Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Budget Dystocia

If Jeff were writing this, he'd probably find a way to compare our current situation to a car motor.  I'm not Jeff, and I don't know anything about motors, but for you guys...well, you may just want to skip the words and  look at the pictures.

Like some kind of mad scientists that decided to see what would happen when you cross two unrelated species, we're coming up with some trouble.  Let's say our little budget of $20,ish is a cute little lamb and our building project is an elephant.  Now just imagine what might happen when you cross a lamb and an elephant.  Do I need to add that the lamb (budget) is the female in this scenario?  Right now, she's in the process of giving birth to a GIANT lambephant and it appears that we might have a slight case of shoulder dystocia.  Them's birthin' words for "the baby's stuck!"  (Sorry guys.)

Anyway, what looked like our last $2,500 actually is turning out to be closer to $1,000.  Blame the mad scientist!  I've never seen a lambephant before and so I don't know how much they cost.  It's not looking good for the little momma lamb.  She'll have to be on life support for a long, long time if she even survives birthing the big, awkward lambephant.  It's close to being fully born, but right now, I can only see it's weird looking head.  "Push momma lamb!  Push!"  (Come on guys!  Don't leave!)

(Forgive me if these are actually bicycle parts or strange kitchen utensils.  For all I know they could be jsiovensix's)

It's time to get out the forceps!  Or the vacuum!  Or the bonecracker!  Wait.  Wrong procedure.  Put that last one back.  Let's back up and just start with changing birthing positions.  That often does the trick.  "Roll over little lamb!" 

Once the lambephant is born, who knows, it may not even have running water!  We may have to drag the garden hose through the window.

Changing the subject a little for the sake of the men, (you're welcome) my dad and Jeff Brashears came over after work Monday night to help out.  Thanks!

Jeff Brashears and us go way back.  He's more like family really.

"Get out of our tub!  We're not that close!"

Then, yesterday JJ came over to work on the plumbing.  (We'll owe him a house too when this is done!)  AND, Eddie Yodelay, no, Eddie Oldhay, no, Eddie Oldlady...forget it.  Eddie took the day off work and spent it helping Jeff!  Jeff has my camera so I don't have any pictures of him.  Oh, but I do have Jeff's work camera which possibly has a picture of Eddie.  Hmmm...I don't think I'll go there.  Last time I looked at pictures on his work camera, well, I just won't go there.

Anyway, they all worked really hard and jumped some MAJOR hurdles.  Thank you!  Thank you!

Now, my mom just showed up to take care of the kids for me so I can do some serious packing.  Ready or not, lambephant, here we come!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Budget Wrap Up

These are our last five days for working on the house before we move in.  Our plans on what we want to have done before then have been constantly changing.  Now, however, it's all being finalized and strictly directed by our last $2,500.  I'm sure you're all curious how much everything has cost us to date.  So am I.  Let's get out a pen and paper and see what we can figure out.  Here's a list of the funds we used to build the house:  $15,000 inheritance from grandma Jones and $6,500 in good old credit cards, totaling $21,500.  Then there's the $31,500 loan for the land.  That gives us a grand total of $53,000.

For the house itself, we originally planned on spending only $15,000 but that meant doing without things like interior walls, a second floor bathroom (or at least part of one) and going with sheetrock on the walls instead of pine planks.  It also didn't include purchasing all of our windows and doors upfront or unexpected expenses like upgrading the electrical wiring, well pump, and well house.  We also included in the house budget:  utilities (electricity only), monthly land payments, and the gas money to drive to and from the project all for the past six months.  This totaled approximately $3,200.  Jeff may have a few corrections to make to this little improv list but, more or less, I think that about covers it.

Take a look here to see what our initial plan was.

I think we've managed to come out ahead, depending on how you look at it.  Yes, we went over our $15,000 budget and now we have credit card debt, BUT, the house is much closer to completion and our overall debt is being so greatly reduced that it's worth it. ($31,500 for land plus $6,500 credit card = $38,000 debt versus the balance of our current mortgage of $104,000 means a reduction of $66,000 of debt!!!)  The credit card debt should be easy enough to pay back quickly and the money for the rest of the work we need to do to finish the house will come from our own pockets as we can afford it.  We're so close to the end of the line time wise as well as financially that at this point I may not have kitchen cabinets.  If I do, we'll only get lower cabinets to begin with and the temporary counter tops will be made of plywood until spring or summer when we can do our concrete counter tops.  This is no big deal to me, I'm just ready to move in.  Plus, I've lived in a house without a kitchen before (for four months, no less!)  At this point, we'll only have a toilet upstairs without walls or anything.  Don't worry, the downstairs bathroom will have everything plus walls, except the door.  (Visitors beware, but feel free to use our bucket in the woods!)  The main deal with that is, with so many girls in the house, we must have more than one toilet!  Having the toilet out there in the open will only push us to get the upstairs finished all the sooner, hopefully!  For the time being, my floors throughout the house will be painted advantech flooring, unsanded.  There just isn't enough time to sand them.  Which reminds me, yesterday, our friend Chad Miller (not to be confused with Chad, the doctor's husband) and his father-in-law, Sid, helped Jeff all day on the house.  Chad Miller also talked Jeff into painting the walls and ceilings before we move in instead of after.  (Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!)  AND, we've never even met Chad Miller's father-in-law before.  He just came to help out of the kindness of his heart!  (Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!)  Sid also works for a local cabinet company and took measurements of our kitchen to see what he can find for us for cabinets when we're ready.  I've been amazed at how kind and helpful people have been throughout this whole process!

Anyway, back to our haves and have-nots.  The second floor will not be anywhere near finished when we move in.  There won't be any bedrooms or walls yet.  But, like I said earlier, there will be a toilet up there.  The end.  Oh, and a hot water heater.  The end. We have interior doors but, for the sake of time, they probably won't be installed until sometime after we move in.  We won't have all of our light fixtures right away, but I have lots of lamps.  The fireplace flue will cost another $1,000 so that will have to wait but we only had to pay $320.00 for a never before used, pre-owned fireplace that had a retail price of $2,000.  We don't have exterior siding on the house but we have most of the materials already (our privacy fence pickets!)  There will still be a lot of work to do once we've moved in, but the biggest hurdles will all be behind us.  I consider myself blessed and my "haves" list the winner.

P.S.  Bathroom update.  I said, not too long ago, that we were going to hang sheetrock in the bathroom, but we decided to do the pine wood in there too. 

We'll primer and paint the wood, as well as, caulk between them to try to keep moisture out.  Then for the bathtub surround, we're planning to use corrugated metal like someone did in this bathroom:

Courtesy of Country Living

Sunday, December 27, 2009

??? daze ???

Aside from a couple of near death experiences over the past few days, things are moving along smoothly.  A couple of days ago, the kids and I were out running errands in the Suburban when at some point the hand held propane torch that also happened to be in the truck got stuck in the on position.  The kids were being noisy, the baby was crying and the radio was on so we only noticed the hissing sound once I parked the truck and turned it off.  After I got the kids and our groceries in the house, I went back to investigate the noise and noticed a strong foul odor.  Once I found out it was the torch, I quickly thanked God that none of the kids nor I were smokers.  We might all be wandering around with singed eyebrows, or worse.  (No lectures on the propane torch, please.) 

Then the next day, I talked to Jeff on the phone for a little while around 3:30 pm and a few minutes after our conversation, I called him back to tell him something I'd just read on the Internet about metal and condensation but he didn't answer the phone.  I tried a few more times over the next twenty minutes or so with no luck and just assumed he was on the phone with one of his parents or something and would call me when he was finished.  About two hours later, I realized he had still not called me back so I tried him again.  Still, no answer.  I started calling every couple of minutes thinking he's probably sawing and nail gunning a lot so he probably just didn't hear his phone.  After about twenty minutes of that, it dawned on me that he may have had an accident.  I realized that he had probably fallen twenty feet off a ladder after sawing off his hand and passing out from the blood loss.  Then I realized this probably happened a couple of hours ago when I couldn't reach him the first time, so more than likely, he's dead by now.  That's when I began to have a serious panic attack.  I told the kids, "Get your coats on and get in the car!  We've got to go get your father, RIGHT NOW!"  The kids naturally wanted to know why and what the hurry was and not wanting to scare them with the story of their fathers accident, I told them, "He forgot his wallet and might need to get gas."  Which was true.  Then I thought, maybe that's the problem.  He ran out of gas on our little country road and no one has passed by to give him a lift to the gas station.  Then I remembered he hasn't answered any of my phone calls over the last 2 1/2 hours so my mind went right back to the vision of him all broken to bits at the bottom of the ladder he was working on.  So I grabbed his wallet and the kids and I rushed out to the Suburban to find that the only door we could get open was mine.  All of the other doors where frozen shut.  I started the truck to thaw out the other doors and contemplated calling 911 to ask them to send an ambulance out to my husband.  I decided to call my parents instead.  I managed to choke out a few words to my mom about how Jeff hadn't been answering  his phone, that he's alone, and most likely dead so the kids and I were going to get him just as soon as the truck thaws.  To all of that, my mom calmly said, "Okay, we're on our way to Branson so call me when you find out what's going on."

The kids were all in the driveway crying about things like the subzero temperatures and 700 mile per hour wind gusts so I decided they should wait in the house for the truck to thaw.  I also decided to give Jeff another call and run back outside to try the truck doors again and noticed what a mess my house was and that everyone from Oklahoma was going to want to stay here for the funeral.  Once I got outside I opened my cell phone and pressed 3.  He's number 3 on my speed dial.  I don't know why or how that happened.  He's also the only person I EVER speed dial.  "Hello?" he whispered.  I gasped, then I yelled, "JEFFREY MICHAEL DIXON!!!!  WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON?????  ARE YOU ALRIGHT?  I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!!!!"  He continued talking softly and acted like he had no idea what I was talking about and told me he was outside tracking the biggest rat he'd ever seen.  "EXCUSE ME?  I'VE BEEN CALLING YOU FOR HOURS AND YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ANSWERING SO I ASSUMED YOU WERE DEAD AND YOU'RE DOING WHAT????  I'M GONNA KILL YOU WHEN YOU GET HOME!!!"  Then I cried.  He chuckled sympathetically then said, "Hang on, your parents are calling me."

It turns out that when your phone is stuffed in your pocket under seven layers of clothes, the extremely loud propane heater is on, the radio is blaring, the air compressor is running and you're using no less than four power tools, you really can't hear a phone when it rings.  Now Jeff is no longer allowed to leave the house in the morning until I have inspected the duct tape that holds his cell phone over one ear.

My imagination occasionally gets the best of me but for good reason in this instance.  Jeff always answers my calls and even complains on a regular basis that I don't call him enough.  So naturally I assumed there was a very good reason, i.e. death, for him to not answer my calls.  I'm never calling him again.


Jeff's been hard at work trying to get the house ready for us to move into it.  Over the last few days, he's been nailing up wood planks on the walls.  I haven't been out to the house in a while, but from the pictures, the wood walls have really changed the look of the house. 

My dad keeps telling Jeff we need to stain or seal the wood.  I guess he likes the rusticness of wood.  I don't really care for that look myself.  I'm one of those people that loves wood, PAINTED.  Stained, sealed or raw wood is yucko to me.  We'll be painting it all white in the spring.

It looks like Jeff's been missing me.

I've been missing him too.  It's starting to feel like this has been going on forever. What's today? I'm not sure. We, meaning Jeff, has been working so hard for such a long time now that I'm having a hard time keeping track of the days. BUT, our projected date of moving in is set for January 2nd and 3rd. Will you all come help us please? We're old and frail and could use all the help we can get. We're so old, we've been mistaken for senior citizens. I'm not kidding. Last night, the kids and I ran to Lowe's to meet Jeff there about 45 minutes before closing time so we could get a few light fixtures for Jeff to install today and as we were going through the checkout line, the little, red headed, twentysomething, checkout lady looked at our two year old, Evelyn, and said, "Awww. Have you been shopping with grandma and grandpa today?" I was standing back a bit, holding fussy little Sophie, and thought maybe I misunderstood her and I gave Jeff a confused look. He turned to the lady and politely said, "What?" Then she said, "Have you guys got the grandkids tonight?" Mind you, Madison is only a few inches shorter than I am which gives testament to her age and there were FIVE children altogether. That means we didn't even look like fresh, first time grandparents to this lady. She repeated her question so confidently that she must have genuinely assumed we were the kids grandparents!!! Jeff let out a big, "Nooooo! These are our KIDS!" and I laughed so hard I thought I was going to blow a gasket! Her face immediately turned as red as her hair and she began apologizing profusely and saying something about how her dad has a beard. Once I finished my Tom Hanks, Money Pit, laugh, I said, "We're only thirty!" Jeff corrected me and told her, "Actually, we're 34." Like that was really necessary. My point in saying thirty was that's the general category you could put us in compared to the 70 something category she had us in.

Do you know the laugh I'm talking about? Have you seen that movie? I love it. Tom Hanks character, Walter, had just been through one ordeal after another with their money pit of a house and then this happens...which is exactly how I reacted to the grandparents comment.

Monday, December 21, 2009

10 daze

Yesterday, while Jeff and my dad worked on house stuff, my mom, sister and I watched the movie, Julie & Julia.  When Erin told me she brought it, I asked her if she had watched it yet.  She said no, but had heard it was pretty good.  I had heard that it will make you cry.

Now, have you all seen this movie?  It's a movie about a woman named, Julie, who blogged her way through one of Julia Child's cookbooks in one year, testing every recipe and then posting about them.  It's a true story that was turned into a movie.  Well, a few months ago, Kendra from My First Kitchen, had mentioned on her blog that she saw it in the theater and cried a lot during this movie.  In fact, she said it made her do the "ugly cry."  You can read what she said for yourself here and check out the rest of her blog while your at it.  (I love her blog and I don't even really like to cook.)  Anyway, this left me with the impression that it was possibly sad or something tragic happens, and I hate to cry so I had no intentions of watching this movie, ever.  But, since my sister brought it I figured I'd do my best to muscle my way through it.  Apparently I misunderstood where Kendra's tears were coming from though, because not a single tear was shed by any of us throughout the entire movie.  In fact, we did a lot of giggling and making comments like, "Oh, that is so Julia!" as if we actually personally knew Julia Child.  It is possible that my family and I are more familiar with her than most people because, while I was growing up, we regularly watched her cooking show on PBS on the weekends.  And none of  us like to cook.  What's funny about this though, is that the only reason we ever watched her show was because of my dad.  He doesn't cook anything, ever, but he does enjoy watching people cook.  I'd say a lot of people must, because there are so many cooking programs and channels dedicated to it. 

Anyway, Julia Child was a very unique person and Meryl Streep really nailed the role.  I enjoyed the movie enough that I would probably buy it if I came across it at the store.  I'm sure it's not a movie everyone would enjoy, but if you have a past history with Julia Child like I do, then I definitely recommend that you see it!  Just a little F.Y.I.

Today, we're all back at it.  Only ten days left till move in time.  Have I mentioned that we'll have open rafters in the house?  Is that the right term when it's actually the second floor floor joist that will be left open on the bottom?  The ceiling height of the first floor will be the usual eight feet and the second floor floor joists will be painted white. Which reminds me, I'm a little concerned about the knots in the pine boards bleeding through the paint.  I don't mind if there's a little bleed through and I don't want to have to shellac the wood first, so we're just going to go with a good primer and hope for the best.  It will hopefully look something like this ceiling when we're done.

courtesy of Better Homes and Garden

Sunday, December 20, 2009

11 daze and counting

Today is the first day of the real final count down.  Eleven is the number of days left in the year as well as the number of days before we move into our little cottage in the woods and here's what the house looks like right now.

It looks about two weeks away from being done, wouldn't you say?  No?  Well just take a look upstairsladder.

Doesn't this picture say to you, "You better get packin' because it's almost movin' time"?   Well it should.  Just this morning Jeff looked into reserving a rental truck for the 31st.  He's serious about the moving date...I think.  Don't let this get you down though.  Remember, it only has to be "livable" in order for us to move in. 

Jeff and JJ worked till almost midnight last night and Jeff just walked in the house after working all day, to take a shower so he'll be ready to pick up JJ at 7am tomorrow to finish the plumbing.  There's a lot of hard, long hours going into the house to get it livable.  The house will be a work in progress for who knows how long, but it will be nice when we no longer have to drive an hour one way to work on it and when Jeff does work on the house in the future, we'll always be right there with him.

Just thought I'd give you all a quick little update.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 daze left

Jeff, JJ and my dad are, of coarse, working right now on the house. I'm not sure what all they're doing because I've stopped asking. I know that last weekend they, as well as Jeff's friend Spencer, worked on insulation. Or, as Jeff calls is, itchulation. I haven't been out there in a while and Jeff hasn't taken any pictures for me so I'll just have to improvise.

Here's some insulated walls.

And here's Spencer.

Like I said, I don't have any pictures and this guy doesn't look anything like Spencer, but he'll do in a pinch. I don't really know him that well, but I'd like to think Spencer loves the limelight which means I'm sure he wouldn't want to be left out of the blog and miss a chance at being seen by my tens of readers. Well, make that nine readers. He's from the OKC area like my husband and, while they only met recently through work, it turns out Spencer knows some of Jeff's kin. Pretty well, in fact. It really is a small world, isn't it? Anyway, we really do appreciate him taking time from his wife and their new baby (he's just a day or two younger than my Sophie!) to help us. (There you go Spencer Brown. Don't let the fame go to your head!)

Jeff has the rest of the year off and will be working day and night getting our new love nest ready. My dad also has the next week off and plans to help him. Isn't that nice? As soon as the plumbing and itchulation are finished, Jeff will start nailing up 1x12's on the walls, horizontally. I only thought I had choices. Hanging them horizontally will save us time and money which is fine by me since it's my favorite anyway.

He'll also be hanging sheetrock in the bathroom. We're concerned with moisture getting trapped and growing mold if we were to hang wood on the walls in there so we're going with sheetrock to prevent that. And speaking of bathrooms, check out this one from Country Living.

I love the corrugated metal around the tub!

Now I must get back to work!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

14 daze

This is the final countdown.  I think.  Our goal is to be moved in two weeks from today, December 31st.  Jeff wants me to post everyday until we're in.  I can barely speak in complete sentences.  This is going to be challenging.  In fact, don't count on it. 

Here's what I'm dealing with,

And this,

And hoping to accomplish more of this,

And this,

And, all the while, keep up with never ending tasks like this,

And this,

And of coarse there are the irresistible distractions like this,

and this,

and this,

And there just isn't enough of this,

Or this,

What's a girl to do?  Can anyone please tell me?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Calgon, take me away!

Jeff has just about finished the electrical rough in and JJ has been up to his elbows in plumbing stuff.  "Stuff" is layman's terms for plumbing words these lips of mine have never even uttered.  I will most likely use that term when referring to electrical things as well.  Or, evidently, the word "things."  Got it?  Alright, here we go.

Here's JJ the plumber, doing his infamous impersonation of a man encountering an octopus in a linen closet.  He's responsible for all those white tubes shooting up out of the floor.  Jeff helped JJ shove these things into the house through a small hole JJ cut in the floor which, according to Jeff, was really hard to do.  He told JJ that if he were doing it, he'd make the whole bigger, to which JJ replied, "That's why you're not doing it."  So there.  Apparently, the tubes vibrate if they're not held tightly in place which is something you don't want.  Don't ask me why.  I have no idea, but I guess that would be bad.


Here's some plumbing and electrical stuff in the laundry room wall.  Now, I'm no plumbing expert mind you, but the washing machine goes on the left.  That much I know for sure.  I am a laundry expert.  I may not fully understand what all is going on in this picture, but to me, it looks like the plumbing is happening on the right side of the laundry room...WHERE THE DRYER GOES.  " got some splainin' to do!"  Wait, maybe this is a picture of the laundry room's backside, taken from inside the bedroom closet.  If that's the case, "Keep up the good work guys!  You're doing GREAT!"  *i'm so confused!*

Here's Jeff doing something to the breaker box.  How many of you saw this picture and the words fuse box immediately popped into your head?  That's so old timey.  Nowadays we use what's called a breaker box.  I would never confuse this with a fuse box, ever.

This is Jeff making a list of what each breaker is connected for.  There are a lot of breakers and the finished list is very long.  It looks like just about every outlet and light switch has it's own breaker.  The purpose of a breaker box has something to do with controlling or interrupting the flow of electricity or something along those lines.  I don't know.  Ask me something about placentas or childbirth.  Then I would surely astound you with my vast amounts of knowledge.  Unless your a doctor or a midwife.  Then never mind.  All I know, is if you aren't careful with how you wire a house you could end up with something like this...

And that would be really bad.

We are working hard to meet our goal of moving in by the end of the month, so while Jeff is working 27 hour days, 8 days a week, the kids and I have started sorting and packing things away.  I hate sorting and packing and have often tried enlisting others to do it for me but that never works out.  Just ask my family, they'll gladly tell you.  Since they can't ever seem to read my mind, I have to tell them whether any given item goes in the pack, trash or donate pile, then I get all bossy and realize I should be doing this myself.  I've never understood how hiring people to pack your things works.  Do you stand over them and just bark out orders all day while they do all the work?  That sounds really lazy, even for me.  Anyway, we are so insanely, crazy busy right now that I may not have time to post much but, rest assured, I'll visit with you when I can and be back, undoubtedly, after the move.  Now, I must go and get to work...right after I take a Calgon bubble bath.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We have everything but the kitchen sink

Last night while moving our "urban" chickens to the country (a post for another day) Jeff and I were discussing the plumbing in the house.  He said he and JJ thought about giving me a wall mount faucet in the kitchen.  gasp.  How did he know that's all I've ever wanted in my life?

So that's my assignment for today.  Figure out if that really is the best thing to want in life.  I used to think some open shelving in the kitchen was all I ever wanted. 


Then I read up on people's opinions who actually live with open kitchen shelves and found out the truth.  Greasy, dusty dishes.  No thanks, I'll pass.

Some potential problems I see with a wall mounted faucet are things like trying to get both nobs turned to just the right temperature with my one clean hand while my other raw chicken goo covered hand is waiting impatiently to be washed.  That seems like a lot of work, and remember, I'm kind of lazy.  Then there's the issue with the sprayer.

There it is, with its long hose just laying all over the place like it's the star of the show.  Not pretty.  But without it, how will Jeff and I have our little spontaneous moments of flirtatious spraying eachother with it in the kitchen like they do on TV?  Some of the pluses of this style of faucet, however, would be the sheer beauty of the faucets and the sinks that go with them.  Oh the sinks.  They are lovely.  Take the apron sink for example.

Yes, I'll take two please. That wouldn't be the least bit excessive in my 8x11 kitchen.  They are gorgeous!  And their prices start at a mere $500.  *cough, cough*  At that price, why wouldn't I want two?  Or how about a nice under mount sink?

These make cleaning the counter top and around the sink very easy and they look nice too.  Plus, we could use a more affordable sink to get this look, say, your average $40 used sink from Craigslist. I know I wouldn't really have to use a wall mount faucet with either sink but for some reason, just looking at this...

makes my heart go pitter-pat!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Back seat! Middle! Feet on the hump!!!

How many of you are familiar with Brian Regan? Let me see a show of hands. Alright, there are a few of you who didn't raise your hands so I'll tell you who he is. He's a comedian. A funny comedian. A while back my sister, Erin, introduced him to my kids by way of CD to which they listened to so many times it just up and disintegrated one day. And now, because our children have to entertain themselves without the help of the TV, they love to do Brian Regan impersonations, all at the same time and pretty much all day long. This is fine while it's going on within the confines of our home but the second those kids hit the door to go anywhere in the car, they all begin yelling at will, "Back seat! Middle! Feet on the hump!!!" Which of coarse, gets the attention of every living person within earshot who happens to be outside during one of these episodes. After staring with raised eyebrows at the children who repeatedly yell this like it's their mantra while they pile into the Suburban, they look at me with a look of compassion and wonder noticing, how well I seem to be holding up under the pressures of raising such a large bunch of seemingly L.D. children. It kind of leaves me kind of feeling the need to explain. So here's my explanation. Enjoy.

Thanks Erin!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chicken lights.

Jeff is starting the electrical this weekend himself.  Just another one of the benefits of living in an area with no building codes.  Jeff has done plenty of electrical work himself and has really had only one close encounter with death by electrocution.  It was years ago in our first home.  I was in my bathroom pluckin' and primpin' in the mirror next to the bathroom window that was overlooking the open backdoor of the garage where Jeff was working on something.  All I remember was a HUGE white flash of light coming from that back door that made my bathroom lights flicker.  I rushed into the garage to where Jeff was standing with his back to me, completely motionless, staring at the electrical panel on the wall with a screwdriver in his hand.  After a few seconds of horrifying silence all he had to say about the incident was, "Well that didn't work."

As long as he keeps that good sense of humor of his, I think all will be fine.  Besides that, he knows a guy that knows a guy who does electrical work and was able to answer all Jeff's electrical questions through the first guy he knows...or something like that.

We haven't bought our light fixtures yet, but I have a look in mind that I really like.

I suppose it's kind of an industrial look that I like in a fixture. 


You wouldn't necessarily think "industrial" and "cottage" would mix very well, but I think it's very charming.

I'd like to use them in the house as well as for outdoor lighting.

Bub calls them "chicken" lights.  They do kind of have that look.
Lowe's carries a few models I really like but if they're out of our price range maybe we will just string up some chicken lights.

I wonder if anyone would even know the difference.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This one's for all the grandma's and grandpa's...

Monday was Madison's eleventh birthday.  She had a lot of fun receiving cards and gifts in the mail and baking her own birthday cake.  That sounds cruel of me to make her bake her own cake, but really I'm just lazy.  Besides that, she actually enjoyed doing it.  She even decorated it herself which is a lot like art and she loves art!

She used pink, blue and green icing on a chocolate background to make butterflies, flowers and blue birds.  It turned out really cute.

Seriously, it was cute.

Once she blew out the candles, we commenced with the present opening. 


Here's a list of what she wanted and what she received:
Ear's pierced.  Check.
Ipod Shuffle.  Check.
Clothes.  Check.
Candy.  Check, check and check.
Cash donations for the camera fund inspired by her mother's professional photography skills.  Check, check.
And lastly, not requested but gladly received, one digital recorder.  Check.

Then her daddy loaded up her Ipod, put batteries in her recorder and that's when the fun really began.  With the kids all hopped up on sugar they'd run into the bedroom to sing and talk and laugh into the recorder then they'd come running back out and Madison would yell (her Ipod still blasting loudly into her ears) at the adults in the room, "You've got to listen to this!  It is sooo funny!"  Then she would play back the insane nonsense for us to enjoy.  This happened nonstop throughout the rest of the evening.

Now, two days later, when I go looking for the kids I usually find them in a closet, nibbling on the remaining hunks of chocolate and pop rocks, speaking gibberish onto the recorder with music blasting from Madison's ears loudly enough for everyone else to hear, looking like this...

They've turned into a weird bunch of unsocialized, homeschooled, little freakazoids.  This wasn't supposed to happen.  This is exactly what I've tried to avoid by homeschooling them.  I hope this doesn't derail anyone's plans of homeschooling their own children.  You know you can learn 'em just as good at home as you can in public schools.  Sometimes even better.  I should know, I'm a homeschool graduate myself.  That's right.  You're looking at a bunch of second generation homeschoolers.

Thank you dear birthday gift givers.

the end.

*Please email me with any requests to use my pictures before you just snatch 'em up.  I'm more than happy to share them, I just want to keep it under control.

Celeste Dixon
Professional Personal Blogger, ppb