If I had the time

If I had some free time I think I'd like to keep bees.  Or acquire a basic understanding of engineering and carpentry.  I would feel SO empowered if I could build things or understand engineering (like how do they know how to build the retaining wall supporting the earth on the west side of I5 in the curves?).


Life & House

I keep telling myself, "this is just a brief season of life."  But it is a crazy one.  My daily commute takes me from gresham to beaverton to wilsonville to gresham and on most days, SW portland or milwaukie is thrown in there.  Every night either Luke or myself is at our new house (usually luke) and one of us is at grandma jo's (where we're living for now) with our babies. We are eating primarily drive through and delivery. We're drinking lots of coffee.  I get lots of comments about the amount of paint in my hair.  But- it is enjoyable because we know it won't be like this for much longer!

To start, my sweet children:

Next, I'd like to give a public shout out to my father who has single-handedly intercepted an asbestos bullet for us and saved us thousands of dollars by removing our giant octopus furnace, tearing out the concrete base by hand, and re-pouring a concrete floor in its place so we could have a new furnace installed.

new concrete

And he even cleans up after himself

One of our larger expenses so far has been some tree pruning & removal.  We've had several trees pruned way off the ground and had 4 doug firs taken down. One of them, 120 years old, we intended to keep but it was dying so it had to come down.  The stump is massive.
Here's a before-prune

and after (the clippings were later removed)

These ones were way too close to the house

and fairly large

so a very brave soul from NW Tree Specialists climbed on up

and took them down

The earth shook when they fell

I should also say that whenever visitors show up, Luke gets out his most prized new-house-purchase: a chainsaw.  I don't think the loggers were impressed, but that does not dampen his spirit nor his enthusiasm.  He used it today even. To trim the hedge.  Which is by definition manageable with a HEDGE TRIMMER, but made even more easy by way of CHAINSAW.

The kitchen is coming along

from this:

My kitchen is getting a paint & appliance upgrade, but no new sink/cabinets/counters are in the budget yet.  So I started with:

and have now primed it so I can soon paint it a bright white:

We've had some serious work on the walls- wallpaper stripping, plaster skimming & texturing (worth the $) and now paint.
starting point:

after we took off the wallpaper:

painting in progress:

The upstairs is 98% complete.
Jo's room before:

and after:

Baylor's room before:

and after (I still have to scrape the paint off the window):

-the irony that I painted Baylor's yellow room BLUE, and Jo's blue room YELLOW is not lost on me.

It has been a messy proposition outdoors.  We are the proud owners of 2 acres of MUD.  Our dear and devoted friend Adam has not only helped us strip wallpaper, but spent the better part of his weekend chipping wood debris for us:

(the theme above for all 3 males pictured was, "downtrodden")
Luke's earning his stripes for all his outdoor efforts (including ditch digging).  I think he is pictured somewhere here but he's wearing a CAMO jacket (which I do not endorse) and I cannot find him as he blends in so well with his surroundings.

Jo is often relegated to the bare crib mattress in the interest of avoiding tetanus shot administration.

My attitude is fantastic (when my daughter is pointing the camera at me, at least)

And Jo remains very reflective on the transition (here she is trying to understand the word "tet-nis")

Most importantly, I would like you to know that my prized tub (turning 100 years old TOMORROW)

has come a long way

That's all for now :)


House update

We've had the house 4 weeks. I love it. But I think we're going to put it back on the market.  I'm sure you would agree that we'd be INSANE not to cash out on this profit.  After four weeks of burning through the majority of our liquid assets and shamelessly taking advantage of free family-and-friends-labor, here is my listing description:

"One invigorating shower under your broken outdoor gutters & you'll agree: this house doesn't need a bathroom after all!  Picturesque views of invasive ivy and overgrown trees surround you as you slop through 20 feet of mud to climb the steps to your darling, filthy, rotting front porch.  Original glass windows provide zero insulation and the condensation that accumulates will entertain your children for hours.  Gourmet kitchen boasts a...sink.  Master (and only) bath boasts...a toilet.  Shallow dug antique outhouse makes this house an entertainer's dream.  1 out of 3 light fixtures are installed and climbing the steep and treacherous steps to your plywood-finished second story will hone your agility and balance.  Call for a showing today- this one won't last!"

Seriously though, things are coming along quite well.  I'll have some good pictures soon...


And now cleaned-

and soon to be refinished & repainted.

While we've been commuting in circles around the city (gresham/beaverton/ne portland/wilsonville/sw portland) the kids have been real troopers:
Yes- this is a bare crib mattress

We prefer to keep them contained

but one especially likes to climb ladders (thanks poppa)

The kitchen needs some work...and Baylor needs a bath

But if you've got a tape measure & a corn dog you're basic needs are completely met.

See- he's fairly happy?

And gets his chance to climb ladders too

My dad jacked out a bunch of concrete after tearing out our old furnace (um, wow.)  The extent of our work on this little project was to write the kids' names in the wet cement.

Jo enjoyed her treats and pumpkins from my dear, wonderful fifth grade teacher (thanks carolyn!) who is now a neighbor!

This is my fancy new silverware drawer, gag.

This kitchen door before

and after a vigorous cleaning

Lots more to come...!


A Wedding on My Porch

Last Tuesday, my furnace guy (above) got married on my new front porch.  Here are the facts as I know them:
1. Jeff (my furnace guy) told me he was getting married at 2. I didn't believe him.  He kind of laughs to matter what he is saying, so I thought maybe he was joking.
2. The lady who was going to marry him & his fiance lived in SW.
3. Jeff, being the practical type, decided to have her come by the jobsite & perform the wedding there.

In short, while I was at Lowe's, there was a small wedding ceremony held on my new front porch- amidst a defunct 1930's stove and a pre-rehab claw foot tub full of rust and pine needles.  It will go down in history as one of my greatest regrets in life that I was not present for the ceremony (so I could take pics for my blog)!

My favorite part is this: My electrician (who happened to be sitting on the stairs eating a calzone for lunch) had to sign the marriage certificate as one of the witnesses. 

This story brings me unending delight.