Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's the Little Things I Burn

Does anyone else have this affect on their burners?
 Seriously!  What's wrong with me?
Good thing it's cheap to buy new ones.  All four of mine were actually disintegrating.  I promise I can cook.  I will never promise that I can cook without burning stuff.

Enter Sandman

Rob and I can sometimes be oddly spontaneous.  Like, for example, deciding to sell our house.  It was not a SNAP decision in any way--we aren't irresponsible or dumb.  Just fast.  We knew we eventually wanted to move out to Katy, so when one of us brought it up, two days later, we had thought, discussed, prayed, talked to financial friends, crunched numbers, and called a realtor.  One month later, we're about to be on the market.  

Here's another example.  We needed to sand the walls (WHICH ARE NOW DEVOID OF WALLPAPER!!!!) and so Rob picked up sandpaper and began sanding.  A few moments later when I looked across the room at him, I couldn't see him for the dust.  Whoops.  Only THEN did we cover the furniture (too late) and hang sheets in the doorways and put on those masks I bought.  That's the kind of spontaneous we are.  Not always a good thing in terms of DIY.  

The dust!  Ach, the dust.  Here are a few photos of the dust.  As I started captioning, I heard my captions to the tune of "Independent Women" by Destiny's Child.  Go on, give it a try.  Just don't think too hard about why you'd buy dust.
 The dust on my man?  (I bought it.)
 The dust on his hair? (I bought it.)
 The dust on my phone? (I bought it.)  Cuz I depend on me.
 I really kind of love this photo.
 And this.
 Rob went salt and pepper overnight!  You see our sheet in the background?
 He's even got dust in his stubble.
But look!  I gave him a tattoo showing my love for his hard work. :)

Lesson learned:  always prep before messy jobs.  Don't just dive right in.  The thing is that we keep diving in anyway.  Two more days.  Two. More. Days.

Derby Girls Raise the Roof

Well. Sweep the roof is more accurate.

Saturday Rob and I begged a few friends to come help us with work around the house.  I had four friends show up from my team: one to sweep the roof, one to vacuum (and mulch), one to strip wallpaper (and mulch and play with the dog who kept sticking her head under our fence), and one to wrangle my kids.

A big thank you to all!  Peter came and helped Rob and we even coerced our houseguest, the Reverend Brian Land, to help lay sod.  It was a great day!  We still aren't there yet, but here are a few photos of progress.  (Sorry to Shank, Shocker and Feisty--I put down the camera while you guys were there and didn't catch you doing your good deeds.)
 Bloody Hell is the only British person I've ever allowed to sweep my roof.
 Sawyer really wanted to help with that spiky thing and I had to really put my parent paranoia to bed in order to let him.  Eeek.
 Bloody's son Dawson even helped.  On wheels, of course.
 Apparently, the rake behind Lincoln isn't good enough. He wants the RED rake.
 Sod is amazing.  It's, like, grass that you just put down on the ground and you have an insta-yard.  Ta da!
What is the fascination with the spiky thing?  Glad we made it through the day without anyone getting impaled.

We are a few days away, so hopefully the DIY posts will be going away.  At least until we move into a new house that needs work.  Ugh!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Turn

We are two days away from putting the house on the market.  You'd laugh if you saw our house right now.  But I have every faith it will be done, with a lot of work between now and then.  We have a plan and we WILL be done.  It's very stressful, and besides that we've had sickness, ear infection, and then some really rotten behavior from Sawyer lately.  I'm feeling the kind of worn where it's like I'm shriveling up inside.  I'm not crying or yelling or outwardly freaking out; I'm shrinking.

I dusted off my Bible this morning (literally--we didn't think to cover anything before sanding the walls last night) and got some great encouragement in what I'd like to call The Turn.

Psalm 77 is entitled (in my Bible): In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord.  Very fitting, I thought.  The first nine verses are all about the kind of trouble the Psalmist is having with some really great descriptions.  Like this:  "In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted."  Sounds bad.  He goes on and on about this for a while, the moaning and the crying out to God.  Probably worse than what I'm facing right now.

Then we hit The Turn.  Most Psalms that are of this kind (what I believe Bob Roane calls Trouble and Trust) have a point wherein the Psalmist undergoes a transformation.  I like to think of it as when God really shows up.  I call it The Turn because, even though the Psalmist may say he's crying out to God, the point of The Turn is when he REALLY does sort of turn and face God, and it's also when that attitude takes a turn.

In Psalm 77 The Turn starts a little in verse 5 when he begins thinking of days of old and asking if God's love will cease or if He will really forget his people.  At verse 10, we're there:  "Then I said, 'I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.'"  I love the action word here:  APPEAL.  The Psalmist doesn't say, "I suddenly FELT better."  Or even, "I SUCKED IT UP and made it through."  No, the Psalmist used a rational, logical approach to remembering what God had done for His people.

There are other great action verbs following: remember, ponder, meditate.  And then suddenly another shift whereby the verbs are not about what the Psalmist is doing, but God's actions and what God has done.  I love this verse: "Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen."  He speaks of God parting the Red Sea and how He made the way for His people, a visible way, while God was still unseen.  I think that here the Psalmist is seeing this in his own life:  God has made a path and a way and is working His might, though he yet remains unseen.

I started thinking a little bit this morning about my own life.  I can harken back to the mighty works that the Bible talks about, from that parting of the Red Sea to Jesus conquering death on the cross.  But my own life has its little moments where I can see that invisible right hand of God.  He caught me when I was 14, at a time when I think there were really two paths before me.  I can't imagine the things I have been spared from by Him setting me down on His path.  He brought me to Texas and gave me the love of my life in Rob, a man who seemed most unlikely at the outset.  He gave me two safe pregnancies and children (through tumultuous births) and has provided joy in the struggles of motherhood.

There are many other, smaller moments where God reveals himself in my life, but for sure in the big picture of my life, I see Him.  I had my own Turn this morning reading this Psalm in my sheetrock-dusty Bible.  I appealed to God, and the result was feeling a little less shrunken.  A little less exhausted and frustrated and despairing.

My circumstances have not changed, but my focus surely has.  And THAT is The Turn.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Things That Won't Make Parents Blink

I was trying to think of a better way to phrase this.  What I mean is that I'm going to make a list (and won't you help me in the comments??) of things that, as a parents, you won't blink at.  Or think twice about.  It's the new normal.  Let me start my list and then maybe also in the comments someone can help me with a better blog post title.  I clearly need some sleep.  This whole list was inspired by the first thing on the list, which has been sitting on my counter all day.

-Diapers in random places.  Like the kitchen counter.  Clean OR dirty.
-Having a runny nose wiped on you.
-Wiping a runny nose off.  Maybe with your hand or shirt sleeve.  On purpose.
-Phone conversations with adults that are punctuated with phrases like "STOP CLIMBING ON THE TABLE" or "I said SIT DOWN."
-People breastfeeding in public places.
-Intermittent screaming and crying, or even both simultaneously.  Yours or your children's.
-Forgetting to shower.  Maybe for like a few days.
-Finding an old, dried-up piece of poop somewhere in your house.
-Needing to sweep under the table at least three times a day.  And often NOT sweeping three times a day even though you need to.
-Dirty looks from non-parents in public places.
-Projectile vomit.

This is a short list, really.  Most of these things have happened to me personally in the past few days.  After walking by the diaper (clean) that was sitting next to my coffeepot all day (why?), I decided to make this list.  Some of these things are universal.  Some of them are personal.  I don't imagine that a really super neat mom is going to find poop in their house.  BUT YOU NEVER KNOW.  Kids are wily.  And poop seems to travel.

What else needs to go on this list?  Or, if you're not a parent, are you particularly horrified by the nitty gritty of parenting details?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Jumping Days

Rob's parents got a huge trampoline for their backyard recently.  In all our nomadishness (which has now ended!) we have really enjoyed it. While unpacking boxes over there today, the boys had some fun.  It's hard with a net to capture great photos of them, but here were a few fun ones.

 Boys DO make noise.  With kazoos.

 I kind of love this one.
 Tex got into the action too.

I love this one!  All these photos remind me of something I want in our next house: a backyard.  

Stick Horse (and Just Stick) Race

Tonight we went to the Katy Rodeo.  It's a much smaller version of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is kind of nice.  You can be closer to the action and actually see more what is happening rather than watching it on a jumbotron.  It was also surprising and cool that they started off not just with the national anthem, but a prayer.  (And you know you're in Texas when the person praying refers to God repeatedly as "sir.")  The best part?  Both boys got to participate in a stick horse race.

Sawyer did this last year with Rob and cousins and Mimi and Boppy while I put Lincoln to bed at his old bedtime: 6pm.  (I miss those nights.)  So Sawyer had a stick horse from last year and Mimi said I could borrow one from her house.  Thing is that she is gone and I couldn't find it!  So I tried to make one out of a random handle I found at their house, a sock, a sharpie, two rubber bands, and some denim trimmings for a mane. I thought he looked okay--a more stripped down version of Sawyer's.  The reality is that he didn't make it through the race.  So while Sawyer ran to the finish line, Linc wandered around holding his horse and his horse's head.
 Rob dropping the boys off at the starting line.  Saw ran ahead.
 Lincoln false-started and had to be retrieved.
 The stadium was small enough that both boys could see me.  Saw is in the blue hoodie and Linc is in bright blue right in the middle.
 Saw is off in his hoodie.  Where's Lincoln?
 Back at the starting line, holding his horse's head.

  Sawyer finishes: the blue blur on the right.
 Linc starts to run with the two parts of his horse.
 "Hi, Mom!"

And then, after it was all over, he wandered back to the middle of the arena.  Rob was close by, but I thought for a second that he was going to run toward the calf-roping and away from his Daddy.  It was priceless.

If you are in Houston, check out the Katy Rodeo!  It will be going on for the rest of the weekend and is a blast.

Photo of the Day

Texas Sky: Day...Uh...?

There was a great sky tonight. I don't know my camera well enough to adjust it so I could actually get the real colors, but even so, it's lovely.

Child Labor: Moving Edition

Our boys like to help. Especially if it involves something that Daddy is also doing.  Sawyer carried boxes all by himself and I didn't get a photo.  But when Lincoln couldn't quite carry this box, I dashed for the camera.

So cute!  My little (and big) helper.

Sawyer On: Hunting Season

This conversation took place at 3am last night--er, this morning.

S:  Mommy, when I get bigger, I'm going to go hunting and shoot a bear.
M:  Mmm hmm...
S:  I'm going to shoot a bear.  With Boppy's gun.  I'm going to be bigger and we're going to hunt a bear and I'm going to shoot it.
M: Okay.  Now let's go to sleep.

Stripping Is Hard Work.

Wallpaper, that is.

I am almost done with the main wall in our front hallway.  I am trying to find creative new words to describe how much I HATE wallpaper.  It's killing me.  The thing is that even after it's off, the walls are in TERRIBLE shape and will need so much work.
I got this cool tool that really helped this week, thanks to the recommendation of Becky Booty from my derby team.  I don't remember the name, but it's sold in the wallpaper-removing section.  (Which, again, is huge.  If you want to re-read my rant about hanging wallpaper, go HERE.)  It is this little round tool that scores so you can strip the paper easier.  It helps, but this is still a huge job.

 See all those little teeth?
If you squint really hard, you can see that I scored "Kiki" into the wall.  My mom helped a bunch with this wall and the dining room wall, so I'm thankful to her hard work!  She did her whole kitchen here, so I can't even imagine!  Ugh!  Wallpaper!  I hope I never have to do this again.  Ever.  EVER.

Daily Disaster

Oh, honey.

Apparently, after giving Linc honey for his cough, I forgot to tighten the lid. Doh!

One Week

We are one week away from listing our house.  Eeeek!  If you could see the house, you would laugh. It doesn't look much different than the past few photos I sent, which showed tons of junk everywhere.  Except that it's starting to clear out, bit by bit.  We got carpet today in the back bedrooms and hallway.  I WANT TO MARRY THE CARPET.   It's amazing.  We never really wanted to replace the carpet until we were moving, because we knew we'd ruin it, but seriously--I love the carpet.  It makes the rooms seem bigger and more finished.  The hallway, which used to have poorly-installed laminate, also looks great. I thought it might be weird and actually was thinking it was a mistake to put carpet there.  Nope.  Fabulous.  See?  Sawyer is showing you how much he likes it by jumping.   In his underwear, of course.
I think we are going to get it done.  I'm freaking out a little bit and Rob and I called in some calvary of my derby teammates and his friends for Saturday.  I'm not sure why people want to help us mulch and clean and whatever else we need (I promised I'd make a spreadsheet to be organized), but they do.  And I'm thankful!

Especially because I lost a work day today because my poor littlest man has an ear infection, brought on by a virus that I'm not sure he's kicked.  My parents were saints and kept both boys last night so Rob and I could have one night this week where we weren't all sharing one room.  We also had to get the house ready for the carpet.  In any case, Linc kept them up all night, and Sawyer was a total pill.  Tonight has been rough so far, but Saw has been sleeping well and Linc has gotten a few hours, if not consecutive.  I hope his antibiotics kick in soon.  He is saying "cheese" in this photo.  See?  Sad little man.
I have been alternating tonight between stripping wallpaper and holding a crying boy.  One week.  That's what I keep telling myself.  I hit a breaking point earlier in the week (you know, after bragging here that I was doing well with all this stuff) after having a few nights in a row of very little sleep because of sleeping in one room with kids who are, apparently, sick.  I spent some nice time praying today while fighting the wallpaper, and feel renewed.  More on that later.  

Overall, we've done a ton of work for not so much money (probably total of $2500, most of which was carpet) and in not so much time.  I hope it pays off in the end, and houses seem to be selling like hotcakes.  Still, there's that whole verse about men trusting in chariots and us trusting in the Lord.  Chariots were the sort of thing that ensured a victory back in the day.  God told his people not to amass chariots and horses because they were to trust in HIM during battle.  All that to say: just because houses are selling doesn't mean ours will sell.  Or that all things will work out the way we want.  But we are choosing a path we feel is the right one and trusting God to work out the details, even if they are surprising. 

One week.



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