Recently . . .

Getting back to “normal” after a visit with my family in FL last week.  The primary reason for the trip was my grandma’s funeral.  She actually passed away and was buried several weeks ago, but the service was held later.  I think I’m still at the beginning of wrapping my mind around her passing.  I do think taking an SSRI dulls my emotions and that’s troubling a bit.  But b/c of the meds I’m not so troubled about being not troubled.  So weird.  Also, her death was a long, slow one at age 95 so it wasn’t a shock.  Still . . . we had a great time, including a day at the beach.  It was even worth the 2 a.m. arrival home the other night.

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Dealing with insomnia.  Coughing, hacking children don’t help.  Waiting for Benadryl to kick in (for me!)

Reading

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Lit by Mary Karr.  Finished both recently and recommend them both.  Looking forward to the movie adaptation of the former, which will be released soon. . . .

Also the Wall Street Journal.  I ❤ the Wall Street Journal.  It’s almost my only source of news, which probably gives me a lopsided perspective.  I pride myself that I don’t agree with all their editorials.  Not yet.  . . .

I’m mostly skipping coverage of the presidential race.  Can. Not. Stand. to listen to or read about politicians in all their politicianyness more than I have to.  Once the race narrows down I’ll read a bit and figure out who to vote for. . . .

I also enjoyed reading “How to Stay Catholic” by Michelle Arnold at Catholic Answers.

Various American Girl books–Molly, Samantha, and Addy–outloud to the girls.  And the Ramona books.  Always the Ramona books.

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Painting our fireplace.  Can you believe it??  I had a bit of energy one recent Saturday afternoon, and the girls were playing nicely so I went for it (Pat had to spend a couple hours helping me finish later that night).  Like most of my DIY projects, I prioritized Just Doing It over doing it just right.  And it shows.  Kind of scary with something so permanent.  . . . Common wisdom is to mix latex paint and water 50/50.  I didn’t add enough water so it went on thicker than I expected.  I might go back and even it out later.  But I’m happy I did it.  Hoping eventually to order a mantle like The Nester’s.  Possibly these guys could make it.

Before:

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After:

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I cleaned the sooty areas of the brick with Scrubbing Bubbles, which worked well, as you can see here (right side washed left side not):

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Watching nothing in particular since we finished the last episode of Dark Matter on Netflix. . .

Watched a few episodes of “World’s Worst Chef” on Netflix and it was entertaining. . . .

I checked out the 2010 movie adaptation of Ramona and Beezus from the library.  The girls have watched it a couple times and, from what I can see, it’s pretty good.  Not great, but pretty good.  . . .I have fond memories of the PBS television series made in 1988 from the Ramona books, starring Sarah Polley.  As far as I can tell, the only way to get them now is to find the VHS copies that pop up on eBay.

They’ve also watched the newer, live action Charlotte’s Web movie.  It’s been ages since I read the book, so I don’t remember how close it hews, but I like it. . . . Recently I watched Big Eyes with Amy Adams (apparently a true story with a fun Tim Burton style) and Philomena with Judi Dench (also based on a true story, not sure how accurate).  Thought they were both good.

Cooking very very basic, boring meals:

Spaghetti and meat sauce (browned ground beef with a jar of marinara sauce),

frozen chicken breasts stuck in the oven at 400 with some baby carrots and bottled Italian dressing drizzled on top

beef stew (browned stew beef, chopped onion, baby carrots, simmered in a crock pot or on the stove with beef broth, worcestershire, and tomato paste),

Sometimes I’ll fry a steak. . . .  We still have pounds and pounds of beef in the deep freeze from the half a cow we bought from some rancher friends.

Tacos

Chili

*snore*

Shopping online.  Subscribe and Save from Amazon works for a lot of staple household products.  I order peanut butter from Soap.com (aka Diapers.com . . . a subsidiary of Amazon but for some reason with better prices on Smucker’s creamy naturay).  Some supplements from Vitacost.  And I just finished Christmas shopping for the girls at Jet.com.  It’s interesting seeing how Jet compares with Amazon.  The prices are often better, though the selection isn’t as big.  Also, the shipping is really fast and the web interface is very clean and less overwhelming than Amazon’s.

Still pondering what to name this little guy inside me.

Feeling huge.  I fear this baby will be BIG.  Girl 1 was 7.5 pounds.  Girl 2 was 8.5 pounds.  See where this is headed??

Hoping you all have a lovely week and a fun Halloween!  And that you don’t mind all the affiliate links in this post.

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Third Tri[mester]’s the Charm

Hello Friends, How have you been?

I’ve been . . .

Feeling tired but better the last few weeks since realizing (a) I need to keep taking my Floradix iron supplement and (b) need to be drinking a LOT more water.  Those two changes, plus a few trips to the chiropractor, and I’m feeling better than I was most of the second trimester.  Not what I was expecting!

Leading a more Luddite life. I’v removed almost all apps from my phone, and removed my primary email account from my phone too.  And the laptop is in a separate room from the main living area.  Overall it feels good, calmer.

Eating So Delicious chocolate coconut milk “ice cream” because dairy seems to give me heartburn.  It really is delicious.

Watching my sugars, because my blood glucose levels are a little high (although often I felt more like they were low . . . I don’t know what’s going on).  So, I try to make sure to watch as the coconut ice cream disappears . . . . Ha ha.

Also watching Dark Matter on Netflix.  Somehow it’s holding my interest, even though I’m such a snob and it’s all I can do to keep from commenting every other minute about how dumb the dialogue is.  (It’s a lot like Firefly, which I also enjoyed despite myself.)  It’s fun to have a show Pat and I can watch together in the evenings.  For a little while there it was Rehab Addict but we quickly got through the one season Netflix has.

Reading A Walk in the Woods, about a guy who tries to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought, especially the first half, which made me frequently laugh out loud.  I’m wondering how the movie is?  I don’t see enough material in there for a movie, but I’m curious  . . . . Now I’m reading Mere Christianity.  Is it heresy to say I’m finding C.S. Lewis a little priggish, or something?  I’m not feeling it.  Also about to start I Believe in Love–about the saint I don’t get.

Wearing maternity leggings and a dress or tunic (I have about five of them).  Every day.  So simple.  Again, much better than the second trimester, when it was too hot to wear leggings.  I’m trying to forget the outfits I wore this summer.

Also wearing Superga sneakers in a gray/silvery color.  Every year around this time I look for the perfect shoe and wind up with something in some garish color or another.  Glad I avoided that trap this year.

Singing “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” because Girl 1 just lost hers.  She listened intently and then exclaimed, “But that’s not all I want!”

Preoccupied with this house.  I have a list titled, “Things That Will Drive Me Crazy If Not Done Before the Baby Arrives.”  “We” are making good progress.  Meaning, Pat asks me every weekend and most evenings, “What do you want me to do now?” . . . I feel like all my creative energy is going into this house–and this baby.  Haven’t felt much like writing lately, although I do miss it.

Here’s some of the good:

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remember the before for this room?

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the bad and the ugly

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The fireplace will look nice once I get around to whitewashing it (kind of like Jill’s, maybe a little whiter), don’t you think?

Laughing at the positions I find Barbies scattered around the house every day. They’re usually in various stages of undress though so it’s a little . . . inappropriate.

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Struggling with insomnia.  It helps if I stay off of computer screens and my phone in the evenings.  So with that . . . good night and thanks for reading!

(I’ll link up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes, even though I’ve got more than seven here.)

Still alive!

We are alive and well and we have moved to our new-to-us house!

The new house is much improved, thanks to weeks of grueling labor by Pat and many family members.

I let the girls “help” paint their room pink.  We had a blast (minus the time Girl 1 got separated from me at Lowe’s during a paint-purchasing trip and I had to be paged to the customer service desk).  . . . Girl 2 still has paint stuck in her curls.  We’re all looking bedraggled these days.

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We have wonderful friends and family who have helped us move, provided us with moving boxes, made us meals, and watched the girls so we could pack.

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law both stopped by today, just to help me clean and unpack.

My new/old kitchen is a work in progress.  So many cabinets left to de-grime and eventually paint.  But already I enjoy using it much more than I did the tiny old one.

My brother joined us for most of last week and helped us with whatever was needed.

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This included his being the nanny on a trip to IKEA.  (We needed a wooden countertop last minute, and no one has them in stock, that I know of, other than IKEA.  Oh darn.  😉  Girl 1 exclaimed, “This place is the best place ever!  Better than the kids’ museum, better than Chick Fil A, better than McDonald’s!)

I’m hobbling/waddling along at almost 6 months pregnant.  After talking to my doctor, I finally realized that I’m experiencing pregnancy-induced hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), especially in the morning.  I think I’ve experienced hypoglycemia in small degrees before, but this pregnancy it’s hit me more than ever.  If I don’t eat right, especially in the mornings, I’m useless for at least half the day.  It’s a pain, but good to know what’s going on, and it doesn’t have the same risks that gestational diabetes has (they’re opposite conditions, as I understand it).  But anyway, between that and the bad back, I’m not able to do as much as I’d like.

I wish I were more of a photographer, because before and after photos are so fun.  For now I just have “before” and “a little bit later” for the family room:

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Crappy pictures, but you can see the improvement, right?  Since then, we’ve taken out half of the wall above. (By “we” I mean an extended family member’s construction crew.) The family room now opens into the kitchen, with a peninsula countertop/ breakfast bar on the half wall.  Pendant lights and a vent hood are still to come.

I’m going to whitewash the fireplace eventually . . . hopefully.

And in other news, the blue toilet is gone!  The blue tub/shower unit is still there but apparently these can be painted (though not by me)!  We have four bathrooms, three with complete walls, three working sinks, three working toilets (one in the basement that we never use), one toilet in the master bath waiting to be installed, one functional shower and no functioning bathtubs.  Also–bats still in the attic.  We are overrun with first world problems over here.

Our attentions now are focused on the old house, which needs some work before it’s ready to be rented out.  We’re planning to start showing it this weekend and have it rented on Sept. 1 or as soon as possible after that.

Good night everyone.  Thanks for reading!

P.S. If you need 60 boxes of Pergo flooring, and you have a construction team scheduled to start installing it on Monday, you shouldn’t wait until Saturday to check whether Lowe’s has it in stock.

(As it turns out, just because a certain kind of flooring is on display doesn’t mean it’s actually in stock.  [Who knew??])

That is, unless your long-suffering husband enjoys making two 200 mile round trips over the course of one weekend.  Because carrying all 60 boxes in one trip would weigh down the minivan too much.  Just sayin’, is all.

That’s My Bag–Quick Takes August 7, 2015

Mom Bag contents

Contents include: Eyeglasses case, wallet, Vinylux nail polish top coat, Tootsie Roll pop wrapper, two nail clippers, two pair tweezers, two Cover Girl concealers, two lipsticks, one Burt’s Bees lip gloss in Rose, hand sanitizer, fake flower, plastic flower ring, perfume sample, hand lotion sample, moisturizing oil sample, “Z” cut-out from library story time craft, one pair socks, two checkbooks (one from account that had been closed), advertisement for a kids’ play on dinosaurs, half-eaten bagel, Wall Street Journal, Kindle, and a Target receipt.

  1. Remember that “what’s in your purse” thing that was going popular with a lot of blogs a year or two ago?  A few days ago it occurred to me that I won at that game because I–no joke–had a bottle of champagne in my purse for most of the day.  Just toting it around like a boss, along with 1233267809 items of crap.

2. I would love to figure out an outfit I could wear every day for a year.  Maybe when I’m not pregnant, not postpartum, and not gaining weight for no discernable reason?

3. I got an email from one of our babysitters last week and it made my day week month year:

Hi Mrs. ————-,
I feel badly that there are times that I am not doing anything, when you are paying me, since the girls are so well-behaved. Is there something else that I could be doing for you, such as laundry, making dinners, etc.? I really want to be helpful. See you tomorrow

Apparently my little brats darlings are good for people, just not good for Pat and me.  . . . If you live in my area and are looking for a babysitter, I might just share this young lady’s info.  But only if you can convince me you won’t woo her away from me.

4. Speaking of Pat, he’s been working his tail off–every moment he’s not working his actual job–on the house.  Funny how little things–things that are !just cosmetic! we assured ourselves at the outset–end up taking days and days and days.  Like painting the whole. dang. house.

5. We’ve made a lot of progress though.  For one thing: we unfinished the finished basement!  Woohoo!

Before:

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After:

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Kind of ironic right?

The thing is, along with the paneling and the nasty carpet, a lot of surface mold was removed by professional mold-remover people.  So, truly, it is progress.

6. P.S. I’m glad I’m not British, because I have enough trouble with U.S.-style small talk.  This is yet another reason I can look on Her Royal Highness Practically Perfect In Every Way without a twinge of jealousy because she does small talk for a living.  I’m really glad I don’t have to.

7.  Check in with This Ain’t’ the Lyceum for more quick take posts.  Happy weekend!

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Princess Dizzy, our rabbit, bids you good night.

Friday Quick Takes: Lots of New Additions!

And lots of blue, because . . .

1. We are having a BOY!

2. We bought a HOUSE!  Closed this morning.

3. We also recently got a RABBIT, our first family pet (and she’s very much alive–ha ha . . .)

The girls LOVE the bunny.  The bunny tolerates the girls.

The girls LOVE the bunny. The bunny tolerates the girls.

4. There’s a bunch of work we* need to do on the house before we move in.  Right now, it’s full of potential, and I’m dreaming of white walls with wood  accents and lots of light and space.  Ahhh, space.

* We = Pat.

5. I’m 100% absolutely positively sure our house soon will look like this:

via Pinterest

6. Right now, it’s looking more like this:

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Not kind of like this.  Exactly like this.  As in, this is the house we bought today.  I now own a blue toilet and shower.  And lots of potential.

7.  Have a lovely weekend. Click over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.

Real Estate Related Brain Dump

Is brain dump a vulgar expression?  It sounds kind of crude to me.  But I wouldn’t know; I was homeschooled.  And anyway, a brain dump is what it is.  But with a real estate motif:

1. We are probably moving, after all.  It’s fun to be looking at houses.  We’ll stay in the same town, preferably in the same neighborhood.  It’s just time for something a little bigger and with a better layout.  And preferably a view!

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2. I’m having some inner turmoil over (hopefully) moving to someplace bigger.  Our main level is 1040 sq ft, with about 750 sq ft of finished basement.  I’m guessing 90% of the people in the world would consider this a HUGE house.  Even in this country a few decades ago, this house would be average for a family our size.  . . . At least once in the recent past, Pat and I said something to the effect of “We’re never moving again.”  We were committed to staying minimal with our possessions in order to fit in our house.  But somewhere along the line it stopped working.  There’s a voice inside telling me I should just try harder to fit into the house we have.  But I tell the voice to shut up.  Plus, the layout of the house is a pain.  No door leading directly into the back yard.  No entry way, poorly-placed doorways and basement stairs.  And a tiny kitchen, which makes cooking healthily from scratch that much harder.  Anyway, that assuages my conscience a bit. . . . Right now I’m already itching to start throwing stuff out and packing because the clutter overflowing in this little house is driving me nuts.  It’s silly because I know that if we get a bigger space we’ll just fill it with more stuff.  *sigh*

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3. We want to rent out our current home, instead of selling it right away.  Current rents are significantly higher than our mortgage payment, so it makes sense to try it out.  But being a landlord is a lot of work, I know, even if your tenants pay.  And if they don’t pay it’s a long process to evict. . . .

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4. What we’re doing first is refinancing our current mortgage, and drawing out some of the equity to use as part of a down payment on the next house.  Because the new loan will be at a lower rate, our monthly payment won’t go up.

5. I cannot tell you how weird it is to be typing this, because we’ve been Dave Ramsey-ish, super debt averse for a long time.  Borrowing more money against the house, instead of paying the mortgage off as fast as possible, and then getting a second mortgage–these are all things I wouldn’t even consider 6 months ago.  I’m not going into all the reasons we’re ready to take more risks, but we think it’ll be okay.

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6. We’ve been watching a lot of HGTV on Netflix (currently–Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers). (I want to play a Property Brothers drinking game sometime–one shot every time someone says “open concept.”)  The question   is–are we watching HGTV because we’re thinking about moving, or are we thinking about moving because we’re watching HGTV?  Hmmm.

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7. Because of all the HGTv watching, I think of more and more things we “should” do before selling our house.  The thing is, our house is worth about half of the lowest-priced houses you’ll ever see on HGTV.  So I wonder how many repairs and improvements would make a difference?  And even if we could get buyers willing to pay more, would they be able to get enough of a mortgage?  We just got the house appraised and I was surprised at how few details the appraisal took into account.  Anyway, if we rent it out we don’t have to worry about that for a while.  We’ll just have to figure out what improvements to do before renting it out.

Anyone have any moving/buying/selling/renting-out experience to share?

Click over to Kelly’s blog for more quick take posts.  Happy weekend!

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Seven Quick Takes 2.27.15

1. The girls and I listened to Kids Songs Jubilee in the van today.  I grew up listening to the Kids Songs tapes by Nancy Cassidy.  Now Girl 1 sits on the couch, reading the songs to herself and singing them.  I love hearing her sing.  And both girls listen to the tape together, singing and dancing around the living room.  Love it.

This is the only clips I can find on YouTube (speaking of which, did you know YouTube has one billion viewers but no profit?):

2. Per Kelly’s prompt, this was my first post.  Random thought off the top of my head.  Nothing much has changed.

3. My most-viewed post is Style & the Stay at Home Mom: A Quest.  By far.

4. My least-viewed post is this (no surprise).  You can read its follow-up here (oooh, exciting!).

5. This post today might end up down at the bottom of the list too, because it’s one of those days . . .

6. where I’m just . . .

7. not inspired.

Oh here’s a thought: how many years off Purgatory should I get for letting my kid “help” me paint?  I’m thinking lots and lots.

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Oh, and my new living room arrangement I showed you last week?  These are “before” shots (or a halfway-there shots).  Oh, this house . . . .

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Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for something worthwhile to read.  😉  Happy weekend folks!

Splendid Saturdays

Current obsessions, my living room, and style of romance . . .

1. This has been my view for the last half hour

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2. I finally got my living room looking close to the way I want it.

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3. I’ve been obsessed with mid-century modern design lately.  Obsessed.

4. Being cooped up in my house and my teeny-tiny kitchen for months, my obsessing moved on from home decorating to home renovations.  (But now I think maybe we should move!  So much to think about!!!)

5. Watching Property Brothers continually hasn’t helped.  It’s now Girl 1’s favorite show.  Asked what she likes best about it, she giggled and said,

“Jonathan” [the one on the left].

That’s not scary at all.

6. Last Saturday, Pat entered the living room wearing his tool belt.  Girl 2 exclaimed,

“Daddy!  You look like a MAN!”

Pat didn’t find this *quite* so hilarious as I did.

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7. When your love language is acts of service, the best Valentine’s Day gift ever is a new bathroom ventilation fan.

I’m in love.

Happy weekend everyone.

Click over to Kelly for more Quick Take posts.

 

What’s Saving My Life in this season of cold & the plague

And how a 1990s sitcom prepared me for Lent . . . .

Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy has a great link up idea–“what’s saving my life.”  

Even though most of us can easily articulate what’s killing us, few of us pay attention to what’s giving us life.

We’ve had a sickness that just won’t end and has taken a variety of forms: cold for Girl 1, croup –> pneumonia for Girl 2, sinusitis for Pat and me + bronchitis for me.  So we’ve been cooped up and miserable, but these things have made it a bit less miserable:

1. Essential oils diffused in this diffuser.  I don’t know whether they actually do anything, although inhaled lavender oil has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms in mice.  They sure smell nice, though, which makes me feel better.  And they don’t give me a headache like cheap, chemically scented candles.

2. Neti Pot–for when I wake up with a headache and don’t know why.  Whaddya know?  It’s impacted snot.  Nothing like infusing your nostrils with salt water.  Hurts so good.

3. Down comforter–I got the warmest one I could find and “gave it to Pat” for Christmas.  It’s warmer even than the 4 or so mismatched regular comforters we had piled up on the bed.  Pricey, but oh so worth it.  Pat runs cold at night and he sleeps a lot better now.

4. Plush mattress pad–now I sleep better at night with this.  We have an extra firm mattress, which we bought relying on the common wisdom that firm mattresses are good for your back.  Eight years later, I found myself sleeping more comfortably on the couch.  When I slept on the bed, I felt more sore in the morning than in the evening.  Guess what?  Firm mattresses aren’t so good for bad backs.  There’s even a study to prove it.

5. Friends Season One--I get nostalgic watching this show even though I’ve never watched it much before.  And I think it’s more than a lingering fondness for crushed velour, turtlenecks, and the Rachel. Last night it hit me–that first season was filmed in 1994.  That’s over 20 years ago.  Twenty years ago. Last night I watched it and thought about how quickly life passes by and how close we are to death.

And that, my friends, was my segue into Ash Wednesday and Lent.  Never saw that coming.

Remember man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.

What’s saving your life this cold cold winter?

I’m linking up with Call Her Happy for Five Favorites, and I’ll link up with Modern Mrs. Darcy when she does the link up again.

Should I Stay [in this house] or Should I Go?

and other thoughts at the beginning of the week . . . .

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know.

Should I stay or should I go?

Pat and I frequently find ourselves discussing whether we will ever move.  Our mortgage payment is small; so is our house; so is our kitchen.  Fed up with tripping over my family and our belongings, I recently searched for acceptable nearby homes that wouldn’t require a higher mortgage.

Nothing.

So now we daydream about how to make our little starter home more of a forever home.  I watched episode after episode of Property Brothers recently.  Our biggest dilemma is what to do with our poorly-placed staircase.  Could we move it to the back bedroom? Is that wall to the side of it load-bearing?  Or maybe we could extend the kitchen back–merely a matter of, oh, digging new basement stairs.  Child’s play.

We talk as if money is no object.  Of course it is.  But I figure we should dream big and then figure out how to work toward it.  I don’t want to make cheap, little fixes we’ll regret later.

In the mean time, my little one shows signs of pneumonia.  I’m taking her to the doctor first thing in the morning.  I’ve been reading up on natural remedies for asthma and croup and pneumonia and wishing I had tried them earlier.  I did give the girls several grams of Vitamin C a day over the past week.  Maybe it helped Girl 1, but it hasn’t been the miracle for Girl 2 I hoped.

I’ve had soggy-lunged little girls for six years now and I still feel like I’m groping blindly for ways to avoid the thrice-yearly regimen of amoxicillin and oral steroids.  On the bright side, Girl 1 is outgrowing it, so I’m hopeful Girl 2 will also.

But my newly-decorated living room wall makes me happy.

Child's artwork displayed in 8.5 x 11' frames from Target

Child’s artwork displayed in 8.5 x 11′ frames from Target

Put a bird on it

I put a bird on it

So does my mantle, despite the roll of duct tape and miscellaneous loitering on it.

Have a lovely week y’all.