Thursday, March 29, 2012

Goodbye, House

To the People Who Now Own/Will Someday Own My House,

We bought this house in October of 2008, fresh out of school, with my student loans in our pockets.  It was not the first place we lived together, but it was the first home we ever owned. 

When we saw the house for the first time, I was skeptical.  The kitchen was covered in red and white gingham and looked like a picnic tablecloth gone terribly wrong.  The living room and dining room floors were orange and as glossy as a gymnasium.  All of the bedrooms were adorned with nasty, stained carpet.  All of the ceilings were covered in a thick layer of popcorn.  We spent nearly a year peeling wall paper, refinishing hardwood floors, painting walls, and tiling bathroom floors before we moved in.  I love this house.  

For most of the time we lived here, I taught high school English at North Lenoir High School.  My husband worked as a credit analyst for The Little Bank, conveniently located right down the hill.  

When I was 7 months pregnant, we added a brick pathway from the driveway to the front door, because I got tired of everyone coming to my back door.  (Little did my West-Coast-self know, Southerners will use the back door every time, bricked path or not.)  People driving by used to call concerned, because they saw my pregnant-self hauling bricks across the yard in a wheelbarrow (they did the same when I mowed the lawn and laid mulch).    

We brought our little boy home from the hospital to this house in 2010, and I rocked him to sleep in a room painted baby blue at the end of the hall.  There were sailboats framed on the walls.  It was here, in the house you now own, that he took his first steps, said his first words.  

We sold the house in 2012 when my husband accepted a job in the Raleigh area.  Even though we never intended to live here forever, I cried when we put it on the market.  I also cried when it sold.  Part of my heart will always be here, in Kinston, NC, in a house with a sunroom that faces West Highland Avenue.  

I know this house isn’t perfect.  I know it’s old:  the walls are plaster, the attic stairs can be terrifying, and the kitchen floor slopes.  I know these things.  But I still love this house, and I hope you love it, too. 

We had good times and bad times in this house, but the laughter definitely outweighed the tears.  

Please be good to this house; it deserves a family who loves it.

A Woman Who Has a Hard Time With Goodbyes

Friday, March 23, 2012

Here's How We've Spent Our Friday Morning

I went to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games in Smithfield last night with some of my former students.  It was the last book we read together in my Honors English III class.  So fun to see them and to savor the movie together, but I was exhausted after my 3 1/2 hours of sleep last night.  As a result, we started the morning in a way we rarely do:  with a movie.  Here is Kaden in all of his Toy Story Sheriff Woody pajamas glory, watching Ratatouille, and eating an Aldi-brand cereal bar.  He was in heaven.

After breakfast, we got dressed and headed outside for a little "shoot ball."

 Kaden was more interested in his football and kick ball today, so I don't have a single shot of a basketball.  One was there, though.  We also had a soccer ball.  It's amazing how many balls you can fit in a stroller basket.

 Here's Kaden, upset, because I had misunderstood and shot the basketball, when he wanted me to shoot the football:

 Here he is, fully recovered:

 Here he is, after I told him he couldn't eat the football and made him take the big chunk of orange foam out of his mouth:
 Oh, the anguish.
 When standing didn't get the results he wanted, Kaden resorted to sitting:

 Here is Kaden distracted by mulch next to the basketball court.
Another meltdown was induced when Master Reese found out he wasn't allowed to pick up handfuls of mulch and dump them in the grass.  At this point, I realized we were probably overdue for a nap.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture footage of the event, as I was struggling to strap him into his stroller, whilst he arched his back and screamed bloody murder. 

We came home and read this:

We got this book at the library last time we went to stock up on new stories.  I remember my Grandma Jensen reading me this book when I was little.  If I try really hard, I can remember how it felt to be snuggled in her lap, my head nestled up against her, listening to her read this story.  It's an oldie, but a goodie.

Then we read about a zillion other books, and Kaden went to sleep with a handful of bibis (what he calls his pacifiers).

That was our morning.  How did you spend yours?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Random Thoughts

Isn't it funny how when you are selling your house, you hope everyone is so in love with it they'll want to buy it, but when you're looking to buy a house, you hope you're the only one that loves it until you buy it?  Right now we are in the process of selling our house, with what looks like a very rapidly approaching closing date (YAY!), and so we are also looking at homes.  Last night, we found THE house.  The one that filled my heart with palpitations and kept me up all night dreaming about paint colors.  The one we can actually afford and not have to do three years of repairs to.  I hope no one else likes it as much as we do, at least until we can offer to buy it.

Lately, I have been in a cooking rut.  Seriously.  A lot of this has to do with the fact that we are living on a very limited grocery budget right now, so most of my culinary creations consist of looking at what I have in my fridge/cupboards and trying to invent something that sounds divine without going to the grocery store.  Not a great deal of masterpieces have been created lately.  I have rekindled my relationship with eggs.  Eggs are my friend.  Breakfast for dinner?  My BFF.  Today, I really wanted to cook something good.  This woman saved me.  She has such a delightful, friendly cooking blog.  What I love best about it is that she cooks with pretty normal ingredients.  So, thanks to her, tonight we are having glazed carrots with rosemary and butter cream chicken.  We are also having garlic mashed potatoes, but I didn't have to find a recipe for that.  There will be potatoes, there will be butter, there will be sour cream, and there will be LOTS of garlic.  If you don't know how to make mashed potatoes without a recipe, come over to my house, so we can remedy this tragedy.  Oh, potatoes drowned in garlic, how I love thee!  We are also having homemade bread, because Bernice and I bonded and kneaded up two loaves together.  Not a bad meal for an assembly of what we had on hand. 

My Garden Heights gym instruction is all coming back to me now.  I have shot more basketballs in the last week than I have . . . well, probably ever.  Kaden loves some "shoot ball."  Even though I'm no Jimmer, how can I say no when he looks at me with his big brown eyes and says, "I wan Mama shoot!"  Luckily, he thinks it's just as awesome when I air ball or hit the backboard as when I actually make a basket. 

I wonder how long Kaden's favorite word will be "no".  And how long his favorite phrase will be "no, no, no!"  Seriously, I'm starting to worry that if someone offers him a full ride scholarship to Harvard when he's 18, he'll say, "No, no, no!" just because it wasn't his idea.  Playing mental games with a toddler is exhausting, I tell you.  Whoever named the terrible twos obviously didn't raise Kaden as a 19 month old.  We've been in full-swing tantrum-dum for over a month now. 

When did Kaden get so good at giving hugs?  One, unannounced squeeze around the neck and I can forget all about his last meltdown. 

I wonder how long Kaden will be good at just nicely coloring on the paper/being content to take the crayons out of the container and put them back in before he discovers he can also color on furniture, walls, and floors . . . It's probably time for this blog post to end!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Kenzie, Tanner, and Kaden--Cousins Extraordinaire!

It is fun watching Kenzie and Kaden have more fun playing together, now that Kaden is a little older.  Mackenzie is such a sweet cousin, as is evidenced in these pictures from their first meeting in October 2010:

Kenzie has always been so loving to Kaden.  Even when all he did was lie on the floor and look at her, she thought he was awesome.  She would tell him, "It's OK," whenever he cried, and she had to watch me change every one of his diapers.  

This is Kaden and Kenzie with their Aunt Lauren on Christmas day in 2010:

Kaden was a little more entertaining by the time Spring of 2011 rolled around, but not much.  Any "play" still meant floor time, since Kaden was such a lazy crawler.  

This time when Kenzie and Meredith came to visit, they brought a new addition.  Mackenzie has a baby brother now, Tanner.  He filled the baby role this time, which meant Kaden had to step up to to the plate and be a big cousin.  He was not nearly as enamored with Tanner as Mackenzie had once been with him.  He mostly viewed Tanner as competition and didn't want me anywhere near him.  He did, however, love spending time with Mackenzie.  While they were visiting in January, I was still working, so Meredith and Joy kept Kaden during the day.  Kaden learned a lot about sharing, not pushing, and not pulling hair during this time.  I'm so thankful Mackenzie has a sweet, patient disposition.  Even though they didn't always get along, when they did, it was pretty precious to watch. 

Here are all of the cousins, opening their Christmas gifts.  We waited for the kids to be together to open their presents from each other, instead of mailing them for actual Christmas. 

One of Kaden and Kenzie's favorite things to do was take baths together at Gigi's house.  They had so much fun splashing!  Here they are, "helping" Gigi get the tub ready:
 Here they are splashing away:
I wish Meredith and Adam lived closer, so our kids could play together more.  Growing up, I lived really close to one set of my cousins, and we had so much fun together.  I really wish Kaden could have that same experience.  We just try to make the most of the time we do have them together!  

Here's one last sweet photo of Kaden and Kenzie with their great grandmother, who we all know as Nana.  I'm sure this will be a special photo for us to look at for many years to come:


 And here are some fun videos of the kids playing (please ignore my obnoxious voice in each one):

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