Monday, May 28, 2012

It gets better

I feel like my blog posts lately have been oscillating between optimism and disaster, between high-on-life and how-low-can-you-go.  Last week was a new low.
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On Monday I was eager to start fresh.  The kids and I were back from PA, the contractor was coming to do the finish touches on the cabinetry.  It was a good day full of the promise of better things to come.  And then on Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat ... again.  See, with all the chaos of Jon's trip to the hospital, our jaunt to NJ and the visit to PA I sorta, kinda forgot to finish out the last three days of my antiobiotics.  And so strep throat struck again.  I didn't mess around this time and by Wednesday was feeling much, much better.
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Unfortunately, Jude was not.  He started with a fever that was up to 103 that afternoon.  I called the doctor's office several times trying to get him in, but they kept saying they'd call back when a time opened up.  The nurse finally called me back at 5:30 ... to tell me they were closed for the day.  Um, thanks.  Jude still had a fever, even after Tylenol so we decided to take him in to Urgent Care at that point.  So we sat and waited some more.  It was a strange day, with my 2 year old swaying between feverish, clingy and lethargic and then his silly, happy self.  He was silly, happy self by the time they took us back to the examination room, but his fever was still 103.6.  I've never had a child with a fever that high before, so I was a little nervous but he didn't seem too bothered by it and neither did the nurse.  They ran a strep test and a flu test, both came back negative.  But since there was strep in the house and those rapid tests aren't always accurate, they sent us home with a prescription anyway.
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Waiting at the doctor's.
It had been a long day, the kids where exhausted, we were so ready for them to go to bed ... and Jude's fever kept getting worse.  When it reached 104.6 Jon decided to take him into the ER just to be safe.  Thankfully, they were able to bring his fever down fairly quickly.  The doctor said his throat looked irritated and diagnosed him with strep and told us to keep up with the antibiotics.  So Jude was home and in bed by 9pm.  And when I checked on him later that night his fever had broke and he was sleeping quite soundly.

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The healthy one.
It came back again on Thursday, and was on again, off again for the next day or so.  And so was Jude.  We're going through a really challenging time with our middle son right now anyway, but when you add in feverish sickness (and I believe some 2 year molars as well) the child is just a complete mess.  All of Thursday he just cried and clung to me.  He didn't want to eat, he didn't want to drink, he didn't want anything but to be as close to me as possible.  And after ALL DAY of this I was about to go crazy.  Jon's boss had given their unit an early afternoon for a picnic, which I thought meant he'd be home to give me a hand earlier than usual.  But he was having too much fun schmoozing with his co-workers and apparently did not receive my telepathic messages to hurry home and rescue me.
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This is what my day was like.
He did help out once he got home, and thankfully he had off the next day too because he was also able to give me a hand that night ... which did not go so well.  Jude was up crying and wanting water about every 15 minutes, which is generally the amount of time it takes to just fall back to sleep.  So Jon and I alternated toddler cuddles and sink runs until 2am.  Then Julia was up and hungry at 3:30.  She rarely wakes up in the middle of the night and if she does she always falls back to sleep while nursing.  Not this time.  I fed her and fed her until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and then finally gave up and laid her back in bed where she evidently went back to sleep on her own because I didn't hear a thing until the next morning.

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Jack made his own slide out of kitchen scraps.
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Friday was a big day, the day our kitchen was getting finished.  Jon took Jack to school and picked up us both some much-need coffee.  Jude seemed a little better but was still having his moments, long moments.  I hadn't done dishes in 4 days and was eager to initiate the new dishwasher.  But Jude's whining had gotten so bad that Jon couldn't take it anymore and volunteered to finish the dishes if I held Jude.  Of course, I couldn't just lounge around snuggling him all day.  After being under construction there was a lot of cleaning to do.  So we decide do test out the Ergo on a slightly larger child.  He protested for a good 20 minutes but after I explained it was either this or going to his room by himself he quickly settled down and let me mop the floor.  And even pointed out a few spots I missed. 
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By this point Jack was saying he didn't feel well and that his throat hurt.  He laid down on the couch to watch some TV and was soon asking for a blanket.  And so, within an hour of a fun, active day at preschool Jack was zoned out on the couch with a fever. 

We didn't mess around, I'm so tired of dealing with sickness.  We were able to get into the doctor that afternoon.  His strep test also came back negative but she suggested putting him on the antibiotic as well just to be safe.  And since it was a holiday weekend and we had guests coming in, we agreed.  And thankfully, by the time he got home from the doctor, we had two happy boys again.  We also had a (mostly) finished kitchen.

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This is all you get for now.  Of course, I'll be devoting an entire post to the long-awaited kitchen reno.
And one very tired mama.  So we celebrated the best way we know how - with a trip to Chipotle!  It had been a rough day, a difficult week, and a long month.  But we had a brand new kitchen, a presumably healthy weekend ahead of us and, best of all, a visit from Nonnie and Poppie to look forward to!  And really, at this point, it could only get better!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A winning weekend

This has been a challenging week. But what else is new? I'm thinking I need to change the theme of my blog - Coastie Mama Logs: The Tempest Tales. Hmmm, that's going to require a bit more thought than I have in me right now. Instead, let's just revisit some happier times, like last weekend for instance.

The kids and I headed up to Pennsylvania for a few days. Jon was supposed to be traveling last week and this week, but both trips got canceled. Since it was the neighborhood yard sales at my parents' place (and I had a heck of a lot of stuff I wanted to unload), I decided to go through with our original plans. No, it's not easy to travel by myself with a 3.5 year old (who has to pee every 15 minutes), a 2 year old (who is into screaming, singing and thrashing) and a 7 month old (who is generally easy-going but still has her moments). But nor is it easy to live in a house without a functioning kitchen with three kids either. We needed a change. The trip up wasn't *too* bad. We hit some morning rush-hour traffic but I was prepared with a packed breakfast for the kids. Jack was enjoying his milk, cereal and berries while reading a Richard Scarry word book.  Apparently the combination of food, traffic and reading was a little too much. But of course he didn't tell me. I guess he didn't know how. When I pulled over at a rest stop an hour into our drive and opened the back door, there he was staring down at a pile of barf puddling on his book, shorts and the floor. "I spit, Mommy, I spit." Poor thing. He could barely walk into the restroom, and I couldn't offer much help since I was carrying a baby and leading another toddler. We cleaned up the best we could (me gagging the entire time) and I gave the boys a chance to run around in the fresh air while I nursed the baby.
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"Kids, we're not in Maryland anymore."
The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We made it to Marmie and Poppa's with just enough time to eat lunch and start setting up the yard sale. And can I just say it was a smashing success?! It certainly helped that it was a gorgeous weekend but seriously, my best sale ever. Granted, we had a lot to get rid of after this move - a couple of microwaves, microwave stands, lots of career clothes that I'm finally admitting I'll probably not wear again, maternity and baby clothes, and some old tires. Because old tires sell like hotcakes in Central PA.
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Priceless.  Unlike old tires.
I made out pretty well myself (and I'm not just talking about the stuff I pulled out of my own boxes because I changed my mind about selling it). I got some good deals from other friends and family members. Including lots of cute clothes for Julia, some toys for the boys, and this fabulous vintage typewriter that my aunt's friend was selling. Jack likes to play with it with his dinosaurs. Fortunately, it's way too heavy for him to move himself. ;)

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My aunt's friend always has cool stuff: old Willoware. (I only bought one piece, my hutch is stuffed as it is!)

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These amazing English riding boots (I would have bought them but the foot was too big, the leg too high and the calf too tight. And then I had to spend a humiliating 10 minutes trying to get it off with my mom's assistance).

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My aunt was also selling these handmade quilts by my great-great aunt Rebecca. I just love family heirlooms, but these wouldn't have survived a day in my house with the boys.

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I wasn't the only one who profited from the sale. The boys also had their first entrepreneurial effort: The Triple J Snack Stand.

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Nonnie was their best customer. She said it was just too fun watching them drop quarters in the piggy bank labeled "College Fund."

Honestly, they were too busy doing other fun things to man the stand. Like playing with Marmie's homemade "basketball" hoop.

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We also managed to fit in dinner at The Fence Drive-In. Where my boys got properly muddied up before dinner.

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A visit to the Lewisburg Park.

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I got some girl time at Eder's with my friend Megan and sister-in-law Kate. And I also got a little visit with my friend Erin and her sweet kids. Elaina was born about 3 weeks before Julia. She's a little bigger, has 4 teeth, sits up and eats lots of food. But we're not competing.

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Elaine also wears her hair in cute ponytails.  Her older sister, Jasmine, did up Lia's hair too!
Can you also tell her mom is a photographer? Girlfriend knows what to do when the camera comes out!

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The highlight of the weekend (for the boys) was a fishing derby!

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Jude fishing, I think this was a rare moment.
I couldn't be there. I would have loved to watch them catch a fish but I'm not much for waiting around for a bite. And I can't say I envied Marmie and Poppa sitting out in the sun with two little boys. These pictures were taken by a friend and captioned by Marmie.
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Jack gets brave and puts his hand on Poppa's to check out his "gold fish".
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Jude was braver than Jack when he touched the slimy fish.
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Poppa:" Do you want to hold it?" Boys: "Ew!"
Jack caught 4 fish! And he won a drawing for a fishing rod. Score! Now we just need to find a place to fish here in Maryland.

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Poppa also sent the fish home with us so we could enjoy grilled trout this week (along with grilled vegetables).  Since we are *still* without a stove/oven.

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I grilled this myself, gentlemen.  I'm quickly becoming the grill master in this house!
After a great morning at our "home" church and lunch with both grandparents, we turned the car southward. The trip home was tolerable.

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Such a good traveler!
Jack had to pee four times. And each time I pulled over it was too late.   Plus we had to get gas and I had to nurse the baby.  It was a long day, that thankfully ended with Daddy meeting us at the door and taking over the brood. 

And that was our lovely trip to the home state.  Too short, as always, but I'm sure we'll be back again before the summer is out.  It was a blissful reprieve from our current life of (even more!) illness and kitchen chaos.  But we'll save all that for another day.  This mama is calling it a night!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Above the world so high

The kids and I were in PA last weekend.  We got back last night and I still have a lot of catching up to do.  So, for now, here's a little video of Jude's latest talent: singing.



He kinda only knows one line of the song. But he's faithful to sing that one line over and over and over again.  All day.  Even when he should be sleeping.  One time, he opted to sing "above the world so high" for an hour straight, instead of taking a nap. The child has truly "found his voice."

Jude's only a fan of himself though. He does not appreciate any of my singing.  And he gets more than  a little perturbed when other's encroach on his vocal territory:



And just so we don't leave anyone out, Julia can also make some noise (and a mess to go with it!):

Our next project is to work on a duet.  Jude can sing and Julia can beatbox. 

That's all!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Four birthdays and a wedding

Jon got home from the hospital last Friday afternoon and immediately started working with the contractor to settle some kitchen issues.  So much for avoiding stress.  We decided to send the boys back to Pennsylvania with my parents and then Jon and I would go up to New Jersey for his cousin's wedding.  It was probably trying to do too much, especially after our week, but we decided to go for it anyway.  We hadn't seen this side of Jon's family since the last wedding (in July) and none of them had met Julia yet.  Since we had already booked the hotel room we decided to just take it slow and hopefully make it there in time for the dinner.

I had been really looking forward to this wedding.  A night away with my husband (and Julia of course).  A chance to wear a dress I hadn't fit in to for the past 2 summers.  And a fun evening with our extended family.  I had specifically requested that we give ourselves plenty of prep time so that we could get settled in our room and I could actually do something with my hair and make-up for once (we seem to have a record of rolling into weddings last minute over the past few years).  Ha!  Funny how these things work out. 

Julia had a dirty diaper at the end of our trip and was NOT happy about it.  So I ended up crawling into the backseat to keep her calm until we arrived at the hotel.  To speed things along I changed her into her dress as we pulled into the parking lot.  Then we grabbed baby and bags and headed into the entrance ...

... where we promptly ran into the bride and other guests taking photos.  Not only did we get busted for showing up to a wedding 2 hours late, but I was wearing jeans, a shirt tagged with spit-up and whatever make-up remained from early that morning.  Oh hello family we haven't seen in 10 months!

We rushed through a few quick greetings and headed up to the room.  Soon after, we got a phone call that our family was up for photos.  I think Jon and I got dressed and were back downstairs in 15 minutes.  Ergo, I wore a ponytail to a wedding.  *cringe*  But at least we made it.

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I don't remember too much of the evening.  After several nights of little sleep I was leering into zombie-state.  I do remember the bride was gorgeous.

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Jon's brother-in-law, sister, the lovely bride (amazing dress!), me and Jon (fresh from the hospital).
And the food was delicious.  I confess, I cleaned my plate for every course.  I did refrain from taking food from the cousins' plates.  Sorry, but this nursing mama has been without a kitchen for 2 weeks ... I'm always ready to eat!

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My SIL Rachel and I.
But my favorite part of the evening was seeing Julia with her aunts, uncles and cousins.  She got to meet her quasi-namesake - Aunt Juliann, who did a wonderful job with putting the Little Miss to sleep. 

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Cousin Maddy, Aunt Juliann and Cousin Lizzy.
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Cousin Holly and Cousin Aviel.
And she also got to meet her Nana and Papa for the first time.

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Post wedding brunch - such a fabulous idea!
She wasn't exactly her smiling, giggling self but, for being up several hours past her bedtime, she did quite well.  We decided to call it quits at midnight and of course Girlfriend was up (what felt like) not too long after that.

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Cuddling with Nonnie.
From New Jersey we journeyed back to my parents' in Pennsylvania.  The first two weeks of May are my brother's, mom's, dady's and Jon's nephew's birthdays as well as Mother's Day.  So we had some celebrating to do.

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We also had a few stray gifts for Jude's birthday, like this cool puzzle from Uncle Jared.
  And a little relaxing too, because after last week we were definitely in need of that.

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We came back home first thing Sunday morning.  Jon's boss had called over the weekend and asked him to come into the office that afternoon (Yes, he really did.  We later found out Jon's doctor didn't clear him for work until several days later).  So I don't have anything poignant to post about Mother's Day this year.  Jack did bring a few goodies home from school for me.  This was my favorite:

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I just love things in his own words.  Funny though, not sure what I cooked him in the "new kitchen."  I can't even make smoothies in there without a countertop! 

I did decide to treat myself to something special on Mother's Day - a 9pm bedtime. After all the sickness, hosptial visits, traveling and celebrations, sleep was one thing this mama desperately needed!  And still do, goodnight!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ungainly Progress

Let's see where did we leave off?  Ah, yes.  A week ago, Monday.  When the world was full of promise and I was certain things were on the up-and-up.  Well, apparently I was wrong.

I finally got Jack in to see the doctor on Tuesday.  Not only was his the cut on his finger infected but he also had a scrape on his chin (the result of a bad fall) that I thought was getting worse because he kept picking at it, but apparently it too was infected.   I would post pictures of his injuries just to give you an idea ... but I don't think anyone would appreciate it.  They were BAD.  We ended up having to get a cream and an oral antibiotic and now, almost a week later, things are starting to clear up for the little guy.

That afternoon my two biggest guys decided to tackle the yard.

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I'm not sure why Jack is pushing his 8 ounce lawn mower like that.  The grass must have been really long.

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And yes, those are his pajama pants.  We had a little "accident" and since Jude was still napping in their room I had to give him the only article of clothing on this side of the bedroom door.

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Afterwards we had a delicious dinner of Shrimp Scampi, which Jude thought required additional seasoning.

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That evening Jon started complaining about a sore throat.  Dun dun dun.  After a long, feverish night he decided to head to the doctor first thing Wednesday morning.  We had a family wedding in New Jersey over the weekend and didn't want to take any chances.  The rapid strep test came back negative but since I had just had it the doc went ahead and started Jon on antibiotics, and I went ahead and started worrying about more "live" germs in the house for the kids to catch.

He seemed to be feeling a bit better by the evening so while I made a completely grilled dinner of steak, potatoes and broccoli he set to work sanding the kitchen ...

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... and turning my house into quite the dustbowl.  And so, if anyone out there was thinking of surprising me with a visit one of these days, now is the time to do it.  Because although my house is filthy, I at least have a proper excuse for it. 
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It was a tough evening.  I was worn out from work, appointments, living in chaos, and doing the dinner/tubby/bedtime routine on my own while Jon worked on the kitchen.

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I apologize for the onslaught of mobile pics. You know I'm stressed when I don't pick up my "real" camera for days and days.
 
By the time I got to bed, I was ready to crash and looking forward to a full night's rest.  Not so.  At 1am Jon woke me up and asked me to pray for him because he was having chest pain and difficulty breathing.  And so I did.  And then I proceeded to lay there next to him for the next few hours, listening to him struggle, contantly verifying his heart was still beating, and alternately asking him if he wanted me to drive him to the hospital.  Finally, at 4am he asked what I would do with the kids if I took him in.  Put them in the car of course!

And so I did that too.  One by one I got kiddos out of bed, carried them out to the car, and buckled them in.  And they took it quite well.  They were a bit groggy at first, but the boys must have thought it was a game because soon they pointing out the moon and stars and making each other giggle from the back seat.  Meanwhile, Jon was sitting next to me clutching his chest and grimacing in pain.

I dropped him off at the ER, parked in the garage, put some shoes on Jack, put Julia in the stroller, slung Jude on my hip and somehow we managed to make our way to the waiting room where we evinced a few sympathetic looks from the receptionists.  Jon was already seeing a doctor so the boys and I raided the vending machine and then settled down with some magazines - National Geographic for Jack and some cat magazine for Jude.  That was interesting.  After 10 minutes of hearing "kitty cat" over and over again, I decided it was time for a bathroom break and diaper changes.

When we got back out there were a few more faces in the waiting room.  One was a very friendly lady who, despite the rows and rows of empty seats, decided she should sit right next to me.  She tried to make buddies with Jude but he wanted none of it.  And so I spent the rest of the morning being crawled all over by a frightened 2 year old who only wanted to get as far away as possible from the strange lady to my right.

At about this time Jon called my cell to let me know he was going to be admitted and would have some testing and I should just take the kids home.  By now it was 6am, they weren't going to go back to sleep, but at least I could look forward to a peaceful morning of cartoons or something.

My parents decided to come down to help me out so I could be at the hospital with Jon.  We also had the cabinet installer coming that day and needed to have someone around for that.  And so, I'll mention yet again, how much I appreciate having both of our parents within a reasonable driving distance.  I try not to think about what this past week would have looked like had we been living somewhere else.

The final report from the doctor was that Jon had a viral infection (probably not strep) and that it had caused the sack around his heart to swell (pericarditis) as well as part of his heart itself (myocarditis).  It's fairly serious.  And although it was good he went in to the ER, he probably should have called an ambulance immediately rather than wait as long as he did.  He still needed some blood tests and a sonogram so Julia and I hung out with him at the hospital.  Okay, so Julia and Jon slept and I sat there and twiddled my thumbs.

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If you're going to be trapped in a hospital room chair, might as well have something this sweet to look at.
It was looking like they were going to send Jon home that night but later they changed their minds and decided they wanted to monitor things a bit longer.  While the pericarditis and myocarditis do go away, and he is feeling much, much better, the whole ordeal did slightly weaken his heart.  But we're believing God for total healing and restoration!  He came home Friday afternoon and is now resting for the next few days.  Well, as resting as one can with 3 small children around.

Meanwhile, the show must go on.  And by "show" I mean "kitchen renovation."  It's no secret, I'm horrible with decision-making.  It was a nightmare being left to deal with the contractor on my own for 24 hours.  Not that he was a bad person.  He was quite nice in fact, but his constant questions and dilemmas did nothing for my current stress levels.  Two electrical sockets need relocated, the sink drainage pipes are an inch too far to the right, the stove exhaust is 4 inches too low, yada, yada, yada.  I knew we would run into dilemmas with this project, that's how it always works.  I just didn't expect that my husband wouldn't be around to manage them!

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For the most part, we got the challenges smoothed over.  And by Friday afternoon this is where things stood with the kitchen.

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Finally, some progress.

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I was so excited I started filling up the cabinets right away.  But we still have a long way to go, especially since the countertops can take up to 2 weeks to complete.

Progess.  Nothing like I had imagined, but apparent nonetheless.  And despite these ungraceful twists and turns, I'm looking forward to what lies ahead - mountains, bends and all!
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