Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Natalie was a bunny for Halloween this year. We sat out in our neighbors driveway, as we have the past few years, passing out candy and enjoying a cozy fire. It was a bit more hectic this year, though, as Natalie was insistent on getting down and running down the driveway toward the street. I ended up taking her to a few neighbors' doors to trick or treat as she was VERY interested in walking around. At one neighbors house she stepped through the open door and trotted into their kitchen - making herself right at home!

If you can't tell by the picture, Natalie LOVES shoes. She'll carry anyone's shoes around and loves putting them in and out of baskets. There seems to be a popularity with shoes among little ones. What is the draw???

Oh... and on the paint front, we repainted the house ourselves this week (what back-breaking work!). Kevin's parents graciously offered to help so we tackled the whole thing and knocked it out in the span of a day. We still have a second coat to do, but it shouldn't take as long as the first coat did since we won't be cutting in again. I'll post pictures tomorrow of the new color. It's much better and NOT pink. =)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Paint, oh Paint, I Hate You.

Who knew painting a house would be such a headache?

Last week when Kevin was gone for business the painters started painting our house. Here's a before picture:

I confidently picked a tan color for the house that I thought would be nice and neutral.

However, when the new color started going up, I realized that our house would STILL look yellow as the new color had yellow under-tones. I knew this would be a huge problem as we were both trying to steer clear of yellow.

So I picked another color.

I should have stopped right there. I should have taken the time after work, with a fussy Natalie in tow right before dinnner, and picked up a quart of paint. Then I should have painted a spot myself on the side of the house in the dark that night so at least I could have seen what it was going to look like.

But I didn't do that.

No, I thought that from a 1 inch by 2 inch swatch I could tell what a color would look like on my house.

And I was wrong.

The painters weren't able to match the exact color I had picked because they were taking the already-mixed tan and trying to "make" it this new darker tan I had picked. I thought they had gotten pretty close, though, and I was confident that things were going to be better.

Hmmm.. maybe I shouldn't be so confident?

Well, Kevin got home on Friday night to a flesh-colored house. The tan I had picked had enough pinky undertones that "flesh" is probably the best word to describe it. No one in the history of man would knowingly paint his house this color and like it. Our house is 3/4 done and its the most hideous color on the face of the planet.
I spent the whole weekend completely beside myself because of this hugely expensive mistake I'd made and the humiliation of having ok'd a pink paint-job.

So now back to square one, we're thinking maybe more brown? Or more gray? We've painted both on the side of the house before we make a decision. Here are the swatches:

This is SO much harder than I thought it would be. Grrrr..


We've seen a lot of tears the past few days as Natalie gets the hang of maneuving objects in the way of her feet. Last Wednesday Natalie tripped over my purse before breakfast and did a head-dive into the closet door. This was not even 24 hours after I scheduled a photo shoot at Penneys for her. She had a nice goose-egg on the top of her head for a couple days and needless to say we did NOT get her picture taken at Penneys. I did get this one in the bath though.

Then, this weekend we were playing on the floor and Natalie was sitting on my stomach and bouncing up and down. Without warning she catapulted forward and her tooth had a close encounter with my forehead. We were both dazed on that one and I have a nice gouge in my forehead for cocktail party fodder.

And finally, in an effort to make sure she really did a bang-up job, yesterday she tripped over a toy in the living room and landed face first on the wood floor. Poor thing's mouth was gushing blood and her gums were all torn up.

Hopefully three is the magic number and we are done with the accidents for now!

Halloween Thanks

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


There is certain stress that just sends me over the edge. Like the stress of realizing the house color the painters are painting your house RIGHT NOW is SO not what you wanted. But it's all your fault because YOU picked it from a 1 in by 1 in square yourself and told them it was fine just yesterday. And that quote? It will now be another $200 to fix it... do you realize what you could have BOUGHT with $200?

Or the stress of paying for your meal at Pizza Hut only to find that the price you were quoted for the special is NOT the price the cashier is ringing up for the pizza you JUST ATE and now it will be another $5 please. And your husband (then boyfriend) is NOT ok with the sudden price hike and determined to go toe-to-toe with the 16-year-old cashier to make it right.

Or the stress of a movie that you're watching in YOUR OWN HOME when the main character realizes his whole life is falling apart and he's being framed for something he didn't do. I mean, you COULD just pause it an go to the bathroom OR you could realize that it's JUST a movie... but you have to turn it off because its JUST TOO STRESSFUL!

Ok, I know I'm strange. But all of these things make my heart start racing and my throat constrict.

On an interesting (and more serious) note, I don't remember being stressed out by the news that our unborn baby boy wasn't going to make it as a functioning human being in this world. Devastated and heartsick? Yes. But not stressed. I guess maybe that's where God's peace comes in. He gave me an extra dose of it because He knew I needed it right then. That's one of those situations where you can't just pay a little extra $$ or turn off the television to end the nightmare. So maybe I should be thankful for the small stress... and give that to Him as well since He's obviously so capable at handling things.

Random, I know. But that's my food-for-thought for the day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blogger Template Help, Please

So, I hate to admit it, but I'm having a bit of trouble implementing a template I built for blogger. It seems to be pretty difficult to implement a design other than one that's available in the free ready-made templates out there. I'm going to post my design I did and see if I have anybody that can offer some advice. I've read a number of posts online and I'm still hacking away at it. But the actual XML file doesn't seem to be as customizable as I'd like. So frustrating - and this is coming from a web developer!

Getting So Big

Natalie is getting so big these days - it's hard to believe she was ever as little as the newborn pictures tell me she was. She's been walking for a little over a month now and it's almost as if she's been doing this forever. She can practically run now and is not content to be held. I'm flying to KC with her between Christmas and New Years and it should be one interesting flight!

Her official first word (or at least the one that she can't stop repeating) is "uh-oh". Kevin mentioned that it's the perfect first word for life. I mean - there are just SO many opportunities to say it! She's cute in that she says it at the right times and even to herself when she's playing and drops something.

I've just loved watching her develop. It's amazing to me that little ones pick up on things you may not have thought they'd get. Holding a phone up to her ear, holding a baby up to her ear and saying "awwww", leaning in for a hug. Such precious moments I hope I never forget!

Here are a couple pictures of her right after her nap yesterday. I think she might be ready to take the car around the block!

The Yard... an update.

I never took pictures of our yard now that the patio has been put in and all of the work has been done. I was waiting for us to get everything planted and the stair railing put up, but I think it might be next spring before that happens now. So I thought I would post our before/after pictures of the backyard. The pink stars I put on the pictures are where the plants will be. And the blue ovals marks where the vegetable garden will be. It's a marked improvement already!
Our house gets painted next week and that should help even more - yeah!





Here's a closeup of our patio now...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Look Nana, it fits!

This post is for my mother who bought this cute little purple number last Christmas thinking it would fit in March. Granted it IS a 6 month outfit (3 month sweater) but it's Carter's which runs big and this is also my child we're talking about - skinny little thing.
Ah well.. at least it fits now!

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's Been Crazy Round Here

Life has been hectic around here. And I guess that's why the posts have been far and few between. It's a season - not a waning of interest. I want to post, but finding time has been hard to do. As it is, it's almost midnight.

I seem to catch myself coming and going these days. Do you do that? I tend to demand more and more of myself the more I do. Tidy up, stay on top of picture taking, work, make list after list of chores or things to buy or journal new discoveries of Natalie's, read, pray, workout, and the list goes on. And yet, my laundry is un-done, my floors have not been scrubbed, my bathrooms are in desperate need of a cleaning and I haven't worked out in who knows how long. And yet I WANT to accomplish these things. It's as if I'll get all the to-do's scratched off for one single moment, breathe a sigh of "ahhhh" and then the dishes will start piling up in the sink yet again. Does it ever go away?

I fear becoming a slave to the "grown-up stuff" in life. The stuff that will always be there: the need to pay bills, clean the house, make dinner, work, yada yada. I LIKE that stuff. Doing it makes me feel better about myself. (Isn't that silly?) And what does it really add up to? Will they say at my funeral, "she really kept a clean house"? Or, "she always had a healthy dinner on the table"? Seriously. I KNOW that what life's about is really WHO I am at the core. It's about finding time to let God transform me. Because I'm learning, that transformation isn't something that just happens without me allowing it to happen.

I've been reading lately an excerpt from Henri Nouwen's writings regarding solitude. He says that it's the only time that we may hear God's voice in the midst of our daily storm. He talks about shutting out the flood of attention grabbing thoughts that come charging in when we just try to sit silently before the Lord - without motive but to listen. I've found that it's incredibly hard to do. My mind wanders to a task list within 10 seconds of having cleared it. A five minute stretch seems to be an eternity. And yet, I think Henri is on to something. If I find my identity in the "grownup stuff", where is there room for God? How am I to become what He wants? I don't think it means I stop paying the bills, making dinner or cleaning my house. But it does mean that I stop to focus (even if for 5-10 minutes) and clear my mind to hear the Lord and then meditate on His Word. I think eventually that I'll be able to silence the "task lists" during that time and just be in His presence.

So that's what I'm mulling over these day. Other than that, Kevin and I both are traveling a lot this fall. Kevin is away this week, and then again in a few weeks. I leave the end of the month and then am basically gone for all of November. It's going to really be hard to be away from the family for so long, but I absolutely LOVE my normal 30 hr/wk schedule and the ability to work from home so I guess this intermittent travel is a good tradeoff.

We got a new nanny for Natalie. She's a DELIGHT and a total and complete God-send (especially with all this travel coming up for me). We had to fire the nanny before her for having a criminal record and not alerting us. She had been arrested for stealing three weeks prior to starting with us and when confronted told us that she "kinda forgot about that". Nice. The new lady (J), is a Christian woman who attends a nearby church and drops her kids off at the school there every day. She is SO patient with Natalie and does so many creative things with her. We feel so blessed.

Well its after midnight, I ought to be off to bed. Here's a toothy grin to send you on your way. Look at that gap between the front two teeth. You could fit a straw in there - poor kid!