Wednesday, January 24, 2007

House on a Hill

This is our house. We decided to start looking for a house on Thursday, saw this one on Saturday, applied for a loan on Sunday, submitted an offer on Monday, signed the contract on Tuesday. We can move in anytime after February 23rd.

This is what the house will look like when the snow clears up. We're going to paint it yellow with brown trim. It's getting a new roof before closing. It has 982 square feet on the main floor, and about the same in the finished basement. It's got five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a big family area in the basement.

We're going to remodel the kitchen, bathrooms, and floors. We're replacing the stove, the carpets, the tile, and updating the fixtures. We'll also repaint inside and out. Eventually I want to get all new cabinets and counters and Daniel will finish the one car garage with insulation, dry wall, and a new garage door.

The house is in an ideal location in the city of Thornton. The back yard has a view over the whole city towards the mountains. I can see the mountains from the kitchen window. In front of our house off to the left is a huge park with two playgrounds, bike/walking trails, and tennis courts. It's practically across the street.

This last photo is of the basement. It's layed out perfectly to give us three areas; a scrapbooking area (left side of the photo) near the laundry room, a homeschooling area, and a play area. If we had written a wish list of everything we wanted in a home there wouldn't be one single thing this house doesn't have. It's even just five minutes from Wal-mart and the library!

Denver Art Museum

Danya's homeschool charter school took their first field trip of the year to the Denver Art Museum. They went to learn about Japanese art.

They got to study drawings of lotus blossom trees and then make their own with markers and stamps. Then they toured the floor with the Japanese exhibits. They learned how to tell which statues are actually of Buddah. They learned some of the many rules of the Japanese tea ceremony. They also learned how Samurai first came into existence. It was interesting and the artwork was very beautiful.

While we were there, Daniel got a call from our realtor saying that the offer we placed on a house had been accepted! There were a total of 8 offers (2 of them cash) and they picked ours! Woo hoo!

4 Wheelin'!

When I was a teenager I used to listen to "The Dr. Demento Show" on the radio. They had a song about "Star Trek", and the lyrics said:

"Star Trekkin' across the universe, only going forward cuz we can't find reverse!"

Kevin has the opposite problem. He has mastered using his feet to push himself backwards in his little walker until he runs into a wall or furniture. He gets so frustrated and mad that he can't keep going, but he doesn't know how to go forward. Could be worse, I guess. Picture this kid at 16 with a driver's license!

House Hunters

Okay, it's a little complicated, but it went like this: We've always wanted to adopt. We've talked about it lots of times. Lately, Danya has been asking us on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis when we are going to finally adopt.

Daniel and I decided to go ahead and look into the requirements and look at some photo listings online. We fell in love with the sibling groups that we saw online. We realized that we could adopt a group of kids all at once instead of one at a time over several years. That's when we thought, we better look into a bigger house if we are going to even consider adopting more than one child. You see, the adoption laws say that we can only have two children per bedroom. So we started looking at 5 bedroom houses.

At first we looked at rental houses, because we figured that was all we could afford. Then Daniel spoke to a nice realtor, named Teresa, who had listed one of the houses we were looking at online. She said she'd print out the listings for all the local 5 bedroom houses in our area in our price range. She actually found several that might work! We looked at a few, even liked one that needed alot of work. Then we found the perfect house. (To be continued...)

The Hanging Gardens of Colorado?

We were reading about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in history for homeschool this past week. Danya and Gloria each made their own mountain with beautiful gardens on it out of play-doh. This was Danya's creation with "water" flowing around it and the queen standing on the top.

To Infinity and Beyond!

See the incredible flying baby! He likes to fling himself backwards no matter who's holding him. His favorite view of the world is upside down lately.

He also loves to bounce on his Daddy's knee, have his mouth patted while he makes Indian noises, and be "tick-tocked" like a clock while we hold him under his arms. He is currently fascinated with ceilings and their light fixtures. Even while being carried, he'll be staring up at the ceiling with his head thrown back, mouth hanging open in wonder.

Half a Year Old

As of January 7th, Kevin is 6 months old! Our neighbor Shannon made this sign. What's new? He can roll from front to back AND back to front. He can spin in a circle. He can feed himself bread without the crust, Kicks and Cheerios, and he's in the process of weaning.

Besides the constant babbling, the cutest thing he does by far is pat us on the back. When we pick him up we always pat him on the back. The other day he just started patting us, too! I say, "Pat, pat" and he'll pat my back while I pat his. It's a sign that he's really interested in returning affection. When we say, "Kisses!" he'll lean over, mouth wide open, and press his drooling face against our cheeks, too.

He's also sitting up very well, only occasionally falling over. It's really great watching him push backwards with his toes in his walker. He can scoot that thing across the whole floor! He likes to wrestle, flip upside down, and be tickled. Finally, the doctor says he is getting his bottom front teeth. It's been a busy month for him!

Just Because

Daniel brought me a beautiful rose the other day "just because". Everyone in the house had been sick on and off for weeks, and we were all feeling pretty worn out.

Being the sweet wonderful guy he is, Daniel just wanted to brighten my day. You see, this is it. This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me fervently thank God for bringing me this adorable, considerate, thoughtful, loving man to be my husband. Of all the blessings I've received from the hand of my Creator, Daniel ranks at the very top. Always.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mrs. Ed Grimley

Danya and Gloria got silly playing with rubber bands. This was the strange result. I immediately said she looked like Ed Grimley, but neither Daniel or the girls had ever seen that t.v. show. It's extremely hard to explain and almost impossible to imitate that strange character played by Martin Short. Danya looked at me like I was crazy, and Daniel said he didn't think he'd missed anything by not having seen the show. Oh well.

I apologize for not posting much this month. We've had ALOT going on. Unfortunately I can't update my blog tonight, so hopefully I'll have time tomorrow. Tonight Daniel and I are going to be reading together on the couch, treasuring our precious few minutes of 'alone time' before we have to call it an early night. Tomorrow we are going with Danya's homeschool charter school class to the art museum bright and early. I promise to add a whole bunch of posts in the next day or so!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year 2007!

We took this family photo on New Year's Eve right before Daniel left for work. The girls got to stay up until 10pm to watch the ball drop in New York on t.v. I stayed up until midnight so that I could wish Daniel a happy new year on the phone. It was uneventful, but the girls enjoyed playing their new Monopoly Jr. game they got for Christmas, blowing noise makers, and yelling "Happy New Year!" My New Year's resolutions:

1. Reach my goal weight of 140 by June.
2. Cook at home more, less take-out.
3. Do more fun activities in homeschool.
4. Develop a schedule and stick to it.

She's Got Style, She's Got Flair!

This was the outfit Danya chose to have her photo taken in for New Year's. Red shirt, pink skirt, purple boa, silver purse. I'll say this for her, she's confident and manages to make even this unusual color combination look good!

I hope she never becomes self-conscious about her clothes or looks. She has such an infectious laugh and a friendliness that draws others in and makes them feel comfortable around her. She's so easy to talk to no matter what age person she's with.

I pray that homeschooling helps preserve all these wonderful qualities that I see in her. I hope she is never affected by peer pressure and that she maintains her wonderful individuality. You are one of a kind, Danya Mae! I wouldn't have it any other way!

My Pretty Ballerina

Gloria was given an adorable ballerina costume by her friends, Sarah and Shannon. So on New Year's Eve when she came downstairs all dressed up, I just had to take pictures of her.

She was so cute doing her little poses in all her pink frilliness. Yesterday we ordered copies of these photos and some others at Walmart. Today when we went to pick them up the printer had left pink streaks on alot of the photos. So they reprinted them, but accidentally left off the very ones that were originally messed up. So they printed them again.

We wound up with three sets of photos, some of which we had ordered duplicates of to begin with. We have 8 copies of certain pictures. I certainly don't mind since they gave us the reprints for free! We'll be sending out some of these photos to distant family members, so those of you who are reading this blog, keep your eyes on your mailboxes!

Muscle Man!

Here's Daniel flexing his skinny new bod. We took pictures of him the other day so that we could post "before and after" photos on my weight loss blog. (You can click the link on the right side of this blog to see my weight loss blog)

It's really remarkable to see what a difference 50 pounds has made on him. He's finally to the point where he is getting started on developing muscle and tightening and toning.

The girls are so funny. Every time they see us exercising in the living room (almost every day) they run upstairs to watch their Fit Kids DVD so that they can exercise too. I'm glad that we are becoming a family of healthy habits now while the kids are young enough to learn them.

The Amazing Glory!

No, she hasn't been hired at the circus yet. She's got to keep in shape though, just in case. So she practices every so often with her dad.

He flips her upside down, tosses her over his shoulder, lets her stand on his knees or on his shoulders. They do quite a few tricks together. They're really quite good. I get nervous watching it all, especially now that they are trying out some equally hair-raising maneuvers these days with Kevin. I try to calm down and remember that soon she will be too big for alot of this, and I need to let her have fun with it now while she can. Gloria, Baby, if you make a career out of this, I expect free tickets to the circus for life.

Turning 13

My neighbor, Shannon, and her twin brother, Brandon, turned 13 the other day. They invited us to their birthday party where we played charades, the girls sang on the karaoke machine, and we ate pizza.

We gave Brandon a cool Raiders hat since that's his favorite team. For Shannon, I gave her a gift card to the local scrapbook store. That night while Sarah and I were scrapbooking in the basement, Shannon played video games with Daniel.

A few days later I took Shannon, her sister Sarah, and Danya to the scrapbook store, and then to Olive Garden for lunch. We finished up by going to the $1.50 movie theatre to watch "The Guardian". That's a great movie, by the way.

Wooden Vehicles

We've been collecting little wooden cars and trucks ever since Danya was a baby. There's just something about wood. At Michael's craft store the other day we found all kinds of kits for making various wooden vehicles all on sale for a dollar a piece.

So we got a couple of boats, a submarine, a tank, some airplanes, and a few others. The next day Daniel let the girls paint a boat and a car. We still haven't glued them together yet. They make fun art projects. When they are finished we will find some water and let them try out their boats. It should work. Wood floats, right?

Christmas Dinner?

We didn't plan ahead. We were completely out of food on Christmas night. So I tried to improvise and make a breakfast food we used to make. You tear a whole in the middle of a piece of bread and then put it in a frying pan. Then you crack an egg into the center and cook it. You can see the not-so-pleasant results.

We didn't have alot of options. Every restaurant was closed, every grocery store too. So we walked to 7-Eleven and let the girls pick out their own food for Christmas dinner. I got a hot chocolate and Daniel and I had sandwiches for dinner. Gloria and Danya found Christmas donuts on sale. Yes, I'm saying that I gave my children donuts for Christmas dinner. Hey, it was better than making them eat that egg thing.

A Very Merry Christmas!

Christmas at our house was really fun this year! Daniel totally surprised me by remembering that I had mentioned months ago that I'd like to have Boston Legal on DVD. That's one of my favorite t.v. shows. Then again, it may have something to do with the fact that I have loved watching William Shatner ever since I was a kid staying up late on Sunday nights to watch Star Trek reruns.

Daniel and I gave each other alot of fitness related gifts like exercise bands and new Tae Bo videos. Gloria's favorite gift was her new electric karaoke Barbie Guitar. Danya practically did backflips over her new Polly Pocket lava lamp. Then they also got a big surprise when our neighbors, the Caulkins, gave them a karaoke machine! They are ready to start their own band now!

Kevin had a very Elmo Christmas like I mentioned a few posts ago. He still cracks up every time he pulls Elmo's pacifier out of his mouth. The worst thing that we all got for Christmas, though, was sick. I was sick all through our trip to Oklahoma. The kids have been sick ever since we got back. Danya got better first, and then last night she woke up vomiting, so here we go again. Daniel is staying home from work tonight to help out since all 3 kids are sick and I wrenched my back and shoulder doing a new exercise video yesterday.

Joining the PJ Tradition

For Christmas Eve every year we let the kids open one present each. It's always a new pair of pajamas. They are still young enough to forget that little detail, so they are always excited and surprised when they open their new P.J.s, lol.

This year Kevin got to join the tradition. He got his first real pair of pajamas. Okay, technically it was more like a pajama sack. This was the only bedtime outfit in Kevin's size that Daniel could find the night before. The truth is that we forgot to buy Kevin some Christmas Eve PJs. That keeps happening. We keep shopping for our kids and then suddenly remembering that we have THREE kids now, not just two. Don't worry, Kev, we'll have this figured out by next year.

Foiled Again!

For Christmas, Aunt Kathy gave the girls a new big book of arts and crafts. We tried out one of the ideas recently. It involves covering cardboard with aluminum foil, then drawing a stained glass kind of wavy pattern on it. Then the girls colored in each little area with a different colored marker.

Our neighbors dropped in unexpectedly while we were doing our homeschool work, so Anna joined the girls in their art project. The only problem we had was that our aluminum foil is the non-stick kind, so the markers didn't work right on it. Anna brought her own foil from home and it worked fine.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

There S'NOWhere I'd Rather Be!

When we got home right before Christmas we found our home practically buried in snow! It was higher than our front porch! The next day the girls dug a snow tunnel that they could crawl through.

It was a good thing that Daniel had already bought them so much winter gear. He made sure they had good snow gloves, too. It has snowed again a few times since then. Each time we grab the snow shovels and head out to clear the paths near our house.

The first time we only cleared the walkway from our door to where we park our van. I had to break through some heavy sheets of ice on top of the sidewalk. Our apartment management hadn't done a very good job of clearing it, and the snow had been there for a few days by the time we got home and tried to clear it. After the next snow we cleared all around the area in front of our home along the pathways and then all the way down to the mailboxes in front of the office!

The third and most recent time it snowed, we cleared some pathways for our neighbors who had been trekking across the top of the snow since the very first blizzard. We cleared the porches, too, so that they could get out of their homes easier. Daniel and I are doing all this for selfish reasons, somewhat. I earn 7 exercise points for every hour of snow shoveling and Daniel gets about 4 1/2 points. It's been helping us lose weight faster. Originally we even argued over who got to use the shovel. Then Daniel bought an extra shovel and we started having races!