Flood!

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The past few weeks have been rather… interesting. About 4 weeks ago, the kids and I were at the house doing their lessons (we’ve been staying with my in-laws), just us. The washing machine was going, not unusual for that time of day (around 10 a.m.). Suddenly I heard a gushing sound. Assuming the washer had pulled its hose from the wall, I ran over and turned it off. Nothing happened. Well, the washer turned off, but that didn’t stop the water from continuing to gush. Seahawk rushed over to see what was going on. Being younger and more agile than me, he was able to climb up onto the top of the dryer to get a peek at what was going on. All he could tell was that the water was coming straight out of the wall. All the while, water is building up on the floor, and is several inches deep at this point. We found as many towels as we could and built a dam between the laundry room and the kitchen (it’s just a regular-width doorway separating them) to try to mitigate the spreading of water. Seahawk got to work trying to find a way to turn the water off. When it became clear that that wasn’t working, he tried to figure out a way to divert the water instead. Munchkin was on the floor in front of the washer and dryer, sweeping as much water outside as he could (fortunately there’s an external door in the laundry room). I was on the phone trying to get either Will or either of my in-laws to come and help.

Seahawk finally gets the water diverted. He was so clever! He used the foil tube coming out of the dryer and jimmied it up to the leak. Since that tube already led to the outside by way of the dryer vent, the water started pouring outside instead of continuing to come inside. This whole process took about 30-45 minutes from the start of the leak. Not long after, Will arrived back for lunch to find us all frantic. He took over the calling of his dad and stepmom as well as anyone else he could think of (church people, mostly) who might be able to help. No luck. (Being a Monday morning, everyone was at work – except my FIL, who was a doctor’s appointment.) Finally his stepmom called us back and told us how to turn the water off at the street, so Will did that. This was nearly 1.5 hours after the initial outpouring started. It was such a relief to have the water stop! With no more water coming in, the four of us got to work cleaning up the pool that had taken over the kitchen. When we went into the master bathroom looking for more towels (we’d used up literally every single towel, blanket, and clothing item we owned besides what we were physically wearing at the time), another unpleasant surprise awaited us: that room was on the other side of the laundry room wall, and water had escaped under that wall and flooded that room too.

It took us another 45 minutes to an hour (and about a dozen Costco rolls of paper towels) to get the laundry, kitchen, and master bath dry. Right around the time we finished, my father in law called and let us know that he’d be there in 15 minutes and had gotten hold of a handyman-type from church who was also coming over to help. When they both got there, we left to get some lunch (it was nearly 2 p.m. now). We came back to a very frustrated FIL and friend. They’d tried several times to fix the pipe, but every time they turned the water back on to test their work, everything exploded again.

We had only a few minutes at the house this time, because it was the big kids’ ballet day. We took them out there, and I bought a few groceries while they were dancing. When we got back to town at around 7:30 that evening, the house was vacant. Will went into the bathroom while I put the groceries in the pantry. The water was still turned off – not a good sign. So he called his dad. His dad made an insurance claim, and they were putting all of us up in a motel that night and sending a work crew over to assess the damage the next morning.

Because it’s not my house, I’m not going to go into too much detail into the damage, but suffice it to say that with nearly every step the crew took (as in, step in the process, not footstep), they noticed more and more damage that would need to be repaired.

So, we’ve been living in a hotel for the past 4 weeks. Just this past Saturday, the insurance company found us a rental house (furnished) that was available for 2 months, so that’s where we are now. After that, who knows. It’s possible (though no one is holding out much hope for this) that the house will be done by then. If not, we just might end up back in the motel. Time will tell.

Tips on long-term hotel living will be coming next week. Hopefully you won’t find yourself needing them, but just in case…

Blessings,

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Nutcracker Marionette

In the midst of Nutcracker season, my boys were also really into making puppets (they still are). Munchkin combined these two interests and made this Nutcracker Marionette. It’s made from mostly all refurbished materials – toilet paper tubes, straws, cereal boxes, and string. I love his creativity here!

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Blessings,

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Quick Update

So sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately. Late last week, Will got quite sick. I ended up driving him to the hospital (30 minutes away),  it he talked to the nurse advice line while we were driving who recommended he not go in after all, but instead had the on call doctor send in a prescription for flu medicine to Walgreens. They insisted that we go to the one that was an hour from where we were (half an hour back to the house, then another half hour to the pharmacy) because she was “positive” it was open 24 hours. So we hustled to the Walgreens, arriving at 10:05 p.m. only to discover that they’d closed at 10. Quite the opposite of being open 24 hours, and especially ironic since we’d passed two other Walgreens on the way there that were also open until 10 and could have filled the prescription that night. This all happened on Friday evening.

On Saturday morning, I had his prescription transferred to the Walgreens near us and got it picked up. He stayed in bed all day, and Seahawk babysat while I went to a baby shower for my sister in law that afternoon. By Saturday night, I was feeling a little wheezy, but not bad otherwise, so I didn’t worry.

Sunday morning, I still felt decent and Will felt better but we decided to stay back from church just to be safe. It was a good thing we did! By 3pm, my temperature had spiked to over 99. I know this isn’t super high, but I tend to run low normally, so we took it pretty seriously (Will’s had peaked at 102.9) and went to Urgent Care. By the time we got there, my temp was up to 101 – while at the height of fever reducing medicine. The PA diagnosed me with Bronchitis and gave me some prescriptions. We were able to pick them up that night (at the actual 24-hour Walgreens), and now, after almost 2 days in bed an one more taking it very easy, I’m running at about 85-90% today.

All that to say, I’ll be spending some time this weekend getting some posts prepared for the blog, and it should hopefully be a little more active again. 🙂

Blessings,

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The Nutcracker

This was the second year my older boys have participated in a local production of The Nutcracker. Seahawk had a solo as the Toy Soldier during the party scene, and both boys were part of the Russian dance pack during the Kingdom of Sweets in the second act. Here are some pictures of the highlights, including videos of the Seahawk’s dance. (For some reason, the computer isn’t finding the pictures from the second act to allow me to upload them. They still show up on my phone, but aren’t in the folder on when I open it on the computer, so I only have the earlier pictures.)

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Dragonfly was enthralled!

 

Gingerbread Cookies

Will and I talked about doing a gingerbread house with the boys this year, but then thought back to how hard those are to build if you make them from scratch, and how bad they taste if you buy the premade ones that you just decorate. So we decided to do gingerbread cookies instead. I cheated a bit and bought the pouch of cookie mix (just add butter and eggs), and Will picked up a pouch of royal icing and some red and green candies (like M&Ms, except Hershey brand). We also used some gummy bears that we had on hand already, and everyone had a really fun time decorating the cookies.

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Small Fry got help with the frosting, but added the candies all by himself.

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I decorated Dragonfly’s for him, and it was about all he could handle to not eat it before I took a picture!

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Blessings,

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New Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

IMG_1041We have been blessed to work with The Pencil Grip, Inc. on many occasions, and we love all of their products. Today, I’m here to tell you about something new in their arsenal: Magic Stix markers. My kids (particularly the two younger ones) have had the pleasure of drawing all sorts of different things over the past week or so using these markers, and they love them! They’ve definitely become the medium of choice for the kids in their neverending quest to create more artwork.

Magic Stix aren’t so different from other markers. They come in a variety of colors (packs of 12 or 24). They’re odorless. They’re washable.

But where they really shine is in their endurance. See, they’re guaranteed not to dry out for up to 7 days – with the cap off. That’s remarkable, and something I had a hard time bringing myself to test prior to writing up this post. Finally, I knew that my deadline was approaching and I had to test out that claim. Due to my hesitation, I didn’t let the markers sit for 7 days without their caps, but I did let one of the sit out with no cap for 3 days (well, more like 36 hours over the course of 3 calendar days). And guess what? It worked just as well at the end of that time as it did at the beginning. Check it out:

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I won’t exactly say I was shocked, because I know that The Pencil Grip wouldn’t make the claim if it wasn’t true, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there wasn’t even any difference in the quality of the line. A normal marker would have to have been tossed in the garbage by the time I wrote the first “Day 2” on my test paper. I’m definitely impressed by these!

IMG_1042My only issue with them is that they bleed quite a bit. When your children use them, make sure to have plenty of extra paper underneath the one they’re writing on to save your tables.

You can buy Magic Stix for $9.95 (for the 12 pack) or $19.95 (for the 24 pack) on Amazon – and the 12-pack is on Prime, so if you hurry, you can get them in time for Christmas!

Blessings,

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Puppets

For Seahawk’s birthday, we wanted to get him a “gift that would inspire” rather than just something else to clutter up the kids’ room (since they’re all 4 in one bedroom at the moment). So we found a puppet from a toy store, and we got some books on puppeteering from the library. He had loads of fun with that, and has continued to have fun for the 5 weeks since his birthday. So much fun, in fact, that the other kids wanted in on the fun. Exactly what we’d hoped to accomplish!

After that, Will went online and found a “make your own puppet” pattern, so he downloaded and printed it it, and the boys have been making these puppets for themselves quite a lot since then. It’s really neat to see their creativity flow and how many different puppets they can make from the same pattern. Even Dragonfly is getting in on the action – not of making puppets (since he’s only 2), but of playing with them. He just loves all of the puppets! Will even watched an episode of Sesame Street with him once since then, and he immediately recognized the characters as puppets. That’s something Will readily admits he didn’t understand until he was much older.

So today, I wanted to share a picture of Seahawk with one of the puppets he’s created. The nose is entirely his creation – the pattern didn’t include that.

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Blessings,

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Picture of the Week: Flash!

As you may know, Dragonfly isn’t much of a baby anymore. He turned 2 last month, and now when asked the question, “Are you a baby?” the answer is (almost) always, “No baby. Little boy.” Super cute.

Occasionally the answer changes a bit though. You see, the big kids have been watching the TV show Flash lately, and the little kids are sometimes caught up in the episodes with them. So sometimes, instead of saying, “No baby. Little boy,” Dragonfly will tell me, “No baby. Flash.” And then he runs away. 🙂

To aid in his love of all things Flash, Munchkin made him this little costume that he can wear over the top of his clothes, and then he really is the Flash. He absolutely loves it.

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Blessings,