Saturday, January 30, 2016

Efficient Birthdays

1-23-16  W and P bday party 8

Wesley and Piper’s birthdays are slightly less than a month apart, a mere 4 weekends, so it’s pretty easy to do a combination family birthday party for them.  Even Papa Jim came over for the day!

We hosted a brunch, and Piper got to debut her omelet making skills.  Truly, she is very good—my omelets never turn out as nicely.

1-23-16  W and P bday party 1

1-23-16  W and P bday party

1-23-16  W and P bday party 3

1-23-16  W and P bday party 2

Friday, January 29, 2016

Married Texts from 5-7pm on a Friday Night

Dwayne: Hard part done…Going out for a beer evidently. clip_image002

Me: Good!  I was just getting ready to check on you.  Call before driving home!  I may have groceries for you to get.

Me:  Bring home compressed air.  Piper spilled sugar all over my laptop keyboard.

Me: And vacuum just committed suicide. Can you bring home a plug?

Dwayne: A plug?

Me: Male, replacement for the vacuum plug that just caught on fire.

Me: Just discovered that to clean up after making no bakes, Piper put dirty measuring cups back in the drawer.

Me: Never mind about last two items.  I’m going to run to McLendons. Not vacuuming a 3000 SF house is a real time saver!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Either Wesley or Oxi-Clean Failed Me

I got the kids down tonight, after a whirlwind of Dwayne coming home late and leaving again to go back to work (it’s an unusual week for him), when I went downstairs to assess the damage of having 5 extra kids playing at our house this afternoon. 

This is what I found. (Well, almost.  This is after drenching it in Oxy-Clean; it has faded a bit).  Blue Sharpie scribbled all over the beige carpet.  That would be the same blue pen I had removed from Wesley’s hands earlier that day with a strong reminder that they belong to Mama and my children are not allowed to use them.


Wesley strikes again.

So far, I’ve spent time scolding Wesley and checking out youtube videos on permanent marker removal.  One actually said to use a dry erase marker—which actually works great to get Sharpie off white boards.  But do you know what’s harder to get out of fabric than Sharpie?  That’s correct.  Dry erase markers are much harder to dissolve, a lesson Kyla taught me years ago.

Using rubbing alcohol, hairspray, elbow grease, and a shampooer, I got it down to this:


It stands out more than you might think, because these 3 square feet of carpet are cleaner than the rest, a perfect canvas for Wesley’s failed attempt at art.

But before I had gotten this far, Wesley came to me and, quite repentfully, apologized to me for writing on the carpet.  Damn it, I taught him that.  And damn it twice, I had to forgive him before I could get the stain out.  I’m sure Glennon Doyle Melton could make a humorous and touching sermon on…something…but all I know is that instead of a peaceful evening getting ready for Book Fair next week, I scrubbed alcohol into and then out of my carpet until 11pm.  I did this sober.

While our rule of “Don’t make more work for Mama” is clearly only half-hearted at best, we have a new motto in our house.  You will often hear Wesley forced to chant “Not all things are toys. Not all things are toys” while I chant “You must not kill your child.  You must not kill your child.” 

It’s quite…melodic. 

The Shower, continued.

Dwayne and I already had our weekend planned, and it did not include completely redoing the cabin shower.  Until it did.

We gathered our materials all week, and as soon as our last brunch guests left Saturday afternoon, so did we. 

Saturday:  Earlier, we researched and found that the greenboard we put on was not going to be adequate, so we ripped everything out. Again.  Then we put in an approved waterproof jetboard and made the decision to tile all the way to the ceiling with inadequate amounts of tile.  Dwayne and I love to keep it interesting!

Here is why it’s important to keep the shower from leaking.  Those are the logs.  Bad form to let them rot.


The jetboard is on, still needs to be taped and mudded (with thinset).


Now to turn this into a beautiful shower!  No pressure.WP_20160123_006

Piper looks happy there, but here’s the message she left us during a time out when she had found the tile separaters.  (Those who have a difficult time reading the font, it translates to “I want to go home!”)


Sunday: After returning home Saturday night, as weIMG_4490 had a house guest and Sunday church duties, we ran up to the cabin again to tile.  It took us until after 10pm, but this is what it looked like sans grout.  Going up to the ceiling was probably a good idea, and I really like the accent tile.



Piper was both a frog and mouse helper, delivering tools to Dwayne and I as we called for them.


Monday:  Dwayne wanted to stay but had too many meeting Monday morning, so he returned home on Sunday night.  The kids had no school on Monday, so I woke up the next morning at 8am, put cereal on the table for the kids, and began grouting. 

Even though I swore up and down we would run out of tile (bread and fishes, we were able to finish tiling with a few scraps and miraculously few bad cuts), I didn’t consider worrying about having only two buckets of grout.  We needed 3, so I called Dwayne, who discovered the nearest distributer of that grout was in Everett.  Dwayne left work early, stopped to get grout, and was there by 4:30 to help me do the last wall and clean it all up.  I finished the sink backsplash, and now the last few details for another day seem much more finite.  We may actually get it all back together in one more afternoon, including cleaning up all the dust we created that probably is coating every blessed log in that blessed log cabin. 

Here’s the almost final result.  Ignore the complete lack of faucets.  The grout was still curing!


Infinitely superiour to the dingy white plastic we had a few weeks ago.  I wonder when we will do a project that we actually plan for? 


I know, the lights make it all look yellow-ish, but I was trying to show how the two tiles complemented each other. 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Winter Beach

There’s always a few freakishly warm days in Seattle’s winter.  We happened to be at the Clinton Beach on Whidbey for this warmish day!




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Exercise Program

1) Have Wesley do something really destructive, disrespectful and disobedient all at once. 

2) Develop strong desire to wring his scrawny little neck.

3) Slam doors on the way out to power walk until said neck is no longer in danger.

I’ll be back at my college weight in less time than it will take my hair to grow out again.  Um, thanks Wesley.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Baby is 6!


If I didn’t have to keep reminding him not to suck his fingers, Wesley probably wouldn’t seem so baby-ish, but he still snuggles up just like he did when he was just learning to walk and still took naps. 



To celebrate, besides having a holiday off school, we went to the Pacific Science Center….as did the rest of the 206 and 425 area code population.  We spent more time in line than we did seeing the IMAX.  Then they were hungry and we spent more time in lines to get IMG_4459food. Wesley kept saying he wanted to go home to play with his new “electrician’s kit”. S0 after some play time at the Fountain, we acquiesced, with only one little stop at a tile store on the way home. 

Wesley loved having a birthday, so no matter how I felt at the end of the weekend, it was a success. 

*     *     *      *      *       

To cap off the day, we realized that Kyla was missing her retainer.  I searched frantically, Kyla searched not-so-frantically, and we finally concluded that she must have left it at the cabin.  I left at 8pm, didn’t catch the ferry until 9, searched every logical and illogical place at the cabin, and found so many items that weren’t the retainer.  I managed to hit a rock in the dark as I turned into the driveway, and when I left empty-handed to catch the 10:30, I was also empty-tired.  I ruined the wheel completely (only a $75 cost, as I was to find out) to limp down the street until I had some porch light from an abandoned house to see by.  There was no cell service.  I changed my first tire, with “help” from two neighbors who were both intoxicated and high.  Some youth are happy drunks, some mean, some sad, but these two were stupid, stupid drunk.  They were more helpful than a two year old, but that’s not a compliment.  But in spite of their whiny “wish I was less drunk so I could help” pleas, I got the donut tire on in time to catch the 11:30, and was in bed by Monday morning, hours before I had to be at the school to volunteer at 8am. 

It was the perfect end to the weekend.

Did I mention that we still haven’t found the $250 retainer? 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Going Awry

Last weekend was supposed to be the fun part.  We returned to the cabin to do the final touches on the bathroom.  I had gotten a shower curtain I love, and all the “right touch” accessories.  We took a few minutes to put a tile splashguard around the sink, needing only to grout it on Sunday, and maybe re-caulk the dingy shower. 


I thought it was gorgeous.  And if we keep the shower curtain shut, it is still this beautiful. 

Alas, it is not working out that well.


We began removing the old caulk and all the signs we have been ignoring since we resealed it 3.5 years ago—when we first bought the cabin—came back to haunt us.  The shower liner was originally put over plywood, and the bottom inch of two sides was soaked and rotten. 

Hence, our quick Sunday project became a very long, dirty, costly, and unfinished project. 

Here’s the charm of log cabins.  Almost nothing off-the-shelf will fit.  Most work has to be customized or have serious work-arounds.  And the issue with Langley, particularly, is that the nearest home box store is a full hour drive away. 

The good news, after lots of failures, is we realized that we could do a custom tile shower probably more easily and no more expensively than a boring plastic shower liner.  And then it was Sunday night, with a mess and hungry chidren and Wesley’s birthday on the horizon.  So we have left it, leaving all our tile tools there, ready to be put to use the next weekend we can get there.

To be continued….

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Last Big Birthday Party

IMG_4284My kids always get to invite their class over for cake and play after school close to their birthday—for the first year or two. After that, the girls and boys separate too much to make a cohesive party--besides having up to 24 kids and their siblings, which is a lot even when they are small.  Wesley had over 20 kids running around Friday for 90 minutes, and I’ve graduated from needing to include everyone so that I can get to know as many peers and parents as possible…at least in winter, when I can’t keep them outside the entire afternoon. 



I always state “no gifts, please, but if your child would like to do something, a homemade card and $1 would be perfect”.  That way, Wesley doesn’t get 20 toys, I don’t need to put together party favors, and once I get a Costco cake, the party is ready.  


Happy almost-Birthday, Wesley!  I loved you being 5!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Another Wesley Story

To quote my own Christmas letter:

[Wesley] has lost two teeth from unnatural causes.

Update.  Make that three teeth from unnatural causes. Before Christmas, the kids were playing, and, as I understand it, Wesley had a blanket in his teeth and Kyla yanked it from him.

His tooth didn’t come out immediately, but it went from solid to snaggle-tooth loose.  Teeth are about the only thing that makes Dwayne squeamish, both teeth barely hanging in there and the idea of pulling it out.  So he sends the nearly-toothless kid to me and, ears closed to anguished whines, I yank it out myself. Piper is fully my child in this.  She tried to pull it out first, and then I stepped in and brought it home.  Wesley is actually a pretty brave kid, and he had the foresight to bring his tooth fairy pillow to the cabin with him.  So he got a dollar, I got a to pull out another tooth, and Dwayne got to banish his heebie-jeebies. 

* * * * * * *

This fell out when we all got our flu shots this year.  Kyla wanted a shot instead the mist, which we all regretted after a failed attempt to stab her and a very upset Kyla (who jumped out of the way on the first attempt necessitating me holding her down for the second) made this into quite the drama.  A month later was Piper’s turn, and she didn’t like, but she got it without any fuss.  Wesley had to wait a week, but was worried about his shot.  Instead, he sat still and calm and was surprised when it was over.  Kyla, on the other hand, squealed, jumped, and startled everyone else in the room when Welsey got his shot.  I’m making her stay at home next year!

Cosmetics—No deeper meaning

Just a public service announcement to my girlfriends:

Costco has PUR mineral make up on sale for an amazing price.  The full size pressed foundation is usually about $35 and the intro kit (the other 5 items in the picture) is usually about $35 dollars. has these together for $28 and free shipping, only until this Sunday.  I bought two, and unless one of my munchkins did not get enough negative consequences last time she ruined my make up, this should last me a long time. 


I’m currently attending to my face and clothes more carefully in an attempt to camoflauge the bad haircut.  By the time I run out of make up, my hair should grow out enough.  Thanks, PUR!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

One More Itsy-Bitsy Cabin Project

Before:                                    Almost After:
IMG_4189  IMG_4235

We can’t help ourselves.  Back at home on Wednesday evening, after two nights in Leavenworth, I mentioned to Dwayne that since we were heading to Whidbey to do the Polar Bear, we should retile the master bathroom floor.  And if we had the floor up, we might as well think about getting a new vanity.  Dwayne, kindly, madly, or thoughtlessly, agreed.

Thursday morning:  Spend money at Home Depot.  Pack car(s).

Thursdsay afternoon: Travel to cabin. Bathroom looks like this.

Thursday at 4pm:  Start demo. IMG_4190

Attach HardieBacker board to subfloor.IMG_4221

Thursday Midnight: finish demo and prep.  Clean thinset buckets, etc, outside in 28 degree weather.  Sleep until 10 the next morning. Talk myself out of Polar Bearing.

Friday: Tile. 

Praise Piper for making us snacks to get us through the day.

Friday evening:  Dwayne and Jen drive an hour to nearest
Home Depot to return previously purchased vanity and buy a new one. And since we’re replacing the vanity, we decide to replace the medicine cabinet.

Saturday: Grout. Put toilet and new vanity in.  Go to store several times for various plumbing needs.  Look at vanity lighting and decide it needs to be updated, too.  Discover no South Whidbey stores carry a selection of lighting options.  Realize that we won’t finish early enough to go home that night.  Feed kids. More clean up. 
Post “Almost After” Picture:IMG_4233
Collapse on couch while composing a list of what to get on the mainland before we come back to finish up.

Saturday Midnight: Realize toilet  shut-off valve is leaking.

Sunday morning: Denise takes kids home.  Dwayne stays behind to work on leak, hoping to save us the time and money of not contracting a plumber.  Add this to my list of 1000 reasons I love that man.