Saturday, December 17, 2016

November ... Three Weeks Later

The month started with my due date. I hate going to the 40 week check-up. So depressing. But this little sunshine took selfies on my phone while she played in the little cottage downstairs. 

When we came home from the appointment, we saw this special delivery truck at our house. 

I actually took that picture to send to my SIL, because her mother works for the corporate office of ABC. We didn't know that was where our materials were going to come from. Back in late Spring we hired a guy to come replace our board siding with vinyl and update all the old windows on our main level (the previous owners updated the basement windows and two upstairs windows). 

He was booked through summer and wouldn't be able to get to us until early Fall. We made sure we were pre-approved with the bank before we even lined him up, but once it was time to finalize the loan the bank was nightmare to work with. They started our loan process but did it as a refinance and then a second mortgage. The later was a mistake I caught. Even after we corrected the error they took their sweet time trying to make things right. We eventually had to tell Salzer we wouldn't have the money in time. It was so awful. He already ordered our windows, and I'm certain he was anxious. But by mid-October we had everything worked out and the money was ready. Harry actually called us Sunday (Oct 30) night and told us one of his current projects was being pushed back so he could get us done that week if we were able. That made me feel a little better -- because it sounds like we aren't the only people who disrupted his schedule. 

Anyway, it was a little crazy for the first two days of November, but we were also very excited to see our house begin to transform. And luckily, the weather was gorgeous! So it was the perfect time to have all our windows temporarily missing. 

Reid was pretty surprised by everything when he came home from school. Nell wasn't feeling great that day and took a huge late afternoon nap (which, may have morphed into an early bedtime -- she does that sometimes). Reid loved using all their boxes and other waste to create a play space in front of the house. Coraline loved making a mess out of the leaves Ben and I were raking. It was so fun to just play outside together for a couple hours.

Ironically, the window that gave them the most trouble was one of the two we weren't replacing. The previous owners had updated the kitchen and bathroom windows and whichever one (both the two owners before us were do-it-yourselvers) did the kitchen did not do it right. You're suppose to angle windows downward, and since they hadn't -- water pooled around the window ledge and rotted out the wall. This picture doesn't do it justice. The holes were huge (almost through the house) and the dark areas were really black.

Harry had to go in and gut all that corrosion out. Then he had to add a support beam for the window and re-angle the frame. Finally he had to board up all his work. Throughout the first part of this process he (unknowingly) poked holes through to the inside of our house. It was a mess that terrified Nell (the noise) and had me running to the kitchen to empty all my cupboards.

Thankfully, he did all this without charging us anything extra. He also ended up having to board off our completely open attic. We always wondered why the corner of the kids room felt so darn cold! Hopefully our house will stay warmer and our electric bill will go down. Wouldn't that be lovely!

Harry and his team were great to work with and our first big home improvement project felt like a huge success. Of course, we thought we'd get to this project much sooner than we really did. But it is nice to know our #1 big project is complete! I'd have to dig out our old list to see what comes next. I've forgotten by now.

This isn't the completed version -- but it does show the amazing progress they made in just two days.

Meanwhile, Coraline was having a hard time putting Halloween behind her. Such a cute little monkey!

I can't decide which of those three is cutest, and there is hardly a difference (just in her mouth) between them. She is such a fun toddler to have around. 

On Thursday, the kids were suppose to start swim lessons but the beautiful weather distracted me. When Reid came home from school we all took a walk (he rode his bike) back to the school for some park time. We'd been there about half an hour when Nell asked when she was going to start swim lessons and I realized my mistake. She was suppose to start them in about 10 minutes and it was impossible for us to make it in time. There is a large group of "after school care" kids who were running around on the playground -- so Ben shrugged it off and said this was better anyway. But that didn't stop Nell from sobbing.

So on Friday (or was it Saturday?) Ben took all three kids swimming at the YMCA. They were certainly starting to think Daddy's time off from work was a little slice of heaven!

You know how the second week of November turned out, because I wrote about it hereherehere and here. I still can't believe Donald Trump is President-elect. I think the whole world went through some form of shock when this became our reality. I even had friends who voted for Trump who admitted great surprise at his victory. Hillary Clinton was clearly more qualified. It still just has me shaking my head. People cannot put good of country/world before party. Blows my mind. 

I will say though, I had many conservative friends (in fact, most the ones I would have identified as being my favorites to discuss politics with) who did not vote for Trump. Only a few of those full on bucked their party and voted for Clinton, but it was still nice to see so many people were sticking to conservative values (or picking the best candidate (cough, cough, Clinton)) over their "conservative" party. 

Many people justified a vote for Trump because they believe he will appoint Conservative Justices who will overturn Roe v Wade. I could be wrong, but I think people are foolish to hope abortion laws will ever drastically change in this country. I certainly admire their optimism, but as I (sort of) outlined here, the best chance to decrease abortion is to address the demand, not the supply. And Clinton's policies were our only hope of doing just that. 

Ugh, but I'll stop reflecting. I've been (mentally) reflecting for over a month now. I just want to be sure some parts of this American history are documented here for my children. I'm moving forward with lots of faith in this great country and good men and women throughout the world -- but I'm also preparing for nothing to surprise me going forward. 

I mentioned here, that my in-laws took the kids for the weekend, which was so nice! We loved having time to recoup after adding a new baby to the family. I also mentioned Reid and Nell's quick barfs. However, I didn't mention they came the morning of his first school concert. He was so disappointed, and it was actually the first thought to cross my mind when I heard him run to the toilet at 6 am. "Oh no, today's his concert!" was followed quickly by "I'm so freaking excited I finally have a kid old enough to get out of bed and run to the toilet for that!!!!!!"

It was the strangest little sickness -- as he and Nell both bounced back to 100% by 10 am. I was even thinking about just letting him go. He kept begging, and it was breaking my heart. In the end we focused on the "do unto others" principle and kept reminding him that if one of his friends had thrown up that morning we wouldn't want them to come and get us sick. Even though I was 99.9% sure he wasn't contagious, Ben and I both just felt like that is a good rule to stick with and follow. 

Then the strangest thing happened. Exactly 24 hours after each of their initial barfs ... they both barfed again! We'd taken it so light on Monday, they hardly ate anything! And even then it was just applesauce, saltines, powerade, and sprite. It's still such a mystery to me. And in addition to all that, Reid ended up with the hives! We took him to the Doctor, who said the two were likely unrelated and neither was contagious. Seriously, how strange!

So in the end, that's why he missed three of the four days in his school week. He and I went to school Wednesday afternoon for his parent teacher conference and then he returned for class on Thursday. Friday was a no school day. His teacher had only good things to say at his PTC. Having been a teacher myself, I know the need teachers have to sing kid's praises -- but I also know that if there are genuine concerns this is the time you bring them up. On the drive over I asked him what he thought I wanted to hear his teacher say, and then I let him know that to his dad and I, his behavior and kindness were much more important than his tests or his proficiency in math and reading. And that is what I focused my part of the conversation on. His teacher told us he is very helpful and that he gets along well with his peers. 

Despite missing school most the week, he and Nell were able to start swim lessons on Thursday. Ben took Coraline along and let her play in the water while they had class. When they all got home we hurried and had dinner before heading out to the City's Holiday Parade. It was such nice weather the kids didn't even wear their coats for part of it. It was also the most crowded we've ever seen the parade. That could be one of two reasons: 1) it wasn't very cold and/or 2) we were at a different spot. We've always watched it from outside Ben's office (so we could go inside and warm up if needed), but we were running a little late this time around so we had to park in the garage. Once we found a parking space we just walked to the closest viewing spot available. 

(pictures from Ben's phone)

I documented most of our third week in my many rushed posts about Thanksgiving weekend, here, here, here, and here. But before all our guest arrived we did have our traditional (we've done it twice now) Thanksgiving Family Home Evening. The kids made little paper plate turkeys and wrote what they were thankful for on the feathers. 


Reid said: Turkeys, Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, Grandma and Grandpa (Bassett coming, but we just generalized it to cover Grandparents), Jesus made the Earth, Being safe at home (which was also a summary of something grander) and Ms Mallo (and he may have also listed his specialty teachers, can't remember why we generalized that one). Nell was very traditional and listed all the members of our family. If I remember correctly, she just listed four of us (I think she left out Coraline) and then gave up, so we put the fifth member up. Then she was all salty we hadn't made a feather for her, ha! Ben wrote out Coraline's for her: Tags, table scraps, and clean diapers. I'm sure that is what she would have told us if she had the language skills needed. 

Reid came home from school with that sweet poem. His 3rd grade reading buddy helped him fill it out. Reid did tell us he said specific sister's names -- particularly Mara, but he couldn't remember if he said her both times or her once and Nell or Coraline the other time. Either way, I don't blame the 9-year-old helping him for not knowing how to spell their names. So it reads: I am thankful for pilgrims and for mom and dad too, without my little sister, I don't know what I'd do. I'm glad to have my toys in the winter, summer, spring, and fall, but it's my little sister that I'm thankful for most of all.  

Looking at our forecast, the 29th was going to be our last nice weather day. So I had this grand idea to get a cute photo of the kids in their new Christmas jammies, out in front of our neighbors gorgeous pine, with Mara on a festive sled. It was going to be wonderful! Until Coraline refused to cooperate. She was really quite awful. Thankfully, we sent a couple photos on to Rick and he cropped me out of them. I was honest to goodness standing behind Coraline in this one photo where she wasn't screaming hysterically. You'd never know; Rick's pretty good with photo shop. 

As I was yelling and screaming at everyone to just look at me and smile. And hold still! Ben said we could probably get a better picture in front of our own tree. I angirly disagreed. The couch is in the shot. The light is in front of us instead of behind. It just wouldn't work. But ... 

This one would have been absolutely perfect if I hadn't cut off that sliver of Nell's face. Man I was cussing myself for that. In the end, we still had a good one for the card though. 

Man I sure love those kids!

On the last day of the month, a former missionary came by with his parents and younger brother. While we all chatted Nell snapped this photo of the Elder's mom holding Mara. 

And Nell had spent some of her own time that morning burping her own baby. She and Coraline were watching TV when I came out and discovered they were both snuggled up with their babies. But Nell's pose really struck me. She was holding her baby just like I hold Mara and it melted my heart.

Love that girl and this wonderful month that was November 2016. It was definitely one for the (family) history books!

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