New Years Update

January 2nd of last year I did our New Year's Resolution for our house. So, I dug it back up to see how well we did. I've highlighted everything with red that we've accomplished.

Jayden's Room

  • Touch up floor paint
  • Install and paint quarter round and floor trim
  • Finish shelving (this is partly done)
  • Install dimmer switch
  • Blank covers for obsolete outlets
  • Install lighting in closet
  • Paint door

Master Bedroom

  • One more coat of paint on walls
  • Edging on ceiling
  • Plate covers
  • Finish Trim
  • Install Door
  • Install closet lights
  • Run cable to our room

Upstairs Hallway

  • Finish patching cracks
  • Sand
  • Primer and paint ceilings and walls
  • Install lighting
  • Switch plate covers
  • Paint woodwork
  • Install shelving

Kid's Bath

  • Finish Floor
  • Plumbing
  • Order faucet for tub
  • Sand walls
  • Primer and Paint walls and ceiling
  • Finish painting bead board
  • Put up trim
  • Put up and finish door
  • Install Lighting
  • Hang medicine cabinet


  • Sand, primer, paint walls and ceiling
  • Sand and varnish woodwork (this is partly done)

Living Room

  • Finish woodwork
  • Finish installing built in media cabinet
  • Finish dresser
  • Finish and install french doors
  • Touch up paint

Family Room

  • Touch up paint
  • Put up woodwork
  • Finish woodwork
  • Install built in bookshelves

Dining Room

  • One more coat of regular paint
  • Top coat paints
  • Woodwork
  • Switch plate covers
  • Door on closet

Half bath

  • Put in ceiling
  • Plaster, sand, primer, and paint walls and ceiling
  • Paint bead board and woodwork
  • Plate covers (all but the lightswitch)
  • Hang medicine cabinet


  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Drywall walls and ceiling
  • Plaster, Sand, Primer and paint walls and ceiling
  • Install and paint woodwork
  • Sand and varnish floor <--We painted instead
  • Install lighting
  • Install cabinets
  • Install appliances


  • Scrape paint
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Begin landscaping
So basically, there is a lot we did get done, and there's a lot we didn't get done. BUT, part of what wasn't on the list was the front bedroom, because at the time we weren't necessarily planning on needing to have that room finished anytime soon. I'd still say it was a pretty good year. My list was fairly ambitious, because if we actually had finished it, our house would be done, and that just doesn't happen with old houses.

Last year at this time we didn't have anything close to a working kitchen or a fully functional bathroom, you can simply look here to see what we were living in. We had plastic up on the doorways that led into the kitchen, and I think we were still traveling to our parent's houses in order to shower. Now every appliance is up and going (well, basically...our ice maker isn't hooked up for our fridge and I use a match to light the gas burners on the stovetop), both of our bathrooms are complete, our dining room is actually used as a dining room and all three of our bedrooms are completely liveable. The outside of the house is still scary looking, but hey, we needed one good Halloween with it like it is.

There is a bit of an update. I'll post some pictures of the babies room once I actually take a picture of the near finished product. We still have some woodwork to finish, the floor to repair and the light to hang...but you'll get the gist of it.
So, that's it for our year end review. Maybe I'll be ambitious enough to do a new list here in a few days...but we'll see. With a newish job and a new baby, I don't know what we'll be able to accomplish. Hopefully I'll sell a couple of millions dollar houses and we can just hire the rest of the work done. :)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Our family had a GREAT Christmas, but boy, are we exhausted! "We" meaning "me," Jayden is a bundle of endless energy.
Our family Christmas' started out at my sister's house on Sunday, where we celebrated with Dad and Debbie. The boys had a blast playing together, at least until all of the new toys started entering the scene. They received some great toys, and some really cute clothes.

Here are the boys posing in front of Heather's Christmas tree before they were able to open presents.
Ethan played Santa by handing out all of the gifts. Jayden helped Grandpa John open up his Rubix Cube.

Jayden had present opening down, but each toy had to be taken out of it's box before he'd agree to go on to the next gift.
On Christmas Eve, we went to my mom's house to celebrate with that portion of the family. My mom, my sister's family was there, my brother (after work) along with my Uncle Perry, Hanna and George, and Brittany and Jacob. The present opening here was a flurry of paper, and was done in about 5 can definitely tell the boys are getting older. Here, they both got a lot of great toys, and were actually pretty much content with their own presents that they didn't bother each other too much by trying to play with each other's new toys.
This is our in front of the Christmas tree pose. We were trying to get a picture with Ethan, Jayden and Jacob, but it's almost impossible to get all three boys to look at the camera, stay seated, and smile at the same time. You can see how thrilled Jayden was by the time this picture was taken.
Ethan and Jayden.
After Christmas at my mom's house, we went to midnight mass. Josh is in the choir, and he organized some people to get together and performed "An Angel Came Down" by the Transiberian Orchestra. They did an awesome job, and if I can somehow get a video of it on my computer, I'll post it. They all sounded great, Josh especially. :)

Christmas morning we opened presents from Santa. He brought Jayden some really cool toys (if I do say so myself), and luckily, even though it wasn't wrapped, he didn't notice the best present until the very end. It was a four wheeler that was still charging, and since he's gotten that, it's pretty much been in motion the whole time.

Here is Jayden in the middle of opening, he received a couple of more dinosaurs, a camera, a Buzz Lightyear, and some more trucks. Santa is nice enough to put together all of the toys that he's received for Christmas so far so Jayden can play with those too on Christmas morning.
This is the way Jayden got a start on most of his presents, he had to bite off the corner of the paper.

In the middle of it all.

Finally, mid morning, we had the Steven's family over to our house for the Christmas celebration. The kids were starting to get pretty worn down by now, but they perked up quickly enough.
We started the morning with some homemade donuts. We all teased Josh because he wanted to make 50, which seemed like way too many. But, we only had 1 left over, so he had the last laugh. Josh had to recruit Joe and his frosting making abilities, so they both pretty much were in charge of breakfast. We also had a braided bread roll, and some fruit.
Two hours later, we had lunch. I knew if we started presents before we ate lunch, we wouldn't be eating until mid afternoon. Thankfully, people were still willing to eat.

Joe and Josh making their famous donuts.

Jayden opening more and more gifts! We had a rule here, no opening up the toys until all of the presents had been opened. It was really difficult when we was getting guitars and other cool toys, but he made it through. In addition to the toys, he got some great clothes, so he's going to be totally stylish for the rest of the winter.
Jayden and Taylor have been wrestling a lot lately. It's hilarious, because they both love it, and they actually don't annoy each other when they're in the middle of a good wrestling match.
Here they are, taking a quick break to pose for the camera.

Here's the newest family...aww....aren't they cute?
Here's a shot of the mess, while Taylor is opening up her gifts.
One gift that Jayden received from Hanna and George at my mom's house was a whoopee cushion. George was disappointed at first, because the boys weren't all that thrilled. By the end of the night, Jayden was having a great time with it. But then again, he is ALL boy, so he would think that it's hilarious. What I didn't expect, was for Taylor to have such a great time with it too. Who knew?
Well, that pretty much sums up this years Christmas. I think I could have written much longer chapters, but I'm sure you all get the gist of it. We had such a great feels like every Christmas just gets better and better, especially with so many new additions to the family.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and will have a great new year!

ps. Stay tuned for a house update post, whenever I get another chance to sit at the computer undisturbed again. I'll have some pictures of the babies room, and maybe a year end update of what's been accomplished this year.

Welcome to the family!

Our newest family member, Kimmie and Nate's son, Peyton Thomas.

Snow Day!

It snowed!!
Duh, right?
Jayden and I took full advantage of it, he bundled all up (making him look like he'd gained about 30 pounds) to head out to play, and I was able to get the rest of the walks shoveled. I thought we'd only be out for 5 or 10 minutes before it got old, but he did NOT want to come in. He loved throwing snowballs, eating the snow, and falling straight into it covering himself from head to toe in snow. And of course, I had my camera ready.

Here he is when we first got out, he refused to put his mittens on before we headed out, but it gave him a good opportunity to get a few hand fulls in before he realized that mittens were a good thing.
And with a couple of hand fulls, came many mouth fulls.

He went straight for his sand box, which is a lot of fun to climb up with mittens, especially when your mom can't get your thumbs into the thumb place.

Obviously I had to throw my mittens on him, he wouldn't keep his own on. He liked them because they built up snow, which made for a really handy snack (no pun intended!).
He even braved the slide!
Of course, we had to get his truck out. The best $12 we ever spent on a toy.

Who is Huckabee?

Alright, I haven't really followed the whole political thing much so far...we've still got a ways to go. I just know who I'm not voting for.
Quite honestly, although Huckabee is quickly climbing in the poles, I had given him very little thought. Until I saw his ad. Now, I won't be able to get him out of my mind. Good marketing? I'd say so. Would I vote for him? I'm still up in the air.

Happy Halloween!

What a great Halloween! True, we only had ten trick or treaters, but that's ten more than we've had the last two years at our old house. Hopefully we'll build up some momentum over the years.
We decided to have people over for chili and snacks this year, the kids are getting too young to want to drive around town all night, and they're old enough to appreciate candy. Jayden went as Buzz Lightyear, his first costume where he really gets to be something he absolutely loves. He flew through the house all evening with his arms up and making the appropriate sound effects (usually with a sucker in his mouth all night).
Here are few pictures of the kiddos:

Jayden as Buzz Lightyear

Ethan as part of the marching band

Taylor as a princess

Jacob as a jumping frog

Their first Trick or Treat house! As you can probably tell, Jayden was a little leery of walking up to strangers houses.

Taylor had to make sure Jayden was holding her hand all night.
The kiddos!

Very spooky.

The especially had fun crunching in all of the leaves!

Overall, success! The kids loved trick or treating, and all of us grown ups had a blast! I honestly don't remember the last time I had such a fun Halloween!

Halloween Decor

When you've got a house that looks like ours, less is more when it comes to decorating the exterior.
The real "Monster House"

What's missing from this picture?

The crib! Yes, we have officially moved on to the "big boy bed."

After having both beds in the rooms since we moved into the house, we're loving the extra floor space!

Some of you may be thinking "Hey Chelsea, what about the babies room, you ARE halfway through your pregnancy now, right?" Well, here it is, isn't it cute?
All that's left is the floor, walls, ceiling, woodwork, closet, plate covers, and light fixture. Plus decorating.
We did move out the bathtub. So technically, there has been progress to some degree.

Hooray for Fall!

So, it's finally officially Fall, and I'm so excited! Fall is definitely my season, especially since we have Jayden to enjoy it with now. This weekend we'll be doing our annual trip to Oktoberfest in the Amana Colonies, something Josh and I started on our second anniversary, this will be our sixth visit! We look forward to it every year.
We're also looking forward to the pumpkin patch this year, Jayden enjoyed it last year, and I know he'll enjoy it even more this year. Plus, it makes for some great photo ops!
Watch our for our house this Halloween, we're really going to spook it up! Not that it takes much, what with the peeling paint and everything, but I think we'll be able to add a few nice touches.
Over the weekend we bought Jayden his first pumpkin. I know, it's a bit early, and it will probably start to rot before Halloween even gets here, but you really should see how much his face lights up whenever he sees the pumpkins at stores. I thought it would be really cute to let him finger paint the pumpkin, actually let himself make a mess in a controlled environment. And although my intentions were good, the whole "weekend craft" didn't turn out quite as cute as I thought it would. Jayden actually didn't like getting his hands all messy, truly a huge surprise there, apparently he only likes to make a mess when he's causing trouble and we're not watching. Plus, the paint was all gooey and blended together and didn't turn out to be the colorfully painted pumpkin I'd imagined. But, it was still pretty fun, and Jayden gets really excited every time we walk out the door and he sees his pumpkin.

Jayden giving a big "Cheeeeese!" with his very own pumpkin!

After I squished his hands into the paint to get the ball rolling, I know it's finger paint, but really, what fun is it painting with just one finger?

The finished product!

ps. Heritage Days in downtown Burlington is also this weekend, as is the Heritage Trust Tour of Homes. Look for me working at the Morrison's home, I chose the "work in progress" house for obvious reasons (those nicely finished houses just don't feel right).

You learn many lessons as a parent...

For instance, this morning, I learned that Dawn dish soap takes permanent marker off of skin (in addition to lipstick and paint).
But really, how could a person get too mad at this face?

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Today is Jayden's second birthday. I really can't believe that he's already two, but at the same time, it seems like coming home from the hospital with him was decades ago.
Here's a little flashback of what he looked like when he was a day old. I could post pictures of his actual birth day, but it was late at night, so the only pictures are from when he was really really new which aren't necessarily the cutest pictures.
Last year, on his actual Birthday, right before I cut off his curls.
And here he is today...well, not today, a couple of weeks ago...I dont' have a fresh Birthday picture just yet :)Needless to say, Jayden has changed a lot. He's becoming less of a baby and more of a kid each day. He is very active, always running (usually while screaming), jumping, and climbing on everything. He loves other children, and unless he's playing shy, he'll walk right up, say hi, and start playing. He's a very sweet little boy, he's always giving kisses (if asked for) and big squeeze hugs. He'll do anything if he thinks someone is sad, and he'll worry if he thinks you're hurt ("no owie owie").
Jayden has a very ornery way of staying out of trouble. He'll listen if he is told no, most of the time, even if he does throw a bit of a tantrum. By this time he also knows whats allowed and what isn't. But in his mind, if no one sees him doing it, then it isn't wrong. So as soon as he starts saying "Bye bye mommy" or "Mommy, in there," which is him telling me to leave the room, or we hear a door close, we know to be on the lookout.
He is also doing very good on his development. His fine motor skills are coming right along, he can do a perfect rock n roll sign. He can understand pretty much everything you say to him, if he'll actually listen is another story. He's been using more and more sentences. The sentences are a lot of fun, because they aren't always sentences he is repeating as he's heard them, he's putting words together to make his own sentences. It's just a really neat stage.
Some of his current favorite things to do write now are driving (playing in someones car), swimming, climbing, and exploring. He is still a fan of Pee-Wee, we've been stuck on Pee-Wee's Christmas Special for a couple of weeks now. He also enjoys Caillou, Sesame Street, and Blue's Clues. He hasn't really got a favorite food right now, but he does love apples, bananas, pancakes, and McDonald's french fries.
Well, there's our Jayden update. And my fall back for his lack of scrapbook that I've been meaning to get started for two years now.

We love you very much Jayden, and we can't wait to see what the next years will bring, but are hoping that they won't go by too fast like they have already. Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Happy Birthday to my mom also! Love you!

Saint Louis Trip

As most of you know, my mom decided to take us on a weekend trip to Saint Louis last weekend. We all had a wonderful time! We arrived on Friday afternoon, and just took it easy. We ate and went swimming at the pool. Jayden loved swimming, but he wanted to be a little too independent, attempting to jump into the deep end and trying to get us to let go of him in the deeper water. It was a little nerve racking, but we were really proud that he is so comfortable in the water.
Most of you know that Jayden is an early riser, it can be a little irritating on regular weekends, but on vacation, it really pays off. On Saturday we got up and went down to the Gateway Arch. We were pretty much the first people there...
This was great, because we pretty much had the place to ourselves at first!
And we had no waiting time to get up in the Arch. From the Arch we went straight (through the ghetto) to Grant's Farm. This was such a wonderful place to go for a family vacation, all you really pay for is eight dollars for parking, and any food you want for yourselves or to feed the animals.
You get to the actual farm by taking a tram ride through the deer park, which is completely open, and allows you to see the different types of deer close up.

This is the open deer park:

I think our favorite part of Grants Farm was simply feeding the baby goats. Jayden was a little standoffish at first...
but he soon warmed up and tried to hug any goat he could get to!

Jayden also was able to see Josh's favorite birds, the bald eagle, close up. They stay put because they are injured, and cannot fly away.
After Grant's Farm we made it back to the hotel so Jayden could take a much needed nap. We didn't really have any specific plans for the rest of the day, so we just grabbed a bunch of brochures so we could see what else the area had to offer. We were planning on going to an aquarium downtown, but we wanted to drive by the City Museum first because the brochures made it look really really cool. Once we drove up to the museum, we knew there was no turning back. The place was freakin awesome! I highly recommend it to any family. My pictures won't do it justification, but you can see better pictures on their website.

This is the view from the outside. It was an old shoelace factory that was converted to the museum in 1997. All of the parts of are of recycled material, there were two airplanes, a bus hanging off of the roof, and countless tunnels, passage ways, and slides. You could spend days here!. You could get to both of the airplanes which were stories high through mesh tunnels. Pretty much everything you see (except the roof I think) could be crawled to in numerous ways.
This is Jayden in Toddler Town, a place just for little kiddos to climb and slide and play in the balls.
This is a view of the outside from a different viewpoint. On the bridge in the middle, are Josh and Jayden.
One of the many bridges...
Inside was a whole other experience. Everything you saw, was climbable. There was a gigantic fish which you could enter through it's mouth, and find a series caves. Whenever we were separated, it was almost impossible to get back together because of the crazy passageways, even if you were within site of each other.
After the museum, we just had to take it easy. We swam a bit more, but basically just lounged around a bit. That place wears you out!

Sunday morning we got up, packed up the Jeep, and headed for the Saint Louis Zoo.
Once again...first ones there...look at those lines!
It seemed beneficial at first, but we were there before the animals were up and the train was running, so it did take awhile before we were able to see too much.
We did get to ride the carousal for free though!
Jayden was very happy once the train opened up!We really enjoyed seeing the animals once they decided to wake up and come out.
There's our little monkey, watching a monkey eat his breakfast.
At the end of our zoo trip, we went to a Sea Lion show. They would jump through hoops, ring bells, throw Frisbees...really anything you can teach a dog to do...except sea lions are a bit bigger.

All in all, we had an excellent time. I wasn't sure about Saint Louis as a vacation destination with a toddler, but it was a blast. There was so much to do, I can't wait to get back!
Thanks mom!!