31 October 2012

Day 31: he did it!

I love my Boy.  I talk about him all the time, I know, but I am truly, truly grateful for him.

Not just because he's gorgeous.

Not just because he brings me coffee in bed every. single. day.

Not just because he's a lot of fun and makes a great Daddy.

Not just because he gets me.

Not just because he's crazy-talented.

There are so many reasons.  But here's another one:

I love him for getting it done.

That's right, our major goal for this month was getting the website up.

It's not quite functional yet, but as of this morning you'll no longer see the Host Gator page when you visit...wait for it...

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.)  

Day 30: 31 days of purpose...detours

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!

29 October 2012

Day 29: to do, or not to do...

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.

Day 28: Fall 2013

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!

25 October 2012

Day 25: you gotta have friends...

If you're visiting from a little happy, the answer is in my October 2nd post:


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!

24 October 2012

Days 23 & 24: if it makes you happy...

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.

My worn out mom jeans make me happy.
What makes you happy?

22 October 2012

Day 22: a little balance

so, today looks like this:

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.

how about you?

21 October 2012

Day 21: just a little a little happy

Our goals today were: 1. family time 2. down time 3. dream time and 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.

20 October 2012

Day 20: and...go!

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?  :)

19 October 2012

Day 19: almost there!

We have made so much progress in the past 24 hours! From here...

to here..

Tomorrow I'll show you the finished product...it's the shopathon!

18 October 2012

16 October 2012

Day 16: Counting down...

A while back, a friend invited me to participate in a holiday shopathon on October 20th (now it's THIS weekend!!).  My goal was to have my website up and running to take orders by the end of this month, so I said, sure.  Of course I'm not ready, but I will be by then...and I'm glad I signed up because it's doing exactly what I hoped it would do:  it's MAKING me get stuff going.  :)

Wish us luck!

15 October 2012

Day 15: Doing the Work

We have a vision for my website & business cards, and now it's time to do the work and make it happen. We could just buy a background and fake it, but that wouldn't be very us, would it? ;) Too easy, too done! So here we are, in search of the perfect weathered white wood. It's a gorgeous morning, the kids were happy to get to school early, and I'm glad to get out and get inspired before I sit down to work and do my real job. Turns out, it's a beautiful day. My Boy took a break from this:

to turn around

and appreciate this.

Because no matter how good you are, sometimes God's art is just too amazing to capture on film. Wish you were here, sweet friends.

14 October 2012

Day 14: Start as you Mean to Go On

A college professor used to tell us that about our classrooms:

Start as you mean to go on.

I think that applies to parenting, housekeeping, work, projects, organizing...everything.

If you start out with a structure in place and the end goal in mind, everything is just easier.

Well, I didn't start out designing t-shirts thinking I'd sell them one day.  I mean, I thought it might be fun, but I didn't really start out with the end in mind--I just started, and kept on making shirts.

And here we are 2 1/2 years later, and it's time to collect all of my t-shirt designs.

Turns out, I've forgotten more than I've remembered.

I've only got blurry, dark phone pictures of a lot of them.

I was obviously NOT thinking high-quality, website-worthy photography.

So...I've still got some figuring out to do.  But I think for now I'll have to start with just images of each design--think these will give people the idea?  I'll have some actual shirts, too, so they can see size of design and placement--but I don't think it's feasible to have an actual shirt for every design.  I guess we'll see how it goes and go from there.  This is one of the reasons I've had a hard time starting...too much mess to sort through.  This is a good lesson for me--follow my own advice, and be organized!

13 October 2012

Day 13: Clarity!

Turns out, I've had the wrong idea for my creative business this whole time.  I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get GOING...bought the domain name, still sitting blank.

Talked about business cards...still haven't ordered.

Trying to get ready for a show next week...haven't accomplished ANYTHING.

Part of it is because this week has been so busy with my "real" job and life.

But I realized this morning during prayer time that I've been off-track.

And once I stopped talking and started listening, it all became clear.

The designs I had in mind for the website and business card were too one-dimensional, too flat.  They were only PART of who I am.  And this morning, I closed my eyes and I could SEE it--a mix of several design elements that make me happy.  I can see it--and I'm ready to make it happen.

Oh, clarity, it's great to see you again!

12 October 2012

Days 9, 10, 11 & 12: Seasons

So much for picking up on Tuesday.  Sigh.

It's been a busy week, work- and life-wise.

Crud--typing that reminded me I've got some work to do before I get into the shower.  I started a new online cycle last week (I haven't worked for them since JULY!) and honestly, it's been a little hard to get back in that saddle.  I have to keep reminding myself to get online and check courses every day!  It'll get automatic again, I know...

So this is a blog post I started Tuesday when I took Noble to the park to feed the ducks after school.  As we stood there, it occurred to me that this season of our lives, his preschool season, is drawing to a close.

Kayci's elementary school season is drawing to a close, as well.

Before we know it, Friday night football games will be the norm--only they'll ride home on a bus or with friends.  It sure was fun to watch our mini mascots a week ago, though!

Before we know it, this one will be...ack, I can't even think what's next.  She's so big!  Doesn't she look gorgeous in that jacket and boots?  I had to text this pic to Keely--she reminds me of college Keely in this picture.  All she needs is some sweater boot thingys.

And this one...our days of heading to the park with our lunch and lunch for the ducks and geese are numbered.  Sniff.  This is one of my absolute favorite things that we do...

And how much longer will he ask for a push on the swings?
My point is, there are seasons in our lives.  The seasons change, and we change.  I work every day to make sure we're enjoying the season we're IN, and not worrying about the season just past or the season to come.

07 October 2012

Days 4, 5, 6, 7 & what the heck, 8: Life happened.

I hoped doing my own version of the 31 day challenge would help me actually blog every day in October.

Catch ya Tuesday...my goal is to pick this up then.

03 October 2012

Day 3: Who we are

Yesterday my Boy filmed out at Round Top all day. I was trying to fight the envy--he got to hang out with some of our favorite friends, follow one of my favorite bloggers around, spend the day at one of the coolest events ever...and to top it all off, they got to go to Rachel Ashwell's The Prairie for an event. Sigh. I kid about the envy...mostly. :) When he came in, to shouts of "Daddy! Daddy!" and kids jumping on him like he was Pa Ingalls walking in after being gone for months, he hugged me and handed me something. I kid you not--this is just who we are, and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. My manly Boy said, "I got you a happy." Cause it's just who we are. Wanna see? I'm soooooo wearing it tomorrow! He brought me a tee from The Prairie. Does he know me, or does he know me?

02 October 2012

Day 2: Happys!

I met Lynn my sophomore year at Sam.  She was unlike anyone I'd ever been friends with, and from the start we had tons of fun together.  The sillier, the better!  We eventually became best friends and roommates, and our friendship has endured (with a few bumps and bruises, since we're real around here) for 18 years now.  (Yowza--now I feel old!)

One thing I learned from Lynn was how much fun it is to give little gifts.  Whenever Lynn traveled with her parents, she'd bring me back a little gift and say, invariably:  "I got you a little happy!"  Or if she was out shopping and saw something I'd like, she'd get me a happy.  You get the idea--Lynn is the friend who taught me the joy of GIVING.  (Not that I didn't love GETTING all those happys, you know, but for the first time I realized how much more fun it is to GIVE!)

To this day, Lynn is so good about having little happys for me or the kids when we get to visit.  And one thing I always, always look forward to are cards and notes from Lynn...for 18 years now, I know when I see this:

that there's a happy inside.  And that makes me happy inside.  :)

Lynn, thank you for teaching me about happys, 
and inspiring me even after all these years!

01 October 2012

Day 1: Orange you glad it's October?

Pharaon fun fact:  3 of the 4 of us are wearing orange tees today.  Goofy but true.

Last night I couldn't go to sleep, so I was blog-hopping on my phone.  I have seen "31 days" posts popping up a lot lately, and I finally took the time to see what it was all about.  Click here to visit the Nester if you want to see all of the links--it's pretty amazing!

Laying there in bed, it all clicked.  I don't feel inspired to write about one topic for 31 days, and I don't feel like I have 31 days worth of stuff to share that y'all would want to know.  BUT...I am at a crossroads professionally, and things are falling into place rapidly as we work to get my little business off the ground.

So, I told my Boy, why not use this 31 day challenge as a way to share with y'all what's going on and give me a firm timeline for getting the website going, taking holiday orders, etc.?

And so I am.

Back to the blog title.  Day 1:  Orange you glad it's October?

This orange tee has special significance to me--it's been washed and waiting for the past 2+ weeks.  As soon as we finish my logo, I'm going to put it on this shirt.  I can't WAIT!  If you know me, you know that orange is my favorite, favorite color, so I warn you now:  my logo colors are orange and white.

What's that?  None of you fell out of your chair in shock?!

I'm pretty predictable, I know.  I like what I like.  And orange makes me happy.  :)

More on that tomorrow.  See you on day 2!