Daily Life

What a Weekend

It was a good weekend. Friday was awesome because just like that we signed the papers and all the finances are in order. No more waiting on the bank. It only took five months. That is a very long time. Five months is a long time to wait and plan and dream. Well, actually it has been more like seven years of dreaming and planning. We just finally had to act on it. Lauren said she’s forgotten what the kitchen used to look like. I had forgotten a few details, too. Then I started remembering why we started the whole deal- everything was breaking and falling apart and leaking. It had to be done.

On Friday I didn’t see my oldest son all day. I said goodbye to him in the morning and eventually at almost seven he finally called me and let me know where he was. He had been at school, play practice, pep band, and was calling to let me know he was at the football game because he had to play in the band for that. It was a long day for him. It has begun. The slow drift until he leaves the house for good. I’m not sad, I’m happy for him that he is living life. Time really does pass fast though. He was laying on the couch on Saturday and I could see the little baby face still. Growing teenage boys don’t appreciate when their moms say that. I’ll say it anyways.

On Saturday we went to Alex’s sister’s house for the monthly family party. It was loud and crazy as usual with all the kids. His sister had decorated and had games planned. She led them in games and dancing and after an hour or so came and said she didn’t have any more entertainment for them. Alex and I replied that kids don’t have to be entertained, just let them play and figure something out. And that is why she is an elementary teacher and Alex and I aren’t. She loves that sort of stuff whereas it makes us groan.

I did something to my knee last week. I can walk and such but bending and straightening it hurts. I tried to slow down but there was too much to do. But when I finally sat down on Saturday and most of the day Sunday trying to rest my knee, all the kids glommed onto me. Well, the younger six. It was like an unruly game of musical chairs and I was the chair. Up and down and wiggling and jostling, vying to get the prime position. On Sunday Alex said he wouldn’t sit by me because all the kids end up there. It really was ridiculous. I love them all dearly but by the end of the day I was all touched out. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There will be time enough for sitting alone.

So lately Lauren has decided she loves to scare me. Saturday night before I tucked her in, she’s always the last one, I was walking by and Alex gave me a look and said something about it. Of course I got a little panicked and started to see where she was going to jump out at me from. It didn’t work, I found her first. Well last night her and Alex teamed up again and I was about to get up and tuck the boys into bed when Alex said I need to hurry up. He grabbed the baby and went upstairs. Oblivious, I tucked the boys in and went through the house locking doors and turning off lights. I was walking through the dark dining room when I felt a hand grab my ankle! I screamed, horrified, even as my brain registered exactly what was happening. I knew before I screamed that it was Lauren grabbing my ankle. And I still involuntarily screamed. Alex ran out of our room and gave Lauren a high five as they both congratulated themselves for getting me. It was hilarious. But what is ridiculous is that Lauren hates being scared. She can dish it but she definitely can’t take it. I might still try to get her back though. It’s only fair.

Daily Life

Bears

Last week there was an ad on the radio for a local attraction, Yellowstone Bear World. It was the last week for something and their prices were marked way down. I couldn’t pass it up. I told the kids and they got excited. To little ones it could have been Disneyland, that’s how excited they were.

We got up and on our way and instead of driving by like we have thousands of times, we actually turned in and went. It is funny because we live in a big tourist area. People from all over the world plan their vacations around it, they take work off to come here and we hardly, if ever, see the stuff. A few years ago we finally went to Yellowstone National Park. It was a fun long day and we hit Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole on the way home. We saw one bear. One. And it was running away and dumb tourists with cameras were running after it. Dangerous.

So imagine, if you will, being surrounded by bears. It was surreal. They were literally three feet from us, lumbering around. The kids were loving it. I was amazed.

We then went to ride the little amusement rides. It wasn’t crowded yet so we were able to ride all six of them without waiting for more than a minute. It was fun to see the kids’ faces and hear their squeals of delight.

There was a petting zoo area with the usual farm yard animals as well as a fish pond. We all enjoyed feeding them. Then we washed up and went to our van to eat lunch. Sandwiches and chips. We looked at the fall activities they had lined up in the field next the parking lot and since it wasn’t busy we walked over to check it out. There was a straw maze and the kids were off and running. Michael said he knew exactly where to go because while on the ferris wheel he studied it out. Ha! He went through it quickly with no wrong turns. The little kids ran through it multiple times.

Then it was time for the “fall forage hunt”. Basically like and Easter egg hunt. A big field full of trinkets and candy. I was standing with Elizabeth and Noah waiting when a little girl came up to Elizabeth and asked, “Do you want to be friends?” Elizabeth said yes and they were friends. They talked and squealed and plotted. It is fun to watch how easy little kids get along. Then it was time. Ready, set, go! They all took off and filled their bags with whatever they could get their hands on. They had so much fun.

We managed to not lose any kids in the melee and we loaded up to go home. It was a back roads kind of day. We turned one corner and there was a field of horses. They were beautiful! I couldn’t stop myself. We pulled over to look and they all started to make a beeline towards us. I jumped out of the van and had to pet them. The rest of the family joined in and I have to say, it was far and away better than the petting zoo. Well except when I fed a baby deer, that was pretty cool.

It was a fun day all around and though I am a homebody, it was good to get out and do something out of the normal.

Heaven forbid they smile.
Daily Life, Remodel

It is on Hold

So I am sure you have all been wondering how the remodel is going. Well, it’s not. It’s just a stinking torn apart mess. I think I am going through the stages of grief because yesterday I was crying due to some depressing news I recieved. Today I am angry at the whole deal.

We are still waiting on the bank. Why yes, it has been four months.

In anticipation of fixing the house we (I’ve) been calling contractors to get them lined up. Apparently everyone else is doing the same thing. I texted the only electrician to give me the time of day and he texted me right back.  He said he was super busy – surprise, surprise- and wouldn’t be able to get to my stuff until the end of December but more likely January.

What?!

No.

Can’t do that. 

I started to cry right there and then.

We have the power in the kitchen and the gas off. The plumber is busy, too.  We need the electricity done so we can put the ceiling back on and the insulation back so we can warm the place up efficiently. We need the gas back on to warm the house back up.

Alex and I are just going to have to do the electric work.  Before you think it is a horrible idea,  we’re not completely clueless when it comes to electrical work.  We’ve watched YouTube videos.  Haha! Just kidding.  Kind of. We did watch some videos. Alex has knowledge of circuits and we’ve put in outlets and fixtures and such before.  This is just on a larger scale. We’ll do the labor of pulling and placing all the wires and though it will be time intensive, it will work. We’ll get in touch with the electricians to hopefully go over the work and if we do the hard part their part will be quick.

If we want to be done with it before the year is through we are going to have to do the plumbing too. Again, not our first rodeo. But I guess we’ll save money this way. Silver linings I guess.

So I’ll allow myself to feel mad and cry for a bit but it can’t last long because I have so much work to do.

Daily Life

Woefully Unprepared

This past weekend was General Conference. I hope you had a chance to check it out. It was really good and I learned a lot. The kids sat through most of it. If it was video games they would have been glued to the screen. Kids.

One of the themes I got from it was preparation. Not only spiritually but temporally. They are both important. They can both be difficult and easy, depending on your previous efforts. I took stock of both this weekend.

As the title of this post states, woefully unprepared. That is how I feel.

On the spiritual side, not so much. I know I fall so short of where I feel I should be and it is a daily effort. I feel like I am doing okay but I can do better.

On the physical side I feel like it is easier to take stock. All growing up I was taught that it is important to have a years supply of food, be out of debt, and have a financial reserve. Well. Not as prepared as I would like to be. I decided that it was part of my job in running this household to make a better effort to get temporally prepared.

I spent a good part of Monday taking stock. I first had a paper to figure things out and that was insufficient and confusing. I sat down at the computer and started a spreadsheet inventory of what we have and what we need. There is a HUGE disparity between the two. When you have a large family of ten people a years supply of food and essentials is HUGE! I looked up a food storage calculator and for a family of ten we are looking at 3300 pound of grain. 3300! Doesn’t that make you want to sit down and give up. I started looking at what we have that is a grain- you can believe I counted the microwave popcorn- and I am here to say that we have only 2557 pounds left to get. Hahahaha! That is only one category. There is still sugar, oil, dairy, leavening, legumes, etc.

I started digging and I was actually surprised at what I did have that I have collected over the years. I had cans of dry milk (yuck!) and powdered cheese and the like that last for years. I counted mac and cheese as a grain as well as ramen noodles and spaghetti o’s. Store what you will eat, folks. I had honey (that lasts a millennium and beyond) and jelly/jam for the sugar catagory. Peanut butter and mixed nuts for the legumes section. I started thinking about meat and such. I have some bags of bacon and cans of tuna but I remembered that I have chickens and as long as I have feed for them then I have eggs. And chicken.

I got a lot of it written down but looking at how much more we need to accumulate is daunting and a bit discouraging.

I figure if I do the best I can (my kids eat an inordinate amount- especially the teenagers) then I could hope for a few miracles. I wonder what manna tastes like? 😉

Considering the current state of the world it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared for any circumstance. Natural disasters, pandemics, delays in the supply chains, political upheaval/unrest, riots, etc. They all seem to be coming at us exponentially. Do yourself a favor and stock up what you can. The old saying “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best” applies nicely these days.

On Saturday we pulled our 72-hour kits out to take stock and replace the food as we do every April and October. We have a ways to go with those as well. Heaven help us if something does happen. Right now we are pretty unprepared. I guess if we treat it like the spiritual side of things and work a little on it daily then we will eventually get to where we need to be and God will make up for what we lack.

Daily Life

Every One is Effected and Other Stuff

I have written a bunch of posts but never finished them. It’s been a tough year all around.  I was talking to my neighbor and asked how she was doing. She said she was holding up (she’s in her eighties) and avoiding Corona. Then she asked if I had heard their neighbor died Sunday.  I had. She then said it seems this year everyone has been effected. The other neighbor’s dog died. Now two of my next door neighbors are alone. Their best friends died. A wife and a dog can’t be compared but both are suffering loss.

This year we, collectively, have had so much taken from us. Every one has had their life changed.  Some dramatically and others inconvenienced.  We can’t compare the suffering because it is relative but we can offer comfort.

I have been trying to do better. Life is hectic and busy. Alex and I have been horrible at saying our prayers as a couple our whole married life. I came up with a game though and we’ve been awesome at it since. I told Alex that whomever remembered to say the prayer didn’t have to say it- the other person did. So now it has become this contest to be the one to remember that we need to say our prayers together.  Our daughter, Lauren, thinks this is hilarious because we both try to beat the other one to it. It is working. We have said our prayers together morning and night without missing for a month or more now. It is an unconventional way to go about it but it is now a fun thing we get to do together and the kids see us doing it as well. 

A few weeks ago we had the missionaries over for a visit.  They went around asking each one of us what our favorite scripture or scripture story was. I honestly couldn’t come up with one specific story so I did the cop out “I love them all.”

As I was reading the scriptures this week I discovered my favorite.  You can read the whole chapter here. I read it again with my kids last night and had a hard time getting through it. I cry every time.

If you are tired of the chaos, the upsetting news cycle, life in general sometimes then I’ve got something for you.  I asked my daughter if she was excited for this weekend and she said yes. I asked her what she was excited about.  She replied that she was excited to watch General Conference. I asked why and she said “It just feels good”. So if you need a pick me up or a break that will uplift you click on the link and check it out. I promise you won’t regret it.

I hope you have a great weekend. I know that I am looking forward to a relaxing and drama free weekend. I’m going to put the world aside and focus on faith and family. Hopefully it will be relaxing and drama free. I have eight kids. It’s worth a shot.

Daily Life

Saturday

Saturday Alex and I had a quasi plan. An idea really. We woke up and asked what we should do that day. So much stuff needed doing. We chose to work on food storage. We were really low on so many things. We made a list and off we went to get it.

Did you know that toilet paper is still a stock up item and you are only allowed one at Costco? Yep. But a worker got us around it. If you buy different brands you can buy one of each. Fine. The world has gotten so weird.

On the way home we listened to the end of a podcast I had started the day before. It was on the second coming of Christ and the last days, a subject I am quite interested in. It was funny because the guest mentioned toilet paper shortage. He was saying that it is a fairly easy thing to be physically prepared for calamities; all you have to do is make a list and go to the store. But to be spiritually prepared takes constant daily work. Which one is more important?

Honestly, I think being spiritually prepared is the most important. The rest will follow.

When we got home we had all the kids help unload. I love that they all pitched in. And I was shocked that I fit most of it in my storage closet. I had to reorganize a bunch of it but it fit.

While I was shopping for food storage I got items for our 72-hour kits. Alex and I revamp them every six months during General Conference. (It is next weekend – Oct 3rd & 4th if you care to watch. One of my favorite two weekends of the year. Church at home at its finest.) So with the redoing the kits I got new food to replace soon to be expired food. It will give the kids a treat to eat while they watch conference. A win-win if you will.

After we’d gotten evrything done and cleaned up I sat down and turned on a movie- Hidden Figures. My kids started to wander in and when they saw what was on they exclaimed, “I love this movie!” I love that they love the movie. We all squished together and watched it.

We ended up going to bed late but it was a fun night spent as a family talking, watching a movie, and goofing off. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Daily Life

It’s the small things

I have started writing so many times but then get interrupted and the moment passes. I made sourdough bread dough this morning and totally forgot about it until I was putting the kids to bed. So now I am up waiting whilst it bakes. It should make some good toast in the morning to eat with some eggs for breakfast. As intimidated as I was by sourdough it has been fairly easy. I’ve been making up my own recipes because all. The ones I read were too complicated. Its bread. It is supposed to be easy.

So while the latest experiment is baking I’ll update you all on what’s going on.

My kids are home for harvest break. It’s potato time here in Idaho. And luckily the break coincided with my kids being quarantined due to possible covid exposure at school. There goes any planned outings. It’s been over a week and no symptoms so I think we are in the clear. And no, nothing’s changed from what we’ve been doing the last seven months so it really isn’t a big deal to stay home. We are experts.

The last bit I’ve been trying to notice the small moments. Every day Evangeline is near me and I’l ask her if she wants to go pick raspberries. She gets super excited and runs to the door and we go to the side yard where she picks all the ones she can reach and stuffs then in her mouth. I pick a bunch and she holds get little hands out for me to give her the ones I pick and I do. We eat all the ripe ones we can find and then lately we’ve moved on to the plum tree and eat a few from the tree. I was never a plum fan but straight from the tree the little red variety we have is so good. Evangeline can carry three in her little hand and will walk around eating them and spitting the pit out wherever.

Notice the plums in her hand as we pull her on our walk. She insisted on the helmet.

I remembered that I had to write this little story down. My Noah has such curly hair. He also has what we call the “Superman Curl”. It is a curl that hangs down onto the middle of his forehead. My dad asked him the other day how he got it. Noah replied, “Well first, you have to sleep a lot. And then you have to never comb your hair.” He was so serious. It was so funny. My dad said I guess I’ll never have one because I don’t sleep a lot.

Last week Elizabeth was sick. She wanted to go to school so bad because it was fire truck day. She wanted to ride the fire truck so bad but she had a fever the night before (either the masks don’t work or they aren’t used properly or something else because we were all sick with something last week). The night before her field trip I tucked her in and she said to me, “Mom, thank you for asking God to make me better so I can go to school tomorrow.” Oh my goodness how cute was that?! I was hoping the prayer would be answered and bolster this little girl’s already strong faith. She was able to go to school the next day and ride the fire truck. She was all bouncy and full of energy and so cute to watch. I have learned that if it is important to you it is important to God and that prayers are definitely answered.

Daily Life, Remodel

Making Progress

I’ve said this before and I will say it again- I am overwhelmed. It is not the first time and it won’t be the last. That you can bet on. There is something (several somethings I am sure) that are making weird smells. I am trying to keep up but it isn’t working so well. I was thinking today that I could use a kid free day or week to just clean. I might ask Alex to take the kids out all day Saturday so I can clean.

I did what I always do though- mope for a fee minutes, regroup, attempt to organize my thoughts and get to work. I got the front room picked up and then swept up the construction mess that has accumulated in the torn apart kitchen. I started to look at it again and all the wiring that needs to be done. I looked on YouTube to see if I could learn how to do it myself. I could, if really wanted to learn it. I don’t. So I looked up all the electricians in the area and started calling down the list. One answered! I thanked him for answering and said he was the first person that had picked up. He said yeah, all the electricians have been swamped. I asked him to put me on his schedule- a month out because that’s when he’s available next. Yeah, that’s how busy they all are. He said he would put me on the list and then said he had guys in my town and would have them stop by. And they did! They saw how big of a job it was and took my plans, made notes and said the boss would get back to me. Hey, progress is progress. That combined with the bank finally catching up (they were swamped too) and we should be able to get the ball rolling. Thank goodness. But I fear my Thanksgiving deadline might be more of a Christmas deadline. Merry Christmas to me.

I did get some painting done. Well, the stuff I could reach from the ground. I don’t like heights at all. Ladders make me shaky. I was up a few rungs and as I painted and held the bucket and all the thoughts of what could go wrong went through my mind. I have a good imagination and it was working in overdrive. I soon got down from the ladder. Alex can do the rest.

When I was a teenager my mom had her kitchen redone. She put in hardwood floors and we couldn’t walk on them for whatever time it was. Well in order to get upstairs you had to climb the ladder and go through through the window. I did that fine. I can get up but I can’t get down. I was stuck up there for the duration. I think. I can’t remember if I got the guts to go back down. Ridiculous.

So now I am trying to figure out some more things to do with the remodel. One thing that we wanted to do was run a gas line so we could have a gas stove. I started thinking whether it would be worth it or if we should just stick with electric. Alex started to list off the pros and no cons. I guess that makes up the decision. But it all stands for nothing if I can’t get a plumber to show up. I did get in touch with one and I am on their list so hopefully they come sooner rather than later.

I will say this though, throughout the years I have come to trust Heavenly Father’s timing. Always on time. Never early, never late. So many experiences of “oh, so that’s why that happened” and lessons learned while waiting for something. I don’t get as antsy and freaked out if things take longer. There is a reason for the “delay”.when I started this project I prayed about it first. I didn’t get any feelings that I should stop so I went ahead with it all. Has it been a mess? Yes. Frustrating? A little bit but that is mostly me just whining because I want everything perfect. Have I learned stuff throughout the process? Definitely. And thinking back on this whole deal thus far I wouldn’t change it. Well, maybe I would get a dishwasher for the basement kitchen.

Daily Life, Thoughts

When Not to Social Distance

We went to church this past Sunday. First time we’ve had church in six months. We weren’t sure if we were going to go but I was asked to lead the music so we went. We got all ready to go and showed up 30 minutes early.

I went up to put the hymn numbers up and then sat to watch everyone filing into the chapel. I do like to see what is going on. That is why I like to sit in the back of the chapel normally, to see what is going on. I get a pretty good view sitting up on the stand.

As I sat there one of the members of our congregation came in. His wife of over 40 years died this past week from cancer. She was the prettiest and nicest lady. I was sad to hear of her passing and even sadder to see her husband left behind. As he walked in people greeted him. An older gentleman stopped him and said he was sorry (I can read lips) and then gave him a hug. I started to tear up. Then he walked further and another man enveloped him in a big bear hug to offer comfort. By then I needed a tissue. Social distancing be hanged. These people have been neighbors for many many years and no pandemic should ever stop someone from comforting one another during hard times. I struggled to hold it together after witnessing such a scene. The bishop got up and his voice started to waver. I’m sure everyone was struggling by then.

Social distancing has its place- especially in the line at Walmart- but not when someone needs to be shown love, support and comfort.

It was good to see people’s heart in the right place. The world isn’t the depraved, violent, hardhearted place the news would make it out to be.

Daily Life

Homecoming

This past week was homecoming week. My little community takes it very seriously. Friday they had a parade and I went and found Elizabeth and surprised her with her little brother and sister. She was so excited!

As the parade started and the band made their way around the corner Elizabeth’s teacher, who happens to be my son’s good friends mom, asked if my boys were still in band. I replied that one was. I hadn’t thought about it but I looked at the band and there was Michael playing his trombone. I loved it! It is so fun to see my kid participating in stuff like that.

As we were walking home from the parade Noah was eating a Twix bar he’d that had been thrown at the parade. He took a bite and moaned and exclaimed, “Why is this so good?!”

We stopped at a gas station to get some bbq for lunch- yes, there was a bbq joint inside the gas station. While we waited for the food the kids looked around. they had all kinds of candy there. Some of them I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I’ll be taking all the kids there soon. I couldn’t help take pictures of the little kids salivating and looking longingly at the selection.

How can you say no to such cuteness!

It was a fun day. We didn’t end up going to the actual game, but we heard it from our house across the street. Our team won and that is always a good way for homecoming week to end.