Sunday, July 20, 2014

Held together with glue!

I honestly thought I'd blogged about this. But I've read back through the blog for a couple of months and can't find it. So pardon if you've read this before.

The other day I was snuggling with Caitlin on the couch. She's such a cuddle bug and I'm going to miss her like crazy when school starts. She's quickly loosing those adorable cheeks she was born with. But when she smiles you can see traces of them. 
Me - "Caitlin, I just love your cheeks. I think I'm going to take them and keep them forever."
Caitlin - "Ok. You can have them."
I acted like I was going to take them off.
Me - "I think they're stuck. I can't get them off."
Caitlin - "Yeah, they're glued on."
Me - "What in the world are they glued on with?"
Caitlin - "Gorilla glue."

I think I've let her watch too much HGTV. 

Speaking of TV. . .
My kids rarely watch cartoons. About the only time they see them is when it's raining or too hot and the babysitter lets them watch a few minutes after lunch. 
When I let the kids watch TV it's HGTV, DIY, or one of the cooking channels. Caitlin's favorite is "House Hunters" and Dominic's favorite is "Chopped". So you can imagine his delight when I received the Chopped cookbook to review. He's been pouring over that book almost as much as the Lego magazines he receives every month. I see some crazy cooking in our future.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Vacation Bible School

There is something wonderful and magical about vacation bible school - for the kids.
There is something exhausting and draining about vacation bible school - for adults.

This year was no exception. The leaders picked the wonderful theme of Paul in Athens. I was incredible impressed with the time and effort that was put in to making this a great experience for the kids. They learned so much about Paul, Athens, God, and the Bible. Jon and I are worn out. In fact, my dear husband is napping as I write this. But the kids can't stop talking about everything they experienced this week. All week long they've talked about God sightings. It warms my heart to see and hear them so in-tune with God and His blessings to them.

Since I was the official photographer I have quite a few pictures from vbs. But since I didn't want to appear biased, I don't have as many of my own kids as I would like. But here are a few that I was able to snap.

 
 
 
 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Normal again. . .almost!

We are finally beginning to feel a bit more normal. Our house is clean, with the exception of the cook top area. Almost all of our clothes have been returned. And we are back in our own sweet beds. 

But some things aren't the same. We can't use our stove or oven. So meals have been a bit entertaining and creative. I'm slowly putting things back since all of the items were returned in boxes all mixed up together. We have piles of "discard" bags sitting around that we can't do anything about until we get another visit from an insurance person.

And our sweet kitty hasn't returned home. The fireman scared the stuffings out of him and he ran outside. He always comes back and we spent that first night in our sooty house. I truly expected to hear him at the door that night. So I wasn't too worried. But as each day went by with no kitty we all became concerned. It is now almost 3 weeks later and no one has seen or heard him. I've asked all of the neighbors, posted notices on lsn and facebook, taken pictures to the humane society, and called the current and previous vets. We even, very briefly, considered getting another kitty. But we still miss Tolkie too much and it just didn't feel right. The kids cried on the way home because they saw all of those cats in cages and felt sorry for them and yet they missed their cat too much to get another one. In the words of Dominic "Someday I might want to rescue another kitty. But right now I can't. I miss Tolkie and I don't want to hurt his feelings when he gets home. Because I'm really praying he comes back home soon."
 
So if you get a chance, please send up a prayer that our kitty comes home. We miss him a lot.

We are moving on with the kitchen as best as we can. We've gotten estimates from all of the local cabinet places and have decided on a company. Ironically enough, Lowes is the most expensive. We have picked out tile, colors, etc. Our appliances arrived and are sitting here waiting. So now we just wait for a phone call letting us know that we can proceed with the demolition. 

I've been posting all of the fire updates here on the kids blog. It happened to all of us and affected all of us. But once the real renovations start, I'll move over to the other blog since all of my renovation pictures are there.

Monday, June 30, 2014

One week later. . .

I wrote this Friday evening. But as is becoming typical of our life - the internet at the hotel was down and I couldn't post it. So it is now Monday. I am sitting on a sooty couch with about 10 people in my home while I grab some wifi and try to get some work accomplished.

Our life has been a little different this past week. We'd initially thought the fire to be annoying, but no big deal. It became more of a deal as time went on.

The clean up guy arrived on Sunday morning. He gave us a black trash bag and told us to fill it with "emergency" clothes that we would get right back ASAP.  He waded through our house and recommended the entire house be de-smoked from top to bottom. Monday morning the cleaning crew arrived. And by Monday afternoon we were without bedding, curtains and clothing. Not a big deal until we realized we were left with the clothes on our back. The emergency bag wasn't back yet.
We found a hotel suite and settled in for what we thought was a couple of days.

Tuesday found me traveling all over town trying to figure out prices and replacement costs so I could have the damage list for the adjuster. 

Our home was taken over. People in and out all day, a massive Hepa filter roaring in my living room, all of my belongings being handled by a stranger, and some seriously frustrated kids who couldn't get in their bedrooms.

Friday a forensic fire investigator came and confirmed that the stove had turned itself on due to a faulty something and was not our fault. We were told it would be at least Tuesday of next week before we could go home. The adjuster called to inform me no that she had a preliminary total of $20k and she didn't have all of her figures in yet.
She also informed us that the insurance company had decided to sue. So it could be approximately a month before we could begin the demo on our kitchen. 

So we wait. We are on another adventure and thank God every day that we are safe and together. Life will return to our normal soon. But in the mean time we are enjoying the blessings. One of them will be when I return to a immaculately cleaned house.

I will try to get my computer and camera in the same building soon so I can begin posting a few pictures. Some of them I can't post until the investigation is over.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

What a day!!!!

Yesterday was one of those days!!! It was a doozy. It started when I had to get up incredibly early to get to Chattanooga so I could start the eviction process for a tenant that we inherited when we purchased the townhouses. It isn't a fun process no matter how you work it. But since I've never evicted someone, it was rather nerve wracking.

Everything took longer than I'd planned so I was extremely late picking up Dominic and his friend from camp. I arrive to find out that due to a slight mix-up and change in plans I was not on the list to pick up the friend. After a rather panicked moment I found the other mom who WAS on the list. So she signed him out and I took him home.

We leave for home and are in Spencer when I get pulled over. He said he'd seen my car swerve and I was going a little over the speed limit. I knew I wasn't going very much, if any, over. So I truly thought I was going to get a warning. But when he'd first came to the window he'd seemed extremely interested in the boys. He asked their names, ages, where they'd been, etc. Turns out he was fishing for info. I only had one booster seat in the car. So I'd given it to the friend since he was shorter. But Tennessee has changed the law recently and children need to be 8 yrs old before they can ride in the car without a booster seat. It's endangering your child. So I was given a massively huge ticket for Dominic and he tacked on the speeding as well. I felt he'd fudged the speed and was really upset.

I drop off the friend and arrive home to find the house empty. Everyone was at my in-laws house. They moved in next door the day before (more on that later). I drop off  the work binder, books I'd purchased from McKays, and my purse and head over myself. About 15-20 minutes later I hear Caitlin tell Dominic "I'm going home to get it". A few seconds later we hear her screaming. It's her terrified scream. We run over to hear her say "It's burning inside". Jon looks toward the door to see smoke billowing out of the door. He grabs the fire extinguisher that he keeps in the carport by the steps and within a very scary minute has the fire out. But Kim (my sister-in-law) and Gramps had been throwing still burning items out into the carport. One of the books slid right under the car. I happen to have the keys still in my pocket so while still on the phone with 911 I backed the car out of the carport. Everything I'd placed beside the stove was ruined. My purse, gps, chargers, books, work stuff - all a blackened mess. We stood there in complete shock. No one had used the stove that day. I had checked the stove when I laid my items down beside it. But when Jon ran into the house one of the burners was bright red. When he tried to turn it off, he found the switch in the off position. He had to pull the breaker to get the stove off.

Long story short - our entire house is filled with black sooty smoke and we have a largely unusable kitchen. We sent the kids to the grandparents and changed the sheets on our bed. It was still a bit sooty, but we survived the night. Tomorrow morning we have professionals trumping through the house cleaning up and checking wiring. Because according to the firemen, sometimes stoves just turn themselves on. And because my bag of books was close, we had a fire!

Lesson learned. Never, ever put things anywhere near a stove - Even if it's off!

We've seen blessings in all of this.
Our family moved in just in time.
No one was hurt!
I didn't have to cook super last night. =)

*Please ignore all typos. I'm trying to type this on my iPad since my computer is unusable until the clean up crew gets here. I'm just hoping it can be saved. Joys of having an open concept house!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mohawks see red!

Oh my soul! This little boy is crazy. And I love him with all of my heart. He probably gets most of his crazy from me, but I'm not admitting to anything. =)

He told me that the red looked more normal so he wasn't as embarrassed. =)
  This is the cutest little boy face I've ever seen!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Future Runners

I found several posts in my drafts folder. So some serious out of order will be going on while I finish them.

The last couple of years at camp meeting Dominic and I ran the race on Friday. But this year Caitlin wanted to run the 1 mile. Usually the 5k runners start and the Fun run starts about 5 minutes later. Caitlin is well known in our house for being incredibly slow. So Jon offered to run with her. Neither had run a mile before (if Jon has, it's been years).  But this year they changed things up and had the Fun run start first.

On Thursday afternoon it dawned on Caitlin that the race was the next morning. So she ran up and down the driveway three times. It was hilarious, especially because that's probably the most she'd ever run before. It takes 6 1/2 times around our back yard to make a mile. Caitlin hasn't ever gone more than 1/2 a lap around the yard. Baby girl just doesn't like to exert energy when it isn't necessary.

Caitlin took off with the biggest grin on her face. She was really excited.

I waited by the sidelines for what I thought was going to be a while. I had even given the camera to my father-in-law in case the 5k started before she returned.

Less than 11 minutes later my baby girl came into view running. According to a very tired Jon after the race, she ran the entire way and didn't show down. She finished her mile in 11:09.

 
Baby girl can move if she actually wants to. She came across the finish line with a smile on her face and no sign of being tired other than her pink cheeks.

Dominic and I waiting for the 5k to start. My cousin Matt is standing beside me in the white shirt.
This little boy cracks me up. Dramatic anyone?!
Dominic, as usual, took off like a cannon. I wanted to beat my time from last year so I wasn't too far behind him.

I finished the race and ran back to run Dominic in. I saw the little boy (right of the picture) and told Dominic to hurry. I wasn't sure where he was in his age division, but I wanted him to get a metal. He was running in the 7-9 age group. But that boy heard me and took off too. Poor Dominic ran his heart out at the end and just couldn't beat him. At one point he gasped that he just couldn't run any faster.
He was wasted at the end. 
Turns out the boy in the orange shirt was a small 10 yr old. 
So Dominic pulled a 2nd place in his age division. His time was 29: something (I've momentarily lost my running log).

Much to Jon's chagrin, he won 2nd place in his age division. So he gave the medal to Caitlin. There were a ton of girls in Caitlin's age division 5-7. So she didn't place. But she proudly showed her medal to everyone and told them she'd gotten 2nd place. I was so proud of how well she'd done that I didn't correct her.


My cousin Matt did very well also.
Very proud of the runners in my family!