HELLO

Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and swim team practices, scrapbooker and founder of the Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.

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Wednesday
Jul232014

The Haiku Handbook

Remember when Micah decided he was going to write a book? Well, I finally finished my part (typesetting and loading pictures on the computer and all) not long ago, and the box of books arrived yesterday! Micah's pretty stoked. 

To document the process...

1. We did a lesson on haikus with the Cover Story curriculum. (This was back in April.) Micah was hooked. ;) Not one for moderation, he quickly decided he'd best write at least twenty.

2. Next he decided that with that many haikus, he should just write a book. He decided each haiku should be illustrated and began drawing:

(He used some of his stuffed animals as models and then started looking online for tutorials on how to draw certain things. I provided the paper and an eraser and just let him go.)

3. He finished much sooner than I'd anticipated, lol. Above is Koaly "editing" the handwritten haikus. This was mid-May.

4. I, um, procrastinated and worked on yardwork and schoolwork and vacation and hail storm damage stuff.

5. I finally finished putting everything together mid-July and sent it off to be published. ;)

6. Yesterday, this box arrived:

Per Micah's instructions, the cover is supposed to look very simple:

And we wrote up a little blurb about the author for the back:

Here's a sample page from inside the book:

7. And now the boy wants to sell them all (well, almost all of them...he has a short list of people he plans to gift a copy to...grandparents, great-grandmothers, and the author of the Cover Story curriculum). He made me order 45. :)

So. If you're in the Prosser, WA area, my mom's store, Branches & Vines (in Benton City) will be the exclusive distributor for that area. ;) Micah asked her if she'd carry ten copies in her shop and we'll be shipping those out soon. (They have to finish negotiations about cost, lol.) Get yours there!

If you're local, let me know if you want one. I'm making him do all the sales so don't really want to sell for him, kwim?, but wouldn't want you to miss out if you want one, as he's already talked it up at the dentist's office and has plans to canvas the neighborhood. ;) Let me know and I'll hold one back and have him give you his sales pitch. 

If you're not local and not in the Prosser area, you can actually buy one directly from Lulu (where I had them published). Click here. Sorry. I have no idea what shipping will be but know that Micah won't want to cover that expense, himself. (We're using this also as a lesson in profit and expenses and making him cover all costs. The price at Lulu is the same as what he's asking in person, and Lulu will deposit the difference between the printing cost and the asking price into an account for Micah.) If shipping is horribly high, let me know...

Whew. Okay, that's it for now. ;) Be warned. If this goes well, he's already started researching how to write other types of books...

Tuesday
Jul222014

Bounty hunters and mohawks and cousins, oh my!

Just catching up a bit more...

Last Friday, I had seven boys here for the afternoon. With the exception of the 13 and 14 year old (who were simply too cool to join in), this is what I ended up with almost immediately after they got here:

I love that the three 12 year olds were totally into this and had a blast together...and that they do such a nice job of including the 5 and 8 year olds. :) (Also, very glad I still had all those costumes in the basement.) Beyond this (and I'm not clear on what "this" was, lol), there was also ice cream and video games and four square and cupcakes. Yup, I added plenty of sugar to the mix. I'm a glutton like that, lol.

Btw, seven boys is a lot of boys. ;)

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I don't think I've posted a picture of Nathan and Micah's hair after our last round of hair cuts:

This was taken last weekend, just before I actually cut off Nathan's mohawk. ;) Micah rocks it better, lol, and is now growing his out longer.

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Also last weekend, we managed (finally) to get together with my brother and his kiddos. I made all of them line up for me for this picture:

(Micah (almost 9), Asher (12), Noah (13), Makenna (8), Quinn (13) and Haylee (16))

I love that the boys have cousins their own ages but am sad that we see them so seldom. :( And, yes, Asher is wearing all black and has on a fleece jacket, though it was almost 100 degrees out. Don't ask me why. :) 

Tuesday
Jul222014

Ten on Tuesday (results of the hail storm edition)

Whew. So thankful for insurance...trying to remember that as I juggle all the details, lol. For the sake of recording them and trying to organize my thoughts, here's what we're working on:

1. Roof. Gonna get that replaced next week. Awesome. :) This part is actually pretty straight-forward and lovely.

2. Deck. The insurance covered the hail damage to our deck and will pay to replace it. Yay! So. Need to get that removed and taken away before the house painting commences. Trying to find someone to do this. We'll replace the deck with a paver patio most likely but aren't going to worry about that till this other stuff is done.

3. Doors. The insurance will also cover replacing one of our exterior doors (into the garage), but we probably won't bother with that. However, in thinking about it, we're realizing that we should replace the sliding doors in the back, as they're old and decaying such that ants are getting in through the crevices...which is driving me insane. Ugh. Needing to look into this more before the painting, as that would be the most efficient way to go if we're going to do it.

4. Paint. Hail damaged two sides of the house enough to be covered by the insurance (impacts down to the wood). So. Apparently we're going to repaint the house. It's been quite the debate and process here to decide what color, lol. These are the colors we got approved by our HOA:

All of these would have white trim. In the end, we'll probably go with the red, even though that's going to stand out in our neighborhood. ;) I like the ivory but can't bring myself to do it, as it will essentially match most of our neighbors. As for the blue, the house across the street is a darker blue. Also, I just don't feel like this particular blue is "us" if that makes any sense. Stay tuned. ;) 

5. Gutters & screens. Most of these were covered by insurance for replacement, and we're going to just do them all. Fortunately, the roofing company also has a guy who does this.

6. Fence. Our portion of our fence (the north and west sides of our property) was damaged by hail enough to be covered by insurance also. We'll be replacing that in the next month or two, but will need to take down a few pieces of it right next to the house for painting purposes.

7. Tree removal. Before we replace the fence, though, we'll need to remove a couple of trees that have managed to grow into it. Getting bids on that.

8. Car. Nathan's car was officially declared totalled by the insurance so they'll be picking that up this week and we'll be a one car family for awhile (which should be fine since Nathan's working from home anyhow). He'll be looking for a replacement in the coming weeks...likely a used Subaru.

9. Grill. Happily, the insurance also covered the hail damage to the grill and will give us money toward replacing that. Not a priority right now but nice to have...

10. Basement. The slight flooding in the basement was not covered by insurance. Which is fine. But we're thinking we'll invest in some window well covers to hopefully prevent repeat occurrences. From the cursory looking I've done, though, our window wells aren't a standard size. Of course. ;)

And that's what's been swirling around in my head lately... ;)

Thursday
Jul172014

Still here...

Sorry it's been quiet here lately...I'm just busy sorting out all these house projects thanks to the hail (more on that as they happen) and freaking out because after this weekend I only have three weeks of summer left (at which point Noah starts school). Oy. ;)

Thursday
Jul102014

House updates

Just some random notes for the sake of recording them:

- On Monday, the boys and I came home to find the house filled with smoke. Nathan was working in the basement and had left water in the kettle on the stove. Let's just say that the kettle is no more. ;) In any case, it's all good now. After open windows and fans and lots of bowls of baking soda all around the house, the smoke is gone as is the lingering smell of burnt plastic and metal. Also, we now have a lovely electric kettle that has an auto-off switch as soon as the water comes to a boil. ;)

- The insurance adjusters have come and gone. Now we're waiting on the claims being processed...which is a little irritating since we called, literally, during the hail storm to file our initial claim and then managed to get both adjusters out within four days (they needed separate adjusters for the auto and house claims). In case you're curious, the car and roof were totalled. We also have claims in for:

  • repainting two sides of the house (the hail knocked off paint to the wood (especially along all the trim) so that needs to be addressed lest the spots start to weather),
  • rebuilding the deck (which is toast except for the frame of the structure),
  • new gutters and downspouts on two sides of the house, 
  • new top boards for the fence on the north side of the house (the only one we're responsible for), and
  • a cosmetic allowance for the grill, which was as dinged up as Nathan's car.

The small flooding in the basement is not covered since the window didn't break. (It's therefore considered groundwater or something.) We've let everything dry out completely now (pulled back the carpet and carpet pad sitting on the concrete floor) and have bowls of baking soda down there also for the musty smell. Hoping to try to put it all back together this weekend and just call that good.

- It may be too early to say, but it looks like most of our plants are going to survive. Yay! Two or three may end up getting replaced, but I'm waiting a bit before tackling that. :)

- Once we get all this other stuff in hand, Nathan and the boys are building a firepit in the backyard. Hopefully soon. :)

Whew. Needing a few more weeks of summer, methinks...