08 April 2014

Thayer is ONE!!!

Happy birthday to my precious, sweet baby boy! I am so thankful for you, Thayer! You are so much fun and you have such an entertaining personality! You have a temper, and you know exactly what you want. Some of your favorite things are: snuggling with Mama, playing outside (we call outside the "promised land" for you...when you manage to get out you get this dreamy look on your face and you can't stop smiling! That, and you throw a significant fit if you thought you were going out and are not),  splashing in the toilet (still), eating used, wet toilet paper out of it when you are lucky enough that your sister leaves the lid open and the toilet unflushed, you love holding your big sister's cups...something about the fact that they're glass makes you run straight to the kitchen, stand on the tile, and giggle while pretending you're going to throw it on the floor to be shattered. Yep, you're a booger! You like to play on Mama & Daddy's bed for the sole purpose of crawling/running full tilt toward the edge so I will run over and keep you from falling on your head. Of course, you stop in time, but you get a good laugh out of scaring Mama. You do the same thing in the doorway of the kitchen/mudroom. You will stand there with your toes hanging over the edge and literally DANCE with glee while Mama hollers to you "Dude, be careful! You're going to fall and break your head!" You just laugh. When I sing "God Loves a Cheerful Giver", you say "ha ha ha ha ha!". And when I say "Thayer, you're ONE!!!" you point that chubby little finger up! Your teeth are adorably crooked...the top and the bottom two in front are interlocking...one of each upper and lower are in front. I think it looks so cute. Your smile is infectious. You love a good game of peek-a-boo, tickles with your sister (you also like to say "tickle" while tickling the air with your fingers!), hugs for Mama, and although you seem to refrain from sleeping well at night, I think you do enjoy your sleep. I know I enjoy it when you get some. You're such a pleasant, sweet fellow. I love you always. You like food, especially meat and fruit. You've only got a little hair still...there's a long tuft on the crown of your head that has started to grow and I laugh because it likes to stick up no matter what I do! You're very ANTI-camera...if you see me pointing it at you, you run as fast and as far in the other direction as you can. I have a lot of pictures of your back. I am looking forward to your birthday party this weekend...can't wait to share it with some friends and family. And Daddy has made you one VERY awesome birthday present! I can't wait to show it to you and let you enjoy it like we know you will!

Thayer August, I am so happy and thankful I get to be your Mama, and that you truly are a "Mama's boy". I love your giggles, snuggles, your wonderful chubby cheeks, arms, legs, and that perfect round belly! You are the most perfect little boy any mother could've dreamed up. You are mischievous, which frustrates me at times, but if you weren't, you wouldn't be "that perfect little boy" with all the tricks up his sleeve! I'm happy you have some spunk even though it makes my job a little (or a lot!) harder. I'm so happy to have spent the past year with you in our lives. We can't imagine it without you! You are LOVED. So loved.

Thayer's 1 year stats:
32 inches - 99.4th percentile
25 lbs 11 oz - 95th percentile








06 April 2014

MAC-ISA Championship 2014-Washington, DC

We always look forward to April...spring is one of my favorite seasons, its our anniversary, and the climbing competition is always during April! So much to look forward to!

Drew took Friday off for our anniversary; we had planned to go straight up to DC and enjoy the day together but on Thursday night, True Timber did a pre-competition gear inspection. One of the guys he works with is actually one of the competition gear inspectors, so they were able to prepare ahead of time for failed gear. I'm really thankful they did this because Drew's harness would have failed. Not only am I thankful he has been safe while using it, he was able to replace it on Friday on our way up to DC. We drove to Manassas and he dropped me off to get my hair cut and he took the kids with him to Vermeer and bought the harness (he had called early that morning and had them hold it for him). If he hadn't been able to replace his harness he would not have been able to compete.

We drove through DC, saw some blossoms, and ended up at our hotel in Largo, MD. It was a sketchy part of town, and although the hotel seemed fine, it was very overpriced. The bed was horrible, the tub had a flaky film all over it that floated into the water when I ran a bath, and housekeeping didn't replace our towels although she did take the "dirty" ones out. :/ I'm just thankful we were able to stay close by.

The competition day, the guys rode together to the National Arboretum early so they could sign in and get their gear checked. Stephanie and I rode together a little later (8:30) and got there for their first events. It was a long walk from the car, uphill, with three littles (Abigail was with her grandma) and a stroller loaded with stuff! We finally made it to the top of the hill and WOW...the wind was gusty. It was chilly and so very windy all day long. I had not been prepared since the week before had been so beautiful and warm! Poor Thayer didn't even have long sleeves or a jacket. I don't know how he survived.


Bundled up and eating bacon!

Aerial Rescue was Drew's first event. He did amazing.

Belayed Speed Climb was his second event

Work Climb was his third event

Thayer, a cape and a stick

Footlock was Drew's 4th event
 ...and apparently I have no photos of Throwline. That's a hard one to photograph since they just stay on the ground and throw a weighted bag up, then set their line in a crotch.
Steve Castrogiovanni and Drew--wearing his medal for 3rd place Aerial Rescue

Chris, Drew, Flint & James-going to the Master's!

Score board-the blue numbers on the far right are for the top four, who go to the master's challenge the next day. Although Aerial Rescue was the only event Drew placed in, his scores from ALL the events were so good that he made third place, overall! So proud of him!

Stephanie brought bubbles for the girls
 Thanks to Rebecca D for these--I was trying to video Drew's climb so I was having a hard time juggling the iPad and the camera.
Drew's Master's climb-Sunday




Congratulating my awesome husband! He did so amazing! The judges have hardly (if ever) seen a first timer to the Master's do so well. The scores were not a very large spread at all!

Flint, James & Drew-before Chris climbed

All the guys that climbed on Sunday at the Masters-Chris Coates, James Earhart, Drew, Flint Anderson

I always enjoy competition...I'm thankful this year not to be pregnant! Although it would've been handy not to have to worry about how cold Thayer was!!! I felt like a terrible mother for forgetting all of his warm clothes, and even his socks I had brought, were soaked with water from his cup by the time we got there on Saturday! Mothering Fail.

Although we didn't really get a chance to celebrate our 5th anniversary, and we were very cold for a major part of the time, I had a great weekend! Drew was so excited, and I was so happy for him! He has come so far so fast. So proud of him!

25 March 2014

oh, just more changes.


Living this awesome life God gave us is so exciting. Right now I'm living out so many of my long-time dreams and I have to share with you. Everyone knows choices have consequences. You eat sugar all day, you're on track for obesity. You choose to swallow a drug, you're choosing to live with the side effects. Many people choose not to be aware of the consequences of their habits, and I am choosing to make conscious choices with the information that is available to me. I know many people, even those who I love the most--family members even--who think I am living in fear. This isn't a terrorized sprint away from anything and everything remotely modern! This is a careful, conscious journey towards choosing which environmental hazards I want to replace with cleaner items, and which ones I can weigh the benefits versus the risks. I don't tremble in fear when my child eats Cheerios with a friend at a playdate, but I am going to think a little harder about the things they eat and are exposed to daily. Environmental toxins are something that is accumulated in a body, over years. If my daily choices have a lower impact on their systems, I won't bat an eye if my child eats french fries or ice cream when we go out to eat. I know that sugars, dyes, flavorings, plastic, and "regular food" won't totally destroy them! It's the everyday habits that have the most impact on their health, not the once-in-a-while treats. :D 


DENTAL HYGIENE:
For hundreds of years, cultures with NO fancy toothpastes and chemicals have successfully kept their teeth strong and healthy. The main reason for that is NUTRITION. But as I have become skeptical of anything a company has an interest is selling me, I have taken some time to look into why commercial toothpaste is questionable. I assumed at first it had to do with the obvious harmful ingredients: propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride and such. Digging deeper I found that the glycerin in commercial toothpaste can prevent remineralization by leaving a coating on the teeth. I do believe the body has an amazing capability to heal itself, and that given the correct nutrients (and the fats to absorb those nutrients), teeth are capable as well. Drew has some questionable spots and decay and I want to slow if not reverse this. So for a while now I've been making my own toothpaste! Here's the recipe I use. (Just so happens that blog post was written the day Thayer was born! It also has some good points as far as why to avoid commercial products) I believe this is my 5th batch or so and I have finally gotten the opportunity to try it with Redmond clay and Redmond Real Salt. Not only is the salt obviously better (contains all the original minerals and isn't refined or bleached), the clay is much better than the Aztec brand I found at Vitamin Shoppe.

bentonite clay, peppermint oil, coconut oil, and Real Salt

I was absolutely amazed how easy it was to convert Drew. For part of the first batch he was very skeptical...and wouldn't touch it. Finally he ran out of his tube of Crest and gave "my" toothpaste a try. He was totally floored how much cleaner his mouth felt and how the clay seemed to pull toxins out of his throat. (gross, I know...but he thought it was cool like guys often do) And I TOTALLY loved that I didn't have to worry about the kids using chemicals and swallowing them as babies have no concept of spitting. I'm really happy to say my children have never had fluoridated toothpaste in their mouths, and that my husband truly prefers our homemade "earth paste" to his long-time favorite. I don't even bother to sweeten it with xylitol or stevia because we don't even mind it without.

Someday soon I would also like to begin supplementing our diet with butter oil and fermented cod liver oil, and heal Drew's cavities. That remains to be tried for us, but I have found many personal accounts from parents who have done that very thing.


FOOD:

We are finally able to change our eating habits for the better as well. We were able to buy a membership to Victory Farms, which is a Certified Naturally Grown farm, (which is to say it is non-GMO, no pesticides, organic, etc, just without the tainted "Certified Organic" government label from the USDA). Drew has been taking chips to this farm for a while now, they mix the tree chips from True Timber with manure from a grass-fed beef farm and grow their produce in it. The membership is different from a CSA in that you don't get a box of random vegetables that you don't know what to do with; you get a prepaid card that they deduct from when you shop at their farmers market stall and straight from the farm. Therefore you get to pick and choose whatever produce you will actually use for your family. After watching Food, Inc, I couldn't be happier to be supporting local, organic, small-scale farming. During the "off-season" for this share, I am finding produce at farmers markets and Ellwood Thompsons, places that sell local, non-GMO food.

Salt:

A small thing I thought I was doing--buying "sea salt" because I had learned it was healthier than table salt--became a bit of a bigger thing to me, not long ago. If salt is refined, not only are all beneficial minerals removed, but chemicals are added to prevent caking. True salt is characterized by an opaque/grey or pink look. If it's pure white, it's been refined and has no health benefits. See this infographic. When you switch over to real, traditional foods, sodium intake isn't something you worry about since most sodium is found in processed foods. However, I believe there is a vast difference in how a body receives salt when it has been created by nature rather than processed, refined and the minerals removed.

Food Preparation/storage: 


-Microwave-

I have been wanting to go microwave-free for a while now. I hated heating the kids food in it, especially in the plastic bowls, but I did it anyway because I am lazy. I started out when Arden was small trying to defrost and warm her foods in warm water, and then I just got plain lazy about it.  I just didn't have the willpower when I had one mounted over my stove in the kitchen. Obviously you don't take a mounted microwave with you, and this home we are living in doesn't have one, nor do I want to buy one even if I thought I had room for one. So we have made the leap and I couldn't be happier. Seems like food just tastes better, too. Leftovers are tricky but TOTALLY possible! Want to read up on the effects of microwaves/radiation on your food? It seems simple that something that originated in a war (radiation technology) would not be a good idea to take into your home, but it has been generally accepted as safe. If the method of heating has to do with causing molecules to change entirely, it stands to reason that those same molecules, when treated with radiation, could at the very least become void of nutrition or even dangerous to consume. So now we use good, old fashioned heat to warm our foods. And despite being without a dishwasher, its not as hard as it seemed. We also refuse to use non-stick cookware...it just hasn't set right with me since I found out heating a pan could cause a bird to die from the release of chemicals. Cast iron is delightful stuff. So is butter. :)

-Plastic-
My kids have used plastic sippy cups since the beginning. I had one stainless cup I bought Arden, because it was insulated. I thought if it said "bpa-free", then it was certainly safe. A friend passed along some info on "bpa-free" plastics...and I found myself with a urgent desire to rid our home of plastic. In the words of my midwife's husband: "plastic is the new lead". Its a process...our food storage containers were all plastic except two, and some bowls. Since I can't afford to go out and buy all new glass containers, I have taken to storing pretty much anything in mason jars. I researched which non-plastic sippy cups were the best option. At first I considered buying Lifefactory bottles with sippy tops, and some Pura Kiki bottles as well, for travel. (I may still do one of each for Thayer since he seems to enjoy dropping jars/anything made of glass on the tile) Then I decided to go a bit more basic and just make "sippy cups" out of my jars, with silicone gromments in holes in the lids.  Then I thought a bit more...why would I go to the trouble of eliminating plastic cups if the straws, which sit in the liquid, as well as channel the liquid straight to my child's mouth, are plastic? So I set out to find a way to acquire some stainless steel straws. They aren't cheap. So I googled DIY stainless steel straws. And as $40/6ft for tubing is actually quite expensive, given the fact I can buy stainless straws on Amazon for under $10/4, or $6/4 since they're on sale at Williams-Sonoma, I couldn't justify making them. I REALLY wanted the diameter to match my grommets to make the jars less prone to leaking, and I REALLY wanted to have multiple lengths so I could use the straws in half-pint, pint, and quart jars. I found Zoro Tools. And quickly fell in love. They are extremely fast at fulfilling and shipping orders. I ordered some tubing to make some friends straws, and the very next day the package was on my front stoop. This is the bender I used, and this is the cutter I used. I realize the cutter is not intended for steel, but it did work just fine. So far I've made my family five of each length, given some as gifts, and sold yet another 8 to two separate friends!


my girl, enjoying her raw milk in an old lemon curd jar with a stainless straw "Mama, milk is my FAVORITE!"

            

-Water-

I've been wanting one of these for some time...I don't like giving my kids water laced with arsenic, pathogens, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, fluoride, and who knows what else. I know fluoride is one of those controversial subjects but I truly believe that not only is it a toxic waste that they have no business dumping into our water supply, there has also been a study suggesting that fluoridated water has a negative effect on the i.q. in developing brains (makes sense, as it is a neurotoxin...why would you want long-term exposure to that?). Fluoride is not nearly as beneficial for dental health as is claimed. I much prefer the idea of nourishing my child well and allowing real food with real nutrients to take care of their teeth rather than a dubious neurotoxin...Fluoride is a byproduct of aluminum production, and both have ties to alzheimers. This is an amazing filter called the Berkey system and it filters literally everything but the natural minerals out of the water. Its also great for disaster preparedness because you could put puddle water in there and it would come out safe to drink! I am really thankful for the opportunity to own this remarkable filter. 



-Milk-
I get happy when I open my fridge and see this. No antibiotics, no hormones,
no pasteurization...all the enzymes and nutrients intact.
I've wanted to acquire raw milk for a very long time. I researched the differences between pasteurized and raw a long time ago. At the time, we definitely were struggling to make ends meet and I just let the idea go for a while. Recently, we have had the opportunity to actually go and "meet" our milk. We purchased shares in the dairy herd at Elim Springs Farm, and we receive two gallons of milk per week. At first I had purchased a share through another farm, and after receiving our first gallon, I was extremely disappointed in the flavor since I knew raw milk existed that did not have a funky flavor. I found it odd that the only bad tasting raw milk I had had was from plastic jugs, and the only good tasting raw milk I'd had was from glass jars. It only makes sense that with all the active enzymes and cultures that is in raw milk, that plastic would affect it in some way. I was thrilled to be able to get out of the share I had first bought into, and purchase a share with a farm that only uses glass jars! Its also a much smaller operation, and their milk tastes absolutely AMAZING. I'm making Drew some yogurt with it right now. <3

-Wheat-
Yes, wheat.
I started doing some digging into why so many people have sensitivities to the various components of wheat, the most popular being gluten. The whole "gluten-free" craze has totally gone out of control, in my opinion. Gluten-free does NOT equal healthy. I am experimenting with the removal of wheat from our diet. I've tried using sprouted spelt flour in the meantime, which is wheat, but while I'm discovering how to cook with various wheat-free flours, I tried some GMO-free, organic spelt flour. We felt so much better after eating that than we would after conventional wheat, but still...I am of the opinion that wheat is nowhere near the same thing as it was when God created it. Scientists have been too anxious to "play God" and have changed it into a dangerous substance. So no, we aren't claiming to be "gluten intolerant", or any such thing...we just are choosing to live without wheat as I don't believe it promotes health whatsoever. In fact it is being discovered just how many ways it negatively affects the health of ALL who eat it, not just those whose stomachs clearly object.

I mentioned Food, Inc above. If you have Netflix, I HIGHLY recommend that you go watch it. You'll never see the grocery store the same again. We vote three times a day where we want our food to come from. I definitely was of the opinion that "we can't afford to eat organic, natural food"...now I realize that cheap isn't everything. Cheap food isn't honest. Its actually quite dishonest. You eat a burger at a fast-food joint, you are eating the ammonia they sanitized the beef with.You will get what you pay for. And eventually, all that cheap food will turn into massive medical bills. I know, that seems pretty dramatic, but its really very basic. I am looking forward to someday being able to have a garden and hopefully some chickens and cows. Hopefully. Someday. Haha.

Most people prefer to have that veil between them and the source of their food. If they pulled it back, they could never eat the way they eat again. I walk through the grocery store now and see carts piled with all the rearrangements of corn: cereals, breads, snack foods, even "healthy" things like lowfat yogurt, skim milk, soy milk, pasteurized eggs (what the heck?!)...all "improvements on nature". If you just take a moment to think: "Why would OUR CREATOR, and the creator of all things, create foods to sustain us that caused sickness or harm?" and then another moment to think "What interest do scientists that "improve" this "food" have in our well-being? If we are sick, won't they make more money? We will become their customers for life...why would they want us to be truly well?" What if I told you aborted fetal cells are used to test flavorings, that the response in these cells is data that is used to create an appetite in YOU so you will become addicted to these flavors? What if I told you that low-fat is a scam? That anything you could buy with a coupon, even if you got it free, you would be better off without? If you can find a coupon for something, generally it is not something that God created. It's manufactured. And manufactured calories are at the very least, empty, if not cause of illness.What if you truly researched your food? Looked into the top three ingredients in supermarket packages: soycorn & canola (which are most often genetically modified) as well as even healthy foods like milkbeefeggsproduce, and even the water you drink

I am so thankful for the resources we have, the fact that I have had the opportunity to discern what I will and will not choose to feed my family. They are the most important and loved gifts I have ever received and I do not take them for granted. I want to use the resources God has given us to take great care in respecting our bodies and health that we've been given, and to respect it as a gift not to be destroyed by our skewed priorities. It's nice to have beautifully decorated homes, large-screen tvs, trips to the beach. But if we are in poor health we won't enjoy any of that, and on top of it we will end up spending money we don't have to attempt to regain the health we lost to our mass-produced diet. It truly is about priorities.






10 March 2014

Belle Isle

Drew came down with a nasty stomach bug Saturday night, and Garret was here so we decided to leave him and go have dinner at City Dogs. It was fun hanging out with my little brother for the afternoon and evening. Arden and Thayer love Uncle Garret.







Sunday I decided that since I missed Thayer's 11th monthiversary I ought to take him after nap to get some photos. I cleaned the house thoroughly while Drew convalesced in bed, and then took the small people to St Andrews & Belle Isle to take a few photos.

I couldn't love this photo any more.

I wasn't aware that the walk to Belle Isle wasn't a short one. I was starting to feel a bit of uneasiness in my own stomach so when I ran into Garrett & Autumn there, I decided not to hang out just in case I was carrying that nasty bug. Anyway, so I wore myself out and made myself quite sore pushing a double stroller with tires that were low on air. We finally made it out to the rocks and Arden did some toe-dipping, Thayer did some mud-slipping. Here's a few of the magical moments:











Upon returning home, the underlying queasiness turned into a gut-wrenching beast. I laid down in bed and couldn't make myself get back up again until the kids were all bathed and jammied...Drew was a rock star and tried valiantly to get them down, but it wasn't happening. Eleven o clock and they were still crying for me so I got myself up and gave them nummies, and while Arden was out like a light, Thayer had taken an 8 o clock nap and was absolutely not ready to fall asleep. After giving him nummies for a while and feeling like I was going to drop him from weakness, I gave up and let Drew at it again. It wasn't an easy night. Arden woke early this morning puking as well...not fun. Changing sheets and such, while feeling quite tipsy on my own feet. 

That about sums up our weekend...feeling better now, thankfully!

08 March 2014

Thayer August is 11 months old!!!



This mischief man is SO hard to photograph. I think of all the months I've taken pictures, of both of my kids, the eleven month photos were the hardest. They are absolutely unwilling to hold still and have the mobility and skills to turn around and run away before I can get the camera in position. And the rock eating...there's that. The dirty knees from tripping on shoes. Eleven month olds are ornery and have a mean temper if their adventures are cut short in any way. I'm sure its frustrating to be learning something or exploring a new concept or thought and having it interrupted, so I am not surprised at the outbursts of frustration, but still...quite honestly it can be...embarrassing to scoop up your runaway child and immediately thereafter comes the back arching, screams and kicking. I think Arden's 11 month photos were interrupted by her falling off a bench and eating sand. Thayer just climbed down from a bench and ate rocks.

He is such a cuddle bug and a mama's boy. I adore having a boy! I just love having one of each, really...they are so different and both so fun! When he was born and I saw he was a boy, I was slightly panicked. I honestly was thinking "what the heck am I supposed to do with a boy?!" And since then I've found out: Love, enjoy, squeeze, wrestle, tickle, kiss, play, laugh, learn. Just like having a girl. But so different. He still sleeps horribly...the other night I got REALLY lucky and he woke up once. At least I think so...I was sleeping in Arden's room because Drew was throwing up, and its a possibility he woke and I didn't hear him. I sleep soundly these days since I get so little sleep. 

I just love him so much. Always ready to snuggle, hardly any hair, an easy laugh and crooked smile. Chubby cheeks and chubby thighs. He's also getting his mama's hazel eyes. Which makes me pretty happy too. <3

The only new word I've taken note of this month is "cheese". He doesn't prefer talking to pointing and getting his needs met by people that read his cues. His walking has only gotten speedier and smoother. The only reason I got any smiles during this shoot is because he thought he was getting away with something. Which is why I call him "mischief man".

I will update with stats when I can get around to weighing and measuring this big guy!



06 March 2014

hello, Richmond

Wow, I really am doing awful for having internet so easily at my disposal. Maybe because I still haven't fallen into a good, smooth routine yet. And my house shows it. Some boxes are still sitting about, some of it is decor that needs to be hung, and some are waiting to be relocated to the shed...once we get the missing parts from the company (yes, it came from the store missing two packages of hardware). The outside of our house is terrible. So. Many. Boxes. Tons of trash. We need a major dumpster.

Sooo...anyway. So far I love my new home. I love this house...it's small, and absolutely perfect for us. We've even begun to dream about building one similar with a few changes. I totally prefer a small house to a big one. And mine wasn't even that huge. Three levels is just not my cup of tea. I will joyfully live in a small, one level home with one bathroom. Joyfully. Its awesome. Our playroom/office/workout room doesn't get heat so at the moment my hands are slightly frozen, but other than that I couldn't be more tickled.

We already got to enjoy spending time with friends here, the Tuesday after we moved in! David and Laura brought us some yummy dinner and we enjoyed hanging out with them for the evening. Gemma and Arden totally hit it off!

We finally got a plumber out here to fix our backed up drains...immediately after my laundromat experience. It is absolutely LOVELY to be able to wash our clothes conveniently! And for the record, I totally prefer old-school top loaders to my fancy front loader I had. So much faster and easier to thoroughly clean the crazy dirty loads like Drew's work clothes and Thayer's diapers. I had to do so much tricking and fooling the machine, and cycles ran so long I had to dedicate a day to diaper washing.

Our landlord's maintenance guy replaced the part on our oven, so now that's working dandy...that's a big help, let me tell you.

And finally,  the HVAC guy came out and fixed our heater! I couldn't be more thrilled about that. Our house is finally a lovely 68-70 throughout! He had to clean the fan completely...it was caked with dust, and was overheating from struggling, then it would shut itself off until Drew flipped the switch to reset it. The day he fixed it Drew was off for a snow day, and we enjoyed the frozen day together. It was 58 by the time the guy got the heat back on. :/ So thankful it's working now!

Amber put together a "welcome to Richmond" brunch and Lorianne hosted it at her home...I don't know them all very well, but they were so kind to throw this party and I really enjoyed getting to know them all a bit better! All the littles trashed the schoolroom, and Thayer made it a point to snoop in every cabinet and drawer he could reach. The ladies put together a binder and passed around a few "best of Richmond" lists for them all to fill in. So sweet and I'm looking forward to discovering this city and all their favorite places, as well as find a few of my own! So far it looks like I will absolutely enjoy living here. It's good to know there are plenty of hospitable, fun friends close by!

Yep, it's a no-photo post...I've been extremely lazy with the camera lately :(

so long, Stafford

But first, a few memories from our two-week stay at Papa & Nana's house (we are so thankful for their willingness to put up with us and sharing their home!):


While Mama and Daddy went on a short Valentines Day date for dessert, Thayer snoozed with Papa

Passed out on the way home from house searching-16 February
Arden made us some guacamole one night for dinner :)

And after almost two whole weeks of avoiding the oil heater in the center of the basement, Thayer backed into it two days before we left. Poor love ;(

The Thursday before we left we had a Chick-Fil-A playdate with Kendra! So much fun.

Friday (amazing delicious fish tacos) lunch with Darleen, Ava, Everett, Theresa & Mom. Thayer snuggled with Gramma when he woke up after snoozing in the car.

The big moving day was Saturday the 22nd! We had lots of very kind helpers come over bright and early and filled up that truck in a hurry! Some of the Mendelsohn guys, Rusty and Amber, Jeremy & Ava, Mom and Dad, Garret & Trevor, and Austin came over to Michael & Theresa's to help us load everything up!



We bought our first Dunkin Donuts ever to share with our wonderful help

My lovely daughter "helping". She kept sweeping the ramp with her broom. I'm sure you can imagine how helpful that can be.


Guys helping, and Arden wrestling with Papa

awesome Uncle Garret and his sweet nephew

Helping Uncle Garret put on his glasses

GOODBYE STAFFORD!


Richmond!
 When we got to Richmond, Stephanie had made and brought us and our helpers a super yummy lunch, and we also had several more helpers waiting for us! Scott & Kim, Megan(who sweetly kept Thayer and the other small people out of the way for us!)
unloading the truck


our new little home; truck reflection in the window

Late on our first night here--party in a box

getting settled with a familiar book in her new bedroom

Our first grocery expedition
One of the first things we noticed about our home was that the heater only sometimes worked. It would come on but then many times, when it was coldest outside, the heat wouldn't automatically come on, it would get down to 62 or so at night because of this. Thayer's room stayed toasty, if not hot. Also, our oven's pilot light didn't stay on, and even during cooking it would randomly just go out. To top it all off, the washing machine would spew water from the drain pipe. Between these three, we didn't get to cook dinner, we didn't have clean clothes, and we were rather chilly. I finally got tired of waiting on our washer to work and bit the bullet...it seems that laundromats are few and far between in Richmond. I went off my phone's map and it took me to one that.......didn't exist. At least anymore. So I went on the next closest one to me. And that one was the dirtiest laundromat in the history of laundromats. Maybe our Stafford one set the bar high since it was new and also a laundry service (Think single marines ;)...but this place...golly. There was dirt, trash and powdered soap all over the floor. So you can imagine why I was a little grossed out by the fact that Thayer refused to walk. He kept trying to crawl, and, you guessed it, put EVERY gross thing in his mouth. Finally I put him on the laundry counter. He cried. Arden found a game she couldn't reach, and solved that problem herself.


You know I'm getting settled [finally] when I take the time to make myself a one-shot tiny latte. Perfect.

we are broadening our food horizons. Chia coconut milk pudding! He loves the stuff.

as you can see, this stove hasn't been scrubbed in a while. But its not even the stuff that comes off easily without steel wool and the resultant scratches on the surface.

enter Norwex. Just an Enviro cloth and some cleaning paste. All natural stuff.

A bit of time and pressure--boom! Burned on grease from years of lazy tenants-GONE.
We are changing our eating habits to be more whole and traditional (think Weston A Price), a little at a time...which requires that we save money where we can! Good, organic foods are definitely available in this lovely city, but of course not cheap. So for many of our foods and other needs that we can buy in bulk, and at a lower cost, we needed a club membership. We were on a friend's card at Sam's, but with all that's happened we decided to discontinue using it so as not to cause any more hard feelings or trouble than necessary. We love Costco though! Lots of organic options and very convenient to our home.
A final photo--we did our civic duty and signed up for our own Costco card.
So that wraps up our last few weeks... the uprooting of the Dunavant family from Stafford, and the planting of ourselves in a new, exciting place! We are looking forward to all the new relationships we will create and can't wait to see what the Lord has for us in the future!