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A Day In My Life: Flooded bathrooms, leaking ceilings, and entrepreneurial kids

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Yesterday started bright and early. I’d planned to get up, run, take a shower, and get dressed for the day first thing in the morning. But some unexpected things came up needing my immediate attention and that got pushed to the back burner.

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I finished those pressing things and my morning blogging and while Kaitlynn made eggs for breakfast and I started the laundry.

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Kathrynne had made a pan of Energy Bars this weekend, so she opted to have that for breakfast instead. She made a case for why it was a healthy way to start the day and the nutrition that was in this recipe and her case was so solid that I gave in and let her eat “dessert” for breakfast.

{Considering that sometimes, I can’t really protest too much!}

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While the kids finished breakfast, I cleaned up the messy kitchen (you can’t see it from this vantage point, but there were some pots and pans in the sink with crusted on food… just lovely! :)) and went over our plans for the day with the kids.

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Silas couldn’t WAIT to start in on his math. He’s been itching to do the Monarch Online School that the girls do, but since he’s still learning to read, it starts at a 3rd grade level, and he’s only 5, we’ve been holding him off. However, recently, we decided that it wouldn’t hurt to let him at least try the math, since that’s such a strong subject for him.

Well, what do you know? The kid is whizzing through the lessons — often doing 8 or 9 a day! And he’s getting an average of 90% to 95% on all of the lessons and quizzes — all with very little help from us!

He absolutely loves it and we just keep laughing at how much he surprises us with his math skills, especially since it’s not something we’ve worked on really hard, just something he’s learned by asking lots of questions from all of us.

We had guessed that he was probably at a 3rd grade level in math, but we didn’t really think he could actually do the 3rd grade computer school lessons without a lot of help from us. Clearly, he has proven us wrong! We’re curious to see how long this pace and enthusiasm keeps up!

Now, if he could just learn how to read well, he’d really be whizzing through lessons! 🙂

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These flowers on my kitchen table brightened up my morning! Such a fun and cheery color!

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While Silas was working on math and the girls were working on their Daily Lists, I tackled the fridge. Yup, it looks like it needed some help!

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When I actually dove in, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. About 10 minutes later, it was squeaky clean!Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 3.33.50 PM

I finished up the last of the dishes and wiped down the counter tops and smiled to see a clean kitchen. I love a clean kitchen. Even if the rest of the house is messy, having the kitchen clean makes me feel like half the house is clean!

While I was finishing up the kitchen, the girls came back down and we got engrossed in an in-depth conversation about business ideas they had and how to best launch them. I love seizing these everyday opportunities to teach and talk through real-life stuff, to weigh pros and cons, to ask them questions, to help them think through outcomes, and to inspire them to exercising their entrepreneurial muscles.

We came up with some new ideas today that I’m actually thinking they might carry out. We’ll see, but I love to see them thinking and pondering and asking questions with long-term goals and dreams in mind.

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As we were finishing up our conversation on business ideas, Jesse came home bringing this for me. Yes, folks, with much reluctance, I finally upgraded.

I have been due for a free upgrade for quite some time, but I always hold out as long as I possibly can. But because I’d been having some issues with my phone and because Jesse was really anxious to go ahead and upgrade, I finally bit the bullet and said, “Go for it!”

I feel like my new phone is some foreign object invading my life, but I’m sure I’ll get over it soon enough. 🙂

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Jesse also came home bringing the mail… which had some fun surprises for me — including my new She Reads Truth study pack and some goodies I bought for myself off of Amazon using my free gift cards from Swagbucks. I can’t wait to watch Habits Workshop with Jesse and try out the Sweet Blend that I’ve heard so many rave reviews of!

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These fun review products also showed up in the mail… look for some great giveaways coming soon! I love getting to offers giveaways for great (and useful!) products.

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After we went through the mail and got things put away, the girls told Jesse all about their new business ideas and then we sat down to finally have Morning Time. We’re going through this Holy Week devotional from our church this week.

By the way, have I mentioned how much we love ?? We are so grateful for how intentional they are about encouraging families to spend time in God’s Word together and the practical helps they provide to us parents to help us teach the truths of Scripture to our kids.

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After Morning Time, I had planned to leave and head to the office space, but I still hadn’t had a chance to run and take my shower and I really had some pressing projects I needed to finish and I wanted to also take some time to read my Bible and journal.

So instead of leaving, I just made myself a cup of coffee and a snack and spent some time reading and journaling and then headed up to my room to knock out my afternoon blogging list while Jesse oversaw lunch, the rest of the Kid’s Daily Lists, and school work for the day.

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After Kathrynne was finished with her list and school, she spent some time working on her latest Lego machines. I’m hoping I can get her to put together some tutorials for me to share on the blog soon as I think some of you might have Lego-lovers in your house who would have fun making the Lego Candy machines and puzzle boxes that she creates.

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We got a box of clothes from Schoola with some new-to-us clothes for the kids for the warmer weather.

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.49.09 PMSo Kaitlynn asked Kathrynne if she’d do a photo shoot with one of her new outfits.

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I was quite impressed with how the pictures turned out!

Around 5:30 p.m., I finished up my blogging work and we all ate some of the delicious homemade Chicken Nuggets that Jesse made for dinner. And then I — finally! — headed to take a shower and get dressed since friends were coming over for Dessert Night (just keeping it real here!).

There was water in the tub from the kid’s baths much earlier in the day and when I went to pull the plug on that, instead of draining out like usual it backed up into our shower and flooded the shower and the bathroom floor!

As I realized what was happening, I quickly mopped up the water flooded out on the bathroom floor and hollered to Jesse to come figure out how to drain out the shower. He finally got it drained by using a snake down the drain. We hoped we had prevented anything from leaking through the ceiling by catching it quickly enough and mopping it up right away.

Once that crisis was diverted, I finished getting ready — just minutes before our friends arrived.

Shortly after they got to our house, we noticed the ceiling in the living room/kitchen bubbling up. And then it started dripping — right where we were all sitting!

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At first it was just a slow drip, but then it started dripping at a faster rate. Pretty soon, we had to get towels and buckets to catch the water. Jesse even stood on a chair and held one up on the ceiling for awhile to catch a lot of the water dripping down.

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I just stood there and smiled, laughed, and encouraged Jesse… because what else can you do when your ceiling is raining while you have company over and you’re not handy at all??! (Thanks to for documenting some of the crazy of the evening in pictures for us!)

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Gratefully, there was a handy woman in our midst. For those of you who don’t know, Jenny Acuff not only , she’s also incredibly handy. She climbed up and ripped down the tape on the sheet rock to let the water drain out more quickly. 🙂

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We eventually got it to stop dripping and then went back to our chatting, laughing, and dessert-eating. 🙂

And now today, in addition to our A/C not working upstairs and our hot water tank going out (nothing like ice-cold showers to wake you up in the morning!), we need to figure out what this plumbing issue is.

The good news? This house has given us lots of opportunities to learn patience, flexibility, and adaptability. Plus, there’s rarely a dull moment around here or a few weeks that go by where we don’t have some kind of repairmen in our home working on some new problem. 😉

How was YOUR day yesterday? Tell us about it in the comments.

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52 Comments

  • Jennifer says:

    When my son was 5, reading was going so slow! We only finished short vowels and barely started long vowels by the end of the year. This was only 1/2 of the lessons in our book. (Adventures in Phonics A) We practiced reading in the summer (just a little each day). In 1st grade it was like something clicked and he made some great progress! By the start of 2nd he was a good reader and by 3rd independent. I think sometimes it just takes boys a little longer to become fluent readers. The most important thing for him was consistent practice:)

    • Tabitha says:

      I want to ditto this comment. My son also “struggled” with reading compared to his math skills. Looking back he was probably average but compared to what he was capable in other areas we were concerned. We took him to a special program for kids who struggle with reading and they spent a lot of time and money trying to “help” him. They couldn’t identify why he was not reading. Then between first and second grade something clicked. He is currently in third grade and is reading a book series called The Benedict Society (each book is about 400 pages). A long ways from where he was in first grade. I hope this encourages you especially with such high achieving girls that he will get it in his own time:) Thank you for your blog and opening your life up to all your readers!

      • Jo says:

        It’s been so different because both girls learned to read when they were 4 and he really, really wants to learn how to read, it just hasn’t all “clicked” for him. But I try to remind myself that a lot of kids don’t learn how to read until they are 6 or 7 or even older and that’s okay.

        Thank you for your encouragement to remember that he’ll figure it out soon and that there’s no need to rush or push it if he’s just not ready yet.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Crystal and all the other ladies with kids learning to read! I just want to say that here in Germany were I live, probably 90 % of the kids learn how to read only when they attend school. School starts at the age of 6 or 7 and most of the kids have quite good reading abilities after one year or a year and a half. As I started school with 7 years and am now holding a university degree I think I can safely say that I am the living proof that you should not worry too much if your 5 or 6-year-old is not reading fluently yet :-))

  • Dawn says:

    I frequently have days (dare I say weeks?) like this. People tell me all the time that I will lose my mind. I tell them, no I will not, but I am building character and being prepared to be used in a great and mighty way. Chin up! Life is far from perfect. Letting the world see you deal gracefully with chaos makes far more of a lasting impact that a thousand days of breezing through perfection.

  • says:

    My 14 year old son loves creating LEGO machines. He’s been doing YouTube videos and earns a tidy monthly income! Username is LegoManGenius, maybe Kathrynne would enjoy them 🙂

    • stacey says:

      So my boys are 5 and we just started really getting into LEGOs. How do you keep them all organized!?! by sets or by color or a different way. I can see where these little pieces are going to drive me crazy

  • says:

    Oh my day was not as bad as yours! However it was full of challenges and I admit to getting frustrated that I didn’t get all I had planned done. My daughter’s car was having brake problems so that took priority over my plans. We took it to the mechanic and then I was her chauffeur for the afternoon. Prior to that we had to have our internet provider out to fix our snail slow internet. And we discovered that we were almost out of propane so again someone was at the house to fix it. Just a bit chaotic but it all ended well. Love your attitude on handling the challenges that God hands us.

  • says:

    I did manage to get my fridge clean 😉 but then we had school and other things to do, which was all well and good, but then when my husband came down with a wicked stomach virus my 7 kids and I frantically started packing to get out of the house. We have already had this virus 4 times this year, so we are currently staying at my inlays hoping to outrun it this time while my husband is at home sick. Thankful for the graciousness of my in-laws who are putting a roof over our heads, but this impromptu mini-vacation was not really on my list of things to do right now. But, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?!

  • Theresa says:

    I remember having those days….the bathroom flooding is the worst! It seems like it all happens together, so maybe this is it for now! How do you get so much done in one day? Do you have a schedule you follow? I do fine when home alone, but if anyone is home besides the dog, it gets off track!

    • Jo says:

      We have a routine that we follow, but it’s a little bit different every day. I think the biggest thing that allows me to get more done is that we keep our home and schedule pretty simple, my husband is a HUGE help, and my kids are old enough to help out a lot, too. I also have a prioritized to-do list that I work through every day that really helps me to stay on task.

  • Lana says:

    Oh, I know all about the water incident except ours was a grandchild who tried to flush an entire roll of TP while he was staying for the weekend back in November. We had poopy water out into the hall and running through the kitchen ceiling. Uck! Hubby has spent two weekends repairing our kitchen ceiling and now it needs to be resprayed with texture when the weather warms up and we can ventilate the house while doing it. My kitchen ceiling looks like it has leprosy right now and I see everyone’s eyes go right up there when they come in my back door.

    Silas will be in a great place for the SAT/ACT later because my five kids said they did not understand the math section completely until they had done Algebra 3 and trig so getting ahead is fantastic because those usually come along in the senior year and it is too late. When people ask me for home school advice the one thing I tell them is to skip the K-5 math and go right into first grade so that they can be a year ahead all the way through.

  • says:

    So sorry about the water and the ceiling! Ugh! That happened with me too. Only I didn’t realize what was happening until AFTER my shower. Nothing seemed amiss. When I went downstairs into the kitchen I couldn’t figure out why there was all this water on the floor and counter. I looked up and saw the path of water from the upstairs bathroom. Cabinets flooded. My cookbooks (which I love) warped, ceiling bubbling up, the whole nine. That was fun, but things could be so much worse than that.

  • Emily says:

    So sorry about all that. Thank goodness you’re only renting this place so you will get reimbursed for the repairs. Had that happen in college in an apartment. The person above us left the bathtub running and it overflowed. Had to call the poor maintenance guy at 10:30 at night!

    • Jo says:

      I know! We are also so grateful that we are renting and that our landlords have a home warranty that is covering most of these expenses!

  • says:

    I just wanted to offer a sister some support on the whole cake and breakfast topic. My thoughts are eggs are breakfast food. Cake has eggs. Therefore cake is also a breakfast food. Your welcome!!

  • Crissy says:

    We love Fellowship! Maybe I will run into you sometime. I will be the crazy one acting like I know you since I have read your blog for many years and also read your other blog years ago about mothering :)!

  • chelsea says:

    I’m so jealous you got to eat dinner with Jenny Acuff!!! Arrrg!

    • Jo says:

      We love Jon and Jenny and their girls! They are the real deal and we are honored to call them friends. Plus, Jenny has amazing handy woman skills, too! 🙂

  • says:

    So sorry to hear about your bathroom issues.

    On a separate note, I love reading your “A day in my life” posts. They always make me feel good – knowing other people have ordinary days like me, other people have issues too and I love your attitude and how honest you are!

  • Aubrey says:

    OK, so your pan of energy bars…..?
    Do you just make the energy bites recipe and instead of rolling them into balls put them into a pan? Do you just have to scoop them out, or can you cut them into bars?
    We love, love, love energy bites in our family, but I have to admit standing at my kitchen counter rolling them into balls (my son is still too young to help with this) is a very tedious task that I don’t really enjoy!

    • Jo says:

      Haha! That’s what she did. And then she just scoops some out to eat… I’d recommend pressing them firmly into a pan and cutting into bars, but her method works, too. It’s just a little messier. 😉

  • says:

    Oh what a day! Homes can do that to you sometimes. I also just bit the bullet and finally upgraded to a smartphone. It was getting to the point where my other phone was not doing what I needed it too…I was getting several important texts that I could not open.

    • Jo says:

      It took me for-ev-er to work up the courage to upgrade to a smartphone… I kept coming up with a laundry list of reasons as to why it was too extravagant and unnecessary. However, in the line of work I do, it’s been invaluable and it pays for itself in the time I save over and over again. Plus, I have the tethering plan on mine so I can get internet on my laptop from practically anywhere — which allows me to get blog post and other business projects done much more efficiently while traveling.

  • Becky says:

    🙂 I have seen these days before. The photo of your flowers are gorgeous!! Can I save the photo and use it as my wallpaper???

  • Patricia says:

    If you think of what is or not in breakfast cereals, I’d rather feed Kaitlynn’s energy bars to my kids any day rather than processed cereal!
    Not everyone has had the opportunity to experience an intact family life. There are so many broken people out there who are blessed to see what normal is really like. Can’t “Thank you” enough for sharing and encouraging.
    Blessings to you and your family!

  • Annie says:

    Oh, Crystal! The end of your post made me laugh and smile and giggle in full commiseration. You see, we, too, have a “special” house. The 120+ year old (slight) fixer-upper we bought almost 8 years ago still has a fix-up list that grows exponentially by the day. We currently have a dripping hose into a toilet, holes in the plaster (from repairs & picky little fingers) inside AND outside our downstairs bathroom, ceiling plaster coming down in our front hallway – just inside the front door (“Hello, friends! Be ready to duck and run!), popcorn ceiling in our upstairs bathroom that intermittently “pops” right off the ceiling and into the shower and floor, terrific “original” wooden clapboard siding that is in desperate need of paint, cupboard doors that fall off at random…. And that’s just what’s visible!

    “They” say this, too, shall pass. But, I’m thankful for the house, the jobs that give us the money to continually fix it up and the handy-girl skills my recently-deceased father made sure I had. Know that the next time you have a random repair crisis, I’m probably searching for a quick-fix solution for one of my own!

    • Jo says:

      Oh my goodness! I love calling our houses “special houses” — because they sure seem like that. We’ve honestly just learned to laugh and be crazy flexible. Oh the stories we have of our almost-year in this house!

      Here’s another one that you’ll be able to laugh at: Our master bath shower has a detachable hose/shower head. The shower head holder had broken off somehow last week, so the only way to take a shower was to hold the shower head with your hand above your head and try to position yourself under it. On Sunday morning, I was the last one to take a shower and there was zero warm water left AND I needed to wash my hair. Well, let’s just say I felt like I was doing some sort of water torture to be trying to wash my hair with one hand, and hold the shower head with the other hand while it was spraying me with ice, ice cold water.

      Gratefully, Jesse was able to fix it on Monday… because that was not a scene I wanted to try to re-live again! 🙂

      • rachel says:

        Crystal,
        I chuckled at your showering description. Because I love our handheld sprayer and can’t imagine how I’d get the soap out of my hair without it. I hate when we travel and I have to shower with a fixed shower head…I don’t feel like any part of me is well rinsed. I’m short so the spray is a long way away.
        My tips for cold water showers:
        (Old 40 gal water heater with 4 teen boys at one point–maybe 3 people could get a hot shower). We did our best to schedule so everyone wasn’t going one right after the other.
        I only turn the water on to get wet and to rinse.
        And I always do my hair first…rinsing long hair in cold is miserable.
        So step in, wet hair- turn water off, shampoo, rinse- turn water off,
        shampoo, rinse and wet body -turn water off, condition and wash body, last rinse.

  • Kelly says:

    My burden has decreased and joy increased by reading this!! I will read through the comments, but wanted to add my own experience. Last spring we had our downstairs ceiling painted to conceal water stains from a previous toilet overflow. In Dec after hubby and I returned from a relaxing getaway, I noticed another area of the ceiling was shiny wet!! A daughter flushed a maxi pad..oh dear. Hubby tried to conceal damage with Kilz, but the same handyman will return to repaint the ceiling….again!! I kept telling myself that I love my daughter more than my ceiling…ha!! These mishaps really make a mom focus on what really matters in life.

  • Jen says:

    I felt like an unorganized mess because I hadn’t planned dinner, so while I was waiting for the chicken to thaw in the microwave, I used the down time to clean out the fridge. 🙂

    Now, I need to tackle the microwave.

    I love your shirt in the photo on this post! Very cute.

    • Jo says:

      Thanks so much! I got it for the filming I did a few weeks ago and I now wear it at least 2 times every week because it goes with so many different outfits!

  • says:

    Ha! Some days seem to have it all. I love that you are able to see both the frustration and the joy. It can often be easy for me to focus on the negative when the positive is just as (if not more) real and true. Ceilings may leak and drains may clog. But, teaching a child, loving a family, and serving others will last forever. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Mary Harris says:

    Our sewer backed up for the 4th time this week on top of other costly repairs. We recently downsized into an older home so we could pay off debts faster and sometimes I feel like we are dumping all the money we saved by downsizing into home repairs. It’s soooo discouraging. I try to laugh it off but mostly I just want to cry.

  • sally smith says:

    Not trying to rain on your parade – but that is probably not third grade math he is doing. Maybe a review of the lower grades? I have a third grader and you can’t do most of the math if you can’t read as there are complex word problems. (example – Kevin has 280 erasers stored in boxes. There are 40 boxes. The erasers are equally distributed in the boxes. He distributed
    one box among two students. The first student got 3 erasers;
    the second student got 2 erasers. How many erasers were left
    in that box? )

    Much of third grade focuses on multiplying and dividing. Last night my son had to find areas with an rectangle with a square sticking out by reading a word problem. So that involved reading a paragragh, finding total area (multiplying) and the area(s) of the space(s) the problem wanted (more multiplication) and then subtracting and labeling the answer. He probably then had to convert inches to feet.

    I would look at some common core samples to make sure the stuff you are doing is up to speed with today’s standards….

    • Jo says:

      Oh, I realized I should have mentioned that the curriculum has reads it aloud to him for the sections that require reading. He also knows quite a bit of sight words, so that helps, too. And if he can’t understand it, he’ll ask us for help. But most of the time he can — which has really surprised us!

      And yes, he’s doing multiplying and dividing (just starting with both since he’s still in the first few months of third grade) and figuring out word problems similar to the one you mentioned. He LOVES that sort of stuff and is actually constantly making up long word problems to see if we can come up with the answers. The girls love to make up crazy word problems for him, too! I wish I could get into his brain to figure out how he thinks through this stuff and figures out the answers so quickly!

      It’s so fun to see our kids find things they love to do and are so passionate about, isn’t it?!

  • says:

    Hurrah for handy friends! Older homes can definitely be a lesson in patience. Our 60+ year old home seems to have one thing going bad at a time. We’re all learning patience, and I’m learning some home repair skills. It’s definitely an unexpected learning experience, though the skills come in handy. 🙂

  • says:

    Sorry you had that kind of day, but you seemed to handle it well. Laughter is always good.

    I’m curious about your experience with Monarch online. We’ve looked at it and thought about using this curriculum, but I do not know anyone who has used it. I would love to hear a review from you on it sometime.

    • Jo says:

      It’s been a great fit for our family this year as we were in a year of transition. Next year, we’re just having the girls do three core subjects through it (Math, Language Arts, and Science) and then we are planning to do a Core from Sonlight for Bible, Handwriting, Geography, History, etc. We think it might be a perfect fit for our kids and family next year… we’ll see! We’re excited about it!

  • says:

    This was was such a sweet listing of events in your life. Makes us feel like part of your family. thank you for that. You have a blessed family and I could not stop smiling at the end of the post. God bless!

  • Kadee says:

    The reading will come. I’m convinced one of mine was born reading. The other two struggled until first grade, then they zoomed to reading several grades ahead of their level. Honestly, as they get older, it seems the focus has switched to math. No one cares if they are reading at the college level in 5th grade, but pressure is on to excel at math. (At least at our school.). Silas is ahead of the game!

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