Ups, downs, and joys

(She was slightly “over” the monthly sticker thing this month)

I’m not going to begin this blogpost with yet another apology about life catching up with us or time flying by.  These days, it seems to be a given.  Four kids have had growth spurts sending me scrambling to find seasonal clothing to fit them in time for the next heat wave and summer vacation.  We renewed our enrollment with Seton Home Study School for another academic year.  I’m grateful for a solid education for our children and also a special services department that helps me find great resources for Trooper and Sunshine.

Little Bit turned three earlier this month.  She’s such a feisty, imaginative little imp. She loves to trot around the house carrying her brown-and-white stuffed dog, whom she has named “Snowy” after the dog in the Tintin books.  She’s talking up a storm and asking all sorts of questions, mainly beginning with “What’s THAT?”

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Spring has brought a spot of nature to our yard.  We have apples on our two apple trees this year, and we have had not one but three house finches nesting in our porch eaves.  Just when one set fledged and we thought it would be time to pressure wash the porch down at last, two more nests appeared almost overnight!

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And then there was the episode of the stray cat.  I had seen that cat a few days before, looking utterly bedraggled, but it hadn’t stayed around.  Then, on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Miss M happened upon it in our driveway. She immediately named it “Polka Dot” (it was once a lovely tuxedo/calico kitty).  Rascal and Princess came out and fed it small amounts of food and gave it water.  Polka Dot did not move on that day, as we made a bed for it in a crate and I posted a notice in our neighborhood forum (as well as warning Haus Meister about it via text, since he was away on business).  Close to dusk, the trio moved Polka Dot into our fenced backyard deck area so it would be safe from the coyotes in the area.  However, we were the last stop in Polka Dot’s nine lives, and Mother’s Day morning found me digging a quick grave in the backyard with Rascal’s help before the smaller girls woke up and wondered where our overnight cat had gone.  A promise of a trip to Dunkin Donuts did much to dry tears (and give me some much needed coffee)! So that’s the tale of our 24-hr cat.

Our Spring has been full of house painting projects but we did turn our attention outdoors a but.  We thought about planting a garden but are satisfied to keep some houseplants alive and two tomato plants on the porch.  After my Texas rosebush came into bloom, I really think I’d like a rose patch.  One bush for each child.  What a fun variety, and a tribute to St. Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Which brings me to the big news of this update:

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We knew officially that she was coming on my birthday back in January and she will join us around Haus Meister’s birthday in September.  What a gift from God!  The kids are quite excited and while the boys were hoping for a brother to counteract the reign of pink in the Haus, they are rather more complacent since we moved them into our old spare room.  Now their LEGOS are safe from the marauding habits of the Toddler Mischief Squad!

That’s all for tonight’s update. I hope this missive finds you all well, and enjoying the early days of summer!  God bless!

Yarn Along & Recap so far….

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The afternoon sun is out for a moment in between showers of rain.  It’s not very wintry here.  My aunt just posted a picture of snow in Indiana on Instagram, and here I am in the South posting pictures of daffodils.

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Don’t get me wrong; I do wish we had one more good snow before Spring begins in earnest. I wish we hadn’t already had mosquito bites in January.  Overall, though, I’m not complaining because I don’t have to try to drive in the snow. 🙂  If we get more than an inch, none of us go anywhere and we just enjoy the stuff and pray the power stays on. 🙂  Otherwise Haus Meister has to pull the Charles Ingalls routine and chop wood for our wood stove.  I do remember the night he was out at 2am restocking the woodpile because the power had gone down.  How homestead-erish it made me feel!  Ironically, true homesteaders would have had all their wood chopped and near at hand already.  But I digress.

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I finished Haus Meister’s socks/slippers before Candlemas so at least it was technically still in Christmastide. 🙂  I need to work on stitching soles onto slippers but he tells me they are quite comfortable.  I have some yarn I’m going to use for socks for me using the same pattern but without the leather soles.  I enjoyed the pattern a lot.

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My first official project of 2017 ended up being the Antler Toque.  I’m stash busting some Istex Alafosslopi in blue tweed.  Since the dusting of snow around Epiphany reminded me that we are woefully undersupplied in the hats and mittens department, I thought to keep happy doing small quick projects that help me use the yarn on hand.

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This picture was taken last week before I began the cables on the hat.  These are my reads for February.  The Brothers Karamazov is what my sister and I chose to fill the “book of over 600 pages” for our Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 reading challenge.  Some chapters were hard to slog through without Russian v0dka, I’m sure (I didn’t try), but about halfway through I just couldn’t put it down.  Haus Meister kept teasing me about binge-reading, but I was.  I just was.  And then it ended.

Dostoyevsky, if we meet in the hereafter, you must tell me how you were going to wrap up the loose threads at the end of your story. Yes, I do insist there are loose threads at the end of a 718 page novel! The only explanation I can find is that the author was a few months from his own death, but he left one character on the verge of death, and I’d kind of like to know what happened to him.  And two of the others as well! Whom does Alexey marry eventually? What becomes of him?  And Dmitri? Does his plan succeed?  It was the nearest I have come to throwing a book against a wall in a long time–I merely banged the book against my knees. How could it be over at that point?!?!?!  I did actually throw Tess of the D’Ubervilles because it was (in my humble opinion) just awful.  This time, I had come to the end of 718 pages and I wanted a quick epilogue, at least. Note: since writing the above I have learned some editions do have an epilogue; I just happened through frugality to have purchased the one that didn’t. Heh.

Suffice to say, it was a good book.  I’m going over it again, a little more slowly, to see if I missed any clues now that I know how it ends.  Besides, February isn’t over yet.

Different is also a nice book, and definitely not in the same genre as Brothers K, so it’s rather amusing to see them pictured together.  It’s non-fiction and encouraging, like a warm cup of tea from a friend who has been there raising a high needs child.  I have been taking this book slow, reading a chapter every few days, so I’m not finished yet.

In other news….

Happy girls.

Happy boys.  At the end of January, the lads went to Dallas as the support team for Trooper who was due for a trip to his CP specialist.  They had a fabulous time visiting cousins, climbing trees, watching trucks (that’d be Trooper), and seeing the Frontiers of Flight Museum.  Trooper is standing in front of the Apollo 7 capsule.

Trooper is going to be getting new ankle braces soon.  He has totally outgrown his last pair. This guy is growing like a weed!

I’m having fun with a new teapot and new candles, except that one on the right didn’t look as nice once the label was off. It looked like a soft-boiled egg with a wick in the middle. So why did I take a picture of it?  Because I wanted to prove to anyone who heard me vent about it (my mom and sister, mainly), that it looked like a soft-boiled egg.

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This handsome fellow (picture taken by Sunshine), has been busy with more painting.  He did the kitchen, upper half of the basement, and is going to do the classroom in Lowe’s Historic Collection Antique Filoli Lace (which I mention in case I forget and need to look for it again).  The hallway, foyer, and upper living room is rapidly becoming Woodlawn Colonial Gray (from the same collection).

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Better picture forthcoming; this was all I had on my phone.

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As the laundry room was never entirely finished last year, I made up for lost time while the guys were in Dallas and painted the whole in “Craft White.”  It looks so fresh and warm in there now.  These doldrum months between Christmas and Spring is the perfect time to renew the home.  In our case, that usually involves painting, but there it is.

Well, all for now.  Have a great week!

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Remember the days when the messages were embossed on the hearts, and you didn’t have to use Google to know what they said?

 

Yarn Along — A knitting buddy?

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Gratuitous baby picture to start this post!

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She’s at long last filling out those booties I knit her this summer!  She’s in them as often as I can find both of the pair!

I’m at that stage of Christmas preparations where despite my early shopping and all my early plans, I still feel a week behind and like there’s a thick fog between me and Christmas with zero hope of accomplishing anything.  I’m still on the first of Haus Meister’s two socks. I’m still wrapping presents.  I’m on the “G” page in our address book for Christmas cards.  The jam hasn’t been made, and the cookies are still in potential (I have the ingredients, but haven’t put it all together).

And then Miss M, chatting to me while coming home from errands tonight, whines that Christmas is taking soooooo looooong to get here. I could use another week of prep, myself. 😉

I say this to dispel the notion that I have it all together. But let’s talk yarn now.

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I took this picture last week for a Yarn Along post that never got written.  I’m about ten rows further on that sock, mainly because little hands got at it and took out the needles about twice a day. The little stockings are two of the four ornament stockings I did finish and will have in four of my children’s St. Nicholas stockings in Dec. 2017.  I am putting a note in my August 2017 planner to start the other five that very month.  Maybe I will put it back until July. That sounds reasonable. See–positive thinking.  I’m not late for 2016 but ahead for 2017!  Right, I don’t buy it either, but it sounds good! 🙂

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Now that bright variegated ball of yarn?  That belongs to our Princess!  Princess came across this book on her shelves and decided she really wanted to learn to knit.  So when we had our visit from St. Nicholas, there was a ball of yarn in her stocking as well as her very very very own first pair of circular needles and stitch markers! She did recognize the yarn as a ball we had dyed using KoolAid something like two years ago, but she didn’t mind and was thrilled with the gift.

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She wanted me to help her start this project that very morning, so we did.  A week later, she’s still excited about it, and still knitting!  She has her own little workbag, made by her Grandma out of fabric that has adorable geese on it.  So she totes her work around, upstairs, downstairs, to Grandma’s house, etc. Grandma and I have both helped with “damage control,” and the little hat definitely has an endearingly lopsided appearance under Princess’ nimble little fingers.  I’m pretty sure she accidentally taught herself short rows at one point and reverse stockinette in another, but for the most part she’s getting the hang of it.

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At this point, and so early in her knitting career, I didn’t have it in me to make her take out all the stitches and redo those spots.  She has ambitions for this hat and a deadline to meet, and I didn’t want to dampen her enthusiasm. I might be stricter with the next project, but at the moment I’m waiting to see if there will be a next project.  I’d love to have a knitting buddy!

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Here’s the book that has been my mainstay this Advent.  I am going to miss this devotional.  I want something like it for every day of the year!  On top of it is a fun mug I received from one of the mothers in our American Heritage Girl Troop (we had a Christmas party and sock gift exchange for the leaders and parent volunteers).  She even made me a darling Swedish Goat felt ornament, because as with every Advent I’m still checking on this guy:

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A little smaller this year, as the usual huge Goat was burned down on the first Sunday of Advent.

So, anyway, up there’s my devotional, my coffee mug, and my husband’s Christmas present.  Because as I said before, it’s God, my husband, and coffee that gets me through.

And knitting.

((And yes, mom, being able to call/text my mom and sister, but a phone would really have not looked good in that picture. ;)))

Busy Living Life

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I’ve come to the important conclusion that I need to stop beginning blog posts with an apology for being busy.  I am probably going to be busy for the next twenty years, so it’s entirely redundant and unnecessary to apologize for it.  If you do not hear from us in over a week, we’re just busy living life.

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Rosebud hit her two month milestone and just looking at this picture makes me realize all the more how much larger she’s grown and how much she’s adorably rounding out.  And how much time has passed since my last blogpost, but again, no apologizing.

School started, and on the same day that school began, Little Bit decided it would be a fun day to slice her finger on an exercise bike and thence need stitches.  Thankfully, her aunt was able to take over the school day (good practice before beginning her Montessori job the next week) so I could get her to the pediatrician.  Elizabeth Foss wrote an excellent article once about the first school day never going as planned, and I repeated that like a mantra all that morning.

The mischevious, marvelous Miss M turned five (5!!!!!!) in August, obtaining a princess dress that she has worn almost daily since.

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Rascal has turned 11, reestablished his LEGO collection, sprained his thumb, and is currently out hunting doves.

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We rediscovered the old episodes of “Zorro,” starring Guy Williams, which has given the kids another hero to imitate, and taught Miss M that “Z” is for “Zorro.”  I should mention though, that the boys also like to impersonate the bumbling duo of Sergeant Garcia and Corporal Reyes.

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My laundry basket (plastic) broke and it was tiring lugging it around. Serendipitously, I discovered it was much easier hauling the laundry with our leftover IKEA bags.  There’s a bit of sage advice for you.

Haus Meister went to Idaho on business, reminding us of a trip we took out there ten years ago.  The picture top right is of a lake in the Grand Teton National Park where little Trooper and Rascal waded and splashed.  Haus Meister camped in the Park for two days and snapped a bunch of pictures for us while hiking.  We left a bit of our hearts out West on that trip.  Haus Meister and I like to joke that one day we’ll retire there.  Near enough to see these mountains often.

In the meantime, our own mountains are near enough to visit in a day, so we took my parents out over their last visit.

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Of course, 0ur hiking was limited but the kids accomplished a bit of creek stomping.

I liked this view of Miss M and Posey Pie exploring a trail.  The arch of the woods ahead of them reminded me of the scene in the movie version of “Fellowship of the Ring” when the hobbits first meet the Black Rider.

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“Get off the road!”

And by the way, whomever you are, TG, your initial carving on that tree is now captured for posterity.

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This is a Yarn Along picture I meant to post a few weeks ago.  I am making slow but steady progress on my Evelyn cardigan. I’m also continuing on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge.

July: A book you should have read in school:The Virginian,” by Owen Wister.  I had looked for that in high school because it was on our reading list but our library never had it.

August: A book published before you were born:”A Wrinkle in Time.”  I had never read that because someone told me it was weird.   Then I found it on several reading lists and at a sale so I decided to give it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was like a lighter version of C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy!  And one of the characters happened to mention one of my philosophies of life quite perfectly:

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I’ve been doing that for years, for better or for worse.   I know many people who have misunderstood me on that score, who think I should deal with life more seriously.  The thing is, I do take life seriously, but I refuse to let it get me down without a laugh.  After all, the news channels and social media are chock-full of things being taken far too seriously.

We cannot all do that.  How bogged down we’d all be!

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We need to find some brightness in anything.  To have some corner of joy to lighten the darkness.

To find something funny in the mess….

…like this: what bug did they catch in my jar-mug?!

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And why wasn’t it THIS FIEND FROM GEHENNA?!!  (Seriously, that was a huge cricket)

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So, recapping July?

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Well, hello there.  It’s been a while.  One hot dry day after another and suddenly, summer break was over for us and this beauty started first grade.

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We were–are–in “summer hibernation” anyway.  Too hot and humid to want to spend a ton of time outside, unless it’s neighborhood poolside! 😉  One night we had “Christmas in July” and turned on our DVD of London’s Nutcracker Ballet and the girls danced out their energy. 🙂

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Back on July 2, we went to the nearby Civil War Battlefield Park for a renactment cannon fire in honor of Independence Day.  This is one of our new family traditions.  It takes longer to drive our van up the mountain and find a van-friendly parking spot than the cannon program lasts, but it’s worth the experience.

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And the view.

These two lovelies handled the sound better this year. 🙂

My family came for a visit in time for Rosebud to come home from the NICU.  Unfortunately, my sister and brother-in-law and their kids had to leave the morning of her homecoming, but we had as pleasant a time with them as we could with all the hospital runs.

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Posey and her buddy, Grandpa Mark

 The kids enjoyed my parents’ stay through Independence Day, and Rosebud’s Baptism .  My Dad brought a little whirligig thingamabobber that really had the kids laughing.

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I’m looking forward to updating this picture very soon–that baby has grown!

I tried to get a one month picture with those ubiquitous month stickers that seem to be all the rage these days.  Of course, this was the best I could get on her actual monthaversary.

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I tried again the next day, but couldn’t find the sticker!

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But it’s a lovely picture of her.

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Our Rosebud.

Toward the end of the month, I finished a knitting project that we affectionately call Grumpy Bunny.

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Miss M asked me to make it for Rosebud while the baby was still in the hospital, and I’m glad I did, even if Rosebud takes little interest in it right now. 😉  When my kids actually request me to knit something, I’m always ready to oblige!

So passed July away.  We started back to school on August 8, homeschooling grades pre-K through 6.  Only three days in, but we’re glad to be back on routine.  There’s a lot going on this autumn for us, so I hope to keep this a little more updated. 🙂

Ending on a geeky note.

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Posey Pie decided, after I bought the Star Wars band-aids, that I had a lot of boo-boos on my arm.  I think I had maybe a mosquito bite. One. If that.

 

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Waiting and then waiting….

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So our summer began and we had a routine of reading and playing. Princess and Miss M attended their annual summer day camp with our American Heritage Girls troop. It was Miss M’s first week away from parents or grandparents, and even though Princess was in the same park, they weren’t together all the time.  It was rocky on the first day, but by the fourth day she was quite a pro.

The boys had some school to wrap up, and even now, after this week off and next, there’s going to be worksheets as we get stuff done.  I’m enjoying the respite from a full schedule to rest, breathe a little, and begin to plan for the next school year.

Last Saturday I told Haus Meister I felt like a “broody old hen on a nest.” It was as if all I could do was focus on that July 10 due date.  Would she come before I finished knitting her booties? (No, I finished them on the 17th).  Would she come before or during the week my mom and sister planned to spend with us?  I couldn’t answer any of this.  So I found a hat pattern on Ravelry that I could make with the last skein of Knit Picks yarn that I used for the booties.  I cast it on the needles Saturday night.

Pretty

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I finished the hat Sunday night, recovering in the hospital from the surprise arrival of our Rosebud.

Pretty Happy

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7lbs 10oz, 21″, 3:55pm on Father’s Day.

Yes, that’s right. Daddy’s Littlest Girl arrived on Father’s Day. I joked that she was vying for being the official Daddy’s Girl by becoming the best Father’s Day gift ever.

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Because someone asked, that’s not a tattoo on Haus Meister’s hand.  It’s Rosebud’s footprint.  The nurse gave him a footprint stamp after stamping the official paper. 😉

 Real but Happy.

Some Roses, even in June, need some extra help to fully bloom.  Rosebud had some fluid in her lungs so she is in the NICU for a little while.  These pictures are a little delayed, for she is no longer on her CPAP machine.

This is the same NICU where Trooper spent the first 119 days of his life.  We have met nurses and respiratory techs who remember him even now.  As he (understandably) would not voluntarily enter a hospital, it’s been hard to take him back for a visit, so it’s been nice to have a chance to give them a success story.  They are very impressed with the fact that he likes to go indoor rock-climbing!

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This picture is more recent, and was taken last evening when Rascal got to visit his baby sister again.  Her story parallels his more than the dramatic/traumatic story of  Trooper. Rascal had aspirated amniotic fluid at birth and also had to spend the first week of life in a special care nursery, in a different hospital, however.  Her baby pictures are following the same pattern: birth, CPAP machine, nasal cannula, and now we wait for her to be off of that.

We waited months to see her, and now we wait again to bring her home.  She’s worth every second of the wait.

I know I had not expected (based on reasons that I won’t go into since this blog is read by guys who won’t appreciate it,) that this pregnancy was a girl pregnancy. It didn’t feel like it. It resembled in many ways the early pregnancies with the boys.  But obviously even a veteran of ten pregnancies can be wrong on some counts.  I never wanted her to think that I was disappointed that she was a girl.  It’s irrational to think she would think that, but when you’re huge and hormonal it’s hard to be rational anyway. I covered my bases though. One of the first things I said to her after birth was a paraphrase of one of the loveliest lines in Anne of Green Gables.

“It’s a girl. My girl. My girl that I’m proud of.”

Real Funny.

And while we wait, life totally goes on for everyone else. 😉

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Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real on the cusp of Summer

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

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My quick porch art for the season.  I had to work fast; as soon as the word got out that I had sidewalk chalk in the Haus again, four or five pairs of hands came grabbing for it.

Within the hour, the back deck was decorated.

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Or working on our inner Celtic Warrior Princess.  Either one. 😉

Pretty

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Our 13th Anniversary (Lucky 13!) is on Tuesday.  Last week I had the quick opportunity to zip into the little Zales where Haus Meister had bought my engagement ring 14 years ago and get my rings cleaned.  That had been on my list of things to do for years!  The top ring is a gold band he bought me while we were dating (we liked the design on it), the middle is my engagement ring, and the bottom is my wedding band.  I’ve only been wearing the trio together for about a month, as I like the combination.  Earlier this month, my mother gave me her star sapphire–or Lindy star–ring that she received from her grandmother (my Nana) for her 16th birthday.  I remembered that ring being in the ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOUCH category in Mom’s jewelry box when my sister and I were little girls looking for her 1980s beaded necklaces or, when older, trying to see who’d get to borrow her Nutcracker earrings first during the Christmas season. 🙂  So when she gave me that ring, well, I wanted to wear it daily lest I lose it.  Or one of my girls take it and lose it. Hence the gold band went from my right hand to my left. 🙂  How’s that for random today?

Happy

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These windchimes I found at Hobby Lobby!

Our Anniversary gift to each other–because we both like cooking–is a new oven range! We’re sappy romantics but we’re also practical.  😉 It arrived yesterday and the box became a backyard fort for a few hours.  Cardboard doesn’t last long around here.

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Rearranging the basement to help give it a more “family room” feel.  We have large tables and wooden chairs upstairs but if you want more comfort, this is the place.

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“Shopping the Haus” for new mantel decor.  I later added a tiny white creamer jug to the right side (it had lost it’s companion sugar bowl) and a blue vase with yellow roses to the left side.

And because my crazy-g0-nuts nesting is still in high gear, I’ve been having fun with the upstairs walls, too.

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Funny

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EEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!! Toddlers with screens!!!!!!!

Oh, and he was complaining that he hasn’t had much presence on the blog.  I told him it’s hard when he tries to avoid the camera.  So he sat still once for a picture.

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Lunch Break LEGO time.  With a Warsaurus.

Real

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Why is it that toddlers want to climb into baby seats?

Things are getting very real over here.  The bassinet is up, the carseat is on its way toward the van, there’s diapers in the closet, little outfits in the drawer, and a bottle on the shelf with the kids’ cups.

Little Bit decided to show up midway through the 37th week, all on her own. I’m just about 34weeks.  Even if Munchkin2 makes us go to 41 this time, I’m going to be ready.  This time.  Maybe.