Joe traveled back to O.C. to get the remaining stuff we had there (mostly furniture) loaded onto a moving truck, which my brother then very graciously drove back to Colorado for us. Joe had to fly home as we were closing on a commercial property at the end of that week that needed a number of things done before closing. Yikes.
Well, the closing went off without too many hitches and we are now the proud owners of a historical piece of downtown Loveland. Joe purchased the shop he worked at so many years ago. He worked there for a while after returning from Basic & AIT. Wow... it seems like light years ago. The owner had let the shop really go downhill. It'd always looked a bit like a junkyard, and he never had kept it a smooth flowing auto repair shop, but when Joe drove by to say "Hi" after getting back to Colorado in December, it was shocking. The guy had completely let the place go and just wanted to be done with it. He didn't know how to run a business and just didn't want to try anymore. So... the bright guy Joe is, he negotiated an incredible deal with him. Fast forward a couple of months, and we now own "Alliance Auto Care" off 4th and Garfield!
The building DEFINITELY needed an overhaul. The downtown area of Loveland has been getting a facelift, and this was definitely the eye sore of it all. We picked new paint colors (which we're still waiting for the exterior to get painted due to the cooler temps since closing a week and a half ago), scrubbed the place top to bottom, removed inches upon inches of grease and gunk that was caked on the floor of the shop, outfitted the office that had previously been used as a dumpster ;-), ordered banners to announce the new store, and are now working on our marketing and advertising. It's incredible how much different the place is already... and how much more has yet to be done! Joe now works Monday through Saturday which SUCKS, but it's necessary for the time being. I think I complain about this more than anyone... but the kids are a close second. They LOVE their daddy and hate having him gone so much. I LOVE their daddy too... but at least I "get" why he's gone.
Enough of THAT nonsense. I know everyone is really just wanting news on the kids. So, here it is. Ezra and Olivia are so stinkin' fast and strong-willed these days I feel like the things I say al day long are: "No. Don't touch that. NO! NO TOUCH!!! DANGEROUS. Don't climb on that, please. GET DOWN! Ewww!!! Don't suck on that. Keep that out of your mouth. Ahhh! Get down! You'll get hurt! Ah, ah, ah! I see you! Stop banging the windows! NO! Good job, good decisions... WAIT! STOP THAT! Don't hit your (brother/sister)!"
You get the point. They are all over the place and definitely into EVERYTHING. What was previously a very safe play zone where we had gates/covers/padding/protection/dangerous items removed is no longer safe. They now climb the back of the dining room chairs (resulting in the chairs tipping on top of them), MOVE the gates that aren't secured to the walls, slam toys into the windows, push/shove each other, climb all over the couches, and SCREAM with pure delight or absolute frustration. I swear they are communicating and working together too. They tend to go opposite directions and get into things simultaneously so I can only get to one at a time. You'd think with all the running around the room I'd be fit for a marathon by now! Taking them to the store alone has become treacherous. If one's in the shopping cart, they're desperately trying to get out. If I let one be down on the ground with their backpack leash attached, that one screams and stomps their feet when they can't go the direction they want. They are VERY independent and LOVE to explore. Babies were nothing... toddlers though??!! Holy smokes!
We do have one really huge saving grace coming into play though. Language and communication. They don't have great speech (attempt most things, but it often all sounds the same), but they are getting really good at signing. It's a mixed blessing, I guess, because now they are SOOOOOOO cute when they ask for something. Livi constantly says: "Tee? Tee?" while enthusiastically signing "Eat." Of course, this is about 5 minutes after we get done with a meal that they wouldn't really eat. Ugh.
So far, the signs they know are: eat, more, all done, diaper, mama (kind of), and milk.
Ezra is really good at attempting to repeat words you say, such as "please." He'll say "peeeeeeaaassss" while stretching his neck forward and tipping his head back. This is similar to how he makes his neigh sound to "NEEEEEeeeee!" while stretching his head forward and tipping it back. Very cute. They've both got the cheesy expressions down pat and it's just a riot. Ezra will get so goofy out of nowhere. He'll just be doing something and then turn on the wackiness. What a total goofball! Livi, on the other hand, is an absolute love! If either of them is getting in trouble, she usually runs over and snuggles into my chest and wraps her arms around me to hug. She does that when they're not getting in trouble too, so I get lots of love during the days! She loves on ALL their toys by resting her head on the toy and batting her eyes. She gives kisses, and has even started puckering her lips up in a very exaggerated way to do so. It's sort of like a fish kiss. I haven't been fortunate enough to get it on camera yet, but I'll keep trying.
So, in summary I have two totally exhausting and incredibly active, intelligent and beautiful kiddos. Do I have my hands full? Heck yes! Between the kids and the three businesses Joe and I have going on (the other two are stories for another day...), I'm beat and not getting the amount of sleep my body tends to prefer. But, we are so fortunate and I love my family so much... so I try not to complain too much! I know all the hard work will pay off soon enough. AND, I know Ezi & Livi won't be toddlers forever, and I try to enjoy it while it lasts!