Yup. Still here.

Ever have one of those days (or weeks… or months…) where you just feel like you’ve got so much to do that it overwhelms you and you feel like doing none of it?

Shirt found on skreened.com. I don’t own it, but I wish I did.

This has been me lately. I have gotten things done, I can’t lie. I trudged through. But the blog… well I’m way behind on some things I really really want to share. Otherwise, I’d just say the past is the past (for some reason Rafiki always comes to my head in moments like that), but there are some pretty awesome events! The birth of my niece probably takes the cake. My life has been boring, too, though. It’s been really boring. And I like it that way. But that also causes conundrums. How do you post the boring “I cleaned the house in my pj’s today and I feel so accomplished!” days?

So I’ve been stuck in limbo. Again.

I think I just hate February. If you could see my track record, February doesn’t bode well. Dark times of winter and I.. we don’t get along. Plus I have this huge problem of trying to set goals in January; I set WAY too many, and then by February, I’m pretty burnt out. I think that’s what got me this year. I can’t complain about the weather, that’s for sure. It’s been the warmest, sunniest winter I can ever remember. Although I got barely any sunlight last year, so that might have something to do with it. Moving instead of planting a garden will do that to you.

Part of my quietude is that I’m trying to simplify. I’m starting to realize that God has one path for me. And I have 10 paths for myself. I’ve been trying to jump  between every path, and it’s just not working. The things I want to do are so plentiful, and I feel such anxiety about letting any of them go.  But I know they’re my to-do list, not God’s. When I watched last conference, the clearest message I received (not in what they were saying, but in what I was feeling) was that God needed me, but that he couldn’t use me because I was too tied up in other stuff. I know that sounds bigger than I mean it to, but I think it’s true of a lot of people. We tie up all of our time. We get into bondage with debt or commitments or addictions (why am I always on Facebook? I hate Facebook!). We fill our lives and our hearts. I’ve been running at max capacity for so long, it’s hard to de-junk;I need to de-junk my life, my responsibilities, and my to-do list. But I still don’t want to let anything go!  I want to design FHE lessons. I want to make a family cookbook. I want to start a school. I want to remodel this house. I want to spend time with my daughter. I want to make crafts. I want to make party printables. I want to quilt. I want to read. They’re all good desires. But they’re my desires.  I keep thinking to the scripture of the man who tells Christ that he’ll follow Him, if Christ will just let the man bury his father.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. ~Luke 9:59-42

Yep. That about sums it up. “Father, I’ll do the work you want me to do, but first, let me do all this other stuff.” But it’s hard to let go! So, I’m making a last stitch effort to finish some almost finished projects. And I’m weeding out the rest.

I DID finish the Old Testament! I’ve been trying to study it completely for 5 years. And a month.

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Let me just say that this has become one intensely marked-up book!

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We’ve also been supporting our local library by listening to TONS of audiobooks. Most of them I’ve read before, but I’m sharing them with my kiddo now. She’s enjoying them. She’s especially enjoying that she can read according to her interest maturity instead of her reading maturity. (Still can’t get a school to test her for a reading “difference.” Don’t even get me started on her teacher. I’ll just say we have VERY different opinions on what it means to be a good teacher and what is an appropriate teaching style. Someone may love her as the teacher for their student. I don’t).

This is now FULL of stickers. The girly is actually pretty proud of herself. And she should be.

I only have 4 other things I’d love to get done, and some of them are big, some are necessary, and some… well I’m not sure.

  1. Family cookbook. I’ve only said I’d do it for about 7 years now… But every time I start, I’m not happy with it, so I set it aside and think I’ll come up with some clever way to finish it. and in the meantime, I (and my family) have discovered this great resource for recipes… the Internet. And now we have more favorites than when I started! But I’ve been working on meal-planning and this project has been helping me with it, so I’d like to re-tackle this (but perhaps just do it quickly and with less experimentation). I’d also like to come up with some way to have it be online, so that when I’m getting ready to go to the store, I don’t have to take my cookbook with me and I don’t have to try to remember what was on the list for the week.
  2. Scrapbooks. I’ve got some of the kiddo’s scrapbook done, and most of it is sitting either in disk format or in developed picture format in a box. The same holds true with our weddings scrapbook. In the center of my craftroom (why find a place to put it when I just want to get it done? faulty logic, faulty logic. Leaving it in the center of the floor makes me more frustrated and less likely to do it).
  3. lesson plans. I really really want to do lesson plans, for both family home evening and homeschooling. The problem is, I don’t even homeschool! But I LOVE making lesson plans. I would love to make the lesson plans to sell as a kit, like some other companies do, but I’m unsure of myself because I’ve only had about 1 month of personal experience. And I do intend to use them in the future, so I keep telling myself if I get them done now, while I’m still waiting to have children to homeschool, by the time I have them, I’ll be prepared. I know, not really a sound philosophy, but neither is having to send my kid to public school simply because a judge says so.
  4. Quotes. This wishlist item is probably the first to go. I’ve kept quotes I like for my entire life. Sometimes in books, sometimes on scraps of paper. I find myself in cool quotes, and I keep them. But they do no good in a box. Which is currently where they are. And I keep telling myself I’ll type them all up so that they’re in one place. Made a whole Tumblr feed for them, actually. But really, what makes this goal so important? I don’t think I’ll regret not having the quotes around. I’ll find others. But I’m not quite sure yet. Maybe I’ll go through the box quickly and find a few of my favorites.

Full of … it

[warning]warning. This post deals with bodily functions, or the lack thereof. If you can’t handle reading about things our bodies are supposed to do, skip this post.[/warning]

Lol, I might have to change the title if my kiddo ever finds out this post is about her. Our past 4 months have been filled with doctor visits and calls from the school nurse. It has been full of food leaving the body from the top and not from the end that normally handles it.

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She is already not a fan of needles. Or of throwing up. And she’s had a ton of both of those for about 4 months now. She rotates between vomiting and complaining of being backed up. The photo above is from one of the vomiting phases. She couldn’t keep anything down, so we had to connect her to an IV drip of fluids. Everyone’s theory? Her body wasn’t able to get food out the right end, so it improvises. She never has a fever, just vomit. Lots of it.

Her pediatrician sent us to a specialist last month, and the Rx is mirilax for 4 months. He says kids who get backed up for so long end up with stretched out intestines. Putting them on laxatives for a day or two is not enough. So, we had to give her seven times the usual dose (emphasis: SEVEN times) in a 3 hour window to flush her out (lol, no pun intended), and then keep her on it for 4 months.

He says some people are just born with an underactive colon; lazy colon, he called it. She is probably one of those people. Since she’s been this way since she was a baby (she was drinking apple juice before she was eating baby cereal), I’m pretty sure that his diagnosis is correct.  The only other possibility? Celiac’s disease. They’ve never called me back with the test results, so I’m hoping that means we’re in the clear, there. Fingers crossed.

At any rate, we haven’t had any vomit spells in a while. And we’ve gotta be the only house in the area with a chart in our bathroom that is NOT for brushing teeth (though you wouldn’t know it. It’s discreet). She’s even gone to a smaller daily dose, so things are looking promising.

Oh! and suddenly she’s gained 5 pounds. She’s weighed the same weight for 3 years. It has had me worried. But one month on laxatives and her body has figured out how to gain weight. Dr Grandma says it’s probably because her body can draw nutrients when it’s supposed to now instead of being so stressed and only getting old nutrient-dead stuff in her intestines for longer than it’s supposed to be there. I bet it’s also from the fact that suddenly she can feel hungry again. Her body would have known it was full, just not full of good fresh stuff. I wouldn’t be hungry either, if it was just going to sit in my stomach or come out the wrong end.

Aspirin

I’ve mentioned before that I’m supposed to take a daily dose of aspirin. I meet with my new doc again in a few days and I’ll discuss what I’m supposed to be doing then, but I’m guessing he’ll keep me on it.

But I’m a klutz.

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bruises. I have no idea where they came from.

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This is from my apple trees this fall.

 

 

This is what I look like on a regular basis.

My cousin just barely caught me with his fingernail (a short nail) and I bled. Scarred, too. And it wasn’t any big deal. I’ve always got some kind of purple and green and nasty bruise on my legs, either by my knees or on my shins. Just as I think I’m in the clear, I look down and there’s another one. My family will catch me staring at my leg and ask what I did to get the bruise, and I honestly have no idea!

Ranger thinks it’s funny. Mostly because it means I get erm… suction bruises easier. He leaves them on my arm. Just because he can. Seriously! It’s embarrassing. And I never think about it until it’s too late. By the way, when you’re googling “suction bruises,” you get lots of funny stories. In case you were curious.

Guess I Needed it?

[warning]This is a fertility post. It could be considered a trigger to some (though, not really. I trigger to fertility posts regulary, and this one is a good news one), and way too much information for others. If you don’t want to read it, I won’t be offended. [/warning]

I don’t feel miserable. And that’s not normal!

I’d better explain. The short story is… My cycle started today.

The long story makes a whole lot more sense. For the past 3 years, when my cycle starts, I’m a physical and emotional wreck. I never bleed very heavily (I warned you about the TMI) but I cramp so much that I can only handle curling up in a blanket all day and wishing my uterus didn’t hate me so much.

And then you add the emotional side. I’m so frustrated and sad and mad, all because I’m not pregnant. Yet again, I have to wait a month. I wonder to myself if I can handle it. I have to reaffirm my testimony. I have to remind myself not to hate my body. Every. Month. I spend the day fighting back tears.

I’ve always wondered how much of that emotion was hormonal. Today, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of it was. And apparently whatever hormone it was doesn’t mess with Clomid. I know we’re only supposed to take clomid for 3-month stints, but I like this. I think I’m going to have to tell my doc something’s working. Even if it’s not what was intended.

Today, I organized my computer, helped move a fireplace (it’s not in yet , but we’re closer), made apple butter and 5 kinds of fruit leather, washed a ton of dishes I just unpacked (my nice set), hung picture frames, took empty boxes downstairs, showered (yes, that’s a big deal), and made a pre-planned, pre-marinaded dinner. I had time to marinade! I had sanity! That doesn’t happen on day one.

I was still a little testy, but at least I could make myself shake it off and start over. I even had the mental clarity to follow love and logic when my 9-year-old forgot she wasn’t 14 (seriously! Drama! Over making her bed! No one told me the drama started at 9! I wish 8 had lasted longer). Normally, it’s all I can do to not raise my voice or dish it back. She has no idea who she’s messing with! Her mother was the queen of sass. Just ask her grandmother. And no, that’s not something I’m overly proud of.

I think of today, and I’m filled with gratitude. I forgot what this felt like. I have no idea what the Clomid fixed, but I like the change.

State Fair

One of Ranger’s favorite things to do is attend the state fair. I really don’t know what the appeal is. I mean, I enjoy it, but Ranger REALLY likes going to the fair. And spending money. I think that the best part of the fair is looking at everyone’s entries, followed by the food. Ranger goes to buy things. Needless to say, our daughter likes hanging out with him way more than she likes hanging out with me.

We decided that most of the highway robbery happens in the ride-location of the fair, so I was mean and put my foot down and everyone only got one ride this year. Honestly no one complained. Ranger and I actually didn’t go on any rides. The kiddo went on a circus maze “ride” and had a blast. My cousin came with us and he went on this bad beast. Not me. Ranger wasn’t keen on the idea, either. I would have gone on the swings to the left of this picture, but there was so much I wanted to see that I wasn’t in the mood to wait in endless lines.

No really, I mean endless lines! There were SO many people there! We normally go on a Thursday when the crowds have wound down. Monday was not the day to go.

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But there was a lot of fun things to see, all the same. Like a missionary riding a mechanical bull. That’s not something you see every day. He actually stayed on for a while too.

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This year there was a booth on exotic animals. It was pretty fun for the kiddo, and not so boring for the adults, either. These 2 parrots were a hoot. They acted like an old married couple. And the female bird kept showing off. She’d do a little dance in the background during the entire show. The male was very particular about which spot he liked. Just like an old man has his favorite chair.

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This frog seriously reminds me of the oldschool movie Frog.  I haven’t seen that movie in forever.

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The presentation was pretty cool. These guys did a great job with their  booth. And the entries into the fair were pretty amazing, too. And oh! the funnel cakes!

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I’m sure I ate way more garbage than I want to know about, but it was sooo goood! And I didn’t get sick, so it was well worth it. The funnel cakes were by far my favorite, though.

First Day of School

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I was pretty nervous to send this girly to a new school. I was nervous for nothing, though. She loved it. Said it didn’t even feel like school. It’s hard, though, because in the old school, I was so actively involved. In this new school, I don’t know anything. I don’t know the teachers, or the common practices. I kind of feel out of the loop. I miss homeschooling, that’s for sure, but this year, with the move and everything, I don’t think I’d be homeschooling anyway.

Because most of her clothes are packed, I wasn’t about to go out and spend a fortune on new clothes until I know what it is she still has, so she only got one outfit this year. You’ve gotta have one new fun outfit for the first day of school. It just feels that much better – gives you a boost of confidence for that first day tension.

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don’t judge me by the yucky carpet. We don’t have to see it much longer.

Interestingly, this is pretty similar to the outfit I would have picked out at her age. It’s very bold. It’s the first outfit she picked that has some sort of style behind it. Usually, she just picks a graphic tee, mostly with Hello Kitty. This year, she definitely went with more of a statement. I love it but it gives me the mommy blues at the same time. She’s not supposed to be old enough for determined fashion yet! I mean, I know I was pretty fashion-savvy as a kid, but she hasn’t been. I definitely notice a change in her. She’s slipping into pre-teen, already.

And oh! That attitude! Seriously, she’s become stubborn! Her teacher’s gonna have her hands full. Suddenly, this kiddo thinks she knows everything and can do whatever she wants. And yet she really doesn’t know more than she did the day before! It’s funny to get the new perspective on pre-teen years, isn’t it?

The Eyes Have [Them…]

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Glasses, I mean.

Not mine. I still have about perfect vision. I was a little far-sighted, he said, but not enough to bother putting glasses on. Basically, if my eyes get tired, I should exercise them by looking at something far away for a few minutes (like out a window).

But the other members of my family? Yup, they’re all glasses-wearing super-stars. Ranger has had glasses since he was in elementary school… but he NEVER wears them. And never isn’t an exaggeration. His best friends had no idea he even wore glasses. And he’s known them since before high school. He also got contacts this time. And he’s worn them about as long as it takes to leave the doctor’s office, go grocery shopping, and come home. Then he took them out. He’s supposed to ease into them and go back to see the eye doc. He hasn’t made it that far.

He looks like a sophisticated stud in his glasses. Too bad no one will ever know.

The girly got glasses, too. But they’re the same prescription as last year. She will only wear them if NO ONE comments on them. And since she never wears them, when she does people ALWAYS comment on them. So they get left at home quite often, too. They’re just supposed to be for reading, so it’s not really a big deal, but they definitely make a difference.

How Much Wood Would a Wood Chuck Chuck

… the moment you have to stop and think about the difference between wood and would… I don’t think I’ve ever bothered to write that out before…

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My Grandpa has a wood fireplace.

He ordered an entire semi-truck full of wood for said wood fireplace.

He is well into his 80’s. He used to tell people he was 9-squared, but he’s too old for that now. He’s also too old to stack an entire truckload of firewood, although most of the family knows he would if we’d let him. Mostly, if his kids would let him… his grandkids try not to let him, but he’s not one to take “no” too easily, especially from a grandkid.

Which would be why he has a chainsaw in his hands in this picture.

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Sorry this picture is blurry (as usual). This time I have an excuse. I took it while dodging flying logs as they soared through the window.

Over a series of days, some of the kids and grandkids got together to help cut and stack Grandpa’s wood. It brought back nostalgic memories of stacking wood as a kid.

We used to be the ones sitting just inside this window, on stacks and stacks of wood, so that we could hand it down to the ones stacking it below (find that same window on the first picture for perspective, and realize that the first picture is about 3 feet from the ground). I remember complaining loudly about all the WORK the kids had to do, but secretly enjoying being with my cousins. What I DON’T remember is any of the work… I also remember Grandpa’s old “CAT” that he’d occasionally let us ride after the wood was all done. Until Jake got stung by a bee one year (he’s allergic. He’s also the kid who helped us all learn not to stick your tongue on Grandpa’s metal screen door, but that’s another story).

The grownups always made the stacks we sat on. I climbed up there this time and wondered how on earth we didn’t kill ourselves. I’m sure our parents made it safe, I don’t remember being scared at all as a kid, but as a grownup, knowing full well how it was stacked… yeah, I didn’t last long up there.

That and the fact that as the only female helping stack that day, my brother told me I was too delicate to be there because he was afraid of tossing in the logs and hurting me. He had no qualms about tossing logs in on and hurting the other brother. I should feel loved.

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Instead, I stacked after the piles were thrown down. And when the pile got too tall, I brought armloads into the garage and stacked them myself.

We also had a little help from this young helper. He was pretty cute. There was one time I had a little log in my hands and I called him over and told him it was too heavy for me to carry and I needed him to help… Then about 5 minutes later, he brings ME one over and makes ME carry it. It was “too evy, Aunt-Keeaa, too evy!” Well played little man, well played.

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The rest of the time, he was “helping” Grandma pick chokecherries by distracting her every few seconds to push him on the swings.

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On the way home, we saw a red sun! I wish phones could capture the amazing grandeur of the sky, but they don’t seem to do it justice. I just thought it was fitting to see a fire-sky after stacking fire-wood.

White Coat

My dear friend Tammy is on her way to becoming a pharmacist. She invited me to her White Coat Ceremony, which is kind of a big deal, I guess. I don’t know much about the program, and a whole lot of the things they were saying was over my head, but I was glad I could be there for a friend. I’m also glad her sister was there and knew more about what was being said. She made great company.

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It must be a big deal. There are centerpieces made of prescriptions!

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and compounding bowls. I actually really like the centerpiece above. Simple, yet specific.

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There were a few speakers. Some invited the students to join the pharmacy fraternity or something like that. She used a lot of acronyms that were foreign to me. Another one spoke about becoming Alumni. Except he kept saying “Alumn,”  and it drove me NUTS! For the record, Alumn isn’t a word. Alum is, but it’s a chemical compound used to keep homemade pickles crisp (utterly unnecessary, if I do say so myself. At least in homemade pickles. And don’t even get me started on store-bought pickles. I dare you to look up what those ingredients really are). But I digress. I’m pretty sure that the speaker went with a grammatically incorrect (even if it is beginning to appear more rampantly) word so he didn’t have to worry about being politically correct (Alumni is gender specific. As is alumnus, alumnae and alumna. But I doubt anyone knows that. I’ve never deemed myself an alumna, but I have found camaraderie in the term “alumni”).

As part of the ceremony, the future pharmacists read a code of ethics.

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And then one at a time, they get their white lab coat.

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Congratulations Tammy!

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After the ceremony, we went out for ice cream. I’ve grown really close to these two, and count them pretty much as family. They are 8 years apart, and I am right in the middle of them. Tammy’s older than me, Chrissy’s younger than me. They’re great examples of what sisters should be and what friends should be.

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And It’s Not Even Ours Yet

I have done more work on our new house than I’ve done the entire time I’ve lived in this old house, and it’s not even finalized yet! All thanks to a paranoid state housing department.

I can’t really complain. When we get in, this house will be the best and safest house I’ve ever lived in. It’s pretty sad, considering all the upgrades I know we will do to it in the future. It’s no where near as nice a house as it will be.

What can I say, I’ve lived in some pretty trashy places. Trashy might not be the right word… we’ll call them Ghetto. Which is derogatory, again. What can I say… Sometimes knowing the history of words gets me into trouble. For instance, in my life, I’ve lived in two single-wide trailers fastened together. I’ve lived in houses where I had to duck to get into my room. I’ve also lived in a house where my bedroom was on the other side of the bathroom. i.e. I had to wait to go into or out of my room whenever anyone showered. And then there’s the current model, that is falling apart and flooding around me. (Seriously, if we get any more rain, we’re going to have to wade in my basement. I’m NOT happy about it, and I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter because I’m moving, but my house smells like wet basement now. Not a fan). I can’t wait to move into a house that needs some personality, but doesn’t need new everything.

And doesn’t flood when we flush the toilets.

Let me tell you THAT’s fun.

Not.

It started simply enough. First we had to put these counters together. They DONT match and are incredibly cheap, like really really cheap, in that the center cabinet where the sink is doesn’t even really exist cheap.

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We recruited our friend Mike to help with that. He nailed the counters together, and we nailed the top to them. It passed inspection, even though I hate it.

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As soon as we can actually sign the papers and move in, I’m going to tear out the wall connecting the kitchen to the laundry room. Right now the kitchen is pathetically small, and I LIVE in the kitchen. It’s not a good situation. But the laundry room can easily go downstairs. I know it means more walking for laundry, but I do laundry a few times a week. I cook a few times a DAY. A bigger kitchen is pretty important to me. I’ve had it all designed and graphed out for months. And when Ranger found out how much it costs to get cabinets installed (hence why Mike’s jimmy-rigging the counters in the previous picture), he agreed to make me a custom kitchen. He’s pretty handy, but getting him to make time is another story. He is always tired after work, and then there’s everything that NEEDS done… I might just have to make this kitchen a need… But anyway, it’s functional. And I hooked up the plumbing myself.

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And between Ranger and I, we also got the toilet in … a more toilet-y location. As in, back where the toilet hole actually is and not in the tub. I hooked up the pipes to it as well, and I added the toilet mechanism all by myself. Call me Rosie.

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Then, on to round two: We had to add a stair rail (which is silly, in my opinion) and fix the stucco in the back. 

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The stucco was fixed in the front and on one side, but the seller ran out of $ so that’s as far as it went (seriously, the cost of repairing stucco about equal to the cost of putting up siding! Pretty sure when we go about fixing the stucco in a few years (because stucco only lasts a few years), we’ll just upgrade to siding.

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Most of the back of the house is just tiny cracks, and when we asked Lowe’s a while ago, they said if it’s just tiny cracks, you can get away with just painting over it and it’ll last an extra year. Since our extra income this year is going into GETTING the house (and getting out of debt), an extra year is just what we need. Also, the appraiser pointed out how the stucco wont stick to wood anyway and so it would need to be painted. So, I painted it. And in the process, I broke the paint can. So… I painted a little more than I would have liked. It looks Über-fab right now, but hey, it’s less I have to worry about when winter comes. We also calked up the obvious cracks. This wood slab really belongs to what used to be the deck. My guess is that the seller put up as small a deck as possible (it’s tiny!) in order to call it a deck after the wood deck needed replaced, and the wood slab is what’s left over from where the deck used to be.

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It’ll pass appraisal, at any rate. And at this point, I don’t care, I just want IN IT. No one sees the back of the house anyway… at least they don’t when the yard is non-existent.

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This is one of the few windows that still needs replaced. This one and two windows in the main part of the house are still aluminum. The rest have been upgraded to vinyl. You see that white half-circle up on the railroad ties? That’s what is left of the lid.