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, 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, 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

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

Plans on Hold

Yesterday morning I was prepping to go camping for the weekend. Yesterday afternoon I got a call that the house appraiser was coming Monday morning.

Plot twist.

Okay, it was all good. Just a slight panic because I was excited to just get away from everything and have fun with my kids. I thought we’d have another week at least to prepare for the appraisal. Nope. Just a long weekend. I changed gears and got to work. I cleaned the boys bathroom (it was so gross and I don’t know why they think it is acceptable) and then I cleaned the little boys bedroom. I moved furniture around because that’s what I do.

The big boys said they cleaned their room. They clearly don’t know the meaning of the word clean. I took everything out of their closet. Random piles of paper and art supplies and just stuff. I took some of it and told them to put away the rest. What do you bet they just shoved it back into the closet willy-nilly?

I moved tables and wardrobes and exercise equipment, beds and piles and piles of laundry. Actually I made the piles and had everyone help. I vacuumed and vacuumed and dusted and then I was pooped. Only to have to get up and start in again.

I planned on painting the stairs this morning but instead I am writing. I don’t want to paint them. They need it but I just would rather fix them right but don’t have the time or materials for it yet.

And the camping trip? We are still having it. In the backyard. Because why not.

Quick funny story. Last night I was tucking the little boys in. They are in the basement and out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow move in the window. I calmed myself thinking it was just our cat, but realized it was huge! A ginormous black head was in the window looking at me. My neighbor’s great dane had gotten out and was looking at me. I was startled but figured out what was going on. I went to put her back in her yard because I knew the neighbors had gone camping. I don’t know how she got out. The fence gates were all zip tied and blocked. It is a mystery. But having a huge black animal blend into the night staring at you through the window is a little disconcerting.

Okay, fine, I’ll get to work. It is going to be a very long day.

Daily Life

Birthday Season and Other Stuff

This summer has been weird. And cold. The cold is normal. The weird is not.

I am tired by the end of the day and I don’t know why because I am doing the usual. I do feel like I have stuff going on all day but that’s mostly me cleaning and catching up. I don’t understand it.

We had birthday season this past week. I hit forty (yay!) and now have a 13 and 4 year old. That means I have two teenagers now. What?! Time just flew. A couple times a year we measure the kids on a board that we’ve used for years and took with us every move we’ve made. My oldest son is an inch taller than me. He’s only 14 which leads me to believe he will surpass his dad in height. Our four year old finally grew taller than his 5.5 year old sister. Just barely, but we’ve been waiting for it to happen and it did.

For my birthday I made a pineapple upside down cake. The kids barely touched it. They didn’t like the pineapple. Weird. Then the 13 year old said he wanted brownies for his birthday. Yes! Super easy. And they all ate most of it. Then the 4 year old wanted a strawberry cake that looked like Lightning McQueen. We spent a bit of time making it and no one ate any. None! Alex is right, we aren’t a cake family. So I told the kids no more cakes. Doughnuts, pie, brownies, ice cream, dessert pizzas, etc., those are the new “birthday cakes”. But the kids said they would eat it if it was cake balls. I can do that.

I didn’t eat more than a bite or three at each event. I am proud of myself. I had to get serious because I took the previous weekend off and it made me sick.

But what I found amusing was my little Noah’s meal choices for his birthday. Pancakes for breakfast, normal; pigs in a blanket for lunch, normal; dinner: rice. That’s it. He just wanted rice. Sounds good to me.

In case you were wondering, things are humming along with the house project. By that I mean I’m kind of losing it. An appraisal of the house is forthcoming and that’s all swell but I have the window guys coming around the same time. Is the house going to be torn up during the appraisal? I don’t know. We had to remove some kitchen flooring because the dishwasher leaked. The floor – and dishwasher- are set for demo and replacement anyways just not so soon. So I’m just chomping at the bit to get it all done but the whole thing has got me discombobulated.

I have how it is going to look firmly set in my mind and when I go into those rooms I am sorely disappointed because they don’t match the picture in my head yet.

Hopefully it will not take much longer until we can get the actual physical work going. The waiting is the hardest part. At least so far. I remember the mess when my parents redid the kitchen when I was in my late teens. A lot of microwave burritos and paper plates. I can see going a similar route.

Well, the weather is finally warming up and I’ve been studying pool chemistry (not my favorite thing to do) and hopefully we can have the pool up and running by tomorrow for the kids. We need the outdoor time.

I’ll try to get back to consistent posting. It is a record keeping of sorts and I don’t want to miss anything.

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, Dating My Sweetheart

Tuesday

Tuesday was a good day. Monday had been a struggle in the fact that the house was a disaster. I told myself I would keep this blog real and this is real. I had been meaning to get the kitchen/ dining room portion of the basement cleaned for days. We’d cleaned the carpeted/living area daily but beyond the couch the kids didn’t recognize as being part of the basement. They didn’t consider their rooms to be part of it, truth be known. It had gotten bad and one reason or another it had slipped off the to do list. Out of sight out of mind. I’d walk by and say that I’d get to it in a minute and then get distracted by something. My ADD (I swear I have it) would pull me in a million different directions but not to that one thing. Moldy bowls of food were hiding out of sight, sticky spills on the floor and table, pudding splattered on the counters, garbage that didn’t make it to the can. It was looking like a mild case of hoarders. I hadn’t gone into that room, just walked by on my way to do other stuff. I knew I needed to get to it.

I got up and went for a walk. I took the time to pray and I asked for help because I needed help focusing. Sometimes I can focus with laser ability but most of the time I’m like a pinball bouncing around without any clue which direction I’m going to go next. I prayed to be able to find solutions and for help to get done what I needed to get done. As I was praying, I could see in my mind’s eye exactly what needed to be done and in what order and even how to do it. Little miracles. I got everything done that I was needing to do. The kids helped and the mess was cleaned really fast. They even cleaned their rooms quickly. I was shocked because we’d been nagging them for weeks to clean their rooms all the way.

One of the things that I saw to do was a school schedule and a chore chart. I have a couple charts of things the kids need to do and they are fairly good at getting them done but they needed a little more direction. I’ll implement it today and see if I can get the ball rolling.

(It’s true.)

I’ll tell you about another miracle. This is a big one and it is not mine. My sister-in-law moved to be closer to her work this past week. She moved into a rental and cleaned out her house to rent or sell. It is a large townhouse, newer, and thus it isn’t cheap. The economy going down wasn’t going to help matters. She asked for her family to pray that it would sell because she needed it sold this week. We all prayed and y’all, it sold. In less than a week. She signed the papers tonight. An investor happened to be in town today looking for property and bought it right there and then for asking price! God answers some prayers really fast!

Alex and I went on a date tonight. We needed an outing. I told him I wanted a date that didn’t include Walmart. We went and got Taco Time and the guy taking our order didn’t hear half our order. Oh well, we didn’t need it anyways. We drove to a local park and the place was packed! It is a college town and it was all room mates and newlyweds all over. The whole town looks like nothing has changed except you have to do take-out for everything. Social distancing at its finest. Not.

We sat and people watched while we ate in our car. One guy had a gun in the back of his pants. We thought it was a bit odd. Did he really need protection while playing lacrosse with his girlfriend?

The date idea Alex came up with was to find properties for sale that had at least an acre of land and go see them. There were quite a few but only one I would have bought because the view is what I’ve been wanting since I moved here. A view of the Teton mountains. Look it up and tell me you wouldn’t want that outside your window. It was a fun date. We talked and dreamed and didn’t go grocery shopping. And dinner was only $15. Not bad. It is so nice having kids who are old enough to babysit so we can go on a date whenever we need to.

That was pretty much it. Bring on the next day.

Daily Life

Trying to Get Back on Track

Ugh. The health saga continues. Why are (most) humans so short sighted? I threw myself off the strict health wagon awhile back. I have maintained within 5 lbs. It is frustrating to fail all the time. But I decided that I need to just get back to it.

My baby is a good sleeper now and that means I can go for walks before my kids wake up. I checked the temperature this morning and even though I am a complete wimp when it comes to cold I braved the 36° F temperature outside this morning. It was above freezing so I figured I’d just do it. I got 1.25-ish miles in. Later in the afternoon I needed a break from sitting and encouraging kids to do schoolwork so I took the dog and went for another walk. If I do that a couple times a day then I should make progress. Just need to be serious and say no to sugar.

It was whine fest at my house today. Most of the kids were just crying and whining all day and I was ready to lose it. I had to quickly correct two of them. One (3 year old) was just being rude and I told him so and he learned to say “please” again today. Another thought he could raise his voice to me. Nope, you don’t get to do that. Another one actually had to be told that as well but his voice didn’t get nearly as loud but he still needed a course correction. The first child got the hint and wrote an apology note to me. His second one of the week. He said he was stressed. Yeah, kid, aren’t we all.

Speaking of stress, I was going to make cookies because I was stressed and thought I would just eat healthy when school was done and the stress was gone. But I realized that it really is never gone. There is always something going on just at varying levels. We can’t always be in survival mode- we just have to learn how to live with the curve balls. Expect the unexpected. Learn how to cope in a healthy way. Eating junk food really just exacerbates the problems anyways. Will I screw that up again? Yep. Will I try to do better? Yep. That’s life.

Lauren, after having a rough few minutes tonight, wrote me a note. It said that she was sorry (she’d spilled nail polish remover on her bed) and that she hates herself right now. On the back of the note she wrote “I have so many regrets.” I giggled at the dramatics. I wrote back that I love her and she needs to not be so hard on herself. Mistakes happen. Get up, dust yourself off and move on. She then asked why life is so hard. (I am so grateful that her hard isn’t actually hard.) I told her it is so we can learn and grow. She’s always been so hard on herself and trying to teach her to be kind to herself has been a tough row to hoe.

I did have the kids clean up the house quickly before bed. I realized that I want then to love waking up to a clean house. We’ll see how that actually goes. I was working with the older boys trying to get them to understand that just because an assignment isn’t due yet that they could very it done now and not wait, or break it down into daily manageable tasks so they aren’t doing it all the night or hour before. We’ll see if they get the hint.

That was pretty much the day. Nothing really exciting- thankfully.

Daily Life

What Day is it?

If you are wondering if you misssed yesterday’s post there wasn’t one. Yesterday was a hard day. The whole situation just got to me- staying home, messy messy house, weird smells (chicks are still in the laundry room bathroom because I tried to take them out to the garage over the weekend but it wouldn’t stay warm enough so they are still stinking up my house until it warms up a bit. We got snow this morning if that tells you anything) and I was just fed up with everything.

Depression hit and I struggled to do anything. I tried to read a book I enjoy, tried to crochet and watch a movie with the kids, etc. I just couldn’t motivate myself. Those days are just hard. I try but at least the hope of tomorrow helps me get through it. I made a bit of soup that I knew the kids wouldn’t eat but Alex and I would and Michael and Evangeline ate it. I had the younger kids make french toast for themselves. It was good because they learned to do it and I didn’t have to. I sat and played some songs on the piano that I hadn’t played in probably a year or more. Some classical sonatinas that I learned when I was 17 that I love love love playing. I like playing them fast and a million notes. It boosted my mood a bit and I was able to get myself to clean the kitchen and basement and have everyone help me.

After the basement was cleaned we watched the Lego 2 Movie. It was a fun cute movie even if we stayed up too late to watch it. I worked on my crocheting while we watched. I am making Christmas presents now so I am not rushing to do them in December. I have been working on them while I sit with the kids doing their school work. It helps me feel like I am accomplishing something, which I am. Multitasking at it’s finest.

This morning when I got up I got to work. The kids were all asleep and I took advantage and matched socks. I had so much laundry to do. But I did get the big boys to sit and do their schoolwork. While we were sitting and working I got a call from on of my son’s teachers. Ironically the class we were working on. She said that she wanted to inform me that one of the answers to the questions she wanted explained he had answered, “no, duh”. I admit, I laughed. I understand where she is coming from, she takes her job seriously and that is great. But I was sitting there when he wrote it and I let it slide because that was a hard hard day. I sat with him for hours doing everything that I could to get him to do anything. He got all the work done. He had a bad attitude the whole time. I had to explain that not everything is going to be fun; unfortunately we have to jump through the hoops.

Today, in spite of the rain, snow, and teachers calling, it was a good day. We didn’t get a lot of school stuff done but the fact that we did any at all is a win. I had other house stuff to do. I needed to get laundry done or Alex would have nothing to wear tomorrow. Today I told Gideon to get dressed as he was running around in his sister’s robe because he said he had no clean or dirty clothes to wear. Um, that’s not possible. The pile of clothes in his room had to be one or the other.

Today was also another day of barely get the baby to sleep and the kids wake her up every single time. So frustrating.

It could be worse. My brother’s son got a hold of the dish soap and while his mother was feeding their two week old daughter. He dumped half the bottle on the floor, the carpet, and the couch. That would be a nightmare to clean up. My sister said she’d take drawings on the wall any day over the soap mess. I would too.

Our “quarantine” is supposed to last another two weeks. The governor extended it this morning. I’m on the fence about it. But what can you do?

Hopefully tomorrow I get to all the kids schoolwork and there are no phone calls.