, looking forlorn and unfinished in my foyer, than if it were in a landfill. Still, I'd like to be done with it.

It's been 276 days. I've soooo missed my deadline, it isn't even funny. Bob's been gracious. For a time, the chair was relegated to the guest room/Caroline's room. Then I decided that I needed to start working on it again, so I brought it back downstairs. (Out of sight, out of mind -- when it was up there, I just didn't think about it!) Now it's the first thing you see when you walk in our front door ... and it's not exactly saying, "Welcome to our put-together home!" It's saying more like, "You will notice that we have a lot of unfinished projects here" -- which is a pretty accurate statement, come to think of it.

Anyway, would you like to see what it looks like now?

Okay. Here we go.



So it's obviously not done. I'm working on the cushion right now, which is stressing me out a little bit: sewing is not one of my strengths, but if the thing were just straight lines, I'd feel a lot more confident. But the cushion cover involves curves, corners, piping, and a zipper. Lord, have mercy.

Still, I'm making progress, and it feels good to actually be working on it again.

Somehow, having a baby really slows things down. Especially when you keep seeing new milestones like this:

I don't want to miss anything with little Owen ... though I confess: he rolled over for the first time this afternoon, and I only noticed because he thonked his head on the radiator and wailed. That's when I realized that he was suddenly on his back, not his tummy. Sweet guy. He willingly obliged by doing it a couple more times for me so I could record this big moment in history.

There are a lot of times that I wish that my life were different, that I had a "real job", or that I had more freedom, or whatever, but the bottom line is that I'm grateful for what I have.

I have it pretty good. The chair may be unfinished. I may have holes in the plaster ceiling in the dining room, really slow plumbing in the bathroom upstairs, and some odd shoulder pain that comes and goes. But I have it pretty good.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I've never run this slowly in my life.

It's a blow to my pride, even though I'm running down in the basement on my treadmill and no one can see me or judge me. I'm torn between wanting to be faster ... and not caring. The rational part of me knows that I have to run-- however slowly-- now, if I want to be faster later. So it's just part of the process.

But it's just so inefficient!

Still, I'm grateful to be healthy and able to run. And grateful to be able to run at 10:30 at night, safely, with my baby parked next to the treadmill.

I ran four miles last night -- ever so slowly-- and it was a psychological triumph. I wasn't sure I could do it. I'm still not in shape, and my left knee's been hurting a bit. So I just kept the pace easy and kept on going. I haven't run this far in three years.

It wasn't fun last night, but I'm feeling proud today.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I'm thirty.

My birthday was on Thursday, and Bob took me (and Owen) out to dinner. We went to a restaurant/bar downtown that we'd never been to together (I'd been once before, for a girls' night out, for drinks -- except that I was pregnant at the time, so my drink was Diet Coke), and we had a really nice time. Perhaps, though, it was odd timing to sit and discuss our life insurance policies. Sorry. My bad, Bob. But our State Farm office had called that morning to tell me about a new option, so it was fresh in my mind.

Hey, I know! It's my birthday, so let's talk about life insurance and funerals!


Bob had really talked up my birthday with the kids, and Caroline has been super-sweet about it. She keeps writing me love notes, and making me "presents" (like one of her books, wrapped in a napkin), and paying me compliments.

On another note, I am SICK of pregnancy weight. I didn't lose all the weight after Will was born, so I started this pregnancy a little heavier. That means I have 1 1/2 pregnancies' worth of weight to lose, and it is a burden. Yuck. So I'm setting a goal for myself, like I did after Lucy was born. I ran a marathon when she was six months old. But this time, I just plan to run a half-marathon. The side benefit, of course, is the weight loss. I've gone for three runs so far (on my bargain treadmill in the basement), and I feel simultaneously like I'm in better and worse shape than I thought. The running is hard work, but I can run more than I expected, right off the bat.

So the goal is to run the Carmel Half-Marathon on June 11. It will feel more official once I register, but I'm excited already.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is it spring yet?

I find myself longing for spring. Daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, tulips. Warmer weather. Fewer layers to put on the kids every time we go outside.

And gardening.

Last year was my first experience with a vegetable garden. (Excluding, of course, all the gardens Dad had as I was growing up. Of which there were many.) I made some mistakes. I didn't plant some things early enough. I didn't support some plants enough. And I planted most things too close together. They still flourished, but it was super-annoying to harvest the vegetables.

This morning, I felt like planning out Vegetable Garden 2011. So I got out some graph paper, a pencil, ... and some easel paper, watercolors, a permanent marker, a cup of water.

It helps to include your 4 1/2-yr-old assistant, you know.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I had a baby.

Just over three weeks ago.

I keep meaning to blog about it, but I have so much to say, I can't decide how to narrow it down.

First, though, let me introduce you to Owen Alexander. He is a sweet, sweet baby, and I can't get enough of him.

So, it was Super Bowl Sunday, and I started having some pretty significant contractions at about the end of the first quarter. Bob and I were trying to keep up with the game, but he kept asking me if I was okay. I told him, "These contractions aren't messing around!" But I didn't think it was time to call the midwife.

Finally, when I didn't want to talk or move during the contractions, he insisted that I call the midwife. Though my contractions weren't THAT close together, they were pretty tough to handle, so the midwife agreed that I should go ahead and come in to the hospital. I called Vanessa, who had come into town to help with the kids, and asked her to come over.

We left for the hospital around 2. I'm always terrified that I'm wrong, that I'm not actually in labor, so it was a relief when the nurse checked me and announced that I was five centimeters dilated. (I'd been 2-3 cm for about three weeks.) This was happening.

They started my antibiotic, since I'd tested positive for Group B Strep, and I sat in that bed, excited, and hoping that MY midwife could be there. Sharon is my midwife. She's been the only midwife on staff at the hospital for about two years. But a month before my due date, she hired another midwife. She'd told me that she was planning on being at my delivery even if she wasn't on call, but it was Anne on call that night, and no mention was made of Sharon coming in.

I was really disappointed, but I didn't know if there was anything that I could/should do so that Sharon could be there. Well, as it turned out, Anne had not attended her requisite three water births in order to be able to be on duty alone for one, so she had to call Sharon in. I was thrilled, and tried not to show it, when Anne told me.

Did I mention that at my first appointment with Sharon, we discovered that her husband used to work for Bob's dad? She's been hearing stories about him since they first started dating. Not to mention that we have a lot in common with her, and our kids love her. We wanted her to be there.

My last three deliveries, I've had OB-GYN's attending. This was so, so different. My two midwives stayed in the room with us the WHOLE TIME. I couldn't believe it. I remember them leaving at one point just to find a chair so Bob could sit comfortably by the birthing pool. Other than that, they were there.

(Am I holding my iPhone there? I think I am. I may have been calling my parents, WHO DID NOT PICK UP, to tell them I was in labor. Seriously. I was 9 months pregnant, okay, minus one day, and I called them at three in the morning, and they DID NOT PICK UP.)

The labor went exactly as we'd hoped. Apart from my IV (and the hospital setting, of course), everything was totally natural and un-medical. No pitocin. No breaking the water artificially. No monitors strapped to me. No checking my dilation periodically. No telling me what to do. They just let me have my baby. It was amazing.


So Owen was born in the water. Bob cut the cord (once it stopped pulsing, which was a while later). He nursed well from the start. (Owen, that is, obviously.) He's been happy from the get-go. I am so thankful.

Life is good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

We need to hire an in-home nurse.

Saturday of last week, Caroline came down with the stomach flu. Poor girl, she was sick from Saturday evening through the night, and was recovering Sunday. Monday morning, I came down with it. I couldn't seem to shake the fatigue & nausea, even though I was only *sick* for a short time early Monday morning. Thursday morning, I got it again. By Friday, I started feeling better, and by Saturday, I could begin to remember how nice it feels to just be healthy. Phew!

And then Sunday morning, Bob woke up to some nausea, chills, and body aches.

We've had a rough go of it, at our house. Fortunately, several cans of chicken soup later, we seem to be on the mend. Bob went to work today (with lots of warnings from me to take it easy, remember to stay hydrated, etc.). Caroline's gearing up for school tomorrow. Lucy seems as healthy as ever.

And Will's fighting a bad case of diarrhea. (I know. TMI. I'm grossed out, too.)

Will it never end?

At least I have a snowstorm or two to look forward to. It's looking like we should get at least a couple inches tomorrow, with more coming over the weekend, maybe. I've been checking the weather compulsively because there's a state park nearby that offers actual sleigh rides, when there's enough snow, and I'm dying to surprise the kids (and my mother-in-law) with a family sleigh ride, complete with sleigh bells, mugs of hot chocolate, and everything. Soon!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I am in love...

with these house numbers.

And, lucky for me, Bob bought them for me for Christmas! I can't wait for them to be "installed" ...

When we bought the house, there was a cheap plaque on the wall of the front porch. It had the four digits of our house number, but off-center, like perhaps it had been purchased, on clearance, and had originally had five digits, and they knocked off the last one? Maybe they just installed them off-center. I don't know. But this is the third house for which I've itched to get nice house numbers, and actually attach them to THE HOUSE.

At our first house, we did replace the house numbers, but Bob put them on a (painted) piece of wood which hung by our front door. I really wanted numbers that were big enough to be seen easily from the street, and that were intended to be screwed into the wood over the front porch, or wherever.

After we had this house painted, the plaque has just been leaning on the front steps ... tripping people as they walk, unsuspecting, down the stairs, and confusing the UPS guy, who doesn't come here frequently enough to know our house number. I've seen him slow down, peering at the neighbors' houses on either side, trying to discern what our house number might be.

We can no longer direct people to our house by saying, it's the house after the curve, with the plywood on the side. Soon, we'll be able to simply tell people our address. What a luxury!

Soon, and very soon.

(The house numbers are available from Rejuvenation.)