My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Getting …. stuff done! June 24, 2019

 

 

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I have honest to goodness, seriously been getting a ton of stuff done!  I mean, like, super duper getting things done!

Graduating children, of the male variety in our house of course.

Growing kittens to their maximum size – can we say giant kitties?!

Working on the house – which includes several new skills!

The garden of course – ’tis the season.

Teaching the last child to drive – (“But did you die” should never be the theme of a drive.)

I’ve gotten so much done, that I finally have things to post!  Good things!  Things you’ll actually want to see – ’cause they’re pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

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We’re at a pause, we can’t move forward with some of the bigger changes until the water softener is put it.  So… we wait.  Until then, I have time to set aside my hammer, nails, glue and bandages to finally sit down and type.

I’ll start with the simplest tonight.  The graduating third-born.

 

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At his graduation party at church, they asked for a small bio of each kid – this is a slightly edited version of his –

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“Harrison, middle name is after all three of his grandfathers. The third son of four. Our “Pooh-bear”. And known as his dad’s “mini-me”. He started his life the way he continued it – relaxed. Nearly three weeks late, he decided the night before induction that maybe he should in fact, make an exit and came out on his own. But what he lacked in promptness, he made up for in expedience. Something that continues to this day.

At 10 lbs even, he made a big entrance into our family. Over the next few years, his quiet and relaxed disposition, chubby smile, demand for exactness and the love of ALL foods made him stick out from his brothers. Often times making sure even his older brothers stuck to the rules, but also protecting what was his by any means possible – heaven help the brother that moved his toys from their carefully aligned position!

After discovering him hiding his toys, and food, in his diaper so no one else could touch them, he was given a rolling backpack that he was known for for years by anyone who knew him. Carrying it every where he went with all of the life possessions that any a small boy could ever need. Most notably – his snack and the Honey Baked Ham catalog he learned to read with. To this day he still protects his most prized possessions and favorite books, but on shelves thank goodness.

If you were to ask his four year old self to help out with chores you’d be greeted with a “sleeping Harrison” with his head tilted back and a fake snore – “Honk-shoo, Honk-shoo”. Today, he still has an uncanny knack to “not hear you” if necessary, but he’s also one of the first out the door to get his chores done.

As he got older and started to read something other than his catalogs, his love of learning leaped ahead of his brothers and he started school two years earlier than the rest. The only one to never argue about or skip an assignment, or send one back undone, he was a breath of fresh air to teach. He will gladly share his love of history, geography, languages and politics with anyone near. And will try just about any food offered for the sake of the experience.

While his insistence to be right can sometimes make you want to bang your head against the wall, his dimpled smile and soft hugs make all things right again.

He grew up in church, and going to church camps. But made his commitment the summer of 2015 getting baptized. Jumping into the lake with 100’s of people watching, with all his clothes still on – he was ready! Then he learned he could share his faith, and meet new people from around the world, and that’s when his faith really took off. His passion to spread the word has been ignited!

He’s a military brat from birth and has enjoyed, or not enjoyed, several places in the US. With each move, he quietly discovered the world around him.

As we watch him make his next move, this time on his own, we can only imagine what he’ll discover. Whether he decides on law, pastorship, military, teaching History, all of the above or something he hasn’t even thought of yet – what ever he chooses, his relaxed disposition, thirst for knowledge and ability to casually lead those around him will take him to places he could never imagine and we can only dream of.”

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He’ll be with us for a few more months – rent is high in our house.  But we’ll enjoy him while he’s still hanging out with us.

 

And while my dentist man and I chant “Three down, one to go!” I am also very well aware at how much I’m going to miss each and every one of them.  “The days are long, but the years are short” is all to true.  But we don’t discover that until it’s too late.  But with that said…

…three down, one to go!

 

 

 

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Not proud or anything July 23, 2017

Filed under: Boys,Church,Family,Hubby,Military,Navy — blankenmom @ 9:56 pm
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After finally fully recovering from the excitement, not only from my first trip on my own, but seeing my second-born graduate from basic, I can finally boast… eh er… post about it.

 

After our three conversations totaling 30 minutes over six weeks, it was nice to just see him again without interruption.  He graduated from the same place his dad did, 20 years ago, but his dad wasn’t able to revisit due do his own military duty.  I missed my dentist man’s graduation, so it was great to see what he did too, but from what I hear, the ceremony is a bit different now.

 

TWT 2017

 

First-things-first – after the first and second days ceremony, you have to go out onto the field to “tap out” your graduate.  That means, finding someone who may or may not have completely changed, AND all the men look the same with shaved heads and uniforms!  On top of that, there were two recruits with the same last name.  So, walking through the whole crowd of graduates and families, all taller than I am, looking at name tapes for matching last names and then looking under their pulled down brims probably entirely too close for their comfort, to find the one you hope is yours… tapping them on the shoulder so they can relax.  THE ONE YOU HOPE IS YOURS!  Otherwise you’re tapping some random person!   Not that they might mind, that means they get to go relax… maybe I should have just “tapped” random people – bwahaha!

(After feeling horrible for several days, picturing my husband standing there at his graduation, without anyone to “tap him out”, I sheepishly asked him about it, and told him how sorry I was for not making it.  “We didn’t do that?  Sounds stupid.”  Oh thank heavens!)

Just in case you were worried – they do the buddy system.  Anyone who didn’t have family to tap them, their buddies came and got them.  No one is left behind!

 

Watching the pomp-and-circumstance was neat, and he was excited that so many important people happened to show up to his graduation.  Including the governor of Texas and the head of the Air Force.

 

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That weekend ended up being incredibly hot – that Saturday topping out at 118*.  And of course that’s the day we picked to go to Six Flags.  We didn’t last long.

 

The San Antonio river walk was amazing – unfortunately I have no pictures.  Heat and humidity apparently don’t help old phones work well.  Which also made for some comical directions.  The guys weren’t allowed out of uniform, so while we enjoyed our walk, we also enjoyed the wonderful people giving all the newest graduates their thanks and congrats.

He showed us his dorms.  It was the first time in 19 years I’ve ever seen his bed made.  We did all the touristy things.  He enjoyed some local go-cart/race track time with his fellow graduates.  And lots of food!  We just basically ate where ever we went.

 

My favorite part of the whole trip – Sunday church service.  (No pics allowed)

This is everyone’s one hour of rest per week.  Where they don’t get yelled at.  Where they get to dance, or just relax a bit.  They get sat according to their weeks in, different services (this base trains all services), and graduates and their families.  Every week they call the groups out by week, service or graduates – and that group sounds off with a big “WHOOOP”.

And then they worshiped.  Marines, lifting their hands in praise.  Three weekers dancing in the pews.  Army guys in front of us, on their knees saying their prayers.

I loved every minute of it!

 

And then it was time to go.

 

He’s currently at tech school, where his dad and I had our first apartment together.  And then off to two other bases for training before his final duty station, where he’ll be diagnosing problems to be repaired for F-35’s.  He’s loving it so far.  Well, he loves most of it.  No one enjoys a 6:00 am death-by-power point, or 3:30 am workouts.

 

Here’s the deal though, less than 2% of the US population has ever joined the military.  Knowing someone who has been, or is in the military, may not even be something people do on a daily basis.  Him signing up, even if he hadn’t made it through, made me proud.  It’s not everyone who understands that it takes a big person to give up their attitude; their ability to be in control.  That takes a lot of self control – a lot of strength, to willingly give up, even temporarily.

So am I proud – heck yeah!  I’m proud of my husband, and my son (and hopefully a few others in the future).  They proved just how strong of men they are, not only possibly handing over their lives, but also by allowing someone else to be in charge, at least temporarily.

 

Plus… they just look so good in their uniforms, don’t they!  (Totally not biased.)

 

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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.

 

 

Office photo

 

 

I love being busy doing “nothing”.

 

 

 

 

Cross, to wild, blue yonder April 29, 2017

Filed under: Boys,Family,Military — blankenmom @ 8:37 pm
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It’s been a bit of a roller coaster around these parts.

 

Happy (late) Easter, btw, for those of you who celebrate it.

 

We had a nice dinner at home with double the amount of food I normally cook.  Which is double the amount of a normal family.  It was gone within hours by the three sons home and one husband.  Can’t complain though – must have been good!

 

The weekend that followed found the second born and myself getting the last bits of his life put together before we shipped him off to Air Force basic.  And I swear – if I hear one more civi tell me “Oh, it’s just the AF.  My cousins, brothers, sisters, fathers roommate was a Marine, and theirs is much, much harder.”  I will have to start shouting “Yes.  I know it is.  The Air Force isn’t looking for brute force, they’re looking for brains.  And unless you want to sign up yourself, shut-it or give them props for doing it for you.”  ... did I say that out loud?

I took him in to the same MEPS station I took his dad to 21 years ago.  There is just something very strange about hearing the same thing, but with your child.  You also get treated very differently as the mother, than as the wife.  Short of the bag check at the door, I knew the routine.

 

And no, he won’t be flying a plane.

 

It’s also the first time since he was four, that I went grocery shopping without having to arrange entire meals around his diet, read ingredient lists, and budget for specialty foods.  I was a bit lost.  Hopefully the next trip will go a little smoother.

For basic he’s just sucking it up.  He’ll be fine.  Grouchy, but fine.  He’d be grouchy anyways though, so no one will even notice.

 

The paperwork given to me said he’d be calling in two weeks with his address.  The day his plane landed he said he’d be calling in three days.  The first day in, he called and my first thought when I saw who was calling was “Oh no… he broke his arm.”  Just the address.

 

The rest of the week has been a lot of catch up after the last two weeks.  Work on the quilt, planting the seeds for the garden, knitting up a baby gift, and a few home projects.  Tomorrow we’re taking his bed down.   Makes it sort of final, in a good way.

 

Readjusting to a new life, is our life in this family.  Glad we’re used to it.

 

 

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Cleaning weekend away April 2, 2017

Filed under: Family,Knitting,Military,Pets,Places,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:22 pm
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Last week, poor Lady was tripoding (walking on only three legs) due to her arthritis in a back leg.  Bad breeding from meth heads does that.  Along with bad genes, too many litters too soon, her body won’t last as long as even the normal short life of a healthily bred mastiff.  But we’ll love her anyways, all the way to the end, hopefully several years from now.  But… it will take a lot of work between now and then to keep her comfortable.

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Cleaning up other peoples messes, always does take a lot of work, doesn’t it.

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However, that doesn’t stop us from needing cleanings.  And when your dentist lives four hours away, you make a weekend of it.  Thank goodness my dentist man has an apartment above his practice, or we’d be sleeping in his dental chairs for the weekend!

We left her and her sister home with the second-born and pain meds, so she wouldn’t have to work the stairs while she’s in so much pain and over work that leg.  He now appreciates me being home and getting to pee by himself, and the girls are ecstatic that I was back home to stalk.

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While we were there though, we had a nice time relaxing, talking, trying some locally brewed cherry hard cider, a bit of a family Doctor Who marathon and a short trip to the cold, cold ocean.  And then headed back home again.  It’s always tough to come back after our trips, but it is nice to be home.

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He has reserve duty this weekend though, so we won’t see him for another two weeks  Glad we made the trip.

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In the four hour trip there, the four days we were there, and the four hours back, I finished knitting up a pair of gloves that still need to be felted, got as far as I could with a baby gift (waiting for more yarn) and only have a row left putting the quilt pieces together.  (The batting shows up this week – I will be showing that off next weekend – it’s pretty cool… or should I say warm?)

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A busy couple of weeks, but very productive and yet, relaxing.

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~ That’s a good life.

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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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Tragic comedy of being responsible August 27, 2014

 

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My dentist man is back from his camping trip with the Marines out in the field.  For my former airman turned sailor, it wasn’t quite as cushy as he would have liked.  But he’s a trooper (or a sailor I should say) and sucked it up and made it through.  Nothing like working on mouths that haven’t seen a tooth brush in two weeks to make you yearn for the luxuries of a ship!  Let alone his excitement over a real toilet again.

 

As for me, my callouses are beginning to heal and I look less like a losing prize fighter each day.  Must be time to work on some more linoleum?  

 

The day after his return, we enjoyed our 19th anniversary in style.  A movie you can eat in.  As I tell him – it’s a date for married people.  No chit-chatting over dinner, we already know what’s going on with each other.  And a nice action flick, no unnecessary romance, he already knows he’s got a sure thing waiting for him.  What – it’s been two weeks people!

 

As we’re getting ready for back-to-homeschool, I thoroughly enjoy walking past all the frantic parents trying to shop their schools list, I feel a certain giddiness.  Until I realize I need to buy the boys all new laptops because theirs won’t run any longer with their school programs.  (No raised eyebrows please, we get netbooks.  The cheapest ones we can buy.  I can usually get 2-3 years out of them.  Then we wipe them, and give them to another family or two.) 

I hear “Pfffttt – but your husbands a dentist, like this is a big issue for you?”

Normally no.  Even with our ginormous student loans, cost of being a doctor (insurances, required on-going learning and what not’s), we do fine.  I’m a saver, so we do fine even in dry times, however we’re experiencing the most bizarre financial issues as of late?  Normally I wouldn’t discuss such things, but they’re just too bizarre NOT to talk about!

 

Our renters out in “that house”, or as I’ve started calling it “Goliath” to remind me it can be defeated, broke a window, lost several screens, ruined the shower/tub area and…. couldn’t replace the batteries in the smoke detector, all without informing us, causing the state housing authority to deny us payment when they came to do their yearly inspection, until we get such items fixed.  

 

I want you to sit and grasp this for a moment…

The same people that CPS keeps leaving children with every time they come out,

can’t even replace batteries in a smoke detector…

did you catch that?

 

Ok, easy enough fixes you say!  True, that is, unless your window company stalls for a month and a half and then closes overnight and runs with all their customers money.  Yup.  That would be us.  We are now part of a class-action suit.  Can you feel my enthusiasm? 

Frantically we run to another window company.  They understand our situation.  We’ve already lost 2 months worth of rent because the people we were kind enough to share our home with, broke it.  

The window company lost our paperwork, and thought they had come out already.  They told me they’d call me when they were done.  One month later when I called to check on it, they were very embarrassed.  That makes 3 months without rent because the state encourages sad, pathetic behavior.  

After asking daily for two weeks for the renters to make an appt. to go with their schedule, we finally made it for them.  They don’t show.  And because it’s summer – the busy window season, we can’t get another appt. for another month.  That makes 4 months without rent because our renters have no respect for anyone else.

I hear you – “Why weren’t you doing more to make sure this didn’t take so long?”  Silly me thought I was working with adults this whole time.  And yes I’ve learned my lesson – if it’s going to get done right, I have to do it myself, or ride some backsides to make sure it’s done!!

Now, as we’re realizing how drastic this situation is getting, I start calling around.  Oh yay – my good friend that helped with the deck and fence is back from the South of France – the lucky SOB –  when he hears how bizarre this has turned out, he is stunned by the situation and is coming to our rescue by this weekend.  

 

The bathroom had already been repaired, but they broke it again (it took them one month), so he’s fixing the bathroom for them again.  Installing batteries.  Measuring windows for new glass and screens. 

And the jewel – He’s installing cameras.

Yup, I’ll be able to watch the property.  All.the.time.

Like apartments survey their property ya big freaks – I don’t want to see what they’re doing inside *shiver*!

 

Lest you worry about *their* rights – they are being made fully aware of the cameras.  They should love that!  What with the cops having been there 5+ times since December.

 

And to pay for our newly adopted family of five on the other side of the country, my dentist man is working his usual two jobs.  His weekday job and his weekend warrior job.  The latter of which also ins’t paying him correctly.  I know, you thought it couldn’t get any more comical did ya!  

Apparently someone dropped the ball several years ago when we left the AFR and didn’t give us our release papers.  So now the Navy is requiring *us* to track it down if we want to be paid correctly.  We’ve been getting nearly half the pay we should for over a year now.  And we’re still waiting for the bonus we were promised.  

And just make good and sure we’re feeling it, the coming two weeks will be the slowest possible at the offices he works for.  Between rodeo’s, parades, holiday weekends, fairs, and yes, another reserve weekend, we’re feeling the glorious pain!

 

As I’m trying to keep up beat and find the good in all this, trying to learn to praise in all situations, I found myself actually coming up with the smallest of things.  The day he came back from his two week tour.  After cleaning the sheets for the 4th time that day because the pug felt the need to relieve herself only there (yes I closed the door – she’s freaking magical?!), I found myself thanking the good Lord that at least it wasn’t the big dog doing it!

 

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I had someone ask how I keep a good sense of humor through all this – 

You can laugh or cry.  Or cry till you laugh.  Which ever, it’s not bringing the money back.

And feeding your own family is over rated right?

 

 

 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18