Thursday, August 29, 2013


I feel like we have been in the process of moving for a long time.  I guess it kind of started when we packed up some clutter for our showing back in June.  There have been boxes in the garage for quite awhile.  It all got real last week though.  I still can't believe we made it through it.  There was so much to pack and it was overwhelming.  We did quite a bit the weekend before last, including taking a few plants from our landscaping to try to transplant at the new house.  We chose a purple day lily, a hosta and an iris.  It is not really the time of year for dividing and transplanting bulbs but hopefully they will pull through.  We planted them in pots for the time being and it has been the hottest it has been all summer so they look kind of ill!  They probably wish they could have just stayed where they are! 

On Friday night, my brother and his wife came and we started moving early the next morning.  My dad arrived on his motorcycle later that morning and my mom arrived in the evening.  I tried to take it easy since I am pregnant but we all did some lifting.  I had to spend a lot of time corralling Ben during his waking hours.  The temperatures have between 90 and 100 degrees for the last week so it was not an ideal moving weekend. 

Here are the movers having a blast moving our upright freezer out of the basement!  WHOOOO HOOO!  This was just one of the torturous pieces of furniture that had to be removed from the house.  At least a friend helped us with some heavy items earlier in the week.  Everything makes a difference. 

Poor Allan...he started out fine.  He always likes to have a box to sit in and there were lots of those laying around.   Here he is earlier in the week before chaos ensued. 

As his familiar rooms came apart he started getting really nervous and scared and wasn't acting at all like himself.  He started slinking around low to the ground and hiding wherever he could find cover. 

For awhile he preferred to hide in the kitchen behind this box of junk.  By the time we left the house for the evening he was cowering in the bathroom behind the toilet which is a place he would never want to be any other time.  We stayed at a hotel since our closing was at 8:00 a.m.  We went over early and picked him up and cleaned up any evidence and removed our last minute items and cleaning supplies and said goodbye.  Then he had to stay at the hotel with Ben and my parents in his pet carrier while we closed on our new house at 10:00.  He was not happy and when we set up an isolated area for him at the new house he barricaded himself in his covered litter box.  It had just been emptied, cleaned and refilled, but still...I knew something was really upsetting him since he wants nothing to do with his box area unless he is using it for its intended purpose.  I took him out and gave him a familiar blanket to burrow under and as soon as the guest bed was set up he hid under it for the rest of the day and wouldn't come out for anything.  He never has hidden under a bed. 

That night, after Ben was sleeping, we pulled him out and showed him around the house and he was really scared but he seems to be getting better.  He is just taking it slow!  I think he is starting to like it.  His life has been pretty sheltered so far. 

Unpacking on Monday was pretty hot and sweaty although it was rainy and overcast in the morning which cut the heat slightly.  So far I haven't discovered anything broken in any boxes.  We have our cable and Internet running and the living room furniture and kitchen table are set up and some rugs are placed.  The beds and crib are set up and a few things are hung on the walls but there is still a lot to do.  I really wish I had time to paint and sew curtains and pillow covers as soon as possible but that seems like something that won't happen for a long time.  There are blinds on the windows and some decent curtains left behind from the previous owners that are not bad at all but I love the process of making something unique.  I keep wanting to drive past the old house to see if the new owners tossed the floor length curtains in our bedroom that I made and I wish I would have had our realtor say that I was taking them in our contract.  She said it was standard to leave window treatments but there is a good chance they won't keep them anyway.  Oh well.  It will be fun to start with something new.  I'm sure they were faded since they were in a west facing window. 

I better wrap it up for now.  I am so tired!  I need to get some sort of structure back in the day tomorrow for Ben's sake and my own! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Everything went as planned over the last few days and we are in the new house.  I was and still is a bit chaotic around here for everyone.  Ben's routine is a bit off but he is doing fine.  He slept fine last night during his first night in his new room which is more than I can say for myself!  Allan has had a pretty hard time but is doing better today.  I will tell details of the move in the next few posts.  For now I am liking this new place.  We all are.  But my mind has returned often to the cute little house on 16th Street that will always be a very special place to us. 

I took this picture as we drove by one last time after our closing which took place at 8:00 a.m. on Monday.  We had to pick Allan up beforehand and it was so hectic and rushed that I didn't take one last picture as I drove away.  The new owners were walking in so we didn't slow down.  Of course, it was sprinkling which makes a sad picture.  I keep thinking that it is wondering where we are and why we left. 
Goodbye little house,  I'll never forget you. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Preparing to Say Goodbye...

As we prepare to move I am getting more nostalgic.  A few nights ago I tried to take a picture of the house near dark with all the lights on to see if I could capture a glow. 
They look OK...I had to hurry because I feel awkward standing in the front yard with a camera on a tripod as traffic whizzes by.  I think it would have worked better if there were more windows. 
OK, I need to get to work.  I truly cannot get ANYTHING done when Ben is awake.  When he finally goes to sleep I have to first do the regular cleaning that must be done (only five days left until we have a dishwasher!) because when I try to clean up after lunch he climbs on the table and starts throwing everything on the floor.  Then I have to sweep up all the crap he threw on the floor during breakfast and lunch so the floor doesn't feel like a sandbox.  Then I can finally start packing boxes.  Last night Justin and I stayed up two hours after he went to bed hauling loads of crap out of here and into the garage.  I need to get busy now.  I will try to update one last time before we move, even if it is a quick post from my phone saying goodbye to the house.  We are getting our Internet and cable set up right away on the day we move in so we won't be without Internet for long. 
Before I go, for all of you family members who are more interested in Ben than anything else...this morning I was in the bathroom going one last time before leaving the house because I can't go twenty minutes without doing so.  There is a child care provider at the Y who is due the day before me.  She has two pre-school age daughters and she said she always insists that they use the bathroom before leaving to go anywhere and then inevitably she ends up dragging them to the bathroom so she can go as soon as they get anywhere!  That is exactly how it is for me.  I was going "one last time" and when I came out Ben had put his own shoes on! 


  was so cute.  I praised him for being a big boy, so smart, etc. even though they were on the wrong feet and the Velcro was off kilter.  He thinks he's big!  Although I think it will be awhile before he truly can handle this by himself these signs of independence are so promising! 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Packing Update

At this time next week we will have left this house for the last time and will be at our new house getting situated.  It's hard to imagine.  We spent the weekend packing and faced up that classic American dilemma...having so much crap that it almost brings a person to tears because it is so overwhelming.  Among the crap...four huge hockey size duffel bags filled with Justin's old clothes from high school that he never takes the time to sort through, stacks and stacks of greeting cards, invitations and other memorabilia that have grown so backlogged that I don't even know where to start organizing them, law school books and study material that probably weighs in total more than I do right now (no small number) and this garbage (by garbage I mean junk and not anything that is actually going in the garbage where it probably belongs)...

I think every household has the obsolete cords and internet accessories somewhere.  I don't even know what is what with this stuff anymore.  I would imagine there are a few "Ethernet" cords like the one I used in college ten years ago. 

I decided to tackle a few kitchen cupboards and ended up with a mountain of plastic mugs and cups, both insulated and not.  Most of them were free, a souvenir from a party, or part of a drink special in college.  I decided not to waste a box on something with no risk of breaking and no need for gentle treatment and shoved them in a trash bag.  It's tempting to put it where it belongs but for now it is in the garage. 
On the bright side, we actually found both of the shower curtains we own which were not needed in this house but will be needed in the next house.  It is always a pleasant surprise when the impossible happens.  I haven't seen those curtains in four years. 
I snuck a little Tonka truck out of one of the several large totes of Justin's childhood toys that we have harboring and gave it to Ben.  It is a hit.  He has been carrying it around with him everywhere. 

He has been a monster all weekend.  He is in a major fit throwing phase and spends most of his waking hours whining and throwing tantrums about everything.  He has figured out that putting shoes on means going outside so he has started trying to put his own shoes on but can't really do it and when he fails he throws a fit.  It has already happened several times today.  Over the weekend we ate at Pizza Ranch and there were lots of little kids there and he threw his sippy cup and it hit a little girl in the foot and she started crying.  That was awesome.  He wasn't aiming but it was still embarrassing.  I love bringing him to the Y because he is always happy and fun there and they say how nice he is all the time.  I'm glad someone sees his good side.

He should be happy...we try to do fun things with him!  He has it pretty good! 

I brought him to get a new ball to replace the one I negligently destroyed.

I took him to a fun pool and splash pad and forgot to bring him a dry diaper and clothes so he got to ride home and run around the street like this!  That "newspaper" he is reading is the weekly bundle of ads and coupons we get tossed on our driveway.
I let him eat crappy hot dogs most days while I eat nutritious home grown vegetables and healthy protein based meals that he likes to sneer at and spit out.  At least he eats some antioxidant rich berries to counteract the endless list of grossness in the hot dogs.  That makes it better, right?  RIGHT?  Please validate me...haha... 
I hope he gets over it because we've got work to do around here that can't be done with a whiny little toddler hanging on my legs.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Horrible Parenting Moment

So...does everyone remember this ball? 
It has been about a month since it came to our house and it is still a popular toy that is used every day, many times a day, and talked about as soon as it comes into view.  We play with it indoors and outdoors.  Well, I am sad to say that I have to refer to it in the past tense now.  This afternoon, after Ben crashed in his crib, I came out of the bathroom, glanced out the living room window in passing, and noticed this...

It took a moment to register that whatever that yellow thing was looked rubber and had orange stripes like Ben's ball and then I remembered that I had left it outside behind the house when we came in to have lunch.  It's not really windy but all it would take is a slight breeze to send that thing into motion. 
I went out the retrieve it and my fears were confirmed...

Poor ball!  I have removed the evidence so he can't see it when he wakes up.  My plan for this evening, along with maybe attending the final night of public swimming at the Bismarck pools for the season, now includes a trip to a store to buy another ball. 
I could be so much worse...that ball was not the only very special orange striped thing in this house that we need to protect from traffic! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Trying To Pack

Everyone keeps asking me if we are getting ready to move and if we have started packing.  This is the scene in one corner of our garage. 

The boxes are there, the newspapers are there but notice that none of them are packed.  We have 12 days to go! More accurately, we have 11 days because our first closing on this house is at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning of the 26th.  So we will certainly be out the night before except maybe Allan will spend one last night in the empty house.  I don't like it...I think it will be sad to come back and see it empty and know that in an hour or two new people will take over and we can't go back.  So much finality. 

The garden is still productive.  Zucchini season is still high.  I picked four today and Justin spent an afternoon over the weekend shredding and freezing many of them for baking purposes.  I gave two to my backyard neighbor and we still have plenty to eat.  Now the tomatoes are starting to ripen in larger quantities.  This is my bucket from my visit this morning. 

They don't look ripe but many of the cherry tomatoes are a variety that ripens yellow.  The red ones are on the bottom.  I am trying to enjoy them while they last because they might not.  I saw a story on the local news that talked about how a lot of gardeners were dealing with a tomato blight where the leaves start getting spots and turning yellow from the bottom of the plant up which doesn't hurt the tomatoes themselves but eventually affects the yields.  I am sad to admit that our plants are looking a bit blighty, if that is a word at all.  I hope they stay productive.  They are so tall and were so robust and it would be a shame to lose them. 
OK, I better go try to pack...I brought a few boxes in to fill while Ben sleeps.  They are on the kitchen table, taunting me.  I will probably have a piece of zucchini cake first and read CNN to get my latest Egypt meltdown update and THEN I will pack a few boxes. 

Monday, August 12, 2013


This weekend Ben was pestering me as I was getting ready between the bathroom and bedroom and making a game out of running into the room I wasn't in and shutting the door behind him.  I finally gave up and let him play because I needed to be somewhere and wanted him to amuse himself so I could get myself together and he proceeded to lock himself in the bathroom. 

YIKES!  The door doesn't actually lock but he pulled a heavy drawer filled with hair styling tools open in front of the door so it could only open a tiny crack!  We were aghast and had no idea what to do.  I thought of using a wire hanger under the door to close the drawer but Justin thought the drawer was too heavy.  We didn't really feel like breaking anything since we have to turn this place over to someone else in two weeks.  Justin went to the garage to try to come up with a solution and I grabbed a sturdy wire hanger from the closet, bent it in half, and swept it under the door.  To my delight, the drawer slid shut and I was in!  If that hadn't worked who knows what we would have come up with.  Fortunately, Ben had no idea any of this was going on and was perfectly fine playing in there.  Now I am paranoid about it happening again and try to keep the bathroom door shut at all times.  At least I know the hanger trick works. 

He also got to try on some football gear at Scheels on Friday.  He has some growing to do before the youth small helmet will fit!  Actually, he would have preferred not to wear it at all. I hope we didn't turn him off to football for life! 

Notice the pinned down hands preventing him from throwing that thing off as fast as he could!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Countdown

Yesterday I realized, as I was giving Ben a bath, that we have less than a month left in this house.  Ben has less than twenty baths left here!  Only a few more lawn mows, a few more grocery shopping trips, a few more bathroom cleans, a few more...well let's get real...probably no more household dusting sessions until the day we pack.  I am having a lot of mixed emotions and it is hard to put them all into words but I think about it a lot.  This house is really special to us and we left touches everywhere and I believe that we have left it better than it was when we moved in.  And it's just so cute...every time I drive up the driveway I feel attached and I wish it didn't have to ever belong to someone else. 
Also, I am intimidated by the actual move, the packing, and how we have to close on both houses on the same day.  Not only do we have to be out of this place but it will have to be somewhat clean!  And who knows what is going to happen with Allan.   He will have no idea what is going on!  I hope I am able to process the emotional part of it before that day.
I addition to saying goodbye to this house there is another goodbye in the works.  Back at the farm, my parents are building a new house with plans to tear down the house I grew up in since I was in second grade. 

It is going up behind the old house and I am 99% happy about it because it has been a long time coming.  The old house doesn't have good climate control (no AC!) and is just really really old with problems that would be prohibitive to fix.  They have been in this process for a few years and not that it is happening I think about how many more times I will stay in my own room and how weird it is that my kids won't remember the old house.  At least it is on the same location so it won't be a major upheaval.  It's going to be strange emptying out the old place though.  There is ALOT of crap in that house, four full floors of crap, many of it belonging to me!  Yikes!
It's all a lot to process.  I am dealing with it by thinking about these rooms in the new house whenever I get frustrated by this house (and then I feel bad for feeling negative about this poor house and how I will miss it!). 
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This is the master bathroom with it's two fabulous sinks!  I never imagined I would get a bathroom like this when we talked about moving!  The thought of being able to use a hot styling tool without the cord sweeping around and knocking everything over makes me so happy!  Heeeheeheee!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Seventeen Months Tomorrow!

There is some excitement on our street today.  I don't know exactly what is going on, but it involves trucks and Bobcats and construction workers visible out our windows.  I think they are replacing sidewalks.  To a certain 16 month old this is the neatest and most entertaining thing that could possibly happen.  And I love it.  I don't care that it is loud and that it is obstructing traffic in a minor way.  I have been able to do so much in peace today because of this.  And while we were out looking we ran into my neighbor who was babysitting her great-grand daughter who is Ben's age and we ended up having an impromptu playtime in her backyard with the kids and her friend who came over for coffee.  She has a staircase in her back yard because of a retaining wall and Ben thought it was the neatest thing he had ever seen.  Note...get a staircase in backyard...

Ben has been showing lots of interest in trucks, tractors, wheels, and that sort of thing lately.  It makes me wonder about the gender controversy that some people fixate on, like that family in Canada who decided that no one but the family would know if their baby was a boy or girl so they could let the individual decide what colors, toys, clothes, etc. that he or she liked.  The child's name is Storm, and I just looked it up.  He or she was born in 2011 and it seems that no one knows which it is yet.  Studies ask if the person you become has to do with biology or how you were raised.  I have to wonder if it is connected to biology at least partially.  Ben has toys and books about trucks but he also has toys that could be for boys or girls traditionally.  And I am always talking about kittens and puppies, having him help me water the flowers, and doing many other things that do not involve trucks with him.  When I think about it, I don't do much with him that involves trucks at all.   I would be doing the same things I do with him if he were a girl.  I guess what I am saying is that I don't constantly bombard him with trucks and "boy" toys and books but he still gravitates toward them and points at them.  It's really interesting.  And cute.  It's cute that he is showing interest in specific things, including trucks and of course his favorite balls!  He notices ball shaped items everywhere.  He calls the cherry tomatoes at the garden balls and when I get out the carton of blueberries he says "ball"!  Good observation Ben!  You are correct, those things are all basically balls.  
It is hard to believe he will be seventeen months old tomorrow.  He is a crazy little guy.  He has been throwing fits with more frequency lately, which is really annoying and sometimes funny but mostly annoying because anything can set him off. 
This was last week.  I took him out of his car seat and he wanted to climb back into the pickup, which is kind of tall for him to climb into so I pulled him out and shut the door.  That's it.  He was made and threw himself on the ground and started kicking and screaming, oblivious to the fact that he was half laying in a bed of rocks. 
He really loves clipping and unclipping the straps on his various chairs. 

Here he is playing with the stroller.  He really enjoys playing with the high chair straps and the ones on shopping carts.  It is annoying because he would rather play than sit in these chairs so getting him strapped in is always a wrestling match.
Some current Ben facts for posterity...I guess it is my version of the Pinterest photos where an artistic person writes this stuff on a chalkboard in various artsy fonts and takes a picture of the kid with it every month like this...
Disclaimer...not my photo or my kid...Monthly baby photo - chalkboard
-He likes to throw his own diaper away after a change. 
-He loves to eat hot dogs.  Yuck. 
-He really likes to snuggle with and carry around stuffed animals. 
-He still loves baths and also going to the pool. 
-He would spend all day outside if he could.  I am in trouble when winter comes.
-He is getting new teeth.  How many, it is hard to say, because it is impossible to get a good look in his mouth.  The half-a$$ed brushing effort we make every night is hard enough.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I wrote this post a few weeks ago and got interrupted and just noticed now that I saved it as a draft but never published it.  So this is old news...but, as always, VERY interesting news.  Haha...

My cousin gave me this tray full of succulents over the 4th of July.  A few years ago, my sister and I were visiting her in Northern MN and her mother in law, who loves plants and gardening and worked at a greenhouse until recently, gave us each an agave plant.  They are both still alive.  I thought mine was fading over the winter this year but as soon as I put it outside in the sun it came back and became healthy again!  I was glad because I am attached to that thing. 

This new tray had a lot of potential. 

Succulents are native to harsh desert conditions and enjoy sandy soil and even grow between cracks in rocks.  They don't need much water since they store water in their leaves like a cactus but they don't mind water either.  And of course they like sun.  They have shallow roots so can be planted in shallow containers and don't mind being packed close together with other plants .

I rummage sale and thrift store shopped for some fun containers and found a few.  That one on the right is a bundt cake pan and the big one in the middle is a metal bowl with a rustic look to it.  Justin drilled drainage holes in them for me. 

I love them...they look like they belong in a fish tank!
We also have this cute little cactus in a pot.  Justin brought it home from a trip to Oklahoma.  He dug it out of the ground and scooped up it's preferred sandy soil and wrapped it in a bag and brought it home on the plane. 

It had two flowers bloom eventually and has several more.  Hopefully it will have more flowers this summer.  Now we officially have way too many plants around here!