A Modern Mom Managing Multiples

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.

The Gaping Chasm

It’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) season again. An IEP, for those who don’t know, is a written-down-and-must-be-followed plan for a special-needs’ child. It tells about the child–their strengths and weaknesses. It tells where they need to improve. It makes plans for that improvement and the specific steps to follow for that planned improvement.

I just had Ethan’s 2 hour one last week and will have Laura’s much-shorter one this week. Because the kids will turn 14 within the next year they both will attend their IEP’s for the first time.

Each year I’m both filled with joy and awe AND a totally overwhelmed feeling. I see where these kids began; I see just how far they’ve come. I also don’t see the future. It’s this giant, gaping chasm of ignorance, lack of control and just plain old fear. Not so much with Laura, because intellectually she’s just fine. She will go to college. She will be able to support herself.

Ethan? Who the heck knows?

We made the decision to have his IQ tested. While the school psychologist will not be able to give us a number, she will give us a “he will qualify for ID services” or “he will not qualify for ID services” (ID being intellectually disabled).

It’s the same sword we played with all those years ago when we got the autism diagnosis. Ethan had all these quirky things–things that, to me, were disparate and didn’t fit together. The developmental pediatrician at duPont heard my list and said almost immediately that she thought he was on the spectrum. I was stunned. Somewhat horrified. But still, glad for the tentative diagnosis. All her tests were vision-based, so we went to the school psychologist and he confirmed with his testing that Ethan was autistic. High-functioning, but still, autistic.

So, fast forward some years and that’s where we are. The double-edged sword of a diagnosis. We don’t WANT him to qualify for ID services. We don’t WANT him to BE intellectually disabled. But if he IS, then we want what he would qualify for–services, support, help, planning, etc.

And the future continues to be a big, gaping, scary chasm of unknowing.

Last Thursday Catie decided it was high time someone got sick around here and brought home a stomach bug. She ever so nicely shared it with me. My children are often thoughtful that way. So we spent Thursday and Friday on the couch and loveseat, not eating a whole lot and feeling rather miserable. Sunday morning, when I woke up feeling quite fine, thankyouverymuch, Ethan woke up with a hacking cough and major congestion and Laura had the stomach bug.

1. One type of virus at a time, world. That should TOTALLY be in the rule book.

Sunday Ethan got a small nose bleed. That night I stepped off my side porch and my ankle gave out AGAIN and I went down on the pavers really really hard. Spend the rest of the evening with it propped up and not getting anything done. Monday, off from school, Ethan got a MAJOR nosebleed that we just couldn’t get to stop. I had us both in coats, ready to head to the ER at 9pm when finally FINALLY it decided to quit. Today, Tuesday, I woke up with a really sore throat and headache and overall I’m-definitely-coming-down-with-a-cold feeling.

2. Double not fair, world. I put off laundry because of being sick and then because I couldn’t stand long enough to do it and now I feel rotten? My kids need clothes! I NEED CLOTHES!

So from me to you, dear readers, WASH YOUR HANDS and keep your children away from mine. They are world-class germ sharers.

A Crisp and Shiny New Year

Just waiting for all the possibilities to become realities.

For the first time in awhile, I find myself somewhat excited about the new year. It is a man-made institution and really no different from yesterday? Sure! But it’s still a kind of great excuse to “start fresh” if you want. And I want.

For the first time in a LONG time, God is exciting. My relationship with him feels like a marriage that was on the rocks for a long time, but then the couple decides to really work on it and things improve. Except that God didn’t really give up on me, did He? I gave up, moved away and wanted the separation. I wanted the dingy, smelly apartment with the bug-ridden kitchen and dim bulbs and orange shag carpet. Because it seemed so much better than working on my marriage. Stupid, stupid Tina. I’m back at home with my Lord, cuddling on the couch and planning our future again. And happy about the fact.

**Side note: my parents’ house really had orange carpets when I was growing up. Orange has been my least-favorite color for many, many years in honor of that.**

My sister used an app called My Fitness Pal and managed, using basic math of LESS IN to lose 35 lbs in 2014. I have downloaded the app and been fooling around with it. While it’s somewhat depressing to see just how few calories a 5′ 1″ woman who wants to lose weight gets to eat, it’s definitely eye-opening to realize that my morning cup of coffee (that sometimes makes its way to two cups), eats up 1/12th of my allotted daily needs. That’s a LOT of calories for a drink!

So while I’m not making any ridiculous New Year’s resolutions that I will break in two weeks, my word for 2015 is RECOMMITTED. To God. To my health and well-being. To our new church. To growth. Such a good place to be, don’t you think?!

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