Protected: A Wednesday In My Life With An Almost-4-Year-Old and A 20-Month-Old

April 17, 2015

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The HOUSE Project: Finished

October 3, 2014

I did a horrible job following our house building project on the blog. I posted pictures occasionally on Facebook, but I never felt like I had enough to SAY about it to warrant a blog post.

But now…IT’S FINISHED. And we started moving in less than 24 hours after it was officially ours. To say “we couldn’t wait” would be a ridiculous understatement. We’ve been living there for 3 weeks now and somehow it feels both surreal AND like this house has always been ours. Because, really, it HAS always been ours. It doesn’t feel like we moved into someone else’s home because it never did belong to anyone else.

Selling our townhouse and living in temporary housing was not fun at all, but putting that aside, watching our house being built was amazing. We drove by to visit probably 2-3 times a week during the 4 month build time to check on the progress. Anytime a friend or neighbor drove by and then texted us to tell us the drywall truck had arrived or the siding was going up, we squeeeed and loaded the kids into the car to drive by for a visit. (Okay so it may have just been me doing the actual squeeeeeing, but Bill was excited too πŸ˜‰ )

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Our empty lot – March 2014

Our house - September 2014

Our house – September 2014

It’s very surreal to remember standing in our house when it was just plywood – no walls, even – and then now standing on the same spot and seeing…a kitchen…a hallway…

Looking into the kitchen - June 2014

Looking into the kitchen – June 2014

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Looking into the kitchen – September 2014

Since we’ve moved in, we’ve been working hard at unpacking. It is likely to take forever and ever. “You have time!” everyone says. And we do, but…we’ve been living in chaos for the past 6 months -first in our super sterile house on the market and then in our box-filled apartment. We’ve been waiting and waiting and counting the days and seconds until we could move into our new house and FINALLY unpack and feel at home again.

So that’s what we’re doing. We’re gettingΒ window treatments for our 24 (omggggg) windows. I got a Welcome mat, shelves, storage units, fabric drawers (you can never have too many πŸ˜‰ ), and other such random organizational crap. The UPS guy learned where our house is REAL quick. No doubt we will be BFFs by Christmas (or he’ll hate me, we’ll see).

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Welcome

People keep mentioning painting and decorating to me and yes, I can’t wait to decorate. And yes, despite good advice from a friend to stay away, I’ve been on Pinterest. But really, for now, I am happy to stash any box that says “decor” on it in the basement for the time being and just get things put away first, decorate later. Except for my Fall wreath – gotta have that πŸ™‚

We are slowly learning how to care for a lawn bigger than a postage stamp…assuming of course that we will even have a lawn! Our grass has struggled during the mostly dry September, but it is starting to come up now. While I squeee over mud room benches, Bill can’t wait for the tractor (riding mower) to be delivered.

Finally some green

Finally some green

When it comes to what I love most about the house, there are a lot of things to choose from! The kitchen, of course. I’m so pleased with how it all came out. It’s hard to choose cabinets and counter tops with swatches but I like the choices we made. I really love the space though. In our townhouse, if all 4 of us were sitting at the dinner table, we couldn’t open the refrigerator door – that’s how cramped it was. Granted, we sort of tried to force that kitchen to be an eat-in kitchen when it really wasn’t, but still. Now we have the morning room and it is perfect. I browse online for a new kitchen table and chairs almost daily. That’s definitely at the top of my wish list but we will probably hold off for awhile.

Morning room

Morning room

A new kitchen table is just one thing on a very, very long wish list we have for this house! But in this case “You have time!” really does apply. We have time for projects and organizing, finishing our basement, adding a patio/deck, etc etc etc. But for now, we are happy to just be HOME.


The HOUSE Project: The longest month…

July 1, 2014

It’s only been about a month since we settled on our town house and it officially became our “old house” (Caelan calls it the “empty house” or the “dirty house”, not sure why). We’ve been settling into our apartment and things are going well. The kids are sharing a room and there is plenty of space for both of them. We did run into a pretty significant sleep regression with Leah and as much as we didn’t want to have to do this in the apartment, we had to do a sleep training refresher. Thankfully, she’s back on track…sort of…some days. Sorry neighbors :/

In the past month, we’ve been unusually busy with moving and unpacking, birthday parties, new babies, and family time. Usually when you’re really busy, time flies by and we’d sure love that since all we’re doing right now is waiting for our house to be built. But somehow, the past few weeks have draaaaaaaaaaaaaagggged on forever! It’s only been a month?! Really?! And we still have 2-3 more months to go 😦

They ARE making significant progress on our house though. Here is what it looked like at the end of May…

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Day #17

The framing happened fast. It took about 3 weeks. I took the picture below after they had already moved on to the mechanical work inside.

Day #46

Day #46

And speaking of inside…It’s hard to take a meaningful picture because unless you’re familiar with the floor plan, it really just looks like a lot of 2×4’s everywhere. But this picture actually includes quite a few of the rooms in the house.

A view of the inside

At this point, they are working on “boring” but important things like installing duct work, plumbing and electrical. We’ve already made super important decisions like which light switches control which outlets and where the recessed lights in the kitchen will go (“Here-ish,” I said, drawing an imaginary line in the kitchen with my finger. The builder did not hesitate to tease me about my precision πŸ™‚ )

We were more precise with our decisions on the kitchen cabinets which have also been finalized and ordered!

Kitchen

Kitchen

In the next month, they should be finishing up the mechanical work, putting up drywall, and installing the kitchen. We will really be getting close by then. Here’s hoping July moves along at a reasonable pace!


The HOUSE Project

June 6, 2014

In mid-January, Bill texted me a link to a builder’s website. That’s how it all started…

By mid-February, we were meeting with that builder and another.

On March 1st, we signed a contract for our “forever home”.

HouseDrawing

In mid-March, we hired a realtor.

In mid-April, we put our house on the market. 10 days later, we were under contract with a buyer.

CR8322793 - Exterior (Front)

In mid-May, they broke ground on our new house.

groundBreaking

On June 1st, we moved out of our house and into an apartment where we will stay until our new home is ready. Today, we are closing on the town house.

“Whirlwind” doesn’t even cover it. It’s been insane. The whole house selling experience was … well, I will be very happy if we never have to do that again, however, I am glad that it happened so fast.

While we’re excited about our new home and all the much-needed extra space, leaving the town house is bittersweet. We have a lot of memories there.

Bill built this deck.

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And this basement.

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He was sitting here in the kitchen when I told him I was pregnant with Leah.

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We built a nursery, and then a bedroom for the kids.

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Caelan took his first steps in the living room.

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We brought both of our kids home to this house. We took countless walks around the neighborhood, to the “wing and the loid” (swing and the slide), “around the circle”, “to the big houses”, and we watched for the ice cream truck.

It’s unlikely that Caelan will remember any of this and Leah surely won’t. But Bill and I will always be able to look back fondly on the house where our family was born. Bye bye house.

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A (Satur) Day In My Life With An Almost-3-Year-Old and An 8-Month-Old

April 22, 2014

Our days are not too exciting, but I do like comparing this post to my post last year when Caelan was 22 months old and I was pregnant with Leah and then the year before that when Caelan was just 10 months old. I only wish I had posts from the year I was pregnant with Caelan and especially the year before that when we weren’t expecting yet. Our days now revolve so much around the kids that it’s hard to remember what we did on the weekends before they were here! I’m sure it was much quieter in our house back then πŸ™‚

Re-reading this post was exhausting in a weird way. We didn’t do much of anything this day, but every few minutes, somebody wants/needs something. We get to spend lots of time with our kids on the weekends which is great because we DON’T get to see them much during the week. But still, I love when 8:30pm rolls around and we get a couple hours “off” πŸ™‚

7:05am

I hear Caelan and Leah on their monitors at the same time. Caelan calls for Bill who goes in to get him and takes him to the potty right away. I let Leah talk to herself for a few minutes before I go in to get her.

7:10am

I get Leah up, changed and dressed, and we go back into our room where Caelan and Bill are watching a show. I plop her down on the bed with them and go to straighten up the bathroom and the kids’ rooms. I don’t normally bother with this on a Saturday morning (or any morning) but our house is on the market, so we have to keep it tidy.

7:30am

I run downstairs to feed the cats and then join everyone else on the bed in our room, still watching whatever is on Nick Jr.

TV

7:40am

Leah is getting fussy so I take her down to the kitchen and make her a bottle. She goes from zero to feed-me-now SO fast!

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7:50am

Leah is done with her bottle and I leave her to play in the highchair while I change some laundry around, sift the litter box, and wash her bottle. I make a cup of coffee and Leah and I go into the living room to play.

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8:10am

Leah gets a diaper change and Caelan and Bill come down from upstairs. Caelan gets his usual breakfast/pre-breakfast snack (pouch and breakfast bar) out of the pantry and sits down to eat it. He seems to be in a growth spurt now so he’s been extra hungry. He has some oranges too.

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8:25am

Caelan is finished eating so he comes into the living room where Leah is playing on the floor and I’m folding laundry. Bill feeds the cats and joins us.

8:50am

I get Caelan some juice and Bill retrieves some toys from the basement. We had to put all the kids’ toys down there while our house is on the market.

9:00am

It’s time for Leah’s breakfast and she has pureed peaches and some puffs. I eat my own breakfast while Bill supervises a potty break for Caelan. After breakfast, I do the dishes.

9:20am

After Leah’s breakfast we go back in the living room to play for all of 10 minutes before Caelan says he’s hungry again.

9:30am

Caelan, Leah and I go back into the kitchen to get Caelan a bowl of cereal while Bill runs out to get his own breakfast.

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9:55am

Leah was practically falling asleep in the highchair while Caelan was eating breakfast, so I figure she’s ready for her morning nap and I take her up to her room to rock her. Suddenly she was wide awake and had no interest in a nap, so I took her back downstairs.

10:00am

Bill is home. Caelan and Leah play in the living room until Caelan spots a baby book that we’ve hidden (because he wouldn’t stop chewing on it). We tell him he can’t have it, a tantrum ensues, and eventually he gets put in timeout for screaming.

10:25am

After a potty break and plenty of time to calm down, Bill brings Caelan back downstairs. I put away the kids’ laundry while Bill watches them downstairs.

10:40am

I make a bottle for Leah and this time, after the bottle, she is ready for a nap. I put her down in her crib.

11:00am

I put in another load of laundry and go back to hang out with Bill and Caelan in the living room. We don’t have any plans today, and since our house was just listed yesterday, it is still tidy so there aren’t really even any chores to do (besides the never ending laundry) so we are just relaxing.

11:30am

Caelan has a snack (Cheerios) and I make up a grocery list and a meal plan for this week. Caelan and Bill play.

C_B_play

12:10pm

I start making lunch for Caelan and Leah wakes up from her nap at almost the same time. Bill goes up to get her. Caelan and I eat lunch in the kitchen while Bill plays with Leah.

12:50pm

I give Leah her lunch (more purees and puffs) while Caelan is finishing his. When he’s done, Bill takes him up for a nap.

Collage_Lunch

1:05pm

Leah is done with her lunch so I change her diaper and put her down in the living room to play while I do the dishes (again!). When I’m done, I play with Leah and listen to Caelan chatter away on the monitor.

1:30pm

I fold some more laundry and then put it away. I poke around online looking for some free fonts and images to make a birthday party invitation for a Bumpie. Leah is still happily rolling/crawling around the living room and chewing on whatever she can find.

2:25pm

Caelan has not slept this whole time, so we give up on a nap today and Bill gets him up. He comes down the stairs saying “I took a nap, Mommy!” Um, no you didn’t! Bill and Caelan join us in the living room for more playtime.

2:40pm

I give Leah another bottle and then she and Caelan play.

C_door

3:10pm

Bill takes Leah upstairs for another nap and I get a snack for Caelan and then put on a show for him. After a little while, Bill comes down to watch/doze with us.

3:55pm

Leah is up from her nap. Her afternoon nap always seems to be super short. I change her diaper and bring her downstairs where Bill is sleeping and Caelan is still watching a show. He’s lucky – he’s getting to watch a lot more TV today that usual!

C_show

4:30pm

Caelan’s show is over and Caelan involves us all in some kind of wrestling game where he climbs on our backs and then dives over our shoulders.

5:10pm

Caelan had been playing with his trains when he couldn’t get 2 of them to connect (the magnet poles were the same). Normally when this happens, he doesn’t miss a beat and just flips one of the trains around so the magnets connect. But today – holy tantrum. He completely loses it and sobs for about 20 minutes.

5:30pm

Finally, Caelan calms down. Leah takes this as her cue to start fussing, so I make her a bottle and then order a pizza for us for dinner. After Leah finishes her bottle, we all go back to playing. (Caelan reversed the magnets on his trains, no problem. Sigh.)

6:00pm

The pizza arrives and we all go eat dinner in the kitchen.

6:40pm

We’re done with dinner and decide we’ll go for a walk since it’s nice out today. Naturally, leaving the house takes forever. I change Leah’s diaper, Bill gets the stroller out of the car, then the ice cream truck drives by and Caelan has to go to the door and watch. Then he needed a potty break, and then FINALLY we all got shoes and hoodies on and went outside.

6:50pm

We take a walk through the neighborhood across the street from ours and visit “the big houses” (single family homes). At the end of our walk we stop to chat with our next door neighbor and Caelan is happy to pet their dog.

Collage_Walk

7:30pm

After our walk, Caelan sits down with some juice. We normally go up for bedtime at 7:45pm but Caelan says he’s ready for bed so we go up a few minutes early.

7:40pm

Bill takes Caelan to the potty and to brush his teeth and then I get him in his pjs. All of this takes lots of coaxing, threatening, and counting to 3. Finally, Caelan is ready for bed and I read him a story. Normally Bill puts Caelan to bed, but this is a nice change.

7:55pm

Caelan is in bed and Bill has gotten Leah ready for bed while Caelan and I were reading. I make her a bottle and put some sweet potatoes in the microwave so I can start making the sweet potato casserole for Easter after Leah is down.

8:00pm

I give Leah her bottle and put her to bed.

8:15pm

I realize that we have absolutely no butter/margarine in the house (how does that even happen!?) so I can’t make my casserole. I cook the sweet potatoes and whip them up and figure I’ll run to the store for butter tomorrow morning. After those are in the fridge, I start putting together the kids’ Easter baskets and hide some plastic eggs around the living room.

easterbaskets

9:20pm

The rest of my evening is more dishes, a shower, and then Bill and I watch the last hour of Man of Steel. We started watching it the other day but apparently I can’t stay awake through a whole movie anymore!

11:00pm

We check on the kids (who both routinely sleep through the night now – woohoo!!) and go to sleep ourselves.

Collage_Sleep


Meet Train

December 12, 2013

I feel like that title should be Meet Virginia. Meet Virginia? Train? Anyone?

Anyway.

This Christmas season, we’re starting the Elf on the Shelf. The premise is, Santa sends out these scout elves who hang out in your house and watch over your kids and then report back to Santa at night about whether they were naughty or nice. Each morning, the elf is in a new location in the house and the kids have to find him/her. There’s a book that goes along with the elf that explains the whole thing.

Our elf’s name is Train. The kids have to name him which is why ours has such an interesting one. The concept of a name is a little lost on Caelan, but it still works and it’s actually kind of awesome.

I will admit that the elf is a little creepy. I know there are a lot of haters out there. But whatever. Adults think it’s creepy, but kids don’t! Caelan loves looking for him every morning. Train isn’t very fancy, he mostly just finds a new perch each day but he did bring the kids their new Christmas pajamas this year. And one morning we caught him snacking on Christmas cookies. He may have one or two more tricks up his sleeve before Christmas is here. Don’t hate.

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Five Years

October 11, 2013

Today is my last day of maternity leave. Leah is 10 weeks old today and as much as I’d love to be sitting out on my deck drinking coffee in the crisp Fall weather, it’s pouring rain this morning. 10 weeks flew by with alarming speed and I can’t believe we’re almost ready to leave the newborn phase behind us, possibly for the last time.

But this isn’t my reflections post – that’s coming in a couple weeks. Before there was maternity leave, before there was a 10 week old daughter and a 2 year old son, there was this…

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Our Wedding Day

Five years ago today, Bill and I got married. There wasn’t a drop of rain that day, in fact, it was absolutely gorgeous weather for our outdoor wedding.

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Cloisters Castle Courtyard

Most of you who read my blog know our story, but I’m going to tell it again anyway. Bill and I met on Match.com. I got extremely lucky and Bill was the one and only person I met from that site and, obviously, it worked out well for me πŸ™‚

CrabShanty

Crab Shanty 2006

We dated for a couple years and found that we had a lot in common. We both grew up in the same county and we both graduated from UMBC. We even lived in the same on-campus apartment at UMBC, though we weren’t there at the same time.

Larriland2007

Larriland Farm 2007 – Possibly my favorite picture of us ever

We moved in together after about 2 years and got engaged a few months later. Bill took me to a Valentine’s Day dinner on February 15, 2008 at McCormick & Schmidt in Baltimore where he nervously got down on one knee in the middle of the restaurant and asked me to marry him.

Engagement

Engaged – February 15, 2008

We got married on October 11, 2008 at the Cloisters Castle and then we spent 10 days at a Sandals resort in St. Lucia for our honeymoon.

Honeymoon

Honeymoon

Five years later and I’m still lucky enough to be married to my best friend and we’re lucky enough to be parents to these guys…

Kids

Leah and Caelan

Over the years, we’ve grown into a family. Together we learned how to be spouses and how to be parents and how to be spouses while being parents. Well, “are learning”, I should say, because we have many years ahead of us to keep learning how to be all of those things. We’ve had ups and downs, tears and joys – how cliche, right?! We’re a normal couple with 2 kids (a boy and a girl, no less), 2 cats, and a house that’s too small for us. How boring…except it’s everything I always wanted (except the house -we’ll get on that soon πŸ™‚ ) and I wouldn’t have any of it if I hadn’t fallen in love with this guy. So even though today is rainy and crappy and emotional and hard because it’s my last day at home with Leah…it’s a day to celebrate my marriage and it’s the first day of the next wonderful 5 years with my husband.

Love you meelions honey – Happy 5 Years ❀

DJWed

2010