Saturday, April 20, 2013

Big News!

Well, it’s been an exciting month in the Hamer house! After living in our wonderful little house for more than 7 years we decided that the time was right for us to move. Fiona is starting kindergarten in September and we didn’t want to move her after she got settled and made friends, so we wanted to move before that if we were ever going to. The interest rates are still really low in combination with the housing market significantly picking up, so the timing was good.

We gave ourselves 3 weeks to get the house to show ready condition – we rented a storage unit and were so grateful to have the help of Ben’s brother-in-law Erik and his Dad in taking trailers full of stuff over there one Saturday. His Dad also helped us do some painting and sprucing up, and both of his parents were wonderful about taking care of the girls so we could work on the house. Somehow we were ready in time and it looked really nice. It went on the market on a Thursday and the couple who came to see it on Friday morning loved it and made a really great offer that day! Woohoo!!

After that we just needed to find somewhere new! We’re moving to the south metro area and were initially considering Eagan and Apple Valley. Ben works in Eagan and his family lives in Apple Valley so either of those places would be really convenient. However, the same luck that helped us sell so fast also caused other houses to go fast too, so we expanded our search area to Lakeville, which is a little further south. We found the most wonderful bright red house just 5 minutes drive from Ben’s parents, with great highway access so it’s not much further to drive north to take Adele to preschool or for me to go to work (which I do a couple of times a month). It’s also really close to shopping and the zoo and the hippy food co-op, which was a strong preference for me :-) We made an offer and were expecting to be told that it had already sold, but luck was with us again and the seller accepted our offer!

We close on the new place on May 10th and have the next week to move all of our stuff in before closing on our current house on May 16th.

So about the house!

First, as I mentioned, it’s red, which I love! It has a deck in the back with a hot tub! There’s also a wetlands in the back and a little pond with a path around the pond which leads to a playground, and the girls are very excited about that! We stopped by to test it out last week and even though it was covered in snow they had a lot of fun.

Inside the front door the laundry room/mudroom is on the right, and the formal living room is on the left. However, we’re not really formal people, so we’ll use that as an office. I work from home so it will be wonderful to have a real office.

Behind the formal living room is the formal dining room but we’ll use that as a playroom. It’s open to the “office” so I can watch the girls while I work and there’s a doorway from the kitchen so I can also keep an eye on them while I cook.

The kitchen is gorgeous with granite countertops and a window overlooking the pond. The dining area is by the kitchen, and then leads into the family room where Ben is already obsessing over the perfect TV for the space.

It has a gas fireplace which I love, and lots of windows, also overlooking the deck and the pond.
There’s a little bathroom off the dining area, and then we’re back to the front hall and laundry room/mudroom, which connects to the garage.

Living in Minnesota where we are currently on month 7 of winter and snow, I have longed for a mudroom. Having a space where wet coats, boots, mittens, hats, snow pants, socks, scarves, kids and dog can be contained, washed off and dried will be wonderful!

In the basement there is a game room, guest bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom also has a sauna which I imagine we’ll probably use once, but it’s a fun novelty.

Upstairs is the master bedroom with a humongous bathroom. The bathroom even has an inner bathroom so you can close the door on whoever is using the toilet and still access the sink in the outer room for tooth brushing. Those of you who are more familiar with Ben will understand why this is such a blessing ;-)

Upstairs there are also two other bedrooms and a bathroom. The girls want to keep sharing for now, so they will have the bedroom with the pond view, or as Fiona calls it, the nature bedroom. 

So that’s the house! We are super excited and looking forward to having lots of people visit! Come and see us soon!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I know, I am totally off the blogging wagon. And so much has happened that there's little point in trying to catch up.


Tuesdays are our low key days. Fiona is kind of a homebody and likes to have a day where we don't need to go anywhere or do anything, or put clothes on, and that gives me a day to try to get some housework done. Today we really needed milk so we did make a trip to the store, but she wore her pyjamas. I figure if 2/3 of us are dressed that's good enough.

After we got home I had the bright idea of having the girls assist me with the cleaning. They both love spraying with the cleaning spray and today the floor needed to be mopped. It seemed like a good idea at the time to let them help mop with the toy mop they have. Little did I know that this would be the catalyst for the most epic mop war you have ever seen. They both desperately wanted to be the sole mop user. It was bizarre. At one point Fiona grabbed the mop from Adele, hit her on the head with it and ran away and hid. By the time we were done both girls were crying and I was bellowing the ever useful phrase "BECAUSE I'M THE BOSS!". Madness. At least the floor was clean though.

In an attempt to finish the small amount of cleaning I was trying to do I set Fiona up with her markers and some paper, and put Adele in a separate room with another toy. All was calm until I caught the hint of an ominous sound over the roar of the vacuum. After a sprint to the bathroom I found Adele armpit deep in the toilet proudly scrubbing it for all she was worth with the purloined mop. There was a significant amount of water on the floor, but thankfully I had already cleaned the toilet.

Shortly after that Fiona showed me what she had been drawing. Here it is:

According to Fiona from left to right, we have: Monty, Adele in possession of the mop (standing on the stool), with water on the floor, Fiona crying because Adele has the mop and me trying to make Fiona feel better. I know it looks suspicious but I'm HUGGING her, ok. 

And just to show that it's not all tears and drama, here are a few recent happy pictures.

Adele loves Monty so much. Monty is willing to tolerate her love. 

At the Autoshow this weekend.

Story time before bed.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Adele is 3!

Today is Adele's 3rd birthday. The last three years have flown by and she has really changed and learned a lot in the last year. It's been wonderful to watch her learn and grow. Here's an epic look back over her last year.

One year ago in December she had just been given a walker by her physical therapist and was practicing walking with that. She was not taking any steps alone at all.

She was just starting to talk more and was a happy, easygoing little girl, who didn't really like to sleep.

By January though, she was starting to insist on having her own way in decisions involving clothing...

February came with a visit from my Mum and Adele took her first unassisted steps!

And discovered that she liked to make art...

In March she read books and rode on her tricycle for the first time.

Her legs were too short for the pedals but she did a great job balancing on there while I pushed her around.

In April she finally started earning her keep...

And in May lots of fun things happened!

Fiona and Adele started becoming friends who could do fun stuff together...

And Fiona taught Adele about the wonderful world of all things creepy crawly.

Adele practiced building with duplo and making more art...

And in the same day she learned how to walk across the wobbly bridge and walked all the way home from our local restaurant holding my hand (more videos here). 

Adele also started speech therapy every two weeks to help her with some sounds she was having trouble with.

In June we enjoyed the warm summer days and Adele got over her fear of carousels. After this photo was taken ;-)

In July we hung out with friends and family, and met cousin Virginia...

And she generally exhausted herself with fun!

In August we went corn picking and Adele ate the freshest corn ever...

And became obsessed with hugging animals.

Both girls started at a wonderful new preschool that has 1/3 special needs kids and 2/3 regularly developing, so she can have some extra help where she needs it but also gets to hang out and do everything the other preschoolers are doing. So far she absolutely loves it, and is very happy there.

In September my parents visited and while they were here Adele figured out how to stand up in the middle of the floor. This has been (and still is) a big challenge for her.

We also all went to the zoo to visit the dinosaurs and in this video you can see how well she is doing with her (new, shiny, 4 wheel) walker, and the improvement in her speech!

In October she had a blast celebrating Halloween - decorating cookies, carving pumpkins and trick or treating with her cousins.

And of course we spent some time raking, throwing, and jumping in leaves.

Adele began to insist on walking longer distances without holding a hand or using her walker. On one occasion she just stopped and toddled off, leaving her walker behind. She has been doing this in bare feet too, which is tricky. Once she gets going she has a hard time stopping and she falls a lot but is undeterred. She still has a hard time getting up on her own but during the last week she's been getting up unassisted more and more when she doesn't have her braces on. Ben tells me that she managed to do this with her braces and shoes on for the first time yesterday so she's making great progress! Here's a video of her walking around in Best Buy.

As if that wasn't enough, October was the month that Adele was day-time potty trained!! We took a long weekend when the girls were off school for conferences and just went for it. The first day was messy but the rest of the weekend was awesome, and she has not looked back. I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am to be almost diaper free!!

November was another month of fun. In November she went from walking to dancing!

Here she is doing some dancing. The girls heard this song on the radio and loved it. They both sing along. Don't blame me :-/

At Thanksgiving dinner she graduated from the high chair to a big girl stool at Grandma's house. She hasn't fallen off yet :-)

And that brings us to December. So far she has had a birthday! We celebrated on Sunday with Ben's family and my friend Emily (who brought a delicious cake!).

She got a Dora doll and backpack from Grandma and Grandpa and a doll stroller from the Tennants, and the obvious next step was to put Zak the rat in the backpack and then take him for a ride...

Today she took cupcakes to school to share with her friends and then we picked up Daddy from work and went to the mall for some dinner and fun. Her favourite foods are rice and broccoli so we found somewhere that had those foods, menus you could colour on, and happy hour beers, and everyone was had a great time. The tropical paradise theme was just an added bonus.

After that the girls each chose one ride and we headed for the carousel and the Diego rescue bus. 

And then home for cupcakes. 

And that's it! A year of Adele. She has worked so hard this year and is doing so well. She is a lovely little girl who continues to be happy and smiley and although she has to work extra hard in many physical ways, she never gives up, she just keeps going. When she manages something new, or difficult she looks at us with a big smile on her face and Ben, Fiona and I cheer for her like crazy. She loves animals, both furry and buggy, and is very creative. She has also found her voice in the last year and talks much more in conversation, and in standing up to Fiona which is a good thing! She has opinions and she wants to share them. She cares about Fiona very much and sticks up for her and worries about her if she is upset. She is quick to share, and has a large, kind heart. 

I re-discovered this song a few weeks ago and in the past it's been a nice song, but now when I hear it I can't help but think of Adele. So if you've made it this far, here you go :-)

We are so very lucky to have this sweet little love in our lives and could not be more proud of her. Happy 3rd Birthday Dell!

Now please stop waking up at night. Seriously. You're three now! You can do this!!