Thursday, September 27, 2012

So Much in a Day

It seems like so much happens in a single day it's hard to find the time to blog about it, and then several days pass and it's hard to remember all that we've done.  These last few days we have hit a major milestone and encountered a setback or two.

First, I've got to backtrack to last week - I took Columbus and Cleo to take their driving permit test, and we now have two permitted drivers in the house.  They're pretty excited and happy about that. 

Now, onto more current news - we got the stove and dining table moved into the new mobile, and it is......SO AWESEOME!!!  At the risk of sounding like a Valley Girl (am I dating myself here?)  we are so totally in loooove with it!  The new mobile really feels like home now and we all (still) just keep looking around in awe and saying things like; can you believe itDoesn't it look soooo niceIsn't it so homey?  We're like a bunch of teenagers who just feel in love for the first time marveling at all of these new feelings of euphoria.

The first night with the stove and table in.  Columbus was kind enough to make nachos for dinner while I continued putting things away and clearing the table.

Sassafras went and picked some flowers to put on the table:)

Hello to all of our blogging friends:)

The only way we could get the table in AND the whole couch was to push one side of the table up to the wall, so we've packed six little kids onto a bench.

My Man and three bigger kids get chairs on the other side.

And then Sassafras and I get the end seats.
 So, heat and water.  We got the new parts for the water, Columbus went under the new mobile and replaced what needed to be replaced, went and got My Man and they did what ever it was that they did to hook up the water and turn it on pipe burst and another come unglued.  It was discovered that we don't have Pex pipe under the new mobile as we thought, but Polybutylene, and I guess it doesn't have a very good reputation as far as pipe goes.  So, we're looking at replacing it with PVC, but just doing the third of the mobile that has the master bath, laundry room and kitchen.  We can go back and connect the second bathroom later.  There is just so much to be done right now, and honestly, people are getting a little sick and tired of all of the work. 

The plumbing issue was right on the heels of discovering that some of the pipe that we bought for the wood stove was the wrong size, which isn't a huge deal, just a pain when you live and hour from town.  Needless to say there were some frustrated and unhappy workers up here on the mountaintop yesterday.  To help sooth their frustrations, I finally got around to making them their sushi.  I've never made sushi before, but we like it, and as with most food that we like that comes from a restaurant I've had to learn to make it myself if we want it because it's just not real easy on the budget to go out and eat. first sushi roll.

It really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, the kids even rolled some!

Some of the kids don't like sushi, go figure, so I made egg rolls too, but our egg rolls always come out more like egg squares, but they are SO yummy!

JoJo - so pleased that he figured out how to use chopsticks that he wanted his picture taken.

Some current pictures of the house as we move in and get more settled......

My Man and Columbus made me this table two years ago.  The top is actually wood from pews that we got for free and the legs are from a table that we bought for next to nothing ($15.00) at a yard sale.  The four big painted chairs are also from a yard sale - $20.00 for all four.  They were super ugly when I bought them, but they were sturdy, so I painted them and had My Man replace the cushioned seat with pew wood.

I'm so in love with my $5.00 yard sale sink - look how deep it is!!  That is my biggest pot and those are two one gallon jars and there is plenty of room for much easier to wash in a nice deep sink!

Little kids have already marked their territory on the freezer:)

A little mommy humor:)

We started cleaning up the alleyway.

Columbus and Einstein are taking out the old sink and counter so that we have more storage room - the old kitchen will be our storage area.

I am making my way through these tubs and getting things organized. 

So, that's most of the last couple of days on the mountaintop, what I can remember, anyway:)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding Balance

We are moving forward, even if at times it feels slow, even if it often feels like two steps forward and then three steps backwards.  I look at all the we have done and I see all the hard work and time that it has taken, and I am both proud of us and thankful for the financial help and support we have received from our Saint.  We have reached a place that feels so close to the end, not to the end of all that needs to be done, but the end of this phase, and we race against the cold that is coming with fall, we race to bring the chaos and mess that living between two mobiles brings with it.

This end time would have been hard even under the best of conditions, but adding to it a month of health problems and surgery only makes it all the more trying.  I feel myself, frantically at times, grasp for the frayed edges of it all and attempting to tie loose ends faster than new ones can unravel and spring free.  I wait for this time to come to end, I wait for life to slow down.  I tell myself and the kids that it will be better, get easier, that we just have to get through this.....again.  I've said these words so many times now that I start to wonder if they are a lie.  I wonder if I lie to myself and to them.  I wonder if frayed edges is the end result of buying raw land, of having ten kids, of being self employed, homeschooling, and just of life in general.  I wonder if the fight to get there, to what ever the next goal is, ever ends, and if it will be such a struggle to make each and every next step along the path of this mountaintop.

For me, there is a thick and bold line between bad and hard.  This life, this time, these struggles - they aren't bad.  They are hard.  For right now or forever, that is what I have been asking myself these days.  I've begun to wonder if I shouldn't change the way I think about it all, the way I deal with it, if the talk that goes on in my head is what I should really be saying to myself or not.  I've wondered these thing before, and I've come to the same conclusion that I come to now - yes.  Yes, there should be a change.  Yes, the message to myself should not be just to get through it, but to find the steady and stable path that leads us, but also finds peace and acceptance with it all.  There should be joy along this journey, and yet again, I've failed to remember that and have instead attempted to push through it for the mere sake of getting it all over with.  I've been telling myself that if we just work harder, faster, more that we will reach the end sooner - and then we will rest.  Then we will be joyous.  Then we will find peace.  

I struggle to find the balance point between it all.  The grey area where the shades of work and joy blend together into one.  I struggle with what I've seen, first hand, that laziness and weakness can do to a life.  I struggle to see the line between giving up and making peace.  I fear giving up.  I fear reaching that point in life that I just sit and accept it at what ever place we are at and no longer believe in or try for a better future.  I fear believing that this is the best that we could do, will ever do, and stopping.  I fear being stagnate. 

I live, eat and sleep under the work load, the financial pressure, my fears.  I invite them in and let them stay there, alive, and inside of me at all times so that I don't forget to stop fighting them, so that I can always try to stay ahead of them, so that I can stand a fighting chance of beating them.  They suffocate me.  I get lost in all of that fighting.  I get lost in trying to make life better.  I get lost in proving that if we work hard enough that it will pay off, that we will arrive to that long awaited place of rest.  I get lost in believing that it is worth it to sacrifice today for the future. 

Two steps forward, three steps back.  I know these things aren't true, it just takes forgetting a lifetime of fighting to move past it all and find the balance, and then stay there.  This life, it doesn't feel like the path is on firm and even ground, it feels narrow and along a steep edge.  It feels like if we don't pay attention and watch our next step that we will free fall beyond what we can control.  Control that we can't afford to give up.  Control, that once lost won't be recovered. 

For today, it is not fear or control that we fight, but mother nature and the cold that she brings.  The wood stove is not hooked up to the new mobile, or even the old mobile, and it is getting cold.  Last night was forecast to be in the thirties, yesterday morning was so cold that we all went and huddled in the van with the heater on to warm up.  Today, we move the wood stove to the new mobile to connect it.  For the time being, the boys can sleep on the couch until we get it connected to both mobiles.  The end goal is to also have it connected to the hot water heater so that the wood stove is heating the water, which is why we are moving it before getting it connected.  But for now, we just need heat in at least one mobile.  Wood needs to be cut, insulation needs to be replaced from when the floors were tore up to fix them, and we're looking for some kind of low cost skirting. 

The kitchen counters were finished this weekend.  My Man and Columbus got the woodwork done and I stained and put two coats of polyurethane on them.  Columbus and I went to Lowe's to get fittings for the sink and water.  For the time being, we want to connect the 12 volt pump and 55 gallon barrel system to the new mobile for water, but that won't get us through the winter because the whole system will be prone to freezing.  The swimming hole has become more of a polar bath and so we are back to heating water on the stove.  One of the bags of clamps that we bought were the wrong ones though, so for now we have the hose through the window system.  Tomorrow, My Man goes to get his staples out, so we can exchange the wrong parts for the right ones while we are in town and then hopefully we will have water running through pipes and the ability to take hot showers.

These days are busy as we make the final push to get situated.  Even if I wasn't prone to pushing, they will demand it from us, and we will deliver. 

Signs of home ~ We got pictures hung - the kids wandered around like they were in a museum of their past and looked for themselves and reminisced - it was sweet, and such a huge milestone in this whole process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Million Little Things

We haven't moved many times since we've been married.  The move to the mountaintop would be our fourth move, but we lived in one house for twelve years, so for the most part we've stayed put.  I thought moving to the new mobile would be on the easy side, because it's right there across the alleyway, but it seems now that it doesn't matter how far or how close you move there are still a million little things to do when you set up a new house.

I do love how the new mobile is coming along.  The other night I told My Man that it is my dream house, just a smaller version of it.  I wouldn't want a huge house, we had one of those and it was too big.  When we moved into that house I thought that there was no such thing as too big when it came to housing and a family our size, but it didn't take long to realize the work and expensive involved in that kind of square footage.  It was overrated and demanded too much of our time, I think that we would all agree we would rather dwell in the tin cans than go back to being chained to the upkeep, both financial and physical, of 3500 square feet.

Things are starting to take shape.  Slowly, rooms are getting almost done.  I can't help but to wonder if any of it will all ever get all done, because life doesn't seem to work that way, so here are our in progress pictures.

Yesterday, we got the new sanding belts, five of them to be exact, and it appears five was not enough.  Columbus is a little frustrated with this project.  It seems that his sawdust/glue mixture was a little high in the glue department and sanding it off isn't going so well.  The sanding belts keep falling apart on him and the whole thing is taking longer than he thought.  I reminded him today that this is a big project and it's okay if it all doesn't get done right now, today - even though I am so ready to have the kitchen moved over there.  Though, at this point I kind of like the kitchen in the old mobile - like right now I am "cooking dinner" in peace and quiet;)

The four little people's room.  This room is all done except for curtains and shelves in the closet.  In the mean time I've put up some plastic shelves that we had on hand.

They are still getting used to sleeping in their own bed, most night they talk and older sister into sleeping with them.

This is a double over double bunk bed, which is great because we've put four kids in this room.

At some point My Man or Columbus will put in shelves from floor to ceiling for clothes and storage.

Today, we cleaned out the drawers of a dresser and then each person got their own drawer to keep some personal items in. 

The two oldest girls room - all done except for curtains.

I like how bright their room came out:)

Cleo is an avid reader - this is her collection of books after she sorted
through and got rid of several boxes. 

I'm still not wild about the carpet pattern, but you really don't see much of it anyway.  I think it's a little bit funny that a small rug almost covers the floor of their room.

The master bath - I finally cleaned it.  I heated water on the stove and got myself a bucket.  Both of the bathrooms are a little funky - they smell weird....musty, I guess.  It's better now that I've cleaned, but not great.  I plan to paint them, maybe that will help?

The ceiling still needs to be fixed, but I went ahead and pulled off the loose parts so that it wasn't hanging down.

The other end of the bathroom and the shelves that Columbus built for mine and My Mans clothes. 

I get a chuckle out of this mirror every time I look at it...all I can think about is the evil stepmother from Snow White and hear her saying .....mirror, mirror on the wall - who is the fairest of them all?

Another load of wood to be planed for shelves.  Einstein and Sugar King are
on nail removal duty.

The planer - I think Columbus is getting sick of this job.

My Man replaced the old ugly light with a ceiling fan before he went in for his surgery - Columbus found the light shade and put in new bulbs for me.

A place for little people to hang their masterpieces.

We got the coat hangers moved from the old mobile to the new one.

The shoe boxes were sorts and cleaned, and then brought over.

Columbus planed some oak for door trim on the
front door - I think it came out very nice.

I got my Iron Giant poster hung.  This was a Mothers Day gift many, many years ago.  I love the movie, it's one of my favorites, and if you haven't seen it I would recommend it.  It's not just another kid movie - it has a special message about love and commitment and the responsibility that we have to those we love.

One of the very best things about having the new mobile and our stuff out of storage is that we can actually get to and use all the things we have stored - especially with a season change.  The four younger kids in this picture wanted boots like Columbus and Einstein (they have military boots and are planning a hike/camping trip, and all the other kids want to go have cool boots like them), and I just happened to have four more pairs AND they fit!!

Six pairs of matching boots - Goodwill used to have .99 cent shoe day twice a week, it was only for shoes that had a price tag for that color of the week, but one week I found these boots for 99 cents, now how could I pass up a deal like that with so many feet to put shoes on?  I've had them in shoe storage for over a year, but they finally fit.  Actually, I have tubs and tubs of shoes in storage - I buy them whenever I find a super awesome deal on them and then eventually they fit someone.
There's still a million more little things to do, and by the time those million little things are done I'm sure that there will be a million more little things added to the list that has no end, but in the meantime things are coming along nicely around here and it feels more like home everyday:)