My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Mostly staying out of trouble July 15, 2017

 

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It’s summer – my favorite season!  I really do enjoy them all, but summer means three months of goofing off.  And by goofing off I mean doing projects without having to stop to grade schoolwork, or getting to take a trip without changing due dates.

 

This summer, after three years without flooring, we finally brought it home.  It’s acclimating to our home still, but it’s home.  2000 lbs in the back of a 30 year old truck for an hour and a half on a 100* day was a bit comical, but the truck came through!

 

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We’ve decided to color the pine with coffee.  It’s the only thing that provided the color we wanted.  As of right now, we’re trying to decide between polyurethane or shellac.  With the dog drool however, I think the poly may win out.

 

A couple of side projects that I’ve fit in between the our other engagements –

 

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A bird that had made it’s home in a flower pot out front had hatched its chicks and left it’s home behind.  It was so perfect, I couldn’t just toss it.  So it is now home to some plants I’ve been nursing back to health from last year.

 

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This box, sadly, has sat in my bedroom holding random construction items to be tossed, for about 2 years.  I don’t even remember what I used the stuffing for?  But I got tired of looking at it and one morning, decided it needed to be upgraded.

 

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And so, I got to work upgrading it.  It got another plant pot up off the floor and can be used for storage.  Even better, that ugly box is gone.

 

I’m also working the kinks out on the trim – I should be able to post a few pictures of our soon-to-be trim by next week!  But so far, it’s just a lot of saw dust.

 

Summer is definitely the busiest time of the year around here.  And I only have a month left to get my plans done.  But I love the whole thing – even the limited time.  Lack of time, just like lack of money, often makes a person that much more creative.

 

 

 

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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”.

 

 

 

 

No excuses… July 16, 2016

 

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I know it’s summer, and I could easily use this as an excuse for why I haven’t been here.  I could tell you fibs that we’ve been away on amazing trips, or laying around reading, or out hiking the near-by canyons.

We haven’t.

We’ve been mostly home.  We’re poor.  We aren’t even having a “stay-cation”.  Poor people don’t do that.

Oh wait, my dentist man had his two-week-tour, becoming my sailor man while away at 29 Palms.  Just the vacation every man wants. (read sarcasm)  100* at night, 120* during the day.  Peering into marines mouths that haven’t brushed for two weeks, or bathed, or washed their uniforms.  Let’s just say he was a little more than excited to be back this year.

 

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I have gotten a few projects finally completed.  A child almost moved out, picked up a part time job (see above about being poor), and some projects for the clinic and the house.

I’ve also been “torturing” my children with continued math tutoring through the summer.  While we did end up taking July off so the tutor could take her needed trips, that still only gave them a month off, and she left work for them to do while she was gone. HA!

Ok, we did get a mini trip out to my dentist man’s practice for a few days, but mostly it was because we had dental appointments, and it was Independence Day.

Summer time is a slow time in the dental world, people vacationing, beautiful outside, and having fun makes them not want to be in the chair.  And so is our budget then, when you’re still paying off student loans and a practice… and repairs from your former renters… still.  And the renovations… oh the slow, slow renovations.  But we are making progress.

Here are a few things I’ve completed during my time away –

I do believe I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer at a medical clinic, where our mission is to just love every person who comes in to see us, no matter what.  I teach parenting classes once or twice a month, and was recently asked if I could help out with some updating.  While we’re still in the middle of updates, here are a few things we’ve gotten completed.

 

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All forty weeks of pregnancy up in our classroom.  So the parents who come in can see where they’re at.

 

One picture was taken by one of our new dad’s and the other was taken by my son’s girlfriend.  The boards on the adjacent walls were made a few weeks ago.  I didn’t even realize it until I saw them all up that the colors matched the pictures!

 

The rooms have been newly painted.  Pictures up on the walls.  New furniture and decorations and more to come…

 

And around here –

 

(No looking at the mess – I can either renovate or clean.)

I have the stained cabinets back up and the new lights finally installed!  Ok, I admit I did end up having to call an electrician when I couldn’t get the flexible drill bit out of the wall.  Once he came out we realized it wasn’t my fault.  There was a stray piece of wood left in the wall that neither of us anticipated.  His bit slid right passed it and within minutes, we had the cord up the wall.  He left the rest up to me.  Great guy – he’ll be back out for the bathroom fan during the winter when it isn’t 120* in the attic.

But here are our new lights!  We’re actually thinking of changing them to brown bottles.  I’ll keep you posted on that.  But they’re up and working and the was the main issue!

And just as an FYI, clear bottles cut the easiest, followed by blue, brown and green very. dead. last.  I have no idea how red cuts.  Couldn’t find them anywhere?

I also learned that I don’t like champagne on this project.  After six bottles of it.  Bleh!  (Not in one sitting.)

And finally –

 

Today I managed to get the spare bathroom counter and sink finished.  From the 1980’s to the 21’st century… except we’re going for an old pub look, so… I’m not sure how that one works out?

During any down time, I’m still plugging away on a dear friends memory quilt.  You know, it’s only been a year.  But I did warn her that I was very slow, so hopefully she didn’t think I was exaggerating.

As for the remainder of the projects, I have taken up a part time job in the natural food dept. at the local grocery store to help pay for said projects, while my dentist man pays off the remainder of the repairs for “that house”.  (Yes, we’re still paying off repairs two years later – that’s how bad it was.)  Together we might get this life thing tackled.

 

Someday, we’ll take an actual vacation.  But now is not that time.  For now I’ll take my quiet, morning bible studies with the fur-babies.

 

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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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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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Freaky Friday October 24, 2015

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This Friday was a bit more eventful for me than most.

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Every week day morning is usually the same, like most peoples, while the rest of the day usually goes wherever it decides, but usually pretty laid back.  Friday started out pretty normal.  Get up, take second-born to his tech class, come home.  Take the dogs out, bible study, shower, yadda, yadda, yadda….

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Once I left to go pick him back up, that’s when things got weird.  At the end of our collective driveway, at the bottom of the hill, there are several tree’s blocking the view left and right and another dirt road, with a “major” street between.  To the right is a rather large, sharp corner.  As I slow down and approach the cross street to turn left, a car from the right *literally* flies passed me.

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When I say *fly* here, I mean, it was about 20 – 30 ft off the ground, and going right towards the top of the power pole across from me.  The driver’s side of the car takes out the top of the power pole, flips right-side-up and the two drop to the ground.  Having cleared the fence around the hay field on both sides, the car sat there, smoking and sad.  Parts dropped around it, tires squashed and pushed out, and the top mushed flat.

After my initial shock at what just happened, and my exclamation of “HOLY SHITZPA” (apparently I become Jewish when in shock?), I begin calling 911.

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Cars are now starting collect to make sure everything is alright and that no one drives through the now downed power lines.  Amazingly, the guy opens the door and walks out.  *He walks out!*  Not even a scratch!  I watched this car do two flips in the air and drop from the height of a power pole, and not a scratch on him!

Having gotten the call in to the police, and see that he is fine, and taken care of, I ask permission to go get my son.  After telling my husband once we got home, we realize that they way the corner comes around, he should have landed exactly where I stopped when I saw him flying.  Some way or another, after he hurled around the corner, instead of going straight to the left as he should have, his car flew off to the right, into a pole instead.

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I was feeling very lucky, safe, and protected.

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So hey, why not take your sons out for a drive?  Sure, why not!

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I’m on my second and third driver.  I’m “seasoned” at this point.  No problem.  Except that the second-born likes to go fast… in our mini-van.  And the third-born seems to just not have the knack for this whole driving thing.  The first two seemed to get it, short of a minor few “Don’t pull out in front of them again” moments.  My third-born just doesn’t have this.  When taking him out, I feel more like I’m in a National Lampoon movie.  Herky-jerky, grabbing the steering wheel to save on coming traffic, a few tears – usually his, and mystified at how one can’t turn a corner without tipping?  However, he is progressing.

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Our drive was to and from the tutor’s.

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The second-born get’s to drive to the neighborhood she lives in because he’s ready to be out with other people now.  But as we pass the police officer going 10 miles over the speed limit, I hear “Oh crap – I should probably slow down?”  Ya think?  And no, you slamming on the breaks wasn’t noticeable at all by him.  *rolls eyes*  And then proceeds to speed back up to round the corner with those lovely squealing noises he thinks are requirement for good drivers..  “It wasn’t *that* fast mom!”

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*Switch*

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It’s the third-born’s turn now.  He does great through the neighborhood, ok, good… well, we didn’t hit anything, until we get to the cul-de-sac.  It’s gravel.  At the top of a hill.  And facing the sun.  We progress around the turn, the whole time with me telling him to slow, Slow, SLOW!  I realize we’re already sliding sideways on the gravel and now have three options: Slam into a cement and metal electrical box, taking out everyone’s power and the front of the car.  Go over the side of smallish cliff.  Or go hurdling down the street at breakneck speed, taking out a few cars and possibly a house.

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Lovely.

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I go to grab the steering wheel to attempt control of the car (parents don’t get a break pedal) and take the closest, safest option, when he finally figures out the break pedal.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good cookie in the car.  One that’s planned, not near a steep drop off and not when death is an option.

We finally slide to a stop, now on our second turn of the cul-de-sac.  I turn to look at his brothers in the seats behind us and their eyes were the size of cookie we just made in the gravel.  Not a word was said.  Silence.  I turn to the third-born to calmly *I swear* explain the difference between slamming on the breaks – causing sliding, and gently slowing.  Neither of which mattered I guess, since he was actually pressing on the gas for most of it.  Only hitting the break at the very end, sending us into our final, glorious tail spin.

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Very much, not my day.

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We turn the car towards home, looking down the hill we’re about to go down, and take a collective deep breath in hopes that the third-born get’s the whole idea of going slowly.

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Oh, but we’re not home-free yet.  We still have to pass through the electrical repairs from the earlier wreck.

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They have flaggers out controlling the traffic.  In my homeschooling, drivers-ed mind I think “What an excellent learning moment!”  (Apparently I have lost my blooming mind!)  We wait for the first of the three flaggers to tell us we can go.  We pass all the electrical trucks no problem and I tell him to “Eek out into the street.”  Eek is a technical term for “Don’t peel out” btw.  

We “eek” up to the stop sign, no problem.  And that’s when the two other flagger’s, left and right, tell us we can proceed, which ever way we’re going to go.  I tell him “Go.”  Nothing.  Flagger’s begin to wave more emphatically.  “Go!”  He slowly rolls forward.  Flagger’s are about to lose their arms as they fling them wildly as cars are piling up in all three directions.  “Son GO!”  He peels out on the gravel, spraying the workers behind us with rocks, making a small squeal as we crossed the paved road on to our drive, where he is now spraying the other two flagger’s with gravel from our side.

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*sigh*

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A glass of wine is acceptable on a Friday early afternoon right?

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Not feeling like we should end that way, I let the other two boys out at the house and take another quick trip around our property, to let him end on a positive note.

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If you don’t hear from me next week, it’s because I’ve died.  Either from a plunge off of a cliff, a mail box impaling, or fright from no break pedal of my own.

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In all, we ended safe and sound, and knowing what we’re going to work on for the next week.  My freaky Friday left me feeling very blessed that my guardian angel is, in fact, faster than my teenagers.

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Seeing the light May 1, 2015

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School is almost out for us and my favorite season is about to begin.  I won’t lie, I love Summer the most.  While I enjoy every season for its unique qualities, Summer is by far my favorite.

Longer days to get more done.  Yes, I know that the days are the same amount, but Summer begs to be used to completion.

Yummy sunlight coming through all the open windows for hours and hours at a time.  And you can actually go out to enjoy it too!  Sitting on the porch for hours.  Folding laundry to making dinner on the grill.  I will find a way to move what I’m doing to the deck.  I’ve been known to move Brutus, my treadle machine, out to the deck to sew outside.

So many things to do outside.  I love to do even the smallest thing in the yard, if it get’s me out of the house.

And warmth.  I love warmth.  No aching.  No baggy sweatshirts.  No hats or gloves to hinder me.  Shorts and a tank top to allow full movement.  I will take sweating over shivering any day.  Oh… I love warmth.

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I’m starting to see the light.

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Our amazing contractor started work on “that house” this week without the insurance money even there.  He knew we needed renters ASAP, and knew we were good for it, so he started in good faith.  As soon as carpets are in – we’re good to go on renters.  So hopefully by next month, you’ll see me doing a happy dance.  (Figuratively.  No one wants to see me dance!)  The buckets of human feces have left the backyard, and the dog feces filled carpets have left the house.  We’re ready to move on to people who live in reality!

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I’m starting to see a glimmer of light.

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I’ve actually started decorating the house… No big deal you say?  I went 20 years without decorating because of finances, moving, children or dogs.  I think it’s time we start to decorate!

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Ok, it may not be much, but it’s a start.  But we’re starting to see the light!

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And all these new babies coming; I’m having so much fun getting to sew for them AND get sleep.  So this is sort of what being a grandma (or awesome aunt) is like?!

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“Minky” fabric. You MUST try some. It’s the softest fabric I think I’ve ever felt! I may have to buy some for myself?

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Ah yes.  That wonderful light.

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And meet “Spare”, as in a spare cat.  He’s adopted us apparently?  His last known address was about 4 1/2 hours and one giant river away from where he is now according to his chip.  This lovable 5 y/o boy is so stinking friendly, even with the pug up his backside and a hovering giganticus dog.  His only nemesis is the queen fur-biscuit of the house.  Our 20 y/o toothless, clawless (at least in the front) brittle old woman of a cat had him huddled for life under a chair.

We’ve tried nearly everything we could think of to get in touch with his owner.  Contacting Sprint (their carrier) but something is wrong with the line.  The vets office where the chip was linked to.  Their former apartment complex.  The police here in town.  FB.  And sent a letter in the hopes it would get forwarded.  We’re not exactly in a neighborhood, so we can’t really go door-to-door.  We’re now putting up flyers and I have a friend who works with the police checking on a forwarding address for us.  We want to return him… but it’s turning out to be quite the challenge.  We may have gotten a new cat?!  Now, if he’d just stop eating my lovely birds off the porch!

The pets aren’t quite sure what to do with this, and Viola (aka: Kitty) is none-to-pleased.  But she’s calming down now that she knows he’s not threatening her territory.  She’s still the queen of all things furry!

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She’s beginning to see the light.

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And the last ray…

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My poor 40+ tomato plants, dying to see the light!

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Frost season get’s over pretty late here, so we have about 20 more days until they get to officially…. see the light.

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If we can hold on just a bit longer, our winter will be over and we’ll begin to…

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