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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!

So It’s Been a Year…

And where are we exactly?????

For this anniversary post, I would like to inform you all that we have land!  That’s right, we have 2.5 acres to start our tiny homestead!  Like everything that the Monteith’s purchase, it is going to take time and a lot of work to get it where we want it!  First thing that must be done, remove a trashed out double wide that is already there.  Mark had been in contact with a person that removes them, but pretty sure that fell through (since we haven’t heard from them since the day they were supposed to show up but did not.)  So looks like plan B, burn that mother to the ground!  Once we get it cleared, we can have a real idea of where everything will go and start prepping the site!  Mark says we have about one good, hard, whole week’s worth of work and the tiny house will be ready to move.  So multiply what Mark says by about 5, and the tiny house may be ready with 5 weeks of good, hard work!

 
We took a weekend off, and did our second annual Cooper/Monteith Earth Day and IKEA adventure.  It was very much needed!  We love getting to spend any time with the Cooper’s, but really enjoy spending laid back adult time!  Mark and I spent a small fortune, that we don’t actually have :(, at IKEA.  We purchased a car load of shelves, bathroom stuff, and kids items.  We’ve kind of ran out of storage room at the build site, so all that small IKEA stuff is tucked away in so many places, we may never find it again!  Then it was off to the Earth Day Expo.  We didn’t spend much time there last year, just looking at the tiny house village.  This year, they had 3 separate villages, with DIY and commercial builds.  The goal for next year is to have one of ours there!  (Mark and Jeff are crying laughing at this I’m sure!)  But really, Mark and Jeff’s work is pretty top notch from what we’ve seen, I would put them up against any of the ones there!


So yes, we would like to turn this adventure into a business someday!  I have a name for our future business, just need to get it registered!  Oh, I should probably also learn how to actually start a business, insurance, licenses, all that stuff… eh, details schmetails.   If you know of anyone looking for someone to build them a custom tiny house, keep us in mind!!!

Not a real exciting post, I know, I’m sorry!  The next few weekends are tied up with family and school stuff so I’m not expecting a lot of progress either. Stick with us, summer is almost here!!!!

Spring Break, Not All We Hoped It Would Be…

So Mark had big plans for Spring Break, 10 days to do non stop tiny house work, with additional family member help.  Of course, things didn’t go as planned.  I had surgery the week before, and it knocked me down harder than I anticipated.  Mars also got RSV, for the second time in 2 months, so we were all a little wimpy!  Mark did work when he could, and had help from my cousin Kirsten one day, my brother was here one day, but other than that, he was pretty much on his own.  Here’s what was accomplished during this time.

All of the interior walls were put in.  The faux shiplap turned out pretty good, I mean it saved thousands of dollars so of course I liked it!  It took a while, but Mark figured out the stairs/ladder to the loft.  It’s a little steeper than I would like, but this allows more floorspace for the living area.  All of the interior was then primed and painted.

Family help. Kirsten nailing up some faux shiplap.
Loft stairs/ladder

Mae even helped out a bit, she put in a good 3 minutes of work before complaining that her legs hurt… She is her mother’s child!

Mark did realize one of his limitations, the super awesome slide out we have planned, that requires some heavy duty welding, probably won’t get done anytime soon!  You see, Mark has never had any actual training in welding, not that that means anything really, but he’s giving himself till next summer to learn and execute this.  So he and Jeff build a temporary wall, and installed an air conditioner we just happened to have in the shop.  It worked out pretty well, but I don’t have high hopes for it when it gets to 115 degrees this summer!

We decided to use a very large casement window for access to the rooftop deck.  It was a weird size, and a door would have to be custom made, so why not use a big beautiful window!  I started out helping Mark install this, but it was really high off the ground, it was windy, and I’m a scaredy cat, so Gene had to step in and help for a second!

If you’ve been following along, you know that one of my biggest pet peeves is that there are no written plans for anything.  Never has been, never will be, or so I’ve been told.  The closest thing to a “written plan” comes in the form of random pieces of lumbar with scribbles on it!

I wanted to highlight these “super cool overalls” that he insisted on getting. These are his “work pair”, he has some pin stripes ones for “going out”. I don’t know where he’s going, but I’ll make sure to not!

Okay, it’s been a bit busy lately!

As my good friend Chandra pointed out to my husband, I have been majorly slacking in the blogging department!  In my defense, it’s really hard to blog when you don’t know what you should be writing about!  You see, Mark has been working, but I have been too busy with laundry, grad school, swim, and our children, to be out there working with him.  I would much rather work on the house, but he thinks clean underwear are important so here I sit, typing and folding clothes.  There really are not enough hours in the day for either one of us!  Also, my dear husband apparently doesn’t know how to use a camera, so I have very few pictures to add!

But as we tell our students, excuses are like feet, everyone has them and they all stink!  So I refuse to have excuses anymore, the laundry must be done, the children must be cared for, the house must be built, and the blog must be written!  (Because if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen…)

Let’s get caught up shall we?

Just a few days after our awesome New Years campout, we got a little snow!  I thought the tiny house looked so cute in snow!

As of this publication, all of the interior walls have been installed, what what!!!!  What did we use, you ask?  We call it the “when you want the shiplap look but you’re poor”.  We used sanded sheets of plywood, clamped down four at a time, (because we are not only poor of money, but poor of time!) and ripped them down in 4 or 5 inch planks.  I say 4 or 5 inches because, even though I was actually there for this in body, I was not there in mind!  
In the loft and kitchen, Mark just put up whole sheets.  No sense in cutting more planks when they will just be covered by cabinets!

He looks so good working 😍

So after the walls, it was time for the ceiling.  Mark wanted something like coffered ceilings, because that would have been easier than the planks. This thing is already a long wooden box, do we really need our ceiling style to sound (and look 🙅🏼) like coffin?  But I just thought it was ugly so, wife veto!  Mark and Jeff came up with the slanted larger planks running opposite to the center to a “bowtie” design.

I started this post yesterday, so as of this publication NOW, the ceiling is up and trimmed! We are getting there people! 

Spring break is next week! I’m expecting lots done, like paint, cabinets, and much much more! Stay tuned! 

Moving forward in 2017

So here it is, five days into the new year, and I’m just getting around to writing a “New Years” post. Okay that’s a lie, I’ve had the time and the words I just couldn’t make myself physically type them out. I guess it’s one of those “if I say it, it won’t come true”, or more honestly, “if I say it someone might see me fail”. I’m choosing right now to see it as a “if I say it and someone sees me struggling they will keep me accountable”. So now you know your job for the year! 😬

As I was thinking about the new year, and all the NEW that is implied, I read something about not making resolutions, but rather, make intentions. I think of resolutions as goals, and while I believe that having goals are important (I am from the school of FEMA, Homeland Security, and state government so goals should always be SMART) what happens when you don’t attain them? Am I a failure because I didn’t achieve that one statement I put on myself 365 days ago? Some of you would say yes, and you are a jerk! Don’t get me wrong, I still have goals, but at this point in my life, I mean I’ve achieved so much, it’s getting hard to set realistic goals. (Did you puke a little? I puked a little! 🤢🤥🤥🤥🤣) That was totally a joke if my humor doesn’t translate too print. 

 This year I choose to focus on intentions. Intentions are what we do in the present to achieve our goals. Call me hippie dippie, and those of you who knew the me from 5 years ago are going to be baffled by this but, I choose to live my life in the present. Not the mistakes of the past, not what could be in the future, but the right now. (Parenthood really changes a person man!) 

So I came up with one overarching intention for 2017. 🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁(that’s a drumroll by the way) 

I intend to love more in 2017, myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my work, my school, and my tiny house project. 

I have sub intentions for all of those as well but I think you get the picture. 

As I look back on 2016, at first I want to say wow that was a bad year, but when I go through month by month, every down had a corresponding up. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, we were here, when Mark’s job furloughed, the very next day these jobs at DMS opened up and we got them. You know, that’s pretty much been my life, every time I’ve been knocked down, somehow I’ve gotten back up. (There have been and still are a lot of prayers interceded on my behalf.) I know, I’m starting to sound like one of those glass half full people. Am I sick? Did something invade my body, is there something wearing a Megan suit? (See what I did there? Snuck in the best part of Men in Black! “It wasn’t Eggar, it was like an Eggar suit.”) I realize that my RBF gives people the wrong impression (that’s just how my face is) but I actually am a pretty positive person…

So tiny house wise, because we spent almost the entire Christmas break out of state, not much work got done… However, I wanted our family to wake up in the new year in our own home so my husband worked his booty off and made the Monteith Tiny House New Years Campout Party happen! 👏👨‍👩‍👧‍👦⛺️🎉

The kids teepee Dad set up with house wrap tubes!
A boy,obsessed with the lights, and his dog.
A girl and her dog.
Helping daddy install a real door knob we could lock. Not gonna lie, I got freaked out a couple times because of the wind and the unfinished slide out area!

Jeff did come down a day and they got some interior walls in. Again, if Jeff wasn’t there we’d still probably have a blank trailer! We are doing the poor mans shiplap, but to make things easier, behind the counters and appliances are whole pieces. 

I really can’t wrap up 2016 without thanking my parents. We’ve been in their house for about a year now, 6 months longer than planned and a couple more to go. It hasn’t been ideal, but my mother hasn’t killed my husband yet! (I think the fear of being stuck with the kids and I forever is the only thing keeping her from it!) They have provided more food, clothing, and shelter than we deserve or could ever repay, although apparently I’m trying with vacuums… I also can’t write a moving forward in 2017 without thanking those who have supported us. (Jeff, Autumn, Chandra I’m looking at you!) Some think it’s a good idea, some support it, very few are both. Your physical, mental, and emotional support has meant the world to us, so thank you!

In 2017 the Monteiths WILL modus vivendi to mini, come follow along!

I’ve got some time, I might as well write an update…

Currently riding back from Midwest City, in a school bus full of high school swimmers. I figure now is as good a time as ever to write a little  (I should probably be paying attention to what they’re doing…) Anywho, where are we, oh yes tiny house construction. Plumbing was done, I guess. I didn’t go out, it was cold, but I got this picture. 


But Mark doesn’t like to work by himself, and a construction zone is not a place for kids, so this happened. 


And then Mark spent several evenings after school, and Jeff came one weekend, and poof, insulation! 


So hopefully some interior walls soon, but of course we will be in Colorado and New Mexico 10 of the 14 days of Christmas break so…