Archive for the 'House Makeover' Category

And the packing has begun…

YEA!!! To anyone who knows us, or has read any of this blog, it is evident we need a new house. There are SOOOOOO many reasons why we need a new house that I’m not even going to bother listing any. I believe the Lord is going to provide us with a new home, but I also believe we need to work to make it happen. Sooo…

I’ve been a busy little beaver. I have the credit cards all paid off so that in just a few weeks, our debt ratio will be as good as it will ever be, making our credit as good as it is going to get for awhile. Then it will be time to have the bank pull our credit so we can get pre-approved for a mortgage. In the meantime, though, there has been plenty happening…

I’ve purchased a dolly for moving things. I’ve acquired (mostly bought) a BUNCH of boxes, and a packing tape gun. I’ve been collecting info on buying a first home, getting a mortgage, etc. God has shown me who to contact about selling the house we are in, as well as who to talk to about finding and purchasing the new one. I have some money set aside for expenses and plan on adding as much as I can to it as often as I can. Also, I have arranged to rent a 10′ x 10′ storage unit so we can empty out as much as we can prior to contacting the listing agent.

That’s the point we are at right now. I just packed up most of our photos, videos, and childrens books. These are all easy things to pack and also easy things to do without for several weeks, so that is why I’ve started with those. I’m hoping to actually have the storage unit this weekend, and as soon as I do….I will start filling it up!

So, lots of packing, some furniture moving, some paperwork (loan application and who knows what else), some house-browsing online to get some motivation, and of course our standard work, school, and loads of therapy/doctor appts in the future for the Caseys!

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Projects Shower Down In April!

In the middle of a kitchen renovation, Meagan’s Un-birthday party comes due and Matthew’s bipolar goes completely unstable. Oh the excitement! =/

The kitchen thing is pretty exciting, actually. I’m getting a new (temporary) floor, new sink, new countertop, new cabinet/counter/bar, a couple of new shelves, and I’m redoing the existing cabinet doors…some will be repainted others replaced with super awesome curtains. I haven’t gotten very far yet. The only things done are the sink and the countertop and both of those still need some tweaking. The floor should be started tomorrow, though, and once the floor is done, I’m hoping to get the new counter/bar/cabinet whatchamacallit put in quickly. The painting and curtains will take a little longer, obviously. I’ll post pics (before and after) once I’m done. I’m REALLY hoping to finish this project by Mike’s birthday on the 1st of June.

Other things happenin around here are Meagan’s 13th Un-birthday party tomorrow afternoon, followed by a “Fashion/Spa Sleepover”, and the neverending saga of trying to get Matt’s bipolar stabilized. I saw a little glimmer of possible good news on that front this morning after he took his new dose of his med. He was actually HAPPY, singing even, while doing schoolwork…without a major fight!

Amongst all this stuff, I’m trying desperately to get the house decluttered and cleaned. This is going to be a long-haul project, I know, but it NEEDS to be done. There is just too much STUFF in here!

Of course my crafty project list continues to grow, too. Seems I just can’t find the time to knock any back OFF the list. =( 

Much as I dread it, I guess I’d better get back to tossin junk and doin dishes!

On Curtains and School, Mostly School

The curtains were one of my latest blessings. After the kids and I got back from camp (GREAT time, awesome preaching, nine saved!!), my mom and I went to Lowes. She needed to do some looking and pricing at stuff for her new house (flooring, appliances, etc). When we went in they had some curtains on sale out on the sidewalk so we went and looked. They were nice, but the prices were fairly steep (for me, anyways) even after the discount.

About 3hr later (I was on a motorized cart or I never would’ve made it!), we were done and headed for checkouts. We’d found some marble tiles and each picked out 2 (at $1.50 ea) to use as cutting boards. Right in front of the checkouts were the curtains. We were waiting in line and kinda looking at the curtains while we waited and the cashier told us they were 90% off what they were marked. Our jaws both dropped and then we dropped out of line and started going through them more carefully.

When it was all said and done I got curtains for the living room and the master bedroom. A total of 5 windows. Two sets of panels on the living room windows (one blue, one white), and panels and valances for in here in the bedroom. Original retail price of $525 and some change. I paid (after taxes) $30 and some change!

WOW, huh? =)

Ok, on to school. This coming year’s schooling has been a subject of prayer for me for months now. Years ago, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I was supposed to homeschool the kids… and I did. Occasionally I would contemplate putting Meagan into a private or public school, but each time after prayer and closed doors, I realized it just was not supposed to happen.

Then the year before last, right before school started, our pastor offered Meagan a scholarship to our church’s school. After a crash course in prayer (because there were only a few days to decide before school started) and asking the Lord to let Mike make the decision that God wanted him to make… Meagan ended up going to the private school.

That first year with Meagan in the church school and Matt at home promised to be very exciting and it did turn out that way, but in a much different way than I anticipated. Because of my health quickly deteriating and Matthew’s behaviors/moods/etc (brain symptoms) also getting worse and worse, the homeschool was a big bad flop that year. We didn’t get done anywhere near what I wanted to. Both our lives were miserable because of the frustration and stress. It became evident by the end of the school year that I could not homeschool the following year. I was too sick to deal with it.

So, Mike made the decision (again… HIS decision) to send him to the church school (out of our pocket) if they would take him. For many reasons we didn’t/don’t want our kids in the public school system… not even for a year or two. Also, Matthew’s anxiety was such that we knew he could not handle going to a public school. We weren’t sure he was even going to be able to handle the church’s school, even though it’s only 2 adults and about 15 kids big.

Matt started antibiotics treatment right at 4wks before school started last year. The week before school he attended a short ‘class’ on movie-making at the local library for a couple of hours a day. We anticipated having to not only force him to go and to stay while we left him, but also that he would stay in a corner, scared and unmoving the entire time. Prior to antibiotics this is exactly what would have happened. We were determined to make him go though, since it seemed like a good transition to having to go to school for the full day and also be expected to focus on things or face consequences for not doing so.

We *did* have to force him to get into and then out of the car. However, Mike said that he sat down at a table and didn’t make a scene or say anything when he left. When it was time to pick him up, he actually thanked us for making him go. He had a blast and couldn’t wait for the next day.

He literally hasn’t had a problem with anxiety/social phobia since! So, the next week starting school was no problem whatsoever, thank the Lord!

Anyway. Over this last school year, with both kids in the church school, we’ve all made progress in every area of our home-life, including in our health.

I am doing MUCH better physically, emotionally, and mentally than I was a year ago. I do still have enough physical problems that my doc still considers me ‘disabled’, but I can oversee things being/getting done from my bed or the couch on a bad day. Mentally my brain is back. By the end of the last year Matt and I homeschooled, I couldn’t think or focus or work anything out. I couldn’t even figure out how to score a math worksheet using the score key (answer sheet)! It was that bad. Now? Not only am I back to reading (a lot) and understanding, my brain is functioning almost back to 100%. I occasionally have some short term memory or word retrieval issues, but I can not only score a math sheet, I am back to doing complex math problems in my head.

Matthew, too is doing much, much better. In the last year, his doctor has made several med changes and adjustments and so he is now and has been for many, many months being treated for Lyme, as well as some of the symptoms it has caused for him. He is on medication for depression (which helped a lot with his behavior) and ADHD (which brought him the rest of the way). His behavior and attitude now is completely different than before. He’s no longer ‘difficult’ (and that was putting it mildly to be sure!). Now he’s no more of a behavior problem than an average 10yo boy. He’s even pleasant to be around! LOL

He’s been talking about wanting to go back to homeschool, and of course I would love to, as well… but I only wanted to do so if it was God’s will, and not just our will. Thus the praying… for months.

Over the last several months, not only has it become more and more evident that we are supposed to go back to homeschooling with Matthew, but I also prayed and asked the Lord for the same thing/s I had each of the last two school years. I asked that He would help me know where each kid should be schooled, and also help Mike to know. I asked that He would give Mike guidance and wisdom as well, and let him make the decision concerning school that the Lord would want us to make.

Mike and I have, of course, been discussing the schooling issue for months. Around mid-June, he made his decision. Matthew would be homeschooled.

Then a couple of weeks later our pastor said something that led me to believe that the church was considering sponsoring Matthew’s tuition to the school as well as Meagan’s.

I went back to prayer and also back to Mike. Now I was doubting whether we (Mike, and then me following his decision) had made the right decision. That’s where it’s been for the last month or so. It was becoming more and more evident, more SURE, more peaceful-if-you-will, that yes we had made the correct decision, and that through this possible offer, I may need to stand up for myself/family/the Lord, and politely decline.

It came to a head Sun night. Pastor told me they had decided to pay Matt’s way. As nervous as I had been about talking to him about the schooling (and I had been and had been praying for strength and guidance and the whole 9 yards because I suspected what was coming for a couple of weeks at least by then), all my nervousness disappeared.

Looking back I know I could have stated/explained a couple of things a little better, but overall I think I did ok. Pastor told me that “where the Lord leads, there will be peace” (which I had felt for weeks, if not months, already about homeschooling, but none whatsoever about sending him back to the school) and to keep praying… which of course is what I had planned on doing, and have done and will do. He also told me he would be praying also.

I kept praying as I had been and talked to Mike about things again, letting him know the church had offered to pay Matthew’s way. In spite of the ‘free’ price tag (well as ‘free’ as Meagan’s is, there’s still uniforms and what-not), Mike still feels we should do what’s best for Matthew, and he stills feels that is homeschool. So… again Mike has made the school decision (with help from the Lord, whether Mike realizes it or not!), and again I am following.

Why isn’t Meagan supposed to be homeschooled anymore? Well, honestly I do not know all the reasonings God has. I just can’t know them all. I can say, though, that Mike and I have always had doubts about homeschooling Meagan (not Matt) and have often done the whole circle through options thing with her. Until our pastor’s offer a couple of years ago, we’d always had to stop at homeschooling because we had no way to afford any other option.

The kids are very different. They’re both very intelligent, but their personalities and learning styles and so much more are just vastly different from each other. Meagan has leadership potential in a big, bad way. She needs to be around other people ALL the time. She also needs to hear from someone other than me to get her school work done and done properly. She slacks off much too much with me, regardless of how strict I am. Matthew does better with his studies if he can work alone at his own pace, not just in broad terms, but in smaller ones as well. If he gets interested in a particular subject’s lesson, for instance, he wants to soak up as much of that subject right then as he can, so he’ll work further ahead in that subject that day and maybe not even get to the others. That’s ok, though, because then the next day it might be a completely different subject. He has no problem getting ‘enough done’ over the course of a year, he just doesn’t like to do a little of everything all at once like Meagan does. Also, he doesn’t have to be around people all the time, in fact just the opposite. He needs more alone time than Meagan. He’s certainly not devoid of social interaction and won’t be, but he needs time to himself more often and longer than Meagan. He might be ready for an all-day field trip with tons of friends and other kids one day, but another day he may just need to be alone most of the day. That is how he thrives.

It boils down to that, I guess. Meagan was surviving in homeschool, but not thriving. Matthew is the opposite. They both could/would get a good education in either place, but they’re only going to THRIVE in one or the other.

Lots of gifts this year, plus a BIG one from God

This is going to be my Christmas post. Ok so it’s a couple of days late, but I’ve been busy!

Christmas morning we were awakened at 4am by our oh-so-lovely children. We made them go back to bed, of course.

Around 7am or so, back in they came and we all went out to see what Santa and his elves had left under the tree.

We were informed (before we’d ever left the bedroom) by Matthew that Santa brought us a Wii!

Woohoo! We have a Wii! =)

The stockings for all (even the kitties!) were plum full of treats to eat and toys to play with. Hair pretties, keychains that beep when you whistle, tops that jump 8ft in the air, and lots of chocolate.

The kids then proceeded to unwrap the rest of their loot in 2.9 seconds flat. A new record!

Meagan got a pretty fairy water globe, a backpack, a GameCube controller, and a Mermaidia Gazebo, Barbecue Grill, and patio furniture for her Barbies, and Matthew got a RC helicopter, a GameCube controller, a Spiderman puzzle, and a giant book of Snoopy cartoons, a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows, and an Indiana Jones LEGO set. Then they both opened the box from Mom and Dad (actually that was the first one they opened after the stockings, but whatever). I had been collecting up desk ‘stuff’ for them for a couple of months, and so I wrapped each piece individually (magnet clip by itself, memo pad by itself, calendar by itself, pkg of pens by itself, etc) and then put them all in a big box and wrapped that up nice and pretty.

Good thing I’d managed (with help from Mom and Mike) to get their desks functional (not finished, but functional) just before Christmas!

I got Mike a game called Pharoah for the computer. I’ve played it before and he wanted to play it then, so I think he’ll like it. The kids picked out some movies and candy for him, too. They picked out some pretty knick-knacks for me and Mike got me an Irish Tin Whistle and some books to learn to play! =) I can’t wait to learn. It’s not my beloved clarinet, but since I don’t foresee getting my teeth fixed any time in the near future, I guess the tin whistle will have to suffice. Mike also got a bunch of brain teasers for the computer and a car charger for his cell phone. My mom painted me this so cool Coca-Cola bucket (I WILL get a pic!) and bought me a previous edition of an Oxford medical textbook (I am so excited to get started reading it!! Yes, I know. I am weird!). My brother got me SimCity4 for the computer and a memory card reader so that I can put pics on here a lot easier.

My parents and Bros 4-6 all came out for the big Christmas surprise. That being the fact that Bro4 (27y) bought souped-up-decked-out computers for both Bro5 (16y) and Bro6 (15y). We cooked a ham and heated up some veggies, but mostly filled up on candy.

Everyone had a blast (and got a workout) playing on the Wii and then the boys loaded up their computer bits and went home. The next day Mike took Matthew over to my mom’s to stay the night. I have no idea why he wanted to do that with a brand new WII sitting here, but oh well.

Saturday we went to my grandparents where we played a silly game to exchange gifts and then the whole gang (well the 40 or so of us that were there…) went up to the hospital to carol for my uncle who was recovering from an angioplasty. I think we kinda freaked the security out when we entered en masse, then split up and basically filled 4 elevators and 2 stairwells, then reconvened in my uncle’s room!

Meagan scored a new tent, backpack, and sleeping bag, a movie and some popcorn. Matthew came home with a Spiderman car and 2 movies. I made a haul, too. I got 6 flashlights, a box of truffles, a travel mug, and Sodoku keychain.

The kids and I are all a year older now, too. Meagan turned 11, I turned 30, and Matthew turned 10. Mike and I had our 12th anniversary, too. That all means more goodies! Meagan asked for (and got) preschool toys from us for her birthday. She wanted play food and a tea set with plates. $10! SCORE! =) She also got a Barbie movie from one aunt and was supposed to get a video game from the other, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Matthew got 3 books from one aunt, Battleship from the other, and then we got him a big box of crayons and several super hero coloring books and put them in a Spiderman binder he’d seen at the dollar store and wanted. I got exactly what I asked for too… a black collage frame and a bottle of Lady Stetson. I picked out a nice sweater at the resale shop for Mike. He hasn’t worn it yet, but that could be because of the 70+ temperatures the last few days.

So we had a full gift load even before God gave us His gift this year. I’m not talking about Jesus or salvation right now either. That is of course the biggest and best gift. We received those gifts quite awhile ago and they are still oh-so-very precious! Every year God gives us the gift of family and friends and the like at Christmas time, but this year He gave us something more.

Yesterday I got a call from a friend of mine asking if we could use a new refridgerator. Well, she said, actually she knew we could, the question was whether we wanted one/would take one. Her parents had just gotten a new fridge and were offering their old one to us. And by old I mean AN INFANT compared to our tired, worn-out old fridge. Seriously. Their ‘old’ fridge is all of 4yr old. I think our fridge was probably vintage before theirs was even born. HAHA

So anyway. We got a new(to us!) fridge! =) Just like that. They brought it over and helped Mike get it in the house yesterday afternoon. God is SO good! I thank Him and our friends so much! My new fridge looks so pretty in my ugly kitchen (one of my goals for 2009, btw! lol). It’s a side-by-side and if we had a water line (we don’t, but if we did…) it would give us water and 2 different kinds of ice through the door! How cool is that?! Plus? It can hold gallonS (plural!!) of milk in the DOOR! WOOHOO!

I am so going to post pictures of the old and the new, but not tonight since my brand-new memory card reader is not working yet. I think my USB slot on the computer may be fried. =(

Finally! My Bathroom

So 2 months later… The first in a series of however-many-rooms-I-have. (I don’t feel like counting right now.)

Alright. So here is the “Before” pic. Taken summer of ’07. That was when we were at “critical mass”. By that I mean, the house was in the worst ever shape, and the fullest of junk ever as well. Not quite the most occupied, though, as Bro3 moved out in Mar of ’07. Some of his stuff is still here, however. So anyway. There were only 8 of us living in this 2 bedroom, 1 bath last summer.

Bathroom Before July ‘07

Behind the door is a linen closet, then further in the room on that side is the bathroom sink/mirror. Then a door into the master bedroom. At the far end on the left is another linen closet (for towels) and straight across from it (behind the nekkid wall) is the shower. Now, in this pic you’ll notice there is no bathtub. That’s because back in Sept of ’06 (yes, that’s right, almost a year prior to this picture….) we had a massive water bill that screamed “HELLO!! You have a big water leak!!” So Mike started ripping up floors throughout the house looking for it. First the bathroom floor (and wall), which meant the bathtub had to be moved into the hall. The laundry room and kitchen (under the sink) floors were also butchered. The hole in the bathroom floor had too-long-for-the-hole-so-it-wobbles boards placed over it. You had to climb over them (or step on them and listen to the wobble) to get to the shower or the towel closet. I am SO glad it’s fixed now! =)

Anyhow. In Nov-ish(?) of ’08, Mike got the floor patched back up and arranged for Lowes to come install new linoleum. So here is the “After”…

Bathroom After Nov ‘07

Ok, so that was a MILLION times better than before since it also cleared a huge (bathtub-sized) chunk out of the hall. The wall was still nekkid, though. It took me until Feb. to figure out what to do with it. Mike didn’t want to rebuild it per se just yet since we plan to completely redo all the tile at some point and he wanted to make it all match. This is what I came up with.

Bathroom AfterAfter Mar ‘08

It’s a vinyl shower curtain held up with thumbtacks and clear packing tape. Still not the “I just stepped under the ocean” look I’ve imagined for years, but we’re kinda sorta closer…right? =) Please ignore the water bottle in the tub. I do not know why it is there. Ask the daughter. lol Oh, and my purty green rug? In the laundry. One of the dogs was so nice and thoughtful…they went potty in the bathroom…they just kinda sorta missed the toilet. =(

One more. This is a before, actually. The after is up above. This is a close-up of the fish tank on the wall over the toilet. Back before SharkBait (the Betta) went to the Great Ocean to become shark food for real. Woke up one morning and he was dead. Only thing seemingly amiss was a bee found floating in his tank. Was SharkBait allergic to bee stings, perhaps? We’ll never know. The kids are still hounding me for a new fish. One of these days I guess I’ll have to take the tank down, clean it, and find a SharkBait Jr to call it home.

SharkBait RIP


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