Friday, December 11, 2009

November


So. Took awhile to get around to finishing up the blogs... typical. Anyway, now November is wrapped up! On the 4th of the month, we closed on our new "mansion". The house is pretty much a smelly shack, but we cleared out the junk, borrowed an airless sprayer and sprayed the whole inside of the house with about four layers of paint, and whala! a warm, dry home for the winter. We're going to leave the old beast here until the spring when we'll build a new house and tear or legally burn this one down. It's kept us very warm, so we can't complain too much about it... except that all the floor are severely sloped and the foundation is a disaster and the floors are cardboard and the windows will never be clean.

We blocked off the back three bedrooms and second bathroom because they are just too much to clean up and heat. But, we still use one bedroom for all the toys, one for storage, and one for building materials. We also keep all of our pets in the back hallway... more about that later.


After getting the house up to somewhat livable standards, we made numerous trips to the recycling center to drop off all the old computers and metal scattered around the 1.3 acres. We also bought a washer and dryer off of craigslist (YEA! I haven't had my own washer and dryer since March!.. well, I had a washer in NZ for about a month, but no dryer) and a SubZero 36-incher off of craigslist. Nothing like putting a giant SubZero in a tiny 700 sf living area. It is king of the house, but it deserves it, because those things are awesome!

We also got our bed set up in the office/den and the older kids sleep on a hideabed in the living room and Elsie has been put back in a portacrib again... although it is just because it's a bed, not because it contains her in anyway... in fact, I think she gets out of bed MORE often then she sleeps in it. We have a bathroom and a shower, too... so I don't have to go to the health club to work out just to be able to shower.
Not only had this poor house been a rental for 20 years, it had been vancant for two years and vandalaized by errant teenagers. Goodness. I need to do some "after" photos, but here are the before photos anyway. We mainly bought the property because of the land and the awesome views, but it was a bonus that the house could be fixed up enough to house us for a few months because when we made the offer on the property initially, we thought we'd have to burn it down immediately.

Oh, and we got a "free to a good home" bunny named Pinkerton right after we moved in. I CANNOT believe we don't have any photos of him (he's not an imaginary bunny, I swear), but he is a great lop-earred, potty trained, loving bunny. A bunny makes any house a home. :)

We took up all the carpet and linoleum and just use the bare wood and cardboard floors. Much more sanitary.

The week after we got moved in, Elsie and I flew down to Orange County to celebrate my mom's 50th birthday. Her husband Ken put on such a great party AND it as a total surprise! She was so scared when she came home and there were 60 people in her living room! What a fun time. My brother-in-law Sloan was in town for a few days for an interview before he flew back to New Zealand, so it was a treat to see him. And, miraculously, my brother Tyler even showed up. PARTY!

I couldn't stay in California for too long because I missed Jonah AND my chicks were arriving in the mail the following week. I was so happy to finally get the call from the post office on Friday morning at 5 am to say my chicks were there. Unfortunately, on the way to the post office, the car ran out of gas and I had to hitch a ride back home (because Jonah was sleeping and not answering his phone) and have Jonah come fill me up and THEN I made it to the post office and got the 27 little chickies. CUTENESS. They are SO cute when they are little. Isn't everything?!
(There's our new piano in the background too... Jonah got it for me for my birthday. It's a Baldwin baby grand and it is AWESOME.... and it only takes up 25% of our living area... it is so worth it though).
They all come in a little box like this. Chicks can live without water and food for about 3-5 days after they are hatched because they eat the egg white and need to be able to survive in the nest while all the other chicks hatch... once ALL the chicks are hatched, which usually take 2 days, then the mama hen takes all the chicks out for a walk to eat and drink. Our chicks didn't have a mom because they were hatched in an incubator and then promptly mailed to us.

Once you get the chicks, you have to keep their enclosure at 95 degrees (that's why the picture up above of Elsie is pink... they brood under a heat lamp... no suntans though) and help them not kill themselves by doing stupid things. We actually had 3 chicks die from eating their bedding and choking, but other than that, they are all doing great and getting bigger. They are now in their akward teenage time where they are just sort of gangly and annoying and we just ignore them until they grow into adults (Sorry all you teen readers out there... I'm ONLY referring to chicken teenagers, so don't get offended). The chickens are various POLISH chicken breeds, so look that up on Google and you will see how awesome they will be in the spring.

While we don't live in the most ideal of homes, the kids are thrilled to be somewhat settled. They get to ride the bus every morning together and then Cam comes home at half day on the short bus (it took many weeks for me to pursuade the bus director that he HAD to get a ride home (we aren't on the set kindergarten bus route), and I am so thrilled that I don't have to go pick him up) and Ana rides the big bus home at the end of the day. I never thought I'd let my kids ride the bus, but they love it and MAN is it convenient.

We were gearing up to have to have Thanksgiving all alone, and then some great new friends with kids our kids' ages invited us over. They are a GREAT family and we had so much fun. We offered to bring the turkey, even though we didn't have an oven... oops. So, we did it New Zealand-style in a hangi pit. Jonah just had a fire going all day in a pit he dug, and then we wrapped the turkey in tin foil and wet burlap and chicken wire, put it in the pit lined ith stones, and covered it with the coals from the fire and dirt. We dug it out the next morning, and WOW.. tasty moist turkey cooked all the way through.

At our friends' house for some games and candy-crafts before the meal.

Elsie has true crafting talent, just like her mom.

A pilgrim hat.
I have to say that our host Jennifer made THE MOST delicious Tahnksgiving meal. The stuffing and yams were the best I've ever had. She also made a great cranberry chutney.Let me know if you want any of the recipes...


The day after Thansgiving, my dad and his wife came and visited. The kids and I hurried and finished their Christmas present... we found this amazing antique birdhouse and brought it home and painted it all fancy. Jonah called it high-density bird housing...

Somehow my camera went missing on the day they were, but I did get lots of video and this one photo of Elsie's new ballerina dress that they brought... she wears it ALL the time and makes me turn on the Nutcracker Movie on Hulu so she can dance and dance. My dad was only here a day and a night (they braved the RV for the night, though they ended up freezing when they accidentally turned off the heater), but we managed to do a big tour of Sequim, see Santa come down mainstreet in a horse-drawn carriage, and let the kids all sit on Santa's lap after the City Band played Christmas songs. It was quite seredipitous and festive! So, that's November in a nutshell. Happy Thanksgiving!

2 comments:

Eyrealm said...

LOVE this post! I don't know how we missed it. Maybe you just posted it! Anyway we love seeing all the good 'ol stomping grounds that we now know so well!

Anita and Tal said...

This post is a gem! I loved the part about the chickens! COOL! or COOLNESS! We saw many little chicks in Mozambique and it made me miss the little ducks that our family had at Bear Lake many years ago.