Monday, December 21, 2015

Our Daughter, the Whoopee Cushion!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Merry Christmas!!

Boy oh boy, the last few months have come and gone so quickly!  So much has happened in our lives and I have so many things to share with you all!

Trip to Ohio

For 2 weeks (December 2-16), Blaine and I ventured (by ourselves!) back to Ohio for a visit with our friends and family!  We flew (Billings to Denver, Denver to Dayton) and it was actually a pretty uneventful trip to Ohio!  Blaine slept nearly the entire flight to Ohio and on the way home to Wyoming she was awake most of the time just playing with a few toys and my hands.

While we were in Ohio we got to visit so many people!!  I’m apologizing in advance to anyone we didn’t get a chance to see.  My focus this trip was on family so they could meet Blaine.  Next trip will be a little bit different (since she’ll be older, we will have more trips to fun places for her like the Columbus Zoo, COSI, the Aquarium…).  I am SO VERY GRATEFUL to every single person who helped make our time in Ohio so wonderful!  Blaine is the 8th grandchild for my parents and the first grandchild and 1st great grandchild on Scott’s side.  We also made a trip over to see Lynne and my old horse Ernie!!!  We got a chance to see my Grandma Townsend too.  Our journey took us from Arcanum all the way to Cincinnati, to Dayton/Huber Heights, New Albany and even Marysville!

Blaine attended her first Jr. High and High School basketball games, went on her first college visit to Dennison College (visiting Scott’s second cousin Reed), and was with me for trips to Skyline Chili (I surprised my dad with dinner there because in his 73 years, he’s never been!!!), MaidRite, and El Toro!!  Not to mention her first time to Ohio and on a plane!

This trip would not have been possible if it wasn’t for my parents!  They went out of their way to make it so Blaine and I could visit as many people as we could possibly fit in.  I’m forever grateful to them for their hospitality!

Arriving back to Wyoming

First, there was a hiccup at the airport….  My flight was supposed to leave at 9:38am, but when we arrived at the airport we discovered the flight had been cancelled and I wasn’t leaving till 4:50pm now!!  (I don’t fly very often and didn’t even think to check to be sure my flight wasn’t cancelled).  So back to my parent’s house we went!  Luckily, everything went smoothly on the 4:50pm flight.  The last leg I even had two empty seats next to me!

Our flight was about 30 minutes late getting to the Billings airport, but boy was Scott excited to see us!!  It’s been a while since I’ve seen his face light up like that!  Blaine, who was awake about 75% of the plane ride home, was completely zonked out when we met up with Scott!  As much as I loved going to Ohio for a visit, I was so very happy to be home (where there was NO humidity and lots of sunshine!). And I’m pretty sure, this will be the first and last time Blaine and I will have a trip without daddy!  He really missed us!

It took us forever to finally get to the house!  It was snowing and bitterly cold.  I don’t think we got back till nearly midnight!  And the house looked so different!  Scott was very busy while we were gone.

Family Updates

Blaine is growing like a weed!!  She is changing daily and her personality has started to develop.  We are so blessed to have her in our lives!  She is the happiest little girl! 

While in Ohio, Blaine has a few new tricks…..  First, she can now roll over onto her belly all by herself!  Now she can’t roll to her back, so we have to keep a close eye on her.  Second, she has discovered her voice!  Now she’s just making basic baby sounds, but it’s so cute!  And finally, I saved the best for last… we now have a human whoopee cushion on our hands!!!!  For the first hour of our ride home from the airport, little missy had to show off her new trick and we laughed nearly the whole way home!  Plus the best part is she chooses to do it at the most perfect moments!

In a day, Blaine will be 4 months old already! I can hardly believe it!  And this week she has her 4 month doctor’s appointment (not looking forward to her getting shots!).

She had definitely gotten longer and seems to have gained at least 1-2 lbs.  Right now she is in all her 6 month and even 6-9 month clothes for length.

House Updates

My goodness we have some exciting news!!!!  For 19 months we brought all our water in with 5 gallon buckets.  About 16 of those months, we had to individually fill up the buckets from a neighbor’s outdoor faucet!  Then we upgraded to a 210 gallon tank that Scott would fill up at the Powell water docks (about $2-3 a month for water!).  Well the day after Thanksgiving this year, we officially had our water hooked up!!  Now there were a few hiccups up through yesterday that I’ll explain…..   First we had some trouble with the pressure tank.  What we realized was it was a 220 and not a 110 (that’s what Scott thought he had ordered).  Once that was properly hooked up the pressure tank worked great!  Then the same thing happened with the water pump! Scott did order 2 110 pumps (one for the well and one for the cistern), and we realized it was a 220, he fixed it right away!

The cellar/pump house (it is not at all connected to the house) is completed!  It has a concrete foundation with the walls being made from cinder blocks and the roof is made from treated wood.  The roof also has a ‘hatch’ with quick access to put water in the cistern.  The floor of the pump house is graveled with wood pallets covered in plywood on top.  Scott did this on purpose so if there was ever a leak, the water would have some place to go.  And sure enough, we accidentally tested this out!!  Our neighbor has a bigger water tank and said he’d haul 350 gallons for us (our tank had frozen solid and we were in the process of thawing it out).  Well, I thought the new attachment on the hatch was hooked to the cistern (apparently it wasn’t!) and we managed to put 350 gallons of water in the pump house, but not in the cistern!  It was all my fault and I felt so stupid when it happened, but Scott just laughed and said it could happen to anyone and for me to take it as a ‘test’ of our system! (I thank my lucky stars every single day that I met and married a man who doesn’t get mad at mistakes!)

Two nights after I was home from Ohio, I woke up in the middle of the night with such bad acid reflux that it made me get sick.  So I told Scott I’d just take a shower…. Well, that didn’t work out because for some reason we were completely out of water! We thought it was going down a lot faster than it should have.  After Scott brought 3 loads of water (600 gallons), we only had 500 gallons and discovered that where the PVC connected to the house, somehow the PVC got sliced.  Scott thinks he may have hit the pipe when filling in the dirt.  So he spent all Saturday digging up the pipe and fixing it, but now it appears everything is in working order!!!

The next step is hooking everything to the well….. However there is a small hiccup to that.  Remember how I said the well pump was supposed to be a 110 but we found out it is actually a 220?  Well, the electric line is for a 110 and it is already buried in the ground!  So, (thank goodness for the tractor!) Scott now has to dig another trench for another wire before we can get our water system hooked to the well.  But that’s ok!! 

For those of you curious – our cistern holds 500 gallons and is skinny and tall, that way we can get it in and out of the door (in case we ever decide to put another one down there).  Our pressure tank is HUGE – it holds 120 gallons of water and is considered ‘medical grade’.  Our water tank (in the bed of the truck) holds 210 gallons, but the most we put in it is 200 gallons.  We now have a stock tank heater that will keep it from freezing and actually unthawed the tank (after about 10 days)!  We are going to try and always have it full (with the heater in it) so we will have 200 gallons in the tank, 500 in the cistern, and 120 in the pressure tank, plus about 10 5-gallon buckets of water on hand in case of an emergency (we try to always prepare ahead).  As the cistern water goes down 200 gallons, Scott will fill it with the water tank, and then get another load.

We’ve had several people ask how we were going to keep everything from freezing and so far so good!  First, the cellar is half underground (Scott hit rock while he was digging so he could only go so deep) and on the outside of the cellar walls is left over 2” rigid foam from when we insulated the outside of our house.  Also, Scott insulated the ceiling of the cellar too.  The pipes are also wrapped in foam insulation and for extra security, there is a small heater in there too.  Plus, Scott got a black tarp and put on top of the cellar roof to help heat it up with the warm sun!

It has been a long 19 months of sponge baths, heating ALL our water on either the wood stove or our kitchen stove, and even flushing the toilet by hand!! Now I feel spoiled rotten with the luxury of a stand up, on demand, hot shower!!

While I was in Ohio, Scott did so much to the house!  First, he completely rearranged things!  He moved quite a few boxes up to the loft (still a handful left to move this week).  But the exciting thing – WE HAVE STAIRS!!!  Now they aren’t completed yet because Scott wanted my opinion on how to do the bottom landing (have it continue along the wall, or extend into the living room – I chose the latter so we’d have more wall space).  He now needs to buy a few 2x4’s to complete them, but that should be done this week!  Now we are waiting to ‘finish’ them for a while.  Our goal this winter is to use up materials we have on hand while spending very little (we unfortunately have a few bills to pay off that were a necessity to get electricity and running water).  We have been using an aluminum ladder to get into the loft up until this point!  Even at 7 months pregnant, I was still climbing the ladder to go to bed!  I will try to post a picture as soon as I get to town so show you what we want the finished stairs to look like!

Scott also has our dishwasher hooked up!!  We are hoping to test it out tonight (things have been crazy since I’ve been home… getting settled in and all).  I’m so excited to share with you how that goes!

But we are continuously making progress on our house!  Over the next few months the goal is to finish the stairs and also wire in all the lights and outlets in the downstairs, finish tiling the shower, and finish the drywall in the bathroom.

A Very Special Christmas!

Christmas came early for us! My parents flew Blaine and I home (Scott unfortunately had to work and couldn’t come) and we were surprised by so many family members and friends that invited us over, took us out to eat, and even surprised us with gifts!!  You are the reason we are able to celebrate Christmas this year!  You all mean so much to us and we can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for us!  Thank you all so much for all the gifts for Blaine!  She loves all her toys and clothes!

When I got back from Ohio, Scott had saved all our Christmas cards for when I got home.  I just love Christmas time and getting Christmas cards!  All the cards are very special to us, but 2 amazing people surprised us with the most amazing Christmas gift!  We received a card of friendship in the mail from a very amazing friend of ours with a gift to go towards our sink fund!!  In case you didn’t know, we do not have a sink.  We’ve been using a ‘temporary sink’ that we got from a second hand store and it drains into a bucket (which we then use the dirty water to flush the toilet), but that sink is in pretty bad shape.  Just before we left Ohio, we had a family member also help us to get our sink!!!  Now, we are excited to announce, that because of these two amazing and completely surprising gifts, our sink is on its way here!!!  And we have a little money toward getting the plumbing/sink cabinet base too!  Scott and I can’t thank you both enough for making this Christmas extra special for us! Your kindness will NEVER be forgotten and you will always be a part of our house, and a story to share with our children someday!

This year, Scott and I have not been able to buy gifts for each other or for Blaine, so these gifts, plus all the special gifts that our friends and family have given to us, mean more to us than you will ever know!  In years past, just to see gifts under the tree, I have wrapped things we already own (mostly me just being silly).  Christmas is my most favorite time of the year and these last few years when we were either saving money to move to Wyoming or since we’ve been here and we’ve been putting any extra money we have into the ‘basics’ of a house, it always hits home when I can’t buy gifts for the people I love.  So friends and family, I’m so sorry, but this is another year that we have to forgo gifts to our friends, family and even to each other and Blaine.  I hope you understand our priority to complete our house.  Soon enough though we will be able to spoil you all again!

And to everyone who has sent gifts for Blaine, who gave/sent us Christmas gifts, and who has continually supported us and our crazy Wyoming Adventure, we appreciate you more than you know!  You are the reason we have the Christmas Spirit!  (As I’m typing this, my child is being a human whoopee cushion!!! Haha).

And this year, we were not planning on having a Christmas tree. But our awesome neighbors surprised us with a permit for us to go get a tree!!!  And since Scott rearranged the house, we actually have room for one downstairs!  We are so excited to go cut down our tree this week!

I want to say again just how thankful we are to all of our friends, family, and neighbors! Your continued support and encouragement really has kept our spirit and fire going through all of our craziness!  We love you all so much and hope that you have a very Merry and blessed Christmas! 

PS, all your Christmas cards will likely turn into Happy New Years or maybe even Happy Valentine’s Day cards because I didn’t get them made/sent before going back to Ohio.  But I’ll get them out!  Last year I started a tradition of Wyoming post cards sent out, so I’m planning on hand writing them all again this year too.  Last year we also started another tradition of keeping all our Christmas cards and putting them in ‘books’ so that we can look back at them in future years.  We love receiving your Christmas cards!!!  Thank you so much for thinking of us this time of year!



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