Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a chapter in our lives is ending. sniff...sniff...

today was a very special day. it was the first day all summer that we were all 8 together, and we celebrated by going to our local state park for hiking and swimming. unfortunately, it was also our last day all 8 together- tommorow M leaves for college. all the way down in south Carolina. that is very far away from Pennsylvania. but i wont' think about that now. i'll tell you about our very special day.

first, we had a special breakfast- i made PW's sleepin' in omelet. i thought that it was pretty good- but maybe next time i won't use the onion rolls. then we had a friend come over to do a family picture for us, as the last time we did that, i was in the hospital (still with my IV's in) after having B. she was only a few hours old.

then we were finally ready to take off- after packing a small mountain of stuff, preparing for every possible scenario and contingency. even though we were only going for a few hours. traveling with small children is like that. we went to rickett's glen state park ,and were able to do some hiking to see the beautiful waterfalls, and then spend a relaxing afternoon on the beach, playing and picnicking. we all took turns playing with the little ones, and even were able to have a short snooze!

it was important to me to do this today. it's our "last day" home as a family. i know that M will be home again, but it will never be the same. she is growing into a beautiful young lady, and when she comes home at thanksgiving, she will be a different person. today was a nice gift.
here we are at the trail head, ready to start down to see the waterfalls.

A has found a stick, and is enjoying her ride on dada's shoulders.

this is the largest waterfall, with a bridal veil drop of 94'. a fellow hiker was kind enough to take this picture for us. and i'm very happy with how well it turned out! we'll put this one in our hallway gallery.

M hiked down (and back) with B on her back. B loves to be outside, and look around.

the boys were busy being boys- climbing on all the rocks and fallen tree trunks.

A is ready to head for the beach. here she has her stuff, and is running for the water.

N took B down so she could dabble her feet in the water. she loved it, and ended up crawling all over in the shallow water. she only drank a little water, and ate a little bit of sand!

this is A after she took a sip of dada's mountain dew! how could i scold a cute little face like that?

M brought her knitting. smart thinking. but she forgot her shorts and swim suit. go figure!

and before we headed home, A took B for a little stroll. they both seemed to like it!

after we got home, M started packing the van with all her stuff. she's really excited to go, and can't wait to get started. i can't believe that she's old enough (already!)to go to college. just yesterday she was my little baby girl. I've been thinking back over the last 19+ years, and wishing that i could do some parts over. i was such a young mother! i would yell less and hug more. i would read more stories, and play more games. i would talk less and listen more. i would marvel more at this beautiful young child that was a gift from God. but the best part is that M turned out so well- in spite of all my flaws and shortcomings! and she is a beautiful young lady- I'm proud that she is my daughter. i think she will be homesick, and already I'm counting the days until all my children are home under the same roof again. until then, we'll be here ready to listen and encourage from afar. and going through tons of Kleenex. maybe I'll buy stock in Kimberly-Clark.


D and G are done with wood splitting- at least for this year! they worked at it very diligently every day, and now it's all cut, split and stacked. because of his elbow, N was unable to continue helping, but he did a significant portion too, before he was injured.
they look pretty proud, as well they should!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

we see light at the end of the tunnel!

work progresses, very slowly here, but we are almost done! dave and the boys have been working very hard at this long running project, and as of tonight, all the walls and foundation are closed up! no more of that frosty morning air whisping through the house! following are some pictures of the work in progress. this is the back wall, with about 1/2 of the new foundation laid.

here G and D are working at house wrapping the addition. only one more side to go.


dave is mixing the cement to lay some more of the foundation blocks.

this picture accidentally slipped in- but A sure loves B, and gives her lots of kisses!

this is the back wall, and the foundation is finished. it just needs the band joist. (extra points if you know what that is!)

this is the other side of the foundation- around back of the house. the foundation is almost done, and dave just has a few more joists to replace.

here it's done, and dave and G are putting in the band joist, as well as some insulation.

the back foundation, and the sill is done a little differently, as the addition is 3" off level from corner to corner back here.

here's the front. tomorrow the boys will begin painting the foundation with foundation coating, and then we can begin backfilling the trenches around the house. YAY! i'm weary of the dirt piles all around, and will be glad to get my yard back.

in other news, we've purchased the siding to do the house. it was on sale at LOWE'S, and with our discount we got a good price on it. the house will be white, with green shutters. everyone is anxious to get that started, as it will make a big difference in how the house looks. as in, the house will actually look nice from the outside! when we have visitors, they are usually intrigued by the house, and will comment on how nice it will look when we're done. we all know that 's code for - "you're all kinds of crazy, and it looks really crappy now!" but we just nod politely, and smile. we also got the new roof shingles delivered today. we got a good deal on them, too, but not from LOWE'S. they are green architectural shingles, and will really look nice with the green shutters. very colonial. and for those of you who know anything about construction, it will take 30 squares to do the roof of our house. i told you our house was big!

so the plan is to wrap up this portion of the house, and then dave has his next big project all cut out for him. more on that later. and somewhere in there, we need to start school. i kind of forgot about that!

things are just ducky around here!

the little hardware store in town sells ducks and chickens. all summer I've been waiting for indian runner ducks. (described as a bowling pin with legs) unfortunately, it's been a bad summer for ducks, i guess, and i finally gave up and purchased these Muscovy ducks. right now they're pretty darn cute, but they will grow up to be traffic stopping ugly! i'm not sure what possessed me to buy them, but since they were pretty cheap, i figured we could put up with all kinds of ugly. maybe they'll be so ugly they're cute. but already, dave has been heard to mutter something about how big they will grow, and that they are good meat birds. i'll have to guard them pretty closely, i see! for now, they're outside in a pen, but i'd like them to be free range, as soon as they are acclimated and a bit older. it can be A's job to feed them in the morning, and lead them to the little run-off puddle in the yard.
B and G think they are pretty cute!

already A is taking good care of them. M is holding the little yellow one, and A has covered her with the baby blankets.

late breaking news: the ducks now have names. the big dark one, which we think are hoping is the drake is Percy. the 2 little ones are salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

i've been kind of busy lately....

it's been a crazy hairy time around here the last few days. i've been away from home the last 3 days. doing what, you may ask? did you finally get to go on that much needed and deserved romantic vacation with your husband? ha! last week, i mentioned that Nathaniel fell off his bike, and could have gotten stitches. instead we went to CVS, and invested in neosporin, gauze, tape, hydrogen peroxide and large bandaids, and cared for the wound ourselves. we spent the same as we would have for a co-pay at the doctor's, so i figured we were even. fast forward several days, and the wound began to swell, N spiked a fever of 102, and the site was all red and warm. after a trip to the ER, (of course after 10PM) his arm was no better the next day, and in fact getting worse. we went to the doctor, who sent us to the surgeon, who gave us the diagnosis of cellulitis. he admitted N to the hospital, and operated the next day, (Wednesday) taking out 2 abscesses, as well as cleaning and flushing the site. N is left with a rather large incision- 3"X1 1/2"X1/2". wow! so i was in the hospital keeping N company, and signing tons of consent forms, from Tuesday until he was discharged on Thursday afternoon. we need to go back to the hospital every day to have the bandage changed, and so the nurses can keep and eye on how it's healing. we have a doctor appointment on Tuesday, and at some point the incision will be stitched up. until then, N has been rendered "incapacitated"

i was very thankful that M was home to help hold down the fort. it was also Dave's days off, so things ran pretty smoothly here at home, all things considered. N's hospital room was semi-private, and overlooked a beautiful little courtyard garden, full of vegetables, flowers and herbs. i was able to spend lots of time with him while in the hospital, and even have been knitting on B's baby blanket again. (almost done!) we also enjoyed watching the Olympics- a treat since we don't have TV at home. (and as several people said to N, some people will do anything to watch the Olympics. including a very serious infection and operation!)

overall i was very impressed with our little rural hospital. it's a very small facility, located right in downtown towanda. the nurses were very friendly, and took excellent care of N while he was there. the last morning that we were there, the physical therapist stopped in to give N some exercises to do at home, as he's already lost range of motion in his elbow. as we were chatting, she told us that the little courtyard garden is their PT garden, used for therapy for the children. there were several rabbits that lived there, presumable hopping around happily nibbling on the lettuce and beans, living a life of idyllic peace and tranquility. that is, until the bobcat came in on Monday evening and ate them all. yes. a bobcat. in the hospital courtyard garden. in downtown towanda.

and you thought i was exaggerating about rural Bradford county.

Monday, August 18, 2008

my wonderful new window!

my new kitchen window has been here for several weeks now, but just the other day Dave had the time to install it. as usual, it made a huge mess, and took way longer than we thought. (we should know by now that any project we begin will take longer than we thought, and cost more than we anticipated!) but it's in now, and i really like it! the other window was really small, and very hard to close. this one opens and shuts like a breeze!
this is a very rare picture, so i hope that you appreciate it. M is helping Dave take out the old window frame. she just happened to be in the right place at the right time! she can sure operate that drill with style!

this is the big, huge mess in progress

now that the new window is in, the boys can go ahead and finish house wrapping the addition. more pictures of that later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

i just can't keep up!

i've been doing alot of raving lately about our garden, and all the wonderful produce that we've been getting. i'm serving my family fresh, homegrown veggies out of our own dirt, and i really like being a good mom that way. we've had lots of summer squash and zucchini, too, fixed lots of different ways. we've had it with salsa, corn, olive oil, onions, peppers, sour cream and fresh garlic. yummy! but if you've ever had one of these plants in your own garden, you know that they have a tendency to get away from you, if you turn your back for even just one minute! i have to admit that i've had a couple of the squash languishing on my counter and in the fridge for a few days, and wasn't sure what i would do with them.

Friday night the perfect opportunity presented itself! our nearest neighbor had spent all of Friday cutting down trees. we heard the chainsaws going all day, and were almost impressed with their perseverance and diligence. that is, until they cut down a tree directly onto the power line, smashing and ripping out the electrical lines all the way to our house, and cutting out power to several other houses, too.

it was almost dark, but i could still see enough to improvise these candle holders. they worked very well, i might add! and by morning, the power was back on. too bad, because i think i could find a few more squash around here somewhere!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

in which the whiney blogger gets a Fminus

we all want to be popular- me included- and in a fit of whiny-ness, i installed the skribbit gadget to invite my readers to prompt me on topics to blog upon. almost right away, i got a hit! how am i staying organized in this season of my life? ( and i'm assuming that she means while we're majorly remodeling/renovating our house.) i should could just keep it short and simple and say that dave and M apparently think i'm not. they both made a snickering, snorting noise out their nose when they heard about my newest only question. and usually the people we live with know us the best!

but i will continue deluding myself, and ramble on for a little bit about this topic. i really thought that i was pretty good at organizing! i mean, we all have to be good at something, and i know that for me it's not cleaning! and even though i like to cook for lots of people, i rarely make dessert. so i was content to think that organizing a large family was my niche.

i'm so *organized*, that i don't really know what i do that is organized! a long time ago, a mother of 4 (with twins) told me that she just does the next thing. "do the next thing". that's kind of what i do, i guess! around and around and around- cooking, cleaning, diapers, laundry, kids, cooking, homeschooling, husband, kids, diapers, laundry, chickens, cooking, kids, diapers, homeschooling, laundry, sewing, kids, husband, diapers, cooking, laundry. (notice how cleaning was only in there once?!) galloping just to stay behind- that's me! no profound organizational hints here, i'm afraid!

to wrap it up, i put the gidget on the sidebar because i wanted to have a *popular blog*, with lots of hits. there's lots of blogs out there that are funny, and i just wanted to be like every body else have a very interesting blog. i mean, we have chickens too, but somehow we're just not as funny as April and her chickens. our chickens are also very healthy, and besides, i never make cherry pie. then there's octamom. i have a slew of kids, (including twins), i'm still a nursing mom, and i scrapbook too, but not like this! and don't forget ree! i live in the country, too, but we don't have horses or cows. but we do have a dog. he's a really cool dog, and his name is bud. he hunts coons with dave and the boys. and i cook the zucchini and summer squash from my garden, too! but i don't get a gajillion people to tell me how to re-do my house, or what color to make my kitchen counter top! and just this week, N wrecked his bike, and could have gotten stitches in his elbow. we decided to skip it, but if i was the CDW, we could have done this instead.

so sadly, i guess i should admit that i'm not good at organizing. (or cleaning) but i'm really good at bossing people around. (and i think that my family would wholeheartedly agree with that!) so if you just want to stop by every once in awhile, and see how our house is coming along, and hear about the latest adventures of me bossing people around, then this is the blog for you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

how much wood could a wood chuck chuck?

dave and the boys have been working every day at the wood pile in our side yard. nearly every morning dave goes out and cuts the logs into lenghts, one gas tank's worth. that's enough to keep the boys busy all day.

G in action, with the monster maul.

progress, progress.

N has also been splitting wood like crazy, but i dind't realize that i didn't have any pictures of him until i uploaded to do this post. now that D is home, he's splitting and stacking, too. they are doing great, and getting really buff- proving another old adage- hard work really pays off.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

i'm back! and with a thousand pictures, too!

we've been busy around here, but no more than usual, i guess. i don't really have a stunning and fabulous reason for not posting for almost a week. (as my MIL reminded me!) i'll just give you the quick visual run down. dave is laying the block foundation. this is the portion under the kitchen. he's anxious to get it done. *understatement*

making nice progress.

don't ask.

here we have the cement truck bringing us our final 2 yards of cement. it's for the back part of the addition- the footer, as well as the footer in the cistern. it took alot of cement, because dave had to partially fill up the cistern, to make a footer there. you can see in this picture that it is rather hazardous to get in the back door. it involves leaping over deep pits, precariously balancing on a plank, and tip-toeing over the joists, which are open to the cellar. (and you thought that i was exaggerating about that part?)

G built the form for the cistern footer, and here he is filling it with the cement.
back on the kitchen foundation again, and A is helping. she has her little spoon with cement.

sometimes she'll play in the dirt pile, but she's not really into it. she has a little bulldozer thing, and when it got dirt on it, she wanted me to take it in the house and wash it off. i think she's missing the whole concept of playing in the dirt!

the back foundation is dry, and dave has started laying the block.

posing for nanny

here dave and G are putting on the sill, and face plate. (i think that's what they are called)

it's a tight fit, and A is helping to push it in. she wants to be right down in the ditch with her daddy and brother.

notice the insulation? a good thing for this house, as it did not have any when we bought it. (and no, i'm still not exaggerating!) i think this thing is called the face plate. i'll have to ask dave later.

G is adding still more insulation. (notice how that tiny little window over my kitchen sink is gone? i'm told the new one will be installed tomorrow) 1/2" insulation board, followed by 3/8" fan fold, followed by house wrap. notice how my house says LOWE'S LOWE'S LOWE'S LOWE'S all over? we're a huge advertisement for them. they should send money. lots of it. or at least advertise on my site!


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