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, Sunday

Start the Week

Sunday was a good day. Very slow. Rainy.

For the kids singing time at our home church I asked them each what song they would like to sing. Noah said the sun song. I don’t know what that is so he picked another one. Elizabeth said she wanted the raspberry song. Again, I don’t know what that is. Turns out they were going by what they thought the picture was on the songbook page. No raspberries. I told her to go through the book and find it. She came across a page with palm leaves on it. I told her the song was called Hosana. Oh, she said then proceeded to sing, “Hosana ooh na-na.” Um no. That is not how the song in the book goes. I got a chortle out of that and corrected her. The other song says Havana, not Hosana. Hopefully we cleared that up.

Around dinner time I didn’t want to cook. The kids said they wanted donuts. I said if they made them then they could have donuts for dinner. Everyone ran upstairs as fast as they could. I believe they all helped Alex and only one bowl was broken. I found remnants when I cleaned on Monday.

Benjamin wanted to make the frosting/ glaze for the donuts. I told him butter and sugar milk and vanilla. I didn’t specify powdered sugar because I thought it was obvious. It wasn’t to him and the regular sugar didn’t work. After the failed batch he asked what kind of sugar to use. The second batch was good. Alex said he saw him using the wrong sugar but figured it was an easy lesson for Benjamin. Benjamin asked why Alex didn’t stop him. I asked if he would make that mistake again. He said no. Okay, lesson learned. And the donuts were good.

Monday wore me out. With the appraisal looming over my head I need the whole house decluttered and cleaned. I cleaned the whole day. Bedrooms dusted, vacuumed. Bathrooms cleaned. Laundry room cleaned. Laundry washed and put away. Front room cleaned. All the upstairs vacuumed and mopped. The basement cleaned. All the dishes found scattered throughout the house washed. All that’s left is the kids bedrooms and the garage. And the basement bathroom. I don’t want to do that one, it is gross – five boys use it. But I’ll do it anyways. If I could I would ban my kids from the house. I’d set a tent up in the backyard and have them camp out there for an extended period of time to save the house. I won’t but it is a nice thought.

Once the cleaning is “done” (is it ever done?) I need to mud and texture the girls’ bedroom ceiling then paint it and the walls. I haven’t moved the little girls into the room yet because I want to get that done first so I am not dodging furniture when I mud. It is just easier that way.

Last night Alex should have been mudding the drywall on the new closet he build but he spent hours finalizing drafting of the renovation plans. He loves drafting. We made sure the measurements were correct and moved a couple things that we’d wanted to change, added a few more lights, etc. The good thing about being able to redo a house is that we’ve lived here for eight years and know how we’d make the space work better. A good thing about taking our time is we’ve been able to think and rethink what we thought we wanted and try and improve it. Things that have bugged us we can change. Things that we have always wanted we can add. I am looking forward to ripping the whole thing out but not necessarily putting it back together. It will be worth it. I hope.

Alex did stop working on it long enough to join us for scriptures and prayer. It was fun because the story we were on is an exciting one and Michael was practically on the edge of his seat. He loved it and said, “Ammon is awesome!” I have to agree.

Well, I need to start the day. It is the last day of June. I’ve got lots to do including fortifying myself for July because if it follows the first half of the year we need all the help we can get. Can we just pretend that 2020 is over? Just me?

Daily Life, Dating My Sweetheart

Saturday Stuff

Alex and I try to make it a point to go on a weekly date now that the kids can all be left at home. For years and years the only date we could manage was a movie for us after the kids were asleep.

Yesterday we told the kids we were going on a date. They cheered. I think they just didn’t want to do anything and if we are gone they can play with wild abandon. Fine.

We always end up running errands on dates (we usually do lunch dates) and this time was no exception. Before the errands we decided to just get Subway sandwiches and as we were walking in to get them three airplanes flew overhead. It looked like they were practicing dogfighting. Alex loves watching that so we thought we’d head over to the airport to watch. We changed our mind and thought maybe we could see them from the park.

We got to the park and there was a lot going on there. A food size crowd of men and boys were gathered to LARP (live action role play). Oh good! Dinner and a show. Haha. Imagine an incredibly cheap version of Medieval Times. Alex and I sat and watched the battle. It looked a little unorganized but they were having such fun. They had their swords, mace, arrows, sticks, and shields. Most weapons made from wood and pool noodles for safety. Some had on kilts, some arrayed in metal armor and some just in tshirts and basketball shorts. They would divide themselves into groups and the battle cry would split the air and they would charge.

I think I’ve watched more fights than they have because I am pretty sure you aren’t supposed to turn your back to your opponent and run. And way to many people were hit in the back. Only a coward would get a man in the back. Luckily though they had a resident magician that could heal all the injured and dead.

Once a warrior’s toddler ran onto the field and the mom had to quickly scoop him up out of harm’s way.

It was fun to watch. I am not into LARPing but I could see how it could be fun. They were enjoying it. Plus we got free entertainment out of the deal. We never heard the planes fly over again so the park turned out to be a better choice than the airport.

When we got home we took the kids to an activity at the park. An ice cream social. They ate their ice cream and played with a few of their friends. (For those worried about covid, we are lucky. There have only been a couple cases in our area and that was months ago.) It was nice to be able to visit and catch up after months of not seeing friends.

When we got home the kids immediately asked to go swimming. The water is still cold but the kids have fun anyways. The weather is taking a cold and wet turn for the next few days so they might as well take advantage of the warm days. A storm system moved in a few hours later and we went to sleep with lightning dancing about and thunder rattling the house. I watching lightning storms so I get disappointed when they happen at night when I’m tired and can’t keep my eyes open enough to watch them.

It was a good fairly productive day. There’s always going to be more work to do. I sat on the front steps after the swimming and was holding Evangeline when Noah came up and asked what I was doing. I said I was just enjoying the day. “Because it is gorgeous outside?” Yes, because it is gorgeous outside. I told him he made it all even better.

Daily Life

How to Make Friends

We actually got out and did something yesterday. There is a park/playground about a half hour away that looked so fun. It is huge and the playground equipment was massive. I haven’t seen playground equipment that tall since the 80’s. These toys let the kids climb over two stories high. Possibly three. I stayed on the far side of the park in the shade talking with my sister-in-law and just let the kids play. I’m glad I did because thinking about it now I probably would have panicked the whole time if I had been paying attention. I just let them be the wild monkeys they always want to be.

Alex said he learned something from Elizabeth. Elizabeth got to the park and jumped right in and made a friend. She brought her over to introduce her to the family. Elizabeth told Alex, “You know how you make a friend? You just ask them ‘Are you a friend?’ and then you play.” It works, I guess.

Alex and I tried it last night. We went for a walk around the block and my cat, Piper, followed me. As usual. The next door/across the street neighbor mentioned it as we walked by. Now we have lived in our house almost 8.5 years. We have never talked to the man. Isn’t that awful?! I always felt bad about it but never did anything about it. So last night after our walk and since I’d just pulled a batch of cinnamon rolls out of the oven, we took a couple rolls over and introduced ourselves. He is a nice older guy and he and Alex talked. I didn’t say much and Alex, my sweet perceptive husband who knows me so well knew why. I am partially deaf and I couldn’t hear most of what the man said. It is so frustrating being deaf. It honestly is easier just to stay to myself. But, we followed Elizabeth’s example and made a new friend.

And if you are wondering, there is an update on the house situation: the appraisal is in two weeks. That gives me a timeline to work with but now I am dealing with a deadline. So much to do! And do I schedule the windows to be installed before the appraisal so the house value goes up but we have windows to trim out (more work) or after so we don’t have to do that extra work? Ridiculous choices.

Daily Life

Lazy Summer Day

I was up with the sun this morning. I twiddled around a bit before I finally got up and going. The track team was using the track so I took a turn about town. I weaved up and down streets and ended up on the west side of town. This is where the rabbits live. All the colors. Well, I didn’t see any white ones. Some people’s pets had gotten loose at some point and bred like, well, rabbits. I enjoyed watching them as we walked along. I’m sure they are a pain though. There is a reason Mr. MacGregor was trying to catch Peter Rabbit. Since we have cats now we actually get to eat our strawberries because there are no longer rabbits in our yard eating them first.

I actually planned ahead this morning. When I got home from my walk I made some dough to make pizza for lunch. I didn’t want to hear any food complaints. The kids were confused because I never make pizza for lunch. I ended up having them make it though. Why should I do all the work? They argued about who would do what. Why? Why does it need to be an argument? I gave them each a job and let them loose. It turned out well and they were fed and I didn’t have to do it all. Win-win for everyone.

The kids did something later though that I was not happy with. They went swimming without asking and without me there. That is a big no-no. They had a friend over which for some reason makes them do stuff they wouldn’t normally do. I told them if they do it again I will take the pool down for the year. And I mean it.

I did go out and lie down in the hammock while they swam. I got bored and closed my eyes but I kept an ear open for anything amiss. Kids can’t help themselves, they have to scream while in bodies of water.

When they all got out I did end up falling asleep. Oops! Yesterday I worked all day non-stop and today I had a hard time motivating myself to do anything. Evangeline and Noah joined me in the hammock and they talked and played. Noah said we should go in the house and I told him there was no way I was going inside on a gorgeous day because winter will come and I will be stuck inside. I’m not looking forward to it.

I did discuss meal options for camping with Noah. He’s a fun kid to talk to. He agreed that turkey sandwiches was a good thing. And Nutella. Nutella is always a good idea.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get more done but what good is it to have summer and not enjoy it.

Daily Life

Finally Feels Like Summer

I got a lot done today. A lot of cleaning and laundry and decluttering. Granted a lot of the clutter left the house only to make it to the garage. I’ll get to it eventually. I always do. I got the lawn watered and the last of the flowers planted.

I did not want to exercise this morning. I’d slept in -not on purpose- and felt like I would not get the day accomplished if I took time out to exercise.

Excuses.

I exercised anyways.

And I got so much done. I’m glad I didn’t give in to the excuses.

In working so hard all day by the time four o’clock came around I decided to take a timeout. I sat and watched Noah ride his bike everywhere. Then I decided to join him. I grabbed my scooter and Noah and I rode around the block. Skylar came with us which was a good thing because she needed a run. I enjoyed the time with Noah. He’s a tough kid. He crashed his bike twice, got up, dusted himself off and got back on his bike and kept riding. He did stop once to see if his knee was bleeding. It wasn’t.

Later, after dinner, Alex suggested we go play basketball. I ran with the idea and calmed all the kids and we went to the park. We jumped rope, played on the playground set and played basketball. Evangeline had never seen such a thing. She was running all over with a big smile on her face giggling and clapping the whole time. She loved it. Lauren was shy at first and said she didn’t know how to play. I told her to just get in there and she managed to make a basket on her first try.

Afterwards we were all hot and sweating. The kids all ran home to get into the pool to cool off. I’l never understand why they all have to shout and scream when they are all literally the feet from each other.

It was a good day. It finally feels like summer. We (I) got a lot done and I got to play with my kids. At the end of the day Alex found me sitting in a chair by the raspberry bushes. I was watching all the honey bees busily flying from flower to flower in the setting sun. It might seem a little bit of a crazy thing to do but after a long and full day it was nice to just sit and mindlessly watch the bees.

I’ll leave you tonight with a picture of Luna. She was sleeping so funny that I had to take a picture.

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.

Sunday, Uncategorized

It was a Good Sunday

Sunday was a good day. I got up and went for a walk. I only did a half mile but it was Sunday and I needed rest. I only walked for the length of one conference talk. It was a good one- they all are.

You will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that [Christ] was always there beside you.

-President Thomas Monson

It is true. I’ve seen it in my life.

We did church at home and Evangeline was fussy as usual. Every week she picks church time to be tired. Her normal nap time is two hours later but apparently not on Sunday. So Alex went and put her in her bed while I did singing time with the kids. He was back in less than 5 minutes. She must have been really tired.

For church Alex talked about not just hearing the word, the gospel, but internalizing it and doing it. With the little kids we discussed baptism. Lauren and Sam talked about what they remember about their baptism and Alex and I said what we remember about ours. Gideon is looking forward to his this December when he turns eight.

With the older two boys we talked about the plan of happiness. Our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. We went over a few things, they had a couple questions, but it all boiled down to making good choices, being kind and serving those around us- including our family.

Alex’s sister had a few questions about gardening so we decided to go see her and help her out with a few pointers. She has never gardened before and so it will be an experience for her family. Gardens are hard to mess up for the most part. Pulling the plant out when weeding or forgetting to water is about the only way to really mess it up. As long as the plants don’t freeze, they get watered and get some fertilizer (over fertilizing is not good either) they can do their thing. It really is fun. To me at least. I love watching it all grow.

Speaking of gardening, one of our apple trees only had 9 apples last year. This year it has at least 100 blossoms on it. Our plum tree only had 6 plums last year and this year has at least 100 blossoms. It should be a good crop. The apple tree isn’t big enough to hold all the apples that will grow so we’ll have to play it by ear and see what we canet grow. But we’ll have our own apes this year!

Growing up my mom planted peach trees in our backyard. We bottled 90 quarts of peaches one year. A lot of work but so good for a dinner of toast and peaches in the winter. The 90 quarts was just what we canned. We would go out and eat peaches off the tree until we were ready to burst. And the peaches and ice cream! My favorite. I guess I better move back to Utah so I can grow peaches. That is the only thing about living where I do that I don’t like. All the peaches have to be shipped in and they aren’t nearly as good. Nothing beats the taste of fresh off the tree.

Now that I am hungry for peaches, the rest of the day was good. After lunch we sat out on the front steps and enjoyed the sunshine. The kids blew bubbles and that morphed into them playing with the hose and getting wet. It was Evangeline’s first time playing in the hose since it was finally warm enough. She loved it .

For scripture time before bed we watched a video and the kids loved it. They wanted to watch it over and over. I told them how to find it on YouTube. It is called “The Goal: A Story of Faith, Friendship and Forgiveness “. It is super cute and has such a relatable and good message. We had read the scripture it was about with the kids earlier during church and it was great that the video applied it in a way the kids could understand it better.

That was Sunday.

Daily Life

Wednesday

Evangeline and Noah and cheese kept us up most of the night. Evangeline was probably teething and fussed every 20 minutes or so. Noah came in and was complaining it was dark. Yeah, its supposed to be dark at 1 a.m. Alex ate cheese with dinner last night and his body was rejecting it. We don’t care for those kinds of nights.

I bought an exercise app today. I’ve been looking at it for a couple years but decided today that I will never find the perfect time so I just went for it. Lauren did the workout with me and she loved it. I’m glad. It’s more fun to workout with someone and she’s the type to keep me accountable.

I said to heck with school today. It was hot and sunny so I gave the kids popsicles and said go outside. I even joined them. I held Evangeline on the hammock and was enjoying our time until Noah pushed me and pushed me and now I’m pretty sure I won’t do very well on amusement park rides. I had a sick headache the rest of the day.

We went out and blew bubbles, too. Evangeline doesn’t really talk yet but she said “bubbles”. It was so cute. The kids were also playing in the neighbor’s sprinklers so I pulled our sprinkler out to save the neighbor’s automatic ones. They had fun. I’m sure I’ll find wet clothes puddled somewhere tomorrow.

After dinner we went back outside to blow more bubbles and we could hear a woodpecker pecking on a tree nearby. I’ve seen them busy in our backyard occasionally. They are fun to watch and listen to.

The kids have been begging us all day to take them to the soda shop. We finally acquiesced and took a walk as a family the half mile or so there. Alex and I walked, the kids, except the baby, rode their bikes. I’m sure everyone that drove past was counting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 kids! It is a lot but it is fun. Most of the time.

I had a good day and I’m glad that I got to spend time with the family. The weather was perfect and I didn’t let the massive “to do” list bother me. I’ll let it stress me tomorrow.

Daily Life

Sunday

Petrichor: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

Until a few years ago I didn’t know there was a word for one of the best smells in the world. Petrichor.

It rained this afternoon. Not a lot, just enough to mar all the sidewalk art my children did.

I got a picture before it was completely washed out.

It was a slow day. I got up around 8:30 and took the dog for a walk so I could listen to conference talks and scriptures without interruptions. It works well. I’ll probably do that every Sunday as long as it is warm.

We had church at home and I gave the talk. I talked about charity.

…he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

~ Moroni 7:44-48

We talked about that scripture and also about repentance. The example I gave was of a pristine white mansion. Everything is gorgeous but you’ve just been out playing and you got dirty- covered in mud. I asked the kids if they should be allowed to go into the house. They all said no, but how can we get clean if the shower is in the house. Hahaha. Elizabeth said she could just wipe her feet off really good.

I told them that is what happens when we sin, we get dirty and can’t go back to live with Heavenly Father unless we get cleaned. Repentance is what makes us clean again. I said that every day we end up with some dirt (sin) on ourselves so we need to make it a habit to repent every single day. They got on board with that visual.

Later I used all the extra bread crust the kid had left from lunch to make bread pudding. I made two batches since the kids love it so much and had that many leftover crusts. One was regular and the other I tried something else- caramel apple. Really good but I’m sick now because I ate too much of it.

Evangeline took a late nap. No one would respect her routine and they thought they knew better. Before her naps I lay down with her and she sings and plays for a few minutes them settles down to sleep. Alex thought that her singing and playing meant she wasn’t tired so he let the kids take her to play. Not the best decision. Mother knows best.

The kids dragged all their mattresses to the family room while I was upstairs. They all wanted to sleep there together. Fine by me. So they all settled in after we’d watched a scripture video, had prayer, hugs and kisses and then we sang them a song.

I love all my cute little kids.

Hopefully the good attitude continues tomorrow when I have to have them work on school assignments.