Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Well the weeks are full of all kinds of fun house projects. The bathroom renovation is moving along slowly but surely. The walls are up and mudded and taped. We are waiting on some backordered tile to arrive and that is holding things up a little, but I don't mind because I LOVE the tile and it is worth the wait! :) It will all come together very quickly once that is done. In the meantime, the patio project has been completed and I LOVE it! It was quite a fiasco. All sorts of issues come up with these old homes. As we found in this case, once we tore up the old sidewalk, it was discovered that when the previous owners built the detached garage and ran power to it, they basically wired an old extension cord and ran it about an inch inder ground, not encased in any sort of conduit! YIKES! It was frayed and hot and as soon as the concrete moved, the wire disintegrated, cutting power to the garage entirely.

Sooooo.....we had an electrician come to the house to help us wire it properly. A lot of times old owners overload the board in old homes and we wanted to be sure it was done right. Before that, though, Nick had to dig a trench from the house to the garage - at code depth of 12-18 inches - and run it where the soon-to-be-new-patio would be as well, then get the conduit set. Thankfully, between Nick and the electrician we got it all sorted out for the most part. There are lights in the garage and the garage door opens. The electrician told us that our garage was wired horribly and is giving us a good plan to rewire it properly which is so nice of him. There are some things that you want some help from the pros on, you know? To avoid a disaster later on.

While it was frustrating to be digging ditches and having schedules be pushed back, those are mere blips. We are so excited to be able to make these improvements and make our house more "healthy" in a sense. Giving the old gem a little new shine. I love love love our sweet little home. This sounds strange, but I almost feel like the house feels happy to be getting some good attention. It's fun!

I will post pics soon. Time to play with the kids!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Here are some pics of the kids over the past week....they are the sweetest.

Liam LOVES balloons - or, as he calls them, "Bwoons". Here he is holding Kate's bday balloon bouquet.

Our wonderful boy.

Nick and Liam watching the Cowboys. So great to have Dad home!!!!!

Kate with the hand-carved wooden truck that Nick brought back from Poland.

Ok, cover girl! :)

Just Call her Jo March

Halloween is approaching! Kate is really excited about it this year. I think she has reached the age when all that stuff - Halloween, Santa, Tooth Fairy, etc. - is intriguing and wonderful. This year I asked Kate what she wanted to be instead of basically deciding for her! At first, she told me that she wanted to be "Azura" which is the pretty blue-garbed fairy from the movie "Fairytopia". That sounded fine to me! We actually already have a great pair of dress up fairy-wings, so we just needed to find something fairy-ish and blue for her to wear. Off to Target we traipsed.

While there, Kate saw a costume that she absolutely fell in love with. It was about the farthest thing from "Azura" that one could get. The package claimed it was a "Snow Princess" costume. Kate could not stop exclaiming over it. We talked it over, determining that she REALLY wanted to be a Snow Princess MUCH MORE than Azura. I had my doubts - especially since the snow princess costume essentially looks like she should perhaps be going Christmas Caroling in the year 1852 as opposed to being of royal birth in some snowy land. But she loved it. REALLY loved it. And Halloween is about dressing up the way you want, within reason of course, so Snow Princess Kate it is! Plus, it is a super-toasty costume, which comes in handy when trick-or-treating in Minne-snow-ta. It is so warm, she may not have to be one of the kids that wears their winter coat OVER their costume.

Kate tried the costume on when she got home to make sure that it fit properly. I learned my lesson last year with Liam when I waited to try it on until Halloween night and it would not zip up! :) Kate asked that I take pics, so here they are. She is hysterical. The little Louisa May Alcott. Give her a pair of ice skates and send her down the lane to the pond with young Lawrence! (Only a select few who really REALLY get me will understand that! :)

So, enjoy the pics. Can you even handle the posing action? :) Too Funny! I don't have any of Liam. Something to look forward to! :)

A Shell

An empty shell of a room. Nothing but lathe and plaster.

A pic of the wall bump-out framed out and wrapped in plastic to try to contain the dust. It will bump close to the door frame, but small price to pay for some good bathroom space.

The bathroom restovation is underway! It is pretty exciting stuff. The old bathroom was just S-A-D. The tile was the teeny tiny inch-square tile in various shades of pink. The tub: from 1950. The pipes: original. As in 1924. The wiring: knob and tube. It had come to the point where the old tub did not drain and the 1950s medicine cabinet light did not turn on so if you wanted to take a shower, you had to do it by night light and you had to do it fast because the tub would fill up and then you had to stand in the dark and hold the drain plug "just-so" so the water would drain.

In other words. It was time.

Here are some pics of the demo. A little portion of the wall is bumped out about 18 inches to afford us that little extra space. The room is so tiny to begin with that it makes a big difference in the layout that we could configure. It will actually allow us more storage. Design-wise, we are going with what I am calling "vintage/modern". Our tub etc. will be more traditional (a gorgeous pedestal tub, a pedestal sink), with some crafstman-style high wainscoting, but the fixtures will be a little more modern with a brushed nickel finish and a gorgeous travertine tile floor that I fell in love with. It should look fresh and bright and clean and not sad and grungy like our old one. I am so excited!

Right now we have everything torn out - with the exception of some very old tile on the floor which looks suspiciously like asbestos tile. So that will remain and we will floor right over it. It is no problem to keep it, health wise. The danger is in removing it. The new wiring is done as are the new pipes. The new wall is framed. Here are a couple pics....hopefully we are done by Mid-November.

All I Want for my Birthday is.......

A thoroughly disinfected Preschool Classroom resulting in the remainder of the year being illness free for my children.

I feel like all I ever do is give updates that involve some sort of fever or trip to the doctor with the kids. I am SO sick of it! If I am sick of typing it, and you are sick of reading it, imagine how tired of it the kids and I are from actually living it! UGH!

Seriously. The children were so healthy all summer long - when we were AWAY from school environs. My house is CLEAN. Now we are back to school and Kate was sick a couple of weeks ago, then Liam got sick, and we just spent a lovely FULL week of Kate being so sick that she was essentially quarantined by her doctor and did not participate in ANYTHING for a week straight.

So, yes, you read that right....it was a week straight of me being at home with the kids 24-7 and not going anywhere....and the whole time Nick was on a business trip in Poland.

Kate came down with some very yucky potent virus called the coxsackie virus. Couldn't they pick a better name?! I mean, Ew. Anyway, it is the virus that causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease (not the kind that cows get) and other variations and is insanely contagious. Kate got the version that caused her to have a fever of 102 for 5 straight days and a mouth full of ulcers which made it nearly impossible for her to eat or drink. She was Mis.Er.A.Ble. Poor thing. After feeling like a total hypochondirac mother for bringing her to the pediatrician (Again)......I was somewhat reassured by my suspicions being confirmed in that she did have an official virus and it was not my fault that she got it. :) The doc said that schools are basically cesspools of this stuff. Lovely.

SO - a week straight at home with both kids, disinfecting everything that Kate touched or breathed on because I did NOT want Liam to get it. (knock on wood) The kids were actually really great and we watched a lot of movies, did crafts and read a lot of books. Kate napped a lot because the fever just wore her out, and Liam was a sweet little boy and mostly just played with his matchbox cars nonstop. I lived for the chances to talk with Nick when he could manage a call from Krakow or Warsaw just to decompress. Oh - and we have bathroom demolition/renovation going on. woo!

And though I complain, the moments of humor and sweetness are not lost on me. The snuggles from a feverish 4 year old are some of the most heart-filling, snuggliest cuddles ever. And the things that can happen while a 19-month old boy is left unattended even for 3 minutes while the parent goes to change a garbage can liner are astounding. Case in point:

I ran downstairs to empty some garbage and came back upstairs to find that I had left Liam's bedroom door open by accident. A no-no. Of course, when I came upstairs, I found LIam on the floor in his room surrounded by an incredible amount of chaos that he had managed to whip up in such a short time. Things from his drawers and shelves were strewn ALL over the room - clothes, shoes, socks, diapers, books and stuffed animals. He had managed to completely disassemble all organization in 180 seconds. In addition, I noticed a tub of vaseline on the floor from what I thought was an unreachable drawer in the changing table. It was open. With giant finger-shaped gouges in it. And Liam's face was shining with smears of petroleum jelly. Including his mouth. And he was grinning hugely. Oh LORD! Did he EAT Vaseline? First of all, EW. Second of all, the kid will not eat pizza but he will eat greasy vaseline? Third, what can that DO to him? I took a deep breath and decided IF he ate it - since there was no way to be sure - the worst that would happen would be some interesting diapers. I calmly picked up the tub to check any manufacturing info and, to my horror, saw "If swallowed seek medical help immediately and/or contact Poison Control". OH &%$@! So I called Poison Control, remaining very calm. Thankfully - and as I suspected - they said he would be fine and the worst would be some crazy diapers. GOODNESS! Why do they put things like that on there and SCARE people? Litigation fears, that is why!

Anyway - all these fevers, mouth sores, and petroleum jelly ingestion are NOTHING, really. Honestly. My sister's baby girl, Mia underwent surgery on her kidney and bladder this past week! We are talking incisions, hospitals, anesthesia, recovery...the whole thing. And a baby girl who cannot understand why she is in a hospital or why it hurts to go potty now. And a Mom and Dad who have to sit and worry about their baby while she is in surgery and whose little boy is at home with Nana wondering where everyone is. THANK THE LORD IN HEAVEN, Mia is doing well. The recovery at home now is rough because her pain can only be controlled by tylenol and motrin. She cannot take the narcotic drugs of course. Can YOU imagine having a 5-inch long incision in your stomach and not having serious meds? I sure cannot! Percocet was my friend post-op. So...my exhaustion from one Nick-less week of kid illness is NOTHING in the grand scheme. Or even in my family scheme!

I HAD to write about it, though, because REALLY. I just really have concerns about the germ situation going on. PLEASE other parents, let me know - are you experiencing this? I feel bad for Kate - maybe the CMV thing last year just really put her immune system down for a while and it will take her a while to not get everything that blows by her. But if for my birthday gift I can have an illness-free family through xmas, that would be awesome! I also would not mind anything from Sephora! HA HA HA! Just kidding!

Prayers and love to Mia and the whole Morris Crew! We love you love you love you!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Just Because

It has been a big Kate week around here and I wanted to post pics of Liam so he does not feel left out. :) Here is the big blue-eyed boy getting into all kinds of trouble.

Kate is Four!

I think that Kate had a terrific Birthday! We were supposed to have her party at a local apple orchard, but on her Bday it was raining horribly and we had it at our house instead. The orchard, after all, was a mud pit! But we had a wonderful time at the party - and gave out bags of fresh apples and recipes for Apple Crisp to our guests. Kate received some wonderful gifts and she is a happy, energetic and smart FOUR YEAR OLD!!!!! Thank you to everyone that helped Kate celebrate, either in person or by sending their well wishes! She is so lucky to have such terrific people in her life.

Kate's Apple-Themed Party Cake - soooo yummy.

Kate got two "High School Musical" barbies from her grandmother. Let me tell you that was one of the biggest hits of the birthday! She went absolutely nuts with excitement. The Barbies now regularly act out songs from the movie. She loves them!

Kate got the book "Fancy Nancy" from her Aunt Ava. She has been wanting this book for ages. She immediately went upstairs and dressed herself up "Fancy Dancy", as she calls it, right over her big fleece jacket and jeans. She walked around like that for hours. So cute.

Blowing out the candles! I cannot believe she is four!

My good friend, Sarah, gave Kate a wonderful princess hat and dress up skirt. Here is Kate modeling the gifts on top of a dress up costume that she already had on. Dress up is big around here.

Just Like Beckham

Here are some pics from Kate's soccer practice and game. She scored two goals yesterday! :) It is so fun to go and watch the games with Nick and Liam. One must remember, though, that this is preschool soccer! Games come to an immediate halt when a cool airplane or a flock of noisy geese fly over the field. :) Sorry about the fuzzy pics - I don't have the action shots down yet.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I know, I know....

I need to post a blog, I know. All sorts of fun pics and tales to tell. For one, Kate turned FOUR!!!! A lot has happened in a short five days and I promise to have pics and stories up soon. We started a new renovation here at the house, so things are kind of in disarray and covered in demolition dust.....the bathroom has been reduced to rubble. More to come when things clear up here and I have some time from steering toddler Liam away from the chaos! :)