Saturday, January 13, 2007

Same Builder, Different House

I went out with a realtor again today. We went in to Churton Grove and toured a few houses. The homes were nice but after walking through a Crabtree home it didn't seem nice enough for the money.

The realtor took me to another Crabtree neighborhood and I liked this house even better than the one I saw last week. The square footage is about the same but it's better utilized. There is a family room and living room on the main floor as well as a dining room and a breakfast room.
All four bedrooms are upstairs and are better sized than the other house. Off of one of the bedrooms is a large, unfinished storage area that I would love to turn into a playroom if we bought the house.

I really liked that the driveway is paved in this one. The other is not. I also like that it's closer to Duke than the other house. It would be about 10 minutes for Chris to get to work, closer than our current home.
This builder has a unique style for this area. The homes have more of a custom-built feel. There are little details all over the house that add style and quality.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Haircuts and Pictures

Yesterday Tristan turned nine months old. To celebrate I took him for his first haircut. His bangs were hanging down in his eyes. I want to take him to get his picture taken so I wanted his hair to look nice. He has good hair for a nine-month-old. It's going to be thick like his Daddy's, I think, but not as dark.

Tristan hated having his hair cut. I took him to a barber shop across the street. I was the only female, besides Kennedy, and we were the only white people in there. I think the guy didn't know what to do with Tristan's straight hair. He flat-out told me that he didn't know how to use scissors. It took a long time because the barber used multiple shields on the trimmers to get it right and Tristan squirmed and cried. I felt like I was abusing him!
At nine months Tristan is still not sleeping through the night, no matter what I do. I have tried letting him cry, nursing him, just going in to comfort him, etc. Nothing works. He still wakes up. He is a terrible napper too. He takes a 30-45 minute nap in the morning and usually a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. Although, his afternoon naps have been getting worse and worse. He almost always needs an extra nap in the later afternoon. Poor kid. I know he would be much happier if he would just sleep better.

Tristan is a connoisseur of baby food. He went from exclusively nursing at 4 1/2 months to three solid meals a day at 5 months. Since then he has only really gotten the hang of graham crackers. The last week or so though I have been feeding him table food and he seems to like it now. My previous attempts have not gone so well. He is also handling the smaller foods better, like Cheerios.

I took Kennedy to have a haircut last week. I take her to the same lady who does my hair, Melissa. I have been going to her since I moved here. Kennedy loves having her hair cut. She always sits so still and she is so friendly to Melissa. Whenever she is finished having her hair cute Melissa gives her a lollipop. Kennedy has really pretty hair. I had Tristan with us this time and he was so good sitting in the stroller.
Here are some pictures of Kennedy at Little Gym from my previous post. She is a master at the "basket hang" and now loves the balance beam.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

O Ye of Little Faith

Lately I have been really concentrating on teaching Kennedy about praying. I have heard stories of children praying for things in impossible circumstances and having things work out right away but I never thought I would have an experience like that.

Today when Kennedy woke up from her nap she wanted to bake cookies. She wanted to make chocolate cookies. I pulled out a recipe and then remembered that we didn't have any brown sugar. I told her the problem then went on to look for a different recipe that didn't call for brown sugar. We found a snickerdoodles recipe that would work. I started pulling out the ingredients to make sure we had everything and discovered I didn't have any white sugar either. I looked in the pantry where I thought was another bag but I didn't find anything. Just as I turned around Kennedy said, "Let's ask Heavenly Father for some sugar. He will help us."
I was a little worried because I just looked in the pantry and knew there wasn't any in there. I asked Kennedy if she would say the prayer. She did. I looked up and there was no sugar. I thought for a minute then remembered that I had a cookie mix (thanks to my sister) in the pantry. I told Kennedy that there was not sugar but there was something else we could use. We mixed up the cookies and had a good time together.
Heavenly Father is probably not too concerned about my chocolate chip cookies but I know he cares about my daughter. I am reminded that if we have faith we can ask for anything and Heavenly Father hears our prayers. I am also reminded that he doesn't always answer our prayers the way we expect them to be answered.

Monday, January 8, 2007


Here are two of my favorite recipes. Texas-Style Enchilada Casserole and Curry Chicken. The curry recipe is something my grandma used to make. She used chicken pieces but I like to use cooked and cubed chicken. Tristan had three helpings of it tonight.

The Enchilada Casserole is so easy to make and tastes really good. My friend makes the same recipe using chicken. I have only tried it with ground beef.

2 Tbs. butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 apple, shredded
1 cup evaporated milk
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. curry
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
Sauté curry, apple and onion in butter until onion is clear. Add soup, milk, salt and paprika. Put chicken in shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over chicken. Bake 20 - 30 minutes at 350. Serve over cooked rice.

Growing too fast

I can't believe how much the kids are growing. Today I was on the computer just to print out two things. When I looked over at my stairs Tristan had crawled up three stairs! At first it didn't register but luckily it didn't take me long to remember that he shouldn't be there. Kennedy was at the top and I think he was trying to get to her.

Tristan likes to be where Kennedy is, doing what Kennedy is doing. He has never played much with the baby toys Kennedy used to love. He likes to play with Kennedy's toys, dolls, crayons, blocks, etc. I don't mind but Kennedy would rather he did something else.

For the past few weeks Kennedy has been practicing getting herself dressed. I didn't realize how much she was doing this until I did laundry and had four loads to do. I couldn't figure out what was going on since I had just done laundry three days before. When I folded the laundry Kennedy had all her pajamas, 10 pair of socks, and about that many pair of underwear in the wash. Each night she has been undressing herself down to nothing and putting on fresh underwear, pajamas and socks. Then in the morning a new pair of underwear, clothes and a new pair of socks. She loves being independent from mom and dad.

I have been taking Kennedy to Little Gym for the past 18 weeks for a gymnastics class. I thought it would be a good thing for her to do for exercise but she has learned more than I realized. Tonight she got on the balance beam and walked across all by herself. I was so proud of her. At the beginning of the class Teacher Kim told the parents that the children would be able to do that by the end of class but I was sceptical.

We had a guest stay at our home last night. He was interviewing for a residency in Chris's department. He graduated from BYU too so Chris invited him to stay at our house. Kennedy loves having company and made him feel welcome. I got her ready for bed and we knelt down for prayers. I wanted her to say them by herself so we talked about some things she could say in the prayer like that she was thankful for mom and dad and ask for health, etc. the usual things. When she said the prayer she said that she was thankful that her friend could spend the night here. I thought it was cute. She did the whole prayer by herself too which was really good.

I have to remind myself sometimes that these little moments are going too quickly. I try to slow down and appreciate them and appreciate the stages my children are going through. When Kennedy was a baby I found myself wishing her to be older and doing the next thing. Today I am content with where both of my kids are.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Olive Creek

When Chris first told me he was thinking about taking a job at Duke my heart sunk to my toes. It's not that life has been so unpleasant since we moved here but I was really looking forward to moving closer to my family. When we moved here I came with the idea that we would be here a grand total of four years. That said, we are staying.

It took a lot of praying, on my part, to come to terms with the idea of staying. The job at Duke is a fantastic opportunity for Chris and he really loves his job and has had a really good experience here. I have not had such an exiting time. I started to list all the things I didn't like about North Carolina. . . humidity, bugs, fear of safety, bad schools, etc. Some of those things can't be controlled but some of them are particular to where we live.

I could tell Chris was really excited about staying here and that he really wanted to. I asked him to at least look around to see what else might be available. Not much this year. I conceded to stay and he promised to do his best to make me feel safe and do what he could to minimize the things I don't like here.

One of the top things on my list is the area where we live. We live in a nicer part of Durham but Durham is really patchy so there are seedy areas not too far from where we live. Durham schools are not very good either. Moving would take care of those problems.

Yesterday I went out with a realtor to look at a couple of neighborhoods. Chris and I decided to look first in Hillsborough which is not far from Durham but is a small town and very cozy. The first house I looked at was a house in the Olive Creek subdivision.

I loved this house! It is built by a woman builder who is local. The craftsmanship in the house is much better than the houses I've seen that are built by national builders. This home has a three-acre lot. It's mostly wooded and feels like a cabin in the forest. I loved the front porch and the screened porch in the back. The kitchen looks out to the screened porch and I could see myself sending the kids out to play while I cook dinner!

All the floors on the first floor are wood floors. Off the master bedroom is a study/office that sits over the garage.

There were a few things I didn't like about this house such as smaller bedrooms and there is not a bonus room which is something I wanted.

I doubt we will end up with this house but I really enjoyed touring it and imagining living there.

So, I am starting a new list now and that is of the things I like about North Carolina. I know we are going to be here for awhile and that's ok. I have lived here long enough to know how to deal with the humidity and bugs and I know that it's only a certain part of the year that I have to deal with that. I do love that it was 70+ degrees yesterday and we were all wearing short sleeves.