Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Piper is adjusting

It's been a month since we left our home in Colorado.  I miss it.  All of it.  My friends, the school, the weather, the house, the ward, the routine, etc.  I can't believe it's been a month.  So much has happened in that month.  I feel like we have just been going and going to try and get our lives settled.  We drove across the country, had a forced (but fun!) family vacation in the mountains, moved into our new house, organized that new house (for the most part), had a baptism, started a new school, and got callings (TBA later).  Mike also started school last week and his schedule so far is not terrible but it is new and we are trying to figure out a new schedule.  We are both holding our breath for when it gets stressful and enjoying the time before that happens.  

Piper is doing ok.  On the whole I believe she is doing amazing but there are little clues here and there that she is still adjusting.  She hasn't had a history of being a good sleeper of course but over the last eight months or so, maybe even longer, she has been doing really well and you wouldn't be able to know she ever had a sleeping issue.  She still is kind of off and on about sleeping at other people's houses (sometimes she does great and others she doesn't) and she still does not believe in sleeping in the car but mostly, when it's time for nap or bed it is fairly easy to get her to sleep.  I just get her blanket, read her a book or two, sing her a song, say her bedtime prayers if it's bedtime, kiss her goodnight and go out of her room.  She goes to bed happy and without any crying at all.  Lately though she is having a really hard time.  She acts as though she is afraid to be left in her room alone.  She keeps pointing to the door and saying, "I wan this" but I cannot figure out what "this" is.  She just cries and cries.  It's so sad.  I'm hoping I can get her room painted soon and her decorations up on her wall so she can have her room feel familiar.  I don't plan on changing much of anything about her room from the room in Colorado.  I am hoping that seeing the mobile again and the light blue wall and the same pictures will help her to feel comfortable and at peace again.  

I feel sad for her really.  She has seen so many changes in her short little life.  If you consider the fact that six months after she was born her daddy left for a few months, then her mom had surgery and random people kept having to get her in and out of bed and bathe her and take care of her, then her beloved dog died, then we move her across the country to a new home, and finally, her buddy Eli who she is used to seeing every single day is suddenly gone at school all day, she really has had to adjust and deal with a lot of little changes.  I love her and she is such a fun, joyful baby and I hope she can adjust to this move quickly.  I am amazed at how well she has done and I hope sleeping will not be a scary thing for her again soon.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Moving is a lot of work!

We have been in the house now for just over two weeks.  I feel satisfied with the work we have done.  I've been painting a little more this week and I had contemplated painting Piperleigh's room and even bought the paint but when I woke up this morning I decided I was painted out and would do her room next weekend.  A few people have expressed surprise that we have gotten so focused on painting and projects already but when you move every three years I think your mindset is a little different.  Three years really isn't very long and I don't want to wait until we are about to move to get the house how I want it to be.  There are many rooms and projects that will just need to wait until later but I want to do what I can for now.  Piper's room is a dark blue with one wall being a dark navy blue.  The craft room will need to wait for awhile but it is a dark brown.  The boys room is flat paint so that has be be painted eventually and also my room is flat paint and a yucky peach color so that will be painted at a later date as well.  

I took some pictures of our house--the parts that are coming together already.  They all got posted out of order and I'm too lazy to fix it so hopefully you can put all the pieces together.  I've got my living room, family room and kitchen to show.

Kitchen:  
I have this fun island that has a long pull out drawer.  I already had cutting boards somewhere else so I decided to use it for my large spices.  I have a cupboard spot for the small spices but this worked perfectly for the larger ones.


 Random picture that got posted in the wrong spot:  It's fun that Will can cook himself eggs for breakfast.  He looks so old to me standing there at the stove.
 This picture is perhaps silly but this is the first time we have had a fridge with an ice maker.  It makes us feel spoiled and also increases the cup dishes I wash because the boys are always getting drinks now.
 We also have a round about thingy.  That's fun too.
 Another random picture from the morning:  Isaac got a remote control spider for his birthday and we only just bought some batteries for it.  It has been freaking Piper out and she screams when it gets close but she seems happy to watch it from a distance.  It's the little black blob on the floor.
 Isaac let her use the controller.
 We converted the dining room to a reading/music room.  This morning it was filled with books and this evening it is almost all cleared.  We bought a piano and it is coming on Tuesday and then I'll post some other pictures.  in the meantime, here is a preview.  I'm not sure how I like the layout of the pictures but here is my Laila wall.  I had some of them hanging on a wall in Colorado but I've added some.  I printed off pictures that we have taken of what we feel are little messages from Laila--the heart potato, heart rock, heart from the water at the sprinkler park, the heart leaf, and the rainbow we saw two years ago when we visited the grave on the anniversary of Laila's death.  I have another heart picture stuck on my phone but I can't get it off.
 I had all these flowers from Laila's funeral and I wasn't sure what to do with them or if I should even save them.  I finally decided to buy this shadow box.  I had other plans for them but couldn't make it work so I eventually just put them all in the shadow box.  I'm not sure how I feel about this either but I had no other really good option.  I hung this on the wall as well.
 Living Room:  This room used to be dark red.  I'm not much of a red person so I painted it gray with the help of my brother and his wife.


 Entry way:
 Family Room:  I've never had built-ins and I'm not very good at decorating them.  I've got to find some good pieces to go in there.  This is what I've got so far.  I love the cupboards below the built-ins.
 I made the gallery wall and I was worried about it because I'm a minimalist when it comes to decorating (at least I consider myself to be) and I worried my black frames would make it all just look cluttered to me with the built-ins.  I like the wall and I like the built-ins and I'm not sure if I like them all together.  What do you think?  Too much to distract your eye?
 This empty spot in the corner is the only place that provides space for a bulletin board and calendar.  I'm worried about it getting messy but I'm not sure where else to put it.
 Back to the kitchen:  We don't have fancy counters but I don't mind that!  I've never had fancy counters and I hated the tiles we had in Colorado.
 This spot on the back of the island is going to be a problem.  Piper keeps pulling the cookbooks down to read them.  I think it might drive me crazy before too long.  The metal board on the right of the skinny pantry is our gratitude board.  I need to hang up our paper.  We had it in our house in Colorado upstairs in the hallway but it was just enough out of the way to make us forget to write things down so I hoped having it right here where we can see it regularly we will be better at writing all the things we are grateful for down.
 The house did not have a microwave (I think I mentioned that in the last post) so Mike installed it last week.  It's nice to have one again!


 Garage space:  Mike put up hooks for the boys to put backpacks and jackets but the door.
 He also put up the shelves.  It isn't very organized  yet but it has made a world of difference to have the stuff up off the floor so we have room to get in and out.
 More kitchen:  This is our pantry.  It seems tiny to me after my last pantry.  I have this one, the long skinny cupboard, and the round about.  It is plenty of space but I really liked having the large pantry where I could put all my things together in the same place instead of in three different places around the kitchen.  I like the black door though!

 Living room:  I need to get another landscape picture to put in the middle frame.

Well, that's it for now.  I'm amazed we have so much done downstairs!  The upstairs still needs a lot of work but most of the boxes are empty and put away.  It's feeling good to be in a livable space again instead of living around piles and boxes and such.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Driving to school

The elementary school is about three miles from our house.  The bus comes at 7 AM, much too early for us so we drive the boys to school each morning.  Every morning I wish I had my camera with me.  This morning I remembered to bring it.  Mike drove and I snapped pictures from my window.  Here is what we see in Tennessee each morning on the way to school (oh, and some other pictures that got out of order of things I get to see every morning, not just when I take the kids to school!):

 We have the most interesting looking birds in our yard.  This is the least colorful bird we've seen.  We have seen blue, black and white, red, and yellow birds besides the normal brown ones.  They are abundant in the forest behind the fence.  I love their chirping and happy sounds.  If it weren't for the mosquitoes I'd spend all morning out on the deck just listening to them.



ignore the nasty bug splatters from the windshield.  Our car needs a washing after our drive from Colorado.


This is the view from directly across the street from the school.  




Tennessee might not have nice crisp, bright blue skies but the smokiness definitely makes everything look mysterious and beautiful in the mornings!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A special weekend

It's been a great weekend here at our house.  We've been in the house a week and two days now.  There is still a lot to do but we've made so much progress.  Besides all the organizing and unpacking, we finished the first week of school, and had a baptism.  We've been busy!  Thursday afternoon Dave and Tana (my brother and his wife) and their two kids came.  They showed up and almost the first thing David said was, "Need help with the trampoline?"  They also helped us paint the living room.  It was awesome to have them come.  They drove all the way from D.C. to be here to help us with the house and also to be here for Isaac's baptism.  

"Let me brush your hair!"

 On Friday Steve and Carol (Mom and Dad Richards) and Jessie (Mike's sister) and two of her kids drove down from Maryland.  Like Dave and Tana they got right to work.  Dave and Steve helped Mike finish getting the microwave put in.  It was a pain and took a lot more work than Mike anticipated.  He ended up having to take down part of the backsplash in the kitchen.  We all had dinner and then walked down to the park while Mike and Steve went to pick up the Lego movie for the kids to watch.
 The kids had so much fun together playing video games, jumping on the trampoline, playing sardines, and forcing Dave to play laser tag with them.
Laser tag

 Saturday we worked some more.  Dave, Tana and Carol taped the dining room in preparation for me to paint tomorrow.  Mike and Steve worked in the garage, organizing and making room for the vehicles, food storage, bikes, etc.  They also bought and assembled a bench and hooks for our backpack and coat drop-off.  Jessie, Carol and I went to pick up some refreshments for the baptism and were on the look-out for a desk and bulletin board for our homework station in the family room.  We didn't purchase one but found some good options.  Tana and Dave held down the fort here at the house while kids slept and played.

At 2 we all got ready for the baptism and were surprised and thankful to find the gym fill up with people from the new ward, most we had only met once or twice before.  Isaac's sweet teacher and her husband were there as well as two members of the Primary Presidency and their families.  The Bishop's wife, also my new visiting teacher, played the piano for us and the Second counselor in the bishopric and his wife also attended.  A friend from Isaac's class also came with his brother and mom.  My other visiting teacher and her family came as well as the sister missionaries and Elders.  It was really so sweet of so many people to come and support Isaac on this special day.  Isaac's teacher is the sweetest old lady.  She must be in her seventies at least and she has the sweetest spirit and the kindest heart.  She gave him a gift and greeted him with the biggest hug.  Last week he got a card in the mail from her telling him how much she loved him already and how happy she was to have him in her class.  I love her already.
 Isaac asked Will and Eli to say the prayers, Dave and Grandpa Richards to be the witnesses, Mike to baptize him, and Grandma Richards to give the talk.  He was nervous but so excited.  At the end of the day he said, "I'm sad today is over.  I wish I could have a baptism every day...or at least every eight years!"
 Isaac has such a strong moral compass and he helps keep us all on the right path.  I love his sensitive spirit and the way he always tries to do what is right or correct his behavior when he realizes he has done something wrong.  He is such a good example to his brothers and I just love him so much.  I'm really so proud and happy of his choice to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.




My favorite picture of the day!  Love these happy faces






 After the baptism and pictures we all changed and went to dinner.  We chose Golden Corral and it was the perfect choice for that many kids.  Everyone was happy and not a single complaint!  It helps that they filled their faces with pizza, ice cream, and cotton candy.


Isaac enjoyed the hot wings at dinner!
It was a perfect day.  We already miss all our visitors!  We are so happy and thankful that we have been within a days drive from family since we lived in Ohio.  I am so thankful that everyone came to share this important day with our family and so grateful for all the help we received with the house.  I already feel so much more at peace about all the stuff I still have to do knowing that we got so much done already.