An unpinnable Easter

I took some advice from some smart folks on Twitter and decided against Easter baskets with paper grass that gets everywhere & a bunch of dollar store stuff that just ends up broken. Instead I picked up a bunch of board games, Play-Doh packages, and just a few of their favorite candy bars. I threw in a package of pre-filled plastic eggs (jellybeans) at the last minute because I knew they’d be disappointed without an egg hunt.

It was certainly different in this smaller place. All the kids are sleeping in the family room since our cat decided to have her kittens (planned, please don’t yell at me!) on their bedroom floor & we were only 3 days post birth. I had to wait for everyone to fall asleep — and nearly fell asleep myself and ruined everything, ack — before creeping around their sleeping bodies and stashing stuff here and there. It looks so sparse in this photo, but man – we just got rid of SO MUCH STUFFFFFF, I did not want to add more, and they were happy, so hooray.

Easter Bunnyish

When we got home I started our Easter feast. I went easy on myself and our tiny oven, and made a one-pot meal. I threw the pot roast, potatoes, and baby carrots into the roasting pan with my go-to seasonings and gluten free gravy mixings. I knew I had about four hours and since the kids were happily playing board games I went to lie down for a nap.

At 6pm I woke up to the smell of burning. GREAT. Not only had I overcooked the roast, all the carrots were burned, and all the gravy had scorched out of the pan. THEN I discovered I’d left the absorbent meat pad thing in the bottom of the pan! GROSS. The broccoli and salad were good :-/

We pulled the pumpkin pie out of the fridge — again, I’d decided to go easy on myself and bought one pre-made from the store. In my late Saturday night shopping I did not realize it was a ‘keep frozen and bake’ kind, I thought it was all done and ready to go. So it had turned to soup in its package. Good grief. Luckily the pie had a plastic wrap thing on it so it hadn’t spilled all over. We baked it later and it came out okay… but it wasn’t cooled & ready to eat until around 10pm. Sweet diggity jean.

I was about ready to scream, so we hopped in the car and went to our favorite place on the river. 55 degrees F, peeps! It felt amazing (don’t laugh you warm weather birds, you). A trip to the river is always a good place to go when I’m grouchy and nothing seems to be going right.

Easter river walk


Easter river walk

Easter river walk

Easter river walk

When we got home we had a family home evening on the resurrection and the atonement of Jesus Christ. I bawled through it as I am wont to do when I’m feeling all spiritual and grateful and stuff, and here we are. Kids are finally in bed, my charred roasting pan is soaking by the sink, various board game pieces are still scattered across the table so they can continue their game in the morning, and I’m actually tired at 1am. (I’ve been battling a week of stupid insomnia, but I’m making progress.)

Hope your weekend went much more smoothly! What did’ja do? Not burn any 20 dollar roasts or soupify pumpkin pie I hope. (I want a feast re-do.)

Schwimmming! Plus bebes!

Lane Lines 1

We decided to test out the trial pass at the gym this afternoon. I found a speedo on clearance at a local sports store, and purchased it along with a swim cap and goggles with palpable excitement. I think the checkout guy thought I was nuts.

E. and I went to the gym and waited for the people to validate (read: give us another sales pitch) our test-drive pass, then finally we were permitted past the front barrier. I almost skipped into the locker room. I felt a bit lost at first; I’d had a tour but I couldn’t remember where everything was. I sorted it out and saw a lot of leopard print panties in the process (apparently we Idahoans like our leopard print!) and made it to the pool before E. It’s on the small side, only 3 lanes (only 2 were up) and though the coordinator had told me the best time to come, it was a little crowded. I got nervous again. I know the etiquette for lane sharing, and can circle swim or split a lane no-problem, but swimmers with their caps & goggles are a little intimidating looking. I sat in a chair and worried my workout in its ziplock baggie for a few minutes.

The most intimidating swimmer of the bunch stopped for a break and lifted her mirrored goggles. She had some kind of waterproof mp3 system in her ears, but she signaled to me and offered to split the lane. Yes! Thank you! I jumped in. Yippee!

E. came out a bit later, and as people left, we ended up in a lane together. He didn’t have goggles and was mostly there for moral support, but oh my goodness, I LOVED IT. I… I haven’t swam laps, like an actual workout, in over 20 years. My 17 year old self would have rolled her eyes, but I was so pleased with what I was able to do. I remembered all my stroke techniques and could hear my coach (Larry Swim, no kidding, that was his name, he was amazing) in my head. He taught me well, and though I’m sure he would have corrected my form if he had been there, it felt really great.

In all I only swam a little over a half mile. It kicked my butt, but was totally exhilarating. I loved it. I can’t believe I’ve never even tried this here. I was just so daunted by the distance and the cost — and hey, maybe that was a good thing anyway with my heart & all, but after today, I’m like, “It’s worth it. Whatever it costs. Here are my pennies.”

Well, that’s not totally true. I am considering cost and have a crazy-glue and duct tape plan to save the most money… which I will talk about more tomorrow since this is getting long. I’m off to shop for a pull buoy and zoomers. Woot!

p.s. My brother and his wife had their baby last night! So exciting and isn’t he adorable?

new nephew!

p.p.s. And my little sister has an update on her Miracle Baby, too. I seriously love being an aunt.

Unrelated items of a Monday

I have had one of my bad headaches since Saturday night. It’s keeping me up at night and is generally very annoying. It’s not really a migraine I don’t think, at least not the kind I used to get pre-surgery. My migraine meds aren’t touching the pain; ice packs are helping, and at least I can see.

Today is very exciting, we’re all waiting by our phones for more texts and hopefully pictures from my brother. His wife, my sister in law (I’d link but I think her instagram is private), is in the hospital today and we hope to have news of their baby boy being born soon!


Can you even stand how cute she is?

Speaking of instagram, I’m back on there now that I have a nicer (to me) phone. I locked it down so it wouldn’t feel so overwhelming, and I might delete it, but you can add me if you want.

While I lie around in bed moaning about my head, I’m obsessing over lap swimming. I think I’ve talked about this before? Maybe? I was on the swim team in high school (backstroke FTW) and it remains the only exercise I really love (though I really like Yoga too), and I was stunned when we moved here over 9 years ago to discover the local high school did not have a pool. I had no idea that was even possible. I’m not kidding when I say we would not have made an offer on the house had I known that.

Swim team circa 1992, I think?  Me front and center (duh, right?)

Swim team circa 1992, I think? Me front and center (duh, right?)

The nearest pool is in town, an hour round trip away. I’ve never been able to justify the gas or the costly gym membership (with flipping contract!) But this rental, if I take a back way into town, puts me a handful of minutes closer, which isn’t much of a commute / gas savings, but it’s enough to have me mulling it over in my head. Plus the gym offers reduced cost pool-only memberships in the summer. I’m obsessively refreshing their site waiting for the announcement, because I think I’m gonna do it.

J. is interested in joining the community swim team, which would help motivate me to make the drive on a regular basis. I know I’d love it if I could make myself take the initial leap, and I have swim-clearance from my doctor. What do you think? Do you like swimming? Or are you like one of my swim team mates who quit because she hated getting wet? (So funny to us at the time, why would you join swim club in the first place if you had that particular hatred?)

Deep breath. We’re walking away.

Screencap of the 30 acres via Google Maps

Screencap of the 30 acres via Google Maps – quite out of date, it’s been farmed in recent years.

I’m a pretty good decision maker. I like to set my sights on something and make it happen. I don’t waffle too often and I can even be a bit rash with my willingness to jump in feet first. When I come up against a decision that is harder to make, I think my brain sort of shuts down. There isn’t a clear black and white answer? What? What is this gray colored problem? I shall consume sugar and cry a lot and watch thirty episodes of Once Upon a Time.

I don’t think a choice without an immediate clear answer automatically means it’s wrong choice — I think often good decisions can be murky and it takes a leap of faith to make them. Still, we found that even though we could get psyched up about the 30 acres, we’d usually revert to nail chewing by the next morning. It would feel more calm and settled and peaceful if we considered walking away. Even though that was a painful thought, it did make more financial sense, too.

We spent Tuesday morning with the architect and he listened to me and didn’t think I was crazy. We now have 2600 square foot plans plus the larger 3000 square foot plans. But there was still a lot of pressure to make a hard and fast decision quick since the bank & county need copies of the plans in order to move forward.

On Wednesday the earnest money was due according to our sale contract, but that morning we weren’t any more decided than we were the day before. So we got in the car and drove to the temple. On the way we got a phone call from the lender. There was a snag — not an insurmountable snag — but enough of one that would delay the whole process a month or two, which was definitely not in the seller’s timeframe. Still, it sounded like it could still work, but it gave us another opportunity to walk.

We drove around a bit in the lovely spring sunshine and by the time we got home, we had decided to let it go. We talked with the seller and he understood — while part of me hopes the land is still available in a month or two, I’m sure it won’t be. It was priced so well and he had two other buyers behind us.

I feel so peaceful and settled about it all. I didn’t even cry.

Meanwhile we’ve got some pretty sweet house plans in a smaller design, plus the 3000 square foot one, just in case. I’m happy we will have more time to think about those and decide what we want to do in a less frantic and rushed manner. And the architect will be happy to modify them as needed.

Now, while I haven’t experienced any regret or sadness over letting the property go, I do feel a little physically ill. But that’s because I need to change my stress coping mechanism from devouring chocolate to plowing through bags of carrots.

Farm dreams… closer than we think?


Soooo. We thought we get into this rental and take our time, looking around at different properties and different options and then BAM, this really awesome little piece of farmland popped up not far from our old house. 30 acres, water rights, and priced right.

We got excited.

We have really enjoyed our rental so far, so our first thought was to find an older manufactured home to buy and move onto the piece. We could get one a little bigger with more bedrooms and live there while we saved up some more, started working the ground, accumulating animals, and later we could build a farmhouse.

Well, the banks balked at this. Buying land – especially undeveloped farmland – is a different beast (at least out here). Just buying a subdivided lot somewhere with or without a house on it is much simpler. We explored other options, including buying a newer manufactured home and putting it on a permanent foundation but there was still a bunch of red tape, and geez, a newer manufactured home runs around 90K, you might as well just build a new home.

I got pretty excited about the option to move an older home onto the property, but it isn’t done very frequently up here, and again the bank just gaped at me like I was crazy. I found an adorable house that was practically free for moving, and several house moving companies, but the distance was too great — almost 200 miles. I’ve been combing through resources to find another older home closer to us, but haven’t had any luck. It would be easier to go this route if we owned the land outright already.

Meanwhile, we have a sale contract on the 30 acres. It’s contingent upon the funding working out, and it looks like it will. The avenue that made the banks the happiest was to explore building a new home right away. With a construction loan we wouldn’t have double payments (we’d accrue interest, but not be responsible for a mortgage payment until the house was move-in-able). So for the past week, we’ve been going down that path.

I know, right?

I’ve been poring over house plans for what feels like forever, but we kept hitting snags in our layouts. I wanted something off the beaten path: a farmhouse, smaller square footage, eliminating fancy stuff like formal dining rooms, a single family / living space rather than 3, and a roomy enough eat-in kitchen dining space for homeschooling. We wanted a farmhouse aesthetic, and my WORD, it was difficult to find something that fit our needs and meshed with our hopes and dreams.

Our General Contractor recommended an architect / drafter person. We were afraid of the cost, but it worked out well budget-wise, and the guy is so talented. He whipped up plans that encompass almost everything we were hoping for, but are a little on the big side. I was really wanting something in the 2500 – 2800 square foot arena, and these plans are just over 3000.

I’ve been really tormented about that. I can see that the space he’s designed is all utilized very well, and solves a lot of problems for us. I understand how inexpensive it is to add three- or five-hundred square feet to something like a bonus room or a garage. It basically costs the same amount of money to build a 2600 square foot house as it would to build a 3000 square foot house when you’re adding inexpensive space like that.

So why wouldn’t you build bigger if you could?

Because I’m a nut job? Because I want to prove to… myself? To the world? That a smaller than average (at least out here) house is possible and more than adequate? Because I don’t want a house that takes three days to clean top to bottom?

I… I don’t think I can even do my inner battle justice. I can see logically and pennies-wise why you’d build the bigger house. But emotionally it makes me cry.

Now, the drafter / architect person is lovely and can certainly make me a smaller house. He might scratch his head over it, but he can do it. We have another appointment with him on Tuesday morning, and then we’re supposed to turn the bid papers in to the bank and be pre-approved / official by Wednesday for a close date of May 9thish.


The square footage and the headache over the floorplan has made me pause. Made E. pause too.

Are we moving too quickly here? Is the pressure to get everything lined up for the funding pushing us too fast? Is the pressure too great? Are we putting the cart before the horse?

Maybe, just maybe, we let the whole thing go.

Walk away from the very well priced 30 acres in an area we really like.

Shelve the houseplans.

Just breathe for a bit.

Finish unpacking.

Look around more.

Feel less pressure and be able to move more slowly.

I don’t know.

It’s painful to think about letting that 30 acres go. But maybe it’s the better thing to do.

On the flipside, it’s the perfect time of year to break ground. We could start building in May and hopefully be able to move in by November — not everything would be done maybe, but the timeline feels like it could work.

And maybe it would be stressful, even a handful of months from now… and then we lose prime building season. Geez. I just don’t know.