this house Archives

Florida. Where the leaves fall all year long.

Here is our freshly seeded backyard.

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The abundance of leaves is causing a minor problem but a couple of days ago Matthew took the leaf blower to it and it is bald spots are starting to fill in and look good but now we have a huge pile of leaves on the side of our house.

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Which brings me to the main point of this post.

There is only one nice thing about living in a tree dense neighborhood.

It’s pretty.

That’s it.  That’s the only nice thing.  Because oh my word the leaf problem is significant here.  We cut down 5 trees in our back yard a year and a half ago and it has appeared to make zero difference in how much raking and blowing we have to do. And then getting rid of the leaves is impossible because the trash guy won’t take them and we had to rent a Uhaul once to drag them to the dump.  It was 3 tons of leaves.

Three
Freaking
Tons

So this time around we decided to call a lawn company to do some serious leaf removal. And while I would much rather pay my boys to do it, we just don’t have the time or equipment necessary for such a big job. Plus, some rattlers have been spotted around here and the last thing I want is for one of my kids to find one while cleaning up the leaves and try to keep it as a pet. One of my goals since moving into this house is to create a very snake unfriendly environment in our backyard because Jars of brown widows are bad enough.

The picture above really doesn’t do our leaf problem any justice. That’s only a small part of our backyard and the front yard is much worse off. I cannot wait to see what our yard and gardens really look like.

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I blogged on Friday and then I didn’t blog through the weekend.  I had expected I would pick it up again on Monday but then I didn’t do that either and now it’s Wednesday so I figured I’d just post an update of sorts.

Things that happened while I wasn’t blogging:

— Our main toilet has started flushing on it’s own.  If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that it was about time something like this happened again.  We are known for appliances and other supposedly inanimate objects to start deciding things for themselves.  Remember the Tell Tale Microwave? How about the range?

— Kait’s guy sprung for dinner on Friday night and it was a great evening.  I really enjoy double dating with those two.

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I almost spit water out of my nose, which is par for the course when I’m around Kait for any length of time.  I would explain why she’s sitting on the ground by the trash can but you kinda had to be there. You really missed out on that one.

— Rabbit got me exactly what I wanted for my birthday, which we celebrated on Sunday night.  I wanted my own Aden & Anais bamboo blanket because Lanie’s is so soft and I felt bad for constantly stealing it from her.  He got me two of them.

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I’m over the moon in love with these blankets. And him.

— Will somebody please make an infographic to help husbands understand that if an Amazon Prime package is delivered to our door we will be compelled to open it unless we know that we shouldn’t because you tell us there is a Prime package coming that we shouldn’t open? Because that happened.  Again.

— I turned 42 on Monday and now have the answers to life, the universe, and everything. This should be a very informative year for you all. You’re welcome in advance.

— Spring happened on Monday as well and BAM! Just like that, it’s 85 degrees. Loving it.
I love Spring weather. I love the sun. I love warm afternoon rain showers. I love the rosy glow of my kids’ cheeks when they’re warm from running around outside. I love their bare feet and dirty toes and wild hair.  I love Florida.
Also, I love free ice cream at the Dairy Queen.

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— Tuesday was World Down Syndrome Day. We are still trying to figure out how our family will celebrate this day but yesterday we wore our Nothing Down About It tee’s and went to the library.

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Then we went to eat a Chick-fil-a.  There wasn’t one table open. Not even outside.  We ended up having to have them bag our food so we could take it home, which was sad because the kids couldn’t trade their kid’s meal toy for an ice cream cone.  I gave them a dessert anyway but now I have all these little kid’s meal toys all over the place.
Rabbit commemorated the day by wearing mismatched socks under his flight suit and I also did my morning run in mismatched socks.

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— Matthew and I have been running at least a mile every day. We do 5K races together but pushing Lanie in the stroller was killing me and running was no longer fun. We have some good hills in our neighborhood so I make sure to run some every day to help make pushing the stroller easier and help keep the enjoyment in running. Today was day 8.  Lanie loves it.

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The hills are still killing me but I can tell that I’m getting stronger. I’m starting to wonder how it would feel to run without pushing a stroller. I bet I could run like the wind blows.

Oh, and Maggie decided to floss.

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I asked her what she was doing and she said, I need to floss. My tongue is stuck in my tooth. 

And there you have it, my (mid) week in review. Now go and make yourself a Bavarian Crepe today because it’s National Bavarian Crepes Day.  Who knew.

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Our dishwasher broke. Like broke broke.  Like we try to start it and it goes click click click kind of broke.

I saw this coming. We always have to buy a new appliance during the holidays.  I don’t know why it always works out this way, it just does.  Plus, our dishwasher has been begging us to just let it go since we bought this house 2 year ago because 2 to 3 loads of dishes a day is apparently more than it can handle.

It’s true that we don’t have to buy a new dishwasher right now because dishes can quite easily be washed by hand, and we might still wait but we ended up at Lowe’s today looking at our options.  I think we settled on a Kitchenaid. I like Bosch too but they don’t have a track for the lower rack and I know for a fact that it would end up on the floor with broken dishes. Probably often. Note to Bosch: Stop doing that.

When we got out of the car in the Lowe’s parking lot a wave of summer warmth hit us full force.  I thought it felt fabulous but Ryan complained that it was sooo hot.

It’s November and I guess he’s expecting much cooler weather than 88 degrees but that’s what it’s been like here and we live in Florida and it’s like this every year and I’m not sure why everybody is surprised because, like I said, Florida.

 

Plus, Lanie has just grown into Maggie’s old summery clothes and she’s impossibly cute.

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I hope she’ll be able to wear them a bit more before she grows out of them.

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Cleaning the bathrooms is one of those jobs that is never, ever finished in this house.  All 3 of them seem to be in constant use and I am regularly hanging up towels and wiping up pee from the toilet seat and behind the toilet seat and on the sides of the bowl and the floor.

This is what 6 boys gets me.  Pee.  Lots of pee.

It’s worth it.  But it’s not my favorite.

And then there is this:

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You guessed it.  Giant spitballs.

I asked Rabbit You wanna take a guess at who put those there?  We both said Matthew at the same time and then I went and asked my kids and Matthew(13) kind of giggled and admitted that he had tried to sneak in and hit Joe(18) with a big wad of wet toilet paper by tossing them over the curtain while he was taking a shower.  Then Ben(11) saw it and he tried it too.  They both missed and that is how I ended up with giant spit balls on the wall of the bathroom.

Matthew thought it was hilarious that his father and I both immediately guessed that he was the culprit.  Then he went and cleaned them up without being asked.

My kids think they are very funny.

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That one time when a snake got in the house

I was looking through some photos on my memory card from the last year and came across one of a snake on our back door carpet runner.  I cannot believe I didn’t blog about this.  Or did I?

I think I’d remember if I did.

Because we have an abundance of people who do not pay bills living in the house the doors tend to get left open more often than I’d like and on this day that allowed for a special visitor.

It looks to me like she came in thinking this would be a good place to hold up and have babies and then realized that she had just gotten on the crazy train and curled up as small as she could hoping that nobody would see her.

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Or she was trying to be the AURYN.

I suppose the cat could have brought her in. Fin prides himself on gifting us with mostly dead animals.  Or Maggie, my 2 year old who has no fear of animals but is terrified of the blender.

Either way a snake was in my house.  This is not some fictional horror story or creepy tale meant to frighten youngsters into remembering to close the door.  This is for real.
My life will never be the same.

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Merry Christmas to me

Both our washer and dryer have been causing us problems for at least a year now.  While I’m grateful that I don’t have to wash our clothes by hand with a wash board and a metal tub, neither our washer nor dryer was made to support the clothe cleaning needs of a family of 11 and our washer machine likes to remind us of that every week or so by trying to walk out of the house during the spin cycle.  Rabbit and I have been seriously researching a good solution for a long time.  We finally settled on the fact that we were going to need two sets and thought stackable front loaders would be the best way to go and even though we have the space in our laundry room, the amount of money that was going to cost in plumbing, venting, and purchasing the machines themselves was almost physically painful for me to think about.  Still, I knew that for my sanity’s sake it was inevitable.

While searching for the best way to do this I ran across an LG set with a 5.2 cu. ft.  and thought that if we had one that big we could get away with just the one set.  Shortly after, I found a 5.6 cu. ft. Samsung washer and 9.5 cu. ft. matching dryer and I began singing.  Not out loud of course because that would scare people, but silently, inside my heart.

Rabbit bought them the day before Thanksgiving during the (not quite) black Friday sale and it took them a month and a number of inconsistent stories from different people at Lowe’s who all had no idea what was going on but they were finally delivered today and wow are these things H.U.G.E.

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The old washer and dryer fit in this space with plenty of room for the laundry baskets to fit in the space between the door to the room and the machines.  That isn’t the case now.  In fact, I don’t know where we are going to put the dirty laundry until we get these suckers stacked, which Lowe’s is going to have to come back out and do in a couple of weeks because they didn’t have the equipment needed on hand even though we bought the kit and requested it when we first purchased them.   This is not a huge deal to me though.  I’m just happy that the two loads I needed to get done this morning are both washing at the same time.

The washing machine has an internal light and the kids are finding this quite entertaining.  Maggie is a little frightened by the whole thing so she kept herself safely behind Lucy and Jesse as they sat and watched it spin.

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We haven’t tried the dryer yet but the washer is working as it should.  I am hoping that these things aren’t disappointing because the thought of going from 3 loads a day to 1 or 2 is fantastic.

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Beware of children.

Things happen when you have kids in the house. More things happen when you have a lot of kids in the house at one time. And I feel like even more things happen when those kids are my kids.
Thanksgiving morning one of the bathroom sinks in our home looked like this.

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Rabbit had to take the little curvy drain piece apart to figure out why there was dirt rising out of it every time the sink was used. Turns out it was because there were dirt clods clogging the drain. And hair. And toilet paper.  He removed the mess and the water suddenly drained freely which was important because we had friends coming over for Thanksgiving dinner and as 4 year old Lucy likes to say, nobody needs to see that.

Also, in case you need more proof that kids are adorable little vessels of destruction, I painted the kitchen a few weeks ago to give it a temporary update until we’re ready to redo the kitchen in its entirety in a year or so. I’m not finished yet but the cabinets are were finished.  I started noticing little scratches here and there on the drawer faces almost immediately after finishing them.  Just the drawer faces, and there was a new scratch every couple of days.  I thought maybe there was something odd about the drawers that kept the paint from sticking or maybe I had forgotten to prime them or something.

But no.

A few days ago I was cooking and Maggie was standing, facing a drawer with her back to me.  Suspicious, I moved towards her and she turned and gave me a giant smile, showing me her work.
She was scraping paint off with one of her pudgy little two year old fingers.

I promptly instructed her to never do that again but the next day she was caught making more memories.

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This is the biggest spot,  and was so proud of the huge chunk she managed to peel off at once. Now there are tiny spots at Maggie’s eye level on 5 drawer faces.  I’ll have to buy more paint to redo them, which will possibly have to wait until after Christmas, and this time I think I’ll leave them to fully cure out of her reach before putting them back in the kitchen.

Also, I’d like to add that our builder grade cabinets from the 80’s have the most uneven build and some very uneven door pulls.  For some reason after I painted them we noticed that nothing is level and though we used the original holes in the drawers for the new pulls, they are seriously not straight.  I guess everything being white makes the wonkiness more obvious. Rabbit is going to help me fix it.  Someday. Because he has a sink unclog or a new vanity to put in or a truck to fix and a full time job or something.  It’s always one excuse or another with him.

Kidding.

He’s been working on his own home improvement projects. I’ll get pictures of those eventually too and blog about them maybe.

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So Matthew and I painted some of our walls yesterday and the pale yellow that I’ve never really been fond of was turned hailstorm gray which is not gray at all, but a milky white color.

But then Maggie happened.

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This has become a regular occurrence and we just figured out where she was finding the markers.  In our knife drawer in the kitchen we keep a bin of writing utensils.  Maggie cannot see into the drawer but that isn’t stopping her from opening it and pulling out different items until she finds what she is looking for.   Usually a sharpie of some sort.  Sometimes a pencil.  She doesn’t write on the walls with pencils though.  She reserves those for editing our books and correcting the boys’ school work.  Markers, however, are for drawing on walls, couches, and herself.

This reminds me a lot of Jesse’s use of red Sharpie.  If you remember, Jesse had a love for red Sharpies and even attempted to permanently dye Kait’s bedroom carpet with one.

At least we aren’t finished painting yet.  The rollers are in ziplock bags ready to coat more walls later today after Maggie goes down for her nap.

And I’m finding a new place for the markers.  I should probably do something about the knives too, I suppose.

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A couple of weeks ago Rabbit had a large pile of rocks dropped off in our backyard.  He was creating a storage place for the kids’ bicycles so he could get them out of his workshop because the workshop is only for doing work things like the sawing and the hammering and the man stuff according to him.

So we had this pile of rocks outside and Lucy suddenly became very interested in what was going to happen to those rocks and followed Rabbit around the yard asking questions and giving her opinions about everything.  When Rabbit got his shovel out to start moving the rocks Lucy grabbed her little red shovel and decided to help him out and I took pictures and then Google kindly turned them into a stop motion movie for me which I am now going to share with you because this is my blog and that’s what it’s for.

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I might add that at three, she is as good at shoveling rocks as some of her older brothers and she is a pretty hard worker as long as it means she get’s ask as many random questions as she wants.  Like, Are there any whales swimming in my pool? And, Why don’t I see any elephants? And, Why does Dad get the big shovel?

If you turn around and ask the questions back to her she usually has the answer. I think she just likes to start conversations.  Either that or she’s testing human intelligence because she’s planning to someday maybe take over the world because she dearly loves to be the boss of things. Only not in a leader type of way, but more in a Gremlin-y way.

You know…  Give me all your candy and popcorn and entertain me or I’ll get growly.

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I love it when a plan comes together.

I can’t even begin to describe the pleasure it has been living in this house the last two months.  Knowing that we own it. Knowing that we don’t have to move in 3 years.  Knowing that if we want to get a giant refrigerator we can and if we have to remove some cabinets to fit it into the refrigerator spot in the kitchen, we can just remove the cabinets.  We don’t have to ask permission.  We don’t have to put it back the way we found it later.  We don’t have to keep the new refrigerator in the garage because military housing won’t let us put it in the house because it isn’t the one that came with the house.

When you’re trying to squeeze enough groceries for a family of 11 into an average sized refrigerator things can sometimes go wrong and we knew shortly after we moved in that the refrigerator the previous owners, Dave and Donna generously left for us was not going to work for us for very long.  Under the weight our food, one of the veggie drawers broke and the bottom shelf in the door has come apart twice which may or may not have been because I had a heavy bottle of wine in it.  And now that the door’s water function has taken on a mind of its own we have decided we’d probably need a new one sooner rather than later.

Imagine our delight last night, or just take my word for it if you don’t feel like imagining it right now, when a large almost new refrigerator was listed on Craigslist at almost a third the price of a new one.  Rabbit and I wasted no time and snatched it up right quick and it was in our kitchen in a matter of hours.

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Sweet, right?  I cannot even express my delight at getting this $2300 refrigerator for just $800. The picture just does not do it justice. It’s shiny and looks almost new and fits all of our food so perfectly.

Because this more newer refrigerator is much bigger than our current one, Rabbit had to take down the above-the-refrigerator cupboards which I wasn’t using anyway because I tend to not keep things I don’t use often and nobody keeps stuff that they use often in the cupboards above the refrigerator.

I got out the yellow paint that Donna left behind for me and painted the spot where the cupboard used to be and then we got the refrigerator set up and Rabbit opened it and…

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Okay, not really.  But it is pretty awesome for sure.

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It’s so nice.

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