Dusting off the blog

It has been almost 2 years since the last blog post that I have written. Long enough that I couldn’t remember how to log in to my blog or even what program I used to use to write my blogs. Thomas and I are starting a new adventure and a friend suggested I should blog about it. I love the idea of documenting everything we’re doing but I’m not sure if I’ll have the dedication to take the time and write about it. We’ll see how this goes.

It’s funny how I have shared different interests with each kid. When Daniel was still living at home we watched a lot of cooking shows; Iron Chef, Anthony Bourdain, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Man vs. Food. Mostly shows with exotic foods and chefs that travelled around the world. Then when he left for college I never watched another cooking show, it made me too sad to watch them without Daniel. Beth and I watched Project Runway and Americas Next Top Model again not shows I ever watched without her. Thomas and I also have our favorite shows, we love car shows; Top Gear, Fast N Loud, Counting Cars if we had the space we would buy an old car to rebuild together, sadly we don’t have the garage space for that. We also like auction shows, house flipping shows and renovation shows. Thomas has also been the kid that has had the privilege of living almost his whole life in a construction zone and helping with the many never ending renovations we’ve tackled in our very old house.

So on to that new adventure…I am buying a house for us to renovate. While I really want to flip houses this first one is for the kids to rent. At first Daniel, Megan and Beth will live in the house. Then in 4-5 years when Thomas is ready to start at the Police Academy him and BJ plan on kicking the other kids out and moving in.

I think I need to clarify my previous statement that “I am buying a house for us to renovate.” I have been wanting to do this for years, recently I started looking at house online and stumbled across the house we are now very close to owning. I didn’t mention any of this to Dan until the night before I had set up a showing, it was just an idea I was throwing around and I wasn’t really sure where it was going to go. Dan couldn’t go see the house with me but Thomas and I fell in love. OK maybe I fell in love and Thomas was quietly stoic. Dan did go look at it the next day and agreed that this was an amazing deal and a house with great bones. Yes, it needs a ton of cosmetic work but structurally it is very sound. Without one word of complaint or objection Dan worked out the financial side of this endeavor and made it happen for me. I love that about him, instead of pointing out that our house is practically condemnable due to unfinished projects he just lets me go into something that is a little bit crazy.

I do have a big picture plan; Thomas and I will do all the work we can on this house (with a little help from Dan when his expertise is needed) and within 2 months it will be move in ready. Then I think we should move in so Thomas and I can gut our kitchen and bathroom and finally get our house finished. That idea is very dependent on our financial outlook at that point, but that’s what I’m hoping we can do. About the time we are done with all that the kids leases we be ending in their apartments and they should be ready to move into the house. And if all of this goes as planned then the next house I buy will be a flip and we can finally make some money from this new endeavor.

The Giving Tree

was one of Dan’s favorite books to read to the kids when they were little. We have our own Giving Tree growing in our front yard. We have been in the process of cutting down this tree for the past 2 years. It was giving the boys quite a bit of enjoyment to slowly cut down the branches. It’s quite an eye sore at this point but someday it will be all the way cut down and replaced with a  new tree.

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In the mean time our giving tree contributed to 2 projects this weekend that Daniel was working on. First he wanted to make a coffee table (actually a D and D gaming table) for his new apartment. He picked up a piece of 1/4 in plywood and 4 very thin table legs at the Habitat for Humanity store. His plan was to just screw the legs onto the plywood and be done.

Instead we searched around the garage and the yard and found a table top that I had trash picked and put aside. We then had the idea of building a double decker table using that as the lower level and his plywood as the upper part. The legs he bought were too small so instead he used tree branches from the giving tree and more branches as spacers between the table layers.

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The finished table… I think he did an awesome job! This table is so cool. I love how the legs have curves and forks in them. It is very sturdy and quite heavy.

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Back to the giving tree for some more branches. I don’t think this is the safest way to cut down a branch!

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Timber…

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Daniel also wanted to build a cat scratching post. It was another successful project. As a matter of fact I’m going to have Thomas build me a coat tree for the front porch using tree branches. It was so nice to see the boys busy building things and working together. Much better than sitting around inside the house watching TV!

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Daniel still has a little work to do then I’ll post a pic of the finished project.

Making Owls

Our house has been over taken by OWLS! Some are pretty owls…

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And some are kind of crazy owls… We joke that they are actually Honey Badgers. We are so immature, we just can’t quit watching this YouTube video of the Honey Badger.

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The owls have been sent around the country as Xmas gifts, these 2 went to my niece and nephew in Seattle. Isabella requested one made by me with very specific colors, BJ just wanted Dan to make his.

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and they’ve been added to a Xmas quilt… I made this quilt for my mom.

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Thomas contributed this owl to his G-ma’s quilt

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Hmm I wonder who made this “owl”

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Even Daniel got into the fun of making owls. Actually a few people that came by our house in Dec. made an owl. My friend Michele, our neighbor Victoria and of course; Daniel, Thomas, Dan and me.

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Daniel made his owl tall, skinny and goofy just like him. He also packed it with lots of rice so he could throw it at his girl-friend, watch out Megan!

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Dan and I spent every evening for a few weeks working on owls. It was our stress de-compressor through the holidays. It also prevented us from getting anything done on the renovation!IMG_5267IMG_5269IMG_5273IMG_5288

This was my favorite owl, it lasted for 1 whole day before it was given by Beth as a last minute Xmas gift.

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Trick or Treating 2011

As is our tradition we all headed over to my parents house for trick or treating again this year. For the first time ever  one of the kids was not with us,  Beth, sadly was still in LA modeling. But Daniel and his girlfriend Megan were able to join us, even though they are now in their 20’s.

I’m not really sure what the kids were dressing up as, Thomas was just happy that he got to walk around carrying his sword. Since it is actually a real sword it is delegated to his bedroom and never allowed outside, normally.

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There’s mom preparing our Baileys and coffee for the long walk. Mom, Dan and I still walk around with the kids, while Dad stays at the house passing out candy. The Bailey’s and coffee to-go make walking in the cold even more enjoyable!IMG_4453

And this is why the swords are not allowed out of the bedroom, you never know when Thomas may attack!

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Here’s Daniel and Megan, aren’t they cute together? Daniel did make the comment that he thought this would be his last year going door to door for candy. Since he’ll be 21 next Halloween he thinks that’s a good time to stop. Dad will finally have someone to help him pass out the candy.

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We were so happy Megan could join us, she lives in a little tiny town in Ohio about 2 hours away. Not only has she not been trick or treating since she was 12 years old (can you imagine?) but also she has never trick or treated at night since in her town they do it from 2-4. Now that’s just silly!

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Thomas got all 16 pounds of his candy sorted by type. You wouldn’t want all that candy comingling!

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Daniel’s class schedule

So what classes does a student at OSU in a computer science major take going into his junior year? A bunch of classes that make no sense to me. Well I do know what Tai Chi is, hopefully that helps calm his mind after taking all these other indecipherable classes.

Seriously, when I read these descriptions I still don’t know what these classes cover. I think they made up some of those words!

CSE  321 – Case Studies in Component-Based Software

Case studies using: tree and binary tree components and binary search trees; context-free grammars; tokenizing, parsing, and code generating components; sorting components and sorting algorithms.

CSE  360 – Introduction to Computer Systems

Introduction to computer architecture at the machine language and assembler language level; assembler language programming and lab.

MATH  366 – Discrete Mathematical Structures I

Mathematical formalization and reasoning, logic, and Boolean algebra; sets, functions, relations, recursive definitions, and mathematical induction; and elementary counting principles.

EDUPAES  169.16 – Martial Arts Forms: T’ai Chi Ch’uan

An introduction to T’ai Chi Ch’uan with emphasis on an exploration of body/energy awareness.

The wood is on the move

Ha! a good portion of the pine tree that had been dropped in our front yard has been moved back to the wood pile (take that you naysayers.) Due to some unpaid debts Daniel has become our indentured servant, during his days off, for the rest of summer. He has a long list of things that need to be done and that wood was moved to the top of the list. I was expecting some complaints about chopping the wood but he actually said he wanted to do that, go figure.

Apparently, Daniel’s idea of chopping wood is actually tearing it apart with his hands. I can just imagine my BFF Melissa saying “homeschooler!” (her favorite response whenever my kids do something dumb, and of course it’s said with love and said quite frequently.)

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He was surprisingly successful with his bizarre methods. He actually split all this wood by his Herculean attempts. Some of it really needs to be split a bit more but it’s a start.

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This piece did not get thrown down, it was crazy heavy. But it was impressive watching him lift it.

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He managed to roll the 6 foot log just a bit…

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but try as might he could not lift it up.

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Dan and Thomas built this totem pole like structure up in the front yard. Can you guess what they’re using it for?

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Yep there’s that throwing ax yet again. It’s been sharpened and is ready to throw.

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I’m so happy this is in the front yard so all the neighbors can watch the kids use a throwing ax.

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Tattoo’s

No trip to Seattle is complete without someone getting a tattoo. This trip both Beth and Daniel got their first tattoos. It was a family affair with Dan, Thomas, my sister, Aunt Chris and me all there to witness the event. In the end my sister also decided to get a tattoo. I was feeling very left out but I had left it up to fate (meaning I didn’t make an apt) and the tattoo artist didn’t have any more openings that evening. No worries though, Dan and I have a tattoo artist in our neighborhood and I am already scheduled for my orchid tattoo.

Daniel was first on the table, his design ended up being a little larger than he anticipated meaning it took about 2 hours and cost a bit more than he was expecting. I think he was a little shocked by how much it hurt but he held up just fine, not needing any breaks.

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Everyone was getting orchids to show their solidarity to Bethany and Isa. Both the girls share a genetic mutation that Shauna and I are carriers of. While it’s not a life threatening condition it is life altering and this was our way of showing our support. I think it is incredibly sweet that Daniel wanted his first tattoo to be an orchid and that he was doing it just for his sister.

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Bethy was more than a bit nervous when her turn came up. She was really excited to get a small tattoo and had been talking about it forever. But after seeing her brother’s pain she started questioning it. After several attempted starts only to have her stop the tattoo guy it wasn’t looking like she would go through with it. But she finally pulled herself together and let him begin.

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Eventually, after the initial pain, she didn’t think it hurt too bad after all.

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The picture doesn’t show it but she’s giving me a peace sign for the camera.IMG00250-20110718-1433

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Here’s Beth sporting her new orchid tattoo:

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She decided to not have a black outline (thank you cousin Nicole for that idea.) Since it’s in her bikini area and will not ever be exposed to the sun it should not fade away.

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Shauna has several other tattoo’s so this was no big deal for her. I think this was the first time that I’ve been with her for one of her tattoo’s though.

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Everyone was very happy with their tattoos and there are many plans for future tattoos…far, far into the future!