Saturday, June 25, 2011

another ride & pics

Well, it's about that time write another post in the car! :)

We are heading home (again) for the weekend since Nathan doesn't have to work Sat or Sun. I've been putting off getting groceries for the last few days since we thought we'd be leaving last night for good, but after him not working much this week due to rain and then wind yesterday, he needed to work today and tomorrow (so he thought). So I finally went to the grocery store to get a few things for meals and Nathan's lunch. It was about 4:00pm when he calls me and says “So you have the car packed?” I'm like “Uh, I'm in the grocery store and have a bunch of groceries in my cart!” He says “I know, I just found out. The job got done today and we can go home for good.” Yay!! So I tell the kids we have to hurry, buy the groceries, go back to the house, make supper, pack the whole house, cause we're going home! Once I had supper started, I went into our bedroom and started taking the sheets off the air mattress, getting all our clothes back in the suitcase, and I unplugged the mattress to let the air out. That's when Nathan comes in talking on the phone to someone and says “Can I come back here and work next week?” Uh...I guess so? And then he leaves. I turn on the pump and fill the bed back up :) That's how things roll around here...never know what the day will bring!

So since he's got the weekend off anyway, we are heading home to spend two nights in an actual bed...and ours to be exact! Then the plan is that we will be back to work Mon-Thursday and then off for 2 weeks before he's transferred up to Bemidji! I'm a little hesitatant to say that we are going for sure since I know how plans can change, but for now that's what it's looking like.

So what do we bring for toys for the kids while we travel like this? Well, they each have their “backpack” which is actually a lunch bag and whatever they can fit in the bag, they can bring. (And I brought their scooters bc they fit under the seat in the van). Then when we were home last weekend, I went to a garage sale that had a whole free box, two actually, full of those McDonalds toys and little trinkets. I filled two bags full (the bags were in there too!)...maybe about 30-40 individual toys and kept them in the car. Once we got to our rental, I took them out and they kept the kids busy for days. It's so super easy to find that stuff at garage sales for free bc it's those kind of stuff that people want to get rid of. And it's awesome for me because 1) they are free, 2) if they get lost, wrecked, forgotten somewhere, it's no big deal and 3) I can throw them away or recycle them when we are done with them! I have done this for long car rides too....put some of these toys in 4 bags and give them to each of the kids during the car ride. It keeps them busy for hours and they can rotate bags if they want. Thrifty way to have some fun!

This is what can happen when you jump off the counters and the drawers have knobs on them...and yes, I stopped and took a picture before I helped him :)

Our rental house...

Tiernan havin' a grand 'ole time at the dentist

This is how/where we eat. Our landlords (friends) were kind enough to lend us their card table and 3 chairs and 2 little chairs and a left-over end table from a previous tenant! Yes, that's only 5 seats...I usually stand or sit on the rocker in the living room (which they also brought over for us!)

Tired kiddies

Ariella praying at supper time...this is her usual 'pose' during prayer :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our kids

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted something about the kids and what they have been up to, what they like, etc so i'm going to take some time and go through them all!

6 years old
favorite color: green
Loves to pull his ankle socks as far up his legs as possible so the heel part of his sock in in the middle of his calf...drives us nuts!
Just got his first tooth pulled out at the dentist...wouldn't stop smiling the whole time at the dentist, even during the procedure. We think he was liking that goofy gas :)
still steals food whenever he can, including eating the brown sugar directly from the container, leaving the cover off and spoon in it!
Is amazingly awesome at baseball, hitting to be specific and has been since I can remember. He will consistantly hit the (foam) ball with the (thin foam) bat when Nathan pitches it over-hand to him. He gives Tiernan a dollar everytime he hits it over the roof of the garage at our rental in Blue Earth. He's made a lot of money. Nathan walked it off and figured it's close to 90 feet.
He's best at math, making equations out of everyday stuff. ex) “There's 9 pieces left. That means there will only be 3 left after we all have one because there are 6 of us.” or “I have 6 sticks because I have 3 right here and 3 over there.” He also prides himself on knowing how many things there are without counting them but knowing what “5” looks like, or however many there are.
Reading doesn't come that easy to him but he is getting very good at sounding out the words
Goes to bed as late as possible and is up before 6am, everyday, never needing a nap...
Likes to ride his bike a lot, and more recently, his razor scooter (which, I might add, was a $2 find at a garage sale, probably the best $2 I've ever spent!
Is only in size 10ish shoe, although he can still fit into a 9
We still call him Biggie
Wants 3 dogs to name them Blacky, Sniffy, and Boomer

Age: 4 (will be 5 in 2ish months)
Favorite color: Red
Favorite animal: cat
hes in this stage right now where he talks like a baby with an accent, that's the best way I can describe it...drives us crazy.
He holds his left hand open with his fingers spread almost constantly...that also drives me crazy.
He LOVES to color and will do so for hours
Hes obsessed with anything 'pirate'...even though we won't allow anything with the whole skull and bones thing.
He laughs uncontrollably when he's overtired
He rides his 3 wheeled scooter so proud :)
Would eat only watermelon if we let him
sleeps with his soft blue blanket that gma barb made

Age: 3 (will be 4 in 2 months)
Favorite color: Blue
Is still our 'tough one'...likes to box
will always get out of bed a few minutes after we put him in there and ask for a drink of water
Weighs the same as Caedmon, also wears the same size pants and shoes as caedmon....yes, I have my twins without actually having twins :)
sleeps with his blue fleece blanket

Age: 2
favorite color: pink, of course!
Loves the doll strawberry shortcake
still naps about 2 hours a day if I lay her down, otherwise she won't.
LOVES her nuk, which will be hard to get rid of.
Also LOVES her pink fleece blanket we got from our friend & farmer in Seward NE as a going away gift.
She talks in full sentences and knows more words than we ever thought she would at this age, it makes us laugh everyday
She loves shoes and clothes and definitely has an opinion about what she wears. Once her outfit is on for the day, she needs to go show someone, either a brother or daddy.
Her hair is long past her shoulders in the back which has beautful natural curls. Her bangs are growing out, which I usually keep in 2 ponytails.
She eats a ton, ex) she ate 2-1/2 hamburgers, bun and all, when my aunt and uncle were over visiting. My aunt couldn't believe it!
She has been deathly afraid of ladybugs, even waking with nightmares that they are biting her. Being around her brothers that keep spiders in containers in the house has gotten her a little more used to insects but she still dislikes them, esp flies and ones that can land on her.
Even though she can say their names, she calls Tiernan “Nah-nah”, Caedmon “Yah-Yah”, and Brayan “Sha-bah”. She also calls a banana “bah-boo”.
Has been potty training herself...which I love! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wrote this in the car :)

What better time to write a blog post than when I'm sitting in the van on our 3 hour trip back to our rental! I figured I'd type it out in my word processing program and then copy and paste it on my blog when we have an internet connection tomorrow at the library! This way I have no (almost no...) interruptions and lots of time :) I even brought my adapter thing to plug into the lighter in the van when my battery gets low.

So we traveled back home this weekend since Nathan had a nice 3-1/2 day weekend! It was so nice to sleep in our own bed and not run out of dishes after one meal. Nathan hasn't been home in a month, and he was definitely glad to be back....although he wasn't too excited to see the sod in the yard :( As one friend put it, it looks like it has cancer. We are hoping that after the rains we had this weekend and Nathan pampering it while we were home that at least some of the brown patches aren't completely dead and that some of it will come back to life!

Friday we hosted lunch at our place, even though I didn't make any of the food. My parents, my brother and his family and my sister and her kids came over to visit! Leah is up for her annual summer trip to MN and it worked out perfect to see her since Nathan had this weekend off! All the grandkids were together once again, the last time was at Christmas, so a group picture was definitely in order.

Siblings: Dawn, Leah, & Darren

Top Row: Parker (5), William (6), Ariella (2), Abi (9), Brayan (3), Faith (7)
Bottom Row: Tiernan (6), Caedmon (4), Eliana (4)

After they left we got ready and headed to the park for a graduation party for some friends of ours oldest daughter. It was nice seeing friends we haven't seen in years and the weather cooperated wonderfully!

Saturday I spent the morning garage saleing! It just so happened to be the city wide sales this past weekend and since I haven't seen a garage sale since moving down south with Nathan, I was in dire need of one!! I found some sweet deals, including a lawn mower! Nathan told me in the morning before I left that once I got home he was going to go into town and buy a push mower since we don't have one. And can ya guess what happened? At the very first sale I stopped at, they had exactly what we were looking for! It was a craftsman 22” self-propelled bagger! It was fairly new and in great shape and we got it for a fraction of what a new one would be! How awesome!

Today is Father's day and we spent it running errands, visiting at Nathan's parents a bit and packing to head back down south....and driving ;) But the nice thing is that we will be back before the weeks over! The job that he is on is finishing up ahead of schedule and there are just cleaning up the job sites this week! Then what? Well, isn't that just the million dollar question!!

I wish I knew! It'd be a lot easier to plan...but I don't know so I try to remain as flexible as I can be and supportive of where my husband feels like he is being led.

Some of you may ask, why would you build your house if you weren't positive you'd be staying in the area for good? Well, first of all, does anyone ever know if they'll be where they're at for an extended period of time? Anyone who is employed can get laid off, fired, transferred, whatever at any time. But here is 'why' behind our decision...

Accepting the apprenticeship position gave us a 'ticket' back to Minnesota from Virginia and since he's chosen MN to be his jurisdiction, then all the work throughout the apprenticeship has to be within the state of MN or he doesn't have to accept the job. Given that, we knew that we'd at least be within the state. Nathan has had plan and long-term goal for years and that is to build houses on his land and the land his dad owns. He wanted to get going on that plan and building the first house would be the big first step! (Well, actually the 'first' steps were to get it all platted, surveyed, build the road, etc but that was already accomplished a few years ago :). By building the first house, he is starting to see his vision become a reality!

Another reason why we wanted to build was because we wanted a place to call home, a place to come home to on holidays and vacations if we were on the road, and one location for all our belongings! Granted we had very very little 'stuff' left, we did have a truck load in Nathan's parents garage and attic (although even though everyone was blaming us for taking up their whole third stall, when we got our stuff out, it was still half full! I think other people left things here and there and convieniently blamed us :) We also had a few things at my parents too...and stuff still in our camper. So to have everything in one place is a lot easier to deal with.

Another reason why we built was because we were (and still are) hoping that he can find line work close to home so we can live at home. There is a transmission going up from St. Cloud to Fargo and for him to get on that job would be such a blessing! So we are still hoping for that. In the meantime, we needs to keep going where they send him, as he doesn't have a say in the jobs as an apprentice like he did when he was an operator.

We had a very very very hard time making the decision for him to accept work away from home bc that left 2 options...1) he lives on the road and we stay home, breaking up the family which is no good for anyone or 2) we move with him, leaving behind our new house (btw we have people watching and in and out of there often so no one get any ideas :P). We have made the decision that he will never work on the road again, away from us, so where ever he goes, we go. It makes life exciting :) Guess it gives me more to blog about :) If he didn't accept the job to go down to where we are currently at, he would have to drop the apprenticeship and the goal of becoming a lineman would be no-longer. That would also mean that he'd have no job and we'd have no source of income. On the positive side, we'd have time to get a hobby farm going and we'd be challenged to find ways to earn money and quickly....we love us a challenge! :) But when it came to decision time, we figured since this job was only set for 5 weeks, we'd take it and figure out details later. Staying in this field at this time also allows us to continue with our financial goals of paying off our home and being able to build our next one without a mortgage. Did you know that it cost us like $8000 just to close on the loan?! That's ridiculous!! No more dealing with mortgages! :P

So which brings me back to the question of what are we going to do when this job is over? Well, there is a chance that he'll get laid off, in which case he would sign the union books and wait to get called to go out and work for a contractor anywhere in the state of MN, hopefully by home :) Or, he can get transferred to the next job with this contractor that he's currently working for, and that is to Bemidji. I have mixed feelings about both those options but I guess it's not really up to me! So a few days will tell where we'll be going or what we'll be stayed tuned! Will we be doing this forever? No. Actually, if he were offered a job close to home, even in a completely different profession, he'd probably accept it, giving us the opportunity to do what we really! Chickens, pigs, cows, rabbits, cats...can't wait!! All grass-fed and free-range, of course! We've been reading an absolutely outstanding book by Joel Salatin (remember him? The organic farmer who lives in VA who's farm we went to see on Nathan's birthday of 2010 who was interviewed in the movie “Food Inc”? Well, he's the guy...:) called “You Can Farm”....Man, is it good! Best quote yet “If you smell manure, you're smelling mismanagement” Amen! Anyway, time will tell and we'll continue to go where the Lord leads us.

Monday, June 13, 2011

quiet time

....and of course I forgot my phone cord in the van that I could get my pictures from...

Well, we are sitting at the library in Blue Earth. We have been living down here with Nathan going on two weeks and, like all of our moves, its made for some interesting times. There is so many things I want to mention, mainly so I had record of it but I'm afraid i won't have as much time as I'd like since it's just me and the kiddos here and trying to keep a 2, 3, & 4 year old quiet and in one spot in the library while you're trying to type is not exactly easy! (the 6 yr old is pretty good at at least staying quiet :)

Here are a few "highlights" of our stay here so far:

Ariella was sick with the stomach bug starting the first night we arrived, lasting a week. I was next on the list, but thankfully it only lasted 3 for me. Caedmon had it before we left and Tiernan has been complaining of his belly hurting today. Apparently it's going through us one by one, on number 4...

The airbed that we are sleeping on has a hole in it, leaving us to pump it up 3-4 times a night in order for us to lay on it. Yeah...we haven't had too much luck with my parent's air mattresses! We borrowed their twin ones while we stayed in Jackson for the kids and the kids broke every one of them by jumping on them. This one is there's also...but we promise we weren't jumping on it!! Not sure how it happened bc it is a pin hole size hole on the top of the bed.

We went to the Fairmont days, watching a water skiing show (the boys got bored quick although I thought it was pretty neat!), a petting zoo that consisted of a calf and a goat...not exactly thrilling, and then a parade. Since we were there for most of the day, I was able to find a parking spot right along the parade route and we set up our blanket before we went to the petting zoo. Once that was over, we walked back to the blanket and patiently (or not-so-patiently) waited about 2 hours for the parade to start. The good thing though was that nathan was off at 6 and got there about 10 minutes before the parade started! That was a treat having dad there!

Another super cool thing was that a dear friend of mine from back in 'the day' when Nathan and I just met was there too! Her and her husband and family live an hour and a half away but happened to be in town for the parade. And the cool thing? They set up chairs right across the street from where we were! So here we both were, in a town that neither of us live in, at a parade, sitting across the street from each other....and it had been 6 years since we saw each other! What a blessing to see Amy again and met her kids!

Well, this is exactly what I was talking about...I need to go already. Although this time it's not because of the kids :) nathan just called me and he's on his way home (it's only 4:15pm and he was expecting to work 14 hours today so I'm not sure why he's off...) But he said that I need to come home because someone at his job site kicked up rocks with their truck when they were leaving and shattered his back window in his car. He would like me to take it someone to get it vacuumed out. So, since I finally took the time to sit down and do a post, I have to leave :)

More to come soon hopefully....along with some pics! And some good news about us coming home later this week!! Yippee!!