Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Prep

We made it to Christmas! So let's keep celebrating with a little picture-soplosion of how we got here. At church, the kids made cards for the elderly and we went caroling at a local assisted living home.
Last week, Aunt Bridget came over for cookie making day. Also play/fort-making day.
She's really artistic and did a great job icing the sugar cookies.
Being a house full of girls, everyone (except Tim) got holiday toenails. Felicity is a girly-girl and LOOOOVES having painted nails!
And finally, our girls made the cover of the local United Way Christmas card. It was pretty much a disaster getting them all to sit still and look at the camera. Felicity was actually photo-shopped into this picture, if that's ANY indication of how uncooperative they were.
Kids will be kids. Especially during the most wonderful time of the year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Throwbacks Saturday (That's a thing. Right?)

Oldest to newest...

June 2012. Blueberry picking. Just because it is still such a happy memory.
10 days ago. When the girls were told to sit still, eat breakfast, and stay out of the way of the construction people at the new house. Because sharing a meal together is part of making a house a home.
Several days ago. Attempted to celebrate St. Lucia Day like the Swedes as part of our theme of the week. Because some themes are not as successful as others. They probably are not any more cultured than they were half an hour before this picture was taken. 
Two days ago. The girls just trying to stay warm at the new house while Mom and Dad are (again) making house decisions. Because safety first is our motto.
Today. (Soooo probably not considered a legitimate throwback, but couldn't resist.) Aunt Bridget and soon-to-be Uncle Ryan got all adorable in Sarah's parents' old MATCHING Christmas sweaters. Because the 70's were a thing of beauty and these two are seriously pulling this look off!
Five days until Christmas! Is your heart ready for Jesus to come?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa Success

Because we know everyone was worried about Felicity's Santa issues...fret no longer.
At the parish Christmas party this weekend, she willingly sat on his lap! Now you'll get a good night's rest.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The house is now officially "enclosed"...we think. There are garage doors, windows, a temporary front door...we just cannot believe the progress on the house every time we're there! Sometimes there are fifteen people just working away on framing and plumbing and drywall and electric and concrete and HVAC. Our builder deserves an award for the pace he's keeping. And every single person we've interacted with has been incredibly friendly, helpful, patient with our gaggle of girls, and accommodating to the constant decision making and changes.
The front today with a Miriam.
And the back today with a Tim.
Today we got to watch the concrete being poured for the porch and we left our mark!
While all this progress is being made on the new house, our current home is feeling a little like a homemaking disaster area. With all the spare minutes spent trying to keep up with the new house, Mommy is falling further behind on whatever she "should" be doing at home. Likewise, Tim is spending many late nights trying to keep up with his work at the office when so many daylight hours are spent at the new house. We shall see if any ornaments make it onto the tree this year. Santa comes Christmas Eve, so as long as it's decorated by then we'll call it a Christmas Win.

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like a house!

Our house as of yesterday afternoon:
It's really coming along! Every time we stop by we are amazed at how quickly this is happening. It's so exciting and we're loving the process. We can walk through the rooms now and imagine what will happen in each of the spaces. We've even had some pretend tea parties in the play room.

Truth is, we did not want to build a house. We wanted to buy something a little bigger than our current home with a yard already out the back door and paint on the walls. You know, move in when we signed on the dotted line. But that wasn't meant to be, despite two years of looking and making offers and negotiating and looking some more. We knew what we wanted, and in the end, we were going to have the right house for our family and the way we operate if we just buckled down, bought the lot in the right location, designed where every wall was going to stand, and built it. So we took our time, saved, and dove in. 

There were plenty of people who said things like, "I built a house and I'll never do it again." Or "You'll go WAY over budget." (Which made us NOT want to build even more!) One lady even suggested that building a home would ruin her marriage - which in all reality is absurd. Surely picking out lights together or deciding whether to have an island wouldn't break a lifelong commitment. We have to disagree with all these statements.

Sure, unforeseen things come up when you're building and they could cost extra. That's pretty much how the rest of life goes, though, right? You're sailing along and someone gets sick and there are medical bills or the sink starts leaking and you have to call the plumber or your oldest child grows two sizes in one year and all the sudden you're buying yet another wardrobe so she's not wearing high waters and midriffs in public as a 5 year old.
There are lot of decisions that go into building a home. In general, we're people who like to make decisions. We gave ourselves a good six months to research and make those decisions before we broke ground. We're working with a great builder who we trust. We weren't rushed and we agreed that we just wanted to enjoy the process. While we have similar taste, but there are times we don't agree or the budget just isn't giving us the wiggle room to have it all. It's not a bad thing to compromise or give in or say no. Marriage (life) has that. And in the end, it's a pocket door. Or a window. Or a darker shade of stain on the trim. Perspective and not having to get "my way" all the time has helped us a lot. Plus, we get to do this with the person God gave (best gift ever) us as a spouse til death do us part.

So our two cents: building a home is fun!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

One Stone

Time for a Thanksgiving/Home Building/Last Couple Weeks of Life Update. Hence the title...we'll kill a whole bunch of birds with this stone.

But first a hilarious photo gem of Good Parenting/Future Blackmail.
The face, the belly, the chocolate everywhere...

Alrighty, back to the promised Update. We took the girls to Science Central. Another bribe fulfilled.
The most special moment was when Mommy hopped onto the above twirly-mcbob...and her extreme motion sickness took over. She started yelling, "MAKE IT STOP." Tim was so proud and the girls thought Mom had LOST IT. This is the most fun spinner ever, they said to themselves. Why would anyone want it to stop?
Also we attended Light Night in Fort Wayne. It was AWESOME. Twinkling lights everywhere, real reindeer, the Gingerbread Festival, fireworks, and OF COURSE, SANTA!! While Miriam and Vivian are 4000% in love with Santa, Felicity is closer to -12%. Would NOT touch Mrs. Claus for the photo. Would not sit on Santa's lap or even stand near him. We didn't force the issue, there were no tears, and we're hoping for more enthusiasm from her next year.

Thanksgiving with our families was perfect with the extra bonus of more fun Felicity pictures and Lydia spending the night!!
 Amidst all this, UNCLE MICHAEL WAS HOME!
AND the house is going up, up, up! We stopped by today, but didn't get a shot of the front, so that's coming soon. But here's a few peeks inside:
Window over the kitchen sink
John Michael hanging out on the front porch outside the playroom
Front Door-to-be
The view out the lovely, large living room windows
Fireplace, TV and built-ins in just a few months!
Sarah's family in the kitchen
"Come into my office and I'll take care of the virus for you."
Felicity checking out Mommy and Daddy's bedroom.
Framing is almost finished and there is hope of a roof by the end of the week!

All this extreme fun had to come to an end. Mommy and the girls took a road trip on Monday to drop Uncle Michael off at the Detroit airport. Where a tiny bit of waiting almost killed them.
After saying a sad goodbye and see you soon, we got brunch at Denny's. Vivian suggests avoiding the chocolate appears to be sour.
Then a stop at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Felicity spent some time in toddler heaven. The museum has a closed off room just from ages 4 and under. This kept Sarah from losing her mind trying to keep track of three kids on three levels of exploration. Miriam got to wear a "Big Sibling Helper" badge in this room and was BEYOND proud.
We have a membership to Science Central, our local kids' science museum. Which is great, but it also means we can get into LOTS of other museums around the country for free. We take advantage of that whenever we can. So if there is a moral of this story it's go ahead and let your children run wild in an unknown city. They'll sleep all the way home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Miriam's Fifth Birthday

Miriam is five. Five! Less than a day into being a five-year-old she requested to start school. All in good time.

It was a pretty amazing birthday. She got to go on her birthday date with Daddy, something she truly loves and looks forward to from year to year.
Drinking tea "like a princess"
Mommy made her fancy apple cinnamon oatmeal scones for breakfast. Very good and kind of healthy (for a scone)! Endorsed by Tim who claims to not like scones.
Of course, plenty of playing and fun all day long. She is getting so good at playing on her own for long stretches of time with dolls, play food, or any kind of imaginary play. Miriam loves to color and draw. In fact, we let her choose how we would spend our family time together after bath time. She requested that we make caramel corn and draw pictures of our family together. Deal, Birthday Girl.
Miriam is our little nurturer. She is always thinking of others and caring for Felicity. At the same time, she's very independent. She likes to pick out her own clothes and dress herself every morning, gets ready for bed on her own, plates her own food at meals, works at her own (fast) pace during reading lessons and theme-of-the-week activities when she can. Miriam loves rules, approval, and responsibility. Sometimes this means she acts more like a mommy to her sisters than a peer and Mommy has to step in and stop the bossing. Miriam loves to make new friends and is not afraid to introduce herself to other children at the park or a museum, but is often more shy around adults. She likes to watch Curious George, anything girly, playing outdoors, is very directional-pretty much always knows where we are and how to get to our destination, and is catching on to blending sounds and reading so quickly. Basically, we are in awe of this oldest child God blessed us with and pray that He always stands next to her and guides her to that place where her heart finds the most joy and the world needs her gifts most.