Thursday, November 20, 2014

All Through the Night.....

Gideon slept through the night for the second time this week.  This may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is equal to the total number of nights he has slept through in the previous 11 months of his life.  I'm hesitant to celebrate, but maybe we're finally getting somewhere.
We thought Nathan was a bad sleeper.  And then we had Gideon........  It took until he was probably 4 months for him to go to sleep, and stay asleep when I put him in his bed.  Otherwise he had to be on me, or next to me in bed.  And even then, he wakes up 1-4 times every night.  That wears on a mama.  He still is on no type of schedule.  The only "schedule" we have is that he usually takes a nap 2-4 hours after he wakes up in the morning.  Then he takes a second nap - sometimes - 4-6 hours after that.  Then he's ready for bed 3-4 hours after that.  Maybe.  So we have no daily schedule.  We do a bit of school here and there, but it all really depends on when I can get him asleep.  But the good news is, when it's time, the older boys dive right in and we generally get it all done rather quickly and with great attitudes.
Anyhow.  So here's hoping that sleeping through the night is becoming our new normal!

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Hate Printers.

Does any one else think that printers were invented by Satan to be the downfall of humankind?  I hate printers.  I don't think once in my life, ever, have I not had problems with our printer.
Today's scourge:  I need some graph paper for Nathan to do his Math.  Let me run upstairs and print some off.  Googled it, found it in less than a minute.  Push print, and..............  "Carriage Jam.  Clear carriage jam.  Press OK."
Grind.  Think.  Spin.
"Carriage Jam.  Clear carriage jam.  Press OK."
Open door to verify it is not jammed.
 "Carriage Jam.  Clear carriage jam.  Press OK."
 "Carriage Jam.  Clear carriage jam.  Press OK."
Unplug to reset.
Grind.  Think.  Spin.
Everything is acting okay!  Push print.........
So a 2-minute interruption for school turns into a 30 minute fight with technology.  And we skip the graph.  Again.
Is there any printer that doesn't do this sort of thing?  Or is it just my unfortunate bad luck?
This one's specialty is running out of ink halfway through a document, so you have the last 3 pages of something you can't even read.  Then it will pop up with a message, "Ink Running Low."  Ya think??  And it loves to pull that on sheet music that I've downloaded and am only allowed one printing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Too Many Clothes!

Am I the only one that struggles with this?  I have SO MANY CLOTHES!!!!
We have (had) only 4 closets in our entire house.  (And only two of those were original to the house.)  One upstairs, a shared closet between the bedrooms (that we use as an attic), and three on the main floor, in our bedroom.  One of those was our hanging-clothes closet, and the other was a multi-purpose storage closet (with photo albums, games, sewing/crafts), etc.  The last closet we repurposed into a headboard area for our bed, to gain space in our room.  When we built the basement, our hanging clothes closet disappeared to make room for the stairway.
Knowing we were going to be down two closets by the end of summer, I did a HUGE clothes purge this spring for our annual garage sale  But I STILL have a 4-drawer dresser stuffed completely full, a 3-foot "portable" wardrobe (also full), two extra drawers in a Rubbermaid dresser full of socks and underthings, a shelf-full of sweaters, and an under-bed box of off-season clothes.  AND I DON'T SHOP FOR CLOTHES!!!!!
It's seriously a dilemma for me.  I feel like I can't get rid of clothes, because they are either 1/stained and/or frayed enough that no one would want to buy them at Goodwill or a garage sale, or 2/still practically brand new so I feel like I haven't gotten my (or more often, someone else's) money out of them.  (A lot of my clothing has been gifts.  People must think I need help in the fashion department.)
So what do I do?  Keep wearing the "every day" things I have been wearing (paint-stained exercise pants  and promotional t-shirts) until they fall apart, or wear my nicer shirts and sweaters so I can feel that I look nice and am getting the worth out of an article of clothing, even though they very well may get ruined in the course of the day?
For now, I'll go back and do the THIRD major clothing purge of the year.  If I don't love it and haven't worn it in a year, it's going.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Look

I've been thinking about a new title for the blog for quite some time, but have lacked inspiration and motivation.  I finally came up with a title I liked, but needed a picture.  Well........I ended up having a camera while at my parents', and got a picture that went along with my theme.
Whereas I will still be blogging about plenty of "Mommy" stuff, I don't feel like I fit the title of "New Mommy" anymore.  Something will always be new in the journey of motherhood, but after 4 kids, I don't think I qualify as a new mom. :)
So welcome to "Chipped China" - my [continued] blog about our imperfect, every-day stuff.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Home Improvements 2014: New Basement under an Old House

I know I was not great at posting pictures of the processes, but we are done with the basement and back porch.  Finally.  And by done, I mean "we can resume life as normal" done, not our "20-year-project" done.
So here's the evolution of the basement.......

This is what we started off with.  The stone cellar that was original to our 1940 house.  Stone walls, gravel floor, about 6 feet deep.  (I had to duck my head under pipes and ducts when we went down there.)  (More about how bad it was down there in this post.)

Beams were slid under the house and sat on cribbing and jacks while the old foundation walls were knocked out from under it.  (More here.)

Footings were poured for the new foundation walls.

The new walls were formed and poured.

The walls had to cure for 3-4 weeks before they could support the weight of the house.

Since the house was above it, the new walls could not be poured to the full height (there would be no room to get the concrete in there).  The final 2 feet were completed with concrete blocks.

Then the drains for plumbing were laid, and the floor was poured.

A real floor!
We opted to have two egress windows installed.  (Only one is required.)  They are in opposite corners of the basement and supply a lot of natural light.  We decided to have two because we want the boys' bedroom to have one, but thought in case home-schooling laws get more strict at some point, it would be good to have one in our school area as well.  (We also have a small window in a 3rd corner, in the laundry room.)  

The new stairway was installed under our existing stairs to the 2nd floor (eliminating a closet in our bedroom).  

That mess of wires hanging down in the above photo is them tearing out the existing "spider web" of electrical wiring and streamlining it.
I [heart] straight lines. :)

Paul framed in walls for future rooms so that we could go ahead and put in the necessary electrical outlets and switches.
Putting walls in actually made the space seem larger.  I think it was because it defined the distance.

We stained the floors on our own.  I'll try to detail the process in a later post.

The floor after being waxed and buffed.
Ooh!  It's shiny! :)

Paul finished and painted the entire laundry room (while I wrangled babies).  He did a fantastic job, despite "not being very good at painting."  (I know the truth now!)

We splurged and added a second staircase off the back porch.  I didn't like the idea of having to tote my laundry to the south side of the house (where our main stairs come up) then back to the north side of the house to hang them.  Not to mention any messes, etc, getting tracked through the main house when we need to run to the basement to grab something.  The stairs also access the freezers.  
The stairs were made by Goddard Manufacturing in Logan, Kansas.  I can't recommend them highly enough.  They were so friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  We met the owner, Jerry, and the men that make the stairs when we went to pick it up.  They obviously take pride in their work and our satisfaction.
The stairs take up approximately a 5'4" circumference.  But this isn't totally lost space, as we can store things under the stairs.  And it feels very open.  I love them!

This is the opposite view of the laundry room.  There's a lot going on in this picture, but where the clothes are hanging will be the wall and doorway to the downstairs bathroom.  The sink is outside the bathroom to save space, and also so I can use it for laundry.  (We were going to get more of a utility-type sink, but I found the vanity, sink, faucet, mirror cabinet, towel ring, towel bar, toilet paper holder, and light fixture on Craigslist for $125.  I thought that was too good of a deal to pass up.)

To the right of the sink will be a "sump closet".  It has the sump pump and the sewage pump in there.  Paul put up shelves.  Right now they are kind of all-purpose shelves, but I'd like to add some over the freezers for my canning stuff, and save the sump closet for cleaning supplies.

Paul has hung sheet rock on the stairway.  It's not completely finished, but it keeps kids from falling off the stairs.  On my list of priority projects, this one is pretty low.  (Remember what I said about the 20-year-project?)  Our builder is supplying nicer treads and risers.

This is the view from the schoolroom area to the laundry room.  To give you perspective, the chairs are piled at the bottom of the stairs as a blockade to keep Gideon from climbing while I was working down there.
The brown coat is hanging in the doorway of the future bathroom.
(All the boxes are a fraction of what's left to unpack of all the curriculum and books I inherited from our parents, since we now have space to store it.)

Janice (my mother-in-law) and Elizabeth (my sis-in-law) came and primed and painted the green for the schoolroom all in one long night.  I missed getting pictures of that process.

This is the schoolroom area.  (Ugh - see all the dust floaters?  I have got to get the air purifier down there!)  We have to have two tables because Nathan feels that he has to "help" Jacob constantly.

These are my curriculum shelves.  Pretty much everything I need for now through high school, and very little of it purchased new for my kids.
(And I'm already wanting to move things around.  Once you start using a space, you figure out how it will work better, and I found that out after a week.)

 This is standing in the schoolroom area looking toward the boys' future room. 
The bed looks like the slave quarters, I realized, when the man came to hook up our thermostat and Nathan was asleep down there.  I put the bed down there so that I can split the boys up so they can actually nap.  We have kids all over the house at naptime.  Zadie and Gideon wake each other up, so she sleeps in our room, while Gideon is in the crib in her room.  One of the boys will sleep upstairs in their room, and the other in the basement.  And sometimes they will all be asleep at the same time! 

The boys' room will actually have two rooms.  Here I am standing in the outside room where they can study or play, and have it still be "their area" but can be a little more "public" if they have friends over or something.  I am looking toward the doorway (note the base boards on the floor) of where their beds-and-dressers room will be.  Under the stairs will be a closet.
For now, it's Paul's tools and materials room.

So that's the tour of the basement.  We would like to have the walls completed and the bathroom functional by next year.  We have kind of our immediate, 1-year, 5-year, and 20-year goals. :)

But for now, we are living in it, and loving it!  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blast from the Past: Just Like His Father

Paul, March 1981

When I look at pictures of Paul as a baby, all I see is Gideon.

Gideon, September 2014

I was hoping that at least one of our kids would have their dad's honey-colored eyes, but so far no such luck.  Gideon's may be changing, though......


"James 2:10, For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he is guilty of breaking all of it."
"So that's like saying you haven't stolen anything, but you have disobeyed your parents, so that's the same as killing someone."

(Yep.  That bit of logic was not from the 5- or 7-year old.  That was from their mother.  Paul just shook his head.  It makes perfect sense to me.......)