So, it's January. Huh. I have felt somewhat uninspired lately to blog, probably because I always feel like I need to put pictures with it and I've been having issues with that lately. But Jared had another blog book printed up for me for Christmas and it is a great family journal. And I just made it a goal to blog here once a week. Watch out.
First, the weather has been so beautiful--warm (for winter), sunny, mild. It certainly makes me happy to see the sun, even though we will probably be in for some serious drought issues if we don't get some snow soon. It sure is nice to be "warm" for our first winter back.
We've had some great family get togethers lately. This morning we got together for Jared's neice's baby blessing and tonight we had family home evening with my side of the family. I have to say, I love being close to our families! What a blessing. We had a house warming party with Jared's family on New Year's Eve day. There were 33 people here and the house fit everyone perfectly. When the kids got too loud, we sent them upstairs or downstairs. I love having a separation! Toys stay upstairs and food stays downstairs--for the most part anyway. In our house in Florida the kids' bedrooms were right by the front door so you were always tripping over toys, in the entry way. This house has been so much easier to keep clean, or at least the parts that people see. Am I really not as messy as I thought? Our bedroom stays clean due to our big walk in closet. What a concept. And the laundry...
Hands down, the best part of this house is the laundry room. I may have said it before, but it still holds true. I love it enough to make it it's own paragraph, and a long one at that. It's not by any means huge, maybe 8' x 8', but it is so incredibly functional. The original plan from the model was the same size but not at all as useful. There was a counter across the back wall with a corner by the washer that was completely unusable. Then, the door took up the only other wall making that area unusable too. To top it off, when our friends across the street got their washer inside their laundry room, they couldn't even open one of the drawers in the cabinet. What we did instead was move the door to the middle of the room and move the counter to the wall where the open door was. Then we made it a pocket door so that you could still access the counter on one side and the washer/dryer on the other. The wall opposite the door is for baskets and there's still room for a garbage can and shelf on that side. The kids are getting a hang of sorting into three colors so it goes from the baskets to the washer right there. Folding laundry is a joy. The sun streams through the window as I fold and I honestly think the words, "I love this room" whenever I do. Each child has their own basket to put away, but I can leave them there until night time and it doesn't look messy like it would on my bed or in the family room. It belongs there. Laundry never comes downstairs. It's right between the kids' rooms and right across from the bathroom. I can even keep an eye on kids in the bath while I fold.
Wow, sorry about that ramble. I really do enjoy doing laundry now that I have this room.
We finally finished painting our banister. Wow. That was rough. I can't tell you how much time it took. After de-glossing, sanding, wiping, priming, and then putting the first coat on by hand and having it drip down each baluster, and then sanding the drips off, we finally came to the (correct) conclusion that we needed to use a paint sprayer. We toyed with renting one, but in the end, we bought one. It worked so great! The banister is still not perfect, but it looks a lot more professional that it would have with a brush. And I love it so much more white than the natural wood color that didn't match anything. Oh, and there were so many spots that were so hard to get to! Ugh, it probably would have been worth the extra $700 they wanted for them to do it. But, I got a paint gun out of it. Awesome! No regrets there.
We were really careful to cover things with plastic and hold cardboard up behind the banister as we sprayed, but the next morning I woke up to find little white specks all over the nice, new wood floor. I was a bit panicked, thinking it was paint and that we had surely ruined our new house, but luckily it was just dust. Phew. This is what prompted the next change in our house. It's known as "Mommy's Office". It's ghetto, but we stapled up some plastic in part of the unfinished basement to create a room just for painting. Granted, it's probably not as exciting for the average human, but to me, this ranks right up there next to say, the laundry room. My very own enclosed place to inhale as many fumes as I want while fulfilling my raging inner desire to create! I'm weird. I've already painted two things down there, and yes, it was everything I had always dreamed of. Now we just need to install a utility sink in the basement so that our kitchen sink doesn't get so, you know, painty.
I've been working on the girls' room and trying to make it cute, since I never seemed to focus on that before and doggone-it, if there's any time my kids are going to want a girly room, it's probably now. I made a quilt for Erin, gave her the blue desk I painted, redid a chair I found on the side of the road in Florida, painted my old mirror pink, put up one of those canopies around her bed, made a pillow and hung some homemade (slightly uneven) purple sequined curtains. Now she wants the whole room purple with butterfies on the wall. Hopefully the whole thing will be done by the end of this week. I will post pictures of everything when I can.
Amidst the girl room project, Alex noticed that the boy room was not getting any attention whatsoever. He, in fact, is sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I suppose I can understand the inequality of it all. I promised him that he would get a bunk bed in January. I had been looking for bunk beds for a while, but either they were lame and cheap or they were cool and off the charts expensive. So, I did what any borderline insane mother would do, I hauled the kids and two cars down to Lowes to buy $250 worth of wood to build him an awesome castle bed, complete with a slide. I am probably about 4 times more excited than he is. Wouldn't you have loved something like that as a kid? Getting the wood home was a challenge in itself, hence the need to take two cars. We pulled all the car seats and seats out of the mini-van and still had to tie some 4' x 8' pieces of wood on the top of the car. It reminded me of the time we puzzled our new vanity and 8' x 10' shed into the van, and still managed to bring two car seats and a double stroller home in the same trip. What makes us think that anything will fit in the mini-van anyway? Our next car will be a truck. We started on the first tower on Saturday. Fun times, I tell you, fun times. I'm actually not sure which is more crazy, building our computer desk in the garage in Florida in the middle of summer or building this bunk bed in our garage in Utah in the middle of winter.
Jared loves his new job. It's been a great change for his career. He's also been playing racquetball every Thursday and has found some good tournaments to play in. Good news, they're not on Sunday in Utah. Go figure. Bad news about Utah, every resident living in Utah county is at Costco, Walmart or Smith's on Saturday night so as to keep the next day holy. I should talk, I was there too. The kids have been getting to know the neighbor kids and we have done a couple of things with a few of the neighbors too. I'd been debating about whether to put Alex into preschool, but in the end I decided to do a little home preschool with him and Marissa during Connor's nap. I actually love the time with them. And it saves me money (so I can buy stuff like paint sprayers instead). I am still getting used to taking Erin to the bus stop. I've been late a few times. Strict schedule. It's an extra 35 minutes that she is gone too. I struggle with her being gone so long and then still having to do homework. She does enjoy school though. The ward is still overwhelmingly gigantic, and growing. They handed out the list for primary today. Yep, 200 kids, 40 teachers, 20 classes, 2 full primaries, and 100 of them are ages 3-5. No joke. My kids weren't even on the list yet. The hallway feels strangely like moving livestock around. The bishop invites people to sit in the choir seats on the stand because the place all the way to the back of the gym is entirely full. So weird. I feel very lost and not at all needed in the ward, but since I know so many of my immediate neighbors, it makes it somehow okay.
Okay, Jared actually has to go to work now... it's 12:15 am. Every few months they have to go in in the middle of the night to test something or other. The good news is, he'll be home before sunrise... (and then will sleep the rest of the day). But, whether he knows it or not, tomorrow will be a good bunk bed building day, don't you think?