Much to tell.  I think the pictures can say it better than I, so I will be brief (Maybe.  You never can tell when I will start rambling, so stay alert).

Last Thursday, July 14th, Lani the Builder called and said, "I think we could get your driveway in this weekend."

We said, "Woohoo!"

Except we weren't actually READY for a driveway, so then things got a little crazy.  Lani came down and he and I tried to finalize the layout of the driveway; How wide, how long, etc.  One fun issue is that our Water Main (or Water Meter?  I don't even know what it is.) sits right where we wanted the driveway to go.  We tried to just move the driveway over, but there is some other water box on the other side.  The only solution for the Water Main problem was to put in some big fancy cone topped with a man-hole cover.  The cost to do that was about $1200.  We were going to just do it, but the cost for the driveway was adding up fast, so instead we decided to do this:


At least, Lani and I agreed that it would be a good idea. It would save us the cost of the cone, and save us some in concrete costs, since the driveway would be narrower most of the way.  However, I could not get in touch with Richard to confirm that he would be ok with it.

The other problem was this:


This is a big 'ol pile of concrete.  It is the concrete from our original front porch, and from the foundation of an old grainery in our backyard.  We had decided to pay a guy down the street to haul it away in his dump truck, but we hadn't done it yet, and somehow we were going to have to get it done before the day was through?  All I could do was ask, so I walked down to DumpTruck Guy's house (I'm sure that is what he likes to be called) and asked him what his schedule was like and wonder of wonders, he was free.  He said he could come over in about 30 minutes.  Luckily Richard called me back at that point and I told him he better come home.  That concrete wasn't going to load itself into a dump truck.

Is this story exciting?  Are you enjoying it?  Good, cuz I'm just getting started.  See?  Rambling!

Here we have a picture of Richard driving the Back Hoe, scooping up concrete and dumping it into the back of the dump truck.  It took us 3 trips to the dump.  Wanna guess how much all that concrete weighed?




Ha!  Not even close!

Oh, now you aren't even trying.

About 25 tons.

I know I exaggerate a lot, and may say things that don't actually have any basis in reality, but not this time.  The total weight of everything we dumped was 24.78 tons.  Truly, the mind boggles.

While he was driving the Back Hoe around, Richard also approved my driveway design, so we contacted Lani the Builder and told him we were a Go.

While all this was happening, we also had a very luck truck roll up and dump a huge pile of gravel next to our house.


It seems sort of sad to have spent so much time hauling away what was basically large rocks, only to have them replaced with small rocks, but that was the way it had to be.

I have a vague feeling at this point that this story may not be as fascinating as I had originally thought, but I think it is too late to back out of it now.

So Friday Richard and Lani spent the day getting the area as driveway ready as possible.  First they had to pull up an old driveway approach, that was halfway between our lot and our neighbor's lot.  They wrapped a chain around it, hooked it to the Back Hoe, and lifted it up.  It took a few hours, and then what did we have?  Another pile of concrete!


They spent the rest of the time marking out the boundaries of the driveway and the new sidewalk.  It was like 102 degrees.  Fun times were had by all.  But they had to finish, because people were coming to flatten and level out everything, and then add the gravel.  They were supposed to get there for final driveway prep at 3:00pm.  They finally got there at 8:30pm.



It was late and they had to do some work in the dark, but they didn't have much choice because the concrete was scheduled to be delivered at 6:00 am the next morning.

And it arrived, just like it was supposed to!  We spent the morning sitting on on the porch, eating doughnuts and watching the concrete workers like it was paid entertainment.



The filing cabinets enjoyed the show too, as you can see.
And guess what we got to do today?


Park in our driveway.  For the first time in 12 years.


Does life get any more exciting than this?


I have been remiss on the house updates.  One of my readers called me to ask about my kitchen since I haven't posted any pictures recently (I like to keep things really personal, so feel free to call me any time!), so I decided it was finally time. I had to clean my kitchen to take these pictures. I hope you appreciate the effort I go to just to keep you happy.  (I didn't sweep the floor though.  Your happiness isn't THAT important to me.)


We've got doors, knobs and pulls!  There will be some nifty little spice cabinets on either side of the oven there.  Install date TBD.


As you see, the microwave is down in the island.  The plan was to have it all nicely built in, but we're not sure how to do it.  You can buy a trim kit to go with the microwave, to give it that built it look and still have it vent properly, but it costs more than the microwave does.  Dumb.  I don't really mind it just sitting on the shelf like that, but it kind of slides around a bit.  We'll see.



The cabinet you see in the above picture has two drawers inside.


They are too tightly wedged in there to be able to pull out however, so we are waiting for them to be adjusted before we utilize that very handy bit of storage space.


There is a panel that matches the cabinet doors that is supposed to go on the dishwasher.  Not sure the status on that. Not a huge deal.  A bigger deal is this: In the picture, you can see a board just to the right of the dishwasher.  It is temporary.  They didn't have the right one with them with they put in the cabinets.  So we can't really install the dishwasher all the way, so I can't actually use it.  Which means I am still washing everything by hand.  Surprisingly, this has not yet killed me.  

Next to the dishwasher, we have my desk.  Which is covered with stuff.  


And if you'll come with me around to the backside of the island you will see that there are also cabinets under there.  There aren't any shelves in them yet, but someday there will be and I will fill them up with games!



Most importantly, I put a table runner on the dining room table.  Such a difference, right?!!?


I don't know at this time when we'll get the upper cabinets, but it is mostly just an issue of storage at this point.  I still have several boxes of kitchen stuff stacked up in the mudroom.


I have some serious doubts that we will be able to fit that stuff into the upper cabinets, but kitchens are kind of magical in their ability to store obscene amounts of stuff, so you never know.  For now though, I can get to what I need and that is all that really matters.  That.  Nothing else.  It's the only thing that matters in the world.  Sorry.  I'm sure you thought that your stuff mattered, but it doesn't.

Bracing Insight from the Diary of A Normal Girl

All my life I was taught and encouraged to keep a journal.  I took that counsel to heart knowing that one day, if it didn't inspire a nation, my diary would at least inspire my daughter or granddaughter as she worked her way through struggles just like my own.

In spite of the problems with this: including the fact that I don't have a daughter and even if I manage to have a granddaughter someday, she will be too busy colonizing another galaxy or fighting off the sentient robots to read my journals, there is one more major problem:  These journals are filled with completely useless, ridiculous nonsense.  I've read it.  It is mind numbing.  It is boring and tedious.  Someone should have slapped me upside the head.  Who would ever want to read that drivel??


Because I spent years of my life filling those journals with my deepest, most heartfelt and secret emotions and I am not going to let it go to waste.  Lets take a look at one of my earliest journal entries, shall we?  (Some punctuation and spelling mistakes have been corrected to aid with comprehension.)

April 17, 1988

I'm 10 now. I turned 10 sixteen days ago. Through March we had roadshow rehersal on the 30 and 31 of March. Last Tuesday we bought a new Toyota Corrola from my grandparents.  It's really nice.  I found out how to make the back seat go forward and make it stay down.  Faralee and G.B. know too, but know one else! Dance show was on April 8, 1988, and it was a good one.  I left my ballet shoes there, but I have them back now. We got the Gremlin lisensd and we got it inspectid. It's noisy, the Corrolla is very quiet. We named all our cars.

The Subberbans name is "Godzilla".
The Nova's name is "Little Red Riding Hood".
The Corrola's name is "The Limo".
The Gremlins name is "Gismo".

 There you have it.  This is only my 3rd  journal entry ever (the 2nd is one line long and reads: "I'm in thired grade now and I'm eight and 2/1.) and what I thought was worth sharing was not anything about my family or the town I lived in, but the names of our cars. You're welcome, posterity!  May this information change your lives for the better! (FYI: Faralee and G.B.--more accurately known as Gaea--are two of my younger sisters.)

Besides that, this is actually a pretty newsy entry for me.  Just wait until I hit middle school.  You're going to want to gouge your eyes out. Stay tuned!

More Toys for Bots

Thanks for coming to the toy review on my blog.  Today we are looking at a brand new toy that has just hit the market, the very cool X-Robot!

Also known as the X-5 Robot, it comes loaded with all kinds of built in features.  Lets take a look at them.  Come on!

Woah, woah woah.  Slow down.  Left AND right?  Forward AND backward?  What kind of out-of-this world, futuristic space toy is this?  How much do they really think kids can handle?  FOUR DIRECTIONS?    I don't know.  One Direction seems to be working pretty well for that funky boy band and all their loyal fans.  Adding 3 more directions might just make some poor kid's head explode.  

But wait, there's more.  It ALSO dances to the sound of gun fire.  Just like One Direction would in an Old West Saloon.  I'm not sure anyone can handle this much Super-Dazzle.   It is hard to Grow Up in Happiness when you have to dance away from bullets.  

On the other hand surely there are still places where a kid can go to watch real Robots dance to the exciting sounds of real gun fire these days.  A place they can go close to home to see the artillery boogie without being overstimulated by all the different directions that they would be exposed to with this toy.  Buyer beware.  It may not be a good fit for all kids.

The Pillow Predicament

Here is the thing about me.  I didn't handle remodeling very well.  (Actually, I don't handle a LOT of stuff very well.  I often wonder how it is possible that I was raised so well by such good parents and still managed to grow up into such a nut case.  Anyone else with me?  Am I the only one who feels completely insane half of the time?)

It drove me crazy, for instance, that since none of the rooms we were living in were really "Done" yet, we couldn't really decorate them yet. This has been the case for almost the entire time we lived here.  I was ready to decorate, darn it, but we still had to replace joists and rerun wiring and probably pull down wallpaper and paint and redo all the plumbing and I JUST WANTED TO DECORATE ALREADY.

So I coped with it in the usual way.  I bought throw pillows. You would have done the same.  It was too soon to buy art, or furniture, or fabric for curtains, But throw pillows are timeless and go with everything and so I told myself it was ok to buy them and buy them I did.  For 10 years I have been buying pillows and putting them in bags in the attic until the time arrived to finally use them.


I guess you could say that the time has arrived.  There is nothing stopping me now.  Lets pull out those throw pillows!




Thats a lot of pillows.  It is possible that I have more than I need.  It is even more possible that I don't even like half of the these anymore.  Pillow Therapy is still in its infancy.  Naturally there are some kinks that will need to be worked out.  But I am on the home stretch of the remodel and I am still alive and who do I have to thank for it if not the pillows?

So it is ok if I give most of them away.  Right?  RIGHT? I saved the ones I love, and the ones I love saved me.  What else matters?



Here is the latest in the Wonderful World of Kitchens and What-not!


Is it weird that every time I look at that picture I'm not really sure if it is my hand holding the faucet, or if it is Richards?


That is right folks!  We have a sink!  I was so excited the first thing I did was fill it up with dirty dishes!  I have never been so happy to wash dishes in my life.  


It was a good thing we got the sink working because Richard also hooked up the oven.  Behold, the maiden voyage of our new oven!


I tried to get pictures as soon as they came out of the oven, but some vacuum faces sucked some up before I got a chance.

Wanna take a guess whether my new counter tops are clean or not?


Of course not.  I guess maybe I should have taken a better picture of the stove at this point, but all I was really thinking about were the cookies.

Oh, but that is not all.  More sinks!


No more washing our hands in the bathtub for us!  There is now a sink, and a hook to hang a hand towel on and a medicine cabinet/mirror.  It is so fancy.

All of this happened last Saturday, and I was too busy washing dishes and baking to tell you about it.  And then today Richard did this:


Which is a sink on the island.  I don't know why I didn't zoom out a little so you could actually see some more of the kitchen.  Forgive me.  And we'll talk to you later.  Peace!


Back in January we went on a vacation.  We were tired of being cold, so we planned to go to St. George, which was supposed to be like 3 degrees warmer than here.  We would be there 3 days, and two nights.

I told the boys to pack a bag, listing the things they would need:

2 pairs of pajamas
3 or 4 pair of underwear
3 pair of socks
3 pair of pants
3 shirts
and 2 pullups for Colin

Pretty straightforward. I also warned them that it would be cold and they needed to be prepared. They happily ran off to pack and proudly brought their bags back out to me in no time.  Before we left I went through their bags to make sure they had what they needed.  You know.  Just on the off chance that maybe they were missing something. Just in case. 

The Contents of Harrison's Bag:
2 pair of socks, and several additional socks that had no mates.
2 pair of shorts
2 T-shirts, one of which belongs to Colin
1 pajama shirt, belonging to Colin
1 sweater
11 pair of underwear


The Contents of Colin's Bag:
6 pullups
1 pair of underwear
1 pair of socks
1 T-shirt
1 pair of pajamas


When I saw what they had packed I had to start writing it down but before long I was giggling so hard I could barely dictate it to my phone.  And so instead of repacking for them like I had intended, I just packed ANOTHER bag, with all the things they were missing.  I had considered just letting them live with the repercussions of their actions, but sheesh, Colin is only 5.  And I know my children.  Not having a shirt to wear if some stain type situation had happened to the only one they had with them would have led to a Full Metal Meltdown.

When we got to the Hotel the boys found some drawers in the TV Table next to the mini fridge and gleefully dumped their bags into a drawer each.  All was well.

(someone isn't too happy about taking turns.)


All was well, that is, until the next morning when it was time to get dressed.  I was still lazing about in bed (I think it was all of 7:15 am at this point) listening to my little boys' conversation.

"I only have one underwear!  I forgot to get more!" Colin said in dismay.
"I have a lot of underwear." declared Harrison proudly.  "You can use some of mine."
"Thanks!  But that is my shirt, Harrison!  It is too small for you!"
More rummaging ensued and Harrison said "Oh no.  I only have shorts to wear."
"I don't have any pants at all!" said Colin.

I was snickering into my pillow at this point.  It was all happening just as I had foreseen.  And when Harrison said, "Wow!  We are really bad at packing!"  I burst out into a loud, "HA HA HA!" and then they jumped on me.  Vindication!  We don't get a lot of emotional validation as mothers.  Sometimes a little vindication is the best you are going to get.

And because I ALSO packed them the extra stuff they needed, we had us a real swell time.






Do you see that happy skip of Harrison's?  That is a boy in his element.  He would happily climb on rocks and explore caves ALL DAY LONG.



I don't know what this place is, but I totally want to build a village like this in my backyard.



Colin took that picture.  And I think maybe upside down really works for us.  

Thanks for stopping by!


And then there was this!





The countertop guy attached all the sinks, and the oven was delivered and so maybe on Saturday when Richard has time he can hook up the water to all the sinks, and hook up the dishwasher and the oven and then we will have a functional kitchen!  No storage, but still!

And for any of you in the market for ovens, I would recommend checking Best Buy.  I looked for used Stainless steel gas ranges on KSL, but there was only one, and they were selling it for $850.  I found this Whirlpool range at Best Buy for $450.00.  We got our microwave there too, and both prices were cheaper than we found them for at Home Depot and Walmart.  Who knew?


I have zero time for words, so this is all I have for you.  You will have to interpret it for yourselves.