Know what I accomplished yesterday?
Okay, that's a little lie--I did clean up my a little happy corner and get that organized.
And we wrapped all of our gifts.
And, okay, I swept the floors last night before bed.
But I also took a nap...maybe 2...yesterday.
And I relaxed.
And I did NOTHING.
It was pretty awesome.
I know how I work, I can't do that very much or I'll go stir-crazy.
But after a long season of too much, nothing felt just about right.
Know what I wish for YOU today, friend?
That's right--I wish you a whole lotta nothing after church today.
I started this post two days ago...but haven't sat down long enough to finish it.
I worked in Houston on Monday after a busy weekend, so it felt like my week REALLY started on Tuesday.
I was running in circles, y'all.
Too much to do, not enough time to do it.
You've been there, I know.
So, I took the kids to school and my plan was to come home and get organized. So far that morning I wasn't having any luck--I couldn't get organized in my head. My house? Forget about it.
I had a bit of a headache, so I thought, more coffee--that's what I need when I get home.
And then I remembered Brain Gym 101--and thought, the headache is probably telling me I need hydration, not caffeine dehydration.
So, I had some water. The Sonic ice helps it go down, don't judge.
Still wasn't feeling quite myself. Headache just lingered. I remembered I hadn't had time to eat breakfast, so I had a couple of muffins. And yes, I know I should have had protein--have I mentioned the stress eating happening around here? It ain't pretty, y'all.
Still wasn't feeling quite right, and by now I was frus. trated. My morning to get caught up? It was flying by at an alarming rate.
Maybe, I thought, I just needed to get the house in order. Then I could concentrate.
So I started on laundry. I still hadn't put away last week's clean laundry. The laundry room overfloweth.
I'm more than a little ashamed to tell you that it took me about an hour and a half to figure out what was missing from my busy, crazy day.
And yep, this did the trick. I sheepishly texted a pic of one of the devotions (Monday's devotion I hadn't read before I went to work, was playing 2 day catch up on Tuesday) to my Boy...perhaps if I HAD taken time for quiet time first thing in the morning instead of hitting the floor running I could have prevented an argument between us. Ahem.
Friends, just a reminder: there's always time for quiet time. God's there even in the busy, crazy time, don't get me wrong...but I feel better when I make time to just sit down with Him. And you know what? I suspect my family feels better when I've had my quiet time, too. :)
So, the plan this year was to buy our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving since we were actually home (with no plans!). But...then we chickened out. That's a whole lotta weeks to have a live tree in our home, and our house is so small that 4 weeks of decorations just about drive me nuts...I love, love decorating for Christmas, but I also love, love taking it all down in January and having just a basic, clean house for a while. :)
We made time this past weekend to decorate our tree, so off we went Thursday night to buy our tree. That way we could get straight to the decorating this weekend.
Or...not. But man, we did have a great weekend!
So, the new plan was to decorate the tree Monday night. Last night. Only, one of us commuted to Houston for work and got stuck in CRAZY traffic coming home. So maybe we got a later start than we planned. Daddyboy and I just looked at each other and agreed, it was TIME to get the tree up--the kids could stay up late one night. :)
My favorite part of decorating the tree is opening the boxes and telling the kids the story behind each ornament...and remembering.
Each year we give our kids a Hallmark ornament for Christmas. Whether they like it or not (and we hope they love it!), when they get married they'll already have a lifetime of ornaments that tell their story, ready for their trees.
When I was 9 (in 1983 if you must know), my Grandma Weseloh started the tradition of buying ornaments for all of us grandkids, which is where it started for us. When she was unable to continue the tradition, Mom and Dad started buying ornaments for us. So I have almost 30 years of ornaments that tell my story on our family tree., along with a few really early ones. This is the ornament that started it all. She's broken now, and out of rotation, but this year I had Kayci put her on our dresser so I could enjoy her again. Man, I miss my Grandma.
Our tree is perfectly imperfect, as one of my favorite bloggers would say. In addition to our bought ornaments, there are tons of kid-made ornaments. It was fun last night looking at their 1-year old ornaments and comparing the size of their hands then and now. Oh, how time flies, y'all.
Each year we have our jobs: Daddyboy puts on the lights (NOT my favorite!), and I sit on the floor and open ornaments and hand them to the kids, telling them the story of each one. Then Daddyboy helps them place the ornaments on the tree (unless it's an unbreakable one, then we just let them have at it).
It's too early to go out there and take a picture, but I got a good laugh last night...last year was the first year Bubby was big enough to help with real ornaments. Yeah. I'm thinking we were a year early--at least 2 of our Hallmark ornaments are glued together with notes "Noble dropped, 2011." But you know, being THAT KID is part of his story. Someday his wife's going to get a big kick out of it!
It's been a little tough for Bitty to share the job of putting the angel on the tree--after all, it's been her job for YEARS. Last year Daddyboy let both kids put the angel on, and he did it again this year. I'm thinking we've spent enough on his back...next year we'll flip for it. :)
And that's it. It still needs a little garland for a finishing touch, but that's our story. It's the kind of tree one either loves or hates. But to me, a fir tree dressed with our story is a Christmas tradition.
Oh, Christmas tree. You were a long time coming this year, but man, we're glad you're here.
I used to overload December with activities and too many traditions to count, but last year and this year we've kind of toned it down. I realized I was focusing too much on the DOING and not enough on the BEING. So this year, I'm not sure what we'll do. Since it's December 4th, guess I better figure it out. I know the kids are excited about the Advent calendar, so looks like I'll be working on that today. Our Elf on the Shelf has been visiting, of course, but she's JUST an elf, not one of those mischievous ones.
Friday I had to go to work (you know, my real job!), but I was happy to take a full mail bag with me. If you missed the facebook post, this bag contained:
and, of course, a whole lotta happy thoughts!
I still have a few orders to fill this coming week, and my goal is to find better balance than I had with the first batch of Christmas orders. :) There were too many times when I was working while the kids were outside playing or watching TV (judge me, fine)...I've worked too hard over the years to balance work and family so that my kids' time is protected, and I must figure out a way to keep a little happy contained, for lack of a better word. I don't think it's that I have too many orders (although the number of orders have been a very surprising blessing!), as much as that until this week I didn't have a system worked out for working. Tomorrow I'll show y'all my happy place (what my Boy calls the corner where I have my stuff). It makes me happy, especially when it's cleaned up between jobs!
That reminds me...I need to order some vinyl. Now that's a good problem to have!
We had a wonderful weekend.
I don't know that I "accomplished" anything.
The weekend was so wonderful and each day felt like it was several days...nothing was rushed. There was time to enjoy each part of each day.
We enjoyed fellowship with some pretty amazing people, friends and family alike.
How often do I head into Monday morning thinking, man, that was a WONDERFUL weekend! I'm ready and refreshed for this week?
So I'm celebrating, friends.
With a trip in to work, but still, celebrating. :)
Have a great week. No, have an AMAZING week! My prayer for you this week is that you really SEE the blessings so abundant in your life. And what you see that doesn't bless you or your loved ones, I pray that you & God can come up with a plan to take care of those. Maybe you just need to talk to a mentor. Maybe you need to take a few minutes and clean up one of your piles. Maybe you need to sit down and apologize to your spouse or your child for what you said yesterday. My prayer? That those things don't go undone.
And here's my prayer request, as I am making personal and professional plans for the next year: please pray for discernment and wisdom and vision, and make me obedient to His will and not MY plan.
Blessings to you on this wonderful Monday morning, friends.
Now, if I were a betting woman, I'd bank on the irony of me making statements like that BEFORE my kids are up. This wonderful Monday morning might go all wonky here in a few minutes...but I'm going to hold on to the feeling of rest and encouragement from our wonderful weekend. And I'm going to enjoy my commute today, with all that time to think and just BE.
I've long been a fan of Vince Guaraldi, and when Kayci started playing the piano I couldn't WAIT until she was able to play a "Charlie Brown" song. Well, when it came time to choose songs for her Christmas recital, she wanted to try one.
Or maybe she wanted to do it for me.
Either way, she said she would do it. Then the next week she informed me that she had a back up plan since the Charlie Brown song was hard. And right then, I knew it. For two whole weeks, the Charlie Brown songbook collected dust. Even after lessons last week, I thought she'd get inspired to work on it some more after guidance from Ms. Jana.
And truthfully? She hasn't been practicing. And when she does practice, she plays the songs she KNOWS instead of working on the one that she's LEARNING. It's kind of been driving me crazy.
So, yesterday morning she was practicing. We'd discussed this over the weekend, and I told her she needed to put more time in on the song she was struggling with. But once again, yesterday morning, every song BUT that song rang through the house.
I put on my big girl panties and went and sat in the red chair and reminded her, gently, that she needed to be working on the Charlie Brown song.
And it hit the fan.
Much 9 year old drama followed, but Daddyboy and I were on the same page and stood firm...it feels good when we agree without working on it, you know?
Before Kayci got out of the car yesterday morning, I told her that I wasn't MAD at her, just disappointed that she wasn't doing her best and that she'd quit before she even tried. I told her the truth--that most things in life are easy for her, because of her intelligence and talent and other blessings. Piano, up to this point, has been easy for her. I told her that God often puts things in our lives that are hard because it's these things that challenge us and help us to grow--and that's what this song is for her.
It's a little bit of Refiner's fire, maybe for both of us.
Yesterday afternoon she practiced without complaint, and the mood was totally back to normal (phew...I was kind of dreading more drama!).
Today is lessons.
I love that I am able to have real conversations with my kids about God--there's no way I would have understood any of that at her age. And for the record, at her age, I wouldn't have tried, either--I'd have quit.
Something old--we had lunch with my high school friends yesterday. Despite being an hour late (sorry, guys!), we had a GREAT time...I'm so glad we made the drive. It has been YEARS--like, since our wedding, since this group has been together! But thanks to the wonder of facebook, it feels like just yesterday. There wasn't a whole lot of catching up to do since we stalk each other online, so it was nice to pick up where we left off and just enjoy our time together. :)
I wish I was cool enough to have a high school picture of us handy...but they're in boxes. These are the friends who liked me when I didn't like myself, who knew me when I didn't know who I was, and who loved me anyway through it all. That doesn't mean there wasn't drama (hey, I thought my life was a John Hughes movie for a good decade), but I love these friends dearly. The years have changed us and we're literally spread out around the country, but it doesn't matter...put us at a table and the years fall away. The only way yesterday could have been better is if Mike Wright had been available, but next time! Oh, and look on the left behind Noble--when I saw this picture on facebook (thanks, Allan!) I cracked up--I love, love me some Preston (Jen & Steve's son, our Godson). Isn't he Calvin personified?
So that was the old.
The new? If you've been following along, you know the Pilot has been acting up. A week ago James and I were heading off to Salado to shoot a wedding, and I fully intended to come home and sink the profit from that into Pilot repairs. But somewhere along the way I woke up and realized that we've been spending WAY more than a car payment on repairs since August, and there comes a point when it becomes less important to have a car that's paid off and more important to mind our budget. So, my Boy and I sat down and came up with the amount we could pay comfortably each month and a list of things we needed in a new car. Well, newer car--we are used car buyers, thanks to Dave Ramsey.
I love, love, love how the internet has changed car buying. I spent a couple of days online searching for Pilots, thinking I wanted a 2009 Pilot. Well, turns out we couldn't afford a 2009 Pilot--and the 2007 and 2008 Pilots we COULD afford weren't much better than our 2005 Pilot. So, it was a bit of a letdown.
And then I found a 2008 Explorer online that I liked, except for the crazy custom interior. So I did some research and found out that's a good, solid vehicle. And I kept looking and ended up finding a couple more Explorers at a dealership here in town. I called about them, since James and I are all for buying local (but in the case of a car, we weren't too set on it--when you're talking that much money, it's worth it to drive to the best deal). I liked the salesman immediately, and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with him to decrease the amount of time we'd have to be on the lot with our knuckleheads. The Explorer sounded good enough on the phone to spend time looking at, so we loaded up and headed over to the dealership. (It's Brenham, with stopping to pick James up from work it took 10 minutes. Love, love living in a small town!)
We liked the car a lot, and the kids were sold at sunroof. To be fair, we drove a Toyota, as well but didn't care for the interior. And that was a lot more money for less car, so we weren't very excited about it and knocked it off our short list. I still had a few Pilots lined up in Houston and another Explorer, so we talked to the salesman about price and he thought he could get the Explorer down to what we wanted to pay. We left the dealership and were ready to buy the car that day, but figured we'd better think and pray on it a bit longer.
After a day of that and a couple hours of negotiating and finalizing, we ended up with the something blue. :)
You guys know how I feel about money, and it was nice to buy a car we really like that didn't leave us with buyers' remorse. We didn't want to take on debt, but we didn't have the cash saved to buy a car...so we did the next best thing and picked a low amount that we could spend on a car payment each month and stuck to it. It feels good to have accomplished that more than it feels good to have a prettier car, to be honest. Oh, and a note: when we started negotiating, the dealership kindly worked a service contract into the deal. We kept asking to revisit it and get details, and when we finally did we found out it was a $2600 contract that would only last about a year the way I drive. I wonder how many of these "deals" we've financed into our previous cars...we were so young and dumb. So, we declined and agreed that if this vehicle needs $2600 worth of work over the next year, we shouldn't be driving it, anyway!
Today we're off to Clarkson Thanksgiving--this year Ronny's making gumbo. Yum!
When we were first married, James went to work for a video production company. It was a really interesting job, and I enjoyed the perks. One weekend we were asked to be in a commercial for a local car lot, which thrilled me. But...we got there, and the shoot was off-schedule. It drove me NUTS. We were just waiting and waiting and waiting and they were being sooooooo inefficient. Then it was finally our time to be on camera, and they had us, the 24 year old newlyweds, look at a minivan and a the older parents with their 2 kids looking at a sports car. Really? Oh, my poor Boy--I don't think I said a positive word all day. And I know there were other shoots I was involved with that I criticized this or that. Man, I must have been so. much. fun. to be around. NOT!
Needless to say, God's been working on my control freak nature. A lot. And I've been letting Him. (That's a control freak joke. Get it?) I'm not saying I don't struggle with it, because I do, but I'm learning that I can't and shouldn't, quite frankly, control everything.
Along with that, I've learned over the past several years that there's always something positive in a situation, even if it's that the situation has gone horribly wrong and will be a learning experience. I've changed from one who's always pointing out the negative to one who can either keep her mouth shut or say something nice. And I'm working on that one every day...there are lots of negative people out there, and it can be contagious.
That's me, the photographer's assistant. I wasn't sure what to wear, but I'm glad I opted for clothes I could run, climb, jump and bend over in...I'm thinking a variation of this outfit for each season will be my uniform!
This past weekend I had the honor and pleasure of being James' assistant at his first solo wedding shoot. I know I'm biased, but he did an AMAZING job. He's grown so much as a photographer, not just with his technical skills but his people skills, as well. It was really cool to watch him work--I am in awe of how much talent God has packed into that one man.
I think he was nervous, honestly, about me being his assistant. I don't blame him. See above.
As recently as last spring, I've had trouble assisting James with shoots because I would talk to much to the people IN the pictures, not pay attention, not hold stuff right, and the list goes on. I sucked as an assistant, not so much anymore because I wanted to be the boss but because I just didn't do a good job of being an assistant and listening to the one who was leading me. But God's been at work, there, too, and this wedding was my chance to redeem myself and prove that I've been listening and growing.
I'm proud to say that I did a great job of being James' hands and feet this weekend. I took direction well and was able to stay in sync with him (rather than trying to be one step ahead of him, as in the past, which usually ended up badly!). I chalk that up to maturity on my part, and just being able to submit. (All those Bible studies are paying off!) And my Boy and I are in a great place right now, so that helps, too.
It really helped when we got home and faced our car issue head on...we've been praying and working on that all week. Guess what we're getting tomorrow? :) And it hasn't been nearly as stressful as I thought it would be, because we're on the same page.
I like it here. My prayer today is that we can STAY on the same page throughout the day as we celebrate with a full house. James is taking lead again today, as he enjoys cooking the turkey and I really could care. :) I'm grateful HE enjoys it, though!
And I'm grateful for you, sweet friends. Go out and be a blessing to your man today, and be sure he knows how grateful you are for him. :)
I hope you are all having a fabulous Thanksgiving week! I'll admit, this year we weren't faithful about writing in our family gratitude journal every day. I think I've burned my kids out on it, but we still TALK about it (mostly) every day. Man, I hope that's enough! :) Last night I spent a few minutes on Pinterest while I was winding down, and Melissa Smith pinned something that made me smile and think of you. Thanks, Melissa!
Be joyful always
give thanks in all circumstances
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Look at those words again, friends--always, continually, all circumstances...not just when we have abundantly, not just when things are going our way, not just when we're gearing up to get more stuff...always. Continually. In all circumstances.
This is a time of year that begs comparison, want, overindulgence...don't play the game. Chances are, if you're reading this, that you have ENOUGH.
Enough is enough.
Enough is all we need.
This time of year encourages us to want MORE, to not be satisfied with enough. I'll be honest, it got me yesterday at IKEA. I went in looking for a cheap lamp and I found one--but I came out dissatisfied because somehow while I was in there I decided I needed a new table for my work corner. This hounded me all day, and it made me MAD. I don't like that feeling of want, and dissatisfaction. I must have sounded like a petulant child when my sweet Boy asked me what's wrong and I said, "I don't like WANTing! I'm trying so hard to be grateful to have a corner to work in and work to do in the corner..."
But I need to not try as hard, and just
Be joyful always
give thanks in all circumstances
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This week especially, let us be grateful for enough--even if it's not what we thought it was going to look like. Even if it's less than our siblings or neighbors or friends. And as we head into the next most wonderful time of the year, let's agree to focus less on the busyness of the season and as a group of friends, help keep the next few weeks Christ-centered. No matter what the calendar says, this is a time of year when we celebrate our Savior's birth.
Let it sink in, friends.
Our Christ came to earth just like we did, just like our babies did.
To be born of a woman. A girl, really.
To be born human, vulnerable...to live to teach us, and die to save us.
He was born to die.
For our babies.
THAT is what we are celebrating.
Now, if you know me or you read my blog, you know we do a lot more celebrating around here. Santa will visit us, and we've had an elf friend for most of Kayci's life. We have traditions that we love, and little celebrations constantly. And like some of you, James and I will struggle daily with balancing that stuff with the birth of Jesus and what a huge, huge gift that was and is every day.
I'm rambling. These are the things on my mind even as I gear up with groceries and figuring out seating for more people than will fit comfortably in our house. :) Another ramble--I bet my Grandma never once worried about stuff like, will I have enough chairs? Or where will everyone sit? We just FIT...tons of us in her small house. And it wasn't a big deal that there was only one bathroom, we just took turns. I remind myself of that when we have a houseful here in the little green house. I hope you'll remind yourself of those times, too, if you're stressing this week about table settings and perfect recipes and...whatever you're stressing about.
Enjoy preparing your house. Or preparing your family for travel.
Cherish the time in the kitchen, or the car.
And if you're struggling with these things or finding things to be grateful about, don't beat yourself up.
Yes, you, who even as you're reading this are beating yourself up and withdrawing...don't do it.
Talk about it. Find a girl friend or mentor you trust and talk about it. Call me--I know what it is to struggle with these things. And I know what it is to come out on the other side, as well, and fight NOT to go back.
Don't spend another day wondering why you can't be joyful--find your joy.
It's in the manger. On the cross. Walking the dusty roads finding people to minister to. Walking on water. Calming the seas. Sitting at the right hand of His Father. Loving you, loving me.
Friend, I love you. But more importantly, Jesus loves you. If you're reading this, you're a Jesus Girl. Let's go into this season as Jesus Girls, not frantic, busy, dissatisfied mamas.
I can't wait to see you all next week...hmm, guess I'd better bust out that homework, no?
Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving. And know that as I'm counting my blessings this week, you're on the list.
Kayci is an exceptionally responsible child.
Noble, however, is a typical 4 year old boy.
He leaves his jackets at school daily. I wish I was kidding. The boy loses jackets like...I lose jewelry.
Enough about me.
So, his hoodie's been MIA for a week. 2 trips to school didn't turn it up (but they did find another of his missing jackets!), so yesterday I gave in and took him shopping.
Dang it. Guess what I found on his toy shelf this morning?
...saw this one coming.
Got in the truck this morning and realized I wasn't wearing my wedding ring. I didn't *think* I'd lost it, just forgot to put it on.
The good thing was, it was waiting for me at home. And I thought to myself, I'd better pick up some ring sizer thingies today while I'm out.
You know what's next, right?
I went to recycling. And helpful, helpful me...I was all like, hey, I'll just throw these milk cartons directly into the crusher and save y'all the trouble. Stinkin' Girl Scout in me!
That's enough words. Fill in the rest...
This has been a weird week. Not a bad week, just weird. I normally commute to Houston on Wednesdays and actually GO IN to work (as opposed to working at home). This week I was supposed to go on Monday, but then we changed it to Tuesday. I was excited, too, about the meeting we were supposed to have.
I heard it. Did you hear it?
So...I got on the road yesterday morning. I got on the road later than I'd planned, and then I got a call from Daddyboy saying we had a sick, crying Bitty who really, really woke up needing a Mommy hug. So, I turned around (luckily, I was only at the edge of Brenham) and went home to hold my Bitty for a bit. The night before she didn't eat dinner and went to bed sick, so I was halfway expecting her to be sick yesterday. I *wasn't* expecting her to feel so bad that she'd miss school, since it was CSI (think our Encounters, a full day of GT stuff at a different campus!). But, she must have really been sick because she didn't want to go to school. I am so grateful that my Mom is here, now, because James was able to take our sick girl over there and head into work.
Back to me on the road...I got into stop and go traffic in Cypress. Annoying and not at all unusual, so I was fine. Then I started hearing that chirping noise of a slipping belt and I thought, man, somebody ought to have that looked at. But I kept hearing it...so I turned down the music and realized that somebody was me. Still wasn't worried, figured I'd tell James when I got home. Then I exited to get on the Beltway and get off of the parking lot that was 290, and my car went a little crazy. So, I pulled over into a parking lot and called my Boy for his opinion. Back in the day when he was commuting from Houston to Brenham in the CRV every day, the timing belt went out one day and took a whole lotta engine with it. That put a dent in our Discover card, let me tell ya. But, we don't have a Discover card anymore, so we are hoping to catch this timing belt before it eats our lunch.
Anyway, I texted my boss and let her know, then settled in to wait--it was going to be 2 hours before James could get out to get me, and I really did not want to ride to Brenham with a tow truck operator (even though he turned out to be perfectly wonderful!).
What's a girl to do?
Well, since my Boy would NOT agree to let me drive far enough to stop in a Target parking lot (harumph!), I parked where I originally turned in, by the Academy. And luckily for me, there was a La Madeline in the parking lot.
So, I grabbed my wallet and headed in to make some lemonade out of these lemons.
And I did. I was sitting there by the fireplace with my chocolate croissant and yummy, warm coffee and I kept hearing, "I'm having a me party..." in my head.
That's what it was, all right.
I had a little me party in La Madeline, then I headed back to my car to get some work done while I waited. I have to admit, even though my boss might read this, that I got more done in that hour and a half than I probably would have accomplished all day at home today. It felt pretty good.
Because I have the attention span of a gnat, I took a break and checked facebook. One of my sweet friends had posted this:
Be still before the Lord (stop) and wait patiently (on tip toes) for Him.
Be still--it's funny how hard He has to work sometimes to remind us to just stop and wait for Him.
Last night Daddyboy had a photo gig, so the kids and I were left to our own devices for a couple of hours. We needed to head downtown (ah, life in a small town, downtown is 5 minutes away!) and pick up a birthday gift, so I figured that would kill a few minutes. Well, it's been a while since we've been downtown so after we got the gift the kids wanted to walk around. And then someone asked for ice cream. And...well, I couldn't think of a reason to say no. So I didn't. We visited a friend who's in the middle of closing her shop (bittersweet), then headed down to Yumm! for pizza and ice cream.
Friday nights are usually tough because we're all pretty wiped out at the end of the week, and man, was this week a DOOZIE. But last night wasn't tough at all, it was fun. It was relaxed. We laughed, and skipped, and giggled. And then we ran to WalMart for part of another birthday gift, and by the time we got home Daddy was home. So we changed into pjs and the boys played video games for a while and Kayci and I hung out, then we all ended up on our bed watching "The Brady Bunch" and eating popcorn. I suspect we'll be cleaning popcorn out of our room for days, but that's okay. :) This was the kids' first time to watch the Bradys, and they actually enjoyed it. Kayci was scandalized by the length of the dresses (but, but, that's just a SHIRT!), and we got a giggle at Mr. Brady's sweet capri jeans and high tops. It was nice to watch something with our kids that didn't contain language that was iffy ("stupid" is a bad word in our house...that's the least of the iffy language on the Disney shows we watch) or disrespectful children (and adults!). I foresee more "Brady Bunch" in our future.
I don't want to live 30 years ago, or even 50, 60, 70, or 80 years ago. I'm definitely inspired by various things from all of those times--design, clothing, furniture, food, simplicity...but I don't want to live in simpler times. I want to live simply in this time. It can be done, but sometimes I have to literally stop moving and doing and planning and working and just refocus on what's really important.
We struggle with keeping Noble in bed past 5:00 am, anyway, and this time change has shot that all to pieces. So today I had my coffee and quiet time while he played Angry Birds Star Wars (it's finally here!!!) beside me.
Whenever he gets up early, it throws off our schedule. I like to get up, have coffee (that my Boy makes and brings to me every day, so spoiled!), and have my quiet time before I get online and check e-mail, check facebook, and do a little work before 6:30. (That's the time that we drop everything and start getting ready for the day...any later and things get too hairy around here!) James does his own version of morning quiet time in the office and usually gets in a little work time, too. It seems Noble wakes up the neediest on the days that James has the most work to do. Isn't that just how kids are?
But this week, with the time change, I haven't been making Noble go back to bed like we were doing before--he's ready to get up. His body thinks it's past 6:00 (or six-oh-oh, if you're Bubby). And we can always use the extra cuddles.
Because it won't be long until he's cool like his big sister, and cuddles are few and far between. These mornings will be just a memory.
It's very clear that Noble's a morning person and Kayci's an afternoon person. I get my best quality time with Bubby before the world wakes up, and my best quality time with Bitty after school and before the bedtime rush. So as much as I'd like to pack those times with my agenda, I work to make time for the knuckleheads.
When is YOUR kid's time? If you don't know, take a look at the day. When does he/she talk to you the most? Open up about what's going on? One of my cousin's kiddos would only open up at bedtime, so she always made sure to take a few minutes to go sit on his bed before he went to sleep. I didn't understand that until my Bitty got older...I wondered why they didn't just talk during the day. Now I get it...kids talk when they talk.
Now, I will say this, too: we have to train our kids to talk, sometimes. Around here we ask two questions every day: in the morning, "what does your day look like?" and in the evening, "what was the best part of your day?" "I don't know" isn't an acceptable answer for the second. When we have friends over they tend to look at us like we're crazy when we sit around and talk about our days, but I think it's important. No, scratch that, I believe to the very core of my soul that it's important. It doesn't take long for distance to build between two people...when James and I get busy and quit asking each other about work, before long we quit asking each other about other things or mentioning little things like what we need from the grocery store--then we end up arguing and starting from scratch. Communication is so, so important to keep relationships and families healthy.
Not sure why that's on my mind today, but there it is. Talk to your kids, folks. Talk to your partner. Before you talk to any of them, talk to your Father. That's a post for another day, but I'm a big believer in starting the day on the right foot, in prayer and in the Word. My day just goes better when I'm following His agenda, not mine. But again, that's a post for another day.
It's 6:30, time to pry the iPad away from Noble and get ready for our day. He doesn't know it, but he's about to take a pic for a little happy's Facebook page this morning. :)
Yesterday is over, and the results of are election do not surprise me. But today is a new day, and I'm grateful to have a job to drive to today. I'm grateful today is AWANA day, and even though I'll miss it tonight, my kids will still learn about who's really in charge of our country. I'm grateful that I got to cuddle on the couch with my Boy last night and catch up on TV and watch election returns. I'm grateful that we have a few more busy days (several, if you're counting) and then life should settle down a bit. I'm grateful to have a few more t-shirt orders to process by the end of the week, and for the calls I've gotten this week for jobs that I'm having to turn down. I'm grateful we live in a country where we got to vote yesterday, and have a say. One vote does still count, no matter what the naysayers say.
Today is a new day. Time to take stock, and move forward with a grateful heart.
My plan was to take all of those bags of shredded paper and my dashed hopes to recycling on Friday. But, between work and getting ready for camping, I ran out of time.
This morning I thought, I'd better get that to recycling today. So I went to move the bags to my car, and after touching the first wet bag, remembered that it rained this weekend. No way was I putting all of that wet stuff in my car, so I tossed that first almost empty bag aside to move the rest outside the gate so I could put them in the truck on James' lunch break. And when that bag hit the ground, I heard a clink.
So I picked it up and set it down on the ground again--clink.
And it's me, so I did it several more times. clink. clink. clink. clink. clink. clink. clink.
I held my charm bracelet still in case that's what I was hearing. Nope. clink.
I didn't want to get my hopes up after all I went through last week to find that ring. (Thanks, Heather, btw.) But I got down on my knees and started digging. Nothing. I'd pick the bag up and drop it again to listen for where the sound was coming from. clink.
I didn't give up. I kept digging. Then I started pulling paper OUT of the bag, figuring it'd be easier to clean up my back porch than let that ring go when I was so. close. clink.
I wanted to give up--for a not very full bag, I was having NO LUCK. clink.
But I knew it was in there.
And finally, I found it.
All I can figure is that this bag was the VERY. LAST. HANDFUL. of shredded paper from the bags I literally went through shred by shred...and I somehow missed it. I didn't go over it with the metal detector because I *knew* it was in one of the other 3 bags.
So much for knowing. I was wrong, and I don't care. I got my ring back!!!!
It's November (already!). Each day I'll post something I'm grateful for, but I won't limit myself to the "series" posts this month because last month during the 31 days I kept thinking of things I wanted to tell y'all and I didn't want to interrupt my flow of 31 days of purpose. So, no more "rules"--just 30 days of gratitude/thankful fors! And whatever else comes to mind...
Big shocker: I'm a procrastinator from way back.
This summer I thought it would be a fabulous idea to sign up for an online training to support a project I'm working on at work.
The training started the week mom retired, which was right before my big staff development day, which was the week before school started, which was the week mom moved here, which was...well, the beginning of a very busy couple of months around here. Seriously, I JUST stopped feeling like every day was summer vacation a couple of weeks ago! I was having a really hard time getting back into the work swing of things.
And I kept putting this online course off and putting it off...every time I'd start looking at it I'd get overwhelmed. So I kept moving it down on my work to-do list. Oh, no, can't do that, I have to um...print this page first. You know how it goes. Well, that's how it goes for me.
But, this caused a world of problems for the accounting department because I'd *idiotically* signed up for an online course that straddled two fiscal years. Oy.
It's been an ongoing issue. I'm a little surprised I still have a job.
Last week, I got the e-mail: FINISH THE FREAKING COURSE NOW.
So, I got busy.
And yesterday I finished it.
Do you have any idea how good it feels to have that off my list?? I'm so relieved.
Today I'm going to tackle stuff I needed to do 3 weeks ago, and MUST have done before my teachers meet next Wednesday. Then I'll be "caught up." Mostly.
I know I take on too much, but I do love being busy. I just don't like being BEHIND. Which is why the procrastination issue irritates me...I tend to keep things very compartmentalized: work, volunteer stuff, family, home, online job, a little happy...and I attack things in "must do" order. Unless it's something major. In which case I'm likely to move everything else to the top of the list to avoid doing the hard thing.
Since we got so sidetracked with the logo and the look and business planning earlier this month, it became pretty apparent last week that we weren't going to have a totally functional website by 10/31. As of yesterday, I'd pretty well resigned myself to no website by 10/31. But my Boy wasn't satisfied with that, so he created a page that gives the information people need to get in touch with us. It's actually pretty cool, the little things he included in the page--if you click on the chalkboard, an e-mail window opens up. If you click on the Facebook logo, it takes you to the a little happy page. I wouldn't have thought of those details, but that's my Boy. I love the way he thinks!
Thanks, Boy! You have done SO MUCH for me and a little happy this month--I am so grateful for your support and work and for the way you believe in me and have been so instrumental in making my dreams come true. I'd be lost without you, you know. :)
(I won't even mention the words business cards til after our camping trip. Promise. Crud, I did it just then, didn't I? I won't say it again.)
I started off the 31 days of October with a clear purpose in mind: get organized to be able to take holiday orders for a little happy. My thought was that we'd get the website up and start slowly.
I love God's sense of humor, don't you?
A few days in, a friend invited me to participate in the holiday shopathon on 10/20. That jumpstarted things quite a bit--instead of focusing on the website, for several days we focused on the "look" of a little happy. I'm pretty happy with how that's turned out. I was on the wrong track with my original idea of orange and white--while those will be our signature colors (you gotta say it with a Steel Magnolias accent!), our website and "stuff" will be whimsical and colorful...not crisp and businesslike.
Because silly makes me happy. And our logo? Makes my heart smile.
As of 10/30, we haven't accomplished our major goal of October: to get the website up and running. Let's see how 10/31 goes--I haven't given up hope, yet!
The other area where we're running behind is business cards...we printed some throwdowns for the event on the 20th, but as soon as James finishes the website we'll use some of those elements for the business cards. I can see them in my head, but we're going to have to make time for a mini photo shoot before they can happen. I'd like to have them by the 10th, when a friend has a show and might feature some of my stuff if I can get it around...we'll see! First things first.
An interesting side effect of all this purpose? Being convicted about STUFF. Specifically, all of my teaching stuff that was crowding my work closet. So I cleaned that out last week and spent some time organizing my work stuff.
Oh! Why did I get convicted about my work stuff? Well, that's a funny story. One day I woke up and decided I wanted to clear the office of unnecessary clutter. It had turned into organized hoarding, friends, and that room was just...too much. Too much STUFF. Too little purpose. I had an ulterior motive: I'd like to move a little happy's heat press out of my room. I don't mind the table with the Silhouette and vinyl in here, but that press is just too much. So, I needed a place to put it. And James' corner has been on the to-do list since last Christmas. And the kids are older so a lot of the toys in the office weren't ever even used...once I got a mind to get to work in the office, stuff started flying off the shelves. I've sent several bags to Noble's preschool teacher, and a sweet teacher at the Christian Academy here in town who's starting a PreK/K program this year has literally taken two very large carloads off my hands. Seriously. And I took a Pilot FULL to Higgins Branch a couple of days ago.
Convicted, people. So, once I get past some work stuff that I've let pile up because I'm me and I can't work when I'm not organized...well, then it'll just take about 10 minutes to rearrange the office and move my press out there. Looking forward to that next week!
Part of the problem with James' desk corner was all of his photo equipment that would just sort of pile up. Once I got convicted about cleaning out my work stuff and putting it in the hands of people who can use it (Oh! I also took a car load to PPCD storage for Cyndi to add to our library--that felt great!), I realized how much space in my work closet was wasted on stuff that was just hanging around for whatever reason. And man, was there a lot. of. stuff. I'm a pack rat by nature, friends, and I tend to put away any little shiny thing just in case I can use it later. Pack rat + preschool teacher = hoarder. Bleh.
It felt soooooo good to get rid of stuff. But even though I'd cleaned tons of stuff out of my work closet and--get this--cleared HALF of it to make space for James' equipment, there were still boxes and boxes and binders and piles of paper in the closet...we had receipts and bills and who knows what "on file" since 2003. In the interest of full disclosure, very little was actually filed prior to 2010--it was mostly piles of paper we'd thrown in boxes in lieu of filing and organizing. In a word: it was a mess. Another word? Embarrassing. And yet another? Humbling. And sickening. And encouraging.
I hadn't even opened some of the boxes since we tossed them up on the highest closet shelves when we moved in six and a half years ago...those boxes were a symbol of years of mismanaging our money and not even having the decency to be organized about it. We went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University in 2009 (this Friday is our anniversary, as a matter of fact!), and because we were so sick of ourselves and our bad choices, we took to it like fishes to water. We weren't drowning in debt...but we were pretty close. Looking back now, I cannot believe all of our credit cards. I saw bills with balances of several thousand dollars, and we'd pay the minimum of a couple hundred bucks each month while still using the cards...it was pure craziness. We were wrong, no way around it. That's another post, I know, but it was hard to revisit that place in our lives. I don't even think it was that we were trying to keep up with the Joneses...we just didn't tell ourselves no. I won't say FPU or changing our habits was easy, but it was LIFE CHANGING. If you have any doubts at all if you're doing right by your money and your future, I urge you to check out Dave Ramsey. That's my PSA for today.
Anyway, it was time to let that stuff go. But, all those bills and receipts, all that personal information...I had no choice but to go through every single thing and shred everything that had personal information on it. It took over a week, if you're counting, of a few minutes here and there, because of course life didn't stop because I had a project I wanted to complete. Anyone else?
This would have made me laugh if it wasn't so...sad.
So here's what I ended up with: 8 bags of shredded STUFF. 8 bags of years of disorganization, mismanagement, denial, bad habits, overspending, underplanning...8 bags of reminders of people we never want to be again. 8 bags of habits I never, ever want my children to model. What? There are only 5 bags in this picture? Oh, yeah. That.
Because I'm me...somewhere between bags 6 and 8, I realized I was no longer wearing my cross ring. Earlier I'd lost a ring pushing down the shredded paper, and I thought, nah, I'll just be more careful. My rings have just been flying off lately, and I've thought several times about putting those groovy ring sizers in them until I figure out what size I really need. Hmm.
So, bags 6-8 are sitting in the office waiting for Mason to come over and bring his metal detector. :)
And them I'm going to load up my car and take all those bad memories to recycling. Update: sweet Heather brought the metal detector over in between drop off and Masquerade parade. No ring. :(
30 days ago, I had no idea what we'd accomplish this month. I had no idea that we'd be here today--but man, it feels good to have so much STUFF out of the little green house!
So, I set an arbitrary goal for this month: to have a website up by the 31st so I can take orders.
But somewhere along the way, I got inspired to start a Facebook page. And I've been taking orders there. And we have 69 likes in a week.
69, people!!! Or, 69 people!!! *update: publishing this 7 hours later, up to 76. 76!
So we might make our website deadline, we might not. I'm okay with that. We've accomplished so much more than I ever imagined, and in so many different areas. (After the 31 days are up, I'll tell you what I've been doing in the office!)
For the past 29 days, I've so enjoyed collaborating with my Boy and having fun with the knuckleheads and our friends.
This might have been "my" idea, but it's turned into OUR business. It's not what I'd planned...it's so. much. better.
Thank You, Lord, for these many blessings, and for not giving me what I deserve.
This 31 days has been...amazing. Even beyond a little happy, things are changing and moving and I'm just trying to be obedient and keep up! You guys have been so wonderful to like us on Facebook...it's humbling, all this support.
On Saturday, Lynn brought my best customer to Brenham so James could take some pictures of him. Hopefully there are a couple that are good pics of the shirts...as far as I'm concerned, they're ALL good pictures of Jackson!
Then after church yesterday we took the kids out to the corn maize for a fall 2013 shoot. Yes! I may not be ready for THIS year, but by golly we're thinking ahead!
We got several compliments on our shirts yesterday, but of course neither of us had business cards. Here's the thing: am I THAT guy? Or do I just tell people I make and sell them, check out alittlehappystore.com?
I'd love your feedback on that one...I don't want to be the creepy lady that stalks you in Hobby Lobby to give you her business card!
I'm so grateful to all of you who have "liked" a little happy on facebook. I've already started getting orders from the facebook page--I'm SO STINKIN' EXCITED! Thank you all...I'd be lost without my friends, friends.
I couldn't resist--Lynn's so excited, too! So far, Jackson is my best customer. Stay tuned for some pics of him in his new shirts. :) So excited to squeeze that little redhead this weekend!
It's funny...I started October intending to be intentional for 31 days as far as getting my little business up and running.
But, as is so often the case, it seems God has even bigger plans.
It's been a time of introspection for me, and that can be pretty uncomfortable.
So I've found myself reaching for my favorite things often, just for comfort and familiarity in this time of flux and change.
After a whirlwind day of commuting and meetings and work, tonight I reached for my favorite jeans. You know the ones, the Eddie Bauer mom jeans with the blown out knee. The jeans I love to wear when my weight is down (ha--if you could SEE the size on the tag you'd laugh, it's so not a weight down size, and I'm still grateful for it!)...but I digress.
Tonight AWANA was laidback and awesome. One little friend in particular has taken to sitting in my lap (when she can fight Noble off) or beside me during carpet time. Tonight whenever we sat down she would sit next to me and when I got busy talking, I noticed her softly poking my knee, and I could feel the question in her gentle touch. And then she rubbed the soft, 9 year old denim that's almost suede it's so worn. She looked up at me and said, "Ms. Kristi, where do you buy jeans with holes on the knee like this?" I just smiled and said, "I bought these when Kayci was a baby and the hole is from wearing them out." She seemed content with that answer.
And you know what? I'm pretty content with it, too.
quiet time until 6:30. have been up since 5:00 for that purpose and have been online looking up the stuff i woke up thinking about, instead.
revised: put laptop away. quiet time from 6:12-6:30.
feed and love on my family. get dressed. pack lunches. get everyone to school and work on time.
get that ginormous nail removed from my tire...and probably get said tire replaced. rework this week's already-slim budget to reflect new tire.
work on my "real" job.
pick up noble.
feed and love on noble. put him down for a nap.
feed and love on james. send him back to work.
work on my real job.
pick up kayci.
be mommy until bedtime (feed, love, play...you know the drill).
work on my "real" job. check in on my online job.
spend some time with my boy.
do it again tomorrow, minus the tire (God willing, right?).
it's all about balance, right? last week the scales tipped waaaaaaaaaaaay toward taking care of a little happy business. so this week, time to get back in the saddle and focus on getting my head back in the ppcd game...gotta go TO work wednesday AND friday. this will be one of "those" weeks work-wise, but you know, i'm cool with it because we had such a great weekend. i'm starting this week refreshed and focused and excited for whatever's next.
Our goals today were:
1. family time
2. down time
3. dream time
4. to-do list time
I'd say our day was a success, and I think the rest of the family would agree.
We accomplished two business goals today, which is all we had on the list: set up PayPal and create a Facebook page. The first was simple, the second will be an ongoing project. And I'm okay with that. :)
Today was a good day.
Today was the Holiday Shopathon. I'll put you out of your misery: it wasn't a big sales day for anyone. BUT...thanks to sweet Heather who drove out just to support me and placed a very early birthday order for a certain almost one year old and bought a chalkboard that I would have gladly given her, I broke even and made my table fee back. And then another vendor (I was a VENDOR, people!) bought a chalkboard, so I broke even on those.
I learned a lot today.
From my friend Linda, a jewelry lady, I learned to do a giveaway/drawing. That way I can email people with my website and maybe they'll order something.
From my friend Misti, who sells thirty one, I learned that people like sale prices.
From my friend Holly, who wasn't there but gave me a few pointers on my table (back when I was only going to do orange and white, so glad I switched!), I learned that I need some height on my table.
And I learned something just in creating the table look: it's hard to sell a concept, which is what a little happy really is. I thought I was doing okay, but then today I took a good, hard look at my table and realized it really doesn't SAY what I'm selling.
So, next time. I've got some work to do.
But for a first time, come on--check out that banner, guys! That little cube wall behind the table came with the table, but I didn't know about it until I was on my way to Pflugerville last night, so I didn't have time to create anything for the wall. So, I improvised. It was meh, okay. But at least it wasn't blank! :)
James brought his camera and snapped a few pics. Since I specialize in crappy phone pics on my blog, I took pictures of his pictures so you wouldn't get too overwhelmed with actual, in focus images.
Noble walked up and got really teary--"I don't want you to sell my cwothes!" I didn't even think that he'd think that...oopsie. Also, look in the picture above--Alex totally got a gander at his birthday present. Oopsie again--guess that's a sign I should just give it to him early!
I had two goals today: learn how to do a craft show/fair, and let people know I'm ready to take orders.
This sweet lady, another vendor, took the time to talk to me about what works and doesn't work--and she gave me some great, doable tips for next time. I'm so grateful to her! I just might have to send a little happy her way...she probably doesn't even know how she blessed me!
All in all, today was a success. I'm grateful for the opportunity to try out a new skill, if you can call participating in a "show" a skill, and to be able to do it in a low-stakes kind of way.
I'm grateful I did this today, because it made me get organized and do the heart-work I've been needing to do. Set goals. Create a business plan. Get the logo finalized. Create a table display. Figure out how to take money (hello, Square--what a blessing!). Figure out change. Figure out receipts, and carbon copies (yep, old school, baby). Figure out a book to share ideas of what can be done...even though said book is SO homemade and filled with, you guessed it, crappy phone pictures. I made my shirt! (Although looking at the pictures, I'm not sure I met my goal of getting the words below my...um...bra. Hmm--might have to rethink it! Or lose another 10 pounds...)
But I did it.
And now I'm ready to take orders, kids. Bring 'em on. Can I make you a little happy? :)