What the heck have we been doing?

Been a while, no? Well, at least since you've gotten a real update and some good pictures. I've learned that living in a guest house has been good for breaking me of my internet addiction, but it keeps me out of touch with the world. As you know, we got Rhiya on Saturday and we've been trying to make the most of our time with her. The visits are too short and too far spaced.

Here are some pictures of the house progress. I see an end in sight! The exterior guys have said it will only be a couple more weeks on their end of it and the sheet-rockers started painting today. They won't paint every room, but they are doing the upstairs bathroom and the kitchen for us.
Here is my dining room. My question is: is Allan ready to fix those stripes? ;) Haha, he'll probably tell me I have to do them.
This is the laundry room. It looks TORE UP, but it's a lot better than it was already. That's a new door on the back, (we have to order the glass), and they're going to paint this as part of the kitchen. We pulled out lots of ugly cabinets and switched the entrance around.

The exterior guys actually did the door for us. It was really nice of them! These are the volunteer fire fighters. They're doing all of this for us for free, and they're nice to boot, so I really like them. They've been super polite and cordial and always tell us if they will or won't be here. You can see the replacement boards on the bottom right side of the stairs and the new trim work. They've done a ton of work, (there are only 2 of them!) and it already looks so much better. I can't wait to see the finished product!Here is the upstairs bathroom painted. Allan started laying the floor down today, so we should be able to get the plumber in there and get our toilet and sink done now. We've got to do the tiles and put up some bead board and it's done. That color is green, even though you can't really tell.
In the picture above we were making pinecone bird feeders. Have you ever made those? We found some fantastically huge pine cones on one of our country drive and snagged a few off the side of the road. Just tie a rope around the small end, slather in peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Then if you have a tree-climbing step-daughter, have her hang them from all kinds of high points in the yard. It was good fun and got me to thinking we haven't set out bird seed in way-too-long, so we went to Lowes and got some more seed, suet cakes and a new honey-bird feeder.

The neighbors 2 doors down have been moved out of their house for months. They are trying to sell it. We've been toying with the idea of getting a swing set for a long time now. The problem is that they're expensive and all of them on craigslist need to be hauled away. We don't have a vehicle with a hitch right now, so it's just not an option. There's a house here in town with a run-down swing set just sitting back next to the fence that Allan has wanted to buy from the owners for a long time. We've tried 2x to get in touch with them, but to no avail. The last time we tried they still didn't answer, and then I remembered that the empty house had a brand-spanking-new swing set in the backyard. Amazingly enough we saw the owner the following day, (I haven't seen her in months!), and we asked her if she'd be willing to sell it. She said she'd love to sell it to us and that her daughter never got to play with it because of the sweet gum seeds in the yard, (these are round, hard balls with prickles on them so they A) roll your ankle when you step on them and B) hurt your booty when you fall on them). We asked her how much and she said 40! I was totally going to offer her 75, so I was THRILLED to pieces when she said 40! You can see the girls are having a blast on it!

It didn't come with a baby swing, so while we were at Lowe's on our bird feed expedition we picked one up. There was a plain-old red swing and a bug for 2$ more. You all know my husband--which do you think we had to get? It has yet to be adorned with stickers, but it will be soon, I'm sure.

P.S. Is that not the cutest hat you ever saw?!?
Rhiya showing off her purity ring. We celebrated her graduation from the Passport 2 Purity at Carinos and presented her with this white gold diamond ring. She loves it. She promised to save herself until another man replaced that ring and we promised to take care of her until another man replaces that ring. It was pretty cool.
Violet loves to look out this window. When we were on the little bed her favorite thing to do in the morning as soon as she woke up would be to sit up and have me move the curtain out of the way so she could bang on the sill and yell at the birds. Now that we're in the big bed with Allan and the girls are in the smaller bed, she likes to get up, try to crawl over Allan and yell "HAAAAIII, GUH!" at GraceAnne. Then Rhiya picks her up and she gets to look out the window with them. For those who can't read Violnese, that means, "Hi, GraceAnne!"

Well, there you have it...a decent amount of pictures. I hope you didn't plan on hearing from me anytime soon now. ;) Happy New Year everyone!!


It's Us

Things here are going pretty good. Rhiya got here Saturday and we did our 2nd Christmas with her. We took them shopping with Christmas money yesterday before Allan and Rhiya went to Dallas to spend a night in a super nice hotel together and today they're going to see the King Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. The real purpose of the trip is a cd set of lessons called "Passport 2 Purity" that teaches her why the bible says she should stay pure until marriage. They've completed 3 lessons out of 5 so far, and Rhiya is having a good time. She's especially looking forward to King Tut and dinner tonight. When we all meet up for dinner, (Carino's=YUMMMM!), we'll give her a "graduation" passport and a promise ring we bought her a while back. It's a beautiful little diamond, perfect for her dainty hand. I was a little nervous, but Allan says she's having a good time and really enjoys the projects they're doing. YAY!

If you're the praying type, please pray that she retains this and learns from God and the bible how to live her life, instead of all the earthly influences around her, including us especially.

Hope all is going well. We love and miss you!



As we get ready for the holiday I have such a strange mixture of emotions. I want to go back home and have winter again, but I hate snow and ice and cold. I'm excited for our house to be done, but I do NOT want to clean everything up. In fact, I really want to just throw everything away and get new crap. I want to be with my family but I want to be alone because everyone gets on my nerves. I feel so great about the gift God gave us in His son, but I'm bummed out that some members of my own family could give 2 sh*ts that we even exist. I really want to get my business off the ground, but I have no motivation to do squat given the circumstances. I could go on and on and really what it boils down to is I need to vent and I need to shut up. Since you don't come here to read my venting, I'll shut up and show you pictures.Here are the girls with their cousins, Kellyse and Zekaeus. They belong to my sister, Kelly. Kaeus is 4 and Kellyse will be 2 in January. They're cute kids and GraceAnne had fun playing with them.

Here is GraceAnne playing in the snow. Here's what I love best about our family. GraceAnne and Allan love snow. I hate snow except to look at it. So Allan takes GraceAnne playing in the snow and I get to watch them from the comfort of the kitchen through the patio window sipping coffee. That's my idea of perfection--I don't have to deal with the cold, the wet and the squealing, but I can watch the people I love best having a great time! Then they think I'm a hero when I have hot cocoa with fat marshmallows waiting for them when they get in all red-faced and wet-footed. I've told Allan that if we ever end up moving back up north I need a BIG bay window looking out onto our back yard so I can sit at the table and watch the birds.This is our living hole. In case you were ever curious, it's not fun. BOTH of the kids were sleeping, though. That's totally rare. It was fabulous to get some time alone. So you can see what we were doing...eating and reading crap on the internet. I was cleaning the kitchen. What an exciting life we lead. *insert eyeroll here* I can't wait to be back in the house where I can sleep with my husband and ignore my kids while they play in their own rooms again.
Here is our livingroom. How pathetic are we, a friend said, "where did you guys get that fireplace??" when she saw it. I looked at her a little sheepishly and said, "uhhh, it came with the house." Yepp, it's always been there. We just had so much stuff piled up in front of it that no one has ever seen it. Those windows are going to be replaced with longer windows soon. Right after Christmas. Yeah AFTER Christmas. Looks like we're going to be out here another month. Rhiya should love that.
Here's my poor Falcon. *sniffle* When you look at it from behind this side is much higher than the driver's side. We think they're going to total it out. Our neighbor is a claims adjuster and he said that we should be prepared for them to lowball us in the offer. I don't know what a lowball on this car would look like, but it's a classic. I also don't know if they'll let us, but I'd like to keep the car to give to someone we've met who has a Falcon he's restoring. Does anyone know if they make us surrender the vehicle? That would be a shame. I think Allan is planning on fixing up the Ford truck a friend from church gave to him with the money from the Falcon. He's always complaining about wanting a truck anyway, so I guess that will work out. No fear of me stealing that from him either. *sigh* Guess I'm stuck with my POS Oldsmobile for another God-knows-how-long. Cars like that make me think I wouldn't mind going into debt to get a new one. Hmmmmmmmm.


Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity Jig.

The house is still not done. Hell decided to freeze over, (yes...the temperature in Texas was below freezing while we were gone!), and apparently contractors can't work on the outside of your house in the ice and snow, so nothing happened.

Our trip was fantastic, really. I loved being home and seeing everyone. It was a great time and I actually got to sleep in the same bed as my husband. I'm usually oh-so ready to leave by the time we go, but I was NOT happy to be home this time. I was hoping to get snowed-in. We did get 3-4 inches the night before we left, but we made it and made the plane and all was well for traveling by plane. But not so much by car. Yeah...we were in Dallas for all of 30 minutes when Allan got hit in stop-n-go traffic. Some lady hit him from behind. The car is JACKED UP. Allan went to the ER this morning because his neck hurts and he can't move it much. He has a sprained neck. *sigh* The lady wouldn't give Allan her information, so we have no idea what to do and won't until the officer puts his report out to our insurance company. What a load of horse you-know-what.

To keep myself from dwelling on the BS that is really ticking me off today I'll tell you about all the cool things God did:

Wednesday was the ONLY day we would have gotten out of WI. They're supposed to be getting 27 inches of snow between yesterday and Sunday.

We got the last 3 seats on the flight. This is a HUGE deal on stand-by. I almost didn't get on, but it all worked out in the end. We even got to sit next to each other from Kansas City to Dallas.

The weather was clear from Chicago to Dallas. This is rare this time of year. Especially considering all the snow in Chicago and the fog in Dallas.

Allan had left his car in Dallas...this was not our plan. I was even mad that it happened. But since it was there and we had to pick it up, the girls and I were not in the car when he got hit.

GraceAnne was not in the car with Allan. She wanted to ride in the Falcon with him and we probably would have let her, but she passed out about 2 minutes before we got to his car, so she stayed with me.

Our neighbor so happened to be at the exact same exit as Allan when I called her to tell her about the accident. She hung out in a parking lot off the exit so she could take him home, even though he didn't end up going with her. She said it was strange she was there because she had to snake around the city due to traffic and wasn't intending to be where she was.

A friend of ours towed the Falcon behind his truck so we wouldn't have to pay to have it towed back to Ennis. He saved us almost $200!

When we got back to the house, our neighbor, (the hubby of the one who was going to bring Allan home), had put a pretty wreath on the front door of the guest house, a cute rudolph decoration in the yard and a tiny Christmas Tree in the "house." I was so excited since I've been having a hard time with Christmas spirit. GraceAnne thought it was all about the coolest stuff ever. Allan was even cheered by it when he finally got home. We have the best neighbors ever!

My only show for December cancelled last night. This doesn't seem like it would be a good thing, but it is because I was totally stressed about what I was going to do. Everything is packed up and I don't have a clue where anything is right now, plus it's all FILTHY. Everything in the house is covered in a 1/4" layer of sheetrock dust.

It's a lot of Blessings. I'm still bummed, but I do feel better typing it all out. I hope ya'll had a great week!


Pics @ T-minus 5 hrs and counting...

We're going home in 5 hours! I have so much to do still, but I wanted to get these pictures posted before we go. Here's the wall Allan and Russ put up a couple weekends ago. Allan sheet rocked it and now it's ready to get the half walls put up. YAY for my hallway! :D
This is why we live in the guest house. Literally every room in my house looks like this. Everything pulled to the middle and covered with plastic. It's not even helping keep the dust off, but I guess it would be lots worse if we didn't do this. We're going to be CLEANING for Christmas!

I don't know if you can see it, but here's the side of the house pressure-washed, scraped and ready to be painted. How exciting! They're coming tomorrow with the new windows and yesterday they dropped off the replacement pieces of siding for the rotted stuff. It's in our garage waiting :)
Here's the porch. I'm aware it's a crummy photo but I'm not going out to take more right now. That's what you get.
Here is the cubby hole Allan built for the fridge. Where the fridge is right now is the old hallway into the laundry room and where the new hallway is, was the wall that the fridge was in front of. As soon as the sheet rock is finished, we'll push the fridge into the cubby and we'll be fancy! It's adding lots of room to my too-small kitchen, so that's a real plus!
Did I post this picture before? If I did, sorry, but there's the happiest Christmas baby you'll ever see. She's so darned precious!! She looks so much like GraceAnne and Rhiya!

This morning I woke up and said, "GraceAnne, what day is it??" She said, "it's 2-ones!" She ran and got her My Little Pony advent calendar and we opened the 11. I said, "where are we going today?" She said, "TO SCHOOL! and then to WISCONSIN to see Gramma!" I said, "what are we going to do tomorrow??" She said, "PLAY IN THE SNOW!!" She says she is going to make a snowman and that she even knows how to already. "You just roll snow into a big ball and then roll another little ball and then another little ball. I'll use 3 stones and a carrot and I guess I can just use my finger to make a mouth."

I'll miss the blogs I follow, but I'm so glad to be going home! God Bless you all!


We're Off

I'll try to post pictures of the house before we leave, but I'm not making promises. We're leaving Thursday afternoon for Wisconsin and we won't be back until the following Wednesday. Wish us luck as we're flying standby and we've had some rental car/carseat issues. Pray for my sanity, please. I could use some ;)


Dear Santa

A friend of mine does a special topic on her blog every Thursday and then invites everyone else to write on the same topic. This week I'm going to go in on it because I realize that yesterday's post is pretty revealing of the toxicity in my heart lately.

Dear Santa,

How are you this year? I'm sorry to only write one time per year, when I want something. I realize that's a little selfish. I'll try to write more often. Here is my wish-list, however:

1. I'd like to have my house back. My babies are so bored and I'm so tired of not sleeping with my husband. I appreciate that we have this little guest house for this season, and I realize that the stay is oh-so worth it, but I'm ready to be in the big house again.

2. I'd like to be content in what we have. We've been so well Blessed, and I hate feeling so ugly about being "stuck" out here. I pray that I can adequately humble myself so that I am not humbled by circumstances.

3. I'd like my babies to be happy and healthy and I'd like the power to raise them in Christ so that they become loving, kind, forgiving and secure in the Lord. I'd like for Allan and I to be able to raise them according to their purpose with love and patience.

4. I'd like to be able to open my heart to the Lord instead of being scared and hiding away from Him. I want to learn to pray more readily, stay in The Word and just let go.

5. I'd like to learn to trust in the Lord completely. I want to learn my purpose and to fulfill it with Joy and Exuberance. I'd like to learn those lessons from my children, who are so wonderfully gifted with both of those fruits.

6. I'd like to be a better friend to everyone who God has placed in my path. Instead of asking what my friends and family have done for me lately, I'd like to focus on what I can do for them. I want it to be blatantly clear to me who God wants me to be to the people in my life, (my husband, my kids, my family, my friends, my neighbors), and to have the strength to be that person. I hope they always see me as giving and loving and strong.

7. I'd like to pray more readily to Christ and to not only think of Him when I want something or when something is wrong or when His birthday is upon us. I'd like to walk daily with Him and feel the freedom that I KNOW is in Him everyday.

8. I'd like more and more people to find the reason for this holiday, season, year and life. If I can be instrument in that, I'd like to be. Not for my glory, but for His.

Thanks for all you do, Santa. I hope you have a Blessed season and a Blessed year!


Some Photographic Evidence of Change

I realize there are far fewer than necessary photos of the house, but so far not much has taken place that's photo-worthy. There are a lot of really large holes in rooms that we worked really hard on, (anyone who has been in our house knows how proud I am of the paint jobs in the dining room, movie room and GraceAnne's room. Yepp--all ruined). Then the exterior guys pressure washed the house and sanded it, but you can't really tell that by the photos, either. Stupid crappy camera. So instead, let me entertain you with my adorable daughters:
We "made" gingerbread cookies. It's been really hard for me to get into the holiday spirit since I can't decorate, can't have a tree, we're not really going all out for gifts this year, etc. SO..while at HEB feeling sorry for myself, Violet and I decided we'd get a gingerbread cookie kit and force the holiday spirit. I really didn't even want to decorate the darned things, (not like it's hard), but after GraceAnne was so stinkin' excited to see the kit and begged me to turn on Christmas music, I had to smile. After I took a couple of sips of homemade hot cocoa with marshmallows, helped her decorate her first gingerbread men and heard 'Silverbells' I was sold. It is Christmas, tree-be-damned!
And what better gift than a tiny smiley baby? She's so darned sweet!

As far as the house is concerned, some pretty major changes have taken place in the last two days. Apparently hell has frozen over and the electricians decided to show up and actually do some work. They've even got their "rough" inspection done. There are now new light switches and outlets and new lights and new wiring...we'll have a doorbell wired in and our smoke alarms, (omg, we have more than one!?), will be wired in, too. Obviously none of that is very interesting in photographs.
The porch, however, ROCKS THE HOUSE! Or rather, preceeds it. I didn't know they were going to do this, so it's a Christmas surprise and I was SO EXCITED to watch them pull the boards off this morning. They were so rotted and disgusting and covered with about 20 coats of ugly paint. It's completely done now with nice new boards, but I haven't taken a picture of the new porch yet. Allan told me I should go out there, but seeing as it's in the 20's tonight and I'm in my skivvies already I'm not going anywhere. He said he didn't feel like hopping out there, either. Guess you'll have to wait. No whining...we've done our fair share of waiting on all of this, too!

Hope ya'll are having a great holiday season! We love and miss you all :)



This will sound so lame to you mommas who have done this before, but I'm so excited about what I just did! Let me give you some background...

Almost 4 years ago, when we lived in Seattle, I babysat a little girl named Iris. Iris was 2 days younger than GraceAnne, (they were both 9 months old at the time). GraceAnne HATED baby food. She always did. I fed her food from my plate, smashed or cut into tiny bits and she did okay, but naturally there were some things she didn't get to experience thanks to her age and gag reflex. One of my jobs with Iris was to give her her evening meal. Her mom was way more crunchy than I and made all of Iris' food. I would pop two cubes of food from a ziploc container in the freezer and heat them in a mug until they were melted. Usually I would sit GraceAnne on the floor with some cheerios or puffs while I fed Iris in the high chair and then let GraceAnne eat whatever I was eating. Sometimes GraceAnne would be hungry while I was feeding Iris and she would cry. I felt so bad about this, but what could I do? Then, once in a while, I would feed GraceAnne a cube of whatever Iris was eating. She mowed on it! I figured it was because Iris was eating it and it was all about getting what her friend was getting. Whatever it was, I was just happy she was eating SOMETHING and I knew it was healthy and organic, too. I swore when we had more kids I would make their food.

Then Violet was born. 4 years later. I was tired and REALLY into couponing. I managed to get A LOT of Gerber Organics baby foods for super cheap, (think 5 cents a container and that has 2 meals in it.) I figured "at least she's eating organic..." She likes baby food MUCH better than GraceAnne did, but she's taken much more to food off of my plate than the jarred stuff.

Yesterday I fed her a 3rd food called Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal. I thought, "how ridiculous...this must be SO easy to make!" So I looked at the ingredients and noticed that I had them all on hand and this morning I was bored beyond belief, so I ground some rolled oats in my food processor, (the chintzy little kind that almost everyone owns), and cooked them in the microwave with water and cinnamon, (I would have used breastmilk, but I have too much of some enzyme that causes breastmilk to spoil when frozen and thawed), steamed some apple slices with apple juice and mashed a banana, (yes, that was in the ingredients of the Gerber, so I used it). I blended it all together in the food processor and she LOVED it! GraceAnne even liked it. She ate a bunch, but I had enough to freeze some cubes for other days. I am SO EXCITED that I actually did it. Now I need to make other varieties, but I don't have much on hand as we are leaving for WI in a week, so I haven't gone all out on groceries this month. I really hope I can keep up with this, because I have more coupons for baby food, but I haven't seen anymore sales and I was about to pay 50 cents a jar yesterday. *gasp!*

Another step taken on my quest to be more crunchy. YAY!

P.S. Yes we are still in the guest house, no the electricians have not gotten their jobs done and they are now TWO weeks late and yes, I still have faith that God can get us back in this house by the week before Christmas. We shall see.