Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Down on the Farm

We took the kiddos to a local dairy farm near my parents' house this past weekend. There were animals to see, tractor games to watch (like the slowest tractor and who could back the closest to the egg without breaking it), and ice cream to eat.

Kate was very excited about all the animals.

She milked the fake cow.

Petted a calf.

And rode a full sized horse, not one of the ponies.

After much cajoling Gabby got sort of close to a pony.

She much preferred hanging out with her PawPaw than visiting the animals.

Nate got a "Got Milk" sticker, right on his bum.

And of course we all got ice cream, except poor Justin. Diabetes stinks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Settling In

We're getting all settled in here. Though I promise not to get too comfortable, as we are grateful for my parents' hospitality, but we don't want to overstay our welcome. We'll try to repay our visit in laundry and housekeeping services. :)

We are finding it a bit difficult to find suitable housing in Tennessee due to the flooding issues a couple of months back. I have a few houses lined up to look a on Friday and we're hoping that we will find someplace close for Justin and in a nice school or Kate, though those two things seem to be harder to find than I had hoped.

Thankfully the closing went through on Friday on our house in Kansas and that hurdle is over.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My Old Kentucky Home

We made the eleventeen (Gabby's term for 11) and a half hour drive to my parents' house in Kentucky earlier this week. The munchkins behaved admirably considering the length of the trip. Nate cried the last two hours, but was in good humor for most of the previous 9 1/2. Kate colored and played quietly and Gabriella watched DVDs and only fussed for me to do things I couldn't reach to do for her a half dozen times or so. Justin and I were driving in separate vehicles to get both of them here, so I had the van full of munchkins and he had the car without a/c. I think I got the better end of the deal, as the radio Deejays kept proclaiming that we were under a severe heat advisory warning all day.

We arrived to the house to find cute linens on the girls' bed, Snicker's bars stashed for Justin, new clothes for Nate, and open closet and drawer space for me to fill. We are settling in here well and will try to look at some houses in Tennessee at the end of this coming week.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why We're Really Leaving

I know we tell everyone that we are leaving Kansas because Justin got a new job, but it isn't true. This is why...

The girls went out to play and within a couple of minutes were at the back door. Kate told me there was a snake. I didn't really know if I should believe her or not. She's good at telling tales. I called them in and asked her to tell me about the snake. She said, "It's long and black and kept sticking it's tongue out at me. I told it, 'Excuse me,' because it was in my way at the slide and it wouldn't move because it didn't understand." She assured me it had no stripes so I went out and found no snake, so I let them back out, assuming they had scared it off or that it had never existed, that is until I saw it out front slithering.

Later I asked Kate about the snake and she told me it was a girl. I asked her how she knew and she said, "Because it's long like a dress and girls wear dresses."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beyond Blessed

We are leaving Kansas in less than 48 hours now. I have to tell you that the past week has been a roller coaster, but through it all God and his people have been there helping us get through some days that have been very hard.


On Saturday it became apparent that there was no way that all of our belongings were going to fit in the space we had left. We went through several permutations of things to leave behind, but we weren't coming up with any good ones, as most of them included leaving out several things we weren't ready to part with. We checked into getting a hitch installed, but it would be around $400 plus the rental fee. I called my parents and my father packed up and he drove all day Sunday to get here (with everything he needs including a towel because all but our most essential things are packed), loaded up this morning and is thankfully home safe and sound with such sundries as my washer and dryer.

I went to church promising myself that I wouldn't cry. I didn't even get to Sunday School before I teared up. Kate's Sunday School teacher had a party for the girls. We said good-bye to many people. People who saw us through the birth of two children, the diagnosis of Diabetes (and even gave us our first lessons in handling his diet before we could get any help from the nutritionists), and who have been there to care for and teach our children about Jesus. I think that part of the reason this is so difficult is knowing that we likely won't be back to Kansas. Then we got home and opened the cards we were given. In addition to the lovely toys that the girls got to keep them occupied on the trip we were given money that was enough to cover the cost of the U-haul rental and more.

Then Kate's was exactly what she had asked me for that morning--pictures of her friends. I had snuck in and grabbed a couple of snapshots, but these were pictures of each of the students in her class. God must have led her teacher to fulfill that desire of her little heart before she ever spoke it to me. We caught her sitting and talking to them apologizing for leaving them. It has to be difficult for her too. Hopefully she'll be happy in her new home soon, but I never moved as a child. I was 16 at my first move and it was across town (even in the same school district). So while I've moved many times as an adult, I've not had the pain she must be feeling.

We are so grateful to all those who have touched our lives here and to my poor Daddy who drove all day on his Father's Day to rescue his daughter.

Our Last Family Photo in Kansas


The other day Justin and Kate must have had a discussion about mosquitoes because she comes up and tells me, "I don't like girl mosquitoes because they drink my blood and make me itch. I think the husbands should make their wives behave."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

To my Daddy for being able to fix it all and caring enough to do it,

And to my husband who has been a wonderful father to our little munchkins.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sleep Deprived

It's been more than a little bit crazy lately. The munchkin hasn't been napping nor will she go to sleep at night...

So this was the result at dinner.

We cleaned her up and sent her to bed where she spent the next two(!) hours running around the room. We finally brought her downstairs so Kate could go to bed without her craziness keeping up her big sister. She fell asleep in Justin's lap and he carried her up.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Today was a day I'd been dreading. I went to the bank to finalize the massive pay-off on our house. I deposited money, I transferred money, and then I made the biggest withdrawal of my life in the form of that cashier's check. I drove this large check to the title company to drop it off. The secretary accepts it with a smile, then I asked what was evidently a silly question, "Could I have a receipt?" What can I say, I feel a little better about handing over twenty grand if I at least get a slip of paper that says I did.

This set off a chain of events that lasted 45 minutes. Of course Tuesday, when we knew we would be signing papers, we got a sitter for the girls. It was easy-peasy--15 minutes. Justin was with me and Nate napped. Today was to be fast, so I took all three muchkins solo. The girls were angelic for the first ten minutes or so. Then the gal handling escrow comes out and says there are more fees (plural!) that have come to light, as in more than the two thousand extra we found out about on Tuesday. I held my breath while I waited to hear what the charges were for and how much they could be. The girls were getting bored and having more trouble being still.

Eventually it turned out that the bills we submitted with our seller's disclosure to show what work had been taken care of on the property had been added to the tally by the buyer's title company. Of course these bills had been paid for long ago, but they wanted recipts. I told her that it might be difficult to get them, as I gave what I had to our agent and the companies might not have reciepts from two years or more ago. She called back their company and when they looked at the dates on the papers they released it and let me off with only paying an arm and a leg, not my first born. Which is good because she's a stinker, but I sure do love that kiddo.

Then we went into the parking lot ,and evidently Gabriella had used up all of her good behavior, as she took off running away from the van. She refused to hold my hand, so I took her by her shirt sleeve (holding the baby the whole time mind you, as I had taken off the wrap I had at the bank and grocery, assuming this to be a short trip in). I had to pin her by the van while I fished my keys out of my pocket because she was seriously trying to bolt. Then I put her in the van and she refused to crawl through (she usually goes in under Nate's seat, so I can get everyone in from one side) and I had to block her from getting out as I strapped him in. She screamed and cried until she realized that I pulled into McDonald's, as we were already an hour late for lunch at this point. It's amazing what a cheeseburger can do!

Hope your day was less eventful than mine!

Well, we're getting there. Hopefully we'll get there before I loose my mind! Just kidding...sort of. The girls think that the airbed they are "sleeping" on is a great trampoline, Kate didn't know that you throw away paper plates, and I did six or seven loads of laundry yesterday (washing up all our curtains and blankets before packing them. I also found a new purpose for the infant tub we've not been using--it caught the water as I defrosted our freezer.

It's been a week of grace though. We had one gal from church keep the girls so we could go sign the paperwork without their help. I was so grateful for that anyway, but when we found out we were going to owe $2000 more than previously estimated I was even more glad not to have them with us, so I had some time to deal with that. Some dear friends stepped in and offered to pay the difference in the costs for us. Then last night another woman from church came by and kept the three munchkins while we went to use some movie passes we'd had since the fall and hadn't had a chance to use. We are very grateful for the kindness of friends here, but they sure are making it hard to leave.

Monday, June 14, 2010

One of the Good-Byes

It's not the first, nor will it be the last, of the good-byes we will have to say here in Kansas, but perhaps it is the most unusual to cause sadness. I mean how many people are sad to say good-bye to their Wal-Mart. They are all over the place. The thing is, we weren't saying good-bye to our store, but Miss Bonnie.

Miss Bonnie is the greeter. She works every Monday morning, except for a month and a half when she was in the hospital. She always greeted the girls with a warm smile and yellow smiley face stickers, so I made it a point to learn her name and Kate did too. She kept tracking of the growing baby before he was born and since his arrival. A couple of weeks ago we let her know that we would be leaving, and today as we were leaving she gave each of the kids a present. They each got a really neat ball with glitter inside and the girls got flashcards too.

We found it very hard to build relationships when we first moved here, but Miss Bonnie has been a staple part of our week since we started shopping at this store shortly after it opened, after Gabriella was born. And she's a good reminder to always greet people with a kind word and a smile because I know how much she's meant to us.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

7 Months

7 months old!

The little guy is still little-hanging out in 3-6 month clothes, though he did give up the infant carrier this month, or rather, we gave up hauling the infant carrier this month!

He's an active little guy and has such a sweet little smile. He's pulling up on everything.

He's learned how to get into the girls' toys, so life will never be the same!

He has also decided that playing in the pool is great fun.

Not Long Now

Ack! Ack! Ack! We're moving. In like a week and a half! Ack!

Honestly, the mess that's left is really manageable. It is that really big rush at the end that I'm not looking forward to. You know the stuff that you can't live without until the end, like the kids, and a ton of their paraphernalia, and the coffee pot. Or does that count in with the kids, since they are much of what requires us to need that coffee? And the stuff always seems to multiply at the end. Not sure how that happens but in all my (many, many) moves it always happens.

Then we always try to leave the house spotless. My house hasn't been spotless since Gabriella was born. Every part of it has been spotless at times, but not the whole thing at once. I think it has something to do with the little tornadoes that always find something to get into while I'm busy scrubbing elsewhere. But I'll do my level best to be sure the house is as clean as humanly, well motherly, possible.

The kiddos have decided that the boxes are excellent tables, chairs (which we're trying to stop), and shelves. The 'shelves' are becoming quite convenient, as Nate can now reach almost all the places that the girls can, but not quite the top of the medium boxes! I bet they will have even more fun with all the furniture out of here.

By this time next week, I expect the house to be nearly empty. The big question is, will I be doing laundry here next weekend or was this my last weekend of laundry in Kansas?

I made my last big dinner on Thursday, you know the kind with the oven and all four burners going. It was Chicken Parmigiana, and it was tasty.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary

We spent our anniversary packing up a bunch of boxes this morning, this is just a portion of them. Justin did get me an anniversary card.

Align Center
Take a good look at it and then go here.

Yep, the same card three years running. At least this time he knew it. It did make me laugh.

We had Kate take some pictures of us before we all went out to dinner. A lovely friend offered to watch the kiddos, but we decided to take them with us. We ate at a Chinese buffet that we used to visit on occasion, but we haven't been there since Justin was diagnosed as a diabetic. It's kind of hard to guess carbs there, but we decided to try it. We knew the girls would eat there and it's not too pricey.

Ever After...

Happy Eleven-teenth Anniversary (as Gabby would say)!

What a year we've had--a new baby, diabetes, a new job, and packing to move!

From this:

To this:

I am thankful for another year with you as my husband and father of our children.

Friday, June 11, 2010


According to Gabby we had 'Candy' Bread instead of Zucchini bread.

While talking about the move, Kate decided we could just, "Push [the mascot of the new school] over to here," so we didn't have to move.

In talking about heading to Gam and PawPaw's Gabby said, "I will give her a hug two times. And sissy will get her purse for her so she can get her camera and take a picture."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ain't Over Yet

Is it really not the end of the day yet?

We start the day with Justin hobbling around. He sprained or broke one of his toes last night...right in time to move. I get him sent off to work and started packing a box in the kitchen. I hadn't quite finished with it when I heard the girls wake up. I grabbed another box and headed upstairs to pull clothes from their closets while they got dressed. In the mean time Nate woke up, so I left the half packed box in Kate's room to go to him. Gabby's clothes are still in the closet in that room, so I let her pick out a few things to keep (like Kate had been doing) and laid them out on the bed and then headed downstairs with the three munchkins to start breakfast. Here I find Justin's insulin kit, which he needs so he can eat lunch.

About that time Kate announces that someone is knocking on the door. I hadn't heard it and thought she was being silly, but sure enough there is someone at the door. I assumed that this was one of the people the buyers had hired to tighten up the gutters (apparently required by their loan). But nope. It's an appraiser. Who wants to come into my house. My house with closet doors open, clothes strewn across the beds in order to pack, and a whole other set of stuff out in the kitchen to pack in that box. Oh, and the best part--their bank requires photos of my disaster of a house. And the realtor who was evidently supposed to accompany him (and, oh yeah, notify me ahead of time) never bothered to show.

Next up, a trip for some more boxes and to drop off Justin's insulin. I was able to procure a cart that held both girls and I wore Nate in the Moby. It's a bit of a stretch to balance the large boxes on the cart, but I was managing. Then Gabby kicked the cart sending my stack to the ground. Some nice gentleman did stop to help me pick them up. I am quite thankful for small favors right now. The clerk also told me to have a blessed day.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Lunch served. The gals up to not take naps today. I call our insurance agent to set up the rental insurance for our things while they're in storage. Evidently he misunderstood when I called originally and asked about a policy. He told me no problem, we could get a renter's policy, but now he tells me we can't, since we won't be living there (obviously). So here all of our earthly possessions are going into storage without any insurance. I turned down the policy from the PODS people because I thought I had it taken care of. They would have had to have insured it at the time of the delivery of the first POD a few months ago to cover it.

And the day ain't over yet!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Raising a Boy

Heaven help us...Nate has discovered he can push a chair to walk. Then he pushed it up to the counter. Thankfully he can't climb it just yet, but I suspect we will have our first climber.

Homemade Dish Detergent Update

Well, it's been a few days since we made the dish detergent. It definitely has some issues. The first one is that over time the stuff has solidified and you have to chip it out--that's due to the water I added, of course, so eliminating it will take care of that little (big) problem. The next issue is one I've had with several different types of purchased detergent, it leaves my dishes with a cloudy film. I did add a small drop of dish washing liquid (the stuff we use for hand washing*) last night and that problem seemed to be much smaller this morning. I'll have to keep experimenting to see if I can work it out into a usable system that's less than the name brand detergent I've been buying, but that's how it's going at current.

*Don't add too much. If you don't know why you should ask around I bet you'll get some entertaining answers for why. And because I can't stand to not know why I'll tell you--it bubbles really badly if you use much and your dishwasher will leak bubbles all over your kitchen floor. Much thanks to my uncle for discovering this for me and entertaining our family. I remember hearing that story when I was 7 or 8 and it's always stuck with me!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Lest you think Kate has lost her wit with all the moving madness, here's the latest installment:

"So when Daddy dies Mama can get remarried and I can be the flower girl!" (said with much glee)...(minutes later) "But if you died (speaking to Justin) I would miss you and be sad."

"If my husband was mean to our children and punished them when they didn't do anything wrong, I'd hit him with a rolling pin, right in the face!" (Note to self--stop allowing her to see old Loony Tunes episodes...and buy future son-in-law a catcher's face mask).

And because she can be sweet, in the praise and prayer request time in Sunday School this morning she wanted to remember her friend's first birthday. But last week she told me she asked to pray that, "Her tummy wouldn't be hungry when she stayed up too late at night in her bed when she was supposed to be sleeping."

And that's just from today!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dishwasher Soap

I consider myself pretty frugal. We've lived on one, less than large, salary for a number of years with a number of children. I tried clipping coupons, but found that generally I got a better price with a bargain brand, so I just went with that. My time is valuable too, especially my time in the grocery store with the munchkins. It wasn't worth it to juggle a stack of coupons and try to determine what was the better deal, so I tossed that idea.

I happened across an idea yesterday though while reading a blog that I decided I wanted to give a go, making laundry soap. I currently have enough to probably serve us until we move, so it would be silly to mix up a two gallon batch at the moment, but the idea sounds good--frugal and maybe even fun. As I sifted through several recipes I saw some people are making their own dishwasher detergent too. I don't like buying it at all. I've had trouble with several different brands not working well and the stuff is quite expensive. I called up my husband (a chemist after all) and asked him if the ingredients sounded reasonable. He agreed that they did, aside for some concern that they might not dissolve as quickly as he would like.

So here's what I did:
3/4 cup of borax
3/4 cup washing powder (not baking powder)
3/8 cup salt
4 pkgs of lemon kool-aid (the stuff you would generally add sugar to)
1 cup of boiling water

Note--in adding the boiling water the concoction bubbled over. So pour very slowly! I added the water so it already partially dissolved going in (many people use the powders mixed together dry).

To use, I mix the goo with our longest measuring spoon and then I put about 2 Tablespoons into the dispenser cup and 1/2 Tablespoon into the pre-rinse cup. We also used a splash of vinegar (which we usually do anyway) to the tub, since we don't use JetDry.

This should provide about 15 washes for $1.71 (most of that cost is in the kool-aid [$.94], so I'll look for another suitable citric acid replacement).

All in all it took less than 10 minutes (and that's with the girls helping measure). The first load has gone through and it looks really good. I am all for things that work too, so as time goes on if it fails to live up to what I hope it to be, I'll be sure to write about that too. It's not a tremendous savings per load, but over time, if it works well, it should add up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Favorite Time of Day

Lately one of my favorites times of day has been when the girls go up for bath time and I feed Nate his solids for dinner. I was thinking about why it's so enjoyable tonight. First, it is quiet, since Thing One and Thing Two are upstairs in the tub, but not silent. I can still hear their muffled giggles and squeals. The dishes are done, most of the busy-ness of the day is over. Generally we're in for the night at this point. The evening of trying to convince the girls to sleep has yet to commence. I am occupied with a needed, but enjoyable task, as opposed to laundry (I hate laundry), so there's no worry about what I should be doing. There are those gummy grins (which likely won't be gummy too much longer as hist left bottom front tooth is bulging in the gum). It's also the perfect level of occupation. I'm free to sing to him or sit in quiet contemplation or simple prayer. It's the vespers of motherhood. Nate and I communing over his puree of the evening. He's not at the stage where he's having trouble figuring out how to eat and needing lots of coaxing and not yet at the stage where he plays 20 questions during dinner, not that it isn't a lovely thing to enjoy conversation over dinner, but the quiet moments are few in this household, so I'll savor it when I get it!


Gabby has dubbed Nate Star Man because one of his shirts has a star on the sleeve.

to me: "You da big one while we da widdle ones."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Packing or Procrastinating

Life is a little on the crazy side at the moment. I sit looking around rooms wonder what can be packed now and what is better left for later. It's hard to decide what is worth the hassle of living without. Some things are easy peasy. Veggie steamer, see ya in Nashville. Coffee pot...oh could we live without it? Yes. Do we want to? No. The same with many of the children's things. Add to that these three little distractions...

So instead I spend a lot of time enjoying motherhood at the moment. I love the way Nate giggles when I kiss his little head. The way he wiggles that baby wiggle and how he gurgles that "goo" sound. I love Gabby's sleepy snuggles and Kate's ridiculous stories.

I've checked some things off my to-do list and in three weeks we'll be out of here. It will all get done--I've packed it all up before and I'm sure we can pull it off, but a little bit of procrastination can be a sweet thing. Especially when it's snuggling with the munchkins. With that, off to pack a box while the baby naps.