Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The children were nestled all snug in their beds...

It's [one of] my favorite times of the day. Jeff works late on Wednesday nights which means I am on my own for bedtime. Getting the two kids to bed on my own is like performing an intricately choreographed dance...and these days, I have my steps finely tuned! And here it is, 8pm and my two little angels are snuggled warm in their beds on this blustery cold, Fall (Winter?) evening. Time for me to catch up on emails and pay my blog a visit:-)

Things don't seem to be slowing down one bit, but we certainly can't complain. On the house front, the painters will be finished tomorrow! Hurrah! In total, their work included repairing all the walls and ceilings (on the upper floor only - main level is considered "Phase 2", which will begin in January), repairing all of the wood work, doors and windows, sanding them and spraying everything with an oil based enamel that will keep it sparkling for decades to come, painting the ceilings in the hallway, bedrooms and closets, painting the walls in the bedrooms, hallway and closets and repairing and spraying the risers of the stairs and banister. They did a fabulous job and I would highly recommend them. This weekend my dad will come in to start installing new shelves and clothing bars in all of the closets (having a surgeon for a dad comes in handy when you break your jaw AND when you give him a meticulous project that he conquers with the precision of a...well, surgeon!) Monday, the tilers start in on the upstairs bathroom to give the ONLY bathroom we currently have a bit of a wow factor. The following Monday, our wood flooring contractor comes to refinish the upstairs floors and stairway...and with that, we are DONE (until January when the REAL construction begins).

Last night we met with the architect to start generating plans for the main level, basement and exterior. She is brilliant! Meeting with her has given us great clarity and really got our creative juices flowing. We'll meet with her again in two weeks for the unveiling of the first round of plans we conjunctively created last night. From there we will have several rounds of revisions before we start getting bids from contractors.

Rosemary and Gloria are busy as ever these days. Rosemary is absolutely loving her swimming lessons. Honestly, I can't tell who's having more fun: Rosemary or Jeff. I just love watching Jeff in the pool with Rosemary. When it comes time for backfloats, it's Jeff's excuse to snuggle Rosemary nice and close and kiss her little forehead over and over again. Those two have a very close bond - have since day one - and always will. Gloria is just getting huge! When I catch a glimpse of myself holding her in the mirror, I can't believe my eyes. Who is this gigantic baby I'm holding? I just love the age she is at - 5 months. She's not exactly mobile yet, but has so much personality, lights up when she sees us and, of course, is undeniably chubby and kissable to no end.

All in all, things are going great! Jeff and I are getting SO excited for the holiday season to officially begin. We have plans for baking, chex mix making and plenty of Christmas time traditions. However, not before we enjoy all the Halloween festivities this weekend and our favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Rare Moment.

I'm taking advantage of this rare moment of solitude to update our blog. We have gone from busy to absolutely insane. Last Friday, as planned, we closed on our house! HURRAH! Everything went great aside from chasing Rosemary around during the closing itself, but after about 6 pieces of candy to keep her occupied, we were handed the keys. We feel as sure as ever that this house is the perfect place for us to be at this time. We have met lots of great people on our block and are excited to be back in our old neighborhood - close to our church, doctors and most importantly, a grocery store where I know where everything is!

Since leaving the closing with those fateful keys, all chaos has broken loose. In an effort to get work going on the house, we had several contractors lined up to give us estimates immediately following the closing. The painters came in and started on Saturday removing wallpaper, repairing walls and ceilings, prepping woodwork and doing all the necessary work to get that upstairs dialed in for us to invade. Jeff and I spent the weekend tearing out (what felt like) miles upon miles of carpet, pulling up staples, busting out nail strips in an effort to expose the wood floors and get them ready for refinishing. Finally, the tile contractor will start to install a new floor in the bathroom and touch up a few areas of the upstairs (main) bathroom. you can imagine, the house has been full of people and has become a gigantic construction zone...including all of the mess that comes along with it. With the way things are going, we are hoping to be officially moving in to our new house in about 2 weeks.

On another note, we just returned from purchasing Halloween costumes for the girls. We have our first of 4 Halloween parties this Friday. Rosemary will be a cow and Gloria will be a hot dog. Rosemary has been walking around saying "Baaaaa" all night. Better get to work on changing that to "Moooooo."

Finally, my last bit of news came last Wednesday night while out to a routine double date with our friends Jeff and Delila. Little did we know on this regular Wednesday night that our friend Jeff would be proposing! "My Jeff" and I were BEYOND thrilled to get to share their special moment with them and had such an amazing time celebrating their great news! We are looking forward to the many festivities leading up to their wedding.

Aside from that, we've just been doing what we can to enjoy the little down time we find in the day. Luckily Jeff is off this coming weekend so we can make some more headway at the house. I am just dying to get in there and start organizing and labeling...he he he. With the unpacking going on this weekend, hopefully I will find that blasted camera cord and get some pictures of the progress at the house up. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

3 Days & Counting!

It's official, we are 65 hours away from closing on our house (not that I'm counting!) These last few days seem to be dragging by and we are so anxious to get over there to start getting settled. Of course there are a few obstacles we will need to surpass before actually nesting in at our new pad, but nothing we can't wrap up in a matter of a week or two. We are currently living in squalor; I gave up long ago on trying to keep us organized here at my in-law's...which I'm sure they appreciate so much being that our stuff is scattered from corner to corner on all levels of their house. Anyone who knows me knows I am borderline OCD in my organization I think Jeff is left wondering who is sleeping in bed next to him. And being that I never dreamed we were moving in here for more than 3 weeks, I packed the kids bigger and warmer clothes in the depths of our Smartbox's. Rosemary's outfit was absolutely HILARIOUS today with her too short, 18 month old jeans and skimpy t-shirt on a chilly fall day.

Aside from home obsession, we've been busy! Jeff and I had a fun night going to the Twin's game last week with our friends Jeff and Mitch (despite the game being a gigantic disappointment). The girls and I also had a great time at Emma Krumbee's Apple Orchard in Belle Plaine a few Friday's ago with Matt, Audra, Nolan, Corinne and my parents. What a great spot for toddlers (train rides, tractor rides, scarecrow festival, rope maze, hay pile, petting name it!)

Last week was also Rosemary's 2 year check up and Gloria's 4 month check up. For Rosemary, it was a very "big girl" appointment being that she got to get weighed on the "big girl" scale, get her height taken standing up, got her shot in her arm vs her leg and didn't even have to undress! Gloria, on the other hand, got the full work up including 4 shots and full nudity. Monday was a first for Jeff and I as we made our first appearance at Children's Hospital Heart Clinic with Gloria. Our pediatrician referred Gloria there for suspicions of a heart murmur. After a weekend of worrying and plenty of tears shed by mom, we received the news that Gloria's heart is absolutely perfect! News of a complication in Gloria's heart would not have been the worst thing in the world. But it made me realize how much I take my children's health for granted. Life is so precious and so fragile...and to think the millions of possibilities of complications we COULD have received that day that would have changed our life forever. I am reminded of how fortunate we are and am reminded of the strength of so many other parents who fight for their children's health every single day.

Well, the next time we update this blog we will be home owners once again! I never imagined when we put our house up for sale a year ago (literally, to the day TODAY) that we would still be in a period of transition. But if I've learned anything, it's that life is one big transition and you just have to learn to roll with it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tonight, I Am Ill With Excitement.

Today was absolutely a day that I will never forget. My brother Mark ran the Twin Cities Marathon and I must say that I never anticipated my sibling running a race being a life changing experience. While my big brother checking an item off his bucket list was a huge deal in itself, today reminded me how incredibly blessed I am.

Jeff and I dragged the kids out to the race bright and early at 8am. For the previous few days, talks were in motion between base camp (my parents), Team Schaffer & Team(s) Lehnert as to where we would all strategically place ourselves to watch Mark and encourage him every step of the way. I calculated by the end of the race, there was one or more members of our family at 10 different locations throughout the course. Now maneuvering the course is tricky via vehicle...all the while trying to monitor Mark's pace and make sure we were "in position" with plenty of time to catch him and jump, scream, holler, yell, clap...and do whatever else we could think of to give him an added skip in his step. Mark had told us in advance that the last 6 miles of the course would be his most we had family at miles 21, 22, 23 and 24. With all of the runner's conditions depleting as the race progressed, my brother Matt, Jeff and I and the kids made a mad dash to the Capital...not wanting to miss seeing our big brother round the corner of the Cathedral and set eyes on that finish line. We made it...with about 2 minutes to spare as he came down along the straight away. We were jumping out of our skin with excitement and could barely stand the sight of witnessing Mark make this accomplishment. Mark even managed to throw his hands up in the air as if to make the whole experience look easy.

It's now almost 12 hours after his finishing time and I just can't seem to come off this "runner's high." I have an unbelievable, indescribable feeling of pride to see my family unite in support of our own. It didn't matter that the kids were tired, it didn't matter that we were fighting traffic, loading and unloading children, strollers, it didn't matter that we were feeding a baby a bottle while jumping up and down to cheer him on...he needed our support...and the words didn't even need to be spoken in order for us all to be there. I have such an amazing family. Jeff was in high gear all day making sure we got to every stop I wanted to, making sure the kids were taken care of so I didn't miss Mark running by. He was keeping me calm when my nerves were shot from the excitement, anticipation and struggle of seeing my brother tired and battered by the end of the race. He is an amazing husband and he values family just as much as I do.

So today I add to my list of most memorable, awe-inspiring moments: Seeing my big brother complete a Marathon. This accomplishment stands among other incredible moments in my life such as seeing my brother Matt graduate from Medical School, watching my nieces in their Christmas programs, hearing the touching words spoken at my dad's retirement party and starting my own family.

As I was saying goodnight to Rosemary tonight, I told her what a good job she did cheering for Uncle Mark today. I told her that the most important thing in our lives is our family. I just pray that my daughters come to understand the value of family and the importance of their siblings as much as we were taught to.