Monday, November 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Exactly five months ago today, we drove away from our home, knowing that it would soon be inundated by the Mouse River.  We didn't know what we would come back to, or when we would be able to return, but one thing we always knew: we were coming back.

So, here we are...five months later.  WE'RE BACK.

I cannot express in typed words the excitement I feel being back in our home, but I can tell you that it is all very bittersweet.  Yes, we have a beautiful new place to call home, but I would give it ALL back in a heartbeat if our family and friends could have their homes back.  It's been a nightmare of a summer and fall, but I have faith that things will get better for everyone very soon.  

Now, before I show you what our home looks like today, let's take a trip back to February of 2010, the day we closed on our house at #5 Fairway.  This was our kitchen/family room before:

And here is our kitchen a few days ago:
Now, take a look at it with the pretty lights installed:

Here's my favorite part (the floor):
Calvin enjoys the new seating.  No more high chair!
I took these pictures randomly over the past couple of weeks, so some of the projects appear to be a work in progress, but are actually finished.  This is the master bath flooring, minus the grout.
 This is the main bath flooring, finished.  
It's the same color of tile, but this picture shows the color better.
The carpet is in in our bedroom...
 ...and Calvin's room.
And now for Natalie's room.  I found this fantastic chandelier online that I fell in love with--I knew it needed to go in Natalie's room.
It's one of my favorite things about the new house!!

Okay, so to be truthful, we've moved back in, but the house isn't truly finished yet.  The final plumbing work is set for Wednesday, so we don't have running water.  Our appliances aren't hooked up, either, so no cooking here just yet.  Thank goodness we have a FEMA trailer on our lot (Jim & Lori's), because that means we can live here NOW!  

I promise to add more pictures soon---but it's late and I still have an episode of "Castle" to watch before I call it a night.  Sweet dreams, everyone!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birthday Boy

Calvin is TWO!  It's hard for me to believe that chubby little bundle of joy we met in the hospital has been with us now for two full years.  He has been an absolute blessing in our lives...he's a busy little guy who loves everyone and wants everyone to smile.

One thing you should know about Calvin right now...HE LOVES CARS!  Every morning, when I go to pluck him from his crib, he looks at me and says, "Mommy?  In da car."  Every night when I tuck him into bed, he looks at me and says, "Mommy?  In-a-da-in-a-da car."  All day long, he talks about "Daddy in da car" or "Mommy in da car."  He would live inside the car if we would let him.  I'm not kidding.  It really doesn't surprise me, because that's where all of the buttons and switches are.  It's a wonderland for him!

So, while he really isn't into watching TV or movies, I figured his birthday theme should be...drum roll please.............


And like any normal two year old, his favorite food is....


Here are two of his cute little cousins, Meredith (L), and Stella (R).  
We can't forget about his cute little cousin, Harper...
...or his cousin Nolan and sister, Natalie!

Calvin always has kisses for Natalie.  I love how he grabs her face when he gives her a smooch--he loves her so much!
He's a big fan of Daddy, too.  My boys...they're so cute!

So, this year, Calvin really figured out the whole opening presents thing.  He tore right into them!

Needless to say, he got lots of presents that he'll enjoy for a long time...some of which I won't pull back out until we get back into our house (hopefully VERY soon!).  But there was one present I knew he would be over the moon about...

A CAR!  (I was right.)

He spends most of his day in the car now, giving baby bear and tiger rides or hiding from me when he doesn't want to nap or get his diaper changed.  That kid cracks me up.

Unfortunately, Daddy kind of failed in the construction of Calvin's new ride.

In his defense, he had a short period of time to construct a toy car from what looked to be two thousand pieces.  He did a great job!

Look at all of the people who came to celebrate Cal's birthday!

It was so much fun watching Cal while everyone sang "Happy Birthday."  He was so excited, he started squealing!  This is such a fun age...

I can't wait to give him the biggest present of all---his home.  What a relief it will be to tuck him into bed each night in his own room.  This has been a rough year, but celebrating a birthday reminds us that life goes on, whether we're in our home or not, and we just have to keep making the memories!  Happy birthday to my bright, bubbly, busy little boy.  I love you!