No time to post! We continue to spend 3+ hours a night moving dirt. Pole barn roof is on! Yeah!!! Wednesday night is a night off, DOUBLE YEAH!!!! The house and my computer are all covered in a layer of dirt. (remember the computer goes to the property to keep the kids occupied. Here lately they have lost interest, and I have a very difficult time working and trying to keep track of everyone!)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Aaron, one of my brothers from the "Second Batch", stayed with us for half the week and was a HUGE help! (I refer to my younger 5 siblings as the "second batch" due to the 7 year gap between #3 and #4 (of 8) )
My birthday was Monday, and on Sunday we gathered at my parents for the noon meal. Most of us were there. I was short one sister, cooking at camp, and one brother, out on drill for the National Guard. My mom let me pick the meal and made my cake. I didn't even have to bring anything, or help with dishes!!!
Monday night a super sweet girl from our church took the kids to the pool, and Aaron and I joined Don working at the property. I am bummed I failed to take a picture of the trench we finished digging Saturday, it took HOURS!! But long story short, one week later this is what it looks like all covered up.
The pictures don't do justice to all the work we put into the plumbing!!! Just imagine a trench down the whole length of the house. You have to keep everything sloping at 2 1/2" per 10' of pipe, so the area dug out for the pipes got deeper and deeper as we went along. There were hours spent with the survey equipment making sure the slope was right. (poop doesn't flow up) We got to recheck the slope Monday due to the pipe floating during a severe thunderstorm Saturday night. It was pretty much still okay, but I had to re dig a 4' section to get it headed down again.
Due to Aaron being here to help with the kids, I again accompanied Don on Tuesday night. My job all week has pretty much been moving dirt/ sand. Now that the plumbing is done, our focus is one getting enough sand brought into the basement to get it leveled out. Here is Jesse modeling my job...
Once that is accomplished we will lay down foam insulation, then the PEX. PEX is what is used for our in floor heat. It will be easy to lay down the insulation, the PEX, not so much! We need to mark on the foam where the loops in each room will be, then secure the PEX to the foam. We hope to have this accomplished by the first week of August. Once this is done we can get the concrete poured, install windows and a door, then head upstairs to work.
Getting over the "basement hump" will be a thrill to us! Once upstairs we will have electrical, plumbing, drywall, doors,and flooring to do. But it will be soooooo exciting to be working on the part we get to move into ASAP!
There has been a lot going undone out at the property due to all work going into the basement. Monday Aaron did a BUNCH of weed whipping, which really helped make the place look tamer. Don's pole barn was the first structure (partially) erected on our land. The plan was to have it enclosed and wired before last winter so that he could work inside during the winter months. As so often happens it didn't turn out that way. Now as you drive North toward our place you can see from the road a framed, partially sided and roofed pole building. Again, we would love to have that buttoned up, but the work time is needed else where. BUT tonight God sent us a couple of angles in the form of farmers from our church. They are brothers, and one was driving their backhoe and doing some dirt moving we need done to get the well dug and water to the house. The other ended up helping Don get some sheeting on the roof of the pole barn. They were placing the last piece on the South side of the roof when I left 2 hours ago. Don is not home yet, who knows what all they accomplished!!
This family has been used to greatly ease the burden of various machines necessary for our undertaking. Being able to just buy the fuel, and not having to rent the machinery has blessed us beyond measure.
These are some of the AWESOME answers to prayer God has blessed us with. We were convicted recently that we keep going to God and asking Him to bless what we already have planned out. We are trying now to commit our way to Him and follow where He leads.
Wednesday night was a night off, but we picked back up last night and tonight. We had the kids with us the last 2 nights. They are pretty good for the most part, especially when we bring movies. Here they are breaking in the Family Room.
It helps both Don and I VERY much to have us both out there working. Progress is always nice!
This is my nephew Samuel. We got to have him over Wednesday night. It was his first overnight with us. It was great!! I wish all my nephews lived close by!
I am off to bed. We will be finishing up leveling out the basement floor tomorrow. Please pray the kids do well and are safe while we work!
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Wednesday night our youngest, Jesse, accepted Christ as his personal Savior! There are no words to describe our joy knowing all 5 of the children God has entrusted us have made salvation decisions! Jesse thinks it's cool that he is now my brother. (in the LORD)
I was a plumber today! We only had 2 kids with us today and I was able to help out. I was glad to spend time with Don, I learned some things, and I was delighted to see the basement plumbing 75% done. One step closer to the floor poured down there! Toward the end of the day it started POURING. Once my pants were soaked I even developed a bit of "plumber pants". (only my low riding pants only showed my cute polka dot skivvies:)
Speaking of tails, one of the kids used the great outdoors for a bathroom and seems to have found some poison ivy. Yikes!! I feel VERY sorry for them, but I am having the hardest time not laughing at the awkward way they have to walk. Poor baby! This is one case where the (topical) cure may be worse than the "disease"!
I leave off with the promises of God. There was a terrific thunder/ lightening/ rain storm tonight. We were frantically shoveling to keep the water out of the house and to keep the pipe we had installed from floating. (There are very specific elevations for those pipes) As I drove home, I had a moment of fear. The weather was quite daunting, but right at that moment I noticed a full rainbow to my left. It was a sweet and calming reminder that God is always in control. The rainbow with lightning going off around it was amazing!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
We started the celebration a day early with his birthday cake on Sunday. He wanted ice cream sandwich cake for his cake and we were having company Sunday for lunch. There is such a thing as TOO MUCH CAKE!
M0nday was "the day". Homer has been after me for some time to make coffee cake. I have tried a few times in my married life, but so far none have lived up to my expectations. I got my mom's recipe last week and tried it one more time....IT WORKED! I was glad and Homer was ecstatic! He did wonder when we were going to get the donuts for his birthday breakfast, but I told him that would be overkill! We will do donuts next Monday for my birthday.
We went to the pool on his birthday and then to see "Kung Fu Panda". The kids have been anxious to see it, and it was finally in the $1 theater! Tuesday afternoon I had errands to do, so Homer got to go shopping for his birthday gift. He chose a remote control airplane. He also purchased batteries for said plane, helmet and pads, and a couple of toys for the pool.
Monday also began swimming lessons. They are every week day morning at 9 for 2 weeks. I am enjoying walking on the nearby track while they do their lessons. It is best for me to leave. Otherwise Jesse turns into an infant and cries instead of doing what he is told. If I leave, he is cool.
My dear dear first baby, what am I supposed to do with you?!! Your emerging manhood is evidenced daily, sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes....not so much. I know well the pressures of being the oldest. I was so sure I would NEVER blame my oldest child for leading siblings astray, it seemed so unfair! But the facts are these, no matter what it is you do, it does set an example.
I have to admit, raising a "man in training" is quite a challenge for me. I am beginning to catch a glimpse of what makes your dad tick, and sometimes it helps me help you, but then there is that whole other side of you that is SOOOO ME! (but in male form, it's a little weird)
I deeply appreciate your ability to sense what I need done, and your willingness (for the most part) to do what you can to help. Even if it means bossing your siblings :) I treasure the moments of vulnerability when you will let me hold you close. The "kisses are gross" stage is here for now, but the twinkle in your eye when your dad or I catch you unaware and lay one on you tells me it's more about being "tuff" than actually disliking affection.
There are so many time you and your dad are like oil and water. I am never sure weather or not to try to mediate or just observe; but then the next thing I know you are working side by side accomplishing great things! Thanks so much for building your muscles working on our new house. You have been a great help to daddy and thus to me. I wish I could be out there doing more, but your perseverance, even until 1am, amazes and encourages us both.
Thank you for getting on board and leading as we, as a family, make decisions based on
#1) is it best for the whole family?
#2) does it promote peace in our home?
I can't believe we made you! God is so good to us! We pray for you daily. We love you!
I love you!
Friday, July 11, 2008
The injury occurred during a basket ball game.
Ellen said to pray tonight that Stephen rests well.
Don is praying they don't run into any trouble going thru customs. (I never thought of that!)
I am very concerned for the surgery in general, but doubly so with it being done out of states.
Thanks for praying. They are all supposed to come home Monday.
This summer these "mystery chips" are on shelves to seduce those of us curious enough to try them. These taste like, I kid you not, LEMON CAKE BATTER!!!! What it the world?!! I wish I could share with you the looks on my kids faces!!! They LOVE Doritos, but out of five kids, only 2 actually ate the chip, and only 1 actually wanted more. I am sure there is some very posh lime flavored alcoholic beverage out there they may taste like, but I for one don't care for chips that taste like either a cake mix or a liquid. They weren't terrible, they were actually rather funky. I just had NO desire to put another one in my mouth (ever)after I had eaten 5 chips. They have now gone the way of last years bag of mystery chips, they are now at my parent's house for my siblings to try. Gotta spread the love!
Don't mind me, I'm just bitter because they no longer make my favorite Doritos, Jalapeno Cheddar.
P.S. Yes I will continue to buy each new mystery flavor out of sheer curiosity
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
I am thankful today to be able to look at another year as a time of deepening our relationship and drawing closer to each other thru God. This is much different than how I feel on each of the kid's birthdays. Each year in their lives is a step further toward their independence and maturation, thus in some ways steps away from me. Yes dear, I know! Snip, snip! (Don's sign to me to "cut the apron strings")
My only regret as Don gets older is this: He is 8 years older than I am, and people used to think he was younger because of my age. Now people just assume I am older than I am due to Don's age, well.. that and the 5 kids!
ANYWAY, as I was saying, Don is SO very precious to me! I am thankful God knew what I needed in a mate, and for His perfect plan and timing in bringing us together. There have been numerous struggles as we work out the "kinks" of our relationship, but I am thankful for the knowledge that divorce is not an option for either of us. I also admire and appreciate Don's willingness to invest time and energy into "us" in order to guard against complacency and apathy in our relationship, and to work toward the "oneness" God designed for marriage. Don has helped me focus more on how God sees me, and less, much less, on what others think. We really are best friends! I am so glad!
Baby, I love you!
No, we don't have any special plans for today, but we are going to be doing exactly what Don wants today: working at the property. I did get Don's favorite cake, chocolate fudge with chocolate chips and chocolate pudding, and some strawberry glaze made last night to send with whipped cream for him and the people he works with. Don has meetings all morning and into the afternoon at work. I am not sure on our supper plan, but there is VBS at Sarah's church so I will be dropping the kids there and then I can help Don for the evening!
The kids actually did quite well helping out this past weekend. I long for the day when a day off of work for Don actually means a day OFF rather than an extra day for projects at home!
My parents and 4 of my siblings came over for supper Friday night. There is nothing like company, especially my hyper organized mother, to motivate the cleaning of my house! Don mowed the lawn here in the morning, then he, Jon and Homer headed out to the property to work on getting the basement floor ready for plumbing. Meanwhile, the girls, Jesse and I were going to town here in the house. The kids folded and put away 7 loads of laundry, and did various other errands for me. I was able to get some rather messy areas cleaned up. I was so glad.
I even cleaned our room earlier in the week. Our room tends to consist of one unmade bed piled high with balled up down comforters (Don's nest), and numerous piles of clothes. I packed up my winter clothes and sent them to storage at the new house, hung up and put away the other clothes and made the bed. All this took 2-3 hours. I never get upstairs during the day. This job rarely gets done! Don notice right away something new was in the room, but he couldn't put his finger on what it was. Eventually he figured out, it was carpet! Thanks dear! (in case you missed that, the carpet was always there, it just always was covered with clothes!)
So, my house is not spotless, especially now 3 days later, but I am down to 1 or 2 piles per room rather than the 5 or so....
Saturday was fun, we all worked for awhile and the kids did a great job of pitching in. It is funny how much cleaning needs done in a house that isn't even finished or lived in! Yesterday, we all went to the pool after lunch at my grandparent's. At church last night we were able to see pictures of Alaska taken by one of our deacons and his wife and their recent cruise.
Here are a few pictures of everyone pitching in at the house and the rest of our weekend.
Lunchables in the basement
My "Amish" husband
Time to cool off!
Great Grandpa's new toy
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Jon was able to do some birthday shopping Saturday. He knew ahead of time what he was looking for. He came home with bike helmet and pads, a batting helmet, bases, tee, 2 baseballs, and a bat. Many thanks to friends and family who sent birthday $! Each of the kids gets to go on a shopping trip with some of the money, they also contributed $10 each to our family pool pass. The remaining birthday $ is going to the bank!
We celebrated the kid's birthdays on June 30th with my side of the family. We grilled supper, had pasta salad and watermelon, opened a cards and gifts, and had "mud dessert". It was a fun evening! We have all been going hither and yon for the past month and it has been quite some time since we have been able to coordinate an evening together.
The trip was two fold in that Don was helping install a gas line in Marc and Jessica's new house, and he was also doing some surveying for them to help with landscaping.
Jon singing along to "Happy Birthday"
Jon making "Mud"
Jon's birthday pancake
Jon's baseball cake
My dear grouchy baby! It amazes me how mellow you have grown to be!! I am so thankful for your daddy being there, in your first 8 months, to take over with you in the middle of the night when your cries reduced me to a pile of tears and nervous frustration! Thankfully when you slept, during the day, and when your smile flashed those dimples I received the confirmation I needed that you were indeed a gift.
Today your smile with dimples is a constant part of practically EVERY moment of our day! You definitely have cheerful spirit! You now are constantly singing or whistling. Often the very song you are singing is used to relay to mom and dad a message of encouragement from God.
Thank you for your lavish affection, and helpful spirit! You were such a blessing to me the other day when you swept not only the dining room, but the kitchen too!
You are our "middle middle". Middle child, middle boy! I am glad you are a WYSIWYG! (what you see is what you get) I used to think there was some deep hidden need you had that I needed to discover, but since then I have come to realize, you are just you! I love you to death!
The "engineering gene" is most strongly manifested by you. Your precise instructions and supply list for various "projects"astound me! (but I really don't want to start building a lantern for your sister's to use when they go to the bathroom at night right now!)
I am reluctant to release you as my baby. The stronger facial features you are growing into are slightly similar to my baby, but also strangely unfamiliar. The fear and anticipation of watching you grow battle constantly in my heart.
I love you Jo!