Remodeling and Renovating

Today marks the fourth day (and counting) that workers have been pounding on our house. While I get tired of being with people all the time and having our privacy invaded, as well as a fine layer of dust smothering everything in the house, I am thrilled at the prospects of what our “new” house will be like when it’s finished. We are turning our garage into two rooms: a smaller room in the back for a storage shed and a larger room in the front for a homeschool room! Yay!

Building the wall to make two rooms: the back will be for a shed, the front for homeschooling.

Building the wall to make two rooms: the back will be for a shed, the front for homeschooling.

Cutting out a ledge that had been in the back of our garage.

Cutting out a ledge that had been in the back of our garage.

For a few years I have taught our children at our kitchen table. It’s worked fine, but it will be so nice to have a room to ourselves, entirely for the purpose of homeschooling: to store all of our school things and to be able to shut the door behind us when our book work is done. We will also be able to put a guest bed in there when we host guests, which was becoming a trick for us whenever we had more than one visitor.

My head’s been full of visions of how to arrange and decorate it. If anyone has any tips on what their dream homeschool room would look like, I would really appreciate the input before we actually paint and move in! I’m not gifted at interior decorating.

This is one (expensive) tile we would love to have in the school room. (It's tile--you put grout in between the lines and everything!)

This is one (expensive) tile we would love to have in the school room. (It’s tile–you put grout in between the lines and everything!)

Much cheaper tile, but it doesn't look like wood. Which do you like?

Much cheaper tile, but it doesn’t look like wood. Which do you like?

Unfortunately our neighbor broke into our house again the night before we began renovating our garage. He cut a hole in our fence, took the glass out of a block window, climbed on a bucket, bent some burglar bars put there specifically to keep him out, and I imagine fell on his head trying to get in. (The bars were not welded together yet. We can’t keep ahead of this punk!) He left muddy handprints and footprints to show where he went (the kitchen), but apparently he didn’t take anything, for which we are very thankful! I’m not sure why he didn’t take something. Carson cried early in the morning, and I’m wondering if Carson woke up when he broke in, and if his cries scared our neighbor away before he took anything.

So the next night, Seth slept on the dirty garage floor with Caleb and Colin. The boys have been wanting to camp out, but it’s too cold this time of year! Seth heard footsteps outside early in the morning but couldn’t get out in time to catch him. This situation is a concern for a few reasons:

  1. The boy is addicted to stealing. From us. (He must think we’re a never-ending fountain of wealth. Really.)
  2. He knows the police won’t do anything. He broke in this time, even knowing that there was a warrant for his arrest from the last time less than two weeks ago.
  3. He’s still sleeping at his house next door every night. (We had hoped he was hiding somewhere else.) Apparently he scouts our house at least once a day to see whether he can get in. That feels so invasive!

We would appreciate your prayers that we could get both justice and peace in this situation. We are not the only ones being stolen from. Sometimes in situations like this, when the police don’t incarcerate the criminal, the people will take things into their own hands– “mob justice.” That never goes well. It would be best if the police would do their job and arrest him.

Because of the thievery, our house project is complicated. If they cut a hole in the wall to put in a door or window, those fixtures must be completely up by the end of the day, with burglar bars on the windows and locks on the doors. So on one day, we had five workers here–two builders, two electricians, and a welder welding burglar bars on the windows!

Welding burglar bars on the window before it's even up. The worker in the background is mixing cement with a shovel.

Welding burglar bars on the window before it’s even up. The worker in the background is mixing cement with a shovel.

Speaking of people invading our house, I’ve had lots of visitors here! That explains why I’ve slowed down on blogging lately. College students are coming home for their mid-year break, and American missionaries passing through gifted us with their time.

Meanwhile, we’ve been plugging away in our studies. The last two weeks in history, we’ve been learning about the Crusades and how the Christian nations were sending knights in an attempt to capture Jerusalem from the Muslims. We also learned about King Richard the Lionhearted, his brother Prince John Lackland and the Magna Carta, and Robin Hood.

Now I feel like we are getting into all of the fun literature of the time period! We’ve read a children’s version of Saint George and the Dragon, The Minstrel in the Tower, and a few other books on knights and medieval times. We played a medieval game called Fox and Geese last week (a board game, somewhat like checkers); and this week Caleb wrote his own “Magro Carta” as he calls it, and Seth and I signed our names in agreement that we would follow those rules for a day in his bedroom. 🙂

For our science studies on swimming creatures, we studied a chapter on fish the last two weeks. That may seem obvious, but the other chapters are all on other types of sea creatures. Did you know you can say “fishes” to refer to different types of fish, but you must say “fish” to refer to the plural of one kind of fish? I’ve felt a little funny repeatedly reading about “fishes” this week, but it was interesting. The experiment involved getting lamps and goldfish, and we weren’t going to do that; so instead we “created” our own fish following some suggestions in the book to give it protection and an environment.

Caleb has begun studying multiplication. He now knows the easy facts–times 0, 1, 2, 10, and he just began learning his 5 times table.

Colin began studying long vowel sounds and a few “special” sounds, like the long sounds of “o,” “e,” and “y,” at the ends of short words (go, me, fly). His reading is slowing down a bit as his brain tries to compute all of that. In math he has begun learning addition.

We’re all excited about getting a new homeschool room soon. I plan to have school for two more weeks before taking a two-week midyear break. During those two weeks, I had planned to focus on some other projects; but instead, I think I’ll be remodeling our new room! If you want to visit, we have a room for you! 🙂

On the ministry side, we are praying for revival. We long to see more Tsongas believe on Christ and have their lives change. We are thinking of hosting a Youth Conference next month; and next Saturday, I’ll continue teaching the ladies on the topic of meekness this year.

Keeping our focus right! These guys need your prayers.

Keeping our focus right! These guys need your prayers.

World Cup has begun again, but the craziness is much reduced since South Africa is not hosting this one! NO vuvuzelas this year–Yay!

Here are some wonderfully easy and cute Father’s Day printables for your kids to make Dad a card. My kids just made them and hid them for Daddy to find tomorrow. 🙂

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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5 Responses to Remodeling and Renovating

  1. Ann Bedford says:

    I like the one that looks like stone.

  2. Tonia says:

    That will be fabulous – having a space just for school! I look forward to seeing it complete (I like the stone-looking tiles as well). Can’t believe that neighbor boy is still trying to break in!

  3. Love seeing your house and what you are doing==can’t wait to see the finished product! And use the more expensive stuff if you really like it! You’ll be seeing it every day for hours at a time, and it will be your guest room! (I do like the more expensive kind too!)

    • Amy says:

      Thanks! You might have pushed me over the edge to get it had I gotten your comment earlier. But we got the cheaper stuff. I think it’ll look nice though, in the end.

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