One of the blogs that I read once coined the timeframe I’m living in, the one where your kids are small, as living in the blur (this was either Momastery or Enjoying the Small Things – both blogs that I love and read often and would highly recommend!). I think that is such a great metaphor. It’s a blur because you sleep very little, things are happening fast, so MUCH is happening with your kids individually and at home, you’re very needed, and you barely have time to digest all that’s happening, and when you think about what you’re doing, you barely remember what you did two hours ago, let alone all along the way. That’s why I like to keep the blog – it keeps things in order, shows ME that yes, we’re making progress here, and it helps me remember what all we did! So, I may not be the most regular poster these days, but I still like the blog and intend to keep it going. Just forgive my infrequent posts, and know that I’ll eventually get back to it!
On to the family news… First, as I mentioned in the prior post, the sale of the Lawndale house fell through. Bitterly disappointing, and add to that, horrible timing. By the time it had definitely fallen through, the summer buyers were gone, and we’ve had very little traffic. Right now, we’ve taken it off the market, and are waiting for the spring. One decision we have made is to split off the lot from the house and sell it separately. It makes us sad to do it, because we put so much effort into the side lot being such an ‘oasis’, for us and even the neighborhood. I can’t tell you how many times people stopped and told us how nice our yard was. I think it was refreshing to people, honestly. Just a little open space in a crowded city was really nice. Well, anyway, so much for that. We kept finding that people didn’t ‘get’ the lot, and thought they just got it for free. Uh… no. Also by selling the lot, we can unload a little of the debt burden, and I think we’ll actually make more money this way. It’s supposed to close at the end of January. Fingers crossed!
The new house is coming along nicely. We had the main floor and the basement repainted, which has been nice. A little pointless on the main floor, since we do still plan on adding an addition, but since that is on an indefinite hold until the house sells, we wanted to do it. We were very sick of feeling like it was someone else’s house, because the colors were not ‘us’. We even had to have the ceilings painted, since the former owners thought it was a good idea to paint the ceilings the same color as the walls. (!) We have also had a couple plumbing incidents, but nothing devastating. We have finally found space for most things, although some things have found a temporary home in the basement storage. The basement storage area and my office are the last frontiers of disorganization that I still haven’t gotten under control since the move. Matt has done wonders outside already. All of the fence is down, and he is in the process of removing dead/annoying trees whenever he can. He has cleaned up a lot of the creek bed, too. He continues to pull out random junk out of the woods. We have found farm implements, a basketball hoop, a grill, a hay wagon, a cultivator, loads of fencing; it’s been kind of unbelievable! We also had a landscaper out a couple weeks ago that is going to help us plot our multi-year landscaping plan. The landscaper is actually the head groundskeeper (I’m not sure that’s his title – Matt will correct me I’m sure) at Rich Harvest Farms, a local golf course that happens to be one of the top 100 courses in the United States, and it is 6 miles from our house! Matt talked him into coming over and checking out the land as a favor, and the guy said yes!!! Matt was beyond excited!!!
In other news, Sam, the nanny I talked about in the last post, quit suddenly over Thanksgiving break. She left us via text (what is wrong with ‘kids’ these days???), and we haven’t seen her since. She never faced me in person, never was even willing to call me on the phone. Considering she told me on a Saturday that she wasn’t coming Monday, it left us in a real bind. I had a work trip planned for that morning, and luckily Matt was able to cover. Since I found out about her plans right before Matt’s family came over for the O’D Thanksgiving (which we hosted this year), I was obviously seething and mentioned it to a few people who asked me how things were going… (this is where fate steps in…) I mentioned it to my nephew’s girlfriend, and she told me about a friend of hers that had recently left a nanny job and that might be looking. I got her number, called her and met her Wednesday. She was able to fill in a little that week, and started the following Monday. She had worked for another family for a few years, so had experience, was local (so people knew her, which is a plus), was indeed looking for a new family to nanny for, and she just fit right in. We are happy to have Jordan, and I hope to never go through another experience like that again!!! Talk about major stress!!!
Now let me get into what the girls are doing. I’ll start with Kate this time. She is 1!!!! She turned one on 12/22. We had a party planned for the night of her birthday, but alas, it was not to be. Her birthday was Tuesday, and that Sunday prior, Ellie got pink eye. Then Charli got pink eye. And sick. So, we cancelled the party because we couldn’t have people over with pink eye and sickness in the house. We all ended up with something that week. That week of Christmas, Charli and Ellie got the pink eye and fevers and then a horrible cough. Matt and I just got the cough. Kate got the fever later that week. We probably shouldn’t have gone anywhere for Christmas, but we went to my parents’ house. I think we passed around some of our sicknesses, but since we were all on break, we had time to get over everything before school started back up. We actually pulled off a make-up party for Kate this past weekend. We just had family over, but we felt lucky that everyone was healthy and that the weather was good enough for travel in January! Anyway, we had a ‘peppermint’ themed party for her, and it was very cute! She now has 6 teeth (but seems to be getting some more again), isn’t quite walking yet, says a few words (ball, mama/dada, Ellie, whoa, wow), and is still a very good-natured baby. She loves to pull-up via my pants, which then pulls them down. She is VERY flexible and fairly graceful – she loves to get into a downward dog position with her butt in the air and her forehead on the ground. She does the splits all the time. She loves to put her feet up on stuff. She doesn’t seem to fall over much, as she always catches herself. She seems to like to play with hair (where does she get that from?) and mine. Her laugh is hilarious. She is a very good eater. She still takes two naps + a day. We are still breastfeeding, although I expect that to come to a close fairly soon… She is a bad sleeper. She likes to be held when she’s sleeping. I blame myself for this because I fall asleep with her all the time. It’s so hard to stay awake in a dark room with a warm cuddly baby when you’re tired!!! I just can’t do it!!! Besides her birthday we had her baptism at the beginning of November. She was baptized at our new church, St. Katherine Drexel in Sugar Grove. It’s a beautiful church, with a very nice congregation. And prior to that, she had her first Halloween, and she was a little lamb. Cutest little lamb I’ve ever seen!!!
OK, on to Ellie. She is doing very well at preschool. She seems to know a lot of her letters, can count at least to 20, can recite her ABC’s, and seems to have a real knack for rhymes, songs, and even prayers! This fall, she was on a Homecoming float that the preschool built (I even did a painting for it!), and they won the float contest! She still goes to physical therapy and still has orthotic boots to wear. We are trying to wear them more, but she is not a fan. My new plan is to work up to longer periods of time wearing the boots. She unfortunately been afflicted with the worst of our sicknesses this season. Whatever goes around, she seems to catch and then not be able to shake. She really seems to have issues with fevers popping up and then getting fairly severe. Now just a laundry list of notes about her: She is still religiously taking an afternoon nap. She is a bear if she doesn’t get it. If Kate is a good eater, Ellie is the opposite. She eats like a bird. I feel like she doesn’t even like that many things to eat! The one thing she does like are treats. I know at one point, we were worried about Ellie’s speech. That has definitely gone away. She is an absolute chatterbox! And, she speaks very well, and very clearly. Sometimes quietly, but she’s pretty clear. Her biggest news is that she is now potty trained! That happened right before Thanksgiving! So that made Mom and Dad very happy! As for Halloween, Ellie was Minnie Mouse.
Now for Miss Charli. She is handling kindergarten pretty well. She seems to be fitting in socially, and the reviews from our parent/teacher conference were encouraging. They are working on a lot of phonics and blending, sight words and math basics. She has been taking the bus every day and is doing great with that. This fall, she finished up her soccer league (her team led by Matt) and soon after, I took on leading the Kindergarten/1st grade Daisy Girl Scout Troop with a couple other Moms of girls in Charli’s class that I recruited to be leaders with me. Right now, we are selling Girl Scout Cookies! And, we had a winter event at Camp Dean this week that was fun for the girls… She is also back taking piano lessons (after a hiatus because of the following incident in the next paragraph). We will likely be deciding what to involve her in this spring fairly soon. Regarding Halloween, she was a Monster High girl!
Another ‘exciting’ thing that happened to Charli this fall was that she broke her arm. We were at the St. Charles Scarecrow Festival, the girls spotted some park equipment and wanted to play. After much begging, I let them. Charli wandered over to the monkey bars, and it was hard to watch her, as I had the stroller and Kate, and my Mom and Dad were more concerned with Ellie running around the equipment. Anyway, she went over to the monkey bars, waited in line, got up there, and then dropped down to let go. Well, let’s just say she fell badly. She got up crying and it was obvious WHY. Her arm was bent in a very unnatural way!!! So, off to the hospital we went. She broke her left arm – both her radius and her ulna bones were broken. Luckily the bone wasn’t out of her skin, but the bone was very offset and had to be moved back into place, which I got to witness (!). Yuck. She was VERY TOUGH and a very good patient for all of it, except for maybe the first cast removal (she had one week of a soft cast to let the swelling go down, about 4 weeks of a cast almost up to her armpit, and another 4-5 weeks of a short cast). I think that scared the crap out of her. But, we got through it and now we just have to go back in July to see how it’s doing. I thought she would be annoyed/have trouble sleeping/be itchy/complain and really, I heard nothing!!! She barely slowed down. Kids!!!
Besides that, we have hosted a few events this fall. As I mentioned, we had Kate’s baptism on November 1. The night before, we decided to host a kid Halloween party for the Shaffer side. (Since they were coming up for the baptism and the night before was Halloween, we decided to celebrate together, since the girls never get to see their cousins/grandparents on Halloween) We did some neighborhood trick-or-treating (some of the people we visited said they hadn’t had trick-or-treaters for 20 years!!!), ate spooky treats, and had a haunted house outside on the porch. We also hosted the O’Donnell Thanksgiving this year. That was a Matt project, almost exclusively. He cooked the turkeys and the stuffing, organized all the things people brought, and held a bake-off! Hats off to Chef Matt – the turkeys were very good, and it was very nice not to be in charge for once!
Besides that, we had another couple sets of family pictures taken – one at the house and one up in Lake Geneva (with a lady that did our pictures last fall). We needed pictures for our Christmas cards and we had to get Kate’s 1 year pictures done! We spent New Years at the Blue Harbor Resort up in Sheboygan. That was a lot of fun for all of us!!! I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of other stuff, but I’m sure you are definitely sick of reading on this post! I’ll post a bunch of pictures as always. Busy, busy, busy!!! I hope I get to another post soon, so I don’t have to write as much!