Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We made it!

Yes...we made it to the new house in one piece.  There are still several boxes to be unpacked (big thanks to my parents for helping unpack many already!), but we are settling in to our new home.  For my own memories, I do want to come back and summarize the actual move, but for now, just a quick "HI" from VA!

Love our view...


Friday, December 7, 2012


I am very excited about moving, but at the same time, I am very sad.  I am comfortable here.  I have some very good friends I will miss dearly, and so does Connor.  Even Levi will miss his teachers who love him like one of their own!  We have our little routines and they work.  And then there is our home.  While I am very relieved to have it under contract, it makes me sad to be leaving it.  This is where I brought my babies home.  I remember when we looked at the house, we joked about what room would "someday" be the nursery.  Little did we know that "someday" was going to be sooner than later!  We spent Memorial Day weekend in 2009 painting that nursery.  It was such an exciting time.  I don't know what possessed us to do something so involved, but we went for it.  And we love it.  I remember sitting in the rocker before Connor got here just imagining how our lives would change and how much I already loved him without even meeting him yet.  I remember doing the same thing when we moved Connor to his big boy room and we were waiting on Levi.  I knew I'd love Levi just as much as Connor, but I couldn't fathom how.  I sat in his rocking chair daydreaming about that and wondering how Connor would react to his brother.  Little did I know that he would love his brother from the first moment he met him, too.  I nursed my babies here.  I have kissed boo boos and snuggled kids with fevers.  We have had tickle fights and tantrums.  Tears of happiness and tears of frustration and sadness.

I know the next chapter will bring many new memories and exciting times, but when you move there is such a defining change in the story...not just a new season or a new school year.  A new start.  A new home.  Finding new friends and church and favorite restaurants and...I could go on and on.  I am not the biggest fan of change, either.  So, while I am excited about the new house and Clay's new job, my heart is heavy thinking about what I am leaving here, and it's hitting me all the sudden.  I have been going through the motions of moving, but blocking out the emotions and it's hitting me like a ton of bricks that this is our last weekend here.  And if you know me well, you know there will be tears saying goodbye!


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Letter to United Airlines

Dear United,

You suck.

W used to LOVE Continental. but ever since the merge or buyout or whatever, you have taken a great airlines and flushed them down the toilet.  Sure, I know there is no perfect airline and there are tons of moving parts that one little hiccup can throw things off, but why is it that you are notoriously bad?!

Today, my husband had a flight from Chicago to Des Moines at 11:51 am.  His flight was booked through US Air, but since it was a multi-city itinerary, he was flying United for this leg.  He called me this morning before 7 am saying that he had looked at his flight online and the status said "Diverted".  Given that it wasn't even scheduled for several more hours, this obviously raised some concern.  So, I got on the phone to call US Air to figure it out.  They advised that since the flight was operated by United, I needed to call y'all and gave me the UA flight number.  I checked your website and in big, bold letters, it said CANCELLED.  Ugh.  So, I called.  The computerized man who would not connect me to an agent told me the flight was on time.  Ugh again.  So, I just repeated the word "agent" until he finally got the picture and connected me to an agent.  I told her I was trying to find the status of flight 6075 and she said "It is scheduled to depart on time at 11:51 am"  So, I asked her why it said cancelled online.  She seemed surprised and started "looking at it another way".  She then told me that for some reason, the landing showed cancelled, but the departure didn't.  She eventually concluded the flight was cancelled but couldn't tell me why, and continued to explain that my husband had been re-booked on a flight leaving that night at 8:44 pm.  She told me there were earlier flights, but they were all booked up, so they got him on the first available flight.

Meanwhile, my husband had no choice but to go to the airport with his other travel mates who were on flights elsewhere and were having no problems.  I decided to call back again a couple of hours later to see if I could see what the issue was.  My husband was told they could not put him on another airline with an earlier flight and would not provide any meal vouchers or anything like that.  When I called the second time, I was told the flight was cancelled for fog.  Really?  You see, we are not once a year travelers.  So, I had already looked up the inbound flight and on the FAA website to see the weather conditions in ORD.  Yes, the inbound flight was slightly delayed (it was a continuing flight from CLT to DSM with a stop in ORD), but it still landed in plenty of time to continue on.  On top of that, all the other flights were able to get in and out with minimal delays.  So, why was this ONE particular flight cancelled due to "fog"?  And, why would you have canceled the flight at least 4 hours prior to departure for such an issue?  In case you are wondering, yes, I looked at the other flights from ORD to DSM today:

You can't expect me to buy the fog excuse.  Yes, it was a bit foggy there this morning from what I hear, but it's not adding up.  I am not sure why you found the need to cancel this flight, but I know that you blamed the fog so that you could say it was a weather related delay and get off the hook from meal vouchers and rebooking on another airline.

Oh, and one more thing...you know that lady I spoke to first thing in the morning who said the rest of the flights were booked?  My husband finally found someone at the airport who was able to give him a seat on the 5:16 flight with no problem.  I found that quite interesting.  Finally, someone friendly and helpful.

Thanks for nothing, United.  


PS  You should be thankful I wasn't with him with our two kids.  That would not have been pretty for any of us!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Our first outing to see Santa...

Levi wasn't thrilled (and I don't think Santa was either), but Connor LOVED it!  (Yes, my child is wearing shorts in December, and no, we don't live in Texas.  Turns out he was the smart one as it turned out to be pretty warm today!)


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another big week!

Another big week for the Caswell family...

Tubesday Tuesday:  Levi did great.  Mama did OK.  Why must I cry so easy?!  Ha...it lasted all of 5 minutes.  Dr. said everything went smooth and they drained green fluid from his little ears along with putting the tubes in.  He had a rough time waking up from his "special mask" but once he could eat, he was like a new kid!

Someone was not thrilled about being woken up and not allowed to eat!  He let everyone know this, too.

Trying to stay distracted while waiting.  The keys worked for a while....

Wednesday:  Got a phone call about 2pm from daycare.  Apparently, Connor thought it was funny to jump on and off his cot at nap.  Well, it was funny until he got tripped up and busted his lip.  After going back and forth talking to his teacher and the pedi, I decided to let him tough it out.  The cut was on the inside, so they wouldn't be able to do anything about it.  And, I didn't want him to get the idea in his head that if he gets hurt, Mommy comes to get him!  (Don't think I am terrible...if it was serious, you know I'd drop everything and speed over!)  Anyway, he was pretty grouchy when I picked him up, but his lip wasn't too bad.  We were talking about it on the way home and I asked him why he was jumping on his cot.  "I wanted you to pick me up at nap time!"  Mom (and cot):  1  Connor:  0

He insisted on a bandaid.  Obviously, that wasn't going to work on the actual cut, so I convinced him this was the perfect spot!!

Thursday:  Today was essentially Clay's last day of work at ECU.  He is leaving tomorrow to go to Chicago and Iowa for some work trips and gets back just a few days before the big move.  (Creepers...I have people staying with me, so don't bother!)  AND, we closed on our new house today!  Can't wait to see her in two weeks!!

View from the front porch.  So pretty...but, that's a long walk to the mailbox, and a lot of driveway to keep cleared of snow.  Good thing they threw in the snow blower for us!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

'Tis the Season

So...moving mid-December is kinda the pits.  At first, I thought not decorating for Christmas was no big deal.  But, now I am pretty sad about it!  I see people post pics of their tree and stockings and such, and I look at our house which is getting more bare by the day, and it kinda makes me sad!  So, if my house can't LOOK like Christmas, I want it to SMELL like Christmas.  Today, I started using our traditional Christmas Smelly Stuff and thought I'd share the recipe!

I have given this as a gift, too...found a cute little red sauce pan, gathered all the ingredients and sent with this "recipe" card.  Oh and one tip...the cloves.  Don't skimp on the cloves!

Thanks for sharing this with me, Mama!!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Much happier.

I opened my blog today and saw the pitiful pics from my last post of the little man.  He is feeling MUCH better now...and is scheduled to get tubes on Tuesday!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Big week!

Wow...what a week. Monday started off normal. At lunch time,I got a call from day care. Levi had been fine playing, ate his lunch, but now he's on fire! So, I go pick him up and head straight over to the ped's to be first for afternoon walk in hours. You see, two weeks ago we were in for an ear infection. Last week we were there for his well check and his ears looked good. We had just finished his antibiotic over the weekend, so I was frustrated that he already had a fever again. He was 102.8 and both ears were infected...again. This made his third pair of ear infections since the last weekend in September. So, they gave us a referral to and ENT and a new Rz and sent us in our way. (Remember...we are moving in a month. So just add "tubes" to our to do list!). The next two days were spent Clay and I trading off who sat on the couch holding Levi as he slept all day long. He did not want to be put down, but I don't blame him because when his ibuprofen or acetaminophen wore off, his fever would go right back up to 103-104. On top of that, we had showings Tuesday evening and Wednesday mid day. We went to dinner Tuesday during the showing because it was cold and rainy and there wasn't much else to do. Wednesday, I took Levi and my computer and went to Julie's during the appointment time. Except, I never saw anyone show up! So, we went back home and Clay came home to watch Levi so I could get some work done. The house behind us is for sale, too, and Clay texted me to tell me people were looking at that house. We came to the conclusion that they were just running behind and sure enough they showed up at our house an hour after their appt ended. Of course, we weren't going to tell them they couldn't see the house since we want to sell it, so we left again! That evening, we got a call from our Realtor with an offer!!! Wahoo! It was a little less than we wanted, so we countered.

By Thursday, Levi was coming around. Clay took him to the ENT and they confirmed our need for tubes. Thankfully they are accommodating us and our move and getting us in 11/27!

Another thing that I have been stressing about is daycare when we move. Connor got into the on we wanted, but they didn't have a spot for Levi. I didn't know what we'd do, but I kept putting it off. We did, however, go ahead and enroll Connor at this place because siblings have priority. So, yes, we are paying double daycare for Connor right now...ouch! This week, we had a different place call and ask if we wanted a spot in January, because I had put them on the waiting list there, too. We visited this place, though, when we were there and did not care for it. Attempting not to be too annoying, I emailed Connor's director just to see if she had any idea when Levi might get in. She told me I must be psychic because she was going to call me that day because they have an opening for Levi!!!! What a relief. It was His plan, I know, but apparently I needed a lesson in patience and prayer! Thursday was also spent negotiating, and eventually agreeing on the contract to sell our house!

So, what started as a stressful week turned out pretty fabulous!!

For those who would rather see the picture progression of our week:

Poor boo...

False hope he was feeling better...the meds were just doing their job!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another one bites the dust

I have posted about my brush with skin cancer before.  Since then, regular skin checks have been a priority.  Friday, I went back to the dermatologist to get yet another "suspicious" spot removed.  I had gotten it biopsied in the spring and it came back abnormal (not cancerous, just not normal!), so I need to go back and have an excision.  Given the location, though, I needed to wait until I was not pumping.  I remember when I talked to my doctor about rescheduling it, November seemed so far away...now it's here!  Anyway, I had it removed Friday...a 6.2cm cut and 20 or so stitches later, it's gone.  Just praying that the repeat biopsy shows that 1 - they got all the abnormal cells and 2 - nothing had gotten worse since I waited to have it removed!  I have lost count now how many spots I have had removed, but for me, it's all about being proactive!!

I'll spare you a picture...it's pretty nasty looking!  You're welcome.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Dear Levi,

I am in denial.  There is no way you can already be one.  Seriously...I feel like we just brought you home from the hospital!!  How are you already a year old!?

You are such a sweet little guy.  You are a happy dude and love to smile and laugh.  Just like your brother, you have a little mischevious streak.  You love to look at me with a grin that says "I know I shouldn't be doing this, but it's fun!" and keep doing whatever it is you shouldn't be doing.  You love making noise by banging cabinets.  You look up to your brother already and he makes you smile.  You are usually a good sport when he isn't keen on sharing, but you are starting to realize that's not cool.  You started really walking early this month and love to explore the house.  You also are doing really well holding my hand and walking places like through the halls at school.  It's really sweet to see you reach up for my hand when you want me to go somewhere with you!  You also love to be outside, just like the rest of your family.

You are sleeping well (minus the ear infection we had last week) and I can't think of any food we have given you that you didn't like.  You nap great and prefer to just get in bed rather than snuggle.  We have started you on cow's milk and you drink it like a champ.

Buddy, you make my heart so happy.  Thank you for making me a mommy again and for all the wonderful memories we have made so far.  We love you more than words can say!

Love, Mommy

PS  We went to the Dr. this week.  They tortured you with 4 shots and a finger prick.  You were 29.75 inches (47%) and 24.2 lbs (69%)...little chubbs!  (c:

In a year, you have gone from this...

To this...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Home sweet home

{"Home" will always be Texas to me.  However, we will soon have a new place to call "home"}

So, I left you hanging after our house hunting trip to Blacksburg.  We looked at 10 or 12 houses the first day.  There were a couple that we liked, but after each house, our realtor asked us to score it 1-10 and nothing that was a "10" in our book.  So, our dear, sweet Realtor did some more searching and found us a handful of other houses to look at the next day.  There was one house that we went to and just loved.  It has an open kitchen just like I want.  Great for entertaining, which we like to do.  There is a double sided fireplace that opens to the kitchen and the living room.  Plenty of room for the boys as well as an extra room we can use as my office/the guest room.  It has a beautiful yard with a great view.   We both left that house with a good feeling.  We talked about it that night.  We had a few reservations.  Afterall, this is a HUGE decision, and we don't plan on moving again any time soon.  That night I prayed about it.  I asked God to give us direction if this is the house for us.  The next morning, we had scheduled a second showing before we were due to leave town.  Again, we just loved it.  We were standing in the kitchen talk to our realtor and I randomly opened a kitchen cabinet and found this:

I knew God was talking to me and this is the house for us!



Love these boys and the relationship they are building.  Clay and I have said we are in for trouble when these boys get to the age of makin' trouble!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Our Punkins

{Obligatory Pumpkin Patch Post}

Last weekend, it was a pretty day, so we ventured out to the Pumpkin Patch with our two lil' punkins.  We thought that if we went during the ECU game, it wouldn't be that crowded.  Well, it was still pretty crowded when we got there, but thankfully it thinned out pretty quick.  It's a fun little place with bounce houses, hay rides, mazes, animals and more.  Both boys had fun. I didn't get an good brotherly shots, but that's because I didn't want to pull C away from all the fun he was having on the bounce house slide.  The little daredevil started doing forward rolls down the slide.  Seriously, kid?!

(Levi looks like he has pumpkin on his face in all these pictures...it's just goldfish!)


Monday, October 8, 2012

Someday I'll laugh about it....and a sweet Connor story

So, it's not easy having your house on the market with two little boys.  We have done pretty good keeping things picked up, but I got a little lazy this weekend.  (Clay was out of town Friday night/Saturday!)  Anyway, this morning, we kinda joked about how we had gotten out of our good habit, but that we'd pick up tonight, etc.  Fast forward to 4:45 pm.  I get a text and a phone call from the showing service and they want to schedule an appointment at 5:45.  So, I spend the next 45 minutes running around like a mad woman:  shoving all the boys' laundry I had folded but not yet put away into a basket, cleaning off and wiping down counters, putting toys back away, swiffering the kitchen, taking down Levi's chair...the list goes on.  I left the house with Aggie to pick up the boys from day care.  Clay met me there and we decided to go grab some dinner since we couldn't go home.  Did I mention it was raining?  It had been raining on and off all day, and was pretty steady starting mid afternoon.  We weren't prepared to go out to eat.  No snacks or sippy cup for Levi.  Tired kids.  Soaked Mama.  Anyway, as we are waiting on our food, we get another phone call...the CANCELLED the showing because of the RAIN!  Are you kidding me?!  IT WAS RAINING WHEN YOU MADE THE APPOINTMENT!  Ok, vent over....fingers crossed they call again tomorrow and I'll be better prepared.

So, after all the craziness tonight, like a typical 3 year old, Connor was not being a very good listener.  He was not wanting to get ready for bed while I was putting Levi to bed.  After getting Levi in bed, I just went upstairs to get out of the way so Connor wouldn't see me and get all worked up.  A little while later, he and Daddy came upstairs to talk to me and so Connor could ask me to read him his stories before bed.  We were talking about what he had been doing wrong, etc.  I told him that it makes my heart sad when he isn't being good and we have to discipline him.  He looked me so sweetly, and said "Mommy.  I know what will make your heart happy.  Jesus does.  He's in there!" He is patting my chest as he is telling me this.  He showed me where is heart is, too, and explained that Jesus was in there, too.  Melt.my.heart.  What a sweet boy.  I hope he always remembers that Jesus is in our heart.  All the frustration of the evening disappeared as a pulled that little boy closer in a tight hug with tears in my eyes.