I am still playing 'catch up' with my blog entries. We have now come to the famous 11-11-11 Wedding Extravaganza of Scotty & Ashley. I think Ashley and her mother did a fabulous job of planning her wedding day. I loved the invitations, they were creative and unique. Everything went without a hitch and the reception was fabulous.
Here are some pictures from the temple.
What a crowd! They sure have a large family and a lot of support for their day.
Grandparents Marx with Scott & Ashley
The original 5. I love this picture, I think I'm going to have it enlarged (Matt, Jenn, Scott, Rebekah, Brad)
Talk about the bore of other people's home movies -- it seems everyone went to Disneyland last fall, and you've seen all the possible pictures, but here's our families trip. The last time most of us went, Andrew was one. Jennifer goes with Jordan's family a lot, so she was well packed and prepared for the day. She also was the master of the quick trip line pass things.
Andrew was the guide with the map.
Charlie was beyond excited to get a hug and a *kiss* from Goofy.
A harp in Toon Town
A shot of Parker that's not blurry (he's on the run a lot.)
"You guys go ahead, we'll wait right here."
Matt & Ashley, Andrew, Charlie, & Parker
I love this picture of Ron & Charlie
Drew was so excited to 'drive'
Jenn & Jordan with Carson and Parker
Andrew went on Space Mountain. He was brave.
Waiting in line with the young ones.
That's a recap of our Disney trip. Scott refused to go because he has been boycotting all family trips until he is married. No more being the third wheel single guy. He tried to talk us into going the week after his wedding, but I didn't want to go because it would get cold. Plus, they ended up having to be up at school anyway. Kara was a few weeks away from having a baby so they decided walking around Disneyland wouldn't be too comfortable or fun either. We missed them. We need to go sometime and watch Charlie and Hallie having fun together there.
Don't stop now, there's so much more to the month of November
Ron & I rode down on the mortorcycle to visit Brad & Kara in San Diego
Hallie and Grandpa ready for church
Ron's dad turned 80! It was quite a celebration. This is pictures from a children's dinner. Then two weeks later, the same weekend as Scott's wedding, there was a huge party in a park for everyone to come to. It was the weekend of the wedding, and I didn't make it so I don't have pictures from that party, but here's Ron & his family at the restaurant.
Years ago, like 25 years ago, when asked what she wanted for a birthday gift, my mom had a simple request: new tongs. Her's were wearing out and she couldn't find any shaped the way she likes. She wanted the end to "point down" so it could more easily grab and turn bacon.
I took off for Target, bought two pairs of tongs, one for me and one for her, shipped them off. She acted like I had give her the best gift ever. But it is a very mom trait thing to do to -- act like it's the best gift ever -- so I didn't appreciate the enormity of how stuning this gift would turn out to be.
This got me thinking about tongs, and their shapes. Boy if she wasn't right. When you're holding your tongs over the top of a frying pan, the most ergonomical position was to have the end of the tongs point down. The other tongs I had would make me bend my wrist funny, or just wouldn't grab food the way I wanted. Soon, I had thrown out all tongs that didn't have the mom-approved shape to them and all was well in my food-turning world.
For about 15 years.
The little rivet in the center wears out, causing the tongs to be all skitty-whampish, leading to not-so-good food turning capabilities.
I've been searching the isles of Target, Wal-mart, K-mart, the Dollar Store for a couple of years now. Just as in the way of the banana clip saga, the "correct" pair of tongs had disappeared off of store shelves. I had hope that since Goody banana clips returned after a decade hiatus, so would my tongs.
In the mean time, I have amassed quite a collection. The springy one off to the left, two of those were bought in a moment of pure desparation. I know you're not supposed to hate things, but I hate them. Their hours are numbered in my drawer. The wooden one at the bottom, Oh that was a perfect gift request from Ashley after I saw her's. They're salad tongs from Pampered Chef, and fold back the opposite way flat for storage. Love Them. And that's no gratuitous mom acting like it was the perfect gift, it really was. Then there's the red handled ones that I got "just in case" because at least it was shaped like a square and so you kind of could get the usage shape I was going for. But they didn't last too long, because once on yet another look-see through Targe gadget wall, I found the twofer pair, one shaped wrong, but hallelujah, one shaped correctly. What would I do with the extra wrong shaped one? Being converted as I was to the only true type of tongs to use, I could not pass the wrong ones off to somebody in good conscience.
I even went on Ebay and bid on a pair of 'vintage' tongs. My limit was $5 and they went for $7.50. Tongs are a serious business, folks.
Finally today I set out to check out a new little grocery store just opened by my place. Look what I found! For only $1 each!!! Let's just say that I have my first item for My Favorite Things bag next Christmas.
See the perfect shape. This is tong nirvana I tell you.
Probably the No. 1 thing I am asked, after How are the kids doing? is How is the house coming along? So here is an update, without current pictures, of what's going on around here. We are doing so many little things that take a lot of time to get done, that sometimes I don't have a great list to rattle off as an answer. Tonight, I have lists for you.
To set this up, here are a few pictures from early fall 2010
These serve the purpose to remind you and me that the item on the list might read:
Build brick wall. But the work and effort required to cross off that line item is huge. So far we have done everything ourselves. We also must fit in our to-do items with left over energy from earning a living, serving in church callings, and the many other joyful distractions of life.
So without further ado, here is the list of how the house is going:
2011 Property Accomplishments
1. Took down two large trees. Cut up and stacked for firewood
2. Trimmed the pine tree, cut up branches and stacked.
3. Cleared backyard flat.
4. Created a garden area
5. Received a free Tuff Shed, placed and leveled for a garden shed
6. Built a chicken coop
7. Rototilled manure into the backyard soil.
8. Planted grass seed/set-up timed watering system with hoses and oscillating sprinklers.
9. Bought and planted 5 shade trees, 6 fruit/citrus trees.
10. Built Ron’s workshop.
11. Gutted Casita
12. Placed a shower pan and tiled casita shower
13. Installed vanity, sink, toilet in casita
14. Scraped off popcorn ceiling in casita
15. Relocated door of casita to south wall.
16. Retextured ceiling and some walls.
17. Installed three new windows in casita
18. Installed travertine floor
19. Painted and installed ½ of baseboards
20. Hung new closet rods
21. Installed water filtration/softener system
22. Installed commercial water mineral filter
23. Installed hot water heater for casita
24. Took down unnecessary fencing in the front yard.
24. Leveled front yard.
You might wonder why we put so much effort into the backyard/garden, etc., when it is the living conditions that needed improving. Well, after 2 1/2 months, I had had it with the dust flying everywhere. The dirt here is poofy, and was blowing like crazy. Hense, the need for grass to cut down on the dust. The bigger benefit was a place for the grandchildren to run around and play. We could sit out and have family dinners on the grass. I sat on the backyard swing and enjoyed the evenings.
The other line of thought was I know that this whole process will be a 5 year project. Why not be able to enjoy the yard as we go? Why not get trees planted now, so when we're done with the house, they've matured and look nice? Why spend 5 years building, then wait another 5 years for the fruit trees to grow and mature? So we planted along the perimeter outside of the area of construction. I have not done anything with the front yard, and probably won't until after the construction is finished.
Today Ron and I were discussing some things we need to do. He ends by saying, "I think this time next year we'll be ready to start the house." I replied, "I thought this time next year we'd have a big hole in the ground and the basement started." That's when I decided to make a list of what we need to be doing next. By the time I got to the end of the 2012 To-do List, I'm afraid to say I think Ron was right. I don't see the extra money and time in the next year to get the list done by July and start the basement, but I'm always open to miracles.
We'll finish up the casita and get it complete. I'll use it to host our Sunday family dinners, visiting and home teachers, other miscellaneous visitors, but I don't think we'll actually move into it until we're ready to start demo on the main house. The three rooms we're camping out in now are actually larger than the casita. We'll see how it goes.
2012 Property To-do List
1. Convert new casita range for LP Gas
2. Mount propane tank and pipe to kitchen for the range
3. Add more electrical outlets on kitchen wall.
4. Install cabinets + microwave + dishwasher
5. Paint & install baseboards and cove molding in front room
6. Install 3 new ceiling light fixtures
7. Have Cox put cable in casita.
8. Trim the 3 large widow frames from inside.
9. Get blinds for front 2 windows. Make curtains for bedroom window.
10. On outside, add mortar around the window frames that were replaced.
11. Get architectural foam to trim out the windows on outside walls
12. Repaint outside of casita to more closely match the workshop
13. Put a conex storage in backyard for work materials.
14. Grade new driveway approach
15. Prepare ground between workshop and casita for cement.
16. Pull up some of the existing cement in front of casita prepare for new pour.
17. Pour driveway. Pour driveway into the shop. Pour entrance area to casita
18. Install garage doors on workshop
19. Paint epoxy finish on shop floor
20. Install the individual heating/AC units for the casita
21. Temporary power pole for workshop.
22. Hardwire electrical connections for the water filtration system
23. Pipe in more water spigots around property
24. Bring storage trailer (semi trailer) here from Glen’s house.
24. Build wooden steps to access trailer easily. Paint to match workshop.
25. Continue going through our packed boxes, rearrange, label clearly, donate extra
26. Move all storage boxes currently being stored in the house to the trailer
27. Finalize house remodel plans.
28. Begin permitting process.
You may ask why mess with drive way, etc., before main house construction, isn't that poured after completion? Yes, normally. Since when do we do anything normal. Much like the backyard, I don't intend to spend the next 5 years driving up to my house on pooffy dirt. Walking to get into my car and getting my Sunday shoes dirty. Since the driveway approach is from the opposite side of the property than the house construction, I'll take the cement now. We'll leave about a 10 foot strip that will be poured to match up to the garage when we're done.
Hope this answers your questions about how the house is doing. Next up, review of the end of our year.