Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Escapades in our New Home

This week dawned bright and early Monday morning. The half-light was stealing beneath the shade, gradually softening the darkness in our room, accompanied by the dulcet tones of the cat throwing up under our bed while we were in it.

So that kind of sets the scene.

We also had the great joy and pleasure to witness water dripping in our kitchen. Not in a friendly and expected location, no. Water from inside the wall was dripping through the window frame and plopping onto the sill. Water that we can only presume has somehow¬†broken free of the confining tile tub surround. So…does this mean no more showers until we get it fixed? I couldn’t say. We are thinking of hanging an extra plastic curtain on the inside wall of the surround to see if that stops the water, but there are actually a number of locations where a crack may have breeched the seal. We knew the bathroom tile was something we would have to do sooner rather than later, but we were not planning to do it this soon. Plus…the available evidence suggests leaking has been a longtime issue, so I’m afraid to think about what the condition of the interior walls may be. I’m sure whatever the case, their condition is going to be expensive.

100_2102100_2103100_2104But there have been lots of fun escapades, too! We went to an early-season yard sale over the weekend and bought a little plastic kids’ bowling set. We took it up to our finished attic that is currently empty since we haven’t decided what to do with it yet. Well, I guess we decided it should be a bowling alley!

We have also been unpacking boxes at a ferocious rate. I told a friend on the phone that we are “almost done” unpacking, except for four or five boxes of knick-knacks, five or six maybe seven boxes of books, oh and all those flat picture boxes that have who-knows-what in them. Yeah, almost done, indeed! Well, we sure are close to being all unpacked considering where we started not even two weeks ago! Our house looks more like a home every day. Our furniture looks really good in this house, almost as if we collected each chair and lamp with the mystical foreknowledge that we would end up in this very house. The wood tone of our bookcases matches the woodwork of the house. Our flower-print rugs coordinate with the existing color schemes. Our big brown sofa that I wanted to slipcover actually looks perfect in the cozy living room, just the way it is. Amazing.

Today Stephen and I had some fun in the neighborhood, too. We went to a local antique store to pick up some housewares that I decided I would rather not buy new. The store was wonderful, had a bit of everything, and I can definitely see myself popping over there any time I need a couple more wine glasses, or a large serving bowl, or some picture frames, or long-handled teaspoons, or a cool tablecloth, or a old-fashioned door handle, or, or, or…

Today I purchased a number of small glass jars and bottles to use for storing spices. Some additional forks, spoons, knives because we only have four of each. Some vintage linen cloth napkins. Four ceramic soup bowls since the only “soup” bowls we have are Christmas-y and melamine. You can’t put that stuff in the microwave. I already thought of some more items I would like to find at an antique store. I recently read a book about “being green” by recycling and reusing antique stuff. It creates waste to buy a new tablecloth, so it is “green” to buy a vintage tablecloth. I can see the truth in that, and I can honestly say I never thought about that aspect of antique/second-hand items. I’ve always just gravitated towards that market because it’s more interesting to me, but now I will do it more intentionally!

Finally, our escapades frequently take us to the local branch of the library, which is within easy walking distance. Even for Stephen! He knows the way, and he always assumes we’re going to the library if we go outside or go for a walk elsewhere around the neighborhood. He is such a cute little bibliophile. His current favorite library book is Wooby and Peep. I like it too. The illustrations are very interesting, and the animal characters are likable. The neighborhood animals appear to be nosy, looking over the fence, and they often have funny comments about the action. There is some subtle humor adults can appreciate, and broader comedy for the kids. I recommend it.

Hopefully our escapades continue more in this fun direction and less in the cat-puke direction. I would appreciate that. Kthxby

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A Posty Post

Today we did a bunch of unrelated stuff:

-We finally went through our boxes of kitchen stuff and pulled out the few essential items we want. Since we moved in with my parents and their fully-stocked kitchen, we don’t need to unpack most of our things. I jut want a few important pieces like my blender and my sharp knives and the cherry pitter. And a few others.

-We watched while two burly guys from the Salvation Army loaded all our reject garage sale stuff in their truck and hauled it all away. Yesssss.

-We went to Aldi to check it out since I can’t remember ever going there when I lived in Ohio before and the ads we get every week in the mail look super interesting. Turns out the store is totally worth the extra effort to get over there. I will definitely be making at least a monthly trip to stock up on pantry items like breakfast cereal, canned goods, juice, frozen foods, and packaged dairy like cheese slices and milk gallons. The prices are ridiculously low! I just made a big shopping trip at Acme earlier this week and bought a few cans of beans at Acme’s best price of $1/can. Now I feel foolish since I know that Aldi stocks bean cans for $0.59/can.

-We went to a chinese restaurant for dinner since we were out shopping late enough that there wasn’t time to make the dinner I had planned. Plus we were feeling lazy. Plus it was my parents’ favorite chinese restaurant. The menu is quite extensive; however, after thorough perusal both Jeremy and I ended up ordering the same dish. What are the odds? I guess we both liked the sound of a huge plate of noodles doused in curry sauce with chicken, shrimp, pork, and shredded veg. Yum.

-Stephen took a nap this afternoon against his will, and now he’s getting back at me by singing in his crib when he’s supposed to be down for the night. Singing…or hooting…or doing vocal warm up exercises…

-And that about sums it up. Tomorrow bright and early I have another round of tests for Agnes, as well as a meeting with the pediatric neurologist. As always, I intend to share the deets. Provided they don’t induce labor tomorrow. But that’s not too likely. I hope.

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One More Day of Freedom

I was totally prepared to meet my baby today, but fortunately it was not to be.

I went to Akron General Hospital this morning for an NST (non-stress test) to check on Agnes. Her last couple NST’s have been borderline at best, so I wasn’t too hopeful about this one. We packed my hospital suitcase in the car just in case, left Stephen with my parents, and didn’t make any Memorial Day plans if you take my meaning.

As predicted, the NST was not stellar. Not terrible, but not really great either. At the Maternal Fetal Medicine clinic where I usually go to do the NST’s, they have this little buzzer wand they use to zap lazy babies to get them to move around. They can use it “up to three times” at the MFM clinic, and make a note on Agnes’ print out when they use the zapper. At the hospital, they have a zapper, too. And they’re not afraid to use it. I don’t know if the rules are just different down in OB E.R. Triage, or if the nurses just really really didn’t want to attend my labor and delivery on Memorial Day, or what, but those ladies just went nuts with the zapper. They were buzzing Agnes all over. And of course she moved; she was super pissed off. But still her heart rate readings weren’t perfect, mostly because she moved so much the monitor lost track of her heart and nothing was recorded.

So they did a Bio-physical profile (BPP) ultrasound. This is the one where they watch for fetal breathing, movement, amniotic fluid, and the like. Agnes has always done great at this test so I wasn’t too worried about it.

They ended up letting me go home because her NST results weren’t actually alarming, just not perfect, plus Agnes totally passed the BPP. Whew. So Agnes gets to stay put in her hot tub for a few more days at least. Let me just say at this juncture that a Flying Novena really works. This is a prayer trick Blessed Mother Theresa used when she had an emergency need. She would pray nine “Memorare” prayers in a row. I did this while I was lying there for the BPP, and now we’re at home with Agnes still cozy in her womb. Behold the power of prayer.

To celebrate my day of freedom, I came home and finished the laundry that’s been waiting. I’m glad I got to it because now all the cute newborn girl baby clothes I just bought with my mom are clean and ready. I also spent a good portion of the afternoon organizing the “guest room” to make way for baby care. I’ll be doing diaper changes in there during the nights, and Agnes will probably take naps in that room. She’ll be in a bassinet in my room at night for a few months at least, but I’ll probably nap her in the guest room. I feel a lot more prepared for her arrival now that I’ve had these past couple days to get organized. I even unearthed my breast pump. Grr. But I’ll probably need it, especially if she’s born really early and has to incubate in the NICU for a while.

Also to celebrate my day of freedom, I finally made gelato. At least, the first step. I cooked the custard and now it’s cooling in the fridge. All it needs is a spin in the ice cream machine tomorrow and it will be ready! I’m so stoked! And also as a side note, now that I’ve cooked my own gelato I will never begrudge the $5.00 price tag on a dish at a gelato store. It was hard to do just because you have to stand there stirring it almost constantly while it cooks up to 185 degrees. That process took nearly an hour. Sheesh, and now my back is killing me. I hope none of my doctors read my blog.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully it will be another day of smooth sailing!

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7 Quick Takes: May 18

1. I’m linking up with Jen Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary for the weekly Friday quick takes. Even though today is Saturday. Because I keep forgetting to do the quick takes link up and this week I decided, “better late than never.” Which is not ever the way I think in real life, but when it comes to blog posting, why the heck not? And yes, I did use this as one of my takes. neener, neener.

May 18 2013 0022. I baked a chocolate cake today. I was super excited to bake this cake because I got a cool cookbook at the public library called Vintage Cakes and it is just full of awesome cakes like ladies used to make in days gone by. This cake is called “Grammy Cake” because the author’s grandmother used to bake it all the time. It sounded really awesome. See, my cake probably tastes really awesome, but it looks really dumpy because I didn’t sufficiently grease the flutes of my fluted tube pan. I think all cookbooks should be updated so that where they currently say, “grease a 10-cup fluted tube pan,” it would be updated to say, “grease the buh-jeezus out of a 10-cup fluted tube pan.”

May 18 2013 0043. We have a couple rooms more or less finished. The family room on the lower level is all tricked out with our brown sofa to replace the 80’s upholstery sectional that was in there before. We also moved the daybed in and set up some of our attractive matching bookcases. See the vintage 1960’s wood paneling? Classic.

4. I picked up a gelato cookbook at the public library the other day, too. I’m totally going to make some gelato with my counter-top ice cream maker machine. I need to go buy the rest of the ingredients but I’ll probably make some gelato next week. I can not wait. I think I’ll make chocolate flavored gelato. I’m so excited!

5. This past week I’ve been scoping out area rugs at the local discount groceries-and-more store. The rugs were really cheap and if you decided you could go home with one of the limited selection of patterns, you could snag a super deal. I actually tried to purchase one of the remaining rugs yesterday, but apparently the store only takes cash or Discover Card, and I didn’t have quite enough moolah in my wallet. So I had to leave it behind. I went back today, and just as I had feared might happen, all the rugs are sold out, except for one natty looking brown rug that might actually be too big for my needs anyway. Double bummer. So it’s back to the brainstorm. We need a rug for the office, and we don’t want to spend a lot of money…

6. Baby girl hasn’t been quite so active today during my official kick-counting time blocks. Each time has been fewer than 35 kicks. But that’s still more than 4 kicks, which I guess is the magic number for the okay/not okay changeover.

7. We went to the local Farmer’s Market today and it was extra special neato. I even got to buy some tokens with my EBT food assistance card which meant I didn’t have to shell out actual cash for anything we bought! We bought a bunch of kale, some beets, a loaf of artisan bread, a dozen multicolored eggs, and some tomato plant starters. I’m really excited about the market; there is a great variety of merchants and the offerings are only going to become more prolific as the season continues.


Moving Slowly

We’re all moving slowly around here, at least that’s what it feels like. We spent the past three days moving bookcases around to room after room trying to find where they fit. Then we started unpacking books. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of helping us move out of a house, I will say we have a lot of books. A LOT of books. So that went slowly. Jeremy also shifted around our box piles to make it easier to get around the room, but what his work really did was disguise our unpacking progress.

Moving Slowly.

We also began painting the little room that will be our office. Taping the edges goes slowly, but luckily the actual painting went quickly on this room. We bought fresh paint for this room, and we went with the “premium” grade for maximum coverage. So worth it. But we have all this office furniture ready to be placed in its final destination, and it’s just sitting around being moved from one room to another.

So it feels like we’re moving slowly.

Then there’s me, trundling around like a huge pregnant lady. I feel pretty useless right now since I can’t lift anything heavy, or work for very long without a rest, or do anything risky like stand on a two step ladder. So my contributions to this whole moving in project seem minimal. Plus my doctor has me keeping a record of how many times I feel baby movements throughout the day. Three times a day I have to lay around for thirty minutes concentrating on how many kicks I feel. Then I have to write down that number on a chart the clinic gave me. I’ve found that I can’t even read a magazine or anything while I do this because then I lose count. So I have to just lay around doing. absolutely. nothing. for 90 minutes every day.

Moving slowly.

Except baby girl is the only one who has it kicked into high gear. Was it this morning, maybe? I counted 60 kicks in one thirty minute period. Go, girl.

I better go count some kicks now for my record. Tomorrow hopefully we’ll finish the office painting and be able to load in all the furniture. That will really feel like good progress because we’ll also get to unpack some books into that room. Then we’ll have something completely finished!

Okay, I’m off for the night.

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Moving Stuff from One Room to the Other

We’ve been busy around here, but when I go to tell someone what we did all day, it ends up being a very short list. Essentially what it boils down to is simply moving stuff from one room to another room. Sometimes we put the stuff in a box and take it elsewhere, sometimes we bring a box of stuff to a room and take everything out of the box. Mostly what we did today was put stuff that was in one box into another box, then take that box to the basement or out to the trash can. We also did a fair amount of sorting stuff that was in a box or a bag into a couple different boxes…

It was really boring.

In somewhat more exciting progress, we finally finished painting in our room so it is totally and completely done! All we need to do is find homes for all the loose stuff [put it in a box?] and then I’ll take a picture of the “after.” Here’s the before:

Our room, almost ready.

Our room, almost ready.

Here the window frames are still waiting for their second coat of paint and the wall sockets are still missing their covers, but you get the idea. I also want to get some curtains to hang with the blinds that are already there, but that is not even close to being a priority.

We also cleared out the room my parents were using as an office. My mom moved her computer downstairs so Jeremy and I can use that room as our own office. We’ll put our computer in there and also our icons and religious images so we can pray our family rosary in there.

We’re going to paint in the office, too, since it’s empty. We have to go pick out a paint color which might be either very easy or very difficult. It has to be something neutral, preferably pale, more on the warm side, and look good with the wood closet doors and hardwood floor. That narrows the field of choices down to about several dozen, so it’s a start.

I’m chomping at the bit to get Stephen’s room finished as well. We did end up arranging his furniture and unpacking all his toys. We couldn’t have him sleeping in a pack-n-play any longer! But we didn’t get a fresh coat of paint up in his room yet, and it really needs a facelift. Hopefully his room won’t be far behind the office. Here’s a picture of Stephen’s room “before”:

Stephen's room, close to being almost ready.

Stephen’s room, close to being almost ready.

You can see he’s still living out of a suitcase at the time this photo was taken last week, and there is still residual “sewing room” stuff to be removed. Stephen’s room looks really nice now that it’s all set up, except for the dingy walls. I’ll try to get a picture tomorrow of his cute little set up, then maybe another photo when everything is done.

Anyway, I won’t say that we’ve been having fun with all this, but we are making visible progress and each day we can feel satisfied with what we’ve accomplished. That’s something, and I’m grateful to have a big project to sink my teeth into, even if it feels overwhelming at times.

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My Baby Boy

Today my baby boy turned two years old! Now we can officially stop counting his age in months. “Oh, how old is your little boy?” people would say. “Um, well…he’s…[counts in head] 22 months,” we would awkwardly respond. Or we would just say, “He’s almost two.” And now we can simply say he’s two. What a relief!

To celebrate his birthday, I baked a cake. We have been running non-stop getting ourselves settled, so in my exhaustion I only managed to put together a sheet cake from a box mix. I figure it’s good enough for a toddler. I did make the frosting from scratch though, because I wanted to do at least a little something special for my big boy’s second birthday. He really loves the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, and the character Brobee in particular. He even says “Brobee” [“boy-ee”] as one of his choice dozen words that he regularly uses. So I managed to decorate his birthday cake with Brobee:

brobee cake 2

I used Stephen’s Brobee toy as a model. I whipped up the frosting and tinted some of it green with food coloring, then I bought a can of red frosting and some black writing gel. The last time I tried to tint frosting red at home, it just got pinker and pinker and never went toward red. So I cheated this time. I used dark green sugar sprinkles to make the stripes. Stephen liked the cake. He definitely recognized the picture and of course he tore into his piece with gusto. I did get pictures of Stephen with his cake, but the cable I need to upload pics from the camera is upstairs and I’m feeling way to lazy to go get it. I will post them soon, I promise. For presents, Stephen got a card full of money from Uncle David, which we took to the toy store and used to buy a fancy toy. I’ll post a picture of that soon, too. We haven’t unwrapped the new toy yet since Stephen needed to be thrown in the bath right away and giving him a new toy right before bath time ranks right up there with Really Bad Ideas.

Stephen is really enjoying hanging out in our new home. He gets to play with two kitties [“Ki-ki”] and Quinn the Dog [“Wouf-wouf”]. He gets to run around in the large yard and feel the grass tickle his ankles. He gets to sprint up and down the driveway and get boo-boos on his chin from tripping and falling. He gets to see Grandma and Grandpa every day and then be very heartbroken when they leave for work in the morning without him.

We are trying to establish a new routine. I do apologize for not keeping up my posting schedule, but it’s being hard enough for me to remember to take my medicine every day and make time in the morning for our family rosary, much less remember to write a blog post in the evening. We have been super productive around the house since the last time I posted, though:

We’ve nearly finished painting our room. All that’s left is the final coat on one of the window frames and the other half of the closet door.

We rehung the closet bar and brought our clothes dressers up to the room. We filled the closet with our clothes, so now we don’t have to live out of suitcases and wear the same outfit three times in one week! Woo-hoo!

We cleaned out Stephen’s room and assembled his crib. We assembled our bed. We laid out area rugs in both our bedrooms.

We unloaded two of our four U-boxes and started replacing the contents with items my parents have consented to sell at a yard sale. Jeremy and I hope to hold the sale Saturday May 18. Sorry, no antiques, just old stuff.

We are well on our way, working furiously. Hopefully after the next couple days we can slow down a little, because, man am I tired!


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Settling In

At my parents’ house, Jeremy and I are currently sleeping in the bedroom that used to be mine, henceforth to be known as “the guest room.” This is really hard, because it was “my room” for fifteen years. But “our room” is going to be across the hall when our furniture arrives on Tuesday because it’s a better room to fit our queen size bed. That room used to be “Sarah’s room.” Stephen is going to live in “the sewing room” because that is where we used to have the sewing machine, craft supplies, fabric stash, et al. But now it’s going to be “Stephen’s room.” It’s all really confusing and this is one of the big problems with moving back in with your parents, but no one ever talks about it. I think this issue should gain more coverage in the press.

Since our furniture and all our stuff won’t arrive until Tuesday, we decided to seize the opportunity to spruce up the interiors of a couple rooms while they are practically empty. We spent the whole day cleaning and prepping “our room” for a fresh coat of paint: washing windows, wiping walls, sanding off ancient poster mount tape marks, filling nail holes. We found a can of paint in the basement that is perfect for the new wall color so all we needed to buy was a can of semi-gloss to repaint the trims. The room is going to look great when it is finished! We can also get a good start on “Stephen’s room” too, since the only things in there are his little pack-n-play and a few loose items that haven’t found a new home yet. It felt really good to be doing something today. I enjoyed working on a physical project and getting my hands dirty doing something productive. I may have overdone it a little, though. I ran out of steam and developed a head ache around 2:30 or 3:00pm, so Jeremy had to continue on his own while I took a rest. I can’t help but remember the day right before Stephen was born when I worked really hard cleaning the bathroom top to bottom, then in the middle of the night, labor started. Hopefully that won’t happen here! We’re still quite far from baby girl’s due date and seriously, it would be really inconvenient for her to arrive right now.

But I’ve learned my lesson. Only light duties from now on, being helpful in a low-impact kind of way. I will try to remember this as we finish painting “our room” and then start to unload our furniture on Tuesday. Jeremy may need to tie me to the couch so I don’t help too much.

I can’t wait for our stuff to be unpacked. I still feel like a guest in my parents’ home and I’m ready to settle in to normal life.

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