"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


We've been busy fixing up this house, y'all.  There are things that have to be done, things that need done but aren't urgent, and then just things we want to do.  Drew's been working like crazy and knocking all kinds of stuff out.  The house is looking great and as I get everything more put together, I'll be taking photos to share. 
Want a funny story, though?  The shutters and front door of our house are in fine shape, but I think they look tired and old.  I've been dreaming of painting them since the day we made an offer on the house.  I finally made my color decision and was so pumped about getting it done.  I went to Sherwin Williams after I dropped Eleanor at school yesterday and told the guy what I wanted.  Black shutters and the most perfect blue color that I spent a month searching for for the door.  Then he rained on my shutter painting parade.  Did you know that you can't paint plastic or vinyl shutters black?  Well, you can do whatever you want, but you should know that if the shutters started out as a light color (ours were originally white), that the material is not made to withstand the heat that they will soak up if you paint them black.  The sun will heat them up and make them warp & crack.  Big fat bummer. (Side note: If you buy black shutters, they were made specifically to withstand the sun's heat and you'll be fine.)  I contemplated swapping the colors, painting the door black and the shutters blue, but finally decided that I may not love that.  I should have just left and come back when I had a different plan, but instead I decided that a gray would work.  I picked a gray that is actually the color of our laundry room and so I just knew I'd like it.  Y'all, I came home and scrubbed each and every one of the 14 shutters with TSP to clean them well and prep them for painting.  Then I pried that can open and with one swipe I knew.  It was the SAME COLOR.  I picked the exact same color that they already are. You couldn't even tell where I had painted.  It turns out that the color I love in the dark laundry room, I do not love on the very sunny front of our house.  So I pouted a while. 

Me:  The paint I bought for the shutters is the exact color that's already on there.
Drew: That's good right?  That means you like it?
Me: No.  It means I still hate it.
Drew: (laughing)
Me: I'm gonna pout about it a while.
Drew: Okay.

I thought that a $30 gallon of paint would update the house exterior and that someday, when we can afford to, we could replace them with the cedar shutters that we'd love to have.  All things considered, I've decided to just leave them be.  I'll paint the front door the color I originally wanted to and just leave the shutters.  At least they are clean now. 
I present you, the same old boring shutters. Can you tell the tiny part I painted?  Neither can I. 
 Other stuff. 
We've been to Lowe's approximately 127 times in the last two weeks.  (I'm not even sure if I'm exaggerating there.  We have been SO MANY TIMES.)  Eleanor loves it because they have car carts she can drive.  Last week when we went, they had the Halloween decorations out.  Eleanor loves the scary monsters.  You know, the big blow up characters for your front yard?  She loves them.  You can tell she's slightly scared of them, but she really wants to keep looking at them.  I dare you to keep pushing the cart through the store so that she does not have line of sight to the scary monsters.  I dare you.  She will repeat, "Monsters?  Scary?  Look at them? Please?!"  Over and over and over and over.  She will not stop.  And she's not quiet.  It doesn't matter how many times you promise that she can look at them again before you leave.  She will keep asking.  So we went and looked at them again.  We got close enough that she could touch one of them.  She talked to them and even scolded the scary monsters by saying, "Be nice, monsters!"  Then we had to check out.  And she lost it.  LOST HER COOL.  When the lady in the line next to us realized what she was upset about, she could not stop laughing.  Poor Eleanor.  Toddler life is hard
Speaking of toddler talking.  She really talks all the time.  I take a good deal of the blame/credit for this.   I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me that part of this is possibly genetic for her.  Birth mom talked non stop.  It was sometimes overwhelming, but I always welcomed it with her because it helped me to know more about her life.  But she could talk.  So maybe Eleanor is a bit hard wired to be a talker.  Now, the vocabulary and grammar, I'm gonna take a lot of credit for that one.  We've been reading to her from day one.  We talk to her like she's a human, not a baby.  She's with grown ups most of the time, so she hears real conversation, not baby talk.  Most of the time, I find her speech and vocabulary quite endearing and entertaining (especially now that she's using her imagination more), but I do worry that she doesn't know when to shut it.  She has two teachers at school.  One I warm and fuzzy and I like her.  I'm pretty sure she loves Eleanor and handles her sass well.  The other is not as warm and fuzzy and I find her harder to read.  I'm not sure that she appreciates Eleanor's sass.  She's not rude, and I haven't been pulled to the side to be "talked to" about Eleanor's behavior or inability to listen or sit still (that witnessed that happening to another mom at pick up one day and thanked God that it wasn't me), but I know she talks non stop at school.  After school last week:

Teacher [politely, but seriously]:  Does she talk this much at home? 

Monday during nap time, when she wouldn't so much as lay down, not to mention be quiet. (as told to me by the teacher at pick up):

Teacher: Eleanor, do you ever stop talking?
Eleanor: Nope.  (and continued on with what she was saying)  

However, this was her daily report on Monday, so maybe she is listening a bit better when necessary. 
As for my part in this, I need to do better when I'm with her.  I'm super guilty of continuing a conversation with her when it really needs to end. She asks for something, I say not, she asks again, I explain why the answer is still no, she asks again... I think you get my point.  I'm sure this method has an actual name, but all I can remember is Cheryl telling me to keep it simple (even when your kids are older and know better than to argue).  They ask, you answer, the end.  I need to do this and I'm trying. 
As for nap time at school, she just doesn't need a nap at noon.  She nap at home at noon.  She naps closer to 2 or 230 and sleeps 2-3 hours.  So coming home after school and having a nap is much better for her (and for me) than a non nap or short nap at school.  I've told them this from the beginning and was told there would be a no-napping room put together after a couple of weeks when the no-nappers were identified and routines settled in.  Now we're a month in and there's still not a no-napping class.  I don't want her to be a disturbance to the kids that need to nap, but, if I'm honest, I don't want her to be scolded for two hours to be quiet and lay still when her little body is simply not ready to do so. By the time she unsuccessfully naps at school for 2 hours and then comes home and takes the nap she actually needs, she's spent half her day trying to lay still.  I've continually mentioned it to the teachers and they are obviously hoping for a non-napping class as well.  Tomorrow I am going to try to catch the director and see where that stands.  I'm praying about it because I don't want to come across like I'm complaining, but it is most definitely a concern. I'd love if you'd pray with me.
Also, my house is a disaster zone.  It used to look like a magazine cover, then... toys, toys, everywhere. 
 Helping Daddy fix her bathroom faucet. 
 Eleanor & Mac, watching Drew cut down a couple of trees in front of the door.  (Which is funny, because I'm not sure that Mac can see anything.  He walked into the pool again yesterday while he was outside with Drew.  He's okay, but it's honestly like he doesn't even know where he is.  This morning he got stuck behind the door because when I opened it he went to the wrong side.  He just stood there like he didn't know what else to do.  If I was guessing, I'd say he sees light and shadows, but I'm not sure he see much of anything else.) 
 I told you about the shutter failure, but I did actually get one big thing done yesterday while Eleanor was at school.  I painted her room.  Keep reading to the end of this ridiculously long post for before & after photos.  I did stop to take a picture in my favorite painting overalls, just to poke fun at myself.  I think that my straight outta the 90's marbled blue shower in the background really makes the photo.  Lol. 
 Our front walk has these brick inlays, but they were in poor shape.  Drew removed all the bricks, replaced the broken ones and made it look beautiful.  Once we swept away the paving sand, I filled Eleanor's little watering can so she could damp it down. 
 Today has been a stay at home and get normal stuff done day, so I was able to let Eleanor sleep until she woke up.  Lordy, what a positive difference that makes in our day!  I went to get her dressed and only made it as far as the shirt before she started making requests.  She doesn't do a ton of that, so I happily obliged.  She chose Minnie Mouse slippers, a pink tutu (that she calls a "tattoo"), and a headband with a gigantic flower on it.  Also, she's discovered new old books that have been packed away. 

Since I painted her room yesterday, she & I worked on hanging things on the walls today.  I was hanging a shelf when I looked over and found her with the laser level up on the wall.  She may be a home improvement toddler expert by the time we're done.  (Haha, like we'll ever be DONE.) 
 The security alarm guy is here installing the new system today, so Eleanor & I spent a lot of time in my bedroom, folding laundry.  She thinks it's a hat.  Nobody tell her it's a mesh bag used for washing bras. 
5 Year Journal prompt for Sept 19: Favorite things I did this week

My favorite thing I've done so far this week is complete Eleanor's room.  I'm so happy that she has her room put back together and I think that she is, too.  We spent all evening playing in there as she discovered toys that she hasn't seen in a month or more.  We rocked and read books.  We worked on organizing her closet and trying on every pair of shoes she has.  I'm just so happy to have that room together and I'm excited to show you the before and after photos! 

The MLS photo of Eleanor's room and exactly what it looked like when we moved in.  One reason we looked at this house online for months before actually deciding to come look in person was the dated fixtures and ALL THE HONEY OAK.  It's everywhere.  The plantation shutters are beautiful, but all my eyes could see was the honey oak. 
 I'm actually growing fond of all this honey oak trim now.  With the right paint colors, it makes the house feel warm and cozy.  Oh, and the shutters are fantastic.  After a new ceiling fan, paint, and Eleanor's things.
 That flower painting above her toy box was painted by Drew's Grandma Ann.  My plan is to add photos and other lovelies to that wall as time goes on. 
This may be the cheapest room update that we'll have to report on!  A $70 ceiling fan was the only expense.  The paint was left behind by the former owners (a full 5 gallon bucket!) and I love the color.  It's a beautiful gray, and in case anyone is interested, it is Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Eleanor loves school.  But don't call it school.  It's church.  She will correct you.  She goes to class at church and she'll tell you so.  This morning she was pumped up and excited to get there. When I got her inside she went straight into her classroom and I had to stop at the door to ask her for a kiss.  She came running over, puckered up, gave me a big kiss, and then waved and yelled, "Have a good day!" as she rushed back in to her friends.  She's awesome. 
Some photos from the good camera from the last week...

 We found a ladybug on the bench in the back yard yesterday.  She spent a LONG time watching it crawl and then crying when it finally escaped into the grass. 

 She used a piece of grass to touch it and it flapped its wings.  She gasped. 
 She still has chubby little baby hands and I love them.  She also had a ladybug stamp on her hand from church earlier in the day.  Seemed fitting. 

 "There it is!" 
 Attitude.  Girl has attitude. 
 And then Mac walked right into the deep end of the pool.  We were all out there and Drew was able to rescue him immediately, thank goodness.  When he fell in on our first day in this house he tried to swim.  This time he didn't even try.  He kept sinking and Drew reached in shoulder deep to pull him out.  We're worried about him and afraid the stress of the move has been too much for him.  He's acting a bit senile.  Combine that with his very limited vision and you get a dog that walks into swimming pools, runs into walls, gets lost in the house, and is over all pretty pitiful.  I'm not sure how to help him, so we're just keeping a close eye on him and trying to be patient.  Also, the pool guy is scheduled to come close down & cover the pool on the 25th, so that will give me more peace of mind in that regard.
Seriously pitiful after his latest dip in the pool. 
 5 Year Journal prompts... yesterday's was so timely that I put it off for a day.

September 13th: How did I spend my free time today?
-When I laid Eleanor down for a nap yesterday, I came into my office to blog.  I read the journal prompt for the day and then realized that that was my chance for free time!  So instead of writing about free time, I took my free time out to the back porch.  I put my feet up, ate a string cheese (wild, I know), and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon outside.

September 14th: Write a limerick about today.
-Whew, this is a hard one!  I'm gonna try, though.  Cut me some slack, I'm no poet. 

There is a girl named Eleanor
whose life is never a bore.
She runs where she goes
and she never ever slows.
She is awesome down to her core. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


We are official!  We closed on the new house yesterday and we are so excited! 
I don't think I've shared a photo of our home yet.  Isn't it beautiful?

We are really enjoying our back yard.  We have Eleanor's toys set up in a back corner and there's a bench for us to sit on while she plays.  The view of the house from that spot is just lovely.  
 Last night when I was saying bedtime prayers with Eleanor...
Me: Dear God, thank you for...
Eleanor: Braeden, Kayla, Misty, Kyle
Me: Are you thankful for Mommy and Daddy? 
Eleanor: Yeah.  Olaf, Christoph, Anna...
The prayers continued, but I thought it was so funny that she was praying for the characters from Frozen.  We joked that she should be Olaf for Halloween and the next day I found this costume at a discount store.  She wore it around the house for an hour and we laughed so much.  I don't know if she'll wear it for Halloween, but it will surely be fun for dress up. 

 Razorback football was a joke on Saturday, but we had a fun day and we looked cute :) 
 Drew has a never ending supply of energy, especially if there is a project to be done.  On Sunday afternoon he emptied the shed so that he could clean it and put everything back freshly organized. 
 Eleanor was in school yesterday when we closed, so we took advantage of the opportunity to go on a lunch date together and celebrate our new home. 
You guys, we are so grateful.  We aren't always so great about trusting that God has a plan, especially when we want something really bad and things may not go our way.  But here we are and we are so grateful that he planned each detail that allowed this to happen.  

5 Year Journal prompt for September 12:
-Some of my favorite things right now are...
Some of my favorite things right now are Cesar salad, Eleanor snuggles, my gigantic new closet, the color blue, walking barefoot in the grass, and the sound of Drew's laughter.  Most of all, my favorite thing in this moment is sitting on the back porch.  Even if we just take 5 minutes to sit and take it in before moving on with our to-do lists, it's a great 5 minutes.  It's that perfect time of year when it's cool in the mornings and the evenings, but beautifully warm during the day.  Back porch sitting is peaceful and intimate and I just love those moments with the people I love.  

Friday, September 8, 2017

I'm here

My phone is blowing up with people reminding me that I haven't posted in 9 days.  I'm here.  I'm alive.  I'm tired. 
Drew and I rented a U Haul last Friday and moved boxes all day.  Saturday the movers came and spent 10 1/2 hours moving furniture.  We took a break from the boxes on Monday and enjoyed what may have been the last hot day of the summer in the pool.  There was a bit of drama on Tuesday when a handyman came to the old house to seal a vent and fell off the roof.  Like, he fell off the roof and onto the driveway.  It was traumatic and every time I tell the story Drew makes fun of me for being dramatic.  I had to call 911 and they took the man to the hospital.  I got word the next day that he broke his ankle but was otherwise just beat up and would be okay.  Thank goodness.  The house passed the final walk through by the buyers and on Wednesday morning we closed.  We officially no longer own that home and it was such a relief for it to be final.  We were supposed to close on this new house on Thursday, but there was a last minute issue when the title search revealed a 22 year old set of covenants for this "neighborhood" (that is really just a few houses in a general area) that belonged to a now inactive HOA.  That's not a big deal, except that the VA requires that that  be noted on the appraisal.  The appraiser had to revise his report and a new notice of value had to be issued, even though the appraised value remained the same.  Pretty much it was just a technicality that caused a delay.  It's been frustrating, but we're trying to understand that these things happen.  We had hoped to close today, but they just couldn't make it happen in time.  So we will close at 11 on Monday and then we will be official.  We are so ready for that and just trying to be patient (and praying for the sellers to be, as well). In the mean time, the sellers are allowing us to pay rent to live here until we are officially closed. 
So that's the general run down of what's been going on over the last week or so.  Let's do pictures. 
 Our last morning to wake up together at the old house.  It was early and everyone was sleepy. 
 We spent all day moving boxes and Drew did 99% of the heavy lifting.  After a U Haul packed to the brim with boxes, we went back to the old house for the basketball goal and some outdoor toys.  Ask me what happens if you lay the basketball down in the back of the U Haul.  Go ahead, ask me.  Well, let me tell you.  The base will crack and all the gel stuff that you put in there to make it heavy will ooze out and flood the back of the U Haul with about 2 inches of slimy, wet goo.  Uncool.  So gross.  It was a mess, but we were fortunate that most everything that was in the van at that point was outdoor stuff that could be washed or was stuff in plastic tubs.  We carefully emptied the van, swept out all the goo that we could and then had to hose it out before returning it.  What a mess.  (We aren't yet sure if the goal base can be repaired or if it's toast.) 
 We decided that if that hadn't happened then everything would have gone too smooth and we wouldn't have a good reason to remember the move.  So we stopped to smile for a selfie...
 ...and then went for a dip in the fairly chilly and sort of slimy pool.  It was fantastic! 
 During all of this, Foose was boarded at the vet and Mac stayed with me.  That poor little guy took every single step that I took for days.  He was worn out. 
 Mac was also the first one in the pool.  We went out to take a look and when I got to the edge, I stopped walking.  He kept walking.  He instinctively swam, but I dropped to all fours, was able to reach in and grab a hunk of flesh and pull him out.  He was stunned, but we was fine.  He's also more careful around the pool now.
A few pictures of the inside of the house.  We are so anxious to get everything unpacked and decorated, but it'll get done a little bit at a time. 

 Eleanor loves her new room.  She does this at least twice a day. 
 Y'all.  I can't even.  This alone makes our house the best house ever.  Ever.  Morning coffee on the back porch, watching the sun rise.  It's fantastic and it's pretty much all I want to do. 
Also, please note that I might have reached a new level of adulting.  When we went low carb, I traded my sugary coffee creamer for a bit of cream.  I missed the sweetness, but could still enjoy the coffee.  When we moved I tossed the last of the cream because I knew it would leak and make a mess.  So our first morning in the house, I had NO cream.  So I pulled a Drew (who likes to point out that he got it from his Memaw) and put a few ice cubes in my coffee to make it just the right temperature and then I drank that coffee black.  Please, be impressed.  This is big girl stuff.  Every day this week I've had black coffee.  Definitely a new level of adulting. 
Foose did pretty well at the vet over the weekend and we are so grateful that his medication is helping him calm down a bit.  I couldn't tell if Mac really missed him, but they sure were happy to be back together and they are loving the big new back yard.   They frolic in the back yard like puppies and lay on the back porch like kings. 
 Picnic on the back porch with JR.  (I've got more pictures of our Labor Day pool fun, but they are on the big camera, so I'll share those later.) 
Eleanor is loving the back yard as well.  We are being SUPER careful right now and will probably have the pool shut down and covered for the season very soon.  That will buy us some time until we can have a fence installed around the pool before we open it next year.  (There is a fence around the entire yard, but we want a fence separating the pool area from the rest of the yard where Eleanor & the dogs can play safely.)  
Eleanor's first time in the pool went from sitting on the edge by me to put her feet in, to sitting on the first step, to standing on the second step.  Fully clothed.  We all had fun letting her do that.  She wound up just playing in her undies and we can do that now, because we're in the country, y'all.  Also, she's awesome. 
 Breakfast at the new house. 
 After having a slight meltdown over seeing the old house empty, she had a picnic lunch on the stairs while I cleaned. 
 Another new outfit.  It was 47 degrees Wednesday morning, so I wore leggings.  Yay for leggings! 
After having Labor Day off from school, Eleanor was back in the act on Thursday.  She gave me a kiss and waved bye when I dropped her off.  Such a big girl.  She even took a nap, though I'm going to publicly state that 30 minutes does not an Eleanor nap make.  Insufficient funds.  I'm sorry, your nap check has bounced and you'll need to re-nap when we get home, grumpy child. 

 She's cute, though :) 
How's the low carb thing going during the move?  Um, not good.  The first few days were pretty good and then every day after that got worse and worse until I was all like, "Would you hold this cookie while I eat my bread?  Oh, put some jelly on the bread!  How about pasta for dinner?  Okay, I'll take my cookie back now."  So, yeah, I've eaten all the carbs.  All of them.  I don't even know how I feel.  There's so much else going on that I don't have the energy to make healthy food choices.  Just pass the bread and we'll talk about a reasonable diet when I find my pots and pans.  
We did find the box with the scale in it and I was surprised to see that I hadn't gained any weight during this time.  If moving is the diet plan, I'd rather not.  Drew and I have sworn to each other that we aren't moving again until Eleanor has to move us to a nursing home.  I'm so over moving. 
 There's tons to do around here.  I want to do it all right now, but I also want to take a nap.  The garage is still full of boxes.  I have yet to find my pots & pans.  I'd like to paint this and clean that and rearrange this and buy a new rug for that and replace this and remove that.  Our list is long and we're so excited about it!  We must pace ourselves (and the budget!) and enjoy the process. 

Let's do a quick 5 Year Journal prompt since I've missed a week's worth.  It's a weird one, but oh well. 
September 8: The last time I went to the doctor was because...

The last time I went to the doctor was because I was a tad (decade?) overdue for a teeth cleaning.  I'm assuming that the dentist counts.  He's a doctor, right?  Right.  I hate going to the dentist.  Hate it.  I don't really care for the word "hate", but I hate the dentist.  I spent such a large chunk of my childhood in the dental/orthodontist chair and I absolutely dread going as an adult.  I'm grateful for pretty, healthy(ish) teeth, but I seriously have anxiety over a simple dental visit.  FYI, avoiding the dentist doesn't make it go away.  It just causes more anxiety when I actually go.  I have some stuff that needs done (hello, fillings), but nothing is an emergency and I'm grateful for dental insurance.  That being said, I'm overly suspicious of everything they say I need to do or buy.  Like, really?  Do I really NEED that?  How would I know?  I wouldn't.  I just have to trust the man with the sharp, pointy tools in my mouth and fork over the cash to spend a morning doing something I hate.  Uncool.