Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Around the House

Lots of changes around here!  Some planned and some unplanned.  That's the way home ownership goes, right?  Things break, sometimes MANY things break at a time.  The first thing to go was a pipe that connected to the city's main line.  It had shifted and so had a more narrow hole which caused a sewage back up.  This has been an ongoing issue for awhile since the plumber would say, "It's the city's problem."  As you can imagine the city would say, "It is centimeters away from our responsibility."  We had new plumbers come and say it would be $6000 and they'd have to rip out our giant Japanese Maple tree, and add again that it should be the city's problem.  And so on until we found a company in Baltimore that would fix it for half the price and spare our tree.  Deal.  We wiped our brow.  Phew, we paid the price of home ownership for the year and now we can rest easy for a while.

Wrong!  Bathtub leak begins by dripping on Hannah's head while she was on the potty downstairs under the tub.  Turns out to be a much bigger leak.  First plumber told us to replace the drain and seal.  Did it with no improvement.  Next plumber looks at it and cuts a big hole in our ceiling (in down stairs bathroom) to see if they could fix it.  No luck.  Another plumber comes and says it is a gasket that will cost us $300 to replace.  We are still waiting on a friend of Brian's' to come take a look and see if they can replace that gasket.  So showers all around for a long time now.  Judah is either in the shower too with someone or in the kitchen sink after dinner.

Somewhere in there, we had the power go out in the garage and all bathrooms, and it wouldn't come back on.  An electrician came and put in a new outlet so our fridge and freezer could stop tripping the breaker.  Plus, he put in a thing in the bathroom so if it trips we can just push the reset button.

The weekend of Genevieve's First Communion, I notice the floor is wet in the back corner of the unfinished part of the basement.  Every time it rained after that, water leaked in.  After meeting with several water-proofing companies we finally decided to take one of the company's advice and reroute our gutters first before shelling out a ton of money to water-proof that part of the basement.  Brian did all the work himself.  No leaks so far.  Everything is dry.  Please God, let it stay that way!

Next leak, kitchen sink!  After a new valve, a new kitchen faucet (installed by my increasingly handy husband), and a tightening of another valve, we have a dry cabinet under the sink once more!

And finally, not a home ownership related break, our computer totally died.  I am trying really hard not to add up the cost of all of these things that have happened recently.  I had to try especially hard not to think about it as we started our long planned basement laundry/craft room finishing project.  What happened to things breaking in threes?  I'll take three breaks over that string of bad luck any day.  Actually, now that I count it up, it was six things, so I guess that was just a double whammy.

On to the planned changes around the house...

The basement project which is not completed yet is coming along nicely.  (You can see a "before" picture of the basement here.)  First Brian and I (but mostly Brian) emptied out the whole room.  Then Brian tore out the built in wooden table and shelves.  They were sturdy, but bent up and unfinished wood.  He put in a new laundry sink.  Then Brian tiled the floor, and I painted the cinder block with a waterproof paint.

Brian's friend came over to help him get started on building the frames for the drywall and putting up a little bit of the sheet rock.

First two walls up

Last wall up

We still have to mud and sand it, paint the walls, find used kitchen cabinets, paint the cabinets white, and install the cabinets.  Then more frames have to be built for the two parts that we want partitioned off and then more drywall. And mudding.  And sanding.  And painting.  We are hoping to have it mostly completed by the start of the school year, but as long as we get to the cabinet installation part so we can empty out the finished basement of all the stuff to be stored in those cabinets I will be pleased.

On a less drastic note, I also changed up our fireplace mantel a little after reading The Nesting Place.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Through Daddy's Lens

I decided to check out Brian's phone pictures he's been taking and share them.  It's always fun to see what he finds photo worthy.

Judah is sick with a high fever that started Sunday afternoon.

Drew and his buddy

Brotherly love

Somebody wasn't happy about something.

Sir Drew

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Big Swimmer

He's holding his ribbons.
Isaac swam in a mini meet last Friday.  It was the last day of his pre-team for the summer.  He came such a long way.  He swam across the pool in timed races for the following events:  kick board, freestyle, backstroke, and breast stroke.  The last one he didn't quite have the arms and legs down at the same time.  He could only do one and then he'd forget about the other.  I was very proud of him!  He did an excellent job of trying his best and finishing all the races.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Sewing Lesson

I hosted a sewing party for a few girls in American Heritage Girls to get their Explorer Sewing badge.  (Genna is not an Explorer, but she wanted to do it anyway.)   I was going to have 7 girls, but only 5 ended up making it.  I started off with showing the parts of the machine and they drew lines from the part names to the part on their diagram of a sewing machine.  Then I demonstrated how to thread the machine, wind the bobbin, and thread the bobbin.  Each girl got a turn to do each of those once.  Then they each practiced on a piece of paper following some lines that bent and curved without thread.

For their requirements, they had to complete two simple projects.  The ones I chose were making a small simple doll from felt and a night shirt from a big t-shirt.  The girls are wearing their nightshirts in the pictures.  I chose those projects because I had a lot of girls to help and I knew there needed to be a lot of room for error.  Wavy lines were a common theme!

Friday, July 25, 2014


I've always got a million stories about Drew.  He is a hoot!

Hannah helped me make him this Robin mask.  He's been all about Robin and Batman lately.
Two of his new phrases we here from him a lot are, "Not aden," (translation for those not fluent in Drewese = not again) and "I in a bad mood, Mom."

A classic Drew moment was when he got his little red chair stuck on his waist.  I have no idea how he got it on there, because it was hard to get off.  I ended up going with the "squish the butt cheeks through" technique.  Of course, I got my phone to snap a picture before trying that technique.  He was not too happy about me stopping to take a picture of his humiliating experience and, therefore, would not look at the camera.

He said his very first heartfelt prayer this month.  I have always struggled to get him involved in our prayer time.  We read Tod's Day, God's Way before one nap and it describes prayer as "talking to God."  I tried wording it that way with Drew to see if that helped him understand and try to join in a little bit.  I asked him if he had something to tell God.  He said, "God, pease, fordive me for tidding Isaat downtairs."  (translation for those not fluent in Drewese = God, please, forgive me for kicking Isaac downstairs.)  I was super proud of him.  It's moments like these that make it seem like all is not lost.  And then the moment passes.  :)  It is rather fitting and quite ominous that his first real heart felt  prayer was asking for forgiveness.  I have been quite pleased with his increase in remorse lately.  He will come to me and apologize again hours after an event occurred.  Once he overheard me telling a story of something he did that ended in a big mess, and he interrupts me to say, "Mom, I so sorry I did dat."  It made me feel badly because I didn't think he was listening, nor was I telling on him.  I was just relating what I thought was a funny story to another mom.  I made sure he knew he had already been forgiven.

I love how fun boxes can be, but it always makes me wonder why we even have any toys at all!

On the topic of prayer, Drew is doing so much better saying more of the Hail Mary, Our Father and the Angel of God prayers.  You may recall this mistake on the Our Father recently.  Here's one for the Hail Mary.  Drew's version:  "Hail Marwy Full of Dace, the Lord of the Rings."  "The Lord of the Rings" kind of sounds like "The Lord is with thee," right?  I can see it.

And, yes, I still can't cut his hair!  He is just too beautiful right now!  His surfer look is wooing the hearts of many.  Although you can't tell in this picture, but it is even curling up at the ends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


This was my childrens' first experience ever with paintball.  It was for ages 5-9 and so everybody, but Drew and Judah could do it.  Well, not Daddy either! When Drew heard the kids talking about it, his first response was, "I want to do it!"  I told him I'd bring something special for him and he very enthusiastically, says, "Okay!  I do dat!"  I brought him a Ninja Turtle ball, cheese curls, and a bag of Swedish Fish.  He was happy with that.

Isaac's the second from the left.  Hannah is second from the right with Genna next to her.

It wasn't easy to talk these girls into wearing jeans in the summer either, but they forgot all about that when we got there and met up with our friends, starring the birthday boy.  They were much cleaner than I expected when they came back.  I sat with Drew and Judah in the shade and fed them non-stop while Brian was on spectator status for the hour of fun.  Judah was a champ, playing a game of "try to pick up the flies that keep landing on me and my stroller," and never even had to come out of the stroller.  Good thing because I can guarantee a paintball would have made it into his mouth.  They were everywhere.

The aftermath

I had actually never been to a paintball place before and was tickled by how many grown men get serious and entrenched in the paintball scene.  I nearly jumped out of my flip flops when I was buckling Judah into his stroller and a game started with all the loud gun shots.  I've never been one to handle sudden, loud noises well, right, Mom?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Judah at 11 months old (Sniff. Sniff.)

Hannah was taking these pictures while I was driving.  He was falling asleep and she was trying to keep him awake by tickling him.

Why do they have to grow up?!!!!!  Soon he won't be a baby anymore.   The first year goes by so fast,  as does it all, I suppose.

Couldn't make it home from the pool, but he was so tired that I was able to carry his sleepy self in and put him to bed.

Judah is starting to express his frustrations when he doesn't get what he wants.  If Drew moves to higher ground to protect his superhero set up, Judah gets really mad and grabs onto Drew's leg and squeezes while he simultaneously turns red and screams.   Fun's over, Mom.

He is talking more and really trying to copy sounds.  His full vocabulary list.

Hannah (only said it once when reaching for her, but it sounds the same as banana, "nana")
All done (does sign too.)
Night night

I think he may be saying "hello"  and "thank you" too, but I'm not sure yet.

He waves a lot, but refuses to clap.   He is still walking along furniture and has tried to walk from one piece of furniture to another, but gave up when he realized it was easier to crawl there.   He can climb up on Drew's little red chair and his big boy bed.  Bad things since the red chair is not sturdy and slides.  From Drew's bed he likes to dive head first off  the bed while giggling since the first time he did it I caught him just in time to help him finish a somersault onto the ground.  That was so fun, I guess, that he now anticipates the fun every time.  I have since been catching him in time to turn him around and show him how to get down feet first.

He has finally moved to more regular crawling than the super speed Army crawling.

Judah loves to play in Drew's crib with him after they wake up from afternoon nap.
He gets so visibly excited and squeally when he sees his brothers or sisters play or come up to him.  His siblings get the biggest smiles, probably even more than I get.

Isaac's always asking if he can get in with them, but this old creaky crib couldn't take the weight for sure.

I am working on moving that dream feed up to before bedtime gradually.  He doesn't need it.  Honestly, it was more for my convenience than for him, but he really is too old for it.  I am going to continue to nurse him four times a day as long as I can or until I figure out this dairy allergy/sensitivity thing.  He is still reacting on his face when I give him any dairy.  Without thinking I bought him the fruit and cream oatmeal, and it took me three days to figure out why the rash around his mouth was getting worse and worse.

Judah is getting to be more and more of a handful in Mass.  He is wiggly and chatty.  He stays in the sling on me pretty well, except when I sit down and he tries to climb up over me to reach the hymnals on the back of my pew seat.  He is rarely quieted by the pacifier these days, so I have had to step out of Mass a few times to get him quieter.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Our Fourth of July Weekend

Wow!  I just realized I never posted this!  I am soooo behind!  Even my mom was complaining that I've been slacking, and she rarely checks my blog these days.  ;)  Our computer completely died again.  So I've been waiting on the new one, and now I have to  learn this new operating system.

We traveled south to Virginia to visit some friends for the Fourth of July.  It was a great weekend that ended in a tearful goodbye.
On our way to their neighborhood pool.  My godson is missing from this picture.

The dynamic duo were taking a snack break together.  Drew and his buddy are about 6 months apart and this trip is the first time they really played well together.  So well, in fact, that the tearful goodbye was mostly from these two.

Judah sat out with me a lot, but he went in for a little bit with Daddy.  I was still not allowed to swim due my vein procedure.

I had to sneak this photo from above where they couldn't see me or Judah would have wanted out.  This is my godson and Judah.  This was a good set up for them because if they can actually reach each other, they were squeezing and banging on each other.  Probably more my son squeezing and banging on him, to be completely honest.  Nobody calls him Gentle Judah around here.  He's rough.

They loved having their dinner together!

A friendly game of corn hole:  Team one

Team two

All the kids together

My buddy!  Until his new-found friendship with Drew, I was his favorite person.  He calls our family "the Mrs. Smiths."  I made him a paper plate Captain America shield, but I never did get around to getting a photo of him with it.

With my godson:  I made him that shirt before he was born.  

Another day at the pool

Cool dudes with juice boxes, right?
After Sunday Mass