31 January 2013

MOPS 1/31--in progress

This morning I'm talking to the MOPS group about organization.  Ironically, I skipped part of the text (their speaker had a schedule change at the last minute so we arranged this yesterday) and only read "organization."  Ha--I could do that one in my sleep.  So I got busy and sketched out a whole presentation.  I got a GOOD laugh at myself when I looked at the presentation I made 3 years ago...man, has that changed.  We have so much less STUFF now than we did then...it feels good!  

Wanna laugh?  Check it out!

Well, this morning I sat down to type up my notes and something was bugging me...so I revisited the texts.  Sure enough, I didn't read far enough (ironically, again, I got on to Kayci this morning for only listening to the FIRST part of my instructions...wonder where she gets it from?)...they wanted me to talk about organizing TIME!

Well, the irony.  First I cancelled my walk this morning, because, you know, I didn't have time if I was going to do this presentation right.  Ha!  

30 January 2013

Quiet Time

I *try* to start each day with quiet time, when I read my devotionals, spend some time in my prayer and gratitude journals, and work on my current Bible study.  I say *try* because this morning my quiet time  didn't quite happen.  It's like that some days.  Today there was a good reason, though.  :)

Noble's been in AWANA now for a year and a half.  He learns a Bible verse each week that he attends.  This fall we bought him his own Bible (he had a KJV from his Baptism that's very special, so we were worried he'd lose it as much as he carts his Bible around).  I'm not sure when it started, but sometime this fall he got interested in what I was doing during quiet time.  We talked one day about what I was studying in Esther, so for the longest time he'd go get his Bible and say, "shh...I'm reading my Esther."

This morning at 6:02, he climbed up in Daddy's spot to tell me good morning.  He said, "happy AWANA day!  Wait, wait, I need to do my quiet time!"  So he went and got his Cubbies book, then he went and got his Bible.  I was impressed at how he recalled the stories we've studied over the past couple of months...he told me about John the Baptist, Jesus' fishermen disciples, Mary & Martha and Lazarus...he loves, loves the Bible.  I have to give St. Paul's credit, because he comes home each week and tells me all about what he learns in Chapel...they do a great job of making the Bible come to life!  
My prayer this morning is that Noble will grow to be a godly man who develops the type of relationship with the Lord where he WANTS to spend quiet time with Him each day.  I pray that he'll lead his family, take them to church--and live by the same principles all 7 days of the week, talk about God and Jesus and the Bible with his family and whoever he meets, and just live a bold life, all to the glory of God.  I pray that he'll be strong in his convictions and also quick to listen and learn.  I pray that he'll be confident but not arrogant.  I pray that James and I will be a help and not a hindrance, and raise Noble with a strong foundation of faith and family.  
I hope you'll take a quick minute to pray for our son, and for your sons, too!  :)  

28 January 2013

Project Life Update: Week 4

I know a couple of y'all are considering Project Life, so here's an update.

So far, I'm not doing so great with the updating each week.  I did the first 2 weeks two weeks ago, and then yesterday I did another 2 weeks.  I'm okay with that.  

Know what surprised me each time?  I could do a page on each DAY of our lives--it's tough to squish a week into 8 slots.  :)

All in all, I'm LOVING it--and I think my family's enjoying it, too.

This is where I was with the first two weeks...but I wasn't digging it.  So I did what Project Life says you don't have to do--I cut some pictures and reworked a few things.  And now?  I dig it!

See?  The after is much more me!

Here's the next 2 weeks...okay, okay, I cheated--it took me 3 pages to do these two.  But, part of that is because it was a 3 day weekend and we had TONS of fun with family and friends!  I was trying to make it all fit and then I realized, it's MY scrapbook--I don't need to be so legalistic this early in the game.  It needs to reflect what our lives are really like, and some weeks, our lives are jam-packed.

A couple of these pics made my blog and/or the family blog this week, too.  I think it makes sense that there's overlap...that's the big stuff.  Or, in my case, the little things.  :)

See the sweet picture in the bottom left corner?  That's our cousin Pauline, who passed away this past week.  We found out Friday and headed to Highlands on Saturday for her funeral.  I've been to some great funerals, but this by far was the best I've ever experienced.  It was 2+ hours of laughter and tears and hope and joy and faith and love...it was all about Pauline, and Pauline was all over it.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't call her or visit nearly enough, and I felt that tremendously on Saturday as we discussed who was related to who again after the funeral.  The person who would know is gone--Pauline was the keeper of dates and facts.  It's just made me think...a lot.

Tomorrow I'll share a great quote from her service, but tonight I have to get ready for family pictures!

25 January 2013

Dang it!

image:  abcfamily.com

So, you know we don't have cable.  While I'm doing my online work (or writing billions of notes for work, like the past two weeks) if I'm alone I'll turn on a show.  I tend to pick one at random on Netflix and work my way through.  Well, quite a while back I found a show I absolutely loved, "Jane by Design."  I forget what project I was working on...I think it was rosters/projections...but anyway, I went through the first 10 or so available episodes and put it on the back burner.  Several weeks ago, I checked and the rest of the season was available on Netflix, so I've been watching them as I have time. Well...today I watched the last episode of Season 1.  Big cliffhanger.  Edge of my seat!  So, I checked online to see when Season 2 was produced and to see if I can find it online...dang it!  It was cancelled after Season 1.  Now I'll NEVER know.

Sniff.  I'll miss you, Jane and Billy.  

24 January 2013

The Little Things

This is the sign that hangs on our back door.  It pretty well sums up my life philosophy, as well:
it's the little things.  

I think it's important to share trials as well as joys...because life is all about both, no?  So, here it is...from about Thanksgiving to just a couple of weeks ago, DaddyBoy and I were in a bit of a relationship slump.  Then it became a valley.  There wasn't anything wrong, or bad...it was just...off.   I really got worried when he quit bringing me coffee each morning.  It's such a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but that daily act of service makes me feel so LOVED.  So after a while, I asked him about it.  And the poor Boy honestly hadn't noticed.  So he started again, but things were still off.  There were other things off, too...a missed goodnight kiss here and there, little things like that.

Little things, y'all, that make our relationship what it is.

Little things, that take effort, yes, but usually come so naturally.

Little things that, when missing, left BIG holes.

One day at lunch we sat down eye to eye and talked it all out...it was just one of those weird things where nothing was wrong but things FELT wrong.  And we agreed that it's the little things that we needed to get back to...so we did.  And we have.  And all's right with my world again.

What are the little things in your relationship?  Are there any little things you've quit doing...or any you could start doing to make your other half feel more loved?  Not because he/she will return the favor, but because it would make him/her feel loved?  All this time, James has been making and bringing me coffee each morning...so now I've started getting the coffee pot ready the day before.  It takes me 2 minutes, but I'd like to think whenever he gets to the coffee pot first thing in the morning he feels loved that I took a couple of minutes to do that for him.  He's thanked me several times, which isn't really the point but is pretty nice.  That's another one--not taking little things for granted!  I thank him for that coffee every single time.

Think about it.  I know I've been thinking about little things a LOT this past several weeks, and have realized how the little things add up to one great life.  Or not, as the case may be.  So don't skimp on the little things, the everyday things...they're everything.

Disclaimer:  our relationship is based on more than morning coffee, it's just a good example of one of our little things.

15 January 2013

Still THAT Kid...

We had a good giggle this weekend, recalling Noble's "that kid" early years. That led to me digging up this picture...

...of when I gave Noble the wrong kind of ice cream one evening. Boy, he's come a long way. :) But, there are times... Sunday, Daddy sent Noble to his room because he was crying. He used the time alone to make a sign for the door that said something to the effect of, "stay out, Noble is crying!" It wasn't too long before he took that one down and replaced it.

In case you aren't fluent in 4 year old, that's a heart after Mommy. It says, "Mommy loves Noble Kayci Daddy." Oh, that kid!

13 January 2013

Project Life!

Yesterday I learned a new skill...okay, okay, I *started learning a new skill.  I had DaddyBoy teach me some Photoshop basics so I can create collages for my Project Life layouts.  Here's the first one--New Year's Eve!  

My goal isn't great pictures or even art...just a quick look at what our life is really like from day to day, week to week.  I'll do a quick journal card/note with some of the pictures, too.  I hope to spend about an hour (or less) each week putting together the week before...fingers crossed!  I'm not even worried about the 37 years before this one.  Much.    :)

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself because today is the end of week 2 of 2013 and I should be able to finish weeks 1 & 2 this afternoon during nap time.  Ask me again in a couple of weeks!

It took me a whole year to get around to it, but now I've got my Project Life tools in hand and I'm ready to take a stab at documenting 2013 as we go.  Novel for me, I know--my style is much more throwing stuff in boxes in closets and moving it around from time to time while making noises about needing to scrapbook!

09 January 2013

Nerd is the Word

I got new glasses when Noble was a toddler.  They weren't what I wanted, but I got them anyway and for over 3 years now I've felt less than cute whenever I wear them.

Isn't it funny how one little thing can make such a difference?  I wish I wasn't so shallow, but apparently, I am.

This summer when Kayci got new glasses, I started the long process of choosing a new pair for myself.  4 months later, I finally did it.

I got new glasses.

Now, this summer I tried on lots of glasses that I liked, but they weren't "right" for my face.  So I put them back.  Last week when we went in, I tried on all of the frames I was "supposed" to wear...you know, the ones that fit my face shape, blah blah.

I almost got the right ones, too.

But not so deep down, for the past 20 years I've wanted a pair of tortoise shell nerd glasses.  When they came back in style last year, my inner nerd rejoiced.  But my practical side quickly squelched that celebration.  Nerd glasses, fun glasses?  So not me.

They don't fit my face, and all.

But can I tell you what?  At the last minute, I put away the "right" frames and picked up the pair that made my heart sing.  And I haven't regretted it, not once.

Sigh.  I'm a happy girl.

Sometimes doing what's not "right" but "right for me" makes ALL the difference.  :)

08 January 2013

Little Things

I snapped this picture yesterday as a reminder of one of my very favorite parts of Noble's 4 year old day.   Every day but Wednesday, I pick him up at 11:30 and bring him home for lunch.  Sometimes I'll take his sandwich in the car, sometimes we'll go feed the ducks, but most days, we just come home and he eats and then I put him down for his nap.  I absolutely cherish this hour with him, as it's the only one on one time I get with him each day.  (And yes, I miss that time with Kayci...once this age passes, it gets harder and harder to capture even a few minutes alone.)

For Christmas this year, Daddyboy and the knuckleheads bought me my first set of Project Life tools.  I'm looking forward to not only documenting 2013, but getting organized and putting pictures and keepsakes from the first 37 years of my life in books (or something), too.

So I need to be intentional this year about documenting the little things, like Bubby making his very own sandwich in his new favorite Superman sweatshirt (with a hood!) that he got for Christmas.  Those little hands, the little bit of his red pants! shirt peeking out of his hoodie, the fuzzy hair that needs to be cut (Mommy's still working on that, too)...it's all of these little things that add up into one great life.

After I snapped this picture yesterday, though, I realized this was only PART of the picture.

For the past week, our house has been wrecked as we've been in the middle of putting Christmas away, organizing some stuff, and just...living.  So yesterday the kids went back to school and I cleaned house.  It just felt important to capture the messy house, too, because that's real life around here sometimes.  For the past two weeks, it's been all of the time.  But it was a great two weeks, man.  :)

03 January 2013

budget's not a bad word

One of my friends texted yesterday and asked what I was up to.  I sent her this picture.

While the kids played Sorry and watched TV and played video games for too long, I spent a good portion of James' work day in our room yesterday tweaking our 2013 budget and creating our 2013 binder.  I entered the majority of our 2012 tax info into our handy dandy spreadsheet, too.

Oh, yeah.  And I finally compared what I SPENT on a little happy to what I brought in.  It'll come as no surprise to you that the small business that I ran for two months in 2012 didn't turn a profit.  But here's the cool thing:  it wasn't a washout.  I was SHOCKED when I added up all of the invoices, and so grateful.  I have lots and lots of room for improvement, but once I got over the fact that a profit didn't magically appear on the spreadsheet, I was really proud of what we accomplished in just a couple of months!  I've learned a lot, but I have a long way to go, I know.  And yes, I'm enjoying a few more days of vacation before I turn the press on again and break out the Silhouette.  :)

I've talked here before about our previous organization and budgeting issues.  Friends, I hear a lot of y'all talking about needing to be more organized and needing a budget.  May I speak frankly?  A budget and an organization system are MUSTS if you want to be in control of your money.  Trust me, this comes from someone who had no clue about money until just a few years ago.  I used to think "budget" was an obscene word, because I always related "budget" with "it's not IN the budget."  That's not necessarily what budget means.  We started budgeting as part of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, and that made an immediate difference in our finances.  It was like a whole new world--instead of spending until we decided to pay bills, we spent everything on paper before it even hit the bank, and determined HOW MUCH we would spend on everything.  To start, I had to go back over months and months and track how much we spent on groceries, gas, restaurants, clothes, etc...that was eye-opening.  I hate to admit that I couldn't have told you how much we brought in each month, much less how much our basic bills were.  Honestly, we got paid and we shopped hard and when we felt like we'd spent "enough" we'd pay bills.  Yeah, great plan.  Trust me, bill paying was a day of reckoning at our house that was a negative experience for YEARS.  I haven't missed that one bit.  Until we put it all on paper, I couldn't have told you what came out of our bank account automatically, when the gym took out their part or how much, how much we paid for insurance, anything.

Budget doesn't mean not having money, friends--it means that you know what's coming in, what's going out, and when.  A budget puts you in control, if you do it right.  And it's not nearly as hard as it sounds, if both partners are ready to work together.  This really isn't a commercial for Dave Ramsey, but his wisdom changed our lives.  And not to be overdramatic, but he changed our kids' lives, too, y'all--we're not rich, but we're not poor, either--and we don't spend all of our time worrying about money or fighting over it.  Check out his website, there are tons of free downloads and great articles to read.  And if you want to spend $20, buy this great book to get started (although most of y'all are tenacious enough to get started using the free info from his website):


Hmm...not where I thought this post was going, but I guess I needed to tell y'all about budgeting.  :)

So, here's our 2013 binder, that's tweaked a bit from the 2012 binder, which is way better than the 2011 binder was...every year it gets easier, y'all.  That spiral on top is a tweak, too.  We do our budget by our paychecks, so we have 1st of the month bills and middle of the month bills.  I used to print out the sheets and keep them in the binder, but what I found was that I wanted to make notes, etc. and sometimes checks didn't clear during the 2 weeks of the current budget and I needed to carry stuff over...so I started taping or stapling the budget sheets into the spiral notebook on the left hand side, and on the right hand side I make notes as we go through the two weeks so I know what checks are out, etc.  I also paperclip bills to the correct budget sheet, which helps me keep track of stuff like car registration, medical bills, etc. until I pay them.  Once I pay them they go into the binder, but I've found that keeping everything in one place means I don't accidentally forget bills.

Now, it doesn't mean I don't lose checks on my desk sometimes...I may have paid rent two weeks late a few months ago because I had the check ready to go in an envelope several days early...and then laid a stack of paper on top of it.  :/  Yep, I try to be organized but I still can find ways to screw it up.

I was sweating the 2012 binder--it's been pretty full for a couple of months.  But, it looks like it's gonna hold everything...fingers crossed James' 2012 invoices will fit in there.  :)  This binder is what I use to put together our tax spreadsheet, so I've learned over the past few years that the better I organize our binder as I go, the quicker it is to get organized for the accountant.  Again, that used to be a really unpleasant few days as we scrambled to remember what we bought, if we got contacts, where our medical bills went...we just weren't organized.  It's a lesson we've learned over and over...we have to have a plan for our finances, and stick to the plan...and we have to take the time to stay organized as we go.  Every bill gets paid and then goes into the binder, period.  For a system to work, you have to work at it.  I'm sure there's a cute saying...but I'm still working on my first cup of coffee.

So there it is.  My Christmas tree is still up, but we have a budget planned through June.  (Sooo looking forward to the daycare raise we'll be getting!)  We're ready for 2013 and our 2012 is just about wrapped up.  What's next for us?  More of the same.  :)  We hope to take our kids on a pretty amazing trip before the 2013-14 school year, so now we have to find that $$.  I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I miss our Discover card.  :)  But I don't miss the stomachaches and guilt and regrets!

02 January 2013

happy 2013!

2012 was a pretty amazing year...who knew we'd end up here?
can't wait to see what 2013 will bring!