Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still Alive!

This is the first time I have opened my laptop in over a week!  We finally got internet hooked up at the new house the other day.  Get ready for the longest update ever.

Speaking of the new house, we're all moved in!  On Friday (12/21), we closed and moved all of the boxes into the garage followed by the furniture into the house.  The next day, Chris, my parents, and a couple of my parents' neighbors helped to paint the main living area of the house--the den, kitchen, living room, and hallway.  All that is left is the bedrooms, which will get done eventually.  Next, we worked on trying to unpack while also decorating for Christmas.

Our Christmas decorations were a little sad this year, but they happened!  We bought a half-dead tree for $6, I couldn't find the stocking hangers until after Christmas, and we draped lights where we could.  I honestly had been a little envious of everyone's pretty decorations, so I was glad to have a few days of Christmas in our own place.  Certainly not Pinterest worthy, but it was our home--it was us together--and that made it perfect.

We had Christmas Eve dinner at my parents' house with my sister's family and also my aunt's family.  We have spent a couple of Christmas Eves by ourselves, so it was nice to be around family this year.  Also, we haven't had Christmas with my family in about seven years.

Christmas itself was kind of rough for us.  I was up until 12:30 am putting together Eliot's train table, which is to be expected, but as soon as I finished, Eliot woke up screaming.  Not crying.  Screaming.  He kept on for over three hours.  I had not clue what was going on.  I tried comforting him, giving him milk, being stern with him, and so on.  Nothing worked.  Then we noticed that whenever we came close to touching his ears, he said, "Ow! Hurt!"  Now, I doubt he came down with a double ear infection so quickly--he has never even had an ear infection.  However, he has been working on his top two-year molars, which his frequent diapers can attest to.  Chris got the babe some medicine and he was asleep within an hour.  This was nearly 4:00 am.  I was texting my mom at 6:00 am to let her know not to come to our house first in the morning, so I don't think I actually fell asleep ever.  Christmas Day, I was exhausteddd and happily took a nap with Eliot on the couch.  Poor Eliot!

We did have a good morning, though!  Eliot loved his train table, so it was totally worth it.  And he got most excited about finding two packs of Gushers in his stocking.  We spent most of the day watching new movies on our new big screen TV that my parents gave Chris and me for Christmas (and our birthdays.  and our anniversary).

A couple of days after Christmas, Chris's parents came in town for about a day and a half.  We enjoyed spending time together, showing them the "new" things in Chesapeake (they used to live here too), and playing with Eliot.  This morning sickness has really been getting me down lately, and I unfortunately had to go lay down a few times while they were visiting.  I can't seem to eat anything despite being hungry.  My nausea builds up all day until I find myself in the bathroom getting sick after dinner.  Maybe I have some kind of virus too (and maybe this is what made Eliot feel bad on Christmas Eve night?), but I have gotten sick more times in the past week and a half than I did my entire pregnancy with Eliot.  Man, this all sounds like a blog of complaints.  I don't mean to whine.  Maybe I just need to let my guard down and admit that it has been a little rough lately.

The new house has been so much better for Eliot, though!  In Lynchburg, he was limited to the den and dining room since our stairs were wooden and spiral; also, the stairs to the basement were dangerous.  I didn't like him going upstairs alone because I never knew when he wanted to come down.  Here?  No baby gates!  He runs around with the dogs chasing him.  He loves going upstairs to the room over the garage alone and plays.  He seems way less bored.  One time, it was too quiet and I found him jumping on our bed and watching himself in the mirror.  OK, so that isn't too safe, but it was really cute.  Plus, the yard is SO much bigger.  The dogs aren't little terrors like back in Lynchburg.  Before, they'd go out and bark all along the chain-linked fence.  Here, we have a picket fence, which I thought might be a concern, but there are so many trees and so much to explore that they only bark when the neighbor's yorkie is out--and that isn't very often and is easy to get them back inside.

Everything about the house has been great so far.  And Chris has been working super hard to get the rest of the house organized.  He spent all day (ALL DAY) organizing the books.  And I didn't help at all.  I'm a horrible person (or I'm just sick).  Chris has worked so hard and never asks me to lift a thing.  And that's what we've been doing!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Coming in July...

It has been almost a year since we first started praying for our second baby.  I remember hoping I was pregnant at Eliot's first birthday party.  That would have been kind of a small age gap, but I always wanted my babes to be very close.  I wasn't pregnant, though.

In May, I was.  And then in June, I wasn't.  I never knew just how heartbreaking that can be or how raw I could feel.

So when I felt that my heart and body had both healed and we tried again, I was scared.  And it didn't happen right away.  It took months.  But then I learned in October that I was pregnant.  I felt hopeful; I felt terrified.

For weeks, every ache was accompanied with overwhelming fear.  I constantly thought I was bleeding, but I wasn't.  I prayed all the time.  With Eliot, I had worry, but not like this.

Today, at 12 weeks, we had our first doctor's appointment.  I didn't intend to wait this long, but the doctor in Lynchburg didn't want to see me until the 12th anyway, so we figured we'd just wait to see a more permanent doctor here six days later.  I knew I had been growing and happily enduring early pregnancy symptoms, but when I saw that baby tumble around on the screen with his or her arms waving, legs kicking, and heart beating...  Heart beating...  Well, I finally felt at ease.

Coming July 2, 2013.  Robinson baby number 2.  :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Life Packed in a Truck

I don't really feel like writing, but I figured I probably should before I get lost in the whirlwind of changes around here.

Well, we made the move--at least half of it!  It wasn't always smooth.  It didn't always go as planned.  But it worked out.

Friday night, after we had been packing for days with only taking breaks to eat and let Eliot nap, my parents arrived at our house.  We had done so much, but still so much remained.  How how how?!  My parents got to helping us pack right away.  I think they finally stopped at 11:00 pm because we ran out of boxes.

On Saturday morning, we got a phone call.  We were supposed to pick up the moving truck here in Lynchburg.  They said we'd have to drive to Gretna.  Where is Gretna?  Is that by Roanoke?  Or Danville?  Or Charlottesville?  I guess it is kind of by Danville and an hour away.  Chris and my dad got back with the truck right after the movers arrived.  Great timing.  Stressful, but it worked out.

Chris's parents arrived not too long after we got started.  His mom watched Eliot while my mom and I packed and cleaned.  Chris, our dads, and the movers loaded the truck.  After three and a half hours, the house was finally empty.  I don't have much experience with moving, but I think we made pretty good time.

After lunch with Chris's parents, we went to the house one last time.  We walked around, loaded up the pets, and locked the doors. Three and a half years of memories.  We asked if we had made a mistake--we loved our home, but the truth is that everything felt smaller as the rooms grew more empty.  And when the house was free of all of our belongings and bare, it felt the tiniest it ever has.  It was a great home these past few years, but we would have outgrown it quickly.

Chris and I drove separately.  I had Eliot in the back along with all of the pets--Chris's car just didn't have any space.  I was very, very nervous because Eliot does fine for the first two hours of a road trip.  Then the next two hours, he needs attention and entertainment.  However, he fell asleep right away (he hadn't napped all day and it was 4:00 pm) and went in between being asleep and awake (but not crying) throughout the drive.  It really was not bad at all.

On Sunday, we had the final walk through at the new house.  Every time we saw the house previously, it had been covered in leaves.  I mean, TONS of leaves.  We tried to kick them around to uncover the mysteries of the yard, but this time it was all cleaned.  We had known that the house had some great landscaping with great trees and bushes, but, man, we didn't realize all of the details.  There are brick walkways and pavers all around.  There are flagstone walkways and river stones.  The yard has three Japanese maples, hydrangeas, and so many more plants that I can't recognize.  I'm a horrible gardener (horrible!) and just can't visualize how to landscape, so I am really excited that the whole yard feels like a cottagey garden.

Chris and I have had a lot of grading to do with the end of the term, but we wanted to do something fun with Eliot this morning.  Realistically, we haven't gone off on a "fun" outing where Eliot could run around in a couple of weeks.  Poor Eliot has endured all of our packing and moving and watched a lot of TV.  So, this morning was an aquarium day.  Eliot was happy to run around, check out the seals, stare at the crocodiles, and watch the fish.

We still have to drive back to Lynchburg to close in a couple of days, but we could only get help moving on the weekend.  And then there is the process of moving into the new house and painting.  I'm taking it one day at a time and focusing on my grading too.  We're almost there, though, and I think getting all of our stuff here was probably the hardest part!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mistletoe Market and Packing. Neverending Packing.

Well, we didn't end up doing any of those things on that list aside from the Mistletoe Market last weekend.  Ha.  We have been so busy and I haven't exactly been feeling the best.

It was fun to go downtown one last time.  We weren't counting on enjoying a carriage ride--those lines are killer.  Instead, we just wanted to watch the horses come by, so we bought an apple turnover from the bakery, Chris picked up some coffee, and we watched the horses do their thing.

Eliot was saying, "Hor-seee!" the whole time.  On the way home, he said, "Bye-bye, hor-see.  Bye-bye."  It was so sweet and kind of sad.

I've tried to spare everyone a bit of the moving babbling.  I know there really isn't too much to say.

Chris and I have a lot of books.  We teach English for a university.  We have our M.A.s in English.  Yeah, a lot of books.  It took thirteen banker boxes for our books on our bookshelves.  And that wasn't even all of them. 

Boxes are everywhere.  I'm the kind of person who can't think when the house isn't tidy.  It is kind of driving me crazy a little, but I'm trying to remind myself that it is just for a couple more days.  Eliot loves it though.  So much to climb on.

And unpacking takes way less time than packing, right?  RIGHT?!  Ahhhh!

Tomorrow night, our parents are coming in town.  Saturday morning, the truck-loading begins.  And ends.  And then we're off!  So, we have just one more day of packing, which makes me both hopeful and kind of nervous.  Can we get it all done?  We've done so much, but is it enough?  I guess we're about to find out.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I Feel Like December is Already Over

I haven't been reading blogs.  Or writing blogs.  And barely keeping my eyes on Facebook.  Lots going on over here!

Selling a house while also buying a house out-of-town is tricky stuff.  Throw in a work, a toddler, other distractions that I will mention some other time, and kind of thinking about Christmas a little...  Yeah, it's been a lot.  I have only gotten about three stress headaches, though, so that's good!
The new great room during our home inspection
Honestly, despite being time-consuming, this whole selling and buying process has been going really smooth.  Both home inspections went fine--minor issues to deal with but I think everyone expected that.  I got all of our paper work together.  Up next:  appraisals and termite inspections, which I really am not worried about for either of the houses. 

Did I mention that I haven't even started packing yet?  We have TWO WEEKS until we load the truck, lock the doors for the last time, and head to Chesapeake.  Then a week later, we will drive for a day trip for closing.  And the next day we close on the new house.  And then it is three days til Christmas.

Where has December gone?  Oh, wait.  It's the first.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Without the Tree

I'm not so good at winter.  The dark and cold weather get me down.  I prefer sunshine and warmth.  Focusing on the holidays and Eliot's birthday, though, get me through half of January.

Usually after Thanksgiving, we start hanging the lights outside.  We pick out a tree.  We hang the wreaths.  I enjoy having about a full month of Christmas.  However, since we're moving right before the holiday, we won't be doing any of our Christmas traditions here like usual.  This makes me sad not so much for myself but because I was really looking forward to Eliot being more aware this Christmas.

I am trying to keep myself excited about sharing Christmas with Eliot anyway.  Even though we'll be really busy packing and getting paper work together, there are still many parts of Christmas that we can share.

Christmas portraits at a Christmas tree farm.  It sounds silly, but Christmas portraits are important to me.  I love taking a photo in front of our tree each year--and we have since we got married (expect for our second Christmas because we were out of town for Christmas and didn't even put up a tree).  Just because we're not having a tree doesn't mean we can't have a picture....  Maybe we'll just awkwardly set up our tripod at a local Christmas tree farm and take some shots.
Our first married Christmas in 2007.  Babies.

Simple decorations.  We're pressed with time to pack, so I won't be busting out all of the decorations.  I do plan to decorate the mantle some with our usual lights, garland, and stockings.  I can leave those up until we move at least!

Going on campus.  If I start missing the lights on our house, we just need to drive to campus!  They have lights all over the place and a big, big tree.

Mistletoe market.  Each year downtown, they offer carriage rides.  It was a bust last year, but maybe it can work out this year.

Lights in Chesapeake.  We will be going to Chesapeake for at least the house inspection.  In this time, I'm sure we can sneak in a trip to the Botanical Gardens or the boardwalk to see their lights.

Shipping presents.  I don't know how I'm going to do Christmas shopping.  I don't know how I'm going to move all the presents along with all of our stuff.  It seems like an extra load.  I bet my mom won't mind if I use her shipping address instead of my own so the presents arrive in Chesapeake instead....

A late tree.  We close on the new house on December 21.  It will be late, but we will try very hard to find a tree for those few days.  Even if it is small or dying, we just want something to string some lights on.
Back when the house was tan and I was pregnant in 2010.

It's going to be busy and exciting and stressful, but Christmas isn't going to be cancelled this year.  Maybe I can even host Christmas Eve dinner this year!  (Yeah right).  And at least I know where Eliot's birthday party is going to be this year!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Chris kind of wanted to go to Chesapeake for Thanksgiving this year, but I said I was kind of tired of the drive (ha).  Plus, my parents' kitchen is still in pieces due to their renovation.  It looks like we'll be making the drive down there in a few days anyway for the inspection on our newww house.  We have a few more trips on 460, but then we will be done with that highway for a while.

The day before Thanksgiving, we spent hours signing forms.  People always talk about how you sign soooo much the day you close on a house.  Well, I have closed on a house before.  On Wednesday, I signed way more forms than I ever have in my life.  It took two hours (and that wasn't even with a lawyer explaining each form like when you close on your house).  I'm not complaining--just saying.  There is so much more signing to do when you're buying a house from a re-location company since they have so many rules.  And disclosures, like stating that if a dam breaks near your house, it could damage your home.  Fortunately, our real estate agent here was able to help us out by printing everything, faxing it for us, and just being there in case we had any questions.  She even entertained Eliot when he grew bored.  She said she had never seen so many air quality disclosures--we signed about three, I think.

On Thanksgiving, we spent some time with Chris's parents at our house before heading to Uncle Scott's house.  There, Eliot played football in the yard with his grandpa, Chris, and great uncle.  Last year, we got a picture of Eliot and granddad.  This year, he was much more involved and excited.

Eliot was not about to eat dinner at the table.  He wanted to run and play and chase the cats.  It was hard even keeping him inside.  I don't know what we're going to do with that boy sometimes.  I really feel stressed and helpless when he gets in his independent moods.  Suddenly, everything is "NO!"  He knows what he wants and will accept nothing else, especially when he is at someone else's house.  I want to apologize for him and explain that he is a sweet boy, but he's figuring everything out. He's testing the limits more and more; I just don't know how to show him where those limits are.  I'm sure I was probably the same way.  One thing is for sure:  high chairs are a thing of the past--all booster seats from here.

I don't need a holiday to remind me to be thankful.  I stop and reflect on how thankful I am about every hour.  Multiple times a day, I say aloud, "I am so thankful for our boy.  I am so thankful for my job.  I am so thankful for everything."  I guess it hasn't always been so easy for us, so I can definitely recognize that I should never take any of our blessings for granted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Moving For Real!

About a year ago (or longer?!), I wrote a post about how things were going to change in the next six months.  We were putting our house up for sale; we were hoping to have another baby.  Those plans didn't work out.  Our house has been on the market since March, over eight months.  We'd have so many showings and wonder, "Is this it?!"  We were continually let down.

We didn't realize just how bad the market was in Lynchburg.  While the rest of the country seems to be recovering slowly, Lynchburg is an isolated market.  Everything was selling for less than when we bought three years ago, which was after the first housing "crash".  When we listed our house, we thought we were going to make a lot of money, especially since our next door neighbor's house sold way above city assessment--this would be the source of our downpayment on our second home.  Months later, we learned that we'd be lucky to walk away clean.  So, we spent the summer saving up and now have enough for a new downpayment.  Since we're moving back home to Chesapeake, houses are much more expensive.  Like, double or triple.  So our downpayment had to be much, much more than for our first house.

Selling our house has been stressful.  So much emotion goes into your home, especially when you completely renovated it like we did.  We grew offended by each person who said it was too small or too big or "incomplete" (WHAT?!) or that they preferred a ranch.  "Why did they even look?!" we'd always shout.  We didn't understand.  It is hard not to fall in love with our house.  Why was no one else seeing that?  And getting the house spotless and packing a toddler and two dogs into a car for an hour is no easy task.

Somehow, though, we just found the right people.  Or they found us.  Or found our home.  And they fell in love with it.  And they put in an offer yesterday afternoon!  We spent the evening getting the contract settled.  Here's the thing:  they want to close December 20.  That is really fast!  I feel like we won't really have Christmas this year, which makes me really sad because Eliot is getting to the age that he would really enjoy it (I'm not saying he'd completely understand it, but he'd have fun).

And where are we going to live?  Fortunately, we had found the perfect house for us last weekend.  Actually, we have been staring at it since it went up in July and watched the price drop slowly.  We knew it was just right for us and got to be such a good deal that it would go fast.  We were so afraid that we'd miss it that Chris wasn't even going to look at it with me--it was just going to be me and my mom--but he changed his mind last minute.  I'm glad he did!  It is a large, open, updated ranch with everything important new (AC, roof, tankless water heater, and so on).  And it has a pool, which Chris really wanted!  Best of all, it is priced very low for the area.  We are dealing with a re-location company instead of an individual (that is what makes the house so affordable), so there is a lot more paper work and strict rules to work through.  In fact, they were not too excited about our offer being contingent on our house selling (even though we have an offer), but somehow they accepted it anyway! 

Honestly, I think our house didn't sell earlier because it wasn't the right time.  Our "right" house wasn't at the right price yet.  Earlier in the process, we looked at a home that was $50,000 more than this house.  I didn't feel good about it, but it was such a deal that we might have made the wrong choice and put an offer on that instead.  We could have made it work financially, but it would have been hard.  It wasn't what we were supposed to buy.  However, this house is absolutely perfect for us.  I even prefer it to the more expensive home!  Even if it is hard to understand at times, you just have to rely on God's plan, not your own.  This is a lesson that I am constantly re-learning.

Amidst all the excitement, I discovered from my credit report that Target thinks I have a card with them.  And I don't.  And they think the card was opened in 1996--when I was 10.  Not possible!  I called about it, but they said I have to send them something in writing.  That has been a whole different set of stresses and worries.  Fortunately, it is not damaging my credit because the person has been paying the card off, so I think it was an honest mix up, but I do not want to be connected to an account that is not mine.

I am sad to leave Lynchburg.  I do not regret buying our house.  We loved our time here.  It is a beautiful little cottage.  We learned a lot.  We built memories.  We brought our baby boy home from the hospital to this house.  About two weeks ago, someone knocked on our door.  The lady explained that she had lived in our house in 1978.  She said they brought their baby girl home from the hospital here too.  Chris offered to let her come inside, but she said no.  Chris and the lady chatted about how the house used to be.  In our time here, we pulled out this giant, horrible hedge with poison ivy entwined.  The lady told Chris that they had pulled out a nasty, thorny hedge too.  As we prepare to leave, we were a part of something in the history of this house--more than we'll ever know.  That's the thing with historic houses:  we added to it and it added to us.  We made it better.  And maybe it made us a little better too.  One thing is for sure--we will never find a neighborhood hill as awesome for sledding as the one in our neighborhood here!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dear Eliot: 22 Months


You are getting mighty close to two years!  I'm not too to pieces over it (yet) because you still seem small to me.

The things you are doing, though, are not "small".  We have funny little conversations sometimes as you put words together.  When you have had one too many smelly dog kisses, you shout, "Ew! Go go go!  OUT!" 

This month has been all about fall and trying to make the most of our last weeks before it grows cold.  You have enjoyed days at the park, carving pumpkins, picking apples, and running around in your Halloween costume.  You were a dinosaur!
I'm a little sad to say that we did not take you trick-or-treating this year.  We planned to, but it just didn't work out.  I think you'll forgive me, though, because instead we saw family members in town and you got to play with THREE cats.  Cats are definitely your favorite animals.

You are also the world's worst backseat driver.  Not only do you boss the driver around, but you tell the driver to do very dangerous things.  While sitting at a stop light or stop sign, you yell, "Go go go go!"  Not safe, little friend.  However, when a car almost hit me once, you picked up the phrase, "WHOA, WHOA!"  You have added this phrase to your driving instructions.
Speaking of safe, it was time to get you a new carseat!  Your baby head hit the top of your current one and it was time to get you a bigger one.  This new one should fit you for years to come.

Eliot boy, you have weird, adult tastes.  Your dad got two shots of decaf espresso with whipped cream on top.  You demanded to try it, so he gave you a sip.  You loved it!  What?!

You are recognizing letters.  Maybe not specific letters all the time, but you know when you see letters.  You point and say, "E-E-O-E-O-O" as if you were reading the letters aloud.  We are working on more your letters and bought you an alphabet puzzle a couple of days ago.  I think you can already recognize E, O, and T--maybe more.  You'll be spelling your name in no time!  Also, I think you said your first full sentence yesterday.  You said, "I got the ball!" as you crumbled up a wrapper into a ball. Very fitting.

I am always impressed by how observant you are.  Whether you are pointing out a dinosaur on a character's shirt on TV or pointing skyward at a distant bird, you tell us what you see.

This month, you ran your second race.  This time, you raced big kids and three kids about your age.  While the older kids clearly out ran you, I think you beat the other little ones.  You get so excited to race.  You crouch down and take off running the whole time.  I wonder if you make the connection between seeing your dad run races and then you lining up to run with other kids....  Maybe you'll look back on this and think we were silly.  Maybe it is silly, but I like to think that running is something that you will enjoy.
We were getting a little worried because you were acting super cranky for a few days.  It seemed like we just could not get you enough rest or satisfy you.  I didn't know if those two-year molars were coming in or if you were still thrown off by the time change or if you were asserting your independence or what....  Maybe you were feeling kind of sick (your dad has had a cold) because you are mostly back to normal now.  Phew.  I knew you were too sweet inside to be that grumpy all the time.

One of the cutest things you do lately is say, "Momma.  Dada.  Baby."  You say it with such affection when we are all together.  It's like you recognize that we are a family and are happy to be with us.  The three of us together makes me happy too, Baby.  I never knew how close we could all be until you came around to make us into a family.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Warm Weekend

I have felt so zapped of energy lately!  When Eliot takes his afternoon nap, I usually rest along with him for at least half an hour (as much as I'd love to, I never manage to fall asleep during the day).  Maybe it is daylight's savings time that is throwing us off.  Eliot is waking up earlier and earlier every day, and his bedtime is impossible to determine.  7:00 pm one night and then 9:30 pm the next.  Sigh.

The weather has been quite cool lately making me an even more boring, sleepy parent, but Chris has worked hard to bundle Eliot up and take him to the park anyway.  Then we had some warmth this weekend!  Chris and Eliot played in the leaves and Eliot's little wheel barrow.  "[S]o much depends upon. a red wheel barrow. ..."  Sorry.  Couldn't help myself there.  William Carlos Williams just had to creep out a little.

Chris's mom rode the train to town again to check up on Elizabeth, visit his grandma, and (of course) play with her favorite Eliot.  We tried to feed the horses, but none of them would come and get any carrots!  Eliot stuck his little arm through the fence yelling, "Hissy! (horsey).  Food!  Nom!"  I think we might try again today.

We keep on having more and more house showings.  Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and today.  Every other day.  It sounds weird, but I feel like I can't get my house cleaned all the way from all of the quick pick-up sessions.  I mean, I get it tidy, but I don't have time to really deep clean and organize everything like I want to because I'm focusing so much on the overall appearance.  Does that make sense?  Oh well.  We continue to get good feedback but no offers yet.  I think people just aren't that serious or something.  In a few days, we'll be on the road to Chesapeake again.  It'd be really nice if we could get a dang offer before we leave so we could pick out a new home on our trip....  Ah.

Tonight is our first Liberty basketball game of the season!  I'm so excited to take Eliot.  He loved it last year, but he wasn't walking yet, so I'm a little nervous that he might want to run up and down the bleachers the whole time like he does at football games.  Then again, he might simply be even more into the game this time.  And I'll get concession stand food.  My favorite.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Over the Past Week

I haven't updated in a week!  We've been in Chesapeake for Chris and Eliot to run a race.  Then we came home to a lot of grading and a boiler with too much pressure (which means shaking pipes and horrible banging--HORRIBLE--so we went without heat for a little while).

I guess I should start with Halloween....  I wanted take Eliot trick-or-treating, but we just didn't.  There are only few houses in our neighborhood that hand out candy.  Eliot wouldn't quite get it yet anyway, so instead we took Eliot to see Chris's grandma, to play with Chris's uncle's cats, and then had Chris's sister over for a little while.  It was kind of like a dinosaur parade.

Eliot loves dinosaurs and to run around roaring, so that is what he was.  This costume was actually a size four-T (there weren't any smaller dinosaur ones!) and the hat part was way too big for him.  Instead, I safety pinned it to his collar so it looked like a hoodie.  There's my crafty fix for the month.

The next morning, we voted by absentee ballot since we thought we might still be out of town.  Then we did laundry, packed, and cleaned the house ready for our showings when we'd be gone.  We had to be out by 2:45 pm; unfortunately, at 3:45 pm, we got a call saying that the people didn't even come by due to lack of time.  What a waste of stress.  Oh well.  We wanted to get on the road in time for Eliot's afternoon nap so he'd sleep about an hour of the ride--which he did.

Over the weekend, we went to the aquarium,
Chris ran his 5k at the Virginia Beach Town Center and Eliot ran a little tot run (and did amazing!),

we learned that Chris got FIRST PLACE for his age group (20-29) with a 6:48 pace and 10th place overall so he got an engraved medal,
and Eliot did great in his race too--he crouched down for the countdown and everything,
Eliot played with new baby friends,
and old friends,
and we came home.

Here is where I grumble some....  With the pressure off in the boiler, we had to decide if we were either going to freeze at night or stay awake listening to that horrible, horrible sound.  We chose somewhere in between and set the heat to 60 degrees.  Ugh.  I hate it.  In the morning, I made a service appointment.  Fortunately, the guy was here by noon, did some exploring, and has it all set for the next few days until a new gasket comes in that he will replace.  He didn't even charge us yet!  So, we have heat, the boiler is totally fine, and we'll get it all set with a tune up sometime late this week or early next week.  Phew.  The process sure is stressful at times.

On top of all of that, we had a showing at 4:30 pm, so we had extra pressure on us to get it fixed fast.  I feel like people are always looking at our house.  It's nearly every other day.  I wish someone would just buy it already.  We get so many "I love it, but I want to keep looking" reactions.  And then by keeping an eye on the listings, it doesn't seem like those people actually buy anything.  Goodness.  We do have a couple of people who say it is their first pick, but they want to think about it a little (which is fine).  Maybe it will result in something.

I'm glad we voted early because it would have been hard to yesterday!  I'd like to write a bunch of political things, but it just would make those who agree with me happy and those who disagree with me unhappy.  What's the point?  No one is changing anyone's mind; I don't even want to.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy's Winds

The storms have been pretty OK here in Lynchburg--not that I expected the ocean to come pouring over the mountains or anything....  We live in the historic side of town, so sometimes we lose power when it is sunny and no sign of anything that would warrant flickering lights.  When a storm comes around (especially after last summer), I start to worry some.  However, we've stayed electric thus far!

We woke up to rain.  And then it became a drizzle.  It was colder and a little windy, but nothing too terrible.  We took Eliot outside to play some and enjoy running around since we knew it would grow worse.

Eliot took a good afternoon nap.  It was so good, in fact, that we had to wake him up in order to take him to see Brave at the dollar theater.  We took Chris's sister (Elizabeth) with us too.  This was Eliot's third movie.  He did such a great job--his best yet!  He was so excited to see the horse and kept yelling different animal names when they'd come up.  And he laughed so hard at the dogs at the appropriate times.  What can I say.  Eliot likes animals.  We did sit by ourselves in a corner, so I don't think we bothered anyone.  Plus, there was a little girl walking up and down the aisle with a big bag of popcorn throughout the movie.  I love it when other people's kids do non-conventional things; it makes me feel better about my son.  It's like a social contract:  your kid is doing something out of the social norm, so you're not bothered by my kid shouting occasionally, right?  It's a win-win.

The wind is really picking up tonight.  The other day, we did manage to get some nice fall photos before the storm rolled in to take all of the leaves away.  This one below is my favorite.  I love my son's ecstatic face, windy hair, and the autumn colors.  I gotta admit that I have been staring at this photo a lot lately.  Definitely one to be framed.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Finding Fall Before the Storm

I wrote this last night... 
With the storm coming in and promising for a cold collision (possibly without power), we have been trying to soak up the fall warmth.

Chris, Eliot, and I took a ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway this week.  Eliot fell asleep in the car, so he was screaming when we came upon the right overlook.

This is what they saw:

We also had fun running around Riverside Park.  I didn't realize how amazing the trees were going to be.  Otherwise, I would have put a not-pj shirt on Eliot to take some real photos!  Maybe we can tomorrow before the winds blow all the leaves off.

Last night, Eliot and I carved his first pumpkin.  At first, he was a little worried and confused, but he got comfortable and tried to help.

Eliot has been a little bit of a terror lately.  He has been constantly energetic and restless despite taking few naps and going on adventures to the park and playing out back.  He has been trying to go through everything I don't want him to (the closet, the media cabinet, the dining room buffet....) and ripping it all to shreds.  He dumps his buckets of cars, dinosaurs, and farm animals all at once, but doesn't play with them.  I had been putting on too much tv just to try to get him to calm down a little (and build up more energy, I'm sure).  I told Chris that I thought he was bored.  Most of his toys are from his first birthday and last Christmas.  While I tried to buy "older toys" too last year since his birthday and Christmas are within a few weeks, he needed more challenging toys.  We bought him a dinosaur puzzle and a wooden truck with tools and pieces that go in holes.  He loved them!  He spent hours putting the puzzle together, taking it apart, and putting it back together again.  His little brain keeps on growing.

I'm honestly kind of worried about the storm coming....  A tropical storm is sweeping in from the coast and a winter storm is coming in from the west.  Normally, I shrug off storms.  I'm a snow-doubter and I grew up fascinated by (not afraid of) hurricanes.  Heck, we got married in Tropical Storm Barry!  Ever since the darn summer storm (the derecho) that caused us to lose power for over a week, I am afraid of losing power for a long period of time for Eliot's sake.  It was 100 degrees out, Eliot was screaming, and we didn't know what to do.  So we left.  Now I worry about losing power for a long period of time in the cold.  However, we've prepared the best we can with our winter sleeping bags, water, milk in mini boxes (that doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened), snacks, camping lanterns, and our gas stove just needs matches.  After our grocery store trip along with everyone else in Lynchburg, we walked next door for Chris to get a cup of coffee.  While we waited, Eliot told us all kinds of interesting stories while looking so charming.

But, you know, the storms probably won't even come close to being as bad as I am worrying.  I hear the tropical storm is a category one and we're far from the coast.