The Basement Project – Finished!

Welcome back down the stairs:

Top of the Stairs

I got a lot of work done on this and it feels pretty good. First of all, the guest bed and laundry folding and ironing area. Here’s the bed with a dust ruffle I got from the St. Louis Freecycle List. Let me take this quick moment to say that the floor of our basement is not level and it slopes down from the walls. This means there’s about a 2′ strip between the wall and any furniture. I created a sub-wall of sorts and use that sloped 2′ for storage that doesn’t need to be level, like out of season clothes and seasonal decorations. You can see these boxes of storage poking up around the furniture from time to time. That’s just the way it has to go here. Also – I got rid of a LOT of stuff down here. Maybe 8 or 9 big things (bags/boxes) went to the seminary free store over the course of the month and I’ve got about 2 or 3 more from today ready to go. I also had about 3 large trash bags full of stuff to simply pitch. Feels good.

Guest Bed

I fixed my laundry problem by moving the ironing board over by the bed and moved the hanging rack to the wall side of the area. Now, folded laundry gets placed in stacks on the bed, hung laundry gets hung and sorted immediately, and things that need to be ironed either get ironed on the spot or put in that basket on the hanging rack to be ironed next time.

Laundry Folding and Ironing Station

Here’s that whole area altogether:

Guest Bed and Laundry Completing Area

Moving on now. This area used to have a plethora of the girls’ crafty stuff and as such was constantly bombarded by a mess of crazy craftiness. This area is now no longer allowed to be crafted in. They can do puzzles, play with manipulatives, read books, play games, or stuff like that. No crafts!! I finally got our maps and alphabet hung up on the wall. Only took four months…

Schoolish Area

Schoolish area to the left:

Schoolish Area; Left

Schoolish area to the right:

Schoolish Area; Right

The whole schoolish area:

Whole Schoolish Area

The games are purged and organized and my already made candles are now placed in an easy-to-get-to place:

Games and Maps

Continuing on toward the right – this is the area where we lost a shelf. Some things have been purged, the rest reorganized and labeled:

Crafty Supplies

Here’s my scrapbook table and other crafty supplies a bit closer. I keep the photos I’m working from and the paper cutter on this table. The white drawer box underneath holds the colored paper:

Scrapbook Area Pluls Craft and Sewing Supplies

And now, if you turn directly around, the actual scrapbook is on the backside of the craft table (which I haven’t shown a picture of just yet):

My Side of the Craft Table

Moving on toward the right again, here’s my sewing machine and fabric stash and patterns shelf. This is pretty picked up for this area – it gets a lot of attention from many hands looking for fabric for precious crafts…

Sewing Machine and Fabric Stash Cleaned Up

The washing machine area got cleaned up – the boxes of miscellaneous got put in their proper places and they got dusted off and swept around. The shelf with laundry detergent got emptied when I donated several containers of non-HE detergent to a shelter.

Laundry, Cleaned and Tidied Up

You can’t really tell what I did here, but it also got reorganized – my candle making supplies got better arranged and many things left the shelf for either donation or trash. This allowed me to get several bins that I actually needed off the floor and onto the shelf.

Under the Stairs, Purged and Tidied

Under the Stairs Shelf Tidied Up

And now, for the very best part of all. My parents brought my sewing table with them this week. I set it up in the middle of the room and created the ultimate craft area for the girls. THIS is where they can craft from now on and we made that pretty clear to them tonight. They are happy with it, so hopefully they will be content with leaving their crafting genius right here:

Girls' Ultimate Craft Area

A closer look at the supplies:

Craft Table

Close Up of Craft Stuff

And under the table:

Organized Crafty Stuff for the Girls

And the table in the context of the rest of the basement:

Bigger View of Room

WHEW! That project feels really good to have crossed off my list. It may not win any awards, but it was definitely worth the effort. This whole thing got started with the 30 Day Organizational Challenge hosted by I’m an Organizing Junkie. Thanks for the motivation, Laura!


Highlight of the Game

Rest assured, I’m not normally the type to think Build-a-Bear is a highlight when it means being pulled away from the actual game, but we had an experience last night that was super fun and it was indeed a highlight, both for the girls and for me.

We went to find the Build-a-Bear just after the end of the third inning. After choosing the appropriate over-priced stuffed Cardinal memorabilia, we proceeded to the stuffing station. Just as we approached the machine, Fredbird appeared and grabbed Katie’s bear and began a stuffing display unlike any I’ve ever seen. He was hamming it up in the Build-a-Bear, pretty much just for our benefit. He stuffed (with the girls, of course) all four of their bears/birds, made a mess with the stuffing machine, and posed for pictures with all of us.

Fredbird and Maddie

Fredbird and the Girls

After he left, we were informed by the Build-a-Bear staff that he doesn’t do that very often and it was the first time this season that he had, so it was extra special last night. The girls talked about it quite a bit for the remainder of the night, and I think they’ll remember that for a long time.
And oh, yes – we did also watch the game. Cards won. Yippee!

Catching Up

50 Verse Pack Project
Team Teaching Assignment
2 Dan Allender books read in their entirety
2 1 page response papers to said books
7 page paper on another related topic to above books
Finish reading What the Best College Teachers Do
Complete Reading Log for above book
Finish Organizing Basement for 30 Day Challenge

We went back to the Y tonight. I hadn’t been on the machines in almost 2 weeks because of my nasty cold, so it was good to resume that. The girls managed to be normal girls throughout much of the day, but when 7:00 hit tonight suddenly their bodies realized they were shortchanged 4 hours the previous night and they became little grizzlies. Bedtime came early tonight. I didn’t handle them well, perhaps because I also got shortchanged on sleep last night?
School was, shall we say, on the light side this week, but I expected that with my parents in town and so many big projects coming due. We’ll make it up in the next weeks, particularly now that the Tuesday morning Bible Study is over and my classwork is wrapping up.

I’m really glad about not taking any seminary classes next year. I really want to give homeschooling my full and undivided attention, especially since Katie will be an official Kindergartener. With Craig’s new role, we found out that the girls can receive 50% off tuition to pretty much any Christian school in town and so I did some research today just for my own benefit. Even with 50% off we can’t afford it. We wouldn’t be able to afford it with 75% off. But still – even if they offered it for free I’m not sure it would be the decision we would make. I just wanted to know all the factors involved.

I emailed the principal of the public school down the street with some questions today, too – want to know everything possible. I’m still convinced we will homeschool come fall, but I feel more comfortable now knowing that Katie can still receive speech services as a homeschooled Kindergartener through the public system if she qualifies again. I’m calling tomorrow to see if I can get her re-evaluated because I’ve been having more and more difficulty understanding her lately and think she may have regressed since being released from her IEP in December.

In the event she doesn’t qualify… does anyone know of any homeschoolers who do speech therapy on their own? It seems there should be a book or something about it somewhere. I asked Carrie today what I would do if I were going to do speech with her on my own. She said I needed some papers with words for her to say, some games to play, stickers for when she does well, and prizes. I think I can handle that. *wink*

Anyway, all that to say that I’ve lost my focus this semester (again) and am looking forward to having “homeschool mommy” be my primary responsibility. Ten more days until that happens.

How Did They Know?

This went around a long time ago, but I didn’t feel like doing it then. I felt like doing it now. Here’s what the internet genies think I could benefit from…

I think that Megan needs to become more acquainted with some of the conventions of spelling. I think that with more instruction and motivation, Megan could grow to be an excellent writer. wat’s rong with my spelng?

Megan needs a summer intern. And how.

Megan needs to go back to school. I think I’ve covered this one already.

Megan needs a pep talk. Okay, probably not a bad idea.

Megan Needs a Redneck Joke! What, I don’t hear enough from Craig already?

Megan needs to do a better job of helping with clean-up following her experiment work. Who’s been peeking in our windows again?

Megan needs some help getting started. I’m choosing not to take that personally.

The only assistance Megan needs is someone to turn her computer on at the beginning of the day. Because flipping up the lid on my iBook is just. too. much. work.

Megan needs a good laugh! She got it from the next entry too…

Megan needs to retire those hoop earrings and velour suits. Enough said.

No Ethics Anywhere

I poked around a couple of nights ago looking for online writing opportunities. I found one that sounded promising and I signed up. Today I was informed I was accepted (lucky me…). I looked deeper into their website to find the actual writing projects and guess what they are? People who need papers for academic or work credit. That’s right. A whole website dedicated to serving folks who want to pay to cheat. And I was a “lucky” accepted writer to participate in this. After discovering this, I emailed the company with this question:


I was just approved to be a writer in your system. I began looking around at the types of things to write and everything I’ve come in contact with so far involves writing a paper for someone who needs to write the paper themselves in order to receive class or work credit. Is this even legal? I’m not comfortable writing material that is then presented as someone else’s for class or work credit and I don’t think it serves them very well in the long run either.

Please advise.

Their informed response to my serious question?

Does your email mean you changed your mind?
Don’ty want to be a writer with us anymore?

Nice use of the word “dont’y” – you think? I gave them one more shot:

Hi Xxxxx,
I’m not yet saying that I’ve changed my mind, but I would like a clear answer to the question I posed. Can someone answer that for me please?
Thank you,
Megan Dunham

Somehow I’m not holding my breath over their answer. Moving on then…

Home Stretch

For all intents and purposes, this is the last week of April. I’m almost done with the second book I had to read for my weekend class, which means that I’ve got until next Monday to finish that, plus write three papers. On Tuesday, I have my big 20-minute teaching project for my other class with my class partner. I should finish that 50-verse pack order that was due on the 15th tonight, so that’s just a week late and they were fine with that, so that’s good.

After my three papers, I have one more book to finish and a reading log to complete. I should then be done with my seminary work for this semester. That will feel really good. Really, really good.

With the new job on the horizon for Craig, this puts him in the position of needing to drop to part-time seminary status. This means also that my seminary class-taking experience will be on hiatus for a while because the free tuition for spouses only applies to full-time students. Looks like the wrestling I did last spring over this whole thing could very well have been setting me up for this moment.

I’ve enjoyed the education I have received thus far; and, I’ll appreciate any I might get in the future. But I’m okay with walking away with no certificate to document what I’ve done.

It’s okay.

Is it Denial or Just Trust?

Craig has a job interview today that I’ve not really thought that much about before now. In fact, I’ve had several people approach me with excited smiles to inquire about today and each time I’ve been caught off guard – Thursday? What’s going on Thursday? Oh yes, the interview. I’m not sure why this has been my response, could be that it’s self-protective in not wanting to depend too much on the idea of a fully-paying job that is likely to allow us to pay all of our bills on time, or it could be that I’m just not worried about it at all. I don’t know.

When we lived (on support) in Colorado for all those years, I was worried about money all the time. I might have even been obsessed with it. I balanced our checkbook to the penny every single month without fail. I fretted over how we would pay off all our bills. It was a serious concern.

And honestly, I suppose it still is, only the obsession with it has gone. This is funny (a little) because our situation is much trickier now than it was then, yet I’ve not really worried about it that much. In an effort to save on our monthly required spending this year, I lowered our premium and seriously raised our deductible for health insurance, based on the fact that neither Craig nor I went to the doctor that much last year. It would figure then, that between the two of us, we’ve racked up almost $2,000 in out of pocket medical expenses for this year so far. And it’s April. I’m writing that statement without crying, without even caring, almost. It’s just the facts. They will get paid eventually. I don’t know when, but someday. I’m just not really worried about it yet.

Now then, back to the interview. Here’s my opinion: Craig is an extremely good teacher. I’m not just saying that because I’m married to him; I honestly think he’s a kick booty teacher. I think any school would greatly benefit from having him on staff. Sure, he doesn’t have the teaching certificates to prove it, but when you see him in the classroom, man. He’s good. If the school today decides to go a different direction, it should be counted as no reflection on his capacity to teach and communicate and inspire. Because he can do all those things and do them well.
And it would be great to know sometime soon that there is a job lined up that will meet our needs. We might find that out soon or we might not. I’ve just not worried about it much, or have even really thought about it much. Maybe I should be more, I don’t know. It might be trust, or it might just be denial. I have no idea.

At any rate, if you think to pray for this, the interview is this afternoon.

Congratulations Tom and Christine!

Tom and Christine

Our friends Tom and Christine are getting married and we couldn’t be happier for them. I made this cake to take to class tonight as an effort to begin the celebrating just a little bit early! I’ve got the cake making thing down now, thanks to the Cake Mix Doctor, but I still need some help with my decorating skills. Until then, I will settle for some stamping embellishments. I think they are pretty darn cute.

I Never Learn

I stayed home this morning because I woke up with a pretty major cold and sore throat and am super tired. My goal was to rest. But no, what do I do? As soon as everyone is gone and I’m here alone I feel this compulsion to weed out their rooms, so I’ve been sorting, purging, slight rearranging, and general cleaning and organizing.

And now I’m coughing on top of my major cold and sore throat and am super duper tired.

I never learn.