Tag Archive | family

Racing the weather

Since Sunday I’ve been spending all my time shed building.  Timeline got critical because a big (early) snowstorm is predicted for tonight so it was pretty much the last chance to build my shed.  The shed has been pushed off all season because;

  1. very very wet spring, like standing water all spring
  2. Needed to research and decide and research and read and ask etc this takes a long time in my world, I probably should have started last January to actually be ready for a May build.
  3. You know, life, and kids and extra kids, travel, and the summer just flew and I’m not a fan of working in super hot sun either.
  4. Other projects stole time and resources, I did build a Pergola and a garden structure this year as well as some indoor things but the shed was always on my mind.
  5. Fall went back to rain every weekend, very non-conducive to getting something built.

Finally, I decided what I wanted, how it should go, and the weather was not wet and so last week I started digging foundation just in time for a hard freeze BUT there was a predicted nice week (this week) so in many ways this entire shed has been actually built between Sunday and today.


this was all I had done before Sunday.  Square and Level is a good start though.


Kids loved banging nails.  We had to add a little support to most wisely use our wood.

It was a team effort, even the kids helped, and everyone had fun doing it.  The impending snow was the challenge we needed to really get moving.  I have worked pretty constantly the past 3 days with breaks to drive kids or go to the hardware store.  If it was summer we could have done so much more because it is light out until 8pm but a 4:30 sunset adds to the difficulty and also makes it harder to over-do it because there is no way to push on and get to the stupid stage of the day.

According to the weather people, we should start seeing snow in about half an hour but at this point we are ready.  The foundation, frame, sheeting, and house wrap are done.  The roof trusses are up and so is the plywood and underlay for shingles, and, about 2 rows of shingles.  We put a giant tarp up, in the dark, because nobody was willing to shingle in the dark *even though I found a shop light!!*.  I also didn’t get the door in so there is a tarp over the opening.  The door is something I can get done in the snow but the roof is just going to wait until spring.  My fondest hope is a warmish day this week, I can shovel a path and it will be snug in there to put in the door and then add a few shelves, hooks for bikes etc and haul the stuff from the garage so then I can park in the garage for the rest of the season.  We will see…

My brain is super energized for getting so much done so fast, but, my body is telling me I used a lot of odd muscles.  Right now I’m tucked in bed early with my laptop enjoying putting my feet up and surrounding myself with pillows.  Tomorrow I tackle the things not yet done in the week, and, prep for Thanksgiving.  It is a mellow holiday with 2 friends families joining and provided we are not snowed in, I will shop tomorrow for all the things for a proper feast.  No other plans (other than the shed finishes) for the holiday but I foresee puzzles, games, TV and maybe some Christmas shopping and decorating.  Sorry, I didn’t post daily, hopefully nobody thought I was overcome by sleepover kids.  (that was a busy day, maybe I’ll post about it tomorrow)


Did I mention we got a cat?

I don’t think I did….

Hey, we got a cat!  He is much bigger than our dog.

Back in April, when we spent a lot of time at softball, I was thinking to myself (in my head) “I think we are ready for a cat, maybe for Zoe’s birthday…” and not 10 minutes later one of the softball dads said “hey Kate, want a kitten?”.  That is how cats come into your life – like the mind readers they are.  Apparently, his office cat had kittens and they needed homes and while never having talked about cats and in fact bringing a dog to many softball games – he offered me a kitten.


our first picture of him in June

It worked out nicely.


when Prima was bigger by a hair back in July

We debated names briefly and decided on Sorbet, like the frozen treat.  We usually call him Sur-bee or “cat”.  He is a bit bold, he will jump onto tables and counters but he does know it is bad because if he sees you he jumps down with a guilty look.

He is a bit standoffish.  Absolutely friendly and you can pick him up and hold him and carry him around but he seldom chooses to come to sit on a person.  Prima does get territorial about her people so maybe they have an agreement.


growing growing growing

He loves dog food and given he is 3x the size of the dog we have to defend Prima’s food.  We thought we would need to keep Prima out of his food so we always fed him up on his cat tree.  He still eats there although it is proof that cats can levitate because only about half of him fits up there now.


  we might need a bigger tree

At just over 6 months old he has proven a very good mouse catcher (and bird and vole).  He patrols the garage and the field around the house and drives #1 crazy about not coming home by dark but he does turn up around 8:30 daily if he isn’t in already


look at this giant thing

Overall the pets get along, they play fight and chase and even snuggle but most usually they are just in the general vicinity of each other since they both like to sleep half the day.  He does like to groom Prima and she will stand there and let him lick all her muddy paws clean after romping in the yard



captive grooming

He is a very good cat, he is chill and tolerates the kids picking him up and while he does try to eat our food (and Prima’s) nothing out of the ordinary for a cat.  We just need to be more careful about our bacon.  He is a good addition to our house.


sleeping pets.  Wish they didn’t love MY bed but they are cute

Happy Veterans Day

Very pleased to say my favorite Veteran is back on American soil enjoying her family after her little working vacation for more than half a year.


Thanks to everyone who’s job makes the world a better place.  Today we recognize those in the US military for their commitment to the goal.  My second favorite veteran said something really insightful that I want to put out to more people in the world;  He feels very appreciated and thanked every time he wears his uniform and is glad he lives in an era where the military is respected.  He, unfortunately, sees the disrespect and scorn heaped on police right now and asks that you also thank them for their service and recognize that every day they are at risk and that risk is for the protection of us all.

I’m sure there is a crossover between military and police and today is for the military but since he said that I’ve been extra careful about also thanking my police and I’m marking my calendar for January 9th to give them their due.

my extra hour

Yesterday our time ‘changed’ in the stupid WWII artifact of a social contract where we all agree that we ‘fall’ back one hour.

In reality, it is annoying to nearly everyone and absolutely despised by pets that are very used to being fed at the same time.  This time of year we ‘get’ an hour so the question of the day was what did you do with your hour?  It is silly because you get no more or less time, you just shift as if you drove across a time zone, but I had scheduled us a ‘do nothing’ weekend and the kids have today off (again, no real reason, just off today to keep parent on their toes) so I do actually have some extra hours.  Want to guess what I did?

I cleaned closets.

For a month I’ve been intending to go through the closets.  Purge.  Get things ready for winter and put away summer.  Someone lost 60lb and he is due for an exodus of too big stuff.  I have lost no weight, but also gained no weight, so I have been wearing the same stuff for years and some are now just too worn out or not the right ‘look’ and it needed to be gone through.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that it is silly to keep everything post-Fiona so 100% of her previous size is already packed up and is getting taken to its new home tomorrow.  We tried on everything, made good choices on what to give away, and powered through!

I’m proud of myself for letting go of so much

  • one overflowing tote of 6Tis going to a new family
  • one giant bag is going to goodwill
  • one medium bag going to fabric recycle (torn or too worn out)

In my closet, I’m down to 4 totes of seasonal stuff for both of us including shoes (mostly mine but his shoes are bigger so take up more space)

Each child has an organized wardrobe where they can find anything they want to wear and on their top shelf of the closet is a neat box labeled “Next Size or Season”.  I’m very pleased that I don’t need to do major shopping, everyone has plenty that fit and they like.  The only thing I semi need to get is some more hangers, who knows where they go.

We also didn’t let the rest of the house go to absolute poo while I was focused elsewhere.  Most of Halloween is back in totes, laundry is going, and things are generally tidy.  I don’t get my normal Monday to put things to rights but Niamh’s room looks great and so do the closets 🙂  We are going to go swimming later and we have a busy evening but it was a mellow but productive weekend.


Day of the Dead – All Souls day

Yesterday I was thinking “yippie, another year with nobody I love gone” but then I remembered that in fact, my Aunt Grace died early in the year.

She did not have an obvious illness that we all could see and ‘say goodbye’

She didn’t have a sudden accident either.

She died after a short ‘normal’ illness that just took her away.

I could cheat and call my mom and ask how old she was for real, but, she was my Grandfather’s (mom’s father) sister so AT LEAST 80.  She was more or less ‘old’ in my head from my very first memory.  Never exactly aging, because to her credit, never actually slowing down.  All my childhood she lived next door and we would go visit her for extra hugs and cookies.  We would bring her wildflowers from the hedge and she would listen to our stories.  For someone who lived next door, we actually did not spend a ton of time there – she and my grandmother (who lived with us and who was her SiL) had some amorphous disconnect I don’t know any of the details of at all.

At some point, she and my Great Grandmother (who lived with her) decided we needed about a million Harlequin novels that they had already read.  They subscribed to the “send you books forever” service and at one point with no other criteria for picking what to read, I choose books with the main character’s name being Kate.  It is a very common name, I had no shortage.  Those books were absolute formulas but were pretty perfect for learning a little bit about this or that because the profession or circumstance in each book always seemed pretty realistic and has proved pretty useful in my life.  I’m really glad I read all those silly books and every silly romance novel will forever remind me of my Aunt Grace.

On our road trip from Sayville back to MN last summer we decided to go through the little NY town where my Aunt Grace retired to.  She moved in with her daughter Peggy, one of my more favorite cousin-aunts (technically a 2nd cousin but contemporary to my mom so always referred to as an aunt) and we had a nice dinner with them all.  The girls talked her into playing a game with them and while we only stayed a couple hours I am really glad I took the side trip.

I wish I had learned more about her childhood in Malta and her teenage life in Brooklyn and then the move out to the burbs of LongIsland.  She was a quiet person, her sisters were all more talkative in my memory, but when she said something there wasn’t ever much argument.  She was always a busy person, cleaning, cooking, picking up, arranging something, making plans.    When I lived in Malta she and her husband came for a visit and it was fun being slightly spoiled by them for a week. We went to Gozo together and her husband teased me like he always did.  They had other relatives to see so we only spent a day or two together, no point in spending time with your neighbor when you traveled around the world to see people you never see, however, now that I am thinking about it, she helped form my reality that you visit when you can.  I am nevertheless glad that took that time regardless of the reason, I was happy to see another familiar face.

Tonight we are having a nice dinner and looking through the book and I’ll tell my girls about all their relatives and special friends that have gone on.  Each one distilled into a picture and a 30-second story or two.  As the years go on they will have more personal memories of the people who will be added to the book.  I hope they have to find the time to keep taking side trips and enjoying the people in our life so when the day comes they are only sad the person is gone, not sad that they missed so many opportunities.

I hope Aunt Grace and all my relatives and friends that have gone before are at peace and in a good place.

Happy Halloween – costume edition

I hope everyone had a great night with their trick or treating or hanging at home being cozy.  For once, we had a day go *as planned* with nearly no issues or problems and it was fun from beginning to end.

Kids went off to school, 1 in costume, 2 bringing costumes, and a bag full of treats to share (if they were allowed).  ::aside:: I’m glad I’m getting this teacher for #3 third so I already know the ropes because there was zero communication on what permutation or combination of holiday fun was happening in her room.  She is the more kind teacher so I asked for her but she isn’t as on top of the note sending.  ::tangent over::  I collected them under bright and not so cold sky and we zipped home to wait for Lars to finish work.

Everyone knows the drill and thankfully they all still love to pose for me.  We did a photo shoot for each costume and then had a meat and cheese tray for early dinner and went off to meet friends and then traveled in a mob house to house.

This year #1 went as Athena.  She is still in deep love with the Greek myths and legends but at least this goddess had some very easy to identify items so at least 3 people could guess who she was.


halloween 2019-006

Medusa head shield, spear, and then general Greek-ish clothing fit for a Goddess.halloween 2019-005 Her shield was drawn by me but colored and contoured by her.  It also has the ‘feed me’ feature where candy went into the mouth and we had a ziplock bag on the back.  We had to empty her fairy regularly into a normal size bag but making Madusa puke out candy was also kinda fun.halloween 2019-007

Her outfit is really quite pretty and while not mundanely reusable it will absolutely go into the garb collection.  Her costume was 100% hand made (except for the laurel leaf hairpiece) and you can’t have a real hand made Halloween without a little tin foil.


#2 As ever, is a little on the wild side.  She is a Pirate Parrot with a pair of Pistols.  It was a fun costume to collect and I’m really happy with how it came together.

halloween 2019-012

I think we hit the blend of Pirate and Parrot nicely.  She told one friend that her mom was a pirate and her dad was a parrot…  well, maybe we work on the reality of genetics some other day.halloween 2019-009

I’m really happy with the mask.  It is all fleece (leftover bits from the wings and tail) and I machine sewed the majority and hand sewed the beak on and into a curve.  This is not actually the best picture ever because usually it fit right up over the silly pirate logo on the hat for a pretty cool look but I wanted to get that smile in the picture.

She had fun with the pistols too although they did get put in their holsters and forgotten about for the rest of the night (thankfully).  I think having hands free to hold a candy bag and ring doorbells is an important trait in a costume.

halloween 2019-013

Hard to say this is a totally hand made costume since she is wearing a red T-shirt and normal pants and a store-bought hat/pistols, however, I made the wings and tail and mask.  So hand made parrot, store-bought pirate?  Regardless this won’t have too much future use other than dress up box but I might remake the fleece into cozy pillowcases.

#3 went a bit classic – she is A devil (not The Devil).  She is certainly impish plenty of the time so pretty suiting persona to put on.halloween 2019-003

She declined wings or a cape or a fluffy skirt in favor of the very classic horns and a tail.

halloween 2019-002

Her costume is possibly the least homemade as it is overall very simple.  I couldn’t resist the sparkle headband horns and it came with the pitchfork.   We found a blouse at goodwill that was the perfect color and I really loved the lace since it would dress up a dull red dress nicely.  I cut the shirt apart and resewed it to fit.  The tail was my only from scratch item – tube with stuffing and a bit of wire attached to a ribbon to tie on.  The tail did end up with some abuse over the last few weeks but 12 gauge wire is pretty flexible stuff.

halloween 2019-001

Her outfit is technically just a dress but I have low expectations of her wearing it not as dress up.  Who knows!  you might see it at Christmas, it is a very festive red.  Hornes were declared too itchy so they might get donated right away so another little devil can have the pleasure next year.  Overall she was comfortable and warm since I made it roomy enough to go completely over her winter coat (and I’m glad I did)

Here are all three, having some fun while we waited for 5:30.  You can see in the background my photo wall of every costume, it is a real fun project and it is so fun to see the costumes every year.

halloween 2019

I had been crossing my fingers the weather would be ok for the outside walk.  It was nearly perfect, clear and crisp and not too cold.  Sure we had to be creative about bundling up and double socks but everyone was warm.  We went to the same neighborhood as last year that really does it up, tons of kids running around and superb decorating and hospitality (fires and warming spots).  We came home at 7:30 and popped in a pizza to eat while watching a Halloween movie.  Everyone was happily asleep by 10 and I wasn’t far behind.  I love having an outlet for creating something fun and helping them become characters they love.


Fur cloak, wings are quite warm plus we had a red sweatshirt to replace the t-shirt and devil dress fits over her coat.  I’ll take credit for planning indoor/outdoor costumes thanks 🙂

Today the decorations come down but I’ll take pictures before I do for a slightly late Halloween House tour tomorrow.