Wednesday, June 30, 2010

a tight fit and a dirt pit

(Out with the Old, In with the New: Part 7)

The old trailer house was 14' wide and 66' long. This was the imprint it left behind on the property:
Looking west, you can see where the old trailer house is now parked:
Looking east, you can see where the camp trailer was parked in the backyard:
Ah, yes. The camp trailer. It became our temporary home for 3 1/2 weeks until the new house was ready to move into. The camp trailer measures 7' wide x 25' long. If I didn't feel cramped in our old house, then I definitely felt cramped in the camping trailer! Especially since 2/3 of the time we lived there, it rained. The rain was a curse for me. It made it so we were all stuck inside without a satellite TV, without room to play, and without internet for part of the time and also created lots of wet, dirty clothes that I had to take to friends' houses frequently in order to get the laundry done. I do not look back on those weeks with fondness. But, despite what people told me, I still like to go camping now that I'm not living in it anymore!!
Here's what the inside looks like (don't look too hard, I didn't clean before these photos). After you walk in the door, to the left is the kitchen area, the table and couch, and the queen-size bed where Josh & I slept:
After you walk in the door, to the right is the boys' room with 4 twin-size beds and 3 closets. Even though each boy had their own bed, they spent several nights sleeping all on the floor together:
The new house measures 28' wide x 76' long. That's ten feet longer and twice as wide as our old house. Josh and I had discussed for months exactly where we wanted it placed on the property to accomodate the larger size. It pretty much went in the same place where the old one was, but we changed the angle to follow the driveway rather than the ditch line and we moved it down about five feet from where the old house started. This created about a 30 degree angle difference from where the house was before. In doing so, it took out a little part of our backyard, but a majority of the new space was taken from our driveway parking area.

When the excavator guy came on Tuesday, May 18, we marked out the new site with sticks in each corner and connected string to each stick. We only had to change the layout once before it was finalized with spray paint marking the exterior lines. It was so exciting when he started digging an hour later! In the photo below, the red rock was where the landscaping in the front of the old house was. The orange front-corner stick is in the dirt right in front of the red rock, and you can see part of the orange spray-painted line to the right of the red rock where the front of the new house will be:

I'm not the only one who was excited to see the excavator digging! Kanyon got right to work with his digging, too!

The boys were also glad to see the excavator in action. Thankfully, the guy was still working by the time they got home from school on the bus, and they loved watching him finish (it kind of reminds me of the Mike Mulligan story):

A different view from our upper terrace of the excavator nearing the end of its job for the day:

After the excavator was finished, we were left with a big rectangular hole to admire:

The rectangle hole seemed so huge, especially in comparison to the spot in the dirt that we'd been looking at for days left by the old house's outline!

Progress towards the new house felt rewarding, and almost made living in the camping trailer seem worthwhile (well, at least bearable)!!! be continued

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two Performances (that I'll probably never see again)

Towards the end of the school year, Ammon was involved in two performances.

The first was a 4th grade talent show. Ammon was excited about playing the piano in it. His broken wrist was still in a cast, and he hadn't had piano lessons for over a month. We were living in our camp trailer, so we didn't have a piano for him to practice on. He prepared for the audition by practicing two chosen piano pieces at Grandma's house. His audition went well, and he was permitted to be one of the performers in the talent show the following week. In between the audition and the performance, he didn't practice once. The day of the performance, he learned they would be doing the talent show in front of the whole school rather than just the 4th grade. He doesn't like performing in front of people AT ALL. He was so nervous right before, he told me he didn't want to do it anymore. I told him he had to, because he'd already made a commitment to his teacher. He got all mad at me and told me he was only going to the short piano song. Luckily, his turn to perform was towards the end of the show--there were several dancers, cloggers, singers, and musicians first. By the time it was his turn, he was determined to do the longer piece. He didn't do as good of a job that he would have if he had practiced, but it went alright, especially considering how nervous he was to play in front of everyone.The second performance was a reader's theater put on by his class. They performed "Tuck Everlasting", and I got a special invitation from the class because I read that book to them earlier in the year. I've volunteered in Ammon's class since he was in first grade. I helped with slow readers that year and rarely saw Ammon because he was at the top of his class in a different reading group. In 2nd grade I helped students who needed to acquire minutes reading, and occasionally I saw him. In 3rd grade, I helped students prepare for spelling tests, and since Ammon always got 100% on spelling, I hardly helped him. But, this has been my favorite year volunteering in the classroom; I was in charge of group reading to the kids in the higher reading group, so I got to see Ammon EVERY time I volunteered! Once a week for almost the entire year, I came and read a 4th-5th grade level book to them. It took me about 6 weeks to get through an entire book. Over the course of the year, I read Gulliver's Travels (shortened version), The Witches, Tuck Everlasting, and The Wish Giver to them. With "Tuck Everlasting" they did a movie:book comparison, and then they chose to do a reader's play about it as well. Since 2nd grade, Ammon has been involved in class reader's theaters. And every year, he starts out being a big character and drops out half-way through it because he doesn't like committing his time to practice or having to perform in front of people. This year, he started out as the 'Man in the Yellow Jacket', but he ended up being the 'Sherriff", a two-line part in the play. I've loved performing ever since I was in the 3rd grade. It's strange to me that none of my boys like performing in front of people. In fact, Ammon, Jonah, and Micah all despise it! I'm grateful for the opportunity that I had to watch Ammon's two performances this spring, but since he'll be at the middle school next year, I doubt I'll ever be able to watch him involved with these type of performances again--especially since he doesn't like doing it!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Field Trip 1

One of the things I appreciate most about being a stay-home mom is the ability I have to volunteer in the school. I remember what it felt like when I worked and I couldn't. I truly enjoy spending time in my children's classrooms throughout the school year, and this year I was also able to accompany the boys on some of their school field trips.

When the kindergarten class went to Geertson Creek Petting Zoo in May, I tagged along. I drove my car and followed the bus so that I could bring Kanyon, too. The Petting Zoo was so fun! There were lots of different little animals: a miniature horse, a calf, several mom and baby goats, several mom and baby ducks, a goose, a pot-bellied pig, a miniature pig, chickens, rabbits, and two hamsters. We spent 3 hours there! The weather was warm and sunny and beautiful, and the special visors that the students made in school just for the occasion were perfect to shade their little faces! The kids loved being around the animals and running around the farm! I am so glad I could go and be part of their fun field trip!

The children got to feed the animals and were able to hold several of them. My boys' favorite animals to feed and hold were the ducks and goats:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crime and Punishment

Having twin boys can sometimes be a challenge.

I often hear "what one doesn't think of, the other will", and mostly, that's true.

When they were babies, I'd discover them next to their over-turned crib.

When they were toddlers, I'd find them scaling dressers and dumping drawers.

When they were little boys, I'd learn of secret places all over their bedroom with marker drawings and gum remainders.

They love to wander around the ranch outside, and sometimes they'd return home smelling of gasoline or stained with oil and I'd question them as to what they were doing..."nothing" was always the reply!

Well, they are now 6, and they've already done their first crime.

Behind that gate where we parked the old trailer house is some old cars and trucks of Grandpa's. And the boys had started hanging around that area the end of April/first of May. I never thought about it much, because like I said, they like to wander and I knew where they were at, so I didn't think it was a problem. One evening, Josh went over there and he discovered this:
He knew exactly who had bashed in both of the windshields because the evidence was left at the scene of the crime: two mini shovels that the twins had received for Christmas a few years ago.

Of course, they denied it at first. They tried to place the blame on their brothers. Like the other day, I said "who left this pudding right by the computer?" (they're not supposed to eat by the computer). Ammon said "Jonah did it". Jonah said, "It wasn't me, it was Micah". Micah said "No I didn't, it was Kanyon". And Kanyon said "Nuh-Uh". That's how the blame game goes in this house. But there was no investigation this time; we KNEW who had done the crime of breaking the windshields.

Because they were Grandpa's trucks, we told them of the seriousness of what they had done, informing them that they would have to pay for new windshields. Finally, Jonah said "But Grandpa doesn't drive THOSE trucks". And that's how come it was OKAY for them to hit out the windshields of those two. (There were other trucks parked by the ones with the windshields broken out, but they were un-touched).

When we talked to Grandpa about it, he had already seen the damage and knew what had happened. He didn't talk to us about it, because he said he thought we were already stressed out enough with the whole moving-the-house thing. Grandpa said he didn't need to have the windshields replaced. He said he remembers doing stupid things like that when he was a kid--breaking cars' windows. Then I learned that my husband did that when he was a kid--shot at old car windows. Grandpa said, "that's just what boys do". But, I think it just runs in the family...

Grandpa's punishment for the boys was to help move wood piles. For hours and hours, days and days, we moved wood piles. It's a pointless task, really, moving wood from location to another. We've been doing it all spring--the wood here goes there, the wood that was over there goes here, the wood that was in this pile goes in that pile, etc etc etc. This time a huge chunk of all our wood (we have a wood stove to heat our house in the winter) needed to be moved in order to make room for the house-moving truck to park the new house in its location. It was a good task for the boys, because it requires labor and time. They did the Crime, so they did the Time!!! They started helping with our wood piles and then they helped Grandpa move his piles of wood. I didn't get a photo of the twins working on it, but this is what moving wood piles looks like:

I hope the twins learned a valuable lesson.

I know I did: never put wood in one location if you think there's a possibility it will need to be moved to another!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Like to move it, MOVE IT!

(Out with the Old, In with the New: Part 6)

So, as I was saying...where was I? Oh yes, on Sunday afternoon (May 16) we moved the old house off the lot. Bit by bit, Josh (with some help from his dad) jacked up the old trailer house and got it off all of the cinder blocks that kept it level. This job took a couple of hours, as there were around 50 cinderblocks on the underside holding up the house in locations all down both sides and on both ends of the house.My inside job was to take down any pictures off the walls, remove any items off top shelves, place all TV's on the floor, etc. because during the short 100-foot move we didn't want anything to fall and get broken. We only moved the old house about 100 feet to get it out of the way so the movers could bring in the new house without any problems, but we also didn't want it too far away because until we moved into the new house, all our stuff was staying in the old house (kind of like a temporary mobile storage unit) and we wanted it to be easily accessible.

After removing all the stabilizing cinder blocks, Josh disconnected the water and septic and electricity. Josh and Edward (Josh's dad) moved away the back porch, and the house was ready to go! Edward brought up his big John Deere tractor to pull the old house with, but the hitch wasn't leveling up just right, so Josh and Edward dug out dips for the tires to make it drop a little, and then it was perfect!

Edward hitched up the old trailer house to his tractor and away he went...

He had to back it up a few times in order to make the necessary 120 degree turn to take it out the driveway.

This was the last turn he made before he got it completely off the lot where it had stood for the last 7.5 years! (plus a short video for your viewing pleasure)

Heading up the driveway...

It was a tight squeeze through the gate...

And the driveway slopes just a bit right by the gate, tilting the trailer on its way out (making me a little uneasy)...

Grandpa parked the old trailer house just beyond the gate. And nothing but a shape in the dirt, and some leftover garbage, were left behind. (the rounded part was where our back porch and flower garden were).

For the next few days, I loved staring at that big nothing in the ground. It made me feel hopeful for what was to come!!! be continued

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Subtraction of the Addition

(Out with the Old, In with the New: Part 5)

On Wednesday May, 12, we signed the official loan papers to purchase our new home with a private lender. On Thursday (the next day), we drove down to Idaho Falls to our home sales company, gave them a check, signed more documents, and drove home just in time to get the building permit from the county office before they closed. That night, the demolition on the old house began. Josh took down all the skirting from around the bottom of the trailer. On Friday, we took away our front porch and put the tires on the mobile home. On Saturday, May 15, I was boxing up and cleaning things inside and Josh was removing the old bike shed and completing all the preparations for moving outside. Saturday was our last day and night in the old house.

On Sunday morning, Josh got the home's addition ready to move. He put some logs underneath it and attached them to the floor beams to assist in moving. He disconnected the power and peeled off the roof that connected it to the rest of the house.
While he was doing all that, I was boxing up everything in the addition, which had been our bedroom for the last year, and moving it all out of the bedroom and into the main part of the house.
Josh hooked up Grandpa's backhoe to the addition with chains, and started pushing and pulling and dragging it the 50 feet across the driveway to its new location. This was the most exciting part of moving our house because it was the first big step we took, and seeing the addition be moved made it feel REAL.
The addition is now our new bike/4-wheeler shed--this summer we'll have to fix it up a little (fix the trim, add cupboards, take out the carpet, etc). The old shed had become too small to cover all our bikes/motorcycles/4-wheelers and it was also falling apart, so using our addition as a replacement was the perfect solution!

Old Shed:

Out with the Old/Ready for the New:

New Shed:
The project of moving the addition took all morning long. We were done around 1:00 in the afternoon. We stopped to have lunch, and then we moved the old house off the lot all afternoon/evening. be continued