Thursday, July 31, 2008

it's all about love!

I've been doing my blog for awhile, and it's really kind of fun! it gives me a chance to *talk to adults* and build a little community of fellow travelers. it makes those crazy, wild and hairy days just a little bit more tolerable if i think that at the end of the day i can blog about it, and all the hordes and scads of people 7 people who read my blog can chuckle with me.

but, i was thinking- maybe you're sick of all the blessed pictures of our house. i mean, how many times do you need to see the big, huge mess around here anyway? it's not like we're the only people to buy a big old house, and spend every single second and cent fixing it up. and even if you do find our historical renovation interesting, do you really want/need a pictorial blow-by-blow dramatization? it's not like we're Bob Villa and "This Old House" for pete's sake! (most days we're probably more like Tim Allen and "Home Improvement"!) and what's with all the pictures of A, BTW? i thought you had 6 (SIX) children?

so, in the interest of you, my dear readers, I've installed several new widgets in my sidebar. yes, that's it- over there on the right, above and below my profile. go ahead and look at 'em. first, you can tell me what it is you'd like me to write about, and I'll do my best to ramble endlessly expound profoundly on any topic, even if i don't know what the sam hill I'm talking about. and better yet, you can subscribe to my blog, and all my witty and fascinating new posts will be cyber-winging their way to you!

so come on- all 7 of you- show me some love, and tell me what you'd like to hear about!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

he's a ditch digging fool!

D has had a very busy summer- he's been off traveling with the sea cadets for several weeks this summer, and although he works hard while he's here, the other 2 boys have done much of the digging in his stead. D had only 2 more days to go before he left yet again, so i gave him this ditch to dig, since i knew that he would be motivated to get it done. he did an admirable job, and it took him less than 2 days. (this is one of the 2 ditches that we dug to help alleviate the water problem around the foundation. the rainwater was literally pouring into the cellar, so this project was moved to the top of the list. )
he's hard at it, and making good progress, too!

A wants to help. she went to find a shovel all by herself, so she could help her brother.

the ditch is done, and as you can see, it's pretty deep! they have laid (lain?) the drain pipe in and we should have a bone dry cellar the next time it rains!

everyone is happy now! dave gets to use his new tractor, N does not have to shovel all the dirt back in by hand, (D left again wednesday morning) and it's just a little bit easier to get into the house without risking life and limb!

it was a big day!

dave and the boys have been working hard on this foundation project for a while- it seems as if it's been months and months, but i know that's not so! there is dirt, wood, tools, dirt, stones, tools, mud and dirt all over my front yard. did i mention that there is dirt all over? heaps and mounds of it. all over. my front yard. you cannot get into the house without a.) leaping over a large hole b.)precariously balancing on a board placed over a large hole c.)walking through a large pile of dirt or d.) all of the above. but as of today, i can *almost* see the light at the end of the tunnel. the cement truck came bright and early this morning, and we poured the footer, so now we are on the upside of this project. and since i know that the hordes and scads of people that read my blog my mother-in-law wants to see pictures, I've posted a plethora of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

building the footer form

the footer, on the other side

firming it up, to make sure that it won't move as the cement is being pumped in

all ready on this side!

dave is doing some last minute checking.

thar she blows!

the boys and dave are hustling to get the cement where it goes.

check out the muscles on that buff looking kid! that's what working all summer will get for you!

all done- and they've started working on the drainage issues. that's what got the house into all this trouble in the first place. 120+ years of improper rain drainage can lead to big problems. trust me! this corner of the house is where my rain barrel will go. i have pleasant visions of watering my kitchen garden, which will be here next summer. i will be daintily stepping on my rock path, while wearing a straw hat, carefully watering my herbs and collecting my fresh lettuce and tomatoes for dinner for my family.

OK- back to reality and the rocks, mud and dirt. but i can dream, can't i?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

it's nice to know that i'm appreciated, by golly!

last night i decided to go for a bike ride. it had been one of those crazy, wild and hairy days, and i just needed to get out for a bit. after i put the girls down to bed, one of my sons was gracious enough to let me borrow his bike, and 2 sons helped get the seat adjusted. i did my best to ignore their incredulous questionings asking if i even remembered how to ride a bike, and did i know how to use the brakes? so off i go, just a tiny bit wobbly, and i hear them saying behind me- "be careful, it's a busy road." and "come home before dark." I'm feeling just a little less frazzled and comforted to hear their concerned send off, when i hear one of them say to the other- "yeah, if she gets hurt, who will cook for us?"

like i said- it's nice to know I'm appreciated!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

sunday musings

the job of being a parent is intimidating, and can be downright terrifying. to think that we've been given these many children to teach, and only have the brief 18 year span to do so, is enough to make the bravest heart quiver. i think it's at the heart of every mother, and is certainly in my heart, that we want to raise Godly, moral, honest and productive members of society. maybe a few other adjectives as well, but those will do for now. if i, as an imperfect mother, can raise children who are any of those things, it's only by God's grace, mercy and divine intervention. i want my children to be better than me, and to learn some of the lessons that I missed along the way.

through much of my adult life, i have always struggled with having a daily quiet time, and regular prayer- laying my heart before God, and talking to Him. this year i wanted to get control of this particular issue, and on December 31, i declared this The Year In Which Our Whole Family Would Read The Bible The Whole Way Through. even though i started off with noble intentions, i fell behind quicker than i could ever have imagined. my life is so busy, and a daily quiet time was not a discipline that was ingrained in me as a child, and i would so easily forget that i was to be setting time aside for God every day.

but A inspires me. although she is barely 2, she loves Jesus with all her heart. A has begun to master 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing." we can be reading, weeding, building blocks or rocking for bedtime, and she will take my hand and say "pray?" she wants to talk to Jesus! i will pray with her, and when we are done, she will get a big smile on her face and say "more?" if only i could have the heart of this small child who wants to talk to God about everything!

A reminds me that God is forgiving and mericful, even though that is not what i deserve. she reminds me that God is kind and loving, and cares about every part of my life, the life of my family, and the lives of my children. He loves my children even more than i do! that is why i want them to all have the habit of talking daily with God. i want them to have a personal relationship with Him. Personal, Steady, Daily. that is a discipline that i can impart to them, if they are willing to accept my teaching.

i don't try to be the Perfect Mother, but i sincerely desire to be a Good Mother. i resolve to try harder (again) to rely more on God, listening for His voice and seeking His guidance in my life. and anna will hold me to it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Guest Friday

So, today D and I put up the fan fold insulation and house wrap on the East wall of the house. (The one with the porch.) It went pretty smoothly after we figured out that no matter what we did there would still be bubbles in the insulation. After we duct-taped the seams Dave helped us put some house wrap over it to keep out all the drafts. Then in the spring, we'll put some siding over it and have a nice finished looking house.

This post published by Gabriel D. Wise, Copyright 2008, All rights reserved. This post may not be read by more than seven people lest the blog overloads from excessive reading.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

which came first- neat or organized?

our fridge is filled to the brim with stuff- so much so that it's usually a shock and surprise what we find when we clean it out on Fridays. (incidentally, that's one of the weekly dishwasher's chores) i do make an effort to keep our refrigerator clean and organized, and i recently came across an idea that works for me.

on our recent visit to see my great aunts, i noticed something that my aunt mary had done to effectively accomplish this in her fridge. on the top shelf was a lazy susan, and it had the condiments, pickles etc... on it. i said to myself "self, that's a great idea, and one you will implement this week."

so, on my next run to walmart, i got myself 2 lazy susans, and put all those miscellaneous things that we have up on the top shelf on them: relish, beef and chicken bullion, mayo, syrup, mustard, salad dressing... they all fit quite nicely, and our top shelf is much neater, and i even have some room left over!

now i can happily twirl to my heart's content, with all my condiments at my fingertips! for more great hints click on over to shannon at rocks in my dryer to find a tip that will work for you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

a sure foundation

the foundational work has been a constant project for several weeks now, and they are making progress. at least, i keep telling myself that! the endless holes, dirt, stones, noise and general upheaval are starting to get to me. but dave and the boys are steadily working, and even hope to have cement tomorrow.

everyone works a litte harder when the little supervisor comes to inspect thier work!

D and G dug under the joists, back 10", in preperation for dave making the footer.

dave decided that the cistern needed to go, in order to pour the foundaton properly. so N is loading the stones in the bucket. see- i told you that tractor would come in handy!

dave needs to slide a support under this corner, in order to finishe the repacing of all the joists. there are just a few more to go on each side.

so there you have it- all my faithful readers, who check in every once in a while, just see how our crazy wild restoration is going. thank you!

Monday, July 21, 2008

every little bit of progress counts!

last winter when we were ripping out the plaster and lath, we needed somewhere to go with it, as we quickly realized that we could never afford to fill endless dumpsters with the lath. so dave just had the boys start a lath pile outside the back door. while it was very convenient, the pile quickly grew to monstrous proportions, and we've been looking at that jumbled up mess ever since. last week i decided that I'd had just about enough, so in between working on the foundational issues with dave, all 3 boys have been cutting up the lath and lumber to 3' lengths, to go in the stove come cold weather. and here is the pile today- it's much neater, and the grass will grow back, so no worries there. another reason i wanted the pile cleaned is that this is the view that you see as you either drive by, or first thing when you pull in. once the wood in front of the tree is burned, N and i have a very good tire that we plan on making into an amazing tire swing!

today G and Dl started insulating the upstairs. that really needs to be done, as there was no insulation, what-so-ever in these could see right outside. I'm thinking that would get just a tiny bit cold in November. dave also showed G how to put the electrical boxes in, so they are waiting for when he's ready to make them hot.

above is the room that will be the sewing room. below is the sitting room.

he's a window kind of guy- but that's Mr. Glazier to you!

work was rolling right along today, when we got an afternoon rain shower. N asked dave if he could replace the window next to his bed, since when they had torn out the plaster and lath, over half of the window panes were broken, and the rain would come onto N's bed. so off dave went to do that little project. it went fairly smoothly, as much as could be expected, and with the house wrap that dave used to surround the window, he's very happy with the way it turned out. and it sure is nice to have quality windows that open and close properly, as well as full screens to keep out the bugs! and i still say that we should get some sort of monetary compensation for all the positive exposure we give to Lowe's and their products!
this is the view from the bridge. dave was so happy with the way it turned out, that he just kept right on going, and did the window in M's room, too. you can almost see it behind the giant cedar tree.

it's not for women and children.

dave bought his tractor on Saturday, and yesterday afternoon it was delivered. now we have one more helper around here, and with all the heavy work to be done, i know that we'll all appreciate it, especially the boys! no more running down the hill with a wheel barrow full of rocks to dump over the old bridge abutment.
it's here! we paid a small fee to have it delivered, and dave drove it off the flat bed before going off to work. good thing, too, as none of us has any clue how to drive the thing. it also came with a cab (which we won't be using) and A was so excited when she saw it. she clapped her hands,and exclaimed with glee "a house!" since dave won't be using it, i'll probably put it in the yard, and let the girls play in it.

our first family photo- but we're missing M, as she's at work. she works long and hard at the nursing home. (60 hour weeks) she's saving for college- and she's leaving in 5. short. weeks!

a few random shots of the tractor. in case you were wondering, it's a 1962 Massey Ferguson 204. it's 39 HP, with a shuttle shift and front loader. and it also needs a tune up. now, if any of that means anything to you, I'm impressed. i have no idea what i just typed. i just wrote down what dave told me, word for word.
getting B started early. dave makes no secret he wants his girls to marry a farmer- preferably Mennonite. and here is our tractor doing it's first job. and no, don't be a smart alec- it's not going to push down the addition! (it's tempting sometimes, though) they've done too much work, and come too far for such drastic measures!

so now the work plods along, making steady progress, and we are glad to have the help of the newest member of our family.


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