Saturday, June 6, 2015

We Bought A House!

So it's been awhile...

Let's just skip past the fact that I haven't written in months, and jump right in, shall we?

It's crazy to me to think that I've been blogging since I was still a newlywed, about 6.5 years ago.  At that time, we had just bought a house.  The house had 3 apartments in it.  We lived in the one on the top floor and rented out the other 2.  The situation was the perfect set-up for us as broke newlyweds.  Ha!  But in my mind, I was hoping we would only be living there for about 5 years.

3 years later, we got the opportunity to move into the first floor apartment.  Back then we had been struggling with infertility, so even though the downstairs apartment was smaller, it was prettier and much more convenient.  So we excitedly moved in, not thinking about how small it would seem once we had kids.

Then we had a baby.  While I was in grad school.  And things were fine for about a year after Scarlett was born.  But then all of a sudden it was like the walls started closing in on us.

There were toys EVERYWHERE.  Our living room was a glorified playroom.  All of our closets were packed full and there was literally no room for anything else.

Somehow the smaller our apartment seemed, the louder it seemed, too.  We lived next to a fire department, so there were sirens going off at all hours of the day and night.  And I completely appreciate the service of the firemen and paramedics!!  Don't get me wrong. It's just a very loud place to live, next to them.

Also, every Saturday at noon, they would test the tornado siren.  I can't even describe how loud that is every week.  You can hear it miles away, and yet we were yards away from it.

Also, living in the bottom apartment isn't the quietest place to be when there are hard wood floors above.

And we lived a few yards from a semi-busy road where many tractors, semi-trucks, and loud motorcycles ride.

All of that plus a toddler just did no mix.

We had begun our house-hunt in the spring of 2014.  And the Reader's Digest version of the story is that in the next 12 or 13 months, and through a series of events/circumstances that could only have been ordained by the Lord himself, we bought and are now living in what I'm pretty sure must be the perfect house for our little family.

Displaying IMG_3484.JPG 

It is on a quiet street.  It is further away from the road than our old house.  There are woods owned by the park on the north side, woods owned by our neighbor on the south and east sides, and one beautiful house surrounded by open fields across the road.  We went form noise everywhere to feeling pretty secluded.  It is so peaceful!  And we have a yard!  Small, but big enough for us.  It is perfect.

Here is the view out of our big picture windows in the living room:
Displaying IMG_3510.JPG(That's Scarlett watching the birds one day before we moved in. Ha!)

And a view of our front yard on a rainy day last week:
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We are feeling SO BLESSED.  I can't even tell you how much easier my life feels since this house is actually big enough for us, and so quiet and peaceful (have I mentioned that it's peaceful? Ha!)

This past year has been such an experience.  It was so difficult getting into the swing of things at my new job, and I felt stressed and depressed a lot of the year, and took it out on my family at times.  Things just seemed so hard!  But now we have moved into the new house, and I had my last day of work for the school year on Wednesday.  And I am able to spend my entire summer with my family in this new, wonderful house.  It's just a reminder that God is here, and even when life feels so hard sometimes, there will be brighter days.  I feel like as bad as some days were last winter, they're that good plus a whole lot better this summer.  I feel like I've made it through that storm, and I fully intend to make the most of every moment now until the next one comes along!

***

Thanks for sticking with me if you're still reading this even after my rare postings lately.  Now that I have some free time, I want to try to blog more often this summer.  I've gotten really into You Tube lately, and might try to do a few videos this summer as well.  I want to film a home tour sometime next week if I can get the guts to do it! Ha!  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snow Day Perfection

One of the big, positive things about working as a school SLP is the possibility of snow days.  We've used 4 already this year, and one of them was today!  Nothing beats the thrill of getting that call and knowing I've been granted 9 extra hours with Scarlett. 

We started the day by watching Frozen.  I don't often let Scarlett just sit and watch a movie, but she woke up extra early and has been begging to watch it for days.  So I thought a lazy morning was in order. 

Later, after lunch, we went outside to play in the snow!  It was her first time really playing in the snow, and she had a blast!

(She insisted on wearing the sunglasses.  Or "eyes" as she calls them.)


 She was so disappointed when we had to go inside she cried big, crocodile tears.  It just about broke my heart!  But she doesn't have the proper snow equipment/clothing to stay out for more than 20 minutes or so, so I had to deal with the heart-wrenching sobs.  She just kept saying, "snow?! snow?! more snow!"  over and over again. 

She eventually got over it, because I made her some hot cocoa, which she immediately fell in love with (obviously).  Then my mom came to visit, so her day was made.

The Lord is teaching me on these special days that it is not always about quantity of time, but quality of time when it comes to Scarlett.  I still struggle with nagging guilt and sadness about leaving her daily to go to my job.  But then God reminds me that if I was with her all day every day, I might not see how special a day like today is.  I might not seize every moment the way I do now.  I'm going to make the most of the time I have with her.  Finding the peace in this situation is a daily battle, but one that I'm getting better at fighting.

And when times are really tough, I just remind myself of another perk or working at a school.  Or should I say 3 perks:  June, July and August!  I'm pretty much going to be in heaven when that time rolls around!

***

And just for fun, a comparison of the first time she ever experienced the snow, vs. a year later the first time she actually played in the snow.  Because we all know how much I love comparison pics.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Halloween 2014 Recap

I'm going to attempt to recap some of the things I've missed in the past 6 months, since I haven't been blogging regularly.

I want to start by recapping our Halloween.  Scarlett had been in a serious Minnie phase for a few months.  (She still is, but not to the same degree).  We decided Minnie would be a perfect Halloween costume idea for her.

There is just something about a non-mass produced/ homemade costume that I just love.  I wanted Scarlett's costume to look unique, and somehow all the pieces of her costume just sort of fell into my lap.  My mom found the red dress at a thrift store.  It originally had wings and black netting and was a lady bug costume, but I fixed it up a bit to look more like Minnie.  Luke's aunt had made the ears when his cousin was a baby, so we borrowed those from her.  I drew three little lines on a pair of mittens, and they became perfect Minnie hands. I just put a black onesie and a pair of black tights on under everything, and voila: Minnie costume! 


Oh wait...I almost forgot my favorite part: the tail!  My mom made it.  There was wire inside, so it could be bent and shaped.


The first time we put the costume on Scarlett, you should have seen the look on her face when she looked in the mirror and realized that she was dressed as Minnie!  She could not have been more excited.


Cutest little Minnie Mouse you ever did see!

We spent the evening making donuts at our church's big trunk or treat night.  It was FREEZING (I'm pretty sure it snowed the next day) but we had so much fun!

...And just for fun, here's last year's costume:


 Little Princess Leia! 

So fun!  I can't wait to see what next Halloween will have in store, especially since Scarlett will be old enough to have a say in her costume! (Which makes me think we will probably end up with a little Elsa, Anna, or Olaf next year, but we shall see!) 










Tuesday, January 13, 2015

18 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,
You are now 18 months old!  Can you believe it?  I thought the first year of your life flew by, but it was nothing compared to the past 6 months. 


Somehow, right before our eyes, you have changed from a baby to a toddler.  You finally started walking at around 16 months, and you've been your own little person ever since.  You seem much happier now that you're fully mobile!  Now you love to run and dance and "jump" (which is really you just bending your knees and standing back up quickly, but we won't break that little secret to you).


You are still our little peanut, and weighed 17 lbs, 11 oz at your 18-month appointment.  You are also 2', 6" tall.  You still fit into 12-month clothing, although we are starting to experience a dilemma with your pants: when they fit around your waste, they are like capris, and when they're long enough, they fall down.  Life is going to be really rough when you are potty trained and we don't have the extra padding of your diaper to keep your pants up! Ha!

You are a bit of a picky eater, and it's hard to predict what you will eat.  One day you will love something and gobble it down, and the next you turn your nose up at the same thing.  You're very inconsistent.  Pizza is the one food we can always count on!  Whenever I ask you want you want to eat, the answer is usually "pizza, pizza, pizza!"  And occasionally  you'll say "cookies,"  which you actually pronounce as "coo-coo!" 


You've been talking a lot lately.  In the past week or so, you've seemed like a sponge just absorbing everything you hear, and repeating it.  Earlier tonight, I told Daddy that I have a cold and feel terrible.  Just like a parrot, your little voice exclaimed, "taa-ble!"  Daddy and I burst out laughing.  We are definitely going to have to have to be good examples and watch what we say around you now!  You repeat so much!

You've also recently started to put two or three simple words together.  You say things like, "no no, kitty!" (you love to yell at them),  "Hi, mama! [or whoever you are talking to]",  "bye bye dada", "oh no!" "oh boy," and sometimes you'll just ramble off a bunch of random words, like you're trying to show us how smart you are: "hi mama dada bye bye kitty nana pappa gapa [what you call grandpa and grandma]..."  Yesterday you had me laughing out loud when you put your sock on your hand and made it speak gibberish in a silly voice.  You must have seen someone else do that!


Your personality is coming out more and more each day, too.  You are one silly girl!  You love to laugh, and you love to make everyone around you laugh.  You can also be a little ham.  However, only when you are very comfortable.  When you are around anyone that you don't know, you freeze up and won't say a word.  I'm afraid you are going to be shy like Mommy!  


You are also a sweetheart, and you love to help out around the house.  You're starting to follow directions pretty well, so it's fun to let you help with things.   We're trying to teach you to pick up after yourself, and you're doing pretty well.

However, there are times when you just don't want to do something, and that's when your stubbornness comes out.  You definitely know what you want, and give us a little attitude when you don't get it.  We are teaching you that you don't always get your way.  I am hoping that we can teach you to obey, but still keep that little bit of fire in you.


I always loved the name Scarlett because it sounds feminine, but it's not a "sissy" name.  Although you were not named after Scarlett O'Hara, the name always makes me think of her a little bit, and she was definitely a strong lady with a mind of her own.  And it's funny, because you, little Scarlett, are the same way.  You are dainty and feminine in your mannerisms and even your interests (for example, you are still completely obsessed with Elsa and Frozen).  However, you are also a strong little girl.  Like I said, you know what you want, and you will put up a fight for it.  And you're not just into girly things, but you also love to play ball, play with cars, and you've recently developed a serious fascination with fire trucks.  I think your name matches your personality so well, and I just love getting to know you more and more each day.  God has certainly blessed us through you more than we could have ever imagined!


We love you so much!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy



Friday, October 3, 2014

Anybody Still There?

I can't believe I haven't blogged since August.  Many times, I have tried to start a blog post, and just haven't been able to finish it.  Life has just been so busy, and to be honest, Instagram is just easier.  If you would like to keep in touch more regularly, follow me there...jessicaw1106. 

But anyway, I was sitting her on my day off and just got the urge to write.

Speaking of my "day off,"  I got a job!  I am officially a speech language pathologist, and I got a job in an elementary school.  Pretty much a dream come true.  And now that it's happened, I feel like I'm drowning and I'm so overwhelmed!  But I think once the dust settles, I'm going to really like it. 

I'm jumping the gun a bit.  Let's rewind back to the middle of August when I graduated.  That's right...that insane experience known as "grad school" is now over.  I didn't think I'd survive it, but here I am on the other side of it, and it feels like just another blip on the radar in life.  What's that they say? "It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small."  Oh, right.  Elsa says that.  (The Frozen phenomenon has not yet ended in our house).

Anyway, I survived the most intense externship over the summer and the hardest 8 weeks of my life, and graduated on August 16.  I walked in my ceremony, and then my family had a party for me and my brother-in-law who happened to graduate on the same day, from the same (large) university, in the same ceremony.  (Small world!)  It was a day that felt like such a milestone.  One of those days I know I'll remember for the rest of  my life.  I decided to go back to school because I couldn't get pregnant and wanted to take my life in a different direction.  And then I ended up holding my one-year-old daughter in graduation pictures.  Funny how things work out!  God's timing is phenomenal.


I had a magical 8 weeks after my externship ended and before I started my job that I got to spend as a stay-at-home mom.  8 weeks is the longest amount of time I've had at home since Scarlett was born, and having that time with my family was amazing.  Here are some pictures that convey the awesomeness of our summer!

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

The good thing about working at a school means that I get to spend every summer like this!  Yes, 9 months of the year are going to be CRAZY.  But the other 3 are going to make up for it! 

Hopefully this post means I'll be back to blogging.  Unfortunately, I have no idea if I'll blog again tomorrow, or in 3 months.  We'll just have to see how it goes.  But I sure do miss it, and each one of my blog friends!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Scarlett's Pink Lemonade First Birthday Party

If you have stuck with me throughout my unplanned hiatus the past couple of months, I am very thankful!  I have missed blogging, but just haven't had time for it.  But I'm completely DONE with school, and I graduate a week from tomorrow!  So I hope to be posting more regularly as well as catching up on all of your blogs (again).  Hopefully I don't fall off the face of the blogosphere again!  

***

I was so excited about Scarlett's birthday party!  As in, I started pinning things and decided on a theme back in December.  Seriously.  I knew I would have a busy few months due to finishing school, so I thought I better plan ahead!  I decided on a pink lemonade theme, because I thought it was cute and girly, and perfect for the middle of summer.  We decided to have Scarlett's party at our church cafe.  It turned out to be such a nice day!  

I was in the middle of probably the most hectic, intense 8 weeks of my life with my last externship for grad school.  So needless to say, I pretty much needed a vacation after this party in the middle of it all.  But thankfully I had so much help from family!  I would have never been able to put everything together without them, and I am so thankful.  

***

So here's my picture-heavy recap of Scarlett's first birthday party:

I made this banner in Microsoft Power Point, and it was so easy!  Who would have ever though Power Point would be the easiest program for crafty things like this, but it really is!  I used it a lot for Scarlett's party.

And here is a picture of the cake table.  The outer wall of our church cafe is pretty much solid windows from floor to ceiling, which makes for a beautiful setting!

My mom got Scarlett's cake for her from a nearby bakery where one of her friends works (The bakery at Hartville Kitchen).  I thought it was perfect!

The smash cake was adorable as well.

And my mom made some really cute cupcakes with lemon candies on top.


 

My sister-in-law Maria created this adorable fruit display.

And of course we had to have a lemonade table.  We decorated it with paper straws, lemons, the chalkboard I made a few years ago, and Lemon Head Boxes.


The centerpieces were flowers from my grandpa's garden that my mom arranged into pretty bouquets in mason jars.

My family members all pitched in to help with the food, and I really didn't even make anything!  Luke and I really do have the best families! On the menu was veggie pizza, chicken salad on croissants, tortilla chips and 2 different types of dip (buffalo chicken and jalapeno popper), and mixed fruit.  

I made food labels in Power Point and taped them to toothpicks that I stuck into lemons.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and thought it was so cute!

On the mantle we put some more lemons, Lemon Heads and tulle in my mother-in-law's apothecary jars, a "Keep Calm and Drink Lemonade" sign that I made, and another lemonade sign (I can't remember where that one came from!)  The pictures in the banner are Scarlett's monthly pictures (notice the colors of her onesies in her monthly pictures match the colors of the party.  One perk of knowing the theme way ahead of time!  ...And of having OCD. Ha!) 


We had to put a room divider up, so my mom and sister decorated it with streamers and lots of pictures of Scarlett mounted on scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby.

 ***

And now, onto some pictures of the party itself!

She was definitely a fan of her frosting!




The birthday girl, looking a little dazed and sleepy!  (unfortunately she did not nap well that morning).  I love her dress.  I just wanted something pink and sweet.  I found it on Zulilly.  I tried to get her to wear a yellow headband, but she is sadly beyond the point of wearing headbands.  She wouldn't keep it in for anything!

 This is her infamous "o" face.  She does it whenever she is excited by anything.  And this is my current favorite picture of her: 

Here it is again:

Me and my girl:

Here she is with Great Grandma Lorie

 And Papa (Luke's dad)

This picture makes me so excited for all these kids to grow up together.  Future bffs!

With Aunt Moey (or Moe Moe as Scarlett calls her)

And with the grandmas.  This was toward the end of the day and she was in desperate need of a nap!  

What a special day!  I still can't believe she's over a year old already!  Time flies when you're having fun!  But as always, I wish it would slow down!