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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hooked on Hooking

When I started this blog, I envisioned many, many posts about my knitting as well as my family, but it turns out I suck at the whole picture thing. SO many steps.  Take pictures...upload pictures...choose pictures...post pictures.  That's a lot of wasted knitting time dudes, so I don't make it much of a priority. Alas, I finally did snap some pictures and I figured y'all would think I'm lying about this knitting thing if I didn't provide some proof every now and then.  And well, most of this isn't even knitting, it's crochet...

And this makes me happy.

Because?

I've only been able to crochet for about a year.  It eluded me.  It's very, very different from knitting.  When you are knitting something, all your stitches are already there.  You cast on and just work what's on the needle.  With crochet, there are more decisions, and in my opinion is a bit more mathematical than knitting is, as far as getting the shape you want when you are done with the project.  I just couldn't "see" it the way I did knitting.  I found a really indepth picture tutorial for a granny square and just followed it step by step.  I finally figured it out.  I still couldn't read patterns at that point, but I could crochet.

But now?  Now that I understand by DOING an hdc in every st, sl the last.....I GET it.  I'm so proud.  I love figuring out new things!

On to the picture parade.

I already shared this on Facebook, but this is a Neat Ripple by attic 24 in 13 different yarns:



I also finished, border included the first color ripple I made:

This one is being set back because there are a few babies being born in my circle soon and this will make a lovely girl present ;)

Speaking of babies, if I'm going to have a girl present sitting around, I need to be fair to the boys too right?
This one is quite a bit smaller, but I intend on adding a really thick border of the chocolate all the way around to give it some width, plus it's more for the car or carseat ;)

Then, the cousin blanket.  Oy.  I ended up making it two repeats too wide, so I am just crocheting it in reverse order, using the old version for yarn for the new...and I added in a third green because I loved it:


And mother of the year goes to....someone who doesn't yell or have the OCD I do, but these two items definitely have me as a runner up!



Yeah, I knit a rooster, but the crazy part was that TAIL. Like 20 different tail feathers, and most of them are in a sparkley ribbon yarn.  It. Took. Forever. But it's done.
Playing with some of the crazy yarns I got in the grab bags.  This skirt fits Cassidy's Princess Pink, even if it does scream "Hoochie"  That's okay, I totally plan to knit leggings to go underneath, because really what else would I be doing with my  but outfitting a stuffed animal with proper clothing?

And lastly, a commission knitting. So what?   Yes I did get paid in yarn, but dudes, that's even BETTER than money in my world, trust me!


Wait, that wasn't last...I have been working on this H sweater forever, and it's at a point where it requires a lot of concentration.  Because I am doing the intarsia work.  I can't do this during my regular zone out times (like when doing phonics or science...this requires my undivided attention)

ALMOST done with the H.  Then I need to knit it up to the neckline and graft the back and front together. Before that happens though, I must sit with a yarn needle and take all those wonky stitches and pull them a bit tighter and neater, and then use the yarn tails to weave in around the H, THEN steam block the front before I attach it to the back.  I am glad the young man is patient because when I said this would take awhile I meant it.  I could have had in done in about a week, but it's like two colors.  Not enough to hold my attention for very long.  So it's a "have to" project that I pick up whenever I have a few moments late at night or very early morning.  Can't wait to see it all finished up.

So that's what I've been up to.  My yarn storage is out of control because I have so much.  So today I'm finishing up the organizing by color/project and we'll see if I can't pull a Tardis move and get all that yarn into my tiny storage space.  Must Knit Faster! (Or hook faster.  If I didn't knit...and all I did was crochet, I'd simply have to change the whole scene of being called Hookers....because I wouldn't like to be called that.  At all.)







Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Many, many hands makes....

Light work?  Or a huge freakin mess?  That's the choice we've been faced with the past few months.  It's been a constant struggle of keeping on top of everything and unfortunately we're perpetually behind.  On everything.  After doing a big home improvement project, we finally felt that itty bitty straws on our figurative camel hump and called a huge cease and desist to everything while we figured out how to correct the current state of affairs in our home.

Things like a garage that looks like Hoarders should come in with their arsenal of therapists and dumpsters.....a kitchen I can't stand to be in because it looks like a post 8.9 on the richter scale.....every single room in turmoil and chaos, maybe surface picked up and clean, but not the way it SHOULD be.  I've been told these are the years to let some things go and just roll with it, but dude....that does not work with this many people.  I kind of NEED things to be in a certain order so that our days run smoothly and I'm not spending 2 hours looking for a pencil, then a sharpener, and THEN the damn book we need.  It's a nightmare.

I've always been on top of things like this,but I've found since being in THIS house, I do NOT have it all together.  There's a good reason for this....not just an excuse to justify it, but something GOOD happening...we keep re-configuring the house towards our eventual goal of what it will be and with each change, everything shifts.  So we have to figure out, all over again, what goes where and who is responsible for all the different areas and it gets exhausting.

So yeah, lots of chaos, lots of stress and lots of going back to the basics of what I know about time and home (and homeschool) management.  Here's what we have going on right now....

1. I cannot do the schedule thing anymore.  It's too limiting.  It means that if anyone wakes up even 15 minutes late, we're behind the rest of the day.  I've tried it and with this many people, it's too constricting to keep to a timed schedule every day.  Things happen.  There are too many variables in my day to make this a reasonable time management tool, so we're going back to routines.  Just a simple routine and basic flow of time rather than a set schedule.  That means the kids (and I) wake up and do the same things every day, regardless of what time it is.  If someone has been up late or sick, or something beyond reasonable control, they can just jump in as soon as they can, rather than jumping in behind.

2. Micromanagement.  My house is divided into zones.  Each child over 5 has their own zone they are responsible for on a daily basis.  Older children help by checking and directing, and Mom trains them on how to get it done correctly.  However, we have two "group areas."  The kitchen and the living room.  In these areas, they have micro zones.  So one child does plates and bowls and cleans the stove every evening.  Another does pots and pans and takes out the trash.  They all have jobs, however....there is always SOMETHING left behind that is "not my job..." and I've had to assess which things get left and who's they are.  But the thing is, these things aren't used enough to be a regular, so instead of assigning the cake pan to the pots and pans guy who NEVER uses cake pans, I am dividing anything left between all the dish washing children.  I've also come up with 20 different "focus tasks" for the kitchen, that will keep things dealt with without having one person, or many people spending hours on it.  All big kids will have one focus job per weekday.  I've done this with the living room as well.  I am HOPING this keeps us caught up and not having to spend hours and hours on our precious weekends doing regular household maintenance.  These are small tasks that if you had to do all 20 of them in one day would eat up a significant amount of time.  Like wipe off the ceiling fan, use glass cleaner on the cabinets, reorganize top pantry shelf...stuff like that...All tasks that will take 10 minutes or less.

3. Within in each zone there are some really big jobs that will take a while and are just part of living in the house.  These jobs are allowance jobs.  But also broken down into small  bits . So like cleaning one shelf in the fridge, rather than the whole thing because that's tough for a non-adult to take on.  The entire fridge is a $5-6 job (if it's reasonably clean, which it is right now) so $1 per shelf and door.  Wiping down walls and doors, cleaning off the bookshelves very good (removing books, dusting, putting back..) those are all paid jobs because that's how we roll here.  I am going to be posting a sheet that lists all these jobs right by the daily task list for easy reference.

4. Rotating weekend focus.  Jamie came up with a long list of things we do on a recurring basis, that as of now, we do on a crisis as needed basis.  Things like the chicken coop, the garage, the cars, clothing storage maintenance...and so on.  He's assigned all these tasks as needed on a schedule that has a Week A-D and tells us which one we'll be focusing on that weekend, to keep up with them like normal people instead of "Oh crap, we can't walk into our garage....guess we should spend all Saturday working on it..."  (When you do  home improvement, that garage can get full of random tools, wood, and all that stuff FAST)

5. I've made the same kind of list for our meal plans.  Weeks A-D.  I usually make a grocery list every single week (or two) depending on what we have going on.  No more.  It's all going on the computer.  I will have each meal plan made with it's coordinating shopping list and I will print each list as needed, cross off what I already have on hand and then shop.  My plan is to always be on the lookout for the sale items and buy them regardless of what week I'm in.  I'll just cross it off my week whatever list when I get to it.

6. Jamie liked my friend Kelli's idea for a syllabus for our older children.  So everyday they will have a set task they have to complete for school, in every subject and while we will check up on them, we will be trying to have them take control of their own time.  This has always been the case, but we haven't really put it into their hands as much as we should have, and we've have no real consequence if the work wasn't done other than they had to work on it in the evening.  However, we have now been doing Friday Game Night and it's a hit.  We ALL love it....and so...the leverage is now...you don't finish your assigned task, you do not participate in the game that Friday.  I am hoping and praying that since we've already instituted game night, no one will want to miss it, so no one will challenge it.  It may take a kid a time or two losing it to get with the program, but I suppose that's life.

It's been a harrowing few weeks....that critical mass point where it feels like everything has exploded.  Not a great way to go about a busy life....or at least not the way to enjoy it.  Gotta get our ducks in a row, our rows in a column, our columns in a whatever comes next ;)

So that's one thing I've been up to. Making massive, detailed lists to get some sort of handle on this crazy house, but I've been doing other cool stuff too (Not an internet FAST...a DIET LOL!!  I have actually stuck to it, but...it's modified.  I'll write more about that later!)  For now, it's all about the time and house management....one step at a time.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Intro To Girl World: My First Experience

Okay, so not my FIRST experience because I did go to public school where anything from the brand of shoes you wore to the brand of shoes you didn't was cause for public ridicule...but my first ADULT experience of Girl World.

It was a doozy.

After settling in to my first grown up home....a Navy housing apartment, I met my quadmates, April, Jen and Candy.  We all lived in interconnected units and saw each other 17 times a day, whether we wanted to or not.  April was the first girl I met and after five minutes, she offered me the use of her washer and dryer.  This was a BIG deal.  We certainly didn't have such fancy things in our first place and she was awfully proud she did.  It was then I found out why she would no longer talk to her next door neigbor, Candy.  They had a falling out over these precious appliances.  Apparently Candy took April up on her offer much too often and so Candy decided to go get her OWN washer and dryer and not only did she do this terrible thing, she got a model that ALSO had a hat drying rack insert.  For shame! (those white sailor hats looked like hell if you tried to tumble dry them.  This rack was a big deal.  A way bigger deal than Pam Anderson's)  So April hated Candy and Candy holed up, not sure what to think of it.  I rarely saw her.

Then there was Jennifer.  Country bumpkin, lover of the pipe weed and April's best buddy.  They got along great and got along well with me.  Until they realized...I liked Candy too.  As a matter of fact, out of all four of us, Candy was the most put together.  She had her degree, worked from home and was going back to school in her hometown once her husband was finished with school in Orlando.  Candy was the one who went with me to my first sonogram appointment and had a lovely lunch and library visit afterwards.

Well...that went over like...well...I won't use the phrase Jamie always uses.  It has to do with a punch bowl and something you usually only discuss when dealing with dirty diapers...so yeah...we'll leave that out.

Time goes by and April and her hubby are shipped out.  He didn't make the cut.  Failed out of power school.  That left Candy..Jen..and me.  But wait, Jen HATED Candy for getting the same washing machine April got remember?  They were MORtAL enemies.

Along this time I met the girl who would become my very best friend.  She's still my best friend.  We clicked immediately and starting spending a lot of time together.  We were both expecting babies and had a lot in common.  She was two blocks down and we spent pretty much every day together after we met.

I was still friendly with both Jen and Candy, afterall, I had no grudge with them, I just met a new friend.  I still hung out and talked on the porch and always said hello when seeing them.  But things started to change.  Soon, Jen and Candy were best friends, even though they previously couldn't stand each other and it all boiled down to me not playing the game.  You see, I never took sides.  I had no iron in the fire.  I figured I would just be nice to all of them because no one had done anything to me.

But that was the wrong choice, you see....when you don't pick sides, then you have by default.  You are the enemy.  If a girl like this has nothing on you, nothing to hold over you head or gossip about you, you're kind of SOL as my mom always said.  Soon, I got glares and giggles when I'd come home.  Saying hi, only to be greeted with eyerolls and more giggles.  Apparently, I became very funny for some odd reason.

And it was baffling. I had not changed. I had done nothing different and yet, two former enemies couldn't quite bond over their similiaries because they probably didn't have much to begin with.  Except me.  I suppose having a common enemy was the one thing that made their friendship work and honestly, at that point, I didn't care.  They could have each other.  I had a wonderful husband who was kicking ass in school, a new best friend who was so funny, awesome and amazing and a new baby on the way.

Oddly enough, after Candy left, Jen was really, really sweet to me all over again.  I was sweet back, but didn't bite the cookie she was holding out.  No time for that crap.

They eventually all moved away and just mere months before moving, we got the best neighbors ever.  No drama, no gossip, no cattiness.  Just a good old boy with his good old girl, some beers and a charcoal grill and many, many nights of sitting outside, talking, visiting and enjoying each other.

She was cool.  So was he.  But he wasn't in the Navy.  She was ;)  Ha!! ;)  Awesome!

Friday, July 5, 2013

An Inconvenient Truth

Many, many years ago, I became a Christian.  Not too long after that an old friend and I were reunited after a falling out and while we were apart, she also started living her life for God.  When she walked into my home, it was like nothing had happened.  We were tight again and all had been forgiven.  And I gave God the credit for that because my personality isn't one that backs down from (my version) of righteousness.  This reunion with a person closer to me than a sister compelled me to seek out other Christians, absolutely sure I would find the same selfless love and acceptance.  So we decided to attend church.

It didn't go like that.  Church was the environment in which I quickly (very quickly) became disillusioned with Christianity.  As Jamie and I grew in faith and knowledge, we dubbed what we were seeing and experiencing Churchianity.  So much of what was taught was absolute bullcrap, not found anywhere in Scripture.  This bothered us greatly and we moved away from this sort of social group.  It seemed every time we attended church it was more a briefing on who we should hate and why they were responsible for the moral demise of our country, rather than a gathering of the saints to worship our Lord together.

No thanks, dudes.

As I grew in my own faith, it nagged me and grated me and left me deflated that as a requirement of my faith, I had to hate ANYONE.  I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't be a part of it.

So while I kept my beliefs and my love for God, I've got to be honest.  I started avoiding other Christians that regularly attended a church building.  Every one of them was full of themselves, not the spirit.  Hateful, mean, oh so quick to judge and yet not allowing anyone close enough to see their own flaws.  I started feeling like my social circle would never include other Christians because they were in name only.  They really didn't live it, just preached it and if you've known me any time at all, you know I can't be around dishonesty like that.  I just can't.

So for awhile, I made my circle with non-believers because it appeared that they were more suited to what I believed, odd as that sounds.  They were open, loving, striving to be better people and make the world a better place.  My circle of these individuals was small, but excellent.  They didn't question my faith at all.  As a matter of fact, I was told on more than one occasion that if more Christians were like me, than the person wouldn't mind hanging around a few.  Sadly, their experiences were more like mine.

And I have to admit, I sort of put these people up on a pedestal.  Not just the PERSON, but the whole group of loving, accepting, caring individuals.  I felt like they had it right and even though we didn't share the same faith, we shared a mission: Love. Love Everyone. No matter what.

But things have changed for me.  I have seen, as I've grown up a little more, that every single group has its own rules and hatefulness.  They believe that what THEY think is right trumps what anyone else believes and everything they dislike about the Christians, they feel is totally okay if THEY do it.

Want an example?  Good, I have one.


Let's examine this shall we?  Two straight guys vandalizing a property where a message they don't believe in is being preached.  Funny right?

Or not.

You see, the biggest problem people have with Christians is that we "force our beliefs down other people's throats."  I concur.  I've seen it in action.  Not going to deny that one bit.  And it's not right because as Christians we believe that any change that we experience comes from the saving grace of God.  We can't take credit it for it, so the whole idea to 'get your crap together if you believe in God...and make laws so that everyone  has to do what God says.." is really counter-Christian.  It just is.

But, and the big but...is that everything the nay-sayers believe we do is being played out right before your very eyes.  "We believe that what you believe in is wrong and because we feel it serves the greater good, this act of vandalism is accepted and necessary."

You following me here?  The Christian camp believes they need to preach this message.  Like it or not, the Bible says what it says (And I can tell in five seconds flat if someone has read it or has just read ABOUT it or has gathered third, fourth or more hand information about it.  Try me.  I will call you out right then, right there and it won't be pretty.  If you haven't read it, shut it. Thank you.)  I digress.  Christians believe that for the greater good, they must speak out.  And we are HATED for it.  Hated.  

And yet, this action above was applauded as righteous.  

Because there's nothing more noble than defacing the property of your "enemies" and mocking their deeply held beliefs.   This is funny, adorable, RIGHT ON MAN!!

Really?

All this love and acceptance we're vying for...means hating and showing non-acceptance?  How does that even equate?  

Just going by logic, what is this saying?  It's saying that any person who believes that their actions will cause blessing to another person can act in the manner they feel best suits that (or those) individual(s).  Believe it or not, those people who put up the original billboard felt that were doing just that.  But it's more accepted and oh so funny when someone who does NOT believe in that defaces personal property to send a message.

Because we should fight intolerance....with more intolerance (and illegal intolerance at that.)

What am I saying here?  Was it funny?  A little bit.  I get it.  Ha ha.  Cute word play, but bottom line for me is...there really is no love and tolerance in any circle.  It's not a thing until you believe, for yourself, that you will love without qualification and treat EVERYONE...

EVERYONE...

With love, respect and decency.  The action illustration does none of this.  And so we're left with the reality that one does not practice what they preach.  And that's truly sad.

So for all those Jesus lovers who love him, but nothing about his message (those who paint Jesus as a left leaning Woodstock attendee)...what about turning the other cheek did you NOT understand?

It's easy people.  If you don't like gay marriage or gay anything don't be gay, but here's the thing...

If you don't like Christians or Christian anything, don't be one.

Let's leave the rest lie.

Otherwise, where are we?  A part of the problem, not the solution.  

Two wrongs have never once equaled a right. And repaying a message you don't agree with with an act of degradation...well...good luck with that.

Cause I certainly feel all warm and fuzzy now.

Not.