Sunday, April 27, 2014

Closing Day!

We officially only own one house! (Everyone breathe a big sigh of relief...)
On Friday, we signed our closing papers and it was such a tremendous load off of our shoulders. If I say it was "hard" for me; it was that, plus about a thousand, for Steve. This entire process was brutal. I'm sure I wouldn't like anyone that didn't walk up and offer us $10,000 over our asking price, but having never sold a house before, these buyers seemed very difficult and inexperienced.
During all of the times that we ourselves were inexperienced and wanted to freak out, we relied heavily on our realtor to bring us back from the brink and talk some sanity into us. These people just weren't like that. Friday's closing was just icing on the cake. The buyers showed up to the lawyer's office twenty minutes late. Twenty minutes! And their realtor showed up about 45 minutes late. Who does that?!? They were just far from the picture of professionalism. The girlfriend's only explanation was that this was the first time that she was leaving her 7-month old with a babysitter and it was emotional to leave. I just had to stay quiet because I was twitching.
On the "feel good" side, Steve and I took time to stop by the house one last time to check on everything, and got to walk through the rooms to kind of say goodbye. This was the first time I felt emotional about leaving the house we brought two babies home in. (And had two other babies go to Heaven in.) Since Evelyn was literally born in the middle of the Master bedroom, I'm glad we got a quiet moment to look around and remember. There were so many quirks about that house that we hated, but we had some incredible memories there, as well!
Now that we are on this side of the entire process, we are really looking forward to moving on. Steve is our money guy in the family, and I've been really proud of how well he has handled everything and how patient he's been, knowing that we would still have some debt walking out of all of this. We've been holding on to every bit of cash, just in case we had to do any major projects at the last minute to get the house sold, and I know he's so excited to be able to pay a big amount to the credit card! We still have some budgeting to work out, and we'll still have some debt to pay down, but we are so thankful that the house sold before we had to pay two mortgages.
I also told Steve that I'm never moving again!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

To Evelyn, On Your Birthday.

Dear Evelyn,

       What a joy you are as a rambunctious, curious two-year old! You are our little pixie - you're petite and dark, and you are such a snuggler. You love your sister more than anything in the world - whether you're trying to copy her every move or driving her crazy on purpose (and you absolutely know what you're doing!), you spend your entire day calling after her and trying to do everything Bella does!
       You seem to love everyone in the family in a special way, and boy, do you adore your Daddy. You love to climb up in his lap and suck your thumb and snuggle. You love it when he throws you high into the air, or pushes you on the swing. As soon as you wake up in the morning, you come and ask me, "Daddy? Daddy?" That question comes throughout most of the day until Daddy pulls into the driveway after work!
       You are learning new words everyday! You say "Coke" like you have a Russian accent, and you love asking, "Why?" You can say 'watch', 'ball', 'sock', 'hide', 'higher', 'push', 'cracker', and I'm sure a whole bunch of other words that I can't think of. You're pretty good at coloring, but you barely sit still for a story. You love to lay in our bed and watch movies with Mommy and Bella.
        You have brought so much joy and wonder to our family. You find happiness in the smallest things, and we love watching your brain work! I love how content you are simply to sit in my lap. This coming year, you will start preschool and learn what it's like to have a little brother/sister. Since I'm a middle child, too, I seem to have a soft spot to make sure you always feel included. Daddy and I promise to make you feel special, even when you're not going to school everyday like Bella, or getting all of the cuddles, like a new baby.

I love you so much, sweet thing!


Your Mommy

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Easter was incredible and exhausting and extremely moving! The girls looked adorable in their matching dresses from Mimi, and they even cooperated for pictures!

The service at Eastside was just amazing! I hadn't been to big church in about a month because of being so tired and nauseous, so I was really looking forward to experiencing the entire thing - the music and sermon were just awesome! 

We were invited by Cathy and Carter to join their family for Easter dinner, which was so much fun! Cathy made an amazing dinner, and even organized an egg hunt for all the kids! 

We were exhausted by the time we headed for home, but it was a wonderful day! I took so many pictures, so here they are!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"And A Time To Laugh..."

Our newest little human is due November 4, 2014.
"I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me."

Psalm 13:6

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Birthday Letter To Bella

Dear Bella,

     You are five years old today! How is that possible? You will learn one day that every momma feels this way, but it seems like we just brought you home from the hospital in your pink and white blanket from your Great-Grandma Ferguson; now, you are this stunning, curious, wild, wonderful, hilarious, defiant, and loud little girl! "Five" seems so...big. I can't call you a "toddler" or "preschooler" anymore, you are an actual, bonafide "kid".
      You have loved horses for so long, I can't remember a time when you weren't galloping around the house and whinnying at the top of your lungs. You tie up every animal you own like they're in a corral, and you know words like "bridle", "Appaloosa", and "mustang". You also love to sing. Girl, do you sing! You could be coloring by yourself or riding in the car, but you start to belt out your favorite Disney tunes at the top of your lungs.  You know all the words to the Frozen soundtrack and somehow, you know the Aladdin songs, even though you've never seen the movie. And you never fall asleep without me or Daddy singing to you.
      My little human, you are a challenging kid. (No sugar-coating now that you're a big kid.) You are strong-willed, demanding, and emotional in a way that has made me doubt myself and question the way we're raising you. Being your momma has forced me to pray and ask God for wisdom more than anything else in my life. When you are disrespectful or whining for the hundredth time that day, I feel more tired than I can imagine and I feel like crying or giving up. But most of all, I forget one thing - that you are a joy.
      You are a joy when you beg for Coke, you are a joy when you teach Evelyn how to pant like a dog or when you try to pick her up so she can "climb" your favorite tree. You are a joy when you ask me if Satan is "that snake guy" or whether we can fly a plane to heaven, but then completely ignore my answer. You're a joy when you want to be my constant helper, my little human who always wants to be by my side. And I forget so often. I get busy and distracted, so I yell and act frustrated. I forget that really, all you want is my attention and my love. I forget to tell you how totally awesome you are.
       So...on your fifth birthday, when you are officially entering the big kid world, I'm reminding you how much I love you. I'm telling you that you are smart and creative and wonderful; that you are sweet and good and that I am so proud of you. During naptime today (when you decided you didn't need a nap), you threw your arms around my neck and told me that when you get married, you're going to stay with me forever so that you don't miss me too much. And I got to hug you back, smell your dirty little head, and decide that that was just perfect with me. (I'm not sure what Daddy will say, though.)
        I love you, baby girl. So very much!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Bella's "Frozen" Birthday!

Bella asked for a "Frozen party with horses" this year, but I made the executive decision to just go with Frozen. Little did I know that throwing a party in April with a Frozen theme was going to be practically impossible since everything was sold out in December! I had a couple of teenage sales clerks at Party City look at me like I was a total moron when I asked where their Frozen stuff was.
I found a lot of cute ideas on Pinterest, but decided we were going small and easy this year. As the time got closer, "easy" was definitely my motto - I found cute printables online, but on the morning of the party, realized our printer wasn't working, so I decided "Eh. It'll be fine." I told Whitney she would have been very proud of me! I am a girl who loves a themed party and I love it when we get to invite everyone we know to celebrate with us! Because of being so tired this year (more on that later), I just realized it wasn't going to happen. We invited 4 or 5 friends from church that Bella sees the most, planned one game, and ate cake. It was perfect! Bella had a blast, I wasn't stressed, and the kids had fun! Done and done!

First, we have to discuss the cake. I know I could order a cake and be done with it, but for some reason, in my mind, I love the cake being a mom/labor of love thing. I am not a baker, and I frequently run into humorous errors (wait for it), but I still love doing it.

Here was my inspiration for Bella's cake this year. She included a recipe for how to make those blue ice mountains out of melted sugar that you let freeze and harden, and then break it into shards. It wasn't too labor intensive, so I tried it. It worked really well, and I loved how the blue "mountains" looked with the white cake!

Apparently, the fridge was not cold enough to keep the mountains frozen, and about ten minutes later, they looked like this. My beautiful blue ice caps had completely melted down the back of the cake into a big glob. My attempts at baking always seem to include one, big "disaster".

So, I peeled off the blue, sticky glob, which also peeled off all of the icing from the back of the cake. At least this was an easy fix - off to the store for more cream cheese frosting, and we were back in business! Thankfully, most people believe that you can never have too much cream cheese frosting, so it all worked out fine!

I still wanted mountains of some sort, so we kept it simple and cut little mountains out of blue plates. Not nearly as glamorous, but they worked.

Here's the entire cake. I had to order the figurines online since everything was sold out in stores, but they weren't expensive at all, and totally worth it!

Our Frozen table...we had baby carrots for Olaf's nose and pretzel sticks for Sven's antler's. I added strawberries, because Bella loves strawberries. Our only specific "Frozen" items were the plates (from Amazon) and the figurines on the cake. We also had a few balloons and streamers, but they didn't up great in the pictures. Aren't you proud of me? Very low-key!

The girls in their cuteness before the guests arrived.

Okay, this was my moment of pride...looking online for Frozen items, I found a game that had a ton of great reviews! It was a whole pack of fake snowballs. At first, I was like, there's no way I'm spending money on that, but we just happened to have an Amazon gift card, and the great reviews made it really tempting. It was so much fun! They were freakishly realistic and the kids loved having a snowball fight in April! They were soft, so even the adults could be involved without worrying about hurting anyone. Seriously, the best game ever!

The birthday girl, running from snowballs! She loved having all of her friends there!

Getting ready to blow out her candles. I can't even believe she's about to be 5!

Opening presents! She got so many fun gifts - lots of art supplies and My Little Pony goodies! (My favorite was the My Little Pony backpack...adults can have favorites, right?) Jen (Rex's mama) told me that Rex wanted to get Bella a pet fish and then changed it to a pet cat. Luckily, she talked him out of it. We established that I owe her for the rest of her life!

Evelyn had already gone down for nap, but here we are with the birthday girl! She had so much fun and loved spending time with her friends!

Adventures In Babysitting

Last week, the girls and I flew down to Florida to watch Rachel while my parents flew to Germany for a missions trip. They're going to be gone for about two weeks, so babysitting duties were divided up between about 4 different people. We had the first shift, so we flew down and got to spend a day with mom and dad before they flew out. We had a little birthday celebration for the girls since this will be the first year that my mom isn't able to come up for their birthdays.
As far as babysitting goes, frankly, I'm surprised I didn't cry. The girls both got colds on our second day there, and I had to call a neighbor to go and get medicine for us when Evelyn got a low fever. Rachel did great! If you don't know, Rachel is 23, but mentally, about 2. Mel and I joke that she's a little old lady, because her schedule is very slow and doesn't vary much. When you throw two, extremely loud children into the mix, I was a little worried that we were just going to overwhelm her! She handled it really well, though, and only cried once. One of her regular caretakers, Dorothy, came at night to sleep over since I always have visions of being murdered.
It was a crazy week, so I don't have many pictures, but here are a couple that I took of the girls throughout the week...

The hardest part of the week was that the girls didn't sleep well at all. Evelyn was up about every hour and Bella was coughing all through the night. We were all sleeping in the same room, so it was really draining. One morning, Evelyn fell asleep on the couch because she had been up since 5:00.

Part of their birthday presents were new Easter dresses from Papa and Mimi. Look how cute they look in their eyelet lace! And yes, this pretty much sums up their personalities perfectly.

We were in the house most of the week, but one afternoon, a lady from church came to sit with Rachel for a couple of hours so I could take the girls to lunch.

She was really excited about her Coke, so this was the only picture I got!

I have never been more excited to be home! I wish I could vow to never leave again, but we all know that's just not practical! Oh well, I'm enjoying being home while it lasts!

Spring Daddy Date!

Weather has been gorgeous here, and we finally got to meet Steve for lunch at his office! I don't know if it's been the cold weather or the move, but it felt like it had been months since we went to eat lunch with him.
We got to eat outside on Willy's patio, eat cheese dip, and then go look at the ducks. Steve and I get a little geeked out that the ducks are going to start attacking us for food, but Bella and Evelyn have to be held back from jumping in the water!

Family shot!
Look how cute she looks in her chubby legs and pink sandals!

Bella is getting better at being helpful with Evelyn and including E in her diabolical plans!
Steve and I were pretty sure that we were going to have to jump in after one of them at some point, but we all stayed dry!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life, And More Life

I've been bad at keeping up with the blog lately, but honestly, it just seems like normal life is happening, without too many "events" to report on. Which has actually been pretty great, too. 

This week is Spring Break, so we've had some extra time with friends, we're also dog-sitting for friends this week, so that's brought an element of excitement for the girls, but it's all pretty "normal life" stuff.

Or maybe I've just been really unmotivated because of the beautiful weather. Either way, I will try and do better! The girls and I leave on Saturday for Florida to take care of Rachel for a couple of days while my parents are in Florida. Hopefully, we'll get at least one chance to go to the beach, and I'll try to remember pictures!

Steve's definitely been traveling more lately, which has not always been fun. I have a feeling that our Summer is going to be a lot of crazy schedules between his regular travel and a few random trips that I'm taking in between. 

Thankfully, the Fall always brings more time at home with the holidays! Is it weird that April just started and I'm already looking forward to life quieting down in the Fall? That's probably weird, but oh well.

Here's a picture of Evelyn this week, mastering the trapeze bar. Well, "mastering" may be a little strong. :)

We have loved every minute of this beautiful sunshine, and I'm pretty sure it's been physically good for my soul to be outside again!