Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh the Irony of it All

So here I am, Friday evening, the Sabbath. I've worked hard all week. In fact, for the last couple of weeks, I've been busier than I had ever imagined I was capable of. I know my children feel it and I feel it, but we must perservere to the end, or at least the middle. Anyway, the point is, that things have been busy. I've been making meals, tending children, trying my best to keep a clean house, school has pretty much flown out the window with hopes of appearing again later in the year, and then there is the house. That's where I've been in every inbetween time I can come up with and some not so inbetween. I have no idea how many hours I've put in up there, but it would definately be equivalent to a part time, maybe almost a full time job on top of the stay at home mom thing. I'm not complaining here, this is where we are and though it's stressful, it's what has to happen. All I'm trying to point out is that this morning when I woke up, my head didn't want to. I spent about the first 5 hours of the day trying to make my eyes feel like I was actually awake. They had that feeling like I hadn't slept for 48 hours, or the feeling you get after you've just sobbed your heart out and fallen asleep and then you wake up to swollen, puffy eyes. Well, I had slept and I did not cry all night. In fact, I don't remember crying at all, but I did spend the morning with puffy eyes and yawning every 30 seconds or so. Somewhere in there I had some coffee, but it was well before 10am and that helped. I spent a while trying to get ready for a clean all day before Sabbath day, but couldn't get thoughts of paint colors out of my head. So, up to the house I trudged to ask Allouette, my on-sight decorator consultant for help figuring out where to stop one color and start another. (I had no idea all the little decisions I needed to make, but that's another story.) I did that, then made lunch, and after lunch discovered that Joseph was sick. Some fever of some sort. I'm not sure what has been going on with him lately, but he seems to have gotten sick several times lately when no one else in the family does. Not sure what to think. Anyway, that shot my plans of vigorous activity for the afternoon and I spent most of the time doing research online for things like ceiling fans, bar stools, and countertop end cap kits and holding Joseph. My neck has also been out of line today. I'm not sure what I did to it, but it hurts. Anyway, all this gripe is to say that by the end of the day I was beat. Just plum tuckered out. Brandon and I were in bed at 8:30 with the lights out by 9pm and now here it is, 10:38, and I am not just unable to sleep, but wide awake. I couldn't sleep, can't sleep, and thus you get a post. So, since I've done all my complaining that I am entitled to for about a month, I'll bore you with house details and updates. My apologies for no pictures, but perhaps tomorrow while Brandon is plowing mounds of snow I can add some.

So, let's see, what has been done...
Rachel's room- the pink one, now has some whimsical butterflies on the walls. Megan had some work time and added her artistic touch to the room and wala, it's transformed! I'm really excited about this as her bedding and curtains and such will tie into this theme perfectly. You know it's the parts of the project like this that really keep me going. I don't have to get this detailed on much, but just one or two things here and there really keep me inspired!
The purple room- that's the master bedroom, has paint on all the walls and trim. There are some very minor areas of touch up, straighten some lines and fix a couple of drips, but other than that it's done. Oh, and something is funky about the ceiling fan and the way it is suppose to hang, but doesn't go flush up to the ceiling. By the way, while we are on the subject of ceiling fans, I must just say- watch out for light fixtures these days! The green people get you so bad that you can't put a light bulb in there bright enough to see by anymore! The vent fan for the bathroom is suppose to take a 13W bulb! Ok, that's a good...uh...NIGHTLIGHT!!! Anyway, the purple room looks great. Allouette finished the painting in there around the wall areas that we closed in and some stuff we had to remove for ease of putting things together. The new master mini walk-in closet is all enclosed, mudded, and caulked and ready for paint and then we might put in some rods for clothes! I will add here that Tim has done a masterful job at figuring out all sorts of electrical issues. I would have been at a complete loss as to what to do about that stuff, but he has conquered the upstairs completely and is now tackling the main area.
The master bathroom has the tub set in, the walls back on, the subfloor down, primer on the walls, and the ceiling painted. Next for there is vanity, tile, and toilet. The drain lines need to be completed for that as well, but Dan Reed has been doing that and can get at them from the garage below.
The hall bathroom has the tub, all the paint- it's gorgeous, and the light fixtures. Everything is ready in there for the vanity and the tile and toilet. Allouette knocked that out last weekend and I was so thrilled when I went in on Monday and saw it, I burst into tears!
Jonathon's and James' room has walls and ceiling with primer on it and is soon to be blue ceiling with "Raw Hide Laces" walls, that's sort of a orangy rust color. They are really excited about it- especially Jonathon. One of the "little" things that happened this week was that the doors and frames got on. We were able to salvage a lot of parts from the old ones and mismatch them together to get whole frames. Some did have to be purchase because the old ones were either too banged up, or became that way when we took them off, but it's all back together now and we can close people in if we want. (Maybe even ourselves...)
The hallway is mudded and almost ready for primer I think- another one of Allouette's areas of beautification. She has sanded, and skimmed, and patched and sanded on those walls to get them flat and nice looking. I think she is not far away from having it ready and it looks great even without paint! Nice, smooth, straight lines. She has really done miracles to a wall that had a couple of layers of wallpaper before.
Oh, we also have baseboards in all the rooms! Whooohooo! You have no idea how happy it is to see those. I wasn't sure if we would even do them before we moved in, but Allouette convinced me and I've discovered that nothing else really makes the room feel done like having all the trim there.
Joe and Brandon installed a pull-down stair for the attic space. That was wonderful! I was wondering how I was going to easily use the attic when I had to get an 8 foot ladder every time I need to get up there, but now, I can just pull the string and bam! stair appear for me to meander through my stuff. Later I hope it will not be as big of an issue, but when we first move in, I think we will be storing a lot of stuff so we can keep the work zones free of too much clutter.
I think Joe is planning to do some serioius cabinet work this week for the bathrooms and the kitchen and we are hoping to squeek into the house just before the feast. It still remains to be seen if it will be possible, but I've been boxing up this house with that in mind, and I may just move anyway and cook on a hot plate if needed. It will certainly simplify meals!
Now, moving to lower level of the house (I'll save the best for last) we have torn out a wall in the back room to get at the plumbing so as to move the laundry into the room rather than have it in the hallway. The old sticky tile has been taken up in favor of new sticky tile. The old stuff, half was stuck firm and half had completely lost its adhesiveness. Much was broken and cracked, so it was ready to go. The hall to that area had a partial wall removed, some old wainscoating taken off and the floor taken up. It's was all concrete under the vinyl sheet floor, so we are slaving to get the adhesive up so the next stuff will sit flat and stick well. There apparently had been some sort of leak at some point that wicked up the sheet rock and it was pretty gross back there, but no longer. Also, we have good reason to believe that there is or was a mouse that lives there that is addicted to nicotene as we found mouse droppings, nut shells, and a cigarette butt all stowed away between the studs and insulation in the wall. That made for some amusing speculations regarding rodents and their habits, but I won't take time for that here. That area still has some more ripping out to go and pipe work and electrical work needed before we can make it into a real live laundry. There is a good chance I will be washing clothes elsewhere for a while after we move in, but hopefully not too long.
The school room got a new wall where the stairs to the kitchen used to be and that's about it so far. We are planning to put a light in the center of the ceiling and perhaps over the area that will have a desk of some sort, but that is on the back burners for now.
Brandon's office is going to have the carpet pulled up, but we haven't decided what to do with the floor under it yet. And hopefully we can get some better lighting for that as well.
Now for the kitchen...well, it doesn't look like a kitchen yet, but there are wonderful things about it. First of all, the wall that is in the school room is also in the kitchen, just the other side (pretty tricky huh?). Most of that was thanks to my father-in-law, Andy, for coming over a weekend and helping out. There's a window in it to look through and tell the child with the rubber cement not to paste his brother to the door quite so liberally. Anyway, it's there and I'm really glad we did that already. I've gotten used to not using those stairs and it really doesn't seem like too much extra effort to go around, plus it gives the kitchen space a LOT more continuity that it lacked before. Joe also took out the back door and filled it in with insulation. We'll probably brick it up later when it's not a blizzard outside, but for now it's sealed from the inside well and from there, you'd never know it had been a door. The sub floor has been replaced and Tim has installed some can lights. The best parts are the wall from the kitchen to the living room is GONE and the beam that goes across the top and the posts are installed. It's beautiful! It's so open and airy and it feels so spacious! I can't wait til I can use it to have all of you over! The other marvelous thing is the heat pipes. Before, we had those baseboard heaters all the way around the dining area and the kitchen, but no more! Joe and Brandon put radiant heat underneath and now it just magically stays warm! The pipes run back and forth between the joists and once we get some styrofoam, it will send most of the heat up through the floor. It already feels different than it did. Every room is starting to look so nice it's hard to decide what my favorite is!

Ok, I do have to tell one funny story about the heat pipes- especially if you've listened to me ramble on this long. I wasn't there, but this is how I heard it. Joe and Brandon worked on those pipes yesterday afternoon and into the evening. When they completed them and turned the water on, they discovered a leak- in, of course, one very difficult spot to get to and fix. But they did have to turn off the water and drain it all back out to fix it. So, to save time Joe encouraged Brandon to hook up the air compressor to the bleeder valve upstairs and blow the water out. So he did and it worked like a charm. When it was all out and he took it off, though...he didn't know that he should do it slowly. See, the pipes were under pressure and when he just popped that thing off, all the water that was in the pipe the other way just shot up into the dining room like a geyser, hitting the ceiling and wall with hot dirty water. Joe said that Brandon just stood there and stared at his creation in sort of a dumbfoundedamazed state of "I can't believe this is happening, what do I do now?" kind of look. I did see the remnants of the fountain all over the wall and that was proof enough that it must have been a great sight to see! the children world, superlatives go to:
Most Likely to never be a successful barber: Jonathon (failed at two attempts- his and James ugh!)
Most Likely to write a children's book: James (who had a dream about a little girl who stole a train track piece and got eaten by a monster that he (James) was riding on and then she stole some donuts too)
Most Likely to get dressed incorrectly: Jeff- who has put his pants on backwards almost every day, his shirt on backwards several days and once had his pants on inside out and backwards
Most Likely to be found doing something involving clothes: Rachel- her clothes, her shoes, her dolls clothes, her little Cinderella's clothes, any clothes that can be swapped. She also figured out on the one day I tried some potty training that if she wet her underwear she got to wear all the different ones in the bag in one day! I don't really think she did it all on purpose though because she was sad when she "got Cinderella and Snow White wet".
Most Likely to be found with something in his mouth: Joseph! Oh, those people- whoever they are write books about kids that have to go to the hospital because they have a marble in their nose or throat or something. Well, one of these days he's going to be it. Do you know that he can get at least 7 Cocoa Peanut Butter sugar bomb cereal ball thingies in his mouth at once? and still smile at me!

Should be famous quotes:
"Today, I'm taking my backpack and just going some place else!" -Jonathon, on running away from home (my childhood haunts me) He was carrying only 5 story books as his possessions
"Can we please, will it be ok, may we...and don't interrupt me, can we please have just a little water fight outside today?" - Jonathon ( it was currently 3 degrees outside!...the answer was no)
"I win!"- Jeff, while playing air hockey against Vanlora at a restaurant and intentionally shooting the puck into his own goal over and over again.
"NO!" - Joseph, on being told to sit down in his seat at the table. (He doesn't say it quite on purpose yet, but it's close I think)
"I'll just take a sword and shoot it with my bow that goes with arrows and if I shoot her with a bomb canon, she will say, 'please get this off my face' and she'll take the bomb off her face...." -James, more on the girl stealing the train track story
"Poor Cinderelly, she never get her dress done." -Rachel, on being obsessed with Cinderella and her friends, the mice.

Ok, enough for tonight. Perhaps I will try sleeping again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Joseph!

...with cake.

His first birthday was on Friday. It seems to have flown by. But here he is in all his glory and his "car" cake as requested by his older brothers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

House Update

Just thought some of you would love to see an update on our massive project. We have been puttering in the house and the more we putter, the more we actually tear down. Don't worry, it's all good. We just have to get to a good place to start. But I"ll add some pictures here so you have a visual of what's been going on. We've been focusing on the bedrooms and the two upstairs bathrooms and they are coming along well. The Andersons are here and it is exciting to see more done every time I go up there.

The above room is Jeff and Joseph's. It's pretty much done with the exception of a few touch up spots of paint and some baseboards. It's a great BOY room. We have repainted all the walls (green), ceiling (blue) and trim (almost white), replaced the light fixture with a new fan, and we have new oak floor. So, this one is pretty much checked off the list except for the little stuff for someone with a lot of patience. Maybe I'll pretend for that role sometime soon.

Next we have Rachel's room. It's PINK. She knows it and LOVES it! This room is at about the same place. Mostly done except for some picky paint spots. New paint, fan, and floor. The chair rail is also new, but I love how it really adds some fun to the room to be able to put both colors on the wall. For those of you who may doubt your eyes, the ceiling is actually pink also. It gives a really smooth flow to the paint from wall to ceiling and avoids the stripe look that white would give it. This is a very happy room and I never walk in here without smiling a little. Rachel already talks about "her" room and looks forward to being in it.This is a room in progress. We have put the initial round of color on the walls. A dark purple accent wall and a lighter lavender on the other walls. This is the master bedroom. Since I took this picture, the flooring has been completely finished, the doors moved (not pictured) and a closet added (using up some vacant hall space). There is still a tub in the middle of the floor as we are working on the plumbing in the floor in the master bath. Hopefully we can show some pictures of the bathroom soon.

This is our new bathtub in the hall bath. We are thrilled. Of course none of you can see all the pipe work that went on before this went in- it looks so simple in a picture. One of the highlights is that the shower head was raised from 72 inches to 80. So for all you tall people that come to visit, no hitting your head on the shower head now! And, you must come and visit- but wait a few months if you don't mind. Since this picture was taken we have all the sheet rock back on in the bathroom and a new bathroom fan. There are outlets, and light boxes in the walls at the right places for the vanity and there are pipes sticking out for the sinks to go in. Some of this may seem minor to some of you, but for us all those little details are really great to see happen. I think one of the reasons is that most of these things are things that Brandon and I are not familiar with, so others have pitched in and helped with. Then we come back and just like magic it appears.

Other things you can't see that are going on:

We got our new appliances- a stove, washer, and dryer!

A lot of demolition has gone on in the kitchen area. Walls are removed and railings as well as flooring. We have vanities and sinks, light fixture and tile for the bathrooms just waiting to go in. We've been sanding baseboards and will be priming them soon for going in the bedrooms. And there is a little of the flooring started in the last bedroom upstairs. I'm looking for some sticky tile for the laundry floor that matches a FREE counter top that one awesome friend picked up for us. The garage, basement, and workshop areas have been cleaned out, swept, and are ready for someone elses stuff to be stored in.

One of the fun things about going up there to work right now is coming home. When I remember, it's marvelous fun to take a sled with me and then when I get ready to walk back home, I can sled almost the whole way. A bit of a chance to be a kid at a time of my life when many things are entirely too serious!

So, hope you've enjoyed the update and we'll keep plugging away and try to give you another one soon.