Thursday, April 23, 2015

I Regret My Front Loader

The day we went shopping for a new washer was like Christmas. Momma was getting a new toy and it was going to be fantastic! I fell in love with this shiny blue washer and for the first few months it was bliss. Fast forward a few years... and the honeymoon is so over. I bought into the front-loader hype with very little unbiased research. Once we really got into using it the issues cropped up and became very apparent.

The reasons I fell out of love:

1). It takes 1.5 hours to wash ONE load. Very little water is used. Your clothes basically roll around in dampness. Imagine sprinkling your clothes with a fine mist and then just letting it roll in a metal barrel. It doesn't clean! I miss my agitator and loads of water! It will lower your water bill by a few bucks a month but watch your electric bill because this thing takes ages to complete a load. I'm failing to see the energy efficiency here.

2). Cloth diapering has been a nightmare. Once my kids hit the solid food stage we may as well not even bother cloth diapering. Before the food stage it is blissful - no blowouts, no burns, no rashes, no smells. Breastfed baby poo washes out so much easier. But once they start solids their urine and feces changes. There's all this science about it and about ammonia but front loaders just don't wash them! I have to do SO many cycles on one tiny load of diapers that it takes me literally all day (sun-up to sun-down). I have to plan my entire laundry schedule around doing cloth diapers. And yes I've researched and tried every little thing suggested. I've even come up with my own ideas to solve the issues, to no avail. I don't want to keep guessing anymore. I'm getting tired of it and tired of having my life revolve so much around the diapers. I just want to wash them, know they're clean, diaper my boy without worry... wash, rinse, repeat.

3). High maintenance. These things can get funky fast and are notorious for housing mildew and mold (I'm sure top loaders are as well but not nearly as bad). I don't want high maintenance. I am forgetful and have a million other things to do. I need something simple that takes little effort on my part. I want to spend my extra time on me or my kids or my husband, not my washing machine!

4). Mechanical issues. Anytime you buy a high-tech gizmo you're going to pay a lot to fix any mechanical hiccups. There is so much small-print with warranties but mostly things seem to know to break the day after the warranty expires. My front-loader hasn't had any mechanical problems, thankfully, but I am in constant fear of the snazzy computer going haywire.


The only cool thing about my washer is that it's this metallic blue. Beyond looks I just have not found it to be worth the extra money. Less is more. You do have to take special care with high tech items, which we do. And it seems to no avail. I need something that cleans and cleans well. Top-loader with agitator, I miss you!

Friday, April 17, 2015

SONOGRAM DAY: We are having...........

 .............. a baby! Before we left for the sonogram we asked each of the kids what they thought we were having (all the girls said GIRL and Judah said BOY). When we asked Silas if he thought baby was a boy or a girl he just mumbled "kitty" around his binky. Very happy to say we're having a human. :-D

A super cute, wiggly, goofy one to be more specific. One who wasn't shy and showed us the money shot several times.

We were going to wait to find out but I was 99% sure baby was a girl. So I said, "Why not? We're here, let's look and confirm!" So we did and I was not shocked whatsoever to see we are having a girl. In fact, everyone who came along was on Team Pink, including Daddy. We took just the three big girls with us and left the boys with Daniel's parents.

We went to the same 3D keepsake place that we went to when having each of these three girls. However this place also does 2D diagnostics but for less than half the cost of the radiology clinics we usually go to (because at those clinics there's a paid physician who reviews your sonogram right then and there so the extra payment goes to his/her services). She did turn on the 3D for one pic so that was a neat little extra.

Yes, yes, yes... so we were going to wait to find out what we are having but I was so convinced of one sex that I wanted to just confirm it and prepare. I would have been delighted either way but I also would have been in absolute shock if baby was a boy because nothing screamed boy about this pregnancy. There's no extra credit if you choose to wait, though I did love waiting with Silas. It was really special. But I also do not regret confirming my suspicions today. We're having a GIRL, woo hoo!

I was nervous. I was worried about any and every anomaly or issue that might be detectable via sonogram but she got the all-clear. Yay! The only odd thing was that my due date was changed 10 days later than we were originally measuring. I feel I am very well versed in what happens during conception and I realize that the dates can be off by upwards of two weeks in either direction. I had already accounted for the possibility and was going by the absolute furthest EDD possible so to be told she was two weeks behind that just doesn't make any mathematical sense. Hence my thinking that she's just growing slower than average. We do all grow at our own rates but I am used to babies measuring bigger, not smaller, lol!
The EDD was 9/5 and the sonogram tech recommended 9/15. Either way baby is most likely coming some time in September! Unless there's medical indication to induce we won't be evicting baby by a specific date.

So baby is measuring at 18 weeks, not 20 weeks. This may also explain why I'm, as of yesterday, feeling baby now. Oh I felt really sporadic flutters here and there but I really started feeling baby regularly yesterday and today (in fact right at this moment she's moving about). Still don't feel her from the outside but I definitely feel her fluttery, soft movements within. My favorite part is feeling baby!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guess what, guess what, GUESS WHAT!

This Friday I will be 20 weeks - already to the halfway point. And we are getting our sonogram! I haven't seen this baby at all yet. And I barely feel baby. Every now and then I feel something but not from the outside and it's so sporadic still. Ugh, the first half of pregnancy just drags when waiting to really feel baby!

So in my mind it's still very abstract (unless I pull a ligament in my belly when I bend over wrong or sneeze, ouch!). My belly looks huge but I've only gained 3-lbs. Lots of "leftovers" from my previous babies, ha! I didn't/don't really have morning sickness. Every few days I felt worn down, ill and really, really tired in the first trimester. And I think most of that was because I was taking progesterone supplements (to prevent miscarriage; I don't produce enough on my own before the placenta finishes forming and supplying it).

Seriously it's a blessing. I'm not sad I didn't feel like puking all day, everyday. Nor am I bragging that I didn't. I have been there, done that. It's nice to have this last little one be a little easier on me as I am older now and have five kiddos with me all day long to school and take care of. I am starting to get pain in my back, hips and even feet, though, but hopefully that doesn't get too bad. Each pregnancy seems to get worse in that regard.

I got rid of all my baby boy clothes and only have like two Newborn-sized girl things. We are NOT finding out the sex. Part of me really, really, really wants to find out this time. With Silas it was easy to wait. It's easier to wait when you have everything you need, which I did with him. I'm not into gender neutral. But daddy really wants to wait and I know I can do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Cleaning Tech Style

Okay so I just spent an hour going through all the blogs I follow on GoogleFriendConnect. I started with 152 blogs that I followed (including my own and my husband's old blog so they don't count). I knew a lot of the blogs were "dead" or set to private so I thought I'd end up with at least 50 when I was done unfollowing blogs that hadn't been updated in 6-months+.

Nope. 17. SEVENTEEN is how many blogs I'm following! Out of 150!!!

It was actually exhilarating to unfollow some blogs that were just clutter/ads. But a lot of the blogs were people I had followed through thick and thin. Some randomly stopped blogging and others announced they were ending the blog. Totally their choice but I did feel a deep regret and sadness to unfollow many of them, even if they voluntarily stopped.

Some blogs were hacked and taken over my spammers. Also sad to me because POOF! Those bloggers and their stories were gone. Perhaps they started a new blog elsewhere. Perhaps not. I know I haven't personally been the greatest at it in 1-2 years but I'm slowly getting back in the swing of things.

So if you're here reading this and you have an active blog (but you're not on my sidebar and want to be) please leave a comment! I'd love to check out your blog. I'm looking for new people to follow because it seems, from my perspective in this small corner of the blogosphere, that blogging is dying. And I don't want that! Show me you're out there, people.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Will I Ever Stop Painting?!

It seems I am forever changing the paint palette around our house. I put my business on the backburner, moved everything out of our smallest bedroom where I had set up shop and had the girls move back down to the second level (they had a loft-style bedroom in our finished attic but the temps get extreme in the summer and winter). So my before pic isn't the same shot of the afters because it shows the opposite wall of the after pictures... but it at least gives you an idea that the room was very blue with brown trim.

I had just gotten done painting the boys' shared room blue and it has brown trim.

Uh so two rooms immediately next-door to each other, that were both blue with brown trim? Nah. I didn't like that! I don't mind blue rooms for girls but I didn't want so much sameness. So the girls moved in and after a couple weeks I kicked them back out so I could paint. They camped out in my room on their mattresses while daddy was out-of-town.

BEFORE (when it was my messy studio):

Girls had just moved back in and then moved back out so I could paint! Started getting pink on the walls and antique white on the trim. My first coat of pink was like Pepto Bismol. It was horrid. I had to go buy white paint to mix into it and soften it up. The reason for the paint on the trim: the previous owners painted each bedroom's trim! I don't want to mess with acids or chemicals to remove it so just painted it again.

The door was driving me nuts so I decided it would be the antique white too! I'm a super messy painter: you may be able to see paint on the floor if you look hard enough lol. I just let it dry to touch and then scrape it off. If I try to wipe it up when it's wet it gets into the wood grain and discolors it.

This project took me seemingly forever but not as long as it took me to do our stairway and upstairs hall (oh yeah, forgot to mention I painted that as well!). Here is the day they moved back in. We were cleaning the floor. The dressers will be painted minty blue... eventually. Still haven't done those and I painted this room back in February!

Everyone going crazy for the rug being back in the room! It was like a dance party. For the kids anyway, because I was in one cranky mood. Especially when it got time to put the bed back together. Heat + pregnancy hormones + manual labor = hot mess!

All five of my cuties, minus the one in utero! Yes I did this while pregnant. Yes I am crazy. I tend to do more paint projects when pregnant than not.

Stinkin' bed took a lot of sweat and profanity to put back together solo (yup, I repented). The room looks fit for princesses. It's so cute! I haven't really done a classic pink and white bedroom before, believe it or not. I did do Elaina's attic loft bedroom more tween-ish with pink, black and white but it was like zebra stripes and boldness overload. This is much softer and more princess-y.

Now I did mention it's the smallest bedroom! I wasn't joking. It's actually my favorite room in the whole house, always has been since we moved in. It's just so cozy and has the cutest closest. Two younger girls share the bed since they're still small. Elaina has moved in as well. She sleeps on her mattress, on the floor, at the end of their bed. It's insanely tight in there but they pretty much only sleep in there so oh well. It's temporary. I'm actually hoping we have enough after major renovations to get a daybed that has a trundle.


Oh but it isn't over. Back in November 2014, right around the time I conceived actually, I painted my brother-in-law's place before he moved in. I painted the bedroom, the kitchen and the living room. I painted them all the same color but it flowed really well.


AFTER BEDROOM (some spots were still wet, hence the lighter streaks):

AFTER BEDROOM, other view:


AFTER KITCHEN (my mom-in-law came later and painted the lowers white):

AFTER KITCHEN (still drying):

It was a royal mess from the previous occupants. Like revolting. The fresh paint really brightened up the place. All the colors were very dark and monotone. My BIL loved how it turned out and he's enjoying his new digs now, minus the sunflower kitchen cabinets!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015


These boys are like night and day, and I'm not just talking about their coloring: dark-haired, brown-eyed Judah and blond-red haired, blue-eyed Silas. But despite their many differences they are buddies. And Silas is really getting to this age where he has grown out of his baby-ness and is becoming a "big" little boy.

Judah had fallen asleep on the couch and Silas, freshly cleaned up after a meal and diaper-clad, climbed up and slipped his arm under his brother. Melt my momma heart! These are the moments, after the screaming and fighting, that really make you feel good that your kids are heading in the right direction.

Stroller buddies. Judah is starting to do more walking and less strolling but when they do sit together they do really well.

Splish splashing together. Judah made sure to bring two toy sharks to the bath, one for him and one for his brother. Judah wanted to make sure he was in this pic with his bro and I just love it.

Silas has been climbing into Judah's bed and pretending to go to sleep. He'll grab the blanket and scrunch his eyes shut, telling me "Nigh-nigh!" Of course I'm really not ready for him to be out of the crib just yet, even though his sisters were in big beds at his age. Honestly I don't think he's ready just yet either, but these moments make me realize he's getting ready. Anyway on this particular night, just last week, Judah climbed under the blanket with him but they couldn't keep straight faces and both started laughing!

Oh do they have moments. Toy snatching, screeching, hitting each other. It's not all rainbows and sunshine. But who on earth usually has their camera ready to capture those gems? Nah, I always catch the sunshine. That negatively perceived, typical toddler behavior is universal and temporary. These happy moments are the ones that translate into lifelong companionship and bond these boys together. And remind me that they love each other, even if they have a few spats throughout the day.

There was truly a time when I wasn't sure I'd even have boys. I thought I'd just have my girlies. PCOS has been a huge burden in my life in many ways and I wasn't sure I'd have more children. And here I am with another on the way. I'm so very grateful for each of these lives.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Change

Okay so I've actually been thinking about this for awhile now but it's time to change the blog name. As we drift from one season to another in this life I find that changes like this can be helpful. Helpful in the sense that I find it to be a place I want to be and desire to write on. I just don't feel like this blog title really fits anymore, even if I do wonder when the heck daddy is going to get home after a long day lol.

I originally had the whole name thought up by another person, for starts. I didn't come up with my blog name. Another thing is the number 2 in my URL. My original blog is private and I created this second one to be the public one, hence the numero dos. And I'm just not a fan of how long it is nor am I a fan of the number.

I'm not changing it just yet (still brainstorming) but when I do you won't be able to view this blog without the new URL. If you "follow" via GoogleFriendConnect then you should still be able to find the blog from your reading list on your dashboard even if it changes... I THINK.


PS I just updated the blog background. I wanted something bright but simple. CBotB always seems to deliver. However I am having some spacing issues (I don't like how the blog posts scrunch right up to the sidebars and I don't like how far away the date is from the post title). Any tech savvy people out there that can help? It doesn't give me the option to adjust widths with this template in the template designer. I have to do something to the HTML code but I don't want to fiddle with it unless I know what exactly to fiddle with. Help is appreciated!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Curriculum For Sale

It's that time of year... spring cleaning! I'm going through our books to see what I won't be using and I'm listing them for sale at Homeschool Classifieds. Click the photo below to be taken directly to my list. I am adding more; I ran out of credits and I'm waiting for my new credits to be applied to my account.

If you see something on my list that you want please email me (my email is in the site). I accept PayPal only (can invoice for those that don't have a PayPal account so you can use your credit/debit without being required to create an account).

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spending Time Outdoors

When I was a child I lived outside. Okay, not really. We had a home. But almost every waking moment of my childhood was spent outside, playing in the wooded area behind our house, stomping in the creek, making mud pies, riding my bike... but once I hit late middle school those days of being outside all-the-livelong-day grew lesser and lesser. I pretty much went outside when I was forced to go outside for PE and I walked home from school but then spent most time inside, working on homework, watching TV, cleaning or cooking, listening to music, writing, talking on the phone. Ya know, typical pre-teen and teen stuff.

I miss those days of spending time outdoors. I have always loved it, even if I grew away from it for a period of time. Now that the kids are older I'm really trying to get out there with them as much as possible. We have been focused on the outdoor space and how to make it more functional for a family wanting to be in the sun and fresh air (well as fresh as it gets in an urban setting).

About two years ago Daniel bought the stuff to make our own clothesline. Guess who finally got a clotheline TWO years later?! That would be me. I kept insisting that I'd help him make it and we finally got serious about it. It helps me get outside, we are saving energy and hopefully that means a lower utility bill.

It was a process that took several days due to the weather. During one particularly freezing cold day we cut all the wood and dry-fitted it so it'd be ready-to-go when we were able to do the Kwik-Crete (fast drying concrete) as it requires no rain and no extreme cold temps in order to cure properly.

The hole digging has begun! We had to dig about two feet into the ground for each post. The kids all took turns jumping it. It was a much warmer day, great for pouring the concrete.

The posts were set. Put the post in the ground, add a little water, then add the dry concrete, add the rest of the water and use a long stick to kind of help work that water down into all the dry concrete. You can see the notch we had cut out at the top. The beam that would lay across it, forming the T-shape, also had a notch so they fit together and would be bolted together. We had to wait a few days for the concrete, and our schedules to meet up, before bolting those beams together and finishing up the clothesline.

Here's her first test run! We still needed to add the third line and the support beams to the post in the far back. And Daniel tightened the line on the far right already as it was loose (the center one is actually perfect). But you get the idea here. I may paint it. The wood is pretty rough after sitting outside for the past two years, ha ha. The overall look of our clothesline is actually really rough up-close but we made it ourselves and that's pretty darn cool. I'm proud of us! Ignore all that stuff in the far back; that is stuff from neighboring yards and I am hoping we may have enough to finish this side of the yard with privacy fencing (the other side of our yard was done with privacy fencing by previous owners, as shown in above pic, but the side shown below is just chainlink).

I may have Daniel add a fourth and fifth line as the beam is wide enough to accommodate them. This momma does a whole lotta laundry. All those clothes were only half of a load; I ran out of space and clothespins!


Our outdoor adventures don't end here. We've been fixing up the actual house's exterior too! We have a post Victorian house, built in 1909. We bought the house in 2006, almost 9 years ago. We haven't done anything to the house's exterior in that entire time. I cannot even begin to express how excited I am to see the house prettied up with fresh paint.

Here is a BEFORE. We have contractors working on replacing old, rotting wood at the moment. They're almost done. Then they'll replace any missing or loose shake shingles and they are giving us a quote for paint. The stone will be power-washed and left as-is (it's gray and washing will help clean it up). All the siding will be Sherwin William's "Cloudburst" (medium teal color) and all the brown trim and gutters will be Sherwin William's "Alabaster" (a white). We will also add shutters around the two windows on the second floor to help give it more curb appeal and charm.

I will also plant some low bushes on the left side of the porch where you see nothing planted (wanted to get work done before putting in new plants). So... I will hopefully be posting an AFTER not too long from now.

Other projects we are working on:
-Building a closet unit in the master.
-Painting and new light fixture in master.
-Building a recessed bookcase in the master.
-Painting ceilings in rooms that got leaks (from the exterior that is now fixed, woo hoo).
-Gutting and redoing entire kitchen.
-Replacing walls in den and possibly carpeting.
-Overhaul of second floor bathroom.

Next up will most likely be our second floor bathroom as we'd like to have it done before baby, in case I give birth upstairs, as I did with Silas. Our logic being that if we need to fill the birth tub up there we need to be able to also drain it up there and our toilet is shot to you-know-where (they drain the birth tub into the toilet with a hose). We don't want to replace the toilet now and then have to remove it when we lay down the new floor. We kind of just want to take everything out at once, finish painting, lay the floor, re-glaze the clawfoot tub and put in the new toilet. So this is like Renovation Realities people. Minus the TV crew ha! We are going to be doing this ourselves (and by "we" I mostly mean my husband). I do want to pay a professional to re-glaze the tub, though. That requires some heavy duty acids and chemicals that I don't want us messing with.

For our master bedroom, the room is dark. The light fixture is maybe from the 1940's but it's NOT attractive at all. Our room is so dark, one wall is cheap paneling (that I painted) and the plaster ceiling is starting to crack. We are eager to get the ceiling and the one paneled wall replaced, paint the entire room, put in a better light fixture, build a closet unit and turn the existing (and tiny) "closet" into a recessed bookcase. The existing closet is so so tiny it's useless as a closet and would make a better bookcase.

I will try to remember to take plenty of pictures to share the progress!