Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maybe I Am A Little Biased

Can I just take a post to brag a little? Or maybe a lot :)...I have great kids. I don't know how Todd and I were so lucky to be given the kids that we have. I really don't know that we deserve them. Their little lives have been nothing but upheaval since 2001. And do you know what? They have rolled with it. They have gone with the flow at every turn. I know, maybe I am a little biased, but they really are great!

We have lived in Bettendorf for three years now, but two different houses during that time. This is the longest we have lived in any one town since 2001. I think we lived in our house in Oklahoma City for five years. With the exception of Kellen, our kids have never lived anywhere this long. Callie will be two in December and will have lived in three houses! I know, we are not the only people to move, to move this much. But, I think we are the only people we know that have moved this much! But, it has become our reality. When we told the kids that Daddy had accepted the position in Springfield, they immediately started naming the great things about moving to and living in Springfield. (It helps this time that we have lived in Springfield before!) They did mention what they would miss here, but didn't dwell on it. They are ready for the adventure that will be our new home. I was so proud of them!

When we were trying to get the house ready to sell, they all pitched in. They all did what was asked of them and we had very little grumbling. Kellen and Garrett especially, since they were old enough to do more, really did some huge things, IMO! They both now know how to put trim in a house. They cut and nailed almost all of the moldings that were not finished. They would help me try to figure out what to do with certain areas. The boys took Callie on endless walks through the neighborhood so I could work without worrying about her safety. They went to peoples homes, went to parks, went to eat, mostly with people they really didn't know very well and didn't complain.

They looked at almost thirty houses last week in two days! Our Springfield realtor said she had never seen such well-behaved kids, she even stopped to buy them candy as a reward! And folks, let me tell you by the time we got to the point of looking at houses, we were tired. Beyond tired. We had worked ourselves silly, we missed our daddy like crazy, we had driven to Springfield in one day and were living in a hotel room for a week. They still managed to hold it together to look at houses.

No, we didn't officially start "school" until this week. But, they learned something more valuable than spelling words during September 2009. They learned that if you set your mind to something, you can do it. (Maybe not by yourself, but you can do it!) They learned that working as a team can get your goals accomplished. They learned how to measure things, including angles for molding! They learned how to fix things, how to make lists, shop for what you need, work with a budget. They learned how to get up and work, all day. There was not much game-playing, TV-watching, messing around time at all. The list could go on and on. I think later in life they will pull things out of this month as much if not more than a lot of "book learning" they will do.
The moving truck will be here the 23rd of October to take our stuff to Springfield. That is less than one week from the day that I am writing this post. A new chapter in our lives. They are getting excited. They love our new house. When we were back in Springfield we were reminded of a lot of things that we enjoyed when we were there the last time. We have been enjoying some down time here in Bettendorf before we really get with the packing. Trying to work in "one last time" for lots of our favorite things here. We have started our sit-down lessons for school and they are really enjoying it. It is nice to be back on a regular routine. We all know that it will be chaos again after the 23rd, but we know we can rein it in and get back to "normal" soon.

I can't wait. I can't wait for the future with these kiddos. All four of them continue to amaze me every day. Don't get me wrong, we have our moments, many moments! But, at the end of the day the good moments out number the moments I would like to forget. Thank you God. Thank you for these blessings you given to Todd and me.

Kellen getting the doors off to start painting the kitchen.
Garrett working on the door project.

Apparently Callie thought this was a hard-hat area.

Kellen, Gannon and Callie on one of their many walks around the neighborhood. Callie decided Gannon should ride her trike and she should sit on the basket!

Callie assisting Gannon in putting the faceplate back on the outlet.

Last year, removing the carpet.Gannon throwing away old tiles last year.

Completely unrelated to home remodeling, except that Callie did spend a lot of time with her brothers. I think Callie might have spent a little too much time with her brothers! "I try peepee" she says! Not going to work sister!

New Look!

Well, since everything else around here is changing, I decided to change the look of my blog. Isn’t it cute? I have been messing around trying to figure out how to do it myself. I did figure some of it out, but it was taking way too long. So, I just had it done for me. I’m sure the boys are sorry I ditched the pink!

I’m still learning about the whole blog scene, so bear with me! Sometimes I think it doesn’t show the whole blog. If this happens you can refresh the page, and then it will usually show it all. I don’t know why it does this. I’m sure I probably say too much and put too many pictures!

Friday, October 16, 2009

House For Sale

We have only lived in our house for a year.  There are a lot of places we have only lived a year, or less!  But, I guess when you own a house it takes on a life of it’s own, in a way.  I wouldn’t say I have loved this house.  I have been excited to have my own house that I could do what I wanted to do with it (for better or worse!).  I’ve done a lot of colors and finishes that I would pick again and again if I could.  The layout has been nice, lots of room for everyone to spread out.  What I don’t like?  It is a quad-level house, so all that room to spread out equals stairs, stairs, and more stairs!  I don’t like the yard.  It has nice landscaping in the back, the front is so ugly!  Luckily I refrained from ripping everything out and then running out of time to do something about it!  Something looks better than nothing when there is a for sale sign in the yard!

Here are some before and after pictures for you to enjoy!  A lot of things didn’t get done the way we had planned to do them since so much of the work has been done since we found out we were moving.  We went cheaper and faster on several things, especially in the bathrooms.  But, they are better than they were!

IMG_4152I didn’t take a great picture of the original entryway.  Here is the picture of the old 70’s front door.  You could see the original orange paint peeking through the edges.  Eek! Sept 2009 106 Here is the new and improved entryway!  IMG_4156Here is the view of the “formal living room” and “formal dining room” with little Callie checking things out.Sept 2009 069The school room/office and dining room.  We added these great bookcases and trimmed them out to look like built-ins (sort of:)).  Normally we have a big table set up for our school work.  We also have our computer table and sewing table in here.  A nice size room for all of our “stuff”.  We moved the blue chair and ottoman in here for staging purposes.  Don’t I sound official!  I loved having school in this room.  We had a lot of room to spread out and there is a big window overlooking the front.  IMG_4165 IMG_4167Lovely kitchen.Sept 2009 072Sept 2009 073Bright white kitchen.  I love white kitchens.  The walls are the prettiest yellow and all the accessories are red.  I love it!  We didn’t ever get new countertops.  This room was only about a quarter done when we found out we were moving.  New counters would have taken too long.  The old counters are neutral and fine IMG_4171Living room.  I couldn’t find a better picture.  I’m sure was have some, but I don’t know where they ended up!Sept 2009 101Staged living room.  Normally we are not so fancy with the diagonal rug, but it does look better this way.  Not the most practical set-up for four kids to run through, but it works for now.  This room was a bear!  It had beams running along the ceiling and it has paneling.  We debated the whole year about whether to take it down.  The paneling was already painted so we ended up just leaving it painted since like everything else, we ran out of time!IMG_4210Oh my heavens.  This is the master bedroom.  Yes that is red carpet with black and purple curtains and border.

Sept 2009 037Master bedroom as it is now.  I didn’t get a very good picture of this room, but you get the idea.  This was the last room to get done, of course.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do, so when we decided to move, we just painted it neutral so anyone could just move on in to at least one room without color.IMG_4216Master bath, I guess you could say.  Master bathrooms in the 70’s weren’t what they are now.  This is small, but we aren’t really spa type people anyway!  Lovely used-to-be white floor!

Sept 2009 040Again since we ran of time, the red counter had to stay.  My friend suggested that we paint it blue and just play up the red, like an Americana bathroom.  Sounded good to me!  It does look so much better.  There is new floor too, just didn’t make it in the picture.IMG_4207Yes, this is orangish tiger print shag.  Circa 1975.IMG_4209This is Kellen’s room, the above carpet was in what is his room now.  Below is his room now.  We did paint, but the color didn’t change much.   I think it is a very handsome room.  Sept 2009 085

IMG_4230Garrett and Gannon’s room with the blue shag carpet.

Sept 2009 051

Garrett and Gannon’s room with the blue walls.  One of the things that drew us to this house was this room that was plenty big enough for two kids to share with room to spare.  The door you see is to a walk-in attic that is huge.  I am going to miss that attic more than anything!IMG_4222 Callie’s room.  I don’t remember the color of the carpet, but it is shag!

Sept 2009 046Callie’s room now.  Is this not a little piece of heaven?  I just LOVE this room.  Of course she doesn’t sleep or do anything in here really, so it is just for decoration!       IMG_4224Main bath.  There is not anything to even say about this atrocity.  Sept 2009 059

Main bath now!  Again, time would not let us change out the counter, it is an odd length that had to be ordered, so we had to go with the black.  But, I think it goes fine with the green.  If we were staying, we could put of black decorations and such and it would be really pretty. IMG_4180           Old laundry room.Sept 2009 100New laundry room.  I love this room too.  I have always wanted a room with a checkered floor.  Don’t ask me why, I just think it is really fun.  This is just the right size room.  Not big enough to junk up, but big enough to hang clothes, sort, whatever I need to do.  And it has a laundry chute from the upstairs bathroom.  Talk about handy!  So much easier for kids to get their laundry where it needs to be.IMG_4188Basement when we moved in.  Sept 2009 088 Sept 2009 090    Basement as we are moving out.  It looks different than it did a few weeks ago.  Our realtor commented that she had never seen so much sports memorabilia.  Neither have I Brenda, neither have I.  It is now boxed up in our attic.  Didn’t want any Iowa Hawkeye fans not want to buy our house because of the Oklahoma Sooner basement!

So, this loooong post is what we’ve been doing the past year.  Us and my parents and a lot of friends.  Thanks again to everyone who had a part in this!

Monday, October 12, 2009

In A Pickle

Long time no post! Again...

We have been in a pickle, a big, 5-gallon Sam's jar of pickles to be exact! Todd left on September 5 to start his new position with Sam's in Springfield. (Yeah!) We worked our hearts out before he left, our house was not finished. My mom came for a week and worked her heart out, still not done. So, September 6, the kids and I started out on our own to finishing remodeling our house. The quicker we got it done, the quicker we could list it and move on. Easier said than done. I tried to call professionals to come do the work for us, but they all said they couldn't get to it until this date or that date. It seemed like it was going to take too long to get the job done, so I figured we could get it done quicker. Do you see where this is going? First mistake. Should have just let the workers come and put my feet up somewhere. We were in over our heads. Now, let me say, we are pretty good at figuring stuff out, but when you are in a rush, there is just not time to figure out how to do things you have not ever done before. We just kept plugging along. Our realtor here is a friend from church and I think she could tell this was not going to work. So she and her husband showed up one day and started helping. Friends started keeping my kids when they could so I could work in peace. Friends showed up to paint, bring lunch, whatever they could do. Our realtor is from church, so she put the word out at church and we had people come over and use their talents to finish projects that ranged from putting up trim to cleaning my oven. The clock was still ticking but, we were making progress. We missed our daddy, but we were so busy we didn't have time to dwell on it, which was a good thing! On top of all this was planning the move to Springfield. When were we going? Where would we live? On and on. A stressful time to say the least!

But, we did it. We did it with a lot of help! I am not one who likes to ask for help. Can't stand it actually! I like to think I can do everything myself. Guess what, I can't :)! The last few weeks I have just accepted it. I went to bed every night overwhelmed with people's generosity with their time. Time is such a valuable commodity this day and age and people willingly gave it up for us. Our house looks nice. We have it listed. We have had a few showings and an open house. I just hope it will sell sometime! I know this is the winter season (we've already had snow in Iowa!), not the best time to sell a house. I think it will sell someday. It is a desirable neighborhood and a nice size house with lots of "new". That has to count for something, right?

Kellen commented a few weeks back that "this is why it is good to believe in God and go to church because your church friends help you". He is so right. Our church here has truly treated us like a family while we've been away from family. I have tried to figure out for years how to teach my kids to serve. I wondered if we should go feed the homeless, if we should go to nursing homes, on and on. While all those things are wonderful and are still things I hope we can do, there is nothing like the example we were shown the last six weeks. When you are on the receiving end of service, you know how it feels. You know how it feels to feel like there is no way this is going to work out and then people come to your rescue. I always say we have had many lessons and blessings everywhere we have lived. This has been the biggest one here. Everything we have gone through here has been worth it for my kids to learn the lessons they have learned these last six weeks. The lessons were not anything I can teach out of a book, not anything they can learn without going through it. I hope that I have also taught them how to graciously accept help and thank God for all he has done for us. I can truly say that at least for the boys, all I will ever have to say is remember how we felt in Iowa, when we had help beyond measure? They will always remember and be ready to serve. I know I will.