Monday, May 30, 2011

It's open.....

Each year, as the weather warms, the flowers bloom, and the end of another year of school draws near, my children impatiently await the long-anticipated opening of our community pool!

And just several short months ago, I was dreading the thought of long days spent at pool's edge because my youngest had such a fear of water that I could only give him a bath once a week for fear he'd stop breathing each time he got near water. Caleb was so desperately afraid of the water that I was sure we would have to skip the pool entirely this summer!

But then, a miracle (certainly nothing short of one!)! Caleb decided that he did, in fact, like the water!

And that made everyone happy :D

REALLY happy :D

Because, you see, we are a family that takes our long days at the pool very seriously....

We spend hours and hours and hours and hours....

.....well, you get the idea!

But truly, we do spend all day long, several days a week during the summer, at the pool....

sun-up to sun-down!

Sometimes I even think....

I am raising a school of fish ;-)

So I can't even begin to tell you how thrilled I was yesterday when we hit the pool for the first time this season....

and Caleb not only loved the water.....

....he couldn't get enough of it, despite the fact that the water was FREEZING cold!!!

And the sign that it's been a successful day at the pool....

....a drooling 3yr-old sacked out on the back deck :D

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The GREAT Flood

If you follow me on Twitter of Facebook, then by now you have already heard the news.....

we've had a flood.....

Thanks to two little boys named Matthew & Jacob, although, honestly, I don't blame them. It's really my husband's fault ;-)

We've been in our house now for almost 4 years, and about 3 months ago we started having issues with several of the toilets. Apparently, the flushing mechanisms get worn and don't work very well after a few years (even though we moved into this house when it was brand-new and you'd think they would last at least 10 yrs!). Anyway, some of the toilets (we have 5) have been running non-stop after we flush them, requiring a jiggle of the handle to get them to stop.
Try telling that to the 3 & 5 year-olds :D

They SHOULD have been replaced.

In fact, ONE of them WAS replaced.

Still unclear as to why hubby didn't do them all at the same time.....

But what's done is done.

So yesterday, Matthew used the toilet and, well..... he "plugged" it.

Then, a few minutes later, Jacob went in and used the toilet.

I was upstairs when I heard Jacob hollering for me to come see the toilet. I went into the Jack & Jill bath that is shared by 4 of the boys to see the toilet full of nasty water that was threatening to spill over the sides at any second.

Normally, I would just leave a toilet in this condition and wait for the water to drain slightly before attempting to plunge it.

And that's EXACTLY what I did.

Told the boys to leave it alone and shut the door on my way out. Then I went to put some laundry away and change a poopy diaper.

I was in the middle of changing Caleb when I heard the sound of water splattering on the floor. The next thing I heard was Josh screaming that water was splattering on the floor.

I hollered for the girls to help, and they hurried to work bringing in buckets from the garage. I ran into the bathroom where there was now a good inch of water on the floor from one end to the other, and jiggled the handle. That stopped the immediate problem, but then I knew I had to get it OFF the floor to keep it from draining to the levels below.

I guess you can't let a toilet run when it's plugged..... never occurred to me. Gee, maybe it's MY fault!

I started grabbing arm loads of towels and throwing them on the floor, trying to avoid the poop floating around me. The water had made it's way into the boys closet.....

....was running out of the light sockets and ceiling speakers in the formal living room, and somehow even managed to make it through to the very bottom level of the house.....

Eventually, the water stopped pouring, and hubby arrived home. I thought I had done a pretty good job containing the water, but then these guys showed up.....


And not just in ONE truck, but in THREE!

And then they started tearing up my house.....

Ladders and equipment strewn everywhere.... plastic hanging from the walls.... furniture all moved to other rooms....

Sort of reminds me of when we added our new additions on exactly one year ago.....

except it's much, much worse :/

The picture above is the underneath section of the floating staircase that leads up to the third floor from our front foyer- this is now what we see when we take the staircase to go down to the basement. And the picture below shows more of the damage to the staircase leading to the basement. The walls have been completely torn away, and they're still going to rip out more.....

Can't get enough- here's more.......

And here's my formal dining room.....

I'm just so thankful this happened after Allie's graduation party!

Unfortunately, the equipment that's being used to dry out the house is big and loud....

and it's going to be here for 4-5 days.... UGH!!!

Then, the contractors will come in and get to work repairing all the damage.... it could take weeks. Right now, my house is covered in dust and I can't hear a thing over the loud machines. We stayed in a hotel last night, but it's so inconvenient for us to be away from home that we've decided to stick it out and stay here. The boys can't go in their rooms, but the girls' rooms in the basement are fine, and our master bedroom and Caleb's room remain undamaged.

The worst part is that all the brand-new carpet we put in last spring (we hated the builder-grade carpet that came in the house!), will have to be completely replaced on the 3rd floor because it has a pattern in it and it will be impossible to match the pattern and dye lot.

And some of the hardwood on the main level had to be cut out, as you can see in the picture above. Oh yeah, and they even cut the bottom half of the boys' bedroom wall around the bathroom, so I'm thinking the bedroom will have to be completely repainted.

Today we are so thankful for insurance.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

She DID it!!!!

Before I begin, I have to thank my parents for a wonderful graduation weekend! It was so awesome to have them here, not only to help, but to be a part of our special time as a family! With my only sister living in Germany, my husband's family all on the east coast, and my parents living in Montana, we simply don't have ANY family anywhere near us, so it's always a treat when someone comes to visit :D And we were so lucky to have my mom doing all of our photography for the weekend- it made my life much less stressful for sure! On top of that, my dad had to make a special trip back from South America (where he works 8 months out of the year) to be here!! Thanks guys- we love you both!!

Sunday was the biggest day of our big weekend :D Graduation was held in downtown Kansas City (about 30 minutes from our house) at a big arena....

Since Allie is in the first graduating class of a brand-new high school, the arena seemed HUGE for a class of about 85!

Here's the Gang after we got seated!

And here comes Miss Allie.....

This might be a good time to talk about all of Allie's cords and the stole that she wore for the ceremony. Allie was wearing cords to represent her participation in the CAPS program (Center for Advanced Professional Studies), FEA (Future Educators Association), Honors FEA, and the National Thespian Society! The silver stole represented her receiving "honor" status in the FEA program! We are so proud :D

Here's a shot of the stage....

Allie waiting to receive her diploma!

She did it!!!!!!

WOO HOO :D

After the grads received their diplomas, they had their picture taken....

Allie & best friend Courtney!

Are we really old enough to have a high school graduate?!

The whole gang!

Allie with my mom and dad!

The Gang with gramma & grampa!

Our gang!

After the ceremony, we went out to dinner at a favorite family spot, and Allie got to open some of her graduation cards- thanks EVERYONE for your generous gifts to help get her started in life ;-)

Congrats Allie- we love you! And despite all your health issues and many, many missed days of school, you DID IT!!!!!! Not only did you graduate, but you did so with many honors and awards :D We KNEW you had it in you ;-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Allie's graduation party!

What's that? A party you say?!

Woo wee! I'm so excited I think I'll stand up all by myself for a long time ;-)

Saturday was a big day at our house! We had an open house to celebrate Allie's graduation from high school. We spent the morning busily decorating and preparing for all the guests. Emily, her friend Courtney, and Sophie were in charge of blowing up the balloons....

This is a picture I took of Allie for her senior photo shoot last summer- one of my faves- and I had it blown up for the party!

My parents contributed the cake- a yummy red velvet one w/ cream cheese frosting from a local specialty bakery.....

It was AWESOME! The graduation cap on top was made of fondant and it looked so good!

Each of the girls was in charge of different treats for the party. Sophie decided to try the latest craze....

Cake Pops! Yummmmmmmm :D And they made a great table decoration too!

Emily was in charge of the homemade sugar cookies....

Amazingly yummy as well!!!! Nothing beats our frosting recipe and the cookies were baked to perfection :D

We went with all school colors.... green, black and silver....

And we used lots and lots of balloons!

I lined the staircase with some of her awards from highschool, copies of her senior pictures for people to take, and even a stack of her very own business cards for her new photography business!

Here's the decorating committee (I jumped in the back for fun- I give all the credit to the girls!)

In the formal living room we set out Allie's yearbook, the scrapbook that I made, and a couple of photo books for our guests to enjoy....

I had a big sign made for above our front door....

As well as several yard signs to place out in front of the house and at the entrance to our subdivision.....

Here's the guest of honor....

Me and Allie!
I had so much fun ordering personalized party favors, and one of the biggest hits was chapstick with a label just for Allie that had her grad info! Everyone knows she's the queen of chapstick ;-)

As the guests began to arrive, my mom got pictures of each of them with Allie- here she is with best buddy Mitch....

Friends enjoying Allie's scrapbook and signing her yearbook.....

More guests!

Another fun thing was a senior video- here's a shot of the beginning of it on the t.v.!

Teenagers- they'll sit anywhere ;-)

Someone decided to get out a BB gun- that's when the party moved outside.....

Caleb decided he really liked the ice in the bucket :D


Almost as much as he liked playing with his grampa :D

Allie & Emma!

The theater kids..... as Allie lovingly calls them :D Best group of kids in the world!

Someone decided they needed a pinata, and before I knew it, a group of kids had run to Target & bought a pinata, filled it with candy and had it strung up in our big tree ;-)

Everyone enjoyed the rope swing, and Allie had a WONDERFUL day :D


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