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, 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.

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.

Daily Life

Another “Day Off”

I kind of took the day off- again. I am off social media so books are calling my name. I reread one of my favorites. I had just had enough of kids fighting over stuff, the mess and life in general and wanted/needed an escape so I disappeared into a book. Let me just say it sounds nice, and is, but once one emerges from the make believe world that the book has sucked them into, well, the real world awaits and it is sometimes covered in peanut butter and sugar.

Yeah, the little kids got into the sugar jar and the peanut butter. It wasn’t that bad but I did have to mop the floor again. Sugar is awfully sticky once it has gotten wet. Evangeline still doesn’t understand the concept of keeping her water cup upright so we have random puddles of water all over the place and then sugar gets dragged around. Is it any wonder I don’t want carpet in my house. That mess is just one possibility they have come up with.

It was a warm day outside but the wind was horrible and kind of ruined it. I didn’t go out at all. I am a wimp, I admit it.

We managed to get everyone in bed at sunset. I used to let the summer be a free for all but once Alex got his new job a few years ago and had to be up at 5:30 a.m. every day it was too hard having everyone one on such drastically different schedules. Alex would be the one to suffer because everyone else could sleep in while he was exhausted and living off caffeine. Not good. So now even in the summer it is off to bed early on weeknights even if the sun is still out. The kids used to want to stay up late to watch tv and such. I finally told them that if they want to watch tv they have to get up early to do it. That’s what I did when I was little. It worked well. These kids are spoiled though because all the stuff they watch is on demand. I had to watch whatever was scheduled on tv.

It is almost the weekend and I have plans to make plans (weekly menu planning), grocery shopping, all other shopping, stuff, life, etc. Being an adult has its perks but man is there a lot to do and keep track of. I like being an adult but really, being a kid was a whole lot easier.

Have a good weekend!

Daily Life

Another Monday

The house was a mess when I got up Monday morning. I got my routine done (workouts, scriptures, get ready for the day and planning). I decided that since we are in the last leg of the school year that the house would have to wait. I’ll have all summer to get to it. School has a deadline. I have two kids done. Three to go. I spent hours sitting and watching history videos with Lauren. It was good and I learned some stuff.

What bugs me a ton and it has since I was in school is that every (U.S.) history class I have taken since kindergarten always starts with Columbus and slowly meanders through time until the last month of school it seems we rush through the last 300 years barely glimpsing at any of it. I remember in my senior year we each got a decade. I actually got a decade in the 1700s and was supposed to look up the fashion of the time. Really? As I was watching the videos today it was amazing how history is repeating itself today! Everyone assumes this is a unique time. Um, not really. This all happened 100 years ago- at least in this country. The names have been changed but the story is the same.

After school work and dinner the kids and Alex were watching a movie. I just couldn’t. I went outside to enjoy the warm evening and decided to weed the side flowerbed. It took probably an hour but now I can fill it with flowers. It already has delphinium, a rose bush, a random lily, dianthus and raspberries popping up all over it. I will dig out the raspberries and either replant them in my yard or I’ll give them to my friend.

This year I’ve done a lot of get down on the ground weeding. I’ve come to the conclusion that I enjoy it. It is oddly relaxing. Yardwork in general is hard work but there really is such a satisfaction in getting it done. But my arms do itch from leaning in the grass. The cats kept me company and were quite entertaining. They were practicing catching stuff. Rocks, dirt, grass, each other. I was amused. I think I will have cats from now on.

Morning comes fast so I’ll leave you here.

Daily Life

Keeping Busy

Boy am I beat. I just kept going all day today. And yesterday, come to think of it. There’s no middle ground. Go go go or sit and veg. I sat down and wrote out a list and we knocked out 90% of it today. I finished painting the baseboards in the living room and cleaned the room up. Mopped it all under all the furniture even. Then the boys mowed the lawn. I organized the toys and I didn’t have the kids help me. They had a chance and I did show them the garbage bag. I threw a couple of broken and miscellaneous toys away. They will never know.

I got the kitchen floors all mopped while Alex was building a closet. Later when I was supposed to be watching a movie I was working on my planner and when I started getting antsy I got up and deep cleaned my bathroom. Like took the toilet seat off and scrubbed it deep clean. It was after nine at night and I was cleaning.

But it was a good day aside from the cleaning. When i was about to wash the door to paint it Noah came running up with what I thought was a mouse in his hand. It was a baby bird!

It is a sandpiper. So cute. It ran away as soon as we put it in a safer place. It could run but not fly yet. I hope it is okay.

Later Noah gave me another gift. We play this game where he puts something in a box and gives it to me and I act so surprised. Well he brought me a box and I opened it and it was a real surprise- an old container of worms for fishing. I told him what it was and he was grossed out. I hope he continues to play the game with me but just not with worms.

Elizabeth had a rough kind of day. She licked an ice cube and her tongue stuck. She had no experience with that and ripped her tongue away. Some of it was left on the ice cube. Her tongue was bleeding and she was screaming. I guarantee she won’t be doing that again. I felt bad for the poor dear.

I am tired now and whether or not the kids want to go to bed they have to.

Daily Life

Admittedly Not a Good Day

I’m afraid this is going to be a complainer post. Some days are just like that.

This morning I got my walking in and got set up to do my workout. I will do it early from now on. Trying to dodge a baby and dog who are everywhere I needed to be was another workout in itself. I had to practically hide in the corner to keep everyone away from me.

I spent over 4 hours supervising kids homework this morning/ afternoon. We hardly got anything done. I am so ready for this to just be over. If I could throw my hands up now and call school good, I totally would. Then after dinner we did three more hours. I really don’t want to do that again. But we probably will.

My son has done every single assignment in one class that has been assigned since this debacle started. His grade hasn’t changed. At all. I talked to the teacher a month ago and asked what we could do to bring the grade up and she said if he just does all the assignments from there on out that it would naturally go up. We went through all his assignments that were marked as missing and he said he had turned all those ones in. I admit I was starting to doubt but when he pointed out assignments he did while I was there and that I saw him turn in I started to doubt the teacher. It’s all electronic, how did it get misplaced? I am beyond frustrated. He emailed the teacher asking what the deal is.

Another son has a giant stack of papers the teacher sent home on Friday. It is huge! An entire manila envelope stuffed full of work for the next two weeks. Craft projects included. I don’t have the time nor the patience for craft projects and escape rooms. Yes, there was an escape room included. She also has extra projects that she would like them to do and then take pictures of and send in. Can we just dispense with the extras and just do the bare minimum for those parents who have more than one child at home? The teacher has four of her own at home. She should know better than to assign boatloads of stuff and should not assume that everyone has their act together. Because I don’t have it together. At all.

While the kids were working I sat and worked on what I could- research and planning. I am serious about this remodel project. I’m planning on living here for at least 10 more years and so I would like to enjoy it rather than fix it up for someone else before I can sell it, does that make sense. And the wonky wiring makes us nervous.

The planning and studying this whole issue out has been taking a lot of work. But I figure that the time I put in now will save me from paying more later. I want to cover all bases so I don’t have to make so many on-the-spot-decisions. I know that we’ll have some unexpected fixes to make once the walls are open. The floor is squishy on some spots which we know is water damage. There is some weird white mold growing in one of the spots that we found when we put the heating vents in. Old homes are just full of surprises. In this house none of them are good.

Oh, and while I was helping some kids with schoolwork unbeknownst to me there was a flood happening in the kitchen. The three year old was spraying the one and five year olds and basically destroying the house. I had to mop up the whole floor and move the fridge and mop up the puddle under it.

Needless to say I was ready for the day to end. I’m ready to try again tomorrow. I think.