A whirlwind in Wilder

After years (AND YEARS!) of thinking about it, Alan and I have started moving forward with the idea of building a new house.  Now things are moving fast!  Over the past few years we ruminated on the idea of major renovations to this house, buying another house, or building.  Last summer we came across a great plot of land in the village that we really wanted, but the finances didn’t work out.  This spring Alan wanted to move forward with a whole house ventilation system, which was many thousands of dollars, so I suggested we get more information about major renovation so we could do it all at once instead of having to redo the ventilation if/when we renovated.  We talked to builders and finances folks and then look at some new construction a few streets over and we were sold!  Almost. :)  They are building an energy efficient (net zero, I think) development with solar panels and proper siting.  Alan has been jonesing for a place over there for awhile now, but I have been resistant because I love our neighborhood and I don’t love how crammed together those houses will be.  However, as we continued the discussions (and visited the model home a few times!), I have come around to the idea.  Mostly.

We put down a refundable deposit on the lot we wanted and began designing a house with the builders.  That process is fun!  We also started talking to banks and were told that we could afford this endeavor (yay!) and just this week we brought in a realtor to discuss listing this house.  Eeek!  The realtors (they are a team of three) did their thing and came back to us with a sale price much lower than we were hoping for, but also with an eager buyer who is looking for what we have, imperfections and all!  I called in another realtor (the guy who sold Popcube’s house!) to get a second opinion and his estimate was only slightly higher than theirs.  We are now waiting on an official offer from that buyer… though we haven’t even signed sellers paperwork with the realtor yet!  Their buyers also REALLY want to move in this summer, and the sooner the better.  They have kids and want to be settled before the school year.  Of course.  As crazy as it sounds, we are considering it.  The alternative is to do a lot of finish work (many thousands of dollars worth) to make the house “showable” and then hope, HOPE we get a higher price.  Everyone agrees it won’t be much higher though, and we would run the risk of having to carry two mortgages for awhile, which we had been planning on but would rather not do.

Needless to say, there are LOTS of thoughts swirling around in our heads!  We haven’t signed any contracts yet, so we could bail on all of it, or we could sell our house by June 30th, be homeless for the summer, then move into a brand new house in September… or, most likely, something somewhere in the middle.

Also starting to wrap up the year at a new job, take two college courses for that job, convince both kids that we are doing the right thing and consider their concerns, plan for a trip to California (yay!), prep for a yardsale next week, train for a 5K, eat healthy for WW, and, um…. other stuff too.  :)  No shortage of things to do around here!

We have one whirlwind summer coming up, but by this time next year (hopefully!) things will be settled and we’ll be loving our new house with beautiful 12″ windowsills and a family room.

A big day for Eve

Eve came home from school and told me that she qualified for the spelling bee AND got a good role in her upcoming “Shakespeare in School” performance.  She is thrilled about both!  The fourth grade will be performing A Mid Summer Night’s Dream at Northern Stage!  Where real, professional shows take place!  She love her part, even though she has to say “ass” over and over (in reference to a donkey, of course).  She is also super excited about qualifying for the spelling bee, though not sure she needs to do any studying for the event.  She’s got confidence in spades!!  :)

Spring Break!

While others headed to places sunny and warm, we headed to the country with lots of dogs and dirt roads. 😊

Arlo LOVES being a free range dog!

Eve is pretty happy being a free range kid too.

Lex just loves having so many dogs around to cuddle!

Eve will be going to 4-H Camp Shankitunk this summer, the same place my sisters and I went when we were her age.  We stopped by to visit and show Eve around.

There is a tradition of writing on the walls and bunks. We were surprised to find Eves name already there! 😄 She also found her friend Sarah’s name too.

Camp alumni and the next generation.

Somebody got a little silly at lunch!

Can you find all five dogs??

Despite the lack of sunshine, warmth, sandy beaches, and Disney themes, we still had an awesome vacation! Looking forward to our next trip to the country. ❤

Filling in the holes

Arlo did a real number on the yard last summer, with some help from Eve.  With spring approaching I was feeling really discouraged about the property, so I did something about it!   I planned to hook up the trailer and pick up a load of dirt, but when I pulled up their website and saw that they deliver, well, I couldn’t pass that up.  I ordered the minimum delivery am out of top soil with no idea how much “3 yards of soil” really was.  I figured we had plenty of holes and lumpy lawn, no shortage of places to put dirt!  They even brought me a bag of grass seed to out on top of the dirt.  

My dirt pile. Three yards is much less than I was expecting.

Luckily I had five helpers on hand to spread this dirt!!  

These boys are good shovelers!

This crew was on worm patrol! 😄

We worked hard yesterday and this morning to get all the holes filled and the gardens covered with fresh dirt.  Eve spread grass seed all over the new lawn dirt and now Mother Nature is helping with a little rain.  Everyone is happy except poor Arlo who is no longer allowed unattended time on his lead! At least for a few days. 😄

I feel like I won an award!

There is this organization called the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award Committee that does an annual book award (hence the name!).  They select 30 new young adult novels and kids around the state read and vote for their favorites.  We have been doing that in the library and voting was just this week.  This is their 60th year and the committee had an art contest asking students in grades 4-8 (the grades that can participate in the book voting) to design a poster celebrating reading and 60 years of this Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award.  Guess what?!  One of my students won!  She did all the work, I just promoted the contest and submitted her entry, but I kinda feel like I won a little too!  :)  She gets two signed copies of the winning book (still being voted on) and she gets an award and recognition at the award ceremony!  I was hoping to take a few students there, but now I’m totally going to do it!!  I’m just waiting for them to announce the date!  I’m so excited for her.  :)

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!  Today was a beautiful, perfect day!  The kids were up at 5:15am (thanks Eve!) and eager to see if the bunny brought candy, despite our recent sugar reduction efforts.  I was interested to see if the kids are still into Easter as a holiday or not.  I did a lousy job of decorating or any sort of prep work, but we bought eggs yesterday (five dozen because they were only .50¢ more than four dozen at BJs!) and managed to get most of them colored before the kids got bored and wandered off.  I left a dozen uncolored and Alan made himself some egg salad.

Five dozen eggs!

They managed to color nearly four dozen before wandering away. :)

The bunny did come, of course, and there are jelly beans and chocolate eggs in those baskets, plus I snuck in two chocolate carrots from Mema first thing in the morning.  I bought one regular sized bag of chocolate eggs and one regular sized bag of jelly beans and divided them between the three baskets (one for each kid, plus the glass decorative one in the middle) and we all snacked on them all day.  I’m ok with that and proud of myself for not also buying Cadbury mini eggs and jelly beans and Peeps and eating sugar for weeks leading up to Easter.

Easter surprises on the table.

Eve was worried about not getting candy and where the bunny would leave the basket.  She said it might be on the table like it always is, but she cleared off a big spot on her desk, “just in case.”  I left her a big basket with a stuffed animal (same one I leave out every Easter) and a card that I think she made last year.

This friendly bunny greeted Eve when she woke up at 5:15am!

They are still young enough to enjoy a good Easter egg hunt!  Thankfully!  :)  Alan and I hid the eggs twice and the kids raced to find them, slightly more competitive than they have been in past years.

A sunny egg peeking out.

A real egg masquerading as a fake egg. The kids found it pretty quickly. :)

Lex paused long enough for the picture, but you can see his eyes are still looking for eggs! :)

Alan though the Serpent was hungry for eggs!

It was a perfect, beautiful day, but we never made it outside for an egg hunt.  After a few rounds indoors I took Arlo for a long walk (I invited everyone else, but no one wanted to join us), then when I got home Lex came outside and we spent awhile raking the front yard and dumping the yard debris in the ravine across the street.  By the time we were done with that, and had lunch, Lex was ready to crash on his computer for awhile.  His friend came over and they played Minecraft all afternoon.  Eve was super tired and spent much of the afternoon in her room, listening to audio books.  Eventually she came down, we got the cat litter box cleaned out (it can’t be all fun!) and then she laid down on my bed to watch YouTube videos and I passed out next to her.  It’s always a good day when you get a nap, and a great start to our vacation!!

Poetry Slam

Lex worked really hard on a poem for his ELA class and today everyone had to read them out loud at a poetry slam. We were all wondering how it would go.

Amazing!! I am so proud of him! His teacher sent me this video before the school day was even over! She said, “I just had to take a moment to share that Lex brought the house down today with his poem. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Well done!!” I think she was proud of him too. <3

Spring gardening

We did a little family gardening today.  Arlo dug some big holes, my mom bought pansies, and I planted them.  I saw Mother Earth planted crocuses around the yard as well.  All was good until Arlo decided to keep working.  Poor pansies didn’t stand a chance!  :/  I brought him in, replanted the flowers, and will now hope for the best

1. Arlo digs holes 2. I plant pansies 3. Arlo unplants pansies 4. Mother Earth plants crocuses

Eve decided to plant her daisies on Daisy’s grave as well. For some reason that whole part of the lawn is a soggy, muddy mess! We planted the seeds anyway, ’cause that’s how we roll.

Planting daisies in the mud.

Now we sit back and hope that the weather cooperates and doesn’t freeze our little flowers and seeds!


Have I mentioned lately that I love our school?!  Tonight was the big musical and it was awesome!!!  This was the first year that Eve could participate and she ended up with three roles: farm folk (all cast), a military goose, and a froglet.  :)  Honk! Jr. is a musical version of The Ugly Duckling with a positive anti-bullying message in the end.

Can you find Military Goose Evelyn:


Later she appeared as a sweet froglet, singing a song promising Ugly that some day someone will love him, warts and all!

The grand finale, recognizing that Ugly is a beautiful swan and the farm yard animals realizing that different is just that, different.

These kids have worked so hard for the past few months and every year I am amazed at how well they perform.  These kids, who are crazy and silly and naughty and funny and they amaze me when they get up on stage and sing their hearts out.  So brave! <3

Busy birthday weekend

We have had a busy birthday weekend celebrating Eve.  Double digits.  End of a decade here.  No more little ones.  *Sniff* and sigh and on we go!

Friday Eve was home with a fever.  She missed out on birthday at school and getting to be Governor of her class (government unit!), but she did get to watch TV and eat ice cream with daddy, so all was well.  Her party was supposed to be Friday night, but we postponed due to her fever and the impending storm.  I couldn’t let the day go by without a candle and song though, so a quick improvise and voila – ice cream sundae with a sparkling candle on top!

A candle in a dish of ice cream is what you get when your birthday party is postponed.

A candle in a dish of ice cream is what you get when your birthday party is postponed.

At bedtime Eve gave me a little gift by asking if I would read to her.  She hasn’t wanted me to read to her at bedtime in ages and I was almost giddy at the invite to snuggle in her bed and read to her.  Of course mid way through I remembered the measure-on-the-wall thing and we all got up (me, Eve, dog, cat) and headed to Lex’s room where both boys joined in the fun.

Saturday morning I gave her the gift of staying home alone while I took Lex to karate.  When we returned I found her in her room with a mirror and all her hair supplies out.  She asked if I would do her hair (yay!) and we had a lovely time talking about jewelry and hair and girly stuff.  She had on a beautiful dress, jewelry, and lip gloss.

She let me do her hair! She ASKED me to do her hair!! <3

She let me do her hair! She ASKED me to do her hair!! <3

She's all ready to party at 11am! Sadly the party didn't start until 5pm and by then she was back in her play clothes.

She’s all ready to party at 11am!

Sadly by 5pm when the party already started she had changed back into regular clothes.  At least she kept the beautiful hair-do!  :)

Pizza and silly friends!

Pizza and silly friends!

We did a sleepover again this year, but with fewer friends and even fewer planned activities!  I told Eve that she’s old enough to entertain her friends now and we didn’t plan and crafts or projects or anything.  Just pizza, ice cream cake, and dancing!



Just Dance!

Just Dance!

Eve asked me to make an ice cream cake this year.  I used the Stoneware bundt pan, three gallons of ice cream, and lots of guesswork.  I’m pleased to say it came out really great!  I poured hot fudge on the top right at the end, stuck 10 sparkling candles in there and it was perfect!

I'm very proud of my ice cream cake. It was lovely and yummy, and only a little stressful trying to get the candles lit before it melted everywhere!

I’m very proud of my ice cream cake. It was lovely and yummy, and only a little stressful trying to get the candles lit before it melted everywhere!

Three layers of ice cream goodness with mini M+Ms between two layers and crushed cookies between the other two layers.

Three layers of ice cream goodness with mini M+Ms between two layers and crushed cookies between the other two layers.

Only two girls ended up staying over night (because we had changed the date at the last minute), so around 9:30pm, after we watched Moana, half of the party headed home and the other half went to bed… and talked and giggled and carried on until midnight!  I only had to go up a few times though and they fell asleep eventually.  :)

Today was spent in a sugar/tired haze.  Her friends left at 10:30, I had homework to do and school work to do so Eve and I spent a few hours in the library while Lex and Alan spent a few blessed hours in a very quiet house.

Happy Birthday to my baby who is growing up so fast.  I look forward to many, many more years of giggly girl sleepovers, braiding hair, and cuddling with stories.  <3


I put up all the pictures from the past few days in a Google Album.