31 October 2013

The Great Pumpkin...Debate

This is one of Noble's art projects from October.  I think it's beautiful...though the teacher in me is bothered by how many of his projects from art class look like an adult did the bulk of the work.  I know many parents prefer "beautiful" art...but my favorite art is always what comes from a child's own heart, and hands.  

But that's not what this post is about.  

On Sunday, I wore my jack-o-lantern shirt to church with a cute skirt and a cardi.  
(I'm wearin' it again today, actually.)

As I went to sit down, one of my favorite 5 year old boys was sitting in the row behind us.  He said, so respectfully in his sweet voice, "Mrs. Pharaon, do y'all celebrate Halloween?"

Yes, we do (his name).  

"Well, you should stop."  He said a couple more things, but I was stuck right there.  I told him that I think we should definitely talk about it.  His sisters, who are lovely young ladies, may have been a bit embarrassed at him speaking to me about such a sensitive subject, but I wasn't embarrassed at all.  
What a witness, y'all!

Because that 5 year old had brought up an inner debate I've been having for the past few years, and this year it has really intensified.

I've read a lot about how some Christians celebrate and some don't...I don't want to be like the crazy family down the street who blacks out their house and pretends not to be home on Halloween.  I want our family to be a light in the darkness.  I enjoy going door to door and meeting neighbors and enjoying fellowship and smiling at the little faces that march up to our door.  That part of Halloween, I love.

But the part that celebrates death, even jokingly?  That part has been troubling me for a while.

I don't know what the answer is, but my Boy brought it up to me a couple of days ago and I think we're at a point where we need to do some more research and just see where the Spirit leads us.  

Either way, I'm looking forward to family time today.   

It's good to stop and think not only about what we do, but why.  Even when it's scary.  

28 October 2013

My life, by the numbers

Friday was my 4th and final day to commute last week.  4 out of 5 days on the road gave me lots of time to think, especially since I knew that it was the last week I'd be on the road 4 days for a while.  A week ago, I was just getting back from a trip to Corpus Christi for a conference.  While I was there, I talked to my specialist team about how this fall has been an aberration, that I'm only contracted to work 2 days-ish/week.  With having new people on the team and new programs and other stuff going on, it's been necessary for me to be at work several days each week instead of working from home, but it's taken its toll on my family, and I'm exhausted.  To the point of nodding off while I'm driving, which hasn't happened since college.  So, it was time for a change.  I knew I had to get through the conference and then a big week this past week, and then I would go back to a more reasonable work schedule.  James and my boss both approached me this past week about working too much, and that really helped me let go and start planning how to get back to being at home more.

Saturday morning, for the first time in I don't know when, I had no plans.  Kayci had a birthday party most of the day, the boys had a fishing date, and I had nothing on the books.  If I let myself think about it I'd start making a list of things I should do to get caught up...but I didn't want to do any of those things.  And frankly, I knew I needed some downtime.  Everyone was up and around early, so we decided to go to a fun restaurant for breakfast before we all went our separate ways.  I told the kids that starting this next week I'll be home more, and will only go into town 2 days each week.  James and I were surprised at how excited they were to hear it--I thought they would be disappointed that it would mean less time with friends or Grandma's TV after school.

Last Wednesday at our team meeting, one of my friends (who is also one of our new specialists) remarked at how fast the semester has gone by.  Thanksgiving is a month away, y'all.  I was honestly shocked as I sat there and realized how much time has passed...is gone.  I feel like I've missed almost a whole semester of life.  Melodramatic much, Mommygirl?  But that's how I felt.

Something happened on Wednesday that put things in perspective for me--the things that feel like life and death are often not that important, but when faced with an actual life and death event (not mine, don't worry), I realized that I needed to keep things in perspective better.  And that event took all of the fight and energy right out of me.  I drove home Wednesday night feeling defeated and exhausted and just DONE.  But I had to get up again and go back on Thursday, and that's when I started really thinking about the past 12 weeks and how they've flown by.  I looked at my odometer and was shocked at how far I'd driven since getting my oil changed on October 11th.  Let's start there, shall we?

My life by the numbers:

I looked down at the odometer when I got home on Friday.  

# of miles driven between 10/11 oil change and 10/24 commute home:  1500

# of days scheduled to work since August 19:  22

# of days schedule to commute out of those 22:  15

# of days ACTUALLY worked since August 19:  28

# of days commuted out of those 28:  25

Here's where it got interesting for me.  

I had to stop and think about this for a few minutes when I counted it up.  10 extra days doesn't seem so bad, spread out over 11 weeks.  Keep in mind, though, that 2 of the 3 weeks prior to August 19 I also commuted 4 days each week.  

6 additional work days doesn't seem so bad.  But, 10 additional commuting days?  That's a minimum of 2000 extra miles on my car, and an additional 5 tanks of gas.  It's an additional 30-40 hours in the car, not to mention meals eaten out, mornings and evening with my family missed...it's a lot, y'all.  

estimated hours in the car since August 19, just for work:  at least 100 

longest one-way commute (keep in mind, it's 81 miles):  2 hours, 45 minutes

shortest one-way commute (this past Friday, actually!):  1 hour, 15 minutes

average one-way commute:  2 hours (that's leaving between 5-5:15 AM, y'all, and coming home late)

Until this year, if I worked 2 days in Houston I would go in late one day and stay late another, so I didn't miss so much time with the kids (who have both struggled with my working, especially Noble these past few years).  This year, # of days I've gone in early and stayed late:  all but 2 of them.  

In addition to my PPCD job, I also took on quite a bit of Region 4 work this semester.  As it turns out, not only are we saving for DisneyLand, it's also time to replace my MacBook.

# of MacBooks currently on their way to us:  1, baby.

I think it would be funny to add up all of the times I've gone to pick this one up and the battery has been drained, or to count all of the times I've wiggled the charger thingy trying to get it to work.  It's funny now...it hasn't been so funny these past few months when I've been using it so much!

Back to Region 4.  Since August 16...

# of classes taught:  4

# of students taught:  34

# of assignments graded:  1005

As an administrator, I've also worked on another 12-15 courses.  

James has said that the constant grading is what tipped the scale for him...when we went to Vegas last month, I spent an entire day in the hotel room grading and working on PPCD stuff.  I'm not sure it was worth it, to be honest, but it was necessary.  

# of days I've slept past 5:00 AM since August 16:  hmm, maybe 4 or 5?  

Let's not forget that I have yet another job, a little happy.  It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOO been on the back burner for a long time, I've only been taking orders from friends who seek me out.  Above is a onesie for a baby shower at work...guess what her Mommy teaches?  :)

I tried to add up my orders in my head, but I don't feel like getting out my binder.  So here's my best guess...

# of shirts/onesies made since August 16:  26-30

# of orders that took longer than I promised:  100%

# of shirts on hold since about then:  4-5...getting to them this week, finally!

# of orders turned down:  lots

A year ago, I thought a little happy would be rocking and rolling by now...but there's just no time.  I don't sleep enough as it is!

Let's get to the fun stuff.  

Kayci started reading the Harry Potter books this fall, and she loves them.  I read the first 4 when they came out, then had a baby and didn't have time for reading like that anymore (ahem, Kayci).  But, I didn't feel comfortable letting her read something like that not knowing what she'd come across, so I decided from here out I need to read what she reads.  Sigh.  I wish I could not care--that's a LOT of reading I've signed myself up for.  

# of Harry Potter books read to stay ahead of my fast-reading 10 year old:  2 (#7 is in my phone now, ready to read...since I started this post, I think I'm on Chapter 7)

# of days taken to read book 6:  1.  Did I mention I did NOTHING on Saturday?  I laid around and read and napped.  It was fabulous.  A Harry Potter in one day?  It's a record for me.  Did you know I read crazy fast?  It's not always a good thing!

Here's a fun one:  I took Noble to the boot store intending to buy one pair of boots, for him.

# of boots actually purchased:  4, a pair for each of us.  I love, love my boots!  But don't have a picture of them...you'll have to wait.  

In the middle of all of this working, we've also done quite a bit of playing on the weekends.  We decorated for fall, and I've lost count of the # of pumpkins we've purchased for our house.  Here's what I do know...
# of pumpkins we're taking to Noble's class today for a project this week:  21, 20 small and 1 large

2 weeks ago, we went to Huntsville for Homecoming AND to James' 20 year high school reunion.  

Last week, James donated his time and photographed a SIRE event.  The kids and I had fun, too...for the first time ever, I agreed to hold a snake.  I won't say it wasn't that bad, but I don't know that I'd do it again.  

Last week, the specialists and I went to the Autism Conference in Corpus Christi.  
# of times we walked by this piano in the lobby and wondered aloud if any of knew how to play it:  I lost track.  Every time.

# of happy notes in my bag:  3.  
# of smiles from those 3 notes:  I lost track.  :)

# of Whataburgers we visited before we found THE Whataburger, which turned out to be about a 1/2 mile from our hotel:  3.  Turns out, the original Whataburger is no longer there.  It was quite the disappointment after we drove across town in the rain on our short lunch break.  

# of times I've eaten lunch with Noble at school this year:  3
# of times I bought a tray lunch:  1  (they're $3.50, y'all--the next time, I just sat with him while he ate!)
# of hours volunteered this school year, total:  2.5  (I used to do that several times a week.  :( )

# of times I've eaten lunch out while working:  ugh, too many.  

# of times I've gotten to take the kids to school and/or pick them up:  maybe 2/week

Here are some other numbers I've thought about since this has been rolling around in my head...

# of times I've had coffee with friends (not at work):  1

# of times I've been able to attend Bible Study:  1

# of times I've been to yoga:  0

# of times I could have gone to yoga but didn't:  4?  

Oh, yeah, and remember my big ambitions for October?  

# of minutes each day I PLANNED to work on scrapbook organization:  15

# of minutes I've actually worked on it:  30 (2 days out of 27 now)

# of pages of Project Life I intended to have journaled by now:  120+

# of weeks behind on Project Life:  12, at least

Oh, and remember that other thing James wanted to do in October?

# of days we meant to NOT eat meat:  31

# of days we didn't eat meat:  maybe 10

# of days until we quit pretending:  22

Today is a new day.  It's the first week I am on what I consider a "normal" schedule.  

# of items on my agenda:  not nearly as many as you'd think...I realize I can't catch up on 3 months in one day, or even one week.  I'm going to just take it one step at a time!

This numbers thing...it's addictive. 

I find myself now wanting to figure out how many birthday cards I've mailed this year...and how many have been late.  How many phone calls and e-mails and bills paid and hours of TV watched...think of all of the quantifiable parts of our day!

Number of entries in my gratitude journal...number of Bible verses read...I could count all day!

But, I won't.  :)

Happy Monday, y'all--have a great week!  Who knows, maybe I'll *actually* see you around!

17 October 2013


I always feel that way when I finish a course...but this past 10 weeks has been pretty crazy, and I seriously could run through the hallways of this hotel singing and swinging my arms around.  :)

For weeks I've been unable to relax because no matter what, I've always had grading to do or emails to answer or...well, work to do.

That won't change, but I've finished the hard part of the cycle I'm teaching right now and I've got 4 1/2 weeks of just a normal workload until it starts up again.  But then it's only 4 weeks of kind of hard work and then I'm done...I can live with that.  It helps that my students are AMAZING....did you hear me sing that?  Because they are.  They make all of the hard work worthwhile, because no matter how hard I'm working, I know they've worked even harder.  I'm kind of sad for them sometimes, really, because I work too hard!

Okay, I just wanted to document this day.  Documented.

Now to put on some makeup and get ready for day one of the Autism Conference.  Lots to learn today, friends!  

15 October 2013

day 15: my afternoon

I'm going to cheat and tell you about my Friday afternoon.  You'll get over it, right?

Noble has been wearing Alex's hand-me-down boots since bouncing bears.  Since last spring, he's been wearing them a LOT.  He wears them like Daddy, with a polo shirt and jeans.  We bought him some cheap brown WalMart boots last month, and he wore the HECK out of them. When I had lunch with him last Friday, I noticed that the soles were flapping (you get what you pay $13 for). Luckily, Daddy and I had budgeted for just such a scenario.  After school, the kids and I headed to South Texas Tack.  I thought we were going to get some plain brown boots, maybe with an orange top, but when Noble saw these Anderson Beans his eyes lit up.  An almost-special order later, the sweet lady found his size and that was that.

I may (ahem) also have tried on the boots I've been thinking about for months.  They fit beautifully, so I had to take them home.  I'm going to try not to tuck them into my jeans every time I wear them.  Bubby will be so disappointed.

In other news, I love seeing what Noble does in Kindergarten.  This came home yesterday.

It's a picture of Noble and Mommy at the "serces" with an elephant and a horse.  He ran out of room, so he wrote "Mom" instead of "Mommy."  I'll take it!

11 October 2013

day 11: comfort...and progress

DaddyBoy and I have been trying to go to bed early this past week (like, aiming for 9, hitting 10 instead of aiming for 10, hitting 11...waking up at 4 either way).  It's made a huge difference in how I feel when I wake up, and I'm actually sleeping better because I've quit trying to fit a bunch of stuff into my day after the kids go to sleep.  Without even realizing it, I've started relaxing at bedtime and shutting out the world, bit by bit.  Hmm.  All those articles I've read, it turns out, are true.  :)

This morning I woke up with a whole day in Brenham ahead of me...that's unusual for a Friday, and I'm celebrating!  Last night James asked me what time I had to get on the road this morning and I started to answer, "5:00," before I realized that I'm NOT commuting today.

I skipped quiet time yesterday, which was very apparent in the way I snapped at everyone yesterday morning.   The weird thing was, I wasn't grumpy at all--I had a very peaceful, very productive day yesterday and I felt great.  But, I knew better than to skip it again today so that's what I did right when I woke up (okay, okay, I'm lying--I checked our bank balance first to see if we got paid).  Anyway...quit interrupting so I can get back to my day, okay?...anyway, while I was praying I was thinking about this bonus day in Brenham today.  Realistically, I've got way more on my work to-do list than I could ever get done in one school day.  BUT...even so, I am optimistic that today I'll get tons done.  And so far, I have.  I decided to get personal stuff done this morning so I can spend a little bit of time at church on Children's Ministry stuff after drop off, then come home and grade and work on PPCD stuff.  And then take a little break to have lunch with Noble, and then keep on breaking to have lunch (well, I won't eat twice) with my Boy.  And then come the most productive 2 hours of my day, then it's carline and kid time and a birthday party this evening and a big day in Huntsville tomorrow for Homecoming and then a quick trip home to drop off the knuckleheads and head to James' 20 year reunion...ah.  But you know what?  I'm not stressed...it'll all happen, it'll all be fun, and I'm ready for whatever comes.  Mostly because, I think, I've been going to bed early and really, truly letting work stress roll off my back.  Worry is not of God, y'all.

Did you hear it?  Worry is not of God.  He wants us to be joyful and prayerful in all circumstances, and grateful.  He calls us to trust in Him, period.  There is no key to success or secret to a happy life beyond that--no matter how hard we try to make it.

Isn't that freeing?  Seriously, y'all...whatever you're carrying around this morning, hand it to Him.  Lay it at the foot of the cross and move on.

It's almost time to wake kids up and start our Friday, so I'll wrap up--besides, there's no way to top that great news, is there?

Day 11 of Idea Room's photo-a-day is comfort.

The first thing that came to my mind was what I said a few lines back...and the second thing was a place, my favorite place (especially with a snuggly Boy beside me):

I love, love our bed.  The mattress is that just right place between firm & soft, I love our white sheets and fluffy duvet and perfectly broken-in pillows (which means James will be asking for a new one any day now, you watch).  This is truly a place of comfort...Noble agrees, as he came in here at 3 this morning looking for a little comfort.  I don't know what got him out of bed, but as usual he climbed in between us, grabbed a hunk of my hair and went right back to sleep.  He's gone from coming in every night to coming in once every 2 or 3 weeks, which is just awesome.  We're all sleeping better!  Bribing him with that iPod did the trick--I'm not proud.

As much as this probably contradicts what I said about turning it all over to Him, I do struggle with how much I'm getting done and how much I'm leaving undone.  Busyness is an idol of mine, I know.  I try to keep it all in perspective...how much is me trying to accomplish things, how much is me taking care of my family by staying organized...it's something I juggle constantly.  This morning I'm grateful that I've had time to upload pictures to Dropbox so I can print them out to put aside for when I have time to get back to Project Life (I'm so doing it wrong, as I think I'm about to print out 250 pictures from the past 7 weeks).  I also took 15 minutes and finished organizing my scrapbook box so it will be ready to go when I get another 15 minutes...that's a weight off, I was feeling pretty bad that I haven't even touched it in the past week.

Know what else feels good?  I get to put our 2012 binder on the shelf--this tax year is finished.  Since I let it all hang out here, I'll tell you--this is the first year since before Kayci was born that we were eligible for a refund (our tax bills are legendary, y'all, and have kept us in debt many years when we didn't pay as we went like we should have...oh, the joys of being self-employed!).  This year our prayer was to have a small bill or, Lord willing, break even...so I was shocked when our CPA asked me what we wanted to do with the overage.  While it was tempting to take the money and run (to Disneyland), it just didn't feel right.  We weren't expecting any money and it was such a blessing, so it felt right to apply it to the 2013 tax year and pay it forward.  I have fantasies about breaking even again in 2013, but we'll see.  You know what?  I'm not worried.  For now, I'm going to carry this binder into the office and store it.  It'll feel good to get it out of our room!

Have a wonderful Friday, friends!  

10 October 2013

it's the little things...

...that I miss when I'm at work.  I worked 3 school days in a row, with a busy weekend in the middle, so I went into this week pretty tired.  Physically and emotionally drained.  I'm grateful for a few days to work at home, and I'm working on shaking the tired.  Yesterday I didn't have time to go to Bible Study (I'm pretty far behind in grading, unfortunately, it seems to be a theme right now)...but I also didn't have time NOT to go to Bible Study.  I'm glad I went and had some time with other busy ladies; I was reminded that I have so much to be grateful for and I need to focus on that and not on being tired or being behind or work stress or whether or not to clean this house...so I did.

I'd actually gotten a pretty good start yesterday morning; I didn't have time to bake for the kids' lunches this week so I cheated and ran to HEB and got some plain sugar cookies for them to decorate.  After breakfast they made a whole family of pumpkin cookies, and it was a fun start to our Wednesday.  Sweet Noble decorated one especially for his teacher and carried it so carefully to school for her.  I noticed as I was putting it in the container that it was the container with the cracked edge (which normally I'd throw away but I can't find these anymore and they're PERFECT for lunch boxes)...but the point is, I sent it anyway.  I've known this sweet teacher for a long time and I figure she could handle seeing that our plasticware isn't perfect.  And you know what?  It was pretty freeing, sending that imperfectly perfect cookie off with that happy boy.

After a few hours, I put the cookie family in their new home.  Seeing them on the counter makes me happy, and I let go of the guilt of not baking this week.  

When I'm working, one of the hardest things is figuring out where the kids will go after school, who will pick them up, etc.  It's easy because we have such great support, but it's hard because after school is my favorite time of day with my knuckleheads.  It was such a treat yesterday to do something as normal as carline.  We've brought back pizza Wednesday, which I'm feeling conflicted about so we are doing HEB pizza instead of $5 pizzas in hopes that it's a little healthier (shh...I know).  After carline at both schools, we headed off to HEB for a pizza.  We ran into Heather and the boys, and that was probably the best 10 minutes of my day up to that point--I've missed them!

After a few days of a different schedule, it felt weird to get home in time to do regular stuff AND fun stuff...but we loved every minute of it!

I love our kids and how responsible they are...they know (usually without reminding) to come right in, unpack lunchboxes and head to the table with their homework.  I'm such a creature of habit, and I'm trying to help them build good school habits (like signing Noble's folder as soon as we get home each day and going through papers, putting stuff away to file, etc...it's worked since Kayci was in Kindergarten and eliminates the lost papers, can't find it, I forgot it).  I love listening to their conversations while they work, and hearing that little guy read.  Kayci's always been very independent when it comes to homework, and I was a little worried that Noble wouldn't be motivated to get it done on his own.  So far, though, he's following in her footsteps.

Remember these?  After we decorated for fall, I got canvases out so Noble could finally make one and Kayci could make another one (how have we NOT done that these past few years?).  Anyway, the kids painted them last week and the poor canvases have been floating around the dining room, waiting to be finished.  Yesterday was the day, finally.

I was pretty surprised by how Noble just sat down and started painting--and he painted exactly what he told me he was going to paint 2 weeks ago.  You know, with the teeth like this (imagine his little arm going up and down and up and down).

I let him choose where he wanted it, and I figured he'd hang it in the dining room or somewhere pretty visible.  But nope, he wanted it right...there in their room, right above his shelf of special things.  And lest you make the mistake Daddy did, the black part is NOT the teeth...the teeth are the orange rectangles, see?

While Kayci finished her canvas, Bubby spent some quality time with a healthy snack (um, root beer and popcorn with candy corn mixed in).  Judge away--I was just thrilled to be at home with my kids!

Kayci wanted her pumpkin to have a mustache, but ended up with a full beard.  She seemed happy with it, though.  

I made the same offer, hang it anywhere you want...and she chose the bathroom.  You can't tell in this picture, but the bathroom clock has had a mustache for the past couple of years.  Maybe that's why?  Regardless, she's happy with her bearded pumpkin.  After we hung it up she commented, you know, I always end up with the face off to the side of the pumpkin.  I assured her it was art and that it didn't matter.  And you know what?  It doesn't.  What matters is that proud smile!

The OTHER thing that's been floating around the dining room waiting for us to have some time at home is our Fall Thrill Points Poster.  We bought the poster 2 weekends ago and have worked on it for a couple of minutes here and there, but it's been driving me nuts seeing that blank spot on the locker where it should be hanging.

I love how the kids work together on things like this--Kayci does most of the work, and Noble feels like his contributions are the most important.  Sounds about right, no?  Kayci kept a tighter reign on his point assignments this time...I think 20 points was the highest.  Our summer points got a bit out of hand, and we made that goal in no time.  This time we set the goal a little higher so they have to really think about it, since they decided that the payoff is a trip to the Galleria for ice skating (they've been really excited since we went to the Galleria a few weeks ago!).

Noble was crashing around the house and I finally got smart and said, GO OUTSIDE!  So we did.

Last night was Noble's favorite day of the AWANA year:  Crazy Hair Day.  He was very specific about what he wanted, and we had lots of fun getting his hair just right.  Then it was off to AWANA for him, and Kayci and I had some time at home, just the two of us.  (Daddy is doing some work for a local blogger--I'm so proud of him for using his talents to support projects he believes in, not just projects that will bring in lots of money!)

That was our day yesterday.  I hope someday our kids read these posts and that what I'm writing matches up with what they remember.  Or reminds them of the little things we did/do to make every day count around here.  :)
Oh, and remember how I started October with such great intentions last week?  That cool box I bought still looks exactly like it did on October 1st--I haven't had 15 minutes every day, or any day, since then.  That crate on top is the work I brought home to finish before Staff Development on Monday...sigh.  And that open drawer?  Kayci did a cool trick with an index card last night...it drives me CRAZY that she doesn't shut drawers.  I'd say that's a pretty good problem to have if it's the biggest one, right?

Here's to a productive Thursday, friends.  So far I'm sucking at it, as I was supposed to be up 2 hours ago and have a class graded by now.  Whoops.

03 October 2013

day 3: share

I totally got off-track yesterday and forgot to do my 15 minutes of scrapbook organizing.  Oh, well--hopefully I'll find 15 minutes today.  And if not, tomorrow's a new day.  Well, a day of commuting and high school football and an extra 5 year old, so the chances of that happening are nil.  It's a goal, not a law, right?

Anywho, today's photo a day word is "share."  I'm going to share some of the kids' cupcakes with our elderly neighbors.  Hope they don't  mind box cake.  :)

02 October 2013

31 days of change

In the blog world, October is known as 31 days of change, thanks to the Nester.  (She's awesome!)  I think this is the 6th or 7th year she's hosted a big ol' party of people looking to focus on one area for the month of October.

I did it last year, and used the month of October to get a little happy started.  It was a huge challenge, and looking back, I'm still not quite sure why I did it...we just finished our 2012 taxes, and it was painful to go through all the receipts and see the trips to the Post Office and WalMart to send one shirt, buy one shirt...exchange that shirt, then hurry and mail another one...seriously, I question my sanity for the last few months of 2012 last year.  That's something for another post, though--I'll just say it, I'm happy to make shirts for people, but I don't have much time for a little happy if I'm doing my other jobs (and life) well.  I'm glad we got it going, and I'm so grateful for all that I've learned...but I've accepted that this is a season of my life when I need to focus on my faith, my family, and my paying gigs.  :)

With all that said, it's October again.  I think of October as 31 days of purpose, rather than change, because often I just need to focus on the why of something to make it work.  This year, I decided to focus on being purposeful in finally clearing out my scrapbook clutter.  This stuff has been in progress around here for months...okay, fine, years.  When I really got into Project Life, I dragged out all of my childhood memory stuff to organize.  And promptly shoved it under my dresser and under my bed and any place it would fit.  It's a mess.  I tried to get it out this summer and organize it, but my system was clunky and hard to look at.  So I shoved it back under my dresser and under my bed...you get the picture.

I'm way behind on Project Life, if you're wondering.  Like, 2 months.  And I'm okay with that.  When I got caught up at the beginning of August and got it all organized, I decided that I needed to go back and journal what I had so far before adding anything else.  Well, needless to say life's been pretty busy with multiple jobs and family stuff, so I haven't spent any time at all with my markers and Project Life book.  But I will.

Because my 31 days of purpose this month?  To spend a minimum of 15 minutes each day on scrapbooking.  Whether it's journaling to catch up on Project Life, making a new page, sending photos to print, or organizing the tons of junk under my dresser, under my bed...and in my closet.  Did I mention the closet?  Sigh.

Yesterday's 15 minutes was actually a trip to WalMart to get organized, and time spent setting it up.  I've still got to go in and put dates on the little folder tabs, but that'll be today's 15 minutes.  You see, I figured out the problem:  my box organizing system was too clunky.  I had to drag it all out and put it all away again, and it was messy and time consuming and ugly.  A friend and I have been working on organizing Sunday School curriculum, and while I'm a binder girl she's a folder girl.  She went and bought file boxes and folders and we went to town--and I love it.  It reminded me of why I *used* to use hanging folders to organize my classroom stuff.  That got me thinking, if I use file folders I only have to have ONE box and it's fairly attractive and it won't kill me to see it.  So, I got organized.

(day 2 of photo a day, btw:  organized.  Voila--this is the box this morning, pre-tabs.)
P.S. See our bed?  IKEA finally got a good toile, y'all--I'm loving it!  I do need to go back and go up a size, but for the price, no biggie.  We use standard pillows on our queen size bed, so I needed the pillow cases from the full/queen and the duvet cover from the King.  And yes, sometimes I do drive myself nuts with my crazy.  But the toile?  It makes me happy.  

So, that's my 31 days:  clearing out the clutter of years of stuff I need to scrapbook/have intended to scrapbook.  I bought stuff to do a wedding book back in April (dear God), and still haven't--but I don't plan to get to it this month, either.  I want to focus on the stuff that's cluttering up the not-so-hidden spaces in my room, and getting caught up on 2013 in Project Life.

Oh, and here's the cool part:  my Boy wanted to do a 31 day project, as well, and he asked if we could go meatless for this month.  You know I'm all for that!  So, we are.  He is at a plateau and wants to get down a couple more pounds, and I just need to detox (and lose a large child or small adult, but you know that).  I figure in for a penny, in for a pound, so I'm also cutting out alcohol at home this month (I'm not dumb--I know we'll want to drink at his high school reunion and if we're out...I want to be healthy, not legalistic).

So there it is:  31 days of purpose.  Or change.  Or whatever you need it to be.  I encourage you to head over to the Nesting Place and check out what the "real" bloggers are doing!  That's how I found out about the William Morris Project (which is actually the inspiration for my scrapbooking project!).

Man, talk about an abrupt ending.

01 October 2013

October...in progress

how I love you.
We listened to my favorite U2 song this morning.

image:  U2.com

We usually don't do any fall decorating or pumpkin purchasing until October 1st.  It's kind of a thing.   But since we knew Daddy would be working late tonight, we broke our own rule and took the knuckleheads pumpkin shopping on Sunday.  We turned them loose with the fall decorating...let's just say it's a little, um, eclectic this year.  Normally I put out harvest stuff first, then just do a couple of weeks of Halloween, but when DaddyBoy started explaining that to the kids I realized that it really doesn't matter what I normally do--what matters is letting them do it the way they want to do it.

Even when it means Mommy has to go back and clean up the mess when they're done.  :)
Can this picture count for my October 1st photo a day?  What's that?  Yes?  Cool.
day 1:  ground.

Noble found the banners and wanted to help me hang them.  Luckily DaddyBoy caught this mistake.  Ha!

I still need to go back and fill in a few things, hang a few bats.

Clean up the buffet...I think that's where Kayci ran out of steam.  

I think she's learned a lot about creating vignettes...not bad for a first attempt.

There are lots of spiders and spider webs.  Won't miss those November 1st!

Don't tell the kids, but we have paint and canvases for Kayci to make a new Jack-o-Lantern and Noble to finally make one.  They're going to be so excited!

Bold choice.  I get cool points for embracing it, right?

The little things I'm finding just crack me up!

Spiders in the bathroom...eww.

And the porch is in progress, too.  Wonder where those candy corn pots are?

And speaking of, I got home from the store and realized I forgot the most important thing on my list:  candy corn!  

I'll be going back, don't worry.

Happy fall, y'all!