Monday, March 22, 2010

Long Weekend

Long long weekend. I'm so glad it's done and over. Saturday was the first day of spring, and it snowed. Not surprising, and it was all melted by mid day yesterday. We left the kids with the grandparents on Saturday, and took a rather long trip down to the Chicago area. Spent all day with them at a seminar, and didn't make it home til after midnight to collect the kids and go home to sleep.
Yesterday was our anniversary. Didn't do a whole lot, just cooked out and spent time with the kids. And today did more running around and took them to the park for a while.
Right now I'm sitting here listening to them fight over a video game, and wondering what we should do for dinner. I'm sure it's not going to figure itself out, so I guess I'm going to have to start thinking about it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not Even A Week Yet, But Still Too Long...

Well, my best friend from high school called me Monday and told me that her grandma passed away on Saturday. She came all the way from Missouri for the funeral which was Tuesday, and went back home on Wednesday. Between getting everything ready for her short stay in town, and the funeral itself, we've had a pretty busy week. We've done the basics for school, and gotten a lot more time to be outside and notice the way spring is coming to the area. We've done a lot of our spring cleaning, and taken things to the dump and junkyard depending. Got the old broke stove and freezer out of here, and made lots more room for the kids to play as it gets warmer. We also cleaned up the back patio and the yard, making sure that all the trash and debris that accumulated over the winter (pop bottles, wrappers, things that blew in the yard) got taken care of an cleaned up.
And yesterday, we had our first cookout of the new year! It's been hovering in the 60's during the day, and our home thermometer had even recorded a few 70's in the past week. But I've heard that we may get some cooler weather for the next week or so, only getting into the 40s and 50s. I hope not because I love this warmer weather!

We're going to visit our friends Ron and Renee' on Saturday, and Sunday is our 13th Anniversary. Can't believe it's been that long. Heck, can't believe we've lasted that long! Doesn't seem like we've done enough with these years. Like we haven't come that far. We've moved 10 times in the last 13 years, lived in 9 different houses. Lived in 1 house twice (here!). That's if we include moving into his cousins for a month and his grandma's for a month before we got our first place. Otherwise, not counting them, we've moved 8 times and lived in 7 different houses. I don't usually count those 2, because we only had our clothes and bed, not furniture or anything like that because we had just gotten married.
In the time we've been married, we've rented, bought, and lost a house. That's a lot if you look at it from the standpoint that we rented 3 different places for a year each, then bought our house, lived there for 6 years, and lost it to foreclosure. Then we rented this place for 9mos, moved to another place for 13mos, and moved back here again. This fall would've been 8 years that we would have owned our house.

I don't really miss our house most days. I keep busy and don't think about it. But when I drive past it, I look at the work that's been done by the people who bought it, and I wonder why it was so hard for us. We did some work on the place, it's not like we let the place fall down around our ears. We pulled up carpet, refinished some floors, painted, redid some plumbing. We got rid of 10+ years worth of crap that had been left by previous tenants and the old landlord. We got rid of old cast iron sprinkler pipes that ran thru the entire house, and replaced doors, some windows and the entire boiler system and hot water heater. And we hated every minute of it. That house needed so much done that it sucked the life out of us. We fought nearly every day, there was something new to be fixed every time we turned around. None of us was happy there.
But I do miss it sometimes. Every time I have to say no about getting something we want or need because we don't have the room for it, I miss that big old house and its space. Every time the kids are fighting about not having room to play, or space for their stuff, I miss it. Every time I do laundry, and run out of hot water for showers, I miss it. I miss not having to screw around with the furnace, not having the extra space in the laundry area. Not having the room for company, or for a friend who wants to come and stay for a few days. I miss the floor that we spent a whole weekend refinishing til it was beautiful and new-looking again.
But I don't miss the constant headache of robbing one bill to pay another because we had to fix something else this month. I so don't miss the roof leaking, or the electrical that was bad, or the kitchen that needed the floor re-done. Or the tiny pantry and lack of cabinet space.

But life moves on and so do we. We're hoping that we can manage to find a house that fits our needs within the next year or 2. We're considering a land contract, rent-to-own, or just outright buying. We're trying to pay some things off, and get our credit better before then. We have a few loans, they're improving our credit because they're paid on time, even when he's been laid off. We pay cash for darn near everything else, and we are careful of what we spend money on. If we can't afford it right that minute, we don't get it.
Here's to another year of trying hard and working on all that we have.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

9 Years Ago Today...

My youngest son was born. Gabriel was born at 8:20 am, weighing 7lbs 5oz and 18 1/2 inches long. It was a cold day with snow still on the ground, not like today, where it's 50 ish and rainy.
I really can't believe it's been that long, where does the time go? Today he's 9 years old.

This morning he woke me with "Who got me things for my birthday?" Made me laugh, because most everyone is in the same boat as us, no one can really afford much. He got some hot wheels and a new book(which he's looking at in this pic!), and my sis said she was going to send a card. He'll get a small cake, and pretty much that's it. We don't do a whole lot for birthdays, mostly because we're broke a lot of the time. But he will get a few more things towards the end of the month.

Our plants are doing well, except that some mice apparently got into our little tray and ate a few of our tomato plants.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring is in the Air!

We planted our other seeds, our herbs should be sprouting soon. All of our tomato plants and all of our spinach plants are growing now. And it looks like one of out pepper plants will be growing within the next few days.

Planted German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile, and 2 kinds of Lavender. Lemon Basil and Genovese Basil, Lemon Balm and Lemon Grass. Garlic Chives, Sage, Catnip, Rosemary, Anise, Oregano, Cilantro, and Echinacea. Still need to get and plant my mint, and hoping to put in a few raspberry and blackberry bushes. Hopefully anyway.

Nearly all of the snow has melted and the days are getting warmer. We've even had a few days here and there that were 50 degrees or higher. Yesterday for example, it was so nice out that the kids and I took the day and went to the park. We saw deer tracks, raccoon tracks, even a tree where the deer had been rubbing and some deer fur stuck to the ground. I think it reached almost 60 yesterday. It was such a beautiful day that none of us were wearing coats or jackets.
Today, however, we're paying for the beautiful weather with rain. And lots of it. And icky gray skies. It's only about 50, maybe less because my thermometer keeps reading high for some reason. I think it has to do with where the little receiver is sitting. Maybe it's getting too much of the heat from the side of the house.

Not much planned for today, need to take my stepdad out to do some running and do journal with the kids. Other than that we really don't do a whole lot on days like this.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Been a Busy Week

Lets see...what have we been up to?? Well, Saturday was crazy, because we had 2 round trips to Milwaukee. We picked up Dad and Colleen, had cake and all that, and took them back up. Dad told Mike that he's thinking about moving down here by us! That was something I totally didn't expect. He was talking about how it's so much quieter and not as busy and all that jazz.

Got the hallway primed and almost ready to paint. Just need to finish the corners and a few other little things. I plan on getting it done hopefully this week.

School has been pretty good, the kids are enjoying checking the plants and seeing if they're growing yet. We'll plant our herbs on Wednesday, and then we'll have 2 trays of plants to keep track of. I can't wait for it to get warmer and for us to have our last frost. I'm looking forward to transplanting our little plants and watching them grow.

Caleb has finally learned to tie his shoes!! It's taken such a long time for him to coordinate the necessary hand movements. I'd almost given up on him learning to tie them and was seriously wondering just how large a size they make of velcro shoes. Next to learn that skill is hopefully Gabe.
Gabe's now convinced that he needs to become a samurai or a ninja, depending on the day. I told him that he needs to learn to read and write if he wants to be either. I'm sneaky that way! Caleb is improving in his reading and surprises me daily with the little tidbits that he picks up on tv and signs.

Big news of the day: one of my best friends, Missy, has moved back to town! She has a little girl who will be 4, and her little boy shares Gabe's birthday and will be 1 on Saturday! Gabe will be 9 on Saturday, can't believe how fast time is flying.

Any tips from anyone on how to teach a child to read who really has no drive to learn?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thinking Spring!

That's going to be our theme around here for the next few weeks! Tomorrow we are going to start planting our plants that we will put in the garden. And the kids will check them daily and we'll chart their growth. That means daily writing, which should help improve their writing skills, and it means working together. We'll plant 1 tray tomorrow, and the other tray either Friday or Monday, depending on how busy we get.

Another project I have is the little suncatchers that they are going to paint. I'm having them each work on one for dad and Colleen for their anniversary and his birthday. I may have to pick a few more up, not sure if I have enough, because we're also going to do a few for around the house here.
We've been pretty faithful with our daily journaling, or should I say that I've been faithful in telling them to do their journal, but they haven't always wanted to.

Took James shopping for a coat today, and to my surprise, he's able to fit a MENS Medium! With a little room of course, hopefully enough room that he can still wear it next fall and winter. Not holding out hope for that one though, because with my luck he'll hit a growth spurt and it will be too small by then. He's able to wear a men's 30-30 pants now, (30 waist, 30 inseam) but he does need to roll them and they are a little loose on him. He can wear some boys' 14's and 16's, depending on the cut. It's amazing how fast they grow! He's also in a mens size 9 shoe! Amazing since he's only 12.

Caleb and Gabe are both in size 8 jeans and a little bigger for shirts. Gabe is bigger around than Caleb, so he can wear the regular size, but Caleb fits better in the slims. Gabe can also wear the reg size 7's, and 9 slims, because he has more of a belly. The boys also wear the same size shoe, size 3-4 depending on who makes them. Weird though, because Caleb will be 11, and Gabe will be 9. Caitlin wears the same size as the boys for pants and shirts, and is finally in almost the same size for shoes, she wears a 2 1/2-3 depending on the style and who makes them. Gabe will be 9 on the 13th of this month, and the twins will be 11 in May.

Busy busy around here, got tons to do and never enough time to finish it all!