Posts Tagged ‘family’

Busy 3 Weeks

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

We have almost been in Atlanta for 3 weeks.  A quick update – Evelyn has pretty much been sick the entire time.  Oliver goes bonkers when he is stuck in the house.  We’ve unpacked about 50% of the boxes and the house is still a wreck.  That’s pretty much it!  Well, not exactly…

I do make an effort to get the kids out at least 4 or 5 times a week, even if it’s just to the grocery store.  My new favorite after hours exercise joint for Oliver is Ikea!  I’ve been there a half dozen times already and at 8pm it’s a great big place for Oliver to explore (run around like crazy/jump on the beds).  We’ve also become regulars at Monkey Joe’s and found our nearest mall for some early morning running around to be finished off with mandatory train ride.  I took the kids to one of our parks nearby and WOW, the playground is freakishly huge.  The climbing structure is at least 3 stories high – crazy.  We also checked out the kid’s museum downtown and a local play center by our house.  Throw in trips to the grocery store, a doctor and emergency dentist visit and we’ve got a full plate.

When I have time to myself, I head out and explore.  I found myself a Thai grocery store the first week here and have been back and forth to downtown Atlanta a half-dozen times.  I don’t need a GPS to get to Ikea anymore!  I’ve learned all the major roads/highways and found the major shopping centers.  Sometimes, I’ll just pull into a shopping center at 11pm to see what’s around and learn where I’m at.

This weekend we are decorating for Christmas.  After years of skimping on the lights, we are going all out this year!  Griswald will be proud.  Since we don’t plan on being here for next Christmas, we want to give the neighbors something to talk about.  “Remember those crazy renters a few years ago with those strobe light candy canes?”

My laptop has been on the fritz for the past week, but I’m back up and running now.  I’m going to backdate some posts with pics asap!

Atlanta or Bust

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Goodnight and goodbye Raleigh, NC.   A little over a week ago (11/12/11), the kids and I pulled out of Raleigh and started down the road to Atlanta.  Eleven and one half hours later, we pulled into our new driveway.  Who knew Atlanta was so far away?

The hubby had flown in Thursday after work and we spent all day Friday packing the truck.  I was going to follow him down with the kids in the van around midnight, but instead I spent a good hour sifting through debris on the road after we lost all the boxes off the back of the truck due to an improperly latched door.  He had made it a good 5 or 6 miles down the interstate before a trucker alerted him.  I had gone to get the kids before he called to have me back track his route and look for our stuff.  Thankfully, most of the stuff dumped in one spot in our neighborhood and not on the main drag or interstate.  We were very lucky.  By the time we finished packing up and cleaning at 230am, the hubby had to go it alone as I had one too many “STELLA!!!” moments in the last 24 hours to continue.

The next day, or 10 hours later, our little van was packed to the gills.  Rather than wait until bedtime to take off, I ventured out at noon and prayed that the stress and lack of sleep from the 48 hours prior would knock their little butts out.  Well, that didn’t work.  We made it to Charlotte, NC in about 3 hours and I drove straight to the first hotel I saw and checked in.  Between my sleep deprivation and Evelyn’s constant high pitched crying someone was going to get seriously hurt.  Even though I didn’t get to sleep, the $40 we paid for 4 hours was well worth it.  Having a clean place to change diapers and feed them was worth the price alone.  I covered the floor with one of the bed comforters and had a bunch of catnaps while the kids played. 

When it was pitch black outside (8pm), we rolled out and the kids blessedly passed out within 5 minutes.

I woke them up for some exercise when we crossed into Georgia a little after 10pm.  Another hour and a half and we were pulling up to our new house.  In some ways it worked out better that the kids and I came later.  The kids weren’t underfoot when the truck was being unloaded and the house was being setup.

Since being here, I’ve been homesick quite a lot.  It didn’t really hit me until this last weekend when I told Barry that we should have the gang over for dinner now that the kitchen was put together.  I still feel like I can pop over to my friend’s house or head down to Marbles or that someday, Oliver will go back to school and Evelyn and I can get groceries together.  It will take time to adjust, but at least we made it here safe and sound.

Speaking of making it here, without my friends, family, and a few paid helping hands this wouldn’t have been possible.  Thanks to Tracey for making us food to eat that last week of packing.  Thanks to Ron for killing spiders and cleaning out my shed (I know we have a lot of paint, okay?).  Thanks to Tabatha for watching the kiddos all those nights so I could run errands and see my friends.  Thanks to Melanie for helping with the packing, watching Evie, and bringing yummy pizza.  Thanks to Tania for putting us in a hotel, watching the kids, and helping us pack.  I bet Tania also plays a mean game of Jenga after watching her pack the van with an additional 3 boxes and 7 plants that I couldn’t fit!  A big thanks to my brother who helped us cut the cord and push us out of our house at 11pm on Friday night.  It was rough getting rid of things we couldn’t fit and cleaning the house when it was empty.  Our backs thank the 4 movers who helped Barry load and unload the truck .  Lastly, we thank Nana and Grandpa Norton for helping us get the house setup in Atlanta and for helping with the kids while we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off.

By the way, our house closed without a hitch last week.  Let the new adventures begin!

Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

It’s pumpkin picking time again!  We took the little ones to the same pumpkin patch as last year for some fall fun. 

Last year, Evelyn was a few weeks away from making her grand debut and Oliver was my “baby” at 16 months.  Now he is all grown up and Evelyn is footloose and fancy free.

Our first stop was at the corn crib.  They filled this enclosure with about 2 feet of corn kernels.  I jumped in with the kids and it was pretty wild!  I bet it would be awesome to sleep on.  Corn kernel mattresses.  Hmmm…maybe we should market that. 

Second stop was a visit with the goats. 

Oliver always loves looking at the animals.

Evelyn didn’t know what to make of it.  A bear that walks and make noises?

Daddy and Oliver scoured the patch for some choice pumpkins.

We made a game of it and Oliver found quite a few.  Actually, Oliver’s game was chucking the pumpkins through the air, which we tried to “squash”.

Evelyn preferred to crawl over the picked pumpkins herself.  We picked a couple tiny ones for her and she proceeded to eat them like her brother did the year before. 

It was a beautiful day to be outdoors.  A hayride and corn maze later and we were ready to head home with our squash.  We have our annual pumpkin carving party this upcoming weekend. 

I am glad we spent the time out instead of in packing up our house.  I feel like we need to get the “lasts” out of our system before we move.  The last time for this…the last time for that…  I want to close these chapters before we start the new ones.

Fall Fun at the Corn Maze

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Daddy came home this weekend bringing crisp fall weather with him.  We went to a local corn maze for some fun in the sun.

They had tractors of all sorts, bouncy houses, play gyms, hay bales to climb, a sand pit, horses, hay rides, and a corn maze to go through.  The maze, horse and hay rides all required tickets – everything else was free!

Evelyn got lost in the toddler hay maze.  She kept thinking, “Why would I walk through this maze when I can just climb over these hay bales?”

Oliver thought that billy goats ate anything.  The goat was like, “Dude, that’s a rock.  Give me a cheeto.”

Evelyn kept the cheetos to herself.

It was a breezy and cool 61 degrees in the sun when we went.  The kiddos had cold little noses and frozen fingers by the time we left.  I need my friend Rebecca to make Evelyn a little hat for the winter (wink, wink).  Evelyn liked checking things out from the wagon and Oliver loved jumping in the bouncy house and running around.  It was a great way to have some family time before Daddy ships off to Atlanta again on Sunday.

Search the internet to find your local farm, pumpkin patch, or corn maze and see what they have going on.  Sometimes, you have to pay to enter the property and experience what they have to offer.  Other times, you can walk right in and have all the free fun you can stand for one bright and sunny autumn day.  It’s worth a look!

Baby On the Move

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Evelyn has decided that it’s time to walk this week.  She started with a few small steps and is now unstoppable.  At 10 1/2 months, she’s a few weeks ahead of Oliver.  She walked for her daddy on the skype video call last night and it made his night.  She tries her hardest to follow Oliver everywhere he goes.  Poor little dude needs some mommy enforced alone time!

Skype Video Call – Remote Parenting

Monday, September 26th, 2011

One way that we are going to stay connected while the hubby is in Atlanta is to use Skype video for the kiddos.  The hubby normally tucks Oliver in every night.  Last night, without Daddy, Oliver had a hard time falling asleep and kept waking up.  Tonight we tried Skype and it was a big hit!

Oliver was a little nervous at first, but he kept pointing at the screen and saying “Dah dee?”.

The hubby and Oliver did the Itsy Bitsy Spider together with perfect streaming video and audio.  It was so cute I could have died.

Oliver spent about 15 minutes talking to his Daddy.  Daddy even got Oliver to pick up his room and put all his legos away.  I panned the camera so the hubby could watch and coach as Oliver cleaned up.  Oliver didn’t put up any fuss at all for virtual Daddy!

The best part about it?  It was free!  Well the Skype Video service is free, but there are some sunk costs involved. 

First, you need a computer/laptop/tablet/smart phone of some sort that you can install Skype on.  Second, you need a video camera and microphone (We bought a little Logitech webcam/microphone combo for only $35 and it is amazing.).  Third, you need a decent internet connection for smooth operation (The hubby had to pay to upgrade his service at his hotel after the first test on basic wifi hardly worked.)

After you have all that in place, you need to go to and download the software, create an account, hook up your webcam/microphone, and call away!  There are a few tests you can run to check the sound quality, but overall it’s been decent for  us. 

BTW – Oliver went right to sleep after video calling his Daddy.  He hasn’t uttered a peep so far tonight.  Looks like we have a new bedtime ritual!

Sunday at the Park

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

It finally has stopped raining and just in time too.  One of Oliver’s friends turned 3 today and we went to her birthday party at a local park.

Oliver got to feed the ducks, but I’m told there were no ducks in sight.

Instead of bread, Oliver threw rocks — and he loved it!

At the playground daddy helped him down the big corkscrew slide.  After a few helping turns, he was zipping down all by himself.

There was even a section of the play gym for Evelyn too.

She tried to walk down the slide and after a near disastrous fall daddy stepped in to help her out too.

Her first slide ride!  She is not the thrill seeker that Oliver is.  She is perfectly happy to stand at the top and boss everyone around (ahem…).

Our fun was shortlived as daddy/the hubby had to leave for Atlanta today.  We went our separate ways after teary goodbyes and that was that.  I just have to remember that tomorrow is another day.  Soon enough daddy/the hubby will be back for a visit.

Catch That Train

Monday, September 19th, 2011

So the house has been on the market for over 3 weeks and we’ve had 3 or 4 showings so far.  After working hard all summer, we find ourselves lost on the weekends with *gasp* free time.  It has been hard to adjust to just sitting around, so I went and volunteered at the kid’s consignment sale last week to take up some time.

Lo and behold, if you volunteer you get to shop early at the 50% off days (as I’ve written many, many times).  Waiting for me last Saturday was a little battery operated train set for only $7.  My little man LOVES trains and I hoped he would like it…

Oliver and his daddy set up the tracks together and gave the train a spin.  At first, Oliver was a little scared by the noise the train made but…

after a few rounds, he couldn’t get enough!!!  The train makes a half dozen laps on the track singing songs, talking, blowing whistles, and making the chugga-chugga sound. 

Oliver was a happy camper.

Evelyn, on the other hand, was not.  She was uber frustrated that we wouldn’t let her derail the train.

She gave it her best shot and managed to catch it enough times that daddy had to corral her.

Look ma, I’m a tunnel!  (He thought this was the greatest thing since sliced bread.)

Woo, woo!  Watch out for those little fingers!  Silly mommy, don’t you know that Babyzilla is impervious to plastic trains?

Once Evelyn found the magnet play book that I picked up for Oliver, she lost all interest in the train.

So instead of working all day on Sunday, we played with trains all afternoon.  I’d say that’s a good trade-off don’t you think?  Woo Woo!

First Showings

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Two significant things happened today: 1) we had our first showings and 2) our closest competitor dropped the price of their home 5 grand to come in at 124k.  We had listed our home at 128k to be 1k less than their house.  Their house has been on the market for a year now and started at 131, then dropped to 129k and then dropped to 124k the day our photos went online.  Coincidence?  I think not.  My awesome homestaging skills put the fear into them.  :-)

Speaking of home staging, it is officially impossible to keep a house clean for showings with 2 little rugrats constantly upending their toys.  It became a game to them – the cleaner the house got, the bigger the mess they made.

With an innocent little faces like these, how could I get mad at them?

I had two separate showings today and was running around like a crazy woman trying to clean, declutter, and organize.  The kids were so good playing together and staying out of the way. 

I’m such a horrible mom though for putting them on the back burner.  Oliver stepped up and fed the both of them when they were hungry.  He went into the fridge twice and pulled out a loaf of bread.  He ate a slice and gave Evie a slice too.  He also grabbed a can of soda and sat there for 20 minutes trying to get it open before I realized what he was doing!

I hope the stress pays off.  We have a second showing tomorrow for the people who came last today.  The hubby is also home tonight from a business trip and will be able to help me get the house ready tomorrow. 

With Evelyn as my sales person, how could they refuse?

Momma’s Little Helper

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Sadly, we won’t be listing the house this week.  We tried everything and gave it our all, but mother nature gave us a smackdown.  Oliver brought home some nice little germies from his new preschool and we’ve been running a sick house all weekend.   Oliver bounced back after a couple days, but poor Evelyn is still snotty and congested.  Barry is getting run down and I’ve been sneezing my head off all day. 

We’ve kept Evelyn in a little hoodie to keep her warm.  She is too cute, even when she’s sick!

To make up for lost time, I put Oliver to work painting the shed today.  He loved it!  He was totally absorbed for 45 minutes straight and only stopped when I made him go inside for lunch.

He was very careful not to spill his paint and even let the excess drip off his brush into his cup without being told to do so.  He kept the paint off the bricks and didn’t get too much on himself.

While I finished one side, I sent Oliver to start on the next side.  He was actually painting all by himself!  I should have put him to work about 6 weeks ago…

Tonight, I finished painting the front porch ceiling, rails, floor, and steps.  I also finished the doors for the base cabinet, got 2 loads of laundry done and did the dishes.  Too bad house work won’t sell the house! 

The realtor will be out on Friday to guide us through the weekend.  We plan to list next week.   Our task list is shrinking and we are down to the little things now.  I just hope I don’t get too sick or we are sunk.  Cross your fingers everyone!

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