sydney's sidewalk drawing...elijah, sydney, daddy, mommy, kezia

Saturday, December 26, 2009

the house

so, i wanted to throw a couple of quick pictures up of the house...but i havent been able to upload all my pictures yet. so, instead of some pictures of the cool characteristics of our house, you will get the following...
well, this is an okay picture. this is our living room. it has a tall ceilings and a large window with a pretty stain glass window at the top. ( a little hard to see, its a night time picture)

ok, here is a lovely little feature. there is a room on the main floor that we will be using as an office and guest room. it comes with two of which boasts a toilet.
(i know! wronger than wrong! with carpet and everything) :)


this is sydney's carpet. I know i posted about this before, but i love this carpet. it is oh so cool.

other unique features include a lightswitch outside the room it is lighting, outlets half way up the wall, and rigged up electrical work that would make an electrician weep. :)
actually, it is not that bad considering it's age and that modern features like electricity and plumbing had to be added later.

it actually has a lot of cute features...but you will have to wait until i upload more pictures for that.

sarah and eric

My sister and her husband came up from North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. It was sooo much fun to see them...had not seen them since a quick trip in May...otherwise it was Sept. '08 the last time we saw them for any real amount of time.

Sydney is a little intimidated by Uncle Eric. I dont think I got any pictures of him with her.

Elijah on the other hand simply loved Uncle Eric.

Sydney also decided to get camera shy and refused to have any nice pictures taken. This is the best one with Uncle Eric and Auntie Sarah and the nieces and nephew.

This is one of the better pictures of the cousins...nice, huh?

Elijah says, "I'm trying to do the right thing, but the girls keep distracting me!"

merry christmas and moving

merry christmas everyone!

Well, we moved into our house Dec. 20th with the help of a bunch of lovely people from our church. We had a handful of people come early to help us clean and get the house ready and about a dozen + people there to help with the unloading of the van...which was a good thing, because it was a 26-footer!
(here's my dad helping load up)
it was such a blessing to have everyoen show up to help...we evenhad people from church we didn't even know helping us out! what a great body of believers

Thursday, December 17, 2009

be the carpet so humble, there is no place like home

tomorrow is the day we buy our house!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

this is a good problem, right?

we went into our house today (well, closing is on friday, so it is not 'ours' yet technically) and got some measurements from a couple rooms where we want to replace the carpet. the laundry room has carpet and we are going to try and replace it with vinyl, ourselves! yup, we are going to give a little 'do-it-yourself' remodeling a try. we are also going to replace flooring in two small bathrooms (they have carpet [as ernest p. wherl would say 'eh-hewwwww'].

i did a quick measurement in our room and it is about 15 feet by 13.6 feet (i know, amazing!). the problem is, the room is too big for a remnant piece of carpet. (to do this ourselves we are looking for remnants, which as a rule are no wider than 12 we will not be able to do this room on our own).

so, the room is too big...bummer.

that is a good problem, right? :P
this is a pic of Sydney's room...check out the carpet, is that not the most psychedelically awesome carpet ever! i love it

Friday, December 11, 2009

rock and...



laugh or cry

did you ever have one of those days where one 'last straw' event feels like the end of the world? something just so odd/annoying that you have to either laugh or cry?

I had that moment yesterday...

I call it
Circle of Melted Life

I had to laugh...if I had cried, this would have been called Bleeping Microwave with Cheesey Stupidity . . . and that would not go over well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cloth Diapers - the sewing phase

(lots of pictures below)i mentioned earlier that we are looking into cloth diapering once we move to our house. it is mostly a financial decision (80+ bucks every month or so in diapers...and that is buying in bulk from sam's club!). but, i must admit, i like the opportunity to buy something! we've been buying only the essentials for a while now because of the house, so it was like an adventure to go and hunt down the perfect fabric for cloth diapers. yes, that is right. not only are we going to try cloth diapering, i am going to be making them. i bought a few diapers from a store in Menominee Falls, just to get an idea on the fabrics and make of the diaper, but the rest, my mom and i are making.

(if you haven't ever seen a 'modern' cloth diaper, google cloth diapers is pretty amazing. brands like gdiapers, bumgenius, fuzzibunz [yes, fuzzibunz] and even a brand called happy heinys are among the more common brands, but there are hundreds out there)

Anyway, cloth diapers cost anywhere from 18-28 dollars each (not per dozen, each), so i quickly realized that getting what i needed for two kids up front was going to be a challenge. (cloth diapering is still cheaper in the long run, just more money up front). hence, the making it myself idea.
i went to salvation army family store and for the price of one Kissaluvs All In One Diaper ($22.95) i got two flannel sheets, a Nautica bath towel, 5 t-shirts, a hospital bed pad, a floor mat, and a windbreaker jacket...out of which (plus a flannel sheet set i already had and one from my mom) we were able to make about 18 medium diapers for Elijah, 16 large diapers for Sydney, 3 diaper covers for Elijah, 4 diaper covers for Sydney, a large stack of inserts and a pile of cloth wipes. all for about 30 bucks when you include the elastic from WalMart.

I SO ROCK!!! and SO DOES MY MOM!!! (i did the cutting and she did the sewing)

front, back and then the cover of a Sydney diaper - made out of a junior's tee shirt

front and back of a tee-shirt diaper for Elijah, complete with army tank to carry his loads :P

this windbreaker will become 3 or so covers for Elijah's diapers

Here are some of the diapers made out of flannel sheets:

ducks for Elijah and flowers and purple stripes for Sydney

this pattern is called the Quick Snap Flap Wrap

(no, i did not come up with the name, but i love the concept)

when the pattern is cut, it uses only 2 (or you could use 3) layers of fabric (which means it washes out better and drys faster when you clean), but when it is folded up, it becomes 6 layers for better absorbency.

lay it flat, place an insert (for additional absorbency) in the center

fold the right side, fold the left side, place the baby

hold together with a little thing called a snappi, you could use a pin, but i don't feel like poking the babies, or more likely, myself!!

here is a cover, with waterproof interior from the hospital bed pad

that goes on top of the diaper, secures with Velcro and ter-done! (as Sydney would say)

these, along with about 8 diapers i bought from the baby store, and another 10 i bought off eBay (still have not arrived, they are coming from China!), i think i have enough diapers for both kids for the rest of their diapering days, all for around $100 total. (not bad considering Sydney is absolutely refusing to be potty trained and Elijah still has a solid two years of diapering ahead of him).

our christmas tree

I love decorating for Christmas. Every year, my mom and I would decorate the tree and house on the day after thanksgiving. Somehow, over the years my brother and sister worked their way out of helping, and I think my dad would go take a nap; so it was just the two of us. Having 'my own tree' these last few years with Wayne has been exciting as I pick out the ornaments and lights to try and make a decorating sceme for our tree. (yes, one's tree needs a decorating plan! last year I bought pink and purple lights on clearance after halloween and made my own tree skirt so that our tree is way cool with pink, purple and lime green colors on it).

anyway, since we are at the apartment and dont have room for a big tree (not to mention, putting up a tree and then taking it down to put back up again does not sound like much fun), we put up our little 'charlie brown' christmas tree.

Yes, this is literally the "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree...I got it last year at ShopKo. I think it is so awesome....especially since we don't have the big one up. Although, I wish I had some christmas lights is a little sad without the lights.
(yes, if you look closely, there are ants on the 'tree skirt'. it is actually a homemade table cloth with ants on one side and hot dogs on the other side.)

Thanksgiving - Nov. 26

The Cook

The Food - there was no way we were going to attempt a turkey dinner after just moving...I don't even think we have a pan here to put the turkey on and even if we did, I know all our tupperware/leftover-holders are back at my parents house waiting the big move to our new house. For now, we are in an apartment waiting for our house to close.
breakfast bagels...yum

3 months old - Nov. 25

Elijah at 3 Months
(i know, i know, i am so far behind because of the move...but better late than never)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

house update

Well, the inspection went well last week. For a 1890 house, it has held up fabulously. Honestly, I was worried that there would be foundation issues or some other major problem, but no! There were just a few little deferred maintenance type items. Leaky kitchen sink, the electrical box still had a fuse instead of all breakers, and we found out one of the toilets was leaking when we went into the basement (not a major leak, just poorly installed, the flange and or maybe the gasket will need to be replaced). Those were the 'big' ones...items that qualify as a 'defect.'

get ready for some legal mumbo jumbo..."a defect is defined as a structural, mechanical or other condition that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the Property; that would significantly impair the health or safely of future occupants of the Property; or that if not repaired, removed or replaced would significantly shorten or have a significant adverse effect on the expected normal life of the Property."

Yeah, so anyway, because these three things are a 'defect' we can ask the seller's to repair (cure, in real estate terms) at their expense prior to closing. Now, the seller is not obligated to accept our request that they repair the problems, but thankfully they did accept the terms! (actually, our realtor, Betty, told us that the seller's realtor was with the same agency. Betty said to us, "I told the other realtor that they will accept the request and fix those repairs." are you kidding me!?! go Betty!)

And, just yesterday our lender gave us a call...just needed one more thing (again :P ) and we may be able to close as early as next week!!! That would be awesome.
Hopefully we will hear today when we can close on the house.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

dangerous curiousity

sdyney was emptying out the diaper bag, like she often does, and started playing with my keys. She went around sticking them at all the doorknobs in the apartment, even the bathroom and bedroom which have no keyholes. She goes into the bedroom and I hear her playing with the keys while I am filling out some paperwork in the living room. I hear the keys drop and an 'oh no.' I think to myself, great, she has probably dropped the keys on Elijah who was sleeping in the pack 'n play. She comes out, 'oh no,' she reiterates. Ok, I'm coming to rescue Elijah, I think. I glance in the crib, no keys. Then I think, oh, even better, she dropped them down into the radiator.
But, instead, Sydney points over to a wall, and my gut drops and I felt sick. The keys are laying below an eletrical outlet and the outlet has a black burn mark on it.
I grabbed Sydney up to see if she was ok. Other than being a little scared, she seemed ok. I called our clinic and got their advice (basically watch her behavior since there seemed to be no external damage) and thought of what could have happened over and over.
God knows I need my sassy little girl. I don't know what I would do without her.
My next response was to put an outlet cover on all the remaining outlets (her room was already covered up, but only a few in the rest of the apartment were).

Looking at the outlet later on, I realized that the burn mark was on the screwhead above the outlet. I don't know exactly what happened, but it seems like she was trying to turn the screw with my key and somehow that sparked. still a little freaked out.

out of the closet???

So, for the past two years we have been living in my parents basement (long story). It is finished off with a small kitchenette, large bedroom and a walk-in closet. Sydney has been sleeping in the walk-in closet; first in her crib then in her toddler bed since June. It has worked out well since she is small and we put most of our clothes in dressers.

Well, at the apartment, she has her own room. The other day I go to check on her during naptime (she is not used to sleeping with any amount of light [no windows in a closet] but there is a window with no curtain in her room) and I did not see her in her bed. After a second of where in the heck could she be?, I found her.
Of course, even Elijah has been sleeping in interesting locations. We had already packed up the crib the night before the move to the apartment, but he still needed to sleep somewhere. Ta-da! Computer chair.

Monday, November 23, 2009

home inspection

So, we just got back from our house inspection...and it went pretty good. There were a few little problems, most of which we had anticipated, but no major issues. Still, it adds up fast. I enjoyed watching HGTV at my parents house (a lot) and I was always amazed at these people who would inevitably buy a house that is over their budget, have some fixes that had to be done to the house and remodel the place too! We aren't that crazy/financially astute/ambitious/reckless...take your pick. :) Hopefully we will find out more from our realtor tomorrow about who pays for what and maybe narrow in on our closing date.
Praise the Lord! We are feeling pretty excited about this house, and can't believe how well everything is falling into place. It is almost too good to hope for, we fell truly blessed.

Friday, November 20, 2009

the move to the apartment

Ok, we are less than a month away from moving into our house (inspection on Monday, praying all goes well). But first we must move into an apartment so Wayne can start his new job and while we wait for the sale of the house to be complete. That move is tomorrow...and I am tired already. Moving twice is not fun...and I have not even done it yet!! There is a pile for the house (which is huge) and the cars are full with apartment stuff.
Sydney is handling it all pretty well, but today she was a little frustrated. Almost all her toys are packed up, there is a fun pile of boxes that she cannot touch, and she has about 5 teeth coming in all at once. poor girlie. Elijah, good little lump that he is, is pretty much oblivious...ohh to be 2 months old. :)
Well...we will not have internet for a while, not at the apartment and most likely not at the house for a while. The library has internet, so I hope to blog and check email every once in a while. So, for now, kwa herini (good bye all)!

the plan:
Nov. 21 move to apartment
Nov. 23 house inspection
Dec. 17 closing?
hopefully in house before christmas so we can have our parents over.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cloth Diaper Give Away

I confess...we are contemplating cloth diapers! I've mentioned it on facebook before, but with all the expenses in life, cloth seems like it might be the way to go. (Anybody who has any experience can feel free to leave a comment, I would love your input).
For the moms of yester-year, the cloth diapers these days are super 'high-tech'. Super absorbant fabrics, durable velcro or snaps, and tons of cute patterns and styles are out there.
If you cloth diaper, or know someone who does, be sure to check out: for a chance to win free diapers. See their "Feed Your Stash" Friday posts.
I'm gonna look more into cloth diapering when we move next week. I'll keep you posted.

hanging with a cool bunch

So, I think we have filled something like 6+ large totes, 2 large suitcases, and about 22 banana boxes. ....and there is still more. yippy-skippy

here is a random picture i took of sydney and me at kaemi's birthday party. i love this little girl.

God's Atomic Clock

So I just wanted to say that God's timing is perfect. There are times in my life when I want all the little cogs in my life's clock to line up just so and to do so when I want. Here's the thing; while, yes, you turn the crown (the dial on the side of a watch used to manually change the display time), you can not actually change the time, only your perception of it. I can do, or not do, many things to try and change the seasons and times in my life, but if it is not God's timing, nothing will truly have been changed. That is not to say we should just wait for things to 'just happen' to us, but that we can have peace and security in hectic times.
While trying to remain calm, we were still going a little crazy trying to understand all the when's, who's, and how much'es (?)[ :P ] of buying a house and even life in general. And, even in all of this mess, God is good and His love for his crazy, stressed out children endures.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

waiting, but still going!

Ok, quick update. We are moving to Manitowoc this Saturday, Nov 21. We have an apartment rented until Dec. 31 because the house would not be ready for us in time. We are actually still waiting to become the primary offer on the house. There is still one more form that needs to be signed by the original buyer...apparently the real estate agency has had a little bit of a hard time chasing him down to sign the form. Hopefully, today we will hear from our realtor. Then, we need to schedule an inspection (maybe on Saturday when we move up). Then, Wayne starts at WalMart on Monday, Nov 23.

We are busy and often confused by the process, but we are truely feeling God's peace and presence during this time of transition.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

and...........................................GO!! - part 4

just a quick recap - as of friday, nov 6, our offer on a house in manitowoc was accepted, but there was another offer ahead of us, so we were in second place.
well, yesterday evening, saturday, nov 7, our realitor gave me a call and told me the the other people's financing was not working out and that they would be withdrawing their offer! so, then we will become the primary!!! now, it not quite official yet, there is some paperwork that the buyer and seller need to sign to release the buyer from the offer, and then the real estate agency needs to give them back their ernest money, and then we will become the primary offer and it seems we have a house!
once we are the primary, there is still the home inspection. please pray that the home inspection goes well; it is an older house.
we will keep you posted

Thursday, November 5, 2009

and...........................................GO!! - part 3

because wayne is transfering, a lot of people seem to have assumed it is into a management or supervisor type position. i feel a little funny telling them it is pretty much teh same job now; but actually is a little bit of a step down (from customer service desk to cashier). while it would seem odd to transfer a whole family just for a cashier job, that is not the whole picture. as i mentioned in part 2, the housing market in manitowoc is so much better than in hartford.
let me give you an example:
in our price range for hartford
2-3 bedroom, 1 bath = 0
in our price range, 20 to 30 minutes away from hartford
2-3 bedroom, 1 bath = 14
BUT - 1 is literally condemned (you are buying the land), several are 55+ condos or trailers, a couple have no where to park (not evena driveway) and the rest would need so much work, we could not afford them

in our price range in manitowoc
3+ bedrooms, 1.5+ bath = 20
in our price range in manitowoc and the next town, just a few miles away = 37

and the manitowoc houses in general are significantly larger with more rooms.

so, there is so much more potential for housing, which is still only a portion of our reason for moving on. we really feel that this is all God's timing and work. I was literally just starting to let go of what i wanted and really letting God take care of our life, when suddenly He is giving us those very things we were too afraid to hope for because it seemed to wonderful for us.

God is just too good for us to comprehend. We are amazed at all that has happened inthe last few days and weeks and are reminded of all that He does for us in our life.

and...........................................GO!! - part 2

the reason i titled these posts and.............................................GO!! is because that is how our life feels right now. We have been waiting for God to show us where to go and what to do for what seems like a long time now. We moved here to hartford in nov. 2007. Wayne had lost his job in january of that year, sydney was born in august and just could not make it financially on my job alone. When we first moved here, we thought we would go to seminary in fall 2008, unless a ministry job came up. that was what we thought we would do. in the meanwhile, wayne got a job at a new walmart here in town (i know how some people feel about walmart, but for us it meant a job when many places in town were laying-off) and i ended up working as a supervisor at my old high school job at a local craft store. time past and nothing opened up for ministry and with the economy so low, it seemed like a bad time to pile up a load of debt from seminary (did you know churches ask you what your debt load is when they are considering hiring you). so, no schooling and no paid ministry, just work and sydney
well, we thought, we need to be content where we are and serve God wherever he has us. of course we always knew that, but now we had an opportunitiy to put it into action. Wayne stepped up and started teaching adult sunday school and i started volunteering in the church nursery. wayne loved teaching his sunday school class. he taught on the 12 disciples (using John MacArthur's 12 Ordinary Men book as his guide), the book of Acts and is currently teaching on Ephesians.
while we love being with my parents (the basement is finished off and is kind of like a mother-in-law suite with a small kitchenette and a 3/4 bath), it started feeling a bit cramped, especially when elijah was born. we started feeling a little desperate to get out. we decided to look at buying a house. we talked to our bank and a mortgage lender and surprisingly (at least to us) we actually qualified for a loan! (we don't have bad credit, but since we had not had any payments of any sort for a while [rent, car payments or school loans for example], we didnt think we would have any credit). of course the loan was small, which is fine; after all you can only afford what you can afford. but after looking online at houses, we realized that it would be difficult to find a house in the area.
we found a great realitor who showed us about 4 houses (among a dozen or so that we reviewed) over the course of a month. they all would have needed so much work and were so far away that it would not have been wise to purchase.
hartford is an expensive city to live in. the median value of a house in hartford is 25k more than the median value for the state of wisconsin. comparitively, manitowoc's median value is 58k less. that makes a big difference when looking for a house. this is one of the reasons we put in for a transfer for wayne to the manitowoc walmart. additionally, we loved living there before. it is a great town and we had a wonderful relationship with the pastor and church where we ministered after college.
anyway, wayne indicated on walmart's employee computer that he would be interested in a a few positions at walmart in manitowoc. while we liked the idea of moving to manitowoc, we really were not holding our breath for it. with christmas coming, i figured most places would only be hiring seasonal help then once the holidays were over, that was it. wayne had contacted another walmart closer to us here in hartford and found out they were not even hiring seasonal help, much less a job that would continue on and be good for buying a house. i thought, maybe we would hear something in several months from manitowoc, but no way any time soon. in the back of my mind i resigned myself to be living in the basement for a while longer.
so, when something actually opened up in manitowoc, we could not believe it and could not even respond with a yes right away because we really had not discussed it as if it would happen and what that would all mean for our family.
we are really excited about moving to manitowoc. we will miss hartford and our church family, but hope that they will bless and pray for us as we move on.


I have got so much to write, but I want to catch your attention first.
We are moving!
Now that I've got you... it has been an interesting week. If you would have told me a week ago all that we would go through I would not have believed it. It goes something like this:
Thurs. Oct. 29 - Wayne gets call from Manitowoc WalMart. Are you interested in transfering? Wow, YES! Ok, we will put the transfer into the computer. Wait, I would like to be able to talk it over with my wife. Ok, but we need to know by tomorrow. Uhh...sure.
We have a quick, excited, and somewhat hectic night thinking things through.
Fri. Oct. 30 - We say yes. They want him to start next Sat., Nov. 7th. Uhh...sure. Frantic planning again. Where do we live? We could get a house, we could rent an apartment, will we be able to get either fast enough? We call our old apartment complex, there are a few 2 bedrooms available. (we lived in manitowoc before moving here to hartford). Ok. That is an option. We call our will this work to find a house too far away for her to show us? (we had been looking for housing around Hartford, but were unable to find anything, which led to our moving to manitowoc. i'll try to write about that in a separate blog...otherwise this will be really long). Our realitor will recommend someone to us. We look online and find 5 houses we want to see on Tues. Nov. 3, Wayne's next full day off.
Sat. Oct. 31 - By today, I have packed up a good chuck of our house. The plans have changed hourly...Wayne move up Nov. 7 to apartment by himself with bare basics, we (kids and I) will join in a week with the rest of the stuff; Wayne move up Nov. 7, we will wait until we can find out more about the market and maybe buy a house; Wayne move in with old friends from church and on and on and on. My mind is starting to simmer.
Sun. Nov. 1 - We announce to the church that this will be our last sunday, we will be moving. We feel especially bad for Wayne's sunday school class. Wayne has been teaching adult sunday school and is currently teaching Ephesians. He will have to leave his class hanging in the middle of the book.
Mon. Nov. 2 - The Manitowoc WalMart has completed everything fo tthe transfer and is just awaiting confirmation from Hartford's Store Manager. After Wayne talks with him, we get wayne's start date pushed back two weeks. We are now moving Nov. 21, but still have no place to live.
Tues. Nov. 3 - we head to Manitowoc to meet our new realitor, see some houses and get our apartment lined up. We see 6 houses. All of them are a bust. except one. it is an older victorian house, the price is right, the neighborhood is good, we like this house. but it has an accepted offer. our realitor explains to us that we can still put in an offer, that way if the first offter falls through, we are ready and 'in line next.' we head home to think about it. (manitowoc is an hour and a half away from hartford)
Wed. Nov. 4 - after staying awake until 1:30 this morning thinking about the house, we decide to put an offer in. i call our realitor and leave her a message. she calls back and said she was going to call us and suggest that if we like the house to put an offer on it, so she was glad we called. we end up getting permision for wayne to be late to work and drive back up to manitowoc, look over the house one more time (my dad came along as well to give us his input), and we put an offer on the house.
Thurs. Nov. 5 - our offer was accepted today! of course since there is already an offer, all that means is that we are second place. but we are OFFICALLY SECOND PLACE! :)

So, in a week, we got a new job, are moving, arranged for an apartment, and put an offer on a hosue! whew, i am exhausted. i have literally dreamed about housing and moving all week long.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

photographer grandpa

So, my mom was taking pictures for Elijah's two month photo at the same time I was. Yes, we were literally standing right next to each other taking picture after picture. Then my dad comes a long and wants to give it a try.

He likes to get real close, and it worked out soooo well.

He got the best shots out of all of us. Look at the photo my dad got:
This one is pretty darn cute too. (Elijah is wearing grandpa's tie clip)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2 months old - Oct. 25

Elijah - two months, oct. 25

sydney two months, in 2007

Saturday, October 24, 2009

my two favorite pictures

these are my two favorite pictures of elijah's birthday. i didn't even realize how cool this first photo was until i cropped it in closer. i love mommy and daddy's hands on elijah. it is soooo cool.

while the cap (naomi) and face mask (wayne) are not the most flattering fashion statements, i do like this one too.

i re-discovered these two photos while uploading pictures to print. i have not printed any in a very long time...i printed over 330 pictures. opa!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

cuter than cute

Would you look at the cute Fletcher grand-babies! Elijah, Sydney and their cousin Kaemi. Kaemi is my brother Jonathan and, his wife, Abby's little girl. She comes and visits every other week or so, and Sydney has a grand old time with her.
cousin buddies
oh look, it's elijah