Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick update

I have been so busy running around with the kids and Ernie coming in and out of town, and barely being able to handle my own life- that I have missed a blog or two. For shame. Seriously. I’m not feeling guilty- I’m feeling regretful. Little Ernie put himself to bed the other night with my blog book from 2010 as his book to read for the evening. He told me that he loves to read the long entries and honestly, I think he likes to see our family life reflected through my eyes. So for the 5 people out there who even read these posts, I’m going to try to do a little better. I want Ernie and the other kids to have more than a little to read as they grow up.

So, to begin. I have joined a gym and the exercise is helping my mental health tremendously. On the down side, I’ve had strep, Max had bronchitis, Nigel had the beginnings of pneumonia, and all of as have had allergy issues in the extreme. So the gym attendance has been spotty. But I’m hopeful that this week everyone will maintain good health and I’ll be able to work out to my heart’s content.

Cotton. Lots of awesome cotton. Ernie wrote a really great post on his blog about the cotton crops around here, so check it out here. Max is living in a world of more “fuzzies” than he could ever have imagined. It is beautiful and I have really enjoyed watching them harvest and bale the cotton right out in the fields.

Gratitude. I have been feeling grateful for a loving and kind partner in life. And for good kids. And paying the bills. And new appliances.

Which brings me to the new appliances! We bought the house a week ago today. (Yea!) We signed the papers in the morning and the first of the appliances went in that afternoon. The last thing will be the stove, which should arrive the end of this week. I feel so decadent, buying the appliances right when we move in- for me to use and enjoy!- instead of at the end of the homeownership, for someone else’s use and enjoyment.

And this weekend is Max’s 4th birthday. And the weekend after that is the Fall Party that we’re hosting in our backyard for Ernie’s staff and customer service group. 80 people. That’s how many people have RSVP’d so far. I may be freaking out a bit.

But mostly I’m feeling calm today. Which is why I have the wherewithal to type up this little post. And announce that I’m still hanging in here! And I think that I can tackle the party ok.

Last thing- White Chocolate Bread Pudding. I kid you not, this dessert is incredible. It literally tastes like you made bread pudding with homemade cinnamon rolls for the bread. It’s pretty much what I ate today. I’m happy to share the recipe with anyone who wants it. 

Max pumpkins

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Breakdown? Who said anything about a Breakdown?

So it’s possible. Maybe. That I may or may not have had a bit of crises over the move. Possibly. But since I try to deny all such shenanigans and only show such ridiculous amounts of emotion to Ernie, let’s move past all that and discuss the latest comings and goings.

Max: Adorable kid that he is, he is obsessed with Disneyland (we went there this summer). He is constantly, daily, still asking me when we can go back.

Emmaline: Has fallen in love with our new babysitter, Kyler. She asks almost daily if Kyler (an adorable 13 year old) can have a playdate with her.

Nigel: Is doing well in school and is awesome at maintaining a cheerful disposition. He is hugely obsessed with “Plants Vs. Zombies” which is an iPhone video game that Ernie downloaded.

Ernie: Recently become aware of our home phone. His friend told him that since his mom had a cell phone and his dad had a cell phone, the home phone was like his own cell phone. I agreed with that and told Ernie that he can pretend that our home phone is his cell phone too.

My Ernie: Traveling a lot. But also awesomely present when he’s home. The barn (the air-conditioned 2 car detached garage) is one of his favorite things about life. He has also embraced the lawn mowing, which is a chore since all 5 acres need to be mowed.

Me: I painted the ceiling in the living room, then I painted the walls, and then I painted the furniture. (what’s that? is there a connection between my stress level and an obsessive urge to paint something?) I’m hoping to continue the painting this week while Ernie’s out of town. I’d like to tackle the sunroom next, and then the kitchen. And also the bathrooms… but let’s just take it one room at a time.

Other updates: The house in Mississippi sold last week. (Big sigh of relief). So we will close on our current house the first of October. (Another big sigh of relief)! And I’m hosting all of my family for Thanksgiving here in our new house- so let the planning begin!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Current Lists

Thanks Betina, for your query about current lists. Oh boy mine’s a doozy. Suffice it to say I still have not changed out our car tags, updated any driver’s licenses, changed the mailing address for all of our bills, or unpacked all the boxes.

What have I done? I picked paint colors for the house. In case you’re wondering (and I know that you are!)  the new house color for the main rooms is Martha Stewart Cappuccino. For the dining room and the half bath: Martha Stewart Caraway Seed.

Here’s the list that is making me happy while I walk around the unpacked boxes and happily pretend for the moment that they don’t exist:

Future House Plans:

  1. Paint all the colored ceilings a nice happy white.
  2. Replace every insanely mismatched ceiling fan with white ceiling fans that will cool the rooms, but disappear into the soon-to-be white ceilings.
  3. Replace the appliances in the kitchen. This actually should be number one, because this will happen about 1 week after we close on this house. (we’re doing a lease purchase and the oven is terrible enough for me to actually not ever want to use it. ever.)Kitchen bronze
  4. Find the perfect shade of granite to use for the countertops.
  5. And maybe, if I’m lucky, also find the perfect tile to use on the backsplash. (Why won’t Ernie love Subway tiles like I do??)
  6. Knock out part of the wall from the living room to the kitchen and make that doorway bigger. It so needs to be bigger. kitchen door
  7. Close in the strange open doorways on either side of the double fireplace with built in bookcases in the living room. But we are definitely leaving those awesome windows! fireplace
  8. Hang bead board in the sunroom. Not all the way up the walls, but how high?? Decisions, decisions. Sunroom
  9. Take down every set of blinds and replace with curtains. I really like to see out my windows.
  10. Build built-in bookcases across the far wall of the sunroom. sunroom 2
  11. Paint the master bathroom a much more manageable color. Master bath
  12. Replace the current shower and tub with a larger tiled shower and a claw foot tub. (Ernie’s idea and it’s genius, in my opinion).
  13. Eventually replace the some- not all- of the flooring. What do you think of my friend Jenny’s brick floors? (I love them!)brick floors
  14. And to make myself feel better, I already changed out the hardware in the kitchen and it makes a huge difference! (please ignore my mess) Check it out: Hutch goldHutch bronze You can see more of the new hardware back in the kitchen picture I posted at the very start of this post.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Was that a school bus?

Yes, it’s true. The kids are back in school. HALLELUEJAH! Now- in all fairness- I love having the kids home and being together for lazy summer days and the like, but this has not been our typical summer and after awhile playing with your siblings and only your siblings loses it’s appeal. And then the arguing begins. And then mom starts wishing that everyone had a friend to play with to dilute the tension. Enter Public School. That wonderful place full of education and art projects, singing time, PE, and most importantly- lunch. The place where my kids are going to meet some new friends!

Today was everyone’s second day. The older kids love their new teachers and Max loves his preschool. I wish that I were a good photographer, or even a mediocre-but-consistent photographer, because this post would be better with pictures. Ah, well.

A few tidbits from the kids recounting of the last two days of school:

Emmaline: Mom, there are 4 other Emma’s in my class at school!

Me: Well, honey- tell them your name is Emmaline so people don’t get you confused.

Emmaline: No. I just told everyone to call me Smith.

This morning I got a phone call from the speech therapist at Nigel’s school. (Nigel graduated from speech therapy at the end of last school year).

Speech Therapist: Mrs. Smith, I wanted to speak with you about Nigel. He told his teacher today that he was in speech therapy last year and that he was still supposed to be going to Speech.

(really, as if I were the kind of parent that wouldn’t stay on top of something like that)

Me: Well, Nigel did ask me last night if he could go back to Speech, but he really doesn’t have any issues anymore. He graduated from Speech at the end of last year. We just moved here 3 weeks ago and he really liked his Speech teacher, and even more than that he liked visiting the treasure box. I think he just wants to revisit the happy memories and enjoy the one on one attention. So no, he doesn’t need any Speech Therapy right now.

After getting off the bus today (while eating snack):

Ernie: Mom, my pimple is really starting to smooth out.

Me: Good, honey- I’m glad. (The pimple saga has been going on for almost a week now and Ernie has been updating me constantly on it’s progress).

Ernie: Mom, can I take a shower tonight.

Me: No, honey. You took one this morning. You really don’t need to be showering twice a day.

Ernie: *sigh*

Ah, we’re now navigating the brave new world of having a pre-teen.

Overall I think it’s going to be a good year and everyone is already much happier. Hurray for school!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Due to transition crisis…

… we are headed out of town. Last night at church (oh yeah, I’m back in Young Womens) Little E punched another kid. Fantastic. Now of course, he was quickly remorseful and full of sorrow and self-flagellation(because that’s how Little E rolls) and he very soon dissolved into tears. We ended up discussing how he feels that he’s meeting new people too quickly and how he wished he could just meet new people only a handful at a time and not all at once. Then he ended by telling me that he really just wants to see his cousins. Now, for that comment about the cousins to make sense, you have to understand that Sylvia’s kids have been my children's constants through all the moves. My children’s lifelong friends. And every time I move somewhere new, I crave the comfort of old friends- and understandably, so does Little Ernie. Which explains why we are getting in the car on Monday morning and driving to Atlanta for the week. We will stay at Sylvia’s new house, have a blast swimming in her pool, and celebrate Nigel’s 9th birthday 2 1/2 weeks early- so he can have a party with his cousins. (A birthday party here would be a bit of a downer, given that we don’t know anyone to invite besides ourselves). It sounds like fun to me!

Here’s a snippet of the conversation I had with Emmaline tonight:

Emmaline: I can’t believe that the people who lived here before us were in this house for 10 years! That’s a long time!

Me: I know. We sure have lived in a lot of houses, haven’t we?

Emmaline: We have. Mom, I think that we are a Traveling Family.

I like it. We’re a Traveling Family. (Who hopefully won’t be moving again anytime soon.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Few Thoughts on the Big Move

We’re here in Medina, TN. Whew! Let’s all take a big sigh of relief that the old house is empty, clean and waiting for a buyer and- while the new house might be full of boxes- they’re our boxes, full of our stuff. I survived the 6 1/2 hour drive north with a car filled to maximum capacity with all the stuff the movers wouldn’t put on the truck, 4 kids, 1 dog, and a frazzled mom.

We went to church on Sunday and honestly, by next week I expect we’ll have met everyone there is to meet. The Branch has an average weekly attendance of 60 people, and our arrival doubled the primary. People are very nice and the 1st counselor in the bishopric very frankly told us that they are excited to have us speak this Sunday since they don’t often have new speakers. Everyone has been extremely kind and welcoming and I get that feeling that this small unit of the church functions very much like a family.

A few thoughts on the move:

  • I COULD NOT have managed everything in Hattiesburg without all the amazing love and support I got from my dear friends there. The ladies who took my kids, brought meals, and helped me clean. Ernie did not come home for this move, so this move was on me alone and I was not alone.
  • Max is the most stressed of all the kids. He has been exceptionally clingy and whiny. It’s been a few days and we’re getting the stuff unpacked and he seems to be adjusting now.
  • Bogart, our faithful dog, is also having a really hard time. He’s 8 years old and for the first 2 days in the new house he seemed to be highly stressed. He too is starting to settle down.
  • A week of eating out for every meal, coupled with an entire summer of not going to the gym, has really wreaked havoc on my waistline. I am a stress eater. There, I admitted it. I will admit that it’s going to be a month or so before I start to feel settled so there will not be any dieting anytime soon.
  • There are more churches here than restaurants.
  • Ernie and I have managed to handle the stress of this move pretty well. One or two days of not feeling the love- but that’s it! Not bad, in my opinion. We get better at communicating each time we move. We’re better at anticipating the stressful situations that are common with moving and we now have some coping skills that we didn’t have when we started this nomadic lifestyle of ours.
  • I hate trying to figure out the best way to set up a new kitchen. I mean, really. It takes a while to get the cupboards perfect and to have the flow down for cooking and cleaning. Arghh. I just know that half of what I’ve unpacked is going to be moved in the next 3 months to a better, more efficient location. (And I’m already annoyed about it).
  • The yard takes the girl next door 3 1/2 hours to mow and we are paying her $120 per mow. And that’s the cheapest price we found! Since it is now being mowed once a week, I am praying that the fall gets here soon so the grass will stop growing. (We will be purchasing a mower of our own in the spring, but can’t spend the $4500 right now needed to buy the commercial mower that our 5 acres requires.)
  • Ernie likes his job. That is a big deal.
  • We opened a local bank account today inside the bank. It felt so novel, and antiquated. I don’t think I’ve opened a bank account inside of a bank since 1995. Our new bank account is with the Bank of Milan, in case you’re wondering. And yes, when I say it’s a local bank, I mean local as in Milan, TN. Hence the name: Bank of Milan. (pronounced MY-len, not mi-LAHN).

So overall, life is grand. Life is good. We’re in a new place and we’ll root ourselves as best we can and trust in the Lord to take care of the rest.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Sunday

Today was our last Sunday of church here in Mississippi. Hand’s down, the best part of the day was teaching my little Sunbeams. I sure love those little people! And just like he knew that I needed it today, Adam Blaylock snuggled in to my side while we sat and listened to the talks and scripture reading at the beginning of primary. By the middle of singing time, Adam had managed to work his way all the way into my lap and he faced me with his arms wrapped tightly around my neck and his head buried in my shoulder. He stayed that way until the Sunbeams all announced that they needed to go to the bathroom. It was sweet and tender and such a nice way to say good-bye.