Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rules to be a Big Boy


My baby turned 3 on the 16th. Sigh. While a part of me wants to jump with joy over the fact that I technically no longer have a baby in the house, the other part of me is female. And that part makes me sad to realize that my sweet baby Nash is a "big boy" now. 


I always said (before I had children when I was in fact not just a genius but someone who knew everything on child-rearing, you know...that type) that I would never be "that mom" that got all teary about my children growing up. It is so funny how things come back to get you. Each and every time. And in being true to myself...I didn't get all teary with either for the first 6 months. I have never been the best mother for a newborn. The whole sleep deprivation, nursing issues, hormones, schedules, did I mention sleep deprivation, etc. was never something I excelled at. Survival mode was certainly the word for it. With Louisa, it was only just recently when I actually realized how fast she was growing. I think with your first child you are so excited for all the milestones that instead of feeling sad about the child growing, you are just happy to experience the milestone. Louisa turning 5, starting kindergarten and more recent on the verge of turning 7 is where she "got me." She has always been such a precocious child that it is silly to say, but it never really dawned on me. But Byron and I made a deal with her. From now on, she isn't getting older. She is working her way back down to 5 years and once she gets there she will stay. Let's see how well that works.

With Nash it is a different story. Knowing it is your last baby (I know, I know...setting myself up for karma here) makes it all different. It isn't just the first time your baby walks, but it is also the last time you will have a baby taking first steps. It isn't just taking down a crib for a big boy bed...it is putting the crib away for years and years. Ugh. That was hard. And as much as I gripe about changing diapers, I know one day when Nash starts kindergarten and finally decides he wants to potty train I may miss it. 

Life is strange, and life is hard. But life is oh so sweet.

And this child...


Well, I still haven't figured him out. It amazes me how my children can be so similar yet be 2 totally different human beings. The problems I had with Louisa as a 2 year old are so far away from the problems I deal with Nash. Gender has a lot to do with it, but so does the whole birth order hoopla. Louisa is so similar to me that we butted heads, but I could generally figure her out and know what made/makes her tick. Nash is so not that easy. He is very unmotivated, which couldn't be more opposite from me if he tried. Maybe, just maybe, Byron and I managed to produce a child with that isn't Type A. I can hardly wrap my head around that, but it would make so much sense. What works for me, doesn't for Nash. What works for Nash, makes me twitch. If he has taught me one thing, it is to slow down. That child is in no hurry what-so-ever. I remember reading a blog written by a mother talking about how she found herself always saying "hurry up" and how she realized it affected her relationship with her children. That was one of those posts that hit home to me as I say "hurry up" often. My Type A personality is always working to be efficient and productive. And thankfully sweet ole Nash was thrown into the mix to teach me to slow down. Smell the roses. Arrive late. I am adapting slowly, but must admit I am enjoying it. If you sit back long enough to let it all sink in...children teach the best lessons. When you think about it, what they see in life are the simple things. The things that matter void of any other distractions. How can they not teach the best lessons? I am working on myself to be a better listener and follower. I've never been one to follow rules, major character flaw, I know...but this old dog is slowly learning new tricks.

Speaking of rules, I told Nash that once he turned 3 he was considered a big boy. And I told him there were certain rules to being a big boy. With his big blue eyes and chubby cheeks he looked at me and innocently asked what those rules were. I told him that it meant he was no longer allowed to whine (nothing makes me cuckoo-er than a whine) and that he had to listen to whatever Mommy and Daddy said and follow directions. I sounded so matter of fact but deep in the back of my mind I knew better. My almost 7 year old doesn't even follow those rules (oops...the apple doesn't fall far, maybe my non-rule-following self is coming back to bite me). So while it was all official of me to lay down the law I knew good and well that those same chubby cheeks and blue eyes would be his get out of jail free card. Always. 

So, until I learn what makes this 3 year old (sobs) tick...this is what I have to contend with.

 

The whining, the temper tantrums, the refusal to follow rules, the pouts, etc. You know, no one ever warns you about that 3rd year. You hear all about the terrible 2's, but everyone stays all hush-hush about the 3's. I went into that year blind with Louisa and just barely made it out alive, so I feel prepared this time around. Let's see how well that preparation plays in my favor. Haha.

As I was just searching back through pictures - I had to include these. I had almost forgotten about the "original pout." Sweetness. 
 

With all that said, terrible 2's and tricky 3's....no matter what is behind or ahead of us, Happy Birthday sweet Baby Nash! We love you!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 3 of 3...right?


Day 3 of 3. That phrase is a good phrase. It brings back fond memories of my days on the floor at the Children's Hospital. No matter how bad it got, usually day 3 of 3 you knew you would survive. You most likely had the same patients back and most of them you had gotten squared away and figured out. Haha, yeah right. Well, at least you knew the next day you weren't coming back. The next span of 24 hours was all yours. 

Well, I am not busting it on the floor now a days. But, I am halfway through snow day 3 of 3. And so far we have all survived. There have been moments in which my sanity teetered on the dangerous edge, but it is quite familiar with that edge and feels comfortable teetering. I am cool as long as it doesn't fall off. Methods to the madness. The children's My saving grace has been having Byron home. Thank you ENT of Athens for closing up clinic these 2 days. I mean it. 

I blogged about snow day 1 in which we had Sonic ice cubes falling from the sky. It was true. Straight up crunchy ice from the sky. Just ask Byron, he said it made for a great companion to Scotch. Well, day 2 we woke up to a nice thick layer of ice topped with more Sonic ice cubes. I am talking lots of ice. As my sister in law said, the kind that when you play you wind up with skinned knees and busted tail bones. She is so right. But the snow began later in the day and it didn't stop. It kept on and on and on. It was wild. The streets were covered and you could no longer tell what was the grass and what was the street.


Is it ironic that I was worried that a bathing suit package was in here? Turns out since the government is shut down it is all delayed. Thankfully I don't need to don the swimsuit as my mailbox is frozen shut anyways.


At the end of day 2 I was amazed at how much was actually still falling. Most of it was snow by this point, but it kept coming and coming. When you are from the South this is not something you are accustomed to at all. Snow day 3 was announced and we all got excited about sleeping in again and I kept my fingers crossed our power would remain on overnight.

Thankfully we woke this morning not only to a BEAUTIFUL blanket of white snow on West Clover but also to power and a warm house. I am so thankful for a gargantuan gas furnace with floor registers in the cold. After breakfast and appropriate snow day lounging around the layering of the clothing began again.

 I heart this child.


PS - check out Nash's waterproof gloves. I have the best neighbors ever.


This snow was good snow. Granted, it sat on top of about an inch or more of solid ice...but it was the good snowball kind of snow. The kids took full advantage of that. Pay no mind to the plumber in my front yard. Hehe.


Of course we all took advantage of the slopes on the side of our yard too. Byron got brave and attempted some snowboarding. Thankfully he got up in one piece. Phew. Remember what I said earlier about things being so much easier with him?


Again, Lucy loves the snow. Or maybe she just loves to be included. I know one thing, she sure was mad at me when I made her go inside halfway through the morning. She just now started speaking to me again. Ouch.


 You can always tell her tracks...


It looks as though she has a pirate with a peg leg walking alongside of her from how she drags that back leg (the ACL that we didn't have surgically repaired).

Speaking of tracks - I still cannot get over the amount of snow. 


I've talked numerous times before about the abundance of children in our neighborhood. It really makes a difference. It was SO MUCH FUN today because kids were out everywhere. We maxed out this sled's capacity to head around the corner to a steeper slope.
 

Once there, we had the best time watching the older kids FLY down the hills. Thankfully our kids were too interested in the water flowing under the sheets of ice (and cheesing) to worry with the steep hill. My blood pressure thanks you kids. Promise. 


After a few hours of play the little wolf had expired, as he usually does. So, it was back to West Clover to remove all of the wet layers and thaw out. Now the sunshine has come out and it is all quickly melting away. I will say it is sad to see it go, but I am ready for it to be gone. It has been a lot of fun and thankfully we have all managed to survive. I know these sweet kiddos sure had a blast!


Goodbye snow...I plan to get some good waterproof gear soon so I am sure I will see you again once it is all outgrown. :)


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stay Safe, Warm and Sane

Those are the words of encouragement I gave a friend earlier on what looks to be day 1 of 3 for snow days this week. While I should probably be way more concerned with the first 2, we all know better. Sanity is hard to come by as a mother. In my case, it is almost a fantasy. Throw in a few snow days where everyone is confined and there really is no going anywhere and let's just prepare ourselves for Momma to fly over the cuckoo's nest.

Last night when the announcement was made that school was closed today I must confess. My first thought was relief that I didn't have to wake up early. I don't really function before 7 am. It just isn't pretty. So, I poured myself another glass of wine and settled in with my book. I had visions of a sweet snow day with my adorable children and making crafts and everyone riding the get along bus. 

This, instead is how it went down:

It isn't even 10 am and both children are in their rooms in time out. One is already on strike number 2, the other is currently laughing at me as I discipline. It was in that moment that I realized my visions of what is so NOT my family anyways had flown the cuckoo's nest as well. We could continue on the path of destruction or accept that attitude adjustments (or as Nash said, "latitude justmens") are in need for everyone as we are probably going to be stuck inside together another 2 days. So, I cranked up the Golden Oldie channel on Pandora and jumped in the shower. By the time I was dressed the kids were dancing in the hallway (with no arguing) to some Smokey. Motown is the cure-all, right?

 

I am not the first to say motherhood is hard. And I won't be the last. And I wont be the only one to survive it. See how optimistic I am being? I am so unbelievably lucky that I get the opportunity to stay home with my children. I know my husband would never believe it, but I adore having my kids home with me. Yes, they drive me bat poo crazy, but they do have their moments. Like these.


Thankfully, these moments do happen. And I find they are impeccably timed. You know, right as you are about to lose your ever-living mind you find them doing something to surprise you. Now, don't get me wrong. In another hour we will all be at each others throats again. Such is life in the Norris house. We don't dress it up here or try to make it what it isn't. We are a house full of hot-heads and strong personalities. I already have the Carolina beach music station ready to go for the next "latitude justmen" period. I just wish I was joining Phoebe Cates on a trip to Myrtle Beach in the 60s.

Murray, clearly isn't phased by it all. But I may say that if I laid in bed all day long I would probably be numb to it all too. Tough life for a lazy tabby.

 
Back to the snow - well, Sonic ice cubes in our case today.


The kids are super excited and have been watching it fall from the windows all day. Oh my word, I just realized they are holding hands in this picture. See, what was that I said about timing? I was just about to lose my patience because Nash clearly isn't napping (AGAIN) upstairs.


Lucy is pulling a "reincarnated brown dog moment" (I will have to blog about that soon) and barking at it falling.


 And I am trying to muster up the excitement I felt a few weeks back about the snow. I just am not feeling it this time. According to the weather, the worst is yet to come and maybe it is more fear that holds back my excitement. Or, maybe it is because I am so stinking OVER the cold weather. I think I got my feelings hurt after this weekend. It was so pretty. I put the finishing touches on Nash's birthday teepee while Lucille stood guard in the driveway. It was in the 60's. And then I started to strip furniture. These are things I love to do and I cannot do them when it is cold. Darn.


Whiny Amy, party of 1 here. I probably should have a hang tag that says "for optimal growth place in full sun with toes in sand and keep out of cold weather." On that note, I think it is time to hit the fabric store. And maybe the grocery if I am feeling all responsible. And who knows, I might even get crazy enough to visit the outdoor gear store to see if they have replenished their inventory of waterproof gloves for kids so my kids can play in the snow with the absence of grocery store bags tied on their hands. Wait a minute...I think I am trying to get a little too fancy there.

Until the next snow day, here's to everyone's sanity! Especially in the presence of this one right here...


Monday, February 3, 2014

If These Walls Could Talk

I feel pretty certain they spend a lot of time laughing at me. And that's fine and dandy because the joke probably is on me. You see, that is what happens when you fall head over for an old house. Immediately, the joke is on you. You would think that one day I would learn, but honestly I think I'd rather be laughed at by old, cracked, non-square plaster walls any day.

I am a hopeless romantic when it comes to an old house. One look at a solid wood door and my knees buckle. Give me a single-pane, wavy glass window and I fall to pieces. Show me a house with 12 different small little rooms that seem to mimic a maze and I am a goner. The higher the ceilings, the harder I fall. If there is a wide central hall with a staircase, well...let's just say get out the defibrillator. 

I didn't grow up in an old house, so I cannot be sure where my love affair comes from. It is a sickness, and anyone who shares in my passion knows exactly what I am talking about. There is no kind of liking an old house, it is all or nothing. And well, that just about sums up my personality to a tee. My most favorite magazine in the whole wide world is This Old House. I give it to Byron every year for his birthday because I am so generous like that. The second a new one comes in the mail I grab it and turn to the last page. You see, this is where they feature some gem on an old house that is in dire need of repair, love, moving, etc. And the price is always so right. One day, I am going to flip to that page and find one with my name written all over it. And it will be close enough for me to acquire or to even move. To me, that moment is equal to meeting Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Be still my heart.

But, until that day...let me tell you all about the love affair with my most recent. West Clover. I figure if I am jumping back into keeping my blog updated, renovations and projects will be in store. So maybe if I give everyone a good background you wont find me near as crazy as I may seem. Methods to my madness. If I was to ever write a book that would be my title. It really is my motto. That and "I can do that." Which totally explains the predicaments I get myself into.

Before I get too off-kilter, back to if these walls could talk. After they got done laughing at me, I think they would thank me. This house had been a rental property for years and years and years before we bought it. In a college town, that isn't necessarily the best fate for a house. I have met so many people in this town that either lived here, went to a party here, got wasted on the screened porch, had a friend that lived in the garage apartment, etc. It is crazy how well my house is known. Every now and then, I am so "fortunate" to hear stories. And let me just tell you, while I am no square not a prude a total bore sigh, let's face it...not as cool as I used to be, I just don't want to know. One guy started into a story and I had to place my hands over my ears and run and crawl into fetal position in the corner when I heard the words "baby pool, jello, bikinis and the dining room" all in one sentence. Oh my stars. So, let's face it - my rowdy kids are probably a relief for these sweet, old crooked walls. If these walls really could talk, I might have to ask them to hush their mouths. :)

Sit back and let me tell you a love story. On a cold, windy day in November of 2011 I set my eyes on this beauty for the first time (after my real estate agent told me I didn't want to see it, mind you). 


Now, I will be the first to admit - nothing special, right? Honestly, our house doesn't win awards in the curb appeal department. (I must note too this picture is how it looks about a year after we bought here...below is a nice before new roof and digging up bushes photo)


But when I walked in the front door (solid fir, might I add), the first thing I saw was the crystal doorknobs and the old mortise locks. On EVERY door.


Not sure if you know this about me or not, but in a former life I was an old door with a crystal knob. We have a connection that I cannot begin to explain. But from the first doorknob, I was hooked. (PS - I have been stripping all of the doors. These are 2 that have already been stripped. It is very much so a labor of love and with any old house there are 2,831 doors, but worth every minute with my heat gun and sandpaper.)

  
Clearly, I didn't buy this house for it's amazing air-tight properties. Check out that nice space between door and jamb. At least you never have to step outside to see if it is cold, just go stand by the back door.

 

This one right here makes me never doubt my sanity when I decided to strip all the doors. WHY would you paint that??


After my heart skipped a few with the doorknobs, I lifted my head to high ceilings and fat moldings holding up plaster walls and ceilings. I may have been holding my breath.


Well, if I wasn't already holding my breath...I certainly did when I stepped around the corner and caught glimpse of the arch. My knees buckled.

 
 

To this day, that arch remains my fave part. It is right off the main hallway so thankfully it gets a ton of use. In fact, on this wall right here is something that I believe the walls of this house love maybe more than I do. PS - see how much better those 2 panel doors look stripped?

 

Here's a closer look. This is where we mark our heights. This is our home. This is where we grow. I cannot hardly stand it. This is life on West Clover.


Through this arch is one of my favorite views in the house. I love to look through it and see the staircase and my fave piece of furniture in the world. PS - this may or may not be the view from the toilet. At least it is a good one, right?


In fact, that view to me is magical, because when the sun starts to set, this is what happens. And it stops me in my tracks every time. It never fails.

 

While on the subject of the bathroom, I also fell in love with the tile floor. You cannot beat an original black and white tile floor. Not even with a stick. But don't try it here, I am deeply attached to the floor and I may have to hurt you.


 And lastly, if I didn't already know I wanted this house that day, the 3 gargantuan windows across the front of the house sealed the deal. They are single pane, not at ALL energy efficient and covered in years of bad paint jobs - but I heart them. Clearly, so does Lucille.

 

But, as I said earlier...joke is on me. And I will share. I did NOT fall in love with this house for the beautiful light fixture in the kitchen. I had to paint the cabinets one of my fave shades just so I could have a distraction.


Nor did I fall for the teeny kitchen with an awful layout, 3 doors and a fridge that pokes halfway into the center of it.


Oh but wait...I did fall for those beat up pine floorboards that are breaking apart. I must say, it is nice to be able to peek through the floorboards to make sure the basement light is off. :)


I also did NOT buy this house for the beautiful tub on the main floor. Seriously. I shower in this daily. It is gross. I often wonder if I am even clean when I get out.


 And I cannot forget to mention the next set of beautiful lighting. Try not to be jealous.


And last, but certainly NOT least...we did not, repeat, did NOT buy this house for the water pressure. It is laughable. This is full blast water going on here. You cannot run 2 faucets at once.


Full blast water in scary shower. Did I mention I wondered if I really got clean?


Now that we can laugh about it, I will post one of my fave quotes about an old house. I got it out of This Old House (duh) years back. 

"To love an old house is to know patience, appreciation, hard work, Murphy's law and lunacy."

'Tis so true. I wanted to blog about my dear house because I love it, yes. But, it also has been on my mind a lot lately. We knew buying it that it was a total renovation. That was something else we loved, it hadn't been touched since the day it was built. To me, that is a jackpot! Yes, I love old houses - but I also love function. So, we are on the brink of Phase 3 of West Clover. 1st was the upstairs, 2nd was the back porch and 3rd is a doozy. It includes the kitchen, dining and living room and the removal of one big, ole crooked plaster load-bearing wall. I'd be dishonest if I told you I didn't get sad about losing that wall, but at the same breath - I am ready to see it go. Our architect is coming over tonight to work on plans and I just might tinkle my pants out of excitement. I am so ready for this phase. This will be the biggest transformation West Clover gets (other than exterior paint job) and it will be the most welcomed too. So, before he gets here - I think I have a date on my swing with some afternoon coffee under that beautiful oak tree that also put a hook, line, sinker in me that day in November. Consider this a Valentine's to my house. ;)


 Cheers.