It's funny that we had a bigger tree, a real tree, when we lived in an apartment. It was such a big tree, in fact, we had to anchor it to the wall so it wouldn't fall over. Surprisingly, though, we had more space back then. Our house is so full of furniture and baby stuff and dog stuff that there is no room left to bring the outdoors indoors. We'd have to put our couch on the front lawn if we wanted to display a Christmas tree in the window.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
One of the best parts about Winnie eating "real" food is that we can share foods now. One of our favorite morning breakfasts is to split a banana. Half for me, half for Winnie. This is something we can really only do on the weekends though because it's also extremely messy, and gooey, and then sticky. Winnie looks worried in this next picture, but that's just the intense concentration of a little girl who is trying to cram as much banana into her mouth as she can before her Uncle pulls it away to prevent her from choking. Our baby would rather stuff the whole banana in her mouth and gag than take dainty little bites and so we must watch her closely. Baby loves her some banana.
This last picture is my favorite: The triumphant fist-pump of a satisfied customer.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Today was Winnie's first Thanksgiving, which we spent in the company of cousins in Wisconsin. Family is a very high value for us and we hope that we can instill that yearning for familial connection in our little girl as well.
It's late and David and I both have to work during the Black Friday sales tomorrow (yippee!), so I'm going to be brief, but in short, Winnie got to experience some of the traditional Thanksgiving rituals. She ate turkey with some bits of dinner roll, she relaxed on the couch with Uncle Rich with a full belly and she got to spend time hanging out with her cousins playing games and singing silly songs about math equations. I believe they are her second cousins once removed, but you'd have to talk to my Uncle Fred or Aunt Joyce to be sure, they are the genealogy experts in our family.
Thank you again to my cousins for hosting us and even our dog. We had a really great time and we're so glad to have you all back in the Midwest.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
This is an actual photograph of our car, taken exactly one week ago.
David drove to Wal-Mart, less than three miles from our house, to purchase a bottle of glue which cost exactly five dollars. While leaving the parking lot, a driver in an SUV didn't see him and backed into the driver's side door of our little Honda Fit -- doing about $3,000 work of damage. The driver of the SUV didn't have driver's insurance.
This is what happened to the other driver...
1. Ticket of up to $200 (and points) for driving without insurance.
2. Court date regarding ticket for driving without insurance. The courts can sentence you to up to 90 days in jail (more likely for repeated offenses) and/or they can suspend your driver's license.
3. Hefty fine for driving without insurance.
4. Because there is no insurance to pay for the damage to our car, the driver will be held personally responsible and our insurance company has lawyers that will collect our deductible along with the full amount of the repair less the deductible.
5. Insurance will now cost this person A LOT more because companies will put this driver in a pool of at-risk drivers.
This is what happened to us...
1. We have to file the claim through our own insurance since the other driver has none.
2. This means that (for now) we pay our deductible until it can be reimbursed through the collection process (see #4 above). It may take years for us to get our money back, and we may never get it all back, but our deductible is a whole lot less than paying for the repair to our car out of pocket.
If you think you can't afford insurance, think again. Can you afford to pay the $3,000 repair bill for someone else's car along with the fines associated with driving uninsured? This driver, for all we know, could be a very good driver who never before had a ticket of any kind. Even if you are a good driver, you need insurance because mistakes happen. My personal opinion on the matter is that if you can't afford insurance you shouldn't be driving a car. You can ride the bus, carpool, ride a bike, etc. Having insurance for your car isn't a luxury, it's the law.
Month seven was a busy one. So busy that we are extremely late with our monthly Winine update. In addition to all of Winnie's recent achievements (below) we've also have not one, but TWO, car accidents in the past four weeks. Both times, let me say it again.. BOTH TIMES... we were NOT at fault. Actually, it wasn't even the same person from our family driving the car in both instances. The first time it was me. Winnie and I were on our way home when a little old lady hit our car in the middle of a 4-way stop intersection. That accident was relatively minor, but it took a couple of weeks for the repair shop to fit us in because they have a limited number of loaner cars. So, less than one week after we get our car back.. BOOM, an unobservant lady in a gigantic SUV plows into David in a Wal-Mart parking lot. That's one more strike against Wal-Mart.
So, we spent this past week getting this new repair all sorted out; and it's been a bit of a challenge because we only have one car between me and David. Sure, having two cars would make times like this easier, but hey, we don't live our lives biting our nails waiting for the bad stuff to happen. This past week was a juggling act to be sure, but every day God provided us with a way to and from work. It turns out that our car will need a whole new driver's side door, new side mirror, new fender and maybe a few other things. The best part, though, is that David was OK. Not a scratch on him.
And now, what you've been waiting for: baby pictures.
Achievements and Firsts in Month 7
1. First wedding. Winnie's name was on the invitation for this one, so we figured it was OK to bring her to the ceremony at least. She jumped right in and "sang" during the worship portion of the ceremony along with everyone else.
2. First twin encounter. Someday, these girls could be Winnie's future baby sitters. So we're hoping that she made a good impression.
4. First Slumber Games. Winnie didn't actually attend, but she was there at the hotel while we set up and she was in her jammies, so I think that counts for something.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
When you are a grown up you sometimes do grown up things like buy a house. You are told that home ownership comes with extra responsibilities like mowing the lawn, changing the furnace filters, and paying for new appliances when the old appliances break (like that hot water heater on the Fourth of July). What you don't bargain on, at least we didn't, is the employees from your fair city tramping into your backyard one summer day and spray painting your trees with identification numbers.
At first you suspect that the neighbor has decided to cut down the ugly trees which you have mutually agreed provide little shade and are in the way of a privacy fence you both dream of one day building. You envision him out in the yard, marking the spots on the trees where he will begin cutting. Then, you notice the numbers painted on the trees and you think "that's odd." When you find an official looking flier talking about Dutch Elm disease stuck to your front door you realize it isn't the neighbor who wants three of your four trees eradicated, it is the City. In fact, the City is giving you a 21-day deadline because the trees are apparently contagious. Should you choose to do nothing, the City will gladly chop the trees down for you, for a nice fee. Of course, this all happens the week you begin making costly payments to the day care. Oh. Joy.
Our trees presented special problems because:
1. They were boxed in by low hanging power lines, two garages and two houses.
2. They had grown INTO our chain link fence. The fence was literally embedded in the center of two of the three tree trunks.
3. All of our trees were on the property line between our yard and our neighbor's yard.
We got four bids to remove our sickly trees that ranged in price from $645 to $2,000. None of the bids included taking out the stumps, and some companies would only cut to the top of our chain link fence. It seemed no one wanted to tackle the pieces with metal fence stuck in them. Leaving large pieces of stump in our yard, while unsightly, would have worked had the City's order not included cutting the trunks down to four inches or less with all bark stripped away.
Thankfully, we are very blessed to know a guy with tools who was willing to use his weekend off from work to help us out and visit his granddaughter, too. Thank you for all of your help Grandpa Mark and Grandma Janelle! We are excited for any excuse to see you -- even if it's an expensive and frustrating project like cutting out tree stumps.
As Aunt Janet says, we love your guts!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
This month marks a full half year that we have gotten to know our smiley, lovable Miss Winifred. She has changed so much since we first brought her home on that unexpectedly snowy April day. In case you missed our 6-month video update, here it is:
I keep telling David, "Can you imagine how huge and smart adults would be if we continued to learn and grow at the rate that babies do? We'd all be gigantic and super smart."
At 6 months, Winnie is now 15lbs, 15 ounces -- that is more than double her birth-weight. Her hair is still very short, and very blonde, and she can't quite sit on her own yet, but that's OK. When you hold her little hands she will stand in your lap and do a little bouncy dance and when she is on her blanket she can push herself back onto her knees like she might crawl at any second. Personally, I think Winnie has no interest in learning how to sit, our girl wants to travel and she knows that crawling is the way to go.
New things this month are:
1. Mobilization. Winnie now uses her roll to travel across the room, under the couch, under the table, wherever her rolling takes her.
2. Head nodding. This just started last night. She doesn't nod in response to anything yet, she just nods to nod, but it's super cute.
3. Biting. Let's hope this is a phase.
4. New teeth (all the better to bite you with). A couple of weeks ago, Winnie's top teeth started to show. Like puppy teeth, baby teeth are very sharp!
5. Sock removing. Recently, it has become a challenge to keep socks on Miss Winifred's feet. Off they come and then into her mouth they go for a good chew and soak.
6. Case of the wiggles. Once she can crawl, I have no doubt Winnie will quickly let us know where the holes in baby-proofing the house are located. This girl is a mover and a shaker who doesn't stay in one position for very long.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Twice now, I've lost a wool sweater to the washing machine. If you know about cleaning wool, then you know it shrinks INSTANTLY when it gets wet. That "dry clean only" label is a serious warning. The last time this happened to me was more than two years ago and I didn't know what to do. I tried to use the material to make a purse, but it didn't really work and I ended up throwing it away.
This time, the day my favorite pink sweater accidentally got tossed into the machine with a load of colored laundry, I happened to notice how similar in size my newly shrunken shirt looked when compared to one of my 6-month-old daughter's dresses. (All of my good ideas come to me when I'm doing something mundane like folding laundry or brushing my teeth.)
I should have taken a before photo of my tiny sweater just so you could see how small it was. It was probably the size an 8-year-old girl might wear, but with shoulders spaced too far apart. Maybe an 8-year-old girl who likes to wear shoulder pads could have worn it. But not anymore, now it's a dress for a 6-month-old baby girl named Winifred.
What I did was super easy. I'm not the best seamstress, and I did this all by hand (because it was easy, not because I'm oh-so-talented), so I'm sure even if you have the least of sewing capabilities you can do this, too. In case this ever happens to you and you and you want to "save" your sweater, here is the breakdown of what I did:
1. Use existing dress as template (I chose a really simple style from Old Navy).
2. Lay template dress on shrunk sweater and cut off excess material. In my case, I only had to cut off the sleeves, take in the sides of the shirt about 1/2 inch each and I cut the length to my liking.
3. Flip inside out and sew sides of dress together.
4. Use button-hole stitch over arm-holes to prevent material from fraying. Or, if you prefer a more finished look, you could hem the arm-holes or sew ribbon over them.
5. Decorate! I added a pocket with a flower to the front of the dress and embroidered little leaves on the bottom of the skirt.
What to do with the excess material:
1. I used the very bottom of the shirt and made a headband.
2. The sleeves made excellent leg warmers! The cuff of the sleeve is the ankle and the wider part of the sleeve goes around the thigh. I didn't use elastic, but I may add that later.