Daily Life, Remodel

Things are Starting

The last few days I got serious about the house project. All the papers were done and appraisal was good and done so there is only waiting for the bank’s process to get finished.

Since it was inevitable I got a move on and started taking stuff from the upstairs kitchen to the basement kitchenette. Let me tell you, it won’t all fit. When cooking is a big part of my job (as a parent) and baking is a hobby I tend to collect a lot of tools.

Yesterday Alex moved the basement oven up to the garage and the upstairs oven to the basement. The oven we took to the garage was a “vintage” oven from the 70’s. The oven stopped working and finding parts for it is detective work I don’t think is worth it to me. I’ll sell it to someone who wouldn’t mind the work.

When I went to plug the oven in to make rice krispie treats the kids have been begging for I realized that the oven plug didn’t match the outlet. Great. First thing this morning I got the tools out and looked up how to switch the plugs on YouTube. I got it figured out and did it! The stove works!

I also weeded the front flower garden. I needed to fertilize it and I wasn’t about to fertilize the weeds. That is the last thing I need is more weeds. This spring when my tulips came up they were pretty but I didn’t like how they were planted so I dug all the bulbs up this morning so I can replant them this fall in a different arrangement.

Then it was back to the house project. I think moving would be less work. I made lots of trips up and down the stairs and had to find a new home for all the stuff. Alex came home and he was so good and got right to work pulling the cabinets off the upstairs kitchen wall and putting them in the basement kitchen. I was wondering where I was going to put all the stuff because there weren’t any upper cabinets in the basement. Alex saved the day and we reused the old stuff.

I did take a break in the middle of the day. Gideon and Sam had coupons for free sundaes from McDonald’s and we finally went and used them. I needed a few things for the “new” kitchen anyways so we made a quick trip for ice cream cones. It was a fun time with the kids. On the way home Michael and Benjamin spent the entire ride home trying to figure out the chemical sign meant that was on the outside of Walmart. It made me laugh how much they wanted to know and how they went about searching for it on the phone.

I need to finish the kitchen and fridge tomorrow and hopefully move on to the laundry room and bathroom. And I need to see about getting a permit. That is an ordeal I will write about tomorrow. For now I am exhausted and need to get to sleep.

Daily Life

The Week Begins

Yesterday my 5 year old came up to me and said, “I’ve had some bad things happen in my life, but I can handle it.” She was very serious. I asked what bad things she was talking about and she referenced the time she used the veggie peeler and cut a bit of her finger and nail off. A very tiny bit. But if that is the extent of her hard life then I think things are going well for her.

Noah’s long awaited bike came. Alex stopped on the way home from work to get it. Noah was so excited! He told the neighbors walking past all about it. Then he assumed he would be an expert at bike riding. Not so. He came in later and told me he’d fallen off his bike. I looked at his elbow. He hadn’t seen the blood until I did. Then the howling began and lasted way too long.

Last night as I was going to empty the dishwasher (normally I make the kids do this but was feeling generous- thank goodness) and three of the wheels popped of quickly in succession. Down went the drawer crashing into the one below it. One wheel had been broken for months and we’d been hobbling along. Not a possibility anymore. When it rains it pour apparently. I’m incredibly grateful that it is fixable so I ordered the parts on Amazon.

I’ve been fixing things a lot lately. It would be so much easier to just buy new things- appliances and furniture. All my appliances/furniture are eight to 20+ years old so it’s not like I am being frivolous with wanting new stuff. I make it do and use it until it can’t be used or reasonably fixed. I’ll save up to remodel my kitchen and then I’ll buy new appliances. Kids are hard on furniture so I’m not getting new stuff until we are out of the destructive child phase. It will end someday, right?

We went for a walk around the block. Twice. Noah wanted to ride his bike but he knows he’s not allowed to go alone. He’s been begging me all day long. So I went once with him and Elizabeth and the dog. Then I made Alex go with us and Evangeline wanted to go too but we have to carry her. Noah is getting better and it was such a nice night! We didn’t need jackets or anything.

It is funny how we rarely see our neighbors in the winter. It’s like we are all in hibernation and as soon as it warms up they all come out. My street is retirement row. We are the youngest ones on the street. They’ve all been self-isolating for weeks and tonight they all emerged from their dens. All the men were out gabbing it up. It is always the men. Their wives all stay indoors doing who knows what and the men go visiting eachother for hours. It makes me laugh. I was reading a book and kept looking out the window and noticed my neighbors were in a different spot every time. It looked like one was trying to go back home but the other one was following him.

I did absolutely no schoolwork with the kids today. My sister in law is moving her family to Virginia (coincidentally to the same town I lived in when I was there 15 years ago and my first son was born there) and the cousins wanted to say goodbye. That sent me into event cleaning mode. We got the whole upstairs cleaned up. It was needed. I may or may not have shoved most of the stuff in baskets and shut them in my room. Don’t judge. Then we sat out on the porch to visit. Works for me. (I did clean out the baskets later though.)

The house smelled and so Michael volunteered to take the chicks out to the garage. I opened all the windows and turned on the fan. Made all the difference in the world. Next week it will be warm enough and they will be old enough to stay out in the garage. I am so excited for that day.

Well, I’ll end here. I need to get the kids in bed because I definitely need to get them back on track as far as school goes. A couple of them did do some assignments but we need to do some more. As usual.

Daily Life

Replacements, Injuries, and Pecking Order

Where to begin. I got my washing machine delivered this morning. They were kind enough to put it on the piano dolly in my entry. I was able to get it to the laundry room and installed. It took a few mintues to figure out the settings and new buttons but it works. And it is quiet! My old machine was loud compared to this, even before I “fixed” it. I was able to get laundry done today!

I sat down and had four kids doing schoolwork at once this morning. Three are all caught up on math so there is that. I even texted 40 pictures of homework to the one teacher- she asked for it. Then after talking to another teacher in a parent teacher conference I took another look at the google classroom set up and found where to click that would take me to all the assignments. That would have been helpful weeks ago. Even the kids didn’t know about it. Lame. It should make it easier from here on out or at least we’ll havemore off a clue. I made one kid sit there and do all the assignments. I do agree wholeheartedly with him though that it is made harder when the teachers send you to so many different programs to work on so many different things and you’ve got to get passwords and logins for all of them.

One last thing on the school front- the one teacher who said she was trying to make it easy? I got 6 different emails from her today. I told Alex and he said that they were important ones, right? Not just one liners? Nope 2 important ones and 4 totally unnecessary one liners.

After the kids had finished (just in time for spring break this weekend) they all went outside to ride bikes and go for walks. I got up and decided to clean while I had the house empty and had the chance. 5 mintues later Benjamin came in crying. I asked what was wrong. He’d been riding his sister’s bike and wasn’t used to the brakes and ended up hitting his head on the curb. Well, broken bones, scrapes and cuts i can deal with. Head injuries aren’t my specialty and i know that you dont mess with those. He had a big swollen lump on the back of his head, no bleeding (his longish thick hair helped keep the skin from getting too scraped up) and he was crying hard and said it hurt. So I told him to go get in the van.

The battery was dead.

Thank you children for not shutting doors all the way. I needed to jump the van. The truck was at home but it is a stick shift and I don’t really drive stick. It was important that I get to the appointment so I decided to brave it and drive the truck over to the van to jump the battery. Laugh if you want, but, I am proud to say that I did it and I didn’t kill the engine. I got the van jumped and off we went.

Turns out that he didn’t have a concussion and the doctor told me what to watch out for. So Benjamin just needs to take it easy. He still has a headache.

I stopped at Walmart on my way home because I needed a mop. My mop broke. I know, right?! Just another thing to break. Let’s just keep replacing and fixing things, why not. I have parts coming to fix my couch, too. The springs broke year as ago and I’m tired of not being able to sit on it right. This is not how I pictured my life.

Later when Alex got home he saw his truck where I left it and he was confused. I left it there to prove I could drive it. He told me to prove it by parking it back where it was. Fine.

Michael had stopped working on his homework to babysit while I’d gone to the doctor’s so tonight he tried working on it again. He needed ro record the script he’d written for a history assignment. Hard to do in a house full of people who don’t know how to be quiet. I told him to record the audio after the kids had gone to bed. He makes his life harder sometimes. He likes to animate so that’s how he chooses to do assignments. Lots of work but way more fun to watch than a research paper.

The weather was so nice this afternoon that we spent time outside. I weeded the front flowerbed aound the tulips and raked all the old wood chips from when Alex and Edgar chopped firewood last year. We’ve never done anything with the side yard. It actually is just about an 8×20 patch of weeds. I never know what to do with it. Some years we’ve parked cars on it. As I was raking I found some old pumpkin guts from last year with a bunch of seeds. I thought maybe it would be a good idea to just plant a bunch of pumpkins there this year. Why not. I picked up some of the seeds to plant there this weekend.

Tonight I told the kids that it might be the first day of spring break tomorrow but we are cleaning the whole house and the garage too because the chicks are stinking up my house and I want them outside! In case you are new to chicken raising and are wondering why the chicks are inside and not out in the coop with the other full grown chickens, let me let you in on a little information: chickens are mean! Okay, they are actually awesome pets but there is a reason that the sayings “hen pecked”, “pecking order”, and “rule the roost” exist. The older ones will eat the ones who can’t hold their own. If you can’t defend yourself then you won’t make it. Survival of the fittest. I’ll keep the chicks out in the garage when I build then a safe place from predators like cats. Tomorrow.

Also, if you’d like to join in the Worldwide Fast for Relief from Coronavirus, we’d love to have you join us on Friday.

Daily Life

Grand Plans

I had such grand plans for today. I made my list and it was long and lofty. I got three things I planned on doing done. I started the laundry and then went to the front room to study the scriptures. As I sat there I started smelling something burning. That seems to be the theme this year- so many things burning; luckily the angels are showing me all the fires so I can put them out in time. My heart started racing, as it usually does when I smell smoke, and I started going through the house following my nose. There was nothing in the basement (I initially thought of the heater since I’d been sitting by a vent). I ran upstairs and went to the kitchen. Nothing was cooking so I hurried to the washer and it happened again! I took the front panel off, got on the ground with my phone flashlight on and took a look. Burned up belt. Again!

I thought about the options and decided to call a repair man. When he called me back and after I’d explained it all he said the bearings had locked up. It was a $400 repair. At least. Not worth fixing a 15 year old machine for that. I’d have to get a new one. Ugh. Darn it.

I spent a good chunk of the day doing research. It is not a cheap appliance. The reviews were not helpful. I eventually decided to stick with what I knew and got the newer model of my old one. I figure that with as many miles and moves and loads of laundry that thing did for 15 years and never once needed a repair, it is a good choice. Too bad that the price doubled in 15 years. This new one better give me all its got for just as long or longer. Luckily the furniture stores are all still open and they will deliver it on Thursday morning.

I did manage to get some other stuff done. I nagged and prodded some of the kids to get their school work done. It only took 30 minutes of pleading to get 3 minutes of work done. Ridiculous.

So, I thought I’d mention the chicks. I have been making the kids take care of them. I haven’t seen them in about a week or so. Lauren checked on them and said they were huge! Not possible, I told her. I went to check. Yes, it is totally possible. They had doubled in size! I’ll post pictures tomorrow when I’ve taken them outside for some grass time and get their bin cleaned out.

Tonight Evangeline decided that she would try to go to the basement by herself. She’s never gone down the stairs, she was always scared. She managed all but the last three or so. Poor thing tumbled down the rest of them. She got a small bruise on her cheek. But it was progress and she can only get better.

By the way, Evangeline has been weaned for about two weeks now. The little baby who was the lightest sleeper in the whole world, the baby who would wake up if you moved a single muscle, who would wake up if you attempted to put her down, that baby- she is now my best sleeper. She falls asleep in seconds and sleeps all night long. At naptime she let’s me know she’s tired, we go to the bed, she pulls her blanket on herself and she’s out. What in the world, right?! She’s the last person I would ever thought would do that. I won’t complain though because an entire night’s sleep has been 15 years in coming. I’ll get it while I can. So goodnight.

Daily Life

Saturday and Sunday

A lot of Saturday was spent watching Conference. Between sessions though we got a few things done.

In the morning I had made some stew and put it in the crockpot for dinner and wanted some bread to go with it so I put Alex in charge of making the bread. I went to check on it a couple hours later- it was huge! He’d made a massive batch and it was overflowing my biggest pot! We ended up baking it earlier than planned.

While the second batch was baking I’d been in the basement with the kids. When I came back into the kitchen I noticed what I thought was fire in the bottom of the oven. Maybe something that had dripped earlier had caught fire? Nope. Have you ever experienced the death of an oven heating element? I have a couple times. I must just use my oven excessively because this is my third time. It is a very bright, spark filled, melting metal display. The element is now in two pieces and useless. Luckily the bread had all been baked. Now I just need to remember to not mix any oven foods until the new element comes in the mail. First my washer and now my oven. Hopefully nothing else decides to break. I am grateful that they are easy enough and cheap enough fixes. But just in case the rule of three holds up, I have been researching fridges and dishwashers.

In the middle of all this, Alex was outside working on putting the garden fence in and I helped a little but mostly was just there to keep him company. It will look nice. The fence is going in to keep the dog out. She likes to run along the fence and bark insanely protect the yard from intruders. She tramples anything in her path so we’ll make it so she can’t. And we’ll have a sturdy climbing base for cucumbers and such. I need to paint the fence panels sometime this week so this weekend we can finish it. It is suppose to be nice weather so that will make it easier.

While working on the garden and making paths and such, we pulled out the strawberries. We have had a strawberry patch for years but I can count the number of berries we’ve gotten on one hand. I had figured the birds had been eating them. Not so. Last year we found out rabbits had gotten to them and even caught one of them red handed. It was a bit depressing because we love strawberries and we’d see them grow to maturity but just as they were about ready to harvest, they’d disappear. Now as an adult I do not sympathize as much with Peter Rabbit as I do with Mr. Macgregor. We understand eachother. So we just pulled the strawberries out. We have plenty of raspberry stalks and we’ll make do with those. The strawberries in the store are bigger anyways.

On Sunday after Conference the movie The Other Side of Heaven: Fire of Faith was on tv. I’d wanted to see it so dinner was delayed. It was such a wonderful movie. It was stressful to watch and Alex and I got emotional. The kids asked why and we told them because it is a true story. If you’ve never seen it then I suggest you watch the first one, The Other Side of Heaven first. Good faith promoting stories. Michael said he wished the movies were longer. I told him to read the books. “They are books?!” I guess I know what to get him to read.

We had apples and dip (cream cheese, marshmallow fluff, and butterfingers) to tide the kids over during the movie until we could get dinner made. Dinner was so good but two of the kids refused- more for everyone else. We fried the pot stickers.

That was the weekend, pretty much. Back to home school and work and figuring everything out. Life would be boring if it were perfect all the time. But I think that Evangeline is teething today so wish me luck.