Look Who's Walking!

Monday, December 30, 2013 No comments
Emma Claire decided it was high time to start walking. She's been cruising and walking while holding our hands, but never walking unaided since October. We've been saying for months now that it would be "any day now". Finally, over the holidays, December 26th to be exact, Emma Claire decided she would walk without help.

Emma Claire began working with a physical therapist a few weeks ago to work on some of her muscle tone (and to get her to walk) and it is HIGH drama when she comes to work with her. To put it mildly, Emma Claire doesn't like her physical therapist. While she is a very nice lady, Emma Claire just doesn't like her. She sees her at the door and the tears and wailing begins. We all joked that Emma Claire decided that the only way to get this lady out of her life is to walk.

Emma Claire has been unstoppable ever since.

Of course, we've had our share of falls that comes with beginning walkers. Wood floors not so good for keeping on our feet. Carpet? Sometimes it is better until you face plant at the pediatrician's office and get carpet burn on your face and eye and split your lip. I guess Emma Claire picked the best place to have a bad spill (even if it was her older brother and sister who had appointments and NOT her).

She's getting the hang of walking and has even started to help out with chores, like moving the laundry from the laundry room to be folded, albeit with tantrums thrown in. But, that's how I feel about laundry too. (*BTW, EC was having a pantsless afternoon at home after she made a mess of her leggings--they were in the wash).

Christmas 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013 1 comment
We celebrated Christmas this year with my (Shannon's) parents, Matt's Mum and Shannon's sister in the new house. Its been crazy trying to move, unpack, decorate for Christmas, send out Christmas cards and shop for presents. I'm happy to report that it all got done, even if I was still shopping on Christmas Eve and stayed up late into the night to finish the gift wrapping.
Oliver with his Hess trucks that were under the tree from Santa.

Tearing into the presents.

Chloe unwraps her new laptop.
Surprising Matt with his new TV, though I don't think it was much of a surprise when you take a 4 year-old with you to pick it up and he runs directly back into the house to tell Daddy he got a TV.
Chloe opening up more presents.
Continuing the unwrapping.
Oliver driving his Gator that Santa brought to the barn.

Oliver certainly has the "wonder" of Christmas and it is so fun to see his excitement on Christmas morning. He couldn't wait to tear into the presents---any present to be exact. We had to slow him down so Chloe and Emma Claire could have a turn.

We opened presents in the morning, set up and played with our new toys and sat down to Christmas dinner in the early evening. We had a 25 lb. turkey this year. A BIG bird. On Thursday (Boxing Day for my British husband and mother-in-law), we invited friends over for our annual "Turkey Curry Buffet" where Matt takes the leftover turkey and turns it into a delicious curry.

Chloe modeling her onesie pjs Nana got her.

Matt, Chloe & Emma Claire enjoying sausage rolls.

Ollie and Chloe having fun with Nana with the traditional Christmas crackers.
We got a late Christmas present from immigration today--Emma Claire's Certificate of Citizenship finally arrived!! It only took USCIS almost 5 months to get it to us.

Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 No comments

Oliver's Christmas Program

Saturday, December 21, 2013 No comments
Oliver's last day of pre-school before the holiday break was a Christmas performance for parents, family and friends. Oliver's pre-school class performed a skit about Christmas and then sang songs. Oliver was Santa Claus for the skit.
Oliver making his entrance in his Santa hat.

At the beginning of the performance, the children each got to walk down the church aisle and wave to all the parents for a photo op. Oliver was such a "ham" and waved to each and every parent.

He sang and performed and in my opinion generally stole the show with his love of being the center of attention and 1000-watt smile.

Emma Claire's Christening

Monday, December 16, 2013 No comments
Since Matt's Mum was coming in from England for the holidays, we scheduled Emma Claire to be Christened. We had the Christening at our church in New Jersey where Chloe and Oliver were also Christened.  Once again weather was not on our side and it snowed Saturday night. Luckily, for this Christening we had electricity.

Emma Claire cried when Pastor Bert took her from me and promptly stopped when she was handed back. This elicited great laughter from the congregation.

Our family before the ceremony with Nana (Matt's Mum).

The Christening ceremony.

"Tots Adorbs"

Thursday, December 12, 2013 1 comment
Sporting a new hairstyle. She can rock a Mohawk now too, but that would only lead to more people commenting that she is a boy.

And, just like that, it was over. She pulled it out during the short car ride to take Ollie to pre-school.

Perhaps she prefers the Mohawk? 

Not Finished Yet

Monday, December 09, 2013 No comments
We made some great progress on the house this weekend. The important, day-to-day stuff is unpacked and put away. All that remains are the office boxes and boxes of junk, the last minute items that don't fall into a category and we probably should have thrown out or sorted when we moved the first time.

The Christmas decorations are still not up. Later in the week hopefully.

I did manage to jinx myself when I stated Emma Claire is sleeping well in her own room. She was up and down that night but I discovered she is getting in some molars and also has a bit of a stuffy nose so that may have played a factor. She's been napping well in her own room, something she hasn't had much chance to do as she gets carted around most of the day in the car.

Asleep in her crib straight from falling asleep in the car--coat and shoes required for this nap.

Emma Claire also likes to feed herself and in the move I discovered some organic baby food pouches I had previously just squirted in a bowl and tried unsuccessfully to spoon-feed her. We hit the jackpot of letting her "suck" it up. The kid goes to town on these things. She loves them. Our local grocery stores don't stock much variety of them, mostly for younger babies and all fruits with little vegetable variety. I was excited to find a great variety and choice on-line. Really, the kids LOVES these things and starts bouncing with excitement when she sees them. Why I squirted these things in a bowl instead of letting her feed herself with them is beyond me.

We've tried 4 different brands of these pouches and she loves them all.

School is delayed two hours today due to icy roads. It puts a kink in the unpacking and Emma Claire nap schedule as Oliver goes to pre-school before Chloe goes to school today. It also reminds me that I need to find someone to plow our driveway. We sit on a hill and have a slope down to the road. Matt called me this morning and told me to be careful not to slide off the driveway and into our neighbors house directly across the street. Not a good introduction. He is FDNY, so he is probably helpful in sticky situations!

I really like my view from the kitchen sink. It is MUCH better than my old kitchen window/sink view - seeing the neighbors air conditioning unit 4 feet away.

I am trying to avoid the basement like the plague. It's where Oliver and Chloe are spending a massive amount of time playing and where those random boxes reside. That combination equals GIANT MESS.

It seems the more we unpack, the more items I recall we are missing. I can't find my jewelry  and some key files. It took me nearly all Sunday to unpack and put away Matt and my clothes and I am still not completely done. The one negative of this house seems to be the master bedroom closets. It almost seems like an after-thought. The kids bedrooms have better closets than we do. A little tweaking may fix the situation. Unpacking clothes reminds you just how many clothes you have. Matt and I said we are going to make a promise NOT to buy any clothes for ourselves for a year.

Thanksgiving & The Move

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 No comments

Checking in here from the mountain of boxes that still await unpacking. We're breaking down the boxes as we unpack them and taking them to recycling. We won't be keeping any boxes because we are DONE moving for a long time.

We started moving on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, moved bits on Thanksgiving and moved in the rest of the stuff on Friday with the help of movers. Matt and I finished the rest of the odds and sods at the townhouse and got that cleaned up on Sunday. Finally everything is under one, well two roofs if you count the barn. Its been a long time coming.

Since we were in the middle of moving for Thanksgiving, we made reservations to eat at a local restaurant who had a Thanksgiving buffet. Eating at home would have been a preferred choice, but at least we were able to recognize the holiday by having a family meal together.
At the restaurant. Oliver insisted on bringing his newly discovered toy cars inside the restaurant and we may have threatened once or twice to leave because of the quarreling between Chloe & Oliver.

Emma Claire sported her pumpkin sweater (worn by all three kids at Thanksgiving) which Chloe declared made her look like a carrot. Emma Claire made an enormous mess at the restaurant, discarding what she didn't like on the floor. I spent a large part of dinner picking up food off the floor. This is the second and probably last time we eat at this restaurant because they probably won't let us eat there again.

Oliver's Thanksgiving place mat he made at pre-school. You can see he is thankful to have his favorite toys back!

Unfortunately, progress on the unpacking is slow. I have learned that moving with three, young children is a challenge to say the least. If they aren't underfoot, making a mess, fighting, and making limitless requests every five seconds then you might be able to sneak in some unpacking.

Each child has done remarkably well with the move. Oliver was a little uncertain as he does not like change and kept asking to go back to the temporary townhouse, but once we started unpacking and he discovered his "lost" toys he was happy and thought perhaps this was a good move after all.

Chloe seems unfazed by the move. Her only complaint was the 48 hours we had to go without Internet or TV. A WHOLE 48 HOURS!!! Torture apparently.

Emma Claire is doing well, at least on the sleeping in her own bedroom. She has slept in her crib beside our bed since coming home and wakes numerous times in the night. Matt has nicknamed her "Pop Up" because she literally wakes and pops up like "Hey, what's happening?!" anywhere from 1-5500 times a night. The first night we slept in the house and she slept in her new room she was up and down all night but easily put back to sleep. The other nights, minus one, silence. No waking up. Perhaps I have jinxed it and I will be going back and forth all night tonight, but I am now wondering if the co-sleeping thing isn't for Emma Claire and us being in the room wasn't a comfort to her but a distraction?

Now, during the day with Emma Claire is another story. When we were  moving in and we had workmen in and out moving furniture, changing locks, etc. she was very clingy and I put her in the baby carrier and "wore" her which she enjoyed. Now that it is just she and I during the mornings, she doesn't want the baby carrier and frankly, I can't carry boxes to each room while wearing her but she wants to be held instead, especially if I am coming in and out of rooms. This is my view most of the day--
Its not so easy to unpack and move with a 15-month old wrapped around your leg and standing on your right foot.

Sometimes Emma Claire will keep herself busy, like yesterday when I was putting the Tupperware away and heard the crash of glass on the floor. Emma Claire has managed in a matter of minutes to pry the packing tape off the box of glass mixing bowls and began removing them from the box. She thought it was great fun to see them smash on the wood floor.

Bit by bit it is getting unpacked and we are settling in. Monday was rough trying to coordinate the new bus schedule, find backpacks, get the kids fed breakfast and dressed all with electricians and plumbers coming in and out. Tuesday and this morning were better and a routine feels like it is starting to get established.
Matt & Chloe looking at the kitchen faucet. With any house that has sat vacant for a while, we have had some issues with water pressure and getting the heating on (notice wearing the coat inside). Heating is sorted but water issue is not.

Pizza on the floor on our first night in the house.

Hopefully we will be unpacked and more settled by this weekend. Just in time to get out all the Christmas decorations!

Done Deal

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 1 comment
It's official. The house is ours. We signed on the dotted line today and got the keys. Move in begins tomorrow.

Its been a 6-month long roller coaster ride in buying this foreclosure and one we don't want again anytime within say the next 18 years.

This is home (for a LONG, LONG while).

Oliver's Soccer Photo

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 1 comment
Oliver's soccer team photo.

4th Grade Photo

Monday, November 18, 2013 2 comments
Chloe's 4th grade photo arrived. This is her first official photo at her new school and I was excited to finally get to see a class photo of her classmates so I could put names with faces.


Sunday, November 17, 2013 No comments
We went to New Orleans this past week to cheer on, support and watch the world-class racers who came to NOLA Motorsports Park to compete in...

Racers from all over the world came to New Orleans in what can best be described as the Olympics of karting.

Many of Chloe's fellow racers were competing in the Micro Max & Mini Max Invitational.

The entire family went on the trip and BeBe and PaPaw flew in from Dallas to see the grandkids and the racing.

The weather wasn't as warm as I had hoped, it was COLD the first few days we were there but warmed up for the final day.

Matt, Chloe and PaPaw spent most of their time the track watching qualifying races and pre-finals. BeBe, Oliver, Emma Claire and myself went exploring and would return to the track in the afternoon. We did stay to watch the final races on Saturday and they were all exciting. It was a great day of racing and a fun family vacation.

On the first full day we were in NOLA, BeBe, Emma Claire, Oliver and I went to the aquarium to escape the cold.
Oliver on a frog display at the aquarium.
Oliver decided he didn't want to pet the sting rays after all when he found out they ONCE had stingers.
Emma Claire was a pretty good traveler. She went with the flow as usual.

Our 2nd day in NOLA sent us away from the racetrack and into the city. This is a photo of Oliver and Chloe in Jackson Square with St. Elizabeth's Cathedral in the background.
Chloe and Oliver listening to the jazz music in Jackson Square. Oliver had to wear Chloe's jacket because his thin coat wasn't keeping him warm.

Matt and Chloe watching the DD2 Masters class prepare to go on track for their final race.

The parade of drivers started the race.

Team USA as the host country leads in drivers from 60 other countries to start Saturday's final races for world champion.

Photo Catch-Up

Friday, November 08, 2013 No comments
I have a lot of photos to catch up on. I've been taking photos but haven't had the time to download them and look at what I want to share. So, I found the time and here's a random assortment of photos I neglected to post.

Short-course swim season is well upon us and Chloe is liking her new swim team. She is swimming farther distances and competed in the 10 and Under 200 butterfly this past weekend. She was one of two competiting--the harder the stroke, the farther the distance, the less competitors.  She's got a great butterfly (that's what she is known for on the new team, swimming fly in all IM relays for her team) and did really well. It was so great to see her entire team at the end of the swimming pool shouting her name and cheering her on.
Chloe also competed in the 100 IM. This is her doing the backstroke.

Chloe competing in the butterfly on her relay team.

Chloe doing the fly during the 200 fly.

I don't know that I mentioned that we bought ANOTHER car. Three wasn't enough, we needed a fourth to take Matt to the train station in the mornings. We also wanted a 4-door car (2 of our cars are sports cars) that the entire family could ride in. Having only the SUV that everyone could fit into has really helped rack up miles so we wanted a more practical, better gas-mileage car that could serve as a back-up. This fit the bill nicely---

On the house front, the sheetrock in the barn is done. But the place is a mess. Matt has been trying to "light a fire" so the place will get cleaned up and it won't cause a delay in closing (which is could because it was written on a report to get our certificate of occupancy that the clean-up had not been performed). Ugh. The saga continues....

The verymessy, but sheetrocked to code, barn.