project 365-2017; days 50-56

As we finish out the month of February and look forward to March, I can't help but be completely stunned that two full months of 2017 are over. A mild winter has put us in the mood for Spring, and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little boy in a couple months. While this project helps me to pause and remember to enjoy life's little moments within the chaos of each day, I also think it is a reminder that time is flying by around us. It doesn't seem possible that I have been doing this challenge for 56 days, but I have the photo evidence to prove it.


Oh, boy. So on this beautiful, sunny day, we decided that Noelle was far too old to have training wheels on her bike (that is far too small for her)! We told her that if she could learn to ride without training wheels on this bike, we would get her a new bike for her birthday. She was pretty motivated to try, but she struggled initially with the fear of falling. We will get there! In the meantime, please observe her awesome outfit...helmet, crazy pants, and cowboy boots. 


Dinner time is always an adventure. You never know what meals the kids will love and what meals they will hate. Charlotte is our worst eater. She is so picky. When she was a baby and younger toddler, she would eat anything! She used to eat black beans by the can and blueberries by the container. Now she would prefer that everything be in nugget form. So, we keep trying. And she keeps being Charlotte at dinner time.


When you go looking for Shiloh and you find her on a bed of folded laundry, fast asleep.


I try not to allow too much "screen time".... but sometimes you cannot beat the peace it brings.


Charlotte had her first official dentist appointment. She had a little bit of nerves while we were waiting, but playing with this alligator-dentist toy helped. She did so great... no cavities!


More freak weather for our area this week. It was literally 70 degrees this morning. Shiloh and I enjoyed some bubbles in the driveway. 


We went from golden sun and 70+ degrees to 28 degrees with snow in about a 12 hour time span. I always knew Indiana weather was ridiculous, but this has truly been a record. I totally had to bribe Charlotte with jelly beans to go outside and take this picture (and doesn't she look adorable in my hat?). 

the one about the tree house: appraisal, more meetings, and a demo plan

Well, here we are, days away from our "March" start date, and we are really close to hitting that mark. It is truly incredible how slow-moving some parts of this process can be, but we are trying to stay the course and follow the steps required to turn this house into our dream home.

We received our appraisal of our total finished property (new house with the land). Now that we have that, we can get the loan process officially going as the bank will have a valuation of the house to use as a goal. When you have a property and a house plan that is unlike anything else in the county, it is difficult to find a "comparable" to use to determine the value (and thus the amount of money the bank is willing to loan you). Regardless, the appraisal is done and looks to be favorable for us, so we are hopeful we will be able to get the financing we need to make this dream a reality.

I won't lie. It is incredibly scary that this is actually looking like it is going to happen. Often times, it is more fun to daydream and say "someday" than to actually dive in and go for it. When you think about attaching real money to this project, it gets a little overwhelming. Many days, I walk around our current, 2000 square foot home, and I think, "I can be happy here forever." Sure, there are things about this house that I wish I could change. We have three bedrooms (two of which are quite small), and soon to be six people living here. It is time for us to make a change, but a part of me just wants to keep things exactly how they are.

Not a week goes by that Luke doesn't meet someone at the property to discuss something. I will admit, it feels a little like he has a second wife. He is gone a lot during the little time we have together as a family. We haven't had a real date in a really long time. Every spare minute and soon-to-be every spare cent will be thrown into this project. I have to commend him, however...again, for all the time he has taken to research different ideas and track down the people who can help us. Doing this "yourself" is not easy....but we are thankful for the Internet, YouTube, Google, and a few special people who keep helping us along the way.

A demo plan has been hashed out with our main carpenter. He is ready to go ahead and pull this house apart, and I think we are ready to let him! I think that will be a real "oh shit" moment when we no longer see a house standing on the property. We are far past the point of no return -- we might as well go all the way now.

Last night, Luke asked me if we were crazy for taking on so much at once (new baby, new house, sell old house). I mean, honestly, we might be crazy, but I am one who thinks if things are going to be crazy and chaotic anyway, and any of those three -- bringing home a new baby, building a house, and selling a house -- would be very chaotic in and of themselves, we might as well go for it all at once and disrupt our lives one time instead of three. We will no doubt continue to test our patience, our love, and our positive thinking, but I think it is going to pay off for us in the end.

While we wait for the action to really begin, we have enjoyed going out to the property and letting the girls play and explore. We are so excited to give them the gift of growing up out there. Let the memories begin.

project 365-2017; days 43-49

Another week of February gone....and another week of above normal temperatures. We have enjoyed some (freakishly) beautiful weather these past several days. Our family is all finally on the mend from our taking our turns with sickness. Impressively, the man of the house's cold has seemed to linger the longest.... ;-)

I hope you enjoy another peek into our world.


Noelle is obsessed with coloring, drawing, and anything ART. She loves to make pictures, cards, notes, and booklets. She copies things she sees in books, movies, and TV, but she also makes up her own doodles, too. She's also super protective of these new, pointy crayons. Don't think about mixing them with her sisters' stumpy, broken crayons.


Noelle's favorite Spelling Choice homework activity is SpellingCity.Com. I am thankful that she never fights me on homework. I know it won't always be like that.


For Valentine's Day, I made a special dinner at home for Luke and the girls, complete with plastic "wine" glasses (we drank sparkling grape juice), fancy plates, flowers, and chocolate fondue for dessert. Shiloh was a fan. 


Noelle had a great check up at the dentist. We love Dr. Trout's office and how good they are with the girls. She is keeping her teeth strong and healthy (what's left of them...). No cavities!


It's the little things.


This golden sunshine is Heaven-sent. The girls have loved playing outside so much this week. Noelle even dozed off for a few minutes on the tire swing.


We went early to mass on Saturday evening so the girls could play on the school playground in the warm sun. Yep, ARE awesome.

project 365-2017; days 29-42

I bet you thought I quit on this little challenge, huh?

The truth is, last week was way too busy for me to make an actual post, but thankfully I continued to pick up my camera, even when I didn't want to. So this week's post has 2 weeks' worth of photos in it for your viewing pleasure.

The sickness reached us this week. Noelle and Charlotte both battled fevers, aches, dizziness, and chills for a couple of days, and this tired, pregnant mama also has a sweet little version of a cold to deal with. We already know mamas don't get sick days, so we have been surviving the best we can.

Mother nature continues to screw with us here in Indiana. We have had 50-60 degree temperature days and 20 degree days with 3 inches of snow all in the same week. We are rapidly approaching Spring and we couldn't be more excited!

Disclaimer: Please note that in many of these photos, Shiloh is wearing the same clothes. This is not because I took multiple photos on the same day. It is because I have reached the stage in pregnancy where I am lazy. If the shirt is clean-ish and she wants to wear it 3 days in a row, I let her. Favorites around here are any shirt with a dog on it. She also usually is not wearing pants.

Here we go!


A messy play room drives me nuts, but the sight of this little one quietly loving on her baby makes it not as unbearable. 


Luke is attempting to play a game with all three while I make dinner. I don't know which is the more daunting task.


Shiloh is unfortunately phasing out of her regular nap time, which seems a little premature given that she is only 2 1/2. However, if I can get her still for long enough, she usually falls asleep for at least a little while. Today's spot of choice was on the couch while watching the iPad.


It was Catholic Schools Week, which is a week where the kiddos get to have fun with assemblies, pep sessions, dress days, and other special events. This was an important day because the Bishop was visiting and eating lunch with the students. Noelle was so excited and wanted me to do her hair in the "special, big curls" so that she would look extra spiffy. 


Sleeping Shiloh photos never get old. Because she soon won't be my youngest baby. And because she won't always do that thing that babies do with their thumbs/index fingers when they sleep.


We do books every night. These girls have such a great dad to get excited about Disney Princesses. P.S. Tell me everyone else has this much junk on their couch at any given time. No? Lie to me then.


We are spoiled with lots and lots of ultrasounds and pictures of this little guy thanks to some monitoring I need during pregnancy. I can't help but think that he looks like his biggest sister in this one.


Nothing more fun than crazy bathtub hair.


Noelle is obsessed with Lego sets. She built this little mini set before school this morning.


Shiloh got into the Bananagrams game and ended up spilling half of them on the floor. Oops!


I think I had just finished telling someone that Noelle is our healthiest child (all of them are super healthy, really), and then I got a call from the school that she had a 103 degree fever. She spent the next two days like this, but she is better now.


Shiloh thought the snowfall made the window a little too bright during her morning coloring. Good thing she had her shades.


Super noisy image (noisy = photographer's term for lots of grain) due to this being taken with darkness outside, near darkness inside (our living room is not well-lit), and not my best lens to handle such a task but I had to be quick. I tell myself years down the road I won't care how much grit is in the image...I will just be happy that I captured the moment the girls had a dance party with their Papa. Not pictured: Noelle who was happily performing a solo dance routine in the corner.


After 2-3 inches of snow, we got another 60 degree day by the end of the week. I loved coming home to these chalky handprints on the driveway after a day of errands.

The one about being 57% there

I realized that I hadn't written about my current pregnancy much lately. I don't know if it is a 4th child thing or an I'm too busy to sit down and write thing or an I'm too tired to think about it thing or what...but words cannot express how excited I am to meet this little guy.

I am over half-way there. In fact, I am 57% there. For those not willing to calculate, that means I am 23 weeks and some change. I am slightly defensive this pregnancy and don't talk much about how many weeks I am because I have been crushed before by a well-meaning person who, upon learning how far along I am, says, "Wow! You're so big already!" or "You look like you're about to pop!"For a person who really isn't about to pop, that's pretty disheartening and hurts your already sensitive pregnancy psyche. So, I have decided to be vague. Protective. It's for the best, as no one gets hurt that way (me or you).

If you have read this blog for a while, you know my pregnancy with Shiloh was slightly tumultuous. At 25 weeks, my cervix was measuring at about a centimeter long and got as short as almost half a centimeter. This is what you want to happen during labor, but it is not what you want to happen when you are just past the viability stage in pregnancy. I immediately began progesterone injections in my butt, daily oral medication, and weekly monitoring via cervical ultrasounds (as exciting as they sound) and non-stress tests. I also developed gestational diabetes (which I never had with my first two pregnancies), was placed on bed-rest-ish, and I wrecked my van at 30 weeks pregnant. It was all good times.

Shiloh came at 37 weeks, and I could not have been more relieved that everything turned out OK.

As a result of all of that crazy, I have been monitored weekly for the past several weeks with more cervical ultrasounds, more progesterone shots in my butt, and more daily oral medication. I also have had several instances of hours of contractions that seem to come out of nowhere and disappear when I am on the brink of driving myself to the hospital because I can't take it anymore.

To put it bluntly, I am scared. This pregnancy has not been overly enjoyable, and saying that makes me feel like a horrible person. I personally know so many friends now who have experienced pregnancy loss in some way -- either early pregnancy loss, middle of pregnancy loss, or stillbirth, and I feel incredibly guilty to be complaining. Hell, even I know the grief that is losing a pregnancy early on as I have done it twice. I swore to myself and pleaded with God that if He would let me carry another child, that I would relish every single second.

But when I am afraid every week that the threat of preterm labor will become more imminent...when I have contractions that won't stop for hours...when I stress and fret about what the next ultrasound will show or when the shit will all hit the is difficult to let myself become too excited.

He kicks me all the time, which is a happy reminder that he is fine. He is perfect. He is healthy and doing what he should be doing. I just hope my body can continue to provide for him and that my mind allows me to enjoy these moments as this could be the last pregnancy.

It's not something I like to think about...this being my last pregnancy. People like to tease with, "Are you crazy?" or "You can't possibly want more kids!?" But...I sometimes want to scream, "MAYBE I DO!?" We aren't all built the same way. Some people know after one or two children they are "done." Other people are forced into being "done" through infertility or complications. Others have no problem raising 4-5-6 children and embracing the chaos that it is. I just don't know how I feel yet. I thought for sure I would know. I thought I would feel a sense of "completion" this time around, and I would be able to be at peace with this being the last one for us...but I am not ready to say that yet. I need him to be here first. I need to look into his eyes and see how I feel. Even with all the doctor's appointments that cause me worry and stress...and all the pills that make me feel yucky inside...and all the fear that this set of contractions could be the real thing.... I still find myself unable to say, "I'm done."

We take things one day at a time. Each week is a victory for my own mental health. 43% to go.