Daily Life, Remodel

Things are Starting

The last few days I got serious about the house project. All the papers were done and appraisal was good and done so there is only waiting for the bank’s process to get finished.

Since it was inevitable I got a move on and started taking stuff from the upstairs kitchen to the basement kitchenette. Let me tell you, it won’t all fit. When cooking is a big part of my job (as a parent) and baking is a hobby I tend to collect a lot of tools.

Yesterday Alex moved the basement oven up to the garage and the upstairs oven to the basement. The oven we took to the garage was a “vintage” oven from the 70’s. The oven stopped working and finding parts for it is detective work I don’t think is worth it to me. I’ll sell it to someone who wouldn’t mind the work.

When I went to plug the oven in to make rice krispie treats the kids have been begging for I realized that the oven plug didn’t match the outlet. Great. First thing this morning I got the tools out and looked up how to switch the plugs on YouTube. I got it figured out and did it! The stove works!

I also weeded the front flower garden. I needed to fertilize it and I wasn’t about to fertilize the weeds. That is the last thing I need is more weeds. This spring when my tulips came up they were pretty but I didn’t like how they were planted so I dug all the bulbs up this morning so I can replant them this fall in a different arrangement.

Then it was back to the house project. I think moving would be less work. I made lots of trips up and down the stairs and had to find a new home for all the stuff. Alex came home and he was so good and got right to work pulling the cabinets off the upstairs kitchen wall and putting them in the basement kitchen. I was wondering where I was going to put all the stuff because there weren’t any upper cabinets in the basement. Alex saved the day and we reused the old stuff.

I did take a break in the middle of the day. Gideon and Sam had coupons for free sundaes from McDonald’s and we finally went and used them. I needed a few things for the “new” kitchen anyways so we made a quick trip for ice cream cones. It was a fun time with the kids. On the way home Michael and Benjamin spent the entire ride home trying to figure out the chemical sign meant that was on the outside of Walmart. It made me laugh how much they wanted to know and how they went about searching for it on the phone.

I need to finish the kitchen and fridge tomorrow and hopefully move on to the laundry room and bathroom. And I need to see about getting a permit. That is an ordeal I will write about tomorrow. For now I am exhausted and need to get to sleep.

Daily Life

Weekend Ramblings

The weekend started out with busy waiting. In order to save gas money I took Alex to work. We drove the 45 minutes to get him there at 7 a.m. He was off to work whilst I had errands to prepare for. Grocery shopping for two weeks worth of food so I don’t have to go out again anytime soon. I sat in the car in a parking lot and planned the menu while I waited for the stores to open. Sam’s Club opened at 9 so I had two hours to wait. I planned all the meals (tedious- but since they are written in my planner maybe I’ll be smart and reuse them at a later date), I planned the day out, read my scriptures and then called my sister to talk for awhile. I’d left all the kids home with my oldest babysitting. I love having a built in babysitter.

I decided to go to Hobby Lobby first because I needed a couple decorative storage boxes. I walked up and down every single aisle (love that they are open again!) and they didn’t have what I was looking for. But I did find a few things I love and couldn’t resist buying. Then I thought I would check out Tjmaxx and see if they had what I was looking for. Waste of time. It is sad to see a store so empty. The shelves were mostly empty. There were just a few knick-kacks. Hopefully things get back to normal soon.

I finally got to Sam’s and managed to get through in less than an hour. They even had toilet paper stacked super high. And there were no limits on items like the were last time I went.

I picked Alex up and we went and had lunch. There is an Indian restaurant we’d been wanting to go to for years so we had lunch there. This particular restaurant has two locations one was where we were and the other is in our old college town and is connected to a gas station. In spite of the location, it has really good food. The last time we’d gone I was two days away from having my fourth baby and barely fit in the booth- like I had to squeeze myself into the booth and I was pinned between the table and chair back. It was ridiculous but made it memorable. The new coronavirus measures put in place made for an interesting meal but the food was good. What is interesting about Indian cuisine is how it resembles Guatemalan food in flavor. Alex said the flavors are reminiscent of each other because they use a lot of the same ingredients.

Our plan after eating was to go get some new shoes for both of us. We’d worn ours out. I found a new pair of workout shoes and Alex found some comfortable ones for work.

Shopping days aren’t my favorite. It takes so much time. Planning, driving, shopping, driving, and putting it away. Luckily the kids can help with putting it away. I don’t think they mind so much because then they see what I got and can see what they get to eat. They eat so much!

Later I did give two of the boys haircuts and Alex as well. They all needed it. I like when its warm outside so I can cut their hair outside and keep the hair mess outside. Cutting hair is low on my list of things I like to do. Actually it is not even on my list of things I like to do. But when I can save a bunch of money then I’ll do it. Then I can go pay someone to cut my hair soon. It is down below my waist and it is getting a bit out of control. I just don’t know what to do with it.

A storm came blowing in on Saturday afternoon and Alex and I went outside in the windstorm for fun to watch it. The actual rain was just blowing by about a mile to the east so we enjoyed seeing the clouds speed by. The wind gusts would come in waves and I could hear it coming as it whipped through the trees with a low, loud whoosh!

Sunday we had church at home and probably will for a while yet. I can’t see us being able to keep masks on all the kids at church. We’ll see. The lesson I gave was on making good choices and being kind. We had singing time and it was so fun. We went through some longer songs with 7-8 verses and sang them at different speeds. The kids loved it.

Since it was a chilly and rainy afternoon we worked on a puzzle I had been saving. It was an Eric Dowdle puzzle of Old Nauvoo. Alex and I were married in the Nauvoo Temple so it was a fun reminiscent puzzle to do. It was 500 pieces and I’m surprised we got it done in just a couple hours and one sitting.

Before bed we watched a scripture video about what we’ll be studying this coming week. I love all the stories but this is a particularly good one. The kids all sat and watched it and we discussed some of the doctrine if talked about.

Right before it got dark I checked the weather. That storm Alex and I watched, that was a cold front coming in. Snow was forecast for the next morning. Yep. Snow. In June. Alex and I went out and covered the cold sensitive plants- tomatoes and squash. The weather wasn’t supposed to freeze but we covered them just in case. We didn’t want to lose the months of work and have to buy big plants. This is the first year we’ve grown the whole garden from seed rather than get the plants from the store. It’s looking good. We have tons of tomatoes, squash, carrots, cabbage, onions, strawberries, raspberries, and radishes. So many radishes. Alex pickled radishes last week and we have so many more. We have 13 tomato plants. If all goes well, I’ll be super busy canning tomato sauce this fall.

That was the weekend. Just kind of a chill weekend which I am totally okay with.

Daily Life

It’s Been a Couple Days With A Lot of (Little) Miracles

I’ve said this before and I will say it again (and again)- if you look for them, miracles happen all the time.

Earlier this week Michael said that he needed $10 so he could go out and eat lunch with his friend. I gave him a pickax and a spot of ground and he got to work digging. It was a patch of weeds that I wanted to plant grass in- grass os easier to take care of than controlling weeds. It took him a couple hours over a few days. He gained $10 and some muscles to boot. We all won.

I spent several hours weeding this patch of dirt. Two 5-gallom buckets full of weeds and rocks were pulled out of this patch. My plan was to get it prepped to plant grass seed. It would be a weeks long process growing grass from seed. Then one night I was done working on the yard when I checked my Facebook feed. A man in my church had posted that he had extra sod from a project. Free to whomever got there first. I grabbed two of the kids and we jumped into the van and headed over. It was still there. Over 60 square feet of sod. It really was a blessing. Saved me so much time. A miracle because it showed up right when I could use it.

I still have some work to do on it but that work was cut down significantly.

Next miracle. I have wanted some nightstands to match my dresser I got last year. I finally had the money saved up and I was planning on buying them and picking them up this weekend. I just couldn’t make it feel right. I tried and tried and tried. It just felt wrong. I kept trying to make it feel right because I wanted them and I couldn’t see a logical reason to not get them. But I finally gave into the feeling and like a petulant child said to Heavenly Father “Fine, I’ll do it your way though I don’t understand why.”

(As a quick aside, the store, IKEA, is in Salt Lake City, hours from my house and shipping is ridiculous but I would be nearby when visiting my family over the weekend so picking them up wouldn’t be a big deal.)

When I got home Saturday night I finally checked the news. Rioting and vehicles set on fire in Salt Lake City last night. I might have or might not have been in the area when all the chaos broke out. I’m sure I wouldn’t have been in harm’s way but I am grateful that I was able to avoid all of it.

Another miracle happened on the way home. As we left my parents house the weather that had been hot and pleasant all day turned into thunderstorms. About halfway home in the fading light and the worst part of the drive for it to happen, the storms let loose. I have a hard time seeing the road at dusk and the rain didn’t help. The winds picked up and I was having a hard time keeping the van driving straight as the big gusts would push the van violently. I told the kids to pray. I was praying and putting all my concentration into keeping us from crashing. There was literally nowhere to pull over and wait it out as we were in a canyon. It seemed as though as soon as the prayers were uttered the windshield wipers worked better, the headlights seemed brighter, the winds let up, the rain let up and I was able to see where we were going. Lauren said she noticed it too as she prayed. It was scary. The rest of the drive was still rainey, some parts a heavy downpour, but I was able to see well enough without panicking. The lighting flashing around us was amazing and we were able to enjoy the rest of the ride.

There were more, too, as I sit here thinking about it and though they seem small and possibly insignificant and some people would explain them away as mere coincidences or imagined threats, I choose to see them for what they are- God’s hand in my life, evidence that he cares for us and that he cares about the little things- the details. All we have to do is look.

Daily Life

Last Day of (Elementary) School

I got a late start this morning because my stomach was bothering me. Never fun.

It is finally warm enough to walk without a jacket and the dog was up early barking at the backyard. The neighbor’s yorkie was running around my chicken coops. I headed out and there was nothing I could do but wait for my dog to chase it out, which she did. They get along just fine but Skylar is protective of everything. I fed the chicks and cats and took off on my walk. One of the cats came, too. I am sure I looked ridiculous walking around the track with a cat following me. She followed the entire half mile before I was done being followed and went home. She followed me home. Actually, I followed her. Weird cat.

School assignment deadlines are on Friday. Lauren had one class’ worksheets to finish and turn in. There was lots of drama. So much drama. It seems the kids all pitch a fit until they realize I really will sit next to them all day long so they might as well buckle down and get it done. She did. All done and turned in with a minute to spare before the school was done for the day and locked up.

It wore me out though having to sit there and listen to her chattering and reading out loud and thinking out loud for 2 hours. But she is officially dinne with elementary school. It is off to junior high for her next year. And then another starts elementary school. They are growing up so fast! I’ll worry about all that in a few months. I’m going to enjoy the summer.

But, after dealing with the last few weeks and months I’ve decided I just can’t do homeschool unless it is my only option. I could get organized, I could get the curriculum all set to go, but some of my kids and I clash. One child takes instruction from others great but from me it is a battle and always has been. She has to do it herself. So I am realizing it just won’t work. I can be a support and cheerleader and help that way.

With the weather warmed up finally I need to get the summer clothes out of storage, store the winter clothes and take stock of what I need to buy. But first the garage needs to be cleaned so i can get to the boxes. I have this dream of taking everything out of the garage, cobbled shelves, scavenged cupboards, etc., everything! And starting over with a nice organized garage system. I can tell you that will not be happening anytime soon. But I can dream!

Nothing much else got done. The kids had fun and Evangeline made messes because that’s what a one year old does.

I had made bread earlier in the day and it was fantastic. Softest bread! It made for really good peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It all got eaten so I’ve got to make more. I wish I had an outdoor oven though because without an air conditioner the house gets so hot.

The kids’ elementary school had a drive by parade tonight. The teachers all stood lined up in front of the school and the students would be in the cars and drive by. My van is a fishbowl and I noticed the teachers laughing. We looked back and the kids were all smashing their faces against the windows. That would look funny. It was a fun way to say goodbye for the year.

After we got home from the parade Alex sat down to watch Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It is one of his favorites. I watched for a bit but left to do something that needed doing. Of course I got distracted and ended up folding laundry. Then Noah asked me to go outside and sit on the hammocks with him. Sure thing. I went outside, watered the garden and then asked Noah which one he wanted to sit on. He told me he would sit on one and I would sit on another. Okay. If that’s how he wants it. He eventually did end up sitting next to me.

Bedtime went smoothly but Gideon woke us up crying about growing pains. I really wish he would grow ot of their has been going on for years. At least they are less frequent now. I got up (at 1:30 a.m. mind you) to help him. As I walked him to the stairs I looked into the basement and saw another kid walk by. I’m going to have to take away all the electronics. Apparently some of them are staying up way too late.

Daily Life, Thoughts

The Days Go By

The day started out okay. Up early and got my walk in. I was thinking about stuff and such, planning things. One thing I was looking forward to just felt wrong. I couldn’t make it feel right even with a bunch of justification. The Spirit was telling me no.

Fine. I gave in, a little petulantly. It threw off my mood and I headed into a bit of depression. It is so silly. I still have a lot of things I need to do today and all I could seem to do was sit there in my doldrums. What I really wanted to do was just go window shopping: Home Depot, Kohl’s, TJMaxx. Not really buy anything. I think I need a change of scene. It is one of the drawbacks of country living- everything is a drive away. I saw a meme that said, “Now I understand why Laura Ingalls was so excited to go to town with Pa.” For real.

The gas line in my neighborhood is being replaced/repaired and they had to dig up the road. It was fun to watch. The little kids and I sat on the front steps eating popsicles and watching the trucks and tractors and such do their thing. It was nerve wracking as well because trying to keep the kids from getting in the way was not something I thought id have to do. Sit on the steps, stay out of the way. Not hard, right? Wrong. Eventually the hubbub had moved down the street a ways and I was able to convince the kids to come in so they wouldn’t be run over or sunburned.

Michael asked for $10 to go out with his friends on Friday. I told him he could earn it. He reluctantly agreed. He went and got the pickax as instructed and I had him tear up a section of the yard that was very uneven, choked with weeds and very ugly. He did a good half an hour before blisters started to form and his back started hurting. Hard to go from video games building virtual worlds to building stuff in reality. He said he’d finish the next day. He’ll use gloves this time and work on his form. The plan is to pull the weeds now that the dirt is turned over and then sift out the rocks, level it and plant grass. There are two more spots of similar size I have plans to do the same thing to.

While Michael was digging I was weeding in the garden. I pulled a bunch of morning glory out of the strawberry patch and discovered a sprout of peppermint plant. I had dug the main plant out years ago and put it out front. This straggler had survived. I carefully dug it out and put it in a pot. My friend had said she wanted a peppermint plant last year. So I saved it for her and asked if she wanted some strawberry and raspberry plants. They all grow like weeds sending shoots and runners all over. Raspberries are coming up in the middle of my yard and the strawberries are in the walkway. My friend and her husband came over last night and we dug up all the rogue plants and they took them home. It’s a good cycle. I got berry starts from one friend and passed some on to another.

After a late dinner (we had to visit with our friends for awhile) I made the kids clean the house. Yes, it was late. Did I care? Nope. If they are going to sit all day then they can work at night.

I was telling Alex that I am doing this parenting thing- I was going to say wrong, but that’s not true, more like not how I want to. I want a certain outcome but the things I am doing aren’t going to get me to that goal. Know what I mean? I don’t think a clean house is the be all end all but i focus on it because it is tied in with work and responsibility (and I can’t think in a messy house). I told the boys that it seemed to me that life was the opposite of what you would think: the harder you work the easier life is not the opposite which is the less you work the easier it is. I don’t think they believe me. Who wants to work harder?

So I am trying to find a balance. I have never been very disciplined or consistent and that has been a problem. In fact it is the problem. I’m working on getting better at saying no and having the kids get work done first then play later but it is an uphill battle. But I can always try again tomorrow. Though the tomorrows are running out. My oldest has only 4 more years at home then they all start leaving. Have I taught them enough? Will they do okay? Will they succeed? This parenting thing- tough.

Well, I guess I better stop writing about it for now and get up and do something about it.

Daily Life

Long Weekend

It was Memorial Day weekend and we used it but I didn’t have much fun. It was a lot of work. It was raining on Friday and Saturday all day both days until it finally cleared out Saturday night. Sunday was very slow, I even got a nap in. Monday I managed to sleep in until 7.We did a bit of yardwork- I weeded an insane amount but 1-inch weeds are tedious to pull.But the bare ground looks good. (No picture of just dirt- sorry.)Alex worked in the house on the rainy days finishing the closet we wanted built. We have decided that when we do the remodel that we are hiring drywallers. We can do it but we are so slow at it. This closet that we built will be nice though. It will not be some awkward empty room. The kids are still deciding who gets the room. I want none of them to have it. Guest room, folks!We have two cats and zero mice. We wondered where the mice went. Did the cats eat them? We never saw proof, we just guessed. On Sunday morning I found proof. Yellow feathers in the garage. Mostly eaten bird carcass. Apparently they take care of mice and birds. I’m sad about the bird part. I love birds. But the cats are good hunters so I’ll take the occasional bird casualty if it means no mice.We watched a few movies over the weekend. The kids enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog. They said it was one big commercial for various companies. Kind of lame. Alex and I watched the new Emma adaptation. Other than one maybe two quick scenes-that were entirely unnecessary- we loved it. It was quirky but well done. I’d buy it and watch it again.Monday afternoon we had a picnic in our backyard. The grill was out of propane and so was the town. Alex started a fire in the fire pit and we cooked the meat that way. We set up all the hammocks (I’ve collected 3 over the years) and all the kids had fun swinging in them. It was a fun night topped off by watching Jurassic Park. Our friends stopped by for a bit and it was good to see them. It was weird having people knock on the door again. After almost three months of not having anyone over it throws a body off. The kids loved it.Earlier a neighbor also stopped by to drop off a bunch of rhubarb stalks. The kids were excited. My friend made a rhubarb crisp for us one year and my kids loved it. So do I. I will have to make it for them soon. I chopped the stalks up and put them in the freezer for later. I have a rhubarb plant but it isn’t nearly as big as my neighbors’ plants are. I guess I need to find a sunnier spot?It was a pretty productive weekend. Now maybe we can relax a bit now that summer and warmer weather is here. Maybe. There is a giant project looming. The kitchen. Oh well, work is a good thing. We’ll make time to play.

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.