Saturday, November 15, 2014

No Longer a Baby

This is one of my favorite sights as a mother.
I absolutely love catching an older reading to a younger.
The younger, in this case, is 19 months old.

He communicates very well and his constantly growing vocabulary is a delight!
He refuses a bottle and mostly refuses a sippy cup.
He sits at the table, still in a booster seat, but no longer eats off of his tray.
He LOVES Mr. Rogers, which pleases his mother greatly.

And then there is his hair....

His older brother insists that it is time for a haircut.  Insists.
I know that when you cut a baby's hair, they stop being a baby and turn into a child.
This makes my heart hurt and made me resist for a long time.
Last night, I finally gave in.

And, just like that, I no longer have a baby in the house.
Good thing I love toddlers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold, Cold, Cold . . . and Cleaning

We are in the middle of a frigid spell, the first really cold weather in our region this season.
I can't get my outdoor projects done and the house isn't ready for me to work indoors;
so I'm baking.
Few things taste as good when it is cold as a yummy homemade soup with bread, fresh from the oven.

There is one more thing, but you have to promise not to make fun of me.
You'll think I'm silly, but it is a big deal for me.

I've made a goal to keep a cleaner house and make my home a more inviting place.
It has been a struggle because I don't like the place, don't want to spend any money fixing it or making it flow for our family, and there is no such thing as everything in its place because there aren't places for a lot of our things. Our house makes everyone grumpy.

We began on a Saturday.
The kids and I put our shoulders to the wheel and got a giant portion of the house clean.  I took several bags to the thrift store and took a few loads to the dump.  (Granted, some of that was construction debris, but still.)

Months ago, I heard a friend of mine give a speech about her healthy weight loss last year--a thing with which she has struggled her whole life.  She said she went 1/4 of a mile on her treadmill and then buried her face in the couch, crying.  She couldn't even go 1/4 of a mile!  It was too hard!  But, in faith, she approached Heavenly Father and asked for help.
Her final statement was something to this effect:
Test the Lord.  
He has promised to help those who ask in faith.  
Try Him and see if He doesn't lift your burden so that you can carry it.

It worked for her; she now runs miles and miles.  I decided that I would indeed test the Lord.  On Saturday, I plead for help, outlined a plan, and got to work.
On Sunday I fasted and prayed for help in achieving my goal.

Then after the meeting, another good friend came up to me and said she had recently uncovered a tape set she'd bought years ago.  She wondered if I was interested in listening to it.  It is called:
The Industrious, Well Organized, Proverbs 31 Woman
By Sidney Launder

There is no question in my mind that these tapes entered my life because of the fasting and prayer.
Heavenly Father is helping me, step by step, room by room, dish by dish, keep my house cleaner and my home a refuge. (Thank you, Jen, for listening to a prompting and responding!)

12 days into November and my dishes are being done, my table has been washed, floor swept and carpet vacuumed.  Every day.
There is much work to do and they say it takes three weeks to develop a new habit, but we are all happier with this arrangement!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Please allow me to introduce you to your next favorite food:
Reese's Spread.

Reese's Spread on a banana.
Oh, my!

I spread mine straight onto a banana, but it was also good on apple and crackers.  
I can't wait to spread it on a few other things, but that is what I had available.

And the best part?

0 grams of fat!
You are welcome.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Siding Going Up

Looky what happened this week:

I cannot believe what a difference the siding is making.

Our GC paid the framer too much too soon, I fear, because he hasn't been back to finish up the front porch, install doors or fix the handful of problems uncovered by the framing inspection.  We almost lost the siders because they couldn't move forward until the doors were in.  Brett came through at the last minute.

A kitchen door!

The back and chimney are complete.
Looks so pretty!  Can't wait to see it painted.

 Now they are working on the dormer and the front of the house.  This part is making me giddy because it is where the tudor features show up.  

The arched front door isn't installed yet, but we are beginning to get a better cottage feel with the siding.
I met with a stone mason yesterday who gave me a bunch of tips on building my rock fireplace surround.  He and Brett (our contractor) both agreed that I need to build a rock arch around the front door.
We'll see. It would be cool, but the fireplace is a first priority!

First things first.  Paint.
We can almost begin painting the exterior!!

Just in time for the freezing weather.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

He is Home

At the bus stop.

Being the parent of a 15 year old boy is not the easiest job ever.  Sometimes I find myself holding my breath after delivering news or information that could elicit a negative response. His reaction could be humble and understanding, he could find it funny and respond with a sense of humor or I could get the dark cloud.  Some messages have to be given in such a way that he thinks that the desired action was his idea.  Others have to be given as a demand.  Still others have to be slipped into the conversation like it had been decided all along and there is no need or reason for dissension.

Even with all of the head games,
I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Why?
Because he is home.
With me.

It means I get to have intelligent conversations with someone who knows me pretty well.  It means we get to see him as soon as he leaves class and I get to hear all about it.  It means that if I'm still in bed when he gets up in the morning that he will come and cuddle with me.  It means that the other children have a fun big brother to invent new games--and he's big enough to carry them around.  Having him home means I can do my make-up in the car while he drives.  It means there is another big person in the house to help with adult sized chores.  It means I have someone who will tell me when my hair is aging me.  :)

One personality trait that I have battled since I was little is that I don't want to put anyone out.  Sometimes that means I overburden myself or don't require others to learn, serve or grow because I just do it myself.  Yesterday, I shared some of that struggle with my 15 year old boy.  He gave me permission to give someone an assignment and even showed me what a benefit that assignment would be to the other person.  What a blessing to have such a wise child in my midst.
And eventually he will no longer be 15

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

 Happy Halloween, friends!
We had fun dressing up this year
and the best part is that I didn't have to sew one thing!
 One dad who was walking his child door-to-door said, 
"Whoa!  I thought that was a legit old lady and I thought, 'Why is SHE trick-or-treating?!'"

Chimney Sweep

The Doctor (#11)
 Some people in the family worried that no one would understand her costume;
the many squeals of delight as she walked by proved the doubters wrong.

Frodo Baggins
Could you ever find a more adorable hobbit?

Because "Which costume can I wear that has the most make-up?"

When you're 15 and you want to dress up, but you don't want to put yourself too much out-there 
because your whole life is out-there.

And, for good measure, the parents.
Mr. Rogers and Cruella Deville.

What a fun holiday.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Beams and a Front Porch Begins

Our house's exterior has undergone a transformation.

The rough-sawn fir beams cut from the forests of North Idaho are in place!

They are massive and beautiful and smell so good.
In fact, I keep sticking my nose up against the wood,
just like I stick my nose into the spine of a new book.

Here they are, wrapped in the porch's frame.

There will be arched supports on each of those beams.
They should finish the porch this week and have begun the siding.

Things have slowed up again.  We got a huge giant enormous quote from the power company.  It shouldn't be stalling other progress, but it seems to be.
We signed a 60 day extension on the construction loan.
I'm trying to be patient.

Meanwhile . . .
we booked a family room at this themed hotel,

in this Bavarian Christmas town

for Christmas.

We won't be in our house, but we will have a Christmas to remember!