Saturday, November 27, 2010

What a girl wants...

So another blog that I read said something along the lines of writing down what you want to make it here it goes...

See the roof-line of that barn??? Perfect. For many years, I loved the typical old gambrel roof style, but recently Mark's passion for the round roof barn has become my passion too. We notice them here and there while out driving for work. I'd love this roof, but with a tin roof instead of shingles. We want to capture as much rain water as possible to help with gardens and animals. So a rain barrel or better yet a cistern set up would be great.

Barn interior:
The perfect size would be a 40x48 ft. barn. Here is the plan for the interior layout:

In the top left corner of the picture, you see our living room...I want two couches that are around 10 ft. long (yes, 10 ft - we will probably have to build these); however, this length will allow tons of room for everyone to flop and snuggle together. Remember - this place is being built with the future in mind. We already have 7 in our family (me, Mark, Tiff, Kait, Gage, Drake, and Cora) and when our children start having children - we want to make sure we have room. We want a long coffee table that is tall enough to store storage cubes underneath. Each child will have their own storage cube for stuff they'd like to keep in the living room (without always having to be out) - we can also use the cubes for extra seating when family comes over. Along the wall in the living room - I'd love a large window to look out into a bird watching area. We'd put bird feeders and houses out there and be able to just sit and watch. In the living room, I'd also like a large, hearth style fireplace.

The living room leads into the dining room (this whole side of the house -living/dining/kitchen is open concept). The dining room will be big enough for our entire family to sit around the table without anyone being trapped in their seat and not having enough room to walk around. Along the wall: built in mega pantry of the WORLD! I want enough space in my pantry to can enough food for at least 6 months (preferable a year) - I also want addition storage in here for large stock pots, bowls, and crock pots etc.

The kitchen will be perfect. The sink will have a window in front to be able to look out while washing dishes. A dishwasher is a MUST - I know there is a "green" debate on dishwashers - but last I read, if you have a very efficient dishwasher you use less water than you would hand washing. Plus, we spend SO much of our time hand washing dishes - if we had a dishwasher, during canning season especially, life would be SO much easier. I'd like to have a stove/oven combo and a wall oven - we cook SO much and on the farm we'd be home cooking even more often and having the ability to cook at multiple temperatures. I also want a HUGE island to be able to use as a prep area for canning, baking etc. I want both a fridge/freezer combo and a stand up deep freeze to have easy access to stored food.

In the main hall the runs the length of the barn we'd like a nice wood burning stove to keep us warm - we don't plan on having a furnace. Also, we'd like a large, but narrow storage area on the side to store our Christmas and memory boxes etc.

Opposite of all that will be mine and Mark's bedroom - we are happy with a simple room - we just want enough room to walk the bed without having to turn sideways or crawl over something. Our bathroom will be roomy - we want a big bathtub...because frankly sometimes we like to relax in the tub, together. Next is our office area that has built in storage under the stairs going to the loft/kids bedroom area. and then the laundry room, that has a 1/2 bed off to one side and walks through to an extra bedroom. In the laundry area - I want retractable clothes lines to hang clothes during the winter and rainy days. I still want a dryer - but hope to only use it in emergency situations. **Up near Cora's bedroom, I want a laundry shoot so it makes it easier for the kids to throw their dirty laundry downstairs.

Speaking of the kids - lets talk about the upstairs. I want the central area to be an open loft area with games, a library/reading spots, a pool table??? If it is open, then we can still be connected to the kids even if they are doing something different. On either end of the loft area will be a bedroom - Cora gets her own with either a double bed, or a single with a trundle. The boys will either share a bedroom - or have smaller separate bedrooms - depending on what they decide at the time (we go back and forth on this one).

I love the idea of having the suspended, sliding barn doors, instead of the swing open doors. I'm thinking something along the lines of this:

Having doors like this just allows more room for better furniture placement etc.

Outside we want a nice deck space with an area to cook outside (we REALLY enjoy grilling out). I'd love some of the deck area to be covered to be able to get out of the sun, but still enjoy the outside area. We want a smaller barn area to house whatever animals we have (but big enough for them to be comfortable). We also want a CUTE chicken coop - yes, we are one of those...who want our coop to be cute, with flower window boxes for the ladies etc.

We'd love to have a minimum of 5 acres - but honestly the more the better! My dream is like 30 acres. We wouldn't farm all 30 acres - I don't think that is necessary. We only want enough to sustain our family and some extra to help others. I'd like for us to have plenty of room for our barn, our pasture and animals, a play yard for the kids, garden, wooded area for hiking and exploring - a creek would be AMAZING!!!! In a perfect world, we will also have enough property to add a few (hopefully 5) "shanties" - MUCH smaller homes on the property to allow our children a place (Tiff and Kait could stay there now, the kids when they are older) to still live close to home to go to school, work on their career, start their families - without the stress of HAVING to pay for an apartment - but having individual space so we aren't all right on top of each other. While the little ones are still little we'd only need a couple shanties and build them as we need to.

So what are we waiting for? Credit score, down payment and to know where work is going to take us. The hope is that by the kids are done with school in June we will have all the direction, credit worthiness and savings to get everything we need...or at least enough to get us in the right spot and we are willing to work on building the rest.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebration and Sorrow

It has been 15 days since my last post. What a confusing, maddening, happy, frustrating, disgusting, loving, tiring 15 days it has been. I've had such a mix of emotions. Shortly after my last post came Drake's birthday. I cannot believe that my youngest son is 10. Drake had such a rough start to his life...a few weeks before he was born I was rushed to the hospital because I was bleeding out...bleeding to death. I was home with only Tiff, Kait and Gage (ages 13, 9 and 2 respectively at the time)...Mark was returning the truck to his work and coming home soon. When I lifted Gage to give him a snuggle I felt a gush. I thought for sure that my water had broken. When I went to the bathroom it was a different story. Blood had gushed so heavy it bled through my jeans. Deep, dark blood. I immediate controlled the situation and Mark got us to the hospital in time. They delayed labor and assessed the situation and determined that I had a previously undetected complete previa and had been bleeding internally...when I lifted Gage, I dilated and the blood all came out at once. So came weeks of bedrest in the hospital with a two year old at home, with his older sisters - while Mark worked and tried to get us moved into our new apartment. A very sad, lonely and scary time for us all. Born at 36 weeks and two days, Drake was the largest baby (7lbs, 7oz.) in the NICU - he was intubated - I was told he might "expire". But he didn't - after 8 days in the NICU, pulling out his tubes and his IVs, two doses of surfactant, blowing out some of his aveoli - we were released. But here we are ten years later, stronger and healthier. Drake is an amazing little boy - he fascinates me. He is strong and strong willed. He is smart and a smart alec. He collects shiny things. He accepts everyone for who they are. He's not afraid to wear fairy wings. He's not afraid to climb trees. He's not afraid to get dirty. I love him for all of those things and more. He is an incredible ten year old, who again, I am so proud that he chose me to be his mother.
The sad part of Drake's birthday is that he felt jinxed. The night before his seventh birthday he got seven stitches over his left eye. Certainly scary but not life threatening. This year his birthday was different. It started with normal birthday morning kisses, delivering treats to the class (yummy homemade pumpkin muffins with homemade cream cheese icing with vanilla and cinnamon) - and then Mark and I went off to work. Then, I received a call from my Dad. I could tell from his tone that something terrible had happen. I know this is going to sound morbid...but I have this list in my head. The "hello Shelby, this is your Dad/Mom/Mark/Uncle and so and so has passed/is in the hospital" list. I's horrible that this list exists but there are certain people in our family that aren't in the best of health or are very elderly and I would imagine that sooner than later we will be receiving the dreaded call that something has happened...but again, this time it was different. My dad continued to say that my Aunt Lynn, my 57 year old aunt, was struck by a car and killed instantly. The story began that she and my uncle were walking my cousin's dog on a beautiful, clear day, just as the often do...and the story ended with learning that a "man" who had taken ambien, valium and geodon and was overly concerned about his "missed cell phone call" had veered so far off the road that he struck my aunt with the driver's side of his car, throwing her body 50 ft. in the air, nearly struck my uncle (if it hadn't been for the dog pulling him to the side) and as Lynn crashed to the ground - my uncle didn't even realize that was his wife for the past 15 years of his life. Mother to his stepdaughter and stepmother to his children, grandmother, best friend. He ran to be by her side...but it was too late and she was gone. What makes this man feel like it is ok to drive in this condition? At what point will he learn his lesson? Did I mention that this was his THIRD accident this month? One accident he hit a woman's car so violently that it pushed her car off the road into a telephone pole, another accident the other driver said that he saw Forshee (the driver) coming up behind him and braced for the impact you would think Forshee would immediately stop his vehicle - instead he continued to accelerate his vehicle for a while before coming to a stop. This man needs to be rehabilitated but he also needs to be jailed for his actions. This "man" has a wife and children - he has already killed someone - could you imagine if his family was in the car and he killed them?! Or if they had to experience this horrific accident? What if he would have killed my uncle as well? I don't understand how much has to happen to make this asshole realize he has a problem.
In addition to this accident, another Chittenango HS grad's car went off the road and rolled and she passed away and yet another Chittenango grad, a soldier in Afghanistan was killed by a roadside bomb...I know that this strong town will recover...but right now they are suffering from such extreme devastation. I feel so much sorrow for my little hometown. But here is what I believe and what I told Drake...his birthday is certainly NOT jinxed...we could have died on his birthday...but we didn't. On his seventh birthday he could have lost his entire eye and instead he only got a few stitches and his scar makes him look handsome, rugged and tough. Finally, although Aunt Lynn passed on Drake's birthday - if she had passed just two months earlier, she wouldn't have been able to make it to her daughter's wedding, or take the trip to China with my uncle to visit my cousin and his partner, or make a work trip to Vermont to see my other cousin and his partner...while it is unbelievable, heartbreaking, devastating that she died, I believe that when it is your time it is your time and fortunately she was able to leave her children and grandchildren with such wonderful memories.
So here I sit, watching Elf, on November 21...four days prior to Thanksgiving. Normally, such nonsense is boycotted until after the Thanksgiving holiday...once Black Friday arrives, I'm all about Christmas...but this year, I think it has hit me a couple days early. I think I just need the love, snuggles and warmth from my family that the holiday has been an extremely hard week. After we got back from NY I worked about 60 hours. trying to catch up and spent the weekend working a holiday event and giving away light bulbs.
I could really use a break right now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

All work and no play makes Shelby a dull girl

Breathing in...and then out...that's all I feel like I can do these days. I am extremely busy at work. Needing to do a ton of store visits, continuing to learn about my potential new role, events...I logged nearly 60 hours this week...I'm tired. I just want to snuggle with Mark, perhaps knit a bit. If I close my eyes too long I might just fall asleep...