this house Archives

The wedding is done. The kitchen is finally clean again after months of crazy – a word I have come to use all too much to describe our goings ons and I do think it’s time to come up with an alternate word for that word.

Cockamamie?

I put up Christmas lights yesterday. This isn’t something I usually do before December but it felt normal and right and we had used some of the lights at Kait and Vince’s wedding and I didn’t feel like putting them all away just to get them out again in two weeks so now we’re the cockamamie people on the block that are already decorated for Christmas.

[there should be a picture here but I failed and it’s light outside now so you’ll just have to wait]

Rabbit and I stood out on the lawn just after dark last night and looked at my creation. He eyed the roof of the house and said in all seriousness, I’m thinking maybe we should add some up there, and I realized that we are in the honeymoon stage that happens after a wild patch and we’ve got to be careful not to do too much because nobody is going to want to take all these lights down come January.

Did I mention that my daughter is married?

Wow.

And the entire wedding was perfect and beautiful and I can’t wait to have pictures to post. Our photographer is a family friend and she has had numerous weddings over the last couple of weeks so we’re going to sit and be patient but I know they turned out terrific.

We left on vacation the day after the wedding. We didn’t leave town, basically staying in our own backyard but Pensacola Beach is quiet and beautiful this time of year and the weather was perfect and we didn’t have to drive very far.

And the view from our condo was perfect.

Hot lemonade and favorite blankies on the balcony on a cool, breezy evening…  Who knew that was all it would take to appease these two little ones.

I will be honest and say that I was very happy to be back home after the four days at the beach but the vacation was so good.

And now to our last order of business to get everything caught up…

I mentioned before that we became foster parents in September, a task we took on at probably the worst possible time but we absolutely do not regret it one bit.  Our current placement is just the cutest child imaginable. I wish I could post her pictures and tell you all about her but that just can’t happen. What I can tell you is that she is the sweetest 2-year-old with a very uncertain future but she is doing amazingly well with us. Many of you have asked if there is anything we need or anything you can do to help and the truth is, if you would add her, her sibling, and their bio parents to your prayer list that would be the most helpful thing you can do right now.

And one last thing…

I am so sorry to all of you who have sent me messages after reading one of my posts here or on Facebook. I have been so overloaded with foster care appointments and meetings and wedding stuff and Lanie’s therapy and normal family things that I have had to cut out a lot of my social activities recently. But things do seem somewhat calm for the moment so I’ll hopefully do better.

And one more last thing…

We got Lanie a posterior walker. People, she is the cutest thing ever. Expect a video soon. 

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I tried to do a project

I got this wild idea to build two small bedside tables for the little girls’ room using wood scraps and old screws that we already had which I thought would be a great use of the couple of really good wood scrap piles we have that need to be decluttered.

I found all the pieces I needed pretty quickly but I wanted the legs to be 2×2’s so some of my pieces needed to be ripped on the table saw but I am terribly afraid of the table saw so Gabe took pity on me and sliced them up.

This was not any better though because not only am I afraid to use the table saw, I am also afraid of somebody else using the table saw because there is no blade guard and that thing looks like it’s just going to come flying right out of there and attack everybody like some sort of cheesy horror flick where an inanimate object comes alive and goes on a murderous rampage.

Good news, none of that happened, my sticks were cut in half, and Gabe still has all his fingers.

Unless you count the times when I was little where I nailed boards together on the floor of the garage while my dad worked on a project, I have never built something before so I really have no idea what I am doing. The only thing I have going for me is that I want them to look like reclaimed pieces. That gives me a lot of room for error.

I got most of them put together last night but I made a couple of mistakes. I’m going to remedy those this morning and hopefully have them painted by the afternoon.  I am at the mercy of Lanie, who still has a cold though so we will see what I actually get finished.

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What happened while I had a weekend

I wrote this post this morning but I needed to add pictures but Lanie woke up cranky and with an incredibly stuffy nose and I wasn’t able to get the pictures uploaded.  Now it is almost 8 pm and I fixed Lanie’s nose and ran and went to a Labor Day pool party and came home and put Lanie down for a very late nap and made dinner and got the pictures uploaded and the moment you have all been waiting for has arrived. You’re welcome.


Today is Labor Day. and while Labor Day is just a day off for many people, for my kids it’s the highlight of the year or something because all the little ones came running up to me shouting Mom! Happy Labor Day! when I got up this morning. I have never heard anybody say happy labor day before so this was unusual.

We are going to a friend’s house to swim and maybe that has something to do with it.

Over the weekend we had many plans to work on the kitchen and finish the table and clean out the closet but none of that happened.  The kitchen has been put aside in favor of getting our table done so we can use it again because all these kids eating on the floor in the living room is no longer working for me.

The table is almost finished. I’ve been saying almost for about 2 weeks now but I think almost is finally actually here. Just a couple more coats of urethane and it should ready to use.

The kitchen will get there. It’s just not happening as fast as I had thought it would because every time we get back to it something else needs to be done.

And I completely ignored the closet in favor of…  I don’t know. I don’t remember what I did instead.  Maybe I was cooking or something.  I feel like I am always cooking.

After church Rabbit washed the cars yesterday and that was super awesome and then he took the kids to the ball field.

We’re more of a football family and have never really played much baseball so Rabbit spent some time giving pointers on how to pitch and bat.

The boys were all like, Woah, Dad, you’re really good! Did you play on a team when you were younger or something?

Rabbit puffed his chest out a bit and answered them.  Yeah, I played a bit of Little League back in the day.

We only have three gloves so while some played ball, the others went to climb around and swing at the playground.

If you ask Maggie what she’s doing she’ll always, always, always reply, not swinging high enough!

I wish I had been able to go but Lanie was sleeping. Also, cooking food without children asking me 100 questions about what I am doing and why I am doing it and will there be mushrooms in it againThe opportunity to cook alone was just was too enticing.

Today’s tip: My kids like cauliflower rice better than actual rice so I make fried rice with cauliflower instead of rice. Last night we had bacon friend cauliflower rice and today everybody has gas.  I don’t know what my tip here is but I’m just saying, if you feed your kids cauliflower rice watch out.

 

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I’m not quite sure about what to write about this morning.  I woke up a half hour early because a cat was staring at me but I am about 45 minutes late on my morning so far and I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe I accidentally made decaf or something.

Hahaha.
No.
That would never happen I was just kidding.

I don’t have anywhere I have to be today and I’m hoping that I can shake the frustrations of the last couple of days off by grocery shopping. I don’t know why I think going to the grocery store will help. It’s not like it’s ever been therapeutic for me.

I have more to say about the orthodontist because I have another kid that is ready for braces. This is in addition to the Wednesday morning debacle.  This is my Thursday afternoon story.
Ben is my 3rd kid to need braces and he’s been in pre-treatment for 2 years waiting for some teeth to come in and some growth spurt and he is now ready for his braces, which apparently must happen RIGHTNOW. But since we just shelled out a surprise $600 for Matthew’s metal on Wednesday, and we have a wedding coming up, I told them that I wanted to wait until after the holidays to get Ben’s treatment plan started. I was subtly accused of putting Ben on the backburner in favor of Matthew’s treatment. We really need to get Benjamin started very soon. I understand that you paid a down payment just yesterday for Matthew’s treatment but we really don’t want to see this guy put on the back burner.

Really?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too sensitive here but I really don’t think so. I would also like to add that the billing gal talked in very hushed tones about our not being able to afford it and mentioned that she wasn’t supposed to talk to Dr. Brooks about it but she would just for us even though I never implied that we needed help, I just said that we were going to wait. It was all very patronizing. And weird.

I normally really like the kids’ orthodontist. He was great with Kait’s wonky mouth and has been pretty good with Matthew’s up until recently. I’m going to call a different ortho today and get Ben in for a consult because I’m really irritated right now and why are all these little flies all over my house? We’ve completely cleaned out the pantry and all the cupboards and the boys’ rooms and where the heck are they coming from?

It’s been a hard week.

On a brighter note, literally and figuratively, our main bathroom has been changed from a brownish yellow color to a soft white (thanks, Matthew!) and scrubbed clean (thanks, Rabbit!), and has new knobs and it looks great.  We are going to refinish the cabinets eventually too but we have a gazillion other projects in line ahead of that one. Like the never ending kitchen redo.

And Lanie has turned a bit of a corner mentally and physically. At physical therapy yesterday she showed increased muscle strength and then in occupational therapy she was making an effort to interact and tried to mimic what her therapist was doing. It was the first time that it didn’t seem like Lanie was just in the room with the therapist, but actually participating with her. It is a really big step.

Here’s a blurry picture.

This is how Lanie reacted to me explaining my week.
This girl just gets me.

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Today we are busy. We have three appointments because Matthew’s metal mouth spacer thing broke in half the other day so we’ll need to run in to the orthodontist and have that repaired this morning. His plastic retainer broke too and I don’t know why they just won’t give him a metal one.  This is the second time it has broken and it’s getting really irritating and I’m thinking of switching orthodontists because his teeth are moving back into their previous positions. He needs a real retainer.

I’ve been waiting for three months for Lanie’s otolaryngology appointment after her sleep study in May showed she has severe apnea. She also has an audiology appointment before the ENT appointment and it’s going to be a long afternoon at Nemours and Lanie is sure not to be happy about it.

And it’s raining.  We have tropical storm Harvey visiting us today and I’m not sure when we’ll get our run in. I may just have to go out there anyway and hope for the best.

There are other things I need to get done today too, like mop the floor and brush my hair.

I’ll be requesting a few more hours today.

But at least I got rid of my microwave yesterday and that feels really good because there is a new level of clearness on my counters. And Rabbit bought me a cast iron pan because I complained that I am tired of having to buy entire sets of new pans every other year after we’ve eaten all the non-stick materials that have come off into our food.

And my table is stained and looking fly. I am not sure if I used that slang correctly but it felt right so I am going with it.

Things are pretty good around here.

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A few things this morning.

-I mentioned yesterday that I wasn’t sure if I should include Kait and Joe when I say that I did something or whatnot with 10 kids because neither of them are kids anymore. In fact, Kait doesn’t even live here anymore and will be a Mrs. in 2 months. However, it feels weird to not include her in my kid head count when I’m writing about our day because even though she isn’t a kid anymore, she’s still my kid.

This same thing goes for Joe but he still lives at home and so it isn’t as weird for me yet. Hm.

-I had a weird dream where all my hair fell out and, while I didn’t like that it happened, I wasn’t alarmed by it at all. This alarms me.

– The rest of our sod was delivered last night right as I was finishing up cooking dinner. The guys got to working and I served dinner outside on the patio table. It was a nice, cooler, 78 degree evening and everybody seemed to be much happier laying sod than on Friday. My backyard looks amazing.

– Rabbit has finished sanding and the table has been stained, praise God from whom all blessing flow.

We’re using this dark brown gel stain. I like it so far. The color is rich and reminds me of a chocolate bar but it leaves these paintbrush lines even though Rabbit doesn’t put it on with a paintbrush. It’s weird.  I’ve read that it just needs another coat, or that the wood was sanded too fine, or that it wasn’t wiped off quickly enough, or that gel stains just do that, or that or that or that…  We’ll get it figured out.

– My kids have adjusted to not watching movies or playing video games every day. I know they are over the withdrawal because they have become happy to find other things to do. They have now formed a club and it is very important and intense and there are passwords and disguises and drawings from a hat. It’s quite entertaining to watch.

– I cleaned out the pantry.

It was a crazy mess of expired baking products and empty granola bar boxes. There were three opened jars of peanut butter, 3 open containers of raisins, 3 opened containers of corn starch…  apparently we open things in threes.  Ben and I filled more than two trash bags full of unnecessary junk. I should pay attention to the pantry more often.  Rabbit asked how long I thought it would stay this way. I said about 24 hours.

– The reason I cleaned out the pantry was because we have had all these gnat-like bugs flying all over our house and they are making me crazy. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any spoiled food attracting them. There wasn’t. We’ve cleaned and bleached and sanitized but they still show up in my coffee if I don’t drink it fast enough. I’ve decided that they must be coming in from outside because my kids don’t know how to close exterior doors. They are really good at slamming interior doors though. Go figure.

– I’m getting rid of our microwave. Probably today.  It is very small and we rarely use it and what we do use it for can easily be done on the stove or in the oven, which makes more sense with the number of people in our family anyway. I’m the only one who cleans it and I don’t even like it so it’s going away.

– This post has become much longer than I originally planned so I will go for now. It’s almost 8am and time to run.

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My minimalist senses are tingling

I am a minimalist at heart. I love getting rid of stuff and clear spaces and having nothing on my counters.  That new refrigerator that has a Keurig in the door makes my heart pitter patter because that would mean one less thing I’d have to keep on my countertops.  Though I do wonder how a Keurig works in a refrigerator door because these coffee machines are known for their short life spans. I wonder if there is an easy way to replace it when it inevitably dies the week after its warranty is up or if you’re just stuck with a refrigerator Keurig that no longer works.

Being a minimalist in my family means that I cannot actually practice minimalism the way I’d like. If it were up to me we’d have about a quarter of the stuff we have now. I think the only things I would have a hard time parting with would be little girl clothes and books.  Even still, I had been able to work around my maximalist children and keep the house at a reasonable junk level until I just gave up trying a couple of years ago. I don’t know what it was. Rabbit’s mom’s death and then the miscarriage and then the hard pregnancy that followed…

I just sort of quit.

And when I was ready to get things back in order at the beginning of this year it all seemed so overwhelming and my kids had become comfortable in their growing piles of stuff and I didn’t know where to start.

I’ve decided now, however, that it is high time to take back control over this home. We have a lot going on over the next several months and all this clutter is keeping my brain from being able to focus on becoming a foster parent and my daughter’s wedding and the holidays and all the preparation that goes into life this time of year.

I started with one corner.

I love this artwork Rabbit and the kids made for me a couple years back but it really doesn’t match this area of the house and because of that I feel like this corner has become an easy catch all spot. This is definitely not the corner of a minimalist.

This area is at one end of our long dining table. I knew what I wanted here because I saw it somewhere on a video or Pinterest a while back because I have no imagination of my own and I count on other people’s creativity for these things. Yes, I’m a copy cat.

The previous owners of our home are awesome people that we know and love and I asked if they’d let me have their large wooden spoon and fork if we bought the house.  They quickly said yes and they’ve been sitting in a corner of the dining room the last 3 years, sometimes being used as swords. It was ling passed time to give them a spot.

I wanted giant letters to spell the word eat but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them. Rabbit spotted this cheap wood scrap while we were at Lowe’s yesterday. It had some great grain and he asked if I would like the letters cut out of it. I had a better idea that wouldn’t require any work from him and we grabbed the wood and headed home where I got to work and TADA!

It’s not crooked. I just can’t hold a camera straight.

The kids all helped me. I usually don’t like the distressed look but this seems to work well here.

I really, really like it.

I think I am going to keep this momentum going and actually get some family pictures on the walls and while I’m at it I’ll throw away everything in the living room.  Don’t tell my husband.

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I woke up at 6 am yesterday morning. This may not seem super early to most of you but for me this is like a 6am-er waking up at 3. Lanie doesn’t usually fall asleep until after midnight and as hard as I’ve tried to change her bedtime she just keeps reminding me that Lanie does what Lanie wants and the rest of us here are just along for the ride.

Also, since being sick she has gotten into the new habit of waking up to eat at night. Sometimes twice. Normally, my typical children would have never gotten away with this at 17 months old but Lanie is a different story. Anytime she will eat, I will feed her because failure to thrive is one of the scariest things and she still has trouble gaining weight and when she does gain weight it is difficult to keep that weight on her.

Back to my story…

So, I woke up at 6am after having gone to bed at around 12:45 and after being up with Lanie for more than 2 hours in the night and tucking Maggie back in after she had to get up to go potty and I would like to interject here that I love not having to buy pullups anymore.

I think I probably got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Normally that is fine and I function alright but it’s been many weeks of bad sleep and yesterday I was mostly sleep walking which was perfect because this was delivered at about 7am.

We needed to put all those squares of grass here:

So I made a bacon and spinach quiche for breakfast and then went on a run and then went out to see this:

And I realized that this was going to take forever.

Good thing the weather was a nice 70 degrees. Perfect for a long day working in the yard.

Until about here.

All of the sudden it was 95 degrees and super humid. All the kids were out working in full force, along with one of the older boy’s friends (Thanks, Danny!).

But these guys just pushed through while I made food and took care of the littles and took pictures of marginal quality.

Maggie really wanted to help so she put on her “work clothes”, which consisted of an oversized pink t-shirt and a long pink skirt.

Laying sod required a lot of wheelbarrowing. Or barreling according to my younger kids.

Some people may have died.

But the transformation was amazing.

We miscalculated and still need two more pallets of but sod even with that section not being completed I am so happy with the yard and I can’t believe we actually have grass!

Next project? Paint the bathrooms. Or maybe edge and put red mulch down in the front garden. Or maybe print some pictures out for the plain white walls throughout my house.

No, finish the table!

Wait, cabinets…

I’m going to have an anxiety attack.

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Still sanding…

And when Rabbit can’t be here to sand because he has a job that actually requires him to go to work, he uses a stand in replacement (Joe-19) to keep the job going.

This job has proven to be incredibly taxing and detailed and truly annoying. I am thankful for my 14-foot long table, I really am, but this is maddening – and I’m not even the one sanding!

And because we’re realistic, we knew from the start that this job would have to be done in the house and not the workshop where the sawdust belongs.  But even with the sander’s dust collector, there is this light dusting of sawdust on everything and that is particularly irritating.  It is a full-time job keeping the dust from taking over our lives. I am so glad this is almost finished.

I am so glad this is almost finished.

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72 hours later… still sanding.

Refinishing this table is kicking his arse.

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