Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Patches Causing Commotion

An interesting side note to running with a puppy is that you get to know all of the neighbor dogs.  Just a runner might elicit a bark or two, but a runner with a dog?  They come slamming into the fence barking hotly. If their owners weren't awake before Patches came by, they were then!  I also know that I can't be out past 7:30 AM.  There are two rather vicious looking, fence-less dogs who sleep inside the house but are let out sometime between 7:30 and 8.  I will happily get up a few minutes earlier to avoid those snarling teeth.

Why does my arm look so big?

It reminds me of my paper route days.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Second Bathroom

Our little trailer has a few things that our old house didn't.  When it was listed, it was listed with 1.5 bathrooms. We hadn't had two toilets!  After touring the place, we realized we hadn't seen that second toilet.

It was a closet.  They had never, in forty years, put in a toilet.  They had never properly hooked up the sink.  Instead, they had lined the space with shelves and made it storage.  Storage is great and all, but I really want to lock the door when I'm taking a shower and not have to worry about a kid that needs to go NOW--for once!

Warning:  this is not a decorator blogger's Before and After.  This is me, in a trailer.  I'm not putting too much money into decorating this thing.  So, the paneling stays and I'm not painting a thing.

Before, but after we had removed all of the shelves.

We started with a few problems.  None of the plumbing was hooked up properly.  My brother-in-law, Derek, came and crawled under the building for us.  He hooked up the things in the underbelly.  I was super grateful to not have to get under there!  After that, I had to be creative to make new things fit old things, but we only had to go back to Home Depot twice.

The leak under the sink was due to this massive split in the drain pipe.  I was surprised water could find that opening!

For any of you who have done plumbing, you know.  No matter how carefully you plan, you always have to go back a few times.


The closet bathroom is only 6'x 2'5".  Is is about as small as you can get, but for a powder room type of space, you don't need any more.  This is what I'm talking about when I talk about smaller and smarter.  Love it!

But now, look at this:

I know.  I still need to cut off the bolts.  And I think this bathroom is calling for a carpeted toilet seat cover.  Ha!

A mirror and newly arrived toothbrushes.  

I have to tell you, it felt good to work on a project again.  It is so satisfying to see a big job done--one that will stay done for a while.  Now, back to folding laundry . . . 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Zach!

I love you, sweet, sweet brother.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Missing Her

Yet another friend has had her baby.  It is wonderful and, of course, I am thrilled that he is a healthy baby.  Maybe I am happier for her than I ever could have been before.

But, I cry.

I would like to hold my baby again.  I would like to see her make those sweet newborn faces.  I would like to feel her sleeping weight on my chest; listen to her suckle in her dreams.  There is so much that was taken and, though I know that I will be with her again, the human emotion of the bone-aching sadness endures.

I never understood, and ignorantly thought it was more sentiment than reality, when people said they thought every day of a loved one who had passed on.  Every day?  Really?  Well, now I know--and I wish I didn't.


Every day.

Every single one.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Feeling Lazy? Get a Puppy.

 After waiting for what seemed to the kids like forever (which, for them, was their entire lives!), we finally brought home a puppy.

This one, especially, is an animal lover so this is a big deal for her.  The youngest peering over her shoulder is rather timid of dogs, so we felt it was important to have one in our home.  I'm fine with being careful of dogs, but I don't want her to be needlessly afraid.

Let me introduce you to . . . . . . . . . .

 He is a ten week old English Springer Spaniel.  He'll be a medium sized dog--not quite as big as a lab, but plenty big enough to play with the family.

Oh, my gosh.  Do you know what I did?  I bought a dog that looks like me: dark auburn hair, freckles, drippy nose.  Good grief, Emily.

He is a really good puppy so far.  After three days, he's only had one accident in the house.  I read that a tired puppy is a good puppy so we've been doing our best to tire him out.  You know how you wake up in the morning and you think, I should go for a run, but you never do?  Well, a puppy that is jumpy and excited and rearing to go is GREAT motivation.  He is still small and I am not super fit so we are starting at about the same level.  

So far, he has been an absolute delight.  I was worried that I would have to gear myself up for the dog owner phase of our lives, but I am having a great time.  The kids are learning to keep their toys off the ground and that they have to keep garbage out of his reach.  Excellent motivation for training the children; another perk.

And, although it is August and I don't really need it right now, he is curled up around my feet under the computer desk.  I hadn't even thought of the foot warmer role he would play!  That is gonna be the best!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


On our drive home, the air was FULL of smoke.  It wasn't a distant kind of smoky smell, it was campfire all around us.  I knew there was a forest fire, but we couldn't see it.  As it started to get dark, I could see a red haze just above the mountains we were driving toward.  Then, driving around the bend, we saw this:

Though I have seen many pictures of wildfires and seen the evidence of the fires after they were gone, I had never actually seen a fire burning an mountainside.  I snagged that picture from the news because this is what our pictures look like:

Don't worry.  My daughter took the pictures while I was driving.  

My camera isn't built for night shots, but this last one shows something the news camera didn't catch.  Look how close that fire is to the town.  It was racing down the hill and after just two hours after the fire was started it engulfed the area.  

Everyone was evacuated safely, but I was so worried about those families.  It made me want to come home and re-evaluate our emergency preparedness.  Now that we live in a forested area, I wondered how we would do if we had only minutes to evacuate.  Not super well, I'm afraid.  Our move roughed some things up and I need to organize again.  


Being Brave

Omar Bradley said, "Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death."

Right now, I am tapping all of my courage stores.

For this:

Work, my boy, work.  


Leap--ignore the fact that your mother cut off half of your head.  She didn't realize you were going to jump that high.

Point those toes!

And land in 5th.  Oh yeah.  I could totally do that.

But don't forget to have fun.

I hope that when you are a famous dancer, dancing for kings and queens across the European stages,
 that you will look back 
and bless your mother 
for being brave.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

His First Launch

I've been emotionally preparing for this weekend since January.  It has been the most painful, difficult decision we've ever had to make.  It is made.

Tomorrow, I take my son to live with another family so that he can continue his ballet training.

It is a long story and I don't have the heart to spell it out for everyone just yet.  I know that most people in my circle do not agree with our choice.  I don't know how to help them understand why it is the right choice, but there is no way I could do it if it weren't the right thing to do.  He will be living with a very good family and I'll continue to home school him--long distance.  My mind has that tricky chore organized; we'll have to see how it will work in real life.  He will be dancing about twenty hours per week with his Romanian task master with the hope that opportunities will open up for him when he debuts at his first national competition in February.  It isn't quite as long a time away as regular boarding school because his schedule will be about three weeks on, one week home.  There is a high likelihood of boarding school, a program which is alive and well in the ballet world, in his future.

Today I am picking through his clothes (too small, too small, too small . . . you know the routine) and organizing his gear.  We're working on getting his mattress, dresser, shelves, bike and other items packed into our van.  He has his own soap, tube of toothpaste, shaving cream, kit of school supplies and other miscellania ready to go.

Me?  I keep holding his hand and watching him do simple things and sitting by him and tearing up for no apparent reason.

With his own, new, heavily filtered netbook.

I keep wanting to cry out, "THIS IS NOT FAIR!  THIS IS NOT FAIR!"  Actually, I did pray those exact words several times.  I suppose it's a good thing my mom always told me that life isn't fair.  If I am going to miss so much of the next while, I am glad I've been careful to rarely miss a moment so far.  You couldn't make up this life of mine, could you?

And if you are ever headed down his way (or back up my way) and have room for a kid with a bag on his lap, it would sure help our transportation costs!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Cover Her Bases

Here are the numbers on the front of the porch.

But, in case you have a hard time reading them vertically, we have them secured horizontally about two feet away.

Of course, if you were going a bit to fast to catch the two sets of numbers on the prominent front porch, here is a set of numbers on the far corner of the house.

Also, should you happen to come into the driveway and are still not quite clear, we have more numbers duct taped to the carport post.

But don't worry if you happen to come at night.  The mailbox, that is directly in front of the house, has these reflective numbers to catch the beam of your headlight.

Just in case you should ever want to visit.

The New Lady living in Barbara's house.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Summer Children
by Edgar Guest

I like 'em, in the winter when their cheeks are slightly pale,
I like 'em in the spring time when the March winds blow a gale;
But when summer suns have tanned 'em and they're racing to and fro,
I somehow think the children make the finest sort of show.

When they're brown as little berries and they're bare of foot and head,
And they're on the go each minute where the velvet lawns are spread,
Then their health is at its finest and they never stop to rest,
Oh, it's then I think the children look and are their very best.

We've got to know the winter and we've got to know the spring,
But for children, could I do it, unto summer I would cling;
For I'm happiest when I see 'em, as a wild and merry band
Of healthy, lusty youngsters that the summer sun has tanned.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fireplace Part I

Fireplace Part I
Moving the Rocks and Making a Plan

One of the first projects we are doing here is our fireplace.  I posted some ideas a while back, before we were even moved in!  Now that we are in, I went right to work finding rocks around the place.  We are on an old riverbed, so we have very rocky soil, but I also think that the previous owners were rock hounds.  There are some rocks here that have no business being in this part of the country!  Still, they are beautiful and I need rocks.  Here is the result of all of our work:

I have decided where to put the thing (not too close to the forest behind us, not to close to the building site, and not so far away that we would never use it).  I have decided on a basic shape and size, though since I am working with real rocks, there isn't such a thing as a perfect square in nature.  A long time ago, my mom sent me a box with house plans and a tablet of graph paper.  That box gets a lot of use.  My scribblings fill up a lot of pages and it has helped me hone my style and personal sense of function and order.  Here are my sketchy plans for the fireplace.

Using the techniques taught by Mr. Close in 9th grade wood shop, I have a plan.  It won't look exactly like this, but it's a start.

There, now I've told you about it so I must follow through.  Off to buy mortar!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

For Joette

My best friend from high school called me tonight.  "I'm dying to know where you live!"

"You mean, you want to see my sweet trailer?"

She explained that I had showed the land and given glimpses, but I hadn't shown the whole house.  

Sooo, for Joette and any others who are curious, here is our 

Bon Prix 
Mobile Home

The home features all the conveniences of a "Modern Home."  Sleek aluminum siding is somewhat white and sports a woodsy green trim. The rustic metal roof provides entertainment during rainstorms and high winds.  The large front porch features state of the art astro turf carpeting.  And don't forget to notice the charming "little house" around the gas meter to add whimsy and fun for the little ones.

Here is a view of how it sits on our lot.  

Honestly, after what we went through in the house shopping, I am so thankful for this place.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Entertainment

We used to live in the city.  It was not a big city and, though our road had a lot of traffic, I wouldn't really call it a busy road.  We were, however, between two roads that I would call busy, especially from 3-6 pm.  I let the kids ride their bikes in the street during our morning recess (about 10 o'clock), but other than that, they pretty much had to stay on the sidewalk.  It was safe, yes, but not especially fun.

We now live on a dirt road in a pretty rural area.  We get about ten cars per day, all driving very slow because of the dirt and rocks.  It is awesome (despite the dust in my house and on my car).  The kids can ride around without me freaking out.  I can leave a door open and don't have to worry about anyone running into the street.  

"Why are you always taking my picture?"

"Are you going to put this on your blog?"

With one danger removed, leave it to my kids to find some other way to break their bodies:

At least he has his helmet on . . . . .  right?

There was a line-up of little girls wanting their brother take them on this outrageous ride.

Notice that I didn't stop them.  I took pictures.  
They are such delinquents.
It takes one to know one, right Joe?  I seem to recall similar activities as your little sister. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting Ready for a Puppy

I was (am) a mama's girl.  Apparently, when my little brother was born, it was difficult for me to have to share my mother's lap so my parent's bought me a puppy.  She was for the whole family, of course, but I was told she was "mine."  One of my earliest and most distinct memories is of sitting on the kitchen counter while my mom cooked dinner.  She was running through a list of names.  I don't remember any of the names on that list, except the one I chose.  When Mom said, "Heidi?" I knew it was the right name for my little pup.

Fast forward thirty years (GASP 30 years??).  My children have wanted a dog for I don't know how long.  When we were away for school, our backyard was so tiny that I felt it would be mean to put a dog in that backyard--especially because we wanted a bigger dog so the kids could play with him.  Still, their love of animals took us to the pet store frequently.  It was hard to look at those puppy eyes every time knowing we would never take one of them home, but I was resolved.  Also, all of the children were small and I was busy taking care of them.  Now that the children are a bit older, I think it's more plausible.

After a fun visit today where the children could NOT believe that we could really take one of these home, we have a puppy reserved.

And, oh. my. gosh. do they need a lot of stuff.  Craig's List, here I come!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Books on My Nightstand

I don't actually have a nightstand.  The books are in a stack next to my bed.  But tonight I went to the library and brought home . . .

Why?  I know this is a tough puzzle for you to figure out so I'll just tell you.  Tomorrow, we are going to go visit this guy . . .

I have taken my homework seriously when it came to finding the right breed for our family.  I eventually narrowed it down to the English Springer Spaniel, the Border Collie and the good ol' Lab.  Since we found out that we were getting this place, I've been looking around town.

I want a puppy because I can't take a risk with an unpredictable older dog--my children are still too small.  Also, there are a few things that I want to teach him while he is still a puppy.  For example, my sister's neighbor does his business at the very back of the property.  She had to walk him back there every time he had to go during the potty training, but she has NO dog poop in her back yard.  This is a big, big deal to me.  (Ranks right up there with having a dog that won't dig up my flowers.)  I know no breed is perfect, they are still animals, but we can select which traits we can manage.

This litter comes from a, get this, home schooling family with five children!  Perfect!  I don't think there will be any problems with child interaction.

If things go well, we should be able to bring him home in a couple of weeks.  That should be enough time to read all the books.

Now, to get all seven of us to agree on a name . . . .