For almost 4 years now, I've been in the habit of sending out weekly emails to my kids' grandparents and a few friends and family. I don't usually post what I say there here, but now that I'm blogging more, I thought, hey, why not? So, here, for your reading enjoyment, is some of my email from yesterday:
Friday morning, we had a huge load of cabinets delivered to our house. DH spent a huge amount of time before our house was finished preparing cherry cabinets for his office and our entertainment area. He’d done about 70% of the work, but then the demands of installing and finishing all the other cabinets for our house took priority. With his new job and ongoing family responsibilities, he hadn’t had time to finish them and they sat in his friend’s commercial shop until this week. A month ago, this friend called and said they had some time free (a common occurrence around here in the construction industry lately) and wondered if he could finish the job for us. What a blessing! We paid for them to finish up, but nothing like what it would have been to start fresh. I had not remembered there being so many cabinets. DH started installing his office on Friday, and with some help from his dad, who came for the night, they got all but two done before our cookout.
Friday night, we had a cookout in the backyard with three other families, then two of the families camped out in our backyard. We used our neighbor’s fire pit to roast hot dogs and make s'mores and just had a great time. The weather was cool and between all the kids plus two friends of the F’s, we figured there were 20 kids there. We went through more than 32 hot dogs and the same amount of buns, three bags of chips, two bottles of pop, grapes, carrots, and a pitcher of lemonade. And the oldest kid was only 10! The twins loved cooking their own marshmallows, even more than eating them.
After a bit, half the guests went home and we set up tents. Lillian, Joey and Michael each slept in their own special tent (courtesy of Grandpa & Grandma M 5 or 6 Christmases ago), DH and the twins slept in another, and Spencer and his four older kids stayed in our large 6 man tent (also courtesy of the Ms).
Saturday morning, we woke up to rain. It hadn’t been in the forecast, but the last several hours of the camping had been rained on. Luckily, with the rainflys on all the tents properly installed, nothing got very wet. We ate breakfast of pancakes, sausages, and eggs inside and waited for things to dry to take down the tents and take care of the supplies. Everyone was so excited about having slept in a tent the night before. The rain cleared up around 10 o’clock and things dried out pretty well, even enough for me to get the lawn mowed yesterday.
Speaking of yesterday, after the other kids left, the real work began and didn’t end until nearly midnight. DH worked on installing the entertainment center cabinets, while the kids and I tried to somehow get tons more laundry done and folded (we had 9 days this time instead of 7 and it was overwhelming), rooms cleaned, garbage out, and more. I was called on to help DH a lot with the install, which went very slowly, mostly because the cabinets were one inch larger than the space, which meant cutting a ½ inch off the face frames of four cabinets by hand, then hand-planing the edge, then cutting an inch off the top, then carefully getting them all to fit. Did I mention the word “overwhelming” yet? To top it off, neither DH or I had slept well.
I was so proud of Lillian and Joey yesterday. Joey was DH’s helper for a lot of the day, running his errands, handing him tools and screws, vacuuming up the messes, and more. Lillian kept at the laundry. Three times I went downstairs to switch the loads to find that she already had, without being asked. Not only that, but she kept folding and folding while watching a movie with the twins. It was so nice to see that job getting done while I worked elsewhere. Later on, while we were trying to figure out how to get the lawn mowed, keep track of the twins and Eliza, and get the upper cabinets installed, Lillian asked, “What’s for dinner?” “I don’t know!” I grouched. Ten minutes later, she said, “Mom, can I make dinner?” And she did. While Eliza took a second nap, the twins played downstairs, and I mowed the lawn, stopping every ten to fifteen minutes to help DH lift the next cabinet into place, she prepared spaghetti and sausages, peas and carrots, and pears. She set the table and had everything ready just as I was finishing the lawn and Eliza was waking up from her nap. It was such a blessing and so needed on such a tough day.
Later, it was Joey who provided that last-ditch relief that made such a difference. Fully awake after her late nap, Eliza found the whole cabinet process fascinating. She was underfoot, grabbing tools, picking up screws, and nearly dumping out cups of finish oil. Joey saved the day by taking her outside and playing with her for a long time. He wandered around the yard with her and gave her rides up and down the street in her stroller. She loved it, and we got a much-needed reprieve. Joey also stayed up long after everyone else was in bed, providing screws and tools and moral support to his dad while he worked to at least get the rest of the cabinets installed and the family room reasonably clean for the Sabbath. They also ran to the store for some necessary items that couldn’t wait until Monday (twin-size pull-ups and hamburger condiments for our lunch today). We still have a lot of work on the cabinets to do, mostly applying the finish to the doors and the cabinets, but that will have to be done this next week (anyone want to lend a hand?).