first day of pre-K!

Jake started prekindergarten at church a few weeks ago! He goes three mornings a week just until noon. He loves school so far and has had no hesitations about going, excluding a few minutes of nerves when we dropped him off on the first day and he realized we were leaving him there. ;) But he comes home and tells me about the things he made and the snack he had--so many cupcakes right now to celebrate all those summer birthdays!--and then I pry more information out of him because I just wish I could be a fly on the wall in his classroom.

I believe Deric was saying something along the line of "eyeballs" to get these genuine laughs and smiles...what a goob!

I took the inside photos first that morning and I wasn't sure if I got a good one so I lucked out and got some genuine smiles on the front porch too!

I love seeing him put on his backpack each morning! He just looks so big and so small at the same time. Its hard to believe he's already old enough for "school" and that his real school career will be here in no time! But he's so ready and I'm proud of all the new things he's accomplished lately!

summer '17 recap

This summer has been a whirlwind of settling into our house, finding new routines and getting some of the more immediate projects taken care of. We've had lots of trips to Lowe's, lots of naptime and after-bedtime DIYing going on...and that's just how we like it, even if it is a little tiring. ;)

Immediately after our week in Port Hope, all four of us went to camp! Deric had been asked to speak in the evenings to the high school group and they kindly let me and the boys accompany him for the week. So we spent our days mostly playing in the sand volleyball court with another family of boys, plus some fishing lessons for Jake (first time!), a few "hikes" through the woods and the puddles and Jake even climbed on the roof of a fire truck one night! The truck came out as a precaution while the camp set off fireworks. Jake got to have a late night with Dad that night and watch the fireworks with the big kids. He was happy but so tired!

We've been sharing a garden plot with friends this summer since we didn't have a yard at the beginning of the summer. But because of a really busy few weeks with our move, plus our friends' moved at the same time, our garden is looking so sad. The weeds just took over everything in no time and the only plant to survive was our tomatoes. I did harvest enough tomatoes one week to try my hand (again) at marinara sauce-- and it worked this time! Delicious. But other than that, we got a few green tomatoes to fulfill my fried green tomato BLT quota for the summer and then a friend let us pick their green beans one week so we got fresh snapped green beans! I set Jake to work one morning during an episode of Curious George and quickly realized my mistake-- with George playing, the green beans were getting snapped about once every five minutes. ;) 

Anytime Jake gets down on Reid's level, Reid comes over and either belly flops on top of Jake or sits on him and bounces. Thankfully Jake thinks its funny and is patient enough to wait for Reid to move instead of throwing him off when he wants to get up.

Reid figured out how to climb into his wagon...but he can't get himself out. And since he won't stop getting in I taught Jake how to get him out. And then Jake figured out how to give Reid wagon rides! Its actually great entertainment for both of them (and for me). Its so cute to see them going in circles around the house.

We love our backyard but the single drawback is our lack of shade. We only have one tree on our property and its in the front yard, so the backyard gets a *bit* warm in the afternoons. We do what we can for shade and when all else fails, we get out the water!

One afternoon while Reid was napping, Jake and I tried our hand at chalk paint! It was so fun for both of us! Simple, too. We grated chalk with a cheese grater into a plastic container, mixed in some water to the right consistency and painted away! Jake enjoyed grating the chalk and mixing it into paint more than drawing, but I loved painting the ground! The chalk paint goes on really thick and is very vivid compared to regular chalk drawings. Its such a simple twist on an old standby and Jake asks to do chalk paint every few days. He can pretty much do all the grating and mixing now; I just help him gauge the amount of water he'll need so its not too watery. 

Farmers market! I'd wanted to go all summer and finally one night while Deric was at church, the boys and I happened to drive by the market so we went! It was a lot of fun. We didn't need any produce but we definitely needed kettle corn. I told Jake he could spend up to $5 on something of his choosing and he chose a family size bag of kettle corn. We all appreciated that choice. I also bought challah bread that was divine and we had fantastic french toast one morning. I love baking so now I'm excited to try my own challah bread one day.

We're so lucky that our neighborhood is connected to the town's greenway system. I'm majorly impressed at the greenways here: we can get basically all over our town on the greenways. (And its mostly flat, thank you Indiana!) Our nearest grocery store is exactly a mile away; we can access all three major parks in town within about three miles; and a bike ride to church/preschool is three miles. Deric bikes to work as often as his schedule and the weather allows and he's taken Jake in the bike trailer to preschool at church as well. The boys and I go out on bike rides fairly often as well. There's little "free library" book stop about .5 miles down the greenway so its a great distance for Jake to bike. We check out the books inside, put our own book in to share, and head back home...or farther down the trail if Jake is up for it! I'm excited to see the greenway when the leaves change this fall.

And there you go, the summer at a glance! The air is starting to get cooler here and Jake's at school three mornings a week, plus playing soccer on Saturday mornings. Wednesday nights at church have started up and that means we're officially in a new season and new routine. I'm half sad and half excited about it but mostly excited to experience a new season--of weather and of life-- in our new home!


Port Hope 2017

Good grief, I'm so behind with blogging that an entire summer needs to be documented! We'll start with Port Hope since its the best week of the summer, and go from there. ;)

This was the first year that the Port Hope Mercantile was open! We drove into town and straight up to the Mercantile to check it out. Its amazing. After 2+ years of seeing Mom and Dad's progress on the building and the idea of the Mercantile take shape, it was so incredible to actually step into the store and see the idea come to fruition. We couldn't get enough of the store and we all took multiple trips across the street to visit each day.

 I thought my heart would explode every time I saw the kids "take inventory". We gave each kid a pad of paper and a pen and taught them to count items and write them down. They took it so seriously! Joel especially was just the cutest because you know he can't write his numbers but you better believe he was serious about his job! Grandad also taught them how to straighten shelves, line up products and turn the labels to the front. Isaac got to practice at the cash register and would make change for the many soda and candy stick purchases each day.

See what I mean? How cute is that little shopkeeper?!

Straightening shelves...

and tagging merchandise!

I came into the Mercantile one afternoon to see these two laying in the display window giggling up a storm. They were laughing at the thought of "booties for sale!" and Courtney mentioned that people would have to decide if they want to buy a girl booty or a boy booty, and those two just lost it. And so did I. ;)

This was Eli's first year at Port Hope (and Reid's first summer to do more than take naps on people's laps). The middle three cousins-- Cana, Jake and Joel-- were thick as thieves again and they dubbed themselves The Pirate Ice Cream Band when they played their harmonicas.

Only in Port Hope do we eat ice cream every day for an entire week!

I could barely get Reid to sit still long enough for a photo--see that grip I've got on his leg?

Jake and Joel accompanied Grandad Dean to the post office one afternoon to pick up Grandma Carol's packages. There's always exciting packages thanks to Amazon! ;)

Jake was my breakfast buddy one morning. This is what I love about Port Hope: windows open, a beautiful view, time to relax and be together during the day. (And I'm realizing that the picture makes it look like I was drinking from a sippy cup!)

You better believe Reid would not leave the Mule alone-- if he could see it, he was trying to climb on it! We brought the paddle boards down to the shore one afternoon and go figure, Jake was actually in swim gear and stayed totally dry, but Reid was in a regular diaper and clothes and was totally soaked (and saggy!). But he was happy and that's what matters.

Waiting for someone to get the hint and push him around on the trike!

This is just Reid, in a nutshell. ;)

Middle cousins, totally entranced with the gravel. They dug, and dug, and dug some more on this path. Every day.

Uncle Marc sure stays busy each year! When he's not giving piggy back rides he's giving drum lessons.

For some reason, Reid really likes to perch on bouncy balls and see how long he can keep his balance. I love all these little quirks of his, and it blows me away that at barely a year old, people have preferences and quirks that make them unique! 

Love these brothers! (And so far they love each other, so we're in good shape!)

Cana does a good job loving on all these boy cousins of hers!

Cana and Jake ran inside for a snack after swimming in the pool and hung out the window to show us their carrot noses!

I don't know what it was, but our week in Port Hope this summer just flew by! I think that in the back of my mind, I assume I'll have plenty of time to relax, knit and talk with everyone like I used to do but those days are out of sight for now! Instead we're riding the Mule, swimming in the kiddie pool, taking trips to get candy sticks and these busy days just fly by! I'm already looking forward to next summer!


finally: a house tour!

(Alright, so Deric and I are going to see how long we can go without Internet at the house. We'll cave eventually, but considering our phones have their own data and the only other thing we really use the Internet for at home is Netflix, we're doing just fine. But until then, blogging will be hit or miss because I can't blog from our home computer without wi-fi, which we have occasionally when we rent a hotspot from the library.)

I thought I'd share the photos from the listing of our house. Nothing major has changed except for arranging furniture so you're basically up to date on our progress over here. ;) We do, however, have almost every box unpacked! The only boxes left have decorations in them and those really aren't a priority. On a side note, I can remember starting to paint trim in our house in Tennessee two days after moving in, and having almost every room in the house painted within a few months. But that was before we had kids. Its currently requiring a lot of my patience to be ok with how slowly change will happen this time around. And of course its not just the kids: owning our home this time around means spending plenty of cash at Lowe's on boring things like downspout extender things, window well covers...even toilet paper holders (not sure why there weren't any...?).

On to the photos, as well as our initial plans for each area...

The exterior: great porch with a view of our cul-de-sac and the single tree on our property.
To-do list involves filling in the landscaping, repainting the door which is pretty scratched up, painting the sidelights white, either replacing the lights or simply spray paint them oil-rubbed bronze, and adding planters on either side of the door. We'd also love to beef up the columns and add a railing. The boys and I hung up a bird feeder we got at the Port Hope Mercantile and while the birds haven't noticed it yet, we're hopeful they'll find it soon! We noticed hummingbirds flitting around the tree the other morning so we may get a feeder for them as well. We did snag two plastic Adirondack chairs from a neighbor who was getting rid of them, so now I'm getting into a habit of waking up before the boys and bringing my Bible and coffee out to the porch in the morning! Its fantastic.

When you walk in the front door, the stairway is immediately to your left and this room^^ is to your right. (Next to the stairway is a hallway leading straight into the breakfast area.) If you remember, the layout of the house is what I loved most and I still love it. This front room is the boys' playroom and it has worked out perfectly. We've set up our Expedit (cubby) shelves for their toys and they have plenty of space to play without toys being in my way while cooking, etc....most of the time. We're working on "no toys in the kitchen!" after a few stray balls have almost knocked pans off the stove.

The to-do list in here is very simple: paint the walls and hang some artwork. Done! On that note, we plan to paint the entire downstairs a light gray. Since its so open from one room to the next, we'll keep it simple and every room will be the same color.

The room connected to the playroom (with the red curtains) is a formal dining room and will be utilized once Deric builds a table for us. Right now its the train table room. ;)

The heart of the home! This photo was taken from the hallway leading in from the front door. Through that doorway is the dining room/train table room.

We've got plans for a chalkboard wall on the room to the left of the peninsula in the photo below. We've even got the paint but have yet to get started. It'll be a fun spot to write Bible verses that we're memorizing and write captions for photos of the boys, etc. as well as give them a place to draw just for fun.

To the left is the dining room and playroom; to the right is the hallway to the front door and stairs. A closet and half bath are off the hallway.

To do list:
-paint the kitchen cabinets white (DIY, so that'll be an adventure!)
-eventually replace countertops; they're warped in the corners
-paint the walls gray
-replace flooring with slightly better laminate (let's be honest, no hardwoods are happening over here!) The flooring in the U of the kitchen has had water damage and some of the boards are pulling apart from each other. And between the cabinets and floors, there's a *lot* of cherry going on!

The kitchen leads right into the breakfast area, which easily fits our table fully extended to seat ten people. We love how easy it is to have friends and their families over! Again, major selling point on this house for us was the layout-- we wanted to be able to accommodate plenty of people for meals, and the space has worked great so far. I also love that I can prep meals and clean up without being removed from either the kids or friends over for dinner.

There really isn't much to be done in this area since flooring is lumped in with the kitchen. We'd love to swap out light fixtures eventually but that's really all we'll change. Deric did install a transition strip between the carpet and laminate since it was missing. Oh, and he added a screen door to that back door which has been very helpful! That door leads down two steps and out onto our back patio.

To get your bearings: kitchen is to your left and that hallway leads to the front door. The closed door leads to our unfinished basement and the open door is our laundry room and entrance from the garage.

The living room fits our big ole sectional! Deric mounted the tv over the mantel and besides that, this room doesn't require much work either. We do need to figure out a way to hide cords and hook up the DVD player, etc. but besides that, painting the room gray and adding art work will finish things up. We'll also find seating for the far corner where the seller's tv was.

Off the living room is what's become our office. Its maybe 7 by 7 ft, perfect for our computer desk and other home office supplies, as well as my sewing desk and craft supplies. I'm so excited to have a designated space for both office and crafting because we never had space for either of those in our last house! As a result, paperwork wasn't organized at all, and my sewing projects took over our dining room table. Now that we've got the room, I'm working on getting our paperwork organized into filing cabinets and setting up my craft supplies so they're easily accessible to me.

To do list:
-paint the walls gray (surprise surprise!)
-hang artwork
-organize household paperwork
-organize craft supplies: shelving, pegboards...who knows.

The hallway bathroom is pretty basic. For all three of our bathrooms, we need to.. 
-hang a towel holder by the sink (not over the toilet!)
-replace those towel bars with a shelf instead
-paint the vanity a fun color--maybe a deep blue
-paint the walls gray
-frame out the mirror
-replace light fixture over mirror

The entrance from the garage to the house is also our laundry room, with just enough space in the corner to be a drop zone for shoes and bags. We desperately need to figure out a game plan for hooks and storage before winter adds tons of jackets to the mess. (That trash can was left to us--how sweet!--and is now in the garage.)

-build shelving and hooks along the "mudroom" side of the wall
-create shoe storage
-replace wire shelving with cabinets to hide laundry supplies
-paint the other side of that door a bright color because its really scratched up!

Heading upstairs!
At the top of the stairs you'll turn left to our master bedroom. Its bright and spacious and we *love* finally having a master bathroom as well as a walk-in closet. Remember these are listing photos so the fish bedding isn't ours! ;)

To do  list:
-paint the walls, maybe a light blue-green
-rehang curtain rod higher and wider; hang curtains
-add artwork
-get matching nightstands (I painted one of our nightstands a few years ago and don't love it enough to paint the other one!)
-replace the fan down the line: up close its got a strange painted finish on both the center part and the blades

Bathroom to do list:
-paint the vanity either white or a light color
-paint the walls either gray to mimic the rest of the house or the same shade as our bedroom
-replace shower fixtures--the seller actually left a new set in the closet! the current faucet and turn-y thing (?) are rusted and cloudy
-replace the light fixture
-frame out the mirror
-replace the towel bar over the toilet with a shelf
-pipe dream: replace the linoleum with tile

Down the hall are three bedrooms. The two smallest bedrooms belong to the boys and what we want to do in their rooms is strictly decorating: repaint the rooms (once I decide on something!) and hang artwork and decorations that reflects each boy's interests and personality. Its fun and sad at the same time to be planning a 'big kid' room for Jake now, rather than his nursery! I've got so many frames with baby pictures and handprints, etc. that I'm not sure will go back into his room. So far he's told me he wants some of the photos of himself as a baby, but I know he'll want other art as well.

Jake's room (above) is the only bedroom that has a fan. Deric's already installed one  in Reid's room and we'll install one in the guest room shortly. We also need to hang curtain rods in all of the bedrooms since the old ones are those white metal bars that curve to the wall and almost clip on to the bracket. Not ideal!

Y'all, this guest room is awesome. I want it to be my own room. ;) Look past the orange walls! Its spacious enough that friends of ours visited from Tennessee and their family of four was perfectly comfortable. The closet in this room is huge as well; I think its meant to be the linen closet for the whole house since there is no linen closet in the hallway.

To do list:
-repaint (I know, what a shock!)
-install a ceiling fan
-install curtain rods & curtains
-hang artwork & make it comfortable for guests

And our very last stop on this wordy and photo-heavy tour...the hall bathroom. I know I said I want to paint the vanities in every bathroom a fun color, but if I chicken out I'll at least paint the vanity in here a deep blue. Its fitting since its a kids bathroom...it should be fun. My plan is gray walls, a white and blue shower curtain and gray bath mats (got those from Target), and a deep blue/gray color on the vanity. I wanted to replace those towel hooks with oversized letter hooks for the boy's names, but then realized there's really no where else to hang towels unfortunately. I may try for behind the door to the hallway but that may lead to puncturing the door if they swing it open forcefully. We'll see.

There you have it! If you survived the length of this post I'm impressed! Now I'm all motivated to start a project or three. ;) Deric and I love to do projects together and we're grateful that we have an outlet for our hobby. We're just so thankful for our home and we look forward to putting our stamp on this house over the coming years!