Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lillian Update

Lillian is almost 5 months old now! I can't believe how quickly it has gone. As you can see, she still looks EXACTLY like Evelyn. The only difference is that she has blue eyes.

She is up to some fun things lately...

She has found her feet...

She can "tripod sit"- but when she realizes that she is sitting- she gets so excited that she falls over...
And she really enjoys her excersaucer...(FYI: Her hair isn't really that red)She is so happy and squeals with delight living up to her in utero name "Squeakles". She rolls around everywhere often getting stuck under tables and chairs and things. She cut her first tooth on Labor Day and her second tooth the next day. (That is the earliest we have had for teeth around here.) She has just started sleeping through the night. And she is our first thumb sucker; however, she only sucks her left thumb...does that indicate a lefty???

Neal was out of town a few weekends ago, so I took that opportunity to paint and set up Lillian's room. We use to have a midnight blue office, now Lillian has this...

It is a small room, so I had to take the pictures in small panoramic sections, but I think you can get the idea. The girls helped me paint the green and set up the toys. I am very happy with how it turned out. Everyone is enjoying the new room. Neal and I are glad to have our room back to ourselves and the big kids have been playing in there more than their own rooms!
Finally, we will leave you with a short video of Lillian playing!

New stuff

OK, as promised, here are some pictures of the new things in our house and yard...

This is our "new" piano that we bought off of Craig's list. It is about 80 to 100 years old. It is called a saloon style-piano because of the mirror across the top. I guess if it was once in a saloon, the piano player would want to know if someone was coming up behind them with a pistol or something...Neal had it tuned for me for my birthday and it sounds great! The tuner said it is a "sawed off piano". Apparently it was originally a player piano that was converted to a saloon-style piano. He was impressed with the good condition on the inside despite its beat up condition on the outside. We have all really enjoyed having a piano in our house!

These are our new dining room chairs. I have been saving money for several months and I used my birthday money to purchase these new off of e-bay. I have been wanting chocolate leather parson chairs for years! Now I don't have to sit on a metal folding chair at dinner time!
I purchased eight, but only six are shown.

This is a freezer that Neal's secretary at work gave us. We are so excited about it! We are spliting a cow with some friends next month, so we were needing one of these!

I picked up another bookshelf for our school room.

Here is the zinnia garden in full bloom as well as the potato ivy growing across the top of the porch.

The girls are so proud of the zinnias they helped plant.

I planted a lantana garden on either side of the driveway. Here is one up close. I still need to add a second layer of stones for the border and they have to fill in, but I think it will add a lot to our entrance once they are established.

This is the driveway showing both gardens.

I mentioned making a path from the driveway to the back gate while I was pregnant with Lillian...well, I finally finished it and put in a garden on that side of the house. I also made a place for the trash can that is out of the mud and convenient and not so ugly now that it has a garden around it. I got the purple jew and the airplane plants from my mom's house when we were there in June...they have filled in nicely with all the rain we have been getting!

Finally, I got a pair of clothesline T-posts! I also got these off of Craig's list. I put up a wanted post offering to take away some old T-posts from anyone who did not want theirs anymore. A guy called up and offered to bring them to us in his truck for $20! We have been using them regularly and have enjoyed the fresh smelling clothes and money/energy savings.

Hanging on the line in this picture are the other new things in our lives...cloth diapers! I am using cloth for Lillian and am saving money there too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Lessons...

Number 1:

I try to sleep in on Saturday mornings (until 8 o'clock) if the kids let me. This Saturday, however, I was woken up by Madeline at 7:15ish exclaiming, "MOM! I heard a bang and another bang and there is a firetruck and an ambulance and all the people in the neighborhood are running around in the street!" I immediately jump out of bed and pull aside the drapes to see the scene Madeline had just described to me. I quickly change clothes, slip on some flip flops and tell Madeline to stay in the house while I join the entire neighborhood in the street. What I couldn't see from my window was the reason all the neighborhood was in chaos. The house one door over was completely engulfed in flames! I walked over to the neighbors' house who were still in their robes standing on their front porch and asked them what happened. They didn't know anything. They didn't hear anything either until the fireman came knocking on their door telling them to get out of their house just in case they couldn't stop the fire from spreading. I did find out however, that the people were out of town - but their 15 cats were not! Shortly after I spoke to them, I hear "Mommy, it's a fire!" I turned around to see my Aidan wide eyed staring at the fire. I picked him up as he said "Mommy, it's alot of water! Mommy it's a firetruck! Mommy, it's a fireman!" in rapid succession. That is a lot of complete sentences for Aidan! Slowly, the rest of my family trickled out Madeline, then Neal, then I went back for Evelyn and Lillian. We could feel the heat from the blaze and soot was coming our way, but we couldn't move. We were captivated by the inferno. The whole neighborhood was. We just stood there helplessly watching the house go up in flames. I talked to the kids about what the firemen were doing. I talked to them about their uniforms and their masks and their oxygen tanks. I wanted them to take note of what they looked like just in case we ever need their help. Once the fire was out, the firemen went through the house ripping apart walls and large pieces of furniture to ensure nothing was left to be rekindled. At one point I saw the top of a grand piano being thrown out of the window. It was sickening. I still don't know what started the fire or what became of the cats. The owners were contacted immediately and have been back along with inspectors and insurance agents. I hope to find out more information soon. We have to be glad that no one was harmed. The kids have had many questions about fire and it has been a good opportunity to talk to them about fire safety. It has also led to thinking about fire escape routes in our house and purchasing a couple of ladders for the kids' rooms and getting a fire box. You never know what could happen.

Number 2:

This summer Madeline went to Vacation Bible school. There, she met a sweet girl named Christina. We got to know the rest of Christina's family and have been friends ever since. Her mother's name is Denise, her father is David. This is the second marriage for both of them. Altogether they have 7 children. Their three younger daughters (which are from their current marriage) are the only ones left at home (Christina 7, Nia 9, Elizabeth 11). This summer we went to their house several times for dinner, we went with them a couple of times to lake Arbunkle, we attended their daughters' violin concert and have had many play dates. Denise is another homeschooler and we have been working on doing some school together. They are a wonderful, generous family and we have been blessed so much by them. On Friday morning Denise called me. She informed me that David had died. He had a brain aneurysm rupture and died on the way to the hospital. He was 61 and very healthy. This was completely unexpected. We are still in shock.

We did our best to explain what happened to Madeline and Evelyn. They had many questions. We attended the wake and the funeral service. There were many tears from my girls. They hurt so much for their friends. We do too. I am glad that we were there for them. Many people came, but very few children. It was good for Christina to have her best friend Madeline there for her. Denise was glad that we brought the kids too. It was good for them to share this experience with their friends. The girls learned a lot through this. They saw a family grieve for the loss of their husband/father. They saw a person they once knew dead and lying in a casket. They saw that casket being put into the ground and covered with dirt. They heard the words of family, friends and priests telling funny stories about David, and assuring us of his salvation and his current state in the presence of God. We will continue to help this family as we can and that too will be a good lesson for our children. We are told by Christ to take care of the widows and orphans. That is what our friends are now. Thankfully, David was quite the entrepreneur and they will be able to maintain the status of living that they already have. However, we can help in other ways. I will be schooling Christina for awhile while Denise ties up loose ends at David's company. We will be bringing over meals and helping in taking the girls to their lessons. Finally, we will be a listening ear and a warm embrace when they need us to be.

Please pray for our friends, the Personette's, during this time.