Sunday, September 28, 2014

Makes Me Happy

Our 15 year old son, Isaac, recently bought himself an acoustic guitar.  He's had an electric guitar for a while, but never improved much.  Between his coming and going, (and not just to here and there, but to other countries and such nonsense) faulty cords and a cheap amp, he struggled with hearing himself play.  This guitar is a much better option!

My dad is a wonderful guitar player.  One of his first dates with my mom--maybe the very first date, even--was to play guitar for her while she sang.  One side of the soundtrack of my childhood was my dad playing guitar; the other side is my mom singing.  Every time Dad sat down, he was playing.  I love listening to the guitar because of that early and often exposure.

When I was in Jerusalem for a semester of a study abroad program, I didn't have any music.  I couldn't afford a portable CD player (remember those days when you had to have a device and the discs and the batteries?) and had to go without.  A couple of months in, I wrote home and plead with my dad to send me a tape of him playing.  He went to work right away and I got it several weeks later.  I bought one set of batteries and borrowed a roommate's Walkman.  I put on the headphones, closed my eyes and listened to home until the batteries died.

Now, I have a guitar in the house again and I love it.  This is a sound that makes me happy.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

House Update

Our construction loan reaches maturation at the end of October.
We were expecting it, but just got official word today that there was no way that our house would be done by that date.
So sad.
Our builder requested a 45 day extension.
In the mean time, the kids are enjoying the unfinished basement.

We have to sweep constantly to keep the concrete free of sawdust, wood shavings and garbage, but it is worth it to have this huge, smooth skating surface.

For those of you who were wondering, the upstairs is for the four girls and the boys will dwell down here, in a cordoned-off section of the basement.  It won't be a totally finished space, but it will be warm and livable.
One end of the basement will be the game room/theater.  We have had a 19" television for much of our marriage, but know we will want an upgrade once we get settled into the new place.
Did you know there are TV calculators available online?
You plug in the dimensions of your room and it will tell you what size television to buy.
We are supposed to get an 80"-85" television.
The kids were thrilled because they thought that since that's what the calculator said then that's what we must get!  
Too bad they have these cheap parents.

Please, Daddy?
We've had our capable electricians doing the wiring this week.
Having done a bit of wiring in my time, I absolutely love these guys!
Look at that confusion!

It isn't confusing to them, however, and they are very organized in what looks a bit like chaos.

Here's a little something that thrills my soul:
they put the exterior eave outlets on a timer so that Christmas lights can be controlled from the coat closet.

The plumbing is a lot done, the roof is done (and is beautiful!!), the windows are all in, but one (still waiting on the front porch beams that were accidentally sent to Montana) and this:

All of our paint is selected and purchased.  Sherwin-Williams had their 40% off sale last weekend, so we had to choose, pronto.  I know you can buy a can and have it tinted later, but if you buy the wrong base, that doesn't do you a lot of good.  This sheet of white paint chips had me in fits.
I want a true cream.  Not yellow, not gray, not beige.  Cream.
We picked Polar Bear.
We bought a massive amount of it.
It had better be right.
We chose a few other colors for the bedrooms, laundry, library and such, but most of the house will be creamish.  We have a lot of wood in the floor, trim and cabinetry so I didn't want our walls to be too heavy.  I hope all of my vision comes together.
We'll see . . .
45 days after October 30th.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Still Working

I'm still working.  I've absorbed as much of the subsoil into our land as I can.  There was still a rather large pile so Baby Boy and I are making a waterfall.  Turns out the labor is the expensive part of building a waterfall.  The parts are reasonable.
I've never been afraid of work.

Also, we have a cord of pine from trees we had to take down to make room for the house and another cord (at least) of mill-ends in our shed.  We've had to collect all of the wood, stack and organize what could be used later (to build storage shelves, a playhouse, an awesome set of blocks), cut the pieces that would be too big for a fireplace and then haul and stack it in the shed.  We are nearly done with that job (for now) and the wood is a reassuring insurance policy against our cold and snowy winters.

Soccer has started.  I do enjoy being outside without any tasks to perform, 
other than cheering on my little players and chasing the one year old who thinks he is a player.

Piano lessons and ballet has started (I discovered a class that is $80 for the whole semester with a $16 costume.  This is one happy mama!)

Our home school co-op has also started.  My kids are taking classes like Ancient Egypt, Narnia, Paper Plate crafts (bless the woman who enjoys crafts), American Girl--Kit Kittredge, and PE.
I am teaching two classes: Secret Codes/Spies and Epidemics.  One to make us conspiracy theorists and the other to make us germaphobes.

Everyone expects clean laundry and regular meals.  
I expect quiet time to take naps and read.
We may get none of those, between it all!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I'm Fired

If you'll remember, I posted a few weeks ago about how there were tons of dirt to move and my contractor wasn't doing it fast enough.  I semi-jokingly told him to teach me how to use the backhoe and I'd do it.  He told me to go ahead.

Long story short, my dad came and gave me an actual lesson and I've driven the thing for hours and hours and have moved most of the dirt.  I'm seriously so close to being done.

My biggest fear in doing this job is that I would break Brett's machine.  It is an expensive tool to borrow!  Well, guess what.  Today, I broke his machine...or at least one of the huge tires.

I'm still not sure what happened, but the roofers were here so I wonder if there was a rogue nail or something.  I don't know, but I do know that I was super embarrassed to tell him what I did.  Talk about ruining that brave, can-do image I'd carefully established.

Do you know what his response was?

"It's all good. :) I'll call Les Schwab in the morning."

WHAT?  I told him that if that was his entire response that I wanted to be his kid.

He didn't say it yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be fired.  What a crappy employee.

Random Bits

I've had the gas tank in the backhoe refilled and started moving this giant hill of rocky subsoil.  It has been sitting here for a few months, now, and is heavy and compact.  It's kind of slow going, but I can now see my backyard fireplace from the living room windows.

Earlier this week, my 6 year old used her tooth fairy money to buy these:

I was honored to be chosen as a manicure recipient--even if it was for only about three minutes.
She also informed me she is "addicted to make-up."
Yes, six.  We are going to have a problem.

We recently went to an amusement park to celebrate Not Back To School!
It was completely fun and that same child rode a pretty scary roller coaster for the first time.
Isaac was her adult, since I had to stay behind with the baby.
I asked how she did and he said she didn't seem scared at all, but just smiled the whole time.
I asked her how Isaac did and she shrugged her shoulders and said, "Screamed."

 Speaking of Isaac, he and Eliza rode the Ferris Wheel together. 

I rode with the two youngest and it is officially the scariest ride in the park.
I'm not kidding!
My baby is 16 months old now and they said he could ride.  I figured he would sit on my lap, but they had him sit next to me.  Well, the safety bar sat across all three of us, but since I am a giant compared to him, it wasn't even close to holding him in the VERY UNSTABLE car.  It took every ounce of courage and self-talk to stay calm . . . and I was squeezing the life out of him to make sure he stayed put!

But, anyway, back to these two.  They were the last to unload and they were pretty hot at this point.  But they endured.  It was for a good cause: the attendant was a very pretty young lady.  Isaac kept going on her rides and he'd keep his belt a little loose so she would have to check it.

We took the train at the amusement park and my little one loved it so much.  He enjoyed the whole thing--until we were held up by a band of thieves (who stole our pocket change to donate to a local children's charity).  He was scared and cried.  They hurried out of our car.
I was glad because I've tired of their exact same act every year for the last twenty years.
Oh, man.  I'm getting old.

Patches got a haircut and he looks so much better.  His fur bleaches out and he starts to look like a surfer dude by the end of summer.

I was taking a break on my bed the other day and this little treasure crawled in next to me.  Next thing I know, he was sound asleep and all cuddled up.
I love my job!

I buy so many groceries.

I fix so much hair.

She keeps losing teeth.

He is home and keeps delighting my soul.

There is plumbing in my new house.
Every development is exciting, but
it is taking 
so. long.

It is now 3:33 AM and I think I'm going to go try to fall back asleep.
This week sees the beginning of seminary, piano lessons, little girl's ballet, our home school coop and Fall soccer.
I've got to be on my game to keep up with this crew!
Oh, and in a sick and twisted bit of irony, I was asked to give a presentation on balancing our lives next week.
"Basically, I want you to tell us how to say no," she said. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Small Victories

In fact, the phone and I have an uncomfortable relationship,
like a third cousin at a family reunion who is about your same age (give or take 3 years) and with whom you are forced to "play" when you don't know a thing about her and don't seem to have any commonalities.
I feel like one of two kids in a room full of adults who just
can't live without
the other people there
and can't understand 
why I don't want to play with the stranger.

I do like to talk to a few people, though, and apparently there are a few people who need to talk to me.
So we have to continue paying the phone bill.
Half the time, our phones were left off the chargers and are lost or out of battery power
and are, therefore, useless when the phone rings.
Then I am stuck hollering a conversation with my daughter's soccer coach 
through the speaker phone mic on the cordless base.

Several months ago, I bought this:

Just look at that beautiful headset!  No buttons to accidentally punch while I'm holding the phone on my shoulder while I wash dishes or strain the noodles or feed the baby.  It is giant so, unlike a cell phone, it won't slip into the dirty dishwater.  Also, I have a phone to use in the case of a power outage and it doesn't rely on any batteries.  It won't work if it is separated from its base, so it can't get lost.

It was brand new, but, when it arrived, it didn't work.  I knew it was a matter of crossed wires, but I never took the time to take it apart and figure it out.
After another lost-phone incident yesterday, I pulled the thing off the wall 
and fixed it!

It isn't much, but I'm cheering small victories.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We Have A Roof!

This was our house a couple of weeks ago:

And this is our house today:

You know you are a grown-up when you care . . . at all . . . about a roof.

The trim paint is Sherwin-Williams' Griffin.  It looks brown in the direct sunlight, but takes on an army green cast in the shade.  We love it.  We want the house to look like it grew out of the land and I think these warm, earthy colors are a great start!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I want to put this wallpaper in my girls' bathroom, 
but, sadly, it is too expensive.

Anyone have a secret (cheaper) source for this pretty paper?

I have found some similar options.  What do you think of these:

This one has the blue background and roses instead of poppies.  Not as vivid and Winter Poppies.
In fact, I think it is too bland.

Another option is Tea Rose which has the vibrant pink flower, but a white background.
Too wallpapery.

Here is Floral Bouquet.  Bright, blue background.  Close, but a little busy.

My favorite affordable alternative so far is this:

If you're going to put paper on the walls, you may as well go big . . .

I've ordered samples of all of the less-expensive options.  We'll see if they are anything like what I'm looking for when they are in my hands.

Monday, September 1, 2014

One Okay Thing

I may have a knee-high pile of too-small/out-of-season kids clothes in my living room.
It may have been there for a while.
I may have 15 flies on my computer monitor right this moment.
I may have a sink full of dishes and several baskets full of dirty clothes.
I may spend too much time on Facebook and Pinterest.
I may have been impatient with my children this morning.
I may not be able to catch a football or aim a frisbee.
I may not be everything to everyone
and I may be frequently unsatisfied with myself.

But my hair looked pretty for church yesterday.

And I literally fixed it in about one minute because my entire family was in the car ready to go when I looked in the mirror and realized I hadn't done my own hair. (I did fix four heads of girl hair, cut one head of boy hair and put the roast in the oven, so I have an excuse, right?)