Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm a plumber!

December 29, 2009

Renovation- Day 4

I don't really have any fun pictures for today, but I do have exciting news... Today, Matthew let me help with the plumbing in the basement. That's right folks, I plumbed things! I feel like quite the handy woman. Remember when two chickens and 1 egg made me a farmer?? Well clearly, snapping 6 pex fittings into place makes me a plumber!! I feel like I have skills!!

We got a lot accomplished today (by we, I mostly mean Matthew). But I did start painting the molding that will go around the top of the walls. It's totally against the grain for me to paint things instead of staining them, but I'm pretty excited about how it's all going to come together!!

Sometime tomorrow, Eli and I will be leaving to go spend the night with my in-laws and my little boy!! The boys and I will be coming home sometime on Thursday- so hopefully I'll have a big exciting update then!! Matthew has assured me that there will be big changes occuring while I am gone! YAY!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Renovation Day 3 ( and some other thoughts)

December 28, 2009

I had a *really* bad knee flare up last night. I was able to get an appointment with the rheumatologist for February 3. Hopefully they will be able to give me some more answers...

Today, Matthew was going to be working on plumbing and electrical things. Things that I am A: not able to help with, and B: not interested in at all! So I headed out to spend some time with a few people that I love.

First stop- Grandpa Toschlog
December 28th is the day that my Grandma passed away. It's been one year since her beautiful spirit went home. I miss her every single day, but of course, I've missed her for far longer than a year. She's been gone for a long time. I didn't know if Grandpa would be having a hard time today, so I made it my mission to spend some time with him and make sure that he was doing okay. I went to his house and then took him out to eat. He seemed to be doing pretty well, but he's a man of few words- so I'm sure that he wouldn't have expressed his grief, even if he was feeling it. It was nice to be able to spend that time with him today. He's a pretty special guy to me!

Second stop- Michelle

After leaving Grandpa's house, I got in touch with Michelle to make arrangements to meet. We decided to meet at Dairy Queen for a dessert. It struck me when she said that she would meet me there- because I've always picked her up. It's strange to see her grown up with a car and all of that.

A much bigger realization of her "adulthood" hit me soon enough though. As we sat down to eat, she said to me, "I'vegotsomenewsI'mpregnant!" Then she started crying. She'd been dreading telling me because she didn't want to disappoint me again. I was shocked to say the least. But as she told me about all the plans that she's been making- I have to say that once again, she amazed me. How this girl, time after time, manages to make lemonade out of the lemons that life hands her, I'll never know. This isn't going to be easy, far from it, but I know that she's going to make the best of the situation.

Third stop- Ernie

On my way back towards Indy, I decided that I would swing by and check on my other Grandpa, Ernie. By this time, the roads had become pretty slick. As I pulled up to his house, he was outside scraping off his car. Long story short, I ended up taking him ALL over Muncie to run his errand (yes, one errand. ALL over Muncie). After spending time with both grandpas today, I remembered that if it weren't for stubborn Grandpas, I'd have no grandpas at all!! :) It was nice getting to spend time with three very special people in my life.

Next, it was time to return home and check out the renovation progress. Matthew had a very productive day in my absence. He removed the blue bathtub and installed all new plumbing throughout our house!! The plumbing was the biggest accomplishment, but the memory of watching that blue bathtub go out the door holds a special place in my heart!! :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Renovation- Day 2

December 27, 2009

Today, the destruction continued. We said goodbye to the vanity, toilet, and drywall- and removed all of the debris! I cannot believe the changes that happened today!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Give mama a sledge hammer!

December 26, 2009- Demolition Day 1!
The Demolition begins!!

Carol and Dave left this evening after our wonderful day at Jodi's. They agreed to take Owen with them so that we could get a jumpstart on the renovation. They walked out the door, and we got started!

First things first, we moved out of the blue bathroom and into the green bathroom. We have always used "blue" as our main bathroom since we moved into the house. "Green" was just an extra. I actually used the tub in "green" as storage for my teaching stuff. Matthew moved that stuff out and our shower stuff in. "Green" received a thorough cleaning, and is now in good working order. We discovered that for the most part, "green" is in much better condition than "blue" ever was.

After we got everything moved out, it was time to start demo! We started by knocking the shelves out of the big linen cabinet.
After that, we knocked out part of the wall between the cabinet and the sink. I wanted to just start swinging the sledge hammer at everything. I mean, I've watched my fair share of HGTV, I know how these things work!
Matthew informed me that this is NOT how these things work...
He did however, humor me by letting me knock the first hole in the wall! (sorry the video is sideays)

The very next hit, I broke through the wall. We missed it though because the memory card was full!

The next step was to remove the tile from the wall. Let me tell you, there was A LOT of tile in that bathroom! I started working on the tile while Matthew got things ready for the next step in the garage.

Fast forward a couple of hours, and here you can see the fruits of my labors.

Tile down... CHECK!

Renovation Day 1- DONE!


December 26, 2009

The Before Pictures- This is actually a lot less blue than it was when we moved in. Back then everything was blue, and I do mean EVERYTHING!! We made minor improvements to it at the time to make it liveable until we could afford to make the big changes that we really wanted.
For the past several months we've purchased things here and there as they went on sale. We found great deals on a lot of the bigger purchases and made compromises to ensure that we stayed on budget.

Isn't it pretty?? :)

Wow, it's dark in here!

Christmas is over. I'm a little sad, but life's not slowing down for even a minute- so I'll get over it soon! We also have lots of great new memories from the holiday season!

Wednesday Evening we celebrated Christmas with our best friends, Sara and Todd. We ate sushi (which was *quite* the experience!) and then went back to their house to celebrate with Christmas cookies, cake wrecks, and of course, presents! This year, in the spirit of simplicity and saving money, we agreed to do "homemade" Christmas. It was really nice! We got the most awesome picture frame that has a mat laser cut into our last name!! It's soo nice! It is going to go right above the doorway to the kitchen where the Christmas sign usually hangs backward for half of the year! For Sara and Todd, Matthew carved their last name into a piece of sandstone. We were really proud of how it turned out!

Christmas Eve, Matthew and I spent most of the day cooking and cleaning in preparation for our families to arrive Christmas morning. That evening, we did our annual tradition of exchanging pajamas. We all put on our new PJs and watched the Polar Express and ate popcorn. Then, we got dressed again and headed out to midnight mass.

The boys had slept in really late and they had lengthy naps, so they were able to hang in there through the mass, they were a bit irritable though. We finally made it to Communion, and we're walking back to our seats- Owen was walking behind me, and Matthew was a few people behind him. All of the sudden the entire back half of the church went black. I looked back, and Owen has turned off ALL FOUR of the light switches!! I ran back and turned them on, and of course everyone was staring at us. Owen was cracking up because he thought that the whole thing was hilarious! I was totally mortified!! Matthew later said that even though he didn't see Owen do it, he KNEW when he saw the lights go out that Owen was involved!

We came home, put the boys to bed, and prepared everything for Santa to come.

Christmas morning, we got up, ate breakfast, opened gifts and then prepared the meal. The highlight of Owen's morning was the John Deere Gator delivered by Santa!

We were blessed to spend Christmas with my parents, my grandpa, Matthew's parents, and Jodi and Brett. It was a really nice day, and I am thankful that we were able to spend time with everyone!

Saturday we celebrated Christmas with all of the Gessners at Jodi's house. We did our family exchange, (I got the most fabulous sweater slipper boots, and two new books from Jodi!!) ate yummy food, played games, and just enjoyed each other! It was another really nice day spent with family!

It's hard to stay sad about Christmas being over when we have so many happy memories to look back on.

Stay tuned for the next big project!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Almost Here!!

I'm so excited that Christmas is almost here. I absolutely love Christmas. I love what it represents, I love the music, I love the decorations, I love it.

I don't however, love the cynicism that comes with the holidays. I don't love the snide songs talking about what a drag it all is, and I really don't love how incredibly stressed people get about Christmas. We are celebrating the birth of CHRIST here people!! It shouldn't be about how much was spent on a gift, or what you did or did not receive. It's about the miracle of Christ. I marvel when I think about how that first Christmas must have been- the humblest of beginnings. I'm in awe when I think about how frightened the Sheppards must have been when the Angel first appeared to them. I'm humbled when I think of Mary delivering her sweet child in a manger. When I put myself in the mind frame to consider these things- it really alleviates any stress that I might be feeling. It helps me to understand why we're celebrating. During one of my recent RCIA classes, Father Kevin spoke about Christmas and why we even give gifts. He said that we give gifts because we see Christ in the people that we love. I really liked that, and it seemed to really fit with the true spirit of the Holidays.

This is my first year celebrating the entire Advent season. I grew up Protestant, and sure I looked forward to Christmas all month, but it wasn't the same. This year, we're celebrating Advent. It has been such a wonderful thing. Owen and I talk about it every day, and we're helping him to count his blessings this Holiday season by celebrating a different person in our lives each and every day. It's been nice, and I think that he's enjoyed it. We started out calling each person as we celebrated them, but then with the boys getting so sick, we didn't get most of our calls made. We certainly still thought about and celebrated each person on their special day though!

Anyway, Sorry that I am just rambling today. All of these thoughts have just been rolling around in my head, so I thought that I would just write them down here. I hope that everyone has a very safe, joyful, and blessed Christmas this year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy 50th!

Happy 50th Blog post to me, that is. :) I cannot believe that I've already written 50 posts. That's just lovely.

I really don't have anything witty to say today, but I was proud of myself and thought that I should mark the occasion.

Owen is under the weather again. I *think* that he might be fighting croup. He's barking like a seal and spiking fevers now and then. So far, it hasn't gotten him really down, but keep him in your prayers that his condition doesn't worsen before Christmas. (Also that the rest of us stay healthy through the holidays!!!) He had croup REALLY bad last February. It was super scary, so I am praying hard it doesn't come to that again.

Have a wonderful day, my wonderful blog readers. It's been really fun hearing your feedback these past few months. I hope you're all still enjoying the peeks into our little world. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Do you stand up?

We had an interesting day to say the least. This morning, Owen had his Christmas party at school. I went with him, and I really don't think that he was feeling very well because he clung to me the entire time, and didn't want to participate in very many of the activities. Normally, if I am there he's happy to play games and participate.

We finally make it through the Christmas party and I'm already flustered with the way that he had behaved. We get out to the Jeep and it won't start. Several different people offered to help and we tried to jump it, but to no avail. We were stuck.

I called for roadside assistance and we were told that a wrecker would be there within 45 minutes. 45 minutes came and went... No wrecker. He finally showed up after about 1 hour and 15 minutes. In the meantime, Owen scratched Eli's face badly enough to make him bleed. Nice.

The tow truck guy, Nick, was a pretty burly fellow. He was nice though, and apologized for being late, and he helped me get the kids loaded into the wrecker. Where I was parked, it was difficult for him to get his truck into the right position. He worked forever and finally he jimmies this huge flatbed truck into position in front of my jeep with inches between the front of his truck and the school building. Just then, as he's getting ready to load up the jeep, someone from the school came out and told him that he was going to have to move his truck because they were going to have a fire drill in a couple of minutes. He was very polite, and told him that he'd figure out something else.

So then he goes around and gets behind the jeep, and with much effort, he finally gets the thing winched onto the truck. He comes back and gets in the truck and we take off towards the repair shop. As we're pulling out out of the school parking lot, Owen says, (in a loud voice) "What's that lady doing?" (About the two truck guy) My face turns beet red.
"He's a man, Owen" I replied.
"No he's not mommy, he has long hair on his face. It's a lady!"
Face beet redder
"No Owen! He is a man!" I insist.
"Does he stand up to go potty?" Owen asks.
"I would assume so." I reply, *DYING* of humiliation!

A little time goes by, and Owen decides to point out the cleanliness level of the inside of the tow truck. "This truck is REALLY dirty Mommy." he tells me.
"Well, it's like Daddy's truck. He uses this truck to do work, so it gets dirty." I tell him.
"You need to clean it." He tells the guy. "You should probably use a hose."

OMG. I was soo embarassed.

Fortunately, the guy was very good natured, and laughed at all of Owen's "thoughts" on the matter. He explained to me that he has a 5 year old boy of his own, so he was well aware of the things that children say. I was super thankful that he was so understanding!

We finally get to the dealership. It was possibly the longest 1.8 mile ride of my life! He drops the jeep off, and then offered to take us home so that we didn't have to be stuck there. I wasn't comfortable with that, so I told him that we'd just walk over to the Chik-fil-a nearby. He insisted on taking us there so that I didn't have to carry the car seats and all of our stuff over there. Eli had fallen asleep, so he carried Eli inside the restaurant for me, carseat and all.

Matthew had left work to come rescue me almost an hour before, so I figured that he'd be arriving any minute. I called to see where he was, and he informs me that he was called back to the job site because the Environmental Management people had showed up to do a surprise inspection and he had to be there. So there we were, stuck again! Matthew got there as soon as he could, and it wasn't a terribly long wait considering how far that he had to come. But it was really cute fitting all FOUR of us (including two car seats) into the Bernsmobile!

We made it home safely, and found out that we have to replace the starter on the jeep. We *should* have the jeep back tomorrow if all goes well with the repair!

If you think about it, say a little prayer for Nick, the tow-truck guy, today. His compassion and graciousness were VERY much appreciated in my moment of need.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What you need to do

Is there anyone else out there who loves shopping online as much as Matthew and I?? We honestly do 80%+ of our shopping online. We get better deals, I ALWAYS have coupon codes, and our newest treasures are the cashback programs!! We're hooked!

I've been using shopathome.com and cashbaq.com for a couple of months now, and Matthew just started using mrrebate.com. We've had great success with these sites and are THRILLED with the deals that we've got. Just today, we earned over $20 in cash back from these sites! Not too shabby! You can also combine coupon codes with the cash rebates to make for some really sweet deals.

The other great thing is that you get a percentage of what your referrals spend, plus usually a signup bonus! I pasted Cashbaq and Shopathome's linkies in my sidebar. If you click through one of these to sign up, you'll receive $5, and so will I!! Everyone wins.

Give them a try, we've been super pleased!

Monday, December 7, 2009

St. Nicholas Day

Sunday at church, we celebrated St. Nicolas Day with a pancake breakfast and lots of Christmas activities. It was a really fun morning and Owen enjoyed decorating Christmas cookies, making reindeer food, getting his face painted, and talking with St. Nicholas. When it was Owen's turn to go sit on St. Nicholas's lap, he walked right up there and climbed up. St. Nicholas asked him what he wanted for Christmas, and Owen looked around at the Christmas trees and "gifts" that were being used as the backdrop for the "Santa" pictures, and pointed to the largest gift under the tree and says, "I'd like that one!" St. Nick just laughed, and sent my precocious child on his way! I wish that I had a picture of this event to share, but unfortuately I forgot my camera that day.

During church, my RCIA group was recgonized and introduced to the congregation as Catechumens and Candidates. Our sponsors promised to guide us on our continued faith journey, and made the sign of the cross over various places on our bodies. I nearly had my eye gouged out by Owen "helping" Daddy to make the sign of the cross over my eyes.

I can always count on him to liven up any solemn occasion :)


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with wonderful friends and family! Wednesday night we made the trip down to the Gessner's to spend Thanksgiving Day with them. We had a wonderful meal at Kenny and Ruthie's and really enjoyed spending time with family! Owen and Eli did their jobs charming and entertaining family members!
We were supposed to stay down South Thursday night, but unfortunately, Matthew's work schedule forced us to come home.

Friday night we went downtown for the annual tree lighting. We enjoyed dinner at the Adobo Grille with Chris, Emily, Nathan, and Olive. I don't think that that restaurant sees a lot of the 3 and under crowd in there, because they foolishly set us upstairs next to a balcony overlooking the rest of the restaurant. The balcony rails weren't far enough for a three year old to fall through, but they were far enough apart for a three year to throw things down onto unsuspecting diners below! A busboy even came up the stairs to return some crayons that had been hurled over the precipice! Needless to say, it was a little bit stressful trying to keep these two unruly three year olds under control!!

After dinner, we walked a couple of blocks to the circle downtown, and watched the "tree" light up!

(Check out Baby Olive peeking out of Emily's coat!)

Saturday, I drove to Winchester with my mom and dad for the Toschlog Thanksgiving. We had another wonderful meal, and enjoyed getting to visit with everyone! My cousins are the best, and they all took turns entertaining Owen and Eli. Nathan always brings cars and toys for Owen to play with, and Owen just adores him!

After the reunion, we drove back to Indianapolis, and Owen got to go see Monster Trucks downtown with Grandma and Grandpa. He had a great time, and LOVED those trucks! It was hilarious listening to him tell about his evening. He even got a t-shirt signed by all of the drivers.

It was a busy, busy weekend, but it was really nice to get to spend time with all of our families.

Guess who's walking!

It's Eli!! He started walking the evening before Thanksgiving, Novemeber 25. I had just given him a bath and dressed him in jammies in preparation for our trip to Gessner Thanksgiving. I set him down in the hallway on his feet, and instead of immediately squatting down and crawling away, he walked! He walked all of the way down the hallway and into the living room, like he'd been doing it his whole life! I'm a proud mama!

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Christmas Program Videos

You can read my post about Owen's Christmas program below. I found a quicker way to upload the vids, but unfortunately it didn't allow me to put them into my original post... Make do, okay? :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We Wish you a Merry Christmas!

Tonight was Owen's Preschool Christmas program. It was perhaps the most adorable thing that I've ever seen. Owen was NOT excited about this little ordeal. Before his nap today, he yelled from his bed, "I don't like programs!" Repeatedly. Over and over.

When we got there, we let him sit with us for a little while, and then once most of the kids were on the risers, I walked, (drug) him to join his class. He began to protest, but there was *talk* of going to bed with no dinner, and other idle threats... :)

I finally convinced him to join the group, and he was totally fine once he was there. Once the program began, he kind of just stood there looking dazed**. The poor child stood with his back to the audience for two whole songs. I do not however, think that he stood out one bit! The two children on either side of him were... Exuberant- to say the least ;)

Owen certainly had quite the turnout for his debut. Jodi, Brett, Sara, Todd, Grandma, and Grandpa all showed up for his performance (or lack thereof). He had a nice little cheering section!

**A side note that I should probably explain to those who weren't there to witness it, is that Owen was indeed drugged before the start of his program. Yesterday, he had a pretty bad allergic reaction to something (We're thinking red food dye) and so we've been having to give him Benadryl to keep his hives to minimum.

So without further ado, here are some clips (Okay, one clip for the moment... I'll post some more later!) from Owen's first Christmas program!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I had been hearing for awhile from several people that they were unable to comment on the blog. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time, but I finally realized that I had the settings wrong. It should be fixed now, so please make my day and leave me a comment :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Turkey Breakfast!

This morning Owen had a Thanksgiving breakfast at preschool. It was pretty cute, but Owen's attitude was not. I thought, "Hey, I don't need to feed him breakfast before school today. He's having breakfast at school!"

Man, I couldn't have been more wrong. That boy cried, and he wailed, and he sobbed that he was hungry. It was as if the child hadn't eaten in days! I was so embarassed. Finally he got to eat and his 'tude improved... marginally.

He still wasn't in the mood for coloring, and he definitely wasn't in the mood for listening to his mom!! It was a rocky morning.

Needless to say, we've had better days.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Belated Halloween Party Photos

On the day of Owen's Halloween party at school, I rushed out the door and left my camera at home! I was suuuuuper bummed because the kiddos were all so cute. The good news is that one of the other moms took a ton of photos to share with everyone. So I have a few adorable photos to share now! (Be sure to look for "Annie". She's Owen's *favorite* girl!)

Owen's Preschool Class at St. Susanna
Halloween 2009

Owen went as a monkey. He couldn't be a carrot without peas!

One of the special activities that the teachers had planned was "Mr. Spider's House" The kids all took turns going up to the house and ringing the *real* doorbell. Then Mr. Spider opened the door and gave each child a treat. It was super cute, and the kids all really enjoyed it!