Thursday, July 26, 2012

A New Word

I'm slowly working my way through a book.  A Different Kind of Perfect  Writings by Parents on Raising a Child with Special Needs

Honestly, as I crave information regarding Down Syndrome on one level, the other end of the spectrum is running and screaming in the opposite direction with my fingers stuck in my ears and singing, 'lalalalalalalalalala' at the top of my lungs as off key as possible to keep the reality of it from paralyzing me.

So in trying to be more mature - I'm reading about it.  Some.  Warning:  this a really freakin' hard book to read.  I HAVE to be in the right frame of mind, state of heart, mode of coping to even pick it up.  It's good - but h.a.r.d. - and I'm learning I get slightly blindsided by the hard in the midst of gathering info and that ticks me off a bit. 

The other night I was reading before bed and came across a new-to-me section.  I read it.  Stopped.  Backed up and reread it.


"If you've ever kicked your desk after getting yelled at by your boss, or snapped at your husband because you accidentally burned dinner, then you've experienced displacement. 

One of the 'side effects' of anger, displacement occurs when we shift the focus of our anger from its original target onto an object or person less threatening or more convenient than the original source."

Erch. I started laughing.  Like crazy woman laughing as a lightbulb dawned on me.  I'm not kicking desks or snapping at my husband (too much, I hope) but.....Oh. My. Kitchen. least my displacement is productive in the end.  *crossing fingers*

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

School Room

This is a quandry of a subject.  Franky, I am the sit down at a desk, have a sharp pencil, bright light, crisp piece of paper kind of learner.  My children....ummm....not so much.  It's taken me a few years to figure that out and be okay with it

For the first few years of homeschooling I was working so hard to set up *school at home*.  A dedicated school room.  You know, the shelves with supplies, the chalkboard, the desk facing the front, the alphabet border sweeping the room.  (swoon).  Yet, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew there was something more to be had and was led to choose a literature based curriculum.  Sonlight.  LOVED IT.  Our firstborn didn't fit into the proverbial learning box though and I panicked assuming that it had to do with the curriculum I was using.  Hunted out something more traditional (workbooks) and that led to what I refer to fondly as the 'Year of Tears' - for all of us. 

We went back to Sonlight and began the epic adventure that we're still on of making homeschooling work for us - instead of cramming our round pegs into square holes.  Duh.  Hours spent snuggling on the couch reading.  Nary a workbook except for some math at the kitchen table.  Exploration of the outdoors for science with quite a few critters and plants for visual aids.  We used to the books as supports to the things we were seeing and hearing.  I've learned to make the school books work for us instead of being a slave to the guide.  Freedom! 

Each year is a bit of a flux and flex based on our opportunities and resources at the time, along with the needs of our kids and the family.  Being able to keep school with us and have that continuity made a world of difference as we were packing up our lives and lifestyles into the back of the truck and living in Mexico and Honduras.  We had our books and school time which kept some semblance of normal for the kids.

Now we are back in the states and still, they have to do school.  :)  Shocker some days for them, but oh well.  The house we have and the stages of learning and needs they have have led us back to a school room....of sorts.  9th grade, 7th grade, 5th grade, and babyhood.  We are enjoying having a zone for all that to happen in - or at least a spot for the storage of those supplies, books, and 'yes, you need to do that math worksheet with a pencil and paper' kind of day.  (we still read together on the couch or sprawled out on the floor) 

SO - the room.  I'm working on having the kids involved in it more so there's some ownership for them.  That and I'm realizing it's just paint and the worst thing we'll have to do is paint over it and maybe replace some drywall.  Even then, we could count that for some class like Art, so it's a win-win either way.  :) 

We started out by doing the 'chalkboard'.



DONE!!! *never mind that little project in process on the floor. 

On Sunday we didn't go to church.  The kids were all still sick or on the upswing but still coughing (and that means we don't go breathing on other people in my book) so we had a lesson in creativity instead of formal church.  For some reason it took them about 10 minutes to believe me when I said we were going to write on the wall.  Normally, this is a very good thing. 

The 'means something to us as a family' wall:


The entrance to the laundry room which is right off the 'school' room. 

The 'love' even worked it's way to the kids' bathroom wall.  I could've just written out their list of morning and evening chores but I refrained.  I'm working on being more poetic in my delivery.

I think they're pretty invovled in the room now, don't you think?  It's making me twitch a bit (randomness!!!) but they had a flipping great time talking about all the 'sayings' and pictures we wanted and what they really mean to us, and we laughed a LOT while working on it together. 

Now, I just need to go back and mention again that, NORMALLY, we don't write on the walls in the house.

I wonder if they're going to believe me. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

"We don't do Art class in our home school."

These words actually came out of my mouth in speaking to a teacher who is giving some Art classes during the summer.  I had signed Natalie up so she could get some real instruction on how Art is done. 

Later that afternoon, she and I worked on finishing a project we started, oh, when we were moving in LAST year - the downstairs floor. 

It's concrete.  We ripped out the carpet as it was nasty in color (blue) and condition (water damage).  We knew we didn't want to put carpet down as it's right off the laundry area and with a daylight basement...well, we felt like doing that would be begging for some kind of flood.  (We've already had a few so we were right!)  Enter concrete stain!  GREAT idea and fun...although when we moved in there was a list 5,987,564 items long, I was hugely pregnant, and Alan was leaving for a two week trip to China.  Needless to say, we did the essentials and not much more.  We almost finished the floor. 

There's a learning curve to every new skill and that one was interesting.  Texture, product, technique, quantity.  We figured out how we liked it then wound up running out of stain.  Life got busy, crazy, and complicated so we didn't get back to it.  Those undone bits have been driving her nuts (and me...but I'm able to ignore it better) so I made it a personal goal to FINISH that floor this month. 

Enter a couple of sick big kids, no one available to help me rip out the soffit in the kitchen, Charlotte taking a really long nap, and Natalie and I available to GET IT DONE. 

As we were working away, those words I'd allowed out of my mouth that morning came back to me and she and I laughed pretty hard.  We don't do Art class......snort.  Apparently we're too busy doing BIG, artistic projects, we don't do a 'class'.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Last weekend we put together the last bit of phase #....something in the kitchen.  It's almost better than I imagined.  :) 

Shelves are going up!!

Here is the installer extrodinaire.  Side note:  you *must* have one of these in order to rip out cabinetry, actually get things put back together and have anything remotely inspiring to blog about. 


The view from our garage entry door.  

See that little bit of mudding up there that is still wet?  Did you know that if there's a ton of humidity in the air, it will take days for that stuff to dry?  Well....I needed something to do this week anyway.  Paint is on the agenda.  

Honestly, this is coming together REALLY well.  I'm actually pleased that we're doing it in pieces, which is huge growth from my just-get-a-project-finished-so-we-don't-have-to-live-in-Limboland-anymore way of doing things in the past.  Not only is this helpful from a money standpoint, but we are dialing in what we want where based on how we LIVE in this space.  Novel concept, I know. 

Some things we're able to repurpose.  For example:  see that cabinet on the right of the stove????  It used to be between the sink and the refridgerator.  It was going to be a temorary patch until we implemented actual cabinetry but as we were putting this side of the kitchen together again, I realized that not having anything next to the stove may lead to a broken dish.  Natalie and I have both gone to set something there due to sheer habit.  As we almost dropped part of dinner, we were able to laugh and say, "Guess what I almost did?!"  So...enter previous temporary fix.  Alan and I love the way it looks and, amazingly enough, will fit perfectly with our planned high cabinet unless my measuring skills haven't improved any from the last experience. 

Certain other elements are just falling into place.  We're realizing that with our awesome-found-in-the-depths-of-the-shop-sink, we don't really need a side cabinet between the sink and the fridge, so at some point in the near future, we'll be moving the sink over a bit, realigning it plumbing wise, then that will open up another space on the left side of the sink for another LONG stretch of countertop.  HAPPY DANCIN'.  

Yet, as with everything lately, this is subject to change.  If it's not nailed down that is....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Timed Test

I love being efficient.  It's kind of a hobby for me.

This summer I'm making some personal goals in being efficient while still being a nice person to my family.  Next school year is going to be a doozy.  We will be juggling the schedules of high school, junior high, elementary, and babyhood with therapies and doctor visits thrown in the mix.  I imagine this season will be a 'loud' one. 

There are certain things that I work to do each day that help me retain my sanity...those 'ordinary acts' and all.  None of this is incredibly spiritual although I do sense God's pleasure when I do the next thing without grumbling*.  *key word there... Some of these things kept me from wallowing in my pjs for weeks on end after Charlotte was born and postpartum hormones sought to take me down.  (I did some of that - but am not going to live there permanently)

Most of the time my kids say things take too long.  Back when they were littles (5 or so), we implemented room rescues every night before bed.  All things had to be put back where they go so that none of us would have legos reach up at attack us in the dark of night while going potty.  The first few times this was a bit monumentous, but after a fashion, we could do it in less than 15 minutes.  Timers are our friends.  Even still, we use the timer for all kinds of projects.  Some cleaning, some school, some playtime.  Otherwise, suddendly it's 5:30 and Alan is driving in the driveway and I have no idea what's for dinner.  Time warp. 

I'm going to start using the timer on myself because I've felt some of the good acts sliding as I have developed a knack for getting distracted.  Such a novel concept for a type 'A' personality.  God has a sense of humor and I think he's showing me how much my kids DO work at staying on's really hard sometimes! 

THIS is my stopwatch for my face on/contacts in/hair done routine this morning: 

I even brushed my teeth just to see how long things would take.  I didn't dwaddle purposely but I also didn't rush.  I have my put together session fairly streamlined but I'm completely comfortable showing up to anything from a grocery store to church with everything I did in this timeframe.  This isn't my luxury, or I guess you could say it IS a luxury in that I have it down to a quickie science. 

Someday I'll post how long I dwaddle spend over my morning coffee.  There would be many more numbers.  That's how I like it. 

How do you spend your time?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If You Give a Girl a Kitchen with BLUE Countertops....

she's going to want to have a remodel to go with it. 

Progress has been made.  Progress is a loose concept around here.

It's gonna be.....

Since a picture is worth a thousand words (which is why we think IKEA uses pictures instead of words in their directions...) here is a photographic telling of the story "The Cabinetry that Didn't Fit".  Enjoy.

"It was so straight forward on paper."

Yep...more blue countertop coming right out.

Out it comes.  It took more muscle than we thought.  30 layers of paint is better than glue.
What's behind door #1???


PLENTY of space now!!!

CHECKING to see that it would fit BEFORE we secured anything to the wall.  Smart.

Long and lean...:)

Heavy Metal


What the pictures don't tell you is that this took an entire day.  Just. This. Part.  My husband is amazing.

Someday soon (hopefully) the end pieces, other side, and floor will be done.  I'm not holding my breath though.  It may be a while.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Measuring Tips.

I have none. 

As you can see by the following pictures.

I measured 5,679,008,432 times before we actually purchased anything. 

Obviously, that wasn't enough.

I swear to goodness, I somehow managed to get my 96" table in this SAME SPACE with a smidge to spare, but cabinetry that is 96" wide all together will NOT fit.  NOT.


So instead of whipping these in before the kids get back from gramma's, we're going to have to rip out another section of cabinetry (hadn't planned on doing that 'till next month....) and schooching the stove down a smidge to wedge these in.  Oh and we'll be having company for two days.  Awesome. 

It will be great.  It will be great.  It will be great.

This is also why people go over budget in remodels.  Danggit.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spray Paint Disaster...

original placement idea
 Sooooo - the table turned out stinkin' cute although didn't quite look right in the spot I had originally thought it would find a home. 

Now - here is a better fit. 

much better

This could change at any moment though.  I looooove having this table at my bedside but right now our room is a bit crammed with the crib in it.  Someday when Charlotte moves into the playroom for nighttime, table 'Whimsy' may find it's way back to keep my treasures (glasses...books...water...) safe for the night. 

Yet, as the title suggests, this post isn't about spray paint projects turning out all ducky. my inspiration fueled moment (about 3/4 of the way through the first coat of the table) I realized that I could just as easily 'brighten up' a shelf we've used in various places.  Due to the narrow nature of my side of the bed,  I need a different something in there to keep those glasses.  Sooooo....I started spraying the shelf with the Harbour Blue can and promptly ran out.  I swear, I debated in the store for 10 minutes whether or not to buy 2 cans, but that would be committing awfully early in this new found relationship of allowing blue back into the house.  Bought the one can and voilia....needed two.  Nuts. 

Off Charlotte and I ran to Ace Hardware on a bright Saturday morning to remedy this situation.  In retrospect, I am glad I had a few days to settle on what color I might want and WHERE I may want to use this shelf.  You see, we're demolishing part of the kitchen.  Oh wait, you already knew that.  This will be great (I keep repeating that to myself), but in the interrum, we've 'lost' the spot where keys, sunglasses, and a few bits and pieces land as you come home.  Hmmm....I may have a perfect spot where those baskets could find a home, but they need a shelf.  TADA. 

Finally, I had settled on a creamy yellow or a green.  As I already knew that Wilco didn't have the correct shade for me, we tried the other store.  Less selection.  Drat.  'Well, here's a good yellow and a pretty good green.'  Back and forth in my mind over what color would look good in which place the shelf landed.  'Oh forget it.  Just pick the yell....OH!...LOOK!  That's a fabulous shade right there!  Marigold.  What a great name.  A bit on the bright side, but that is a dark room so it will look great and go with the pillow on the bed and our rug (Oaxaca...happy sigh).'  We purchased then jetted home to get it going. 

Oh. My. Heck.

Marigold my EYE

This is a hideous shade of "French's Mustard". 


I may have to go back to the store.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ordinary Acts

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”  - Thomas Moore.

One of my absolute favorite quotes.  Very encouraging when your days are filled with 'ordinary acts' like laundry, cooking, dishes, picking up and putting away.

My soul feels very encouraged by the ordinary acts that fill my days.  Hubby, big kids, baby, farm animals, home making.  Home making....I'm not just talking about ripping out walls and putting things back together, either.  In order for our lives to work as they do, I need to be here, and be FULLY here.  That part is my choice.  I need to choose to be HERE with my heart as well as my hands and not pine for a season that isn't mine at the moment.

Another great quote I work to remember is, "Careless thinking is a dangerous habit."  - Joanna Weaver.  My careless thinking is another version of 'that grass over there is greener' all the while missing sprouts coming up around me in my grass

Our *grass*

The physical part of being here?  Well...thank you, Alan, for that.  I promise not to rip out anything without asking first.



Thursday, July 5, 2012

More Girly Power Tools

I'm learning that 'where there's a will....there's a way' on a whole new level.  I've loved that phrase since my mom used it after my now hubby had called my parents and asked them if he could take me out on a date.  Mom mentioned his request to me and I said, "It'll never work.  He's too tall."  (6'4" and I'm 5'3" on a good day and in cute shoes).  Her response?  "Where there's a will, there's a way." *big smirk*  15 years and several months later I'm still loving that approach. 

Now I'm using it with home demolishing decorating.  This may or may not have dire consequences.

Today I've had another burst of inspiration.  Our big kids are spending a few days with Alan's folks and I'm slowly putting the house back together after having been gone on a youth work team for a week, coming home, doing ghastly amounts of laundry, then having family staying with us for a few days.  While planning all that 'free' time we are going to have before the kids come back in 3 days, I should be able to cram at least 3 or 4 big projects right? 

Jam making: 

Strawberry done.
Rasberry done.
Apricot - will do this afternoon.  (LOVE having parents in law who will offer to bring you fresh picked fruit from the Gorge and then swap you for kids and some fresh eggs!)

morning after mudding

 Kitchen wall.  Working on it.  My sweet Alan was tired of getting insulation dust in his drinking glasses (yea...there's no cabinetry to put them in so they sit on a tray on the countertop) and put up some drywall to fix finish up the soffitt hole.  He taped and mudded a section of it to get it going.  There will be further repairs done as time allows and when I remember to look up that high and see that pesky lath and plaster poking out.  I did the texturing on the main wall last night and after it dries, paint will go on!  I hope the paint that I bought a year ago will still be good. 

dad in the back with baby

room to spare...
 We also stopped by and picked up a few of the kitchen pieces we've been waiting on, drooling over, working and reworking in our minds so at some point this week - yes, it's Thursday - we'll be putting together some cabinetry.  We piecemeal or we wait until the perfect time.  We're piecemealing.  Here's a teaser picture.  Alan, Charlotte, baby bag, stroller, 42 pounds of apricots, kitchen components and I made it home in one trip.  Where there's a will...there's a way... to cram it in.

Now, about that title I've become completely distracted from. 

THE BEST girly power tool for me these days?  Spray paint.  It'll get 'er done.  There is one girlfriend I have who uses the phrase, "if it holds still, I'll paint it."  SUPER FUNNY the first time I heard her say that but now, I'm realizing she's RIGHT and not just stinkin' hilarious.  :) 

Picture the scene:  you have a piece of furniture you inherited from a family member long since and while it has FABULOUS structure, the finish on it was desperate for help and you have great aspirations of refinishing the piece back to it's former wooden glory but instead, just kind of live with it (or cover it) because you haven't the skill, energy, or FIRST CLUE how to refinish a piece of wood.  After 25 years you're going to look at it one morning as you drink your coffee and suddenly the words SPRAY PAINT will scream in your mind and you will hear angels singing. 

It just so happens that you have to go to the farm store anyway for more pectin and canning jars and, LOOK, they carry spray paint as well!!!  Yeeee haaaw. 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, you will pick the fun blue color, knowing it'll be perfect for that piece.  NOW, you can look at it and sigh while saying, 'it's not's covered in the patina of a bygone era'. 

I think pigs might have just flow by my window.