LATELY : : MARCH 2018

March, the month of my husband’s birth – and his Momma’s! That in itself is enough to celebrate, but considering we didn’t celebrate either birth, I’ll try and stretch this a bit further…

The girls and I spent the first day of March with my longtime friend and meeting that gorgeous fellow above, Julian. We managed to make it home just in time to see Zack, on his THIRTIETH! birthday, moments before he went to bed. He worked the entire day. The school always schedule fall sign-up night on his birthday and every year we heave a heavy sigh of disappointment.

We are able to watch our cousin once again, and we are having such a great time with him! I’m sure he is glad to have girls fussing over him all day.

The prince in a prime napping position.

^ Can you spot the baby bum? How ’bout Mae’s foot?

Last month Zack and I started to completely reconfigure the layout of our house. We still have a slew of small cosmetic things to do to the front area here, but we’re thrilled with the amount of space we have to move around. The wall that creates a hallway has become the kids’ favorite part of this whole deal. They just run around and around and around.

I thought maybe school would be difficult with a baby in the mix, but so far he just joins in, plays alone or with the dog, and we wait until he is asleep to tackle the bigger lessons and projects. We also continue lessons / reading in the evenings occasionally.

Buckey will not let Rae do yoga. She’s all for not doing it, no force needed, Buck.

After a late night of grocery shopping, in a town pretty far away, we enjoyed time at one of our favorite restaurants.

They still share a drink, and usually a meal. (Zack and I share a drink everywhere we go, too.) As you’ll notice in that last photo, they never seem to want a drink until their sister grabs the cup. Oi

Mae had a cold for two weeks – and then some. Day one of it, she mentions, “I want to just rest for a minute.” Thirty seconds later she was snoring to high heaven, covered in drool and sweat, well on her way to a three-hour nap.

Watching a movie, waiting for school to get out so they can go into Daddy’s classroom.

I could watch them all day long (and night) as they do the most mundane things. Ugh, They’re so great. Seriously, I could stare at her watching television for the entire 90-minute feature and not become bored. I hated when I would notice my mom staring at me. Still, to this day I dislike people looking at me – even Zack! (and he stares at me a lot) But I’m going to stare at them and even be in awe of the pre-teen eye rolls that will surely roll in my direction.

On days when the weather was nice, the hens got plenty of attention. G can’t seem to get enough of them. He now looks forward to collecting the eggs and feeding them scraps through the wire each afternoon before his nap.

(Also! Check out that green grass!!!)

A fair-skinned girl and her black-furred dog, both avoiding the sun’s rays.

The wagon has racked up some miles this month! Mae insists on being the one to lug the baby around. No complaints here.

Also, Rae up there, on a mission to collect as many bird feathers as possible. So far, they’ve all been dirty old chicken feathers. Shes so proud. She tucks them under the wiper blades on our vehicles as a treat for Zack and I to ohh and ahh over later.

^ Collecting more feathers ^

Mae is determined to become skilled at climbing trees. The only problem is, this is our only climbing tree. So many trees in our yard, and only ONE worth climbing.

We read most of our books outside this month!

We began with Leprechaun in Late Winter, which we read last year in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. We read it in one sitting under these trees. Those Magic Tree House books are a quick read!

Followed that book with John Steinbeck’s, The Red Pony.

We read The Littles – the first in the series. It was another short chapter book, Mae was able to read this at a swift pace.

She also read Frog and Toad Are Friends this month.

(She reads non-chapter books every week, but that would make for an even longer list.)

We tackled a couple audiobooks – Little House on the Prairie (Really enjoyed this version!) over the course of a week in the car and The Hobbit in one day while cleaning the house.

Mae began a big project on Royals, Knights, and castles. Basically, castle life, but it has also come to include the middle ages. We began all of the above books this month. We’ll continue this through April as well (maybe longer?). Its been a lot of fun!

Rae went to town with some Sir Knight flannel graph business while we read those books aloud. Using it all at once seemed the best way to go.

The girls studied some composers again this month. Here are some Beethoven and George Bush Sr. Hector Berlioz paintings.

We also studied France for a hot minute. We’ll make a flag for France, too…when we get around to it. We are planning a French-themed meal (cliche items only!) for a supper one night soon.

Last year, in preparation for St. Pat’s we studied Ireland, the holiday, and everything related to the two for three months. This year, Penelope wore green. That’s it. We celebrated the following Monday with food and a movie. More of that back here.

While at a restaurant Mae crawled under the table and sat this next to me. I’m still baffled as to how she managed to sneak a card in and write this without me noticing. Her bun is  r e a l high and my hair is accurately thin. Her cards make me so happy!!

One of the girls’ best friends, Violet, turned three! We celebrated at a bowling alley – it was their first time bowling and they had so much fun!

Bathroom silliness…

The girls were in a play? skit? program? for Palm Sunday. This is all the proof I have of that.

Just a pretty girl I want to remember…

The girls and I snuck away for a couple days during spring break, since Zack had to work – on his spring break, mind you. We spent an afternoon exploring the Science Center. On our way to my mother-in-law’s, we spontaneously stopped in to watch A Wrinkle in Time! It felt so good to do something fun and unplanned with my girls.

Zack’s mom took off the following day so she could spend it with us. We stole my niece (who wasn’t on spring break) away for the tail end of our outings!

In celebration of Good Friday, Zack read them the story of the last supper and we enjoyed fish with ‘Jesus bread,’ and grape juice – per Mae’s request.

We’ll finish up the month with the rest of the crucifixion and resurrection scripture readings and garage cleaning. – Happy Easter!

BATHROOM BEFORE & AFTER

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^  THE BEFORE  ^

I can FINALLY say, our bathroom construction is complete!!! Our first order of business when we bought our house in June of 2013, was to gut this bathroom. The sink was barely hanging on (and there was mold behind it), the toilet wasn’t fixed to the floor, and there was a crack in it, and well…wood paneling…only in the bathroom.

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We decided to give the door some color, so we can say, “It’s the blue door down the hallway,”when someone asks where the bathroom is. We didn’t go with purple because I don’t like purple (Mae picked the bathroom color).

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The walls are gray with white trim, to match the rest of the house. We plan on putting either artwork, or open shelving above the toilet…someday.

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Zack set cubbies into the shower. I am so happy with the way it turned out. Zack worked hard on this room!

GETTING STARTED

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We have so many projects ahead of us this year. Build more garden boxes, paint the house, take apart and rebuild the porch, get a clothes line, clear out the last bit of the wooded area in the backyard, put up a fence and purchase some goats, and relocate our shed and turn it into a coop for the chickens.

We’re starting with the shed / coop project. It is now just a standing frame, and we’ll move it closer to the house as soon as we can and reassemble it. Zack wanted a house that required work, and boy oh boy did he get it!

The girls nearly convinced us to make the shed a dance studio. Just think of all the wonderful shows they could perform for us! 🙂

PHOTOSHOOT IN THE WOODS

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We have had a mild summer, until last week, when a huge heat wave blew in. I don’t like the girls getting out in 100 degree weather, unless we have to. Most of our yard is shaded, and I was tired of sitting indoors while the sun was shining – so  I decided to take the girls out for about half an hour to visit our woods. We don’t go back there often (ticks and such creep me out), but if I was braving the heat, why not brave the critters as well…right? I’m sure most of you think I’m nuts for braving either one of those things. 🙂

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Dirt! Kids flock to it. This is our “spare dirt” for new potted plants we acquire.

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Back in the woods, there is actual grass!! Tall grass! Most of our yard is rough grass, and having totally different grass is the southeast growing up, I can’t consider Missouri grass to be great. I miss soft grass you can roll on and walk barefoot on. The kind that stays cold. So glad I found some in our yard!!!! Hopefully when we finish clearing the woods out, it will still be here!

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Investigating a Diet Dr. Pepper can. It was not put there by us, so I was just as curious as she was…

Also, random cement thing.  ?

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We saw a deer, heard a wood pecker, and saw a large lizard dash past our feet. 🙂

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I LOVE OUR HOME! I am so grateful for it. It is such an amazing place to raise our girls.

-and grateful for the thunderstorm I hear rolling in!!!

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This week has been so nice. The weather has been a dream, the girls have been marvelous, and our work ethic has been above the norm!

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We moved the chicken coop.  ^  big eaters 😉

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Finally set up posts and lines for the blackberry bushes! Yum!

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We (even the girls!) built a garden box. Can’t wait to fill it with what is currently filling our green house.

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Amelia had a doctor’s visit last week. Only one shot this time. She cried until she saw her reward – a sucker! The scale said her weight hasn’t changed in 3 months…I beg to differ. She is, however, on the fast track to 5’ 11”.

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The girls and I went to see my sister and watch my nephews last Thursday and Friday. Penelope and Leo are the cutest together!

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After we made strawberries, Penelope and I did some gardening – and reenacted The Sound of Music…

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Penelope and I have begun reading Black Beauty! She is really enjoying it. She asks questions about words she doesn’t know, and listens patiently – and we read while snuggling!!! Three days of reading and we are already on chapter seven. Some nights I only feel like reading one and others we breeze through two or three.

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^  Kind of a family photo, right?  ^

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Today we enjoyed lunch outside! (Just in time for four days of thunderstorms!) Penelope and I enjoyed time in the pool, while Amelia slowly finished her pudding. She had no interest in swimming and later went on to nap while Penelope and I continued to enjoy the sun and ice cold pool water.

When Zack gets home we have errands to run, but boy would I like to continue sitting by the pool!

Happy Tuesdee!

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I cannot believe April arrives in just a couple of days! March was such a full month for us. Grass is now growing, making everything green!! April will certainly be welcome.

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This week I rotated out some toys, included was Penelope’s guitar. She spent Wednesday morning in the sun focusing on her craft, and making sure Amelia didn’t try to snatch it. She also gave me a few lessons. 😉

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We went to Grandma Shari’s house over the weekend to celebrate her birthday! / / Amelia is smitten with Paw Paw. 🙂 / / Zack had a few days of spring break, so we took the long way home after grocery shopping. Amelia loves to go go go just as much as the rest of us (hooray!!) / / We moved our fire pit to an out-of-the-way location in the yard, and christened it with roasted marshmallows. Mmmmm….

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Amelia has become fascinated with books this week. One after another. She even returns them to the shelf when she is done! Typically, if I don’t see her or hear her, it means trouble, however, this week I find her carefully flipping through a book. Proud Mama.

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Another new thing for Amelia is accessories. She can’t get enough. Headbands, bracelets, necklaces, head wraps, hair bows, shoes and hats! / / Penelope and I painted pinecones last week, and we finally got around to putting them to use. We made a mobile to go about her bed. / / We painted our kitchen cabinets, and the laundry room, Wednesday and Thursday! / / Amelia got a chocolate + peanut butter treat after lunch Friday, and I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of her sweet messy face.

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Friday morning we had a picnic, which I kept calling a “Tea Party.” I was corrected. Often.

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This happened!!  ^

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Cookies are rare. Penelope inspected hers and Amelia couldn’t stop smiling and giggling. 🙂

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Penelope made a cardboard necklace we found on Pinterest. It was yellow, her favorite!

Also, you may notice her strawberry plant in the terracotta pot. Yes? Well, she told me the other day, “That’s where snails live.” I couldn’t stop smiling. So clever.

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All week I have been snuggling for a long time with Penelope before bed. Some days we go past her bedtime. I’m fine with that. I think I’ve gained a year for every hour of one on one time with her. / / We had to grab a few things at Lowes. Again.  It has been about two weeks since my last visit (Zack has been more recently). Two weeks is kind of unheard of…so many projects… / / Maple hurt her ankle? and has been limping about the house and napping by the door when we let her out. She did let me give her a bath despite the gash it her leg.  / / We took the girls to the park for supper and fed the fish before we left. Flowers are blooming!!

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More projects this weekend! We’ve gained energy and we’re rolling with it!! See you in April!

KITCHEN UPDATE

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We finally painted the bottom cabinets! We still have to put on the handles, but we no longer have yellowish cabinets with white knobs!!

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The color is Valspar’s “Mark Twain Brick.”

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We’re pretty excited about it! – I’m also thrilled we can move on to other projects, only 5,000 more to go! 😉

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Home sweet home.

This week has left me drained, with barely visible floors, a sink full of dirty dishes, an overflowing hamper, and a dining room table covered in craft supplies. Babies skipping naps. Food landing on the floor instead of in mouths. Vacuuming five messes before noon each day. Tuesday I took a shower just for the peace and quite it offered. I even left the girls bath toys at my feet.

While I am physically exhausted, it has been a week of blessings. One of the times I am grateful for this blog and my camera. Searching for blessings and small moments that make my days beautiful help me to see the good, and skim right past the muck.

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Amelia has this not-so-subtle way of telling us she wants to go outside. She brings us her boots and says, “Thank you!”

When she doesn’t see the results she wants, she puts them on, comes over to us and says, “Thank you!”

When that doesn’t work, she finds someone else’s boots, and puts those on, and giggles – because big shoes on tiny feet is funny!

How do you explain ‘too cold’ to a one year old suffering from cabin fever?

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Amelia has the most beautiful facial features. Shadows strike her perfectly every time. / / We are getting prepared to construct the most bomb-diggity garden ever grown ‘round these parts!! / / The doc is in, and ready to cure Mama’s headache with a self prescribed smile / / Amelia posing for Uncle Ben’s daily photo – maybe I should let Uncle Joe in on this daily wake-up text…

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Monday we went for a drive up to our favorite cliff to watch the sun set. The thirty or so deer we saw on our way up made it that much nicer.

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Sunday, we took the girls out for lunch, since our cabinets were bare (we’ve since filled them!) / / We woke up Wednesday to a dusting of snow and frozen toes / / We installed the microwave, and finished the shelf above it / / Amelia waiting for Mama, after I took a photo of our house (First photo in this post.)

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We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Zack’s birthday is this Saturday and we won’t be home, so the girls and I celebrated with him early. Penelope made him the cutest picture, cutting and gluing the paper herself (aside from hearts she asked me to cut), and even practiced writing “I love you” just for the occasion. We had homemade chicken noodle soup, and did crafts as a family until bedtime! Zack kept our ‘I love you” practice paper too. 😉

Zack and I cleaned the house after we tucked the girls in. Woop Woop!

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Wednesday after lunch I gave the girls a bath just so they weren’t making more mess for me to clean up – Honesty is still the best policy, right?

I just sat and watched them play, giggle, and share. I think it added a couple years to my life.

We have a lot going on this weekend, I hope you all have a lovely one!

ANTIQUE FINDS + AN INSULATION CASTLE

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Zack and I are on the hunt for a plate rack / shelf for our kitchen. They are so hard to find, and expensive when we do. On the plus side, I get to visit antique stores!! I loves me some old stuff! Penelope found two ‘toys’ she liked. One was this lady pushing a shmancy wheelbarrow, and the other is a small scale with which she can weigh teensy things. 🙂

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I also found this spice container, which matches a mug Zack’s Grandma Dee gave me! What are the chances? (and they were made in Japan, which is always a plus in my book!) It looks pretty great in our hutch!

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I cleaned my desk!!!! Insignificant to you all, but I am thrilled!

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We burned through our beloved Bass Pro candle, and Amelia has been enjoying the simple game of ‘lid on, lid off.’ 🙂

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Kite the owl received a bath and was welcomed back with bear hugs from both girls.

Sadly, A is teething again. Molars this time. There have been too many tears in the last two days,  (Don’t worry, she will feel better by the end of this post.)

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Uncle Dylan paid us a visit!!! Penelope took a trip with the boys to Lowes and helped with pancakes when she returned. Such a big girl.

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Zack and Dylan (and Penelope) returned from Lowes with TONS of insulation for our attic. The moment Penelope entered the house, she began telling me all about a castle. Honestly, it went in one ear and out the other, until I saw what Dylan and Zack were building in the living room!!!

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“Mom, you have to be the bad guy!”

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Insulation castles and an uncle to play with made Amelia forget her teething woes! The girls played with the castle (some may call this a fort, but Penny Mae dares to dream bigger!) for two hours before naptime. Insulation is being put in the attic now, and sadly the girls will awake to no castle, but they sure did have fun!!

Tomorrow we are spending the day with Uncle Dylan in Springfield! These girls are getting spoiled. 🙂

UNEXPECTED SNOW DAYS

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Tuesday, Zack was home by eleven.

*SNOW* was falling. You’d think I’d be totally over it by now, but I am trying to enjoy every day. I know poison ivy, gnats, and humidity are around the corner. I enjoy the fun things of summer, but the bad out weigh the bad of winter, in my opinion.

School was also called off for the rest of the week. We immediately began planning where we should go. We love to go! We ultimately decided to stick around these parts and get things done.

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Plenty of cleaning has been done, and there is plenty more yet to do. I even steam cleaned our carpets! We also finished all of the upper cabinets in the kitchen! (Now we are just waiting on a microwave to put above the oven and some shelving to put below the cabinets.)

We’re kind of in spring cleaning mode, and I am loving it!!!

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I recently gave Penelope one of my old wallets and placed two photos in it, one of Uncle Dylan, that was on the fridge, and one of my mom. As I was talking to my mom on the phone, I noticed Penelope was giving Grandma Penny’s photo a ‘check-up’ with her Doc McStuffins gear.

The diagnosis was good, the photo is holding up well and is expected to last several more years. 🙂

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The snow is lovely, but the air makes us feel as though we are wrapped in ice. I am eager for a ‘warm’ day to show up so the girls can play in the snow.

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^ This face! ^

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We took the girls out to eat one afternoon to get out of the house. Penelope served up quite a bit of ham, and Amelia devoured the apple slices like a rabid wolverine.

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We may have also…bought a couch!!! It was not a spontaneous decision. It has, in fact, been a couple years in the making.

Zack enjoys the reclining factor, I enjoy the plushness and heated seats (scrawny rumps stay chilly!), Penelope enjoys the compartments and the chase portion, and Amelia enjoys putting things in the cup holders and climbing up and down and up and down. 🙂

Thank you so much Josh for helping us move it in!!

We still have three days of Zack being at home! We may have to take a day trip before he heads back to work…

Happy Friday!