Saturday, March 3, 2018

Shadow Tales

As I posted earlier, we have been doing some work on our house.  About three or four days before the floor was to be refinished, we realized we really needed to ship Shadow out for the duration.  We contacted a friend of ours from church whose daughter has a pet-sitting business, and had watched Shadow once before a couple years ago.  She was willing and excited to have him, and her mother and father are very generous people and agreed to let Shadow move in temporarily.

The pet-sitter and family have moved since she watched him last, so this was a new house to Shadow.  When we brought him in, he darted around, sniffing everything and checking out all the corners.  I can only imagine he was searching for anything that might be a candidate for chewing and ruining later.  I always feel little anxious when we take him somewhere, lest he give in to his naughty desires.  After a few moments, they brought out their cat, which concerned me even more (would Shadow attack the cat? would he growl and be fierce?).  The pet-sitting mom seemed quite chill as the two chased each other around the house. "They're just playing", she said.  I continued to hope that Shadow would behave himself.

I began giving the family some info about Shadow puppy, including, but not limited to, things like: don't leave any small items on the floor, or he will chew them up; and also, don't leave food near the edge of the counter, or he will help himself to a snack.  Whilst I was doing this, Shadow was exploring the house, moving quickly around us.  Suddenly one of my kids yelled, "Shadow pooped! Shadow pooped!" I immediately whipped my head around, and discovered that he had indeed pooped on the carpet.  I was mortified and shocked, as he has only very rarely done that, and it hasn't happened for years.  I was also amazed as his speed! He was moving at a rapid rate -- he had no time to make the traditional doggie pooping tripod.  "It was a drive-by pooping!", I said, horrified.  The pet-sitting mamma handled it beautifully and assured me that it was okay.  When I left a few minutes later, I begged her to let me know if he was naughty and we would come to get him stat.

I checked in regularly, and apparently he was at his worst when making his first impression (classy, Shads), and has behaved well enough the rest of his visit.  I am greatly relieved, and very thankful for a family who was willing to help us out.

It was a lot easier having Shadow out of the house (though we bought a hedgehog while he was gone - are we lunatics?), but I gotta say I missed having him around. He's home now and settling back in, though his meet and greet with the hedgehog was rather comical (more on that later).

Monday, February 26, 2018

Floor Plans

Ten years ago, we visited our parents for about 10 days in the summer.  While we were gone, our ice maker line sprung a tiny leak in the line going into the fridge.  That tiny leak caused major damage to our floors throughout almost the entire first floor.  It was unreal what damage a tiny hole, left unattended for 10 days, could do!  Our insurance was amazing, and we were able to refinish all the hardwoods that were damaged.

Ever since that incident, we have faithfully turned off our water when we leave for a trip.  Over Thanksgiving, we were gone about 48 hours.  We were ready to head out to go and my husband remembered he needed to run down to the basement to turn the water off.  "Do you really need to mess with it?  We're barely going to be gone!", I said.  He was adamant that it was necessary, and took care of it.  When we returned home from our quick trip, we noticed something was wrong with the hardwoods in the kitchen.  Even though the water was off, the water dispenser on the refrigerator had dripped (it had never dripped before. . . it must have waited to do it until we left). And yes, again, the hardwoods were damaged.  The area affected was much smaller this time, thankfully,  but they were very cupped and warped.  We called the insurance company and they were able to give us the green light to have the floors refinished.

Fast forward to today.  For the past week plus, this has been the scene in our living room, the one carpeted room on the first floor:

This room is housing four sofas, three chairs, a buffet (in two pieces), a piano, an ottoman, four end tables, a dining room table, a computer and table, and various other odds and ends that were displaced when one has to empty an entire first floor.  Our garage has the recliner and stove, and the refrigerator is in the laundry room (thankfully we have another fridge in the garage that we are using). All the chairs from the island and dining room are in various bedrooms and basement.  We have shipped Shadow off to a willing pet-sitting gal from our congregation, and it has generally been a grand ol' time over here!  Close quarters, no kitchen and regular life carrying on has made for some interesting days (and several of the kids, during this time of upheaval have asked to have friends over.  Whaaat??) We were lucky enough to spend one night at a hotel and the younger kids got to enjoy the great pool.

The floors are done now, though we can't move furniture and appliances in yet for a couple more days.  We are going to get some painting done while all the furniture is out, and my dream of gray is going to come true (super excited about that!!)  We are really happy with the floors - we didn't want them dark, and this color compliments our cabinets really well:

Only a few more days until we can move things back in and life will go back to normal.  Normal = loud, crazy and busy!  But at least we will no longer have to make lunches in the garage and do laundry while leaning around a refrigerator! 

Friday, February 9, 2018


For the last several years, our insurance company has been pushing good habits by rewarding us (with cash, Amazon gift cards, Fitbits) for working out and eating healthy etc.  The other day, I received an email that said I could receive 250 points by taking a health review on the website, so of course I did.  The questions included details about how many hours I work in a week (ummm - I'm a mom in addition to my teaching job -- is there a box for all of the hours??), how many hours of sleep I get (not enough), how many servings of fruits and vegetables I eat each day (also not enough) and the like.  I've taken similar surveys before without much thought to them, but this time, a couple of the questions caused me to reflect.

Quite a few of the questions involved my emotional state.  How many times have you felt depressed in the last month?  How happy have you been feeling? Has your daily life been full of things you find interesting?  On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your job?  Your life overall?  Where do you see that number in 5 years?

The responses all came quickly to me. . .rarely depressed, usually happy, interesting things daily (I have kids and teach preschool!), and 9s or higher on the scales of 1 to 10.  My psychological well-being result came back as high.  

My life is far from perfect, and things bother me all the time. My kids drive me crazy (today is a snow day. . .!!), my to-do list feels endless, my job is not always easy,  I'm often weary and we've had our share of heartache.  But overall? I am incredibly happy with my life, and there is very little I would change about it. Even in the hardships we've faced, we've seen God's hand at work; forming and shaping our faith.

 I've taken these surveys before and answered in the same ways, but didn't really think much about my responses.  But this time as I whizzed through, eager to get my 250 points tallied, I slowed to reflect on how grateful I am for this life I have been gifted with.  A job I love, an amazing church family, and wonderful parents, siblings, husband and children!

Where would I see myself in five years, it asked?  We will be launching our third child off to college, leaving us with only two at home!  My eldest will have graduated and be embarking on her own adventures, which will hopefully involve marriage and giving me grandchildren!  I don't want to rush ahead to that time (indeed I want time to slow down so I can more fully savor it all!), but I pray my life in the future will continue to amaze me.  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 5, 2018

Bits and Pieces #22

  • We got home last night from a whirlwind Lutheran Schools basketball tournament for my seventh grade son.  It was the 5th year we've attended, and look forward to 7 more years at this tournament - good thing we enjoy it!  My husband and I both attended this weekend tournament when we were kids.  Lots of great memories spanning a whole lotta years.  This year's tourney ended on a fabulous note -- my son, with 2 seconds left on the clock in overtime, was able to sink two free throws, securing the win at 34-31.  I was a proud mamma, and I was jumping and screaming like a maniac.  I love that kid!
  • A week ago, we bought an 1/8 of a cow from a friend of ours who is a beef guy (I don't know what his real title is - cattle farmer perhaps?).  Well, whatever his title is, it perhaps should be awesome beef provider!  Our freezer is stocked, and our tummies are happy. Win!

  • The picture below of Shadow babies just screams "Happy Valentine's Day!" to me.  His cute little face peeking out of the red makes me almost forget how naughty he can be.  

  • This little guy is coming to live at our house in the next few weeks.  Yes, what I swore to never let happen is indeed happening:  we are getting a caged animal.  My 11-year-old son has been obsessed with hedgehogs since preschool, and my husband suggested we let him get one.  He got to choose which one of the litter he wanted, and he chose this one.  I suggested his name be Bandit, and it looks like that might stick.   I'll keep you posted on how this endeavor goes. . .to be continued.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Live Bloggin' It

I decided to try live blogging, brussels sprouts style:

3:45   unload groceries, hear cries of joy that I bought pre-cooked bacon (I have never bought pre-cooked bacon before - is it as amazing as the real thing?  We shall found out)

3:46    admit to kids that the bacon is going not in the potatoes or ham for dinner, but dum, Dum DUM!  a brussels sprouts recipe

3:47:30 groans all around and wild declarations that will brussels sprouts will never touch their lips

4:30   hubby stops by the house on the way to an appointment and makes face upon hearing about tonight's side dish

4:30:30  husband somewhat mollified when he hear recipe includes bacon and cheeses

4:40   begin prepping sprouts

4:40:30   one of chief complaining kids wanders by and pops several raw sprouts and deems them "not bad" and that they "taste kinda like broccoli"

4:55   sauté sprouts and add unhealthy ingredients to make them palatable, pop them in oven

4:56    realize I need to make an unscheduled run to pick up a child due to a calendar mishap (this has nothing to do with sprouts, just a glimpse into my exciting life)

5:11  remove sprouts from oven and decide they aren't completely done, but can't leave them in while I run to school because only available child to even possibly be able to handle removing them from the oven is immersed in a massive school project

5:11:20  put sprouts in microwave to stay warm while I'm gone

5:35  arrive back home and pop them in the oven again to brown on the top

5:45  serve dinner which I called "fancy" but that term was met with raised eyebrows by one family member

5:55   finally sit down and try my first brussels sprouts EVER.  Deem them really, really good!

5:55:30  hear family members proclaim different opinions about the sprouts

5:56  ignore the naysayers and proclaim the dish a success

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Week in Pictures

I bring to you a visual view of our week:

Yes, this is Shadow, our dear pupper.  He is sitting on the bed, my elder daughter nearby, snapping pictures of him and texting them to me.  He is anxiously awaiting my arrival in these pictures, gazing out the window in hopes of a glimpse of his dearly beloved mommy.  Seriously, NOBODY loves me like this dog does.  She reported that he wouldn't give her any attention, so intent was he on watching for me to get home.  #theycallitpuppylove

One of the buses that took my two eldest children to DC for the March for Life. They kids have reported they are exhausted but had an amazing day.  Last year they came home full of faith-inspiring stories about their experiences at the March, and I can't wait to hear about this year's trip.  What a blessing to be able to attend such an event!  Tonight they are settling in for a comfy (!) night's sleep on a church floor, with hopes of visiting the Smithsonian tomorrow.  However, as midnight approaches and the government shutdown looms, the Smithsonian may be but a dream.  #can'teveryonegetalong?

This shirt.  Oh my.  My middle son has become OBSESSED with lacrosse, and I got him this shirt for Christmas.  It cracked me up and was one of my favorite gifts I gave this year.  This sentiment sums up his feelings completely!
#schoolisimportant #butlacrosseisimportanter

My littlest daughter received a blank book for Christmas and she has slowly begun writing her very own story. This is the first page:  
Once upon a time, there was a family.  This particular family loves to laugh.  
Oh how I love it!  She drew each of us carefully and it looks like Mommy and Daddy are ready for a fancy night out on the town!  I love that of all the things she could have written, she chose to write about how we all love to laugh. 

(I don't know why hashtags have overtaken me tonight.  I NEVER (categorically, on principle) use them on social media.  But sometimes, while blogging, I like a good hashtag now and then.) #inablogtheyrehilarious

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Hidden Agenda

The week before Christmas, my eldest daughter and her friends planned a "Friendsmas" lunch during their high school lunch hour.  They were each planning to bring in something to share and have a potluck of sorts (genius, I think - and it was a great success!).

A few days before the lunch, the kids were talking about what they were going to bring.  My daughter said, "I have all my stuff hidden in our garage fridge, ready to go".

One of her friends said, "What? Why do you have it hidden??"

Another of her friends (one with 6 siblings) said, "So no one takes it before she needs it!"

Yes.  In high school, both of my children have found friends who get their lives.  In a big family, you can't leave special food out and expect it will still be there the next time you look!  They both have several friends who really understand their home life -- the volume level, the hand-me-downs, the chaos, the constant sharing, the apparent food shortage, and the effort it takes to leave the house with everyone.

The conversation between my daughter and her friends made me smile.  All family sizes are unique, and it warms my heart to know that my children have found some friends with whom they can celebrate (and commiserate with!) their many siblings.  Having only one sister myself, even I can't fully understand how it feels to have lots of siblings and the joys and frustrations that brings.  I'm glad they've found some friends with which to share those feelings.

Big families = lots of laundry, lots of noise, lots of love. . .and also lots of hidden food!