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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day! For some reason I am struggling to find the words to say to you, I couldn't even bring myself to buy a card because nothing really worked... maybe because my emotions run so deep and if I allow these emotions to come to the surface, I wouldn't stop crying for days.

The last 5 years have been trying times for both of us. Our relationship has had its ups and downs due to grief. You lost the love of your life through death, I lost mine through divorce. I know I have failed, at times, to be there for you because I was working through my own sadness, I couldn't see through my grief. Yet, we made it through. 

And now, I have the privilege to live "at home" again. Well, you took the high road and live downstairs under a heard of elephants, so I don't know how much living happens- but you have never complained. I can't even begin to thank you for the enormous blessing it has been. You have given me the gift of time. Time to heal, time with my kids, and time for me. I'm lucky because it makes up for a small portion of the loss in their lives, and eases my burden too. 

My gratitude this year is for what you do for me as I am a mom, now. For blessings I will never be able to repay:

Thank you for always seeing Ethan's abilities, never his disabilities. For owning him, never embarrassed of him. You know what I mean by that. And for the time you out into helping dad become who he was. Because of this Ethan looks up to his Opa, and I hope he carries that legacy of Faith you and dad instilled in us. 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see the smile on Aunna's face again, as you teach her to sew, the way you taught me. I never could have being a single mom. And she loves it so much, and you are so patient with her. 

Thank you for connect big with Neeltje through art, healing her fragile soul from her own experiences. Thank you for caring for her when I need a moment alone, or get away for a few days. The only reason I can is because I know you have my kids. 

Bradley, while marching to the beat of his own drum, is proud that you are "his" Oma more than the other kids in the neighborhood. And thank you for laughing at his 12 year old brain, and not shaming him for it. He needs this. 

And I am so grateful for the way you bridge the generational gap with Megan. You give her some identity when you connect her to dad, and meet her needs when I as a mom have been stretched to thin. 

I could never say this to you in person, I couldn't get through it. So I'm taking the cowards way out and writing you this letter in a blog post. It doesn't have any less meaning because it's here, I'm just able to say what I need to say here. And once I hit post, I'll send down one of the kids with your gift card. ;)

I love you mom. And as Catharina always says, too bad everyone doesn't have a Kathleen in their lives.... the world would be a better place if they did. 

Love Always,

Your most favorite April

Monday, October 31, 2016

Baby Steps

Friggin stop the presses!! Holy crud Batman, guess what?!?

Wait... I kind of need a moment here. I have this habit of accomplishing hard things and not realizing how great a feat they sometimes are, and I believe this is one of those moments. So, here it goes...

My Checkbook is balanced. *crickets*

No, wait! I promise this is a really big thing! Why you may ask? Because 5 years ago it would have taken me 3 months to prep, a slip prevention worksheet and who knows how many Xanax. Not to mention by the time I was done, peace would not have been acquired. This is part of the process when you have PTSD from a relationship. I have talked about his before as an #exspouseofanaddict. Nothing was ever as simple as it was. It was complicated.

Remember trauma is defined as a normal reaction to abnormal behavior. So if I had trauma and anxiety over a checkbook you can just imagine how abnormal it was? Yep.

Today, not only is it balanced but I have peace! And that is a good feeling. Despite plans to be here a while ago, I am finally here today. And now I get to go forward.

I know a lot of you out there are with me on this. You know these feelings, and you also punish yourself for not being where you hink you need to be. Stop doing that.

Give yourself grace. Realize it took a while to get to where you are and it will take time, effort, and work to get out of it. You aren't afraid of the work, you are afraid of the time. We all are. You are afraid if you don't change now, you might be this way forever. You won't be.You are concerned you are going to stay that way, you are conscious of it, so we both know you aren't just going to concede.

So take a minute to reflect on your life, what have you acomplished, that when viewed as babysteps, is no big deal. But to compare it side by side as a before and after? It is huge. Recognize that today and move forward.

We've got this!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Quiet Man

Dad, I love you and I am so grateful for your wisdom, even as it comes from the other side! So I have been a little overwhelmed with everything lately. Okay, a lot overwhelmed. Feeling like I am being pulled in too many directions, and spread too thin. Collapsing into bed last night, exhausted, and berating myself for not getting enough accomplished,  I threw up a hail Mary prayer through tears:

"I need to find balance... there are things I have to do, need to do, and want to do. I don't have energy for any of them it seems. I need to find *my* groove. Not the one I had in married life, not the one I had in West Jordan... I need to find one for here. In this place... Please, help me?!"

The tears came for a few minutes, when it seemed the answers came as a light in the darkness around me. I heard the words my dad had said to SO many times before. The ones he always said with affection towards my mom.... "You need your 'things' about you..."

For those confused, here is the back story. It comes from the Jon Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in the 1952 classic, The Quiet Man. If you have never seen it, ladies and gents... you should! Wayne plays an American boxers coming to Ireland. He sees a beautiful fiery redhead. They become married, and the getting to know each other part becomes most of the movie. She wants her dowry, and her brother will not part with it... and she declares:

"I'll wear your ring. I'll cook, and I'll wash, and I'll keep the land, but that is all!... Until you have my dowry, you haven't got any bit of me -- me, myself!  I'll still be dreamin' amongst the things that are my own, as if I had never met you. There's 300 years of happy dreamin' in those things of mine, and... I want them. I want my dream."

This is the 15th move in 17 years. And this is not the first time i have looked to find my groove...and every time I remember my dad talking to me over the phone whether I lived across the country, or hugging me when I lived close, he would always remind me to unpack my 'things' first...

My things are part of me, my heritage, my life and are valuable tools for visual reminders of the lessons I have learned. They give me strength, they remind me who I am. There I things I posses that are a reminder of hard things I have gone through and give me pep talks to continue moving forward.

That is my goal today. To put up the things I have around me. To make this rental house my home. So I can have a refuge from life's storms that will surely come!

#thequietman #oldmovieshavelovelessons #iamstrongbecauseiamHisdaughter #thepowerofapresentfather #mymomwaslucky #icandohardthings

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Table Benches Part 1

Oh my heck! This project... it will be so worth it when it is done, but if I ever get to done it will be a miracle. The table... unfortunately has had some issues {face palm}. In the post about my table I mention polycrylic binding to impurities and debrit in the wood? Well, apparently this table had them. It started to create air pockets between the wood and the finish. And then just insert kids into the mix, and the picking begins. So one night after dinner, I was looking and had to surrender to the fact this table was going to peel. And so I let them have at it. Within 5 minutes, it was peeled and stripped, along with the map and everything else. The pencil marks got left behind, so that is bonus, right? LOL!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finding Normal

It's 4 am and I am awake...again. As of late this is a totally normal thing. The only difference is today I am not going to lay in bed hoping that sleep will find me. I am so over being a patient person in regards to all the stuff I am processing through. Ugh...processing.  That seems to have become a dirty word as I am so tired of hearing it or using it. Usually I lay in bed waiting, ever so patiently for sleep to find me so I can drift off back to dreamland. But if I am going to be honest with myself I am going to admit that if I do remember dreaming, they would be considered nightmares. Sure, they seem peaceful enough... and then there are a few threads of truth to my dreams, enough to remind me how scary the life I once led would be terrifying for most.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Table Redo Part 2

Okay, so I have previously revealed to you my plan for this awesome thrift store find. And I have begun to work on it and it has been beyond therapeutic! Working with things that you get to make into your own piece of heaven is always an amazing feeling! So first things first, let me show what I have done to get things moving.


I have refinished a lot of furniture over the last 10 years. I have done this by sanding, stripping and sometimes just painting over the top of the existing paint. It all depends on what I want the finished product to look like for which method I decide to do. In this case, I combined all 3. 

The Legs

The legs were awesome as is. As in the nicks, dents and grooves were perfect and I wasn't about to touch them to ruin them. So I knew that I was going to paint over them. No sanding, no stripping. This is where we have a curtain call for a handy little product we call Denatured Alcohol. I don't know exactly how it works, but it does. You get an old rag and saturate it with the denatured alcohol. Thoroughly wipe down the surface you are going to paint over. This type of alcohol seems to penetrate through the existing paint (whether it is acrylic, latex, oil, or enamel) and preps the surface for the new paint to adhere. And adhere it does.

I used Rustoleum spray paint in Almond. I feel like their paint seems to have more saturation of color so more covering power, and their color is just pure color. You get excellent coverage and you only have to wait minutes in between coats verses hours. Always read the back of the can of the spray paint you are using. Not all spray paint is the same. And if you do not re coat within the window of time on the back of the can- WAIT. Always wait. If you don't, then you run the risk of it peeling or not adhering, or scratching off. Just trust me on this.

The legs took me a grand total of like 60 minutes.

The Tabletop

This was a little more of a delicate part of the table. I needed to strip down the paint because I wanted the top to be a wood color. I didn't want to sand it down, and I am really glad I didn't. It would have been a huge expense in just sand paper. I tried a small part and it kept gumming up underneath the paper. So I got out the paint stripper. The one I use is spray able and I am all about easy. I sprayed it on the table top. By the time I got to the end of the table it had been the 15 minute wait time to start scraping off the paint. I recommend gloves. I don't know what is in paint stripper, but I know there is enough of something to eat away years and layers of paint. So I am sure eating through your delicate skin is no problem (yes, it burns...badly).

I got a really nice surprise as I scraped off the paint. There was a perfectly oiled butcher block like table top. Who covered this up?!? Well, no wonder the sand paper was gumming up. It smelled like Danish Oil under the black paint. So I am sure that was another reason the paint came off so easily. There were parts that left little flecks of the black paint behind. But I couldn't have placed them more perfectly. My husband, that is new to this DIY redo stuff kept asking if I was gonna get it off. I just kept laughing at him. Now that he sees it... he gets it. I did have to sand a little bit as there were places there were knots in the woods that seemed to have the sap disappeared with the paint stripper. But not much effort was put into the prep of the table top.

Next, I wanted to darken up the wood a bit, and even it all out. Not to mention the fact I am kind of picky about the color of "wood" I have in my house. It can't be too yellow or too red... just a good neutral.

So when you apply wood stain in this type of setting, the method is pretty important, to me at least. This table has all these nicks and grooves in the top and I want to make sure these depressions get the stain in them and that this color gets left behind. I use one of those cheapo little brushes from your local home improvement store to wipe a thick layer of the stain on going with the grain. Then I use a rag (that I plan on throwing away) to wipe the stain and really rub it into the wood going against the grain. I then finish it up by wiping with the grain, again. After this, I let it dry. Since I did this in sections, I used this rag to wipe onto the almond color legs to accentuate the worn look on the legs and give it a nice patina.


At this point, if you had no intention of putting anything else on the table top, you could just seal it. So if you have no desire to paint a piece of furniture with a map or anything else, I will mention finishing before the hand painting. I have used polyurethane and polycrylic, and my vote is for polycrylic. It doesn't yellow and when it dries, it is really hard and durable for high traffic areas like tables and chairs. BUT, there is a catch... polycrylic adheres best to water based stains and paints. And if there are impurities on the wood, it tends to draw them out and bind to them instead of the wood. So in this project, I used polyurethane. 

As for the chairs, I am going to refinish 4 of my chairs. The others are going to be used to create benches for the long sides of the table. I am really excited (and you should be to, because it is going to take your breath away!) for this as I am going to paint a bunch of different colors (imagine coral, gold, teal, olive green, and a brick red). So yeah, this project still has a ways to go... but it will be oh so very worth it!


At this point I hand drew out the map using a pencil. I tried as best I could to come as close as possible to what the map looked like. Of course, I am not perfect, so there are errors, and mistakes.

 I planned the vinyl, and positioning of all the stencils.

Here is a close up of the compass rose in the upper right corner of the table.

And this is a close up of the map name I designed. it is stenciled in the top middle of the table.

I used a very small brush (a nail striper) to trace the lines of everything that was not a stencil. I used a more full (eye) liner brush for the pink, green, and yellows. And just a regular paint brush for the stenciling.

I peeled the stencils while they were still wet so that the paint didn't peel off with the stencil when it dried. Once this was all dry, I began applying the polyurethane.

And after hours of waiting to dry, I had to call in an army of guys to lift this heavy thing into the kitchen. We had only minor injuries... :)

I apologize for the dark pictures, but it is winter in Utah. The sun goes down early, and I have an east facing house with a covered porch. It is just not a great combo for will lit photos.

This one gives you a view of the chairs I still have to refinish....

Thanks for stopping by... I better get going! I am really excited to get started on those chairs!!

#rustoleum #tableredo #awholelotofschmidt #tableredowithvintagedutchmap

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The No Resolution- Resulutions

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I know many bloggers have long ago posted their New Year Resolutions. I have said before how much I enjoy making and keeping resolutions, but life in this last year has gone by way too fast with too much change. I have been really struggling trying to decide what I want to change, improve, or resolve to do better at.

I thought it was so weird to be struggling to discover things, and my relief society lesson in church yesterday led me to realize that the Lord is hearing me and talking to me. So thank you to that wonderful sister who taught yesterday (you know who you are ;) ). One of the sources for her lesson was a BYU speech I read that started me on my path to a lot of change this last June. There is a quote from this speech that I love:
"Is there any future for me? What does a new year...hold for me? Will I be safe? Will life be sound? Can I trust in the Lord and in the future? Or would it be better to look back, to go back, to go home?
To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come."
-Jeffrey R. Holland
So, after a lot of thought and pondering, I have decided on no resolutions of the normal type this year....
If you have read my Emotional and Mental Burnout Post, Room With a View or my New About Me Post you will see that over the last 12 months my brain is fried. Lol! Just dealing with anxiety, a pretty serious knee surgery, divorce and remarriage all in one year has been a lot. There are many times I wonder what God is thinking placing this much change on a life all at once, but I have to remember He knows what I can handle... The adjustments for myself alone have sometimes left me feeling like my life is unmanageable, but to throw on top of this helping with the fragile emotions of children adjusting as well, and blending 2 different people's lives and kids??? Yeah, crazy is the right word.

I haven't thrown the concept of resolutions out all together. I am just saying the ones that seem so tangible are not on my list this year. In the last 4 months I have found that  everytime I make a resolution for anything I am choosing, I am finding myself feeling alone and frustrated, and mostly just overwhelmed. I was perplexed knowing that change is what God wants from us. But I was forgetting the part that what He also wants, is my will with any changes that are being made. To sacrifice what I want, for what He wants for me.
I have decided I am not going to choose for me. I am going to humbly ask what is wanted of me... and go from there. So far, I have this:
  1. Eat- and when you think you have eaten, eat again. I deeply struggle with feeding myself. It seemed so trivial for so long. Now, I see how lack of food contributes to what I cannot get done in a day, what promptings I cannot hear, and how I cannot be the disposition I want, and my family needs, if my body is starving.
  2. Work everyday to see myself the way God sees me- I have lost almost 40 pounds since July. I know this is a good thing, but I don't see it. I still see the woman at her heaviest weight after her 3rd baby. I discovered that body image isn't about how your body looks, it is how I feel about how my body looks. I need to change this feeling.
  3. Stop trying to "get back" to who I used to be- and create who I want to be now. About 5 years ago, I had my crap together. All together. The balancing act of housework, organization, self care, child care, exercise, etc. About 2 and a half years ago something broke inside. I couldn't hold it all together. Yes I was dealing with a marriage falling apart, a father who was dying, and a car accident that changed my life. But "having it all together" should have helped with these crises. It didn't. I was doing too much by myself, not saying "no" when I needed, and not trusting others to help me. This is not the Lord's way. I need to create who I want to be.

Yep, 3 whole things on my list. That is seriously all. The inner lover-of-resolutions-and-personal-change says I need to keep adding things. I know about a gazillion things I could add... but I won't.  Sometimes holding back is the real change we need need?
Have a Happy New Year!