Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ
2 Peter 3:18

Friday, November 28, 2008

What Would You Say?

Have you ever looked at pictures of yourself as a child or teenager or on your wedding day and thought, "I wish I could go back and tell that me something"? (start playing "If I Could Write a Letter to Me" in your head now!) Maybe there's been a tragedy in your life that you'd want to prepare yourself for or maybe you'd just like to tell your 16 year old self that things will get better!

Well, we (as most of you know) are in the (eternal?) process of fixing up our house. We just passed the year anniversary of living here a few weeks ago on Phil's birthday (happy 30th, by the way). It's been several months since I've posted a new set of before and after pictures, and quite honestly, I've been a little down about that. Sometimes I just want to scream "WE'VE BEEN HERE A YEAR FOR HEAVEN SAKES!!! WHY DOESN'T IT LOOK ANY DIFFERENT!?" When the truth is, we're painfully close to being done with phase 1 of a major area of the house and pictures are soon to be posted. We have gotten a lot done and I just have a bad case of "never is enough." I've begun to start giving some serious thought to what I want to do with the kitchen. Do I want to just get it to an attractive room to live with for a few more years? Should we live with it the way it is for a little longer until we can do a complete overhaul? What defines each of those options? Join me in the hamster wheel of frustration, will you?

So, I was flipping through all of my before pictures of the house to see what I had of the kitchen to show a kitchen designer when I meet with her. This is one of the pictures:

(I've really tried to avoid posting before pictures without an after- sorry to have ruined the affect for when I do finally get some posted of this area!)

The day before we closed on the house our realtor, Wilson, and I went to the house to do a walk through and then wait an ever loving eternity for a cleaning lady to show up. While we waited, I decided to go around and take before pictures of the house completely empty. I had big plans after all and these pictures were going to be part of the greatest polishing of a diamond in the rough the world had ever seen.

Wilson was not really supposed to be in any of the pictures, nor did he want to be. But somehow he wound up in this one. I'm glad he did because when I opened it up it made me stop for a second and reflect. I wanted to run to "that him", scoop him up, give him a big hug, and talk to him. Actually seeing pictures of the kitchen caught me by surprise first. We pulled the wallpaper down less than 24 hours after this was taken so the kitchen has had a different look the entire time we've lived in the house (note "different" does not always equal "good" - in this case, different is just different!). But as soon as I saw the "old" kitchen, it immediately made me realize the one I have now (as horrid as I think it is most of the time) is "my" kitchen. Looking at the old pictures brought back the feelings of "we're leaving home and buying someone else's house"- feelings that do not immediately come to me now when I walk in the door. I have said several times that the past year has literally been some sort of time warp for me and I am baffled quite often when things I think happened a few days or weeks ago actually happened over a year ago. This is another one of those times, except that this time it is pleasantly surprising. Somehow during this warped time, I ACTUALLY HAVE adopted this place as home. I really didn't think that I had. I still flip on the wrong light switch every time I go in the playroom bathroom. I am still completely grossed out by the remaining fibers of carpet in the bedrooms. I still say four letter words every time I go in the laundry room and that terrible fluorescent light fixture doesn't warm up and come on until I'm done in the room and flipping (the wrong) switch off. We are still paying a mortgage on a squirrel motel. But somehow, it's home.

So, if I could go back, what would I tell that little face looking at me in the picture above?

"Buddy, it's going to be okay. We are about to embark on a crazy, busy, mixed up year. You are going to make it through unscathed, and love most of it. We WILL get the smell out. Santa will bring you the Lightning Spiral. Your sister will get here and be very healthy. Your room will be bright blue "like your train" in a matter of days. You'll still be wearing that shirt next Christmas. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. You're going to love having an upstairs room- it will never bother you that we're downstairs (except for the first few weeks when Miller comes home and you want her upstairs with you in her room). Thank you for not being right under my feet for once when that grease came flying out of the pan- I'm still so thankful that it only got on my hand and not your head! Sometimes, even a year later, you'll miss our old house- and that's okay. It was your first home, and as long as we're here we can drive by whenever you want. You're going to love sitting on the back steps waiting for dad's car to turn down the street on his way home from work. You're going to have a buddy right down the street to play with at a moments notice- he's also going to love Cars as much as you! Chasing Jack up and down the stairs is soooo much fun. I don't know how, but you're always going to like it here- and you're going to protest most of the changes we're going to begin to make. You're going to be okay."

Or maybe I'd just say most those things to the person behind the camera.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I've been tagged by my sweet friend Mysti to do the following:

1. Choose the 4th picture folder on my computer

2. Choose the 4th picture

3. Explain the picture

4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

My picture is the one above of Wilson. It is from a folder that I have just a few random shots of him as a baby in- the rest of his baby pics have been moved to external storage. Every now and then Miller will make a face or do something that I remember Baby Wilson doing and I'll plug in the extra hard drive and grab the picture to compare the two. This is from when he was about 10 months old. At that age when I needed a break, I'd strip him down, put him in the high chair, and spoon out some frozen cool whip. He'd play for . . . minutes on end.

Now I tag....

1. Kendy

2. Ash. E.

3. Jess. White

4. Laura Tomlinson- how often are you REALLY checking in on my blog!? :)

Ummm . . . .

. . . who rolled us?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Play Place Use No. 101

Since Miller has FINALLY figured out how to crawl, we've been able to move on to the next phase of play place fun- crawl through tunnel. Seriously, this thing is GREAT. If you're looking for a gift for new parents, this will be a hit. 10 months and we're still using it daily!

The under publicised Duchess of Hazard, Millie MAE- she prefers to exit via the side window.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What did they do . . .

. . .bug my house?! Recently I gushed about Amazon answering a silent wish of mine- to be able to add anything to a wish list from anywhere on the web. Well they must have had a camera in my kitchen a few weeks ago as I tried to extract my new cell phone and was reduced to banging it on the counter in cave womanly manor confounded by the "clam shell" style plastic packaging that has become so favored by manufacturers these days. Or maybe Big Brother had been dispatched to the playroom as mountains of twist ties piled up and Wilson nearly wet himself waiting on me to open up his birthday gifts (you know the opening up that's not nearly as fun as the ripping off of bright paper and ribbons- the opening up that requires yard shears, heavy duty gloves, 4 letter words, and a professional manicure to repair the damage). Today they announced this new initiative . . .

"Thanks" just doesn't seem to cover it. I'll be drying tears of joy if anyone needs me.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What Nice Weather We've Been Having

Yea for cooler weather and the need for cute hats!
The exersaucer is always more fun outdoors

Wilson and his new remote control truck

We have really been enjoying the cooler weather and sunny days. Here are a few fun pictures to kick off a marathon of posts. Enoy!

Yes, We Did Take Wilson to Disney World!

It's hard to believe that we've already been back for over a week- and even harder to believe that I haven't posted any pictures! If you are a regular follower you're about to see that I've had a lot of catching up to do, so scroll down- there's about 10 new posts (at least it seems that way if there really aren't!)(Okay, I just counted, there's actually THIRTEEN!).

I'll spare you each and every individual photo from the whole entire trip (it rivals the day he was born). And, as you can tell by the 1800 posts, I'm too behind to do scrapbook pages. I did however spend the better part of 2 days putting together a photo book online and I'll post a link below (click on the picture of the album, shutterfly will open and then click on the album picture again- don't use "view album" it doesn't work). When you get to the site click view the show. There is a magnifying glass on the upper right side if you want to see it page by page and be able to read the journaling & captions.

Disclaimer to family- you may want to skip this entirely because you will be required to look at the hard copy when it arrives and you will have to sit through Wilson's tour of the book- pace yourself!

I can't leave this post without saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to my mom and dad for keeping Miller while we went. It's definitely not an easy job, but we really appreciate you doing it. We couldn't have gone without your help. As I've said, "I have a no diaper, no stroller, no pregnant in Disney World rule . . . and only three of us qualified."

Happy Halloween!

Have I mentioned that she doesn't like things taken away from her. No, Millie you can't throw pumpkins we don't intend to buy.

(This one looks like they're posing for promotional photos for their next album. Okay, you smile like you're here having your picture taken. You, look off into the distance thoughtfully like you're actually thinking up meaningful lyrics as we're in the photo shoot, with just a hint of smirk because you know you're way too cool for all of this.)

Wilson with Mrs. Angie at his Halloween party

Wilson and the guys

Princess Baby
(yes, that is the gown she came home from the hospital in under the tutu)

Happy 4th Birthday, Wilson!

You in your birthday crown from school

My Sweet Wilson,

Wow, what a year! Honestly it's just a blur and I feel like I hardly remember any of it. I really feel like I should be pulling into the driveway of our old house, laying you down for your nap in your bed in your old room, scrambling to get the house ready for your 3 year old birthday halloween carnival party, and then waking you up just in time to meet your guests (and be the only one not wearing a costume!). Because after that it just gets really hazy.

We began the flinging of all our stuff into boxes, the unflinging into our new house, painting as much as could be painted before purchasing what seemed to be the last Christmas tree on the lot, and then shoving all the Christmas decorations back into the closet so that we wouldn't trip over them coming back into the house with your new baby sister. From there it seems like more of just a time warp.

I keep waiting for the moment that I'm going to take a walk with you on your new tricycle or read a story to you in your new tent and then I realize those things are no longer "new" and that it really has been A WHOLE YEAR since they were. You've moved on and grown more.

You still love your tent and tricycle, you're just able to love them with me on the side line now. We go weeks without the mention of Lion- he's been replaced with Rocko the dog (who's currently taking a back seat to Pluto). A few weeks before we moved you became fascinated with this stuffed dog that you've had since birth, named him Rocko, and he's stayed at your side ever since. When school started this year, you ran right into Mrs. Angie's room to meet her completely thrilled about your new room and teacher, no apprehension what so ever. You no longer insist on me walking you to your class anymore like you did last year- you happily hop out of the car each morning and run to your room from the carpool line. Many mornings I wake up to you rumbling around in the kitchen, feeding the dog, letting him out and then giving him a treat when he comes back in. I'll walk out later to find you hanging out in the playroom watching cartoons. You've become quite skilled at playing Mario Kart on our Wii and enjoying trying to beat dad (and sometimes do!). You've impressed us with your ability to memorize scripture and have begun to apply them, a little.

(Quick story- We have been reading through Susan Hunt's Bible Verse ABC's repeatedly and you've memorized most of the 26 verses. I left you and Miller with Daddy for the day while I went out of town for a baby shower. While I was putting you to bed the night before I left I began an attempt to bribe you for super duper good behavior and for being helpful to Dad while I was gone. I told you that I was going to call him on my way home and if you'd been good, I'd stop and get you a surprise. "Please, please, please be sweet and help Daddy with Miller, and just be as sweet and good as you can". We read books and said prayers. As I was leaving I said, "Okay tomorrow if your tempted to say or do something ugly to Daddy, what are you going to remember?" I'm expecting "be nice and I'll get a surprise". To my surprise you reply "A soft answer turns away wrath, Proverbs 15:1." Fine, will go with your answer!)

You've recently gone through the triple threat (see later post) with very few tears and I'm beginning to fear we're getting close to the little boy doesn't need mamma point.

However, I do have to remind myself that as independent as you have become (inspite of yourself) you still do come running for mom a good bit. I think maybe as Miller is starting to move into "your territory" you're as scared of loosing it as I am of you not needing anymore! You often ask for me to feed you, you're still very fearful of the unknown and want to know all that you can about everything before trying it (holding our hands the whole way of course) but then you usually want to go back and do whatever it was on your own as many times as possible. You're very careful about what toys of your's Miller is allowed to play with (often siting small pieces that MAY come off IF she chews on them as choking hazards, knowing that's a hole in one for not having to share). I'm not sure why, but your latest concerns are about Heaven. Sweet boy, I'm afraid there's just no way for us to give you a dry run on that one. You're just going to have to learn, along with Mom and Dad, to trust that God has got a wonderful spot for all of us there!

We ended your 4th year here with a trip to Disney World (maybe that's where all the Heaven questions are coming from!?) And what a great time we all had. We drove and you didn't sleep a wink down or back! You were a trooper on the car ride and did well at the parks. It took a few days for you to really get into the swing of things, but when you did, oh what fun! Your favorite rides included Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion- a big GO FIGURE on all of those. You were very leary of any ride that took place inside (like ALL the little kid rides) becuase you could not see what was going to happen. However, you begged to go on Splash and loved every minuted and inch of the 52' drop! You are daily planning our next trip with Miller (which will not occur until she too reaches at least the 4 year mark so it should be quite an organized excursion!) When we got home we had your birthday party on Halloween on the playground at your preschool with all your school friends as well as a couple of church pals. You got tons of great gear including dinosaurs, trucks, books, and, of course, Cars!

I love you to the moon and back, Baby,


Playing with some of your b'day dinosaurs while wearing your crown in our backyard

You, Nathan, and John Clark eating lunch at your party

Your cake- it looks just like the invites to your party

And with one little blow, we're on our way to FIVE!

Video from your actual birthday at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World.

New For Miller 1

Standing in her bed


(both taken earlier this month)

New For Miller 2


(taken earlier this week)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Around Our Dinner Table

Wilson (I mean Spider Man) feeding Miller. She doesn't swat at the spoon when he feeds her- go figure!

Rupert the dinosaur playing Candyland while eating a cheeto. Wilson and I played an entire game with him. He was amazingly good- I almost lost to him (the dinosaur, that is).

The Dentist, the Doctor, and the Barber

Otherwise known as the triple threat for Wilson. In order to make it to his 4th birthday he had to meet each one's challenge. I must say- he passed with mostly flying colors. Each of these trips in the past has been met with screams yet to be heard on earth over mundane grooming tasks. But he made it through them all, only crying about getting his finger pricked (Miller had her check up that day, too. She just looked at the nurse when her finger was pricked- should have let her go first!) "I like doctor Ellison- he's pretty nice!" "I like that new dentist- she's pretty good" "I got my haircut, and I didn't even cry at all."

I was so overwhelmed by his behaivior at the dentist that I took pictures! This is our new pediatric dentist- who wouldn't love a woman with this kind of train table in her office!

Miller also had a great time- she even let the dentist poke around in her head, too!

The Fair and the Zoo

We met Daddy at the fair on "Bomgar Day" when everyone from his office went down in their orange for lunch. We all had a great time riding rides, watching a dog show, eating various foods on a stick and funnel cakes, and getting a great sun burn. Miller had a great time people watching- and we all know there's some pretty good people watching at the fair!

I just noticed how comically small these cars look with an adult sitting in them.

Snaps to Daddy for squeezing himself in there.

A few days later Wilson woke up with a terrible crick in his neck. He screamed if we even touched his hair -he could not move his head. We decided that there was no way he'd make through church, so we went to the zoo to try and get him to move around a little. He was a little more mobile by the end of our trip, but it was still a few days before he was back to normal. Poor little guy!

Happy 9 Months Miller

Okay, so she'll be 10 months in less than a week, but here's her real 9 month video. I made it while on hold with a lovely little outfit you all know as the I-R-S. Of course I was on hold for half an hour before I finally thought of something constructive to do with the time. I get well into the video and they come back- so it just sort of ends. Oh well. We love you Miller, Happy 9 months!

Critter Update Number . . . oh I give up

Following is a post I was creating live and minute by minute during a squirrel hunt about a month ago. I never could get the videos to load, so I never got this post published. There's been a lot of activity since then (ergo the post a few back where I give a very brief update), so I'll complete the saga (I know you've all been hanging on by thread to hear the end) . . .

What has lots of teeth, two tails, black and brown spots and is a little, okay a lot, crazy? Jack AND Tate trying to get a squirrel in the wall! That's right it's baaaaack!

They are currently hanging out outside while Phil devises a plan to get the rodent out. So far it's involved the pellet gun and removing the plate from the wall from the original invasion. The squirrel was not in that section of the wall this time. Jack was the first on the scene, he's more familiar with the sound of course. Tate came in for back up and just went to town. Tate has got a thirst for blood like no untrained, non-hunting, lap dog I've ever seen. I spent the better part of two afternoons last week cleaning HUMMING BIRD blood off the ceiling of my parent's house (they left town for a few weeks, I went to pick Tate up so he wouldn't starve while they're gone, and this is what I'm greeted with- how high and how fast did that dog have to just to catch a HUMMING BIRD!? At first I couldn't find their ladder so I went to ask the man across the street for one- he loaned me something that resembled a ladder. It was held together by a vine that had crept onto it while being stored safely in the yard and paint drips from previous projects. I returned, um, that and came back the next day with my own. But, again, I digress . . .) The dogs had to go out because Tate was well on his way to chewing through the wall board.

The current plan is that Phil has cut a very tiny hole in the wall where we think the intruder is. He's stuffed it with a cotton ball coated in peanut butter. He's planning to shoot when he sees movement on the cotton . . . I'll let you know how that turns out. Why do I think I'm going to wake up to a bed full of squirrel babies in the morning?

For bonus points . . . What's almost four, wears Halloween pajamas, and is STILL awake narrating the whole thing?

So now, the rest of the story.

I woke up that morning at about 3 am to Phil running around with his pellet gun. I asked what was going on. He said "it" was trying to get a snack. I asked what it was. He said he thought a rat. So he went in to shoot it while it ate. It fell to the floor (on the inside of the wall). So, another hole has to be cut to remove the rat. The rat turns out to be a FLYING SQUIRREL. He was not the only carcass in the wall, either. There was a skeleton in there.

We go to be the next night and wake up to more scratching in the wall. Phil takes Tate in the laundry room and this time is sounds like it's coming from the hole that the critter man cut. Phil peels back the flashing and Tate sticks his head in. Tate gently removes the old piece of drywall that had fallen in to get it out of his way. He places it on the ground and goes back in. He starts pulling and tugging and out he comes with a mouth full of, you guessed it, a flying squirrel sibling. We go to bed. And we go to bed with nothing for a few more nights.

But the story doesn't end here. One night as we're going to bed Jack is going nuts around the door and windows in our bedroom that look into my studio. We check everything out, see nothing, and send him to bed. He spent the next day at the vet, but when we were getting ready for bed the next night he starts all over again dancing and jumping around the window. We've had it and send him to his bed. I'm awoken at about 1am to him huffing and puffing at the door again. I turn on the light and think maybe he's seeing the reflection of our fan in the glass of the door so I hold him up so he can see there's NOTHING. He won't stop acting crazy so I decide to shut him out in my studio and close the curtains so he can't see in. As I'm getting back into bed I take one look back at the windows and notice a small blob on the curtain rod. I don't have my contacts in, but I know this blob is NOT supposed to be there. "Phil there IS something over there." He gets a broom and I go in the bathroom, shut the door, climb up on the counter, and wait. The next thing I know a super shrilled shriek is coming from my room and then there's the sounds of a dog/squirrel chase. Jack gets a mouth full of flying squirrel sibling #3! I'm still recovering from the fact that it was in our room for over 24 hours and that it probably hung Mission Impossible style over our heads in the back hall as it scampered from the laundry room in to ours. I'm not sure Jack will ever recover from it . . .

Uncle Bruce & his family visit

Wilson loved hanging out with the "big boys"

Miller loved Aunt Sherry

. . . and Uncle Bruce wasn't so bad either

Sweet Babies