Thursday, June 30, 2011

Makeover: Days 1, 2, 3, 4

DAY 1: Demolition.  No going back now!

DAY 2: Delivery of the microwave and dishwasher (that was leaking from inside the box).  Supposedly, dishwashers are tested before delivery and can have some water left in them...who knew?
The flooring was started and thankfully I still love it.
 A few can lights were installed and it instantly brightened things up.

DAY 3: No work on the house today but Grandma learned how to play Wii
with the kids while I was at work!  I love that!

DAY 4: Flooring is in the bathroom and foyer and now leading into the kitchen.  Poor JJ startles and freaks out everytime they use a power tool.  This may be a long remodel for her...and me.  We spent a lot of time outside instead.

Tonight, we all got to go to Lowe's together (kids just love that...not) to get some supplies in order to put the bathroom back together.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cleaning Out This Place

We spent the weekend taking care of a sick kid, sick husband, packing our oldest up for a week of sleep-away camp (1st time), and getting ready for the remodel.

Have I mentioned that I can't stand having stuff out all over the place??

Our basement level bar is our new home to countertop appliances.

Most importantly to me, our coffee pot is safely relocated to the laundry room in the basement.  Have to thank the hubby for having the coffee ready for me this morning.  Made all the difference.

Our great room is really "great" now.  It is now the pantry, office, living room, dining room (with 2 tables), coat closet, music room, and where all of the flooring is being stored.

And this is a kitchen gutted of our crap stuff and ready for a face lift. 

Let's get started with demo!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Weighing Her Options

We dropped JJ off for her therapy-based preschool program last week and decided to explore some of the hospital.  This clearly means...cafeteria and gift shop.  As we made our way through the hallways, we passed a cleaning cart. 

L spoke to me very softly and discreetly: "Uh mom, what do you estimate the salary of a janitor to be?" 

A little surprised by the question and her use of estimate in casual conversation, I asked "Why do you ask?

With a very calm and serious look on her face she replied, "Well, I am considering it BUT I would like to make a good salary too." 

She said it as if we were late in her junior year and she had to make a serious decision about colleges.  She's only 8 but I love that she's always thinking!  I totally respect hard work in any profession and high income is not the only basis of success, however, I thought that it was good that she was thinking about the practical side of work...a paycheck. 

I later asked what some of the other professions she was "considering."  She listed more than I can recall.  Here's a, paramedic, occupational therapist in the schools (smart kid), physical therapist, teacher, singer, horse farmer, doctor. 

I can't wait to see what the future holds for her. 

Sharing Saturday: VBS and Missions Sunday

We are so blessed to have great camp options in our area.  A "must" for our kids is vacation bible school.  This year the theme was "Pandamania."  This year, they served around 400 kids, 3 of which were mine.  This was J's first year as a real camper and she was thrilled!!  I wanted to help out but I knew that with JJ's schedule, I wouldn't be of much use during the day.  So I asked for some behind-the-scenes kind of work. 
My job was to cut out hundreds of paw prints, medallions, and fish.  The funny thing is that I believe that I only cut out half of the total!  I
showed up to help tape them all up and I was amazed.  The decorations were amazing!!  So many people had really put so much time, thought, and effort into transforming the church into "another land" for these kids.  There was no blank space left.   For making this week so special for our kids, H and I are so thankful. 
*We are also sooo thankful for a dear neighbor who transported our kids to and from so that JJ could nap and I could keep my work schedule. It was more helpful than she'll ever know!

Each day at VBS, the campers brought a certain coin to donate and dollars on the final day.  PT had a great time sorting all of them out so that we could donate.  I think that the camp raised over $2000 to donate to missions/programs.  They also brought in certain food pantry items each day.  Shamefully, we didn't catch on until the last day when we donated canned meat.  We have to deliver some items this week instead. 

On a seperate note, during "Missions Sunday" I bought a shirt where proceeds will benefit the various national and international mission trips that some families and youth are going on.  The slogan is..." I refuse Not to move..."  If you have heard the lyrics to the song "I Refuse" by Josh Wilson, this might make more sense.  The refrain states, "I don't want to live like I don't care...  I don't want to say another empty prayer... Oh, I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else... To do what God has called me to do myself...I could choose not to move...But I refuse."  Check out all of his lyrics here. We hope to participate in a mission some day, yet until then we'll have to provide prayer and financial support.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kitchen: Before Pictures

I can't believe that after many years talking about doing it "someday," we are actually starting the kitchen remodel and replacing the floors in the foyer, guest bath, and kitchen on Monday.  We have been comparing prices, shopping for deals, and making selections for a month or two, but today and tomorrow we expect deliveries to begin! 

We have been blessed to have a friends who own Boss Home Improvement and Remodeling  (check them out) and they have agreed to work with us.  Poor Brett, we have had to be very careful to keep costs down so we have changed our minds a few times on the cabinets and flooring choices yet he sticks with us. 

I should be completely excited but as always, when we make a big purchase or make serious decisions, I tense up a bit.  I get a little overwhelmed thinking about packing up the whole kitchen in boxes and keeping the kids out of the way while the majority of our 1st floor is being worked on. I think about where else we could have spent the money or worry that the selections I made won't look right (I don't trust my sense of style...Really, what sense of style?).

Second guessing...what a waste of time and energy, isn't it?  After all, this opportunity is a privilege and a blessing and it will be so worth it when it is done. We are looking forward to making this part of our house work better for us, adding value to our home, and to make it feel a little more like "us."

Here's the basic plan:
  • add some extra cabinets for storage over the computer and stove
  • updating the look of the cabinets and counter tops
  • replacing the peel-n-stick linoleum (which is marked up) and small amount of oak flooring to make the foyer and kitchen flooring consistent
  • turning the island parallel to the windows and elongating it allow more kids to huddle there and to limit its interference with the refrigerator access
  •  add a couple of can lights to lighten the place up
  • adding a microwave with range hood/vent over the stove (we currently have a standard microwave sitting on a shelf meant for a much larger microwave) 
Here are some before pictures.  Any guesses on if we all will survive the remodel?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How'd That Happen?

Today I started cleaning out drawers in preparation for the kitchen remodel that starts next week.  (Crazy times, I know but more on that later.)  When I took out the three desk drawers, a few papers fell to the bottom of the cabinet.  I called over my oldest height-challenged kid and asked her to get them for me. 

This is what she found...

That's right.  SIX PACIFIERS. 

After exhaustive searches, we had come to the realization that we must have a "paci-thief" at our house.  One by one, they disappeared and it made me crazy. Now we find them below the three drawers which seems like an impossible place for a toddler to access.   Despite my relief at finding all of them, we are now more perplexed than ever.   

How the heck did that happen?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Parking Lot Safety

Setting: Church parking lot returning to the car with J (age 4), CM (age 2.5), and holding JJ (age 18 mths)

Me:  "CM hold my hand or you might get hit by a car."

J: (as she bent down as to be eye level with CM (fyi, who is only a couple inches shorter) and said so sweetly)  "Yeah and you might get killed.  Then what would we say to your mama?"

2 Sharing Saturdays: Red's Community Fund

We missed last Saturday so we are catching up....

In honor of Father's Day, it was H's choice.  He found something that he, my dad, and his dad would all agree  We will be making a donation to the Red's Community Fund, which supports various programs that help youth.  Their website states, "Whether it's renovating baseball fields, providing opportunities to kids with disabilities, underwriting expenses for inner-city teams or hosting its "Reds Rookie Success League," the Reds Community Fund is dedicated to improving the lives of youth through baseball."

One of the projects that is supported is called the Miracle League Field.  Fields are constructed to allow children with disabilities to play baseball.  Check it out.  So cool. 
You can donate to the Red's Community Fund here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Excuse Me While I Gush

This weekend, many cards will be made and purchased for the dads in our lives.  It is a day to celebrate all that they do, have done, and will do for our families.  First off, Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there, especially my own dear Dad, father-in-law, and husband.

Please forgive me but I am going to take a moment to gush over my dear husband.  (Really, I am just testing to see if he even reads my blog.)  He may kill me for this, but too late.

Somethings you might not know about dear H...

He wasn't sure that he wanted kids when I met him.  He was planning on having a very demanding job in the military and he wasn't sure that parenthood was part of that future.

On the day we got engaged, he placed the ring on my hand and said "2."  He was talking about how many children we were planning to have.  I agreed.  Two sounded great...After "2" and many debates and changing our mind, we decided to have one more and adopt one more.  Then done!  Now it looks like 5 might be our lucky number.  Here's to hoping.

We had the first two kids 18 months apart, lived out of town, and H was working so many hours at Home Depot that when the kids saw something orange or a John Deere tractor, they'd say "Daddy!" because that is where they saw him the most.  He resigned his promising position in order to allow us to return to our hometown and to be with his children more.  He was a SAHD for a while.  He then found a job that allowed us to have a better family/work balance.

Most think I am the crazy one (I really am), but don't let H fool you.  He has a heart for service and when asked to help someone or to volunteer, he really does try to help if he can. 

H is a biological father to three and hopeful adoptive parent to two.  Four of which are daughters!!

 He is a bread winner who tries to braid our daughters' hair, puts on ankle and arm braces without flinching, and is learning about African American hair products.

He coaches wrestling, leads a Cub Scout den, plays board and video games, reads comics, and substitute teaches in Sunday School.

He can give baths, makes great quesadillas and strawberry syrup, cleans ceiling fans and vent covers like a champ, can pack a diaper bag, cuts coupons and organizes bills.

H is a great partner in this crazy endeavor we call parenthood.  He gives great hugs, lets us all tickle and torment him for our own amusement, and always makes us feel loved.  He's is present and involved.

We love him so much and I am blessed to have him as our childrens' "Daddy."

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Is it My Birthday?

Is it my birthday already?  Mother's Day?  Christmas? Maybe it was a full moon last night?

Honestly, I don't care why I was so blessed this morning. I am just glad that I was.

I was showered and ready, had made my bed, and was beginning to fold some laundry.  The only child awake was PT.  I looked over at him and remarked, "Hey buddy, just you and me.  Pretty nice huh?"

He smiled and said, "Yes! Hey let's snuggle.  BUT NO kissing.  Pinky swear"

"Deal!!" I replied. Then we hung out on the couch together without 4 girls needing me too.  I even turned on sports so that we could see if the Reds won (No luck!).  Then he hugged me and we decided that we liked "huggling" even better than "snuggling."  What a clever new word. 

I love that kid, can you tell?  I never did kiss him.  A deal is a deal!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Our dog's name

Our dog tolerates a lot for living in a house full of kids.  She can be of great help as well.  I noticed that she is getting fatter now that JJ tries to feed her.  Also, she gets lots of scraps that "fall" to the floor during meals.  I think that it would have suited her better had we named her "Hoover" or "Eureka." 

A few weeks ago, someone asked JJ what her doggie's name was.  She smiled and said, "Go Away." 

Yep, that's right.  The poor girl thinks that the dog's name is "Go Away" because we always tell her to go away from JJ when she is eating.  I heard her the other day trying to call a friends dog this way as well.

Oh well, someday she's get it right.  For now it cracks me up.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Walk in My Shoes

Who wants to walk a mile in my shoes?
They do :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

From the Rear View Mirror

As some of you know, we have been hopeful to build a relationship with JJ's biological sister.   I wrote about it here and here.  At one point we were asked if we'd consider adopting her if this became possible and we said YES...then we were told that we were "misinformed"...and now we are finding that this opportunity may come up again.  We won't believe it 'til we see it but we are ready.  We hope it works out.  We are spending more time with CM and getting to know her foster family better. 

Today, I was driving to pick up CM so that she could spend the weekend with us.  I was feeling a little nervous.  How will we manage all 5 kids?  Will she like us?  Poor baby, she may get homesick.  Will any of the kids be jealous?  Are the two little ones going to keep each other up all night since they are sharing a room? 

Once I got her buckled in, we headed off to the park to play and have dinner.  Then I glanced in the rear-view mirror.  Wow!  What a sight!  I wasn't nervous anymore.  I looked back and noticed that every inch (literally!) of that van was filled with 5 of the most beautiful little faces I've ever seen (sorry I'm biased).

For just a moment, I didn't worry about how this would all play out.  I wasn't planning for the future.  I just felt happy and blessed to have a car full of happy and healthy kids (who weren't screaming or poking at each other). 

I was in the "right now."

It only took one good look the rearview mirror.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Baptism by Fire

The other day I was talking to a neighbor about our recent trip to Chuck-E-Cheese.  I was telling her about how we spent then evening there with JJ's biological sister and foster family.  I was telling her that poor H was rangling 5 kids (ages 8 and under) + one 12 year old while the two moms talked.  I told her that "the poor guy was baptized by fire." 

I didn't realize that little ears were listening until I heard J say sweetly, "Mommy, was the water hot?"


Last lunchbox joke of the year....

What's Irish and stays out ALL night?

Answer: Patty'O Furniture :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sharing Saturday: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

A neighbor sends a yearly mailing out for a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so we participated this week.  Their website states, "The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary (nonprofit) health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services." 

Can't go wrong there.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pleasant Surprise

PT is the kind of kid that likes to tease me by denying me hugs.  It is a little cat and mouse game we play.  Sometimes, he'll cave and let me know that he actually likes me.  Tonight, was one of those nights. 

We found this thank you note taped to our bedroom wall. 

 Needless to say, I tackled him when he wasn't looking to give him hugs and kisses...whether he wanted them or not!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Babysitter Debate

What do you pay your babysitter? 

A group of moms was discussing this the other night.  There were so many variables that played a part.  Is it a daytime or night time sitter?  How old are they?  How many kids are they watching?  Are they babysitting solo or are they a mommy's helper?  Can they drive?  Do you pay them even if you cancel?

I heard everything from $5/hr for a mommy's helper to $12/hour for a high school or college student. 

It sounds like great money to me but I also thought about the teenage boys that push around the lawnmower for $25.  I understand that it is physical labor (that I don't want to do myself ), but it doesn't require the same amount of attention and skill as a good babysitter. After all, they have to keep a group of kids safe and entertained and that is always exhausting.  I plan to encourage my daughters and son to market themselves as someone that can do both...they'll be rolling in dough that way.

There also is the average at-home daycare provider who I doubt makes $12/hr full-time and gets paid even when you cancel.  Most families couldn't afford to pay this on a full-time basis, so I get it.  I am just pointing out that there isn't much rhyme or reason to the whole thing.  If you want to go on a "date"  in the evening then you have to be willing to pay...period. 

H and I are considering using a new drop-in licensed daycare that has flexible hours, no appointment necessary, well trained staff, structured activities, and charges by the hour.  They are open 90 hours each week including on some evening and weekend hours.  The first child is $8/hr and each other child is $3-4/hour.  They also provide peanut-free meals for a fee and they provide pizza on Friday nights.  I think it would be fun if my friends' kids went at the same time and we could all go out together.  I got a Groupon for a free registration and 2 free hours so I'm going to at least try it out.

Of course, I couldn't afford to do this often but with foster children, the licensed daycare is a blessing.  Otherwise, I have to go through the cost and hassle of getting someone (21 years old or older) approved, or find a respite family (Thank you to those that have in the past!)  that is willing to help with my foster child as well as my biological kids. 

We have traded babysitting with a neighbor before we had JJ.  It worked out great.  I have heard of babysitting co-ops where families trade babysitting at no cost.  Unfortunately, when you have a lot of kids, you may not find others that want to swap with you. 

Seriously, how do you figure out what to pay your babysitters?  How do you find them?

6/2/11 update:  I forgot to give a "shout out" to all of the family and friends that babysit for FREE.  This debate is about when you don't want to abuse the ones to love the most....(Thanks Grandma!)