Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back of the House

Before:



























After (minus gutters):



























Before:



























After:



























I'm in shock at how much better this house looks. Amazing!!

We picked out new porch lights. I asked that this side door light be capped because we don't even use this door, so having a light here is pointless. They then explained I couldn't have a live wire in a wall so they'd have to get an electrician which costs X amt per hour. Etc., etc. OK. Fine. Here's a new $5 jar fixture that still looks better than what we had out there!



























This is the back porch light we picked out. I like it. Mike likes it b/c the bulb can be changed from the bottom. Win-win.



























The other thing that I'm noticing now are the brass-toned door knobs and locks on the exterior doors. Those might have to be changed to a pewter look. Meh, I might wait a while. We'll see how much it bothers me in time...

Home Improvements

This is how our home has looked for many, many years. Not awful, but not what I would have chosen for it.



























Enter the terrible storms this April, some wind and hail damage, plus a label of "FEMA disaster zone," and we were granted all new siding, all new gutters, and a few roof patches by our homeowners insurance company. Work started yesterday, and the first thing they did was close up the 2nd doorway on our front porch. I enjoyed picking out the color of our siding too. Here is the work in progress:

























 

Our old siding was all aluminum. Which is so much more expensive than vinyl, and hardly ever used anymore b/c it just doesn't hold up as well. Because we wrapped the house in vinyl siding, that gave us quite a bit of extra money to put back into the house. More on what we did with that later...



























White double panel shutters are on order. I am really loving this dark gray siding!!























 



Old front porch view (with door that was removed):


















Door would have been on very left of this picture. Slightly different angle, but you get the idea:



















Notice that horrible, rusted wrought iron railing?? That is SO common on houses where we live. I have always hated it, especially because it's so unsafe to have little ones out there. I'm sure it looked great 50 years ago, but no longer!

























 

We are using part of the extra money we have to put up a new white PVC railing, and supports along the porch. SO much safer, and much nicer to look at!! (There is about a 3ft drop off the side of our porch) They haven't gotten to it yet, but not only are we replacing the front porch railing, but also adding a railing for the steps in our front yard, and two matching railings for the steps coming off the back door of our house.
















Then we are finally enclosing the fencing in the back of our yard. We're paying out-of-pocket for that one, but I refuse to even take the girls outside to play anymore because we keep seeing stray pit bulls here and there in the alleyway. ***Gah! I hate those dogs!!!*** I want to finally enclose it so we can utilize our back yard again!

There have been many interesting discoveries since yesterday. (Which we expected because our home is over 100 years old!) Apparently it used to have many more windows than it currently does now. I guess when they renovated it before we bought it, it was cheaper just to close up some of those windows than to replace them. Lots of other shoddy work was discovered...like the lack of insulation in important areas! Which we assumed because we could always feel the cold air seeping through the walls in the winter.

This is looking out my kitchen window, toward the backyard/alleyway. Those shelves you see, used to be white aluminum siding. When they tore that down, it revealed a window casing that was made into a bookshelf, and full of old books! So bizarre.

Even though it's too small to read the numbers on my window thermometer in the above picture, it says it's about 109 degrees outside at this time...in the shade. It's miserably hot out, I am incredibly impressed with our hard workers! They're machines!!!

This is the inside view of our living room, with the door closed up. We have the drywall up, but still need to mud and tape it. Then of course prime and paint the entire living room. I took this picture last night. Mike's parents joined us for dinner and some playtime with the girls. :)


















Oh, and we're also ripping up all the carpet/vinyl flooring on the main floor of our house within the next couple weeks. We're having laminate installed. Our carpet was installed probably about 7 years ago (before we moved in...cheapy-cheapy goes along with shoddy work) and wore out about 4 years ago. Replacing it has not been on the top of our list of priorities, but now it is. We can't wait to get rid of this worn out, allergy aggravating carpet!! Buh bye!


Whew! Is anyone else tired just reading about all these projects?!?

More Teeth!

I am just amazed at them amount of teeth this little one has.















Natalie didn't have ANY until 10 months, and then her top teeth finally came in around 1 year. But Lexi, as you can see, already has a mouthful! Oh how I love to make her smile!

























 

Nursing has become a little interesting with all these teeth, but we're still trucking along!



























Daddy walks into the room: (he always gets her attention, grins, and squeals!)















This little one's smile makes my heart melt too. She's been extra SUPER this week!! I find myself praising her wonderful behavior often.

Sweet Expressions

































































































Someone Loves Their Nani...

Happiness in Pictures





































Friday, July 22, 2011

New Toys

We found some neat little toys for Lexi the other day when we were out!















They are made by the Crayola company and are perfect for little hands! We were excited to get her something new (a lot of her stuff was Natalie's) and thought she'd be excited with the colors and shapes.















Yeah...she could care less.

Fail.

Let's Rearrange Daddy's Face!









































Takedown!
















Me: Natalie, get off your sister.
Natalie: She loves it, Monnie! I promise!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

City Stuff

I should really start a new segment on my blog about all the crap we put up with, living in this city. The weird, bizarre, hateful, obnoxious, funny, strange, scary stuff we deal with on a day-to-day basis would shock you. Have you ever been to that "people of walmart" website?? It'd be much like that, but with stories to go along with it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Water Babies

We enjoy going to the pool in the evenings. The water is in the shade, the heat of the day is fading, and the gentle breeze is just starting. Ahhhhh!



























Lexi loves to float around! We just have to have a hand on her at all times because she thinks it would be great to put her mouth in that water!



























There are lots of girls Natalie's age there every time we go. It's great to see her always have playmates coming our way to have fun! She was thrilled to discover that her feet look a bit like a mermaid fin in this picture:
















Lexi and I usually hop out and dry off long before Mike and Natalie do. Here she was attacking my phone, and I got a picture of all those teeth!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gamer

Natalie could play video games all day long if I let her. Good thing I don't! However, it is fun to watch her delight while playing!



























Pardon the poor quality of the pic, I took it with my phone.

I've also been noticing the mess that seems to be in the background of every one of my pictures. I guess I could apologize for that, but it wouldn't be too sincere. I haven't had time to tidy the house lately. I'm having too much fun sitting on the floor, playing with my little ones! I highly doubt I'll look back years from now and wish I had done anything different!! :)

Sitting!

It's pretty official now, Lexi can sit on her own!



























She can go anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes before she topples over. Natalie loves to sit behind her and catch her. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Office Reading Material

We have been getting quite acquainted with the waiting room at my ENT's office. Natalie found some great reads there last time. I thought she was so cute, sitting there quietly, flipping through pages.



























Update on me: I am over the infection. As of yesterday, we were just trying to figure out this bizarre allergic reaction I kept having. Constant tickling in my nose/sinus, itchy mouth and throat, sneezing, runny nose and watery eye. It wasn't like seasonal allergies, it was intense and mainly on the right side where all the swelling was. I have been miserable, and haven't left the house much because it feels like the height of a horrible cold. He pulled out the remaining piece of a dissolvable suture (on the right side) and since then, the insane tickling sensation I have had (with every breath for the last two weeks) vanished. Gone!! There is a possibility that I was having an allergic reaction to the type of stitches they used.  I am now on meds to help keep allergies and inflammation away, and they seem to be working. I've been smiling most of today because I just feel so great!

Shopping Big-Girl Style




























She loved it!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Healing

After another rough week, and a change of antibiotics, I think I'm finally started to get better. Last night my right sinus opened for the first time in twelve days. It felt like there was a hole in my head with all that air going through after feeling nothing in that area for weeks. It's been in various stages of open and closed today, but much better than usual. I am hoping and praying this is the start of healing. I have an apt with my ENT this Wednesday, and will be 4 weeks post-op this Thursday. Please keep praying!

7 Months

Our sweet Lexi is already 7 months old!















Our laughing girl is rolling all over the place now! Monnie is utilizing the pack-n-play more often when a few minutes are needed to get something done without her getting away! She is not quite sitting completely unassisted yet, but will be soon. She's getting better and better at it every day...and using those new muscles really wears her out. These days are made for wonderful, long, naps!



























Lexi now has SIX teeth. Four on top, two on the bottom. All six of those teeth came in week after week for just over 5 weeks. She never fussed. Not once. The only difference was more night wakings.



























Ahhh the night wakings. She was sleeping about 13 hours straight at one point. More often about 8-9 hours, wake to eat, then another 4-5 hours. That changed. These little teeth have kept her to 3 night wakings for the last 6 weeks! My surgery made this worse with the slight change in routine with others helping care for her. We are slowly getting back on track. Last night was our best night in a while!



























Our little chunkers is weighing in around 18 pounds. I don't remember her length, (it's-written-down-in-her-baby-book-that's-in-her-room-where-she's-napping-and-I'm-not-about-to-risk-waking-her-just-to-go-look) but I know she's a whole inch shorter in length than Natalie was at this age. (Yep, I think it's interesting to compare their stats!)
(Forgive the shocking amount of pink/white in this picture...I just wanted to get one of her entire little body)



























She loves: to be held (all the time if she had a choice), swimming, bath time, Monnie's singing, Natalie's antics, Daddy's tickling, snuggling and rocking, her musical giraffe, all sorts of baby foods, pulling Natalie's hair, squealing and making new noises, playing with her toes, and most intensely yet, nursing.















Her kisses, patting, and squeezes will steal your heart!















Lexi's eyes are still green, although a darker green right now. They might be on their way to brown, or not. Who knows! We think it's kind of neat! Her hair seem to be quite a bit lighter in color these days too.