This Christmas break was the most relaxing one I can remember for a long time. We were able to read, sleep late, hang out, and enjoy each other. The kids really enjoyed playing together and we had just enough to do that we didn't have a lot of the squabbles that we sometimes do. The kids and Ian went hiking one day with some friends, and we had a few low key playtimes as well. We did some special baking and worked hard on finishing our Christmas projects before Christmas came around. We also accomplished a lot of things that had been on our to-do list. I was so proud that I remembered to take pictures of them. They weren't big or important items, but it is nice to have them out of the way.
I care for the furniture and household goods that SIM supplies to those coming to serve for less than two years. This spring, I brought a few items home that were fairly sturdy but had seen better days thinking I would refinish them before our vacation this summer. A refinishing job, which I have done before, is all well and good in the US, but here, without Home Depot, I discovered rather quickly that I was at a loss. I needed Ian's tools, which are never located in our garage, and inside purchasing knowledge that I didn't have. I knew he was too busy to work on my very un-urgent project, so the dresser and side tables have sat in our laundry room, in our hall, and on our back porch for the last six months. Over break, Ian finally got tired of having old furniture around and took it upon himself to sand and paint the dresser I had started in May. It looked great! I was so thankful for his expertise! And we were both glad to get the dresser off the porch.
Another project Ian worked on this break was putting up a rope swing for the kids in the front yard. They have had hours of fun on it already! It was a great idea!
We also bought a second hand desk for the girls' room. Previously, they only had a table to work on. Without the storage space of a desk, their table and surrounding floor were a a constant disaster area. Now they have a place for everything and two months later, the room is still clean! YAHOO!!! As an added bonus, the table was returned to its original purpose holding laundry. No more folding clothes on top of the freezer for me!
In further efforts to organize "the messy girls' room" as Tom calls it, we moved a set of plastic drawers into their bathroom. Again, this has made a HUGE difference in their ability to keep things neat. Formerly these drawers were in their closet holding doll clothes, but the doll clothes have found another home and Kay's dresses were starting to get too long to keep it underneath much longer anyway. Now we don't have daily piles of hair ribbons, elastics and barrettes on the floor!
Last year we had a gardener that was very enthusiastic about lettuce. While the four beds seemed a bit TOO enthusiastic to us, we did enjoy the fresh lettuce. Unfortunately, due to scheduling difficulties, we no longer have a gardener, so this year we were on our own. Ian built a garden in our front yard and we planted tomatoes and lettuce, and even some red peppers in a pot. To keep the lizards and birds from eating the seeds and tiny seedlings, we covered the bed with screen until the seedlings were big enough to survive on their own. Here is a view soon after we planted. Now Ian has thinned the rows and transplanted some of the crowded babies to other areas. The plants look great! Hopefully it won't get too hot for them before they are able to produce. We did start late... but even if the heat rises, we have a plan...
AHHHHH. Nothing like checking off some items from the to-do list!