Camping!

 We’ve been camping! Two years ago, we met my mom and stepdad in middle ground in Indiana and went camping; our first summer of camping:) We had such a good time, despite the beyond freezing nights (we learned some things that time!) that we decided to do it again the next fall. Only to be waylaid by knee replacements and broken knees and things like that on my parents’ end. Bummer! We were all disappointed it didn’t work out but were determined to make it work this year if we could ever get settled somewhere. Well, we did (yea!) and so we planned (yea again!) and we went!

This time we went camping in Waynesville, Oh, just under 1 1/2 hours away. We were all so excited all week for the chance to get away for a couple of days and roast s’mores, among other things:) My mom and stepdad were able to get there a couple of hours earlier than us and set up camp. We got there at dinner time, set up Thomas camp on the ajoining campsite and sat down to thoroughly enjoy some Southwestern Chili that my mom made and some cornbread that I made. Mmm!

One chair waiting for Ben. He must’ve been putting some final touches on our lovely dwelling.

Our home away from home! It has been a good tent for us, comfortably housing a queen-sized air mattress for Ben, Eliana and I (she will move up to her own sleeping bag next year!), two sleeping bags on either side for the boys and all of our bags.

After dinner, we found the perfect little dishwasher!

She spent at least 15 minutes soaping up everything and washing and getting herself all wet:)

Ben enjoying the fire; his favorite part of camping he says!

Mugga and Papa!

We had a horrific first night’s sleep, unfortunately. Between some drunk carousing neighbors who showed up when it was dark out, decided to serenade the campsite with their ukulele and guitar duets (which weren’t any good) until 11pm when I decided to call and complain,  a girl from their camp with a high-pitched screaming cackle of a laugh that wouldn’t put a sock in it until around 1am, our air mattress having a hole in it which left us sleeping on the ground basically and me up most of the night with a very upset stomach, it was awful! Ben actually slept in the car, no joke. So we were cold, a little grouchy and exhausted yesterday morning but we quickly turned the night’s events into some jokes and were happy to see our neighbors pack up and leave mid-morning.

We spent the morning in Waynesville, browsing their cute little shops and finding a local Wal-Mart to hunt down a new air mattress and some replacement ice. My stepdad also found a radio to tune into the Buckeye game:) We attempted naps and soaked in the peaceful quiet afternoon. It was really nice!

There was a pond down by the bathrooms so I walked down with the kiddos to throw rocks in the water and take pictures. Here’s Samuel getting read to attempt some rock-skipping:)

Love Mr. Z’s face! He does everything with his whole heart:) He had SUCH a good time this weekend. He was just enthralled with everything: the flashlights, helping feed the fire, making s’mores, and a million other things.

Just looking:)

Always ready to give me such big smiles! She loved throwing rocks in the pond!

It was a beautiful day! Sunny and 80. Perfect!

We turned on the Buckeye game, roasted some hotdogs and s’mores and had a really nice evening. We got all 3 munchkins tucked in bed earlier, which was good, since they were worn out! (Especially Eliana!) We slept SO much better last night on our new air mattress and with no wild college kids nearby.

We relaxed for a little bit this morning by our last fire and ate breakfast and then we slowly started packing up all of our gear. We had a really good time and have decided this will be an annual weekend each fall! We get better at camping each time and are so thankful for the fun memories it gives our kids:)

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Apple Picking (part one!)

 If you know me well, you know that apple picking is my absolute favorite fall activity! Well, that and making and consuming all things apple:) Sadly, we have to transfer to a new orchard this year since we are no longer close to our favorite Indiana Orchard (sniff!). The one thing we will miss terribly are the doughnuts.  You can find apples anywhere but pumpkin and apple spice doughnuts? Not so much….

This past Saturday, the kiddos and I went with my mom to her lifelong orchard (actually where I went growing up!) since Ben had to work. I was able to snap a few great pictures of my trio!

Sweet Zakkai! Such a pleaser and sweet-hearted boy!

 

 
 

Our little golden girl:)

Mr Toothless! Who, by the way, lost his other front tooth due to apple eating;) Picture coming soon!

My beautiful Mama!

Everyone has to taste an apple just to make sure they are good for making pies! (and applesauce, apple butter, apple muffins, apple dumplings, etc.)

Cheese!

And I had to get my proof that I was there! I only wish Ben was in the picture:( We will get another chance soon, as our other favorite kind of apple is ready in 2 weeks. How many people get to go apple picking twice?!

And when we got home, our couch was there! Ben and my stepdad went to pick it up and we got to help pull of the wrapping when we got home:) We really didn’t like our other couch and are not quite sure what we were thinking when we bought it all those years ago, aside from the fact that it had a sleeper which came in handy for guests. Little did we know that sleepers are not only ginormous, they weight about a million pounds…
 
We didn’t get the best quality couch and it showed by the time we sold it. We found this one at a discount outlet from a nice furnishing store. It was a good deal and should last a long time! Especially if we keep enforcing our no drink/no food rule:) This is the first nice piece of furniture we have ever bought!
 
It’s been nice to have a real living room the past few days, without 3 or more of us hanging off of our big stuffed chair:)  Hopefully we can get some pictures hung soon and it will all come together. We are really liking it in our little home so far! 

Eliana’s "New" Room and A Good Day for Samuel!

 Today as a shakin’ and movin’ kind of day and it felt good to get so much accomplished! Of course, I guess that’s how I feel every Thursday since it’s the one day I have a car to get anything accomplished at all:)

This week I finished Eliana’s room! We are excited to have non-white walls in our new place (for the first time ever!) but also wanted to have real color in our rooms. To finish Eliana’s furniture re-do, I painted her dresser purple to match the bookshelf! Here is the before. This is a really old dresser that has been around in my family for years. It needed a makeover!

Ta-da! I love how it looks but most importantly, so does she! Once I got it painted, dried and in place, I decided to just get everything fixed up in her room and hung a few things on the walls. She was SO happy when she came in to see!

When you walk in her room, she has her two towels hanging up:)

Straight ahead is her window, baby doll area and dressers. No curtains yet though. I have to add some material to her old curtain to lengthen it. That will be the finishing touch!

Her “new” dresser and baby corner:)

Her other dresser. This is a really cute dresser that my mom found at a garage sale. We paid $10 for it. It has really little drawers, hence the two dressers. Okay, and she has a lot of clothes;)

Her bed. She and Samuel were making monsters with a funny little kit we have.

Her closet! All of our closets have built in shelving and rods, which we adore! It made organizing so much easier.

Her bookshelf and rocking chair, a.k.a. reading corner!

And her dollhouse and hooks to hang purses and whatnot on. I just love how her room looks and she says she loves it, too. Her old room was teeny tiny and was wall to wall furniture with zero space to play so I just love that she has so much space! She’s lucky though because she’s the only one who actually has anything hung on her walls. I’ll have to hang something on the boys’ walls and show you their room next:)

We have been couch hunting this week! Yesterday I snapped this really cute picture of E checking out a huge over-sized chair with my mom. Love her smile! We actually found a couch tonight (hooray!!) which we just love so much better than our old one. We pick it up Saturday and then we can actually have a living room and invite people over. Yea!

Samuel had an awesome day today! He got 100% on his social studies test and felt SO good about it. It was over government which he has never had before and he was really struggling with it. We studied really hard together and this was the result. Way to go, buddy!

And then a few minutes later….he lost his first front tooth!! How cute is he?? He was really excited to lose it but after a few hours of it being out, he’s not tho thure about talking anymore and how he thounds:)

We told him he just needs to lose the other one so we can sing to him this Christmas: “All I want for Chrithmas ith my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth!”

It was a good day all the way around today!

Car Hunting and Trees.

Another week beginning tomorrow, wow! We have been working hard, one day at a time, to get things into shape here and trying to get routines and schedules going again. I am the type that could keep going and going all day because it annoys me to have so many things left undone. Ben is the type that has to plan everything out each day and has a definite limit to what he can accomplish in a day. I guess we balance each other out:)

We are on the hunt for a second car and it’s just about as painful as searching for a home! I forgot what a torturous experience car hunting is. We last went through it when we got our van four years ago in preparation for Miss Eliana joining our family. We swore we’d never go through that again! Ha.

Last weekend we had a strikeout with a car that seemed decent and was a great price. Only to take it to the mechanic and find out that it  needed a new transmission, new front breaks, a timing belt and 3 new tires. Yeah….right.

This weekend we had two duds. The first probably was a great car but was at a really shady dealer. Something was really off with these people and when they couldn’t even give us a carfax report because of supposed password issues but just wanted us to take their word that the car was “perfect” we decided to drive away. The next place was just plain annoying because we wasted a few hours getting the car checked out only to have the manager refuse to deal. The car was a good car, just needed a few things fixed. They must’ve paid too much for it so we said “See ya later, alligator!” The only good thing out of it was that we found a good mechanic and he will inspect the next car for free. I can only pray that the “next” car will be “the” car. It’s been hard to rely on other people to help us get around! I get the car one day a week, thanks to Ben’s mom being sweet enough to take Ben to work on Thursday mornings. I get a lot of errands done in my one car day:)

We are taking life one day at a time, healing and growing healthier as a family following God together. These past few years have been the years of the locusts for us. Absolutely crushing and life-sucking. We have nothing to show for it and absolutely no assurance of any sort of wonderful outcome or easy answers.  Perhaps ever. Nothing comes easily for us (seriously…nothing) but the good part about it all is that is has and is forcing us to depend on Him in an incredibly painfully beautiful way. We have learned/are learning what the most important thing in this life is. Jesus. Anything that comes after that is simply a gift to be thankful for but nothing to be put in His place.

I’d be lying if I said I was learning these lessons graciously. It’s plain ugly sometimes. But I am beginning to appreciate growth, however slow and painful, and that it’s okay if I don’t grow at the same pace as others. Take Ben for instance. He’s like a wild horse sometimes. He’ll jump in with both feet (or all four), even if it isn’t his comfort zone and have to be reigned in. Down, boy, whoaaa! Whereas, I am more timid and need a push. I don’t like to get out of my comfort zone at all. It kind of struck me the other day that it’s okay if I don’t jump in with my two feet blindly. As long as I keep moving, keep growing,  and stay open to being pushed out of my comfort zone.

I want to be a tree like in Jeremiah 17:8. Slow and steady, that’s me!

School and Furniture Re-do’s!

 Week one of crazy change is done! I feel like I am barely hanging on. It has been SO incredibly overwhelming this past week with new schools/preschool, unpacking, trying to get back into a semblance of routines and schedules, hunting for a used car, etc. Yesterday I had to give myself a little grace and remind myself that it’s only been a week and we are adjusting to so much in a short time. I am working hard on getting us into routine so our afternoons and evenings will run a little smoother.

As for school, the kiddos are adjusting really well this week! Last week was pretty tough. There were tears and tummy aches and lots of “I want to move back to Chicago’s” floating around but it started to ease at the end of the week. It has been easier for the boys to go to school this week and they are starting to make a few friends and feel a little more comfortable. We are still trying to figure out the school and what they expect in terms of homework, etc. It will just take time! (breathe, Heidi!)

Here are the kiddos on their first day of school! We were all so tired!

This is Eliana’s cubby at her preschool. She goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and seems to be enjoying it so far. She loves her new Princess Sofia backpack:)

This is E on her first day of school! She almost refused to smile for me but at the last minute she relented:)

Here is the school bus! The boys still aren’t huge fans of riding it but I admit that it makes things much easier to have them go straight to school and come straight home. It’s pretty cute to see their cute faces smiling and waving to us from the window:)

And now for some furniture re-do’s! I got a few small cans of paint and decided to brighten up some of our furniture! Most of our furniture is old, hand-me downs or eclectic. The first to get a makeover was our bed! It was given to us and I’m just not a huge fan of dark brown. My mom’s been trying to convince me to paint it white for a long time but I just wasn’t sure how that would look. I finally gave in…

It took a lot of primer to cover the dark wood!

Here it is white! I actually really like it! It makes the bed fade into the background instead of being a huge focal point.

The spindals were so hard to paint but it was worth it!

Next was a cute little bookshelf that my cousin and I bought at a garage sale back when we lived together. We got it for only $1! It has been repainted a few times and put into different rooms. In Chicago, this was my “pantry” in the basement but now it’s in Eliana’s room!

And now it’s purple! She picked the color (“Magical”) and her dresser will also be painted when I get the chance.

It’s a very pretty pinky-purple color, kind of like her glasses!

I also wanted to add a splash of color into our kitchen/dining room area. We have a kitchen island that was white….

And now it’s blue! It’s actually a blue/slightly aqua color that I just love!

It holds our “Junk drawer” (doesn’t everyone have one?!) and our Tupperware.

We also have a bookshelf in our kitchen for my cookbooks and kid’s dishes. It was white and looking pretty rundown.

But now it’s all spruced up! I haven’t finished putting everything back onto the shelves but I will soon! I just love seeing pretty color in the house after so many years of white, white, white!

This pretty much sums up how tiring this past week has been…;)

Waiting for brothers at the bus stop! I think she looks so much older here. Sniff!

Eliana got a beautiful purple dress from my aunt and she wore it on Sunday to church. She got lots of compliments!

Today my mom and niece picked E and I up and we went to story time at the local library! It was really well done and I am excited to go back. Eliana was hesitant to participate but started doing handmotions to the songs towards the end. It was a nice way to pass part of our morning! (It gets very boring being stuck here with no car!)

That’s it for today. I am still trying to organize enough to take pictures of our place but it’s coming! Now I’m off to make dinner before Awana tonight. Always something!

TGIF

Hey! We made it! We just got internet hooked up a half an hour ago and one of my first stops into the internet world is my good old blog:)

We moved on Monday and were reminded all over again of how much stuff we have. Yuck. We moved a ton of boxes over the weekend by ourselves and weren’t sure how we would find people to help us, as most of our family is “broken.” But God provided again and people came out of the woodworks, including a guy we just met at church a couple of weeks ago!

Not only did we move everything in on Monday, on Tuesday the boys started their new school and Eliana started preschool! It was totally overload for everyone and most of us were exhausted and more emotional than normal. The boys hadn’t slept well our first night here (and so neither did I!) and were just overwhelmed. Thankfully, we all made it through the first day.

We had to find help getting people places this week because of our car situation~one car! We are praying that we can find a cheap second car asap. One answer to prayer is that the boys’ school has a bus that stops right in front of our neighborhood! There are SOO many kids in the neighborhood that they fill up a whole bus so it’s a one-stop bus that goes straight to/from school. It takes us 2 minutes to walk to the bus stop. The boys aren’t thrilled with riding the bus and I do miss walking them to school, like we have the past 3 years but this is so helpful right now.

I have been working very hard the past few days unpacking and trying to make a semblance of a home for us! Pictures coming soon…..:)

For now, we are all looking forward to hanging out together in our new home this weekend. TGIF!