Friday, February 28, 2014


Moving Day was exactly one week ago. I feel like I have been treading water for the last two weeks, trying to stay afloat in the craziness of it all.

We closed on our house last Thursday without too much hassle. 

Since Daniel has been working very long hours and was sick on Valentines weekend, I requested that we have a family date on closing day. Daniel took the day off from work and we started the day with breakfast the BlueGrass Grill in downtown Chattanooga. 

This is one of our favorite breakfast places and eating there in the middle of the week meant no wait. Jack liked it as well – he helped finish off Daniel's stack of strawberry pancakes.

After breakfast, Daniel dropped Jack and I at the Creative Discovery Museum for some playtime while he went to get stuff from one of our two storage sheds. He also had to get our check for closing that afternoon.

Jack had a blast playing. On this particular trip he was most focused on the art room. It's interesting to me that when he went to the museum with Daniel a few weeks ago, they mostly played with the water tables, working the dams and locks. 

This time it was all about drawing and clay – of his own choosing.

When Daniel picked us up, we hurried back up to Signal Mountain to drop Jack at our friend's house. Moving without some kind of support system would be a nightmare (especially with a toddler). We are so thankful for friends and family that have helped us out.

After dropping Jack off, Daniel and I went to the final walk through at our new house. Thankfully everything that we requested to be done had been completed.

While Daniel made sure things were in working order, I did a quick run through and made notes on where I thought furniture should go. Moving into a new house with a new layout takes a lot of mental gymnastics.

Once we were satisfied with the walk through, we headed across town to the actual closing. Closings are kind of weird. You sit face to face with strangers and talk about your finances. At least the seller seemed nice. In a strange twist, the couple we purchased the house from was moving next door to the cottage we have been staying at since the first of January.

As soon as closing was done and we had our keys, we thanked our realtor profusely for letting us drag her to so many houses and then we found a Starbucks. We were both exhausted and felt like celebrating with caffeine. I realized later that night that Daniel and I completely missed lunch.

With coffees in hand, we made a stop at Home Depot for paint... where we had the following experience:
Daniel and I split up. I headed straight for the paint samples while Daniel went to grab other paint related items. While looking at samples, a sales person approached me and asked, "Are YOU GUYS homeowners?" Since I was by myself I ignored the sales guy. He tried again, "What kind of projects are YOU GUYS doing?"
I looked up and realized there was a guy next to me, also looking at paint. Feeling sorry for the sales guy, I made eye contact and said something along the lines of, "Well, for starters, our projects are at different houses."
The sales guy was a bit embarrassed for assuming me and the other guy were together. But not to be deterred, he asked again if either of us were homeowners. The other guy copped out and said, "No." I said, "yes" and waited for the inevitable sales pitch... "You planning on doing a kitchen renovation any time soon?" I had a good answer to this question: "Actually, no. I just bought a house and it has an amazing kitchen!" The sales guy immediately told me, "Congratulations."
At this time Daniel walked up behind me and the sales guy proceeded to say, "Oh, I know about you, you just closed on your house 2 hours ago! Again, congratulations." And he walked off. His comment surprised me because I didn't share that level of detail. It turns out that the guy had already talked to Daniel.

Upon leaving Home Depot and heading back up to Signal Mountain to get Jack, we stopped to pick up pizza to share with our friends. 

Jack had had a wonderful afternoon playing and it was nice that we didn't have to worry about him while we took care of business. We are so thankful to have good friends that live close by that could share our special day with us.

When we finally got back to our rental cottage, Daniel put Jack to bed and I changed clothes and headed over to the new house where I started painting Jack's new room. I wanted to get the walls primed before the movers showed up with our stuff, so I painted until the wee hours of the night.

It has been a trying week as we work to get settled. There are so many boxes to unpack and work to be done, but we are incredibly grateful that we are starting to feel settled in our new-to-us home. I think I am going to mark #79 off my life list (own a cabin in the woods... I think this house basically fits that criteria, though definitely not a log cabin).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Surprise Visit

Last week when Jack and I drove down to Nashville for my nephew's second birthday we made a couple of stops along the way.

First we dropped in on Jack's Great Grandmother and her husband, Mr. Ralph, in Manchester, TN. I'm pretty sure Jack made their day. Jack had fun "looking" for Mr. Ralph and shouting, "Mr. Ralph, where are you?" in his little sing son toddler voice. Jack also loved filling up on M&Ms out of Grandmother's fancy dispenser and Grandmother loved trying to give him any little snacks she could find. I had one hyper little boy by the time we made it to Nashville.

Grandmother also snuck some change and dollar bills into Jack's pant pockets. We are going to have to get a piggy bank if this keeps up...

After leaving Manchester, we made a stop in Smyrna, TN at the bank where Jack's Nana works. It was close to closing time and not too busy, so the perfect time for a quick visit. Another successful surprise! Regina got to show off Jack to her co-workers (who all knew Jack's latest tricks thanks to my blog!) and Jack had fun getting his very own water bottle from the break room fridge. 

By the time we left, he was a pro at taking the cap off and putting it back on that little water bottle. Jack also got to see the machine that counted money AND we couldn't leave the bank without a couple more dollars from Nana for his growing collection of cash.

We are so blessed to live in close proximity to so many in our family.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Days with a side of Hives

On Tuesday evening Jack started to develop hives. He his now on the mend (thanks to a prescription for oral steroids and Zyrtec). It turns out that he didn't have an allergic reaction to amoxicillin like we originally thought, not in the normal sense anyway. Today we discovered that his reaction was actually what is called a serum sickness like reaction that presents similar to an allergic reaction. His version of this reaction was very mild (just hives, itching and swelling in his wrists).

Thank you for the thoughts, prayers and suggestions on how to help with the itching. He had several miserable days but is as happy as a camper right now.

Coinciding with his hives was a winter storm. Wednesday it started snowing in the morning. I called our pediatrician and was initially told to use Benadryl to help with the hives. They also told me they were closing at noon that day due to the weather.

Thank goodness there was snow on the ground. It was a great distraction to go outside and play in the cold white stuff. I'm pretty sure the cold helped keep the itching at bay.

Wednesday night I stayed up late and held Jack until he passed out. In the middle of the night Daniel got texts from a co-worker working the night shift saying the roads were bad. 

The next morning we decided Daniel should stay home to help me with Jack. It didn't hurt that there was tons of snow on the ground (8 inches!) and we could have some fun together as a family!

After breakfast, we all bundled up and headed down to the golf course to go sledding. On Signal Mountain, the golf course is the place to be for fun, safe sledding with an abundance of hills! 

We love that this is a community-like event and even dogs can go!

It was even better that the cottage we are staying at backs up to the golf course.

We took a little jaunt through the woods and were at the golf course in no time.


We had so much fun spending this time together.

After sledding we went back to the house and made snow cream.  

Daniel and I made this a few years ago when we had a good snow in Alabama,

but it tasted even better when we got to share it with our toddler.

Jack loved it.

After snow cream we had lunch and tried to keep Jack occupied with games on our cell phones so he wouldn't scratch.

I was getting concerned that the hives were increasing so I called our Pediatrician again. After texting some photos to Jack's doctor, she called in the steroid prescription and since Jack started that medicine he has been 100 times better.

We went into today so our doctor could see him in person. That is when we learned about the serum sickness like reaction. Anyways, I'm just glad that Jack is on the mend. It's unlikely that he will have this reaction to anything else and Amoxicillin is officially on the NO list for Jack.

I hope you had fun enjoying the snow (if you got it in your neck of the woods)! Otherwise, have a Happy Valentines Day and a wonderful weekend.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life with a Toddler: Bedtime Shennanigans

The saying that "Rome wasn't built in a day" can easily apply to raising toddlers. There are days I wish Jack would master something quickly (like not climbing out of his bed at bedtime) but then I remind myself that parenting is a process that takes time.

I'm sure it doesn't help that in the last 8 months (thanks to Daniel's job change) Jack has slept in a pack 'n play 90% of the time. Not to mention that those first 6 months were in a different room/house each week.

Around Christmas Jack discovered that he could climb out of his pack 'n play. I spent several nights sitting outside the door to his room returning him to bed until he fell asleep. He finally figured out he was going to have to stay in bed, but after a few weeks, he decided to push his luck again.

I recently attempted to take his paci away. I know parents that never started the paci, parents that took it away before age 1, those who took it at 18 months, at 2 years, at 3 years... everyone parents differently. Well, after a day and a half (for several reasons) we caved and decided to wait until we live in a permanent house again and he has transitioned to his big boy bed.

The point of this tangent about the paci is that it has now become somewhat of a bargaining chip. When Jack insists on hopping out of his bed, I threaten to take away the paci. I have taken it away on two separate occasions and it was enough to keep him in bed for at least a few nights. It's not a perfect system but we are figuring it out. As long as he has free will and the ability to climb out of bed, I think I will just have to continue to patiently work with him.

We are getting to the point where Jack is negotiating the bedtime routine more often. There are nights that our bedtime routine calls for "one more book" and "I need water" and request for a "new bi-per" or extra blankets.

For now, on the nights when he insists on climbing out of his pack 'n play, we will continue our little dance of me returning him to bed. I'm counting down the days until we are in our own house again and we can toddler proof his room, stick him in a big boy bed and, if necessary, put a baby gate up or lock his door...

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...