A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Applications abound!

As we are working our way through our homestudy and adoption paperwork (again! It really feels like deja vu.) we have been asked to do another kind of application. I have to admit that we are honored to do this at our friend's request. But there is another sense of deja vu, because we have been asked to do this before, by a dear family member who has since passed.

We have been asked to apply for Extreme Home Makeover (again) and they are looking for a family in our area. Wouldn't that be life changing?

Are you ready to yell "Bus driver, move that BUS!!!"?

ABC's popular reality TV series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is looking for a family in Northeast Wisconsin whose story is inspirational and whose home is in desperate need of an Extreme Makeover.

Nominations may be submitted by the family or by a member of their community.

Email castingwisconsin@gmail.com with a short description of their family story, house story, names, ages of everyone in the house and, if possible, recent photos of family and house. Describe why the family is deserving, heroic, or a great role model in their community. Also describe the major challenges within the home.

Honestly, this is hard for us because we are so very blessed to be here on our land, here in our home with our wonderful children. There are many things that have been hard, and this winter has been particularly hard living with them. But it is what it is, and we keep striving to improve things. We are so lucky when so many in the world have no roof over their heads, no beds to sleep in, no food in the pantry. So it makes it hard to complain about:
* one bathroom for ten (soon to be eleven people)
* flooring that keeps wanting to come up, but must stay down for a while longer before our floors can be restored
* various leaky windows that make winter colder
* a laundry room that used to be a back porch, so the door between the main house and the laundry room must be kept open so things don't freeze (hey, I didn't used to have anyplace to do laundry, so I am not complaining - except right now I am sharing the space with a baby goat who got pneumonia and cannot go outside in the cold until things warm up - lovely! Wouldn't a barn with two heated stalls be great - or something attached to the house for said issues?)
* more room in general - two thousand square feet is great, but there are times where we really trip over each other. Eight kids, ten to fifteen and soon a baby - need I say more?
* updated electrical so we can run two kitchen appliances at the same time without blowing a fuse? And simply more electrical upstairs so the girls don't have to use pull chains to turn on their lights (and they have NO outlets and neither does the schoolroom). The boys have one light switch and the one outlet upstairs - yeah, running extension cords really strikes me as unsafe, so we don't.
* our upstairs hall doubles as our "linen closet" - we need lots of blankets for this crew, so the bed linens are in a converted entertainment center and then piled on top - generally neatly, sometimes coming down in an avalance.
* the basement. Well, it is fieldstone and seems to have a few spots that seep in the spring. I think I found the biggest leak and that was from a pipe and I MIGHT have that in better shape, it sure is dryer down there, but then spring hasn't come as of yet. So things keep getting moved in order to keep them dry and I try to get rid of things!
* our kitchen isn't big enough for a stove - the stove in around the corner in the dining room. Close to the table! LOL! And near the pantry (a converted closet off the dining room.
* The sink, while charming and I dearly love it, is small and the place we handwash our dishes since there is no place for a dishwasher! The metal cabinet is rusting and I keep patching and cleaning it up. Handwashing for ten all the time - there isn't room for everything, so things get piled on the floor as we get washing going.
* we have no outside water save the spigot off the house, which makes watering our pastures/animals quite a challenge. At this point, we have a very long hose that we hook up daily (the faucet has heat tape on it to keep it from freezing) - that is dragged to each pasture to water the animals, then wrapped back up, put in a large garbage can on wheels, dragged up the three steps and into a corner of the dining room so it won't freeze shut. Sigh. But we remind ourselves that two years ago we were hauling five gallon pails of hot water from the bathtub by hand out to the pastures, so that makes this look like an absolute cakewalk!!!!
* We only have electricity out to the pastures (for electric fencing only) by using a significantly durable extension cord to run from the outside outlet out to the "summer kitchen" (a building we think is origional or certainly very old! and not in good shape, but we got two thirds of it strengthened enough for our henhouse and a goat birthing stall). What I would give for ANY exterior lights out here!!!! I love that we can see the stars so well, but it would be nice to flip a light on once in a while!
* Our outbuildings for our animals are always under construction and repair. It is so much getting better, but it isn't what we want for them. Each year the plans for warm weather just exceed what we can afford, so we do what we can, and each year is better for our animals. It is adequate, but boy would it be nice to put a horse in a stall, or be able to cross tie our rescue so I can work on his hooves out of the wind and without someone else needing to hold his head. Don't even get started on birthing time! More space and warmth would be nice - our birthing stall isn't horrible, but it would help us build our herd if we had a better place - better for our goats and us. Shivering while working on babies and mamas is hard - wet hands, clothes, no good place to store our supplies.
* We are so blessed by our kids and they by having a supportive, intact family. I know that even though I want them to have more, this is enough. We all work hard, we all work on improving things and caring for each other. But things could be so much easier. I would so love to not have to devote so much time to putting things together to be better, just to be with the kids. We work together all the time, so it isn't lost, and they sure do learn a lot. Our family is always striving together, but some days it feels like we will never get on top. And then I listen to my kids around the dining room table (that we are outgrowing), playing a game together, laughing together and talking, and I know that everything is worth it. Whether our circumstances change or not. God has us on this path and we will keep doing what needs to be done, both for ourselves and others! So, I plan out our week that includes church, helping at a nursing home church service (making sure too that the kids worked on their music for it!), going to eye doctor appointments, going to play practice, selling things on craigslist, helping a friend move, work, caring for our animals, house chores, schoolwork, music lessons, 4H lessons, horse training, working on our rescue horses' hooves, trimming goats feet, vitamining children and animals, making sure kids took showers, doing daily laundry, making meals, budgeting, doing paperwork, decluttering, helping kids learn their lines for play, going to church, going to 4H project meetings, and on and on. It is a life that is very rich and full and I wouldn't trade a thing. We are good. We have food in the house, gas in the cars, carefully (VERY) budgeted money, healthy kids (with things we can manage), jobs, and lots and LOTS of love. We are all happy, bonded, strong. It is all good.

I have a hard time with this as we don't focus on the negative, it is just something on the "to-do" list. We will get there. I couldn't ask for more than the kids we have been blessed with and the chance to spread out that joy. The compromise is that we spent all that money on bringing the kids home. That may be foolish in some people's eyes, but when I look at my children, now healthy, safe, growing and learning - not in danger (as one was), not in ill health (as two were), not wondering if they would eat once a day - hoping for more than that (all five were). That makes the issues we deal with very trivial. In time, well, it will get there - and until then, we plastic leaky windows, we joke about our method of preparing meals, we dream of what we would like to do next, we take turns sitting on the couch and other chairs in the living room (personally I prefer to sit on the floor by my husband's legs - generally a child or two might come to join me). We are creating memories that our kids will have for a lifetime. Of love and security and things we did together, through difficult times and through good. Of learning to be responsible and creative and to make the best of what you have and to be grateful for it. When spring comes and our land greens up and the chickens cluck around the yard, and the baby goats jump all over each other, and the kids run and play or we read or do our lessons laying in the grass - that makes every bit worthwhile.

So, whether Extreme Home Makeover ever came here or not, well, we will be fine. I would love to do more - think of what we could do with our time if we weren't constantly fixing stuff!!!! But if that is what God would have us walk through, we will gladly walk through it!

Thanks for reading - feel free to email me or send something to EHM on our behalf! LOL! But it sure is fun to dream! Now I am going to go check the soup that my dear hubby has been simmering, flip the laundry and fold some, and then have a simple, wonderful dinner with most of my family (two boys are gone on a sleepover with a dear friend, and Kiley is gone at 4H Leadership Camp - she was nominated and then accepted, along with one of her best friends). Tomorrow we will have everyone back home and watch our favorite show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". LOL!


Christy O said...

And the dining room doubles as the mud room as the entrance to the house is right there - imagine the boots!

Okay, don't want to get negative, but wow! Imagining changes - we do our own if we can!

Anonymous said...

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