It’s been awhile.

We’ve had a busy few weeks since school got out! We just got back from a Madison/Minnesota trip. We had SUCH a great time visiting friends in Madison. McKenzie was absolutely thrilled and played non-stop for 3 days.  She was exhausted! Our swimming buddies were gracious enough to host us, and offered up their basement suite. She’s been asking to see them ever since we moved, so she was over-the-moon!

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After that, we drove to Minnesota to meet Mark Monroe, the newest addition to the family! He’s so handsome, and such a good baby. I got to do some newborn pics, yay! McKenzie and Abbey had fun playing on the trampoline and (mostly) got along! Bennett was very curious about the baby. As for Bennett, my sweet little prince has TWO teeth now. The traveling was pretty smooth for having the two kiddos by myself. McKenzie got airsick (threw up) on the first flight, so that was no bueno, but the rest went well.

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We have some sad news as well. The day we got home, one of our poor chickies was snatched by a hawk! At least, that’s our only conclusion. She just vanished. Poor Hera (she was Jon’s). We went out and got two more girls this week, their names are Anna (gray, Easter Egger—lays blue eggs) & Elsa (blond, Buff Orpington). Here is a picture of McKenzie with the new little girls, and another of our new coop!10495698_10103281727668327_6257987627326222204_o10368340_10103277070511307_2361300452422334641_o

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Flora & Penny (the older chicks) have stayed more separate from the newer girls, but they’re pretty close in age. They’re super low-maintenance, and really interesting little creatures. They go up in their coop at night all by themselves. We’ve started giving them mealworm treats, and they’ve become much more friendly. Like everyone, the way to their hearts is through food, I guess!

I’ve also been very busy with my new work-from-home job. It’s definitely not easy with two kiddos running/crawling around! But I’m very grateful to have such a laid back job, and I love my time at home, however “busy.” I can’t believe Bennett will be ONE, one month from tomorrow! My baby will be a toddler! =’(

P.S. STILL no word on the house, we *should* know something by next week, but the closing date would now be July 30th at the earliest. I’m getting irritated/anxious! But it’s a short sale, and those are never straightforward!

Angie - July 15, 2014 - 7:32 pm

Congrats to your sister and her husband!
You do such a good job braiding McKenzie’s hair – impressive! Finley’s hair is starting to fill in but only enough for one barrette.

End of Kindergarten

IMAG3355Today is McKenzie’s last day of kindergarten! I guess yesterday was the last full day, but school’s out for the summer as of 12:55 this afternoon. Oh boy! I sent her in with two plants—one for her teacher & co-teacher, and had her make cards that read: “Thanks for helping me grow!” and she colored pretty pictures to go with it.

Yesterday, Bennett and I joined her class for the end-of-year ice cream sundae party. Yum! She loved seeing Bennett and me in the classroom, and B was definitely a hit–we were surrounded more than once with exclamations of his adorableness. Anyway, it was fun to see the kiddos get sugar-high and dance to music and play musical chairs. Her teacher also played a cute slideshow she’d put together for the class of photos throughout the year. Her school has TONS of assemblies—drummers, dancers, Chinese Acrobats, SWAT units, canine units, etc—so it was really cool for me to see the stuff she’d been up to while at school in addition to the classroom routine.

Last week was their last “Award” ceremony, and they performed 3 songs before the ceremony. They sang one completely in Chinese, and it was crazy to hear how good they all are! Their accents are excellent. During the ceremony, McKenzie got two awards—an Accelerated Reader award and the Principal’s award. Both are for academic achievement, so I’m extremely happy that she caught up with her peers. Jon and I are still uncomfortable with her being the youngest in her class (she won’t be 6 until August), but ultimately we want her to be challenged. ((P.S. See those sparkly TOMS McKenzie’s sporting? Only $10 from a local resale shop. And Bennett’s Converse All-Stars were $3.50. Ama-ZING!))

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Summer break should be interesting with my new full-time work-from-home position. It’s pretty stressful making sure I’m getting all the interview calls done on time, but I’m compensated very fairly. I can’t complain.

And our chicks are doing great! They’re getting so big! I can’t wait til we have a coop, they’ll be a little more hands-off then. It’s so funny how they all have their own little personalities already. Penny (mine) is very sassy, Flora (McKenzie’s) is very friendly and doesn’t mind being handled, and Hera (Jon’s) is timid but sweet. Speaking of coop, there’s still no word back on our short-sale offer—but we’re supposed to hear later in the week. The “not knowing” is driving me nuts, our expected closing date is only 35 days away!

In baby news, Bennett turned 10-months-old on Friday. He got his first tooth, and he’s still cruising everywhere, walking along all the furniture. I’ve been giving him some Ibuprofen before bed, and that seems to help with the pain at night. He’s otherwise very happy and crawls around contentedly, exploring while I make calls for my new job.

And in even more exciting baby news: IT’S A BOY! My sister and her husband welcomed my new nephew, Mark Monroe, on June 8th at 5:12pm. He’s named after my dad. ♥ He was 8lbs 3oz, 20.5 in, and he’s absolutely perfect. He’s a great mix of them both, and is nursing like a champ already. They’re being discharged from the hospital today and I can’t wait to meet the little guy soon!

The chicks are here!

10257899_10103185879314197_1009073408586544460_o-1On Saturday, we drove to CaroKen Farm about an hour away and picked up our little ladies! We each picked out our own chicks & named them. It was a package deal, and they came with a brooder, food, heat lamp, feeders, and bedding. They’re fluffy and adorable, and McKenzie is SO happy! She loves them. Their names are—clockwise from top-left—Flora, Hera, and Penny.

Flora is a Welsummer, picked out and named by McKenzie. Hera is a Gold-Laced Wyandotte, picked out and named by Jon. And Penny is a Cuckoo Maran, picked out and named by me.

Now I’ve gotta start planning their coop! We’ve been trying to handle them a lot so they’ll get used to us. =)

P.S. Still no word on the house, hopefully we’ll hear soon!

Lots of New & Exciting Happenings

Lots of new & exciting stuff going on here the past week!

  1. Jon and I celebrated 12 years of together-ness. Awwwwww. ♥ We went out for a nice, romantic, delicious dinner. We’ve finally found a couple awesome restaurants around here, but “Circa 1800″ is definitely my fave. I had crab cakes served over parmesan orzo…ahhh-mazing. And they have the most delicious caramel pecan brownie a la mode. (That just made my mouth water a little bit.) Anyway, we had an awesome time and we’re looking forward to our NINE year wedding anniversary next month.
  2. We officially made an offer on the house down the street! After formally withdrawing our initial offer and making some changes, we feel a lot better. We made sure to add Due Diligence (inspections, appraisals, etc) after the bank accepts the offer, not before, so we aren’t out any money if the bank doesn’t accept and we don’t want to counter. We also lowered our offer. The house does need a lot of work, and although it’s mainly cosmetic, the costs do add up. Even though this is our second home purchase, I’ve still learned a lot! ALWAYS have your own realtor, NEVER call the number on the sign.
  3. I got a big-girl job! Woo! It is SO perfect for me: a work-from-home position I can do at my own convenience (ie: during nap time). I wasn’t even looking for a job, but my step-dad (Jeff) told the company he works for that I’d be a good fit for a position they were looking to fill. I’ll be a phone coordinator—mainly making calls to schedule and confirm interviews. It’s very exciting, and we’ll be able to save a lot more $$, which is always good.
  4. We’re going to get baby chicks! I’ve been researching the heck out of Backyard Chickens…I even made a board on Pinterest. Here in Fayetteville, you can legally have up to 10 backyard hens (no roosters). I found a “Backyard Chicken Class + Package,” which includes a farm tour, 1.5 hour class on backyard chickens, three newly-hatched chicks, and a brooder set-up for the first 60 days. I’m excited, McKenzie is over-the-moon, and Jon is a little indifferent—but he’ll come around. And hey, if Backyard Chickens aren’t for us, we can take them back to the farm. Apparently it takes about 6 months to get the first eggs, but eventually we’ll be able to have some organic, fresh eggs for breakfast!
  5. McKenzie has a trial class for gymnastics tonight. We’ll see how that goes! I can’t believe how big they’re getting. And school is almost out for the summer!10295277_10103176706910767_2023488647262719133_o
Angie - May 30, 2014 - 8:28 am

Your anniversary meal sounds incredible! My mouth watered as well when you shared the dessert. Mmmm :)

Tutorial: DIY Anniversary Gift for Less than $10

Sample 1We said we weren’t doing gifts for our anniversary this year, but I still wanted to do something inexpensive, simple, yet meaningful. After looking around on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to do something with our “Importand Dates.” I stumbled upon this tutorial, which walked me through most of the process—BUT it seems that the website has changed a bit, so I’m going to detail how I did mine as well. It turned out so cute!

  1. Go to picmonkey.com
  2. Click “Collage” and upload a photo (can be anything, it just gets you to the template…you won’t use it).
  3. Delete the two smaller boxes on the right by hitting “x” in the upper-right hand corner of each.
  4. Go to “Swatches” in the left-hand column…it is the 3rd one down and resembles 3 tickets.
  5. Pick a background. Drag & drop your desired background into the large square. Make sure you don’t choose a pattern that’s too busy! (The chevron pattern I used is under the “Winterland” tab at the top).
  6. Save the background as a jpeg to your desktop, and exit the program by hitting “x” in the upper right hand corner. You will be back at the main screen.
  7. Now click the “Edit” tab, and upload the background you just completed.
  8. On the bottom left, hit “Resize” and change dimensions to “1440 x 1800″ for a portrait orientation (uncheck both boxes beneath the dimensions). This will allow you to print up to an 8×10.
  9. Next, click the “Tt” button on the left to add text. For my text, I used one text box per date & event. You can still change the size and font for each line by highlighting. ((I used the fonts “Special Elite” for dates, and “Amatic Small Caps” for the events and/or names. Sizes 150/140 respectively.))  I chose a dark gray for font color (color code 504A4B), and spaced as evenly as I could.
  10. To add hearts, click the Butterfly Icon at the left, they can be found under “General>Hearts.” I used the fade tool to 82%, but you can have it as visible or transparent as you choose. Some other ideas might be to add a banner, which can be found under “Scrapbooky>Banner” tab of the same Butterfly icon.
  11. Save and you’re done! Just have fun with it and be creative!

I’m no expert, but feel free to ask any questions. It got a lot easier the more I played around! =) I printed it at Walgreens (one 5×7 for less than $2!), bought a simple frame, and it turned out awesome! For less than $10 you can’t go wrong. The possibilities are endless!

P.S. I obviously changed our kid’s names/dates. Don’t want any weirdos stealing their identities! Those were our back-up kid names. ;)