Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It was a long day.  I was woke up at 4:45 am by my husband, who after he went to the bathroom and drank loudly from a water bottle said, "I'm wide awake", then he promptly crawled back in bed and fell asleep in about 2 minutes.  Then  I was wide awake.  Both sisters and families spent the night and I didn't want to get up too early so I watched TV in bed until 6 then started my day.  My day involved: a Memorial Day Parade with complaining kids about being hot and thirsty, craziness at Lowe's while trying to decide what flooring we will be using that included a child knocking over a cart onto himself and spilling a shake, leaving Galesburg with no groceries because we were too mad to take them into another store, lots of yelling at home about what the heck we are doing with that house and at children who are not helping matters when we are trying to talk, painting around windows, power washing the porch, and cutting tile for the laundry room (that would be all stuff at the OLD house not the new).  In all the commotion and yelling and discussing what did we figure out: we don't know what we are doing.  No plan .... I don't work without a plan ... it drives me crazy.  It stresses me out and makes me feel overwhelmed.   After the kids were in bed at 9:15, I had to go buy groceries.  I had to weigh it out:  going to the grocery store at night when I'm tired or taking 4 kids there tomorrow.  I think I made the right choice.

So we in trying to do something "right" today, I read bedtime stories (on our summer list).  I'll admit I don't normally do it because by the time bedtime rolls around I am D.O.N.E. with kids, not the right attitude at all.  In Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse  it was right there: 
"Today was a difficult day;
tomorrow will be better."

That sums it up doesn't it?  It will all work out, we'll figure out what flooring to get and how to pay for it.   I'll decide if I am stripping the stairway railing and steps, we'll get out current house ready and it will sell.  We'll come up with a plan when Aaron isn't completely exhausted from working these long hours and someday soon I'll get a few hours to myself where I can think clearly without people talking non stop.  I'm off to bed .... tomorrow is almost here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I'm REALLY into lists.  In February when we decided we needed to get serious about buying a different house (we've only talked about it for 5 years), I sat down and made this huge list of all things we need to do to sell this house. 
Aaron made fun of me for making a GIANT list but I said if we wrote on a small paper we'd lose it and if we don't have a list we will forget what needs to be done. We've accomplished a lot on the list and as soon as he is finished with this temporary job, I think we will be able to finish this up in a reasonable amount of time.

The kids and I brainstormed for our summer list.  This is all the things that Aaron and I (or just me) want to do with the kids.  It makes us keep "fun" in our summer.  With so much still to do at the farm and all the work on the new house, I didn't want the summer to slip by and realize we hadn't done much family stuff.  The kids are excited (and so am I).

I so overwhelmed by the BIG house that I want to make a list but where to begin is the question.  And truthfully I can't make a list by myself; it's something that Aaron and I need to be on the same page.  If I ever see him again, maybe we can make a list.  Here's my start:
Seriously that says it all, if I wrote down everything it would be a novel.  I think we need to think first things first.  If we could get some electricians over to look at our wiring that would be a good start.  It's so overwhelming.  I need a foreman over there to boss me .... that will where my hubby steps in next week, I hope.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Last Day

This is the kids last day of school.  As usual I feel like I should spend that very last day doing something just for me, like have a spa day.  But I don't see that happening on any last days of school around my house.  It's so busy with programs and trips going on at school.  Then add to the fact that I have sick one here.  Ethan has an ear infection and bronchitis.  I am referring him to as Neb Man. 
We've never done nebulizers at our house, much to my doctor's surprise.  The nurse warned that most kids don't like the mask and they never put the mask on just hold it up to their face.  Not Ethan, he's all about wearing the mask and even wants to have it on his person at all times by carrying it around in a bag.  He's missed the entire last week of school.  All the fun stuff happens then, I feel bad that he missed it but he doesn't know and doesn't feel like doing anything either.
I was able to sneak away yesterday to see Caden and Addison in their Mother Goose Plays:

Caden was Old King Cole.

Addison was Jill from Jack & Jill:
There were so cute.
So no spa day for me today.  On the agenda instead is:
*Giving the Neb Man his treatments every 4 hours.
*Cleaning up our house.  Every since I had to give up the cleaning lady in January when Aaron got laid off, my house hasn't been completely cleaned.  When I had my cleaning lady, I picked up everything every 2 weeks, now it's so out-of -control plus doing home improvement projects makes it impossible for us to keep things in order.  I have to get it cleaned up today because these children of mine are going to help keep it clean this summer and we should start with a clean slate.  (I cringe to think we own 2 houses right now and once we begin moving stuff we will have 2 messy houses)!
*Take a shower .... I don't think I've had time yet this week!
*Clean out my purse, I think someone put a cookie or two in there and they are crumbled to pieces.
*Think about teacher gifts ..... we go back to get our report cards on Friday.  I sure do think all the teachers my children had were fabulous and I want to thank them for all their patience and hard work!
*Laundry .... there's always laundry here.
*Work on my summer school program.  Yes, we are doing school work here this summer almost every single weekday.  We have to, so skills aren't lost.  I'm including fun snacks and art projects, games and computer time so it won't be that bad.  My kids are also going to have jobs and I'm implementing a rewards program for their schoolwork, jobs, and behavior. 

Looks like I better get going on my day, summer will be here in 4.5 hours!

Monday, May 23, 2011


Yesterday we went to the BIG house (as the kids call it) to receive a delivery .... which made us both question each other why are receiving a big delivery when we aren't in any sort of position to do so ... in remodel world.   Of course we both said it was the other person's fault, thus began the first fight about the BIG house, more to follow I'm sure. 
While waiting for our delivery to be completed we worked on the endless removal of nails in the subfloor and started to peel off wallpaper which so far has revealed some nicer wallboard not crazy plaster problems (YET!).  The kids even helped with this for quite a while.   Previous dwellers of the house have written on the walls ... lots of names but some funny things too like: Let's watch T.V. and My brother loves Bonanza!
These two decided to do some of their own work.  Holding a nail for your sister to hammer is very brave .... it reminds of me of Lucy and Charlie Brown.  I can't remember if this is before or after he punched her in the face; thank goodness he didn't use a hammer to hit her.
 We found another resident at our house .... I'm hoping this is the only other "critter" we find. 
Our first family portrait in front of the house. 
This photo is for my sisters ..... I know they will find it ironic and funny!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Code Word

Potential is a good, positive word.  However it really is code for WORK!  We bought a large old house with potential.  This is how I spent about 3 hours the first day, crouched down like this:
Doing this about 1 million times:
I should have counted how many 3 inch nails I pulled out of a 4x6 piece of subfloor.  After about 3 hours I got one piece done .... only about 11 more or so to go in this room.  I'm trying not to the think about the other rooms the carpet continues in. 
 Aaron ripped up the 1980-something carpet to find someone let their dog/s pee on every possible inch of carpeting. 
Here's what we found ... we think it's 5" pine plank floors.    I worked solo today to find some not so pretty spots .... that we think the room was once 2 rooms and they tore out a wall and patched the floors with whatever was in easy reach.  Not sure what to do about that.  I'm going to let it soak in and of course keep removing the subfloor hoping that there are no more surprises.   I search the internet for inspiration photos hoping that with some good patching, sanding, and some stain we can have nice wood floors.  It's really overwhelming, when you don't know what you are doing, working without your sidekick (he was at work) to at least talk about it, and listening to my children scream and fight every 5 seconds. 
There is potential ....
Wouldn't a Christmas tree look great right there in the middle of those windows?
Won't my dining room look pretty painted a creamy yellow color?  Gasp, I think these paneled walls are the only nice walls in the entire house.
Some "nice" kitchen cabinets would be beautiful looking peeking through the doorways.

It takes every ounce of resistance not to start ripping out all these old mismatched,some homemade cabinets.
Or to tear out the bathroom cabinets ... who needs this much storage in a bathroom?????  What do need besides towels, soap, shampoo, and a few medical supplies.  I guess I could become a member of Sam's Club again and buy the biggest toilet paper pack they have.
I'd love to go buy some paint remover and see what this banister looks like au natural.  There are chips that peak into it's old beauty.  But once again I get ahead of myself.  We promised ourselves we would not start a bunch of projects at once on this house.  We would make a plan and finish projects/rooms before we begin another.  Still it's hard not to start more than once thing.  Oh the potential! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yes, I'm 3!

Here's a regular quote from my 3 year old: “I CAN do it MYSELF!”  I, too, feel like I need to scream that announcement at this time.   I can do almost anything on my own and I want to do it myself.  I don’t usually need people to help me. I love doing things on our own  and prefer it that way. I am not looking for problem solvers or decorators or social events planners or financial managers or nannies (or so maybe now and then I need a babysitter) or life coaches or decision makers or therapists or personal shoppers…. I’m not trying to be superwoman or supermom or super anything. I’m just being me. I am a very independent person (just ask my husband). I like to do things on my own at my last minute pace which is how I work best. I very seldom jump into anything, big or small, without a long thought process to weigh everything out, and I can say that I hardly ever regret anything. I’ve run across people who find my independence a fault or view it in a negative way. What can I do about that? Nothing ….. I’m just going to keep on truckin’.  And I do understand that people are just trying to be nice by offering, but they should not be offended when their offer is declined: "Thanks, but no thanks!"  So at this moment in my life when I feel our plate is very FULL … well maybe it has overfilled at this point and it's making one big giant mess on the floor  ….. I still want to keep being me and doing it on our own. The ending accomplishment makes us happy! When we need help, we will ask. Until then you will keep hearing me say or possibly yell, “I CAN do it MYSELF!”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Missing Him

One year … that's how long it's been since my dad so surprisingly passed away. It seems so long ago and yet it seems like just yesterday. He wasn’t sick, he wasn’t unhappy, he was busy, he was farming, he was taking care of his dog, Daisy, he was going to dances, he was involved with all 3 of his daughters and their families …. He was here one moment and gone the next.

 I saw him a lot …. He was here at my house at least every 2 weeks if not more. He almost always showed up unexpectedly {which drove me crazy} bringing us soda and treats for the kids and sometimes dinner. I think about him alot ... more than every day .... more like several times an hour.  I am a lot like my dad … I’m a loner, I can be very quiet/shy at times and very loud and obnoxious at others. I’m a rule follower. I love old things and reusing things …. I can be a saver and a hoarder. I’m a procrastinator and not the best housekeeper.  These are  all things I would say were qualities my father had. I think family is pretty important just like he did.

I’ve noticed over the past year how much Caden is like my Dad. He has the same beautiful blue eyes as my dad. The way he smiles and after seeing some of my dad’s childhood photos, they looked almost alike at this age.   Even the way Dad was standing in old photos is Caden to a tee.  Caden will suddenly say something out of character that remind me of things my dad would say from time to time.

At Christmas time, I was digging through my cookie jar in the kitchen and I found a Christmas card from my Dad. It wasn’t dated and he had handwritten all our names in it and it said something about remembering the blessings at this time of the year and then he signed it Love, Dad Grandpa Spike. It was like he was here and I think it was his way of showing it and a reminder that I need to be present in the moment. All through the past year, I see signs of him everywhere …. He really has carried me through this deep dark time. There were many many weeks when all I wanted to do was sit in my bedroom and watch mindless TV hour after hour, it was hard to do anything else. I know he was right there with me. I needed that time to grieve and be alone and figure out things. I know now that he was my strength when he was here even though I didn’t realize it and he continues to be my strength after he’s gone.

Being out on the farm is hard work but it’s a way to be close to him and his land and our family. We all seem to pull together out there. It’s been a rough road for us sisters too, we are close, but I know for me I’ve had some not so glamorous moments. Everything is different and I felt like we all had our little place in life but with my Dad’s passing it was like someone put us all in a can and shook us up and dumped us out and now it’s all different and for me I’m just trying to find my new place in our relationships, our family. It’s still good to get out there and work together …. It’s are own special therapy. After a day or two on the farm, I’m much too tired to be overly concerned with the unimportant minutia that sometimes overcomes me. I just ordered a quote for my wall that says “Happiness is a Journey” which is very true … this part of life’s journey is not happy but the memories of my dad and closeness that I share with my sisters and their families is part of the happy part. So one year down the road, I am wiser, I am appreciative of my dad, I am missing him more with every passing day. I think it was my sister who said she read somewhere that when you lose a loved one you never get over it, you just get used to it.
Miss and love you, Dad!