Category Archives: Just for fun

L.I.F.E.

How ’bout that original title, yo? But seriously, you guys. I have no excuse for disappearing except that I have been doing more living than writing about it. And, while all of the memes would tell me that that means that I must be doing something right (and they would be correct), I can honestly say that I’ve missed “chatting” with you guys here in this little corner of the internet. I have a plethora of half-written blogs floating around in my brain:

  • Big family dynamics to consider when planning a house
  • A recap of our beach trip (from 6 weeks ago…hides face)
  • A tour of the updates so far on the house
  • A post about comparison in motherhood
  • A post about our homeschooling routine
  • A round-up of the best Amazon Warehouse Deals I’ve scored (I’ve gotten some goooood ones)
  • Insert random post title here

But I don’t really have the brain power right now, at 10:23 PM, to be terribly topical, so I’m just going with the ol’ fire hydrant approach.

So, what have we been up to? Well, some exciting house updates, for one.

**As a quick follow-up to my tile gaffe post, we did some scrubbing on it, which lightened the grout a bit it and made it less noticeable, and after talking to a friend who is also a tile expert, we’re just going to let it breathe for a while, try out some rugs, and then go from there. If we absolutely cannot take it, we’ll rip it up and start again. Or paint the entire floor. Or…something. But I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.

I ALMOST feel sheepish telling you guys about the things that we’re NOT doing on this house currently, considering what big DIYers we are and how much we have invested until just recently. Almost, but not quite. Because you know what’s better than bragging rights on doing it all yourself? Having it DONE. (We’re still doing all of the finish work on the exterior, the interior plumbing, the rest of the concrete counter tops, the lighting, the electrical, etc., so yeah…it’s still pretty busy around here)

And done is where we are (or at least close to it) with our floors.

lifelately5

 

{Hello, beautiful, happy craft room/girl cave/office/studio/Paint and Prose headquarters}

We found a crew to lay our laminate “wood” floors (brand: Mohawk, color: Rare Vintage Fawn Chestnut…because just calling it one of those words would have been way too vague #verbose), and they’ve aaaaaalmost finished TODAY…but we ended up a bit short on laminate. Sigh.

Even so, all we lack is the loft, which means that we can start actually cleaning things so that they stay clean (you know, relatively). And then moving furniture where it actually belongs…instead of its languishing in piles in the workshop and garage or being shuffled around from room to room.

lifelately2

 

Our master bedroom was the very first floor they laid, and we set up the furniture in it that very night! 

The piece of furniture I’m most excited about hauling out of storage?

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This amazing couch I scored at Anthropologie (yes, I bought furniture from Anthro…wild). It’s 10 (!!!) feet long, the coolest shade of blue, and was a fabulous deal, since it was a floor sample. (Especially jazzed, since right after I bought it, they stopped selling floor samples altogether).

Mostly, I’m just excited about the concept of things being more finished than not because we’ve been in a state of flux in some state or form for a good 6 months now, which, while not a huge span of time in the grand scheme of life, is enough to make this creature of habit a bit antsy at times. (Ask Shaun about my meltdown about the ugly burn pile in our yard; or better yet, don’t).

What else? While we’ve been “doing school” all summer (I have the three oldest continue with their basics at a slower pace and diminished amount), we officially started back at our home school co-op last Monday, and I am loving the chance to dust off my teaching chops.(Weird metaphor…did I mention it’s late-ish?).

lifelately3 I did something I’ve never done and bought the oldest 5 BRAND NEW personalized backpacks from Land’s End. They were on sale (of course), but the thing I like most is that they have a lifetime guarantee, so if (when) they snap a strap or rip a hole in the bottom, I can get a brand new replacement for free (crazy but true…and no, I’m not being paid to say this). 

I was laughing with Shaun about the fact that, after hearing from my kids about how most of their teachers just spent the first day going over rules and having everyone introduce themselves, I felt like I was probably the only nutter who hosed my students down with tons of notes and grammar and 4 take-home assignments. I’m sure that’s not actually true, but it’s definitely my personality. I can’t seem to reign in the desire to stuff AS MUCH info as possible in their young brains for the 55 minutes a week that I have each of my classes.

It helps that I’m teaching eager-beaver homeschoolers, for sure.Including Ezra, whom I am requiring to take Spanish 1 with me, even though it’s usually an 8th grade + level class. He is the eagerest of all the beavers, though, and is a joy to have in class, so we’re both pretty thrilled with the arrangement.

In other news, I have officially drunk the Cross Fit Koolaid–or sipped it, at least–and…I liked it! There’s a Cross Fit gym that several of my friends go to that has a free community WOD (Workout of the Day) that I’ve gone to 3 times now, and I can’t really begin to describe how much I enjoy it. Even though it’s really, really hard, and I’m definitely the odd woman out with my newbie–”Um, what’s a wall ball?”–self. If you’re a Cross Fitter, feel free to speak up in the comments. I haven’t dived in and paid for a membership or anything, but I am more excited about Saturday mornings than I’ve been in a while, and I am determined to learn how to do a hand stand push up or at least seriously injure myself trying.

In other news, Honor is eating everything in sight and loving life… While Theo has definitely entered his “can’t handle any emotional distress without descending into temporary madness” phase. AKA: my faaaaaavorite!

lifelately lifelately1

 

He still has plenty of cheerful moments, but he has also developed quite the formidable stink eye.

I was so hoping we would skip this stage with him because he possessed just the sunniest of dispositions as a baby/toddler. And, if I’m honest, it’s nothing like the twins’ 18-month bout of insanity, since he doesn’t despise his car seat like they did. But there’s still a whole lot screeching and “No-ing” (on both our parts) and floor-wallowing (just his…although, I’m tempted sometimes), and disciplining going on. It helps that Honor is such a dreamboat, though. I mean. Seriously. I just want to eat him with a spoon.

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He’s 7 months now, and everybody still fights over who gets to hold him. Oh, and in case you’re wondering what has my children’s attention so completely captured, they were building Sam and Pippin (our guinea pigs) a block maze to run through. 

Shaun is getting ready to tackle another big block of work trips (they always come in chunks, it seems), but the good news is that the kids and I will get to go with him on a couple (Honor will, of course, tag along by default). There’s one I’m especially excited about, but…more on that later.

In fact, more on all of it later, since I’ve jabbered on plenty for now and really need a shower before bed.

What have you guys been up to? Have your kids started school yet? Do any of you have your kids do schoolwork in the summer? Anyone else have a 2 1/2-year-old whose life-management skills have deteriorated drastically?

We can eat virtual ice cream together and chant “Hard is not the same thing as bad” while holding virtual hands. K? Cool. It’s a plan.

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This and That

If we were just sitting down for a chat (how fun would that be??), I would have lots and lots to share with you. Life is careening along at a breakneck pace, and things that I think just happened (like last night) turn out to have taken place 5 days before. No wonder Honor seems like he was just this teensy little thing and now is stretching the toes of all of his 6 months outfits, holding his head up, swiveling it around when he hears a voice he likes, and even starting to giggle a little at his siblings’ shenanigans.

He’s just as wonderful as ever and maybe my most content baby yet to just be. This is the first time the boys have been old enough to “watch” him at the gym, which has actually simplified things considerably, since he’s not allowed in the nursery until 12 weeks, and I started teaching at 3 weeks postpartum (totally not what I would have preferred, but I ran out of subs rather quickly this time). In the past, I would have had to feed him mere seconds before rushing out the door, leaving him home with Shaun who hopefully wouldn’t get an important conference call in the middle of a crying fit (Honor’s, not Shaun’s…although Honor has almost as few of those as Shaun does, so it probably would have been fine ;) ). And then, I would have had to hightail it home as quickly as possible (since it’s a 30 minute commute both ways) to feed him again.

baby elephant

Gimme those thigh rolls!!

But now, Ezra and Simon–who have turned it cute little bookworms–will happily sit for an hour and read at the table right outside the childcare room door with Honor hanging out beside them snoozing or looking around with bright, round  blue eyes (shaded by thee longest, straightest eyelashes…after having a passel of curly eye lashed kids, it’s funny to see him peeking out from underneath his stick straight fringe). Maybe you’ve heard of blanket-trained kids? Well, Honor is car seat trained. And it’s pretty rad. And then, if we need to do an errand, or–like on Tuesdays–I’m teaching two classes, well, he’s right there with me to feed. SO much simpler!

Speaking of babies, we have six new fur babies at our house.

kittens

Having nursed twins while 3 other small children used my body as a jungle gym, I feel a great kinship with that mama cat right now.

They are just getting to the super-cute, playful, fluffy stage, and the kids have convinced themselves that we’re keeping ALL of them (my eyes just crossed a little). You know…one for each of the big ones (because Honor is only old enough to pull their tails by accident).

Funny story: we have a cat house that Shaun made with the boys a while back that matches the exterior colors and trim of our actual house. And Faith (the mama cat) had the good sense to have her kittens IN that house. But the very day that Shaun hauled a trailer of miscellaneous junk to the dump (a few weeks after they were born), she had the very bad sense to move them.

Shaun came back from his trip to the dump carrying a mewing bundle in his t-shirt and informed me that, just as he was about to throw out the last bit of trash, he heard high-pitched meows and noticed that a dark, furry pile in the corner of the trailer appeared to be moving!

Nothing like throwing all of your kids’ kittens in the trash to lose you your Dad of the Year Award double-quick. (And nothing like hauling a bunch of frantic clawing fur balls home in your shirtto elevate you to Super Dad status even quicker…and a well-deserved status it is).

Speaking of kittens (sort of), we’ve already shown the house to one family of 6, the dad of which asked if the kittens came with the house. (The mom was less enthused). And it’s a good thing our older kids weren’t there because both Shaun and I very enthusiastically agreed to throw a pile of kittens in as a closing incentive.

Either way, this family is coming out again today, this time to see the property in daylight (they had to come in the evening the first time), and they are not only interested in the house/property but in possibly buying it furnished! (I can’t even begin to properly express how happy the thought of not having to move furniture and/or sell it off piece-meal makes me).

If you think to pray for the outcome of that situation, I would be grateful. We want the Lord’s will first (and only), but I’m not going to lie that I have definitely been pestering the Lord about whether this might possibly be it. This morning, during family Bible reading, we read Luke 11:9, which says: “Ask, and it will be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” I KNOW that verse is used out of context all the time, but it is addressing the idea of approaching the Lord boldly with our requests, and so that’s what we’re doing. Ultimately, only he knows our future (of course), and I feel perfect peace about all of it, so it’s all good!

In other (bizarre) news, our UPS driver has taken to dropping our packages off next to a particular tree beside the driveway (only about 1/5 of the way down it) rather than bringing them to our front porch.

At first, I thought it was a fluke (had to be, right?), but after our last three packages all materialized in the exact same spot, I’m thinking not. The slightly impish part of me wants to call his boss and suggest that he only pay him 1/5 of his pay and see how he likes that! Ha. Either way, he has me trained to check the bushes for packages these days.

books

 

Those pretty books that I scored on Amazon Warehouse Deals were just languishing beside our driveway for several days before I realized it. Good thing they were wrapped in plastic!

Hmmm…what else? I think I’ve mentioned several times before that my mom (who is my super hero) takes my three oldest kids home with her to sleep over every. single. Thursday night? Shaun and I like to make that our “date night” of the week (which usually means Thai takeout that we eat while watching Fixer Upper on the couch #partyanimals). Last week, instead of the usual, we went down the hill to our neighbor’s house for the very definition of a “roaring fire.” Our neighbors have a peach orchard (he’s a farmer, among other things, by trade), and they have an actual peach pruning bonfire. We roasted hotdogs and s’mores (though not on the big fire…our sticks would have had to be 30 feet long) and then awed all of the little kids with the blaze.

blaze

In still other news, we only have 2 meetings left of our home school co-op this year, and I’m a bit flabbergasted that the school year is almost over. The way this particular co-op works is to focus less on “tuition” (which is nominal) and to focus more on parent participation (your kids can’t attend unless you’re there fulfilling some role or another). To that end, I’ve spent my Mondays for the last 7 months grading grammar workbooks and essays. I actually kind of enjoy it as it gives me 5 kid-free hours a week during which I can exercise that word/sentence loving part of my brain, and my kids can socialize and learn from someone else. But next year, they’ve tapped me to teach high school Spanish, which is taking me back to my teaching roots (since I taught Spanish 2-4 in 2 different public schools and 1 private one before I eventually quit after I had Ezra and Simon).

I’m thinking I may have Ezra take Spanish 1 with me, even though he’ll only be in 6th grade, because he’s very bright, has an incredible memory, and needs to be challenged. I can honestly say that I never really expected to be able to teach my own child in a classroom setting, and I’m actually really looking forward to it.

Oh! And in case you’re wondering, it’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be to keep a house show-ready, even with 7 kids in it. Yes, it’s taking up way more of my day than it did before, and other things (usually dinner prep) are getting put on the back burner (sometimes, literally). But it’s happening, and I am really enjoying not tripping over toys as much. (Although, to be honest, one of the main reasons that it’s so much easier is that we have gotten rid of almost all of our toys or anything else extra, for that matter). Now, if we can only convince ourselves to “live like we have a house showing in an hour” in the new house, we’ve got it made!

cactus

Theo has been SUCH a helper, replacing cute little cactus decorations with toy cars and wearing his sister’s necklace on his head so we don’t have to put it back where it goes. So thoughtful. 

And speaking of the house, I did manage to get pictures of (almost) the entire thing, so as soon as I get a chance to edit those, I’ll do a post or two.

Aaaaand, now I’m off to do a list of things longer than my arm. Our Tuesdays are always hectic because they start with school/chores, continue to piano lessons + errands + teaching 2 gym classes in town, and end with getting dinner on the table and everybody ready for bed (and then falling onto the couch in exhaustion). It’s a long day for everybody, but I’m always pretty impressed with what troopers the kids are.

Thank you again for all of the kind thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them more than you know.

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