After a long week of going to bed late because we were working on the house and getting up early to work, we were ready to collapse by the time Friday came along. Yet, we found out Thursday morning that James’ brother and his family as well as his sister and brother-in-law were all going to be town Saturday. With everyone in town, the family was going to get together at James’ dad’s, but since it would probably be a while before everyone would be back in Illinois and able to see the new house, we decided to have everyone over to the new house for dinner Saturday. Crazy, right? Yes, definitely crazy!!
Friday night when we got home from work the house still looked like a war zone with tubs and boxes everywhere, a huge (and growing) trash pile, and bunch of stuff for Goodwill. On top of that the downstairs walls were polka dotted with patches James needed to sand (and then I needed to paint), the upstairs still needed to be painted, none of the furniture was where it needed to be and some of it still needed to be put together!! Lucky for us, even before we knew we’d be hosting everyone Saturday night, my mom had already planned on coming for the weekend to help us unpack and get things organized!
Mom got to the house a little before dinner and once we were done eating and opening our housewarming gifts (a beautiful dragonfly utensil holder and an alarm to let us know when people pulled up in the driveway), we all got to work. It was crazy, but we were a sanding, cleaning, painting team and by the time we were ready for bed almost all of the painting was finished other than a few spots of mudding that had to dry and be sanded in the morning before they could be painted. Saturday morning we were all up pretty early and after breakfast jumped right into getting the house and food ready for that night. We finished painting, figured out where to put the furniture, put together furniture, hung the big screen TV and got the living room organized, started putting things away out of the tubs, hung some pictures, picked up, cleaned up, organized, cooked, and by the time family started arriving around 4:30-5pm the house looked pretty good and the food smelled amazing! We also set up four card tables in a long row in the living room to imitate a dining room table and we decorated it for Halloween to help set the scene! To quote James as he walked around before everyone got there, “It actually looks like a home now!”.
James’ sister and her husband were the first to arrive and had ridden to the house with his dad and step-mom. After getting hugs and welcoming everyone, we were ready for a tour of the yard while we waited for his brother and family to get there. We had a lot of fun showing them around and they also seemed to enjoy it a lot. We had just finished with the yard and started on the downstairs when the rest of the family got there. While mom continued to watch the food (which was pretty much ready) and little baby Judah, who was fast asleep, James and I finished the tour of the house and showed his brother some of the backyard. Around this time everyone was getting pretty hungry, so after a brief prayer by Rachel, we piled our plates buffet style with noodles, mashed potatoes, roast, cooked carrots, cherry delight, and caramel brownies. Everyone seemed to have a good time talking, laughing, and just enjoying being together! After a couple of rounds of seconds for the dinner and desert, everyone was getting full and a little tired. We said our goodbyes and wished everyone a safe journey home. Shortly thereafter, we also called it a night. We were completely exhausted, but very proud of everything we had accomplished!
The next morning, I couldn’t sleep so I decided to go with my mom on her morning walk. The day before she and Nelly (the family hunting dog who had come along for the weekend and who was also featured in some of our wedding pictures) had gone on two walks and had seen a deer and some pheasant, so I was excited about the possibility of seeing some wildlife on our walk. We started by walking west along the creek and then turned north (where mom snagged a few ears of corn from the fields to throw along our property to entice the wildlife) and followed our property line back east towards the house.
We didn’t see any wildlife other than some sparrows, but we did narrowly escape falling into some of the bigger holes left from trees that had been dug up and never refilled. We then kept following our property line past the house and along our lane to the more eastern side of our land. We followed the trees and took our time, meandering along checking everything out. When we got to what we thought was the eastern most property line we walked towards the field to look out past our land. As we looked across the barren corn field I saw what I thought at first was a deer, but as I kept watching it realized it was a coyote! It was a ways out in the field and I didn’t see it for long, but it was amazing to see right from my own back yard! Mom, Nelly, and I then continued our walk, now heading back towards the house.
Once we got home, I made pancakes for breakfast and lemon poppy seed muffins for later that morning when Linda and Debbie (my Mom’s sisters) got to the house. Even after the walk, I was still moving a little slow from the day/week before, but continued to do some cleaning and picking up while Mom got her things packed up and James kept busy with fixing a blocked outlet in the big basement room.
[James: Okay, you don’t see how idiotic this was from the pictures. When they built the house, they put up the framework for a wall between the small storeroom and the large storeroom and put an outlet facing into the large storeroom / utility room in the wall studs. Somewhere along the line, they decided to put up paneling to separate the two rooms and instead of cutting a hole for the outlet, they just covered it up. So there is a perfectly good outlet in a room that needs it that has been covered by paneling. Then, because they needed an outlet on that wall, they punched a hole through the wall and ran a power strip and plugged it into another outlet facing the other direction in the small storeroom. All this when they just needed to cut a hole for the existing outlet. So that’s what I did.]
Around 11am, Linda arrived at the door with a festive rake decorated for the fall season as a housewarming gift from “the sisters”. Unfortunately Debbie wasn’t feeling that good and couldn’t make it, but we gave Linda the full tour of the house and then walked almost the whole property with her (similar to what mom and I had done earlier that morning). James had never walked the whole property, so he seemed to enjoy the walk as much as Linda did!
After getting back to the house and copying some of Linda’s pictures (she had pictures from our wedding in July and from that morning), Mom finished loading her things up and took off with Linda for some “sisters” time before heading home.
Wedding pictures from Linda’s camera! We hadn’t seen these yet!
James and I spent the rest of the day trying to take it easy, but still managed to mow the lawn at the old house, fill the car with more stuff from the old house that needed to come to the new house, and grocery shopping at WalMart. All in all a VERY productive yet tiring weekend!