Sunday, April 10, 2016

House About That

We've been working hard getting our house in perfect order to get ready to move. I got this idea in my head that everything needed to look brand new, so I have literally been painting every inch of our house over the past month. Now the house is finally exactly as I've always wanted it just in time for us to say goodbye. Tear. 

We had someone come look at our house for the very first time. While everything was exactly in place and picture perfect, Dallas took the opportunity to come over and practice his real estate photography. I know I'm going to be so grateful for these pictures down the road when we want to reminisce about our first home. I love the way they turned out. 

I finally broke down and ordered the boys real bedding for the first time in their lives. They had been using quilts we got from our wedding, but the pink blanket Eli wrapped himself up in every night didn't quite seem to suit him. The new bedding arrived the afternoon of house picture day and the boys were jumping off my freshly painted walls over them. They insisted Dallas start in their room because they were dying to show off their robot beds. 

Here's me and Jeff's room. I have loved the color scheme in here, but the white bedspread is hitting the landfill as soon as we move because, as my mom warned me when I bought it, it is not compatible with children. Especially children with pens. Named Carson.
The master bathroom.
Easily my favorite room in the house -- the nursery. I love the wall color. I love the whole color scheme in here right now. By the third kid I finally nailed decorating a nursery. This room makes me so happy.

The boys' bathroom. Complete with a splash of pink because there comes a time when there's just too much blue in one house and extreme measures must be taken to restore some sort of balance.
Here we have a great shot of the light that despite our best, repetitive efforts, we never could get to hang straight. But looking beyond that, I really like this angle of our main living quarters.
Here are some stairs because stairs deserve a little face time too. Plus maybe one day I'll want to remember how many steps I walked up and down every time I wanted to do laundry. I didn't get this buff for free.
Dear living room. You were so ugly for so long but you finally came together. I had the hardest time figuring out a good color scheme for our living room. Then we painted that wall blue and it brought the whole place to life. 

My blue kitchen with white cabinets. I've loved this color combo and the bright, clean feel of it. I mean, it's not usually THIS clean -- as my mom was eager to exclaim as soon as she saw this picture. But look how cute it is when there's not homework sprawled on the counter, curtains spilling over the refrigerator and food smeared across the fridge!

And then there's our backyard. I love. Our backyard. It's the perfect size. It's nice and shady in the evenings. It's got little dirt sections for the boys to go digging around in. It suits a trampoline perfectly. It suits teaching your kid how to throw a baseball perfectly. It's just the best. We spend half our lives out here.
Here's the Grandma and Grandpa Excell Hotel. Though it did have a bed in it when they would stay with us.
But it DIDN'T have a bathroom when they stayed with us. Jeff's been working hard to get this bathroom finished.
There's a shower to the right that we won't have enough time to finish, but I love the color scheme in this room as well. And the floors! In our next house, I want all the floors to be this kind of tile. It looks like wood, but it's tile. It's so pretty and we love the way it turned out.

The least glamorous room, but hey, let's document it for memory's sake anyway.
Here's our basement living room. My fondest memory down here is when we first moved in, every morning after Eli would wake up, I would go get him a bottle and we'd come down here. I'd watch the news while he drank his bottle and then we'd play down here for a little bit. It's a fun little toy area for the kids that they kind of overtook as they got older. Jeff built those shelves to the right and the little shelf for a computer on the left which I think turned out really nice.
We'll have to get some better shots of the outside of our house once our grass greens up a bit more and the leaves appear on the bigger bushes out front.
It's still a bit surreal that we're leaving. I remember the first day Jeff and I walked into this house after it was officially ours. We had about 15 minutes before the load of all our stuff was coming with everyone to help us move in and we just jumped around inside it screaming for the full 15 minutes. It was such a good house to us. We love the neighborhood. Love the location. Love the ward. Love this sweet little place that holds a lot of dear memories for us.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Easter Buddies

Let's start with a story of my kids' alarming ability to navigate/hack an electronic device, shall we?

I left my phone on my bed one morning while I went into the bathroom to get changed. When I came out of the bathroom (less than 2 minutes later), I saw 2 little munchkins giggling over my phone. I snatched my phone out of their hands and saw this:
At first I was like, Oh funny. They typed BB8 (their favorite Star Wars character) into my phone. Then as the day went on, I realized this was a more intricate process than what it initially appeared to be. Here are the steps they completed in 2 minutes' time:
1) Hacked into my Gmail.
2) Opened up a new message.
3) Typed Bb.
4) Switched over to the numbers keypad to type the 8.
5) Sent the message.

Thankfully their first email was sent to a do not reply email address. Unthankfully, I have 2 little electronic gurus who are months away from outsmarting me on my devices. 

What they have in electronic sense, they lack in fashion sense. 
It should be noted that Eli will be wearing the above and below outfit in nearly every picture on this blog. It's his favorite outfit. As soon as he gets home from school, he rips off his jeans and long sleeve shirt, removes this beloved outfit from an undisclosed hiding place, and emerges like Doug (the cartoon), in the same outfit every single day. Only Doug at least had a closet full of the same outfit that he'd rotate through. Eli stashes his outfit every morning before school so that I can't ever wash it. Because he can't bear to part with it long enough for me to even wash it until it is so utterly disgusting and covered in food stains that even he acknowledges its filth. 

One day I picked Eli up from school and we were going to go straight to my mom's house. As we were passing our house, Eli said, "Oh! I have to go to the bathroom!" (Probably true.) I turned around to go to our house and told Eli to run in, go to the bathroom and come straight back out. He was taking longer than expected when the thought occurred to me that he was probably changing. Sure enough, I yelled up, "Keep your school clothes on, Eli!" Only to hear his reply, "Too bad, Mom. I already changed." Every day when he gets home, it's the first thing he does! 

My mom recently gave me an heirloom she felt I would most benefit from out of all her children -- a 1980's puberty pamphlet for boys. She raised her kids pre internet, so don't judge her for feeling the need to pass down the maturation pamphlet that got her through 3 boys and was so beneficial to her that she felt it necessary to stow away with the dreams that her grandchildren could be mortified by their "changing bodies" by the same pamphlet generations before had been shocked by. 

I was hesitantly looking through it and laughing as the main focus of the boys' pamphlet is that it is increasingly important for boys to monitor their stench as they enter the tween years. Because apparently the most traumatic thing for boys during puberty is that they get stinky and seem to need detailed instructions on the importance of soap. 

Meanwhile the pamphlet also covered what girls experience during puberty which was more than half of the boys' pamphlet and a lot less elementary. *Suddenly feeling a wave of gratitude for all boys.*

My little pre-pubescent battle of the clothes with Eli has solidified the importance of the cleanliness section in this pamphlet. It has also solidified its accuracy and caused me to safely stow the pamphlet away until the fateful day when Eli asks me to cut his bangs and I say, "Okay. I'll cut your bangs, but I need to have a little chat with you first." Then he'll get that knowing look in his eye as I pull out the pamphlet and hold him hostage flipping through its pages, forever tainting his view of the world around him. And then he'll wish he never asked to get his bangs cut and decide he probably never wants bangs again. Or something like that.

But until then, just let me wash your dang clothes, kid, and the pamphlet will stay safely tucked away.  
In cuter news, the weather was nice a few weeks ago that we spent Sunday afternoon outside sitting around in camp chairs. Eli looked around and said, "Mom, is this called family joy?" It was so sweet and of course my answer was yes! It's nice to get a day to have everyone together not worried about anything but being together. 
While we're on Eli stories, Grandma and Grandpa Excell sent a special Easter letter to us. Inside were a bunch of spring jokes and some coupons. Jeff and I found it very entertaining that we were the ones who now needed to redeem "One night of staying up 30 minutes late" for Carson (which he cashes in just about every night even before he had the coupon), "One movie rental of your choosing" and "One day of no chores" for Eli.  

Eli kept having me read his coupons to him all day after he got them. When I asked him to clean up his room that night, he proudly handed me the 1 day of no chores coupon and hopped in his bed with a floor full of toys. I didn't even think he knew what a chore was, but he figured it out pretty quick!

It worked out perfectly for the boys to get their coupons right before Spring Break. We were cashing in the coupons all week which made the break extra fun for everybody, and reminded us of Grandma and Grandpa Excell every time we did a coupon activity. 
We kicked off Spring Break with the city Easter Egg hunt which lasted all of 30 seconds, but the anticipation made it all worth it. The boys were super excited and had a lot of fun. 

Then we came home and dyed Easter eggs. 

I scored some serious mom points when I showed them how to double dip the eggs to make them 2 different colors. Hoping they always stay so easily impressed. 
On Sunday night before the week of Spring Break, I asked Eli the one thing he wanted to do for Spring Break. Swimming was his answer.

With a gulp and the nervous shakes at just the thought of taking all 3 kids swimming by myself, I braved up and agreed to take them swimming. 

I did some major prepping before we went telling them if they were good and listened to what I said the whole time we were there, it would make me want to go do fun things with them again. I threatened to take away their show if they didn't listen. I admitted I was outnumbered so I needed their help while we were there to stay right by me and do whatever I asked. Then we ventured out into the water. With 3 boys. And 2 adult arms. And the hopes that all 3 boys wouldn't need to be saved from the perilous water at the same time. 

Would you believe me if I said all 3 boys were total angels? Would you believe me if I said all 3 boys stayed right by me the whole time? Would you believe me if I said we had so much fun and I haven't seen my boys so happy since we spotted Big Red in Carsland at Disney? I was so glad I braved up and took them out because it was a blast and it was so fun to see them having so much fun.

The only issue was when it was time to leave and Eli and Carson weren't quite ready, but Lincoln desperately needed a nap so we had to go. It took roughly 30 minutes to round Eli out of the water. Then Carson just sat alligator style in the water with just his eyes poking out and the rest of his body contently submerged -- body language saying, I'm just going to stay here, unless you approach and then I'll attack. 

I had a freezing baby in one arm, the bag, towels, shoes and extra clothing stuffed in the other arm, and my alligator lurking in the water refusing to make a move towards the shore. Eli, Lincoln and I walked halfway to the exit before Carson popped out of the water screaming frantically, finally deciding to join us. Victory. 
Since our swimming adventure went so well, I dared take them out again. We went to the Treehouse later in the week which again was a complete success! 
My favorite room was the school room. Eli was very into being the authoritative teacher and directed Carson to draw a self portrait. 
Carson, the eager student, got an A+ if you ask me!
He perfected his skills at home. On my freshly painted walls. That I had just spent the last month's worth of evenings slaving over. He must have noticed the lack of damage to the walls and had to restore "order" because he dotted basically every wall I had just painted with "washable" marker that was less washable than the label implied. 
Thankfully my mom offered to take my kids one afternoon so I could get Lincoln's room painted. I had been able to chip away at every other room in the house either during nap time or after bedtime, but there's just no way to paint a little nursery with the nursery occupant tugging at my paint stained pants. 

This was confirmed when I tried to do the simple task of cleaning the blinds with a certain nursery occupant accompanying me. He went straight for my bucket of water every time I turned my back. I cringed imagining a bucket of paint as opposed to water that he'd be after and requested my mom's service as soon as I realized the impossible task of painting with a mobile baby. 

The boys were SO excited to go to grandma's without me and I may or may not have excitedly screamed once I had an empty house and a 3-hour chunk of time to bust through my house projects completely uninterrupted. One million thanks to Super Grandma!
It was a great Spring Break with (and a few hours without) my "Easter Buddies."