It's been one year and 11 months since I last posted. The good news is that I don't have to say that's it been two full years. I may not have kept up with my blogging goal, but I have been productive in other ways over these past two years (it's just easier than saying 1 year and 11 months...and I'm feeling lazy, obviously not for the first time). I have two more kids than the last time I checked in, and I didn't steal either one of them, so that means the better part of the last 23 months I've been cultivating a small human in my person. For me that means less blogging...or no blogging; it just does. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things because, there is something therapeutic about this blogging thing. --And if I ever expect it to pay the bills, I need to get a little better at it. Okay, that was a joke, because for a lot of reasons this blog is bound to be a very inelegant thing if it lasts at all. But I'm going to give it a shot. That's it for today. I know, I'm such a tease.
It's been so long since we've posted that we are just going to pretend that no time has past and update you on only the recent happenings in the Malden household. If you don't like that, well, you are going to have to take that up with mom. ...aaaaand we should warn you, she's been a bit cranky lately, but more about that in a minute.
So last month was occupied mainly by our birthdays if you as us. Gavin had a super crazy scientist party. It was a blast!
We made oobleck.
And did lots of crazy experiments.
But of course everyone's favorite was the dancing raisins because we got to drink it. :)
I had my party a couple weeks later. Mom actually thought she might get away with not making too big of a deal out of mine since planning Gavin's party kind of wore her out, but with all that fuss for Gav's party, of course I started talking about how fun MY party was going to be. ....Sooo they had to throw me a party, too! Well, actually two, one family party and one with friends. Altho, apparently we didn't get too many photos of my friends--oops :)
Family party. That's daddy's hand making sure everyone stays on beat for the birthday song. Ha!
Elliot, here! Well, you'd never know it's go-back-to-school-time around here! It's still beastly hot...and we're not going to school! :) But we're making the most of it. Just a few comments about recent days.
We've been kinda bored this summer because it has been crazy hot (as I already mentioned), so we were stuck indoors much of the time and that's just a drag. We have successfully twisted mom's arm and scored a few zoo trips--only to leave after less than 1.5 hours because the aquarium wasn't interesting anymore and there are no other airconditioned spots at the zoo.
Daddy built us a tree house. It's awesome, awesome, awesome! We'll post pics as soon as we finish painting it. Plans are to add a slide soon, but for now it just has two ladders and it's way up high and no girls are allowed. We really really enjoyed helping daddy build it. We'd get out in the heat for some of that action. He let us pound nails and paint with cool green paint--he's really rad!
Gavin is still reading and learning like a crazy man, and I get the good end of things b/c he's teaching me some stuff. He gets a little crazy sometimes, tho. Like when he's telling me "Push the STOP button, Elliot," he doesn't really get it that I can't quite read yet. Ugh. He just needs to step up his teaching, that's all. He likes to tell me all the names of places on the map--that's one of our favorite things to learn together. We also practice the sounds the letters make and how to draw them. It's very rare that I draw typical two-year-old scribble art; I am always trying to mimic Gavin's letter writing or make a smiley face. I really like to paint, too, and altho the letter theme is a pretty common one in my work I branch out a little more with watercolors because they do such cool stuff when you combine colors and such.
One update on a sad note: My pacifier went the way of all pacifiers. It took a ride into the wild blue yonder tied to a half dozen helium balloons. It was a pretty sad time for me. We went out to a sunshiny park and made sure the balloons were all securely attached and then my old friend Nunu rose slowly into the sky and drifted away on the wind. I watched it every second until it was out of sight. Ironically all the balloons had smiley faces on them. I think that was just poor taste on Mom's part to pick happy balloons. She should have known what a solemn occasion it would be. In the end it was probably harder for her to watch me putting on such a brave face than for me to muster up the courage to say goodbye to my old friend Nunu. ...I do still miss him some nights tho...and mom does too, when I'm fussing in the middle of the night :).
I am really loving our church. My room mom is one of my best friends. When we wake up on Sundays and mom or dad reminds me that it's church day I always mention something about Ms. Terry. Love her! Oh, and there are other fun kids in class, and play dough, and snacks, and other fun things...but Ms. Terry is the coolest!
Speaking of cool: that's one of my favorite things to say. Parent or sibling will show me something new: Oh, that's cool, is often my reply. Usually quite nonchalantly, I might add. :}
Ok, it' s late in this time zone. Eyes are closing...so ...
Here are some photos...
This is me, Elliot...just bein' goofy wearing a winter hat in the blistering summer heat of Louisiana.
Here's ole Gav wearing an exercise mat on his head. I'd argue that that's even sillier than the winter hat in the dead of summer.
This is me counting money like daddy. That's what he does all day long. He's a banker. ;)
Oh, yeah, we're getting our hammer on. Daddy lets us do dangerous stuff when we hang out with him, cuz he's cool like that.
In the interest of time, this post has not been edited. Please overlook typos, misplaced modifiers, verb tense irregularities and other snafus. Might have time to edit in future, but no guarantee :). ~em
Whoa, when I checked on the blog to see how far back I'd have to go to catch everyone up I knew it would be a while, but I never would have dreamed that nearly SIX MONTHS have gone by. I haven't kept very good notes over these months, but I take lots of photos (altho not as many as I used to), so I'll be using those to update on specific items of interest. In general, though, we've been busy. December 2009 - June 2010 has been pretty hectic. Thus the lack of blogging.
The big news that set our recent flurry of activity into motion was an offer from Jon's old company to bring us back to Baton Rouge and pay Jon a respectable salary (which they weren't doing before :). After much deliberation and prayer we realized that this was the way God was leading us. So we set that whole process in motion. There were houses to sell and buy and boxes to pack; trucks to load ... well I really don't want to bore y'all with the details, but those selfsame details are what has been taking precedence over blogging: there were millions and they were as boring as they were stressful.
So with that as the backdrop, we attempted to continue our normal life until the move date which was set for February 1, 2010. Christmas was quite eventful. We travelled to Baton Rouge to be with my family (first Christmas without my mom). We were all together except two of my sisters (Jael was in Norway helping Jessica and her family out with the birth of their fourth little girl). We missed them, but we were grateful the rest of us could be together. It wasn't to last, tho. Crazy enough Elliot got a really scary case of croup and for Christmas Eve, Day and the day after Christ I was IN THE HOSPITAL with him. Of course his health and safety were everyone's foremost concern, but after a year of crazy occurrences it was sort of icing on the cake that a freak case of croup would keep our family from celebrating Christmas day all together. Elliot was a good patient for a couple of days (while he felt really really terrible), but when he started to feel better he was climbing the walls of his hospital room. I could go the rest of my life without trying to keep a two year old calm in a hospital room. Whew.
The big events in January were the boys birthdays and my half marathon. For Gavin's birthday (turning 4) I had a day at a kids ranch all planned out, but it was 17 degrees that day and they weren't open. So we went to the Houston Children's Museum which was packed (popular indoor place usually b/c of the heat, but works just as well when it's too cold). The boys had a really great time, and it was my first time to have help (Jon) while enjoying the museum, so we were each able to chase a boy around which was a lot of fun for us, too. Elliot's birthday was a small event at home. Our super fantastic wonderful amazing neighbors, Bob and Carolyn, who the boys adore came over and helped us celebrate. Well, truthfully, they were the party. Elliot was over the moon and it was a perfect evening :).
My 1/2 Marathon was an amazing experience about which I will post more separately. UH-mazing!!
At the end of the month our wonderful dog Lady Mac got run over right in front of our house (and right in front of Jon, Gavin and I). It was a really horrifying experience. The drivers of the truck that hit her stopped and were just beside themselves as she limped to the side of the road screeching in pain. I rushed her to the vet and miraculously she had sustained no internal injuries other than a broken pelvis and dislocated hip. After a few days of observation she came home. In a few weeks she was back to nearly normal. She'll probably always limp, but we are so thankful that she was spared to be with our family for years to come. Communicating with Gavin about all of that was a challenge, but I tried to be as straightforward with him as possible; kids can understand so much more than we give them credit for.
February was pretty much moving and all that jazz. Boring and stressful but God was so gracious. Jon's dad came and helped Jon do the heavy lifting and a ton of cleaning on the house in Houston. Wow. What a blessing!! And it was decided that it would be easier for them to work if the kids weren't underfoot. I was nervous about driving 5 hours with them by myself and with a severely injured dog, but that was the best way to allow the men to work. Well, maybe it wasn't the driving that made me nervous. I had visions of me trying to allow Lady Mac to, ahem, use the grass, while my four year old was clamoring for the potty. Next I'd have to keep my two year old from touching any surface in a public rest room while helping the four year old negotiate the big yucky potty (of course, also, w/o touching ANYthing!). Oh and then I might have try to use the facilities myself... PANIC! My solution was to put extra absorbent diapers on both boys (took a little convincing with the four year old who hadn't thought about diapers in over a year) and to just drive through. No stopping. Neither boy fell asleep at any point on the trip, but I kept the kids tunes pumping (I broke out the real rock and roll when they got restless) the books and toys rotating, and somehow my eyes ere mostly looking at the road. We made amazing time and when we got to my sister Mel's house both boys had poopy diapers and even Lady Mac rushed (as best she could) to use the grass. Wow, sometimes I feel like my life revolves around bowel movements. Writing posts like this force me to confess that in a lot of ways, it does!
We got our second snow day of the year in Feb. Awesome!
February, March and April we lived in a house we bought here in Baton Rouge about 8 years ago. We'd actually had it on the market since November of 2009, but it hadn't sold. It was really convenient to have a house here waiting for us. The boys loved the big yard and tree house, so thankfully the relocation was an easy (relatively) transition for them. We also spent a lot of time with family which was a special blessing. My sister Mel and her family were already planning a move away from Louisiana before we decided to move back, so it was wonderful to stock up on time with them. She has a son and daughter who close in age to Gav and Eli and although on some days you might never guess, they LOVE playing together. They moved at the end of April and we miss them so much. My sister, Jess and her family were in from Norway for the whole month of April, so we got to spend a lot of time all reunited which was really great. We are becoming quite a crowd: six adults and eight kids under age 5. We had a crawfish boil out at dads, a non traditional Easter dinner (we did keep our tradition of Easter bread, tho) and an egg hunt at Mel's, a crazy playdate/dinner at our house. It was some really really nice family time.
Cousins playing in our backyard :).
It only took a couple of weeks to sell our house in Houston--I probably don't need to tell you what a HUGE blessing that is. Our buyers were very excited about the house and the sale went through without a hitch. Meanwhile we were doing some work on our Baton Rouge house while living there in hopes of making it more marketable, because we planned to get it back on the market. We got it back on the market right before the tax credit for new homebuyers expired (eek!) and got a contract on it in just a few days. This sale, however has had lots of challenges and is still in the works. We are praying that it will go through. All the while we'd been shopping for a house and bought one in Zachary, Louisiana, which is about a 20 minute drive from Jon's office. We are now small town folks and it's really been nice. We live close to my Dad and younger brother and sister and also some dear friends of ours. And we're not far from town, so we feel like we get the best of all worlds :). Our new house has lots of space and a really super fantastic yard, so come visit!! :)
Here's just some random recent photos.
These are from a trip to New Orleans. Jon had some training and we did some exploring.
These three pictures were taken at the house we're trying to sell. We've since redone the hardwood floors that are a disaster in this photo (L)...they look gorgeous now :). Boys playing in a whopper thunderstorm (R), and you'll notice Lady Mac is right there with them; she seems to be all healed up and feeling great. And the booty shot is just classic boy stuff ;).
These swings are an important part of our new yard. Sometimes there is fighting centered on the swings, but thankfully there are two of them and usually it's a peaceful way for the boys to play together :).
We got snow for the second year in a row! I didn't think it possible, but the boys had even more fun with it this year! Even Lady Mac got in on the action.
One of Elliot's favorite things is eating ice, so you can imagine how excited he was when he realized that this snow stuff was nothing more than tiny ice bits just waiting for him to eat them.
We dressed up the boys and attempted to take our own Christmas pictures this year. The light was low and the camera was slow, so in frustration we just did silly ones. We didn't want to send out a dozen pictures with each card, so these didn't really work for that, but they turned out fun.