Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bautizo 2.0

Two years ago, I wrote about the baptism of my first child.
Look at my little baby!

This past Sunday, I put the family dress on my second baby and once again, we took our place at church.
Sofia was a year old when she wore it and Andrea is five and a half months,
but it still worked.

Andrea's godparents are here and since we're moving, we wanted to make sure we got her baptized before we left.
It was a no-brainer to ask Aimee if she would 
be Andrea's godmother.  
She's such a special baby that she gets two 
godfathers.  Drew's good friend DJ (left) and Matt (right)
stood up for her.  Matt's girls are the sweetest
kids you'll ever meet and they just adore Sofia.

We went to Mass before the baptism and that made for a long day for Sofia.  This was her first time in church and while I was prepared with snacks and toys, it wasn't long before she became insistent and antsy saying over and over again "Mom, we have to GO.  Mom, it's time to GO."  Bless her heart, she hung in there but it was just a little much for her.

Between Mass and the baptism.
They were literally jumping around in circles.

I begged her to take her fingers out of her nose, but no dice.

Eventually, she cooperated.

Then it came for the ceremony.  We all filed in, symbolizing our
welcome into the Church.

Anointing her chest with holy oil.

That's what she thinks about this whole thing.

Andrea was blowing raspberries, Sofia was just about to melt down
but I got a shot of my girls.

They called us over to the baptismal font (fount? I'm not sure) one by one and as we walked over, the gravity of the whole thing hit me.  I haven't stepped foot in church in many many years and there are lots of things I disagree with, but let's face it.  I was raised in the Catholic Church and these things are ingrained.  They don't just go away.  My spirituality is a part of me, for better or worse and I was moved.  The symbolism of what we were doing - we were presenting our daughter to the Church - it was major and I was humbled.

When things are major, I usually cry.

This was no different.
Seeing her receiving her blessing, being held
by my dearest friend,
surrounded by people who love my baby and our family,
yeah I was ugly crying.

Of course, Andrea was a champ.  The water surprised her but 
she didn't cry.

Anointing her forehead with oil.

Holding the baptismal candle, the sign of new life

The baptismal garment, symbolizing purity and innocence

Blowing more raspberries.  
I need to get a video of her doing it because it's the cutest thing.

What's on your mind Babe?
For that matter, what's on my mind?  Why so serious?
PS, this was where all the families came up to the front to be formally 
presented and congratulated.

With that, my baby was baptized.  It was such a wonderful day and it was one of those amazing special life moments, you know?

All special life moments require cake.

And macarons.  That's a rule.


Poor baby.  This whole party was for her and she 
got no cake, no macarons, no sandwiches, no punch.
Life's just not fair.

I don't know why words are failing me right now to describe how much this meant to me.  All of it - being in church with my family, sitting next to my husband singing the hymns that I remembered from grade school, saying the prayers just like I remembered all those years ago, presenting my daughter just like I'd presented my daughter two years prior, seeing the water wash over her little forehead, having feelings about church and religion in general, yet feeling that twinge when the priest talked about marriage being between one man and one woman (c'mon guys don't mess up this great day), being surrounded by our friends but missing my mom and other members of my family, but feeling very like a matriarch myself, and feeling very much the Woman of my own house....

You guys, it was so much.

I'm so happy we did it and I'm beyond blessed to have such a beautiful family and SUCH wonderful, funny, happy, healthy daughters.  Seriously.  Blessed.  For real.

And I'm looking back at these pictures and I kinda feel the need to talk about my dress.  I know it's not about me, but I just have a feeling that maybe someone might take issue with the neckline of my dress in church?  I know I was self-conscious,  but I needed something low cut so I could nurse.  I did Rent the Runway again since I don't own dress up clothes anymore and I needed something knee length, with sleeves, low cut and in my size.  This was pretty much my only choice and I kept telling myself that it has to be low cut, I have to be able to nurse.  I even practiced a little speech should anyone say anything, but thankfully no one did.  Actually, I got a pointed stare in church for Andrea crying, not for me nursing her.  I had pumped a bottle just in case but you should have seen the side-eye I got from Andrea when I tried to give it to her.

Anyway, I just feel like I had to point out that I wasn't being disrespectful.

Ok!  Enough about me!  My baby got baptized!  My family is amazing!  

Seriously though, it was a great day and we are incredibly blessed and I just wanted to share the day with you, my friends.  



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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Everything and nothing

Ugh, has it been nearly a month since I've been here?  So much for 'meaty content' aka 'I'll be blogging omg So Much!'  Man, kids and summer will do that to you.

It takes me a couple of hours to write a decent blog post and I just don't have that kind of time anymore.  As Sofia gets older and more articulate, she's much more demanding.  As in, "Mom, do you want to play with me?"  Every Day All The Time.  Every time I want to say no, because didn't I *just* play with you, kid?, all the articles and posts I've read about how the time goes so quickly, how play is so important, how they'll remember everything forever, how dare you not play with your kid, but all I really want is some time with just me and my writing, but of course I end up on the floor, playing dolls or cars or blocks.  And I'm not *really* complaining because one day she'll want nothing to do with me and I'll long for the days when she was at my heels, begging me to play.  I just wish there were a couple more hours in the day, just for me.  Just so I can recharge.

Then there's Andrea.  My chubby chunk-a-lunk, happy go lucky, babiest baby.  
Oh this baby.
She does indeed have every bit of my heart.

True story: I texted my girlfriend the other day because I was convinced something was wrong with her because she took a two hour nap and I'd laid her down more awake than drowsy and she just rolled over and went to sleep.  I just knew she had some sort of vitamin deficiency that makes you sleep all the time because Sofia never ever in life went to sleep that easily.  Hell, she still doesn't.  But my little Andrea will sleep anytime, anywhere and it's never a battle to get her to sleep.  Of course, I'm sure I'm jinxing myself as I write this but I really just want to record this for posterity.  At one time in my life, I had a kid who slept easily and often.  I never thought it could happen to me, but dreams do come true, my friends.
She's a finger and thumb sucker too.
I've tried my hardest to get her to take a pacifier but she just
spits it out and puts her fingers in her mouth.
I sure do hope she outgrows it and doesn't end up sucking her thumb for life.

In house news, it's officially on the market and I'm hoping and crossing my fingers and toes for a speedy sale.  We haven't had any showings yet, but we listed it the week of the 4th so I wasn't panicked that no one had called.  This week we haven't had activity and that's caused Drew an insane amount of anxiety and guess who gets to deal with that?  He asks me nearly every day if I've heard from our realtor, as if I'd forget to tell him, or I'd keep it a secret from him.  No really, I'm crossing my fingers, toes AND eyes for a speedy sale because another ten months of that is not the business.  Already, I've been like "BABE.  Seriously.  If I hear anything, you'll be the first to know.  SERIOUSLY."
I mean, who wouldn't want our little house?

We didn't actually intend to do the front purely to sell the house.  We wanted to clean up the landscaping for our own enjoyment, but as the universe would have it, we got the word that we'd have to move after we'd committed to having the landscaping done.  That was a fun little cursing session, and we briefly debated pulling the plug because we didn't want to put more money into a house that we weren't going to live in much longer, but there was that pesky contract we'd signed and hopefully the new front yard would attract buyers.
So they commenced to ripping up the front yard
and Sofia and I spent several mornings watching them work.
At the bottom right, you can see the concrete slab to nowhere that
always bugged me.
I thought a walkway would look better, since you always had to shimmy past the cars
to get to the front porch.
Also, the beds weren't even, as the one on the left (top) was 
much skinnier than the right.
Then there was this nasty mess o' weeds on the right side of the driveway.
There was a tree stump in there, a bunch of big rocks and tons of prickly plants
that of course were Sofia's favorites. 
They dug all this up and now it's a nice bed of grass.
I wish I'd gotten a better shot, but that tree was massive.
The stump wasn't that big, but the roots were insane.  
After a few days of their landscaping magic, we have our new walkway!
The beds are nice and even and it's so much prettier this way.
See, doesn't it look so inviting and symmetrical?
If I were spending more money on the house, I'd get a bench
for the front porch and maybe a planter or two, but
I'll leave that for the new owners.
Remember our awning?

Back in May, we had a hailstorm.  Thank GOD it was before we did the landscaping - I think Drew would have set the world on fire if we paid all that money for new plants and stuff only to have it destroyed mere days later by hail.
As it was, I couldn't do anything but watch as my brand new car
got pummeled.
Remember my pretty azaleas in the dog pen?

All gone bye-bye.
Drew was in China at the time, and this was my first hailstorm.
I know I know, I lived in Kansas and Texas, how is this my first storm?
But it was, and truthfully I was a little scared.
Of course, my Sofia was completely fearless and ran outside the second it was over.
"Look Mom! It's balls!  It's cold!"

Thanks to the hail, we got a brand new roof.

They also took the awning down.  You can see where it's all pockmarked from the hail.
It made no sense to repair or replace it, 
as it was original to the house and they don't even make them anymore.
It looks so much cleaner and more open, I'm not sure why we didn't do this before.

Do you see, New Owners?!  Do you see the awesome house you get to have?  New roof, new landscaping, new laundry room, nice open back patio, I mean really, how can you not snatch this up??

**Please, someone buy my house.**

We haven't even bothered seriously looking at houses in Raleigh because the real estate market is so crazy down there that houses are selling within days of being listed, so there's no point in even looking because we have no idea when we'll be ready to move.  The good thing is that Drew won't have to leave until we all leave so I won't have to mess with getting the house ready for showings by myself.  It's just that however you slice it, trying to sell your house is no fun and having to wait until it sells before we can get on with the next chapter is just a pain.

Yet, I'm thankful that we have a house to live in.  I'm thankful that my husband has a great job that's affording us this move and as always I'm thankful for our collective health and wellbeing that allows us to focus on everything else going on in our lives.  If any of those things weren't there, this would be a much different story.
 Everything's okay as long as I've got them.
And I sure do love that man.
These kinds of pictures are my favorite and I can't
wait until both girls can hold his hand.
Oh be still my heart.
I could take pictures of the two of them all day.
Who am I kidding, I do.
They're my favorite people.
Vacation this year was down to Williamsburg, Virginia.
We wanted to stay close to home as this was the first time we'd taken
Andrea on a trip and we're traveling again in a couple of weeks.
We didn't get out a ton because this was right after Drew's China trip
and I wanted family time more than tourist time.
So we spent most of our days lounging around the room or down at the resort pool.
We did make it out to The Living Museum and that was fun, 
but it was all pool all the time on this particular vacation.

Of course, I got no pictures of our pool time because two kids in the pool requires hyper vigilance and all hands on deck so we have only memories, no photos.  Although, I'm going to have to take some pictures before summer is over because Sofia is really doing so well in the pool.  She can't go without wearing her floatie just yet, but she's almost there; I can feel it.

There you have it - we've been doing a lot of everything and nothing around here, much like all of you guys I'm sure.  So in closing, I sure would appreciate all your good vibes for a speedy sale of our house and hopefully it won't be this long before I get to blog again.

For now, I have to start getting ready to travel.  Yup, this time I'm the one who gets to go out of town!  Oh yeah, I'm taking both girls with me on a plane by myself.  I'm not crazy, not in the slightest.  But I sure would stay home if it weren't for a good cause - namely, my 20 year high school reunion.  

Good lord, I'm old.  Let me go dye my hair and put on some eye cream or something.


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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drew of all trades

Let me brag on my husband for a quick second, I really don't do that enough.  First off, he's cute.  It comes in handy when he's being a pill (which of course is the nice way of putting it.)  And yeah, I should probably have put other things first, like his smarts or his devotion to his family but what can I say, I like his butt.  And he has an awesome smile.

I mean, of course there's other stuff too.  Everything he does is for his family.  Seriously, everything.  He thinks of us before he thinks of himself, sometimes to his detriment.  He will run himself down to the bone for us and while that's not good for anyone, he truly is devoted to us.  

I trust him implicitly and I don't need to tell you how major that is.  Trust is earned, not given and he has demonstrated over the years that he is the most upstanding man of his word out there.

There's fun stuff too.  If you give him a bunch of stuff and tell him to fit it into a particular space, he can do it.  You can give him 100 things and a teeny box and he'll magically make it all fit.  Seriously, it's one of the things I love about him because it's so cool.  Every so often, he'll go through the cupboards and rearrange things and organize them so everything fits and looks nice and somehow we have more space than before.  That's the engineer in him.

He is great at parties too.  He knows how to work a room without making it look like he's working the room.  I love that he's outgoing and loves to entertain.  He's an amazing chef and I love how much he loves food.  He gets giddy over a fresh loaf of bread - like for real giddy and it's really cute.

Naturally, he's got his areas of improvement - that temper is a monster (which is the nice way of putting it), but overall I'm reminded just about every day that I made the right choice in my husband.  If you have to do life, he's the one I'd choose to do it with.

One of Drew's other major talents is that he's quite handy.  This is super fantastic because I'm DIY-design-obsessed and I want to try every idea on the Internet.  So, last fall when we finished redoing the kitchen, the next and final big project was the laundry room.

This is what we had when we first moved in.
Nasty popcorn type ceiling, off-center light, prison gray walls.
As if doing laundry isn't depressing enough.
Step one was to move the light to the center of the room.
Then we lived with the hole in the ceiling for a while.
Then we got a new washer and dryer and decided to stack them to try and get more space.
We worked with this for a while but it was still depressing.

Last fall, Drew and his friend got started on the renovation for the laundry room with the goal to finish it by the time Andrea was born.  That didn't happen but it doesn't matter because the end product is fantastic.

The original ceiling was popcorn-y and terrible.  The texture just ate up the light and for a room with very little natural light to begin with, that was not the business.  The wall behind the washer and dryer was the same texture and it was just gross.  One option is to skim coat it, which means run spackling over the popcorn and sand until smooth.  That option is a gigantic pain in the ass.  That's when I stepped in and showed them the beadboard ceiling at The House of Smiths.  Except, beadboard is also a pain in the ass - from what I understand.  I didn't do the cutting and measuring.  Drew didn't want to do the cutting and measuring and really just wanted to paint the popcorn, to which I kindly and gently replied, "I Am In Here Nearly Every Day Of My Life And I Want Beadboard."  
First panel of beadboard.
I will die on this mountain.
You get your yellow bedroom, I get my beadboard.

Drew and his friend, who is also an engineer, spent many nights last November measuring and cutting and buying new sheets of beadboard because they messed up, and measuring and cutting some more.
A lot of beer and cursing was involved in placing all the beadboard because the 
laundry room was an afterthought addition and the ceiling and walls were wavy and uneven.
The engineers were meticulous in their measurements
but there's no accounting for a wavy ceiling.
 I started getting nervous because if the beadboard didn't work out,
I'd never hear the end of it.
Then I got really nervous because once it was up,
it didn't look all that great.

There was no turning back now.  With the beadboard up, we turned to the sink.  I really liked having a sink in the laundry room, I just didn't like the generic utility sink and I didn't want to replace it with a plain silver sink like what's in every laundry room.  We searched and searched for something that would jump out at us and one night we found it on Craigslist.  It was an antique baby tub that would serve perfectly as a unique sink for the laundry room.  I drove out to get it and my handy hubby plumbed and placed it.  Incidentally, did you know that with the proper plumbing know-how, you can make just about anything into a sink?  

We bought butcher block countertops from Ikea and the boys got to measuring and cutting once again.  We unstacked the washer and dryer to have a place to put the laundry basket and other supplies.  I really wanted everything to have a home and the laundry basket had been 'living' on the edge of the utility sink.  Again, not the business.

Out of the box, the butcher block was too wide, but they ripped it down and
 put the raw edge at the back.
They also moved the water lines for better access.
Or something.
Honestly, I'm not sure.
Obviously, this isn't a tutorial on how to redo your laundry room.
The other thing they had to address was the circuit box; namely, I didn't want to see it.
So they bought a cabinet, cut out a hole in the back and put the whole thing 
over the circuit box.  They're so smart.
They also installed three LED ceiling lights on a dimmer switch because
it's right off the kitchen and the kitchen dims so the laundry room needs to dim too.
I need mood lighting when I'm washing diapers.
Much neater!
Then they cut covers for above and below the cabinet.
They're only three sided and they're not attached to the wall
so they're easy to remove should we need to get to the wires later.
Now that eyesore of a circuit box is all nice and hidden.

Then there was the issue of storage.  Our kitchen isn't that big and we don't have a lot of counter or cabinet space.  The bigger appliances that didn't get daily use were just sitting on the counter getting in the way so the guys took some more butcher block and made shelves on the wall behind the sink.  We moved all the stuff in there and I thought it was going to be a pain to get the blender and bring it into the kitchen whenever I want a smoothie, but it's no big deal.  And it *is* nice to have the counter space back.  Plus, they even put outlets in the wall so in theory I could have the crockpot going in the laundry room.  This is amazing because Sofia regularly climbs up on the counter and I don't have to worry about her touching the hot crockpot and with it on a shelf in the laundry room, it's completely out of reach.  Putting outlets out there was seriously a genius move.

Right around this time, the boys ran out of steam and I *think* I'd already had the baby - I can't remember what I did yesterday so remembering what happened last fall is out of the question.  We called Bill the Painter to come in and patch all the seams and caulk the gaps and paint the room.  We ended up using the same color as the kitchen (Ocean Pearl by Behr) so it would be more cohesive.  Since the dog goes outside through the laundry room, the door is always open and we wanted it to look like an extension of the kitchen.  Bill did a kick-ass job and you can't see any of the seams, not one.
Scary
Ah-mah-zing!
Gorgeous!
My antique sink with my modern faucet.  Love it!
Look at that beautiful ceiling!  Not a seam to be found!
This is how it looks today.
And I'm proud to say that in this moment in time,
that heap of clean laundry is folded and put away, thank you very much.
Also, those are peel and stick carpet tiles from Lowe's.
I gave up on trying to have a runner in here,
and the carpet tiles work really well.
We also got an organization system from Pottery Barn
where I keep track of Drew's travel and other stuff.
I have calendars on my phone and computer but you can't 
have too many reminder spots.

PS, I got some Nate Berkus push pins from Target because regular push pins just wouldn't cut it in my fancy new laundry room.
These are the stupidest pushpins in existence!
Once you push them in, there's nothing to grab onto so you can 
get them back out!
I have to wedge my fingernail underneath the pin and pry it out and it
sucks!
Boo, Nate Berkus.  Boo.
It's whatever.  
Back to my pretty laundry room.
Bill the Painter painted the doors French Gray by Glidden 
because the old color was sad and ugly.
I had that quart sitting around for ages and had him put it up because I was dying to use it.
It's bluer than I thought it would be but it's a nice contrast with the walls
so I'll keep it.
Also, I can't get over how well he patched all the seams and painted everything
so perfectly.  You know what they say:  "Caulk and paint will make it what it ain't!"
Another shot of my pretty sink.
Also, we sealed the butcher block with mineral oil.
I learned that little tip from ol' Mr. Google.
I kept meaning to get another trash can that would fit under the counter and move the 
dog food bin out to the garage, but I never got around to it.
And now that we're moving, it doesn't make sense to get another trash can
since we don't know what the setup will be in the new house.
Also, grown men shouldn't stand on butcher block countertops when doing ceiling work.
Lesson learned, hindsight 20/20, all that.
We'll probably build a center support to help with the bowing
at some point before we move.
And this is the longest photo caption ever.
Also, if we were staying I'd build a custom
drying rack for the wall to the right of the cabinet
and put a giant stain guide on the wall to the right of the shelves.
I keep meaning to take that poster down from the top of the cabinet too.
Drew put it up there for 'decoration.'
Bless his heart.

However, since we're leaving it doesn't make a lot of sense to put more time and effort and money into it since that'll just be money we won't have at the new house.  Besides, it's quite pretty how it is and it's an enormous improvement over how it used to be so I'll take it.

Drew and his friend did an amazing job and I'm so proud of their hard work.  I love my new laundry room and I no longer get depressed about life when I go in there.  It was the last big project to get the house to where it feels like us and I really like it.

Naturally, this all happened just in time to turn it over to someone else.  Isn't that how it always is?  I mean, it's probably not that way for other people, but it seems to be a theme with us.  

Of course, since we're moving so soon after arriving here, it *may* not have been the best idea to do any of it.  

Oh well, lesson learned, hindsight 20/20, all that.  You know how it goes.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my laundry room for however long I have it and maybe the new owners will pick up where we left off.  At the very least, hopefully they will appreciate Drew's hard work!  I know I do.

Thanks Babe!


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