Thursday, October 15, 2009

So let me just preface this week's post by saying that I am really sick of going down in the basement and looking through boxes whenever I need something. I spent hours last weekend bringing up everything I thought I would need for the next few weeks and then realized my sewing kit was downstairs. There's another morning gone, but there was a needle and thread waiting for Emerson when she got home from school to hang up her apple stars.

So as I am digging through the boxes, I am thinking about the news I had just received from a friend--she is pregnant with her fourth child! Another friend just had her third, adding a boy to her two girls, and it just makes me want more. MORE!? Me, who has always only wanted two? Me, who just gave all her baby stuff away to a friend (loaned actually - so it is all coming back)?  Me, who likes to travel internationally, spend time alone reading books, and go out and get pie-eyed? What?

 I don't really understand it either. Maybe it's just a biological urge inside trying to brainwash me into propagating my species, but I really like the idea of having a third kid. It's not that I have two girls and I want a boy. It's just that I love having these two great people around so much, that having another human to add to our family just sounds fun.

Maybe these thoughts of other babies come with the season too. Autumn always brings a resurgence of all things domestic for us. Summer is always so crazy--running around, taking trips--and it was especially so for us this summer with our move.  Fall is the time to regroup ourselves and gather up what we need for the winter. I guess this is especially true for us, now that we actually have a home.

Anyway...I'll leave the third child debate for a moment, and move on to some things that I have been thankful for this week.

************************* Farms ********************************************

Things at the farm are definitely winding down for the season. The girls and I took our last trip up on Friday afternoon, and what a world away from those summer swims and raspberry picking sessions. All the summer vegetables are done, thanks to the killing frost, and we've moved into the season of root vegetables and greens. Even the pears have gone the way of warmer days. We took our last walk down to the field for the season, snacked on some rogue raspberries, and said goodbye until next year as we watched the sun shed it's afternoon rays before it slipped behind the mountains. Having so many farms in area is such a blessing. Which brings me to another thing I'm thankful for...

************************ Apples *****************************************

We finally got around to making applesauce this week. Twice. 18 quarts in all, just shy of the 20 we made last year. We cooked up the bushel we picked two weeks ago,

and then went out for more. There is really nothing like the taste of an apple right off the tree. We cooked up some apple pancakes this morning, and still have a good mix left for a pie. Next year we are thinking of planting our own trees...

******************** Warmth *******************************************

What is better than coming out of a crisp fall day (or a freezing one--can you say "snow in October"?) into a nice warm home. I can't think of too many things. I love the invigorating feeling I get from being outdoors this time of year, but nothing compares to a feeling of warmth. It seems that every day is getting colder and colder, and we keep going to that winter box and pulling out more and more. (We're at hats and mittens now. Coats and boots are still sleeping...for now.) As I realize what we need--a wool hat for Ophelia, some sweater vests for the girls--I just sit for a minute and meditate on how lucky we are to have this feeling, both in body and soul, this warmth that penetrates us, and contrasts the coming darkness.

Not that we haven't had our challenges with that over the last few weeks. The heat in our house is really uneven, and we still can't figure out how to warm up the back bedroom. The seal is broken on our front door--you can feel the draft half way across the room. And the fireplace. Right.

When the girls and I pulled into the driveway after being outside at the farm all afternoon, I saw that Matty had started a fire in our--newly cleaned--fireplace. What could be better than that, right? I'll only say this--as soon as I walked into the door my eyes started stinging from all the smoke in our house. Shortly afterward, the smoke alarm started going off. And then it really started going off, with a recorded woman's voice saying "FIRE, FIRE..." Needless to say, opening all the doors and windows did not make for that warm evening by the fire I was hoping for. I had to put a sleeping bag over my down comforter that night, and Emerson had nightmares about the fire lady. And our house still smells like bacon.

But I'm still thankful. Heat is awesome. And soon we'll get that pellet stove going...

So that's where I'll leave off for now. We got some stuff done house-wise. Matty finished the joint compound in the closet, and did half the bedroom ceiling. I was hoping it would be finished and all sanded down tonight, but oh well...

We were able to have a fire in the fire place this afternoon. We had to keep one of the glass doors shut, and it did get smokey after a few hours. Progress is slow at our house. We'll figure it out sometime...

So yeah. Third baby? It would be fun. I even got Matty thinking about it. I told him we could see what other genetic mix we could make. Maybe a blond? But unless the bank makes an error and adds a few figures to our bank account, we'll be waiting until the smoke clears. Or as Matty said, "our third one can be a blond--a golden retriever."

Next week the girls and I are headed to Vermont to pick up the awesome clay paint we've ordered. And that pile of sticks above is going to turn into some skeleton bones for Emerson's Halloween costume.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So what do I write in my blog about home renovation when no home renovating is going on?

I could start with my most fantastic news of the week - my advancement in one football pool, due to my stellar gut instincts, and my survival in another, due to my diligent reading of statistics. I've decided to take my family's financial situation by the horns and save us all by gambling. I'll keep you posted on the outcome of that.

So let's see... what were our goals for this week? Joint compound the closet and ceiling? No. Applesauce and apple pie? No. We didn't do any of that. To our credit, we had to rush O to the emergency room Wednesday night when she woke up sounding possessed and gasping for breath. It turned out to be croup. (Read--scary.) I know it's a common illness for children, but tell me that when your kid's chest is contracting and she sounds like a cross between an aggressive seal and the devil in The Exorcist. I joke now, but it really was horrible. She is still really congested and coughing as I type, and I'm worried about it turning into pneumonia, among other things. She's been a trouper through it though. Happy and into everything, as usual. All I can hope is that she wakes up tomorrow feeling better.

What we did get done around the house this week was due to the fact that Matty took the day off Thursday to recuperate from the night before. He put joint compound on the closet walls while I was at the pediatrician and mowed the lawn for--hopefully--the last time until spring. Although you wouldn't know it to look at it. We are buried in leaves here.

Anyway, we did do some fun things this weekend. Enjoying the small things are so much more important that getting things done.

Now I have to figure out some way to make a few hundred dollars magically appear in my bank account by the end of the week to pay the chimney sweep who's coming over tomorrow. I'll leave this week's agenda open, and hope for some headway.

And as a side note - good thing we baby-proofed last weekend.

Saturday, October 10, 2009



IMG_5339 Okay... so I'm new to this blogging thing, but as I was scraping the "texture" off my textured ceiling the other day, I thought it might be nice to have some sort of chronicle of this entire home renovation thing, and just life in general. The kids don't get any younger, and it's nice to write down what they are doing and saying before it all goes out the window forever. I used to be a copious journal keeper, but with two kids and a new fucked up house, who has time? So, without further ado, and with no catching up to this point, here I go...

Matty has spent a lot of time lately wishing he had more time to work on the house. If only he had one full weekend, he could bust out the back bedroom and be done with it. One whole weekend and more money...and I'm sure we could wish for a few more things while we're at it. But our reality is that we need to get done what we can, and sometimes priorities change. Quickly.

A new development over the past few weeks, has been that O is on the move, and moving faster and faster. And the weather is getting colder... Although the methodical, OCD side of me wants to chose one room and finish it before we move on to the next, we have to move with what the needs of the moment may be, changing our main focus this weekend from covering the remaining textured ceiling (and closet) with joint compound, to digging through the basement for our winter clothes and making the home more inviting for O. E had the freedom to move where she wanted to when she was O's age, and I think it's important that O get that too. Like all second children, her needs get lost in the shuffle most of the time.
It wasn't all a wash. We changed our living are from this:
to this:

IMG_5444 IMG_5447 IMG_5448
Shoes (which O loves to eat) are in a basket instead of all over the floor, and the shelves are actually put together after digging through EVERY box downstairs to find the shelf-pins we have been missing for so long. Now O can go through everything she wants to on the bottom shelves, and we actually have a ton of room for extra kitchen stuff (instead of the all purpose box we were getting sick of digging through every time we need a utensil). It's also nice to get O's toys off the floor and really have some organization again. Yes, we still use our couch as a dresser.  Yes, there is still a bed in our living room. Yes, the back room is still sitting--waiting for some attention. But our house feels better, we have more stuff ready for cooking (which has had a resurgence in our home after two months of grilled meat and vegetables from the CSA), and O is free to roam! Matty even put up a gate at the end of the hall so that O can't get down the stairs, which means we can leave the door open all day and get light from the window. So all said and done, it feels good. IMG_5449
And don't forget, we've gotta live! We went to the Garlic Festival today and had a great time.

It was at the Garlic Festival two years ago, next to an cider press, that I ran into an old aquaintence. Something about that encounter, and that day--the perfect crisp fall day in New England--made me want to abort our plans to move to Oregon and stay on here in the valley. Since then our community has only grown, and we have another child and a new home. I'm really glad I stayed for once, instead of remaining in constant motion. It's been awesome and keeps getting better. We saw a lot of friends today, and at the same cider press, in the same spot on the same field, I once again found myself standing next to that same aquaintence--who I now call a friend--and amazed over it.

Good times.
           IMG_5405 IMG_5409 IMG_5428 IMG_5433 IMG_5431 IMG_5422 IMG_5420 IMG_5417
Next week's agenda: joint compound on the closet and ceiling in the bedroom, sanding and priming,  make applesauce, apple pie and apple stars with the apples we picked Thursday, and keep our heads above water.