On Saturday night we went to a costume party with the guys Jason plays with and their families. The three bandmates dressed up as the boss, Guy Penrod. It was a hilarious surprise! We all had a great time. Ali wore her dog suit but ditched it halfway through the party before I got any photos. I had about 3 hours notice to get ready and figure out a costume so I borrowed Ali’s dress up butterfly wings and whipped up some antennae with hot gun, pipe cleaners and ping pong balls. I was a butterfly…or a bug…or a bee. I’m not sure.
Alianna’s room has made the full transition from a nursery to a big girl room. In the past couple weeks we moved the twin IKEA Kura bed into her room. Eventually we’ll flip it over so she can have a low loft bed, which I know she’ll love. For now, she has no idea it does that. She does LOVE to hang and swing off the bar at the end of the bed. With the addition of the bed, I swapped her nightstand out with the IKEA Ribba book ledges we’ve had for years. They’re positioned to work with the bed in either position. We’re all loving the new bed and she’s only fallen out once – yay! Her old dresser was a vintage find from a local antique store and was perfect size and height to use as a changing table. With baby Froggie on the way and since I took away Ali’s two drawer nightstand, it was time to get her a taller dresser. I went with the unfinished wood IKEA Tarva so I could customize the look for less money. I ended up building the whole thing myself (though Ali helped me with the drawers!) and doing all the painting and staining myself too. Usually when we do home projects Jason takes the lead. He’s more experienced and much more detail-oriented than me. He’s in a busy work season, though, so I’m pretty proud of myself for how this turned out. Ali was not crazy about the idea of a new dresser until the day she helped me build the drawers. Now that she’s personally invested, she’s very excited about it. In the upgrades to her room we also added a real curtain rod. When we moved in we bought a cheap tension rod to be used temporarily and almost two years later it kept falling down when she’d try to open the curtains. This room continues to be one of my favorites in our house.
A few months ago I wrote about her Lottie dollhouse and the Barbie furniture my granny name for me.
I bought a small digital clock to fit on her shallow shelves and it happened to have colored numbers. It’s actually been quite helpful in teaching her to read the time. We used to use a timer and light for “OK to come out of your room now” but we’ve been using a digital clock now that she can easily recognize numbers. With this clock it’s even easier to say, “You can get out of your bed when you see the green 8.”
I love all the special touches: this name banner made by a friend after her adoption, the flower was an adoption day gift from another friend, the crocheted owl blanket was a gift from her Nana for her 3rd birthday.
Here’s a before picture of the Tarva dresser, straight from the IKEA website.
And after paint and stain.
My summer-loving family has been thoroughly enjoying fall this year. Friday evening we went to a fall family festival at a church down the street from us. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Ali jumped in the bouncy house and got her face painted. We did a cake walk until we won a pumpkin cake. I love the change of seasons in Tennessee.
Last week we were asked if we could do a last minute respite placement for a 4-year-old boy. We agreed and then scrambled to get a bed ready for him. We’ve been in the process of moving furniture around in the past couple weeks (months?) and went from having a crib and twin bed in the foster kids room to crib and bed frame. Then two weekends ago we had a crib and no bed at all. This room is almost all the way put together and when it is, I’ll do a full post about it. But here’s the bed and night stand, ready less than 24 hours before our respite guy arrived.
If I were to give his fella a blog nickname it would be Rhinoceros. He’s full of energy and stomps around like a large animal. He was full of noise and motion. He and Ali had a lot of fun. Jason and I were thankful it was just for two nights. Even though it was very tiring, I’m thankful we were able to help his foster family out with a restful break.
Alianna, my mom and I took a trip up to Philadelphia to visit and celebrate my niece Iris’ third birthday. Ali and I had not had a chance to meet my newest nephew Jack and niece Tahlia in person yet – they’re 9 and 8 months old respectively – so that was a big highlight for me. Ali’s highlight was playing with her cousin Iris and all of Iris’ toys. She also got to spend a morning playing with her cousin Eli. My brother and sister and I haven’t been together since last Christmas and I can’t remember we took a photo of the three of us. The morning before we flew home we went to a local farm with a pumpkin patch, hayride, fabulous muddy puddles, lots of farm animals and fields and fields of beautiful zinnias.
I’m officially in my second trimester with Baby Froggie now. He or she is the size of a peach and getting bigger everyday, as is my belly. I’ve graduated to maternity pants. I can’t even bear the pressure of the belly band on my regular pants anymore – perhaps because I usually wear pretty tight fitting clothes. I’ve gained around 10 lbs. and it’s no wonder because food! I want to eat everything that crosses my mind or my nose. My only real pregnancy symptoms are hunger and tiredness. I’ve been craving spicy foods since the very beginning, and still do some as well as salty/vinegary things like soup, pickles and olives. I’ve had a touch of heartburn after too much of the above but no big deal. I’m very thankful to be feeling good. We got to hear a good strong heartbeat at my 12 week check up and we’ll get to take a listen again at my 16 week appointment. Soon after that I should be starting to feel Froggie’s movements which is fascinating and not as freaky as I initially thought. In early December we’ll have the big ultrasound appointment where we’ll hopefully find out whether we have a son or a daughter swimming around in there.
A simple Saturday afternoon project gave our chickens a lot more freedom. We’d been letting them out into our whole backyard sometimes, usually when we were home to supervise, because they’ve been destroying some of our garden plants and mulch beds and pooping on our patio. The worst was when Sunny, my super friendly hen, would stand at the backdoor step to look in and peck on the window, and then eventually drop a gift on the back step for us. Gross. We decided that a portable, accordion-style fence would be a good solution to give them more yard space while still protecting the areas where we spend the most time. The girls are happy and I’m happy. It’s been a couple weeks and they’ve managed to eat all of the grass pictured here. We’ll be mulching the area in the coming weeks. If any fellow backyard chicken keepers are curious, it’s 3 feet high and we’ve only had some escapes early one. One chicken in particular got to the other side several times but then was pretty stressed out about being separated from her friends. If it continues to be a problem, I’ll add a wire across the top of the fence so they’re not able to land on it. I’m pretty sure they’re not able to clear the fence without perching on it first but I’ve never seen an escape in action.
We have five layers now. The sixth should be starting within a month. Omlet, the Buff Orpington, is the last one to join the party but I can tell she’s close because suddenly she’s not just unafraid of me—she runs to me—and then submissively squats if I reach in her direction. Last week I got to pet her for the first time since she left the brooding box.
We’ve been getting 1 or 2 speckled eggs everyday. This was was particularly pretty with blue specks. I think it’s my Black Star, Poach, but I’m not positive.
We recently spent an afternoon at the pumpkin patch with a couple of Ali’s besties and their parents. Jaron is our friend and neighbor and Eliza is Ali’s cousin. These three have been friends since birth—and we’ve been friends with their parents for much longer—so it’s always special to see the three of them together. They had a great time picking out pumpkins, exploring the activities and going on a hayride. I remembered to get out my good camera for a change. (Jason was on the road that day.)