Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oops, guess I should do an update!

It's been a while since I last posted... I really need to get better about that.

School's out! Which is nice, but I must be the only mom pulling her hair out a week into summer vacation. Our apartment is small, and crowded. But the neighborhood kids are questionable at best and the cats use the playground sand as a giant litter box. Time to start walking to the park? Think again! It's been cold and rainy off and on!

I have a lot of thoughts about how we finished off school. Mostly in terms of how we began this year. With Oren. I am proud of Nathan and how he really came out of his shell this year, his reading and handwriting are fantastic, he made friends. But he never gave the teachers any trouble in Mountain Home. Oren did, to where if the phone rings and it's the school I still cringe and want to run away without answering. We had our little homeschooling adventure, which I won't repeat any time in the near future. And then we put him back in school, with a new teacher.

And guess what...

This teacher is actually moving up to the 4th grade, and has requested to have Oren in her class again next year! She likes him that much! YAY!!!

If only preschool goes that well with William next year.

There's really just a huge jumble of everyday things I could put down, but nothing wants to get organized. There's cleaning and messes and more cleaning and more messes. There's laundry. There's a book I am finding hard to put down, but have to. There's jam. Really delicious jam that didn't set firm enough and I have to reprocess it tomorrow. There's baths and finding markers and then more baths.

There's trips to the store in desperation to find cheap craft supplies to occupy little hands somewhat safely. There's ice cream. There's planning cake for a birthday party. There's migraines for 3 days in a row thanks to our crazy weather, and Nathan throwing up all over the backseat of my van thanks to a headache himself. (I'm still having trouble getting the smell out.)

And there's been lots of hugs and kisses, and sweet little hands playing with my hair.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fun Times...

When we lived in Mountain Home, our dryer took a nice normal cycle to dry our laundry. Fairly efficient, lighter loads took less. But when we moved here? All of a sudden it took at least 2 full cycles, 2 hours! And if there were a lot of towels, it was nearly 3 full cycles....

Last night, after 3 times pushing the button, the clothes were still damp. No hot air blowing out at all. With 4 busy boys getting lots of laundry dirty this was not a good thing.

Long story short, we called a guy to come see what the problem was since Mark has school and work and homework. Our heating element looked very sad. Bits of wire broken and hanging off, all blackened. He was pretty impressed it had lasted 6 years of constant use! Then, since he was already here and is the ONLY guy in the area who does it, I asked about having our vent cleaned. Not the part that goes from the dryer to the wall. The part that is inside the wall and vents to the outside. All 20 feet of it.

This was the result of 10 years of people's lint catchers not catching everything, and the duct never being cleaned. Gross.... It sort of looked like when you are having that newspaper insulation blown into a wall, like on a home improvement show. Just flying out the outside vent!

The best part? My dryer is back to it's normal cycle, a little longer for jeans. The savings of having to run my dryer half the time I have been should pay for the cleaning in a few months. :-)

We did have some fun yesterday though. As I was attempting to get the older boys put into bed, Daniel learned a new trick. He's been opening the dishwasher for a while now, and standing on it. Good thing he's light. But he figured out he could reach farther up on the counter, grabbing my container of flour, and dumped it all over the floor. This was the mess after sweeping most of it up, leaving less for the vacuum. I'm still seeing white spots on the floor!

And a glimpse of the new toy box. Danny-boy is far cuter! He got all happy that I was snapping pictures, and came in for a nice close-up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just for you Mom!

As I was chatting with my mom on Sunday, telling her about my projects, I realized that I had only posted pictures on facebook. So Mom hadn't seen them yet! I promised I'd post them, and since I'm waiting for my neat, green toy box to dry... I thought I'd go ahead and get these up.

My kids have this deplorable, yet slightly admirable, ability to break things. Namely, pieces of furniture they can climb on. We've been through.... 1... 2... 3 bookshelves over the last few years. At one point I just had the books on the built in wire shelves in the closet. But I don't have that at this house. Nathan jumped onto the last bookshelf from the top bunk, going right through it. So I knew the next one would have to be sturdy, and since I don't have a handy $300 for a SOLID bookshelf, I had to make one!

Now, if they'd keep the books on the shelf, it'd be perfect.

The dresser was not built by me. This was a thrift-store find that had seen better days. It had already gotten repainted white and stenciled "Pants", "Shirts", and "Sunday" since at that point the 2 older boys were sharing dressers and that kept their stuff separated. But it was desperate for another redo. Oren requested plaid, but was more than happy to accept the stripes that I did. (Okay, I basically told him I wasn't going to do plaid, stripes were enough work. And he didn't pitch a fit. :-) )

It works surprisingly well with all the other colors in the room, and I'm very glad I stayed with just stripes. Plaid would have been WAY too much going on!

As for the toy box? I combined the yellow from the bookshelf with some of the blue from the larger stripes, for an awesome Spring-y green. The box is huge, a lot bigger than I thought. So it should fit plenty of toys! I'll be doing probably 1 more of them, as well as some storage cubbies screwed onto the top, so it'll will be a storage system thing. Theoretically. I'll take a picture in the morning so the light shows the real color, and so that it will be dry.

I'm really hoping that the storage units will help them keep things clean. They love to dump out the rubbermaid bins and then stand on them. Thus, breaking the bins and leaving a disaster in their room. We figured up that I've spent 3 times the amount the wood cost me, on rubbermaid bins for those boys and their toys. So it seemed a worthwhile investment for something they can't tip over. Sure, they can empty the bins and then get in them, and it will be fun to see how long it takes them to figure that out.... But they can't tip them over, and there won't be lids to lose, and they can just chuck things in there while keeping things like legos a little farther out of Daniel's reach.

That's the plan, anyway.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We interrupt this Springtime...

to bring some more snow! Honestly!!!!! We woke up Friday morning to a good inch of snow on the ground and I had to scrape the windshield to get the boys to school. Not cool.

We did enjoy some decent weather on Saturday, so after picking up our bountiful basket, I kicked the kids outside to enjoy the playground for a while. They came back in covered in sand but happy. Supposedly the owners of the apartment complex are coming this week to look around. If I manage to see them I think I will suggest they consider a different cushioning material at the playground. The local cats see it as one giant litterbox and ALL the kids, not just mine, love to dig in it. They have to wash their hands before they touch anything. So far nobody has gotten sick, but it's only a matter of time. Bark or gravel would be so much better.... *ewwww.*

As always my week ended up busier than I had planned out. I started a skirt for a friend, but she hasn't been able to come try it on so I could adjust the fit, so I ended up making myself a dress instead of finishing her skirt. The fabric was on sale and called to me, just perfect for one particular pattern I had, so I splurged a little. Most of my Sunday clothes I have had for years, and I hesitate to purchase or make anything really cute that fits me. Because I think I should wait until I lose all the weight, it's a waste until then. But..... I realized that even if I do lose a lot of weight, I can simply take the dress apart and cut it to a smaller size! So why not enjoy something cute and flattering to the size I am now? Today was the first time I wore it, and the dress received so many compliments. No regrets on my decision to go ahead with the project, even if the fabric wasn't exactly cheap. Being the size that I am, the days I feel good about myself are few and far between. But with my favorite pair of heels and this flattering dress, it was a good day!

I'll get a picture at some point, I'm still just really self-conscious about being in pictures.

Mark's birthday was today. We had the yummiest crock-pot chicken with cheesy sauce with his family. And the birthday boy requested brownies with that coconut-pecan frosting you put on german chocolate cake. So we had scratch homemade cakey brownies, and I toasted the coconut and pecans that went into the frosting. Let me tell you, that is the best german chocolate cake frosting in the WORLD! No kidding!!! Toasting the coconut brings out an entirely different dimension of flavor. Deeper and richer, more caramelly.... Yum! It went perfectly with the brownies, and everyone raved about it. It's just the recipe inside the german chocolate box, baker's chocolate brand. I just toast the coconut and add extra of it.

Cooking for people makes me happy. Lots of yummy noises.

He got a new Sunday shirt, because his are several years old and showing the wear. I also scored a good deal on some really nice new ties that he thought were cool. One has metallic threads so it looks different when you move it, different colors show up.

His parents also gave us a date night for his birthday. I took him out to Applebee's where he got a free birthday dessert. Those little dessert shots are just the perfect size to end the meal. Then we were going to see one movie but ended up at the wrong theater, so we saw Hoodwinked, Too. In 3D! I've never seen a 3D movie, so it was a new experience for us. The glasses barely stayed on my face. Then when we came out of the theater we both saw Wingers by where we parked. Both of us started talking about their wings, mouths watering. So, giggling like little kids, we went in and found that they had a to-go menu! Score! We pigged out on our perfectly sweet and spicy wings in the car all the way home.

To find....

That the kids had all fallen asleep. No surprise there, we got home just before 10. But...... we had taken them to Grandma's house, which is where they were asleep. His mom is an angel and had told us that if they fell asleep before we got home, they could stay the night. I think she put them down early just to make sure they could stay. *hahaha* So we headed back to our house for the night.

It was a very strange experience waking up this morning to no children. Mark had gone to work earlier and it was just me in the house. I missed my boys! Nobody throwing toilet paper in the shower, nobody eating 1/2 of 3 different bananas, nobody turning the tv behind my back.... Daniel's hug when I showed up at Grandma's with their Sunday clothes this morning was like manna from heaven.

As much as they drive me crazy, and as much as I treasure the small breaks I get from time to time... I got a glimpse of what life would be without their smiling and grimy faces. And I didn't like it. They are my reason for living, and the reason my house is a disaster. I love them!

This has turned into a very late night hodgepodge of things, somewhat rambling. And so I shall take myself off to bed where I should have been a long time ago. Good night!