28 June 2010

crunch time

So the garage sale was a massive hit - better than we'd hoped for! Stuff was selling before we could get it pulled out of the garage and set out. Which meant less to set up, though in reality there was still a lot. And all the leftovers that I don't plan to attempt to consign fit into the van around the three kids and made it to Goodwill already. The rest I'm hoping to sell at the big twice a year consignment sale...or give it to someone who would enjoy it.

I even sold the trampoline and 4 pieces of furniture! But there is still a LOT of furniture left to part with. Craigslist is my obsession this week. The table and chairs, the train table and a chest of drawers have all found new homes. But it's so not nearly all of it. In the meantime, these non-responders and no-shows are grating my nerves something fierce! I'm not a fan of giving out my address to start with, but they should have the courtesy to tell me if they changed their mind at least!

The biggest crunch, though....we move this month. Mid-month. As in the 17th. Barely two weeks away. Today a friend came with her kids and while the madness ensued around us, she sat on my kitchen floor with me while I purged through the excess of pots and pans and baking trays that consumed the cupboards. She listened while I pondered and reasoned. She supported my thought process. Do you have any idea the value of such help? She didn't have to pack but she sure helped me figure out what I needed by listening to me consider that the Pampered Chef stoneware is not only too heavy but also not washable with soap and therefore a bit impractical given our many food allergies and blah blah blah. Things long over due to be reasoned out. Then she put the items into the "stay" pile or the "out" pile. That, my friends, is what I desperately need as I purge and pack this house in the next two weeks.

Of course, the laughter (and bits of fighting) that rocked the house was beautifully reminiscent of our childhood together as well....savory seasoning to any kind of day.

25 June 2010

garage sale

T minus 22 days and counting til the big move. That I do not feel remotely prepared for.

T minus 1 day and counting til the big garage sale. That I do not feel remotely prepared for. Well, a little bit on that one, but there is still SO much I need to do.

We went to our new house a little while back and measured all of it - every wall, window, door and air vent (well, hubby says those weren't so accurate, more 'eyeballed', so it's only sort of helpful, but he did work hard on everything else).

Then, we measured every piece of furniture in our current house to see what will fit and what won't. There's a whole graph-paper rendition of the house and little cutouts to scale of the furniture. Cause we're nerds like that. We will all be switching our our dressers and such, and some pieces (like a large TV cabinet) will get new jobs (like becoming a home school shelf, unless perchance it sells).

And anything that doesn't fit must go. PRONTO. Little B has worked hard to purge his room. He's got a medium box of things to sell plus a couple bigger items. For him, that's paramount. Miss C just can't part with anything, but she doesn't know how much mommy purged 6 months ago, so I'm not really upset. And they will be hosting a grand lemonade stand which I hope will be a huge hit. Lemonade, cookies (that both are allergic to, but felt would sell well...Keebler fudge striped cookies), and discounts for veterans/military/police/fire. That touched my heart. Little B thinks deep.

But there is still furniture in the bonus room that needs to come down and a hodge podge pile of things that need a heavy sorting to hit the sale. I had 2 friends (with their 2 yr old daughters) come Tuesday to help - one watched all the kids and the other helped me clean some animal cages, an exersaucer, and somewhat make more space in the garage - not to worry, she's about 10 days more pregnant than me, so we were extra careful. :) I did sell some things to her and a friend of hers, so that was less to haul down and set up...more space for the rest.

I also forgot to list the sale on Craigslist last night and the signs are not ready to be put in the ground yet. Pricing is still vague in my head. I need to clear the current home school shelf a.k.a. baking rack and buy the lemonade for the sale. I have to corral the kids who are already super cranky at 8am and find maternity shorts to wear tomorrow (I have 3 pair of pants and a few shirts....not gonna cut it in this heat). The lemonade is still at Wal Mart and the table for the stand is still in the house.

My husband is working today. All day. Good thing I recognized I wouldn't be ready for the sale today.......sigh.

Oh yeah. Gotta home school today. Part of which is the business plan and sign for the lemonade stand because that is good, hands on learning. But OH, so much to do.

10 June 2010

chickens and donkeys and goats oh my!

We finally settled on a pet idea that made everyone happy and the 'no pet' landlords didn't have an issue with: guinea pigs. They can be outdoors during the milder months and are at least a moderate 'playmate'; a second one would be reasonable for Miss C (and keeps the first from being too lonely). The only hold up was waiting until we were settled in a new house. And that is tough for a kid, I know.

And then.
We found the new house. Quite unexpectedly.

It was a situation of too much stress trying to figure out where the Lord wanted us. Satan was attacking with frustration and our bodies were worn out from driving hours on end looking around, and having lack of peace with every single place we saw or area we considered. We decided to wait a week or two and just be carefully watchful, but not too aggressive - a break was necessary. So, we checked listings in the paper and Craigslist, contemplated and sighed. Then yesterday morning on Craigslist I saw a something that fell just beneath our hopeful rent budget - I'd prayed the Lord would be so clear and find a way to meet our needs for an affordable house, 3 bedrooms, 2 potties, and at least a corner to home school in. (A fence was a strong safety preference given my toddler's tendencies to wander.) I also prayed for peace that would leave no doubt.

We went to see the house after John got off work - so we could test the commute. It's a fraction faster getting there than our current home! And on Sunday mornings we'll be able to leave a good bit later (we make quite a drive, but some things are worth it). It's small, I'll give you that - 2 largish bedrooms, 1 very small bedroom (Little B gets it because he's not sharing), the bathrooms are not off the main living area but you must go through one of the large bedrooms to get to them - so be it, we can survive that. The heart of the house is "L" shaped - the bedrooms are off one half of the "L" and the kitchen and laundry closet is in the middle (the knee?). The other half of the "L" is just big enough to accommodate both eating and a homeschooling area. There is even a (very tiny) attic fan which makes my heart beat faster just knowing I'll get to use one at last!

The fence is a bit unusual, though....it does not give us a private yard, but rather it's all over the 21 acres, holding in farm animals that the owners care for. And there are two playgrounds on the property with a massive garden that is completely sustainable - and we are to consider this our backyard. They even MOW THE GRASS, not us. Small house? No big deal. We've got a farm to run around. Talk about the home school opportunities at our fingertips....

Ecstasy ran high for all of us as the gracious, warm owner showed us around the land, told us about the farmer's market she has there every Saturday morning, the business of horse riding lessons, birthday parties, and other events, etc. etc. etc.....we told her we really wanted to go home and pray about it to be certain and she said that was fine, we were her first choice as it's hard to find the right fit in an unusual situation like this. Even our need for it in five weeks rather than right now is better for her.

Once home, Little B could not wait to hear a final word on if we'd take the house....he's ready to purge his room of toys (a major first in his life) so he can fit into the tiny room that overlooks the field where a horse named Comet lives. I told Little B that it would be okay if he wanted the guinea pig, but that with the horses, goats, donkeys and egg-laying chickens (see that, Hannah!?) that he'd see every day, he may not feel the need. He promptly agreed that the guinea pig could wait. He's ready to do some farm chores, people!

With each effort to pray the Lord breathed a yes into our ear before our words could barely come forth. The kids want to pack NOW. The family who owns and lives on the land want us there, and have all kinds of connections to homeschooling groups, run a buyer's co-op (which I'd looked to find close to my home!)....the list goes on, and my heart is overflowing with a thrill that comes with utter peace.

God is so good.

05 June 2010

pet fight

Buttercup, our pet bird, died this morning. Her husband, Wesley, died about two and a half years ago, while I was pregnant with Baby J. So, now we are birdless.

For several months now she has been Little B's responsibility - food, water, clean cage. He was doing a stellar job. Much better than I could find time for. I had told him that this was an opportunity to prove to me that he could be responsible for a pet (some of you may remember the hamster from a while back...she probably received less than stellar care, but she was loved and played with). Anyhow, point being that he has shown me he can be more responsible about a pet as he's gotten older.

In truth, I felt a mixture of relief with the sadness over losing my bird. For she was mine - both of them had been gifts from my mother almost five years ago. But as we added babies to the household caring for pets was more of a task than a labor of love. The relief today is much more enhanced by the fact that when we move we will be in a smaller house. And I had no idea how we'd find space for a bird cage. It just felt like an issue I was avoiding. So now, I have no issue to avoid.

I promised the kids a while back that we'd look into a cool fish tank once we got settled someplace. Today, that no longer sufficed. Little B recently found a lovely tortoise that now resides on our front porch in a large plastic bin and gets good care plus yard time every few days. He wants to give that to Grandma because he is afraid of causing it's death (but turning it loose is not a pleasant option, either - I should add that my mother has a history of keeping turtles and tortoises on his behalf...and one in particular has never been allowed to go free in over five years).

So our pet world is now limited to the tortoise in question and one dwarf frog. The kind that come two to a small cube with a bamboo plant growing inside and you add water once in a while and feed it about twice a week through a tiny hole in the top of the lid. Notice I said we have one frog? His name is Jack. As in Sparrow. His cube-mate used to be Will. As in Turner. One day, Will was just a skeleton - and Jack is our resident cannibal, apparently. You know, I think there is a snail that acts as a maid for the frog, so perhaps we could count that as a third pet?

All this said, Little B wants a new pet. Now. No, not the tortoise (I'm not getting his logic here, people!!). And he's steamed that I've requested we wait until we have settled into our new house to choose a pet. He's on the verge of a meltdown. And he's mad as a hornet that his brother and sister are allergic to dogs (Daddy, too, most likely), and I do have compassion for his frustration. Rabbits don't appeal. Guinea pigs might. Gerbils and hamsters just aren't jiving for me - I do not like escaped rodents. Birds are not a practical option for space and noise right now (besides, he wants a Macaw when you get to the bottom of it...which I said we'd talk about as a college graduation gift!). In truth, I'd rather skip the whole pet thing or keep the tortoise (the frog stays either way). I don't like their smell and I will be changing smelly diapers for another 3 years at least - must I contend with a pet's odor as well? Am I just cold hearted??

Does anyone have a good pet suggestion? One that I won't find hiding beneath my bed covers or chewing the carpet? One that will be fairly simple to care for as a nine year old boy who is desperate for a pet, but not so heavy of a task that it becomes a burden. And, from what I'm gathering, is not a fish tank.