Sunday, September 20, 2009

Little House in the Big Weeds-- Part Two

Well, we're in the middle of more adventures! Friday morning, our water heater decided to quit working. *sigh* The plumber was supposed to come Friday evening, but he never showed up. So we waited all day Saturday (yesterday) and Russell heated up water on the stove and did the dishes while I was painting primer on the walls downstairs.

Then, because it looked like the plumber was not going to make it, I loaded ALL the kids in the van and took off to my parents house to use their hot water for baths and showers. My mom and dad were so patient and kind with us as we took over both their bathrooms-- as well as the kitchen sink. (Baby's bath) But we all emerged clean, loaded up the van with soggy towels and squeaky-clean kids, and drove home late last night.

About 2 minutes after we got back, the plumber drove up. He and Russell got the radiant heating's water heater hooked up. (The plumber couldn't find his correct tool to look at the regular water heater.) So, we DO have hot water today. Thank goodness!

I think I'll tackle the dishes after lunch...

Here are some recent pictures of our still-unfinished basement. (I can't wait until they're the "before" pictures!):

The drywalling is done and waiting for texture.
(This room will be our Family/School Room.)

Rooms, left to right: future bathroom, boys room, girls' room

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tears, Chaos, and Hope

If I am being completely honest, I must say that I did not want to rent this house. Even finished, it would only be a 3 bedroom, and it would not be anywhere near done by the time we moved in. It still needed (needs!) a ton of work, including floors, mudding and texture on the walls downstairs, and the front yard (as seen above) is covered with mounds of dirt and compost. (I think?)

HOWEVER, the landlords lowered the monthly rental price by a considerable amount, and even waived the deposit money if Russell and our two big boys would come help Dustin work, so that the downstairs would be framed and dry-walled in before we moved in.

Here are my two boys working very hard and learning how walls are built:

We've now been here one month, and while we are getting closer, the basement still is not done. The mudding guy comes once in a while, but he's also a plumber and is supposed to hook up the radiant heat in the floor before it gets cold. Last I heard, there is no thermostat, so the plumber is not sure what to do.

So the kids are all still sleeping in the living room on mattresses laying all over the wood floors. Our stuff still sits in my grandma's garage, waiting for us to come get it. *grin*

Here's what the living room still looks like:

This past week, Russell and I went to the temple, and had a lovely session. We ran a few errands afterward, and then went home. When we got there, we found out that the power company had come by right after we had left and had turned off the power! So our little ones, being babysat by our 15 year old, were home alone without electricity or running water, and didn't know that they could use the land line phone to call for help.

The peace we had felt in the temple scattered, and I was pretty mad at the power company. But Russell, blessed man that he is, turned it into a fun adventure for us all. He called the power company, and calmly made an appointment for the power guy to come back and hook us up the next morning. While I went around gathering up candles, lanterns, jackets, shoes, and other things we'd need to find before darkness fell, Russell sent the big kids to the canal at the back of the property with buckets to gather water for flushing the toilet. He also helped the little kids get shoes on to ready to go to town. We were going to get some bottled water for drinking, and some hot dogs and marshmallows for roasting. Immediately, the mood changed from frustration and discouragement to excitement!

When we got home, Russell built a blazing fire in the firepit in our back yard. We broke out the ketchup, mustard, relish, and buns. He'd also purchased marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. We lit and placed the candles and lanterns around the house, and everyone sat around the fire to roast their dinners. The stars were brilliant, and we all talked, laughed, and sang together, until we staggered inside to bed. No humming came from the appliances, fans or computers in the darkness. The silence was almost deafening, but also refreshing.

Sometimes, even though I am doing everything I should, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are always some big problems to overcome, some icky things we have to go through.

Some days I think, "Father, don't you love me any more? What must I do to be blessed?"

Finally, I'm starting to hear His answer, His message to me.

"Trust me. I chastise and try those that I love. I am giving you these problems so that you will seek me, and come to me. I am anxious for you to make it through this difficult time, so that you will be even more refined-- so that I can bless you with a greater rewards than you can now comprehend."

He's always been saying this to me! Why has it been so hard for me to comprehend? Has the path been too easy for me for too long?

I think that I made the mistake of equating ease and blessings with righteousness. That because I was obeying, being good, and checking off my "list" of things to do to be a better person, I was entitled to my fair share of allotted blessings.

I did not see that the Lord is blessing me with trials to make me more His. I need Him. I love Him, and I have been reminded that I depend upon Him for EVERYTHING.

My wonderful eternal companion... Beloved children... Home.... God's Love...

I thank thee, Father, for all of these and more.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Little House in the Big Weeds-- Part One

Because this "moving-to-the-country" experience has been so life-changing for me, I decided that I really should record the lessons I'm learning. So, here is Part One of our experiences adapting from a big city family, to a country-living one.

First, I got an e-mail from a dear friend in AZ, informing me that she had a brother-in-law with a house on 5 acres that needed to rent it to someone at the beginning of August. I was definitely intrigued! So I called Dustin and found out that we had been acquainted with his wife Lindy when we had lived in Arizona. Very cool! We went and looked at the house. Here are the pics from that first tour.

Russell in the Kitchen

The lovely Living Room

The Master Bath

It was not yet finished, and that really concerned me, but Dustin was working day and night to get it done before they had to move. We had a month to think about it, and decide if we really were ready to move out in the toolies, and tackle five acres. Prayer and pondering commenced!