Old and New

I have to admit, I was kind of sad to see these guys leave the house today:


In the nine years we’ve had them, I’ve done countless loads of laundry. Seriously, thousands of loads. I average about 7-10 loads a week, so that really adds up fast! They were the first laundry machines that were really ours, the first time I didn’t have to lug all of our laundry into a basement or to a laundromat, the first time I didn’t need quarters to do the wash. When we first moved into this house nine years ago, they were one of my favorite things about our new abode, and they were my faithful companions through babies’ mountains of laundry, and the towels and sheets that always need to be washed when there’s sickness in the house, and wardrobe changes from season to season.

As sad as I was to see them go, I was also excited to welcome a new pair into our home:


Even though these are one of the most basic washer/dryer pairs available now, compared to the old set, they are fancy! I’m not even sure what all of the settings are for, or if I’ll ever need to figure them all out.

And while the washer sounds much different from our old one, it is much quieter overall, which will be nice during school, as the laundry room is right next to the school room. I’m even hoping we may see a (small) drop in our energy and water usage!

I’m counting on these new appliances to live up to the legacy of the original pair, and be my faithful workhorses for the next decade!

A Sure Sign of Fall

I can tell that Fall has arrived based on our laundry. I realized today that I have to do twice as many loads of wash to get all of the long-sleeved shirts and pants that the children have started wearing again clean! One pair of jeans doesn’t take up that much extra room in the washer, but when it’s five pairs of jeans (and that doesn’t even count Ryan’s and my clothes), it suddenly seems like the washer is running non-stop! It’s a small price to pay for this beautiful weather, though…

Finding Balance

I have to confess, I’m having a difficult time balancing all I need to do.  Let’s face it, taking care of four small children and the house was challenge enough, but adding in homeschool and Moose’s therapy, and I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed.  

Maybe I just need to give myself more time to adjust.  I guess it doesn’t help that Moose started therapy the same week we started our trial run of school (at least I’ll have next week to regroup and take a new look at my schedule, after the Olympics are over, but before our official first day of school!).  This week is especially challenging, because Moose has three hours of therapy, plus the big diagnostic appointment I’m dreading, which could last up to three (or more, I suppose!) hours.  Most weeks, he’ll probably only have two hours of therapy, three at the most, and no going to the hospital, so that’s good.  

And our Olympics school is taking up more time than I was anticipating–I’ve found more stuff to add to my lessons, and the children are asking more questions and taking this more seriously than I was expecting, so what I thought would probably take about half an hour each day is actually taking an hour or more most days.  I’m not complaining, because they love learning, and because we’ll be spending at least that much time on “real” school, so I may as well get used to it, but I just guessed I would be easing into it more gradually…

Anyway, I’m reaching “something’s gotta give” territory here, I think.  I’ve managed to keep up with washing (but not folding) the laundry, and as we have to eat, I’ve been on top of meal planning and cooking.  I’m not letting the children run rampant (much), so I guess I’m still taking care of the Mommy thing, and the bills have to be paid on time, so the financial manager is still in.  The housework, sadly, has suffered.  My kitchen floor is long due for a mopping, but I really plan to do that this week, the carpets need a good vacuuming, and while I’ve been cleaning the kitchen, I haven’t been doing it well.  At least the bathrooms are (mostly) clean–a little toothpaste in the sink, but who doesn’t have that?  So, clearly, I know what I need to work on as I’m taking on these new roles and responsibilities.

I’m guessing things will improve some next week once the Olympics are over.  Any spare time I’ve managed to find has been spent glued to the TV, either in the morning with the children, after dinner as a family, or at late night with Ryan (if he doesn’t fall asleep from boredom first!).  Heck, I’ve even been planning my grocery shopping and other errands based on what event is on when, and who is doing what interviews on which NBC show–nothing is safe:  Today Show, NBC Nightly News, the Olympic Zone–I’m riveted to it all!

So, once the Olympics are done, and I get used to both homeschooling and Moose’s various appointments, I hope I’ll get back on track, and figure out how to get it all done.  In the meantime, if you stop by, please avert your eyes from the sticky spots on the floor and the lint on the carpet!

My Favorite Things–My House

Thought I’d take a departure from my usual lists of things to write about what I like best about my house.

Upstairs Laundry Room–First of all, after living in three different apartments, I’m still just grateful to have my own washer and dryer!  And, ever since my vicarage-induced fear of basements, the idea of having to go down into one almost daily has terrified me.  I love that the machines are upstairs, where most of the stuff I wash is located.  I also love that it’s right next to the playroom, so I don’t have to wonder what my children are up to when I’m doing one of the at least ten loads of laundry that need to be washed every week.

Upstairs Playroom–I suppose if we had a finished playroom in the basement, that could be on the list as well (basement phobia aside).  The point is, I like having a place for our toys that’s not in the main living area of the house.  It helps at least contain the clutter when the bulk of the toys are upstairs.

Open Kitchen/Living Room–It’s so nice to be able to be a part of what’s going on in the main area of the house when I’m cooking, cleaning, or doing something at the table like clipping coupons.

Kitchen Faucet–Silly thing to like, I know, but it pulls out from the fixture to become the dish sprayer. Genius!

Pantry–Big enough to hold everything I want it to, and also keep the trash can and the craft bin out of the way.  I applaud the person who decided that kitchens deserved closets, too!

Kitchen Island–(Can you tell I love my kitchen?!?)  I love the extra work space and cabinet space.  But what I really love about the island is that it allows me to work at the counter without turning my back on the rest of the kitchen/my children/the TV/the door (I’m weird about having my back to the door).  I can see what’s going on, and still prepare my meals–the best of both worlds!

Blankets–We have a stack of blankets in the corner (when the children haven’t draped them all over) of our living room.  They don’t match each other or anything else–we have fleece and chenille, character blankets and quilts, animal and sports themed blankets.  But I love knowing that if someone is chilly when watching a movie, or just wants to snuggle in a blanky because it’s soft, they can just grab a blanket off the pile.

Game Cabinet–I love this for two reasons.  One, I love the armoire itself.  It’s pretty, I like the color of the wood, and it matches the rest of the furniture.  Two, I love that it’s filled with all kinds of games.  Games for kids and games for adults, family games, group games, and, of course, my favorite, our collection of Ticket to Ride games.  The place to go if you’re looking for some fun!

TV–Just in case the fun we’re looking for is a little more passive than games, I’m happy that we have a nice TV (and a nice collections of DVDs to go with it!) where we can veg out together, watch movies, the news, the Olympics (can you tell I can’t wait?)–whatever strikes our fancy.

Living Room Picture–We bought this picture of Jesus as a toddler helping Joseph in his carpentry shop as a wedding gift to each other.  It is one of the few things that has been with us on all our moves, and displayed proudly in all our homes.  My favorite thing about it is the shadow cast behind toddler Jesus, not in the shape of a child, but the shape of a cross.  Very cool.

Mission Theme–I didn’t even realize at first that our house had a theme, decor-wise.  Then, one day it hit me–we have a lot of mission furniture, and the other decorations, especially in the living room, also kind of fit the theme.  Maybe I have decorating talent I wasn’t even aware of!

Master Bathroom–Maybe it’s because my parent’s house didn’t have a master bedroom/bathroom, but it’s still a novelty to me that we have a bathroom connected our bedroom.  I also love the garden style tub and separate shower–it’s as close to a spa as I’ll ever get.

Walk-in Closets–The three bedrooms we use as such all have walk-in closets.  It’s so nice to have the extra space for all our stuff–we’ve even put our dressers for two of the bedrooms in the closets!  It’s almost decadent!

Bookshelves–I love our bookshelves, not for themselves, because they’re the cheap, put-it-together-yourself from Target kind, but for the massive number of books we have on them.  I still use the library a lot, but I love knowing that I can find a book from pretty much any genre right here in my own home if I so desire.

Bedding–I love the bedding we have.  I’m specifically referring to our fall/winter bedding, because we just have a light blanket for the summer.  But our heavy comforter is the prettiest shade of indigo, and has matching shams and Euro shams, which I am a total sucker for–just love them.  Makes it seem like a hotel. And the high thread count sheets–I’ll never go back to cheap-o sheets again.  For that matter, I also love the bedding in our guest room–also has high thread count sheets, and I think the plaid comforter is very nice.

Back Door–I like having an actual door in kitchen.  Not a sliding door, but a regular old six panel door.  I am grateful not to have to worry about having blinds or curtains across a sliding door.

Photo Groupings–I spent a lot of time figuring out how I wanted to arrange the special photos I had framed.  I moved them around a bit, but for now, I think I have them way I want them.  Two black and white and three color groupings in the den (including one of our wedding photos, and one of the children’s first birthday portraits), as well as a Christmas-themed grouping in the living room.  I love having pictures of family and happy times to look at!

Christmas Decorations–They’re only out for four to six weeks of the year, but I love the decorations we’ve put together–our house definitely looks prettiest in December!

Americana Wall–My theme wall in the kitchen.  If we ever finish painting (it’s looking doubtful), all the kitchen walls will be red, and the valance and one curtain we have are navy blue.  Right next to the window with the blue curtain is my wall grouping of Americana “stuff.”  Rustic looking flags, stars, Uncle Sam, a “liberty” sign–you get the idea.  I’ve been collecting the stuff in that grouping (and it’s not that huge–less than ten things) since before we got married.  I really like what I’ve accumulated and the way I’ve arranged it, although I am looking for one last piece to balance it out.  I’ll know it if I ever see it–I’m waiting for something of a very specific size and shape!

Den Table–My in-laws gave us this neat table for our first Christmas in this house.  It’s a skinny table (What do you call that?  A cocktail table maybe? A console table?) in our mission style.  What makes it special, though, is that they mod-podged pictures of our house at the various stages of the building process (and a cool picture of the first snow after we moved in!) on to the top.  Such a thoughtful gift, and such special memories.

Rocking Chair–Also a gift from my in-laws, this is something of a family heirloom.  They wrote on the underside of the chair who it belonged to and when they gave it to us.  I enjoyed rocking Ladybug in this chair when she was tiny, and now it’s going to be the “teacher chair” in our schoolroom.

Schoolroom–I have to brag on myself a bit, here.  I love the way our schoolroom (also known as the guest room) has come together.  I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it, but I really think it looks quite school-y, and is quickly becoming a favorite room in the house for everyone!

My Family–I would be remiss if I left out my family, since they are in the house most of the time.  It wouldn’t be my home without my family in it, and they are the best thing I’ve got going!