Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday night live at the Pletchers

Come on - that is a little funny! Aw, I give up. :)

So we have had quite a week, as usual. But things are looking up. We hit a low spot with the neighbor and the yard issue, and then things started to get better. He had a long talk with my husband (who never backs down) and I think we are in a "happy place". He seems to be fine, now, and so we have reworked our project to give us as much yard as possible for the price we originally paid. Our excavator has been great and willing to do basically whatever we ask for no extra cost. He is making it look REALLY nice. He is created a nice rock wall on our property line (so that is no question) and once he is done with that, it is going to be great! He used just the rocks he found in our yard as he dug, and it is amazing how many their are! Not to mention all of the smaller rocks that he is moving for us that I am going to use for another project. Monday should be the last day of our excavation. He is coming back to clean out the top soil and remove the rock and debris, and then seed and hay the area. By Monday night, our yard will start the grass growing process and hopefully in a few weeks, we will have some grass sprouts! Yeah!

Mat's Aunt Betty arrived safely Wednesday afternoon, although it was a little adventure (of course) to get to her. As usual, nothing can go smoothly. I was to pick her up at the airport at 4pm. We left our house around 3:30 (it takes around 30-40 minutes to get there). Well, we hit traffic. They had narrowed the little highway we take to one lane and we crawled for quite a few miles. After that I got off on the exit I THOUGHT the airport was on (according to my directions), but only a little airport was there for private planes. So I called Mat's parents to find out where I needed to go (thanks Ben!) and I was at exit 27 and needed to be at 40!!! I was in contact with Aunt Betty, but I didn't get to her after all of this until 5:15!!! IT was so sad. Then I was going to take her out to dinner since she needed to wait and I discovered I had left my wallet at home. In too much of a hurry! UGH! I tell ya - it can be crazy with us. :)

But we ended up going to dinner anyway (thanks Aunt Betty) because it was so late and the kids were starved. I was very lucky - I had given them snacks and drinks in the car so they were very well behaved on our long, unexpected ride. I also was able to pick up my Cracker Barrel rocker my parents got me for my birthday (thanks!) and order the rocker Mat's parents got me for my birthday (thanks!). I already have the rocker on the porch and rocked in it several times.

Thursday and Friday Arlington finished up Bible School. She was sad when it was over. She really loved going and enjoyed the time she spent there. I know how much she misses school, and this was good for her. There was a picnic on the last day, so we all went to that for lunch, which was really nice.

Friday Cainan also had his 2 year appointment on Friday. He weighs 23.4 pounds (3%tile) and is 33 1/2 inches long (25%tile). His blood work was good, hearing, eyes, all fine. He had to get 4 shots, and needs to go back in a month for 2 more (he is still playing catch up since we brought him home last summer). He was very unhappy, but did very well during the whole appointment up to that point! He recovered quickly and I bought him McDonalds for dinner as a reward. :) That boy loves chicken nuggets and fries! But he is growing well. The pediatrician was great, we really liked her. Finley goes for her 2 year in a few weeks and then Arlington needs a school physical.

Today is was all about work around the house. We took out the ugly speakers that were in our walls in the master bedroom and Mat replaced the drywall and patched it up. He did a great job. Once I get it painted, you will never know. I had gotten a lesson at Home Depot and given all the things I needed while I was there the other day. I am telling you - thanks to this house, we are going to be quite handy when all is said and done! I am anxious to get it painted. We also tried one last attempt to remove their TV mount from the wall, but the screw is too far gone. We had to order a special tool (grumble grumble) to get it out, and it will be here in two weeks. But for now, I am going to paint the rest of the room and I can do that area last. No biggie.

We also did a little more work outside. Mat has cleared a path and built a fire pit right beyond our new excavated land. He put up stones and is going to build a few benches, but we used it for lunch today and did hot dogs on the open flame. We wanted to eat outside, but we were having a scorcher of a day, so we didn't get to do that. It will be fun to sit there and roast marshmallows.

We also cleared an area around a large rock in our yard I should say LEDGE - it is not movable and very, very large. We are going to slowly clear it out and landscape around it - it is really nice.

Mat also hung one of the two ceiling fans in our living room. It hangs a little lower than we expected, but we should still be fine. It looks nice and lights the room great! Now that we are satisfied, he will hang the other one tomorrow, and we will use what is there for our front porch. (the two old ceiling fans they had left behind).

So that is it! Tomorrow we aren't sure what all we will do. We were thinking of going to the Mystic Seaport (we can get free passes from the library) but they didn't have any available for tomorrow. Bummer. So we will come up with something.

The kids are doing great. Finley has what seems like a little cold, but I am not convinced it isn't allergies. It just started over night, and no one else is sick, and we haven't been around anyone that is sick, so I am not sure. But we shall see. If she isn't better tomorrow, it is probably a summer cold, poor baby.

So here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The fun continues......

Now, I need you to bare with me. This may be a long post, but I will try to summarize the best I can! I will tell you about the kid's stuff at the bottom! :) Here are this weeks happenings:

Our excavation project has taken a turn for the worse. We were doing so well. We have a neighbor that was concerned that we were on his property – if you remember from our last post – but we thought we were fine. But our neighbor really was passive aggressive and kept coming over onto our property and talking to the excavator and interrupting him, etc. So finally we decided that the only course of action was to have the land surveyed. So I called the original surveyors, and we got lucky – they were able to come out today and get it taken care of so that we could have the excavator continue working. Well, there was good news and bad news. The good news – it looks like our property extends a little further down the one side (non-excavation side) than we thought. Not that we had major plans for that area (except to make more parking areas for when we had large crowds – Ha!) But it was nice to see. Our neighbor was wrong about his property lines in the front of our house, which was also good news because we had plans for out there as well. BUT – none of that really matters when you get to the bad news. So the plans we had were WRONG. Big surprise. It looks like 70% of the area we excavated was on his property. Yeah. Take that one in. In the plans it shows our house on an angle and the property on that side fanning out like a piece of pie. What REALLY happened is they turned the house to be straight on the property, so now the line up the side is straight. Sigh. We are really sad about it. It was a lot of work done and now it had to be undone. So the excavator spent the day flattening the yard and putting the top soil back down on our neighbors property. Mat is going to talk to the neighbor tonight, and of course appologize for what happened. IT was totally innocent. Town hall did not have the correct plans. This is no ones fault and we are just trying to make it right. So we will see what the neighbor says. To be continued........

So where does that leave us? Instead of 100 feet by 100 feet, we now have 30 feet by 15 feet. So SAD! So we talked to the excavator and he has some thoughts, and I think in the end we will still have a nice yard, just different. I will take more pictures once we have more to show! Not much going on right now! Tomorrow we are hoping to place the rock wall that will serve as the divider between our property and our neighbors and I think that will look really nice.

I wish the trouble stopped there. This week we also had Culligan come out (say it with me “Hey Culligan Man!”) to talk us through our well water system and water softener. We had directions, but they read like Greek, so we wanted some guidance. Good thing he came out. Many things were wrong. First, the filter that, well, filters the system had NEVER been changed in 12 years. Yuck!! It was letting all kinds of things through it too – it was a bad filter. So that was changed. There was a leak in one of the hoses that ran the system and the floor was getting wet at different intervals during the day. So that had to be repaired. Then the holding tank for the water (before it goes through the water softener) is rusted through. It needs to be replaced to the tune of $700!! Now why our home inspector didn't catch that, I will never know. And last, the pH balance of the water is low, and the Culligan man suggested putting in a neutralizer that will control all of the chemicals that run through the system. This will stop a lot of the staining we are seeing in our house on the toilets, etc. (which were there when we moved in). That costs $1500!! What????? The people that lived here before us really did not maintain this house at all. They just hoped for the best that the house would take care of itself, and nothing would break. That is NOT US. We love this house and eventually it will show. :) We want it to last, so you have to take care of it. UGH!

But to add insult to injury, on Mat's way to a meeting this afternoon he hit a curb and blew out a tire. He got out to place the spare and the spare was flat. So he drove to several different places before he finally had a gas station that had air. He was standing there and it wasn't working and wasn't working come to find out the guy at the service station didn't have it plugged in. SMALL towns! Too funny (in a way). But he is at the tire place right now getting the tire replaced. It is almost 9 at night and he was only home for about 15 minutes so far today. Poor guy.

So those are this weeks drama mama moments. The two house things happened around the same time, so I just saw money flying out the window left and right. But things are calmer right now. We are settling down. Let's hope that it stays that way just a little while.

The kids are fine. Mat's mom and dad left on Sunday. We could not thank them enough for everything that they did for us while they were here. It was amazing what we were able to accomplish with their help. And the kids loved having them around. We are so greatful for the chance to live closer to all the grandparents so that we can see them more often.

Arlington is doing great. Today was her first day of vacation Bible school. She LOVED it. She had a great time and loved talking about it all the way home. She even met a little girl and a couple little boys that will be in her Kindergarten class next year, so that was a big hit. Everyone was really nice at the church. She goes every morning this week from 9-12. It gives her something new to do, and she really needed that. I see a much better behavior out of her today. I just need to keep that girl busy!

We also bought Arlington a few new card games that we have been trying out each night for our “game time” with her. She loves Go Fish. We got that, War, Crazy Eights, and Old Maid. She beats us every time – fair and square! She loves to play games. She is good at them too. She has a great memory.

Finley is doing fine. Getting in trouble all the time as usual. Today she decided she was going to dump sand all over her brother and sister while playing outside. She just scooping it on top of them until I had to go and get her out of the sand box. She also is saying a few new things “Bug buzz ear” - meaning a bug is buzzing by her ear. “Freak out” because Arlington said it the other day. Now she says it just randomly. Weirdo. And she loves to tickle people. Arlington will be laying on the floor and Finley will walk over and start tickling her and say “tickle, tickle!”. And she does a good job! Arlington can't control her laughter.

Cainan is fine. Loves to play outside in the sand and dirt. We got him a little shovel and he is constantly digging with it. He carries it everywhere outside. He has also mastered the ladder to the playset (Finley about tumbled off because she is so clumsy). So now he can go up by himself to get to the slide.

So that is the news. We will be getting our NEW playset (thank you to Ben and Sally for purchasing this big thing for our kids!) once we have a better time line on the yard. WE found one we like, so we just have to order it. Sally and Ben and my mom and dad also bought me Cracker Barrel rockers for my birthday, so I am going to pick those up this week (Cracker Barrel is a bit away). Can't wait to start rocking on my front porch at night! Great presents – thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mat's Aunt Betty comes in tomorrow for a week long visit. We love having her here. She is going to help me around the house and play with the kids. We can't wait! Our first visitors have been “sweat equity” and we are greatful for that! Pretty soon they can come just to visit! Ha!

I am looking for baking receipes that are EGGLESS and NUT less. Arlington (and Finley) both have egg and peanut allergies. Arlington loves the idea of baking, but we can never do it because of her allergy. So if you know of something good that we can bake together – we are looking!

Today I only have one photo. After a long couple of days, I decided to take a picture of Arlington “reading” to her brother and sister. They prefer her to me any day! I look at them and think how lucky we truly are.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Excavation days two through five and more!!

I am telling ya! I am having a hard time coming up with clever post titles, so bare with me.

Anyway - excavation is going along fine. We have hit a few snags, but nothing devastating. On day two, the excavator started to dig out the stumps and large rocks (and I mean LARGE) out of the new area. The only snag he ran into was our neighbor. We have a neighbor that was a little concerned about his property lines, but mostly is just nosy and wanted to see what was going on. We are well within our lines, but the guy is a retired cop and wanted to see what was new. This is the second time he has come onto the property and started wondering around. He was friends with the people who lived here before, and he probably did it then too. It makes me kind of uncomfortable and I am glad that Mat's family is in this week while he is making his visits. He talked to the excavator for awhile and then we chatted. He is a nice guy - just mostly lonely. He came back on Thursday and again on Friday but mostly because Mat really needed to set him straight on the property lines so he would stop coming around unannounced. So I think we are finally in a good place. Only time will tell!

Anyway, on Thursday, we hit a snag called two very, very large ledges (aka boulders) that the excavator cannot move. They are kind of in the middle of part of the yard we are digging out, but it will be fine. We think he can expose them a little and it will look nice and we can still get the yard we want. He also cleared a ton more large rock and our side yard on the side of our house (the part that seems to be making the neighbor the most nervous). Yes, we have a 9 acre yard, but most of it is to the back and left side of the house (by our driveway). We litterly have about 50 feet on the other side of the house between our house and were the neighbors property begins. But we are well under that on what we are doing. Anyway, the yard is going to be on two levels. We will have a lower yard and an upper yard. It is terraced due to 1: the boulders and 2: the slope that we are dealing with in the backyard. We are thinking of putting the playset and our garden and playhouse, etc. up there. That will leave most of the yard below for the kids to just run around and if we want to entertain (besides our deck).

Friday - snag was - at the end of the day, the excavator was rolling along and a piece of his machine came undone. He needs to have it replaced over the weekend. It is because of the unlevel of our backyard - he was on too much of a incline and something slipped. Not safe! Poor guy. But he did a lot of work this day. He took out all of the stumps and most of the logs off to the place that wanted the wood. This took him the whole day because he had to load his truck and then drive it about 45 minutes to the wood place and then back. The machine didn't break until late in the day, so he got a lot of work done. He will be back fresh on Monday to remove the last of the logs and level more of the ground. It is getting there - slow by sure. I think by the end of this week we will see a HUGE difference, and hopefully he will be close to being done.

We are really enjoying Mat's parent's visit. They leave tomorrow morning and I know we will be sad to see them go. And it was nice to have them here this week. They got to see the yard unfold, and Sally helped me wash almost every window in the house (we have like 22!). They are really clean! The house is coming along. Today Mat and his dad took down not one, but TWO satelitte dishes that were on the roof. Why you say? Because these people that lived here before did strange things. There were wires EVERYWHERE! But Mat braved the roof and took care of it. I took a short video below of the coming down of the one satelitte dish. I thought Mat was going to fall for sure. UGH! And Mat's dad cleaned out the gutters - they look so much better. I don't think that was ever done. I sprayed bleach on the mold that the people had let grow on the front porch and deck and that is all gone. Looks great! We will have this place in good shape in no time.

The kids are doing great. Enjoying the visit from their grandparents. They will be sad when they leave. The love the extra attention! Mat's aunt comes in on Wednesday, so they will be looking forward to that. They have been playing outside a ton. They love the swing set and sand box and just walking over the newly plowed yard. We are still taking daily walks. Mat's mom brought sidewalk chalk, so they had a lot of fun drawing with that, plus a sprinkler toy which they loved today, which was finally warm enough to use.

Finley learned a new word. "Booger" Isn't that nice? Arlington taught it to her. She is always touching her nose and she came to me the other day and said "booger in nose". Nice, right? Sigh. Gotta love the big sis teaching the little sis those kinds of words.

Arlington is doing great. On Thursday morning Sally and I took her to her new school for a tour so she could meet her Kindergarten teacher. She was so excited. But she was so quiet while we were there! So looked around the class and did a little hop while we were there to show her excitement. She saw the library (huge hit), the cafeteria, the gym, the art room, the music room. ALL favorites of hers. She was fasinated by the blackboards - never having seen ones so large. I am glad Sally got a chance to see the school and we got to ask a few more questions. I turned in all of her registration papers, so she is all set! The Kindergarten teacher could not be more nice and we have heard wonderful things about her. We won't know if she is in afternoon or morning Kindergarten until August. We just hope which ever it is, she is in the same class as the other little Kindergartener in our neighborhood. We also took Arlington to the library this week, as usual so she could get more books. If she could - Arlington would read every book they have there. I have to limit her because she loves them all.

Cainan is doing great as well. He is still adjusting to the new surroundings. He has always been a little timid when it comes to new things. He is getting along fine, but he needs to learn how to walk up and down our steps outside and step up in our doorway, and get his footing on the ground outdoors. But he is coming a long. He asks to hold my hand less and less. He hasn't braved climbing on the newly excavated area yet, but he will soon. He seems to love dirt.

Tomorrow Mat's parents leave and Mat and I have little jobs around the house. I am going to start priming our bedroom in preparation of getting it painted. We are doing a cranberry shade in there - similar to our old house. Anything is better than blue. So that will be the last big room upstairs and then we will just have to two bathrooms upstairs and the hall. Then I can move downstairs - yeah! The paint is doing the house some good.

We are also going to order the kids playset. I think we found one we like and it takes a few weeks to arrive, so we want to have that ordered. That way we can install it as soon as the excavator is done.

So that is it! Below is a few pictures and the little video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Excavation day one

So our first big project on our house got started today! Bright and early the excavators were here to start their work. First order of business, clearing trees. This is probably one of the biggest jobs because we had a lot of trees. They came in - chainsaws a blazing, and started cutting down the trees. They started with small trees and started lining them up for the chipper. The kids thought the whole thing was really cool and were mesmerized for hours at the window watching them.
So small trees down - time to bring the chipper up the hill to chop them up. So, they attach the chipper to the one machine they were using (unknown name!) and started up our steep side hill to the back yard. They tried for 1 hour to get this machine up there and it just wouldn't go. Then, last effort gave it a big pull and.......the chain broke. This was BAD, but it could have been much worse. 1) There was no one behind the machine when it broke loose and 2) there were no THINGS behind it besides just another machine that it ran in to. The chipper broke loose and started barreling down the hill and slammed into another machine they had for excavation. You should have seen their faces and all of our faces. We froze. Myself and the kids were watching from the window, but the two excavators about had a heart attack when it broke loose. Only damage were some digs in our driveway where the machine drug along as it rode backwards. So, after that, they decided to leave the chipper where it was and bring the trees to it. Smart choice. It took longer that way, but there didn't seem to be another way.

So now all of the trees in the small area we are having cleared are gone! It looks neat. Now comes the work of leveling and smoothing and making the yard. Should be interesting! It shouldn't take them too long. I am sure they are coming back tomorrow. I will continue to take pictures. I have some pictures below and I took a short video of the biggest tree falling down. You can't really hear the sound it made when it fell and hit the ground on the video, but it was still cool to watch. Even the excavators were nervous about it - it was tall! You never know what way it is going to fall, and it was close to the house. But, all was well. :)

Mat parents arrived last night around 8:30pm. We were happy to see them. They had a nice trip and arrived safely. They are staying with us until Sunday and we have lots planned. Today they helped me clean the majority of the downstairs windows. We stood on the ladder and Sally almost toppled off, and THEN we found out that the windows come out so we can clean them without going outside. Go figure. but they look nice. We also did the walls and the baseboards and the heaters. That alone made the room look so much better. We cleaned all the screens and put them back in the windows as well. Very productive!

After dinner we went to the near by ice cream place for a treat after a long hard day of work. I think that is our 5th time there in the last couple of weeks! Yum!

The kids are doing well. We signed Arlington up for some things this week. I signed her up for a soccer camp, vacation bible school and fall soccer. I am also going to sign her up for Daisy Scouts for the fall. We will see if she likes it and how involved it is. I did Brownies and Girl Scouts as a kid and had a great time, so we will see how it is. That will help keep her busy!

Finley is doing well. She is starting to be able to tell us "what happened". For example, if she is crying, she will tell us why. Today was "Cainan bite finger". Great. BUT - in Cainan's defense, she DID stick her finger in HIS mouth. :)

Cainan is getting right into the terrible twos. He is being mischievous, and throwing small fits. Not too many, but even though this isn't my favorite age, it is nice to see him advancing normally!

Mat is doing well in his job. It is hard to believe next week he will have a whole month in already. He seems to really like it and we are LOVING Connecticut. It feels like home. We felt like we belonged here from day one. As we make changes to the house to fit our needs/taste, we feel a little more at home all the time.

So here are some pictures from this week. Some of them are of plants - a few more from our yard that we are trying to figure out what they are. Enjoy! First is the pictures and then a 1 minute long video of the tree falling below that.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday night in the woods

So here we are - Saturday night. I look out my window. It is eerily DARK. There aren't any street lights in the woods. :) Where we used to live, there was a lamp light about every 15 feet. But here - just darkness. I hope I don't hear any howling.....

Anyway, things are going well. This was a pretty productive week. We got our new health insurance cards and I started to make calls to set up for our new doctors here in our area. Always a pain in the butt. I am used to it, with all the moves we have made over the last 10 years, but with Cainan, it is a lot harder. I need to find him 4 doctors instead of one, so that makes it a little more challenging. And I have a few I need to see as well, so I had a pretty extensive list. But, I got many appointments set up, so that was good. I have a few more to make, and I am going to do that this coming week. I need to find Cainan a craniofacial team, and I am looking into the best one in the area. That means going to Children's of Boston, which has been referred to several times as "mecca". It is 2 hours away, but at this point, Cainan should only have to go once a year until he is required to have surgery again (in 3 years or so), so that isn't bad. So I think that is where we will end up. Yale is close to us, but we were told that team is going through "transition", so I am not so sure. There is also one in Hartford Connecticut, but it isn't associated with a large hospital, so I am not sure about that one either. Since most of Cainan's work that is left is cosmetic, I think I want the best team to make his lip look beautiful.

Mat and I also went to the DMV. That was always an adventure. When we moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland, we just went and got a new license with an eye exam. When we moved to California, we had to take a written test (which I FAILED the first time - not good!) and an eye exam. Okay - just to be clear, I failed the test by one question and I got to take it over right away. LOL. The question I missed was about letting on coming traffic merge - they have the right away. Who knew?
Anyway, I was at the DMV for 1 1/2 hours. Mat and I went on separate days so we wouldn't have to take the kids. It took forever because I had to take an eye exam. Always they eye exam! At least no other tests this time. But this was a popular day for 16 year olds to come in and get their new license, so they were very backed up. Mat went this morning and was there twice as long as I was. Apparently Saturday is "motorcycle road test day". Sigh. But we now have official Connecticut license. Last will be to get our license plates. We were going to do that this morning, but it took so long for Mat to just get his license that the plates will have to wait until next week. That line is much longer and a lot less fun! One more step and our last visible clues that we EVER lived in the awful state of Florida will be GONE. Whoo hoo!!

Anyway, this week I finished priming Cainan's room to have it painted and we bought the paint for his room today. So tomorrow I will put the first coat on and finish it up on Monday. Two rooms done - yeah! And in two weeks, not bad! I would like to keep going with the painting projects, but we may take a little break. We have company coming over the next couple of weeks, so we may stop for awhile. I really want to get rid of the blue in our bedroom next (these people really loved blue) and then take a break, so we will see!

We went to Home Depot today and got a few supplies, and some new ceiling fans. We got one for each of the kid's rooms and two for our living room to replace the ugly ones (without lights none the less) we have now. Yeah! We got MY second choice for downstairs, but I think they are going to be nice. We didn't get a new one for our bedroom yet (at least there is a fan in there unlike the kids rooms) because I just wasn't sure what direction we may take colors in that room. So I want to wait and see first. I would maybe like to just get an air conditioning unit and maybe put up a nice light instead of a fan. We will see....

Today I also signed Arlington up for a soccer camp in August and then for fall soccer here in our town. Very exciting! Thanks to our new neighbor telling me about fall soccer for the Kindergarten class, I was able to get her into an activity that she is really going to love. We wanted her to do something, and I just wasn't sure dance was it. I think she would love dance, but I don't think ballet is right for my little tomboy. I think gymnastics would be more appropriate, and I haven't found that yet. For now - soccer it is. We can't wait. Mat might even coach - we will see!

And I think I am going to sign her up for vacation Bible School It is at our local church at the end of the month for one week. She would go from 9-12, and that would give her something to do each morning. Arlington has always loved church and church activities, so she would really enjoy this. Hopefully they still have room at this point. Next summer I will be more prepared having been here for a whole year, and will have all kinds of activities lined up for her.

Yesterday we had another great playdate with our new neighbors. The girls really seem to be hitting it off, and her mom, Michelle, is a wonderful person. I think we are going to be good friends. I am so glad to find such wonderful people right here in our neighborhood. We feel very lucky with that! The girls only got to play for a short time yesterday, but we look forward to playing again next Friday and more often as the summer goes along!

Tomorrow we will just clean up and get ready for Mat's parent's arrival on Monday. We are so excited to have them come and see our new house. They are staying from Monday to the following Sunday - a nice long visit and a nice surprise! We can't wait to see them and the kids are so excited they are coming to play. We will keep them busy while they are here and know it will be a really great time. Then two days after they leave, Mat's Aunt Betty comes for a week long visit. We are excited about that as well! We love having her here to play with the kids and visit with us. So many visitors - I love it.

So here are just a few pictures. Yes, Cainan is in a tutu. That was Arlington's doing. We don't have any boy costumes yet, so he wanted to play dress up - according to Arlington- and so this is what she came up with. When I first saw him, he also had a lot of necklaces on. Poor kid. I feel bad for him with two girls in the house.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Can't beat the heat

Okay - so it has been a really long time since I have lived in a place that didn't have air conditioning. The only time I can remember is our first year in Baltimore more than 10 years ago! I have been spoiled. The houses up here - very few of them have air conditioning. They really don't need it. Well, let me digress - they USUALLY don't need it. Who knew it would be 102 degrees two days in a row in Connecticut? This hasn't been pleasant! Yesterday was much worse than today. Today - we are starting to figure out what to do to keep the heat out. We do have ceiling fans and they are helping, and at night it is getting down into the 50s and 60s, so that helps as well. I just think we are going to have to adjust to it. We grew up this way - we have just forgotten. Anyway, we are hoping to put central air in a few years from now, so that will be something to look forward too.

Besides the heat, all is going well. The kids had a great weekend with their grandparents and we are looking forward to Mat's mom and dad's visit this coming weekend. They are staying with us for 5 days - it should be a lot of fun. They are coming to work! That is what I like to hear. We have several projects lined up for while they are here, but we plan on having some fun too. It is supposed to be a little cooler, so hopefully we can be outside for most of the days.

I have started priming Cainan's bedroom. It is next in line to be painted. Goodbye awful faux finish blue and white walls, hello dark beige. I know - boring. But we figure with a neutral color like that, we can then pick his window treatments, carpet and bedding and it won't matter. It isn't a very big room, so we are just going with one color in this room (unlike the girls which has an accent wall). I have it all primed and now I am just waiting to go to the store to get the actual wall color. Two rooms painted - that will be great! They aren't complete, of course, because the carpet, window coverings, baseboards, light fixture - all need to be dealt with. But that comes later. A little paint goes a long way!

We are finding lots of activities around as well. There is a circus next week that I think we are going to take Arlington too. The babies are too little. There is a children's museum, a great aquarium, the seaport, etc., etc. Lots and lots of family stuff not that far from our house. There is this great dinosaur land and water park about 5 minutes from here that we are going to try out pretty soon. Especially with it being so hot! The water park opens on Father's day, so we will be hitting that soon after.

Arlington hasn't had another playdate yet, but she will soon. With company over this weekend and next weekend, it may be a little while before we see her new little friend again. School is wrapping up around here (they go until June 23rd) so it is a busy time for the families getting the end of the year wrapped up. But we are looking forward to getting together with this little girl and her mom again. It helps Arlington to have someone to play with. She gets bored with just us.

We are also going to be visiting Arlington's school probably next week. I would like Arlington to see the school and see the class and meet the teacher to give her something to look forward to. Plus she needs to take a little exam anyway, so we are hoping to get that out of the way. I also need to pick up a packet of information about Kindergarten. How exciting. Our big girl going to school - hard to believe.

The babies are doing great. Finley says "hot" all the time. Especially when we go upstairs to her bedroom. Poor baby. They are outside 5 minutes and they are flushed. We lived in such hot weather, but it is a different heat up here. Plus - right now, being inside isn't that refreshing! She is doing great with her colors and numbers and shapes. She also likes to say "loud" all the time when they are playing. She will come out of the playroom and announce "loud". My response? "No kidding" Now I am going to start working harder with Cainan to get him caught up. Next in line for them - Finley will move into a toddler bed (oh boy), and potty training is about to begin(oh no!!!) Should be interesting.

Okay -so here are a few pictures. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend in Review

I know, I know - I am a day late. We got busy last night and it was too late to post, so I am doing it today. I promise, I am slowly getting back on track!

This weekend was very productive. My parents came up on Friday evening to spend the weekend with us. The played with the kids this weekend so that Mat and I could get the last of the boxes unpacked in the garage and get all of that stuff organized and then finish painting the girls room. So both of those jobs are done. Yeah! We just have to rearrange the Christmas stuff in our new "attic" space, and that should be the end. The girls room is all painted. As some point I am going to have to paint the trim around the windows and baseboards to freshen up the white, but that will be in a little while. The room is no longer blue! It is a nice yellow, and we are pleased with it. Now I just have to finish the quilts for the girls beds and that room will be in good shape. We plan on pulling the carpet up and replacing the lighting and window treatments as well. But little by little!

Tomorrow my parents head back home. We have just a few days and then Mat's parents come for a 5 day visit. We are glad our company is starting to roll in. Arlington is kind of bored, and so we are trying to arrange playdates and have company keep her occupied this summer. Next summer we will have been here long enough we can get her into some summer camps and activities to keep her busy.

The kids are adjusting well. They are loving playing outside and going for walks. We are outside several hours a day. We have a playset in our yard right now (from the old owners) and will be replacing that after our yard is completely landscaped.

We are having our yard excavated (just a small part of it) starting the week of the 16th. It should take about 1 week to complete. We are very excited about it! We live on quite a hill, so we are leveling off a large space in our backyard for a play area for the kids. We are looking forward to that project being completed. (It is being done professionally - we aren't that brave). We will take pictures as it gets under way.

It has been hot here the last two days and we are finding that we are having to be creative to get the house to cool down. We are not used to not having air conditioning. WE are having a heat wave, so let's hope that for the majority of the time, it won't be so stuffy in the house. Someday we will be putting central air in, but since that is a ways away, ceiling fans will have to do!

So that is all for now. Below are some pictures from our weekend. Enjoy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Catch up post number three

Today is the final day of catch up and I will be back to regular posting tomorrow. If you missed the previous two, look below for "catch up post number one" and "catch up post number two" to see pictures from the last days of our vacation and first days in the house.

Today I am catching up by posting Cainan's birthday pictures. We just had a small family party because in July, while we are visiting Pennsylvania, we are having his and Finley's birthday parties there. Since the two are only 30 days apart, we are doing a combined party for them this year. I think it will be that way until they get a little older and really care! So we had ice cream the first night and presents and singing. Then the next night Mat brought home a cupcake for Cainan. We know he doesn't really care for sweets, but we wanted something we could put a candle in. So we sang and he tried to blow out the candle BUT he ate a little of the icing and then cried because it was all over him. He didn't like that. Cainan doesn't like to have his hands messy with food (doesn't seem to mind dirt) so when he couldn't wipe it off, he got upset. Oh well. Arlington ate the icing and Finley ate the little candy off the top, so that was exciting for them!

So here are the pictures. We went to our local "Salem Valley Farms" ice cream stop which is 1 mile from our house. It is the best ice cream you will ever have. We plan on going there a lot this summer!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Catch up post number two

Okay - day two to catch up with some pictures! By tomorrow I will be all caught up and back on track for Saturday. If you missed the first set of pictures, please look at the post below this one to see pictures of our trip to the north when we were in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Today's pictures are from moving day and our first few days in the area. I took a few pictures of the kids, some plants in our front yard (that I am still trying to figure out what they are) and some of our area. Also, one of our favorite house on our block! (besides our own, of course). I don't know if I posted or not, but we met a third neighbor. Actually she is the owner of said favorite house! Her name is Mary and they built their home and have lived here for 14 years. She and her husband have four children ages 14,12,10, and 7. The 7 year old is a little girl, so we are hoping that she and Arlington can play a little. She is a 1st grader, so not too much older. They have a pool and invited us down to swim any time we wanted. It is so nice to meet such nice neighbors.

In the pictures you will see a lot of wooded areas and some road. That area is what leads back into our house. We have a small road at the back of the cul-de-sac that is lines with stone ledges on either side and planters and that leads back to our area. It is really nice. I took the pictures while we were out on one of our walks through the neighborhood.

There is also a picture of Arlington with box stickers all over her arm. Each box is marked with a lot number sticker and as the boxes and items were coming in, she decided to decorate herself with the numbers. She is hilarious. She kept them on all day.

And there are two pictures of the deer we saw in our back yard. They aren't great pictures because I took them through the glass, but you can see them pretty well.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Catch up post one

So over the next couple of days, I am going to play catch up. Each day I will put a reminder, so if you are interested in seeing the pictures I post, you can look at them.

I am going to post today the pictures of our last days in Baltimore and our Philadelphia trip.
I know I posted all the details about Philadelphia and Baltimore in my last post, so I will just have the pictures. You can read the post below (dated Sunday June 1st) to catch up.

By the way - Cainan's birthday was June 2nd. We had a little family party for him that day with presents and singing. Since our girls are allergic to cake, we decided to have "birthday ice cream" instead. Cainan actually doesn't really love cake. But I will post those pictures in a few days once I get them organized. Our little boy turned 2! He is getting so big. Sleeping in a big boy bed, and just talking more and more every day. We are just two short months away from our 1 year anniversary since he became part of our family. Time goes by so fast!

So enjoy the pictures of Baltimore (Saturday May 24th) and our Philadelphia days (May 24th-26th)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

So sorry

That seems to be a running theme in my posts lately – sorry! Actually this time it isn't my fault. We don't have internet, cable or phone yet at our new house. It is a long story, but the quick version is that it looks like the cable line to our house was cut at sometime, and now Comcast has to install a new line. Three people have been out to look at it so far, and we were told they could fix it, but it may take two weeks. So I am at Panera Bread right now using their internet connection to catch up a little a post a short little thing of what we have been up to!

Let me start back a week. Saturday May 24th – we were still in Baltimore for the morning. We had lunch at my friend Gina's house with her family and my friend Sara. I had a chance to see her BEAUTIFUL house. She and her husband have done a wonderful job fixing an old house they bought around 4-5 years ago. It looks amazing. I knew it would because Gina has a great eye for design. We had a nice cookout with them and at 1:30, we were on the road to Philadelphia. It only took about 2 ½ hours to get there, and we were staying with Mat's cousin, Jon and his family. It was nice to see them. They have three boys ages 9,7 and 3. The three year old and Finley are DOUBLES. Even in attitude, which isn't necessarily a good thing! But all 6 kids played so well together. Our kids were glad to finally have playmates after a long week on the road.

We stayed in Philadelphia until Monday morning. We had a nice weekend. Saturday we just relaxed and cooked out for dinner. Sunday we went to a park, the kids swam a little in the afternoon, and we had another cookout Sunday night. Very fun weekend. We were happy to be able to stay with them and get to know their kids better. They are in the process of moving to Pittsburgh, so we are excited we will be able to see them when we are home visiting family.

Monday morning May 26th we left around 10am and headed for our new home in Connecticut. Since we had to drive through New Jersey and New York, we hit some traffic so it took about 4 hours to get there. Not bad though. We were home around 2pm and the kids were excited to see their new home. We let them explore and look around for a few hours and then we went out to get some dinner. We settled on an Olive Garden which was close to our house because being a holiday, all of the local places were closing early! But that was fine. We also went to Target to get a few essentials to make us a few days until we could go grocery shopping. We didn't have our furniture yet, but had things with us for sleeping on. The kids were tired and went to bed early.

Tuesday the 27th – delivery day! This day started early for us, but the movers didn't get here until 9:30. That was fine. It started a little rough. The crew chief was a little upset about our narrow driveway, and they had to get a shuttle truck to bring our items from the 18 wheeler to our house. So the move didn't actually get started until 11am. But they prepped the house and got everything ready, and things got started. We live on a cul -de sac and the kids enjoyed playing outside while the moving truck went back and forth for our stuff. The move was complete around 4pm, and EVERY box was accounted for. That was a first for us. We were glad! There are a few dings, and it looks like we lost one of our TVs (it doesn't seem to be working), but all in all - a good move. I had spent the afternoon unpacking and by the time we went to bed Tuesday night, I had the kitchen complete. I was pretty proud of myself!

Wednesday the 28th – Mat's first day of work at Pfizer! He left bright and early for work and had a great first day. He got home around 5:30. It looks like his hours are going to be around 7:30-5 or 8-5, which is great. And NO weekends, which is AWESOME. But he is going to be busy at work. Academia in science is a much slower pace than industry. That is good, though – he needs focus! Ha! But his days are shorter and he gets actual vacation and holidays, so that is wonderful news.
On the home front on Wednesday – the kids and I unpacked in our new basement/playroom. Our basement is completely finished – drywall, carpet, ceiling, closets, etc. It is nice. So we made that the playroom. We even put a couch, TV and VCR down there, and that is working out great. Every toy they own is in that space with plenty of space left over. We even have the treadmill down there. IT is a great size. It isn't heated, but we are going to do that ourselves. Right now it is a little chilly down there, but thank goodness we are heading into summer.

Wednesday was also the day we found out we weren't getting cable for awhile. Bummer.

Thursday the 29th – this day, the kids now have a functional playroom, so while they play I was able to unload some more boxes. I got the girls room done this day. After putting everything away and organizing, the room is HUGE. They have so much space. There are two closets so they each have one and there is a ton of room to move around. This will be the first room we repaint, so I wanted to get it done. I did little odds and ends this day to in a couple other rooms.

Friday the 30th – this day I did Cainan's room and the master bedroom. Cainan has the smallest room, but a really big closet. So we will be using his closet for some storage. We set him up in his big boy bed, but he kept falling out of it, so we decided to keep him in his crib that we converted to a toddler bed for a little while. He did much better in that, and hasn't fallen out once.

Friday was also an exciting day!!!! Friday evening my new nephew was born!! He was born on Friday May 30th and weighed 6 pound 7 ounces. He was three weeks early! My sister in law had been dilated 3 cm, but her baby was breach. So they were going to do a C-section no matter what, so her water broke Friday afternoon, and a few hours later, he was here. They decided to name him Ethan Phillip. They had kept the name a secret for several months, which was fun! I can't wait to see him. This will be the only time I post his name, so feel lucky. :) This is my brother and his wife's first baby.

Saturday May 31st. - this day Mat and I were both home, so we moved it on the unpacking. We actually opened all the boxes that were in the house, got them emptied, and mostly put away. It was a big job, but it was raining outside, so not much else to do. So now the office, dining room, kitchen, girls room, Cainan's room, masterbedroom, and two upstairs bathrooms are put together. We have the family room all unpacked it just needs to be organized the way we want it, and we have the dreaded garage yet to do. We will do that another time, though. Right now we need to take a break. :)

Arlington and I also went to the library on this day. It is a cute little library. We were able to check out a few books and movies to bring home. It is only 3 miles from our house, so we will be going there often. I met a local mom and her kids and a local dad and his daughter while I was there. They over head me say that I was new in town and wanted to introduce themselves. Both Pfizer families, of course! Their little girls were Kindergarteners, so not much older than Arlington. We chatted for awhile and then Arlington and I headed home.

The excavator also came on this day to talk to us about our back yard project. We were disappointed to learn that we weren't going to be able to do exactly what we wanted, but I think it is going to be nice in the end. We are going to start small and go from there. We should hear from him either Monday or Tuesday about his proposed cost.

Today Mat and I are going to finish up inside the house with the little odds and ends we have left and he is going to mow the grass. (Gulp). It looks like it is going to be a nice day to get the yard done. Then after that is done, we are just going to relax for the rest of the day. We are tired and sore from working this week on the house, that we are going to take a break.

So a couple of odds and ends:

1.The people here and REALLY nice. All of them. Customer service people, locals, etc. Everyone talks to you where ever you go. People don't push and shove, no one is in a hurry. I will be standing in line and the people in front of me will strike up a conversation about whatever. They talk to our kids. Cainan, our family greeter, says hi to everyone, and guess what???? They say hi back and comment on how cute our kids are. We are blown away. After 4 years in ugly, miserable Florida, this is very refreshing.
2.The house is a little rough. It is fine for the most part, but a 12 year old house has 12 year old problems. The house was not these people's first priority. It was dirty and the walls are pretty banged up and scratched. But with a little love, new paint, and new light fixtures, it will be better in now time. It is just going to take time and one room at a time to get it the way we want. The size is perfect for us and the room layouts are perfect. That was the biggest deal. The cosmetic stuff, we can handle.
3.The gas is $4.27. Enough said.
4.We joined a wholesale club – BJ's. This will hopefully prevent us from having to go to the grocery store very often. The wholesale club and grocery store are only about 10 miles away, but with three kids, I find it hard to get out very often to do grocery shopping. So this will help. It was fun going in there.
5.We are without cable, internet, and phone. I am getting a lot done because of this, but it is still a pain!
6.We saw two deer in our backyard yesterday. I looked out the window and there they were – munching on grass. Right by our deck – so cool!
7.We have met two different neighbors. One has the other little girl in our neighborhood that is going to Kindergarten next year with Arlington. That was big one. They were very nice – they came out to meet us one day and we got to have a nice talk. The other, we met the dad and a little girl who was 4 years old. They were also very nice. Most of them have been in the neighborhood 5 or more years. There are a lot of families on our block from baby up to teenager. Every yard I see there is a play structure, so that is great.

I think that is about it. I don't think I am going to be able to post pictures until we get our internet at home. I don't want to be at Panera for hours waiting for them to upload. Sorry about that! I will try to post next weekend and maybe sooner if the cable comes this week. I promise once we are up and running here at home I will be back to my Tuesday and Saturday weekly posts.