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

I’m Off to the Fair

The County Fair is next week. Ours is pretty small compared to some but it is still the highlight of the season. Even though we rarely enter anything into it we still like to go and see the talents and skills of those who do enter.

This year I was a little more on top of my game. Yes, we should have been working on stuff all year long for this event but at least I warned the kids a few weeks ago that if they had anything they wanted to enter that they better get it ready. Michael has some artwork that he has spent countless hours on. He touched it up and we printed it off. Oh my goodness that kid has got some talent. That and he spends countless hours on it. I used to do the same at his age. So did Alex. That is one thing that we wish we spent more time on is art.

Benjamin had some pictures that he had worked on as well so I printed one off so he can enter as well. I took a pretty cool picture the other day of one of my cats in the strawberry patch and the composition and all that was spot on. Unfortunately I took it with my inferior camera. The pixels are low and it isn’t the best quality. Had I gone for my camera I would have missed the moment. I’ll enter it anyways. No harm in trying.

I got up early this morning to make some sweet rolls to enter as well. I entered them several years ago but I have improved since then and again, why not give it a try. My great grandmother was really in to the fair. She was pretty amazing. After her funeral her kids divided up her fair ribbons. Shoe boxes full of them and a lot of them were Grand Champion and Sweepstakes at the state level. She obviously knew what she was doing. I will probably never get to that level, but I guess I have years ahead to keep trying.

Also this year our garden has been good. My family loves cabbage- even the kids. We planted lots of cabbage this year and three of them are huge. I picked the third largest one for dinner a couple nights ago and it weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces. I only used half of it for dinner and we still had a few leftovers. The others are bigger so I think I will probably enter those two into the fair and see what comes of it.

We are lucky where we are and that our community is so small. We haven’t got Covid-19 in our community and the fair is being conducted as normal. My sister’s fair is bare bones. Her kids have steers they have been raising and all the circus that goes along with steers and the fair has been cut down to just a few quick showings. It is sad how this year has cut out so much fun. We have had fun in others ways, but the normal things we look forward to have changed so drastically or disappeared that it is quite a sad thing to behold. So I am going to enjoy our small little county fair this year.

So wish us luck.

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, 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

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.

Daily Life

I’m Still Here

So I’ve been MIA for a while. My fun holiday weekend wasn’t all that fun. The appraisers called and where I figured I’d have another week to accomplish my tasks I had the weekend. It was good that it was a long one so Alex and I could both work on the projects and cleaning but that means we didn’t get to have fun. We did finish all the projects on our list though, so yay for that. But that is what procrastination gets you- not enough time to do what you should have done earlier.

The kids were helpful here and there. My 11 year old daughter wanted to help with projects so much. I gave in and let her help me mud and texture a ceiling and she was better at it that my son who was helping. I let her paint some of it too. They all helped clean up the house and yard, as they should and the appraisal hopefully went well.

We did do some fun stuff over the weekend. We had a cookout and ate in the backyard. The kids went swimming even though the water was cold due to the cool week we had last week. I did not participate. I don’t do cold.

Benjamin had shown signs of growing up; he helped around the house without being told. I love when it finally clicks for them. Alex decided to reward him so we took him out to eat and had the chance to talk to him.

Then we went to the local firework stand and spent way too much for what we got. The fireworks were a disappointment. Big time. Evangeline wasn’t scared of them and clapped at every one. We didn’t go see any fireworks show but a lot of the people around town had bought some big ones and we went to the high school football field and watched them go off all over town. It was fun and the kids declared it was the best day ever. I’m glad we’ve set the bar so low. The moon was really full and big and bright which did add to the beauty of the night. The dog hated them all and hid under a bed.

On Sunday we got up early and went to my parents house. My whole family was there and it was so much fun. I wish it wasn’t a five hour drive round trip but it is what it is. We visited and the kids played with their cousins. We are making plans for the kids to stay for a week (or a few days) at Gramma and Grampa’s house. It will be a fun break for all of us. Well, maybe. It will wear out my parents. I’d keep the baby with me though.

Monday morning I got up and had to finish cleaning for the appraisal. I was up at 5:30 because it started at 9:00. Dishes, sweeping, vacuuming, decluttering, etc. I went to the basement when there was fifteen minutes left only to find the two teenagers asleep in their dirty smelly room. I had had the kids sleep outside in the tent so I could make their beds and nor have them in the way but the big boys dis what they want. Fine. I told them to jump up and help me. I went around shoving things. Pile of wet clothes in a couple rooms? Thrown into the washer. Pile of mattress pads and sheets? Thrown in the dryer to jus TV get it out of the way. Then as I was sweeping the basement floor there was a knock on the door. I threw the broom at the boys and told them to finish.

I think it went okay. I got a cleaner house out of the deal and a bunch of needed projects done. Now I can start tearing it all apart. Sheesh. I think I am going to recruit my son’s friends for demo. I figure it could be fun for them and I’ll give them a pizza party at the end. It is a proven fact that teenagers do almost anything for food.

I spent a good chunk of Tuesday researching contractors and subcontractors. I think I’ve decided that I am going to be the general contractor for this and I’ll hire and schedule the subs. It could save me money but could be a pain. I’ll find out. I need to call the window guy and see when those are going to be installed.

Two of Alex’s sisters are here for a couple days so that should be fun for the kids. Elizabeth was so excited because she gets to have her nails painted by her aunt. Fun stuff for a five year old.

It should be another busy day. I’ll get to it and let you do the same.