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Monday, March 23, 2015

Cupid's Spoils

We have a family tradition for Valentine's Day: Cupid comes calling. Our Big Kids are of course all old enough to know the truth behind Cupid's visits, but they put on a great enthusiastic show of excitement for Joseph's sake. 

They help him understand the holiday and get pepped up for it, which is so fun to see. Cupid is really shy, so he only comes along when people are singing happily and cleaning (I don't feel guilty at all for making that part of the story!). 

The kids all sang at the top of their lungs (Joseph happened to pick Christmas carols....I can see the connection between Santa Claus and Cupid in his mind) and cleaned the kitchen while I slunk around the house outside to drop off goodies. They were dancing with the broom and twirling while putting away dishes- it's such a fun thing to watch. 

Our house is funny- it has four - FOUR!- exterior facing each cardinal direction. Two of them are used regularly as main entrances, so it's a simple thing to sneak out of one front door and round the corner to the other entrance for a quick knock-and-dash. 

Each time I'd drop off a batch of treats, I'd hear the children shout in glee and come running to the door while I made a dark exit in the night. 

There are 4 deliveries of goodies spread over the evening, one for each child. That child divides his goodies with the family so everyone has an equal share of the treats/gifts. It's wonderfully co-operative. This year Matthew begged to have the privilege of delivering the last drop of treats. He was SO excited to sneak around the house and deliver it. 

He got really into it, donning dark clothing and bringing along a long-handled rake so he could knock on the door without exposing his hiding spot. I love this kid- he is so enthusiastic about whatever he does. 

The favorite goody this year was a package of fun straws that pulled liquid around a pair of eye-glasses before popping into the mouth. They LOVED these and used them regularly for weeks afterwards. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Home Projects

We are working on a whole house-worth of projects lately. Every week much of my spare time has been spent working on our house. There is SO much to do! We had purchased this home as a massive DIY project, a neglected fixer-upper full of plenty of quirky 'character'.

It's time to finish all the endless to-do's and make this house pretty enough to entice future buyers. So. What does that mean?

In part, it means we finally are addressing the thing that I've wished most to alter about our home- the cosmetics of the kitchen. For the past three and half years, we've been busy like a triage nurse. It seems like there were always a multitude of projects waiting to be addressed, and there often was a bigger, more expensive project that would pop up unexpectedly to demand our full attention. This past summer it was our dead AC unit and insufficient duct work that needed attention and significant resources.

Before that it was our badly-leaking roof that always made a mini waterfall down the inside wall of our home when it rained. The wall was always saturated and began to disintegrate. Yeah, that project was rather important to address.

Before that it was our bad tile job in the shower, where the home builders had installed tile directly over drywall without any moisture barrier of any kind. Seriously. The first time we scrubbed the shower in our new home, the tiles popped out of place, disappeared into the wall space,and left behind gaping holes. Fun times.

Each year we've had massive projects to address in this place.

Finally- FINALLY- we are getting to the cosmetics. This month I have been busy refinishing all the cabinetry, painting every bit of door/trim/baseboards/wall, and patching drywall (the walls were in SUCH a bad state when we bought this place. it looked like a hockey team had free reign for team practice in here, with holes and dents covering each wall liberally.)

We've pulled down the nasty fake-butcher-block back splash in the kitchen, removed poorly-made shelves, removed some counter tops (and my Destination Imagination commitments have equaled a couple of months of missing counter tops....we've just been too busy to finish this project!), and removed boxes and BOXES of cracked tile flooring.

It's satisfying to see the progress happening in our home, even if it has been a perpetual construction zone for the past couple of months.

It will continue to stay a construction zone for several months, I'm sure. My vision of the end product is quite lovely.

Here is Matthew taking a turn with the hammer drill to remove kitchen tile. Oh heavens, it's nice to see all the horrendously-mismatched tile begin to disappear! The entire house has random colors of tile flooring, with no rhyme or reason to the random sections of various colors.

During the noisy demolition, Joseph and Daniel took refuge in our reading tent.  

Most days my hair is splattered with small dots of various paints, and my hands are perpetually paint-stained as we work on repainting every interior surface of this place. It's satisfying to see the transformations happening. 

I feel like it's an analogy for myself. I'm like the fixer-upper house, full of problems inside and out. It's glorious to see the Atonement of Christ at work in my life, gradually removing my character flaws and replacing them with prettier, nicer qualities. What a wondrous transformation to see as I look back over my lifetime.