Tag Archives: moving

A Blue Christmas

We are struggling with Christmas a little bit this year.  I was asking Titus yesterday morning why that is.  I love Christmas!  I love everything about it!  And I married a man who loves it just as much as I do.  He even called me a Grinch one year about something, which is just ridiculous because of how much I get into all the decorating and planning. 🙂


But this year we seem to be lacking enthusiasm for the holiday. Maybe it’s because of having a new baby, or sleep depravity, or the fact that this is the fourth house we’ve had Christmas in (we’ve never had two Christmases in one house), or lack of extra cash lying around wanting to be spent ;), or not having any extra family Christmases (we normally have 3 other ones!).  What ever it is Titus and I are struggling a bit.  On one hand it’s a good thing that our kids are still so little and don’t have expectations.  But on the other hand I want them to have a happy and exciting Christmas morning.


Yesterday, two days before Christmas we left the house for the first time since Faith was born and went and bought a tree.  We spent more than I wanted to, but did get a nice little tree.

(Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree!!)


It actually fits in that little corner pretty well.   To add to our already blue Christmas when we got the lights out we found that none of them work except half of two strands.  Titus was pretty grumpy last night, I think he isn’t getting enough sleep.  It amazes me how much sleep men need.  So the lights weren’t a very good way to start, and Titus didn’t want to try to fix all of them.  For some reason we have a whole bunch of lights but the strand is white, not green. We’ve never used them before (because they are white!), but they work!  So we put white lights on the tree.  There is a reason they make green stranded lights, in case anyone is wondering.  I tried to stuff them to the middle of the tree so the white isn’t as noticeable.


Then Titus put the star on the tree.  I really really don’t like the star we have…in fact we have had it for 4 years and I’ve gotten out of using it every year so far! But not this year, AND we couldn’t find the plastic thingy it sits on so the blasted star is zip tied to the tree.  No, I’m not joking!

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I love doing ginger bread houses and have done one every year since high school. I have been so sad that I haven’t done one this year.  But yesterday I found a kit at Sam’s greatly on sale and James and I decorated it last night!  It’s made me a little less blue!  And it’s a huge house, I’ve never done one this big before!


The frosting wasn’t gluing very well so I got the hot glue gun out to put the house together. I’ve never done that before! That worked remarkable well!  I highly recommend using one if you are frustrated with your frosting.


Another good thing that happened was that I found my long lost Ecuadorian manger scene that my Aunt Sylvia gave me as a bridal shower gift!  We’ve never gotten to use it because I couldn’t find it any where!


AND our stockings are done!  More on that later, but they look fabulous!


Today I’m going to go to the store and buy pre-made treats and cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast.  There are two presents for the boys that I really really want to still get them, that I actually ordered and never picked up at the store so the order was canceled. I have a feeling that the store might just have them in stock though, so I might drive over there and see what I can find.  That probably won’t happen though. 😉

And finally, the results of mommy getting out of the house: a new outfit for Faith, one that actually fits!  I was so sure it would be too small, it looked so small on the hanger.  It fits just right!


All this to say even though our Christmas might be a hot glued, zip tied, not home made Christmas, we do have so much to be thankful for.  We have three beautiful, healthy children.  We have a warm house, and good food.  The very first Christmas was less than ideal.  Comparing my Christmas with having a baby in a barn doesn’t look so bad after all.  Christmas isn’t about the tree, or the presents, or the food, or the decorations…it’s about Jesus birth.  The start of his life, that He gave for us.  So maybe by having a blue Christmas, in the end it’s really a good thing because our focus is more on Christ.  The only reason we even have Christmas.

James turns 3!

I haven’t blogged in a while, mostly due to the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much to say.  This past summer I blogged a lot, but now that we’ve moved there isn’t much going on.  I also seem to forget my camera a lot when we do go somewhere fun which is sad. 

But this week we had James’ b-day party! Yes it was a week late this year, mostly because one present I was getting off craiglist took awhile.  Despite this being the smallest party we have had, and the most low-key (no balloons, or streamers) James had a great time.  We are so glad that Aunt Emma was here to celebrate with us! 

Emma made and decorated the cake for me.  it was an apple cake with vanilla frosting and peanut butter M&M’s.


We had cake and ice cream first this year, instead of after opening presents.  The kids were hungry so why make them wait?

James blowing out candles:


Eating the cake:

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Then we opened presents.  Titus made the comment that apparently you have to be three to really understand present opening. 🙂


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Thank you Grandma Sharon, Aunt Alaina and Uncle Lincoln for the box of stuff


We got him a bunch of food and a little kitchen for his b-day.  James’ asks all the time to ‘go to church’, which sounds really spiritual but it’s because there is a play kitchen in the children’s room and he wants to play with it.  I don’t think my living room will ever be clean again! But if they have fun then it’s worth it.

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Happy Birthday James! We love you lots!


A New Name

So my blog name is map dot family, which was explained in one of my very first posts.  If I knew how to do those cute little links in a word I’d do that for you right now, but I don’t.  And since a little someone decided to get up at 6:30 this morning I’m too tired to try to figure it out. (By the way, I don’t do 6:30 a.m.! 7 is my limit!) Anyway, mapdotfamily was pretty cute, it explained our family and where we live very well.  Well since the move we are no longer a map dot family.  Pretty sure Denver Colorado isn’t a map dot, and if you have had any kind of geography you’ll know where it is.  So, I need a new blog name.  I was thinking about something generic, like




But I’d like something a little bit more if you know what I mean.  If I knew the future I would do something like:



Lifeinthefastlane (raising high energy boys)


But who knows if we will stay living in the city or if we will keep having boys or sigh, if we will keep having such bad sleepers! 🙂  I also thought about doing something familyish with blessings or love in there, but that’s pretty over done.  Or something about being pregnant, since I feel like I’m always pregnant.  But that might not always be either. Fertility is taken for granted until you don’t have it anymore.

So what is my blog about? It’s really just about our family, recording our ups and downs with pictures for our kids to see when they are older.  It’s a cheaper and easier version of scrapbooking. 😉  If we don’t ever move back to MN then the blog will have a new meaning for all the family we left behind as a way to keep them updated with life news and pictures.

So I’m turning to all you lovely people, that get way more sleep then I do, to come up with something cute and fun. Preferably something that doesn’t have to be changed every few years and something short and easy that I can spell. 😉 Ready? GO!

The first week in Colorado.

The last part of July and first part of August were so busy and slightly without internet that I haven’t been able to write anything.  We did finally find a house to rent towards the end of July, so we packed up the house and moved in about a week.  Titus did most of the packing at first because I came down with a really horrible sinus cold and was pretty wiped out for days. The last few days he pushed me hard to get everything packed up so we could load the truck on Aug 3rd. A huge thank you to my mom for helping me pack the kitchen! What a job that was.  The house we moved to is a furnished mission house, but because I didn’t see the house before we moved I had no idea what to take and what to leave.  The last few days before moving were a whirlwind of making decisions on what to take and what to leave, all based on a house filled with stuff I had not seen.  And by the way, it’s a whole lot easier to move from a small house to a big house then the other way around.  I was completely beyond making decisions by the time everything was packed, and my mind had been overworked. 😉    We loaded the trailer and truck and van all on Aug 3rd.  A huge thanks to Titus’ Dad, Mom, brother and his wife for all the help that morning and for bringing the noon meal!  What a blessing!  James thought packing the trailer was great fun and kept bringing things for Uncle Timmy to put inside.

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Sadly the trailer didn’t end up being big enough so towards the end we started having to remake some of the to keep or to stay decisions we had already made!  Titus’ had to leave his motorcycle and I left my sewing machine and all my sewing stuff, some baby clothes that hopefully someone will bring before I need them and a few other things.  The moving trailer, van and the bed of the pick up were all completely full.  I didn’t know how we were going to fit everything into the house!

We stayed Saturday and Sunday night with Titus’ parents and left early Monday morning for Denver.  Sunday morning was hard and I cried a bit through church.  I had held up really really well that whole week of packing, but it kinda hit me Sunday morning.  Then Sunday night Titus took me to a surprise going away party that our family and a bunch of friends put on for us at Voss Park.  I didn’t know anything about it and it was such a great way to say good-bye to everyone!  It lifted my spirits a lot and I am so thankful for truly wonderful friends!

We left Monday for Denver and got there in the evening. The college that Titus is going to is in a church building right now and the church owns a house that is used for missionaries when they are on furlough. Kinda neat! But they haven’t had anyone there for a while and don’t want it to sit empty.  Since the house is furnished there were beds already set up so we didn’t have to do any unpacking that night.  Tuesday and Wednesday were spent packing up everything I didn’t need in the house, cleaning it, and unpacking all of our stuff.  All I can say is that having all three of my sisters here to help was unbelievably helpful!  They are angles!  The house had a lot to move out to make room for us.  There was a big chair, huge couch and a love seat all in the living room.  It was too much furniture so the girls and Titus moved out the very heavy couch.  It was very funny to watch them move it ‘the Reynolds’ way’ as my sisters said, since Titus had his own ideas of how to do it. 😉

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On Tuesday night the church had a block party (it was national block party day or something like that), that I really really didn’t want to go to. But there was free food and the boys ended up having a great time. There was a bouncy house that James loved and there weren’t many kids so he got a lot of time inside.

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Then the Englewood fire truck showed up and let the kids get inside. James was sooo excited!

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Alaina was more excited about the size of coffee mug she found inside than anything else.


By Wednesday night I had figured out that there was stuff that had come with us that shouldn’t have, and stuff that didn’t come that should of. Very frustrating since I had spent so much time sorting through everything.  There is a whole box of kitchen stuff that should have come and didn’t including most of my Tupperware.  But on a happy note we found my sewing machine!  Ha ha! I am so happy that it accidentally got here!  Gideon got sick on Wednesday night so the next week was spent holding him and trying to keep him from crying.  It has been a very long week, and it doesn’t seem like we have only been here a week and a half.

I will post more later about the house but here are pictures of the back yard and the front of the house.  The backyard is a dream! I love it.  It could use a bit more shade, but it is completely fenced in.  I don’t have to worry about the boys back there at all! It’s wonderful.


This picture is to show you just how close we are to the church and school Titus will be going to. See the huge parking lot my boys ride their ‘bikes’ in? It’s also great! I’m going to love being so close to Titus’ school!


Saying good bye, Denver, and going home

After not enough days we said our goodbyes at the reunion.  Next time I think we need more days to sit around a talk. (I’m sure my introverted hubby wouldn’t agree with me though).

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Our little cabin, and saying goodbye to Kala. We are both pregnant here: Kala is about 8 weeks I think she said, and I was about 18. 😉

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Pictures from my A. Mimi:

the beard picture:


The whole group:


After we said good bye we left James with my mom and took my two little brothers, Levi and Lincoln, to Denver with us to look for houses.  It was a very frustrating time in Denver.  Apparently the housing market is booming there and stuff is renting or selling extremely fast. I had spent quite a bit of time looking on the internet and making calls before we left, and while we where there I spent hours. Out of the all the e-mails I sent, and phone messages I left only two people called back.  But they were very helpful in the info they gave me.  I found out that we wouldn’t even qualify for the houses we were interested in until Titus has his part-time job.  All in all it was a complete waste of time and money.  We left Denver deciding A. to just live in the hotel we were staying at or B.  get temporary housing and find a permanent house after we move there.  I like option A. 🙂 We have stayed at that hotel twice now and we know the area and how to get to a few places already. ha ha.  With option B, I really really didn’t want to move twice.  Especially since a new baby is coming in December.   But it seems that it’s the best way to go, and most people moving there seem to do it that way.  I took a little time off since being home before looking again.  I thought temp housing would be cheaper, but of course it wouldn’t be.  They are all furnished too, so that means we are going to have to put all our stuff in storage now.  Lovely.  This is by far the most difficult move we have ever done.

Lincoln liked this restaurant we ate at in the Cherry Creek mall because they made smiley faces with the ketchup.


                      Believe it or not the morning we left to drive home Lincoln came down with the flu.  Up to this point this had been the very best trip we had ever gone on concerning our kids and sleep and over all holding up well.   So for the first 10 hours of the trip I A. nursed Gideon what seemed like constantly and B tried to find some kind of happy place while Lincoln threw up in a to go mug behind me. I have a weak stomach anyway but while pregnant it’s even worse!  We stopped at Cabella’s in Omaha to let everyone out for a bit.
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They had a little gun range there that all the boys liked.  Sadly it was not working so no one got to play.


It was a nice break!  By this time I was really tired of riding in the back.  Lincoln being sick and taking care of Gideon had just worn me out. So I told Titus I was ready to drive. After we switched Lincoln made a miraculous recovery, and even felt good enough to play with Gideon a bit. So Titus just sat back there doing nothing while I was stuck in the front trying to endure Levi’s non stop chatter about Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. After telling me about some guy that stabs some dude and then licks the blood off the knife I got sick again. Yes I’m serious.  By Worthington my stomach was hurting too and before I went to bed for the night both Titus and I had the flu.  Not the greatest conclusion to our trip, but it was a really really short flu so it really wasn’t that bad to get through.

It was so great to see James again. Below are the pictures of Titus showing James his presents since he didn’t get to go to Denver with us.These are some kind of mechanical bugs. I’m not terribly fond of them, but the boys thought they were great!

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Titus also bought James a big spiral train track set for his train table.  It’s really nice. I over heard Titus say to James, “You are a lucky little boy. I never had something like this. I had to wait until I was 27 before I had one!”  Ha ha ha

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And in conclusion, this is what happens when you get back from a long trip, and both parents get the flu.  Titus did his wonderful complete unpacking of the van, he does such a great job getting every last thing. Unfortunately he also did his normal dump-everything-right-inside-the-front-door-so-no-one-can-get-in-or-out specialty too. 🙂


Part 2: Big boys, little boys, NEW dirt, & almost bad news.

So I should have held off on that last post since they dug into our yard today and were even closer then before.  My boys have been playing really well in the dirt where they took out the sidewalk.  But today they dug into that very spot and up our driveway a bit.  My boys were just standing in the yard watching them work, when the man that works the excavator dumped a bunch of clean new dirt on the sidewalk to the left of where they were digging.  Just for my boys! 🙂  They were so excited!

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Titus says it’s actually gravel not dirt. Well whatever it is it’s fun!

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The nice man that gave us the new dirt:


Picture of Titus and myself. The first picture had our neighbor’s house in the back so we decided to take another one with our house in the back. 🙂

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They were replacing the sewer line that goes to our house. This is the closest they have been yet.

Taken from our front door

Taken from our front door

Taking out part of the driveway:


Happy boys:


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I have been very impressed with the crew working here. They constantly look out for my boys. When they are cutting off a pipe with the big power saw they put themselves between the sparks and my boys.  One day James wondered off and when Titus found him one the of guys was bringing him back.  James says hi to every man that walks by and they all talk to him.  The boss man stopped a few days ago and asked how James’ work was going and if he was going to have a busy day. 🙂  One guy even gave James a long ride on the packer a few weeks ago!! I do wonder what these men must think of stay at home moms after watching my sit in a chair for hours every day. 🙂 I’m probably giving all mom out there a bad name.

Today we got a paper saying that we can’t park on 6th ave at all anymore.  I was highly frustrated.  I don’t have it too bad right now.  I only have to walk about half a block to get to my van or to take my trash to the curb.  When I have a lot to carry into the house I park in our neighbors driveway to unpack.  If I have to start parking at the every least a block away (possibly more) and haul two kids, diaper bags and anything else all that way I’m going to never leave the house again! ha ha. But I talked to one of the guys and they are just pulling up the tar tomorrow, so it will only be one day.  He said it will be 3-4 weeks before they actually start digging.  What happy happy news!!!!  Only I don’t think we will have moved yet, which could be a big big problem if we can’t get a moving truck close enough to our house. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get closer to moving.