Friday, August 31, 2018

Little Thoughts... 08-31-2018 Fall Edition

The temperature the last 24 hours has been my ideal! Mid 60s, cold evenings, in a word, fall. (or autumn if you are fancy like that) I know summer isn't gone quite yet, the weatherman won't relent putting 80s in the forecast. But I can pretend, in my own little corner (in my own little chair...musical people sing along with me) that fall comes early.

Coffee is much more comforting hot than cold.

Want to feel more secure and relaxed? Add a blanket!

If I had enough clothing items to have a seasonal wardrobe, I'd be pulling out all the fall colors right now.

One of the best parts of fall is the largely reduced number of insects outside (aka my archenemy). Looking forward to sitting in the sun, with a blanket, hot beverage, and book. Maybe the dreaminess of that picture will spurn me on to finish my books that have been in progress since the spring.

In the colder temperatures, my sun-warmed car seat will feel good instead of burning my skin off!

Want to secretly bringing a blanket with you everywhere? Wear a scarf!

Socks. I want all the socks.

You mean I can actually bake something without making my house an unbearable oven?

In summary. Fall you are welcome anytime!

Mrs. Troyer

Monday, August 27, 2018

Curriculum Choices 2018 - 1st Grade

Alexi is a 1st grader this year.

Language Arts & Spelling: Abeka Grade 1
Arithmetic: Abeka Grade 1
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting A
Science: Abeka Discovering God's World Grade 1
Bible: Sonlight Core B - Leading Little Hearts to God
Bible Memory: I Can Learn the Bible - The Joshua Code for Kids
Read-Aloud Literature/History: Sonlight Core B - Introduction to World History
Music: John Thompson Piano Primer A

Last year we adapted Sonlight Core A to what we could accomplish with 2 toddlers in the house while trying to homeschool a Kindergartner. That covered Bible, Literature and History for Alexi.

We finished and loved A Reason for Handwriting K and I'm stoked that from here on out using that curriculum she is writing scripture. Honestly she loves writing and is always jotting something down in her many notebooks, so I'm not too worried about her handwriting.

Phonics and Reading was the subject that was a bit of a struggle bus for us. I chose Horizons for both Phonics and Reading and Math for Kindergarten, knowing that many people found it to be advanced. Math was great (and is by far Alexi's favorite subject), but Phonics and Reading was a drudgery. The concepts were easy enough for her to grasp but the entire workbook had so much writing that her hand would hurt after doing the entire lesson (and those were long too, sometimes 3-4 pages) and almost every lesson was set up the exactly same way. By the end of the regular school year we weren't even half way through yet and I had tried a bunch of different ways of tweaking what we did with the curriculum. So this summer we snagged Abeka's K5 Phonics and Reading (which is what I learned to read with) so we could be prepped to do Abeka's 1st grade this year. We are on track to be done with the K5 program mid October.

Because we are switching to Abeka for Language Arts, it just made sense to switch math as well. As far as I'm concerned, I'm thrilled that we have switched to "my" curriculum from my elementary years!

Mrs. Troyer

Monday, August 20, 2018

Scariest Motherhood Moment To Date

*Warning: Injury description follows*

Last week, Chad was away on a work trip, so I was in single parent survival mode. First 2 days went fine. As much as I hate it, we have found a groove for when daddy is gone. Wednesday is my normal work day and my mom-in-law babysits and that's exactly what happened. The exciting and terrifying part of the day was the end of it. They kids were crazy (most didn't nap) and I was just done with the day. We were just about ready to be tucked in, jammies were on, the last kid was going to the bathroom, everyone had taken their last drinks. I was heading to the girls room with a book for everyone to join me there.


It was a terrible noise. Immediately I knew it was the sound of a head hitting a wall (that's way more common in this house than it should be) but it sounded slightly different. I spun around in the hallway to see behind me just in time for Brian to collapse to the floor clutching his head, wailing, with blood dripping onto the floor.

First issue: I don't do well with blood.

For a half second I froze. Then I knelt down next to Brian and scooped him up. After peeking under his hand to see a sizable gash I reached into the linen closet for a rag and held it against the wound. For the most part I feel extremely ill-equipped to be the adult handling emergencies, so my next thought was "who is more adult-y than me that will know what to do?" Normally that would be Chad or my parents, but they were all out of town, so my next thought was "who is or was a nurse?" So I'm trying to walk Alexi through finding our church directory in my desk drawer while still cradling a crying Brian and applying pressure in the hallway. It didn't work, I ended up lifting him and heading out to my desk to find the number.

Phone call made, nurse on the way. Now to help calm Brian (making sure he never loses consciousness) and calm the two little girls who are about in tears now too. By the time the nurse arrives the bleeding has pretty much stopped and we are left with this deep gash on Brian's forehead. The suggestion is that I take him to the ER to get stitches so it heals well. All the crying has stopped and Brian even had to be reminded that he shouldn't run to the entryway to put on his shoes.

Second issue: I don't do well in hospitals.

I had said over and over that whenever our first ER trip with the kids happened, it would be Chad, not me going with them. Unfortunately, as previously said, he was gone. The girls stayed at home with my in-laws and Brian and I made the 40 minute drive to the nearest ER at 8:20 PM. From this point on, Brian had no crying and instead just talked non-stop to EVERYONE -- it was the most entertaining couple hours as we waited in the waiting room, triage room, and exam room through the different nurses. He earned quite the reputation and everyone was smiling by the time they left the room. By 11 PM Brian earned the gold star from the doctor as her best patient. 5 stitches later we left the ER and drove home in the fog.

Third issue: I hate driving at night and in the fog.

Made it home, Brian fell asleep right away in his bed. 5 days later he now has his stitches out and is as healthy as healthy can be. He has some residual anxiety related to it (aka doesn't want to leave my side).

It took me 4 days to finally break down and cry. That was terrifying.

God is good. He gave our bodies an amazing ability to heal. He gave some people awesome ability to learn medicine and I'm so thankful. He gave 4 year old boys an indescribable charm. Still working through some of my own anxiety related to it. But that's your update from this past week.

Mrs. Troyer

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Entryway Bathroom Phase 1

It sort of crept up on me, that we were going to be attacking our bathroom this past weekend. So I didn't have any time to second guess it or talk me and the hubs out of it, we just suited up on Friday and got to demo.

If there is one thing I've discovered in the work we have done around the house it's that I do not have the talent for taking good pictures of houses. So instead of before photos, I took a little video (with some of the demo started).

Here's what I know about the bathroom and entryway. This is an addition that was put on the house in 1958 I believe and instead of blowing out the exterior wall and fully including the bathroom and entryway into the house, they just built a second exterior wall around this addition. So we weren't exactly sure what we would find as we started tearing into the walls.

Friday, demo day, went well with the tub being the only thing we had to call for reinforcements for. We did find the white exterior wall that they put stud on, and also we found out our sink pipe had issues, but all in all we cleaned up from demo and got ready for Saturday.

Here's where I should explain the different Phases for this room. We weren't originally planning on attacking this room yet, but then we got windows. And rolled into the cost of the installation is interior trim. Also, this bathroom had the toilet right in front of the window, making it frustrating to get to. Leading us to get a move-on on the bathroom plan. Phase 1 includes demo of the bathroom (lots of wallpaper on top of wall board glued onto drywall) and the installation of drywall on the window wall. That will allow the window guys to install the window into the final wall. We honestly have no idea when Phase 2 will be accessible, but that will include putting up the other 3 walls, replacing the broken toilet and oversized sink, and moving the washer and dryer in place of the tub.

A couple things I've learned in this process...

  • Demo and rebuilding prep is the job that never ends. Just when you think you've gotten that last bit of drywall or pulled the last nail, you find another one. Even once you start putting up the new drywall, you find another nail in the wall. Never ending.
  • Bathroom-sized rooms are a good size to tackle for a first-time DIY home renovator. I can't imagine the chaos that would have been created if we had done a larger space.
  • Putting new drywall on over 50 year old studs does not create completely flat walls. Which in turns makes a first-time drywall mudder quite exasperated. 
Currently the first coat of drywall mud is drying and tomorrow I will sand it and put a second coat of mud on the joints and screws. Once I'm satisfied with my mudding and sanding job Phase 1 is complete. We will then be waiting for the windows to be installed and waiting for the budget to tell us we can go get a toilet. We have all of the drywall we need for the rest of the room, just waiting to put it up until we know where our holes will need to be for dryer venting, electrical boxes, light boxes, etc. and all of those decisions are dependent on the budget.

Until then, we are a 5 butt family using 1 toilet (which 2 of the 5 butts are inexperienced at "holding it" and 1 is still in the process of being potty trained). Pray for us!

Also, if anyone tries to tell you it is no big deal to do home renovation with children around, call them a liar. Our weekend ended with lipstick all over the other bathroom and 2 children; also, there was fighting that ended with a rock being thrown inside the house creating a facial injury. Yikes! Kids don't fend for themselves well.

Also, the bathroom threw up all over my entryway.

Mrs. Troyer

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Design Indecisiveness

We have lived in this house for 5 years now. It's time for me to face facts.

My name is Bridgette Troyer and I have the fear of making design decisions.

When we bought the house, we drew up idea plans for renovations and I picked out paint chips and had Pinterest boards filled with decor ideas. For the next 5 years I had 2 pregnancies and Chad changed jobs 3 times (including a stint where he was unemployed). It is really easy and somewhat valid to blame my lack of committing to design choices on money, time, tiredness, upheaval, etc. But in reality, I've just never felt confident enough to buy the paint and live with the results.

Maybe that's why I'm just so darn proud of our entryway, even if it's only partially done. I made a plan and I actually did it. It gives me hope that maybe one of these days I'll actually bite the bullet and no longer live with our white walls.

You can be sure if I do succeed, I'll show you. Until then, you can find me in my white living room on our hand-me-down furniture.

Mrs. Troyer

Monday, August 6, 2018

Little Thoughts... 08-06-2018

Our new windows are being delivered! It always catches me off guard how excited I get over adulting things like new windows.

My birthday was yesterday. I'm 28 years old. I took ZERO photos of the day, but it was a good one.

Our homeschool material is slowly showing up and we have unofficially started school work back up already. I'll have a 1st grader, Pre-K and Preschooler. Definitely love this part of my motherhood journey.

We are waiting to hear from the dr. office about a referal to an orthopedic doctor. Brian's feet have grown off center and curved and it has affected his balance, strength and walking/running form. This is one of the hardest parts of motherhood.

I tore the doors off of the closets in the entryway. It felt good to have the unneeded clutter gone. Slowly but surely working toward completion.

Sometimes motherhood can feel a bit like solitary confinement. The poor mail ladies and ups guys get a crazy person trying to start conversations with them every time they drop a package off for us.

I keep intending on starting on my Christmas prep, but it hasn't happened yet. I guess that's a good thing. It means I'm staying busier than last year.

I still have easily fatigued joints since a bout with fifths disease the kiddos shared with me. Easily the worst thing physically I've ever gone through.

I've started and deleted 3 different posts in the last few days. Sometimes expressing yourself can be cumbersome and difficult.

Mrs. Troyer

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

a broken hatch, a flat tire, and little blessings

Today is trash day.

When he's not short on time, Chad is kind enough to drive our two bins to the road by placing them in the back hatch of his Subaru.
Chad's Subaru has been having issues. A few weeks ago he had a flat at the dentist office. It sounds like it just might die on you when it idles in park. This week the check engine light turned on with the cruise light flashing. The back hatch sometimes does and sometimes doesn't open.
Today it didn't open.
Today a back tire was completely flat.
So today Chad drove my minivan to work.

Today is my normal work morning.
On Wednesdays my mother-in-law is dropped off by my sister-in-law (who works later in the morning) to watch my kiddos while I go work at the church for a few hours.
This morning I had no minivan.

Very often I let these little things, little inconveniences bug me so much that I miss the blessings.

Today Chad drove to work in a reliable vehicle with working cruise control.
Today I enjoyed the cool summer morning as I walked back from taking the trash to the road.
Today my sis-in-law drove me to my parents and I got to catch up with her for 5 minutes. We laughed. I love her.
Today I stopped in to see my mama who is recovering from surgery. I handed her the "feel better" cards her grandchildren made for her. I moved her chair for her so she could be more comfortable as she sat in the living room this morning.
Today I drove my parent's second vehicle to work because my mama can't drive while she's recovering.
Today has been filled with little blessings. And those little blessings are worthy of being recognized as gifts from God. They make the frustrations worth it and perhaps not as irritating as they could be.

Mrs. Troyer

August Homemaker Check-In

For August, I'm actually going to shoot low and set myself up for success. Since July was an unofficial challenge month, I'm just going to attempt the same 3 goals.

Make Bed
1 Load of Laundry
1 Load of Dishes

I've set up a note on my phone so I can keep track. And you'll notice that I wrote out each step to the Laundry. The one load of laundry doesn't count unless every step is done to completion. But for the sake of motivation, checking off each part of it (and for the reality check that doing that last step really matters and is worth it or it won't count) I will be keeping track of each step separately.

Check back with ya at the beginning of July!

Mrs. Troyer