Catching Up

Pray, dear reader, bear with me as I try to sum up the greatest whirlwind adventure of our family’s recent history.  In the past month, we’ve picked up and moved a state away and found ourselves in a house twice as big as our previous one with six times the land!

And we had no idea this was coming until shortly before Christmas.

Friends, we are home now in Misselthwaite.  I began to call it thus about four days after our arrival.  We relocated to a huge empty house in the country, a house that had been left to itself for around 18 months and whose grounds had been basically overgrown.  Because it was the perfect time of year to listen to “The Secret Garden” on Audible (or read it in actual book format), we had it playing as we unpacked and I realized that we had landed in our own Secret Garden of sorts.  A house left alone had become a HOME again, and we were waking up along with it.  So I determined one rainy Monday that this house is our own Misselthwaite Farm (not Manor, it’s not THAT grand; we don’t have a “hundred rooms”.

But it is a farmette, of sorts, because we have an overgrown grapevine, and we have chickens.

That’s right, dear readers, seven years from the time we were building the “Poulet Chalet” in the backyard of the Old Haus–which had to be abandoned because we moved to an absolutely wonderful neighborhood in every respect except not chicken friendly–we quickly made good on a promise to the older kids that they could have their chickens at last… by acquiring four Buff Orpington chicks, five Barred Rocks, two Rhode Island Reds, and an Easter Egger from the local True Value even before the rest of our furniture arrived.

Because we are crazy like that.  And you know, it is not a bad thing.  Did you know that chickens are hilarious and sort of calming to watch? No, I’m not insane, just hie thee to the nearest “Chick Days” location and watch the little ones scurry about the brooder.

Besides, we acquired a CAT a week before we moved to help Sunshine cope with the transition. And he did.  He’s Patrol Cat in the evenings now, but he lets her cuddle him when she needs the extra comfort.  We sadly lost Pippin, last of the corgyn, in September when his back broke after jumping out of a bathtub, and I had sworn then that nary a pet would we have until Bright Eyes was at least of kindergarten age…  We make plans, and God chuckles.

We have twelve chickens and we are on the waiting list for RABBITS, but when God gives you six acres, why not?

So, why are we here? Because Haus Meister was offered a new position in his company. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Do we miss our old home? We miss our family members and the friends we had to leave behind.  You can’t have fifteen + years of roots and not feel the pangs when uprooted.

But….

We look at each other every day and wonder at the generosity of a Providence that remembered our dreams and granted them when we least expected.

There’s a mountain view at the end of my driveway. Our house is nestled in a valley. I counted twenty deer in the clearing across from my kitchen window on Holy Thursday, and after Easter all of a sudden some wild turkeys showed up. The wild birds have discovered our bird feeders at last (there’s a downy woodpecker couple that think we put up that suet block just for them).

We mourned leaving our wonderful parish Church, and then found ourselves in a little stone church in the country (and when I say “little” I mean it could fit in a quarter of our dear old minor basilica) who welcomed us with open arms.

We mourned leaving our friends, and were greeted by neighbors who brought over fresh eggs from THEIR backyard coop (!), flowers from their garden, goodies from their kitchen, and wine from the local area.  As a thank you, I tried to make a lemon pound cake loaf for them but forgot to add the eggs so fell back on my very favorite chocolate-chip cookie receipt.

And for the first time in three years, the kids had a good snow to enjoy.  And they, themselves, even as they write notes to the friends they left, can’t help but tell me how happy they are.  Rascal himself came up to me on his own and said, “I feel like I’m getting stronger here.  Like Colin in ‘The Secret Garden’!”

Stay tuned, dear reader, for more “Misselthwaite Matters.” Or in regular parlance, the antics of our family as we adjust to life in the country!

And I will post pictures…once our internet catches up…because we are in the COUNTRY!

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Yarn Along in Pink & Books

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Knitting continues in full speed for Munchkin 2.   Her wee little outfits are wending their way from various online outlets (Memorial Day sales, anyone?!) and I was so happy to see that her booties will pretty well match her homecoming outfit.

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I’m also pleased to say after many a mistake, I seem to have found the hang of that little sock.  Hopefully the next will be finished quicker.  She’s not really in a hurry to show up, it seems, but I did ask her to hold off until I get the second bootie done, in any case.

This week’s reading:

Haus Meister: Guns of Navarone

Haus Frau: The Son Avenger.  I finished Undset’s Master of Hestviken series and all I can say is “WOW.”  I’m counting this one in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. So, June: A book you can read in a day.  I read this one in a day.  I couldn’t help it!

Trooper: Listening to Hilda VanStockum’s The Cottage at Bantry Bay on Audible.

Rascal: The Hardy Boys: Secret of the Caves

Dino & Sunshine:  Curious George visits the Dentist.  He read it out loud to her as she prepped for her first dental visit (found a great dentist who has a lot of patients on the autism spectrum).

Princess: Meet Josefina

Miss M: listened to Pinkalicious.

 

 

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real on the cusp of Summer

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

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My quick porch art for the season.  I had to work fast; as soon as the word got out that I had sidewalk chalk in the Haus again, four or five pairs of hands came grabbing for it.

Within the hour, the back deck was decorated.

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Or working on our inner Celtic Warrior Princess.  Either one. 😉

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Our 13th Anniversary (Lucky 13!) is on Tuesday.  Last week I had the quick opportunity to zip into the little Zales where Haus Meister had bought my engagement ring 14 years ago and get my rings cleaned.  That had been on my list of things to do for years!  The top ring is a gold band he bought me while we were dating (we liked the design on it), the middle is my engagement ring, and the bottom is my wedding band.  I’ve only been wearing the trio together for about a month, as I like the combination.  Earlier this month, my mother gave me her star sapphire–or Lindy star–ring that she received from her grandmother (my Nana) for her 16th birthday.  I remembered that ring being in the ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TOUCH category in Mom’s jewelry box when my sister and I were little girls looking for her 1980s beaded necklaces or, when older, trying to see who’d get to borrow her Nutcracker earrings first during the Christmas season. 🙂  So when she gave me that ring, well, I wanted to wear it daily lest I lose it.  Or one of my girls take it and lose it. Hence the gold band went from my right hand to my left. 🙂  How’s that for random today?

Happy

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These windchimes I found at Hobby Lobby!

Our Anniversary gift to each other–because we both like cooking–is a new oven range! We’re sappy romantics but we’re also practical.  😉 It arrived yesterday and the box became a backyard fort for a few hours.  Cardboard doesn’t last long around here.

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Rearranging the basement to help give it a more “family room” feel.  We have large tables and wooden chairs upstairs but if you want more comfort, this is the place.

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“Shopping the Haus” for new mantel decor.  I later added a tiny white creamer jug to the right side (it had lost it’s companion sugar bowl) and a blue vase with yellow roses to the left side.

And because my crazy-g0-nuts nesting is still in high gear, I’ve been having fun with the upstairs walls, too.

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Funny

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EEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!! Toddlers with screens!!!!!!!

Oh, and he was complaining that he hasn’t had much presence on the blog.  I told him it’s hard when he tries to avoid the camera.  So he sat still once for a picture.

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Lunch Break LEGO time.  With a Warsaurus.

Real

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Why is it that toddlers want to climb into baby seats?

Things are getting very real over here.  The bassinet is up, the carseat is on its way toward the van, there’s diapers in the closet, little outfits in the drawer, and a bottle on the shelf with the kids’ cups.

Little Bit decided to show up midway through the 37th week, all on her own. I’m just about 34weeks.  Even if Munchkin2 makes us go to 41 this time, I’m going to be ready.  This time.  Maybe.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: One Morning in May

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

and some

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Happy May, and month of our Lady!

Someone had a birthday this month! Someone pretty and precocious!

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Our Little Bit is every bit of 2 now.  She celebrated with donuts on a Sunday with one set of grandparents, and strawberry shortcake on her actual birthday with the other set. And both times she was equally well pleased.

Happy

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Princess’ American Heritage Girl troop ended the year with a painting & popcorn party.

Then there’s my knitting.  I’m happy about knitting.  I’m happy about books.

But I haven’t been knitting much lately because I discovered these books. Also because it kept falling off the double pointed needles… or a toddler began to unravel it. I digress…

It’s hard to knit when every free moment of the evening was spent in medieval Norway.

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Project: Simple Newborn Hat with a Touch of Lace.

Happy, kind of funny, and real, too.

Our house projects continue to shape up and finish.

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Haus Meister made his semi-annual trip to IKEA on his way home from a business trip and found the new accessories for the bathroom (now beautifully blue and white).  We found the light fixture at our Lowes.  But as for the vanity, well, let’s just say someone decided to be helpful, ala Paddington

So there’s that to be finished.

Meanwhile, Haus Meister fixed up the paint in the boys’ room.  We still need to do behind the bunk bed and replace the trim, but the Paddington helper had “helped” in there as well so we wanted to catch up fast as it was a bit of an eyesore.

In an earlier post we mentioned that the walls matched the boys’ Trail Life calendar, so we thought of the three mountains in the Trail Life logo, and from there we decided to add a few more.

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(Plus a droid)

And a volcano (because I am pitiful at patching a wall).

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The boys are quite happy and excited about their room.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real–April’s Almost over Already??

~ {pretty, happy, funny, real} ~
Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So, a few Thursdays have come and gone without my attempt at weekly posting.  Of course, around here that doesn’t mean a lack of things going on.

PRETTY flowers!  My geranium planter really…blossomed, and my Texas roses began to bloom last night.  These are the Lafter roses from Antique Rose Emporium.  I’m also pleased to report that the three tomato plants in pots on our porch have begun showing yellow flowers.  Looking forward to fresh tomatoes!

HAPPY girls!

Happy kids enjoying the first homemade (healthy, smoothie based, low-sugar-ssh-don’t-tell-them) popsicles of the season.

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Happy Trooper goes climbing.

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And I am happy to have re-enrolled the children in Seton Home Study School for the 2016/2017 school year.

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The first time I ever heard about homeschooling was in my public school classroom, and I was 11.  A substitute teacher was announced for the day, and the girl in front of me turned to me and hissed, “He homeschools his kids. They think they are so much better than the rest of us.” With the implicit belief in the veracity of my peers, I ticked that fact away that homeschoolers were pompous and went on with the day.

Later I saw the same substitute teacher with his kids at a high school basketball game, and looking at his daughter, who was my age, I thought to myself that she didn’t look as if she thought she was a cut above the rest of us. In fact, she looked very much like someone I’d want to have for a friend.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  It’s a calling.  Like every calling, it’s not “one size fits all.”  It just happens to be our calling, and part of our family story.  It may not be part of yours. That’s fine. We do NOT think we are better than anyone else, and never will.

FUNNY

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I looked up from rinsing the dishes to see this. Oh, kids.

REAL

Changes around the house continue, large and small.

The main bathroom is now a lovely shade of “Woodlawn Silver Brook,” the “Endless Love and Laundry” sign is across from the laundry room, and the wainscoting is up in the laundry room.

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I added some baskets and straightened up the sideboard.

It keeps our tablecloths available.

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I’m kind of stuck on tablecloths.  We’re finally at a stage in our family where we can put these on the table before dinner and no one tries to pull them off.  So now the person in charge of clearing and washing the table picks one of our random assortment and decorates the table before dinner. It adds a dimension of beauty to our day, and transitions from school day to after-school quite nicely.

And then, we switched places betwixt the sideboard and kitchen table.

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We have another large table in the living room, and someday I’d love to make an opening in that wall where the sconces are, ideally to make a counter with barstools on the living room side, adding some more natural light to the kitchen thanks to the living room’s massive window, and adding more seating.  But that’s on the 10year plan. 😉

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Sunshine shows off our new microwave, since our 1995-era dinosaur of a microwave went out with a pop one evening.  I considered going back to a microwave-less existence, but then proceeded to burn three things in a day on the stovetop trying to reheat or bake. Including green beans.  I’ve never burned green beans.  So to Lowes we went!

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real–April Already?!

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I left this blog stuck in the Triduum and here we are in the second week of the Easter Season.  Happy Easter!  He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

image5An Easter family picture, which pretty much encompasses pretty, happy, funny & real. From the spunky lass who snuck to the back step when she was told to stand in the front, to the boy who forgot to tuck in his shirt, Trooper’s cheesy grin, and Posey pinching me while looking so sweetly… Ah, life.  It’s good.

More “Pretty Happy” about Easter…

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The Lamb cake survived!  I used a Betty Crocker gluten free cake  mix so that our whole party could enjoy it (we had 18 people over for dinner.  It was great!).  Of course, Miss M had to point out that it looked like a dog.  So it’s a lamb-dog cake.  Again.

Happy

Lace curtains always make me happy.

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Little Bit always makes us smile.  Hard to believe she’ll be two at the end of the month.

I promised the boys that we’d begin to do something to their room this month, and no sooner did I begin to try an idea than they ran wild with it and now they’re eager to finish.  It’s a good incentive to get school done. 😉

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We joked that since it matches their Trail Life calendar, then it’s the “Trail Life Room”!

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The Little People Cinderella was totally left there by a little sister who had come in to observe.

I know a lot of the blog pictures have to do with the girls, so here’s the other two boys. 🙂

Funny Real.

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Hello, my nickname is Sunshine, because I’m an energetic warm beam of fun and light in my house. I just lost two front teeth, cut my hair (Dad and Mom did damage control), and specialize in taking phone pictures.  I have been known to take 132 pictures of “Little Bear” while watching it on Amazon Prime.  Lately, Mom found about 30 pictures of random items on the floor before it got swept.  Famously, The Spoon and The Spaghetti Noodle.

Keeping it real, always.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 2016 So Far

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Time to chime in and reassure you that Life is Happening besides Knitting.  And oh, how it’s flying by!

On January 14 we made some news public.

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Littlest isn’t the littlest anymore!  Little Bit, as we have re-blog-nicknamed her, is happy to announce that in July, Munchkin2 will join our family.

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I’m just reaching week 21 and feeling pretty well.  It’s a little more tiring than it used to be when I was pregnant at 25, but I have extra help around the house these days.

A month ago, my sister-in-law moved in with us!  The kids are over-the-moon excited to see her every day, and we’re having a ton of fun, too.  She is looking forward to beginning CNA classes and in the meantime helps out around here and in other places, Church included.  People kept congratulating us on the “new addition,” meaning her, which threw me a pregnancy-brain loop because I’d be giving them dumb looks, knowing that they knew about the baby…

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In other news, we’ve been busy with Church…

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Birthdays…

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Being sick (every child and even adult had one or more of the following: strep, croup, colds, ear infections, and then one had an allergic rash, all since February 1) …

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Cooking … (Daddy made it, she helped)…

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Enjoying what little snow we had….

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Dreaming of the weather staying consistently Springlike….

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And starting to redecorate rooms too long neglected.  At the first of the year, when I looked over my Christmas journals and realized that for the first time in nearly five years, I didn’t have “Sell the Old Haus” on my New Year’s Resolution but realized again that we could concentrate our visits to Lowes and etc, on this House, this one, our HOME, and only our HOME, it was like gulping breaths of fresh air.

(If you wonder why that didn’t hit me full force at the end of last October, I blame it on first trimester fatigue plus concentrating on the upcoming holidays)

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Incidentally, I covered that unlovely label on the giant detergent bucket with a picture of sunflowers that the kids colored for me.  It’s the little things.

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Christmas Eve Edition

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Advent is winding down!  Oh, there seems like so much still to do.  Isn’t that how it always is?  Still, I wanted to pop on and wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

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The stockings are hung by the chimney with care!  We did misplace one of the girls’ stockings, and fortunately they aren’t personalized so I whipped out my own personal First Christmas stocking for Littlest to use.  She won’t even notice, this year, at least.

No, the star does not fit above the tree.  The tree was just too tall!

And no fire in the woodstove this year.  It is far too unseasonably warm. 😦

The prints above the mantel are from “glorydesigns” on Etsy.

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Upstairs we have our Jesse Tree and the IKEA stars that Haus Meister brought home for me last month.  When lit, they are very cheerful and may just be one of my favorite decorations this year.

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I do love decorating with candles. Last year, also from Etsy, I purchased a set of vinyl Nativity cutouts to go on glass jars for a handmade candle holder effect. However, it was one of those things I didn’t get around to until this year.

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This jolly St. Nick is one of the few decorations to have survived through our entire marriage.  He’s been at every Christmas in every place we’ve lived.  Even if he has to hide in a bathroom for survival…

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And everyone was happy to get our big tree downstairs!

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Everything is one toddler away from destruction.  (Actually, they’re surviving okay)

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As Advent ends and Christmas proper begins, I’m going to share with you some of our favorite carols.  Frohliche Weihnachten!

O Come O Come Emmanuel (this version has been a favorite in the Haus this Advent)

Mitt Hjerte Alle Vanker

Mitt Hjerte Alltid Vanker

Mitt hjerte alltid vanker i Jesu føderom
Der samles mine tanker som i sin hovedsum
Der er min lengsel hjemme, der har min tro sin skatt
Jeg kan deg aldri glemme velsignet julenatt

Akk, kom jeg opp vil lukke mitt hjerte og mitt sinn
Og full av lengsel sukke, kom Jesus dog her inn
Det er ei fremmed bolig, du har jo selv den jo kjøpt
Så skal jeg blive trolig, her i mitt hjerte svøpt

Jeg gjerne palmegrene vil om din krybbe strø
For deg, for deg alene jeg leve vil og dø
Kom la min sjel deg finne sin rette gledesstund
At du ble født her inne i hjertets dype grunn

My Heart Always Lingers

My heart always lingers in the birthplace of Jesus
My thoughts gather there as their main sum
There my longing has its home, my faith its treasure
I can never forget you, blessed Christmas night

Oh come, I will open my heart and my mind
and sigh with longing, yet come in Jesus
It is not a strange home, you have bought it yourself
So I will remain faithful, wrapped here in my heart

I will gladly spread palm branches around your manger
for you, for you alone I will live and die
Come, let my soul find its right moment of joy for you
that you were born here in the deep of the heart

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Another October post!

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I love October!  Things just seem to click into place in October.  We more or less have our school schedule down pat now, we’re happily ticking off our list of projects, and the kids know what they’re going as on Hallowe’en. 😉  The weather is so much less oppressively humid and even cooled enough this week for the heat to be on at night!

We’re still plugging away at our home improvement projects.  Sometimes it’s just moving a picture to another room, and sometimes it’s laying the extra wood from the hardwood floor projects down in the stairwell.

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We also acquired a new bed for our room.

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It doesn’t exactly keep the toddlers out, but we’re a tad less crowded when they arrive.

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Happy

New furniture in the mail = CARDBOARD BOX HOUSES!

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Funny

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Star Wars Overhype, anyone?

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The children wanted to carve pumpkins the first week of October.  Of course I talked them out of it.  No one wants half-rotten pumpkin faces festering on their porches, after all. Unfortunately, though, I guess I could have let them carve a couple of them….

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They rotted without our help.  Next year, all pumpkins need to look like the one at the top of the stairs!

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Mid-October

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We closed on the Old Haus on Sept. 29.  That chapter of our lives is now closed as well, and I’m pleased as punch that if we had to wait four years for this, at least the buyer is precisely who we hoped for–someone who was actually looking for a house of our “vintage” and who fell in love with the arched entryways and all the other little 1940s quirks. We hope she and her daughter have many happy years there.

In the meantime, we’ve been busy now doing a million projects around here that were on the backburner until the house sold! Not to mention the daily stuff, like work, chores, childrearing, and homeschooling. 🙂

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Okay, we think our baby gets prettier every day.  Littlest is still littlest (there seemed to be time when she’d pass up Posey Pie, but Posey had a growth spurt and still inches her out…by an inch or two).  We also call her the “feisty little one” (influence of Star Wars), and if we weren’t already set with princess dresses, I’d send her Trick-or-Treating as R2D2 just for kicks.

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Since October crept up on me, I hadn’t gotten many Fall decorations out until last weekend!  And still, someone had to bring in something a little early. This is a well loved animated Christmas thingamabob from Hallmark in 2006.  It sings and plays music and blinks lights.  There’s supposed to be some penguins but those migrated a long time ago.

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And she LOVES it.  She hugs it and drags it around the house.

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Morning, noon, and night.

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Last Wednesday, one of my best friends and I headed out to the used bookstore because that’s what we do on our Mom’s Night Out.  We’ve “closed” the store twice now.  It’s becoming a bit of a tradition to be lingering in the aisles looking for one last treasure while the voice on the com is saying “Please make your way to the front, the store is closing in ten.” In the last five I finally found where they moved the old Pleasant Company/American Girl books and nabbed the entire original Felicity set, five Kirstens, two Mollys and a Samantha.

The boys told me next time to bring something home for them.

And guess who waited up for me?

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He did let me pass.

The Gandalf wig/beard arrived in the mail two days later.  He’s wearing the Santa beard from last year. 😉

Funny

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Picture of the Month.  TK-42Dino and TK-42Miss M do school on a Friday. Yes, we’ve already had to duct tape his helmet.

Real

After 12 years of marriage, we have bought our first new (not consigned, secondhand, previously-owned by family, or garage sale) couch.

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Thank you, IKEA, for this easy to assemble treasure.

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Now to clean the basement before the first fire of the season.  No, that’s not dust, it’s flour.  When Miss Sunshine decides she wants her trains to run into snow, she creates it at the expense of my pantry.  But do you see my glorious Wodehouse collection? Second bookshelf, the one on the right.  We have now reached three full shelves (top 3). Give or take a book.