30 December 2009


This is so lame, but so ME...I'm excited that I get to go to Target today! And over the moon that I've got some things to return (things I bought, not gifts!) and can play with the $$. I have a list of random things...we'll see how far I get!

-- Posted from my iPhone

29 December 2009


I'm kind of an organization junkie, which is obvious by the sheer amount of CONTAINERS I'm finding as I sort through things. As I've transferred stuff (paper clips, markers, staples, toys, you name it) from one container to another, it's been very therapeutic. When I left the classroom, I packed up a lot of my boxes and brought them home. Those boxes (labeled, of course, pens, pencils, paper clips, etc.) have lived in various places in our office over the past 5 years. Today, I'm letting go of those boxes. It's a small step, you might think, but for me it's huge--I'm letting go of an old system that worked for me for 7 years in my classrooms, and I'm letting go of stuff, and I'm letting go of boxes. If you tend to...um...save things for a rainy day like I do, you can understand that feeling of, "oh, no, don't let THAT go--what if you NEED it someday?" It's a crappy feeling that keeps rearing its head as I work this morning. But an even better feeling is being able to say, "if I need it someday, God will provide another for me." And mean it.

I feel like 2009 has been cathartic in so many ways. We've shed the way we used to think about money (which, really, was to NOT to), and now I'm taking the next big step in letting go of stuff. Which isn't to say that I HAVEN'T been letting go of stuff all year long, but now I'm letting go of MY stuff. The stuff that ties me to my old classrooms, my old life, my old friends...the old me. I'm not a teacher anymore, which has taken me a lot of years to say. I haven't said it out loud, yet, but I'm getting there. :) 2009 was a trial by fire, and my family and I have emerged as the same beings, only forged a little stronger, a little purer in a lot of ways. Who's singing "Refiner's Fire" right now? Come on, it can't just be me...

As I've waded through all of this STUFF the past few days, I've come to think of organization as just another relationship: the relationship between my stuff and me. And like any good relationship, every now and again you have to talk it through, re-evaluate where you stand. Clearly, it's time for my stuff and me to take it to the next level. I'm confident that we can work together to make 2010 a banner year. One marked by organization and accountability--to God, to myself, to my family, and yes, to my stuff. Who's with me??

Oh, and while I'm asking questions, I need some help. We've got TONS of artwork from Kayci, and Noble's about to start bringing it in. Right now her stuff is in a few different containers, but it's in absolutely no order and it takes up TONS of space. And we never look at it. :( So what have y'all done (or seen) to organize and preserve kids' artwork? Help!!!

28 December 2009

Cleaning up after a long, crazy year...

We had a wonderful Christmas, from start to finish! Did you? I hope so! James and I both woke up on Saturday with one thing in mind: organizing the office! How many times have wd changed that room since we've lived here? I've lost count! Maybe when we get it done I'll post pics of every re-do. :)

Anyway, we're ready to see what 2010 has in store for us. Our plan: to be debt-free a year
from now. God's plan? He'll show us as we go, I'm sure!

Here are a few in progress pics...

Chrome shelves = happy Mommy!

A new system for coats, backpacks, etc.

A fun idea to discourage Bitty from taping papers to the wall...show you the rest later!

Noble's new corner: we finally found a home for James' Baseman poster...he's thrilled!

The last of the cubes are on the way out...along with lots of other stuff. We're purging, baby!

I moved the drawers into my desk corner in our room...it's not ideal to work in there, but it's wasted space otherwise. I've got a long way to go to get it all organized, but I'm going to get there. :). My desk in the office was just a place to pile stuff, so I feel like I've made huge progress!

I picked this up--it's good if you need some motivation!

I have been looking for a shower clutter solution--finally, free corners!!

-- Posted from my iPhone

22 December 2009

Favorite Things

I know, I know, I've been a bad blogger this past couple of weeks. I think it's a good thing, all in all, that I haven't spent much time on the laptop at ALL other than to get addresses for Christmas cards. :) This is how little screen time I've had: until a couple of days ago, I didn't realize that we'd missed not one but TWO episodes of HIMYM, which never happens. The horror! We are working to correct that error, but unfortunately, we both keep falling asleep as soon as we hit the bed. But it's a good tired...we've had a lot of fun with the kids and while we have been busy with presents and cards, there's been lots of baking and giving and visiting and that good stuff, too.

So here's a very belated favorite thing: I received this from a work friend last week, and I think my jaw hit the floor when she brought it out--how awesome, how ME, is this bag? You can't see it, but my name is embroidered in orange, too. I LOVE IT! Thanks, Cyndi!

It's laying down in the picture because there's no view of my house today that doesn't include a pile of dirty laundry or a stack of something that needs some attention. :) And Noble's home from school for the next two weeks, so there are countless matchbox cars and miniature street signs strewn from one end of the house to the other. I cannot even begin to imagine what this place is going to look like after Christmas, but I can't wait!

Alrighty...Noble is asleep for a few, so that means it's time to rush around and take a shower and take care of wrapping a few more gifts while it's safe to have scissors out. Hope you guys are having a fabulous week, too!

15 December 2009

Favorite Things

The day after Thanksgiving, we have a tradition: we play Christmas music. For me, it's REALLY Christmas when I hear the Doug Stone Christmas album. It came out back in 1992, which was the year after I graduated high school and before I went off to college...I was totally in limbo that year. I was working at Kids Mart and the Gap, and trying to figure out who I was. My brother was in the Marines, on a ship somewhere across the world. All I know is, he wasn't able to come home for Christmas that year and it was hard for all of us. I remember shopping and packing boxes of Christmas to send to him, from a tiny tree to cookies to of course, clothes from the Gap. Everybody got clothes from the Gap that year...man, that was a great discount!

Anyway, back to Doug Stone. I just love the songs--there's one about someone he thinks of when December comes around (I have a friend who I miss the most in December, so I always think of him when I hear that song, even 20 years later!), a song about a child who learns how to give, and the tearjerker, "Sailing Home for Christmas." That song is hard to listen to right now with so many of our men and women not just away from home at Christmas, but at war. It's a beautiful song, though, and it always reminds me of that Christmas that Ronny couldn't come home and it makes me appreciate, even more, being able to spend time with my family at the holidays. Life's busy these days. We could totally say, you know what, let's just not worry about celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas together anymore. But it would suck--for me, it's not a holiday without seeing my family and sharing memories and food and just TIME. That's a rare thing these days, and a precious one. I'm looking forward to lots of things this Christmas...but family time is the one I'm looking forward to the most.

OH! And one last thing about this CD--I had the cassette originally, and after 10 years it was just worn out. I think I'd even bought a 2nd one because I listened to it so much. Anyway, one year James tracked down the CD for me on eBay since he couldn't find it in any store...so when I see the CD, I think of him, working to track it down just to surprise me and make me smile. He's always doing thoughtful things like that, and I love him even more for it. :)

Check out Doug Stone's CD if you can--it's a great one!

14 December 2009

Favorite Things & Monday Musings...

It's been a few days! Things were busy, busy around here...not bad busy, just, too busy to blog busy. I'm in a hurry to get back to work and feeling really random, so buckle up...

A couple of weeks ago, Noble played with Play-Doh for the first time at school. I was waiting until he was closer to 2 to introduce it, thinking he wouldn't be interested yet...but he loves the stuff! He and Kayci have been playing with it a lot since then, and I'm mellowing in my old age--I even let them play with it...sigh...on the floor.

Yesterday's Advent activity was to make homemade playdough--I thought, if he loves Play-Doh, he'll LOVE the scented, softer dough we make at home. Um, yeah...this morning he brought me a can of Play-Doh and wanted to play with it. I tried to switch it with the stuff we made yesterday, and he'd touch it then make the nastiest face and jabber at me to get it OUT OF HIS BOWL. So much for mother of the year. Sigh.

Another sign I'm mellowing in my old age, and also one of my new favorite things: this is a pretty normal sight these days. It's usually toys mixed with cereal or half a banana or whatever Noble's touched...but there's ALWAYS a mess around here lately. This made me smile last night--we hung out at home yesterday afternoon, and a neighbor brought over some homemade cookies. While we were visiting on the porch, Noble helped himself to the cookies, so we were finding them for HOURS last night in odd places. And the candy cane...well, we like to put them on the Christmas tree as the last decoration. Noble loves candy canes, so he'll have one every day or so. But this is what usually ends up happening...

10 December 2009

Guilty Pleasure...Favorite Things

Noble and I are at Mom's house tonight; she had a cataract procedure today, so we came in to hang out with her. She's totally fine, albeit a bit annoyed that she can't see so well just yet. Makes it hard, but not impossible, to sew. :) I had a LaPorte meeting today, so Noble and I went to Gringo's for a while and hung out with the group. It was fun! We came back to Mom's and Noble played HARD for about an hour and a half...then absolutely crashed. I'll change him into his PJs in a bit...he's just too cute this way.

So, here's my guilty pleasure: bad reality tv. You know we don't have cable, right? We got rid of it when we lived in the Heights to help pay rent...and just got used to NOT having it. If we had it, I'd watch a LOT of tv, I know. That's why I love staying in hotels and visiting our parents, so I can watch bad reality tv after the kids go to sleep. :) And that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I won't tell you what I'm watching, because I'm sure they don't intend for it to be bad tv, but seriously, none of my housewife friends look like this. Geez. But I can't look away! Nah. I'm hanging out with the tv on and getting a little work done. I sat down yesterday with my "Fall 09" to-do list for my main job, and realized that I've made, um, zero progress on a couple of my biggest goals. I have had a very productive week work-wise, and I have a lot to accomplish by this time next week to be on track for the spring semester. Like you care, I know. :) I'm babbling because I'm avoiding getting back to work...but it's sitting beside me, calling to me. Sigh. I miss my Daddyboy and Kayci. It may be a long night!

09 December 2009

Favorite Things

Oh, what a difference a day makes...the sun is shining and I woke up happy and motivated to have a productive work day today. Of course the sun shining helps...the clean house helps me focus, too. And the old jeans, and James' sweatshirt--told ya I wasn't wearing the zebra scarf or any zebra shoes today. Perhaps I wore the candy cane scarf this morning...don't judge me. It was warm and matched James' red sweatshirt. I'm not a big sweatshirt & jeans outside the house kind of girl, usually...

Anyway...today's favorite thing: a lazy Mommygirl trick. We live in an old, old house (wouldn't trade it for the world. Perhaps for another bathroom, but not for the world. Hee hee.). Old houses = lots and lots of dust. My least favorite chore? You guessed it. I've discovered, though, after years of decorating for Christmas with snowmen, pine trees, and polyfil snow, that there's a hidden benefit: a month without dusting. Ahh....You see, one of the things I'm trying to work on is my need (read: wild-eyed frenzy) to have a clean and neat house. I'm working on letting things go...not being so stressed and compulsive about having things clean. And neat. And in their places...see, I can't even write about it without getting uptight. But I've really, really made a lot of progress!

Here are a few pics--you'll see in a couple that we didn't go all out this year: the fruit & veggie stand is still on the buffet, our fridge top is the same...just with an ever-changing collection of random decorations. But with the snow, no dusting...and happy Mommygirl. Yea, me!

08 December 2009

Okay, okay, some favorite things...

Too many people are having a yucky day to leave it with no GOOD THINGS. So here are some of my favorite things this morning:

Our new bed: It's freakin' high, but I really enjoy being IN it. Or ON it, whichever is correct. Seriously, it's like staying at the Marriott every night. Love it! And I have the quilt flipped to white for the Christmas season...love that, too. :)

Zebra scarf: My friend Dee was wearing this AWESOME scarf last week--imagine my surprise to find out you can be all fabulous with a $5 WalMart scarf. So I held off for...less than 24 hours. Hee hee. (The candy cane scarves we wore to the parade were also of the $5 fabulous variety.) I stuck my boots in the pic because the scarf is SO fun with them. And it was fun yesterday with my zebra flats...I will try desperately to NOT wear the scarf...or zebra shoes of any kind...tomorrow. Hmm...

OH! Our first Christmas card of the year: Our first card came in the mail this morning! It's from Ginny & Marty (also known as Mandy's parents). So thanks, Ginny--your card totally snapped me out of my funk!!! :) See, you're ALWAYS good for a smile, friend!

Not so favorite thing...

I know I've been posting about happy things, but I'm not in a really happy place today. Part of it is that there are a couple of situations right now where I'm not exactly sure what to do. (Sorry, I don't, in fact, know everything. I just like to act like I do!) Part of it is my trashed house, big pile of laundry and even bigger pile of work I need to plow through today. A big part of it, too, is the weather. I HATE DREARY DAYS. I need sunshine, people. I know that dreary days are a part of life, but so many in a row...blech. So that's my not so favorite thing: the dreary weather today. I'd much rather go to a movie and drink some hot cocoa somewhere than have to sit here by the window that doesn't have sunlight streaming through it and work. Double blech.

06 December 2009

Favorite Things

So this one isn't really a holiday favorite thing, but it makes me smile. :) I've got to work in Houston tomorrow, so I'm posting Monday's blog a little early...

Noble has gotten back in the habit of finishing out the night in Mommy & Daddy's bed. Which isn't horrible, and yes, I do enjoy the cuddling. He has developed a new trick, though, that I will probably never forget...he tends to wake up before I do, and the kid wakes up ready to play. Sometimes he's content to lay in bed and talk for a while, but when he's ready to get up, he wants to get UP. Now when he's ready, he just climbs over me, gets my glasses from my bedside table and puts them on me, all the while saying "eye-yeyes, mom mom's eye-yeyes." Come on, how cute is that?

And how cute is this? Those are my eye-yeyes from about 6 years ago...Kayci likes to wear them when she teaches sometimes. We cracked up at him wearing them around tonight! Noble eye-yeyes...

Favorite Things

If you read our family blog, too, you saw these pics already. Oh, well--some of you only read this one, so here they are again!

One of my favorite weekends of the WHOLE Brenham year is the first weekend of December, when they hold the Stroll and Lighted Parade downtown. Daddyboy is in charge of Germania's float, which means we don't see him much for a couple of weeks and, of course, that we get to ride on the float. Also, every year until this year, we have a huge family group at the parade which, honestly, is both wonderful and stressful. But since nobody--yup, nobody--was able to come this year, it made us realize that the wonderful cancels out the stressful. So next year, we'll be MUCH more appreciative! And now I need to figure out what to do with all of the cocoa, cider, and cookies I'd stored away for the annual event at our house... :)

We started off the day yesterday with a snowman building competition. This is one of my FAVORITE classroom/family night activities EVER...so we do it at home at least once a year. I know, I know...

That led into a lazy morning of Christmas DVDs and a family nap on the couch. I can't remember the last time we just...sat. It was awesome! We got up and around in time to get to the Dallmeyers' house for Alex's birthday lunch, and that was really fun, too. Daddyboy got to try out his new camera and the kids and I had fun visiting with friends. And the cake...let's just say, Noble's hands may permanently be stained orange and it was fun to cuddle with a cake-scented baby yesterday!

Here we are arriving at the parade...Haitham gave me this coat for Christmas last year, and I've never had an opportunity to wear it. I LOVE IT!!!! And with our candy cane scarves...let's just say, you'll be seeing me in this coat anytime the temps drop below corduroy jacket! (And ahem, look at my shoes. No animal prints--just Mommy Nikes. So they have a little silver, sue me...)

This is Germania's float--I'm a bit biased, but I think they've got a shot at the big prize this year. It's all bragging rights, no money or anything, but they worked so hard and it looked GREAT. The theme for the parade was Candy Lane Christmas, and the Germania float committee did a great job of bringing the game of Candy Land to life! What you can't see is that the gingerbread house puffs out sugar-cookie scented smoke...it was too, too cool!

Today looks to be another laid-back day; we've already been up for hours and it's already time to wind down again. We had planned to put up our outside lights today, but the rain is probably going to prevent that. But you know, it's okay--we're heading into a busy week, and it'll be nice to have another day of rest under our belts before things get too crazy. With everything going on, work-wise and personally, it can be really easy to get lost in the busy-ness of the season and forget to stop and enjoy the little moments. I think that's why I'm sticking with the Favorite Things posts, so I have to stop and take a minute each day to just appreciate one of the special things about this season. :) Remind me of that tomorrow, after I commute...

04 December 2009

Favorite Things

If you know me at all, you know that writing is definitely one of my favorite things! Today's Housewife is one of my favorite blogs, and today I'm their guest blogger. That's pretty cool--but I'll tell you a secret: anyone can do it. You just have to e-mail them! :) So check it out HERE. I'll tell you another secret, and the Housewives know it, too--I cheated a bit and mixed in a couple of last year's stories that I published on our blogs because they said exactly what I wanted to say, and I'd already written them. No reason to reinvent even that wheel, right?
Happy Friday! And hey, what are some of YOUR favorite things??

(P.S. I'm sitting by the window working, NOT seeing snow. There were some flakes when I unloaded groceries, but no blizzard, yet. Yup, sarcasm. But I'll enjoy it if it DOES snow--promised the kids I'd pick them up early and do hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Well, not that Noble cares, but Kayci's thrilled at the idea!)

Favorite Things

This is my favorite new Daddy story. (Click on the words, they'll take you to our family blog.)

03 December 2009

Favorite Things

This must REALLY be one of my favorite things...it's been hanging in the same spot since last year when Kayci drew it! Looking at this every day helps keep me focused, and at this time of year, it helps remind me what I SHOULD be thinking about instead of getting so caught up in the busy-ness.

02 December 2009

Favorite Things

Cozy Christmas quilts...

And to all a good night!

Favorite Things

I love decorating the tree...literally every ornament is a memory, a story. Every year we take our time and open each box, talk about it, find the perfect spot on the tree. It's a process. Made more festive, of course, by Bitty's hats.

From the silly...

...to the homemade...

...to the old...

...to the life events...

...to travels...

...to the angel on top.

And this year, a new memory on the tree...

01 December 2009

WARM Favorite Things...

So I'm sitting here working...with James' wool socks, my jacket, and a scarf on top of my regular clothes. :) Oh, did I mention our heater isn't working? After lunch, I finally got smart and started layering and made myself some warm tea. Which brings me to my next favorite thing: Candy Cane Lane. I can only drink it during this season--seems wrong otherwise--but I so look forward to it! :)
(BTW--see the cranberries off to the right? Saw that idea at a Southern Living display several years ago...recreated it with a $3 IKEA vase and bring it back every year. Love it!)

Favorite Things

I was taking out the trash this morning and thinking, in totally unrelated thoughts, that maybe this month I'll just blog about my favorite things--what makes me happy. I know I won't stick to it, because it's such an important time of year (Jesus coming to the world as a BABY? To an ordinary man & woman? Like I could NOT write about that...). But anyway, I was thinking that today I'd post a pic of some of our Christmas decorations that make me smile. When I went inside and cleaned off my desk, I found something, though, that needs to go first. More often than I deserve, I find a note like this taped to my bedside table, stuck in one of my desks, laying on my side of the bed...I just never know when one will pop up. This one was in with some of her school papers to file, so I'm thinking she made this one at school during center time. What a wonderful start to my workday! Once again, Kayci has reminded me WHY I do what I do...I needed that focus today. Check out the cursive signature she's working on these days. :) How fun!

30 November 2009

Favorite Things

When we got married, Anne & Fred gave us this awesome enamelware pitcher they got in Fredericksburg. Ever since, it's lived on our kitchen counter to hold our wooden spoons and other utensils. And every year when we go to Fredericksburg, I'm tempted to buy more pieces, but it's hard to justify that at Christmas time when we have the trip and so many other things to pay for. But that's the beauty of living on a budget--every paycheck, James and I each get what we call "blow money" (it's Dave Ramsey's idea, we're not that smart). It's money that we don't have to answer for, we can use it for whatever we want. We can save it up (that's how James got his awesome grill) or just waste it (that's how James got his new Little Rascals DVD set. Just kidding, boy-o!). The point is, I went to Fredericksburg this time with money to burn. It was the first time ever! I went to all of my favorite stores, but just couldn't get excited enough to buy anything. Until we went to the five and dime...and I saw the enamelware in the window. And I knew it was time. So I picked some of my favorite pieces to add to my collection, and 4 days later, I'm still smiling!

29 November 2009

Goodbye, fall...

This is one of my favorite weekends of the whole year, as we start going all out, getting ready for the month-long Christmas celebration. But this year I'm having a little trouble...I already miss our fall decorations. So here's my ode to fall--in expected and unexpected places. See you next year. :)

Goodbye, fall...

...hello, Christmas!

-- Posted from my iPhone