Sunday, June 27, 2010

it's been a whole year

since we purchased our home.
Well, a whole year and one day, actually. I thought it would be fun to look back at all the ways we've changed this house since we bought it on June 26th, 2009.

I don't remember the exact dates for a lot of these, but here's a basic timeline of all the things we've done to the house in the order that we've done them. I've included links to some of the posts and pictures.

Removed every single ugly curtain from the house on day one. They were nasty!
Painted the living room, upstairs hall, bedrooms 1 and 2, and laundry room. (huge help from our friends on this one)
Replaced 8 light fixtures (one recessed light, one track light, three ceiling fans, one wall sconce, one bathroom light, and one normal light).
Crown molding in the nursery (still not finished...).
Painted half bath, replaced sink fixtures, mirror, and decorated it (thanks to help from Teresa.)
Crown molding in the living room (still not finished...maybe crown molding is just too much for us to handle.)
Painted the master bedroom.
Built garden planter box for backyard.
Added an island to the kitchen (and averted a near disaster on I-35).
Deep cleaned garage-the previous owners had left a bunch of cleaning supplies and junk in it.
Tiled kitchen and half bath.
Added hardware to kitchen cabinets. (Kitchen before and afters here.)
Replaced all baseboards downstairs.
Replaced carpet in living room and stairs.
Attempted to remove wallpaper border in master bedroom (that one is going to take a lot of motivation).
Landscaped the front yard.

Whew! It's been quite the year. I am so in love with our house, and I love coming home to a clean, beautiful place that I know we've worked so hard to create.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

five more years

Nicholas and I on our way back in from taking out the trash tonight.

Kent has been doing grad school for just about three weeks now. And I'm already asking myself if it is going to be worth it.
Now, let me rephrase that. I'm already done asking myself if it is going to be worth it. I'm already deciding to adjust, adapt, and move on with this new phase in our lives. (Yes, maybe this post is a pep talk to myself.)

And it's not fun, but it's not terrible, either. Kent comes home from work, starts his classwork (this particular course has been all online), works until dinner, helps me bathe Nicholas, and then works again, sometimes until 11:30 pm.

But at least he comes home.

On Saturdays Kent does a few necessary chores around the house, and then works on school for five or six or seven hours.

But less time for getting out means less money spent on going out.

Nicholas and I are semi-on-our-own a lot more lately. No more "dad's home now mom's done" around here.

And now that we've made it like that past the first few weeks, I have decided to like it that way. It's just me and Nicholas, cleaning up dinner, taking out the trash, having dance parties in the living room, splash parties in the bathtub, and giggle fests in the bedroom.

I think I'm learning a valuable lesson from this. Life isn't always (or possibly even isn't often, or maybe even rarely is) exactly the way you want it to be.

So what.

That's not important. What is important is
learning to love the life you've been given,

and laughing together on your way back in from taking out the trash.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

the man I married

A week from last Friday night, sometime in the AM, crying from the crib. The kind of wailing that means my baby is not going to put himself back to sleep this time.
After four weeks of Nicholas sleeping through the night, I'd finally relearned how to sleep through the night myself, and it felt like part of me has actually forgotten how to function deep in the dark hours of the night. But this waking was part of a series; Nicholas had been waking and crying for no apparent reason for two nights in a row now.
Was he teething? The motrin didn't seem to make a difference.
Even though I knew he wasn't hungry, I'd gotten past the point of worrying about messing up his ability to go all night without eating, and I'd tried feeding him a few hours ago-he went back to sleep, but now
he was awake again.

I slipped into Nicholas's room. He was standing in his crib, and when he saw me, his mid-level wails turned into panicked excitement. I picked him up over the rails, checked him over, hoping to find something bothering him so I could fix it and we could both go back to sleep.
But his skin was slightly cool, his pacifier in his mouth and his back-up pacifier within easy reach from the crib, his blankets wrapped around his legs; no easy fix this time.

So we sat in the rocking chair and I rocked. And rocked. And rocked. He would get to where he was just about asleep, and then he'd twist and turn and arch his back and kick his legs hard against the armrest of the rocking chair, bouncing himself and me in his quiet agitation. And we'd start the calming down falling asleep process over.

An hour (maybe?) later, no progress. So maybe he just needed sleep training again. I was not excited about the prospect of simply listening to him cry himself to sleep, but what other option did I have? I kissed his now slightly sweaty head and placed him back in the crib, then went back to bed, where I sat, unable to sleep to the sound of Nicholas's angry cries.

Of course, Kent wasn't asleep anymore at this point either. He raised up on one elbow in bed and looked at me in the darkness.

"Will you go try to help him?" I mumbled to Kent. "His extra binky is on the well the right there, ahh, you know where it is." I was more tired than I had thought.
Kent stood slowly and made his way into Nicholas's room. After a few more moments, Nicholas's cries turned to whimpers turned to silence. In an unbelievably short amount of time, Kent was back, crawling into bed next to me.
"What did you do? How did you get him to fall asleep?" I mean, I'd tried everything, hadn't I?
Kent shrugged. "I turned off his nightlight. He was acting like it was bothering him. As soon as it was off he calmed down, his heart rate slowed, and I laid him down and he went right back to sleep."

Never, ever would I have thought to turn off the nightlight that has been on every night since Nicholas was born. But Kent figured it out, and since then, we've had no nightlight and no night wakings.

There's something special about he way that Kent relates to Nicholas. He's gentle, observant, I would even say in-tune with what Nicholas needs and wants in a way that I don't know if I can be.
And that is one of the reasons I fell in love with this man. I knew he would be a good daddy.
I just didn't realize how good.

to my love,

I hope you know
how much I love to see you
just being a daddy.
"Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad!"
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

what about

the times when life isn't glamorous?What about the weeks when life is simply life, day after day?

I've had one of those weeks.
A week where I felt just a little bit
repetitive. Day after day.

But then I read this post by Shannon, and it reminded me that life,
life is about living.

So now I'm looking back at some things I've treasured this week:

Spending time sitting on the porch with my little boy, smelling the blossoms, hearing the birds, and watching the bugs crawl past.

The night that Nicholas simply refused to go to bed on time, Kent and I shrugged our shoulders and let him stay up with us. And to see the happy little smile on his face as he snuggled down between us on the couch while we watched our movie- my heart melted.

Kent came home from work, picked up Nicholas, came over and gave me a kiss. Nicholas watched me kiss Kent, then copied what I did-he leaned in and pressed his little lips against Kent's stubbly chin.

It was pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen.

I still get all smiley when I think about it. I've got quite the crush on this little guy.

We bought Nicholas some bathtub crayons.
He tries to eat them.
So we confiscated them, and now our shower is full of notes Kent and I have written to each other this week. I sure look forward to my shower each morning so I can see what witty/silly response Kent has written to me.

I made some pretty delicious chocolate crinkle cookies to take to my very first book club meeting last night. I'm so excited to get reading again!

We bought some nightstands on sale during Memorial Day weekend. They arrived yesterday, and now I've got all sorts of great plans to finally decorate our master bedroom.
Oh boy do I have plans!

Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won't happen. We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.

-Anna Quindlen

Let's all have a great weekend, and spend our time really living,
rather than wishing and dreaming and waiting.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

now this,

this is grass. Real, honest-to-goodness grass.

Do you have any idea how wonderful this is for me to claim as my own front yard?
Not impressed?
Come to Texas.
The vast majority of yards here in Texas are, well, a combination of bermuda grass and weeds that are mown really short and are very patchy. At least here in the type of neigborhoods that we can afford right now, no one cares much about what their yard looks like,
and since they don't care, everyone else decides they don't care either.

It's not very pretty.

Until a month or two ago, our yard was an overgrown mess of clover, three or four types of wide-bladed grasses, and weeds of all different kinds.

We just couldn't take it anymore.
So we worked. We started off by killing all the existing grass. Then, when my family came to visit, they helped us till the yard and pull out those monstrous bushes you see next to the house there.

I don't know if we could have done it without my family's help-it was seriously a lot of work.
Next, we planted a few annuals and some Mexican Feather grasses. We prepared to lay down weed barrier and cover it with mulch.
We recieved three separate angry letters from our HOA in the process, informing us that we
"must promote healthy lawn growth."
Hrm. Wasn't it obvious that is exactly what we were attempting to do?
I'm still a bit perturbed about that.
Let's not open that box again.... moving on.

We (or Kent, rather) laid down half a pallet of sod,
then we watered and watered and watered,
planted two redbud trees,
created a limestone brick border,

Now you'll have to excuse me. I'm going to go peek outside my window and gaze at my grass.


Friday, June 11, 2010

picture perfect

Just wanted to share one of those pictures that just didn't quite work out.

Have a great weekend-especially if it involves taking silly, eyes-half-closed, too-much-flash pictures of someone you love.

Friday, June 4, 2010

a day in the life of Nicholas

Part two.
It has been seven months since the last time Nicholas wrote a post about a day in his life. Things around here are quite different than they were seven months ago.

June 2, 2010

5:30 am: Wake up and stand in my crib until Mom comes in and feeds me my early breakfast. It's all I need to go back to sleep for a few more hours.
7:30 am: Good morning! I wake up right as Dad is leaving for work. He brings me into the bedroom so I can play on the floor while Mom spends a few more minutes in bed.
8:00 am: Time to get dressed. I'm not nearly as easy to dress as I was seven months ago.
8:15 am: We play with my toys in the bedroom.
8:30 am: Mom takes me downstairs for my breakfast. I like to eat a bowl of rice cereal with bananas and berries.
8:50 am: Dance party in the living room! Mom's trying to teach me how to do some dance moves of my own.
9:00 am: Mom needs to take a shower. I'm not a big fan of this activity.

So I stand here and cry/whine until Mom is done and gets out of the shower.
(note from Mom: you can be assured that this picture was staged, and there are two reasons why. 1. Nicholas isn't crying. 2. I don't make a habit of taking our camera in the shower with me.)
9:30 am: I sit in the sink while Mom does her makeup and her hair. This is probably my favorite place to sit in the whole house.
10:00 am: Time for my first nap. Mom feeds me and I fall asleep.
12:30 pm: I'm awake again! Now it's time to read books while we snuggle.
This is my favorite book. It's about a cow who lost her moo.
1:00 pm: I get to talk to my uncle Jonah and my grandma on the phone. I show them how I've learned to say the word "hi." Yep, it's my first word!1:15 pm: Lunchtime! While I eat I play with my favorite toy--the pastry brush.It's a lot of fun!
1:30 pm: My friend Pax and his mom Anita come over to play. I love it when they come over! We like playing together, and I really like Anita. She usually has cheerios. And she thinks I'm adorable.

2:00 pm: It's my naptime again. Mom feeds me and I fall asleep.
3:30 pm: I'm awake! We practice crawling up the stairs.
3:36 pm: We go up the stairs again.
3:43 pm: Again!
Stairs are fun.
3:45 pm: Since I liked watching Elmo so much when Pax was here, Mom puts it on again for me, and I show her how I've learned how to dance. Her dance parties with me have finally paid off!

4:00 pm: I play by myself in the living room for a while while Mom does some chores. I'm actually pretty good at playing on my own. I have lots of interesting toys.
4:30 pm: Dad calls to let us know he's on his way home.
4:35 pm: Mom takes me upstairs to change my diaper and my clothes because I smell like baby food and baby sweat and a wet diaper.
Have I mentioned that diaper changes aren't as easy for my parents as they used to be?

5:00 pm: Dad is home! Mom is happy, and so am I. Me and Dad wrestle in the living room.
5:30 pm: I show Dad how I've learned how to dance. He thinks it's the cutest thing he's ever seen.
6:00 pm: Mom makes dinner and I play in the kitchen.
6:30 pm: We eat dinner.
7:15 pm: Bathtime.
8:00 pm: Mom has fed me and I'm ready to fall asleep.
Good night.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

blessed sleep

Last night, as we were crawling into bed, Kent told me that I am a much happier, much better and "funner" wife than I was two weeks ago.

Nicholas has slept from 8 until 4:30 or 5 every night for the past two weeks.
He has learned how to self-comfort and put himself back to sleep without nursing if he wakes up during the night.

He seems so much cuter now (if that's even possible) than he was two weeks ago.
Everything around me seems to be clearer than it was two weeks ago.
I am so much better at having fun with my little family than I was two weeks ago.

It's amazing what consistently getting at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep will do for you.
After nine months of night feedings, it's little wonder I am a happier woman indeed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

so close

I can almost taste it.
The first thing I'm going to do?
Slice it up while it's still warm from the sun and lay it on top of a slice of cheddar cheese on some nice whole-grain bread, broil until the cheese is melty and bubbly, sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh-ground pepper,
and then sit and enjoy.

So, so close.

memorial day should happen every week

What a weekend.
So fun.
And yet, I have no pictures of any of our activities. I guess we were just having too much fun to stop and take a picture.

What did we do?

We took our friends toobing down the comal river, acquired the little bumps/bruises which are necessary for any truly fun day, discovered a restaurant that does not serve you without shoes on and found one that does (and had better food anyway), and had an all-around spectacular time.

We made the world's most delicious fruit salad for dinner on Saturday. Mango, watermelon, canteloupe, strawberries, banana, and kiwi.

We relaxed on the couch and watched a few shows.

We joined Dallin for his community pool's summer opening event, let Nicholas splash around in a swimming pool for the first time, and ate free hot dogs.

We managed to survive a little bit of yardwork in 90+ heat.

We stopped for buy-one-get-one shakes at Sonic, ordered Chinese food for dinner late last night, and made cookies two or three times over the weekend.

We visited a furniture store, purchased two buy-one-get-one gift cards, and found the perfect nightstands for our bedroom.

And finally, we wished that Kent had a day off work every Monday.

I hope you all had a great weekend, too!