Daily Life

No Place Like Home

The weekend was long and finally over. It was a good weekend. I was at my parents house and I was with my kids but Alex was home and I was not. I love my parents and I am incredibly grateful for all their kindness and hospitality. I’m just a homebody though and like to be home. And I am super glad to be back home with my husband. And not just for help with diaper duty, though there is that.

Monday was my niece’s birthday and my sister had rented an 18 foot blow-up bouncy water slide. It was so high. I had an excuse not to participate, thank goodness, because I am so afraid of heights sometimes. My oldest five kids are not afraid and they were climbing up and sliding down for hours. I don’t know how they could walk after that. Maybe today they will be sore. It was probably the most fun birthday party I’ve ever been to. The kids played with their cousins all week and the party was a good way to end our stay.

We drove home that afternoon and got there right on schedule. Yes, I had a schedule I made and kept. We had to go pick up our fair entries and premiums. Once the kids saw that they were excited to have more entries next year. I was excited just for the ribbons. It was a fun experience.

Once all that kerfuffle died down I got down to business and assembled the IKEA furniture I had been pining after for ages. Last time I’d done the assembly I had to basically assemble everything twice or more times. I remembered that and this time I only did it once! Yay! I still have a couple more things to put together and then to the task of putting everything away. Like there isn’t enough to do. I have a bunch of errands to run on top of meal planning and grocery shopping.

Covid hit my county this past weekend. I’m wondering where it came from. I’m also wondering how it will effect the school year. The school board already pushed the start date back two weeks to implement teacher training on a new platform. I have six kids in school this year and the circus that is distance/ online learning is not something I look forward to. So much uncertainty. This year has been a tough one. I know there are tons of people who will be glad to see it go. I guess we just make the best of it all and do the best we can. There isn’t much else we can do.

Daily Life

I Like Where I Am

Yesterday my parents were kind enough (crazy enough) to come pick me up and take Evangeline and I back to their house. I guess my kids are wearing them out. I know the feeling. We ended up at their house just as the kids were waking up. What a fun surprise!

We said our hellos and gave hugs and then the kids went off to play. Yup. That is how kids work. My parents and I took the opportunity to go down to Salt Lake City, Utah and get some furniture from IKEA. I needed/wanted a bunch of stuff, my mom has been trying to get a bookshelf that is always out of stock and my sister wanted a dresser that is always out of stock. The stars aligned and everything on our lists was there! We drove into the parking lot to see a “new normal”. Not a fan per se. There was a line snaking around under a giant pavilion like we were waiting to get on a ride at Disneyland- social distancing and all that. 20 minutes later (thank goodness for the shade and a refreshing breeze) we were let into the building. It felt empty. The other few times I’d gone to IKEA it felt like a madhouse. Thanks to getting my list together online I had the location of evry item and we quickly got our stuff. There were no checkout lines so I will say that we were lucky and the system they had in place worked very well. I am just not one that likes forced restrictions but it worked in this case. Minus the masks.

Driving around in the valley was madness. I live in a small rural Idaho town that is currently missing its stop light (the state is replacing it) so the sheer amount of traffic and housing and businesses we drove through and past was over whelming. I left the valley about 16-ish years ago and it took off after I left. It is unrecognizable. I decided that I LOVE the slow pace and space of the country. It was a nice little visit but I am so glad I dont live there.

When we got home I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept well the whole time the kids were gone. Not because I missed the kids. They were fine. It was random weird things. I would get woken up at like 3 a.m. by some noise and my brain would turn on and not turn off. Yesterday morning was the worst. I woke up at 1 a.m. and could get to sleep until almost 5 and had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. so I was awake all night and all day. I was able to get 8 hours last night so that should help.

Not sure what the plan is today but after about 7 hours of driving yesterday I can assure you that I will not include much driving in the plans.

Daily Life

Summer “Camp” and County Fairs

This summer has been busy. And weird. I don’t need to explain that part. Everyone’s summer is weird this year.

On Sunday I took my kids to my parents’ house. It is kind of an annual tradition that they spend a week there every summer. I am sure it wears my parents out but they get to know their grandchildren better. We only live a couple hours away but we only see eachother a couple times a year. It would be nice to live closer but it is what it is. Maybe we’ll move someday.

While the kids have been having summer camp at the grandparents- swimming, doing crafts and playing with cousins- Evangeline (who is too young to go away for that long) and I have been keeping busy. The morning after the kids had gone I looked at the house and saw what a disaster it was. Such a big disaster. I’ve been chipping away at the mess for hours each day and I am almost done with the laundry. Hahaha. But the silver lining is that the vacuum lines stayed on the carpet for a couple days. That has never happened.

The day before I dropped the kids off we all gathered our projects and took them to the county fair. As I mentioned before, the house was a disaster and Gideon couldn’t find his painting. He grabbed a piece of paper and on the way drew a picture and we turned that in. It was pretty good. Alex and I have spent the last three nights going over to the fair and checking out all the entries. It is a small county fair and everyone gets a ribbon. It is so fun to see all the projects and art. This year was the second time that I had entered anything in and it was a good year. But what Alex and I are pretty proud of is our cabbages.

This year we planted a lot of cabbages. Two rows because we eat a lot of cabbage. It is so good! This year a few of our cabbages took off. They were giant. (We think the chicken poop fertilizer did the trick.) I measured the vegetables and we had three that were 28 inches around. We needed to turn in two

The ones on the right are your regular size cabbage. Good stuff. I just thought I’d show the comparison. A big one feeds my family for two or three meals.

I am just a bit excited because we won the grand prize!

I was really excited for the kids, too. They all won ribbons and Michael placed second in his category and Lauren got first in hers.

It has been a fun experience and I think the kids will probably put more effort and time into more projects this coming year for the next fair since there are no limits to how many entries one can do.

This morning before wrote this I realize that school is on the horizon and I am not ready! All my Arizona friends started this week online and it made me realize I need to get with it.

But I’ll leave that for another day. It is still summer here and I want to enjoy it.

Daily Life, Thoughts

The Chosen Makes You Think

So this past week I finally sat down and watched The Chosen. My husband and I and some of our kids watched it over the course of a few days. It has been awhile since we had a series to watch together. Again, I have pretty high standards. I don’t tolerate much swearing and immorality even though the story “is so good”.

I’d seen this series advertised and I didn’t give it really a second thought. Then I saw a gal I follow on Instagram saying she finally gave it a good try and got hooked and binge watched it multiple times. Okay I thought, I’ll give it a shot. I downloaded the app and started to watch it. I got maybe halfway through the first episode and I was hooked.

It was so good!

Do I think that it is 100% accurate? No. But what I do think is that it is good.

For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

Moroni 7:5

I was praying and wondering if it was a good thing and the answer I got was “If it brings you to Christ it is a good thing.” Good enough for me.

I am excited for Season 2. The first one made me cry, made me laugh, and made me feel more of a longing to have more of a relationship with my Savior. He is my elder brother. The Chosen I don’t think took away from the deity of Christ, but rather showed him in more of a 3D perspective. It reminded me that He knows me and loves me and understands what it is like to go through mortality.

So this weekend if you have some time and even if you think you don’t, you should give the show a chance.

Daily Life

Missing

Last night and this morning were stressful. There is a holiday around here where we celebrate our pioneer heritage and some celebrate with fireworks. I didn’t use fireworks and never saw any but we sure heard them. For over two hours. Boom! Boom! Boom! I am half deaf and didn’t know they were going on until later.

After prayer we sent the kids to bed and the dog wasn’t sleeping where she normally does. We’d left her out back to go do her thing. We looked all over inside the house. Called outside. Walked around the neighborhood. Drove around the neighborhood. She was nowhere to be found. I told the kids she’d probably be home by morning.

I was wrong.

I had gotten up several times in the night to check and see if she was outside the front door. She wasn’t. I prayed and worried myself sick. At just before six as the sun was about to peek over the horizon I got up and dressed and got Michael up and had him come with me to drive around and look for our dog. No sign of her. We figured the fireworks scared her away. We always put her in the house during fireworks. This year all the festivities were canceled due to covid so I didn’t think about it.

When we came home from the first drive of looking I put a notice out on Facebook about what happened and a picture. A friend suggested I call the police. I did. They didn’t have her but would let me know if she was brought in.

I was restless and teary the whole morning. I had done all I could. It was a waiting game now. I sat at the table making rolls and Benjamin came up behind me and gave me a hug. He said it would all be okay and that she would be home soon. It was so sweet of him and I really hoped for the kids’ sake that it was true.

A few hours later a friend commented on my post that a woman on another Facebook page had found my dog. Yes! My stomach had been clenched tight for hours and it finally relaxed. The woman called me and we confirmed that it was indeed Skylar, my dog. I kept crying but this time tears of gratitude and happiness. We went and picked up Skylar. The people who found her said they found her in the back corner of their yard just shaking. She had managed to get herself over a mile away through lots of fields to where she ended up. When we got to her and saw her we were so happy. She jumped in the van right away. The kids were petting her and talking to her. Lauren and I were crying. I think the dog was relieved, too. She doesn’t do well when we’re gone and to be lost probably put her over the edge. She stuck closer to me than usual the rest of the day.

The kids think that I don’t like the dog. I really do and I hope they realize it now. She is with me pretty much all day and though I sometimes need a break, I do care about her.

When we got home we said prayers of gratitude. Gratitude that she was returned to us so quickly. Gratitude that she was alive and unharmed. Gratitude for the help of others in finding her.

I really hope she never goes missing again. She will definitely be inside on all firework holidays and days surrounding them from now on.

Daily Life, Remodel

More Demo

What a day. I started it out with helping a friend with something and then I was planning on fixing the outside of the house. Alex had other plans. I came into the kitchen to find him poised to take down the ceiling. The kitchen ceiling in our house was lower than the rest of the house by about 10 inches to accommodate for a fluorescent light fixture. Problem was that above that ceiling was a lot of blown in insulation. A lot.

We pulled the ceiling down and most of it fell down in a big fluffy, dusty mess. Luckily, due to covid, we have “masks”. Bandanas, we have bandanas. We used giant 42 gallon garbage bags and a snow shovel to contain the mess. We ended up with 15 bags full. And I am glad we had masks but after wearing them for several hours I had had my fill and don’t have to wear one for quite a while.

This is one of the smaller piles we shoveled up.

Alex and I were both covered in insulation dust. We had nowhere to store all the bags except to put them back up in the attic. Michael and Benjamin were small enough to get up there and help move the bags around and they had fun getting up there. Once we get the sheetrock up we will have them get back up and spread the insulation around.

The kitchen looks so much bigger now that the ceiling is the right height and the closets have been taken out. Alex asked if I wanted to draw the cupboard lines on the wall so I can see what it looks like. I said no because I can see the whole finished kitchen in my mind. It is just a matter of making it a reality. I don’t necessarily mind the work but I will be so glad to have it done and over with so I can enjoy it and get back to normal life and not spend every spare minute working on this project. There will always be a project but I don’t think I will do this big of one for a long time

Daily Life, Remodel

Under-Construction

Pretty much all I have been doing every day is demolition. So much work! I keep going all day. And just when I think I can take a break I get a phone call. The window company wants to know if they can install the windows the next morning. Of course. Wait! I’m not ready for this yet! I figured I’d have a weeks notice not a few hours. I called Alex to tell him the news and then I got to work.

Armed with wasp killer spray and a crowbar I ventured out to dismantle the facade on the front of my house so we could remove the windows. My neighbor was watching, of course, but so were all the construction workers that were replacing the gas line on my street. My neighbor tells it that he saw me slightly lifting one board and spraying some wasps. He thought I was just out there to kill the bugs. The the next time he looked out his window he saw I had ripped off a bunch of the house. Kind of a bit much. I am great at tearing out the old. Putting up the new? Not so much. But I really have to because as nice as the new windows are, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the house looks awful.

The problem is that a lot of it got destroyed in demo and taken to the dump so I can’t put the old stuff back on. It is a veritable can of worms that I have opened. Not sure how to put it all back together. Well, I have an idea but executing it might be a little bit of an issue. I guess I haven’t learned to have a back up plan yet. Pretty sure I should because renovations always have unexpected setbacks.

I will say this for the new windows and door- Awesome! The yellow 70’s glass is gone and there is so much more light and view. I walk into the room and because there is so much light I think the door is open. It isn’t. It is just new windows that let in so much more light. I love it. The kids say they miss the yellow windows. Really kids? They’ll get used to it quickly. They have no choice because I am not switching back.

Now that the windows are done I think it is on to the electric. If I can get that squared away quickly then I can get the drywall back up on the walls and back to a sense of normalcy. Wish me luck.

Remodel

Demo Time

This is what we’ve been up to this week. So much work! I spent the week cleaning out all the cupboards and moving back into the basement kitchen and then Friday and Saturday was spent ripping it all apart. The more we tear into the house the more we see how much it needed it. Wood that has seen better days, mismatched paneling, paneling, plastic trim, wood trim, fiberboard trim, moldy subflooring, non-working electrical outlets, burned out outlets, worn out cabinets, mismatched cabinets, and so much more. My son’s friend was over and asked why we were taking it out (before we’d done any demo) and I drew a blank. I couldn’t remember why we were doing this whole thing. Oh yeah, electrical issues. The rest was livable but when some outlets just stopped working we got worried the house would burn down.

As we planned I thought it would be funny to put a plastic skeleton in the walls when we put them back up. I’d leave a note on it but it made me laugh. While we were taking the walls down we actually found skeletons. Mouse skeletons. Lots of them. Ugh. You can guarantee it that I am going to make the walls mouse tight.

Alex and I didn’t do it alone. We gave the kids gloves, chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, and drills and told them to get to work. It was a “fun” family activity. It was good to work together and I hope that they, like me, will be proud of their work and when it is done they can say what parts they did and helped with. Turns out Lauren is lot like me. Give her a task and she will keep going until it is done. Alex had to tell us we needed to stop to go and eat.

I am going to call the electrician on Monday and get the electricity all fixed so the walls can go back up in the next week or so because it is difficult to live in a construction zone with exposed studs, insulation and wiring.

One thing that came to mind as Michael and I were dismantling a 70’s decorative fixture is that trends and decorative fashion doesn’t last forever. It was a big pain to remove. Luckily it was just nailed in (with 100 giant thick decorative nails). I look at the farmhouse shiplap walls that are so in style right now and I cringe. I love the way they look, don’t get me wrong, but I can see how big of a pain it will be to remove years down the road when it is no longer the style and everyone tries to remove the glued on boards. I guess everything is like that. Styles come and go and eventually stuff wears out and needs to be replaced. But I would rather just change paint color and curtains than rip off shiplap and wallpaper. Just sayin’.

We’ll see how long the style I pick holds up.

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

Weekend fun and Future Planning

Wow! I haven’t written in ages! Summer has been so busy and yet it hasn’t. We don’t go anywhere. Okay, not many places.This weekend Alex’s family (half of them) got together. We sat outside and ate and visited. The kids all ran around like crazy for hours. I’m glad they have opportunities to get to know their cousins. Michael and Benjamin stayed home due to having a cold. Yes, just a cold. It is still possible to have just a cold.Saturday morning I got up and did my usual workout and then since I was already sweating I went out to weed the garden. So many weeds. Gardens are so much work. As soon as I got a blister on my palm I called it quits. Luckily I had finished 85% of it. I had Alex come and do the last row. We got two wheelbarrows full of weeds. It looks so much better now.Once that was all done my sister and parents arrived. They had some business nearby and so we had some fun planned while they were here. We all piled into the van and went to the river. Luckily the last person who stayed overnight at our usual spot was just pulling away. We set up some shade and chairs and enjoyed the view while the kids and Alex played in the river.I got in the river right at the end and it was fun. I wasn’t out very long but I guess since I have kept out of the sun for the most part this year the one time I am out I get burned. Fifteen minutes is all it took.As soon as we got home from the river the kids jumped into the pool. Of course. What else would one do? They said they were glad we have the pool. They mentioned how a couple years ago I gave them an option: home pool or community pool pass. The home pool was cheaper and they chose that. I’m glad. It is easier to just go out back and swim than it is to pack everyone and everything up to go to the pool.I know you are wondering how the house project is going. It is still just a waiting game. I did go through some things to move to the basement and I have a pile of stuff for a yard sale and to donate to charity. The pile gets larger and larger (but not huge). I have baby stuff that I don’t need anymore and that is a sad thing. But a good thing at the same time. Babies are beautiful and cute and adorable. Babies are also so much work and I’ve been doing that work for over 15 years. It is a happy/sad transition. But I’ll just enjoy every stage and hold on to the memories but not the stuff.Alex said I should start tearing things apart. I would rather wait until I have all the contractors lined up and materials bought. I don’t want to live in limbo any longer than I have to.So a curious thing has happened this summer season so far. Our neighbors are dying. Yeah. It is a sad fact that when you move into a neighborhood where a lot of the inhabitants moved in 40 plus years ago that they will have aged. They were all really good people and good friendly neighbors and now they are gone. Three of them have passed away and their families fixed up the houses quickly and now they are all for sale. Plus two other families are moving out. We will have five new families moving in. I told the kids to pray for new friends to move in. All the kids friends are on the other side of town. Some new ones closer would be nice. I told Alex that the longer we stay here the higher our chances of watching all of our retired neighbors pass on and then we’d be the old people on the street. Isn’t that an interesting thought. It is bound to happen eventually.Life has a way of moving on even if the world is in chaos. I chose to ignore the mess and I’m glad I spent the time with family.