Friday, January 25, 2019

Moving In and, Our Family Photos

We've never had pictures taken for our family. We always took them ourselves. But my new SIL is a photographer and she kindly offered. The pictures turned out really nice, but if you could have seen all that went on behind the scenes, you would have either laughed or cried for us. 
I was yelling at kids to smile and stop picking noses, James was NOT enjoying the picture process, he hates posing and kissing on demand and he kept pinching me or doing something ridiculous. 
My brother was trying to keep the two year old from running away and the baby kept stuffing rocks in her mouth. The big boys were saying, "Are we done?" in their most polite little voices, while I gave them the "BE POLITE" Mommy glare. 
I'm so glad we suffered through the process. 
I did have to put my little heels back in their box and they haven't been out since. Muck boots all day everyday :( 
                Yesterday, our counter-top situation looked of those "nepotism" things. So, we went back to square one and were going to order Unfinished Solid Wood cabinets from this company that had really great reviews. I was so relieved. I wanted solid wood and I kind of wanted to paint them myself...but then the nepotism thing resurfaced and now we might be going with our relative again. If it doesn't happen Saturday, then we are ordering everything on Monday. 

Well, in light of everything with the cabinets and counter-tops, we talked to the bank about different options and they said that since we will have a functioning main floor, including a bathroom and a kitchen (if we get a temporary sink) then we can move in.

The only thing we have left on the main floor, is grouting the shower and finishing the trim, which is happening as we speak. The wood stove is coming today.

I started getting really nervous. We've lived with my in-laws, two and-a-half miles from our house, for almost a year. I haven't exactly enjoyed living in a basement, but I have gotten used to having people nearby during outages and snowstorms...ok and I like watching Hallmarks with them when the kids are in bed.

...And during one of the blizzards, you are totally on your own unless someone checks on you in a snowmobile, which is possible. My brother-in-law visits on a snowmobile occasionally and we have one if there is ever an emergency.

But, living on my own in that house on the hill with James going back to work soon, is a little scary...I don't have any other logical reasons why. Maybe it's because the house isn't totally finished. We'll be living only on the main floor. Actually, the upstairs is finished enough that we can drag mattresses into the bedrooms.

So, I decided that I will start getting things moved into the main floor...I'll set up furniture and start moving appliances in and beds and trying to make it comfortable. Then I'll see how I feel when the cabinets are installed. I may not pull the trigger until James comes home next. Maybe I'll pull it half-way and we'll nap and hang out and eat there during the day and go back Grandma and Grandpa's at night. I would like to have some more food storage and emergency stuff set up before I wave goodbye to the canyon. February is usually brutal up here, and if it's anything like January, I may not leave the house at all.

I plan to document the moving-in process and the organization process. Like I've said before, I'm very boring and I like things like organization. I have a few life hacks though, after having seven kids. Most of them I stole from other people who are crazy too. Some I came up with out of shear desperation. My favorite life-hack for lots of kids, is laundry!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Welcome 2019

Helping with Harvest

The day after a snowstorm that closed the roads for two days

One of many trips to Lowe's with kids

Shad helping syringe feed the runt puppy from Aunt Rylee's litter.
He died shortly after from a birth defect. 

I finally got my Speed Queen dryer delivered.
But I still don't have my washing machine from the trailer. :(
Yes, I'm part of the Speed Queen cult following. We do 20 loads a week
and I have loved Speed Queen. They are commercial,
solid and made with mostly all metal, no plastic junk. I've had the fancy
curved, front load washers. They fall apart. I talked to the repairmen before we
made the decision. They said they rarely see Speed Queens. 

The hardwood's what happened. We ordered these floors months ago and when I looked at pictures online, I wasn't that impressed. They were too patchy, but they are tough and that's what we need. They are acacia which is basically like teak wood. It's a shrub from Asia and is harder than oak and water resistant. But, it was patchy. So I ended up, with help of kids, going through every single box and separating them into color categories. All the darkest boards went downstairs, and the lighter ones are going upstairs. There are still plenty of in-between boards so the upstairs won't look like a completely different wood. But below you can see the crazy contrast from light to dark. It looked like a patchwork quilt. It was fun picking all my favorite boards for the first floor.

Isn't that a crazy difference? Is it just me?
One of my sons decided these lighter boards looked cowboy,
 so they are gathering all those into their rooms.

This is the hearth, sideways. I really couldn't find any hearths
I liked the looks of and I didn't want wood underneath.
It's a big stove and it'll be used a lot. So, we got this dark grayish color tile.

That's my four-year-old's apple.
He takes a bite and leaves. :( 

We had company this weekend. My brother, sister in law, and her sister and husband,
all came to help with the house. It was a fun time!
I enjoyed having help sorting and the men calked and painting and laid flooring.
We went on a date and swam with the kids. 

I was really grouchy on this day and it was lucky for our kids,
they got invited to go on a sledding playdate. 

James let them get the snowmobile out and ride around the yard.

James trimmed these windows. I was so proud of him.
They look wonderful. He spent a lot of time making them look perfect and painted them very nicely.
They are even better than I expected.

From my little brother's wedding. (Left to right: Me, brother Garrett, brother Grant) My sister and other brother were unable to make it. So was my husband. :(
It is nice to see them happily married. The've known each other for almost 10 years I think. He inherited three children and he's a great dad.

I've been a little whelmed the past few months and a little grouchy this week...ok since Christmas. I hope no one thinks our life is just happy, fun pictures. I'm real, it's not. We were actually just featured on a pretty big website called They asked us to talk about our financial troubles from of the past.

The grouchies end though...the sun comes up and things seem to get a little better. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Christmas In The North Pole

We don't actually live in the North Pole...but we're close enough. 

House update: All the tile is finished being laid on the main floor. That's a big deal. I almost have a bathroom and a kitchen. We did one room with the wood and it looks nice. I was worried it would be a pinkish or orange wood stain but it's very neutral. 

We stained the beam with English chestnut. It turned out better than I thought. I would have done the floors that color too if I didn't despise dark after our last house.  

We decided to take a needed break and went after a Christmas tree for Grandma's house. It wasn't feeling very Christmasy to me with all of my decorations and village and stockings hiding in the trailer. It helped to go get the tree. 

We took two snowmobiles and these cute kids and drove up the forest on the farm. The kids road in the sleds. It was my first time driving and I had a great time, which is uncharacteristic of me! I'm an indoor girl! We hadn't walked twenty yards into forest before we saw the perfect tree. We thought about looking farther but the kids were already getting tired and cold
James sawed it and we hauled it out to the sleds. He put Shad on the back of his snowmobile and I had the rest of the kids in my sled and on the back of my snowmobile. He put the tree in his sled and started to drive. It fell out, so he put it back in and started again. It fell out again. It didn't help that I didn't want to waste the stump and made him bring it too (pine needle tea!) 

Finally, he put Shad in the sled, on his back, and the tree on top of Shad. Then we drove all the way home. The tree in the sled on top of Shad was so funny, bouncing along, and we knew he was under there getting buried in snow and bumping his bum on every little hump. 

Once, on the mountain road, I looked back and Audra and Maggie were screaming and hanging on for dear life. The sled had slipped off to the side and they were right next to the small cliff on the edge of the road. I couldn't figure out how to keep them from sliding off to the right or left, so we stopped and I put every last kid on the back of my snowmobile. It was a loud ride home with four children crying in my ear. But hot chocolate felt good after that!

Tile in the kitchen and dining room (I can only guess what Kyler is doing in the background)

Shad learning to use the saw. 

Shad learning that you have to start the saw before you touch it to the wood. 

Shad helping ping the nail gun. Each kid takes turns helping James, but Shad and Kyler like it the most. 


I don't have a place to wrap presents so we took them all to the house and I wrapped them in the pocket room. It was a little magical. (A pocket room is a made up's like a little pocket on the side of the house. It can be used for anything from an office to a guest room, exercise room, whatever you want.)

This was kind of a special Christmas. We got to spend every minute of it at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They are thinking about going on a mission soon and we are glad we had this time with them. 


Spring is in the Air

With planting season under way, we had a week of really wet weather and James was able to be home to work on the house again. I was so ple...