My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Busy doing nothing June 7, 2017

 

 

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School for us ended last week.  In typical fashion we ended with one child finishing at the very last moment.  1:00 am, on the final day.

These are my final two – one becoming a sophomore and one a junior, but heading off to college (not uncommon in our state – and something his oldest brother did also).  So I’m down to one.  I’m sure he’s thrilled at the prospect of being the only one left for me to hover over.

 

With their “finals” done for school, and the third-born done with testing for college entrance, I am off on my summer schedule.

 

Redecorating the clinic I volunteer at.

Renovations coming along quite nicely (picture coming soon… it’s a looooong tedious project I’m working on).

Some summer schooling (I don’t want them going brain-dead after all that work).  But it’s a light schedule.

Getting ready for the third-born’s mission trip to Costa Rica this summer.

Camp.

Family reunion.

Two-week-tour.  (In Hawaii… ppffffttttt – that’s camp!)

And, of course, my trip to see the second-born’s graduation from basic next week!  Eek! Not only do I get to see him follow in his dad’s footsteps, but it’s also my first trip alone.  I am both looking forward to it, and nervous.

 

So much to do, and only three months to fit it all in.   Along with all the usual stuff like yearly testing, working on the quilt still and babies showing up at the end of the summer.

I am enjoying the weather, and the schedule.

 

 

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I love being busy doing “nothing”.

 

 

 

 

Piecing it together March 4, 2017

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A friend from our last duty station lost her mother nearly two years ago.  She handed off several of her t-shirts to me to make a memory quilt soon after.  I felt honored she’d trust me with this.

I could have wisely chosen simple squares, but we all know I’m not that wise.

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After nearly two years, I am finally able to start putting the “blocks” together.  If you’re quilter… please don’t judge me.  I’m not a quilter.  I don’t tend to measure anything exactly – which may be part of my issues with cooking.  But we’ll work on that another day.

She knows I’m not a quilter, so this is merely because I sew, and I love her and someday, I may actually get it done.

This quilt has made it on several trips across the state to my dentist man’s office and family get-together’s.  It’s been a staple at the pool, far away from the water.  Arm and ortho appointments.  It’s become a big part of my home and family life.  There will definitely be a big part of me that goes with it.

 

I had a six month pause while working though.  I didn’t want to take it into the break room for fear it would pick up a weird smell, or get spilled on.  It was one of the first things I picked back up once my wrist was (almost) healed.  And now the blocks are coming together, almost nicely.

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It never goes quite how we picture it, does it?

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It does feel nice getting back to sewing again.  The pets agree.  Two at my feet and one enjoying the temporary wool backing that keeps finding it’s way to the open floor for layout.

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As a full labor of love, the entire quilt has been hand pieced, short of sewing on the backing for turning, done on the treadle.  I guess you could say that part was done by foot? Once the quilting part starts, I’ll pull out my homemade quilt stand.  Hand-quilting will be a nice break from working on the house, or something to do while poking and prodding distracted children during schoolwork.

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It’s nice to finally see some progress.

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No matter how it looks now, it will turn out amazing.  Things made with love always do.

 

 

 

 

 

….aaannnddd I’m back. February 11, 2017

 

 

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“From where?” you may say.  From working outside the home 30-40 hours a week, on top of babysitting our mortgage companies antics – away from my boys and all that keeps me, me.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy my work – I have a secret – I LOVE WORKING!  And there lies my problem.  I love working so much, that I tend to over due it.  Family… what family?

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So, after 6 months, and the majority of our repair bills paid off (would have been more if Seterus would stop screwing up our mortgage… but I digress..), I’ve come home again.  And four hours after being out of work, I was going nuts!  But that’s ok.  I had plans….

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…two days after that, I sprained my wrist severely on our lovely, lovely ice/snow/ice combo.

*There goes my plans*

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I enjoyed my very active job.  I enjoyed helping people feel better.  I enjoyed helping them find what they needed.  And I enjoyed “owning” “my section”.   I loved my co-workers, and most of the people I met.  (I’m talking to you crazy woman who commented on my parenting skills!)

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Beforehand I thought God had given this to us just at the right time to give us the extra cash we needed to get these bills paid off.  But I started to realize He gave it to me at this time to help tire me out.  Spin my wheels a bit.

I’m a doer.  A fixer.  I want something; I make it myself.  I want something done; I get it done myself.  And I keep trying to fix this problem myself.  The last few years though, I’m slowly starting to get that I can’t.  I have to give it to God – AND LEAVE IT.  And for someone like myself, that. is. excruciating.

Yes we got some extra cash to pay down the repair bills, but He threw in a few extra kinks to show me that there will always be something, if I allow it, to keep me from enjoying my family and the life He’s set out for us.

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And my plans for getting the whole house cleaned and the renovation started back up, got kicked out from under me with a sprained wrist.

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*ARE YOU FINALLY READY TO REST AND GIVE IT TO ME*

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What my bible study ladies, my dentist man, and God have all been trying to tell me for a very long time.

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And as I’m arguing…. eh er… praying this morning in frustration over not knowing our next step.  What I should be doing.  Feeling like a flopping fish out of water.  My daily bible verse showed up.

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Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

– Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
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Ahhh… I love it when that happens.
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Will it be easy for me?  Oh heck no!  But it is the guidance I was asking for.
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Sometimes doing nothing, takes the most strength.
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So, I’m back.  There will be sewing again.  There will be renovating again.  There will be comical stories about my insane family again.  A few life lessons thrown in between there again.
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And thank you for your patience, again.
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Battle lines October 9, 2016

 

 

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*Sigh*  I know, I know it’s been a while; to be honest, I’ve been too exhausted to do much of anything as of late.  When I left you last, I had just been hired to work for a grocery chain (to remain unnamed, but they are pretty awesome) in the natural department – right up my alley!  Between the wonky schedule (I work 2 am – 10 am’sh some days, and others 4 pm – 10 pm’sh… but it’s a job, so I don’t complain) and sometimes long hours – this schedule is not conducive to good sleep, or creating an over abundance of extra energy.  Along with continuing renovations, homeschooling, a few more sewing projects and time at the clinic, there is little down time.  But, they work around our school schedule (thank you boss man!), and it’s only temporary until we get the last of the repair bills for “that house” paid off.

 

*I can sleep when I’m dead.*

 

But what prompted me to sit for a few minutes between laundry, ironing, chores, reminding children of their chores, plotting dinner and the Dave Ramsey class my dentist man and I are about to leave to…

…the pastor said something that caught my attention this morning.

 

~ Fight for, not against ~

 

Hmmm….

Back during WWI and WWII the generals knew that their men would fight harder, if they knew what they were fighting for, as opposed to what they were fighting against.  After all, you knew what your mother, sister, wife/girlfriend, country looked like, smelled like and felt like.  What does the enemy look like?  What do they really believe?  Are they really that bad?  But, if you could tell those boys that their families were at stake, you could bet they’d fight twice as hard, against who ever, or what ever they were told the enemy was.

 

Since we moved into “that house” in 2007, I have been fighting various battles.  Between neighbors that decided they didn’t want us there, borough workers that agreed, judges and police chiefs that were too lazy, or too corrupt to do their jobs for everyone equally.  Government that enables, someone else’s drug habits, and insurance companies that didn’t want to cover… anything.  Or mother nature herself – that wench!

To be fair, there were many people through this that were amazing – and they are still helping us fight these battles!

Today’s words in church made me pause though – I’ve been completely exhausted working to clean up the mess brought on by other people’s mistakes (and a few of our own).  I’ve been fighting for a house I loathe, in a town that has repeatedly shown me they didn’t want us there.  I have been fighting against them for far too long.  I’m tired.  I really want to be done.

But… what if I fought for it?  What if I fought for my family?  Fought for the town?  Fought for a real change?  Fought for our future?  Such a small change makes such a huge difference!

So much easier to work for something, than against it!

 

Are you fighting against alcoholism, or fighting for your future ?

Are you fighting against depression, or fighting for your health?

Are you fighting against divorce, or fighting for your marriage?

Are you fighting against corruption, or fighting for honesty?

 

When you are for something, you have a future, hope and something to dream of.  When you fight against something, you just have a struggle.

 

This worked perfectly with the bible study we recently finished about the Armor of God.  Using our armor – fight for what God has given us, not against what the enemy has put in front of us.

The battles will never go away, but we can fight them in the right way.

 

So…

…what are you going to stop fighting against, and start fighting for?

 

lady-armour

 

Two down… May 23, 2016

 

 

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Our second-born, also known as Michael, turned 18 today.  We wouldn’t dare say it’s been a breeze, because he was definitely our challenge.  The one where if it was going to go wrong, it went wrong… and yet, he still came out amazing!

From about the 5th month of pregnancy I knew something wasn’t right?  Born two weeks late but induced due to a slowing heart rate, he was literally pulled out by our midwife because his shoulders had become stuck.   He was already challenging us!  After delivery though, his little heart came back twice as strong.

He was quiet and strong.

After a couple of weeks with this perfect little bundle, his jaundice set in.  “Pumpkin” the nurses called him when we headed back to the hospital for the light therapy.  His bilirubin count was so high they nearly took him in an ambulance.  That’s when the quiet ended, but the strong didn’t.

For over four years this little man cried.  Cried like his fingers had been closed in a car door.  We went to doctor after doctor, all the while being told he was just fine, it was just who he was.  Four years of no sleep.  Four years of rashes everywhere.  Listening to screaming for the majority of the day.  Four years of having strangers whisper, or tell me straight to my face what a terrible parent I was because of his screaming.  Four years of not knowing how to fix his hurting.

 

 

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But when he did stop, if only for an hour or so, he was so happy, and so beautiful.

 

 

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After four years, we decided to take him to a therapist to see if they could help.  “Take him to a naturopath if the doctors won’t listen!”, he said.

Best advice ever!

Our son was allergic to several foods – corn, wheat (gluten) and dairy (casein).  All of his favorites of course!  After cutting those out, we were still left with a kid who only knew how to get angry, but could now at least function.  Four years of therapy to correct the damage that had been done and all the time lost, and some very caring church leaders, coaches, naturopaths, family and friends who stuck it out with us, he was a completely different kid.

 

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Always challenging.  Always pushing.  Always trying something new.  I couldn’t imagine what life would have been like without him, his energy, his mischievous giggle from the other room and the lessons he brought with him.  Still strong, sometimes quiet.  Always a challenge.

Scary delivery, jaundice, food allergies, night terrors, stitches, multiple goose-eggs, Poison Ivy, two broken arms, and none of it slowed him down!

 

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Yes, he still has his allergies, albeit less intense now.  Yes, he manages quite well with them.  Yes, it’s changed everything in our life, mostly for the better.  Not so much for out pocket book, but definitely for our bodies.  And I am thankful for that!

 

 

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Our computer nerd through and through, he’s graduating high school with a certificate in Computer Technology, and is about to leave home for a new adventure.  I’m sure however, we’ll see him grocery shopping our pantry and finding his way home for the wash machine.  This strong willed, energetic, enthusiastic, kid is ready for the world… I hope it’s ready for him because he doesn’t knock down easily!

 

 

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Switching colors February 6, 2016

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I promised I’d start to show some of my home improvement projects, and slowly but surely I’ve started getting a few pictures of the before’s before I managed to finish them.  One of the ongoing projects is replacing the electrical outlet and light switch covers and updating a few of them at the same time.

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One of the big perks to this project is that I can do this while the boys are doing their schoolwork since it doesn’t make much noise, and I can still be in the room with them to help.  Can’t say that about the air compressor!

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Our trim will be a darker wood against tan’ish walls, and with that, the cream plastic covers just weren’t going to do.  Once we put the new covers on, the cream outlets and light switches just wouldn’t do.  And after pricing the new colored outlets and light switches, there was no way we were going to replace our nearly 30 outlets and/or light switches for the whole upstairs.  (You really don’t realize how many you have until you start replacing them!)

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After doing a little research, I saw no reason why I couldn’t just spray paint them!  Safely of course!

And so I began my very slow process of spray painting all the outlets and light switches and staining all the new face plates.

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This is, of course, how the outlets and light switches started out.

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After taping out a basic template for both the outlets and light switches, I would tape them down, insert Popsicle sticks just barely inside (no electrocutions here please) and begin spraying.  You can use the same cover for each new outlet or switch that needs to be sprayed.

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I used a plastic spray for this, and it usually took about three coats to make it look just right.  Two coats with the “plugs” in, and one quick spray without them, but at an angle so the spray wouldn’t go into the plug-in, just get the edges.  As for the switches, you’ll have to do two with the switch up, and two with the switch down.  Just remember, light coatings or it takes for ever to dry and it’ll leave terrible looking drips.  (Notice I didn’t show you the ones I learned that on.)

The whole process usually takes about three days.  You can do more than one switch/outlet at a time by making more covers, or by removing the covers after a few minutes to use on the next one.

Also important, make the cover long enough to go down the wall to catch any drips from the spray can.  I’ve found that this company’s new spray nozzle clogs terribly and sprays wonky on occasion.  I now have a few paint touch-ups I have to go back to before I figured this out.

This is the end result.  The first two with the typical cream painted over, the next one is new fancy-schmancy dimmer switches.  I wasn’t about to paint over those at their cost! But since they were dark, I was ok with them remaining their own color.

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Some quick tips – let people know which ones you’ll be spraying ahead of time so they don’t blindly flick it on, and smudge the paint and paint themselves.  And do high traffic switches and outlets at night when everyone is asleep.  It will be dry by morning, and you can do the next coat the next night.

You may not like the colors I chose, but really, using the plastic spray, you can get just about any color you want to match your outlets, or walls, or your kiddo’s weirdest desire.

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.So far, with savage boys using the outlets and switches constantly, dogs tails and drool strings, I’ve only had to touch up one because *I* used it too soon.  Otherwise they’re holding up beautifully!  Someday I may go through and replace them with the actual, manufacturer colored, outlets and switches.  But for now, on our very tight budget, this works perfectly.

 

Flying time December 21, 2015

 

 

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Do you realize how long it’s been since I’ve sat down here?  I don’t mean to write, I mean, just to sit.  I’ve even been standing to eat the last few weeks while I attempt to fit every last thing in.

If it’s not Christmas related, it’s school related.  If it’s not school related, it’s drivers-ed related.  If it’s not drivers-ed related, its youth group.  If it’s not youth group, it’s renovation related.  If it’s not renovation related, it’s “that house” related.

I’m so tired of relations and we haven’t even seen the real ones yet!

Christmas presents have been bought, knitted, sewn, made, and wrapped (or shipped) and were even under the tree for a few nights before being sent off with the big man himself.  Yes, that’s right, my dentist man.  I sent them off today in his big red, all wheel drive sleigh since we’ll be over on his side for Christmas, and we couldn’t fit the gifts and the dogs.  Our tree is a bit saddened by this, but the quiet will do it some good.

 

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The boys have two weeks off, which so far the one day they’ve been officially off, has been pretty awesome!  We’re one of the few places in the country getting snow this year I hear, so the boys spent their day sledding down our hill.  No tutoring this week.  And no youth group.  Just a really long drive to the “wet side”.  But, they both get drive time in, under snowy conditions, so I guess it’s still school time?

 

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I’m taking this week off from renovations.  It’s a short week for us anyways since we’ll be gone, but the feeling of not working on it tonight is actually throwing me off a bit.  I even worked on it the former Saturday, like I said I wouldn’t, so my dentist man wouldn’t come home to a pulled apart bathroom.  So far the cabinets are the exact color I want, I just wished the laundry rooms were also?

 

(No picture – I’m not letting  you peek yet!)

 

This Saturday was spent cooking, baking cookies and watching Christmas movies.  (Ok, yes I do hate cooking, but a magical thing happens when you do it.  Your children pop out of all sorts of nooks and crannies and talk to you and help and watch movies with you.  It’s worth the loathsome act of cooking.)  Seriously, could life get any better than that?  It was a small reprieve for my overly stressed out brain.

 

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Two weeks ago we found out that one of our student loan bills would be going from $400 a month to $1800.  That means we’ll be paying about $3000 a month total.  That’s about $2000 more than we have to pay them.  But you know what – we could have had that payment go up while dealing with the renters and losing $3000 to them, so, God *is* good!  *I keep repeating to myself as I try to figure out how to pay the new payment*

Today *I* spent the day standing out in front of an insurance company that sells Travelers (not to be confused with travel insurance) insurance with a big sign in protest of them not covering last January’s burst water pipes at “that house”.  Why yes… I have lost my mind.  Thank you for asking!  Claiming that it was our fault for not being there when the water company *didn’t* shut the water off as promised.  I stood out in below freezing temps, in the snow, on a street corner with my sign and fliers.  I even handed out candy canes when people would stop at the lights.  It is the Christmas season after all.

 

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When I got home, there was a note informing me that there is a letter waiting for me at the post office for me from said insurance company.  It’s either the check they owe us, or a court order.  So tomorrow will either be spent paying off repairs and sledding with the boys, or standing out front of another insurance company.  As long as I tell the truth, they can’t tell me to stop.

 

So neener.

 

I guess time really does fly by when you’re having… um… fun?

 

But this Christmas looks to be a good one, with snow and family.  Can’t beat that.  I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Wonderful Hanuka, Festive Solstice or just a plain old Happy Holidays!

 

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