Friday, October 28, 2011

A Word in Edgewise

I've had so much I've wanted to blog about but it is not some flaky excuse when I say I just have NOT had time. I should be going to sleep now but I felt like I should at least fit a few words in and a couple pictures so at least I don't feel all out in blogging limbo.
First is my house, which was painted last week.
If you are on facebook then you have already seen it but this is for those of you who aren't. So when they first started painting, I was a little worried that I'd gone too bold on the color. Exterior paint really gets a brightness boost in the sunlight. Keep that in mind when you are choosing exterior colors. However, the more they painted, the more I liked it. Then when the black went on, I was sold. It just looks so dang good. I do think it's on the edge of eye-catching and too much but is still safely on the pleasingly eye-catching side.
I've been working upstairs mostly these days getting it ready now, to rent. I've been getting a laundry room put in and closet as well as a small kitchen. And I'm repainting practically everything. That's time consuming. But I have the best visiting teacher I've ever had who has been over to help me paint so many times that I've lost count. She has a baby the same age as Keshet so the two of them are usually sleeping at the same time for a couple hours while we knock out all the painting. It's nice to have a painting partner. It helps me feel motivated when I am already so sick of it.
A few other things have happened like having some guys from church help me move furniture to the storage unit, arranging for gravel to go in the driveway, getting carpet quotes for the upstairs bedroom, buying electrical supplies for Shane (mentioned in an earlier post) to run lines for the kitchen, and packing.... always with the packing. Ugh. I really wish I had a better idea of what our future held and then I would know what I could get rid of. But I don't. So I'll probably arrive in Williston, ND with enough crap to fill up half of our single-wide top to bottom. Seriously, everything about that place is a pain so far. Housing is still up in the air and we've yet to find an available storage facility in a 50 mile radius. Brad keeps telling me that the place is nuts and I just won't "get it" until I get there and see for myself. I believe it though.
Anyway, thanks to my in-laws, I'm in the midst of a kid-free weekend (with the exception of Keshet who doesn't really count because she's so good and doesn't mind breast milk for every meal) so I've been kicking butt on finishing up upstairs. And it's reeeeeeally quiet around here. It's eerie. But I am seriously loving this. Wish Gammy and Grandad would move closer to ND so I can have one of these long weekends once a year at least.
Anyway, here's my kidlets in their Halloween costumes.

I have to just put a note here that this costume was given to Novan by one of his teachers at school. They all know how much Novan loves transformers and one of the teachers saw this costume at a consignment sale and knew Novan just had to have it. That's just the kind of teachers they are. That's really the kind of school it is. And I am going to sorely miss it. And so is he.You wouldn't believe the kinds of things he's learned there and he's really just a kindergartener. He gets spelling words every week. I believe last week's words were: wind, water, boat, fish, sun. Novan knows what prepositions and pronouns are and he can name off many of the countries of the world off of a map. They learn about volcanoes and bugs and they talk about what an island is and Novan will tell you his favorite country is Jamaica.  He can add numbers together in his head, even 300 +200 and count by twos, fives, tens, and hundreds. My MIL told me just today how Novan was pointing out that there was a "diversity" of cookies in her cookie bag. And he talks to people. He actually answers questions that strangers ask him and when Dad calls every night, Novan just goes on and on talking about anything and everything. I really do owe it to that school big-time for saving Novan and getting him ready for public school. For the first time I think he could go to school and be alright.
LOVE. I love ABC. We are so blessed to have had our kids at that school. Really truly.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Feeling Accomplished

Ok, don't hold your breath because I have a LOT to post about.
I've been doing some major projects in the last couple weeks with the help of some fabulous people.
What better place to start than with the young women at church? One of my lovely visiting teachers happens to have a calling in young women and so she rallied her girls on a Saturday morning to come and help me with some yard work.
Once again, like a doush, I did NOT take a proper before picture but I should have. They did some major work to this area:

Unfortunately that picture shows them almost done but here is the after picture:

The before picture was pretty much this old rusty metal fence with lots of vines. Beneath the fence was a bunch of bricks overgrown with more vines, vines growing up the side of the house... vines basically. And prickly bush things on the left side. It was rough. I had intended just to get the vines away from the house for now and spray them next year but they hit that place like a tornado and disassembled anything that looked like a vine. It was fantastic!
Then my mom got out her chainsaw (yeah my mom is an awesome biker chainsaw chick) and started cutting down anything that gave her a dirty look. There's just something about holding a piece of machinery that can cut through trees like butter that makes a person want to cut down everything in sight. I had to restrain her before my back yard was tree-less. =) Then all the young women hauled all that stuff to the curb and we cut it into small enough pieces to satisfy the city. And here we are in front of our haul.

These ladies also disassembled the fencing around my garden which was super helpful and now my back yard looks huge... also a result of all that chainsaw action. Again, no before picture, sorry! Also, the wood and stuff is now gone so it really is empty back there.

Ok so my mom is not only handy with a chainsaw and motorcycles, she's also handy with pretty much any tool. I want to be like her when I grow up. Yes I do. One particularly boring but necessary project she undertook was fixing the access points to my sewer main. My sewer main runs down the driveway and has 2 access points that stick up (according to building code which we were forced to adhere to when we replaced the sewer and water main a year ago). I think the reason they stuck up so much was to be high enough to be level with a future driveway but anyway, not having the means to put in a proper driveway, Brad drove over them and broke the caps. So mom dug around them, cut the pipes down, installed new caps and then buried them more properly. So now they are safe to drive over.

Another project, thank goodness I have a before picture:

And After. My mom's head silhouette makes an appearance :-) and yes, she installed it herself.

Purely awesome. I was a little skeptical of the impact a new storm door might make to the look of the house but now that I have one I think all the time "Storm door, where have you been all my life??" I really love it not only for how great it looks but how darn convenient it is to have my main door open and the storm door closed so I can watch my kids on the front porch or across the street with the neighbors. Plus it shuts by itself so I have yelled at my kids approximately 50% less because I no longer have to yell for them to shut the door behind them. Oh the simple things can really make such a difference!

A few other things have happened too like having 2 windows in my kitchen replaced. What a difference! I feel like the kitchen is more open because I no longer have those ugly 12 pane windows, yuck! Plus I can actually SEE through the window. I keep thinking I've got a hole in my wall I need to fix.

I had a corner section of my roof repaired that was in SERIOUS need. After picture again.

Along with some help and a pickup truck, I got the big giant pile of concrete out of my back yard from when we dug up the driveway to replace the sewer main.
My two super awesome visiting teachers Tiffany and Katie, my new neighbor Kate, and I painted: my laundry room a delightful pale green instead of the bright orange that it was, touched up paint in baby's room, put an entire fresh coat of paint in the kids' room, and touched up trim paint. Painting the laundry room also involved me pulling out my washer and dryer and cleaning behind it. I found several items that I've been missing for quite some time like my tape measure. Also, you can see the before color of orange (ok I was never a fan of orange walls but I did it for Brad who LOVES orange and I thought if he could have any color he wanted on the wall, I'd let him have the laundry room. I think that makes me a pretty terrific wife)

I've also sold a BUNCH of stuff on Craig's list and made pretty good money and de-cluttered all at the same time!
And in case I haven't rubbed it in enough, here's a picture of my grass that you should be coveting.

Finally, and this is a HUGE accomplishment for us because we've been working on it for almost 4 months, Novan and Beya memorized all THIRTEEN Articles of Faith! And actually, I did too.

Articles of Faith
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Oh yeah! My kids are memorization rock stars! (They get those skills from me by the way)
And yes, they did have incentive, $50 each to spend on whatever they want. So I took them to the store for a shopping spree and it was like Christmas around here... except better I think because they picked out EXACTLY what they wanted and it was in the wake of a huge accomplishment. Honestly I think I should get a reward too because making those kids practice EVERY day was no picnic. Sometimes I felt like I was pulling teeth. But it was so worth it!
I've really been busy but also quite blessed, not to mention entertained by my 4. Here's one I captured of Novan doing....I don't know. But I found him like this. He really adores Keshet and loves to be cuddled with her in any way possible.
And then there's Iyov, of course, ever the entertainer. I also found him like this. And FYI, he's got no pants on.
Oh my baby girl. Such a good baby and soooo smiley. When she's awake she's either smiling or blowing raspberries, constantly.
Such a blessing these kids are. I really have the best job. It never gets old. There's always something new and as my friend Melissa's blog touts, every day holds simple surprises that make it all worth it.

And as a teaser for next time. Here's a project we just started a couple days ago. Ok, I didn't really do anything except choose colors and hand over money. :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beige is just not my thing

...and taupe is a fancy way of saying "boring." But that's just me. I know there are plenty of people who go for the boring route on paint but I guess Brad and I spent way to many years renting and enjoying the boring side of paint. So when we bought our house, we pacted to paint much more interesting colors. There are plenty of rooms that need touching up after 2+ years of little tornados running through the hall and little girls who think their art belongs in a permanent setting. But there are two rooms that I planned to repaint. One of those is the living room. Of all the paint colors in my house, that room has "gotten old" and besides that, I knew if I wanted to rent it out, I should probably opt for a color that would appeal to a wider audience. So this General Conference weekend, my project was to paint.
Here's the before picture. I'd like to throw in there that the picture is after I took the TV off the wall. It was pretty difficult because the TV is really heavy and there was this hex bolt holding it in place that I could not find the right tool to remove it so I had to use a lot of force to get it out of the bracket.

Then here is the after picture. Pretty plain, huh? Well I'm not sure why the picture is so grainy but the color is pretty much accurate. It's very very pale blue. I refused to do anything beige or boring. Light blue was the best I could do and still feel like the room had any color at all. The project took me pretty much the whole weekend but it's done!

Finally, I did some work outside picking up the bricks strewn around the yard, moving some stumps and stuff. But one of the things I have thought over and over is that I wish my spigot was not over dirt. I always wanted some kind of rocks or concrete or something beneath it where you wouldn't get your shoes filthy when you went to turn on or off the spigot. So I took some bricks I gathered and put a nice little "patio" under the spigot. It took me about an hour and a half because I had to level the ground well enough that it didn't look completely ghetto. I'm pleased with the outcome and now I can turn on the water (helpful for all this grass watering I've been doing) without getting my feet all dirty and tracking the dirt in the house. Yay!