Saturday, November 29, 2008

Angel Food Ministries

I was given this information about a ministry that is helping people who are trying to make ends meet in the economy that we are in and helping spread the Gospel at the same time. Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States. The program began in 1994 with 34 families in Monroe, Georgia (between Atlanta and Athens), and has grown to serve hundreds of thousands of families every month across 35 states. Angel Food Ministries crosses denominational lines and has spread the good news of the gospel of Christ through salvation tracts that are placed in each food order.

There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications. Everyone is encouraged to participate. Some churches even encourage participants to apply the money they saved to help someone else in need.

So you go the web page look at the menu, decide what you want to order. Then you find a local site in your community. After you find the local site, you contact them and they give you all the additional information that you need.

I know that right now we are all trying to make ends meet and trying to save where we can. I know that in our household we spend a good amount on food and everything helps, coupons, discounts, promotions. So I thought that this would help and each time you order a unit from the host site that host site receives $1 to their benevolence fund. Also the gospel is shared in each unit.

Please check it out and let me know what you think. I am excited to find out what is in store and to know that God answers even the everyday prayers. May God bless you and your families as you are frugal during these hard economic times.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Great food, family and Horrible Football

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day until 7pm. We had family and friends for Thanksgiving at our house, because who would want all of us at their house? We had turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, broccoli casserole, noodles, squash casserole, green bean casserole, green salad, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, gravy, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pies.

There were 18 humans in our house, 8 of them children, 2 under 5 months old. Of course we watched football and ate. The children played in the backyard and enjoyed each other and playing with their cousin, Aiden. That was the good part of the day.

Around 5pm Noel and I left to meet my old store manager to go the the Texas game. We were blessed to know someone that had tickets to the game. We even got to sit in actual seats and not in the stadium seating, but that ends the nice things to say about the game. Of course A&M got beat pretty bad. So Noel and I will hear numerous things this year from our tea sipper friends. If you do not understand the tradition, whatever team wins they get bragging rights until the next year. Noel and I have gotten bragging rights for the last two years, so we will hear quit a bit. No matter what Noel and I will never be a two percenters. The people that were rooting for t.u. were not rude or unsportsmanlike. So there is always next year when these two team meet and go at it again, but in KYLE FIELD. WHOOP!

We hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and they enjoyed and cherished the people they were with. When you think about it say a prayer for all the families that are separated this holiday season. Pray that this holiday season passes quickly and that their husbands/wives get to come home from Iraq and Afghanistan soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A New Use for Duct Tape

Elijah has found out that he is knowledgeable on how to remove his clothes and his diaper. About two weeks ago I went up and opened the door to Elijah's room to find him looking out his window with NO clothes/diaper on. So we dressed him and went on our merry way telling him that we do not take our clothes/diaper off. The next day he did the same thing. After being disciplined, I decided that I would put him in a one piece outfit for bedtime and for nap time.

Well yesterday he figured out how to get out of overalls. He was standing in his room with no clothes/diaper on. So today I put him in a one piece outfit for nap time. Elijah figured out how to undress himself. Every time I ask him what happened and he shrugs his shoulders and repeats "what happened" but the way he says it is cute.

So I told Noel that we were going to give him something that he could not get out of. Tonight we used Duct tape to secure his diaper. We will see if tomorrow morning he is standing in his room with no clothes/diaper on. If that is the case then I will be taking suggestions.

Of course we took a picture. I like this one because you see the Duct tape and Elijah is holding the Duct tape like he did it to himself. Enjoy our stresses and resolutions.

Hannah at Four Months

Hannah went to the doctors yesterday for her 4 month check-up. We went late because Noel was out of town last week.

Noel took Hannah so that I could stay with the children for nap time. The pediatrician stated that Hannah is doing very well and that she is acting like a 6 month old and not a 4 month old. She stated that Hannah is doing very well for her height and weight and that she is in the 75-85% for her age. I think that is funny considering she is the tiniest one of the group of infants that she was born with. Can you be more than 100% because I think that all the boys are at least at that.

So Hannah is 14 lbs and 14oz.

We are really enjoying her growing and learning new things. She loves to smile and likes to bounce in the jumper.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You might have a Redneck Moment, If.......

Well as most of you know, Noel went to Lubbock to do his inspections for the Garza county. Noel is an industrial appraiser, in laymen terms, he tells the counties that hire him what the industrial properties in their county are worth so that the right tax bill is sent. Of course the company does not think they are worth that much money and they "negotiate" to a value that is reasonable for the county. Noel does not like to negotiate because he is ALWAYS right. That is another story.

So, Noel landed in Lubbock on Sunday and started to work as soon as he got his rental vehicle a 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Well when I talked to Noel that evening he stated that he messed up the bumper and the wheel well and the undercarriage of the vehicle. Noel told me that he went through a low water crossing (see picture below, it looks like a lake) and that the bumper fell off and he ran over it. He did not notice that his bumper was missing until about 30 minutes later when he was taking some pictures of a property and went back to the vehicle and noticed that the bumper was missing. So he went back to the low water crossing where the bumper was floating, grabbed the bumper and put it in the Cherokee.

The next day he drove back to the airport to report it and get another vehicle. Now if I was running a rental car place and a customer came in and told me that story I would probably go and look at the vehicle. NO! The person at the rental place told Noel to call a number and report the claim, then the claim people told the rental place to get the car fixed. Then they gave Noel another vehicle, but they never went and looked at the vehicle.

Noel took pictures and I hope that you enjoy them. I have enjoyed this Redneck Moment and thought that I would share that with you. In Noel's defense the bumper was on the vehicle with PLASTIC screws and a couple of metal clips. Got to love that American built vehicle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mommy says hello

Hello, I thought that I would send the last video so that Noel could see that his wife has not lost it, but that I am looking forward to having him home tomorrow.

This week has been challenging and exciting all at once. I know that I can do this by myself, but that I do not want to do this by myself. It is always funny how when our significant other leaves for the day or for a couple days how we appreciate them more when they return. So I learned this week that when Noel is home that I need to make sure that I tell him that he is appreciated and that I love the fact that he is great dad.

So tell your husbands/wives that you love them and that you are excited that they are home with you and that you are going to enjoy raising your children TOGETHER. God tells us to make sure that we show respect to our husbands and that we put them first above our children. Sometimes when we are in the thick of things we forget that we need to have alone, ADULT time with our spouses. It is amazing how I feel when Noel and I get to spend time together after our children are in bed. Just the great bonding time that we have when we can hold an entire conversation without someone asking us for something or someone whining. Enjoy every moment you have with your spouse no matter if it is only for 5 minutes or an evening.

I love you sweetie and I am looking forward to spending some time with you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Now Everyone Says Hello, Almost

Well today's message to Noel is not so depressing. We received Elijah's hat from my sister-in-law, Jennifer. Elijah cannot stop wearing it and it always makes Noel go, Elijah that is not your hat that is a girl's hat. So I thought that we would show our feminine side in this mornings video.

The triplets did their best to say hello last night when we were about to have dinner. I have been trying all week to capture them on video so that Noel could see them. Well last night was the best one so far and so I ran with it.

We miss you honey and hope that you stay safe. Have a safe trip on Friday, the children are going to beat you up because they have not played with you all week. Get ready you might want to pray to God for protection of all major organs and that when Jacob jumps on your stomach and ribs that they stay intact. I love you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Proof of Life

I let Elijah say hello to Noel this morning. When I reviewed the tape it looks like a kidnapping video to prove life. I did not mean for that to happen but it is kind of funny now.

Elijah and the triplets keep looking for Noel every day around 5pm. Jacob likes to say "daddy" and look at the door. It is hard to explain that daddy is not coming home until Friday. Hopefully the video camera every morning to say hello will help Elijah make it until Friday to see Noel.

As we are going through this I can only imagine what it is like when the dads/moms go off to Iraq and instead of being gone one week they are gone 12-18 months. So as you read this please say a prayer for all the mothers/fathers that are trying to keep their kids preoccupied until their mommy/daddy comes home. Especially during the holidays. Also pray for the military that is in Iraq and Afghanistan away from their families during the holiday season.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Message for Daddy

Noel is in Lubbock this week for work, and Elijah and the kids are already asking where daddy is and it is only Monday. So I told Elijah that we would send daddy a message every morning that we love him and miss him and that he would get it.

Please enjoy our communication with daddy as he is away for the week in Lubbock. We love you daddy and hope that you stay safe and return to us safely.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Inside of the Van

I wanted to let everyone see the inside of my van. I was out in public one day with the children and I was loading them up in the van. This lady stopped me and told me, "there is no way all your children fit in the van!" I told her that "no, I make one of my children run on the side of the van." Well she did not like my response and so she took her cell phone and stuck it in the van and took a picture. Now, since I have several small children I am use to people asking me questions, giving me weird looks, and in all making my private family life public. I had never had anyone get that personal with me before.

So I had to drop some games that Marti left at my house back to her and she decided that she would take a picture of the inside of my van with all the kids to prove that it can be done and to let everyone see what it looks like to have five car seats in one vehicle. Marti had to use the wide view lens to capture the children.

Please enjoy your moment into my life and smile at the fact that you do not have this picture when you look into the rear-view mirror of your vehicle.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Roomba, Wherefore art thou Roomba?

My husband bought me a Roomba a while back, and of course I fell in love with it. Who does not like a vacuum that cleans while you sleep, and then charges itself when it is running low?

Anyway if you do not think that you need a Roomba ask anyone that has one and they will tell you how wonderful it is. My husband who is an engineer was very weary about this contraption until he say how it works and what it picks up. Also that it makes his wife happy. Next is the Scooba, sweeps/mops/dries floors.

Well my children love "Revi" because they can run from her and chase her; it is like having a dog with none of the responsibilities and all the fun. Jacob likes "Revi" more than anyone else, and seems to find her when he is free to roam the downstairs area. Jacob loves to lay on the floor and touch "Revi" and push her big green button to start the fun.

I could be in another room and hear "Revi" go off and know exactly who has turned her on. When I go into the kitchen there is Jacob with a smile on his face and the look of total satisfaction that his playmate is going to play.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Hannah has started to stay up longer and wants to play and not lay down or be in the bouncing chair. She has moved up to the bouncer (sit-in-spin). She really enjoys the fact that she get to be up and mobile and she can use her legs. She is starting to the hang of bouncing up and down in the contraption.

Hannah has also started to eat baby food and seems to really enjoy it when she gets it once a day to start. Also she is sleeping on her stomach; some nights she gets frustrated and cries but for the most part she is sleeping better and longer. Later I will post the pictures of eating baby food and of sleep on our stomach.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


The other day we let Elijah be the distributor of the snack at snack time. We are trying to teach him that sharing is a good thing and that God wants us to share. You see he will share with mommy and daddy but the triplets are a different issue.

We took some pictures to prove that our sons knows how to share. The funny thing on another day we let him hand out snack, goldfish, to him and his siblings. Well I asked if I could have a goldfish and the answer was a pronounced "NO". So Noel asked Elijah if he could have a goldfish and he told daddy "NO!!!" So we are trying to work on the sharing part to make sure that he is willing to share with his siblings and with his parents in the same event.

Our son is growing up and some days I want him to stop because I like this stage of independence and learning. He has found out that if he touches me and calls my name that I am more likely to hear him. So this is how a conversation with my son goes: (Hold your laughs until the end)

Elijah: "Mama!"
Mommy: "Yes Elijah what do you want?"
Elijah: "Mama, (this time he touches me and says it)"
Mommy: "yes Elijah what can i do for you?"
Elijah: "lub you"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The End (The Best Part)

This is the end! If you haven’t read the previous 3 posts, you should go back and check them before you start this one.

At this point all I have to do is build a glass block wall and tile the walls! That’s it!

Fortunately, building a glass block wall is really easy and I had tiled before, so it should be no problem. But remember, I could write a book on how to be a dummy for dummies. I’m bound to mess it up somehow!

The glass block wall was the most fun I’ve had. All I needed was a couple tubes of their silicone, a caulking gun, some spacers and some anchors and I was golden. It was really easy and makes for a really nice feature on any home improvement project. I hope I have more opportunities to work with glass blocks. The only downside is that it can get expensive fast, but it really isn’t too much to spend if you don’t have to do too many end blocks or turns, that’s where you spend the real money!

The tiling wasn’t too bad either. Apparently Jennifer was paying attention to the hardness of the tile when I was just looking at how the tile looked. We ended up picking the hardest class of tile, which is a good thing when you are working with it. I dropped a couple pieces from working height and it didn’t so much as chip the edges. This was rough tough tile I had. The problem was that it was a bear to cut through with anything other than a wet tile saw. I had a handheld saw that didn’t do me any good and I had a masonry hole saw bit for my drill that did little more than scratch the surface. Those small annoyances were very pale in comparison to the fact that in over 150 tiles that I went through, only 2 were broken in the boxes.

I got to spend a little money on a new tile saw for this and future projects. My original intent was to rent a saw, but when I found out that it was going to be over $50 per day and that it would take me 2 days to do this project if I really busted my hump, I decided I’d rather take it at my own pace and purchase a good saw. I also knew that I would have to tile the kitchen, entry way, and the whole downstairs at some point and it would cost a lot more in the long run if I just rented. Plus if I bought it I’d at least have something to show for the money I spent!

When I was looking for a saw there was a huge discrepancy in prices, anywhere from about $80 all they way up to $800. I took a look at the $800 saw and understood why it cost so much. I fell in love with it, but it wasn’t meant to be. I had to go with something I could justify and so I got a good saw, but it was less than half that big number. I also bought a good blade to go along with the saw because the one that came with it was not going to hold up through the project, especially with such hard tiles. I really have to say that a tile saw with a laser is a must. The blade on my saw is very hard to see and without the laser light shining on the tile it literally would have taken forever before I got all the cuts done.

Another plus on having such a big shower was that I was able to cut the tiles right there in the shower without having to worry about making a mess. The water would just go down the drain and the mess would just get wiped off. And oh what a mess I made!

I did some prepping to determine what the tiles needed to do to be level. We decided to put the tiles on a 45 degree diamond pattern rather than the typical square pattern. So I had to find level and plumb lines to make sure that the corners of each tile went through the lines. It made things a little more difficult to go on the slant, but I think it was well worth it in the end. Since the walls were on a slant I decided to throw a little contrast in and make the backing on the shelves a square pattern, but add a few cuts so that it wasn’t just a whole piece with filler around it.

The whole time I was laying tile I was working on the fly. I had the mortar mixed and would put it on the wall and figure out the cuts I needed to make while I was laying the tile. Typically you would lay the pattern down before you even thought about mixing the mortar, but you really can’t do that with a wall. There isn’t any way of holding the tiles on there without using the mortar, so you have to work quickly and get things right! After all was said and done two of the tiles had to come off and be redone. One didn’t adhere well and I didn’t want it to possibly fall off in the future, the other had a bad cut and wouldn’t be covered by the fixture and I had to re cut it.

The major problem I had on the tiling part of the project was the first night of grouting the tile after the mortar had dried. I took the morning to try and clean the grout lines free of excess mortar and otherwise prepare for the grouting. To me, grouting is the fun part of tiling because it is so easy. You rub it in, you wipe it down with a sponge, and you wipe it down again. Unfortunately I decided to do too much grouting before I wiped the first time and it got hard. I further compounded the problem by taking a break to get a couple kids out of the house and let Jennifer have a break. She told me that she’d wipe it down while I was in class that night after the kids went down for the night and it would be ready for me to finish grouting when I got home. This was a huge faux pas on my part. Grout hardens quickly. And it is near impossible to get off once it does.

Again I am thankful that we had such hard tile because we ended up using chisels to scrape the grout off of the tile. I had about a wall and a half of dried grout to clean off the tiles. This is the part that Jennifer really pitched in and worked her elbows off. Don’t get me wrong, she did a lot of kiddo watching to let me work on the project, but she really worked her tail off on this part. We both did! It took 3 days to get all the grout off. We left damp paper towels on the grout left on the wall and a half of tiles to try and keep it from setting. In the end, the best thing we could have done was used acid to help remove the grout. We got the tip online that Muriatic acid (HCl) works to remove dried on grout if you get it soon enough. It did help and it even fizzes to tell you it’s working. I’m so glad it came off without damaging the tiles.

After that we finished grouting the shower and this time Jennifer was about 5 minutes behind me with the sponge and it was a breeze. It took about one hour to finish two walls versus the 3 days for a wall and a half. Word to the wise: if you grout, make sure you wipe... quickly!

When the grout was dry the next day I sealed the whole wall. Tile, grout and all got a shot of sealer and even though it says not to spray it, I did, and it was horribly volatile and smelled terrible. I shot it and ran out as soon as I could. But it got done quick and all that was left was to put on the fittings, caulk it and clean the mess I had made of mortar and grout on the floor.

The fittings went on just fine and the caulking wasn’t too much trouble, but the mess I had made on the floor was overwhelming. It turns out we had to scrape it and even then we didn’t get everything up. Jennifer again jumped in and did the clean up work. I truly have a understanding and hard working wife. We ended up damaging the nice stain job and in some cases couldn’t even get enough of the stuff off the floor to get to the stain. So we re-etched, re-stained, and re-sealed the floor and it turned out just as nicely the second time as it did the first time, except now it has a little more character!

So that’s my story, and this is my

product.I hope you

enjoyed my tale and if you have any questions or want any help with your own project… please… don’t call me!

The shower is too big for one final picture, so here are a couple of them. Enjoy!

Gig Me (Part C of D)

Yes, usually the slogan we Aggies like to shout is Gig’em, but the shower Gigged me. I know when most people hear gig, if they are from the south anyway, they think of frog gigging. That’s not the same as an Aggie Gig. You see, the Ags are a bunch of farmers and military brats rolled into one well rounded hillbilly. (I don’t want any comments from those t-sips out there, yeah you know who you are) It turns out this gig comes from the military side. When you’re an underclassman in a military school you have to have everything in order, spic’n span, spit shined, ship shaped, etc. This particularly fell to the student’s appearance. If his uniform wasn’t tucked in just right he would get a demerit, otherwise known as a gig. Hence when Aggies say Gig’em, we are telling the world that we’re gonna find your weakness and exploit it and then laugh at you. Well the concrete found my weakness and kicked my rear. And then it laughed, while I cried.

I was not expecting the laying of the concrete to be such a pain. I envisioned laying down the base pan, pouring the concrete, taking a little time to make sure it sloped properly for draining and I’d just have to wait for it to dry. If you think that sounds like what should happen, dream again!

Concrete is hard to work with. First off, it’s really heavy stuff. It’s made of heavy stuff and then you add rocks and water, both of which are heavy. It’s also hard to mix. Even with a stirring tool connected to my cordless drill it takes a beating on your forearms and elbows. Jennifer held the drill and stirred while I poured mortar, sand, pea gravel, and water into the 5 gallon bucket. I swear, each bucket weighed between 50-80 lbs, and I must have carried more than 20 buckets for the whole project.

So it turned out that I needed a sub base before I put the shower pan liner down. That made sense to me because if somehow you do get a leak to the shower pan, you want that water to eventually flow towards the drain. So ok, I need an extra layer of concrete, no biggie! I put down the first layer of concrete and didn’t worry too much that the 14” trowel I was using was square on the ends and left huge streaks in the concrete when I would attempt to smooth it out. I used a nail with marks on it to tell me the depth of the concrete to make sure I had the slope right. I wanted about a ¼” per foot incline going away from the drain. And I would put about the same slope on the next layer for an even more dramatic slope. I used a roll of duct tape to keep the concrete out of the drain until I did the top layer that would have the screw-in drain.

Before I even got to the liner I knew that one 5’x6’ pan liner sheet wasn’t going to be big enough for the shower I was building and I was prepared for the fact that I’d have to glue two sheets together. What I wasn’t prepared for was once the two pieces were glued, how do I account for the corners to make sure it drains properly. Internal corners are easy to fold, but there were two external corners which just don’t fold right. You have to cut the liner and glue a patch on and even doing a patch doesn’t quite work right. I was hoping that there were pre-formed external corners that you could buy, because what your really need is for the material to be properly stretched and molded, but alas, no one thought it would be a good idea to make something useful. I seriously would have paid about the same for preformed corners as did for each of the sheets of liner. I tell you I dreaded every second of putting water in that liner to static test it and see if it would hold water.

The static test included putting about 4” of water in the liner to make sure it didn’t leak for 4-6 hours. When the level didn’t drop after the 4 or 5 hours I let it sit, I think I breathed the heaviest sigh I had during this project. So I cut a hole at the drain and attempted to finish out the drain by bolting the drain together. Unfortunately it took me 3 trips over three days to get the right bolts. Darn closing time, why isn’t Lowes open 24/7. Remember, I did most of this project in my free time after our kids went to bed. I had about a 30 minute window to shop for what I needed and if I had to guess and guessed wrong it often meant that I would have to wait until the next day to move forward. This happened to me several times, not just with the bolts. Doh!

So after the first layer of concrete was down, and the shower pan checked out, I was ready to put the top layer on and do the lips for the edges and the base for the glass block wall. I decided to go with lips for two reasons, one was that I didn’t want the standing water in the base of the shower to be right up to the point where the tile met the concrete (that would open me up to leaks) also so that the tile had something to sit on and run down rather than going straight from the wall to the floor. The glass block needed a base too and it would look funny to go straight from the floor and wall to a base, so I guess there were three reasons to go with lips!

My problem here was that I didn’t buy enough mortar and ran out before I could get my desired thickness. So I sloped it evenly with the stuff I had and decided I would finish with yet another layer and get the lips the next time around. As it turned out this layer had huge gashes where I used my trowel, so when I bought the new mortar, I invested in a slightly smaller trowel with rounded ends. This kept the whole surface smooth without any streaks. FYI… wetter concrete makes smoother surfaces. The final layer was drier than the first layer over the shower pan and was hence a little rougher. This was good because it made for a good non-slip surface without being rough to the touch.

Each time I laid concrete it took 2 days to dry. This is just annoying when you can see the end of the project coming close and you keep getting delayed time and time again. Argh!

After the final layer of concrete was laid I decided to stain the concrete while the tile wasn’t in so that we wouldn’t have to worry about staining the tile or covering the tile later. So we etched it, stained it and then sealed it. Each step required 4-8 hours of dry time, so this part took a couple days! Sorry, no pix of the nice shower floor!

Tune in next time for the fascinating conclusion of this perilous project!

Plumb, Plumb, Plumb the Shower (Part II of IV)

Once the walls were open, I needed to open up the floor so that I could work with the plumbing, so I took out a 2ft by 5ft section of the floor and saw that the plumbing was pretty much straight forward. Luckily I had set my circular saw to just enough to get through the ¾” plywood. I did this because I didn’t want to hit pipes or electrical in the process, but what I found was that there was a duct box right in the middle of one of my cuts and I’m glad I didn’t tear it up. I could have repaired it with duct tape, but anything you don’t have to repair later is always a plus!

So what I found was hot pipe, cold pipe and drain pipe all where they were supposed to be. The drain needed to be moved from the position at the end where the tub was to the position in the middle of the shower. This was easy enough using PVC and enough elbows to create a doohickey that sent the water the right way and made a trap so that nasty gases don’t come back up the pipes.

For the hot and cold pipes the plumbing specialist at Lowes recommended CPVC rather than copper which kept me from having to solder and made my plumbing experience golden. The shopping experience for this part was nice, and there was only one copper to copper fitting for each valve that I had to solder, so I was pretty happy about that.

I sent Jennifer and our circus, I mean zoo, to her parents house because a house full of needy littl’uns with no running water is a bad idea. She left the night before so that I could get a full day’s work in, and I was appreciative of that. I had gone to give blood the day she left because someone through our church needed my blood type and I was only using most of my blood and sharing is a good thing. The problem is that after you give blood you aren’t supposed to do much. They told me I shouldn’t run a marathon, but I don’t listen to doctors, they’re just really smart people who went to school for many years to perform a very necessary service to those who need it. Why would I listen to someone who knows what they are talking about when I could completely ignore them!

So I ended up doing most of the work the night Jennifer left. I shut off the water, cut the copper, used some groovy fittings called Gator Bite fittings to connect the copper to CPVC and glued all the CPVC fittings up to the valves for the shower. I had to add some short 2x4 blocks to stabilize the valve and shower head connection in place. So I got all that done that night and figured out that I had one spot that went copper without threads to CPVC. I didn’t know if I could glue that part so I figured I’d wait until the next day and ask my specialist from Lowes. Turned out that I had to solder it and if I’d have glued it I would have made a really bad mistake. (Yeah for not making mistakes, too bad it didn’t happen more often!)

I hadn’t soldered anything in a very long time. You see, it had been since my last semester in college about 5 years ago when I got the scars on my left hand from soldering plumbing stuff at my on campus job. So, stupidly, I assumed that having done it once upon a time, I didn’t really need a refresher course on how to solder. I should write a book on how to be a dummy for dummies!

I spent the next 10 hours trying to solder two joints, one on each valve. I must have soldered and re-soldered about 20 times on each joint. It took forever because once I soldered the joint, I had to wait for the valve housing to cool off so that I could plug the metal outlets with plastic plugs that would otherwise melt under the fire of the torch I used for soldering. So I would have to wait for it to cool, then close it off, go turn on the water to see if it would hold, cuss when it wouldn’t, run to turn off the water, and repeat.

Turns out, my problem was that I didn’t use any Flux. (Notice the difference between the nice smooth solder on the bottom and my clumpy solder on top) Flux is this neat stuff that sucks the molten solder into the joint and pretty much coats everything it touches. That gets the solder in to create a nice seal instead of having all the solder just sit on the outside like what was happening to me. So after the 10th hour I broke down (it’s amazing that it took that long, I usually don’t have that much patience… I guess having 5 kids must have prepared me for this moment) I called the specialist and after about 10 minutes on the phone I said… “uh… what’s flux”. After he said “that’s your problem” I went to the store, got the flux and within 2 shots I had my soldering done. It didn’t take more than 40 minutes with the right materials.

Covering the floor and walls with Hardibacker board was the next chore, so I jumped on it and put it up. The big issue you run into with Hardi board is cutting it. I recommend using a circular saw with a regular blade. I attempted to use a masonry blade on my cordless circ saw and it was like using a chisel to chop down a tree. It drained the 18v batteries and caused them to overheat like crazy. I ended up trying to use my Miter saw to cut through the smaller pieces, since a miter saw only has a limited cutting range and I found that the regular blade cuts pretty well. So I switched blades on my circ saw and it worked like a champ. The batteries didn’t overheat as quickly and they lasted much longer.

It took 3 or 4 days to do the Hardi board because I didn’t figure out the blade thing until the 3rd day. I had to cut the little pieces for the shelves and I did those close to the end. Cutting the holes for the valves was a bit of a pain because I didn’t figure out the blade thing before I cut them. Thankfully though, cutting holes with a hole saw was very easy. I just mismeasured by an inch on one of the holes and had to drill it twice. That’s why I have a half moon on one of my boards!

Tune in next time when I go head to head with the concrete flooring and lose over and over again!

The Shower (Part 1 of 4)

Disclaimer… I am interrupting this blog for a long 4 part series from the man of the house. There are way too many pictures for just one post, hence the 4 parts. Each part will be posted on a consecutive week nights (no promises on weekends) so that everyone can enjoy what I have to post and people don’t get to just skip to the end right away. This story is after all an adventure.

Disclaimer cont… Philippians is a book in the Bible that demonstrates what a Christian should look like to the world. Phil 2:14 it tells us to “do all things without grumbling or disputing”. I want to emphasize that while I may sound like I’m grumbling, I’m really just attempting to keep your attention while I tell my tale. So, without further ado… my story.

For the past month I have been struggling with a home improvement project. You see, when Jennifer and I bought the house we were less than thrilled with many of the features our home provides (i.e. the water heater in the pantry). We have had a game plan from the beginning that other than the small project here or there, we would remodel the bathroom first. Through God’s provision and Jennifer’s diligence at work, her bonus was able to pay for the materials to build a new shower. Mind you the bonus paid for the materials, not the labor. We couldn’t afford a professional, so we hired the one person who would work for what we’d pay… ME!

The old shower was a 3x3 square of smallness with water dripping out the spout. It wasn’t what you would want in a shower to say the least, and Jennifer is known to tell the whopper that when she was pregnant with the Triplets she almost got stuck. So the less than 9 sq. ft. that the shower provided was not enough. On top of all that smallness, the shower base sprouted a leak about 16 months ago which led to mold, mildew and three mushrooms growing in our bathroom. I attempted to caulk the problem away, but my attempt was futile, the problem was somewhere else and this gave us the motivation for a change.

So we got together a plan, picked out the tile, decided that we’d take out the bathtub that we only use to bathe the kiddos out and build our new 30 sq. ft. shower there. While building the shower we still had use of the “smallness” shower and the bathtub in the guest bathroom for the kids. Eventually we will redo the guest bathroom and put our master bath garden tub that we removed into the guest bathroom. Until that time, it is going to stay in our upstairs game room. (Yes that will have it’s own woes, but that is for another group of posts!)

So the first part of our series is Demolition! YEAH!

I had already looked through the attic to make sure that the wall I was working with was not a load bearing wall. I looked at the wall from the bathroom and determined that it was unlikely to be load bearing, but the best way to tell is if there are any cross beams in the attic attaching directly to the wall you are working on. There are other things you need to look at involving the construction of the house to be sure, but I was sure it wasn’t. So while I was up there I checked out the other stuff that was running through the walls (electrical, vent pipes, etc.) and had a good idea of what was there, but nothing helps more than pulling off sheetrock to find out what’s in a wall. Here comes the boom!

So I got to do the fun part of pulling the sheet rock off the wall. My original intent was to pull it off carefully and reuse it if possible, but it quickly became obvious that it was more trouble than it was worth. At that point using my pry bar and wrecking bar was a lot of fun. In retrospect, it’s a shame that all the demo work has to be done on the front end. It would be really nice if when you get mid way through a project and you get stuck, that you could take a big tool and break something to relieve the stress. I think I need a new shirt… “Got Aggression!”

Daddy's Girls

It is amazing how two children from the same home can turn out so differently. Esther is a girl by anatomy but a boy at heart, because she does not have any other influence. She plays like a boy and I do not dress her like a girl, in dresses. She is as rough if not rougher than the boys. Lately she has been more affectionate with Noel and has been cuddling with him more. On Saturday we went to the park and she played with daddy and even attempted several times to kiss daddy.

Now Hannah is the total opposite. She is calm and sweet and gentle, for now. She smiles and just wants you to hold her and play with her. Daddy has grown attached to his girls lately and I think that deep down he would admit that he does enjoy that feeling of holding his daughters in his arms and protecting them.

Hopefully Esther and Hannah will become good sisters and close friends. Their personalities will compliment each other and they will be a force to recon with.

I love these pictures of a father's love for his daughters in his/their own way. Love on your kids today and remember all those children in your prayers today that do not have that father to hold, play, and pray for them.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hannah in Review

Hannah sleeping. She tries to snuggle with anything that is near her face when she sleeps.
Hannah at the park on Saturday.
Hannah letting me know that she is tired already of all the pictures that this mommy takes.

Here are some recent pictures of Hannah. She is growing up so fast and it seems that everyday we are seeing something new and trying to capture that on video/camera. It has been nice watching her grow up everyday because we did not get to enjoy the triplets when they were small because there was not a lot of time in the day to capture things on video/camera. God has blessed us with a child that we can enjoy when she is small.

Noel has grown attached to Hannah unlike any of the other children. He actually made a comment last night that he has grown attached to Hannah. That might be his baby girl because honestly Esther is a tom-boy already; she can definitely hold her own with the boys even though she is a girl and a lot smaller than her brothers.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes

I just wanted to say thank you to Gail and Bobby Hensley, Noel's mother and step-father, for giving us clothes for our children. Trying to clothe five children is not a cheap thing to do and Gail found a family who has twins that she gets the clothes from.

Thank you for making our lives a little less stressful with blessing us with clothes.