Saturday, September 03, 2011

First week of school down...

So I've obviously been veerrrrry busy this week!  Last weekend, we decided to tackle the "baby room" and get the floors redone in there before school started.  I had put priority on this room over the other bedrooms because there has always been a urine smell in there that has been impossible to eradicate.  Mitch agreed, and off we went!

Now, let's back up just a bit.  The nursery was probably my favorite room in the house, and here's why:  When I had Joshua and was at the hospital, Mitch gathered forces at home and completely remodeled the nursery.  I had no idea what he was doing (one of the few times he has been able to surprise me).  When I came home and saw it, I literally cried.  It was so beautiful.  What a great gift!


But it has been 6 years since then.  Cribs have gone down, and up, and down again.  Shelves went up and came down.  The room has changed purposes--nursery, family closet, bedroom, and nursery again--several times.  Kids have drawn on the walls, on the carpet, peeled large sections of border off the wall, and {apparently} peed on the carpeting.  As much as it still looked like the picture above in my heart, it really needed some TLC.

After some planning on where things would go (and where daycare babies--who primarily use this room--would sleep), we decided this room would be the new "school room."  Ah...so it takes on yet another purpose!  I went to buy paint, and demolition began immediately.  I expected this would be easier than the family room project because it was a much smaller area.  There was more stuff in that little room than I expected!


One thing I was very worried about was getting the border off the wall.  I had no idea how we would get it off.  I used google to find some ideas.  One website I read suggested peeling off the vinyl outer layer as much as possible (or roughing it up to expose the paper below).  Then they suggested I buy a chemical remover.  Or as a last resort (because it's "smelly" according to them), mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  I LOVE VINEGAR for cleaning.  I prefer the smell of vinegar any day to commercial (store-bought) cleaners.  Safe, clean, healthy, CHEAP.  I jumped on this idea.  I sprayed the border, and within seconds I was able to peel it off as if someone had wet down a piece of paper and stuck it on the wall.  See?  I was SUPER excited about this very easy "trick".  


We took two days to do the paint.  Instead of buying paint at Sherwin Williams like we had done for the living room, I went to Menards and bought the cheapest paint I could buy.  Lesson learned.  You get what you pay for!  I don't plan on doing that ever again.  When we bought paint at SW, we used the business account of a friend who owns a painting business, so we got a significant discount.  It cost MAYBE $5 more per gallon of paint than the cheap stuff at Menards.  Good paint is well worth the $5.  Anyway, it's on and it looks pretty good.  The flooring went down.  Mark came over to help us again.  Then we started moving everything back in! 


We decided to leave the door off the hinges for two reasons:  1) It's not needed as a "school room" and 2) The kids have {limited} internet capabilities on their computers in here...no door means more safety.

In addition to housing school stuff, this room also holds our diaper changing area, and Tirzah, Obi, and Malachi's clothes. The closet looks really great in this picture, but I did add some more things to it so it's a little more crowded now.  :)

The new paint colors coordinate well with the red and yellow out in our living room.

We were all moved in and ready for school by Monday morning!  The room is thoughtfully organized and functions well for what we need.  Pretty much anything for school is now stored in this room.  Previously I had things stored throughout the house in various (nonsensical) locations.  This is a huge improvement!  It also is worth mentioning again that I sold many books that we haven't used in over a year and I don't plan on using again.  I'm getting really big on letting go of stuff that I don't really think I'm going to use.  Sooooo much better!
 

Mitch discovered the ReStore in our town, so he has his eye on some cabinets/shelves there he would like to hang above where Josh and Zeke are sitting.  We have no immediate plans for the mirror, but it is something Mitch wants to hang on to.  Josh and Zeke's desks are too short for them.  Mitch is going to build me some stilts for the desks to sit on.

In preparation for the craziness of school and the overwhelming list of items to get done each day, I created a family schedule.  I helped the kids get used to the idea of a schedule by hanging it ahead of time and also practicing where we could.  This is a screenshot of what our schedule looks like:


Making a schedule is not hard for me--it's making it work that's difficult.  I am a highly analytical person to a fault.  I knew that one side of me would carry this too far, be too detailed, and set expectations much higher than anyone in our family could achieve.  So I had to find balance.  I told myself many times that we would not accomplish a perfect schedule ever.  That little chant seemed to help me.  I am surprised by how well the schedule did work.  We did not do everything on any of the days, but we did get all the important stuff done, and it worked very well. 

Micah, Eden, and Caleb can track all their daily work in SOS.  Even the subjects they are doing outside of SOS I have created custom subjects for them to track their work, so it is all in one place.  I borrowed a spreadsheet from Devona and created checklists for Zeke and Josh.

So the first week is done.  It was crazy and insanely busy.  At times I went nutty.  I was exhausted by the end of each day.  My throat hurt and my voice cracked.  I was a terrible mommy and yelled when I got upset (more than once).  I was also full of patience at other times.  We survived.  We all have much to learn.  I heard from Micah, Eden, and Caleb that they love Teaching Textbooks.  They are all very excited about Spanish.  :)  Zeke and Josh were begging to do Math-U-See when it was not time for math.  We went to the library on Wednesday evening and Zeke found books that he--gasp--likes to read.  We are wrapping up the first week with much to be thankful for!

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