My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Fire in the bush August 11, 2014

Filed under: Boys,Family,Home improvement,Homeschooling — blankenmom @ 12:06 am
Tags: , , ,

 

 

0802142007a

 

 

 

We’ve been spending our days of late working outside on our giant juniper bush.  It was blocking our view from downstairs and in our area, having a juniper bush that close to the house is a big ol’ fire hazard!  We’ll miss the bunnies scurrying into it, but not enough to risk fires.  No worries, they still have the lower part of the bush, sage brush and junipers on the side of the house.  Bob, Bobbett and the little Bob’s will be well taken care of!

 

 

0803141736

Local fires smoke blowing through.

 

Between 110* plus temps, trips and camp, it’s taken a little longer than I had planned on.  I had multiple projects slated for my summer.  The comical part was that we were only able to get about 125 ft x 5 ft x 6 ft.  We still have about 125 ft x 25 ft down the hill to go!  We’re saving that fun for next summer – do we know how to do summer or what!

 

There has been no sewing, no interior projects, no other yard projects.  Just… the bush.

 

 

0620141712

 

 

My children strongly dislike me now.

 

 

0810141846

I know, it looks pretty hideous now.  This time next year it will be all green again!

 

 

Our legs are cut, bruised and scarred.  Our arms itch.  We’ve all discovered that we’re allergic to the darn thing (good thing it’s going!).  Multiple hornet nest and various other interesting bugs.  We’ve discovered muscles we didn’t know we had.  And we’re all sporting lovely farmers and sock tan’s.  Try to be classy in heals when you’re sporting a sock tan!  

 

 

0620141712b

Blocked view

 

 

The good parts though – we all have a healthy glow.  We now have a view from downstairs.  There will be far less of a fire hazard next year.  The boys made a little cash.  I also now know how to  make any necessary repairs to my chain saw.

 

 

0810141846a

New view

 

 

I also got to spend several days, without distraction, with the boys.  Good or bad, we talked – a lot!  I know their plans for life.  I know every lame joke possible.  I know what they’ve been Youtubing and listening to on Pandora and Spotify.  I know what they want for Christmas and their birthdays.  I know what they think on current politics.  I know what kind of girls they like.  I know every.last.detail. of what happened at camp.  I know every useless fact that has ever come off the internet!  Grumbling or not, they obviously needed the time to share.

 

 

0620141746

 

 

What an amazing thing to end up knowing my boys so much better, because we took a huge project on together.  Somethings a little too much?  Kids may grumble and groan at the prospect of work.  Before, during and after.  I may have wanted to wring their necks at some point (or several) through the process, revoke every dime I had offered them, or send them back in, but I knew this is what they needed.  Someone to listen between the lines, between the complaints, between the “twig” jokes.  Our kids are talking to us.

 

 

0805141409

 

 

Tonight after picking up the last few branches in 102* temps, tired and hungry, I was sort of bummed it was over.  We start school Sept.1 (I love it when the 1st lines up on a Monday!!), then they go back to schoolwork and a schedule.

 

They are the biggest reason I love summer!

 

 

0802142046

 

 

 

Advertisements
 

Liar, liar – my heads on fire! April 9, 2014

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Family,WTFr — blankenmom @ 10:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

!

 

 

 

I’m not sure if the above statement is *really* true.  It’s more like…. I’d rather set it on fire, run through a gasoline factory naked, while in labor.  It would be easier, and maybe then the state would pay attention?

 

 

I know I’ve talked about “that house” before.  The house I would love to fall to the ground (while it’s empty of course).  I would add by meteorite, but then insurance wouldn’t cover it.

We had an aircraft carrier, two coastlines and several people in between hoping it would go down in Sandy, yet no.  The stupid thing lives.

 

After a year of no rental income, we were finally able to get renters back in – if you want to call them that.  FEMA in all their wisdom, placed people supposedly displaced by the flood into homes that were newly finished due to the flood.  We thought we were helping someone out.  Shame on me for trying to help – that’s the last time that will happen!

 

Since July, they have violated every line on the rental contract.  EVERY LINE!

Plus a few extra’s.

 

It’s lovely.

 

We took the long, drawn-out and costly steps to eviction after the final straw of leaving a cat to die under the house.  Last week  we were told by the judge that all the violations, on the contract they willingly signed, don’t matter because they have three kids.  It doesn’t matter that they, among all the other violations, don’t have insurance (in a flood area) to cover in their words, a dog that may bite that isn’t on the contract.  It doesn’t matter that they disturb the woman behind them with two kids of her own.  It doesn’t matter if the house falls down around them because we can’t finish our work from the flood because they won’t let workers finish.  Nope – they have three kids.

 

Never mind our four kids.  After all, we work.  We pay our utilities, loans, mortgages and taxes.  My husband works two jobs to make sure we can cover their needs, on top of ours.  A judge decided that their kids took precedence over our kids and the neighbors… and yours, because they’re on state aid.  Because they’re unwilling to work a real job and pay their own way, we have to cover for them.  We’re not talking, they’re trying to work and are having a hard time – nope.  I’d love to help with that!  Find me that family!!

 

Does that mean we get out of the contract?  No actually, it means they may get to stay in for six months longer than the contract because they told the judge they can’t find a place to live in the three months remaining.  REALLY?

 

Nope.  When you live on state aid, only you matter.  Not the tax payer providing your rent, the person who owns the house or anyone around you.  State and judge condoned…. and apparently encouraged.

 

Never mind the fire – my head just exploded…..

.

head

 

 

 

Lest you think I’m a cold-hearted person who would throw children out on their ear…. it’s the kids that made me wait so long.  It’s the kids that kept me from shutting off their utilities when they didn’t pay them.  It’s the kids that kept me from kicking their backsides to the curb when they (unbeknownst to me) lied about how much the state would give them for rent and accepted less!

 

Shake your groove thing….. December 4, 2013

 

 

IMG_3371

 

 

The Christmas tree is up and the decorations are all, well mostly, unpacked.  I even busted out long-lost, slightly melted Christmas candles that made it through several moves, only to finally be lit by one slightly pyro 11-year-old with entirely too much glee.

 

IMG_3372

 

Last year we weren’t much in the mood to decorate, so we put up the tree with just the lights.  This year, in spite of being off our game and still trying to find our groove, we’ve broken out the whole sha-bang!  I’ve even begun putting up the banister lights out back (front?) so as to “out-do” that giant house across the way.

I may need to buy some more lights?!

I’ve gone so far as to look into hooks for the roof for this coming year so I don’t fall off while I’m up there – pain hurts!  A two-story drop would make me a bit grouchy and I’ve got some serious one-upping to do!

 

As for the sewing room redo… yeah, that’s been put on hold.  The second-born has been working on some pretty good drawings and he wanted a drafting table to assist in this.  We looked up some free plans and came up with a good table!

 

Can we say “wood shop”!  Darn homeschoolers – always making it a learning moment.

 

 

desk

 

 

Ok, so it won’t win any awards, but for the kids first attempt at woodworking – it’s not too shabby!  We learned several good lessons.  First being, check mom’s measurements – she’s sort of a flake!

As for my room, it will have to wait until after the holidays.  I’m swamped.  Not so much with things to do, just with thoughts and thinkings and wonderings.  Don’t roll your eyes – that can be exhausting!

Besides, I’ve been cooking.  I know – it’s scary!  Which seems to take an annoying amount of time?  I’ve even been cooking *well*.  I know – even scarier!  Which takes even *more* time. 

Being able to afford real food AND watch some t.v. while I’m cooking is working out nicely for the family.  Not to mention a timer that tells me when the food hits the right temp.  I can go downstairs to make sure the second-born doesn’t cut his arm off with the saw or watch the fourth-born play with the candle wax and still not burn the food.  It’s like magic!

 

We’re finding our places, a soccer game, a Christmas song, a first fireplace lighting, a youth group meeting, and a crisp, cold morning at time.

 

Until we’re fully grooving, I’ll be over here, getting wax out of the carpeting….

 

 

A little of this July 7, 2012

 

…. a little of that.

 

 

 

 

With so much going on, I was having a hard time getting my thoughts straight on what exactly I wanted to talk about.

I could always fill you in on the 101 things I’ve got to get done before tomorrow or the world will end as we know it, but instead I’ll just throw out a few of the high points.

 

As my dentist man was sailing off into the sea, the first-born had made it back safely from his mission trip.  In spite of wild fires, power and water outages, and extreme heat, they managed to get the houses painted and fixed up for the folks on the indian reservation.  In between meeting new people (read: girls), seeing a section of the country he actually hasn’t seen yet (that he remembers) and a day off at a hotel to wait out an evacuation order – hearts were changed. 

He came back with some great stories of new friendships, teenage drama’s and maybe a few new followers. 

 

He also came back bearing gifts for us all!  Tea for his tea loving dental dad, a new pocket knife for his brother who can’t eat anything and chocolate “bear and deer poop” for his two youngest brothers. 

 

And what does he get his mother while on a mission trip?

 

 

 

No worries; This was paid for, stored, transported and delivered by an adult.  The son just thought of me when he saw it and shelled out the money – HA!

 

He cracks me up!

 

While he’s been catching up on his sleep and attempting to remove paint from his hair, I’ve been working on a costume for VBS.  It’s a robot – can’t you tell?

 

 

 

For the wrists and neckline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was given the skirt and shirt that were bought from Goodwill to make into a “Rosie” type costume from the Jetsons.  (I wish I would have taken before shots.)  It will be worn over one of these creepy things –

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t wait to get photos!

 

And topping that off; the youngest is nursing his manly wound from our celebrations on the fourth.  Our neighbors across the street have an awesome Independence Day show.  You know – nothing says Independence from tyranny like drinking heavily, eating too much and lighting things on fire!!   While we have a few big ones, they have ones that make your hair blow back!  This year they had a few rounds of beer pong to get lit-up before they lit things up. 

After several odd rounds going into trees, under cars and one even blowing up before it launched.  What ended it all was one of the mortars getting kicked over while the lighter attempted to stumble away before it had time to launch into the air.  It shot straight at our house, with all of us in the driveway.  Not only did it end up in our garage, under our cars, in our grass and on us, but it caught the youngest on slightly on fire!  After ripping his shirt off of him, this is his manly “war wound”.   (While I don’t think the situation itself was funny, we did at least walk away relatively unharmed and he’ll have a great story to tell!)

His oldest brother and I are teaching him the manly art of “embellishment”.  By the time dad comes home he’ll have been “Totally on fire!  Having saved the whole family from total destruction, he’ll have put the house fire out completely alone – and all he got were these measly… little… scars!”  He’s showing them off to everyone and I can’t get the shirt with the hole in it away from him.  HAHAHA!

 

 

 

 

He says he can hardly wait for next year!

 

 

 

Since that is over and done with I can move on to the other 98 things that have to be done before tomorrow.  I don’t want to ruin everyone’s day by ending the world after all!

 

 

 

 

*Naughty Grin* April 14, 2012

Filed under: Boys,Family,Hubby,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 2:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s no secret – I have problems behaving.  I may be a little naughty even.

Could you imagine if we all behaved ourselves?  How boring!

 

At the end of last summer we found a watermelon that had gone bad.  Upon finding it the boys all asked if it could be tossed off the raised porch to see what it looked like.  Being the mischievous mom I am I of course let them – and recorded it!  They got such a kick out of something so small!  (You should have seen it – it was great!  *SPLAT* )

Joan of Arc

The saying “Well behaved women rarely make history” is one of my favorites.  And it’s incredibly true! 

Think about the *great* women in history.  How many of these women that you remembered did what they were “supposed” to do?  None – that’s why they made history!  They didn’t shoot anyone (unless necessary), they weren’t out doing things that could cause harm (I hope?).  Instead they were productive, doing what they were told women couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t do!  Usually by folks that wouldn’t do it themselves and should have. 

I wonder if these women knew they would make history?

 

 

Amelia Earhart

Trust me – I’m no feminist in today’s terms.  There’s just sometimes when a woman has to stand up and do the job – and we do it well.  Incredibly well!

"Rosie the Riveter"

Does this sound strange from a stay-at-home wife, the mother of multiple children, a homeschooler, a conservative Christian woman? *GASP*  “You’re supposed to be boring!”

Ok, so that may not put me down in history, but it does make me feel like a bit of a rebel!  (Especially when people try to argue with me – about any one of those subjects.) 

 How many women do you know that get more excited about tools than jewelry?  Who’s idea of a great date night would be fixing the car together or is the instigator of some of the biggest messes in the house?  Who started the stump fire last year???  And if I hadn’t gotten the great opportunity to be a mother, I would have been a kick-a$$ Marine!

 

 

Doing what the men folk couldn't

 

 

A good gauge has always been – if it get’s my mom to make “that” face, I know I’m headed in the right direction!  You should see her face when I dye my hair orange! 

 *I think my dentist man is sort of scared for when the boys move out and I have nothing holding me back?*

Eowyn

Ok, Eowyn is fictional – but she totally kicks backside! 

Life is too short to behave?  There are so many things to get into, out of and talk about!  (I won’t tell you about all of them – for my family’s sake.)

I don’t want to be known or remembered as well-behaved?  I want to be known for the crazy things I did and did for people.  I want to make history – even if it’s just by making people grin. 

Now excuse me – there’s a stump out front that’s missing some lighter fluid…..  heeheehee

 

 

Boys vs. Girls *parent style* January 10, 2012

Filed under: Boys,Family — blankenmom @ 12:43 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

*I* am the mother of boys.  This is a fact.  I have been since birth.  Frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, small or large rodents – always my favorite. 

pink – definitely not.

Dirt, cow-pies, canals and pastures are where you could find me.  Happily.

clean – definitely not.

 

 

 

As I was watching folks at the soccer arena (where I spend all my free time now), I made an observation.  *Parents* of boys and girls are different, not just the kids themselves.  As most of us know after all, up to a certain age, they’re all the same anyway!  (The kids, not the parents)

As we’re rushing our way in 3 minutes late to my 3rd game of the weekend (3rd time late) and hoping my youngest has all his clothes on.  Our conversation in the car on the way over being, “Do you have BOTH socks on and 2 shin guards?  Do you have the CLEAN blue shirt on… did you put on underwear??”  Yes, I know, I could have just looked before we left, but remember we’re late.  I was busy getting his water, telling his brothers not to set the house on fire and being told by the oldest what time he’d be home, all while he was doing his best to tie his shoes at a snail’s pace.  (The 9-year-old, not the 16-year-old)

Luckily he wore both shoes… this time.

I was happy he made it out to the field complete.  Short, buzzed hair to aid in my sanity.  I don’t think he or his brothers even know how to brush/comb their hair?  (I did stop at velcro shoes!)  Color coded boxes, dishes, blankets, pillows and marks on their laptops, books or matching toys.  Matching, nondescript soccer items placed in a “communal bag” so there is no mad, crazy searching at the inevitable last-minute that we head out, just grab and go!  (Well, that’s at least the way it was supposed to work)

Why does all this matter?

As I look around at all the other families.  The 5 girls on his team (yes, he’s the only boy – my little stud!)  Hair tied up in cute little bow’s, flashy little soccer socks above their shiny pink/purple cleats.  Water bottles that match their mother’s or sister’s (one set of twins, another set of sisters).  Shirts with cute sayings, not a stain on them! 

They look like they spent all morning getting ready and were there in plenty of time for not just the game, but practice as well.  I’m sure *their* mothers even fed them before the game. 

What?  We’re supposed to feed them too?

If you were to watch a mother of all boys and a mother of all girls walk into a building, 9 times out of 10, you’d know which-is-which with out the kids in tow. 

I will say that the mom’s with a mixed gaggle are a bit tougher to pick out?  I hate to call them “normal”, I mean really – what IS normal?  But they’re the closest anyone can really get.

How do you pick out one of each?

The mother of boys looks like she’s just happy to have made it.  Hair is usually in a ponytail, pulled back, put up or short.  How do you plunge a toilet or remove shoe prints from the ceiling with your hair in your face?  Clothes may match, but that’s most likely because she’s dressing out of a basket – no time to actually put the clothes away, so they may be the clothes you saw her in last week at this time.  Don’t worry – they’re clean!  Tennies – always!  As the boys get older, the tennies get fancier!  Make-up… hahahaha!  Yeah right, the boys used that as war paint several years back. (No worries – there’s pic’s for future girlfriends!)  Coffee in hand – probably not her first one of the day.

Mothers of girls on the other hand, bless their hearts, show up like a fresh daisy!  (Have you ever smelled a daisy btw?)  They may be hurried, but they look great in their rush!   Perfectly quaffed hair done, and I mean done.  Blow dried, brushed, curled/straightened and sprayed… with something?  What is that?  Make-up, done just right (ok, sometimes there’s way to much, but really, they made the effort).  Their clothes match, not out of necessity, but because they actually shopped that way.    Even their shoes match!  They chose an outfit that morning and went with it – FANCY!  Her water bottle in hand – probably not her first one of the day. 

I can’t claim to know the intricacies of their lives, never been there.  But it seems very put together?

There *are* of course exceptions to these rules – there always has to be that ONE woman who throws everything off.  Boys with no stains and girls with hair that goes everywhere (I like that girl!).

 

As the boys get older some of these things get easier.  I even brush my hair everyday now.  But I’ll never be the mother of girls, we’ll see how I do with grand-girls?

I do admire these women, they have something I don’t and at times think I could, quite possibly enjoy – sanity.  But God in his great wisdom knew what would suite me best and sent pink bundles to women who know how to match.

Besides, who would I blame the frogs on…

 

Winterizing the blankenfamily October 14, 2011

After spending almost a year in the south, I’m finding it a bit difficult to get used to the NW again.  This includes the fall rains that I used to enjoy so much.  We’re hunkering down and winterizing everything we own. 

The wood was ordered and stacked.  I have to admit I’ve missed real wood fires.  And what a great way to tire out your kiddo’s than to have them stack two cords of wood …. and bring it up the stairs to the fireplace!

 

 

The grass is fed for winter, new patio furniture put under the tarp, deck cleared off and outside toys (read: Nerf outlet)  put away.  The grey skies are looming and the rains are enough to make you look for Noah.  We’re all trying to get back into the NW thinking, but it’s slow going.  We’re finding our own little things to perk us up.  Fires that we love and will of course soon include s’mores and roasted marshmallows.  Lot’s of warm soups and yummy foods.  We invested in a “Light therapy box” and we’re enjoying thoroughly.  We park ourselves in front of it for lunch everyday;  it makes the schoolday go so much smoother.

 

Note the grey, dark skies outside… at noon.

 

My little ways of coping? 

 

Just the most yummy, sparkly, bright, fabulously soft yarn EVER!  It’s just so me I can hardly stand it!  More than once my boys have walked into the room to find me petting my wondermous yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures just don’t nearly do it enough justice to it’s fabulousness!  EEK!

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then of course I have my new do – mind you, this is a special treat for me.  I’ve never had my hair professionally done before!  (Well, I take that back.  I had someone do my hair for prom.)  *We’re on the grow out plan, I’ll have my long hair back very soon…. hopefully.*

 

 

Yes, that IS orange in my hair.  Love It!!

 

The pet’s are doing their own version of winterizing.

 

Josie hunkered under my blanket.

 

Kitty has found her spot.... and she's NOT moving!

 

Oly Monster in front of the heater.... *eye roll*

 

 

Little bits of happiness for each of us.  It’s our sunshine, while our sunshine is hidden.  We’re winterizing ourselves and hoping for a little ray of real sunshine in the midst of all this liquid sunshine.

 

*That being said.  The hubby was nice enough to point out that it’s cooled down to 85* where he is – the big stinker!  I suppose I can give him that, since he doesn’t get to see sky for months at a time. 

 

~ Any suggestions for little rays of sunshine during your winterization?