invaders!

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One day a month or so ago, I left my house to go pick up Savannah from school. While I was in the carpool line, a friend whose son also attends the preschool called and asked if we wanted to stay and play in the playground for a little bit. That sounds like fun, I thought. While we were there, I got a phone call from my neighbor. She doesn’t speak English, and phone conversations in Spanish are very difficult for me, so I ignored the call and figured I’d go over and talk to her when I got home.

We didn’t play long – I was only gone from my home for an hour – but when I rounded the corner to my house and saw police cars up and down the street, I had a sinking feeling in my heart. There were a lot of people milling around my house, both doors were open. I remember seeing my fall wreath that I had just hung on the front door the day before was on the ground and people were stepping over it.

The police officer tried to wave me on as I pulled up to my driveway, but when I told him I was the homeowner he immediately called over the detective. The bad news: three people broke into our house. The good news: my neighbor saw them and called the police, who were able to catch the guys in the act. Wow! It was all very overwhelming for me to deal with and try to sort out in my brain. The police officers had me stay in the car until the robbers were taken to the jail, but then I went to the car to identify my things. There were items that didn’t belong to me, so I wonder how many other houses they had hit.

All total, they took my laptop, the broken laptop, my camera, some jewelry (nothing of value), our microwave, Paul’s guitar, some foreign coins (nothing valuable), and my iPod. I believe they were in the middle of taking the TV when the police interrupted them, because we found it sitting on the coffee table, unhooked from everything. All of these items were taken to the police station as evidence, and I didn’t get them back for 4 days. It was very frustrating to be without my laptop, and I unfortunately was unable to take pictures at a big birth center event that weekend, but I know that the police were hard at work building a case against the robbers, so I tried to be patient. :-)

This is what I came home to. We have a steel door and a deadbolt. My neighbor said it took them only 5 minutes to get in with a tire iron.

See how they completely bent the doorknob?

The door itself cracked, and completely broke the door frame.

Completely broken door frame.

They trashed the house, too, looking for things. No stone was left unturned in the master bedroom. This is actually the guest room – they went through all the drawers and boxes. They actually tore apart boxes trying to get in, which made us sad because in a couple of instances the boxes were valuable. One had been decorated and had many memories, one was for an unopened product that we were considering returning to the store, and one was for an unusually shaped item that fit into the box. Small stuff, but frustrating nonetheless.

They did the worst damage in the master bedroom. They went through all the drawers, threw everything off the top of the dresser, flipped the mattress. I think the thing that felt most violating to me was they went through all the baby’s stuff too – her clothes, the cosleeper, her changing pad. Savannah’s room seemed mostly untouched – they pulled some stuff from her closet – but didn’t go into her drawers. I was relieved at that.

They basically emptied our closet onto the floor. It was a MESS. And so overwhelming – it took me two weeks before I finally went through everything and put it away. I was sad that they ripped open some pillows. We had NO cash and NO jewelry hidden anywhere. But, this tells me that simply hiding something isn’t good enough. They covered a lot of ground in only 10-15 minutes. (Neighbor called at 1:25, I got home at 1:45 and the police had already gotten there by then.)

Another view of our room. So overwhelming, and so violating.

Paul was fortunately able to come home. It was several hours before I was allowed back into the house. Then we had to figure the rest out… We were without a door, and we needed to get a new one before night. I am SO grateful to a friend who let us use their minivan to get a new door from Home Depot. Our church was on a retreat (we were actually supposed to join them the next day but we didn’t feel safe leaving), and we called up there and our pastor was able to hook us up with someone willing to come out that night to install it.

Overall, we lost our microwave (it fell out of the robbers’ car onto the road and broke) and my headphones for my iPod, which really isn’t bad at all. I since found out that our insurance doesn’t cover stolen property, so we would have been TV-less/laptop-less/camera-less/etc. had the robbers not been caught. We still haven’t replaced our microwave, so that’s been an interesting adventure.

I feel very violated and a little bit unsafe. I actually kept Savannah home from preschool the following day (she was also a little sick), and I’ve been doing a little research into alarm systems. Coming at the same time as a load of other major expenses, it has been emotionally very draining for me. I keep going back to being SO SO SO incredibly grateful that my neighbor was in the right place at the right time, and she pushed past her language barriers and was able to communicate with the police. I also had a really good experience working with the police in our town – they were great, and kept me in the loop about everything, and they certainly responded fast.

I think I’ll add new headphones to my Christmas list. ;-)


dear Caroline: four months

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Curious Caroline

Dear Caroline,

Today you are 4 months old! You continue to grow so fast. I am very much enjoying this phase – you are adorable, animated, and smiley. You have started interacting with us, laughing and giving us huge baby grins when you’re in a good mood, and getting obviously excited when anticipating something.

This month your hair started falling out! You have a patch on the base of your neck, and a patch on the top front of your head, but otherwise the rest is very thin dark hair. I never imagined that your hair would fall out this late, so I was very surprised! I’m curious to see how it grows back in. You still have a bad case of cradle cap, which goes away when we use olive oil on your scalp.

You really do love your sister, and she loves you too. She likes to get in your face and you don’t seem bothered at all. Twice I’ve left the room to come back and find you “decorated” – first with a permanent marker, and the second time with stickers. You didn’t seem bothered at all. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she starts dressing you like a baby doll. :-)

I have no words

You love to talk to us, too. You watch us intently as we talk to you, and then you play around with making noises from your mouth too. It’s fun to see you learning! You then usually start munching on your hands, so I wonder if you are teething. If you aren’t talking, then you usually have your hands in your mouth.

You love sucking on your thumb right now! I am really hoping this doesn’t become a bad habit, because I was a thumb-sucker myself and I remember how hard it was to give up that habit. Unlike your sister, you don’t take a pacifier at all. Every so often you’ll take one, but you usually spit it out shortly thereafter and stick your thumb in your mouth instead. We’ll see. :-)

This month has been fairly low-key, as your daddy was so busy at work so you mostly hung out with your sister and mommy around the house. You did get to dress up as a lion for Halloween, and we went to a trunk-or-treat at a local church. You have been content just to go along for the ride.

Halloween-Caroline

Next month will bring Thanksgiving, and the start to the Christmas season! I am so excited to share that with you!

Love, Mommy


25 days of christmas books

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We’re starting a new tradition this year! It will probably take a few years to build up our collection but I’m excited about this. We’ll be reading one children’s Christmas book each day in December, leading up to Christmas! (This will be in addition to daily advent reading of the story of Jesus from the Bible.) I want to make it a fun family activity of reading together and enjoying all the classic Christmas stories that I grew up with, as well as a few new (to me) ones.

I was inspired by this link, but I wanted different books. I actually spent a lot of time researching children’s Christmas books, reading reviews, and asking friends about their favorites. I also had an idea of what I wanted to include (example, find a book about Las Posadas, since we have a Posada event every year at our church), as well as incorporating a few books that I already owned. Someday I’d love to plan a craft to go along with each book… but we’ll start that a different year. ;-)

Here is my list of books: 25 Days of Christmas Books

And here is a link to my Pinterest board – I’m going to pin crafts here so I can refer back in the future: 25 Days of Christmas Books – Pinterest

I hope you enjoy!


catching up – car accident

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I haven’t posted about several not-so-great things that have happened here recently. I’ll start with the car accident.

When Caroline was only 3 weeks old (beginning of August), we were driving on the interstate and the car behind me rear-ended me. It was really scary – Savannah and Caroline both started crying, even though we all were fine. Poor girls! There wasn’t a lot of damage, but my head hit the head rest pretty hard. I had x-rays taken and they showed all-clear. I took the girls to my pediatrician and they also checked out okay.

It took me a long time to recover. I think it was partly because my body was still healing from being only 3 weeks postpartum. I was able to get into my chiropractor right away, and I’m glad I did. She was able to give me several massages over the next few weeks which really helped – my muscles were so sore and tense. I found it very difficult to wear Caroline even though she was only like 8 lbs.

It took two weeks to fix our car, but the other person’s insurance was great and covered a rental car and the repairs. I am a little sad that not all the dents were fixed, though. We did need to get a new car seat for Caroline, but Savannah’s was okay (according to the user manual). I am really happy with the seat I ended up getting for Caroline – I like it a lot better than my last seat. So that all worked out.

I am feeling tons better now, and I’m so glad that everyone was okay. Car accidents are scary, no matter how bad they are!