My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

A purrrrrfect way to end the summer September 9, 2018

Filed under: Animals,Family,Hubby,Moving,Pets — blankenmom @ 11:36 pm
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Among our other comings and goings of the summer, most of which all came in August, were a several sets of animals.

 

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Spare – the cat that adopted us, and helped ease out our much loved cat of 21 years, disappeared late last Spring.  Not uncommon where we live.  Coyotes, various eagles, large owls, skunks and other bigger, grouchier animals make it a dangerous life out here.  He was one handsome fellow – and an amazing hunter.

 

He is very missed.

 

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Sammie the Bearded Dragon – I was totally in love with this girl!  She roamed free around the house during the day.  Having a ton of windows paid off  with her – she sat in each one!  She got along great with the dogs.   And kept me company in the kitchen (not on the counter – lots of hand washing).  She came outside with us to do yard work and gardening.  Her favorite place of course was the open pasture outback of our house – where she was nearly impossible to find.  She was about 3-4 years old by the time we got her, and we had her about 6 months when she passed.  She died very happy I’d say though – running back and forth through the soaker hose out front.  Vet said is was just her time.

 

She is very missed.

 

Come August.  When we were scheduled to be gone every weekend.  (For people who rarely take trips other than to move, this was a crazy concept!)  A kitten popped out of our bushes near our house.  We looked for more, but none could be found.  We got ourselves a new cat!  One very brave little boy, about 4 weeks old, who adores the dogs, even if they don’t appreciate him quite the same way.  We had been himming and hawing over getting a new one; the cost, a 20 year commitment when the boys were going to be moving out soon, a smaller place in two years.  That sort of thing.  But we also had a major mouse problem thanks to the people behind us doing massive construction out in their field.  So, I prayed on it a bit.  Be careful what you pray for – God is a generous giver!

We left for a family reunion.  Big dog, little dog and new kitten in tow.

When we got back, we could hear at least one more little one in the bushes?!  And when I went to look – there were several bodies moving through the branches of our huge evergreen.  I bought a trap ASAP and first thing we caught was mama.  And BOY was she thrilled with this!  We didn’t intend to catch her first, but we rolled with it.

Mama cat will be getting fixed here shortly and released back into our yard.  Not friendly, but didn’t rip my face off either.  And she’s an excellent mouser, so we didn’t want to lose that.  She’ll be well taken care of as a “barn cat” on our property.

Two days later, two more kitties.  One boy and one girl.

Next day, two more kitties.  Two more girls.  One completely different than all the others, and the runt (runts are always my favorite).

That evening, the dad.  We’d never seen him in our yard before – stealthy big guy!  And we had no intention of catching him, seems as how we didn’t even know he was there.  But he was promptly fixed the next day by our awesome vet and released back into our yard.  Hey, we need all the help we can get with those mice!

 

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While all this was happening, we needed to leave again for the weekend.  The thought of spending two nights in a hotel room with two dogs and five kittens was just a bit much, and we couldn’t call off our trip.  We managed to find some poor kid at the very last minute to come watch the whole herd without so much as a plan!  “Just keep everyone alive until we get back and can figure out what to do with them.”  And he succeeded.  He even picked up the dad cat from our vet and released him for us, and found a home for one of the kittens.

One geriatric mastiff, one asthmatic pug, five 5 – 6 week old kittens, one ticked off mama stuck in our garage, and one probably not so happy dad.  All still alive and (mostly) happy.

Not bad for a 16 y/o!

I’ve never seen my husband become such a moosh before?  But really, five puff balls are hard to resist!  (Unless you have allergies.)

But if we’re going to be honest, four remaining cats is a bit much.  Especially when we move to our studio in a few years.  So we’re looking for homes for two.  In the middle of “kitten season”.  No worries – they will be taken care of no matter what.  Like I said, we need “barn cats”.

 

Instead of a mouse problem, we have a kitten problem.  Which is not too bad of a problem to have.

 

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Our trips are over.  School has started back up.  Pitter-patter of tiny paws can be heard all over the house.  And not a mouse to be found.

Not a bad way to end the summer!

 

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Smoggy days of summer August 12, 2017

Filed under: Animals,Home improvement,Renovations,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:00 pm
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I’m not sure about where you live, but around here, we get wildfires.  A lot.  Every year.  This year was no exception, except for the fact that as the neighbors who have been here longer than I’ve been alive tell me, this is the closest they’ve ever come to this neighborhood – figures.  At least it’s not flooding.

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Both fires within a mile; one in each direction.

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On top of that, we’re getting the smoke from fires up north.  It’s gotten so bad that it’s barely possible to leave the windows open, or even leave the house.  But we’ve also been hitting nearly 110*, so during the day, that’s not much of a concern, at night we’ve just decided black lung is a good way to go out.

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So a lot of projects inside the last few weeks.

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The flooring is finally being worked on, but I want to save that story for when it’s finished.  But I am getting plenty of pictures of the whole process and am in love with how it’s turning out so far!  I’m also learning plenty, and will have what I’ve learned in that future post.

I can’t work on any wood cutting or sanding for my bathroom project because of the heat and smoke – but this week is supposed to cool off and the smoke dissipate, so I’ll be back to work on that end.

 

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But just so you know I’m not completely slacking, I did get a porch project finished that I’ve been wanting since we moved in.

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What I wanted was the big, billowy curtains that all the other bloggers have, but judging from their pictures, they don’t have to contend with 30 mph winds on a regular basis.  So, this is what I came up with for our current situation, and I have to say I’m pleased with the results!

When it get’s above 100* out here, you can’t go near the back porch, but these curtains bring the temp down 10-15*.  Which definitely makes it more usable.  It also cuts down on how hot the actual house gets.  This side of the house stays warm all through the night from the solar heating it get’s all day.   I won’t say that it keeps it cold, but it is a huge help!  And with our stove still out of commission, this means I can use the grill all through the summer without needing emergency services.  I should just really put a solar oven out there!  Maybe next year?

It also covers the large window in the living room, cooling the living room down by about the same amount, which means my plants won’t cook anymore.

I know, you’re asking the same thing my dentist man asked “Why not just put curtains up?”.  As I said above, it’s not just about cooling the interior down, it’s also about being able to use the back porch, and grill.  By putting the curtains up outside, even over the big window, the house still stays brighter (good for my brain, and the plants), and the actual building stays cooler, and I can still use the back porch (if it’s not over 100*).  It also solves the problem of wanting the breeze, but needing the shade.  Sunset usually coincides with dinner time.

I’m in love with these!

Next year I will update them to brown to match the house, or forest green to match the roof, and make the curtains for the big window a bit smaller.  But they do exactly what I needed for this year!

Now if only they could keep the smoke out?

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Dog approved

 

 

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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First month of summer…. June 29, 2015

Filed under: Home improvement,Pets — blankenmom @ 8:35 pm
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I don’t know about everyone out there, but over here, it’s flipping hot!  I didn’t move to Arizona for a reason.  I like summer, I don’t like Hades.  Right now, we’re teetering on Hades.  Over 100* for three weeks keeps me cooped up inside the house for far too long.  And the bag of cheese – curds I threw at my husband last night may be a good indication I need out of the house longer than to just water my plants.  And for those of you who live in hotter than that climates… my hat’s off to you.  I want back outside!

I’m still working on the house here.  I think it will be a looooong process, since the money we were going to use for it went to cover “that house”.  A “small” loss, in the mid five-figure range that the state has said is part of doing business with them.  The so-called “can’t lose any money” they touted on their paperwork turned out to be not so true.  Noted.  Don’t do business with the government.  Ever.  *cough* still waiting on military pay too!!

But the repairs are all done with and the insurance company is now slowly doing their part for the water damage.  No worries – it’s not like we need that money or anything?

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Camera’s are up – and are awesome!  I love being able to see what’s going on over there.

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Now – new renters.  Not sure if that’s said with excitement or dread?

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Our “Spare” cat is no longer spare.  Our 20-year-old cat, that we had for 18, developed a fast growing tumor in her mouth.  (I’ll spare you the picture.)  Not wanting her hurting any longer than she had to, we opted to quickly put her down.  There is a good reason she lived for so long – she was one ornery cat!  She has taken two trips through the dryer (one of those for almost an hour – thank goodness for cloth diapers!), had her tail slammed in a car door.  Was lost in a drug store for a week, the ceiling, and the crawl space.  She survived four boys, four dogs and a new cat 15 years her younger that she could still take down a few pegs.  She’s seen more states than most people can name.  It took 2 vet techs and a vet to get the IV in and two of the heart stopping shots to get her to go down.  And I was with her to the very last.

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That a’girl!

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(And if you’re keeping track, that’s 4 pets, in 3 years.  The others are starting to get nervous.)

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Can’t you tell? That’s the look of fear right there. Three very stressed out pets.

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But not one to sit around too much thinking about what I can’t fix.  I opted to take down a few things and to stitch up a few things instead.  Four babies in one week makes for a busy sewing schedule!  I also finally picked out the last thing for the house – the bathroom tile!  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I’m having a hard time with the ceiling paint.  Did you know that when you paint the ceiling the color is different from on the wall?  And… why can’t I find light tan paint?

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The slate matches perfectly with the fireplace – what we’re decorating around. If you can’t change it, use it!

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The paint on the far left is the same as on the wall?

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This is how I know my dentist man loves me. He comes home from his two-week tour to this and says nothing.

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No, these aren’t the hardest decisions in my life, these are just the minor distractions from the infuriating ones.  Let’s see what excitement the second month of summer brings!

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pug and spare

 

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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This, that and the other. February 14, 2015

Filed under: Family,Home improvement,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 9:58 pm
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Being here has been on my mind the past few weeks.  I’ve missed a few weeks again, but thank goodness not out of frustration.  I’ve been busy with this, that and the other.  None of which was really all that unpleasant for once.  After several weeks of nothing but fog, Spring has sprung early for us here, thank goodness!   Not so much for my friends out east.  So while I’m getting our house ready for spring and summer, “that house” is getting socked in by snow and cold.

 

While balancing both house projects and the hubby being gone for two weeks, I’ve also been giving myself some distractions.

 

 

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I made a very simple quilt frame for the quilt I’m working on, so I could sit more comfortably and next to the fire while it was still chilly.  Had I known earlier that our heat pump had stopped working, I probably wouldn’t have needed to snuggle with the fire quite so much.  But then I wouldn’t have spent some nice warm nights next to it working on my quilt… no one has to know I was watching James Bond.

 

 

 

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Granny passed the week before Thanksgiving and last weekend we began going through her things.  The grand kids have all taken several pieces of furniture so they won’t go outside the family.  Some of them have been in the family for quite a while.  We took several pieces home ourselves and will be taking more once things get situated.

 

This piece however isn’t so much a cherished heirloom as a “groovy” piece of technology!  Yes, it still worked, before we had the t.v. taken out.  (The boys wouldn’t let me do it myself.  Apparently they thought *I* would shock myself on the CRT.  Pfffftttt – so little faith.)  And this cabinet “may, or may not” become the home to either a large amount of goldfish, a lizard, some frogs or a small terrarium.  We’re still researching…. I’ll let you know how that turns out?

 

 

 

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Don’t be jealous!

 

 

We also confiscated her massive doily collection for a “project” (which I will share with you as I go along).  But first I had to explain to my boys what a doily was.

 

What a great few weeks we’ve had!  I could learn to enjoy peace and quiet, with a small side of mayhem.

 

 

 

 

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Moving on… January 1, 2015

 

 

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Just as everyone else is posting their year-end post, I thought I should, in between firework displays, get my few words in as well.  (Short of my beginning of the year wifi crash.)

 

As I sit back and reflect, 2012/13 are still haunting us, no matter how hard we try to toss them away.  The flooding brought on side effects that will last us for forever I’m now thinking, as “that house” may follow us to our eternal resting place, probably still flooding.

 

 

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The passing of our faithful companions, brought about two new ones this last year.  I’m still deciding if that’s a good thing or not?  Lady has definitely been good for us!  On the other hand, anyone want a pug that poops on their bed?

The cat, who turned 20 this month has decided on a few new places to curl up, so even she has a few new tricks up her furry sleeve to bring to the new year.

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2014 brought about a new practice for my dentist man, albeit 4 hours away, but that just means I get to decorate a house AND an apartment – yay for me?!  It also makes for a good transition from him being on the ship, to him being home… constantly… for days at a time.  This is a good transition for us!

 

 

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The boys have started finally making friends, and enjoying school (for the one who attends outside school).  Finding their place in our new place.  Which is good because they were starting to, you know, act a little weird – darn homeschoolers!  And the oldest, finding out what it’s like to be a “real” adult – can someone say *food budget and Mustang payment*!

 

And, as I’ve posted before, this last year brought about quite the challenge with our thieving, lying, crazy people who haunted me night and day.  That is one thing we can say about 2015 with certainty – at least they will be out of “that house”!  *see my happy, happy dance*

 

 

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The biggest thing we’re taking away from 2014 and into 2015 is that God has carried us through this whole last year.  Days without work, paychecks that shouldn’t have carried us through, days where my body didn’t think it could make it.  Stress levels that made it so I could hear my heartbeat in my head (which I have been informed by my dentist man is not a good thing) and paperwork up to our eyeballs.

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We’re still here.  We’re still strong.  We’re still able to help others out.  We’re still smiling.  We’re still full of faith.

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While part of me is terrified of the new year and what new crazy things He has planned so that we can grow, a bigger part of me is excited to see what new things He has planned to bless us with.

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So, bring it on 2015!

2015