Saturday, January 14, 2017

Welcome Back!

Welcome to my "new" blog! It's a new version of the "old" blog. Our new house needed an updated blog, but I didn't want to lose the memories of the former, so I brought them along with. Win-win for everyone, plus I love going back to read random posts!

As timing would have it, it is also the beginning of a new year, and I am so ready to put the harassing I received from my blog (that I thought was over) behind me as I start over building new friendships and networks in a completely new area. I used to update my blog pretty frequently and enjoyed sharing the links for everyone to enjoy and I'm really hoping to get back to that. It'll take some time, but that's what I'm striving for - to get back to doing what I enjoy and that's taking pictures of my family and sharing our memories.

Over the last few weeks I have been racking my brain to come up with a new name for my blog. I wanted it to still be about me, but less personal. One of my finalists was "Mud in the Entry" and I almost settled on it, even though I wasn't in love with it. It references my home and my children - because you know it wasn't me bringing in mud into my house. Plus now that we're in the Pacific Northwest, I imagine there will be plenty of mud to trudge in with all the rain. It also nods at my housekeeping skills - no matter how clean the house rest of the house is, there is always going to be one place that still needs some work. Isn't that true about our lives too, though? No matter how put together we seem to be, there's always at least one aspect of our life that needs some work, whether it be emotionally, spiritually, physically, or mentally.

The night I came up with "Coffee in the Cupboard" might have been the same night, or the night after, I read a post on Facebook from a dear friend (you know who you are!) about drinking her morning coffee that evening. This is me to the "T". Except I'm probably worse, because I often wander around the house with my cup of coffee and then set it somewhere and forget about it. Perry is always asking me why I bother with even pouring myself a cup if I'm not going to drink it. It's not that I don't want to, I just don't have 15 minutes to just sit and drink it. It instead gets brought to the bathroom and left on the counter. It gets toted to and left in the laundry room for me to find that night when I'm re-fluffing the already re-fluffed laundry. It gets sat on the mantle because it was out of the way when I started the fire that morning. It gets placed on the counter when making breakfast and then I walk away to get something and completely forget about it. While I haven't actually put my coffee in the cupboard yet, I'm sure one of these days it just might happen with all the chaos around here. I honestly don't know where my coffee is right now, but clearly I need some more... It's like a spin off of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" but "If You Give a Mom a Cup of Coffee..."

Maybe some day I finish a cup in the morning, but for now "Coffee in the Cupboard" is my life as a mom. I'm all over the place between cooking and cleaning and this little human needing that and the other two little humans fighting over toys - it's chaos around here. So welcome, or re-welcome as the case may be.
Sit back and enjoy your coffee (or glass of wine if it's after noon ha!) as I go on the never-ending search for mine. Side note: If you're reading this on your phone, just know that it looks cuter on the computer. :)

P.S. I love knowing who my readers are! You guys keep me going! Feel free to leave me a comment before you leave!

The Journey Begins: From MT to WA

Looking back, I envisioned moving to be more stressful on everyone than it was. Don't get me wrong, it was stressful enough, I just thought it would be more stressful. More than anything I was just anxious to get our family back together again, and start a new chapter in our lives. 

The Thursday leading up to our big move was a rough day for me. It was everyone's last day. It was Ms. Gail's last day of pre-school and childcare, followed by my last day helping in the library, then my last day at work, followed by an emotional last day of school. I felt like I was crying all day! Each of their teachers will be missed! JP has already told me he wishes Mrs. Reiley was still his 1st grade teacher. Ms. Gail hasn't processed that we're not moving back and has asked a few times when we'll get to go see Mrs. Klemp again. :( Breaks my heart! It goes without say that we had a little emotional good-bye as we all gave out hugs to everyone in the family Monday morning as we loaded the last few things in the car. It seemed a bit surreal. I knew it was going to happen, I just couldn't believe that we were actually moving. 
Before we left town we stopped by to see JP's friend one more time and then stopped by the hotel to pick up my last paycheck. That seemed so weird after working there for nearly 10 years. It's a good thing we didn't go too crazy with Christmas presents (could their be a worse time to do a final move?!) because we couldn't fit one more thing into the back of the car. We're lucky we had room for Roxy, even though it wasn't much. 
I was so very thankful that not only was Perry with us for the holidays, but that he willingly drove most of the way. 
I lucked out and had a nice view out every window. I love looking at snow on the trees. I love snow but I don't love driving in it.
We had plans of stopping in Spokane for a brunch, but opted for a little bit further down the road since Ms. Gail fell asleep. She's the only one that fell asleep during the trip. 
We also had our share of fighting along the way. It really made me appreciate the third row seating. 

We had to do the trip all in one day in order to be reimbursed for it. It was a long day in the car, but we made good time. I think we left town around 9:15a (mountain time) and pulled up to our new house at about 5:00p (Pacific time). It was light enough for the kids to kind of still see the backyard.
As soon as the kids were inside the house, they took off in what seemed like all directions. It actually took them a while to make it into the living, which is straight ahead from the entry. When one of them remembered Santa stopped by our new house too, they all went running to find the living room. Ms. Gail found a dollhouse and HD and JP each found a beanbag. They all loved their new gifts! 

*Side note* We had our hopes set on getting new carpet before the kids arrived but the install date kept getting pushed back. It worked out a little bit better with it not being installed before arrival because we had extra time to paint the ceiling in the living room. (More on that later...) The tack strips left around the living room and a few bedroom doors did make it quite the hazard zone though...
The next morning the kids did a bit of exploring of the backyard when it was nice and sunny out. HD and JP are really excited about the pond. HD even found a salamander! By night fall, the kids were anxious to help dad build a fire. HD loved every minute of it!
Everybody say "cheese" for mom! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

One More Christmas in the Books

Christmas! The time of year everyone seems to love, except me. I'm not naturally a gift person (I'm more of a quality time person) so figuring out what to get everyone is quite the task for me. I'm always less stressed once it's done. I'd rather go to church and sing Christmas songs, drive around and look at lights, or play games with the family all season long. But... I survived another Christmas, and I prepared for it with Perry 550 miles away. Having him gone was stressful enough. 
 I was so happy to finally have him back with us Friday evening. Kile + Chris + kids arrived Thursday and words can't describe how excited my kids were to see their cousin again. It had only been a few weeks between, but still. I was just excited my youngest nephew wasn't terrified of me and actually sat with me to help make Papa Craig's neckwarmer. JP spent part of Christmas Eve morning making an elf hat to ensure he was going to be the first one to open a present.
This Christmas we instated the Ugly Sweater Day. Our plan was to wear them on Christmas Eve because unlike every other year, we changed our plans and were going to go to Christmas Mass on Christmas morning. Mid-way through Christmas Eve, our plans changed as Santa arrived sooner than expected, giving us more time to scurry out the door to Mass that night. 

The kids paced around waiting for Santa's arrival. JP basically camped out in front of the door. Story has it that Rudolf stepped on Santa's foot and injured him this year so we weren't sure if he'd have time for an in-person visit this year. I love the picture of Santa with the kids - especially Dyl popping up in back and realizing how close he was to Santa!

This is probably the last year Santa will be able to stop by, so this is the last picture we'll have with our childhood Santa too. It's too bad I don't have a picture of us when we were young to compare it against. 
After rode off in his sleigh, the family gathered to play the Saran wrap ball game. Robin and I spent a good hour wrapping up the "prizes" a few weeks before hand. There were things in it such as mini hand sanitizers, candy, Starbucks gift cards, cash, GI Joes, wine, shot bottles... there was something for everyone and at the end we were able to barter to get things we wanted. I forgot my dad had a Starbucks card and I traded him my magnetic metal pan for a bottle of wine. Should have went for the coffee... We also created our first kid's table. Not much was eaten but hey. I finally didn't have to sit with the kids. I'm movin' on up. 
I don't know if you remember from previous years posts, but on my side of the family, we open presents on Christmas Eve. (As an adult now, it drives me nuts because we don't start until late. I'm a stickler when it comes to bedtime routine...) As with any Christmas, there was wrapping paper everywhere. There were kids digging under the tree and handing out presents left and right. It didn't take long to make a "kids can't leave the carpet" rule. 

HD peaced out for a while when he open his present from Perry and I - a boom box. (I'm beginning to regret that decision now! But he loves it.) Charlotte has a dream of becoming a mailman so she was equally excited to open up her mailbox. I made JP wait to open his present from us until all other presents were opened. I think the wait almost killed him. Ms. Gail saw me bring it in the house after my shopping trip, so I sarcastically told her it was a dollhouse. She went on to tell JP it was a green dollhouse for him to play with. When he opened it, he discovered it was actually the Terra-Climber remote control car he really really wanted. He knew if we didn't get him one, Santa would, but Santa already had plans... It's pretty cool though - it can climb up stairs!
 Many family members spent Christmas morning trying to get a car up the hill. They apparently lived a few blocks away and were going to a friends house just down the road a ways, and managed to get stuck in the snow. (Robin always has this problem after it snows!) My parent's house is located in a slight valley on their street - it's uphill either way you go, and it's difficult for lightweight cars to pass through in the winter. There was a lot of pushing and shoveling and plowing done before they finally gave up and parked their car on the side of the road. Meanwhile, HD helped himself to the tractor and drove it around the driveway. I was impressed with his skills! 

The rest of the day was spent packing and cleaning. How lame, right? Who moves the day after Christmas? We do. It was probably best that we did all of our Christmas "activities" the day before so we could have time to pack and arrange the car. Perry and I along with Kile and Chris spent the evening playing Tri-Ominos and then later my mom joined in halfway through a game of Apples to Apples. After play Cards Against Humanity, Apples to Apples just doesn't compare, but it was still enjoyable, and relaxing. (Like I said, I love playing games!) 

While we don't have any plans set in stone yet, Perry and I are hoping to have Christmas in our new house next year (this year? next season?) so we can start to figure out our traditions. We've been lucky enough to have had most of our Christmas celebrations near home, but of the 9 Christmas seasons we've been through, we've only celebrated at our home once and we're ready to make our own traditions. As children, we both remember waking up and running upstairs to see what Santa left for us, and now that the boys are getting older, I feel like we're running out of time to make those memories at home. I really don't like having to make up reasons as to how Santa knows where the kids are and why he leaves presents here and's so confusing. I'm just ready to be home for the holidays! We'll see how that unfolds! :) 

Collages From our Time at the Missoula House

This winter has been a blur with all the chaos and changes going on for us. Never would I have guessed I would be moving back in with my parents but it happened. Being in limbo between two houses was quite the challenge! We kept busy none the less!
We spent Thanksgiving at Kim and Julian's brand-spankin' new house. It's beautiful! Unfortunately for Kim, she broke her wrist in a few places short while before Thanksgiving and jut had surgery on it the day before. Fortunately for the rest of the family, Kim can give pretty good directions and Julian prepared and cooked dinner. We spent the afternoon watching the Lions play the Vikings. The rivalry was pretty heated between Julian and me...there were some choice words said when my Lions pulled off a victory! Hahaha! Robin, Ramzi, and myself play Tri-Ominos while the boys occasionally sat down to play as well. Nap time on the couch was amazing. Ms. Gail never willingly takes naps :)
 I think the most annoying part about moving across town was having to drive the kids to school and pick them up every day from school. The bus was much more convenient... Ms. Gail and I often had plenty of time to kill before the boys were released from school. She's still working on her silly faces!
 To kick off the holiday season, I reluctantly purchased a village gingerbread house kit because I was simply tired of saying "no" to everything they wanted at the store. Ms. Gail and I decorated ours while the boys were at school. They were so anxious to get theirs decorated, but found it too time consuming. While I was cleaning up their mess, they stole my phone to do some night sledding. If you missed it or need to see it again, they made this video. I couldn't even be mad.
 We also managed to squeeze in one more fun evening at the hotel waterpark before we left town. It's too bad the boys didn't like swimming more when they were younger!
To finish up a little catch-up post, here's a few more random pictures from our time at the Missoula house. When we first moved in, Ms. Gail slept in Robin's bed, HD slept in the spare room, and JP slept on the floor in the playroom. The arrangement changed so many times because everyone wanted a turn sleeping in my bed. For a good month, I would wake up an uncountable number of times. By the end of our stay, all the kids were sleeping in some configuration in my room. I had a love/hate relationship with the whole thing. But we powered through!