Ah, Piper Sue...

Piper turned one on August 6th, and I can hardly believe it! Where oh where did the last year go? Seriously. I'm lost. The ten months we've lived in the Great Room have indeed flown by, praise God. And now it's time to move on - or, as my MIL Karen put it the other day, we're way beyond that time. Moving is going to be just the thing our little family needs!

So Piper's first birthday party was on Sunday the 7th. I worked Friday night, Saturday morning (followed closely by my ten year high school reunion - crap, I'm old), and Sunday morning. My weekend was packed, so as we got closer to the party, I worked hardest at maintaining my reason and logic: If the chocolate covered pretzels didn't materialize, the end of the world was not near.

With the oatmeal intolerance that came to light the week before (read on - I'll fill in that little detail at the end of this post), we decided that Piper would have a gluten-free cupcake, even though we already had a beautiful, gluten-full birthday cake in the process of being made.

The morning of the party, I finished work around 11a.m., and then whizzed home to change and box up all the stuff I would need to take over to Mom and Dad's for the party. Nate had the girls lunched, dressed for naps, and in the car before I could even say, "See you in a bit." He took them to Mom and Dad's to nap while we finished setting up for the party. I ran a couple errands, and then Nate called and convinced me to get to the house so that he could finish the errands.

When I got to Mom and Dad's, I began working on the cheeseball, veggie tray, etc. A co-worker from Starbucks came over and put the cake layers together and decorated the cake per the picture I had found in a Martha Stewart party book. The cake concept fit unbelievably well with the birds/nests theme I seem to always carry throughout my home and celebrations.

People began arriving exactly on time! I was late. Totally. I kept racing things out to the table on the back deck and then dodging back into the kitchen for more last minute touches. So not cool. I felt terrible. While I was doing that, Nate got the girls up and dressed and party presentable. (He even remembered their headbands - I have the best husband in the whole world!)

Piper took a look at all the people looking back at her and she began to cry. It was too funny. Hazel is such a little entertainer; Piper seems to be more modest, or timid maybe. I'm not sure. It took some time, but eventually she chippered up and began to chat with people.

When it was time for her to eat her cake, we stuck her in her bumbo chair, attached the tray, and presented her with her GF red velvet cupcake from New Seasons. She immediately pinched some frosting between her fingers and stuck it in her mouth very thoughtfully. It took .09 seconds for her to realize the cupcake was like a dream come true. She began shoveling it into her mouth with fervor.

Her sugar high carried for her a bit, and then she needed her bottle to cool down. Tutu took care of that. Tutu also gave her a bath to clean off all the red velvet (thank you, red dye #40).

Piper's first birthday was such a wonderful celebration! And so timely! She kicked C.diff's butt to the curb (with the help of her 10-day antibiotic & probiotic regimens); she began to focus on her motor skills, army crawling and scooting everywhere, pulling herself up on things; her weight skyrocketed up by two pounds in just under two weeks; she's chatting up a storm, pointing her little fingers and asking something akin to, "Whazzat?!" about everything. We had so much to celebrate with her.

And today I put her in some 12-month clothing. It fit! She is lengthening, and we see her chunking out in her face. Miss Pumpkin Pie is doing some serious growing!

A day after we got the news that she was over her C.diff, totally in the clear, I fed her some oatmeal (about 1.5 Tablespoons worth mixed with formula) and she threw it up about three hours later (same time frame as when she threw up awhile back). It was her first oatmeal since the ER visit. A little light went on in my head: "AHH! Oatmeal is a problem for her!" I called her pediatrician as soon as she tossed up her food and we decided that she's at least intolerant of oatmeal. We have no idea how far that extends, but we'll begin investigating when she's a little older. In the meantime, she won't be getting any food with flour in it. I make all her foods (fruits, veggies, proteins), so I'm able to be careful with her diet.

With the move about four weeks away, we have so much hope, joy, and anticipation. And gratefulness. I look back over where we've been, and at what God has carried us through, and I'm filled with an acute awareness of His daily presence in our lives. He steadily and surely walks with our little family.

We're headed over to house-sit for Uncle Richard in about two weeks - and then we begin to pack up our Great Room! This next month is going to fly by, I think. 


Guess what. Another move.

But I'm so excited about this one!

Don't get me wrong, we've been so blessed to live here. Paying less in our monthly expenses definitely came at the right time. But now it's time to expand and breath a little easier. We're looking forward to stretching our legs.

The apartment that Uncle Richard is building is still being built, with no real set date for completion. In the meantime, Nate and I decided to give his parents back their great room. It will be better for everyone - I know that Rick misses his awesome TV that we've been enjoying for the last (wait for it) nine months.

Our friends Dave and Tiffani (Dave is the guy I've mentioned before who introduced Nate and I, not once but twice, and they owned this house) have a separate residence on their property and we'll be moving in the second weekend of September.

As we lead up to that, I'm praying that this move is like any other move under the sun, and nothing whatsoever like the last move we made, which took about a month and a half to complete. It was absolutely ridiculous and terribly difficult on Nate. We need this transition to go smoothly and quickly. I have to work both days we're moving (don't judge, we can't go without my paycheck), but I'll be home by about 11:30a.m. - it's obviously not ideal, but we're going to make it work. If you're up for it, we won't say no to help with the move.

Our little family of four will be house-sitting for Uncle Richard from August 27-September 13 (a Saturday to a Tuesday). Each day we're house-sitting, the girls and I will return to the great room to pack. The girls will be able to play and nap like usual, but I'll be working like a mad woman to pack everything up. Since we're not even staying here at the time, we'll have what we need most immediately with us, which gives me the ability to pack literally everything in the great room.

So I'll spend the first two weeks of house-sitting packing. (I'm not packing before we leave for house-sitting because there is absolutely nowhere to put any boxes. Our space is too small, the garage is Rick's shop.) And then we'll move September 10-11, and I'll spend the next couple days setting up our house before we have to actually take residence. I'm super super excited. Here are some pictures:

The Garage:
The garage is huge. So big, in fact, that we'll be letting go of our storage unit. We'll move most of our stuff into our house (yippee!), but the stuff we don't want in there will be easily stored in the ginormous garage. Where you see Nate and Dave standing is the doorway to the outside. It lets into a "mudroom" of sorts. My car will pull in right next to them. There is enough room where they're standing for both the front and back passenger doors to open fully.
This is at the head of where my car is going to be parked. That space next to the water heater is a good amount of room - I'll be storing the girls' clothes and necessities in this nook. Along the wall to the left of all the equipment, we'll place the fridge that is currently in the apartment (replacing it with ours) and our chest freezer. I am stoked for the extra cold storage.
Nate's business stuff will sit to the right of my car (from this perspective). It will take up the front half of the garage, while our household storage stuff will take up the back half. Hopefully less...
This is the half-bath off the "mudroom."
The open door leads out to the mudroom and then outside. Nate and Dave are standing in more of our living room. The kitchen is to the right, I'm standing in the dining nook, Nate is standing where the coffee chair will go with a lamp, and Dave is standing in front of where the couch will be.
 I think the TV will be in the corner behind Dave, or under the stairs. We'll stick a chest in whichever space the TV isn't using, and that will hold the girls' toys. We have some other random furniture we'll fit in the living room space also.

 The apartment has an interesting history. Dave's mom is a chef, so when they decided to build a garage for their property, they decided to use half of it as an industrial kitchen, thus the brightly tiled floor and stainless steel backsplash. The upstairs they built into an apartment for their second daughter, her husband, and their four girls. When the kitchen was removed, the SIL cut a hole in the floor and built these stairs to lead down to the abandoned kitchen. Everything upstairs shifted around so that the kitchen moved downstairs, along with their living space.
 This is what I lovingly refer to as the kitchen "nook." I love nooks. They can make a space so cozy and friendly. I'm not sure what I'll finally end up doing in this space, but I'm imagining our dining room table slid back into that corner between the fridge and window, with our blue loveseat underneath the window and some sort of shelf to the right of that. Don't you fret - it'll look lovely. And you'll agree with me in the end that nooks are the best.
 These stairs are solidly built, but narrow. I imagined all sorts of accidents when I first saw them, but Dave assured me that in all the years people have been going up and down them, no one has ever been hurt. They have such a tight curve to them that you might fall a step or two, maximum, before coming nose to nose with the spindles.
 Upstairs looking down.
 This is the upstairs landing. Look, it's another nook! I'll do something cozy here, too. The door frame you're seeing is where I'll put the first baby gate. I'll use it to block the stairs when we're upstairs doing stuff but I want the girls to have access to the playroom, which is to the right (of the light switch).
 Playroom. It's doorless, so it can't be an office for Nate - he'd hear absolutely everything going on downstairs. Noise carries super well up those stairs.
 This is the view looking from the window back to where I was just standing. The stairs are to the right; that doorway on the left leads down the hall to the bedrooms, laundry space, and bathroom. That door frame is where I'll put the second baby gate, which I'll use when I'm downstairs and I want to allow the girls in the playroom but not down the hall.
 View from the playroom. With music lessons in their music room, students come and go regularly. I'll have to park in the garage and Nate will park in front of his trailer farther down the levels of parking (out of sight in this picture).

 Looking from the top of the stairs down the hall and all the way to our room.
 I walked down the hall and turned around to show you the doorway that leads toward the stairs. The girls room is just to the left of that door frame, and the bathroom is to the left of the girls. The curtain on the far left edge of the picture is where the laundry machines will be.
 The itsy bitsy room for the girls.
 No closet to speak of, because I don't call that metal organizer a closet.

 Space for the washer and dryer.

This is a shelving space next to the laundry. We have very little designated storage space, so I'm working hard to plan ahead to figure out how to make what little there is work for us.
 Opposite the laundry is this strange alcoved area. I think I'll be using my wooden shelves (currently serving as my pantry) to make more room to store stuff in this space. It's pretty long, you just can't tell from this picture. We need room to store towels and bathroom stockpile items. Plus the girls have no space for their dressers, so some of the alcove will be dedicated to that.
 This is looking into our bedroom. That is what used to be the front door to the apartment, before everything was switched around after the industrial kitchen was removed.
 I walked to the right of the door and turned to take this picture of where our bed will go.
 And then I walked to the left of the door and turned around to take this picture. Another nook! That will be Nate's office space. The closet is between his nook and the door to the hall. The nook isn't huge, but it's a better space than Nate's current office. He can mount more shelves to the wall to organize, and he has plenty of room for his cabinets, desk, and computer. He's stoked.

 Our one closet. In the whole house. It will hold the hanging clothes for the girls and then all my stuff and Nate's stuff, along with the vacuum cleaner and all my Mary Kay goodies.
 I turned around in the closet and took this picture. Guess what - ANOTHER NOOK! I plan on putting my desk there.
 This is the deck that leads down from our room. I told Nate that he can come and go during the day without the girls ever really needing to know. That's been something that's tough on his daytime hours. When he comes home to work, they obviously know he's here, and they obviously want some of his time. It affects his schedule, so I think this separate entrance will be good for him. But he loves the girls too much to take it too seriously - heck, he just got home from work a second ago and went in to wake them up to say good night. He misses them when he's gone.
 You can see some faint green lines in the grass by that closest white out-building. That's where Nate will park.

The door on the left is the half-bath; the door straight ahead leads into our apartment; the door on the right leads outside. It's a little odd, but the door outside leads into our garage, rather than the apartment, so hearing people at the door might prove interesting.
I'm not entirely sure why this picture popped up all the way down here...But oh the work it would take to move it up. Not gonna do it. This is the kitchen. Not a great picture, but it gives you the idea. There's space under those corner shelves to install a counter-height narrow table. I want to use it for my computer and additional counter space. It would be awesome. I'll have to figure out how to accomplish that, especially since I'm kind of counting on it right now. As you can see, I need the additional work space. We're planning to put our kitchen nook table in the center of the kitchen. We're going to raise it up as best we can so it is more counter height also; I'll clip the girls' hookon chairs to the table and they'll be stuck there as long as I want them to be - bahahahah.
What am I looking forward to most you ask? Well, let's see:
1. My bedroom will become a sacred space. I'm soo tired of my bed being what gets climbed on and trashed more than any other item in our great room, including toys.
2. A kitchen of my own! Oh the wonderful things I will accomplish with a stove and dishwasher at my constant disposal!
3. A separate and defined space for absolutely everything. We're all melded together right now. I'm over it.
4. I get the best parking spot! I go from the worst to the best and I'm not ashamed to admit  how thrilled I am about this small thing.
5. Do I need more? Really? Grass for Hazel to run in, which is safe and car free.
6. Their own room. Hazel will transfer to a big girl bed and Piper will take over her safe crib (versus the illegal drop-side one she's in now).
7. Hazel will potty train.

Yippee! There's more but I'm being called on by my husband to work with him on our budget. Oy.