Archive | August 2012

Do One Thing…

Half of my kids are out-of-town.  One is in New Mexico with the Boy Scouts on a trip to Philmont.  The other 2 are with my SIL in Kentucky.  With this little bit of freedom, I am trying something new.  I have several days to get a good start with this while there is less stress and fewer demands on my time.  Here is my brilliant thought…do one thing.

I am trying to do one thing each day that I don’t really want to do, but needs to be done.  For example, yesterday I cleaned out the fridge.  I certainly didn’t want to do it, but it needed to be done.  I bit the bullet and did it.  It took all of 30 minutes to get it done.  It wasn’t that big of a deal, but since the fridge closes, I close it and forget about it.

Another day this week, I baked 2 loaves of banana zucchini bread from a recipe at food.com.  Here is the link if you are interested.  http://www.food.com/recipe/banana-zucchini-bread-96994  It turned out great!  The only thing I did differently was add some extra banana since I had some lying around that needed to be used up.  Again, no big deal.  It probably took 10 minutes to get the stuff into the pans to bake for 45 min. to an hour.  I don’t know why doing this is so hard for me, but it is.

I have a tendency to let things build up, and then it is a bigger deal than it needs to be.  For example, if I were to work on baking something every day, the kids would always have stuff for breakfast and their lunch, but I get lazy and then we have nothing in the house and I have to bake and cook like crazy to fill the freezer again.  The kitchen gets completely trashed and it takes me 2 days to recover from the mess and exhaustion.  Then I don’t bake again until I’m close to being out of stuff again.  If I am tired when I run out of food, I buy stuff to fill the freezer at a much greater expense!  So I am going to do one thing…

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Revamping The Living Room

I have been in a nesting kind of mood this summer.  I think it is because I know (since I have 6 children now) what it will be like once number 7 gets here.  There will be no chance of getting anything of substance done for at least 18 months to 2 years.  I am lucky that my youngest is 5, and not very needy that I can make some headway on the things that I have wanted to do for a long time, but just didn’t have the energy

It is kind of funny, in a way, that you think you don’t have any energy…and then when you really don’t have any energy…you get it out of the blue!  This pregnancy has done that for me!

We have a lot of people in a very normal sized house.  Once this baby gets here, we will have 9 people in here.  That is a lot of people in not a lot of space.  We keep going back and forth with how to maximize our space, but adding on an addition takes a lot of time and money.  Time is something that is always in short supply when you have a large family.  Also, my husband is working on his Ph.D. which takes up what time he has available after the kids are asleep.  I can’t do big projects by myself, or even little ones usually….because I am really indecisive.

So, a long story to say, that we are trying to clean things up a little, and use our space to the best of our ability.  We have too much stuff in too little of a space.  We are trying to use the height of the rooms to our advantage (tall bookshelves etc.) and keep things off of the floor to try to make the rooms feel larger.

I am no interior decorator…not at all.  I am really challenged in this area, but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

Our living room makeover was free!  We had extra furniture in the basement that was given to us by my parents.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  It has been down there for years.  The basement was never finished, but we did have a seating area with a TV and a couple of video games for the kids to play.  We had a gazillion toys and 3 toy boxes down there, a ping-pong table, etc.  Needless to say it was constantly trashed.  Couch cushions and pillows were everywhere.  Toys were never in the toy boxes.  You couldn’t walk through there without killing yourself…please tell me I am not alone….It was a constant mess.

This summer we went through all of the toys and gave all of the better stuff to Goodwill and got rid of a lot of broken stuff, and happy meal toys.  It was wonderful.  My youngest son is 7 and he and my 10-year-old really only play with a few things over and over.  They play with Lego’s, Bionicles, BeyBlades, Tech Decks, and a few video games.  My 5-year-old daughter is the only one with her own room and the only girl, so all of her stuff is in there and not in the basement, so why did we keep all of this stuff?  Well, no more!

Anyway, back to the living room.  I am a matching queen.  I really like my stuff to match.  In  the living room we had a red-flowered couch, a pinkish loveseat, 2 huge beige recliners, one of which was broken and the leg rest wouldn’t go down and lock.  It was a disaster, but sometimes it is just easier to ignore, than to DO something.  Well, I had enough and decided that we were going to bring the furniture from the basement upstairs (it matches by the way), and get rid of the flowered couch that was stained and worn out.  We put the coffee table (a very nice cedar chest from my MIL) in the basement for now until I can figure out where to put it.  We got rid of the recliners.  My husband hated them from the beginning because they were too big for our smaller room.

Anyway, I am soooo not visual, but my 2 oldest boys helped carry the furniture up and helped me place it.  The transformation is amazing to me!  We actually feel like there is some room in there.  The coffee table is out and it really opens up the room.  Also, this furniture is a lot lighter in color than the other furniture.  I think that helps somehow.

The funny thing is that once we got started, I wanted to keep going.  I worked the big boys pretty hard, but it was so great to get it done.  I dusted everything, we cleaned out the globe on the ceiling fan, we got rid of little stuff here and there.  Fun!

I should have taken before pictures, but I didn’t really know that we were going to do all of that work yesterday, it just happened.  Anyway, here are the after pictures.

Picture from the middle of the living room.

Picture taken from the entry of our living room.

From the far corner looking at the entrance of the living room.  Don’t mind the mess in the foyer, it’s next!

Front corner to opposite corner.

We Are All Back Under One Roof

Yesterday at about noon, I picked my 3 big boys up from their week away at Boy Scout summer camp!  I hadn’t seen them for 10 days.  My sewing retreat was the Thursday through Sunday before.  They left on Sunday morning.  I got home Sunday about noon.

They are so worn out.  They came home dirty and hungry, so it must have been a fun trip!  I forgot to take pictures, but they looked like they had not slept and were filthy!   They said that there was plenty of food.  That is good, some years they complain that they just couldn’t get enough to eat.  They do have an outpost where you can buy junk food, but they said it wasn’t enough.  This year, it was the last week at this camp, so it was no-holds barred on the food.  All three boys said that they got their merit badges that they intended to get, but we won’t officially find out until our September meeting.  Our troop takes the month of August off!  I am so happy.  We can get school started for a couple of weeks without Scouts as a distraction.

When they got home, each went through their scout stuff and the washing machine began.  All showered and ate, and it was just like they never left.  The bickering started, the chaos resumed, the rude comments were free-flowing.  They of course were TIRED…no patience for the little ones who missed them for the past week and no appreciation for the $900 or so that their hardworking Dad paid for this trip.

Sometimes, I wonder if we get anywhere in this journey of parenting.  I often think that here we are 16 years into this parenting thing and this is all the farther that we have gotten!  Sad at times.

My oldest wasn’t the problem yesterday, so there is hope.  It was mostly M, the 14-year-old and R, the 13-year-old, so hopefully this is something they will outgrow.  I remember J, my 16-year-old being so very tired and grumpy too.

On the bright side, they told me that they love my cooking and camp food is nothing like eating at home!

All three of the older ones are still sleeping at 9:17 this morning, so maybe they will wake up in a better mood.  Let’s hope!

A Little Boring Around Here

I’m still trying to recover from my weekend away.  I haven’t been up that late several days in a row since our last retreat.  It was an awesome time for me!  I got the ottoman covers to their owner and I am glad to have that out of my hair.  They weren’t as bad as I had thought they would be.  They just took a lot of time.  She says she loves them, so I did a good deed.

My 3 oldest are at Boy Scout summer camp this week, so not so much arguing and bickering…yeah!

I have been trying to do some fun stuff with the little 3.  I took them to a sort-of nearby skateboarding place, but after following the map, we couldn’t find the place, so we went back to our usual spot and they were fine with that.  It took most of the day just to get in a couple of hours of skateboarding.  We are going to see Ice Age 4 today.  We got lunch out one day which is a rarity around here!  Tomorrow we may try to find a different skateboarding place and take a picnic lunch.  I know this one exists because our regular skateboarding place told me about it.  It is about 45 minutes from here.

I have been working on finishing my hand sewing of the binding on the table runner.  That is pretty amazing for me.  I usually come home and don’t sew for months on end.  I did find that although I did need a lot of help this weekend, I didn’t need as much as before.  I am slowly getting better.  Also my corners matched so much better than in the past!  Yay, for improvement!

We only have less than 3 weeks before school starts!  Yikes, I have a Kindergartener this year, so it is to school 3x per day every day.  The year of Kindergarten is long.  It is hard to get any bigger projects done because there just isn’t time during the day.  It is all broken up.  So, I am trying to get some bigger jobs done before the chaos starts.

I am cleaning the carpets.  It is amazing how dirty they can get!  So glad to be getting this done.  It has been on my list all summer.  Also, I am (with the kids help) downsizing all of their clothes and getting rid of stuff that they don’t need or use anymore.  I have the 2 smaller boys room and clothing all done.  We still need to go through the 3 big boys closet and shoes.  A’s millions of clothes that are currently too big are moved to a rack in the basement so that we can actually use her closet!  We got rid of a bunch of stuff that will be donated to Goodwill.

I also had the kids help me take a bunch of kitchen stuff that I don’t use to the shelves in the basement.  I tend to have my favorite pots and pans that I use over and over.  There was a ton of stuff that I just don’t use.  I am going to leave it down there for 6 months pulling out the things that I use and adding them back to the kitchen.  If I don’t use them in the next 6 months, they are going to Goodwill!

Sometimes, I don’t feel like I get much done around here, but writing it down, I realize for being 5 months pregnant with my 7th that I am doing okay.  I have made progress this summer!

Playing Beauty Shop While Reading To The Little Ones

We had a fun night last night.  My husband is reading The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron out loud to the little children.  He read it as a child and loved it.  He saw it recently online and couldn’t help but buy it as he remembered loving the story.  We have been reading a chapter a night.  S is loving it and paying attention pretty well, but A says she is loving it and certainly doesn’t want to go to bed without listening, so she often finds something to do while listening.  Tonight we played “beauty shop”.

She is my first and only girl thus far…soon to be joined by a sister in November or December as you probably know by now.  This was my first appointment.  Enjoy the pictures.

Using a rock from the driveway to change the color of my hair.   Notice how she rubbed it in the powder before putting it on my hair.

Changing my hair color.

Applying the “stain” remover.

A hard at work!

Here is the Kleenex that she used to get the “stains” out of my hair.

The finished product!

My husband reading with S. Notice the beauty supplies on the arm of the couch.

It was a fun, but sometimes painful, beauty appointment.  Being beautiful can take a long time and isn’t pain-free!

This entry was posted on August 1, 2012, in A, S. 1 Comment