We are here, we are here, we are here!

To steal a quote from Horton Hears a Who – WE ARE HERE!  It’s been months (and CRAZY months at that!) since we last posted anything so it’s about time I gave you the low down and filled everybody in on our life.  It’s a long story and you can email me if you want details but here it is in a nutshell – we sold our house and closed on October 30th.  The lady buying our house originally told us we could stay until November 14th but changed her mind so we moved out on 10/28 and in with my folks for a few weeks while we house hunted.  It was great living with my folks – actually probably a little TOO cushy.  I could really get used to the multi-generations in one house thing.  Built in babysitters all the time, more people to prepare and clean up meals.  It went super smoothly and was very nice.  BUT – we’re very independent people and desperately needed our own space.  So we found the home for us and made a low-ball offer and it was accepted outright!  That was crazy until we found out it was a short sale which is really just a silly way of saying it’s going to be a LONG SALE!  Anyway, it all worked out perfectly and we moved into our new home on November 21st.  We had a great few weeks of settling in (and still have MANY boxes to unpack and walls to paint) before Christmas.  On the Sunday before Christmas we had Sophie dedicated at church and the kids sang in the little church kids Christmas performance.  It was a great day!  We were able to celebrate Christmas in our new home complete with giant real tree and a crackling fire in the fireplace and SNOW!  I think it’s the first time I’ve ever had a true white Christmas and we LOVED it!  The day after Christmas we drove down to San Antonio with my folks – their Christmas gift to us.  We spent 5 wonderful days down there at the zoo and the river walk and the Alamo.  It wasn’t as warm as we’d hoped but it was way warmer than Arkansas.  The girls (mom, me, Gwennie, and Sophie that last day) were all sick with colds but we still had a blast!  Now we’re home again and look forward to staying put for a nice long time.  Praise the Lord we are all healthy (or at least quickly recovering from our little colds) and happy and enjoying our Christmas gifts and each other.  Now here’s a quick update on each family member individually:

Nick – (as dictated to me by Nick himself) Doing great. I don’t know.  Keeping busy with work, family, church, and … that’s about it. I don’t know.  (Okay, he’s back to playing his new Star Wars wii game – that was his Christmas gift – so that’s all from Nick.  Ha!)

Sarah – I’m so thankful for a hard working husband!  Nick’s taken on a few freelance jobs this past year which have allowed me to stay home full time comfortably.  I’m excited about the thought that we’re going to be in our own beds for more than a month straight.  I got two aprons for Christmas and plan to become “the apron lady.”  I’m proud of myself for having kept my 2009 new year’s resolution and read the entire Bible cover to cover in a year.  This year I hope to get pregnant with baby #4 and thereby complete the DeYoung family.  I’m in awe each time Thad reads a new word and tells me something I didn’t know, something he learned at Kindergarten – I learn something new every day!  I’m thankful for such a sweet Gwennie who keeps me company (and challenged) each day.  I’m so blessed with three beautiful children who never cease to amaze me and can genuinely crack me up.  Laughter is the best medicine and our house is FULL of it!!!

Thad – Thad starts his spring semester of kindergarten on Monday.  He got a bike and a guitar and a cool dinosaur set for Christmas among other things.  He desperately wanted the guitar and is stoked that he got one with a dragon on it.  It’s a real guitar and he is anxious to learn how to play it.  He loves to sit on the couch and just fiddle around with it.  We’re going to have to get him some lessons soon I think.  He’s also become quite the accomplished artist.  He can draw animals (his favorite things in the world) especially well and practices every day.  His teacher even framed one of his razorbacks and has it hanging in her home!  She is a real sweetheart and we’re so thankful Thad has Mrs. Whittington as his very first teacher.  After our trip to the San Antonio zoo, I think Thad is definitely going to be a zoo keeper or veterinarian some day and very possibly in another country.  He is such a joy!

Gwennie – There just aren’t enough words to describe Gwennie.  She is a hoot!  She is sweet and wild and crazy and fun and defiant and a fast learner and potty trained(!) and loud and emotional and silly and goofy and giggly and strong and obnoxious and just the best sister in the world.  She plays so well with Thad – rough and feisty and plays so well with Sophie – sweet and gentle.  She also got a bike for Christmas along with a dress up trunk full of princess clothes and a dance and twirl castle.  She has a new butterfly room complete with pink walls and butterflies and flowers on the walls.  She is VERY girly and loves to twirl like a princess.  Every day for the past year she has told me that I’m her best friend.  I just can’t get enough of this little girl!  She is such a joy!

Sophie – As I mentioned earlier, we are finally settled and I hope that sleeping in our own beds each night will make Sophie a better sleeper.  At 7 months old she still wakes up at least 2 times each night and sometimes MANY more.  She has started solids but much prefers to just nurse.  She might eat half a jar of baby food on a really good day.  She loves her new Christmas toys, especially this little pop up toy. Despite her sleeping problems, she is my sweet little angel baby and by far our happiest baby and possibly the most outgoing.  She’ll smile at anybody and everybody who will smile at her!  She is fair like her brother and blonde like her sister and has the bluest eyes of the three.  Her hair is really starting to grow now and is just white blonde.  She looks a lot like Thad still and some of her expressions look just like him at this age.  She is such a joy!

Bonny (our golden retriever) and Buddy (our Beagle) are going to be 10 this year and are back to being indoor dogs and are loving life.  The move was probably the hardest on them but they survived and are thriving now.

The new house – Our new house is 1664 square feet (400 more than the old one) and sits on a half acre (twice as much as we had before).  We have a nice playground now that came with the house and a large raised bed that will make a perfect vegetable garden in the spring.  We have two huge mimosa trees that will be gorgeous when they bloom.  We also have a huge oak tree in the front and a bunch of pine trees in the back corner.  We had the back yard fenced in for the dogs and so I can comfortably play with the kids in the baby pool in my swimsuit in the the summer.  The house has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths and is very similar in floor plan to our old house.  The kitchen is smaller but I have a laundry room in the house now that also serves as a pantry so there actually is more room in the kitchen.  I also have all new appliances including a much larger fridge and a gas stove which I love!  We have two patios off the back of the house through sliding glass doors (one off the dining room and one off our bedroom).  Each room has a walk-in closet and the huge stone fireplace is great!  Little things like a window in our bathroom and a window over the kitchen sink make such a huge difference.  We took many before photos and will post the after photos as we complete projects – there are MANY.

That’s all for now – you are ALL caught up on the DeYoungs.  I promise to update more frequently now that this big one is done.  God bless you in 2010!

DeYoung family fall update

I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since we last updated this but if you only knew how busy those 2 months have been!  Let me fill you in.  In our last update we told you about Thad’s first day of school.  He is still loving it and actually went on his first field trip (and bus ride!) today to a pumpkin patch.  His teacher is great and he’s starting to read!  Suddenly he wants to know every word he sees and he’s like a sponge.  He’s sounding out words and it’s just so awesome to see someone learn to read.  I’ve never been a part of that before and just can’t get enough.  I’m bursting with pride!  Each day he comes home and proudly shows me his daily behavior chart and it’s always a thumbs-up day.  Always!  I just can’t get over what a great kid he is.  I have had a very hard time with Thad being gone all day.  It’s way harder than I expected.  I’m adjusting but it’s still really difficult.  Every day Gwennie asks “When’s it time to pick Bubba up?  I miss him!”  Me too!  I know we made the right decision to send him to public school and it’s comforting to know he’s enjoying it and doing so well but I still really miss him.  Gwennie is enjoying all the new attention though.  I thought she’d be lost without him (and she clearly does miss him) but she likes getting to watch what she wants and do whatever she wants to do.

In late August we decided to put our house on the market.  We’d tried to sell our house ourselves a little over a year ago and had 37 people look at it and not a single offer.  That was a bummer.  We knew that the $8000 1st time homebuyer credit ends in December and that our house was the perfect 1st home so we thought we’d jump on that bandwagon.  This time we knew we should go with a realtor.  So in early September we listed the house and two weeks later we had two offers!  After a little countering we agreed on a price with one of the buyers and will close on the 30th.  Crazy!  We totally never expected it to happen that fast.

The first two days it was on the market we showed it 4 times and all this right as Nick’s mom came down for a visit.  We had a great time with Grandma Becky and were so sad to see her go.

So now we have started packing.  We knew that with 6 full weeks to pack, we could make it an organized move.  Is there really such a thing?  I feel like we’re living in organized chaos.  In the midst of all the house selling and packing we started another season of soccer and now we have 2 out of 3 playing soccer.  Thad is in the under 6 league and Gwennie started iddy biddy soccer.  Gwen’s is already over and she did a great job!  Thad’s is still in full swing and he’s also doing great.  He’s a little timid about trying to take the ball away but he’s super fast so if he can break away, he does great.

All was well, crazy but well.  Then two weeks ago tonight Thad said he didn’t feel good but we thought he just wanted to skip his soccer game.  The next morning he seemed tired still but he went to school cheerfully.  I took him out of school early that day as a surprise to go to the apple festival with my mom, me, Gwennie and Sophie.  We had a LOT of fun but after a ride on the train his eyes were bright red.  I mean BRIGHT RED!  That is usually a sign that he has a fever but when I asked him he said he got train smoke in his eyes.  He felt warm but we were leaving anyway so we went on home and he even sang on the way home.  When we got home he had a fever of 102.1 and went straight to sleep for hours.  Gwennie felt fine so she got to go with my folks to the high school homecoming football game – a very special treat for her.  She and my mom ran into all the cheerleaders in the bathroom primping before the game and Gwennie was elated.  The homecoming court also went on the field before the game and she thought they were all princesses.  Too cute!  The next day Thad was REALLY sick and Gwennie went downhill super fast in the afternoon.  Their fevers never went over 102.6 and came down quickly with tylenol so we rode it out for a few days.  We quarantined Sophie to our bedroom and put the gate up in our doorway so the kids couldn’t even get close to her.  By Wednesday the fevers were mostly gone (only getting in the 100 range) but they still seemed pretty miserable so I took them to the doctor and he tested them for the flu.  It came back positive for flu type A – SWINE FLU!!!  According to the doctor, a positive type A is basically a positive for swine flu since it’s this early in the season.  My greatest fear this fall had come true!  Fortunately, the worst was over.  There wasn’t anything we could give them at that point, just a lot of love and tylenol.  But we did get a cough medicine with codeine in it to help them sleep.  And did they ever!  Within a few days they were back to their normal selves but we stayed home and away from everybody just to give their little immune systems a chance to recuperate and get back up to 100%.

Thus, we have survived the swine flu!  Thankfully Nick (who was quickly put on tamiflu just in case) and I (who can’t take it because I’m nursing) and Sophie (way too little to be on any meds) never got sick at all.  Praise the Lord!  I’m kind of glad they did get it and did fine with it because now they’re naturally immune to it.  I thought it would be much worse.  The weekend they had it the worst was the weekend 19 kids died from it so I kind of feel like we dodged a bullet.

Now Thad’s back in school (he missed all of last week) and our schedules are slowly returning to normal.  As normal as packing and moving 5 people and 2 dogs to who-knows-where-next can be.

We’ve looked at a TON of homes for sale because now is a great time to buy but nothing quite stands out to us.  There was one home we really liked but they wouldn’t budge on the price and it’s WAY over priced.  We’ve looked at a few really old homes but aren’t sure we’re really fixer-upper kind of people.  The newer homes are nice but kinda small.  Do you go for the giant/old/cheap house that might turn into a money pit or the small/newer/expensive house that we might feel cramped in?  Right now we decided to find a super cheap rental and wait for a few more homes to come on the market.  We’re in no rush to buy.  Thankfully, we have found a cheap duplex that has a fence and will allow dogs.  Those three things were hard to come by all in one place.  We check it out tomorrow so I hope it’s livable.

We’re using the money we make in the sale of this house to pay off a large student loan and will be DEBT FREE.  WOOOO HOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  Words cannot describe how great it will feel to have that hideous monkey off our backs.  To celebrate, we hope to go to Silver Dollar City in November.  We were planning to go to Disney World when we paid off the student loan but have decided to wait until we’re done having kids and the youngest is old enough to walk and enjoy it too so SDC will have to do for now.  Plus we need all the funds we can get for a down payment on the next house.

All in all life is AWESOME.  Crazy and busy and hectic but great.  The kids are healthy again (and thankfully alive!) and we’re moving on to the next step in life and hopefully a bigger house after a drastic but temporary downsizing.

Real quick, before I go, I’ve given you a good update about Thad and his school and soccer but now I’ve got to tell you how wonderful our little girls are.  Sophie just turned 5 months old and is just a JOY!  She is definitely the smiliest (is that a word?) baby we’ve had and just adores her older siblings.  She erupts with laughter at Gwennie and talks to Thad more than anybody.  She’s rolling over and almost sitting up and sleeps okay at night.  Not great at that yet but we’re working on it.  She smiles more than the other two did but sleeps WAY less.  I’m pooped.  Gwennie is a hoot.  She’s an emotional, active, funny, sweet, hyped up 3 year old.  I was afraid for a little while there that she was strong willed but it turned out she was sleep deprived too.  Turns out she’s a light sleeper and when Gwennie doesn’t get sleep – ain’t NOBODY happy!  That has since been fixed though.  Here are some awesome quotes from Gwennie lately:

At the news that Thad had school-work sent home from school to catch up on – “What’s homework?” (oh to be so naive!) followed almost immediately by “Thad, you GET to do HOMEWORK!”  (she was genuinely ecstatic at the idea)  And here’s a great one – “When I grow up I want to be a duck.”

There’s my update.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  Please comment – I enjoy that.  We may be offline for a while during the move so it could very well be after the holidays (as in January!) before any other updates are posted.  In the meantime, please pray for us as we move and God bless you!

First day of school

So here we are on the first day of school. If you keep up with facebook you will have noticed we posted early this morning saying Thad woke us up fully dressed and ready to walk out the door. It was pretty much killing him having to wait around. We will see how quickly that changes. Here are a few shots from the morning. I’m sure Sarah will want to add some more thoughts later.

Family vacation

Last weekend (8/8-9) we went on a mini vacation.  Here’s how it all started: I was desperate to get out of the house at least a tiny bit this summer and Nick agreed we could do something.  However, Sophie hates her car seat and can’t go further than about an hour away so our options were limited.  We decided to splurge and stay one night at the Embassy Suites in Rogers and swim in the indoor pool – it was close to 100 degrees that weekend so an indoor pool was awesome!  We had a blast in the REALLY NICE hotel room and had fun eating out and just goofing off.  The hotel had a “shoppers package” where you get a $20 gift card to the local fancy outdoor mall so we used that to get the kids some stuffed animals (Thad got a snow leopard and Gwennie got a puppy) at the Build A Bear store.  They thought that was just the coolest thing!  The kids all slept GREAT after such an eventful day – praise the Lord!  We slept in and then went down to the breakfast which was amazing.  Cooked to order omelets, huge waffles, all sorts of goodies.  We swam some more then had to head home.  All in all it was a terrific mini vacation and we decided to make it a tradition.  Every August we’re going to come back for one night just before school starts for one last summer hurrah.

On that school note – we had Thad’s open house tonight and it went great.  His teacher was super sweet and the room is decorated in a beach theme which suits us perfectly!  Thad was so excited he was giddy.  I can’t believe he starts school Wednesday!  I’m so happy for him and sad for me.  It will be just us girls all day now.  It will be fun but just not the same without Thad.  He’s my little sweetheart, my helper, my snuggler, my little guy.  Okay, I’ve got to stop, I’m going to start crying.  Moving on – he asked me as we drove away from the school tonight, “What did you think about my class, Mom?”  I told him I LOVED it.  He said, “Me too!  And I really like my teacher!”  He’s going to be just fine!

9 days to Kindergarten

Only 9 days until Thad starts kindergarten.  I can’t help thinking about it.  I’m going to miss him so incredibly much.  Gwen and I aren’t going to know what to do with ourselves.  We are definitely going to go through Thad withdrawal the first few weeks.  Ugh, my heart is so heavy.  I know he’ll have fun and learn way more than I could teach him and I’m trying to be brave for Thad (who’s so excited he could pop!) but it’s just not going to be the same without him around all day.  Life goes by too fast.  I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when our youngest leaves for kindergarten or COLLEGE!  Wow, one thing at a time Sarah.

Also, we took a GREAT mini vacation this past weekend to Rogers.  Whoopie!  A whoppin’ 45 minutes away!  But we stayed in a really nice hotel and ate out and swam a lot and just had a BLAST in the hotel room.  We took pictures and I’ll post that update soon.

Kid quirks and can this really be happening already?!

Thad’s baby quirk – The little guy pooped with every feeding and he ate just about every hour or two around the clock for 16 weeks and every 3 hours after that.  Made for a LOT of diaper changes!

Gwennie’s baby quirk – She was our little spitter-upper.  As in projectile spit up after each feeding.  Lots and lots and lots of spit up.  Made for a LOT of outfit changes!

Sophie’s baby quirk – Turns out she’s our little drooler.  She chews and sucks on her hands ALL the time and just drools constantly!  I simply cannot express to you the amount of drool that comes out of her, it’s insane.  Can a two month old be teething?  No teeth yet, just TONS of drool.

Lastly, we can no longer leave Sophie alone on a couch or bed.  All parents reach this point when their little one starts rolling over.  Most babies roll over at around 4 months.  Here’s the deal – Sophie’s not rolling over (not consistently yet anyway) she’s SCOOTING!!!  She’s actually mobile!  She scoots around on her back.  How many 2 month olds do that?!  We’re in shock.  It’s cute and crazy.  We just can’t get enough of this little cutie – of all our cuties!

Sophie’s 2 months old, Thad’s officially a big boy, and Gwennie has a black eye!

Here’s a bunch of random thoughts and therefore an update on us DeYoungs:

Each week we go to Walmart on Thursday mornings and get all of the food/toiletries/fun stuff that we need for that week.  We get two medium Icees at the McDonalds in the store before we start our trip for a total splurge each week of exactly $3.25.  This week the girl working at McDonalds had our Icees ready for us when we got to the front of the line!  That cracked me up!  I guess I’m pretty predictable.

This is a test of the DeYoung family emergency system.  This is only a test.  And I can’t say we passed with flying colors.  On Tuesday night I was going to take the kids swimming at my folks’ golf club pool so Nick could go back into work and my mom would watch Sophie.  That was plan A.  As we were putting the kids in their car seats Nick noticed a flat tire.  Ok, plan B.  Nick gets the tire fixed quickly at Walmart and then we head on over to the pool.  Walmart doesn’t fix flats if the hole is too close to the edge.  What the?!?!  Ok, plan C.  We use our spare (didn’t realize we had one until after plan B was already a failure) and go swimming and get the flat fixed the next day.  The spare was flat too.  Are you kidding me?!?!  Ok, plan D.  We put the two big kids in the Civic and Nick forfeits his work night to watch Sophie since it’s the only night this week that the big kids could go swimming.  Somebody pooped in the pool so it’s closed.  %$@#@!^$&*$  Ok, plan E.  (Has anybody even heard of getting to plan E?)  We run through the sprinklers at Grammie and Papa’s house for a little bit before heading home so Nick can go on into the office.  NOBODY WILL GO IN THE SPRINKLERS!  I give up.  We have snacks inside instead and call it a crazy, fun, ridiculous evening.  Started out stressful but ended up hilarious – how many things can go wrong in one hour?

Sophie turned 2 months old on Sunday and had her checkup yesterday.  Complete with 3 shots – two in one leg, one in the other = youch!  She did great though and is recuperating nicely.  She weighs 11 pounds 8 ounces and is 22 inches long.  That puts her in the 70-75th percentile.  It also makes her our little peanut compared to chunko Gwennie and giganto Thad.  Thad was over a pound lighter at birth and over a pound heavier at 2 months old – sheesh.  However, he ate pretty much 24/7 and Sophie sleeps a blissful 6-7 hours each night.  I’ll gladly take the sleep over the chunk.  🙂

Thad is officially a big boy now.  There are several things he’ll have to do himself when he’s at school so we’ve been practicing.  He can open his own cheesestick now and even puncture the straw into his Capri Sun – quite a feat, many adults can barely accomplish this task!  He can also buckle himself into his carseat which is not easy considering it’s a Britax 5 point harness and not just a simple booster seat.  Yea for Thad – you’re ready for Kindergarten.  Starts in less than 5 weeks.  Thad’s ready, mom’s NOT!

Gwennie fell out of bed last night and landed on a toy and got a black eye.  Sounds tragic but not really.  She sleeps with a body pillow on the outside of her bed to prevent such a fall but she was wide awake, playing and leaned over the pillow to get a toy on the floor and fell overboard.  Poor thing.  Learned a good lesson though!  🙂

In a nutshell – Nick and I are enjoying life and our kids – they crack us up everyday and we are SO incredibly thankful for the three of them!