Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More Fifth Wheel Excitement

The fifth wheel is in the barn now :-).

So there is a story behind that, not a very interesting one perhaps, but it is MY blog.

Since the previous owners bought the 5th wheel in California, we (meaning Kevin) had to take the RV to a local motor vehicle bureau to have the VIN number officially scanned by some official personage.

Moving the RV is a PAIN.  But Kevin had the morning off so he decided to do it, with the added motivation that the weather is crazy cold for mid April -- lows will be in the high 20's tonight, with blowing. So to prevent the water pipes from freezing, Kevin decided to see if it would fit in the barn.

And it does.  Barely.  It has about an inch spare on top where it almost hits the lights in the barn.

Before it got in the barn, we had a near fiasco.  Kevin got stuck on the hill near the barn, in the grass. Really stuck. Horribly stuck. We've had SO much rain and the truck's tires got mired in mud.

By God's grace, our neighbor not only has a very powerful truck, he also happened to be home!  He drove over and pulled us out.

So far the 5th wheel has been a big hit. One night Kevin and I spent a couple of hours in there, watching an old Doctor Who.  Last night, the four older kids went out to play a game, and tonight the 2 middle girls went out for a couple of hours to spend time together.

We still don't have the plumbing working but we do have electricity working perfectly.  When the weather is decent, we'll get the plumbing sorted out.

There have been plenty of memes about spring this year.  Which is proving very elusive.  We're all ready for consistently warm temperatures.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Long Winter

Yep, winter will not loose its icy grip!

5th Wheel!

We are buying a 5th wheel and a truck to pull it!

I know my loyal readers mostly find this coming out of nowhere, because it kind of is.

So for as long as I can remember, I have liked the concept of a "tiny house" -- a little place which is super efficient.

But we got married and had 9 children, so a tiny house isn't practical for us.  AND they are expensive.

A couple of months ago, Kevin commented that we could probably buy a travel trailer or 5th wheel for a reasonable amount of money.  We started looking around.  A local family (not someone we know) has a 5th wheel in great shape for not too much.  So after prayer, we've decided to buy it.  AND he is selling a 2001 diesel truck to haul it, also for not too much money.

We do have to take out a loan and I hate debt but this is a really nice setup.  We did look around thoroughly at other travel trailer and 5th wheel options  and decided this is a good fit. It has a bunk room in the back and will sleep 9 people without too much trouble.

So what is the plan? The initial plan is to park the 5th wheel near our barn while we figure out all the details of caring for it. The most complex is the plumbing. There are issues involving the bathroom that are still entirely confusing to us.  Kevin is a brilliant guy regarding such things, but it'll still take awhile to get that all sorted out satisfactorily.

He already put in the requisite electrical connection so we can plug in the 5th wheel.

Our idea is that it will be a retreat. Kevin and I can get away from the kids occasionally, leaving the older ones in charge.  

Our kids can get away from the noise occasionally, or they can go into the 5th wheel and MAKE noise, leaving the house a little quieter.

So all this should happen in the next couple of weeks. As a SORT of amusing aside, the truck got hit by a falling branch during a windstorm last week, the day after we agreed to buy it.  We hadn't yet, so the owners knocked off some money.

I'm excited!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy Easter!

He is Risen!

We aren't going to church today.  We usually don't on Easter.  I know that sounds pretty lame but it is always a crazy busy day at church and years of having a huge family has taken its toll on me.  I don't like having to keep track of everyone when there are limited seats in the sanctuary and all.

And Kevin's mom and our niece are coming for Easter lunch today at noon.  Our niece has to get back to college up north this afternoon and reasonably doesn't want to drive in the dark. AND it is supposed to snow tonight!  Will spring ever really come?  It has been a long winter.

I took the 3 youngest to our church's Easter egg hunt/bouncy hut spectacular yesterday.  We started out with listening to a wonderful description of the Easter story using Resurrection Eggs. Each egg has a symbol (like a tiny palm leaf, a cross made of nails, coins to represent Christ's betrayal by Judas) and one of the ladies from church did a lovely job telling the story.

Then we went on the egg hunt. Rose and Daniel and Sarah all gathered many eggs. Rose went quietly nuts near the end and I was keeping track of all 3 kids in a busy crowd and each egg hunt was in a different place so it was stressful. Four of the big kids were there helping with the event itself. They were able to help sometimes.

Suffice it to say I was very glad when I got everyone safely home, but it was a lovely time and I'm thankful for our church's willingness to have such a community event which ties into the gospel.

I've been saved since I was a teenager so maybe at some level, the Easter story seems old news sometimes. But this morning I was reading through enduringword.com, which is a wonderful website which includes historical and theological insight into passages.  I was reading about the Last Supper in the Gospel of Luke.  And once again I was struck with amazement that Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Lord and my Savior, humbled himself and died for me, for my sins.

I was reading a movie review a couple of weeks ago on screenit.com.  I really like this site, to the point that I actually pay for the privilege of using it.  The reviews are very detailed about various issues that might be a problem. The reviewer of a new movie on the Apostle Paul commented briefly that he didn't understand how a man like Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul after his conversion) could truly be forgiven for his many sins.  We tend to forget that Saul was basically a terrorist.  He went around dragging innocents to jail for being Christians. He killed.  He murdered.  This reviewer said he just didn't get that aspect of Christianity, that a truly evil man could truly be forgiven.

And I realized that I am Saul of Tarsus. I am.  No, I'm not a mass murderer.  I'm a "pretty nice person." But GOD IS PERFECT.  And I never was, am not, never will be perfect on Earth. I will sin. I will fail. I will be selfish and fearful and self centered.

But Jesus loves me anyway.  He loves me SO MUCH that he was willing to die a truly horrific death to be the sacrifice for my sins.

We are all sinners, and we are saved by grace and grace alone.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Happy Easter.  He ROSE!

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Kevin and I drove up to Michigan on Friday night so we could attend my uncle Bill's funeral on Saturday morning.  We were originally planning to drive up early in the morning but there were threats of an ice storm so we went up early.

Kevin's mom kindly came over and spent about 24 hours with the kids.

The funeral was beautiful in its own way.  My aunt said that at the end, the only thing working well for my uncle was his pacemaker. He was so ready to go home, so ready.

It was a Lutheran funeral full of liturgy and hymns.  My dad gave a lovely eulogy.  Communion was served and I got confused about what to do. I've been to 3 Lutheran Churches now in my lifetime (attended 2 for some time) and each one did communion differently :-). Those Lutherans!  No really, it was lovely.

Funerals are strange things in some ways because we're all grieving a loss but we also see relatives and friends we've not seen in forever.  I met a friend of mine I'd not seen in more than 20 years. She used to attend the same church as I did back in my graduate school days, before Kevin and I were married.  She got married to a fine fellow and moved in ACROSS THE STREET from my aunt and uncle. Just one of those weird "it's a small world" things.  She and her family have been loyal friends to my aunt and uncle, and vice versa.

I got to see one brother, the one who lives in Chicago. The other lives in Hawaii so getting back for the funeral wasn't feasible.

After the funeral and lunch, Kevin and I went to visit another aunt and uncle who live in the Ann Arbor area. I used to live with them for the first couple of years of graduate school, but I haven't seen much of them in the last 20 years.  Kids and kids and more kids, and married life, and work, have not resulted in much traveling on our part.  It was wonderful to spend a couple of hours with them and my brother, who was there also.

Their house is gorgeous.  It is funny to me how different life is without small kids.  Our house must be practical, for our own sanity.  No figurines, so breakable objects at high level, and so on.  It was fun seeing the house and the changes they've made since I lived there, but I'm thankful I'm not trying to maintain that level of decorating with kids racing around like rhinos around here.

We got back late, after driving through a snowstorm.  The kids mostly did fine though there were things that didn't happen that should have.  Rose was pretty crabby.  She is very attached to me. I don't know if that is partly because she is the youngest and the "baby" of the family?  The other kids, by this time, had at least 1, usually 2, younger siblings!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Uncle Bill

Each of my parents has one sister, and each sister is married.

My aunt on my mom's side lost her husband, my Uncle Bill, last week. The funeral will be this week and Kevin and I are going up for it.

In some ways, it was a terrible time for my aunt and uncle.  Bill had a terrible foot infection, resulting in an amputation of part of his leg, which then morphed into additional heart problems and breathing problems and infection.

It took 7 weeks from the point of realizing he needed medical attention for his leg to his death.  Seven really tough difficult weeks.

On the other hand, he was a devout Christian and he was ready to go home. It is very hard for those left behind, of course especially my aunt.  They were married for more than 3 decades.

I'm thankful he is with Jesus, sad for those left behind.