A Worm Called Digger

Olivia is into these these days. Thankfully she understands where to dig for them...not under our flowers. Mike found this snake-like worm (seriously, it is way bigger than this picture allows) under the basement steps he was re-concreting this afternoon. She played with it all evening - in the bucket, out of the bucket, on the ground, attempt to pass to Joseph, rejected, back in the bucket, over and over. Likely Digger won't live to dig another day.

Worm sitting.

A new variety

Most of the tulips in the city are well past their prime...ours are just opening this week. Aren't they lovely? We have renamed this variety The McBride...a little late, but glad to be here.


Our back sidewalk was a land mine of wholes and cracks. No longer so. This was the biggest hole...except for the one on the front porch whose time is coming.
The dog only ran through it once.


Just a few posts to show I haven't been lyin'. I am sorry to say I do not have a picture of the nice black plastic that previously covered these fancy potty pipes. But here is the progression of the new soffet that nicely covers them now. The crowd.

I just realized that these middle two are out of order - there is none of that metal corner stuff in this picture.

Apparently now we have to put a coat on the whole ceiling - oh well - all the paint brushes are out anyway.

Can you die...

...from eating too much Qdoba? It is our favorite place to eat, even though it is a chain store. While my parents were here for Easter, we stood in the cold rain to eat for "free" (my dad made a $20 donation to the sponsoring cause) and got 4 coupons for buy one get one. So, thanks to my dad we ate free that night and thanks to Mike's parents who sent us a Qdoba Cash Card, we've bought one and gotten one two more times since then. We don't typically eat out a lot, but with all the work going on here you gotta punt sometimes. Joseph's phrase of the night was "I go Qdoba. You go Qdoba. Okay, Mommy?"

Sorry no pictures lately. By this time of night I am too tired to get it done. The kids and I have all had colds over the weekend, but we still got a surprising amount done. I have repacked most of the boxes in the basement that got covered in plaster dust during our last demolition. I continue to dec.r.a.p.ify (that word ought to offend someone - it even sounds harsh - sorry, it is just the most accurate made up word for what is going on here) our house and I actually kind of like it better. Mike finished the upstairs porch and we are about to go enjoy a glass of wine up there. Our friend, Lindsey, from church came over on Friday and spent the ENTIRE day painting with me. We got a lot done and the kids were great. I have to retract my offer for guests to come and use the newly cleaned out guest closet because I have filled it back up again. I have cleaned out and refilled that closet about 5 times since we moved here - with different stuff!!! It is really a mystery to me. Guests can still come, just don't bring a lot of hanging clothes.

Mike's mom is coming in tomorrow for a few days to play with the kids, so really we should be able to get everything done - it will be a small feat that is for sure, so please pray for us. In the process of all of this we have still managed to get to the Garden and park and Olivia has seen Annika a good bit. This week at the playground, out of no where, Annika says to Olivia "Soon you are moving to another state and I am going to be sad because I will miss you." Gulp. They are processing it in their own little way, where as I will probably wait until the last day and cry my eyes out on the way out of town.

Joseph's communication has grown exponentially the past couple of weeks. Seems like he has gone from putting 3-4 words together to speaking in paragraphs. Most of his sentences end with "good idea, Mommy?" He will be 2 this week - hard to believe.

Oh, by the way - if you are in town on May 16th we are going to have a graduation/the house is done we hope it sells/going away party. I'll post more details soon - but we would love anyone to stop by (probably) from 6-9 on Saturday evening.

Pictures of the children soon - I promise.

Coming Soon

Check this out! And this is only the "Coming Soon" advertisement. She does a whole seperate web link for our address with 30+ pictures and other stats once it goes on the market. We are excited -they are a great company.


Joseph (with croup) calls...barks.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Jeremy

Love from the little birds.

The Bus

So, this is a quick film of the bus from which a full container of Weight Watcher's Lime Chiffon Pie yogurt came hurling at me on Thursday while I was in the front yard gardening and nailed me in the abdomen. Again, anyone want to buy our house?

Bloomin' Beautiful IV

The dogwoods are beautiful now and the azaleas are starting to bloom. I bet next week will be the peek for those. I took these last week. I wish the grass in our back yard looked like this.

Indiana in Missouri

Thanks for the hat G'ma and G'pa and Uncle Doug!


Maybe 1/3 - 1/2 done of the first coat. Mike says he does not want to be a professional painter.


Encouraged, yes. But now it's morning and I (Mike) am overwhelmed by the miles of painting ahead of us.

Still here.

We are still here...we haven't floated away in the rain or left for SD yet. I haven't been posting for a few reasons. 1. My computer is dying a slow, painful death. I bought it in '03, so as computers go it is already an antique...has been since '04. Mike is trying to work some magic on it as new computer funds are not in the budget presently. We'll see. 2. We have been working like mad to get the house ready to put on the market. The plan is to list it on May 1. We've signed on with a great realtor...unless of course they can't sell our house then they won't be so great, but we are excited about them.

For those of you who know the house here is some of the stuff we've been doing (I do have a few pics that I will try to post.). The soffet is built over the exposed plumbing over my kitchen sink - looks much better than the black plastic that has been there for quite some time. The holes in the baseboards at the top of the stairs are done. Mike and my dad jacked up the two story back porch and put in new support, then cleaned out, repaired, framed in, and painted. Mike is about 3/4 the way through the 1st floor porch. I have been working on all the outside flower beds - you've seen the exterior, not much curb appeal (Katie, we took your advice - no shutters.) There are now three flower beds up front and I've doctered up the back. I have also been packing up a lot of our c.r.a.p. because apparently people don't want to see it when they look at your house. I packed up 8 boxes of books from the shelves and replaced them with object d'artos as my dad would call them. I like my c.r.a.p. - I was moderately offended that they suggested we pack it up. You can walk in the guest room closet now - for all you guests who had a hard time getting in there to hang your clothes up - come back, we now have room for your clothes.

We have done a lot more than than, but we also still have a lot to do before May 1. If anyone wants to come help paint trim, come on! We have about 6 miles of it to paint. We are encouraged and excited so far!

A different kind of moment

Lest you think we are all spiritual around here...a few hours ago I was called (by Olivia) to the bathroom to what I thought was a "wipe help call." She needed help wiping, but she also needed help loosing herself from Joseph's potty seat that she had lodged around her neck. I am only moderately sorry to say I do not have a picture. It was all I could do not to say, "Sit right there. I'll be right back."

She is fast and sweetly sleeping - threat of strangulation removed.

A Moment

We have not had pictures developed since we got our digital camera. Part of that is my lack of motivation in decorating this house, knowing that we will be moving soon. I fully realize that this blog is our memory book (and I have heard that you can get your blog printed out into a nice little bound book), so there are things I may post here that are probably more for our memory's sake than anything else. This morning Olivia and I shared a little moment that, even though I don't know quite what to make of it, I never want to forget it.

I checked out The Velveteen Rabbit last week from the library. (The library on Grand, by the way. For 3 1/2 years I have been going to the Buder one because it is close to Target - you have to multipurpose your trips, right? The one on Kingshighway is closer, but it is all one big room - not great for children. The Grand library is incredible! First of all it is beautiful. If you are a city dweller and love the city - it is a city library. The employees are so friendly and the children's room...well, we stayed a good hour past the story time last week. And the lady who did story time...she is the best you could ever imagine. You just need to visit it.) Clearly this is going to be along post - I am not even to my point yet.

So we were reading The Velveteen Rabbit this morning - and this is a book with a lot of words - and Olivia was paying great attention. We got to the part where all the Boy's toys and bedding and most of the things in his room were going to have to be burned because of his Scarlet Fever and Olivia looked up at me with her bottom lip purposely pouted out. She wasn't crying - but clearly communicating that she understood this was sad.

I read on and the little rabbit was disgarded in the great pile in the farmer's field until the farmer could burn it the next day. There was a page with a profile illustration of the bunny - you could see one ear and one eye and his nose. Olivia began to ask if he had a face. I kept pointing out the eye and nose, but she kept asking. Then she asked if he could talk and then I remembered that I had heard these questions from her before. My Great Aunt Gena died a few months ago. This was Olivia's first funeral and we let her look at the body. She went to the grave side and everything and saw Aunt Gena's "castle" get lowered into the ground. Incidentally, on Easter Sunday we asked her who was raised from the dead and she replied with gusto, "Aunt Gena!" Not correct, but she gets that one day her body will be raised - we'll keep working on Jesus' resurrection with her.

When we were at Aunt Gena's funeral, Mike was holding Olivia by the casket, explaining what had happened and what would happen. Olivia was very serious. She asked if Gena had a face and if she could talk. She was wondering, essentially, what happend to her once the casket was closed - would her face still be there? Where would her mouth be? Could she talk? She was trying to figure out what death was. (She also asked if she had underwear on and how Jesus was going to break her out of the "castle" when he came back for her body.) As we read The Velveteen Rabbit Olivia was recognizing death. For Olivia, life is in the face - and this makes so much sense if you know her. She is so social.

We turned the page and there was a single illustration of the bunny with a tear rolling down his cheek. He was lonely and scared and said - he had been loved, but he was alone now and she was so said. She looked up at me and it broke my heart - I wanted so bad to say that the Boy came and rescued him and he didn't die. Even though you know your child needs to know the ugliness of sin and death so that she can long for real life, you can't help but want to shield them from it.

I finally asked her if she was asking "was he going to die?" and she nodded her head yes and this time her lip quivered and her eyes filled with tears. Real, tears of sorrow - not tears of anger or frustration over not getting her way or feelings being hurt or being over tired or over hungry - she saw death and cried - and so did I.

The story ends with a strange little fairy wisking the bunny away to become really real, not just loved real. It is more like reincarnation than resurrection, but it gives perfect opportunity to tell of the resurrection - of Aunt Gena's new, healthy body one day and of Jesus' - and believe me, we will be telling of it!

Coloring Eggs

I am so glad I waited until this year to do this. Correction: I am so glad I waited until this year and let my mom do this with Olivia. I am positive that if Olivia and I had done this last year it would have been a fight over the egg dipper and dye would have been everywhere. But being a little older this year, she got into the whole production of it. Don't get me wrong - there was still a lot of dipping and redipping and wrestling with her pudgey little fingers clinched to the egg dipper - but she was old enough to understand and participate better this year. I am trying to learn not to just cram everything in to holidays and whatnot just because that is what you think you are supposed to do. I have a hard time remembering things when I spend too much time playing project manager.

New wheels

When mom said a few months ago that dad was "building Joe a toy box," this isn't exactly what I imagined. Apparently he found some wheel barrel tires on sale - then the truck, I mean toy box began to magically form around them. This thing is cool - I would ride in it if I fit. If you want to play a little game - blow up the pictures and see if you can identify all the parts. I'll give you a hint - you could find every stitch of it in a house under construction...except maybe the back reflectors.
It's not all terrain, even though all these pictures were taken outside. It's new home is upstairs in the play room.
The toy box is under the hood.

Happy Birthday, Buddy. Ten, four.


Guess what Joseph got for his birthday?

More to come...

Bloomin' Beautiful III

I feel like this has been a really long Spring with all these little cold snaps we have been having. It almost seems like the Garden started blooming first and TG Park is about a week behind. All the cherry trees were in full bloom at the Garden about a week ago and they are only just really pretty over at the park now. So, these are the cherry trees - Japanese, Chinese, Weeping, etc. I used to think they were all different kinds of trees. Apparently the weeping ones are my favorite because that is almost all of my pictures. Sorry you don't have anything to compare - they are all white-ish to pale pink.

I believe this one was one of the Japanese variety - but I took the picture to upclose to tell for sure.


When I used to dress Olivia in clothes that were too small for her? No, really what I am asking is do you remember this cute little thing two springs ago? This is what the daffodils look like - since we forgot to take pictures last week.
What was I thinking? She looks like Daisy Duke, with fatter cheeks and shorter hair!

April Showers

We drove out to the Nature Reserve last week - hoping to beat the rain - we lost. We drove through the Reserve and looked at the daffodils (didn't take a single picture, duh), and then played a bit in the rain.

For those of you who have not been out there, we recommend it. Great to bird watch, hike/walk around, lots of different types of vegetation. And they have an excellent bookstore! I am not kidding - children's books for $5-6 that would be $13+ elsewhere. Ordering good books is a hobby for the lady who does it there, so she really gets the good stuff. She marks up the adult books a bit more, but they are still a descent deal.

Shutter, No Shutter

Would you put shutters on this house? Keep in mind only one other house on the block has shutters and it looks dumb (It might be because the shutters are really too small, but...). I can take some more pictures of other houses on the block if that would help.

Preparing for...Winter?

I quickly cut all our beautiful, blooming spring flowers last night before the cold and snow came. Sad. Although, I think I am more pleased to have them all inside where I can look at them constantly rather than in the front yard where we rarely go. It actually isn't all that bad out there - I mean it is spring, snow blew like a blizzard for about 45 minutes this morning and it is 30 something degrees - but it isn't sticking and it isn't dark and it isn't really even raining anymore. The sun and warm weather will be back in a few days - and we will just enjoy these in the meantime.
Here is where they were - they really are that bright. We bought the bulbs in Holland, MI a few years ago.

He just woke up, pardon the scowl.
Now, I have to admit that not all of the daffodils were actually in our yard. The ones you see in the picture above are also in the vase in my kitchen. Mike says I have issues with generational sin. My mother got busted a few years ago (at Easter if I remember correctly), hopping the fence behind her house and lifting some tulips from a neighbor lady. Her explanation was that the woman had been moved to an assisted living facility and there wasn't anyone there to enjoy her flowers anyway. Mother thought she was doing her a service. Wouldn't you want someone to pick and enjoy your tulips if you weren't there. The thing is, my mother really would - so she assumed...well, turns out another neighbor spotted out her back window and called the elderly woman's daugther and told on my mother! My mother then got a nasty phone call from the daughter. If I remember right the woman didn't even give my mother a chance to give her logical explanation - she just chewed her out and hung up.
When Mike questioned my morals, I reminded him that these neighbors are never even out in their yard (most of the flowers I picked were in the back) and most of them (the flowers, not the neighbors) were dying or would be dead from frost bite after these next couple of days anyway. And PLUS I am the one who weeds their flower beds anyway! I was SAVING these flowers...and collecting a little allowance for my weeding chores. Maybe I should go ask if they would like to keep them inside their house? Durn conviction!

Monkey see...

Monkey do...
Then we got reprimanded by the garden staff...oops.

"Yook Ridye!"

And she did! Can you believe - three people and a dog all looking a the camera with their eyes open and pretty decent smiles on! My dad came up from Georgia for a visit this week. We had a great time - that was him holding Joseph at the zoo in the previous post.

Thanks Aunt Joanie for the birthday present and thanks GT for coming up - and "rolling with it" (Joseph had a 24 hour barf bug while he was here.)


Seems like we've got a lot of this and that to post. Nothing super exciting, but meaninful for us just because it is our life. We went to the zoo last week - which, by the way has lost a lot of animals lately. The "naked" monkey died - locals will know which one I am talking about. The polar bear also died (old age). And apparently one of the 7 year old male gorillas unwound a toy rope in its cage and hung himself. Very sad. We think maybe this lioness was feeling a bad vibe and looking for a way out.

This wasn't really scary, per se. However, I have read of cats getting out of their cages - even recently...and it wouldn't be unthinkable if she got a good running start...and she did look hungry.