Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cal's 8th Birthday & Baptism

Cal turned 8 earlier this month.  We had a great time celebrating with him and some of our family.  Cal's birthday was on a Sunday and family arrived the Friday and Saturday before that.  This year Cal wanted a legoman cake.  I told him to bring me the lego guy that he wanted.  This is what I came up with.
June 8 2013 Cal's Cake

Here is the lego guy.  Pretty close, right?
June 8 2013 Cal's Cake (6)

I finished the cake Friday night, which was great.  We had all day Saturday to look at it before cutting it up on Sunday and having it disappear in a matter of minutes. Oh, and the chocolate cake turned out SO good!
June 8 2013 Cal's Cake (7)

Amy and her kids came up Friday.  We mainly hung out and enjoyed being together. Saturday morning Lizzy rode her bike and went with me on my run.  Later we went to the library in Shenandoah.  I checked out a TON of books.  Really, I think it was about 60.  The librarian thanked me a couple of times for checking out so many books.  With all the books I checked out, I helped them meet their quota for the day.  Later we hung out outside, some of us did our nails, and the kids jumped on the trampoline.  Darrell's family arrived late afternoon.  Soon thereafter the sprinkler was pulled out.  That night Amy, Lee and I went to the adult session of Stake Conference at the Stake Center.  We picked up our friend Andrew.  After we got back we stayed up talking and had some cookies.  While we were gone Darrell and Stacie took all the kids to the park and then watched a movie.

Sunday was Cal's big day!  Here he is after church. 
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (2)

June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (5)

Birthday party time!
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (6)

June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (21)

June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (9)

My oldest brother Darrell, one of his sons and Lee. Yes, our fridge is still in the living room.  Maybe next week it will finally be back in the kitchen.  It's been in the living room for a few weeks now.  Since Memorial Day actually....
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (11)

Some of the party crowd.  There were 5 adults and 15 kids at my house.  I love it when people come and visit. 
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (13)

Always fun to get birthday cards.  From Grandpa and Grandma Bartholomew.
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (14)

From Grandma and Grandpa Roberton
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (15)

From one of Lee's team members at work.  We invited her to the baptism and it was very sweet of her to give Cal a card.
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (16)

Another group shot.  Thanks for decorating Ila! See the banner hanging up behind Darrell?  Ila drew a picture of the lego guy.
June 9 2013 Cal Bday Party (18)

On the way to Cal's baptism in Darrell's van.
June 9 2013 Cal's Baptism Elden Eric

June 9 2013 Cal's Baptism Rachel Shanna Jessie

Right before Cal's baptism-the whole family!  We're so proud of you Cal for making this decision.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no one is baptized till they reach the age of eight.  We believe that children younger of that do not need to be baptized because they are innocent and pure.  Because of Christ, his sacrifice, atonement, mercy and love, all children are saved in him and need no baptism till they learn right from wrong. (Likewise we believe that children who die before the age of eight will not go to hell, but to God, to live with him forever. I love this beautiful truth!) Children start to be held accountable for their actions at the age of eight.
June 9 2013 Cal's Baptism Family

Cal you are so blessed your dad has the priesthood and could baptize you on your special day.
June 9 2013 Cal's Baptism Lee Cal

June 9 2013 Cal's Baptism Ruth Lee Cal

Our family at the baptism!
June 9 2013 Cal's Baptism (2)

We had a wonderful time and Cal's baptism was great.  It was so beautiful seeing him and Lee go into the water dressed in white, be baptized and then later seeing him receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  That is what Cal was most excited about--receiving the Holy Ghost. 

Cal started cub scouts recently too.  We've been out of town, so he's been to only one meeting, but he really liked it and wanted to go last night.  (There weren't any meetings last night as cub scout camp has been going on this week.) 

Happy Birthday Cal! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

School's Out

Another year of school has come and gone.  I really love the elementary school here.  Great teachers, great staff members, wonderful PTA, etc.  I REALLY love it.  My kids had a good school year. I can't believe that I have just one year left before Elden goes to school, and Clark enters middle school!  Shanna and Haley are SO excited about 1st grade, it's cute. I think Cal will really enjoy 3nd grade this coming year too.

I attended a couple end of the year activities.  The kindergarteners had a "fun day" with different game stations.  Elden and I were helpers at one station. I also went to some of the 4th grade kick-ball tournament. 
June 4 2013 Clark kickball tournament

Here is Clark and probably his favorite teacher, Mr. Markel. Clark has started talking about wanting to be a teacher. Aside from the gym teachers and the principal, he is the only male teacher.  As far as I know ALL the kids love him and he's a great teacher. I helped out in Clark's classroom this year with fluency reading and I enjoyed getting to know the other kids in his class, a little bit at least.  Elden was quite popular when I would go in.  The boys would want fist bumps or high fives from Elden, and the girls would ask for hugs.
June 4 2013 Clark Ben Markel

One last peaceful afternoon with Elden having the house practically to himself.  This was the second to last day of school.  He just climbed up into my bed one afternoon and took a nap. By the way, we bought a bed frame that will accommodate a lot of storage underneath it.  The bed frame is also meant to be a box springs.  But we went ahead and put our box springs on, underneath our mattress.  The bed is REALLY high off the ground, it's kind of funny.  I think we are going to just keep it like that.  I don't want to throw away my box springs, so might as well have them out of the way, and under the mattress.  What is nice though is that in the middle of the night Elden has stopped climbing into bed with me.  Elden and Haley would climb into bed with me--usually not Lee--and I wouldn't notice for awhile because I was so out of it.  By the time I would realize they were in bed with me I would wake up quite uncomfortable, and then lots of times would be too lazy to move them into their own bed.  I do NOT like kids sleeping with me (aside from when I had nursing babies).  We started locking our door awhile ago so they would stop getting into bed and that helped (Haley stopped getting into bed and Elden stopped for a while till we moved).  Kind of funny story, several months ago when we started locking our door, one of our kids woke up.  I think one of us went and put them back in bed.  He or she did not want to stay in bed (can't remember who it was) and we were already back in bed, with the door locked.  A few minutes later Shanna, Haley and Elden were all pounding on our door, crying at about 2am. I think even at the time, 2am, Lee and I were chucking about it. Anyway, Elden hasn't climbed into bed at night with me for a long time.  It's nice!   He will come up to the bed sometimes and ask me to put a blanket back on him in the middle of the night.  And yes, he's really asleep.
June 5 2013 Elden

The Saturday before school got out, we went swimming.  This picture is also from the second to last day of school.  We went swimming again and I had the kids tested for swimming lessons this summer.  I am looking forward to going to the pool a lot this summer.  We already have our pool pass!
June 5 2013 Shanna Elden

The last day of school I went to an awards ceremony.  Cal and his teacher, Mrs. Cox, and the principal Mr. Dansey.  Cal was on the A B honor roll. So another story......a few weeks ago there was a pretty big storm and the next day the water pressure wasn't working in town.  It was so bad at the school that it had stopped working altogether.  The superintendent was visiting our school, I guess to check in on things.  Our principal was going to the different classrooms with her and they came into Mr. Markel's classroom while I was in there doing fluency reading with the kids.  Afterwards the superintendent asked Mr. Dansey about the bike parked out front and asked if it was the principal's.  He said no and said it was mine.  The superintendent asked what I did, and Mr. Dansey said that I was a mom and had five kids, and that I helped out at school.  Mr. Dansey related this conversation to me.  I don't know how to explain it very well, but they way he told her that I was a mom, pleased me. (Well, how he told it to me anyway.)  He didn't make excuses for my decision staying home and in a way it seemed like he was saying that being a mom was just as important and influential as any other job. Okay, maybe you had to be there, but anyway, it was nice to hear. He is a really good principal.
June 6 2013 Cal Honor Roll

Clark on the A B honor roll.
June 6 2013 Clark AR points

Clark was one of the top readers for AR points in 4th grade.
June 6 2013 Clark AR points (2)

I think this was for battle of the books.  Interesting pictures, I know, ha ha.
June 6 2013 Clark Honor roll (2)

I picked up the kids from school the last day.  It's fun because the last day all the teachers come outside and wave bye to the students for the summer.  It's very sweet.  I think I am ready for summer...sort of.  Usually it's crazy when all the kids are back home.  It's quite a different dynamic even when Clark and Cal were at school, then back to being home all the time. And it's really different having just Elden at home.  The house is very quiet during the day and stays clean.  (I am definitely not complaining!)  But getting used to summer break takes some adjusting on my part.  This year hopefully the transition is smoother.  So far it hasn't been too bad.  The first day off of school the kids were busy with jobs as family came into town later that day, and the next. It's funny because when the end of summer rolls around I am sad that school is starting.  It's so nice not dealing with homework during the summer!!!  Not to mention I love the freedom our schedule has.  Now I just need to not be too lazy this summer!

So, our "bar" was installed! I am not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but they cut this piece wrong and I said I wanted a new one re-cut.  They brought one by and it looks great.  Lee even got the brackets installed--for added support--before they came. See the white outlet too?  Lee switched all of the cream switches and outlets with white ones.  THANKS Lee!  I seriously couldn't have done this without Lee's help.  He has done TONS to the house.
June 6 2013 bar

I want to get three barstools to put under here, and on the opposite wall have some sort of cubby system for the kids' backpacks and homework. Yeah, it will be nice to have our fridge back in the kitchen someday too.  I want to get the trim in before we move the fridge. See the strip of wallpaper?  How could you miss it, right?!  So on that wall, some guy just put up spackling or something to texture the walls.  We don't mind the texturing, so we found out his number and are going to have him come and do it-if the price is right-or we'll do it ourselves.  We also want to do some texturing on the wall by the stove. 
June 6 2013 bar (2)

I found these stools below at  I really like them.  This week our backsplash tile comes in...hopefully we can get that installed soon along with some other things.  We've made a lot of progress in our kitchen but there is still a lot to do...installing cabinet doors, painting cabinets, installing some new cabinet work (we're hiring this one out and I'll get a quote tomorrow...I am REALLY excited about this.  I should be able to get a garbage drawer!), putting up a backsplash, doing the trim work, "retexturing" some of the walls and installing new light fixtures.  At least the list is getting shorter, right?! We need to have some plumbing stuff checked out as there is some leaking problems in the bathroom. Ugh.  Depending on how much that will cost, we are seriously considering purchasing a miter saw with a table and kreg jig.  That way we can do our own trim work very easily and also build some other furniture that I am interested in building! We are going all out, ha ha. And once we get the baseboards in, we can move the fridge back to the kitchen. Okay, here's the bar stool....

This is the chest I am interested in building:  I think it would be great in our family room.  I love the idea of storing games in there too, with the chest doubling as a game table.  I would stain it darker.  I figure that even if we build a few pieces of furniture, and do our own trim work, it will be worth the money to buy a few tools!   Home ownership has had quite the effect on us ha ha.  Oh and our first house payment cleared.  It was great seeing that a nice portion of our house payment went to principal!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


We have some interesting lighting in this house, plus a few ceiling fans.  The fans have been great because this house doesn't have central air.  It should soon though.  We've gotten four different quotes.  Central air is expensive!  We are going to go ahead and have a heatpump installed which will do hot and cold air.  That way for most of the winter we can use the heatpump for heat and run it off of electricity.  Apparently electricity is cheaper than propane.  We'll keep our baseboard hot water radiators because the system is actually just a few years old.  It won't hurt to have a backup heat source.  (Though the baseboards aren't my favorite aesthetically.)

Last night we looked on line at some lighting and here is what we came up with. We have two wall sconces in our family room right now that we will replace with this.  Lee bought them the other day at Home Depot and will install them soon.

Family Room

Lee found this online last night also at Home Depot.  We are going to put this fixture in the dining room area.
dining room light

Another Home Depot find, we'll install this one on the other end of the kitchen where the bar area is--there is an opening that looks into the dining area.
Bar area ceiling light

And lastly I found this at  I think it will be SUPER cute in the girls' room.  Hopefully Elden doesn't mind I just need to make it out to IKEA.
Girls' Room

Monday, June 3, 2013

The. House.

I did a bunch of updates. Click on older posts to see them or click here:

Father's & Son's
A little about Clark (his piano recital!)
Field Trip
Young Women's Activity

Welcome to my most recent novel post.  I've been meaning to write various posts about our house, but never got around to them.  May was incredibly busy and the blog took the back burner.  Just thinking about May makes me tired!  After this post I will be "caught" up with my blog.  And will soon have more posts to do, which I don't mind.  I like blogging.  First off, for the record, yesterday we went to a pot-luck cookout our friends hosted.  My friend Megan made these grasshopper cupcakes.  A chocolate cupcake with a mint oreo inside, and green mint frosting with Oreo good.  Lee had to work yesterday so we all rode in with him.  We did some shopping, then the potluck, then went to the pool to get our summer pass.  It was pretty busy at the pool and apparently we weren't showing up on the computer (or the computer was being really slow) so the lady told us to just go in and do the pass later. After that we came home, cleaned out the van, Lee washed the vans with the older boys, cleaned up the house, did a little laundry and later went to bed. I was hoping to watch something last night, but I was wiped out.  Lee too.

First, some pictures of Lee's free sign at Walmart that Acuvue made for free. It's nice to have his picture and name out advertising.
June 1 2013 Lee ad

June 1 2013 Lee ad (2)

I actually did a real shopping trip at Walmart.  I haven't done that for a long time.  With Lee being at Walmart I will ask him to buy things now and then.  Plus, I try to buy a lot of stuff at local stores closed on Sunday. 
June 1 2013 Lee ad (3)

Oh, and Cal wanted this picture taken took.  I think it's a dog house, complete with a dog. Lego pets are so easy to care for.
May 15 2013 Cal and lego creation

On to the house. I've done a lot of painting in the house.  I might have mentioned it earlier...can't remember.  I painted the family room, the dining/living room, kitchen, girl's & Elden's room, hallway and stairwell. I LOVE the color of the paint.  My sister sent me a blog link: and I fell in love with her paint color and kitchen.  I am not the creative type to envision things--especially when it come to design in the home.  I found her paint color and got it matched at ACE.  We are also mimicking her kitchen in a way.  I love her tile floor pattern, white cabinets, and light granite.  We are doing something similar in our kitchen.
May 8 2013 painting (2)

Most of the outlets, switches and plates are cream colored in our house.  Lee indulged me and we got a BUNCH of white ones to replace the cream ones where I painted.  Lee has already installed a couple.  There are lots more to go.  We'll get around to switching them out.  Hopefully in June.
May 15 2013 outlets and switches

On Memorial Day we put tile in our kitchen.  Lee was a rockstar and prepped everything. We decided that he would take Memorial Day off, as we figured not many people, if any, would come in for an eye exam.  Lee got up at 5am, ripped up the linoleum, took off the baseboards and kickplates and moved the appliances out of the kitchen. He even made a straight line for us to get our tile going.
May 27 2013 (2)

We wasted time on the straight lines.  We made two of them, and we only needed one.  Oh well.  Better spend extra time on it then mess up the straightness of the tile.
May 27 2013 (4)

Here is the pattern we used.  I am glad I printed this off as  reference.  Even with it as a reference I would get stuck by what came next. Thankfully Lee was there.  A few times we'd put down a tile, then come to realize we were supposed to put down a different size in its place.  Which of course we switched out.  There is one corner spot in the kitchen where we did the wrong size. But I don't think anyone will notice, and I actually forgot about it till just now!  
May 27 2013 (5)

Love those spacers!!!  It was especially fun when we could lay the tile without cutting any pieces.
May 27 2013 (6)

We did have to do a lot of cuts though.  Thankfully last Sunday my friend asked me about my house or my Memorial Day plans, and I found out that they had a tile cutter!  Not only did they loan us their tile cutter, but their wet saw, trowels, grout floats, sponges, spacers, buckets, and the drill bit mixer attachment. They saved the day.  Thank you Cory and Courtney!  The wet saw was fun and easy to use, and I even had a go at it a few times. 
May 27 2013 (8)

May 27 2013 (9)

I was really happy about our tile waste.  Or lack of it. The guy suggested that I get 10% more tile for waste.  Well, we have two boxes of 12" tiles left (minus one) and about 3/4 of a box of the 6" tiles left.  Plus grout and mortar! We have two bathrooms that we are going to tile in the future, and we have enough tile do to at least one of them.  YAY!  We finished tiling about 9pm. Not bad.  We skipped FHE that night (okay, that sounds bad to write!), but in lieu of it we got more $.49 slurpees at 7-11 for everyone.  The kids sure enjoyed Memorial Day.  Unlimited TV and computer all day, ha ha.
May 27 2013 (10)

Twenty-four hours later we grouted.  We watched a good movie on youtube showing us how to wipe away the grout in between the tiles so that the grout line would be lower than the tiles. We started grouting way too late though.
May 29 2013 (2)

An ocean art project Haley did at school.  Shanna did a similar one.  Thought I'd throw that in there.
May 29 2013 (3)

Now waiting for the grout to dry a little.  On our floor is our first house payment!!!  It was pretty exciting paying our first payment! So we let the grout sit about an hour.  At 1am we started cleaning it off. About 2am I told Lee to go to bed since he had to work in the morning.  Our big mistake was that we didn't properly clean off the grout when it was wet.  You don't clean it all the way off when it's wet, but pretty much.  A big tip of advice, don't leave a thick coating of grout on top.  I kept scrubbing, and the grout kept drying.  Well, I stayed up till 7:20am.  I got Lee up about 6:45am and we read scriptures, then I went to sleep.  Lee got the kids off to school and left for work. My visiting teachers were coming at 10am, so I set the alarm a little before that.  When I got up I raced to straighten up the house some.  That woke me up, ha ha.  They were SO SWEET and helped me with my tile.  One of my friends kept an eye on the kids, and the other scraped off grout with me. I definitely felt loved. (Later that night is when I went to the concert for the young women at the high school, and then the next morning is when I went up to Lois....busy, busy.)
May 29 2013

The grout didn't wash off very easily.  I had to pick at it some.  See my nails?  These are kind of long for me.  It felt SO nice cutting them. 
May 30, 2013 Lois' Baby Shower

I got a lot of the tiles scraped and clean but we still had a big section to do.  Okay, not that big, but when it's dried on grout, it was a several-hour project.  After scrubbing for a couple of hours, Lee pulled out the steel wool and basically got the rest of it off!  Lee to the rescue again!  I still need to go over it and fine-tune the edges.  And I better do it soon, or I'll indefinitely put it off. We are REALLY pleased with the end result.  Now we just need to finish off the baseboards and kickplates, along with building in some other stuff--in addition to a few other projects.  And the kitchen will be done!
May 31 2013 floor

The same night I got home from Lois' shower, we ripped out the counters.  Well, I should say, Lee ripped out the counters.  Whoever installed these counters wanted them to last forever.  Or at least another 500 years. Lee started about 8:30p, and we finished around 12:30am. Here is the "bar" area.
May 30, 2013 ripping off counter

Creating a temporary kitchen space....  The stove wasn't hooked up, and I pulled out our handy-dandy emergency stove for a few nights of cooking.
May 30, 2013 ripping off counter (2)

May 30, 2013 ripping off counter (3)

See where the crowbar is touching?  In that area the particle board was glued onto the cabinet base and it didn't come off all the way. On Friday afternoon I got the crowbar and hammer, and hacked it away because it wasn't level. Make sense? At least I contributed a little, ha ha.
May 30, 2013 ripping off counter (4)

We have two windows in the kitchen area.  Several years ago the previous owners added on a sunroom, but kept the windows.  Instead of putting in glass, they put in plexi-glass.  Well, that is what was in there when we bought it anyway.  Lee had a great idea of putting in some bubble privacy glass. I love it!  It still lets in light; but the images are skewed, which is what we wanted.  We want to straighten out the curvy trim. 
May 31 2013 New windows

May 31 2013 New windows (2)

After doing all the tile work and ripping out counters, it was great to pay someone else to come and install the glass.  We could have saved a little bit of money, but not a whole lot (a little over $100).  The guy who does this stuff on a daily basis was here for a couple of hours.  I am sure it would have taken us A LOT longer.  With the tile though, after getting a quote from a big company of $1200, and then a quote from a local construction guy of $1200, we decided to do the tile ourselves.  So glad we did.  I was happy to pay the extra $100-ish and save $1200.  So, my grandpa bought several coins years ago.  I got a silver one.  I still need to sell it, but the proceeds from the coin will go to the glass windows.  It will be a sentimental reminder when I see these windows, that my grandparents helped give me them.  In a roundabout way.
May 31 2013 New windows (3)

Friday afternoon (tired yet??!!) the granite people came and installed our countertop!  I love it!  There is a section for a "bar" area that isn't done yet.  They cut the piece of granite the wrong size for that area.  I was kind of surprised that it was cut wrong.  He told me about a solution to fix it with creating some back splash pieces or he would cut me a new piece.  I told him to cut me a new piece. That should be installed sometime this week.
May 31 2013 new counter (3)

May 31 2013 new counter

Here is the faucet.  I can't wait till it's actually installed and working! I am really excited about the soap dispenser...silly, I know.
June 3 2013 sink with faucet (2)

June 3 2013 sink with faucet

We have been without a dishwasher since about April 16th. That hasn't been super fun.  But since Friday morning, we've been without a sink.  (Thursday night technically, but I made sure and washed all the dishes that night before Lee took the sink out.) Now I am grateful for an operating kitchen sink!  I still need to be thankful though for running water in the house right?  I have been washing the dishes "in" the tub.  Well, the thought of filling up the tub and washing dishes directly in it grosses me out, so I make sure I bring bowls in with me.  One for washing dishes and one for holding the dishes after they've been washed, but waiting to be rinsed.  And tonight there was quite the pile of dishes, despite using disposable bowls for breakfast, plus disposable cups, plates and forks for lunch. Hopefully tomorrow we will have a working sink.  I have never bought a sink before, and there aren't any drain catchers or anything.  I need to call the granite place to see if they forgot to leave me something.  Likes I said, maybe when one buys a sink, that person literally buys just a sink. And that's it.  Lee could have hooked it up Saturday but I never called the granite place.  I don't want to buy extra sink pieces if the guy forgot to give them to me.

People have been asking me if we're settled in our new house.  I tell them that we unpacked everything, except three book boxes, within the first week.  But now that we are doing renovations, things are becoming unsettled. It has been nice being in our "first" house and as I mentioned earlier, paying our first house payment.  We were very blessed to be able to put 20% down on our house, which made our house payment just a little more than rent.  It definitely gives me a peace of mind that if for some reason Lee couldn't work, I could go to work and easily pay the house payment. Also, we went with a 15-year fixed rate loan, as Dave Ramsey recommends...I know you're shocked! If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I am a HUGE Dave Ramsey fan.  It's actually been really fun listening to his show while painting, and scrubbing down tiles. And I enjoy listening while I am cleaning up or doing things around the house.

All of our home improvements we are paying for with cash.  I was hoping to do some big projects throughout the summer, but since last summer was slow business wise, I am now planning on not doing hardly anything.We are back on track now with our savings and that feels great.  When we first moved here things were incredibly tight.  I would worry that we might not have enough money for basic necessities (thankfully that never happened!).  Our budget then was probably the tightest it's ever been too.  One fault of mine is that I LOVE doing the budget. So much so that I didn't communicate with Lee about it very well--we are working on that though. One time he bought a can of spray paint for Clark's pinewood derby car.  I hadn't communicated with him about the money, and each dollar was important.  I ended up crying over a can of spray paint.  We obviously worked something out, but yeah.  Money was tight. It's nice that his practice has grown and that there is more wiggle room. I feel content about our current situation--I definitely didn't feel that way a year and a half ago. We want to pay off this house fairly quickly, so we still want to keep the everyday budget down as much as we can. But it's nice buying more meat, and not putting water in our milk anymore! I have been adding a little here and there to our food storage.  Hopefully by the end of the year we'll have a three-month supply of food, and a good start on a year-supply.

The plan right now is to finish up the kitchen, get central air downstairs and maybe do a few little things here and there.  OH, about the central air again, we are just putting it on the main level.  Next spring we are going to save up and put a mini-split system upstairs.  Basically they're like individual hotel room air units.  My friend gave us two window units and we are using them upstairs for the time being.  Thanks Janet! Okay, enough about the house, ha ha.  More to come, that's for sure!!!!