A Modern Mom Managing Multiples

Baby Steps, Man!

There are times when I question that this project is actually really, truly going to happen. We’ve been planning on it since last year, and I’ve been doing massive research online and in stores for months now. It feels like NASA taking a manned trip to Mars–it will happen someday, but not likely in my lifetime.

But there are glimmers of “it’s really going to happen” now and again. Getting The Plan was the first. Having the electrician over last week to look at the job and work up a quote (still waiting on final numbers) was another. Monday Jim and I went to a local flooring place and picked out three flooring options. Someone came out today to measure and then we’ll get a quote from them later on this week. Another concrete step. Discussing color options for granite is not quite as concrete as actually going to a warehouse to pick a slab, but it’s a part of the step, at least.

Quick funny: We obviously have a budget for this, and some of the numbers (including cabinets) are higher than I originally expected. So I was thinking we could cut back on flooring. When we were at the store, Jim kept gravitating towards more expensive options. Which, frankly, surprised me. When we got in the car after shopping, he turned towards me and said “with this, you’re Tarak”, which I instantly got and laughed at. We watch a program “Flip or Flop” with a husband and wife team. When they go to a store to pick out the tile or wood flooring, Tarak definitely has his eye on the money. Christina, however, wants to go all out and upgrade everything. I don’t know that Jim would go as far as to call himself Christina, so calling me Tarak was safe and funny. And in this case, true.

Houston, We Have a Plan!

So, what do you think? This is the final plan!

Final Plan

And seriously, you need to be impressed. My kids taught me how to do the whole screen shot thing and I actually remembered it!

For a reference point, here are a few shots of our current kitchen. You see what a HUGE change it will be!

Kitchen1Kitchen2

Kitchen5Kitchen6

Christmas Time Is Here…

If you read that title in the Charlie Brown chorus singing it, you are not alone!

It’s a strange holiday season. We’re having ups and downs and weird weather and I’m left feeling a little muddled.

I have a beautiful, gorgeous perfect little brand new niece. She was born 2 weeks LATE on December 3rd. I got to hold her today. So little! So sweet! The newest-born baby I’ve held since my own. So very, very weird to look at my teenagers and shake my head at the fact that they, too, were once that small and sweet.

We visited for a third time a new church. While we were in a bit of a rush on the way out (to go and see aforementioned baby), it was still a lovely service. The pastor preached on Luke 2. Never, ever an easy passage simply because everyone (even those who only do church once or twice a year) has heard messages on it forEVER. How to put a new spin on it? He managed! I’m tentatively hopeful about this church–it feels like home already, and I like the people. They are SO friendly! We’re going to continue to visit for the time being, so that’s great.

On the not-so-great front, which I have been fairly silent about, my sister has breast cancer. Originally it was thought she could get a mastectomy and be done, but the pathology report was much more severe and now 12 weeks of chemo is in her future. As is her daughter’s wedding on April 8. My heart hurts for her, and I’m scared. I love my sister and don’t want this journey for her. She is facing it with grace and faith, but doesn’t really want to do it, either.

The kitchen planning continues. We received the first draft of the plan from the designers, but it had some errors in it (missing a soffit, forgot to figure in the new door), so I’m getting the 2nd draft tomorrow. What I saw that was correct I really liked. A LOT. We still have a lot of conversations and decisions about specifics ahead of us, but having the design in hand will be a good foundation.

In Southeastern PA, typically, it would be in the 30’s and 40’s now. Probably not snow, although on occasion it would be, but it’s heading towards winter and it will be feeling like it. Not this year, though. Today was 71 when we visited the baby in Philadelphia. Weird! It doesn’t FEEL like Christmas!

With the baby and my sister’s treatments going on, planning is up in the air. Now, any of you who have read me know, without a doubt, that I am not only Planner Extraordinaire, but also that I like things written down in pen on the calendar. Nothing is in pen. Not even in pencil. I have not one clue what is going on. And I’ve just got to suck it up and deal with it! :-)

This week coming up is the beginning of the Great Fudge Making. This year (as was last) I’m making 12 pounds of fudge for gifts. Yes, 12 POUNDS. That’s 24 containers. Work, but so worth it!

Thanks for dropping by. I hope your holidays are peaceful, joyous and healthy.

Research Project

One of the things that has surprised me in this process of renovating a kitchen NEXT YEAR is just how much research is going into it this year:

What kind of cabinets? What color? What kind of countertop? Will we get a return on our investment with a certain kind of countertop (e.g. our neighborhood would not qualify as a quartz-type neighborhood, but probably would be granite). Who will do the electric? Should we try to design the kitchen ourselves or hire someone? What kind of flooring will be kitchen-durable, good resale value, within our budget and something that we like? Should we/can we install it ourselves or do we hire it out? Which way should the island face? How will we fit a regular door instead of a slider, accounting for an island and our kitchen table and the amount of space the door needs to swing?

It’s rather a good thing that I LOVE doing research!

What we know so far:

Ikea kitchen cabinets, White Grimslov
Designer: Inspired Kitchen Design
Microwave will be above the range

What we don’t know yet:

Electrician (although it’s between two that we’ve previously used)
Flooring type or contractor (having one come today to give a ballpark figure for what we might want)
Countertop type or contractor (although we know it’s NOT going to be quartz, as much as I dream about it)
Where we’re getting our pendents (although we know it’s not Ikea or Home Depot, having shopped both)
Sink (again, not Ikea)
Whether to keep our current black dishwasher and range and just buy a black fridge OR get a stainless panel for the dishwasher and buy a stainless range and fridge.
Knobs (not Ikea)

One thing we always have in mind with this (in case you haven’t guessed) is the Almighty Resale Value. It has always been our intention to sell and move closer to Jim’s job and our families. Renovating the kitchen will be the last MAJOR hurdle to putting the house on the market. There are still many minor hurdles, but nothing that will cost thousands of dollars. Theoretically, at least!

The articles and blogs I’ve read say that the planning process takes about nine months. If we’re doing this late spring/early summer I guess I’m at a good place right now!

Updating the House

At this point and time I’m thinking of taking this blog in a more light-hearted direction. Not that I can’t and won’t talk about the heavy stuff, but, as I said in the last post, I’m in a different season right now.

When we bought this house 15 years ago last May, it was going to be our “5-7 year” home.

Hah. Double Hah. Four children in 19 months took care of that!

The house was built in 1985, and while we’ve updated a GREAT DEAL of it, there are two main things we haven’t done much to in all that time: The master bedroom and the kitchen.

In the master bedroom all we’ve done is tear down the seriously ugly wallpaper, put in a ceiling fan and remove a light fixture near a window. Oh, and replace the windows when we did the whole house 5 years ago. The drywall is cracked in places, there are complete separations between the wall and the ceiling in more than a few places, and is painted a HIDEOUS dusty rose color.  ::shudder:::

I’m hoping we are thinking of tackling that room soon.

However, what we are DEFINITELY going to renovate and drag into the 21st century is the kitchen. The only thing we’ve done to it in the past 15 years is paint and replace the floor. Oh, and add a sliding glass door (that we’re going to remove to go down to a single glass door to get in more cabinets).

Have any of you ever tried a kitchen renovation? Everyone I’ve talked or read about says basically the same thing: it’s horrific to live through, but amazing on the other side. I’m only in the planning stage, but am trying to focus on the amazing part and not the horrific part. I’d love to hear tips from anyone who HAS lived through it!

So, um, yeah. Hi! It’s been months and months and months. No words, no ideas, no excuses. I don’t know it it’s just that I’m at a different season of life, but I’m thinking the direction of the blog is going to change.

Quick Update: I have three teens in 9th grade. One tween in 7th. Two of the teens are in cyber high school. Overbrook doesn’t do high school until 15, so we have, weirdly enough, two in middle school (one cyber, one not obviously).

Me? I’m doing a lot of windshield time back and forth to their various schools and after-school involvements. No carpooling this year, unfortunately–not with two girls in two different schools in two different parts of the same town.

Bennett finally found a place–robotics. He loves it and it seems like a great fit. So now every one of my kids has SOMETHING, which is such a relief.

We’re still–off and on–trying to find a church home. This week is an off week due to the fact that most of the family is either still sick or getting over it. It’s somehow mostly missed me (and Ethan) for which I’m extremely grateful.

I think that’s it for now. Stay tuned for the new direction. It’s coming soon.

Sorry for the complete lack of posting. I just checked and it’s been more than a month since my last post. My only defense is: my, we are busy around here! Between school, keeping house, laundry (aka the bane of my existence), home improvements (current: upstairs hall bathroom) and just general STUFF, I’m doing a lot. So the blogging suffers.

Let’s see….Ethan’s IEP went great (as always) and his testing just got completed and we got the paperwork. Lots and lots of pages and deciphering of information, but the bottom line is: Ethan is NOT intellectually disabled. He has definite issues, but they “can be explained by the autism and visual impairment.”  So, good. I just got information yesterday from a friend about training through the state on technology for the visually impaired. Totally making THAT call today!

We’re just about to finish up the 3rd marking period at cyber school and have 11 weeks left (including a week of spring break!). I’m definitely worried about one child who is struggling way more than I expected. (More on that in another post.) My other two are doing well….it’s just lasting until the final day.

We’ve scheduled our vacation. Every other year we make the really long trek to Lake Michigan. It’s only every other year for a couple of reasons: 1) there’s so much else in the world to see and 2) it’s a really, REALLY long drive. 12 hours at least the first day and then more driving the 2nd, plus a 2.5 hour ferry ride. So yeah, I just can’t face that every year. But this year it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten the agony and am just anticipating 9 whole days on an island with hardly anything to do. Bliss!

The Upstairs Hall Bathroom Project is coming along slowly. Much more slowly than I had expected. The tub resurfacing saga has definitely slowed it down even further. March 6th, the much anticipated day when a company would come in and resurface our tub, taking it from ugly yellowy-tan to lovely white. Well, it was white in the end, but R did a horrible job. We complained. They sent R back. He did an even worse job. We were angry and complained again. The company was going to send H out last week, but then he had a personal emergency. But they didn’t call us to tell us. So we waited for several hours. So NOT impressed with this company. Finally H came yesterday and was horrified with the job that R did. He fixed everything and now work on the rest of the bathroom can begin again.

I know it’s more of a status update. Again, posts coming up, but I just wanted to let you know that I wasn’t–as my mom often feared–dead in a ditch somewhere.

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