Thursday, March 20, 2014

Braden Logic

My 9-year-old-soon-to-be-10-year-old son, Braden just took a shower.  After he got out and dressed, he came up to me and gave me a hug and I got a whiff of his hair.  Gross!  Had.not.been.washed.  So I asked him if he washed his hair and he said yes.  I clarified, "Did you shampoo your hair?"  The truth was revealed, but he had good kid reasoning in progress.  He said no, but he had stayed in there under the water for a long time.  Obviously, the water cleaned him for him so he didn't have to bother actually using any sort of cleaning media.  I told him to get back in the shower and shampoo his hair and while he was on his way I asked him if he's bothered to wash his body with soap.  Looking appropriately guilty he confessed he had not.  REALLY?!?!?!  Double EW!  Apparently, we need to focus more attention on developing his problem solving and reasoning skills.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

I know!  Three posts in less than four month-spaced increments...nobody freak out.  We all just need to stay really calm and read on.  Yes, yes I did just type that.

The hearts in the pots are the extent of my Valentine's decorations this year.  It is better than the previous year that had a whole lotta nada.

Now I must share my roadside find.  Can you believe someone threw out that mid century modern shelf/curio cabinet?!?!?!  Admittedly is was broken on one side, but I showed it some drilling, wood glue and dowel rod love and then put the same on the other side so it would look the same and it is good as new!  I love me some trash to treasure!  It is supposed to have sliding glass doors on the front, but only one of the pieces of glass was still intact.  I may or may not try and get another made and reinstall them.  I also may just use that brown board stuff hanging out against the wall to the left there (can't remember what its called right now) and make 2 door panels with recessed pulls...or I may just leave it open like this...  I don't know yet.  It is completely awesome regardless and I am loving it!  When I get our bedroom sorted out, I'll take pics in there to show what I did with the entryway table I built back in the summer.  I feel like my Heavenly Daddy just gives me a kiss and says, here ya's a gift for you, when my path intersects with fun finds like this.  I know it seems like an odd gift to some, but its along the same lines as Sam giving me power tools and gadgets as gifts.  I'm just that kind of woman.

I decided to split up the kids into separate rooms again.  It seems to be working better.  I found a full-sized bed for the girls room.  I was going to try and find a set of bunk beds for them, but realistically, they wouldn't sleep in them.  They would end up on the floor.  Plus, we really need something for when people come to visit and stay the night.  So far the full size has worked very well...once they actually go to sleep.  I'm having lots of fun putting both of the rooms together.  Today, I am in the process of putting together a paper chandelier for the girls/guest room.  This is my inspiration:

Its so, so pretty!  I really love how she pulled all of the elements together in her nursery. I have plenty of paper pom-poms from previous birthdays, but I wanted to add a few of these:
(the link for this is , but the blog is no longer there...)

So, this is my version:

I was finally able to use up quite a bit of scrap book paper I've collected over the years.  I'm hoping I get to finish out the whole thing today some time, but well, it may run over into tomorrow's activities.

I still have a bedspread/quilt to either buy or make for the bed.  I decided on the fabric for the curtains, but still have to go buy it and sew them up.  I still haven't decided on a rug, but I've got a couple to choose from in my stash and if those don't work, then I'll be on the look out for a new one.  Then, I'll deal with the walls and what to put on them.  No biggie, right?!

Last night, when the girls finally went to sleep, I got some sleeping pics of them.  I attempted to do the same with the boys, but there was no light at all in their room.  Then we had a bit of an impromptu photo shoot.

I would just like to point out that not one time did I use an emoticon in this post....not once!  It was a struggle, but I proved it is possible.  In future, I will probably overcompensate for this post with random, ill-placed smiley/frowny/disturbed faces in other'll make me feel better.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Basketball fun

Ugh!  I've been such a slacker about usual.  Well, its on my radar again, although there are no guarantees on consistency.  We are working on getting our house in sell-condition.  Everything else is taking a back burner for now.  I've got plenty to update on, just not enough time to get it done.  Eh...its the way it goes. :)

So, I'll let you in on our Saturday mornings of late.  Braden decided he wanted to play Upwards Basketball as his Christmas present, so he has been playing on Saturday mornings and also going to practice during the week.  This is the first team sport he has been involved with.  Its pretty neat to see him learn to work on a team and to improve his understanding of how to play the game.

After the first game and much expectation from Ailey about being a cheerleader (she wasn't old enough this time ;), I decided the other kids needed cheer shirts and accessories.  So, off to Hobby Lobby I went and brought home the necessities.  Here is what I came up with:

Ailey kept asking for pom-poms, so with the help of ideas resulting from a google search, some plastic table cloths, metallic "tissue" paper and some electrical tape, VIOLA!, pom-poms! :)  I made a pennant for Zekes because he needed something to wave, though he had a pretty good time shaking the girls' pom-poms, too. ;)  All the shirts got some glitter paint treatment because, let's be honest, boys need bling, too.
They had a really great time cheering for Braden at his game and rockin' their new gear.

Also, I am, apparently,  a rather vocal supporter of my son's team.  GO RED RAIDERS!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Remembering Moses on his birthday

Yesterday was our sweet Moses' birthday.  Its very hard to believe it has been a whole year since he died.  I thought a lot about him and am still thinking a lot about him.  I wonder what adventures he is on with Daddy God in heaven.  I ask God often to give him hugs and kisses for me and 2 tell him that I love him.  There is a sweetness that comes along with the sorrow and tears now.  For me, that's a good thing.  We didn't do anything as far as celebrating his birthday yesterday because its still so much of a memorial situation.  I would like for us to celebrate him in a special way in future years, though I don't know what that looks like yet.  So for now, since I can't honestly say happy birthday, I'm going to just say, "Sweet remembrances, precious Moses."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Creativity is strong with this one..

Braden is constantly coming up with alternative uses for things.  This is the latest use for the monster truck with the long-since-disappeared battery:

He also likes to include all his siblings in trying out his ideas. ;)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Just so

I can say I posted something on here...  Wow, I hadn't realized how long it has been since I put anything on here!  I still have to finish up my events of the summer series and I've got a bum-load of pics and stuff to add from the last 6 mos or so.  I'm an awesome, extremely consistent blogger.  Can't you tell?  Eh, I'll get a wild hair and have verbal diarrhea for a day or so and then back date everything to make it seem like I did it in the actual time-frame and viola!

On a side note, I've really liked using the phrase verbal diarrhea lately.  It evokes such mental images and says so much in just two words. :D

I'll leave you with a tantalizing tidbit of real-life circus drama from the past week or so.  This will be told in the form of memory rewind, just to shake things up a bit.  Telling things in order of incidence is sooo last season! (Fifty points to the one who gets that movie ref.) As of this moment, I am almost, but not quite recovered from my back going out on Saturday.  I'm such an old lady!  Its sad, but with the help of therapy and sufficient amounts of cake and ice cream, I'm slowly coming to terms with this fact. I had spent part of the morning and a large chunk of the afternoon cleaning out, then vacuuming and finally shampooing out the van.  Its a tall order, yet wouldn't normally have been a big deal, but...  The day before, Sam and I had both been bedridden with yet another stomach virus which happened after both Brea and Braden had their bouts starting the previous week.  So, we're talking lack of sleep, which is always so fun followed by each of our sessions of my now coined phrase of "pukin' and dukin'" and the insanity of disinfecting and wreaking havoc on my washing machine, segueing into my extreme need to be out of the bed and accomplishing something I had tried to get done three weekends in a row, ending in several muscles in my lower back being pulled in a ratcheting effect out of place and me ending up back in bed from whence I came.  Aaaahhh, the circle of life!  (Now you're singing the song.  You're welcome. ;)

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Dyesses: A Series of Interesting Events part 3

We had discussed getting a 12-passenger van to have more room on trips and to be able to have more cargo room in the back for luggage and trips to the hardware store and those times I get larger furniture or appliances off of craigslist or if we just had friends who wanted to ride with us to certain places.  I liked the pluses of something larger like that, but the downsides never quite set well with me.  The gas mileage would be waaay less than our current van costing lots more in gas each month and the larger vehicle would mean parking at the grocery store or anywhere for that matter would be a constant irritation for me.  Plus, I would be the main driver and I just didn't want to have to take out the big mammer-jammer any time we had to go somewhere during the week.

Conversion Vans were our next possibility.  We liked the extra room inside because, let's face it, we've got growing kids and our boys especially will be needing more leg room in the coming years.   They are very comfortable to travel in and the bed that folds down in the back was just a fun added novelty for possible naps or lounging around.  We also wanted a tv and dvd system in whatever we got next and these vans pretty much come standard with that.  Again, the gas mileage is pretty low on those and the ones we were seeing online in our price-range were very high mileage and I really didn't have a peace about it.  

I really kept coming back to Honda Odysseys.  They hold their value well, they are good on gas mileage for a vehicle that size.  They last a long time and I really appreciate the attention to detail that Honda puts into their vehicles.  Even the most basic models have nice gadets. :)

We knew we wanted leather seats.  They are just easier to keep clean and that is necessary in this family!  I wanted a gray interior because it just hides stuff pretty well until you can get to it, but that was just a plus, not a must-have.  We wanted a dvd player already installed.  We've been using two travel dvd players and while we have been very grateful for them, we have had our share of difficulties and hiccups using them in our van.  We also wanted it to be under a certain amount total and monthly.  I called our bank and had our financing all taken care of before we actually found anything because I wanted to bypass all of the frustrations we have experienced with dealerships in the past. I was also able to include gap insurance and an extended warranty that our bank offered so that we wouldn't even have to mess with it at the dealership.

After talking about it with God and each other off and on we agreed that another Odyssey was the way to go for sure and that evening, I found an Odyssey in Austin at a the First Texas Honda dealership that has a no-haggle price policy.  That was another of my hopes.  We bought our van from Carmax and really liked that we didn't have to haggle to get a good price.  It was what it was, take it or leave it.  I really appreciate that.  So, I was really glad to find a place that was similar.  They also do a 100 point inspection with a guarantee on it, which is also like Carmax.  Another point of appreciation.  They had posted the van to their website, but there wasn't a picture.  Just a description with all the details.  It had leather seats, gray interior, dvd player and it was an 07.  I wanted to find something with all that with under a 100,000 miles, but we would have had to fly to a different state to go pick it up. Since that was totally not happening, I was okay with it having 114,000 miles on it. :)  I contacted them via a chat feature on their website, then set up an appointment the next day to look at it.

When we got there, we met one of two of the Product Specialists also know as Salesmen who would be helping us through our van buying experience.  These guys were fabulous!  We seriously had such a great experience because of them.  If you need a Honda and are in the Austin Area, I highly recommend First Texas Honda and ask for DJ or Christian or both. :)  There was a bit of a hiccup at the beginning because the van had not been completely inspected or detailed out.  They were backed up in that department so when we test drove it, it wasn't in its best condition.  We didn't really care though, because we could see that it was a good van in good shape.  The engine sounded good, it drove really well, very smooth and it was exactly as described, except the color isn't a real gray, though depending on the light it can look like that.  Not a problem, though. :)  So, we weren't able to take it home that day, which was a bummer because that meant we would have to make another trip back down there in the air conditionerless Jeep. :/  

That was what we spent our Wednesday day long date doing.  We did go out to eat at BJ's restaurant, which has excellent food and we went and took a really good look at the Domain.  HOITY-TOITY!  Whew!  We've been there several times to go to the Apple Store, but never really got to look around.  I'm convinced those people really like their stuff and really don't want me to buy it. Hahahaha!  The coolest thing we got to do was go into the Tesla shop.  That is a very neat car.  Fully electric and completely fantastic.  We enjoyed speaking with the representative in there.   They sell t-shirts and I may just have to sport one in the near future. :)

We were hoping that they would have the van ready the next day because our original plans were to go back to East Texas on Friday.  It wasn't ready until Friday, so our plans got scooched back a day.  Not ideal.  But, when we went back to pick it up, we were introduced to the free snack bar including free frappuccinos and baked goods while they last and they had a kids play room as well as a stage with instruments where several of the staff have made up a band and play often.  Not your average dealership, I must say.  The paperwork process took a bit, but because I had made all the previous arrangements it went much more quickly than it would have normally.  We did end up staying there for 3 hours, but it was really because we ended up talking, laughing and joking around with DJ and Christian and the time just kinda flew by.  Fun times...

We finally left and drove both our vehicles back home and I really enjoyed driving the van in lovely a/c. :)

Still more...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Dyesses: A Series of Interesting Events part 2

The next occurrence was the next week full of VBS.  I don't like being so very regimented and on a tight schedule for too many days in a row.  It just flat out wears me out!  The three olders were able to attend so it was fun to have Brea and I spending time together.  We totally worked the free summer lunch program for that week because it was just easier to get us all up, dressed, loaded in the van and over to a place close to the VBS place serving the breakfasts and then hit the same place again for the lunches.  There are some amazing ladies at the place we went and they are such a blessing!

VBS was Monday through Friday and I had Saturday to pack for the kids to go and stay with grandparents in East Texas.  I only packed myself an overnight bag because the plan was for me to take the kids to my mom's house, stay the night and then I was to come back home while they stayed there.  Mom was to take them to meet up with Sam's parents and trade midweek and then I (possibly Sam, too) would return Friday evening, stay the night there and then come back with the kids Saturday.  Sam and I were supposed to have 4 glorious days of no kids just hanging out together.  Sam even took Wednesday off so that we could go on a full day-long date!  Woohoo!  So exciting!  

Yeah, well, that is not what happened.  On my way back from Mom's, I stopped right outside of Tyler and picked up a set of lockers advertised on craigslist.  $50 for a set of six!  Oh, yeah!  So, had those loaded up in the back of the van and got on the other side of Tyler right past Chandler and the a/c started blowing hot air.  I was thinking that the freon needed to be charged and that I was going to have to finish out the drive with no a/c, when I noticed that the engine was actually overheating.  Nice.  I turned the a/c off and slowed waaaay down in the hopes that it would calm things down.  Nope.  Oh, by the way, this was the week when the temps were over 100.  The week before had been pretty cool and the week after it rained nearly every day. :/  I was really concerned about irreparably damaging the engine, so I pulled over and turned everything off.  Of course, I had didn't know how far past Chandler I had come and how far the next town would be.  I called Sam who was just getting off of work and apprised him of the situation.  My phone didn't have much charge left, either.  I had the ipad, but no hotspot, so no help there.  Sam got home and was able to tell me where I was because of a county road sign I could see.  I was closer to the next town, Brownsboro, but was still about 2 miles out.  I was about 3 hrs from home at this point.  Yay.  

I decided to walk into town rather than swelter in the van.  Oh and to make matters just that much more interesting, right before the engine overheated, I determined I needed to find some place to stop due to digestive issues.  See?  Not one moment was boring. ;)  I gathered up my necessities, busted out my bright orange umbrella, locked up the van and aimed myself down the road.  I was pretty sure, that my feet and legs would be pretty red and crispy by the time I reached the town since I had no sunscreen, was wearing shorts and flipflops and the umbrella can only cover so much.  I got about 10 yards from my van, when a truck from the sheriff's department pulled a U-y and came up behind me.  The man asked if that was my van, I confirmed and he offered me a ride to the gas station in town.  I was beyond thrilled!  This was a Daddy kiss moment where I was still in a difficult and far from ideal situation, but He said, "Here, let me help you with this."  He didn't make it go away because I was learning to keep my peace and joy in tact and just be okay where I was.  It was a good lesson and not really a struggle because I chose not to get mad and upset about the inconvenience.

The gas station he dropped me at has a subway and bank in it as well, so after explaining my situation to the ladies behind the registers to make sure it was okay that I would be hanging out for three hours and getting plenty of sympathy, I was told I could sit in the subway seating area for as long as I needed.  The Subway employees were immediately offering me water and could they do anything for me.  So nice.  Yet another Daddy kiss, just letting me know He was right there with me.  I was gonna just play some games on the ipad to pass the time, but discovered the bank had wifi, so I was able to connect and get on the internet and start looking for a substitute vehicle.  Our van has been such a blessing to us.  It is old,  a 2000, and it has had its share of wear and tear.  The inside looks worn out as well, but we've had it for over 5 years and its gotten us where we've needed to go and been super dependable.  However, we knew our time with it would be ending sometime in the near future and had started discussing getting a newer van a little over a year ago. 

All in all, I really had a pleasant wait passing the time until Sam came to pick me up.

When he arrived, I hopped into his Jeep, which has no a/c, and we went to go assess the situation with the van.  We decided to see if we could drive it back towards Tyler.  Our hope was to be able to get it to a dealership in Tyler that would just buy it off of us.  We made it a couple of miles down the road and then it overheated again.  So, we hooked it up to the Jeep and decided to tow it in.  Apparently, when you put an Odyssey into neutral with the engine off, the brakes don't quite work right.  We made it into Chandler and I knew there was no way we were gonna make it back to Tyler towing it ourselves. And don't forget, the lockers are still in the back. :) We found a place to park it for the night and decided to head back to Sam's parent's house, about two hours away.  This was all on Monday.  Sam had to take off Tuesday from work to help deal with all of this.  By the time we got to Sam's parent's house, it was too late to do anything about the van, so we had a circle discussion about options and decided we would rent a tow dollies the next day and tow it back to their house with his dad's truck and then just called it a night.  

The next morning, we went to the rental place and got the worst customer service ever!  I called the head office to see if there were any other places that had a tow dollies available and was informed that we could not tow our van on one because it was too heavy for it.  An auto transport was suggested as an alternative.  Well, that might work, but the truck wasn't heavy duty enough to pull it. Okay.  Thankfully, Sam's parents had borrowed a family member's truck to haul a tractor from Oklahoma and they still had it.  It was definitely heavy duty enough.  This was another Daddy kissy.  Another one was that we didn't have the kids with us during any of it.  I am so glad I wasn't stranded with 4 kids in that heat!  We were able to find a transport at a smaller business place that we had actually done business with before and it was a very good experience.  Sam's parents pulled the transport while we drove in the Jeep and we all went to go load up the van.  We stopped at Sonic and ate and I had my first of several slushies that day.  

We loaded the van and we headed home and Sam's parents took it back to their house.  On our way home, we stopped at sonic several more times to get slushies because we felt like we were being sucked dry by the heat and the wind.  Oh, and we decided to go ahead and haul the lockers home in the Jeep because we couldn't see a feasible way of getting them home otherwise.  Even though we were hot, sweaty, windblown and stinkin' tired, we had a pretty nice ride home.  Our air conditioner at home welcomed us with its wonderfully cool loveliness.  We wallowed in it.  That and a shower. ;)

And more to come....

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Dyesses: A Series of Interesting Events part 1

 Oh man, so much has happened in a short amount of time! First up on the calendar of special occurrences was the washer that had been given to us by our cousins decided it didn't want to stop filling up anymore.  It had already had a couple of other things go wrong and was pretty old. We knew it was just a matter of time before we would have to replace it, but we were fine using it up to the very last bit of its ability! :)  We had already decided that since we have a ridiculous amount of laundry to be done all.the.time, that when the time came to get a different one, we would invest in a front loader again.  I used to have one before our rv saga and I absolutely LOVED it.  Getting a brand new one was just not necessary as far as I was concerned because there is always a bounty of used goodness on craigslist. ;)

So, away my fingers flew on the keyboard and track pad searching through the previously owned offerings.  I was looking at either an LG set or a whirlpool duet set.  I wanted to go ahead and get a matching set since our dryer is the same age as the washer and the sets I was looking at were actually less expensive than some of the single washer ads.  I looked up the reviews on both sets to see if there was anything I should be concerned about with either of the models.  It was interesting to find such a huge amount of dissatisfied consumers of the LG model.  Granted lots of them were about the odor issue many have with front loaders and since I know how to fix that issue and avoid it in future, that wasn't as big of a deal, but there were plenty having to do with the actual mechanical and electronic parts not functioning properly.  I didn't really want to have to do a lot of youtubing how to videos on fixing it and ordering parts and all that, so I was relieved to find that the whirlpool reviews were mostly about the smell and not very many about the machine not functioning properly.

The lady that was selling the whirlpool set was moving and I went to check them out to see if they would work and to make sure there wasn't anything wrong with them.  She was going to need them a couple more days to get all her laundry done, so it was kind of an interesting situation.  We paid a small fraction of what a new set would have cost, actually got them loaded in the van and with much strain on both mine and Sam's part, got them set up in the laundry area.  They can be stacked, so we did that and it freed up quite a bit of space for a new laundry system that will be put into place soon.  Something very similar to this:


I will have the six baskets, but it will be all one unit.  I am going to add casters to the bottom and a counter to the top for folding purposes.  I already have the baskets, I just need to have a good chunk of time to cut up some plywood and 1 by whatevers and assemble it all.  I'm hoping this will be a better system than the dirty-clothes-baskets-in-the-closet a.k.a clothes-all-over-the-floor one we've got going on now.

I was loving washing the first couple of loads when I noticed water coming out from under it.  Not a lot, but there was definitely a leak somewhere.  Ugh.  So, I let Sam know about it and started looking up possibilities for the problem.  He said he noticed a small tear in the drum seal and thought that might be it.  I took a look at it and found it, but couldn't tell for sure.  I found a suggestion that it might be the water pump or it could be that the drain filter was clogged.  That one was an easy fix, so I took the front panel off and undid the filter basket.  There was a big wad of lint in it and some coins.  I was hoping this was the problem.   I didn't think the pump was because it wasn't make any non-normal noises.  I cleaned it all out and put it back in and did another load.  I thought it was good until I saw the water coming out again.  Bummer.  At least the panel was still off, so I could see where the leak was.  Sam was right, it was coming from the seal area.  I knew ordering the drum seal would take a while and to be honest, I didn't want to have to pay $70 bucks for one right after we just bought the washer!  So, I had it in my head that there had to be a way to temporarily patch it. ;)  I was thinking possibly one of those pool float patches or something similar.  I actually came across a suggestion of duct tape and thought why not?!  The stuff we have in the garage is the very thin cheapo stuff, but it would just have to do.  I put a little piece on the tear and did another load.  It worked!  Sam was pretty sure it wouldn't hold very well for very long and suggested a stronger tape like Gorilla Tape.  He was right on.  After a couple of loads the leak was back so, I picked some Gorilla Tape up while I was at Lowe's and put a piece over the tear when I got home.  That's been a little over a month ago and its still holding strong.  I'll eventually replace the seal (I've already watched several how-to videos and even found one where I don't have to take all the panels off of the top and front of the machine!), but for now we are good. :)

To Be Continued...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Brea is using the potty!

Brea has been having what I call growth and/or teething poo.  It has made her bottom super irritated and we've had to do just cloth diapers for a couple of days trying to get it under control.  It was only helping slightly, so today, I decided to let her run around bare bummin' it.  After a bit, I decided to what she would do about sitting on the potty.  She was more than willing and went there immediately.  The first two times there was plenty of grunting, but no substance.  Made me ponder her experience seeing the rest of us use the potty.....haha!  The third time, Success!  She had gone several times and most of them I just ask her and she heads in there and gets on by herself and she's done by the time I even get in there.  I'm pretty excited! :)