Wednesday, June 30, 2010

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday - Water Baby

Surely by now you've caught on to the fact that this boy loves him some water....

and I LOVE taking photos of it!!  
Whenever I hear Brad Paisley's newest song, Water, I think of my Alex.

He really is my water baby!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Avery Update

I realized the other day that ever since bringing Avery into our family in February, I haven't mentioned much about her since.  How rude!

Avery has turned out to be a fabulous dog!  She's obviously grown quite a bit and she's beautiful.  Albeit a little needy, a bit skittish, and a lot puppy, but she is great!  She was super easy to housebreak and we haven't had more than a couple peeing incidents EVER...not to mention at all lately!  She is fantastic with the kids.  They love her to pieces (and maul her way too much sometimes - especially Alex!) but she takes it all and comes back for more.  She loves to play with her fellow "puppies".

When Avery wants to play she is incessant.  She'll become very persistent and bring you her toy to play tug or fetch.  She loves constant attention and wants to be with the family at all times!  When she really wants your attention, she'll jump around and get really hyper and even start barking to engage you.

She loves to chew.  On her toys.  On the boys' toys.  On kleenex.  Or garbage.  Or anything she can get her little teeth on!   She's been known to eat baby wipes whole which come out the same way they went in.  (gross, I know!)  Needless to say we've nipped that and no longer throw diapers or baby wipes in garbages she has any access to!

Avery is very smart!  She listens well, comes when she's called, sits and waits when she's told to.  I love that we can let her out with the garage door wide open and she'll run right past the open freedom to the backyard where she's supposed to go.  She's very well behaved.

Avery (before)
We love having Avery in our family!  She's been a wonderful addition!  I promise not to be so remiss in talking about the third "baby" of the family!!

Avery (now)....My how she's grown!

Friday, June 25, 2010

You're Gonna Miss This...

As much as I have complained about where we live, I really love the home we’ve made here. When I look past the neighbors fighting, the disrespectful kids who curse as they walk by and throw garbage in your yard, the break-ins, the noise, the filth, etc, there really is a lot about this place that I’m going to miss.

Just like the lyrics from Trace Adkins’ song say:

“You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this”

I started making a list of all the things around here I really like and would miss the most.  I quickly realized that with explanations and the stories I would want to share with them, it would be one L-O-N-G post so I thought I’d start a feature here to highlight some of these things I will miss…Stay tuned for a series of “You’re Gonna Miss This…” posts to help me remember the great things about having lived here for 6+ years.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's The Little Things...Brothers

Today's "little thing" for It's the Little Things Thursday comes from the bond I see forming between my two boys.  I spoke a little bit about it here, and as rare and fleeting as glimpses of this truth are, it still warms my heart.  I mean it when I say that a lot of time is spent fighting between these two.  They're loud, they bug each other, instigate arguments, fight over cars, chairs, or food.  They hit each other to acquire the other's sippy cup or scream at the top of their lungs when the a book, blanket, or toy is confiscated by the other.  It's chaotic and loud.  As with any other mother of more than one child, I often feel like a full-time referee.

What makes this all worth it at the end of the day is when one of my boys looks out for the other one almost instinctively.  For example, those mornings when Nate wakes up and wonders first and foremost where Alex is.  Or when Alex gets a snack from the snack cupboard and pulls out a second one for Nate, holds it up and asks,"Bot?" (brother).  I love that they care enough to have each other's back, to notice the absence of the other, and to worry about the other's well being.  I even adore that they love each other enough to drive each other nuts.

Please join me over at Starts at Eight to highlight the "little things" along your path that that make this journey of motherhood all worth it in the end! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook...June 22, 2010

FOR TODAY...June 22, 1010

Outside my window...darkness.  It's been a long day but I have a lot to spew before I can go to sleep with a clear mind.

I am thinking...about going back to school for a degree in Photography.  I always wanted to get my Bachelors in Photojournalism but the expense of those classes was very prohibitive when I was younger so I went straight journalism instead.  I got a lot out of that education and while I realize it's not for me, it taught me a lot of skills I still use today.  However, I would like to round it out and focus on the photography aspect.  I love taking pictures and think I have an ounce of natural talent that could really go somewhere if I had formal training and a background in photography.  I took one class in high school but that doesn't count.  I lack so much of the technical background that I feel inept.  I'd like to gain some knowledge to put together with my skills and build my confidence.  My husband is adamantly against it but I don't really care.

I am thankful husband.  Believe it or not.  He's a crotchety "old" fart sometimes but I realized on Father's Day while I was trying to be everything to everyone so he could enjoy the day off that there is a lot that I defer to him on a daily basis.  I'd be lost without him.  I hope he knows that putting up with him is the least I am willing to do to have him in our lives.

From the kitchen...dinner dishes are beckoning.  I started washing them while the boys finished up dinner but as soon as they hear water running they get all excited to join me and play in the water and I wasn't having it so I stopped what I was doing to get baths started and haven't made it back...

I am wearing...t-shirt, comfy pants, socks.  It's actually too hot and sticky for socks but I need to vacuum and the dog hair and crumbs sticking to my feet as I walk around is annoying me so until such time that I get a chance to vacuum, the socks are saving my sanity.

I am go to the new office tomorrow.  Today was my first day there and I managed to unpack all my boxes and settle 95% of my things.  The office space isn't horrible.  It's loud and distracting but with my iPod it will be better and hopefully it will settle down some when people are done settling in their own offices.  We shall see...only time will tell!

I am creating...a wish list of things to buy when we get in the new house.  It's getting long.  And expensive.

I am bed as soon as I'm done writing this.  I'm pooped.

I am make it through this summer without losing my mind.  I know I will, but there are times when I'm not so certain.

I am hearing...a fan, the dog snoring, kids walking around outside.

Pondering these words..."The secret to happiness is not in doing what one likes to do, but in liking what one has to do" 
My friend, Heidi had this quote as her Facebook status update today and the truth rings very loudly to me today.  Each of us has to make our own happiness and so much of it is about perspective and CHOOSING to be happy doing what we're doing.  I love this!

Around the house...laundry is behind, packing needs to be done, cleaning should be caught up on.  I'm falling behind miserably!

On my mind...a friend of mine is opening a cafe/bakery and asked me to provide her with some photos to put up and sell in her restaurant.  She said she wants to showcase my talents.  How fantastic is that?  I can't even tell you how excited this has me.  If I think about it too much I start questioning myself and that's no good so I'm not sure yet what photos I'll give her but I have a few in mind.  I can't wait to sit down and pick some to print and have framed.  How fun!

Noticing that...the Photography Gods have all been working in my favor this week.  Between the request of my friend above, starting the process to go back to school for a Bachelor's in Photography and being the official Staff Photographer at the golf tournament for work yesterday, I am oozing positive energy. 

One of my favorite cream.  I sure wish I had some right now.  It's been that kind of  a day!

A few plans for the rest of the week:   Walk 'N Talk, a baby shower at work for Shelby, birthday party for Ava, a weekend together as a family for a change!!  

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
I took this photo at the Hillside Believe in Kids Golf tournament on June 21, 2010.  I was made "official Staff Photographer" which was so much fun!  I'm not a big golf fan but I still managed to get some good action shots and hopefully was able to capture the feeling of this beautiful day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flashback Friday...Our New Home, 2004

In April 2004, Dave and I purchased our first home.  We had looked in many places but finally settled on finding one in a decent location in the City because that's what we could afford.  Not having any kids at the time (nor thinking we'd have any soon), we purchased this little (900+/- square feet) ranch on Avery Street.  

I do love our house.  It has a HUGE garage, a nice-sized (for the City!) fenced in backyard that doesn't back up to anyone else, and a gigantic dry basement full of possibility.  Unfortunately I am not a big fan of sending Nathaniel to the City schools and the crime and problems in our neighborhood have escalated over the last 6 years.  We've moved from "innocent" little car break-ins and thefts of personal property from our yard, to actual home break-ins and shootings down the street.  I'll pass.  Anyway, I thought I would take a little walk down memory lane with this Flashback Friday and post some photos of our home from when we bought it.  

Our new home!
April 2004

The ugly mint green, maroon, and yellow kitchen with dark green carpeting!
When we moved in that refrigerator had been closed and RUNNING so it was nasty!  It took me HOURS to clean that out!  Dave took to tackling that green carpeting and tearing up the (asbestos!) tiles underneath.  He laid new subflooring and put down a new linoleum tile floor that really helped to spruce the kitchen up.  

This was Nate's bedroom, complete with pee soaked shag carpeting where the old man who lived here would sit in his rocking chair and not quite make it to the bathroom in time.

Our vintage 1970's dining room, with gorgeous (*cough*), gold velvet curtains, gold chandelier, green carpeting and scalloped blinds with fringe!

Here is Nick helping to tear up the pink (!) rug that was in the master bedroom.  Also pee-stained, thankyouverymuch.

Our less than drab living room that had no TV, only a sitting room where people must have sat around and talked (*gasp!*) to each other!

(The living room/fireplace after we painted - much better!  We had every intention of painting this room the soft powder blue we had purchased, but my artistic sister begged me to let her at it.  So she pulled colors of the bricks out to choose the wall color and complimentary accent color for the trim and I think it looks fabulous!)

I have many more photos like this to show the progress we made with weeks of painting, cleaning, replacing carpets/flooring, etc.  There are a million other things I would have loved to do to this place if we were going to stick around and wanted to invest the money (sliding glass doors, deck, finish the basement, etc.).  But the point is that over the last 6 years we have made this house our home and given it a touch of us and I will truly miss this place.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"It's a Kuh-mergency!"

Around this house, we hear that a LOT!  Not (just) because Nathaniel tends to be a little (lot) dramatic or because he lives, breathes, sleeps, eats, and bleeds firefighter, but also because he has emergency services in his blood.  Literally.  He comes from a long line of emergency service workers.  His great-grandfather was a founding member of the Massasauga Search and Rescue Team.  My Mom and Dad (his grandparents) joined the team years before Nate was even a twinkle in our eye and searched many a swamp, forest, and field for missing people of all ages.  Nathaniel has two older brothers who are active members in the fire department and his grandparents (my parents again) were EMTs for a local ambulance corp for more than a decade.  As if that's not enough to secure his destiny, his father spent many years of his own in the fire service and has been a 9-1-1 Police Dispatcher for almost 24 years!  So, needless to say he's definitely been exposed to the public safety environment.  Despite exposure to dinosaurs, construction vehicles, trains, monsters, knights, cowboys, and various other boyish treats...Nathaniel stuck to FIRETRUCKS like a magnet to metal.

If this kid doesn't grow up to be a firefighter, I will be a monkey's uncle.  (Whatever that actually means...)

It's funny to see how Nate can turn anything into a firefighter/fire truck/fire service reference.

For example, I could say "I really like blueberry muffins" and he'd say "You know who else really likes blueberry muffins?  Firefighters!"  Or I could say, "the sky sure looks grey today" and Nate would say "Smoke from a FIRE is grey, too!"  Ok, so he probably wouldn't say that because I'm not sure he knows the color grey, but he often surprises me, so we'll pretend he does.  Regardless, you get the point, no?

Anyway, Nathaniel soaks up all things fire fighting.  He knows the equipment, the gear, the lingo.  It's fabulous to watch, actually!  He knows the difference between a pike pole and a pick axe.  He can differentiate between an aerial platform truck and a pumper truck.  He can even tell you under what circumstances a ladder truck would be used and when and why firefighters use SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) masks.  He's turned safety goggles, a doctor's stethoscope, even a travel coffee mug into a breathing mask for many "emergencies"!  He'll be the first to tell you that "Fire is very dangerous.  That is why we must work together as a team to put the fire out and rescue people in trouble".  He talks about fire trucks 24/7.  Avery is "our fire dog".  My car is "our fire car" that we take to emergencies.  And he calls our house, "the fire station".  He'll stand at the window and if he thinks someone comes too close to our house he'll yell "Hey, you!  Get away from our fire house!".  When people ask his name it's not uncommon to hear him say "I'm Firefighter Dave Smith".

He can sing the tunes to many fire fighter songs, makes the sound of a fire siren so believably that I've mistaken his antics for a real fire truck going by, and tells anyone and everyone who will listen that he's "a firefighter".  With a peacock strut and proud grin, he tells everyone how he fights fires, saves people from burning buildings and rescues injured people at the scene of an accident.

He wears one of his two fire fighter uniforms wherever we go.  Grocery store, mall, to see his beloved Brie, you name it...he wears his turn out gear (complete with a Nomex hood, helmet, and fire boots).  He wears his Finding Nemo backpack as an air tank and drags around a variety of tools and equipment to help him fight fires wherever he is.  This past winter, he surprised us by taking off his snow pants when he'd come inside and situating them with his boots like a firefighter does so all he had to do was step into his boots and pull his pants up to be ready to go.  Genius, I tell you!

We spend hours watching fire truck videos on YouTube, viewing Lots and Lots of Firetrucks on DVD, and reading all about fire trucks, fire equipment, and fire fighting techniques.  If it's possible for a 4-year-old to be passionate about something, this is it.  He even meticulously hangs his fire gear up at night so it's ready for a fire whenever he should be called.

Considering my biggest fear, I find it ironic that of all the things he was exposed to as a baby, fire is the one thing he took to.  Perhaps it's my own exposure therapy in play. that sounds like a real kuh-mergency!  Quick, someone call me a firefighter!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Time Capsule

In the process of this move from our first house, I'm saddened by the changes the new owners are planning to make upon closing.  The house will be for the buyer's 80-something-year-old mother so some renovations were talked about for the flooring and particularly for the bathroom to make it accessible for an elderly woman and her walker.

The thought that the new owners will come in and rip out our bathroom breaks my heart.  The bathroom is the one room we've done the most work to.  We completely gutted it 5 years ago, rebuilt it by hand from the studs, and I love it.  I even laid my first ceramic tile floor in that bathroom.


It's the first project we tackled together and it's 100% OURS.

We took a hideous 1950s Italian bathroom (with gold fixtures, yellow walls, flamingos painted on the shower doors and gold marbled shell shaped sink) from this:

To this:

Dave mentioned something the other night that I had almost forgotten.  When we remodeled the bathroom in 2005 we put a time capsule in the wall behind the new drywall for someone to find in generations to come.  In a small container we placed coins from 2005, photos, a note with our story, and some other trinkets of the time.

Together with a newspaper from March 19th of that year, we lovingly boarded it up behind the drywall of our new bathroom with visions of someone in a far away time uncovering our history.   Little did we know at the time that it might be discovered just a few years later.

The thought seriously pains me.  All that hard work, all the investment, all that time, and effort, and love.  Gone.  They'll rip out our new bathtub that we picked out specifically big enough for two (much smaller, pre-kids people) to bathe in.  They'll get rid of our beautiful cherry vanity and mirror that we (literally!) bought before we were even planning to remodel and built the entire design of the bathroom around.  All the little things we loved about this house the new owners may throw aside without a second thought.

I have flashbacks of this when it comes to having to say goodbye to this house.  For all the good reasons why we're leaving, it sure won't be easy.  I'm just sayin'....