Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Tyler!

Tyler invented a new favorite cake. His instructions were, "Mom, I want a cake that tastes like a maple bar." So that's what I made. Here is the pic of his artery-clogging, incredibly rich, maple cake with chocolate trimmings. I think I gained three pounds just making it. It was a low-key birthday. He wanted a party, but mid-week birthdays are tough and we're already booked this weekend, so we'll have an unbirthday party for him some time in February.

I am finally feeling better. Whatever virus caught me, did not want to let go. Trevor has it now, and Evan is just getting over it. Now that the arctic air has blown eastward to freeze my friends in the midwest (sorry about that), I'm hoping some sun and warmer temps will aid our recovery. I know the balmy 40 degree weather predicted for the rest of this week will lift my spirits in a way that -2 just didn't. Here's hoping the gopher predicts an early spring. Sixty and seventy degree weather sounds much more appealing.

Our siding contractor recovered from pneumonia and has started on the house. Here's a pic I snapped this morning of the walk-out basement area. He already finished the front dormer windows, but I forgot to take a picture of them. So I'll do that tomorrow when I drop off a door.

The University is still in crisis mode, but for now, it appears that Jeff still has a job. Whew! That is a huge relief. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

One step at a time

These are the doors we installed yesterday. Aren't they pretty? It was kind of tricky, because open the door and there's eleven feet of air. Watch that first step! Trevor climbed a ladder and helped from the outside while Jeff and I maneuvered the doors through the rough openings and set them in position.

A lot has happened on the house lately. The HVAC installers, electricians, and roofer are almost done and all should be complete this week. My siding contractor has pneumonia, though, so I haven't any idea when he will be well enough to start working again. If it takes too long, I'll have to find someone else so he doesn't hold up the whole project.

It will just be so wonderful to live in a house that is WARM. We've been freezing in the drafty old barn. It helps that the weather has been milder lately.

On the home front, things have been interesting - as always. Trevor will soon have his driving permit, so maybe I should take out extra life insurance. Lindsey is still struggling with so many different teachers with different expectations, but she's learning to handle it better. The younger boys are all doing well, but I can't wait for Spring when I can send them outside to play. Their raw energy is sometimes a bit much in confined spaces.

Prayers on Jeff's behalf would be appreciated though. The University is responding to the current economy by freaking out and slashing programs. Jeff's teaching position spans two departments. The one department is secure, with no cuts in the immediate future, but the athletic training program is on the chopping block. Nothing would happen right away, but if the program is cut, he could only have a job here for another two years while they teach out the recently admitted students. This is the worst-case scenario. The more likely case is that he would keep his job and just be re-assigned to teach different classes in lieu of athletic training. However, uncertainty does not make for restful sleep or easy days, and he is stressed. Of course, being in the middle of building a house doesn't help either. But we have faith that, somehow, it will all work out. We just have to take it one step at a time - but not out the back doors.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Yes, I'm a complete sap. I heard the song Godspeed, Sweet Dreams by the Dixie Chicks and started tearing up. I love it. It captures a little of what I feel when I tuck my boys in every night. I've posted a link below. Don't look at Natalie Maynes' weird punk-rocker get up, just listen to her amazing voice singing this prayer.

Anyhow, the snow is melting and we're supposed to have sunny skies this week. YAY! That means our roof might get finished. The electricians show up tomorrow and my new HVAC installer started last Thursday. So by the end of the week, our house should be roughed in. I'll post pics as soon as I replace my camera's batteries and keep you posted.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year

A very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I've been off the blogosphere and focused on my family over the holidays. It's been very low-key and restful - exactly what we needed. Of course, that's partly because we've been snowed in, but we're pretending that we meant it to be that way.

The kids alternated between playing in the snow and playing with their new toys. Nathan and Jared have enjoyed their Rescue Heroes and Power Rangers. Lindsey, Tyler and Evan have done pretty well sharing the Nintendo DS. I was feeling really bad that we couldn't buy one for each of them, but then I changed my mind. I think this will be an extremely effective way for them to learn to share. They don't want me to take it away, so they are learning to work out their differences instead of running to me every three minutes. As far as I'm concerned, this is the true gift. Wouldn't our world be a better place if everyone learned how to work out their differences with words instead of lawsuits and weapons?

Trevor plays flight simulator whenever he isn't chopping wood, straining his muscles at wrestling practice, or driving with his driver's ed teacher. His driver's ed teacher has some serious guts. He takes them out driving in the most miserable weather. Trevor said one of the girls in his group ran over a garbage can, hit a mail box, and slid off the road into a ditch - all in one day. Trevor hasn't done any of those things yet, so I'm hoping that means he'll be a good driver.

We've learned that living out in the country has its drawbacks. Especially when we don't own a snowplow or tractor. Even if the roads are clear, it's doubtful our driveway will be. And our new house? Forget it. There's a solid two feet of snow covering all nine hundred feet of driveway. We've been hiking up and sledding down when we need to do something up there. After tonight's and tomorrow's storms, we'll hire someone to plow it out. But since it'll be at least another foot of snow, it will have to be plowed out with a caterpillar bulldozer.

So basically, nothing has happened on the house lately. I fired the HVAC installers who kept giving me excuses and then told me it would be $2,000 more than what they bid. The new installers will start this week - after the driveway is cleared.

Jeff's classes start tomorrow and he is a bundle of nerves. Any prayers on his behalf are appreciated. His performance this semester will weigh heavily in his application for tenure. So that's what we've been doing. I didn't send out Christmas cards this year because I just had too much on my plate. I'll try to get my act together for next Christmas. Or maybe I'll send letters out mid-year instead. We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday and hope your New Year is off to a good start.