Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How to Hike With Kids

Alternate title: Make Sure the Trail Isn't Too Long BEFORE You Start Hiking

Because "1.4 miles" is apparently more like 2...

And although Peter slept for the first half, there was rather a lot of complaining from Cecilia.

Mary Claire was pretty sure she'd be fine on the whole hike - somehow the more physical energy she exerts, the cuter she gets - golden hair turning to ringlets in the humidity, cheeks pink, eyes sparkling...

After far too many questions about how much farther and how much longer until they could have trail mix, we sat down on a log to have a snack and reassess. Yes! We COULD go on, refueled by goldfish, raisins, and chocolate chips!

20 feet later, Cecilia was complaining again and we decided that with a mile more to go AND the return trip, we might as well just turn back... But we DID see some frogs and water skimmers when we crossed a creek, so we're building those up as highlights.

The rain started pouring down as soon as we pulled away from the parking lot, so it's a good thing we DID turn back! Plenty of time for hiking another day, now that we live so close to so many awesome trails!

Back at home we're attempting to settle in, which is complicated by the need to complete a lot of tasks *now* before we can actually unpack... Boxes and boxes of books are sitting ignored because we can't move the bookshelves until we paint the trim, and oh! There's no shelving or rod in our closet and oh! The water in the guest house doesn't seem to be drinkable and oh! When we turn the water to the guest house on, there's suddenly a huge puddle of water in the yard where previously it was dry and oh! The whole guest house smells like smoke and oh! The baby pooped all over the rug AND my carrier and...

Well, I could go on forever. I don't think we'll ever be done with projects around here. But we sure are going to learn a lot dealing with it! 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Here We Are!

After a long, long day yesterday (including a rather embarrassing but not totally disastrous vigil Mass with all 5 kids and only 2 adults), we're moved in and everybody (except Peter) has beds!

The kitchen is full of boxes while we figure out where to put everything - apparently I was overly optimistic in my estimations of space, because we're really going to need to figure out shelving for the bare walls in the kitchen SOON! 

In an attempt to get out of the way of the movers, we took a nice long nature walk and picked wildflowers, ate apples and peaches from our trees, and even found an egg shell!

John Paul has been naming various parts of the yard - this is one part of The Evergreen Path, which is full of tiny trees that will very likely serve as our Christmas trees for years to come. However, tramping through these waist-high trees leaves many a scratch on uncovered legs, and he has been warned to wear JEANS if he's going to continue this exploring. I probably need to get some for the girls, too - leggings only provide so much protection... I got some for myself when Twice was going out of business, and after wearing a pair for a day I was reminded why I stopped wearing pants... Ah well, if they keep me from picking up ticks, I can deal.

I ate breakfast on the porch while the kids were at Grandma's house (Hey, everybody's being obnoxious - who wants to go to Grandma's house???). Then a man drove by on a tractor. I love this :)

And I keep thinking about how cool it is that when our house was built in 1890, none of these other houses or power lines were around - how awesome it must have been to wake up every morning to see the sun rising behind the mountains! I'll trade an unobstructed view for the modern convenience of electricity, though :)

We have a bunch of these bushes around the yard, and a friend helped us figure out that they're Autumn Olive bushes - invasive, but edible! Maybe we'll try making preserves?

I was hoping this would be something tasty, but sadly it's just Bradford Pear, only edible for birds.

Much as I'd like to spend today resting, there's a lot to do with these boxes everywhere and kids who insist on opening them and dumping things like Epsom salts all over the floor... Plus Andrew has his last day of work tomorrow before he starts his new job next week. It's going to be a long Monday! Some day we'll rest :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Kitchen Musings: Before

You will very soon get tired of me asking for opinions on all things new house, and I totally understand if you just skip these posts! But if you're not easily bored and want to give me some kitchen advice, I'd love it!

Okay, so here you see part of the kitchen from the living room (also painting supplies and a whole bunch of junk) - Cecilia's in the living room, and then the pillar and the brick column separate the dining room from the kitchen (I'm fairly certain these all used to be broken up into separate rooms, and much prefer the way they've been opened up!). So now that I think about it, we might be able to gate off the area between the wood pillars, the area between the brick column and that other pillar, and possibly the area from the brick to the back wall to keep Peter away from the wood stove, right? Theoretically?

But how hard is it to screw a baby gate into brick? Pretty hard? Not a great idea? 

Looking at this picture, I'm not realizing that Andrew didn't see that that top left corner up there is still yellow, not white like the rest of the kitchen... And will very likely need priming & painting in the near future so we don't have a random yellow square up there. Whoops!

The kitchen is currently full of a TON of stuff because we got the wood floors sanded & sealed this week, and thus couldn't put anything on them. Hence the exercise ball randomly by the sink.

Also ignore the door that fell off the cabinet above the ovens. Ovens. I used to think I would never need a double oven, but now if I want to I can bake FOUR LOAVES OF BREAD at once! And ALL the pizzas!

I'm still trying to figure out how to arrange things in here - I think *total* we've got about as much counter space & cabinet space as our current kitchen, but it's not laid out in the most efficient manner, so I'm trying to figure out where to logically put things... Like those glass cabinets above the range? It would make so much sense to have baking stuff and spices and things up there, but those things aren't pretty (aside from my mixing bowls, which are pretty) and don't make sense in glass cabinets!

Also, why is there a range and that handle there but nothing but dead space under the range? And the same under the ovens - wouldn't it make sense to make that into some sort of cabinet?

That sink! All that sunlight!

Those shelves, though... I'm trying to come up with a solution to replace them - I adore what Ginny has going on here and we *do* have a couple fallen trees on our property that need to be dealt with, but I don't see that happening any time soon! 

The dishwasher is to the left of the sink, and there's no cabinet above it, so I'm trying to figure out where exactly to put dishes... I suppose I could put them in the glass cabinets? Or to the left of the dishwasher, there's a kind of pantry area between the dishwasher and the fridge, so I might take the top shelf of the pantry for dishes. I just don't know.

I think we could pretty easily mount something like this to the wall above the dishwasher, but I don't think it would actually hold enough dishes... Actually, I wonder if it would fit on the walls next to the sink? But it's $80, and I have to imagine we can probably come to a less expensive solution.

And add to that the fact that we're in need of new dishes since we have hardly any left of our current set... Well, it's just plain hard to choose dishes! We started our marriage with a cheap IKEA set that ended up breaking over the years. Then we got our current set, which has also slowly ended up breaking. 

So we've been looking at a million different sets of dishes online, trying to decide what we want... I think just something solid-colored, easy to match, cheap enough that we can replace it if it breaks. We're down to these two:

Blue, simple, little detail (but Andrew thinks it might be too close to the wall color we chose, although I don't know why that matters)

White, no mugs, more place settings (we never use the mugs, so I kind of think it's a plus NOT to have them to deal with!)

And now I'm going to stop writing because this has never been a blog about home decorating or anything like that. Maybe I can convince Sheena to fly to Virginia and make all these decisions for me? Emily's probably too busy with her own remodel to help!

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