Hosting a Party, McTiny Style

Our oldest little weirdo turned 6 this week! Since Easter is so early this year, I was hoping to just add a birthday cake to the family Easter festivities, but noooo, Mark insisted that she have a birthday party. He said he would take care of everything 🤥🤥🤥. Yes, I was at Walmart for two hours yesterday, begging my aunt for a last minute birthday shirt, and coming up with party activities/favors. Maelyn’s Octonauts Birthday went pretty well, not my best work, but pretty good for a last minute affair!

We went out of town for the first part of Spring Break, so we had two days to clean the house and homestead in preparation for our first large gathering. We were beyond surprised when Papaw Gene came rolling up in the tractor because he had ordered two truckloads of gravel as a “house warming”. It was something we wanted to do, but could not afford it right now. Our family blesses us everyday, but I’m pretty sure Mark and I cried a little bit behind our sunglasses! So with the help of Papaw and two of our middle school students, we got the outside looking pretty good! I have a little greenhouse (pray my seedlings actually work) and the big garden in the back.

The inside… it’s probably the cleanest it’s ever been, and there may or may not be loads of unfolded laundry shoved in our cars… We still need to get rid of some stuff, and get some decent outdoor storage, but here it is. It’s still missing finishes, and will probably still be missing paint, trim, etc, five years from now!!!! Mark hates finishing work, so unless I want to do it (and I don’t) we are just living with it!

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I Might Finally be Wife Material…

As my husband got out of bed at 5am to start my car, because it’s 12 degrees outside and I’m having to go somewhere at 5am, I realized I needed to give some serious, written down for all eternity, husband love. (I shouldn’t mention that apparently the heat is broken in the car so it did absolutely no good!)

I don’t think I’ve ever actually embraced being a “wife”. When Mark and I got married, I was a full fledged grown adult. I had my own house, my own car, my own insurance, my own cell phone plan, I mean I was pretty self sufficient and independent! I didn’t care if I was ever a wife. I’m a bit selfish, a smidge self absorbed, and a whole lot of crazy! But I had fun with Mark, he wanted to get married, and it felt good that someone wanted to “lock it down” (his words.)

I had three months left in grad school when we got married, so I lived with my best friend, 100 miles away, for the first three months of our marriage. When we finally lived in the same house, I was too focused on checking off more of those adult boxes – start an actual career job, buy a house, and start a family. We were only married 9 months before I got pregnant with Mae. (It was very planned, like I can probably tell you the exact minute she was conceived. Same thing for Mars. We WERE very fertile people, that has been remedied, not that you care to know any of that!) My point is, I don’t feel like I took the time, or made the effort, to enjoy being a wife.

I have always been proud of my husband. I would have never agreed to take his name, which was a deal breaker for him, if I wasn’t. You see, this ain’t my first rodeo. I had been married before, very briefly, very stupidly! My parents refer to that day as the “very expensive Christmas party.) When I signed that paper, I had hyphenated the last name, knowing full well I would never use my first husbands name. I didn’t respect his family, and really didn’t respect him, and the thought of being associated with that name was embarrassing. So that was Mark’s deal breaker, if we were to be husband and wife, I would take his name, period. So I did! (I did sneak my maiden name in to be my second middle name, so legally it’s still there!) It was like becoming a new person, I had been my father’s daughter (and if you don’t know I’m a huge daddy’s girl) for so long, had become my own person with that name, it was hard for me to now be my husbands wife. Monteith is obviously not a common name, so now being asked if I was “related to so and so” was weird. “Oh, that’s my husband,” or “I don’t really know, that’s my husband’s family,” and having to tell people who my family was with “oh you’re Bryan and Debbi’s daughter” or “you’re Bryce’s sister” was a little sad for me.

It was becoming a mom, that made me a wife. Seeing how great of a dad he is makes me proud to be his wife. Knowing that my daughter observes every word and move I make with her daddy makes me truly think about how I am as a wife. Knowing that my son will, maybe one day, have a wife, makes me aware of my actions. Mark and I may not be the best example of human beings in some areas (finances, physical fitness, nutrition, obscenities, other vices) but, for the most part, we are a decent representation of marriage. We’ve definitely had our ups and downs, but he has yet to allow me to divorce him! (I’ve tried, several times, none of them for good reasons, I told you I was crazy!) We try to show our children how a husband and wife should love, respect, honk boobs, and “dance” (air hump), you know, all the strange ways we show affection!

It wasn’t until we started working together, that I finally started identifying as a wife. I can probably tell you the exact moment I had the epiphany. (I think I’m really one of those dates geniuses, I just need to harness my powers!) One of my students was being a little bratty, saying she couldn’t do something for me because she had music next and she was trying out for a solo. My exact words were, “Do you not realize that the music teacher and I are married? Do you think my husband is going to give a solo to someone who’s being a brat to his wife?” I realize I probably shouldn’t have said that, but it was last year, and everyone lived so… I mean she obviously didn’t get a solo!

Because our children are young, our priority is being mom and dad. That’s just how things are, and should be. We are very blessed that our parents give us several opportunities to have “just us” time. But as I think about our lives in the future, when our children are grown and we don’t have to mom and dad all the time, I’m not scared. I told him the other day, “I don’t feel like we are going to be those ‘stay together for the kids’ type people. We still have the most fun when it’s just the two of us.” His response, “Eff those kids, we’re gonna have blast when they’re gone.” (Please see above obscenities and great daddy before passing judgement, also he was clearly using humor! Obviously, our children are going to live with us forever!!!!!)

Words cannot express how thankful/grateful/blessed I honestly feel to be HIS wife. He drives me absolutely insane most days, but I would never want to do this life without him. He is my PIC, my best friend, and my biggest supporter. (He could be a little more supportive of my singing…) And he deserves all of this and more in return from me, his wife!

So thank you, Mark Monteith, for being patient. I’m sorry it has taken me all these years to finally accept that I am a wife, well not just a wife, but that I am your wife, and effing proud of it!

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything, I honestly don’t know where to begin!  There are so many thoughts, ideas, exclamations going on in my brain, I don’t know how this is going to be a comprehensible post…

I know, I know, just show the pictures already! Well… if you haven’t figured out by now, nothing goes as planned with the Monteith’s!  We were hoping to get the remainder of the finish work completed over Christmas Break, but both of us are just SO OVER FINISH WORK, we had no real motivation to do it! Plus, it’s been unbelievably cold.  Nothing gets done in the cold!

When I was younger, I knew my little brother looked up to me.  I had a lot going for myself, I was pretty, smart, athletic, musical, it was easy to be proud of someone with those successes.  Then, I made a series of choices that were not smart.  I had graduated with a degree in Microbiology from the University of Oklahoma, jobless, homeless, and divorced.  At 22 years old, I was a disappointment.  However, my little brother gave me their bed until I found an apartment and wasn’t afraid to be seen in pubic with me.  I mean, my parents probably made him, but he never said a word to me!  I had hit my low, I had nothing to be proud of, and yet my little brother made me feel like maybe I could redeem myself.

I had almost forgotten about this time, until I opened a small Christmas present this year.  Before I opened it he said, “It’s not anything big, I was in an airport in Houston and it reminded me of you.”  I opened it, put it on, and said thank you.  It wasn’t until later that the feelings started getting me.  Since that time, almost 12 years ago, my little brother has been making much better choices than I.  So much so, that I haven’t really thought there was any way he could be proud of me.  The choices I have made recently, to be a public school teacher, to build a tiny house, to (attempt) homestead, most people think I am crazy!  When someone asks me what I do, it’s hard for me to just say “I’m a teacher” and not “I have a Bachelors in Micro, and a Masters in Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Terrorism Response but right now I’m a 7th grade science teacher.” Recently, I have been feeling very discouraged, very unsuccessful, and maybe not very “proud” of myself, but my little brother was there for me again.  He made me feel like there is still someone who is proud of me, and that I still have reason to be proud of myself.  My little brother still thinks that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

She believed she could, so she did.

And maybe he just felt like he needed to get me a Christmas present, grabbed the first thing he saw, and gave no thought to the words!  This is how I interpreted it!

So this brings me to my word of 2018, ACT.  This simple phrase, “She believed she could, so she did” implies an idea and an end product.  I have terrific ideas, I have very poor follow through.  My husband often tells people that I’m the thinker, and he’s the doer.  So for me to fully embrace this phrase, to be the person my brother thinks, or wants, me to be, I must act.  To go from believe to did, there must be action.  In 2018, I am going to focus on this word, to accomplish all that I believe I can do, I must take action to insure success!

 

The McTiny Home and Homestead, Est. 2017

We moved the house!!!!! It is out of Mark’s parents backyard, and on our land! I have never been more scared in my entire life. Watching the literal embodiment of 15 months worth of blood sweat and tears, travel the mile and a quarter to its destination, was excruciating! I am happy to report that it rode like a champ! We owe Uncle Ron the world right now! He hooked McTiny up, drove off, and got her in place before Mark or I even had a chance to have a panic attack! 

We had quite the caravan for our short travel. Jeff drove pilot, with Mark and his “wire lifting pole”, then Ron and McTiny, me in the Journey, Aunt Connie and Maelyn, with Gene in the tractor as caboose. About halfway, my mom and dad had parked on the side of the road to watch the journey. It took a while to get her lined up with the systems, and even longer to level! 

The electricity is officially hooked up! Of course with all this good, you know something bad would have to happen. The well pump is shot, so after we replace that we should have water. Mark will start living in it after this week, the kids and I will wait till it’s actually habitable. (And make sure it doesn’t burn down 😬)

Tiny house parties coming soon!

Updated Pictures

It’s about dang time right?!?!?

I came home today, sat on the couch, and did pretty much nothing! You would think I would have taken advantage of this time and, oh just for example, maybe do lesson plans… 👀

Anywho, I thought I might be semi productive and post some newer pictures of the house. Move date is still up on the air. My husband has been infected by the “Back to School Bug” so of course he may die… (and yet I have been at the exact same place, with the exact same germy people 🤔) So maybe one day we will actually move in to this house, and you can see the final product! 

From the living area, looking at the kitchen, bathroom, and loft.
Bedroom loft
Washer/dryer combo in the bathroom.
From the kitchen, looking into the living area and kid’s loft.
Kid’s loft

New Shoes

It’s the first day of school, how could I not write a philosophical post?😂 

(I know, I know, you’re really just here for the tiny house pictures. I’m working in it!)

Maelyn got new shoes for the new school year. She is in love with these shoes! They are, and I quote, “The best shoes ever!” She had to wear them on the first day of school. 

K

What makes them so cool you ask? They have teeny tiny little pockets in the side, they are Kangaroo sneakers. If you’re familiar with that brand, you know that these are Payless Shoes. When I got them for her I told myself that there’s no sense in spending big bucks on kids shoes, they out grow them so quickly, they could be play shoes. I was embarrassed that my daughter would be wearing Payless Shoes on the first day of school! But then, the pure awesomeness that is my Maelyn, set me straight! This child, who has no concept of money, name brands, or feelings of inadequacy, just really thought these little pocket shoes were the greatest, and why shouldn’t she? They are everything a 5 year old could want. Who cares that I got them on clearance for $8. 

Let’s face it, Mark and I are public school teachers in Oklahoma, everyone knows how much money we don’t make! There is no reason to act, no reason to fake. We are teachers by choice. With almost 4 1/2 degrees between the two of us, we could find better paying jobs, we could find more respected jobs, but that’s not why we (Mark and I) were put on this earth. 

I have sworn that I will do better with my children, I will not let my insecurities affect them. But man, it’s hard! How can I expect my children to have solid self-worth and self-esteem if I belittle myself in front of them? How can I expect my children to be kind to others if I talk or act unkindly to Mark in front of them? How can I expect my children to be inclusive to everyone, not feel the need to be like everyone else, if I act embarrassed over Payless shoes? 

I have to practice what I preach, or in the education world, I have to model expectations. So tonight, when Maelyn said, “I bet my friends will be so impressed with my Kangaroo shoes,” I didn’t cringe at the thought of my daughter pointing out her cheap Payless shoes, I didn’t discourage her from telling her friends about her shoes because someone may make fun of her for having Payless shoes, I simply said, “Those are really cool shoes, I’m so glad you think they are so cool.”

Mars also loves his clearance Payless shoes! “Shoes” is one of the few words he says, and he picks out his everyday. He wasn’t too thrilled about his First Day picture though…

G-pa’s not too thrilled either!

And if kids do ever make fun of my children, I will teach them how to respond to mean kids. I will hope that before that time comes I have mastered the positivity thing, and teach them  to respond with kindness and grace. If not… Mark and I are pretty much experts in sarcasm, snark, salt, and inappropriate words! 

Looky Looky Loo, We Found Poo!

How Many Men Does It Take To Find a Septic System?


Well for us, it took about 6 men and 6 hours, but thank goodness it was found! This past weekend the burned down trailer was removed and dirt brought in to level the site. 

Mark finally borrowed a metal detector, and we finally found the septic tank. I’m pretty sure he and Jeff had dug holes all around it the other day without striking black gold. Now we hope it’s still in decent shape, I really don’t want to buy a new septic tank 😤! Gravel will be coming this week, we need to get the electric company to reroute some wires, get the supply lines in place, then we can move the house! 

Oh, and we report back to school in like 3 weeks…

Burn Baby, Burn!

Really exciting progress happened today at the homestead! It only took about an hour to complete, but it is huge! The trashed out mobile home is just a smoldering frame! 


We have a guy that is going to dismantle it, bury the rest of it, and we’ve been told that it will officially be gone by next Sunday. That means we will be clear for site prep, systems placement, and then house. It feels like it might actually really happen now! I have been gone quite a bit this summer doing professional development (I don’t know how many hours I have to have, but Mark says I’m already good for the next five years!) but Mark has been working really really hard by himself. I’m so proud and thankful for him and his knowledge and ability. If I would remember to take pictures of the house, you would be really impressed with it! I’ll work on that! 

Summer Dreams

Two weeks ago I promised a really great post. Two weeks ago I wrote a really great blog post, and my phone deleted it. I have been mourning that past. It was witty, heartfelt, life changing, and I just knew a rewrite would not bring it the justice it deserved. RIP great blog post…

So I am starting over and this is what you will get instead! 

Two weeks ago we met up with Autumn and Jeff for her birthday. They are our soul couple when it comes to this tiny house adventure, and we have been dreaming of turning this tiny adventure into something bigger. We want to make building alternative dwellings (tiny houses, tiny houses on wheels, container houses, earthbag dwellings) a business one day. Well all it took was a little libation for us to make it official! We knew the name we wanted for our business, so with a little drink, and a LOT of talent from Jeff, we had a logo designed and tattooed in a matter of a couple hours. Tattooed? Yes, you should know that Mark and I are weird, and part of our weirdness is an affinity for tattooes. Autumn also shares this affinity, one of the reasons we are soul sisters! Jeff was a surprise! But you know what that tells me, if practical, conservative, serious Jeff is willing to get a tattoo representing this crazy idea, maybe it’s not so crazy after all. I don’t think I really thought this was actually a possibility until Jeff gave that “literal” stamp of approval! (Don’t tell Jeff my feelings were so heavily based on his approval!) 


I introduce to you MC2, like MC(squared), Alternative Dwelling Specialists! Jeff did an awesome job designing this, he is a very talented artist. 


So we did things a little backwards, we got tatted before actually making sure the name was available or registering it with the state… so thank goodness it was! This shiznit is legit! 

A seal and everything!

Do we know what any of these documents even mean? No. Do we know anything about starting, running, or maintaining a business? No. Should we have maybe educated ourselves on some of this and maybe actually have finished a product before this? Probably. But in the lyrical stylings of the great musical Rent,

Mark and I decided a long time ago that life is too short to say, “Man, I wish we had done that.” Sure, that has and will lead to some, “yeah maybe we shouldn’t have done that”, and some “I can’t believe we did that” but you don’t know until you try! 

So follow along, the weirdness will continue long after our build is finished! 

Speaking of our build, summer is here!!!!!! I think we have someone to haul off the trashed double wide, so once we can get the site prepped, we will move the tiny house and finish it out. Mark says by the end of the month we will be in it, so I always double his projected timelines, so hopefully by the end of July! 

Comparisons and a Broken Phone

I am writing this post because it is related to the tiny house, but mainly because my phone is broken and I don’t want to actually log in to Facebook!  Yes, I am assuming someone is actually going to read it, and that my jumbled thoughts will form an understandable blog post.  Hey, sometimes I have really cohesive thoughts that I think someone else could get something from.  Also, this is the diary I never kept as a preteen, I’m a late bloomer in the “writing down my feelings” stage of life!  It all makes sense in my head, let’s see if I can translate that to print…

Apparently it has really bothered my father that my son is almost two years old and has never been dedicated.  Mark and I are not what you would consider religious, and we’ve moved and been so unstable in the almost two years of my son’s life, that we haven’t even attempted to find a church for our family.  Well, at my parent’s new church, they were doing mass child dedication, and my father signed us up…  Mark is very traditional when it comes to worship, he is highly educated in the field of sacred music so it kind of makes sense.  The modern music was a little distracting for him, and when they called us up, they said Martian, son of Bryan and Debbi, so that was a little distracting too!  (His name is Marston, and we are Mark and Megan.)

Besides all of this, the message was actually really great, and exceptionally timely for me.  It was about overcoming comparison.  The phrase that sticks with me was this, “The quickest way to kill something special, is to compare it to something else.”  I am guilty of this in practically everything in and related to my life.

I did not allow the extra time I had with Mars to be special, because I compared him to Maelyn.  I have always thought his speech was delayed, because I compared him to his sister.  His sister went to daycare at 3 months old, she was around older kids and engaged more.  I stayed home with Mars for a year.  Naturally I have felt that it is my fault he’s delayed because I didn’t do enough with him, that we have babied him too much.  But I don’t actually hang out with any other 22 month olds, I just know how his sister was.  I finally broke down and took him to a speech pathologist last week.  One hour and almost $200 later, he’s not delayed, just stubborn. (Hmmm, now who could he have learned that from…, I taught him something at least right?)  I wish I had just enjoyed my son, celebrated the special time that we have, and the special little boy that he is, and not had the ugly cloud of comparison over us.

But isn’t it human nature to compare?  How do you know if you are doing well in life if you don’t compare it to something?  Isn’t it Ricky Bobby who says, “if you’re not first, your last”?

Every month they announce Teachers of the Month, and every month I am not one.  Mark was two months ago, so in a society that constantly compares and competes, I have felt like a complete and total loser every month.  Then I remember something else the pastor said, “stay in your lane, stick with your passion, don’t be distracted, stay in your lane.”  I’ll say it, and I don’t think anyone would disagree, teaching is not my lane.  Honestly, I don’t know what is.  I haven’t found my passion, at least a passion that will pay the bills!  I am the epitome of “Jack of all trades, Master of none.”  I don’t mean this in a humble brag or arrogant way, I can do almost anything, I just don’t do anything really well!  I am praying for guidance in that area, and hoping God reveals it to me before I’m too old to pursue it!

So here’s what I’m getting to, the tiny house is and has always been special, because I haven’t compared it to anything and I feel like it is what we should be doing, it is Mark and I’s lane.  Sure, I’ve been disillusioned, or felt defeated at times, but this was because of the time and work being put into it and not seeing results very quickly.  I could very easily compare it to my friends mini mansions, but I haven’t, because it’s more than just a “tiny house” for us.  Even when we were touring the tiny houses in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, yeah I might have compared the craftsmanship, or the use of space, but they were so different from what we are doing.  This whole thing has been about a process, a process to make what is important, to and for our family, a reality.  Maybe it’s because we don’t personally know anyone else who is doing this sort of thing.  Whatever the reason, I am glad I haven’t killed this special thing yet!

And I am glad that I have this message to reflect on, and hopefully change my way of thinking.  I will make a conscious effort to stop comparing, my children, my marriage, myself, and my circumstances to anything or anyone else.  They are all special, so very very special, and I will choose to celebrate and enjoy each and every special thing that God has given me!