Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Up It Goes!

I'll admit it. When I first saw the boxes of lumber and hardware totaling over 700 pounds, and the 84-step assembly guide, I thought we'd have to call in the professionals who would build the new swingset for us "for a small fee."


Matt and his dad had their doubts too, but they did it! This project has been the main event at our house for the past four weekends. The swingset that was here when we moved in last year was fine—if by fine you mean an eye sore and a death trap. The paint was chipped off, it had some sort of algae growing on it, it visibly leaned to one side, and swayed as one swung. It was time for an upgrade.

My dad helped on it too when my parents were in town for Labor Day weekend, and as you see, Kate was a very enthusiastic helper. She did little tasks as the men asked, and came in to get them snacks and drinks of water. (Who knew grown men needed goldfish and grapes five times a day? :)

This thing is fancy, I'm telling you. It has bay windows, a picnic table, and a little porch awning—not to mention the swings, slide, rock wall, and monkey bars.

The instructions said it could be built in 8-12 hours with one person and a helper. Ha! There's no counting the hours the guys put in on this, and it definitely required three people to get the roof in place!
Pictures like this are a time capsule. I hope the girls will look back and say, "wow, so that's what I looked like when Daddy and Opa built the swingset."

Claire enjoyed cruising back and forth on the slide as it waited to be attached.

Finally, Kate got to climb up...

... and slide down!

They still have to put in some soft groundcover, but the girls are already enjoying their new swingset.

All that hard work will be rewarded in smiles, laughter, and hugs for many years to come!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

I'm a Minivan Mama

Well, the transformation into suburban mom is complete: I now drive a minivan.

Meet Ari. He is a Hyundai Entourage. (I'm not actually a fan of the show, "Entourage," but I do love Jeremy Piven, and it just seemed to fit.) Ari is big. And our garage is small. I just barely got him in there this evening after a family post-dinner ice cream run (so everybody else could enjoy a test drive as well) but I'll get the knack for it.

It's a 2008, from Carmax, and I really like it. It's very spacious, and such a smooth drive. Creamy, like butter. Odd adjectives for a car, I guess, but that's literally what comes to mind when I press either the gas or the brake. Very nice.

Looking at this picture, I am saying to myself, "what have I done?" But as Matt pointed out, the time was right to trade in my Elantra (second Hyundai in a row—I've been happy) and we'd have to take the plunge sometime. Sometime soon, in fact. Things were pretty tight with two car seats in a four-door, mid-size sedan, and the time will come when we need room for more than just two car seats.

No, I'm not pregnant. A third biological child will come at some point, we hope.

But for now, we have a different announcement. One I'd been drafting in another, more spiritual and dramatic blog post, but better I just say it here. Matt and I are in the process of being approved as foster parents! We look forward to hosting children who need a temporary home, probably before the end of the calendar year. More on how we came to this decision and other thoughts about it will come in the other post, whenever I finish it.

Besides new cars and new kids, another new addition is being added to our happy home: a new swingset! Matt and his dad (and my dad, when he was here last weekend) have been constructing this delightful piece of equipment in our backyard. It's quite a project. I can't count the hours they've put into this already. It will be fabulous, though, and the kids will really enjoy it.

And while the men were working on the Great Swingset Project of 2012 (and before and after getting my car) I crafted this little number to celebrate the coming of fall! Yippee!! I'm kind of a stickler for observing seasons and won't pull out the rest of my fall decorations until the autumnal equinox, but since my front door and kitchen table decorations were still my Eastery things I'd had up all spring and summer, it was time.

Plus, it was only in the mid-70s in Nashville today. A regular cold snap after the hellish heat we'd been having. Hope it's nice where you live. Fall will be here soon!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Lunch Break Rundown

I haven't blogged much lately, so I thought I'd take a few minutes while I eat lunch to give a quick rundown of what we've been up to lately.
  • I crossed August off the calendar yesterday and had a mini nervous breakdown. The year is two-thirds over, my baby is rapidly approaching one year old, and while I didn't mind turning 31 in July, I'm suddenly feeling like life is just racing by. I'm recognizing my own mortality, or something.
  • Claire is ten months old as of Sept. 1, and marked the occasion by starting to walk with the help of the little push-cart Kate used as she was learning to walk. Claire also pushes chairs around the kitchen for support. Those first unassisted steps probably aren't too far off!
  • We got back from our beach vacation three-and-a-half months ago, and we're still pining away for it. Matt and I have always loved city-vacations and never considered ourselves beach people, but it just really hit the spot. 
  • Kate mentions "our becation" every time we're buying yogurt at the grocery because we usually buy Kroger-brand yogurt, but since we stocked our condo kitchen at a Winn-Dixie, we bought Yoplait, or as Kate calls it, "the upside-down yogurt" (the base of the cup being wider than the mouth). She points out the difference every time.
  • We had some good family fun times in August, going to the Williamson County Fair when my dad was in town a few weeks ago. There was a great interactive farm experience for kids, where they collected pretend produce, wool, milk, fish, and other farm products in a basket at all the different stations, then "sold" it at a farmer's market for a pretend dollar that they could "spend" on a treat at the end. So cute, and very educational—especially since we had just gone to the Nashville farmer's market a few weeks before. 
  • We also went to the Treehouses exhibit at Cheekwood (a historic home and botanical garden in Nashville). They were very creative and fun to walk through. Each was inspired by a book. Our favorite was The Rainbow Fish, covered with CD and DVD "scales"! 
  • I've been making these collage images on PicMonkey.com, a free photoediting site I discovered after Picnik shut down. I use it all the time, especially for work, since I don't have Photoshop here. (The funky sizing in the upper left of my fair collage is due to the image, not PicMonkey.)
  • I get a lot of review copies of Christian books. Some get reviewed on Ministry Matters, and some I read myself. A couple I'm really excited about lately are Embracing Obscurity, an anonymously-written counterpoint to our cultural obsession with celebrity and self-promotion, and The Fantasy Fallacy, billed as a Christian response to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon but really more focused on the psychology behind our sexual thoughts. Quite fascinating. 
  • My parents came to visit for Labor Day weekend. My dad helped Matt and his dad with the building of our new swingset, and my mom and I watched Steel Magnolias. I always cry when Shelby cries in the beauty shop and when Sally Field cries in the cemetery. Last week, I caught Stepmom on TV and bawled over and over again. Kate kept putting her hands on either side of my face and saying, "don't cry, Mommy!" I was a wreck. I think it's that mortality thing again.
  • Speaking of which, I got a call from a colleague earlier today who said a 31-year-old Jessica Kelley (with the "EY") just came up on her prayer concerns list and she wanted to check if it was me. The poor girl is having open-heart surgery today! It's not me; I'm alive and well, just going a little crazy!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin