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!!

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