Saturday, April 27, 2013

Barns, Pins and Knots

When we moved to the JustB, we were really excited that there was a barn.

I put together a moving plan that involved three staging areas: some boxes going into the house, some to the shed, and some to the barn.  I was going to take my time unpacking without the clutter of moving boxes surrounding us.  But the day we moved, for some reason the grand plan was nixed, and all the boxes went into the house.

Then it rained.  
Then we discovered why the Realtor looked like a dear in the headlights
when we asked to see inside the barn the second time we looked at the property, 
and it was raining.  

Perhaps that's why she didn't have the key ... ?

The barn roof wasn't finished, which we knew.  
The wooden roof decking was up, but not the tin.   
What we didn't know was that when it rained, water poured down inside the barn.  
It was about as good as no roof at all.  Ultimately I was really thankful we hadn't 
put any moving boxes in there ... everything would've been a wet mess for sure.

The first thing LtDan did was finish the barn roof.  Which was scary fun, since he was up there about three stories high on a very steep roof.  I'll never forget the day he finished nailing down the very last piece and I had to help guide his foot down, over the edge, onto the ladder.  Failure was definitely not an option.

We loved that barn. 

We had puppies in that barn.  

We had kittens in that barn.  

We had baby birds nest in that barn.  

It was a beloved barn. 

But one spring day in 2011, a terrific storm blew through Texas.  
No tornadoes for us, thank the Lord, but great, great winds, coming directly from the west.  
And naturally, as the winds picked up, we went outside on the porch to watch the storm blow in ... 
because that's what you do when the weather gets bad, you go outside.   
Doesn't everyone do that?

As we stood on the porch, the big trees were whipping and bending like we've never seen them do.  Something made me look to the north, and I watched the barn simply ... lay ... down.


All that time (before we moved here) with the water pouring through it 
had severely compromised the entire structure.  
And when the winds blew so strongly straight into it ... 
well, it was a sad day.

But if a barn can fall down, a barn can be built!

When we decided to go forward with building in December, you can bet I was on Pinterest looking at barns and pinning ideas to my barn board.  You can bet the girls had some ideas for that barn.  I think it was about the time when I suggested something so marvelously practical as oh ... I don't know ... more windows ... that LtDan informed me that it was to be a functional barn.

That's when I realized perhaps his and hers barns would be a better idea :o)
Even so, it didn't take much convincing that we really should go ahead and put the balcony off the second floor ... because, really, weren't we planning to do that with the old barn anyway?

I did get to choose suggest the paint color ... and I also got to pick the outside lights.  

 There are a few things yet to be done, but the dogs and cats are again eating in a barn, 
not on the back porch,
and LtDan is moving his tools in and building his work bench.

And it's all just in time.

Because if you've been on Pinterest, you know the best use of a barn is for a wedding.

(image source:  the frosted petticoat)

Here's our nephew and his cute little girlfriend ... 

 They'll be tying the knot in the new barn come June 1st.

I guess all that Pinterest research is going to pay off after all :o)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Do your kids do chores?  

Our kids do chores.
I always wonder how other families manage this part of family life.
We've had our kids doing chores since they were very small.  
Well ... sometimes it's more accurate to say that they're assigned chores.  
Just because they're assigned doesn't necessarily mean the chores are actually done.
I've read the book that says "kids don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect."
(which book was that?)
I'm not consistent about checking their chores.  I am the weakest link.

But, for the most part, my kids do pretty well on their chores, 
in spite of me.

Years ago one of my friends copied the chore system we were using at the time and in a few weeks she said with exasperation, "it started out great, but she won't do them anymore!"  

I don't know how it works for you, but for us, 
changing things up every so often keeps things fresh.  
One of the things we've done to fill up the time on our long drive to the beach every year is 
a big chore lottery where everything is revamped and reassigned.
We get home from vacation all refreshed and renewed, 
and everyone is so excited for their new chores.
You believe me, right?

I'm pretty sure we've employed every method of doing chores possible.  
Chore charts, chore notebooks, 
regularly assigned, not regularly assigned, 
daily, weekly, on and on AND ON.

Here's what's working at our house right now:

Everyone has a set of daily chores.  These are the things that keep the household in a reasonably orderly state, and they're done every day after lunch.  There aren't that many daily chores, 
but I'm a chart person, so we have a chart, and everyone's chores are color coded :o)
Don't think that our eldest (his chores are in brown) gets off easy ... 
he's taken on the yardwork.  
All of it.  
And it's A LOT.  

We also have weekend chores.  These are more deep cleaning than just the day to day tasks, 
and I've divided them over the course of a month and (surprise!) created a chart.

On Saturday mornings, we have a meeting after a late breakfast 
(we are, after all, working with teenagers).
I write on the white board what needs to be done, and everyone gets to choose their torture chores, usually four or five for everyone.  If the kids have company, the friends get chores, too.  

If everyone gets busy and gets their chores done fast,
everyone is done and the house is clean in a little more than an hour.

That's how it's done here.  
For now, anyway.

Want to see how we changed things up after about a year of doing chores like this?
click }here{

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Well, hi!

Do I acknowledge I've only done four blogposts in 2013?   
Somehow I lost my steam and I was waiting to catch my breath.  
But you know how life beckons you back.   

To quote a dear friend ... 

"ok, ok, ok....the turkey was baked and cranberry sauce consumed.....tree and decorations up and presents wrapped, stuff put away and decorations down and tree in attic for another year....the superbowl was played, valentine's day m&m's were delicious and fat tuesday is now only a memory.....before we are ready for fall again, shall we do that meeting thing where we get to see each other, chat, eat 
and just enjoy a good conversation...?"

Life and good friends don't take no for an answer.


I've been looking for ways to celebrate life in the every day, compiling a list of ways and means of conducting every day life that bring forth the most joy possible.  One of the things on my list is to be in the family room or kitchen when the sun begins to sink and the light turns gold and the room glows.  

So tonight I went into the kitchen to make dinner,
and out the backdoor the sunshine was glimmering through the leaves, 
and the wind was blowing through the grass ...

and, well ... 
dinner was a little late, but for good reason.

We've had rain ... everything turned green and grew three feet overnight.   

Even though most of the winter time things have been put away, the blankets are still on the porch. 
Earlier this week the high was in the 80's ... right now it's in the 40's.
That's a Texas spring for you:  from flip flops to sweaters in 24 hours!


The morning glories from last summer left some volunteers behind,
and they are making their appearance ... yay spring!  

I put this feeder on my Dad's window ... 
it's going to be fun to watch the hummingbirds stop by to visit.

Things have been busy here ... and I have things to post about before I forget.
I'll let the barn red color be the clue for a big one.
And I have progress to report on my {{12 in 12}} aspirations ... now that it's 2013.
And there are a few before and afters to show, too!