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

Plan to Fail

You know that saying, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”? It felt like my motto lately and I was tired of it.

Yesterday I was tired and a bit ornery. I did not want to get up and walk. I did not want to get up and exercise. I’ve been down this road before and I knew where it went. Skip one day and it turns into two and then you stop all together. I got up. It’s why I walk on Sunday- it is just something I do no matter what. I’ve been at it for a month now and I don’t want to quit. I even exercised and it was hard but it didn’t hurt. Until this morning. Then I thought about it and realized that I did at least 60 push ups. They weren’t all the way down and I was on my knees but I did them and I have never done close to that amount before.

I am starting to grow up. Is it fun? No. Is it hard? Yes. Can I do hard things? Yes.

Yesterday Benjamin was assigned a video to watch for geography class. He didn’t want to watch it. What else is new? These kids fight me every step of the way. As hard as this homeschool thing is, I am starting to figure it and the kids out; when to push and how hard. Now that it is almost over.

This speech is so good. I made him watch it. I had seen a bit of it floating around Facebook weeks ago but the whole thing is worth the watch. It was motivating for me and applicable since I’d been thinking along those lines lately. I needed to change up how I was operating.

I bought a planner yesterday. I gathered my stuff together and started listing what needed to be done. On an old schedule I had made I had a deep cleaning task assigned to each day of the month with the idea that if everything is deep cleaned once a month then it only takes a little chunk of time rather than hours. I looked and the days task was living room baseboards. Hmmm. They weren’t painted yet. Wiping primed baseboards is a pain. It wouldn’t look clean if I did it. So I got the sand paper out, sanded down the nail holes Alex had filled when he installed the baseboards and then found the paint. What?! You read right. I not only painted the baseboards (the half that had been prepped- I have the other half of the room to do still) but I washed all the trim around the door, entry, and windows and put a fresh coat on them. It looks so nice! It had been looking worn down and dingy. No more. I was so proud of myself. I felt so accomplished. I made a plan to finish the rest of the room this week.

I used to do projects all the time. All the time. There isn’t a corner of this house I haven’t done something to (for better or for worse) and I had lost my steam, my motivation, my desire to do anything really. I just did the bare minimum and was just getting by and passing time. It is a bad rut to be stuck in. But I think I am finally clawing my way out.

I realized as I was thinking over all the little things that are slowly changing and shifting, that my prayers are being answered. They aren’t all lighting and thunder bolts, heavenly visions or anything. Just an idea here and there, a shift in perspective, little changes, course corrections that make a big difference in the long run.

Noah is a funny kid and lately he has been saying this phrase in a funny voice akin to Roz in the Monsters Inc. movie. He uses the voice and says “God is always watching you. Always watching.” It is so random and so funny. And so true. God is invested in us, in our lives, the little things. All we have to do is pay attention and we’ll see it.

Daily Life


I wanted to sleep in this morning. The sun woke me up and then my thoughts started and wouldn’t stop. 6:30 a.m. Fine, I told myself, I will get up. I went and took a walk. It was cold! 34° F. I went anyways and when I got home Lauren was awake and so she did a workout with me. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, she is a fun workout partner. She is sore tonight from the workout. There were three kids asleep on the couch while we were in the room and they never stirred.

Later when Alex and I were getting ready for the day I said or did a couple things and he said it was amazing that I got anything done ever because I get so distracted. It told him that I know this. It is annoying and difficult to deal with sometimes.

We did the usual clean the house and mow the lawn today. The kids had fun playing and whatever else they did. Alex and I spent the day designing our kitchen and laundry room- the whole house really. We would love to update it. When you live in a place for a long time you hopefully can see how you would like things to be, how they would work better.

Alex is a certified drafter and he loves it. It was his favorite job and now hobby. What would be kind of tedious to me he enjoyed. So we spent hours measuring and drawing and figuring things out. I ran up and down the stairs no less than twenty times to grab different measurements and see how exactly things were. I credit that I have been walking and working out more with the fact that the stairs were no problem. My knees didn’t hurt and I didn’t have to drag myself up them like I normally do. Thank goodness or today would have been miserable or wouldn’t have happened.

Planning the house and such was kind of like a date at home. Dreaming and figuring out all the details was so much fun. And it didn’t cost us anything- yet. I hope we can get it taken care of.

Today was a nice break from schooling and cleaning and all that sort of stuff. I’m sure that if we are able to get the house fixed for reals and not just dreaming then I won’t be able to wait for it to be over but I’m enjoying the process now. Oh, and I was checking out the basement bathroom and the kids and Alex said there was leaking. I found out from whence the leaks sprang. The toilet tank is cracked. Why?! I don’t know. So many issues that need to be taken care of. It isn’t a matter of wishing because it would be nice; in some cases it is literally a safety issue.

Wish us luck.

Daily Life

Another Day, Another Anxiety Attack

Anxiety rears it’s ugly head again this morning. How did I know. Three day weekend. He said that isn’t why. He said he was ready to go to school but his chest hurt. It has done that before and it went away shortly after. He said he can’t run in gym. I really hate that class. I always hated gym. The boys have to run a mile every day. It is good for them, I guess. But that is what sent him into a tailspin this morning. Gym. I had to argue and push him out the door and practically walk him down the street only for him to turn around and run back home and start the process over again. I locked him out, it was 9° outside this morning. Don’t worry, he was bundled up. He finally walked to school though he purposely left his saxophone. He missed four days last month, I couldn’t let him stay home.

After he was finally off to school I went through and did a quick pickup of the house and vacuumed and swept the basement. Then I went and did the dishes since Evangeline was still asleep. I have to stay upstairs when she sleeps because although she’s figured out how to climb up stairs last week she hasn’t figured out how to go down.

When she finally woke up, I found her lounging against my pw on the bed just looking at the ceiling and playing with her fingers. I picked her up, got her a sippy cup of milk and we went downstairs to be with the other kids. Edgar was there, too. It is his last day here for two years. He leaves tomorrow on a mission for our church. He’ll be down in Arizona. But today he said he was going snowmobiling. I said if he were my kid I’d say no way in heck. But he’s not so he went snowmobiling.

I spent a good deal of the day quilting and juggling kids. What else is new. I’ll be done with the one quilt tomorrow. Yay!

(Here’s a sneak peek.)

Tonight for dinner I made chicken soup and rolls. We bought a pizza dough blend flour so when I made the rolls for dinner the texture was different from what it normally is. Too bad I didn’t eat any if it. But the family said it was good and it smelled amazing.

I just finished day 21 of my diet. Not bad. I was frustrated because the weight hasn’t been coming off as fast as I would like (I’ve stalled these past few days). I’ve been dieting for 3 weeks, why haven’t I lost all the weight yet?! Just kidding. If only it really worked that fast! But I am sticking too it because I wasn’t a new goal. Years of the same goal is really getting old.

Tonight it was Benjamin’s turn to have his 15 minute Mom time. He chose a racecar game on the Switch. I won. Then we played Just Dance. He won that, but just barely. It was fun. The kids are loving the one-on-one time. I am too. Especially because we don’t have to go anywhere or spend any money. Not a bad deal.


New Year’s Resolution Plan-ish

New Year’s Resolutions. Love them and hate them.

I love to think that I can start over new every year but I usually just end up doing the same thing anyways. Am I completely alone in this? I don’t think I am.

I sat down several times this past week or so to write down goals and things that I want to do this coming year. Oh, the list is so long. I don’t think anyone can accommplish all of it. I guess it could be done but it requires a drastic change of, well, everything. It requires a lot of skills learned and lets face it, probably some miracles as well. Maybe even a new personality. Okay, that is a bit drastic but it requires a lot of new habits and not being lazy at all. I will admit that I am pretty lazy. But I believe in miracles so there is that.

What I am mostly having trouble doing is organizing my thoughts and time and goals. What else is new. For example: I want to save up an emergency fund, pay off all our student loan debt and house in 5 years, keep a clean house, teach my kids to do the same, teach my kids to play the piano and how to cook, focus on my marriage, focus on my kids, learn new skills, grow my blog, lose about 60 pounds, get in shape, do more service, spend more time on spiritual things, learning and studying the scriptures, have more fun, etc. etc, etc.

Looking at it, it is all possible but it all overwhelms me. Probably because I look at it all at once and think I have to do it all today, right now. And then something comes up or takes my attention away, and I get distracted and forget what I was doing. I cant do it all in one day anyways. But losing 60 pounds in one day would be awesome!

I just had a thought, at least my kids are getting older and with that comes me not having to do absolutely everything all by myself. Alex suggested today that the kids need to take a hand in cooking the meals. I agree. Maybe they would eat more that way. They have all been pitching in to clean up after meals without fighting me as much.

I realize that I need to break my goals down into manageable sections, timeframes, start at the end and work my way back. I’ll let you know how it goes. I think like everything else, it will only get done if I just do it.


Growing pains

Yesterday I made a shocking discovery. Ok, it wasn’t shocking but I wasn’t expecting it. Michael, my 14 year old, has always been shorter than me. He’s a kid. Yesterday I was talking to him and realized I was looking him straight in the eyes. I asked if he was taller than me. I am 5’8″. I asked Lauren to take a picture of us back to back. He is barely taller than me. What? I hit my height at his age but he is still growing so we’ll see how he ends up being. Now I know why he has been eating and sleeping so much lately. Last month he was a good 3 inches shorter than me.

Today in church we were talking about the book of Hebrews. I learned so much. Alex usually goes to the Sunday school class in Spanish but I asked if he would come in with me today and he did. He had so many good comments.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of  death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Christ was made lower than the angels. He has been down to our level. He isn’t some God who we feel couldn’t possibly relate to us. He knows what it is like. He lived on earth, had a family, worked, lived, learned, had friends, was tempted. He lived his whole life and gave his whole life for us. He understands what we have been through because he has had experiences like us. His suffering and atonement is what makes him able to understand everything we have felt. He never made mistakes and yet was willing to pay for ours. It really is amazing and something to be so grateful for. I am sure I didn’t say any of that right. It is a hard thing sometimes to put those kind of thoughts into words.

Later in the day we watched a broadcast giving more information on the new Children and Youth.  I love the changes from the old programs. I love how they youth can personalize it for their lives. They can decide what they want to improve in and set goals for things that they want to do that can help them progress in life but to also grow closer to Christ and to be good people. I love that the church is so invested in helping the youth to be happy, make good choices and be more Christlike. I’m excited to help my kids make goals and work with them on it if they want. I told Alex that we should set the example by making and setting goals ourselves.

After it was over I told the kids they had to stay downstairs while Alex and I made dinner. They were all so loud and so rambunctious and my nerves were shot. I had just had enough of all the noise and movement and crying from the little kids. It was enough of a break so I could handle them the rest of the night.

After dinner tonight we finally got down to practicing the song we are going to sing in church. We had to decide how we were going to sing it, assign parts, see who could sing in what range. Michael is definitely a bass. We have Edgar who we thought was a bass now singing tenor. I am hoping we don’t get stage fright and that we don’t embarrass ourselves. We’ve decided to sing Away in a Manger. Half in English and half in Spanish. We have three weeks. It should be alright. I hope.

So Evangeline is getting around a bit more and tonight discovered the bookshelf. We made her put them back. She’ll still do it again. But the kids have done well at keeping the basement picked up. They said they do it so we can do fun stuff on Saturday. Well, finally they get it.

Oh, so Noah was brought to me in Sunday school because he had to go to the bathroom. He is so funny. We got into the bathroom and he said, “So after I go I can go back to nursery?” Yes, I told him. We got back to nursery and opened the door and he ran in loudly declaring, “I’m back!” and dashed to the toys he had left. It was so cute! I am glad I got to hear that.