Friday, May 29, 2009

Our Kitchen

We really wanted to get into our house as soon as possible, and we knew that building kitchen cabinets was going to be a big project. Part of the house is a one-bedroom apartment, which, since it includes a kitchenette, has a kitchen sink, so we decided that we could do makeshift kitchen for a while.

This is the kitchenette, showing the sink (which currently doesn't drain-- we're working on that!) and the very minimal counter space! The folding table to the left holds all our dirty dishes, while the one on the right is where we're storing our eating dishes. Next to the kitchenette, in the main sitting area of that apartment, we have our counter-height work table with all our kitchen equipment in the boxes lining the walls.

Then we walk through the rest of the apartment...

around the stairs and by the front door...

and down the hall...

to the rest of our kitchen! We were able to hook up our range, even though we don't have cabinets yet, so here in our future kitchen we have range and refrigerator...

and around the corner we have our second refrigerator and our pantry!
The kitchen situation is makeshift, to be sure, but we're getting the hang of it and it hasn't been too bad. We've made a lot of progress with unpacking,which is very satisfying.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Thought That You All Might Like to Know...

that two of our tadpoles survived to froghood and were successfully released into the wild this week!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Operation House-to-Home: Moving Day, aka Mission Accomplished

While we still have work to do on our house (and always will, I'm certain), we finally reached the point where we could move in and really make it our home! We've been moving things over for weeks, but Saturday was our official moving day.

Mattresses ready to be loaded. We packed almost all the food from our refrigerators and freezer into ice chests for the morning so we could move the appliances.





In goes the second refrigerator!

The piano must go up!

The mattress brigade.

John liked driving the rental truck

...and Becca and Laura liked riding in it!
Down the road!
A tired bunch sitting down to dinner in our new home for the first time! We still have a lot to do as far as unpacking and settling in, but we are very happy to finally be in the house after eight months of remodeling!

Friday, May 22, 2009

May Newsletter

From Laura, 10 … Lately I have had the pleasure of packing some of my personal things, having them taken to Berea, and, specifically last Sunday, being able to unpack most of it! It’s so fun to set everything in its spot, especially in a brand new place. It’s the first time for me to ever do this, because last time we moved, I was only 3 months and 21 days old. One aspect of moving on Memorial weekend is that that was the exact date we moved into this house - ten years ago!

I have been working in the backyard recently to help get the house ready to list. The first step was moving everything out of the backyard (ladders, old gutters, wood, sticks, etc.). Then we had some tree trimmers come and do work on our tree. After that we spread the dirt from our raised garden bed over the yard, in preparation for planting grass. Becca and I have also pulled some weeds and underbrush.

From Becca, 12 … One day John brought home six tadpoles in a bucket. We kept them in a bowl as pets. We enjoyed watching them swim around. They were active and healthy. Then they grew back legs! After some research, we learned that once they grow legs, they become carnivorous. If they don’t get meat, they will eat each other. So we began feeding them cockroaches, which they really like. Then they grew front legs! They looked like tiny frogs with legs swimming around. The day after that, two of them crawled onto a stick which we had put in the bowl. One of them was losing its tail! But, sadly, it died soon after. We don’t know if it was because we frightened it to death with all our playing with it, or it fell off the stick and drowned, or maybe it was allergic to cockroaches, or perhaps it had a genetic disorder. But whatever it was, we are being more careful with the other frog sitting on the stick. We noticed that they lose their tails very fast. We could see that it was shorter from the morning to the afternoon. It has been very interesting watching the frog’s amazing life span.

From Seth, 16 … Recently I started learning web-building. If you will remember, I wrote in a newsletter about a year ago about learning one web-building language, HTML. I had learned basic HTML and part of advanced HTML, but then I started doing other things and never made time to learn more. Since then I have started spending more time with it. I’ve reviewed what I had learned before and also have figured out some of the things that had confused me. Now I am forging ahead to learn the other languages used to construct websites. The list of tutorials I am going to try to take looks almost like a list of the “Alphabet Soup” New Deal programs of the 1930s! Here are just five: CCS, XHTML, XML, ASP, and SOAP! The great number of codes is a little daunting, but it is quite fascinating to learn how websites are actually put together.

From Anna, 19 … My time lately has pretty much been taken with packing and getting our old house ready to sell. While the work to be done on this house has not been much in comparison to what we’ve done at the other house, it’s still a fair bit: lots of drywall patches of various magnitudes, painting three bedrooms, touching up several other rooms, repairing trim, some tile, lots of cleanup, a fairly serious shower repair, refinishing cabinets, and many other little miscellaneous tasks. I’ve mostly been working on the painting. It’s coming along well, but we’re not done yet!

I’ve been realizing how varied my life is. In just the last few days, I’ve cooked, painted walls, knitted, raked dirt, packed boxes, pulled weeds, played the piano, read, sanded baseboards, and hauled bricks! There’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure!

From John, 24 … I put an offer on a house earlier this week. It’s a short sale, which means that the seller is upside-down on his mortgage, and must get the offer approved by his lender before the contract can go into effect. I’ve been told that this process can take over 30 days, so I’ll be on call for the next several weeks, because my option period will begin as soon as my offer is approved by the lender. In the meantime, I’m continuing to keep my eyes open for other possibilities. I’m hoping to buy a house within the next few months.

About Ray and Katie … Katie’s nausea was not following the usual pattern or description for pregnancy, so she got suspicious that something else was going on. She tried taking dairy out of her diet and felt much better immediately. Apparently she has developed lactose intolerance. That happens sometimes in pregnancy. What a relief to have her so improved!

Ray and Katie are in Washington right now visiting Ray’s family. They’ll be home on Monday.

From Judith … In the wee hours on Tuesday, April 28, we had rain that came too hard and too fast for many of the homes in our neighborhood. We have a bayou near our neighborhood that overflowed its banks into the homes nearest it. We are a bit further away and a bit higher, so we only had a small amount of seeping under the back door and water in the garage. Some toweling was all that was needed. It was stunning to see houses within a stone’s throw so severely flooded. Now, in the aftermath, the flooded homes have mobile storage units in their driveways and are undergoing restoration. Some long-time residents (30+ years), some who flooded for the first time with this storm, have said this was the worst they had seen. The April 28 entry on our family blog shows pictures if you are interested in checking it out:

From Gerald … As you may have assumed from Laura’s entry, we are gradually getting moved to the new house, Berea. We have already moved quite a bit of non-essential stuff. This weekend, we will move the big items: pianos, refrigerators, mattresses, workbenches, sofas, dining table and chairs, and whatever remaining small things we still have left. Lord willing, we will begin living at Berea on Saturday.

We do not have the kitchen finished yet, so that will be a priority for us as soon as we get the old house ready to put on the market.

Our Love, Gerald, Judith, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Death and Life of Frogs

Don't worry- I'm not going to tell you any more stories about dead frogs. It has come to our attention that some of you were quite disturbed by this blog post. We've spoken with some of you, and it turns out that it was conjuring up images of grotesque and desperate struggles for life and childhood memories of mouse traps.

Please accept our profuse apologies for any mental or emotional anguish caused by the post, and rest assured that we will try to be more sensitive in the future.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note in the animal world, we currently have several tadpoles, which now have legs! They all have back legs, and a couple of them also have front legs. It's been very neat to watch them develop!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Operation House-to-Home: Before and After Shots

Now that we are a week from moving in, here are some before and after pictures to show what we've done!

Looking towards the front hall from the dining room.

The living room.

Standing in the living room, looking toward the front hall and dining room.

The dining room, as seen from the kitchen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What a Way to Die

We had some old paint that we wanted to throw away, but it wasn't completely dried out, so we poured it out on some cardboard outside so it would dry.

Unfortunately, we unwittingly created a frog trap:
Poor fellow.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh, the Mess Made by Moving!

Currently in the throes of packing up a household of seven that hasn't moved in ten years, we are living in a very taken-apart house.

On top of that, we're trying to get things done around here so that we can sell this house. We don't have anything major, but there's a lot of patching and painting to do.

We're staying quite busy, and looking forward to being fully moved into just one house!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Visit to the Micro Zoo

Seth is studying protozoans in science right now, so he needed some pond water samples. Becca, Laura, and I went with him to the nearby creek to get samples from the stagnant pools along the banks.

Watching an ant trail.
When we got home, Seth put drops from the samples...
on slides...

and we all had a great time looking at them in the microscope! We saw lots of little creatures swimming around. Some were fast, some jerked and quivered, and one moved by rolling over and over.

This was probably some sort of algae.

In one of our samples, there were some slender creatures, which we thought might be planaria. We managed to catch one, and, lo and behold, it was!

Planaria are know for their ability to regenerate missing body parts, even growing a new head if decapitated, so of course we cut a couple of them in half to see if we would end up with four whole planarians instead of two. We then isolated them in a little container so we could keep an eye on them.
It's amazing what you might find in a drop of water!

Monday, May 4, 2009


Lately I've been noticing how there are so many beautiful flowers in our yard. These are a few of them.
A rose...
crape myrtle (the big ones) with yellow flowers crowding around them...

and another rose.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Looking Back and Forward

This week I was chatting with one of my customers as I worked, and I learned that her grandfather, her father's father, was born in 1858. She told me that as a little boy, he held horses for the Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Shiloh. She also showed me a picture of a graceful Victorian house that her Grandfather built with his sons in Tulia, Texas around the turn of the 20th century. As I listened to her, I saw that she had great respect for this man whom she had never known. He had an amazing opportunity to set a precedent for future generations by the way he dealt with his own.

What a difference it makes in the way we spend our time and energy when we realize that our decisions not only affect our own lives, but they also are a powerful influence in the lives of our children and children's children. This is true even of the way we live our lives prior to becoming parents. This has been the cause for some self-analysis on my part. If I really care about loving God by raising godly children, then before they even exist, I will be investing in their lives by seeking God in my own life.