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365/52 week 12, and my house stinks.

like a sewer. we smelled it yesterday and spent quite a bit of time walking around the house sniffing at things, cleaning out the litterbox, cleaning out the sink disposal ... you name it. as the day went on, it seemed to grow a little stronger, and i decided i would call this morning if i could still smell it.

at 3 a.m., harper got up, and as i was putting her back to bed i noticed i could still smell it and it was getting stronger. i got up and googled "house smells like a sewer" and started reading over possible causes and solutions. one recommended it could be caused by a dry trap and to flush the basement drain with water. i decided to try that in the morning and went back to bed.

by 5 a.m., i gave up on sleeping because the odor was noxious, went around the house opening windows (even though it was about 38 degrees outside), wandered out of the house to the garage, got a heavy-duty bucket, trudged back to the basement, and proceeded to flush that drain. then tried to go back to sleep with the sheets over my head.

at 8 a.m. it was still horrendous. i got the kids off to school then came home and called the city works department. they sent a guy out this afternoon, and he said it could be something as simple as a leak in a pipe leading from the laundry tub to sewer pipe in the laundry room, to something bigger, like a crack in the actual sewer pipes leading into the house through the yard.

good. lord. no. this is NOT the time in our lives when we need a big, expensive sewer project and the bill that goes along with it.

the smell has abated, but then again there has been air flowing through the house all day. the real test will be tonight, when all the windows are closed again. if it's still stinky tomorrow, i'll get under the laundry tub (because marc is, of course, in texas right now) and address the part of the drain pipe that the guy said looked suspicious, then cross my fingers that the cause was just that easy to fix.

on that note, here is thursday's pix recap:



harper and mario, enjoying the sunshine. (i will miss this window seat terribly when we move.)


spring in a vase.



harper's best girl, blowing bubbles at harp's b'day party.



day one of spring break: jammie day. also, pokemon day. also, i didn't have to deal with them day.


we spent day two at mall of america. the kids rode rides for hours, we had lunch, and they sat for a caricature artist. doesn't totally look like them, but it's pretty cute.



we're goin' green!


thursday was spent with henry's friends at grand slam, where they played miniature golf, ball blast, arcade games, bumper cars, and laser tag. watching harper play laser tag was stinkin' funny.


fun stuff, spring break.

thank goodness it's over.

the scary part is, that just means there are only two months until summer vacation.


a little less than a week ago ...

harper had a birthday party.

then marc left.

and we had spring break.

and marc came home.

for about 12 minutes.

then he left again.

and we were still on spring break.

and i failed to tell you about the birthday party.

nevermind this week's pix of the day.

maybe you can see those on sunday.

or in april.

and now i need to go take a shower and remake the bed.

while marc plays "call of duty."

but i either get these party pix up and be done with it, or this will just be the year without party pix.

and that ain't right.

so ...

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funniest part of the day ... i brought out the cake with these lovely tall, skinny lavender candles. not realizing they were relighting candles.

good thing harper's a good sport.

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thank goodness for daddy and henry.


thank you, and goodnight.

365/52 week 11: better late than never

so, quick  recap from last-last thursday until last thursday:


easter stuff started to come out.



harper got crafty with paint and glitter glue.



marc and our neighbor compared home security systems.



pre-business trip birthday morning snuggle.



no one wants to get ready for school on a dreary, drizzly day.


st patty's parade, downtown minneapolis. the kids and i channeled our inner irish. marc wore a boston celtics shirt.


what greets us in the bathroom after one of henry's showers.

okay. back up to date.

harper's b'day party was yesterday ... i'll get to that tomorrow.


right now, i have spring break kiddos to take to target to blow birthday money on the new pokemon game. then, they shall retreat to their rooms to play said game until dinner time. and i can nurse my sore hip and catch up on oprah. and maybe tonight we'll go to the gym for family swim, minus daddy.

ahh ... spring break!


so not fair.

she's five, and it's killin' me.

this is my BABY we're talking about. she was supposed to be little longer. but she isn't. she's big. and SOOO full of personality it isn't even funny.


it's amazing how differently a parent can love each of their children. this one, she makes me laugh. like crazy. it's just the lightness that is around her. so much like her dad, actually. the way they both just sort of make a face and shrug off life. i admire that like crazy and wish it was a quality i possess.

unfortunately, her birthDAY today was a little crazy, so we celebrated family day yesterday.

there were presents ...

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grandma roush had been to florida for work last month and found some seashells and seashell tchotchkes. seashells and seashell tchotchkes to harper = bliss. remember the sand dollar she "found" in lake michigan over the summer and carried around for days? yeah. she still loves seashells. grandma's gift was perfect.

grandpa's gift? equally rad, in harper's eyes:

barbie fishing pole.


then there was henry's gift. harper opened it so fast and squealed so loud and moved to flatten henry with a fierce hug so quickly that all i caught was a blur mid-tackle.

the gift? "squidman's escape" lego set. really.

for harper, the sun rises and sets with henry.

(and holy heck ... when did my son's hands get enormous?!)

we got her boring stuff ... fancy nancy book, biscuit book, dress and flip flops, mermaid barbie (she liked that one). and then it was off to dinner of her choice: chevy's. why? sombrero. just like henry on his birthday.

this morning, daddy had to head out, so it was a girl day. she took chocolate chip cookies to school and got a special birthday crown from her teacher (see first pic). after school, i asked her what she wanted for her special lunch.

answer: homestyle chicken noodle soup and yogurt. while watching "tom & jerry."

so low maintenance, this one.

so that's what we did.

after that, we had an appointment at a salon for harper to get a buff & polish. she's been asking for a real manicure (apparently, i suck at it) for awhile and i kept telling her that she could for her birthday. so i had to pony up for it.

and harper? oh ... the joy ...


of picking her own colors (pink and gold),



having grown-up conversation about nail polish,



of getting all buffed up and shiny,



of having beautiful nails, and a special little flower stuck to one of them.



happy girl.


after that, we picked up henry, hung out, had dinner, and then i pulled out a surprise small piece of cake with a frosting flower on it so she could have a candle to blow out on her birthday.

she loved the surprise, and took her wish-making very seriously.


look at that face. don't you wish you knew what her wish was?

the only flaw in the day was marc's absence, but otherwise it was a wonderful day with my little, big five-year-old. my heart, my joy, my love.


365/52 week 10

trying to get back into the groove this week, only to have my mostly-brand-new 50mm 1.4 DIE sometime between using it friday and trying to use it monday. nice. so off i went with it and my receipt to the camera store today, they checked it out, said yup ... dead, and swapped it out on the spot for a new one.

buy local, people.

(and by that i mean national camera ROCKS.)

so, there are some iphone photos this week:


chicago traffic. and i had to pee like crazy. and saw nothing but brake lights. awesome.



a little scrappiness that may or may not have occurred on saturday, that may or may not be for that memory makers call i told you about on tuesday.


yes, i arrange my sock drawer.



the color palette of our next house ... aqua, green, gray, white. fresh and delicious.



speaking of next house ... we bought our dirt. oh yes we did. long story ... i'll get to it in a minute.



and yes, i immediately superimposed a picture of the front elevation of the house we're planning to build over a picture of our dirt. and colored in the roof and front door. and added a porch. that's totally normal, right?


harper, on the right, showing great form at not-yet-five, and kicking the butt of the darlin' next to her. she's totally going to be my swimmer. in fact, i think her skill level will catch up to henry's in about three months.

. . . . .

so, about that dirt story:

i know i've mentioned our saga with moving into henry's school district, finding a lot we loved, going through builders' plans and pro/conning what we want, and ultimately having to make the decision of just what we want to do about the whole thing.

we finally came to the conclusion that given the price of the lot going down so significantly and the cost of the build coming in under our budget, it was a sign. and we couldn't ignore the obvious quality of life factors of moving out there ... nature trails, a lake just down the street for boating and fishing and swimming, living across the street from a park and almost next door to our former neighbor whom we like so, so much, quiet streets, close to the schools and henry's friends, being surrounded by protected natural areas so the neighborhood won't sprawl, etc. so we decided that at the end of march we would put a purchase agreement on the lot and start planning for next year.

well, last thursday while i was at becca's house, i got a message from our former neighbor and he said the three lots on his block - including the one we loved - were all now reserved and to please tell him one was for us. i immediately called marc to see if he'd gone to the bank yet for preapproval, etc. (that was his one thing i needed him to do while i was gone), and he of course said no. immediately i was heartbroken. sure, there are other lots in that neighborhood, but this one was perfect. i tried so hard to be philosophical about it, that it just wasn't meant to be, that we'd be okay in a different lot, etc. deep down, though, i knew i was crushed.

monday morning i was still bumming, and then it occurred to me: wasn't it odd that after all these months all three lots went at the exact same time?? did another developer snap them up to re-sell at a profit because they'd dropped so low? did three families jump the gun without getting financing lined up? could we get lucky? so i called the rep we've been using through the builder we like, told her what happened, and asked if she could please check on the lots' statuses and see what she could find out.

about 10 minutes later i got a text from her: good news. call me asap.

apparently, another developer DID reserve all three lots for its own clients, and lots #2 and 3 are under contract. but lot 4, OUR lot, is only under verbal contract and there is a contingency on it because they need to sell their house.

ohmigosh. a glimmer of serendipitous light.

our rep laughed and said she took the liberty of putting our name down on the lot without a contingency, meaning we would get first right of refusal over the other party, and said that if we still want the lot it could be ours if we signed a purchase agreement asap, and she ran it over to us monday afternoon.

so first thing tuesday morning, marc jetted to the bank, got the pre-approval, got all the paperwork in order, and that afternoon i skipped into the developer's office and handed over a big fat check and our signed purchase agreement papers.

and .68 acres became ours. well, mostly ours. we close in less than a month. THEN it's really ours.

i'm already planning a picnic on our dirt on the first nice spring day.

i think marc and i are both in denial a bit that it actually just happened and happened that fast, but the timing of absolutely every part of the past seven days has been incredibly fortuitous. meant to be, i say.

and i can't wait to get on with the rest of it, but now i need to be patient. our house needs a little attention this summer, our bank account needs attention for the next 10 months, and a year from now we'll cross our fingers, put our house on the market, and let the bulldozers start digging.

until then, we'll pray real hard that nothing monumentally earth-shattering happens between now and next summer and we're stuck with this dirt and its price tag.

and that's my high/low for the week.

clearing my head and my blog to do list

what a whirlwind the past 10 days have been! wow. and considering the amount of stuff i need to brain-dump, there will be no pix of the day from last week. just consider the stuff i post here to fill in.

okay, to start, last saturday i headed to indiana to give my sister that baby shower we'd planned, up until wyatt came two months early. it was for our roush side of the family: aunts, great-aunts, cousins, etc.

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hee hee. rocket man. wyatt's "rocket man."


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great aunt helen held wyatt the entire time becca was opening gifts. she was a baby nurse for years and had the magic touch. and great aunt nancy took her turn to coo goodbyes before she and great uncle danny headed back to ohio.

the most tingly part of the day, though, was when great aunt martha checked out wyatt.

becca and i both commented after the shower that aunt martha looking at wyatt was surreal ... she is the sister of our grandma roush, and they looked so much alike. it was like seeing grandma look at her new great-grandson. so strange, and yet so wonderful.

monday i headed to becca's house to hang out with her and matt and wyatt for the week. because RSV is running rampant in their area, wyatt's been quarantined from going out and being around people, so poor becca has been house-bound as well for the past six weeks. we did get to go to the doctor on tuesday for wyatt's check up: 9 lbs 10 oz and 22" already!! he's growing like a champ and doing just beautifully!

speaking of beautiful, check out my new nephew. quite the looker, though i may be biased.

but i don't think so. he's really that amazing.

big, squishy, baby powder-scented love. he's perfect.

friday i had to pry myself away from him and becca and start the trek home. however, first i needed to make a pit stop in winona lake, indiana, to visit my cousin, luke, and visit his studio/gallery, mudlove pottery.

remember luke?

image from
he's started a wonderful business - hand-thrown pottery that he bakes in his own kilns on-site.

and the best part? a percentage of all his sales go toward water in africa. win/win. check out his etsy shop, and perhaps there will be a mudlove love giveaway in the coming weeks ... stay tuned.

anywhoodle, after my visit with luke i was back on the road. this time, to lake geneva, wisconsin, to meet some girlfriends for a weekend of scrappy stuff.

i was invited by my friend, anne, whom i've known for - we realized - about 12 years through the internet. we've met a handful of times since then, and i simply adore the girl. she and some girlfriends recommended the scrapbook manor in lake geneva for the weekend, and i couldn't say no. and what an amazing place! the house is gorgeous, the beds are amazingly comfy, the work room is perfect, the food is non-stop, and the owner, karen, is the sweetest thing you'll ever meet. i kinda wanted to move in. and i can't wait to go back.

and i got a lot done, which, given the availability of wine, bloody marys (ohmigosh, lesley - you HAVE to make those for me again!!), and other party favors, is shocking.

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unfortunately, i can't post the others right now because i'm working on stuff for that memory makers book call. (psst: there's still time to submit!!)

and then i came home.

that gets you up to speed with life through yesterday morning. and i'm leaving out a big dramatic scene from thursday night.

i'll get to that in a day or two. there are still a couple of ducks that need to be coaxed into a row before i go into detail on that.

glad to be back, though!

coming up from baby-scented goodness

coming up from baby-scented goodnessit's been three days of happy, snuggly, squishy wyattfest ... whee!!

for those of you who have been following wyatt's story, here's an update:

at his doctor's appointment yesterday, he weighed 9 lbs 10 oz, and he's grown nearly 2"! what a champ!!

i have another two days to soak him in, then it's off to wisconsin to scrap with some girlfriends before heading home on sunday. i miss my kiddos and mchotness, though it's so nice to be the one away for a change. ;o)

more later ...