Monday, December 29, 2008

I think we have all successfully made it over the flu.

My New Year's Resolution is to try to post more about the house. I have lots to show you. I have just been too lazy to get the pictures up and ready. So in the new year I will try to do better.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Looks like it's going to be a late night.

Christmas Memory Party

What's your favorite "horrible" Christmas memory?

Leave me a comment and share the Christmas joy.

Will this be. . .

one of those Christmas's that we look back on, remember, and laugh at?

Will we say, hey, remember the Christmas where. . .

  • Christmas Eve Day we almost took Mom to the hospital for dehydration?
  • Madi awoke Christmas day in a puddle of strawberry-colored vomit?
  • Mom was so wiped out that after a trek up the stairs she had to lay down for a few minutes to catch her breath and recover?
  • Dad bonded with Madi over hours upon hours of The Wiggles, as Mommy slept and slept?
  • We feasted on Gatorade, ginger ale, crackers, and toast?
  • Christmas gift opening lasted weeks afterwards due to canceled family get-togethers, so the sickness wouldn't spread?
Who knows? But I guess it's worth a try.

The Saga Continues

Josh has fallen victim to the circulating flu. It has proven too strong to be overtaken!

So our holiday fun continues. . .

Thursday, December 25, 2008

On Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, On Vomit. . .

No, that doesn't seem right, but it does seem to accurately describe our home today.

I was pleasantly surprised to wake this morning and feel rested and a little energetic. This wakefulness was greeted with a cough and a cry, as Madilyn proceeded to vomit up her dinner all throughout her crib. Needless to say, plans did not go as expected. We were unable to make it to liturgy this morning, and as for traveling to Josh's relative's this evening, it just was not possible.

My parents were able to come over, and gifts were opened and a Christmas meal prepared and eaten.

I am feeling better, though still nauseous. I am thinking this may be a combination of pregnancy and post-flu. We'll see! Madi has been keeping food down all day, just a little more tired, crabby, and less hungry than usual.

Now we just need to make it through the next few days without Josh breaking into the flu madness, then my posts should revolve around something less revolting!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Morning Sickness = 24 Hour Flu

So what disguised itself as morning sickness turned out to be a 24 (well 48 hour) stomach virus. The worst appears to be over as after about 12 hours without keeping anything down, I am now able to drink Gatorade and eat toast, jello, and applesauce. I'll write more later, as I need to head to bed to sleep, but please keep me in your prayers. It's been a challenging past few days.

Merry Christmas, if I don't get a chance to tell you tomorrow!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I couldn't resist passing on this quote. I know, I know, probably not something good to live by, but being pregnant and it being around the holidays, it just seems, well, too true.

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Something New

So I had my first experience of morning sickness leading to vomiting. Being pregnant with Madilyn, I was tired and needed to keep food in my stomach most of the time to not feel nauseous, but that was it. Well, this pregnancy is proving different. I feel nauseous a lot more often, not horribly so, but enough to disrupt my energy level at times.

This morning we got up for church. We were all showered, dressed, and fed. We were saying our pre-communion prayers as a family--well Josh and I were. Madi was slowly and diligently carrying her friends--a stuffed pooh bear, a yellow chicken-dancing duck, Toby the tot bot, and a cookie monster puppet, over to our vacinity. I was feeling a little strange, but that's fairly regular lately, but then it got a little more intense. So I excused myself, left Josh to continue without me, and I won't horrify you with details, threw up into the kitchen sink.

As we were running a little late for church, and needed to leave right away, I opted to stay home. None of us were sure where this new type of pregnancy symptom would lead, and I wasn't too thrilled with potentially having a repeat in the sanctuary. So I've been nursing my pregnant tummy with Sprite, water, and crackers (thankfully, it all seems to be staying down), while my husband and daughter are at church. I'm just hoping this is a one time thing!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Preparation Update

Cards--mailed with wallets of Madi in her Christmas dress

Gifts--wrapped, except for 6 sitting on the desk--they were late arrivals. Oh, and four I'm not done with--it's always something.

Cookies--dough made and in the freezer--except the cookie press ones, which won't be frozen

Decorations--as good as it's going to get--I gave up a while ago on the pristine house--with half completed renovations and a toddler it was hopeless

I still have to think about the meal, and a few other things. But it is getting there. I just need to avoid getting complacent.

How is everyone else doing?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You know you're a Mom when. . .

. . . you use a crayon to add something to your grocery list, as it is easier to find in your purse than a pen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Like Mother, Like Daughter

So our weekend of death defying stunts continued. On Saturday, Madilyn had her first blood-drawing fall. Since she has been walking for some time, she now feels the need to frequently test her ability for speed, and well, run. So on Saturday evening, she was entertaining herself by sprinting around our dining room table. She found this quite hilarious! I guess it's a stage or something, as she also finds it amusing to stick her fingers in her ears to plug them and talk loudly. Anyway, so she was doing laps, and tripped on a wheel of her shopping cart. Now Madilyn falls alot, something about learning to walk and all. But this one you could hear. There was a loud thud, and you could tell it hurt even before she started to wail. However, unlike all the other falls, as I was holding/comforting her, I noticed some blood. Here she had sliced the inside of her upper lip on her teeth. It didn't bleed long, and it wasn't that serious, but it was still a little stressful until we knew where the blood was coming from. To be honest, I can't even use the word gush when describing it, it was more like a trickle.

The funniest part, if there is one, is that while still kind of crying she squirmed to get down. I let her down, and she proceeded to walk toward the dining room floor, and tell us all about it. This is all grunts and baby talk, but she had to tell us about 10 times until she felt better. And each time, she expected us to say, "yes, that's where you fell. You tripped over the shopping cart and fell, thus getting a boo, boo (or goo, goo as she calls them)". Finally, she was satisfied that we understand the situation, and we could get her to sit down and eat some dinner. But I think we've all had enough accidents for a while now.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Little Excitement

I am a clumsy person. For those of you who have heard about the coffee table incident, you know what I mean. Let's just say that I will never own a glass top coffee table if I can help it, and I have learned my lesson about sitting on furniture not designed to be sat upon. Anyway. I have earnestly avoided glass furniture, but I did not count on the stairs taking me out.

Yesterday, after getting myself and Madi dressed, we proceeded down the stairs to go make breakfast. No rush, no running, no jumping, just the usual walking gait. About 5 steps from the bottom, I some how missed placing my foot firmly on the step. I fell backwards and slid down the remaining steps until my feet were pressed up against the wall at the base of the steps. Madi was still in my arms in the exact same position, no worse for the wear, only a little confused on why Mommy was now laying down.

I will say for the amount of insane accidents I have had, I have never broken anything or needed stitches from one of them. So I am fairly lucky. Yesterday proved to be the same. The front of my neck is sore--the opposite of whiplash, and I'm a little stiff, but that's it. Otherwise, I am fine.

I guess we all need a little excitement in our lives.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Time Saver

I remember the days of growing up and prior to Christmas we would spend hours mixing, measuring, and baking those thousands of Christmas cookies. Then for weeks following Christmas we had piles of cookies on our counter tops tempting us to nibble each time we walked past. Well no more. Let me just ask you this: when are cookies best? If you answered when they first come out of the oven, then I have the answer for you.

What we now do is mix the cookie dough prior to Christmas day, and then freeze it. On Christmas day we just take the frozen cookie dough out, and scoop out as many cookies (and a few extra) that we plan to eat. Pop the tray in the oven, and in 8 to 10 minutes, we have fresh cookies. No hours spent in front of the oven. No mass quantities of cookies tempting for weeks on end. And then anytime you have unexpected company, you can quickly wipe up fresh baked cookies.

I know it won't work for everyone, but I thought I'd share the idea in case you are feeling swamped at the moment with holiday preparations.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Check it out!

Click here to send a Thank you card to our troops. It's easy and free!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Caption Contest

So now is the time for all of you who have told me that you love to follow my blog to prove your perseverance. You've already made it through my sporadic blogging and my empty promises of seeing more home repairs and renovations. And now you have the opportunity to be featured on my oh-so-popular (what I get five hits a day, and three of them are me checking to see how many hits I've gotten) blog.

Simply leave me a comment with a caption for the following picture, and if Josh and I choose your caption, your caption will be announced on my blog! But that's not all, you will also be awarded a Starlite peppermint candy. Who could ask for more? So start brainstorming. . . you have until Sunday at noon to enter. The winner will be posted Monday (well, as soon as I get to it--I need to avoid more promises I don't keep).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Stay tuned later this week for my dining room reveal! Yes, it is complete. Well, minus the new chandelier and 12 major feast icons. But still, complete enough to share!

Mom's Play Group

So today I hosted our church Mom's play group. Previously, we have gone out and about to a library, a park, or a farmer's market. But today, I decided to try something different and have everyone over here to eat lunch and then play.

I always find that I appreciate Madilyn much more after having been at a Mom's group meeting. Not that the other kids are bad in any way. They are all really nice kids, and I mean that. They have manners and know when something is inappropriate. But something about having five kids (all under the age of 5) running around instead of just one, makes my one seem much more manageable. It always leaves me more satisfied with the next few days and our quiet coloring sessions or our fast-paced book reading time.

And how did the mom's group go, you ask? It went well--I got some time to talk to adults amidst the chaos of couch jumping, toy music blaring, and little cries of Mama, Mama. Madi got some time to see other children and interact with them. And as always she got some help learning to share. And my house, well, see for yourself:

I think it got a workout too!

But now, Madi is napping, the dishwasher is running, the washing machine is churning away, and my house is straightened and cleaned. So I am going to go put my feet on the couch and read.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I wish. . .

So I wish I could tell you I was absolutely done with Christmas shopping, or my Christmas cards. Not to mention, how much of a relief it would be to say that my living room finally had artwork hung on the walls or my curtains finalized. I would also love to tell you that my pictures have all been organized and developed, and that my stairway had a cascade of faces to gaze upon during your ascent. Or perhaps that my daughter's first year scrapbook had at least a few more pages complete. It would be thrilling to say that my dinner was simmering on the stove, while my Amish friendship bread baked in the oven, and my bread maker kneaded a dough. How about glistening front windows, or carpet freshly vacuumed? Not to mention that the front yard would be cleared of all remnants of past trees. My hallway would be primed and painted, along with the family room walls.

But, while I can't tell you any of that, I can tell you that I read Madi three books today--one to her large stuffed pig, and one to her purple-overall wearing bear. We watched the birds and squirrels bicker over our two bird feeders at least four times, accompanied by our cat who was twitching her tail. I can tell you that Madi helped ring the Salvation Army bell at Walmart today, and that she waved at exactly twelve different people, all unknown. We sang at least 24 songs, whether with music or not, and put in the motions as best as we could. I can say that I only lost my patience once so far, and even when the bowl of applesauce slipped from little hands leaving a trail across the entire dining room floor, I did not once sigh or groan. I've overcome at least nine fits and temper tantrums, most of those belonging to Madi, and I've managed to drink three glasses of water. So while my house looks the same as it always did, please don't think that things aren't changing, because Madi and I are hard to work, trying to improve ourselves.

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three More Trees

Three more trees were removed this weekend. Josh was super busy with the help of two of his brothers and his dad.

Saturday the front yard was finally cleaned up. Prior to that all of the tree branches were stacked along the road awaiting the trailer to be loaded onto and taken away. We also had three tree trunks remaining about 8 feet high. But Saturday it all disappeared, and boy, did the yard look better.

But don't get too excited, as Sunday three more trees were taken down, so the front yard once again is stacked high with branches. Our goal is to remove enough to make a path to a large pine tree that is right up against the house. And I mean, right up against. The pine needles extend into our upstairs bedroom window. It's just a tad close to the house. The bottom 5 feet of branches was removed, but then (as our luck always leads) the chainsaw broke. Don't ask! I didn't. So I can't explain.

So while a lot was completed this weekend, our front yard is still an untidy mess. Perhaps, I will get brave enough to just take a picture and show you. Perhaps. . .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crabby Kid Alert!

Last week, Madi received her chicken pox vaccine, her MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, and her flu shot. This week she has had a fever and a rash. (A common effect of the MMR vaccine, I am told.)

All that is managable, but the crabbiness is almost unbearable.

Everything, and I mean, everything causes her to melt down.

If I hold her, she melts down.
If I sing the wrong song, she melts down.
If I color with the wrong crayon or on the wrong part of the picture, she melts down.
Even going outside for a walk, a passtime that normally eases any woe, caused a melt down. Today was the worst day yet!

So for tomorrow, I am praying for more patience because I sure might need it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This was my project for the past hour--sorting through freshly laundered size 2T clothing to store in Madilyn's closet. Considering she still can not fit in the larger 12 month items, it might be some time before all of these boxes are needed. And I think we definitely have enough.

The mass quantities began with yard sales--one cute item here or there. That amounted to almost two boxes. Then a woman from our church asked if we'd be interested in her granddaughter's clothing. Being the type of person who can never pass up the word free, I said sure! It started with three bags of clothing, and then a few weeks later there were 4 boxes more. We were overwhelmed by her kindness and the large amounts of shirts, pants, PJ's, socks, shoes, etc. We never thought there would be this much!

So at first glance, some might say that Madilyn is on the fast track to being spoiled, but I can honestly say that I spent no more than 40 dollars to fill those 7 boxes.

Is it strange. . .

. . . that Madilyn asks us (yes, yes yeses) to use the nasal aspirator on her nose?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


No cat on my lap this evening. She tried, twice, as I sat here trying to download pictures from the camera, and send out emails. But tonight, I got smart. I moved her to Josh's lap. So they are both watching TV in the living room, while I maintain full mobility.

And it only took me a week to figure that one out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lone Survivor

So as you might remember, I was requesting book recommendations a few weeks ago. I was in dire need of something new to read. Well, I have taken your suggestions seriously, and currently, have three of them on loan from the library. But I also got one that I found recommended through one of the political magazines I read--I can't remember if it was the NRA one or the Newsmax one. Anyway. I wanted to recommend it in case any of you are looking for a good book.

It is called, Lone Survivor, and it is by Marcus Lattrell. It is about Operation Redwing in Afghanistan where around 20 navy SEALs lost their lives. Marcus Lattrell was the only one of his four man team to survive, and his story is one that you simply cannot miss! You will most likely cry when reading it, but it provides a whole new understanding of the war on terror we are fighting and the strength of the men who are fighting it for our country. It is probably not a highly publicized novel, as he is pretty honest about his feelings toward the liberal media, so I felt I'd throw it out there for all of you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Hair Fix

No, I don't mean a new fad or hair care product. This hair fix involves our cat, Izzy. Ever since Izzy was a kitten, she has had an obsession with my hair. She loves to nuzzle in it, purr, and kneed. Now, Izzy is not an affectionate cat; she never has been a cat to snuggle up against you or desire petting all day long. But over the years, my hair (or anyone else's of similar length and texture) has become something of an addiction to her.

This weekend we were away doing some work on our other house, the one we tenderly call "Our summer home", the one that won't seem to sell. We had not been back to see it since we moved in June, and with winter approaching, we felt the need to go check up on it, clean up the flower beds, clean out the gutters, and vacuum the floors. Izzy was left to her own devices--home alone.

We returned Sunday evening, and ever since then, Izzy cannot get enough of me. She is always following me around the house. Normally, Izzy will put up with Madi for a few hours, and then go snuggle in our bed. Not the past two days. Izzy is always hovering, stalking my lap. If it is empty, she is in it, trying to climb my shoulder, her motor rumbling. She was so desperate that while Madi sat on my lap at the computer today, Izzy climbed behind Madilyn and up my shoulder. She wasn't even bothered when Madi leaned back on her. And yes, she is on my lap now, not purring, not nuzzling in my hair, so hopefully, the hair fix is caught up, and my lap will not be in such high demand tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Mom's Exercise Video

That's right! I have stooped this low. This is how I exercise. Hey, it entertains Miss Madi, and it really is great cardio. Plus, it allows naptimes and bedtimes to be my time, not my exercise time.

Yes, I am a Wiggle's Exercise Addict, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Bucketful of sugar

It might help me get through the next few days.

We're busy.

Last weekend, we had a wedding in New York, which is no easy trip when a pack and play, booster seat, etc. is involved. But we survived after getting to bed at 3am Sunday night. Madi had her first experience with boys fighting over her--two were trying to dance with her at the same time during the reception. We have it all on video.

Monday was recovery day and then Christmas shopping in the evening with a friend.

Tuesday was voting day, so I took a trip to escort my Grandma to the voting place, eat lunch with her, then went to vote myself.

Today, we have a lunch play date (at my house), so I should be cleaning/straightening.

Then tomorrow evening we leave for the weekend to go check out our unsold house and spend the weekend seeing some friends and prepping the house for winter. So I need to start thinking about packing--not only the pack and play madness, but some cleaning and yard work supplies.

Now, I need to go hide the Halloween candy, so it is out of sight, out of mind, as a bucketful of sugar is not going to help with the post-pregnancy pounds.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Hop, Hop, Hop

It took one house, just one ring of the bell, one "trick or treat", one reach into an overflowing bowl of candy, one drop of that candy into her open purse, one wave of her hand goodbye, one retreat back down their driveway, and she had it down. She gently patted the cats and dogs that greeted us; she dutifully bobbed her head up and down at each request of "how does the bunny go?". She was polite, obedient, and enthusiastic. She was the model trick-or-treater.

Now I fear our next stroll down the street will be a struggle to unteach all that was learned in that one night. No, we don't ring everyone's doorbell on our walk down the block. No, we don't hold out our purse to passing neighbors and go "yes, yes, yes". No, we really don't need to wear our bunny ears to leave the house. But yes, we can be oh-so-overly friendly as you always are, offering kisses and hugs to friends met minutes before. Turning and backing to make use of empty laps that grace the floor.

Needless to say, Madilyn's first trick or treating experience was well received.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Curl up with a good book and a hot apple cider. . .

I would if I could, but I can't. I currently don't have hot apple cider, or apple cider at all. I guess I could heat up apple juice, but that's not quite the same. We always have an overabundance of apple juice on hand now that Madi uses unspillable sippy cups. I do have hot chocolate, and tea, and coffee. So I guess those could work. But a book, a good book, I don't have one. I've read all that I can find at my house. So I need some help. I need some book suggestions. Do you have any? Can you leave me a comment with them?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mystery Series # 3: The Hound of Freezerville

Detective Version: I sat at my desk, my eyes peering through the case detailed before me. The day was slow, lethargic, apathetic, and it was starting to get to me. My desk was mahogany, the best available, and it sat facing my closed office door. A slight tap-tap-tap noise brought the world back into focus. I grunted my enter, and the door opened, cautiously. In stepped a black high-heeled, open-toed pump covering well-manicured toes. They were red, a blood red, the kind of red that makes you think of, well, manicured toes. Following the pump was a leg, long and smooth. I leaned back in my tall leather chair. My eyes moved from the charcoal low-cut dress suit to the crimson lips to the bobbed brown hair. She was beautiful, too beautiful, something didn't quite add up. But I could tell from her eyes that she needed me.

Husband's version: I sat at my desk, the one I bought for my college apartment and that has moved with me 2 times after that. I glared at the ever-cluttered desk before me. A stomp, stomp, stomp made me sigh, as my wife came down the steps after putting our daughter to bed. She entered the kitchen, her blue Penn State sweats nearly covering her white socks. She glanced in my direction as she headed for the sink full of dishes.

Detective version: With a nod, I directed her to the chair across from me. She hesitated, struggling with consciousness, then sat. She crossed her ankles, and as she brought her eyes up to meet mine, her story poured forth. She was in trouble. A valuable family heirloom was missing. Her great aunt had died, leaving her the sole heir to a large estate. The estate was known for a number of rare and valuable artifacts, but there was one of great importance. An alabaster elephant carved in the oldest of ivories. It was worth more than "The Mona Lisa" and "Starry Night" combined. It was always kept in a safe built into the wall behind her great aunt's bed. The key to that safe was stored in a book, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", in the library. No one knew of the safe or the key's existence, that is until the aunt died and revealed their locations in her will. The key was found as well as the safe, but when they tried the lock, it would not open.

Husband's version: I told her we needed to straighten up the basement. Currently, it was a mound of boxes all placed in the center of the room with no rhyme or reason behind their arrangement. Tonight would be the night we tackled this task.

Detective's version: Tragic eyes met mine, and a crimson blush spread across her cheeks. The elephant must be found, she cried.

Husband's version: The basement must be cleaned.

Detective's version: I agreed to take the case and meet her at her great aunt's home the next evening.

Husband's version: We both went down to the basement.

Detective's version: The house loomed before me surrounded by the cloudless, gray sky. It was still, eerily so. A bell clanged through the house, and I heard footsteps marching toward the door. A butler, silent and grave, opened the door. As I entered a long, narrow hall, I caught sight of a maid scurrying into a neighboring room. "This way," the butler stated. He led me into a dimly lit room with walls covered in bookcases. Stark furniture surrounded a fireplace, empty and cold. On a table, I saw a book titled, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", it lay open, and inset into the pages, was a small silver key. I turned my back on the book, and perused the vast array of shelves.

Husband's version: First, we began to move boxes onto the built in storage shelves. We organized by category, i.e. high school boxes here, college boxes here, Christmas decorations here, and baby items here. Then we began repacking boxes that were previously opened and had items removed and on the floor. The entire time we collected trash, some from us in the moving process, some from the previous owner who had left things scattered around.

Detective's version: I smelled her scent of lavender and rose before she spoke. "Detective, I'm so glad you're here." Her hair fell in curls, surrounding her face. Her eyes met mine, and relief filled them. She stepped forward. "You've of course noticed the book here on the table," she asked. She seemed shocked when I turned away and began pacing the room. "I've solved your mystery," I said. Utter bewilderment descended upon her, and she collapsed into a nearby chair. "But how," she cried. "Did your great aunt ever use the word book when describing where to find the key?" I asked. "Well, of course, she said to look in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. Does not that in itself signify a book?" Her eyebrows raised as she examined my face. I turned from her and continued my path back and forth across the room. "Your great aunt did not mean the book, "The Hound of the Baskervilles", she meant the movie, "The Hound of the Baskervilles". If you'll notice in the corner adjacent the fireplace there is a row of DVD's. As I see that there is no TV or DVD player in this room, I must attest that they are there as a ruse. "The Hound of the Baskervilles", the 1972 version directed by Barry Crane, is indeed one of those movies, and I believe that in that case you will find the key to your safe and your alabaster elephant."

Husband's version: As we were peering into boxes, we noticed a small, white shopping bag in the corner which we had never looked in before. When we opened it, we found parts to our freezer which has been missing its ice dispenser. Sure enough those were the very parts that have been missing all these months. Those were the parts that we were preparing to call a service man to replace or worse still giving up on this freezer and purchasing a new one.

Oh yes, there are lots of mysteries being solved here this month! And of course, I'll post pictures of the basement in a future post.

For previous mystery entries, see the following:

Mystery Series # 1
Mystery Series # 2

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tantalizing Tease

Front yard tree removal is halfway done. There is still a mess of branches, and two partial trees standing. So as I know all of you have been eagerly checking and rechecking my blog for the after picture and dying in anticipation of the final product, here is a midway point picture to tide you over.

Pantry Intervention

So what was I up to yesterday? Taking care of this:

Madilyn and I went grocery shopping, and as we were unpacking the bags, I realized that nothing was going to fit in this mess of a pantry. So instead, we took everything out and spread it across the room. Here's the after picture:

Not an amazing difference, but I can at least see to the back of the pantry. Any other ideas or suggestions would be great. The door of our pantry is smaller than the space, so pull out shelves won't work. The pantry shelves are also really deep, so it is easy to fill up and not be able to see the back. It can be a little frustrating to organize.

I also worked on my spices. They were pretty organized, but I had some new ones to add.

And yes, they are alphabetized. In my anal-retentive defense, prior to organizing I purchased 3 jars of nutmeg at 3 different times because I didn't think I had any. The alphabetizing was really necessary to avoid an overabundance of nutmeg.

Here's what I should be tackling today, but I'm not feeling overly motivated.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Excavation, Part 1

The Jungle has officially been cleared... well, topped. Today, the lift was moved about our front yard, while the tops of trees were chopped off. Load # 1 of brush and branches is making its way to the compost area. Then more limbs will be removed, and more loads will be taken away.

Click here for before pictures.

And stay tuned for after pictures. You will not believe the difference it is making!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So we all now officially are out for the count with colds. It's lots of fun. Josh just crashed tonight, actually before Madi was even in bed. Madi and I have had ours for a little now, so we are not in the crazy-head-pounding stage anymore. But I will say that things about the house are progressing, even with the germs trying to stop us. The family room walls are all sanded. My recipe book is newly typed and organized. I'll share pictures of that soon. So we've been busy, even if my blog has been lacking in demonstrating it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mystery Series # 2: The Case of the Unemptiable Bucket

Hesitantly, I reached forward and opened the basement door. It let out a steady creak filling the silent, still air. Instantly, my hands felt muggy, and the air seemed thicker. My breath came in rasps as I forced my feet to move toward the step. My hands extended and searched the wall for a light switch I knew was there. Flipping it on, I began my descent. Each foot fall let out a tap, tap, tap noise that grew muffled as I moved further into the heavy, still air. I cast my eyes back and forth, watching each step for any movement. Large animal-like bugs had been spotted along the walls and across the floors. I reached the hard, cold concrete floor, and my ears perked up. It was quiet, too quiet. No rumbles, no sounds, just the still musty silence of a humidity packed basement. Slowly, I moved forward across the room nearing the small, slumped figure that was my target. In the deep, dark corner, I could see a red light letting off a sickening glow. I let out a groan, and reaching down, grabbed the dehumidifier bucket and emptied it for the 10th time that day.

We had followed the directions, hooking up the garden hose as it said, but still the water would fall into the bucket causing it to fill, and the machine to turn off. Thus our basement would fill with musty, steamy air, reaching deep into the boxes of memories we had hastily stored there. My husband gave up, and called. The company said, oh yes, we've heard lots of complaints. The tray is tilted the wrong way, causing the water to run into the bucket. So 5 pieces of cardboard later and four different angles of tilting later, we have a dehumidifier that is empty, and a basement with humidity at 50%, not 90%. Hooray for another solved mystery!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

So I've been tagged by Kristen over at Following the Dream, so my job is to now tell 6 random things about myself.

1. As a child, I was nicknamed Spike because I was tough. Apparently, Miss Madi is very similar just a little more intense, so she is inheriting the nickname of Spike, Jr from my parents. And just for fun, my sister's nickname was Sponge because she liked to sit in the front yard and drink out of the house until her belly was HUGE! Sorry, Jessie, but you did call me a name in your first blog comment to me. Hmm. . . I wonder if I could find a picture to share.

2. I love organizing! From recipes to closets to basements, I love it. It is relaxing for me. I always wanted to work on one of those TV shows where they help people declutter their homes. I debated starting my own decluttering business a few years back.

3. It takes me a long time to warm up to people, but once I'm a friend, I'm a friend forever. I once had someone comment about me and their wife, that we would be great friends as we were so similar, but it would take us a year to get to know each other.

4. I played alto saxophone for 8 years in elementary, middle, and high school. I took private lessons, was in band, marching band, and jazz band. That's how I met my husband--at a fifth grade band concert. He sat right next to me. Seriously, we have it on video. And he'd kill me if I didn't mention that I was a foot and a half taller than him. All I can say is that he played too loud.

5. I substitute taught for a total of 3 times. It was horrible. I will never do it again (if I can help it). The first day was with 6th graders the day before Halloween. When I asked fellow staff for help controlling the class, they told me to "just scream louder". If you've ever met me, I'm not one who screams, even at sporting matches. Let me just say that was one of the worst days of my life.

6. I became an Orthodox Christian through a street preacher nicknamed The Willard Preacher. He preaches outside the Willard building on the Penn State campus. I am now good friends with him and his family.

That's it. I tag, Megan from Mommy Meg. She just entered the blogging world, so stop on over and say hi.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Mystery of the Unopenable Door

Today, I solved a mystery. Not the kind out of an Agatha Christie novel, but a perplexing puzzle none the less. Let me back up. At our home closing we were issued the usual keys and garage door openers. We held on to the keys, but primarily used the garage door openers to get in and out. They were fast and easy to use. We left an opener with both sides of our family for a while as we were not officially moving into the house for a few months. Mysteriously, the garage door openers stopped working one day when our relatives came to get something. Since then they have been utterly useless. We looked over the openers, and finding nothing wrong, eventually concluded that the system must have reset itself. Mystery solved. . . or so we thought.

Now move with me to the present. As most of you know, the state of most items in our home can be summed up with the following sign:

This is our refrigerator with the built in ice and water dispenser. We were shocked to find once me moved in that not only was it not working, but the refrigerator was not even hooked up to any water supply. So we got the water supply hookup kit, and went to work only to discover:

We were missing the compartment that transferred the ice to the door. Hmm. . . Not a good sign. As we were investigating this, I noticed this:

I don't know about you, but having a pile of ice at the bottom of your freezer does not seem to be quite right. Now to discover the problem, I don't feel like eating all of the food I have diligently stock-piled just so we can defrost the freezer. So instead we are transferring it to our deep freezer in the garage which was not hooked up yet. This was from my Grandfather, and when moving it, we did not leave the door open. So I had to clean out the mold layer first. Did that, and plugged it in. Nothing happened. The electrical outlet in our garage does not seem to be working, and low and behold that is where the garage door opener sensor was plugged in. Mystery solved!

Now we just need to figure out why our freezer is flooding, where the ice compartment is, and why the garage electrical outlet is not working. Sounds like I will be writing a mystery a week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The 15 Minute Race

Where: our kitchen, living room, and dining room
When: between 12:30 and 1:30pm, every day; and at 7:15pm, every day

I call it the 15 minute race. It takes place only twice a day (if I'm lucky), and is the period of time right before Madilyn's nap or bedtime. Madilyn always has a head start as she never really stops her portion of the race. It involves carrying and discarding toys, objects, and papers as far from their correct location as possible.

My leg of the race begins after a brief internal dialogue or pep talk. It goes something like this: "You are faster. Your legs are longer. If you do this now, then you won't have to once she's in bed." The last one seals it every time. Oh, to not have to pick up a myriad of scattered toys and papers during the blessed two hours of quietness. To have even a moment where I can devote a thought to something other than tidiness.

It is thus that I begin my endless circle from living room to dining room to kitchen putting things in their correct location, and as always, on my heels is a little girl trying desperately to claim each item after it falls into place. Little cries of angst escape her lips as she sees her books returning to their basket, her utensils and bowls filling previously empty drawers, and her paper scraps entering the recycling box. Bolstering myself against fatigue, I pick up the plastic golf clubs for the 3rd time and return them to their bag. Moving frantically as I hear the pop, pop, pop of a push toy pursuing me, I throw the diaper bag and my purse into the closet and whip the door closed.

Today, I won, but some days, I forfeit.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Work in Progress

Along with the family room, the entry hallway is also being repainted. Here is a before picture. After pictures should follow sooner than the family room pictures as this is a smaller room. See the lovely blue door! Imagine an entire house with trim that color--welcome to our home 4 months ago.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Family Room Beginnings

So the process of redoing the family room has begun. Prior to moving in, we had removed the blue carpet and staples, screwed the floor down, sealed the pet odors into the plywood, painted the trim and ceiling, and removed the wallpaper border. The past week or so we have removed all items out the room, and Josh began fixing the walls this weekend. As you can see, this is a long thin room that exits on one side to the back porch and on the other to the garage.

And here's the lovely fireplace. Oh, right, you can't really see it with all of that junk stacked in front of it. Don't worry, I'll get right to moving it out of the way for the picture. . . on second thought, we'll show you it once we're done.

So all we have left to do is:

1. sand and prime the walls
2. touch up along the ceiling (there was a wallpaper border there, so when we painted the ceilings we couldn't get right up against the edge)
3. paint two coats of color onto the walls (color still to be announced--thinking a blue)
4. install new outlet covers and wall vent covers
5. install the laminate hard wood flooring
6. install new floor vent covers
7. purchase or find furniture for the room
8. decorate

As you can see, it should be done in no time, especially with our fast-paced work ethic of late! I'll post the after pictures sometime next year. (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Why is it that when you are home all day that going out to get the mail becomes a thrilling enterprise? Why is it that you get excited when the doorbell rings and you glance out the window to see the back of a brown UPS uniform retreating across the yard and a taped up box sitting on your front step? Maybe it's just me, but my senses have been heightened in anticipation of the art poster/pictures I ordered for the living room. So today when a truck (other than the garbage truck) began to slow and stop in front of our house, I anxiously ran to the window, yes, just like a kid on Christmas morning. After watching in confusion as the man fussed and fidgeted with this and that, I realized it was not a tan cardboard box he was leaving me, but this (and no I don't mean the mini-van):

This is how Josh plans to deal with The Jungle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


My husband arrived at the doorstep last Wednesday night after an evening of father and sons golfing with a decree: "Thou shall bake cookies and Amish Friendship bread for me to take to my golf outing next week." Okay, maybe it wasn't delivered like that, but the time of "Hey, I was wondering if you could PLEASE HELP ME bake this for next Wednesday", has long past, that is if it ever existed. And in all honesty, my reaction did not fall into either of the typical wife stereotypes: one of disgust and grudging acceptance or one of glowing admiration that I get to make this for my darling husband. I will admit a slight sigh escaped my lips, as my first choice would have been something easy such as chips or plates, even brownies with the 3 ingredient add-ins. But I accepted my task, not even grudging the fact that none of the many delectable foods he will be sampling will ever pass my lips. After 4 years of marriage, I realize that doing so in a good humor will pay off in the long run. Such as when I have to explain that the clothes are still in the dryer because I had to rerun it due to one of Madilyn's disposable diapers being in the load. Or when I call my husband to tell him that I've locked the keys in the car and the car has been running for about 6 hours in the school parking lot. Yes, I've had my moments as well.

So it is with this task in mind that I set out tonight to bake. I decided to use the convection oven for the first time (having only used it so far as a conventional oven). And let me just say that it is UNBELIEVABLE!!! I had 4 trays of cookies in it on 3 different shelf levels, and they are all, ALL, did you hear me, ALL, equally cooked to perfection! I made over 4 dozen cookies in a matter of 10 minutes of baking! I KNOW! It's amazing. It leads me to believe in the 1950's archetypal housewife wearing the apron and at any minute extracting cookies from her nicely polished kitchen. That's right, I am women, wife, and mother--see me BAKE!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Porch Expedition

As promised, here is the much anticipated porch tour. Now in our previous home, we had a small, used, but beautiful back porch. It had a cathedral ceiling with wood beams and looked out on a lovely decorative pond. (Anyone interested? It's still for sale.)

Our new house also has a back porch, which is larger, but frankly it is ugly. You enter it from the family room, and as you exit the house, you feel as though you are going to hit your head on the ceiling of the porch. Once you step into the porch it feels larger, but it definitely does not help you feel at one with nature.

Here is the full view of the porch:

Part of the problem are the side windows (see below), which are small and difficult to see through. They make you feel trapped.

The beams are beautiful, but are covered in mold! Yuck!

The far end of the porch has a large expanse of window, but unfortunately, the screen doors don't open.

The door that does allow you to exit has a baby gate in it, as we think the previous owner's dog broke the screen.

This door leads to. . . not to our swing set, yard, and paver porch, but to a path?

That continues. . .

And continues. . .

Until you reach the part of the yard you wanted to be in. There you can see where our AC unit originally was located. It definitely helped fill in the gaps in conversation, as it was difficult to hear yourself think when it was running.

Here is our new AC unit.

And it's new home, on the side of our house.

We of course have many plans for our porch, such as moving the door to where the old AC unit is located, putting in new larger windows, putting down tile or painting the concrete floor, etc. These are of course at a later phase of home renovation as the inside and landscaping will come first.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Living Room Curtains

I know, you are all sick of hearing about my curtains (so am I)! Just be thankful that I haven't included you in my internal dialogue about artwork to hang in the living room. My sister can attest that I am the most indecisive person in existence, at least when it comes to decorating. I have been mulling over living room art for the same amount of time as the living room curtains. But I am happy to say the curtains are hung (mostly), and yes, I'll show you pictures today! That's right, TODAY! And the art for the walls is ordered and on it's way. Finally, my bare walls with get some much needed help. But enough stalling. Here are the living room curtains:

The valance is hung as it will be. The dark blue funny looking fabric below it is a sheet that is demonstrating my future plans to create tie-up shades/blinds with ties that match the floral fabric. The plan is to have the shades/blinds go with the curve of the window seat. Currently, I'm not sure I like how the trim around the window shows. Any thoughts on that or suggestions? I was trying to avoid curtain panels as the main walkway into the living room is right in front of the window. On the base of the window seat, you'll see fabric as well. This is a panel of the checked fabric that is going to cover a window seat cushion.

And here is my living room with all its naked walls soon to be remedied. I also plan to make two throw pillows out of the floral curtain fabric.

So that's it. Don't forget about the porch tour coming later this week! Well, I guess either tomorrow or Saturday, as the week is running low on days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Figure

So as usual, when we try to install or have installed anything in our home, something goes wrong, is missing, is broken, etc. So today, we found out we were missing some type of metal box (don't ask me the name; I'm really clueless on this one). So they will be returning tomorrow to install this part and finish setting up the new AC unit.

On a productive note, I did get around to pinning my curtain valances together (no gaps between them anymore). I'd take a picture for you, but. . .

1. I'm lazy.

2. The room is a mess (aka Madilyn decorated it).

3. Did I mention I was lazy?

So while you develop some mental images of what my valances might look like. I'm going to go lay down and read for the all of, maybe, 20 minutes of Madi nap time still existing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Announcing. . .

On Wednesday, September 17th the installation of our new air conditioning unit will take place! (Finally) And with such we can say goodbye to all the hot weather as I'm sure the weather will shift into beautifully cool days.

(However, the unit controls our heat as well, sooo I think I'll be glad we have it in a month or two.)

Check in later this week for a tour of our back porch! And yes, it is equally as well designed as our ancient appliances, jungle of a landscaping, and plethora of blue decor proved to be.

Winter Finds

So my main goal at Saturday's yard sales was to find Miss Madi some new shoes. This is mainly due to the fact that somewhere between the library parking lot and Josh's work parking lot a sandal went missing. They were on her feet when she go lifted into the car and only one remained when she was taken out. We've looked everywhere, multiple times. So in an effort not to have to wear sandals that were too big or sneakers to church, I set out to yard sale. However, it was not my luck to find any shoes even close to her size. . .

But. . . I did find lots of clothing for her! I got a snowsuit outfit for her with pink overall type snowpants and a pink coat. I also got another purple coat suitable for winter weather. And some winter hats. And some long sleeve shirts and long pants. I found it all at one yard sale (which always seems to be the case), and they were priced amazingly. $5 for the snowsuit outfit, $3 for the purple coat, and $1 or $2 three-piece outfits. Great deals! I ended up spending $32 and got home with over 35 pieces of clothing! Very exciting.

Otherwise, I don't have much more to report about the yard sales. I got Josh a Christmas gift, found a valance for maybe the upstairs hallway, and a few toys.

Friday, September 12, 2008


So tomorrow morning I will be heading out into the world of other people's trash to bring it back to my home of treasures. Yes, I will be making my way to some yard sales without a little one in tow might I add! I know, I know, yard sales and a timeout from Madi all in one! Anyone want to tag along?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's a POOPIE party!

No, not poopie as in something you might find in Madi's diaper. It's a P.O.O.P.I.E. party, as in People Opposing Objectionable Pretend plants In the Environment. Over at Nesting Place, people are sharing the good, the bad, and the just plain ugly when it comes to using fake plants in decorating. So I decided to participate. Unfortunately, I only have two fake plants at the moment, so I can't even demonstrate all three kinds (good, bad, and ugly). But I do have one good (at least I think so), and one is down right U-G-L-Y!

Here's the good: (over the master bedroom bed which I have shared before)

And here's the ugly:

The ugly was purchased at a yard sale. You can see that sticker with the price, and you can see that layer of dust. My plan is to remove the hideously old and dusty ivy, clean the entire thing, maybe spray paint it black, and reassemble with something different in place of the ivy. I'll share the finished product when I'm done, but no promises as to when it will be completed. We are starting the process of renovating our family room--that means removing everything from it, finishing sealing the floor (yucky pet odor so long), fixing walls, painting walls, laying flooring, etc. So we have quite a task ahead of us. But I promise some day, some room will be completed. . . maybe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

On a Funny Note

Just thought I would let you know that as I was writing the past post, I felt like listening to some music, and proceeded to the Sesame Street Video site planning to listen to some of their rocking tunes. As my cursor navigated it's way to the bookmark bar, I realized that Madilyn is wearing off on me, and my music of choice has fallen to the level of Bert cavalcading across the stage belting out "doing the pigeon". Now in my defense (though I think I'm too far gone to be anywhere near winning this battle), Sesame Street music has come a long way. If you don't believe me, go to their site, and check out some of my new favorites from their featured video section: The Shoe Fairy and Fiesta : 1 2 3 4. Though I can't offer you any advice on getting the tunes out of your head once you are done; they reside in mine continuously.

An Organized Garage

So I'm sorry to report that my curtains are still not hung, but hopefully this evening they will be, and pictures will be up tomorrow.

But to help assuage the disappointment, here are some pictures of my newly organized garage. Now before you look, please understand this was done on a non-existent budget, so there are no fancy storage containers. And please understand that some of the garage still contains boxes that need to be unpacked once the remainder of the house is completed. So this is no where near the beautifully stylish garage's you might be used to seeing. This is simply an organized garage using what I had on hand. With that being said, here are some pictures. I think even little David, our godson, would be unable to say that our garage was still "too junky to park our cars in", click here if you missed that story. I hope so anyway. Though, umm, the cars are still not parked in the garage. Some day, maybe, before snow.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


The curtains arrived today! And they are exactly what I wanted! Stay tuned for pictures. We still have to hang the curtain rod, but hopefully, Josh will get to that in the next day or two.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vacuum, Crunches, and a Helper

Finally, I think my motivation has returned, and none too soon, as there is a ton that needs to be done. I've been busily prepping for Madilyn's First Year Scrapbook (I have from August to Christmas mapped out already), making some decisions about curtains (just ordered these valances from JCPenney), and hanging up pictures. It's funny how a little decision like where to hang 3 framed flower prints can take such a long time. Part of it is that I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, and the rest is that I remember how much work it was to fill in all the nails holes when we moved in and repainted. But finally decisions are being made.

As part of my motivation streak, I vacuumed (the downstairs) and did my ab workout. Yes, I know that that really doesn't sound like a lot, but with a 13 month old around, it really takes more time than expected.

Let me elaborate:

To vacuum: First, as you all know, you need to pick up the floor, well, when you have a 13 month old trailing behind you randomly strewing items behind her, it gets a little complicated. Gingerly, you attempt to overtake her as she loops around and around from the living room to dining room to kitchen in your wake thinking she is helping you by removing the very magnet you circumnavigated the downstairs to place back on to the refrigerator's smudged and sticky front. Finally, you can post a defeat, and internally thanking your longer legs, you pull the vacuum from the hall closet. The sound of the door sliding back into place and the vacuum rolling across the floor brings a scampering of little feet, one set of 4 paws racing for the safety of the bed skirt upstairs, and the other carefully plodding along to "help".

Now, Madilyn does not mind the vacuum, but I think we have developed a bad habit. If she is left on the ground or with her daddy within earshot of the vacuum she screams and cries. However, when in her mommy's arms "helping" to push the vacuum, she is blissfully serene. So I plugged in the vacuum, lifted my daughter into my arms, gave the warning couple quick on and offs, then started the vacuum, and began the ardorous process of pushing the beast around the floor with one arm. Midway, through the living room, Madilyn begins to sign. Yes, we have begun to teach her sign language in an effort to make life easier and less whine filled. However, as the sign was repeatedly made with more and more elaborate guestures, the ease of the sign language's intend was fully gone. So I stopped the vacuum, got her a drink, lifted her and the drink back into my arms, and using my other arm finished vacuuming. Let's just say that this is why I DO NOT need to waste time lifting weights.

To Complete an Ab Workout:
This task is actually less of a workout than vacuuming as you get that beautiful relief of sprawling on the floor. The problem here arises from the fact that normally when Mommy is laying on the floor it means that it is time to wrestle. So as expected, Madilyn wanders over to my fully exposed stomach (remember I'm doing crunches, so my arms are supporting my large head), and proceeds to lay on top of me making an "awww" sound. This makes me giggle, which makes my arms and stomach muscles even more weak than usual. I calmly try to suggest that Madilyn go get a book. She toddles away and returns with some baby flashcards in a box. These entertain her for a few minutes, while I get my crunches with a "lever" (extended arm) completed. She then proceeds to stack the flashcards onto my belly watching them raise up and down as I crunch. Loosing interest, she wanders toward my legs, steps on my feet, and having an "ahah" moment (no kidding I saw the light bulb go off) bends down and proceeds to tickle my feet. Mommy's repeated "stop" filled laughs causes Madilyn to instead grab her push corn popper, and wander underneath my raised and lowering legs treating them as train crossing gates. Finally, she spots my hair clip laying near my head and deciding it would look better in my hair, proceeds to grind it into my scalp. So perhaps, next time, I'll do my ab video when she is napping.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fabric Choices

I've had a couple people wondering what our decision was for the living room curtains (click here to see the choices). Well, we are still working on that. Of the 5 fabrics I shared, we chose the center one (the blue floral on a white background), but it is proving more expensive than some curtains at JCPenney that I also like. So we are still working on the living room curtains. There is no real rush as currently the front yard is covered in pine trees as you can see here, but once these trees are removed, I'll need to make a decision. I promise to keep you posted!

Messes must be created before order can ensue.

So what have I been soo busy doing that I have dropped out of the blogging sphere these past few days. Well, I've been transporting myself back to childhood when anything you did required a mess to be created. Okay, so I'm not playing with play dough or making mud pies. I've been unpacking. I can hear you loud and clear--still unpacking after having moved over 2 months ago. Well, as our house still needs renovating, alot of our things could not be unpacked until key rooms were completed. Now that some of them are finished, I've been able to unpack more items. And as anyone who has ever moved knows, unpacking equals a big mess as items need to be removed and spread out in order to see what you have and figure out where you want it to go.

So here were the three major messes I made:

1. In the family room (not completed yet at all), I removed book after book from their boxed up home and threw (not literally, just figuratively) them on to the built in wall shelves. And no, I will not share pictures of their dishevelled state.

2. In the master bedroom, Josh was kind enough to lend me a corner for my scrapbooking affairs as the basement proved too damp. So I've been scattering paper and embellishments all over trying to create order in a very small space.

3. In the garage, I finally unpacked all my husband's boxes of garage-ish items, such as tools, gardening supplies, car supplies, etc. This was motivated by a comment at Madi's birthday party by her 3 year old godbrother, David. He informed my mother-in-law that our cars were not parked in the garage because it was "too junky". Yes, a classic case of motivation coming from the most unlikely source. And yes, I will share pictures of my mostly organized garage, but not today. You'll have to check back later.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can you Tell me how to Get?

How to get to Sesame Street? So I thought I would share the birthday gift we got for our daughter. Well, that we made for our daughter. She has a love for Sesame Street, so using printable magnetic paper, I made a few of her favorite characters into refrigerator magnets. I printed them, covered them in contact paper, then cut them out. I even made one of Madi, so that she can have herself interact with the Sesame Street characters.