Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December musings

It is the third of December and I am not panicking/panicing- have not yet begun to panic. This is a new feeling for me, and I hope it is not indicative of an insane December 23rd or 24th. A few years ago I noticed that I was waiting to enjoy Christmas until I got "everything done." You can imagine how much enjoyment was happening. The afternoon of the 24th was always pleasant. I decided that in order to enjoy the holiday, I must enjoy the doing. And now I do. I have a few things to do to get my cards ready to mail, but I am sure that can be done by Monday. I need to look at everything I have purchased already and see if there are gaps for the kids. I need to get my exchange gift and Mama's gift and Grandma Kay and Papa Bob's gifts. Unfortunately, I don't have any fantabulous ideas for them as of yet. It will come. I am doing some shopping and preparing with DeAun on Friday, and we have some additional preparations to take care of after that. I need to schedule a candy making/baking day sometime soon, and the wrapping center needs to be set up (and utilized!) My tree is lit- the house is decorated and it is only December 3rd. I have Christmas music in my CD player in the house and in the car. I do love this holiday. I need to change my header pic for Christmas- I'll get on that in the next day or so. Happy Holiday season, everybody- it only comes once a year- enjoy the doing!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Friday, November 28, 2008

Journal Your Christmas

I am excited to take this class offered by Shimelle called Journal Your Christmas. It starts on Monday, the first of December. I am hoping to really capture my holiday season this year and between this and my Daily December album- this is the year. I want to record traditions and recipes and memories and all of that. I really love Christmas and I don't want it to be just one giant to-do list. I am hoping this class will help me focus on the non-shopping aspects of the season as well. I think this class will help me with what to write in my Daily December album each day, too. (this post is an entry to potentially get the class free for me and a friend- check it out!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Message

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving- especially a sister who is willing to host and take all of the pressure off of me! All I have to do is show up with some desserts and help cook on Wednesday and Thursday. So easy for me! I am going to the commissary this morning to get the last of what I need for my desserts and then I will be making wonderful things that we cannot eat for 2 days. Yikes- that will take some willpower.
Tony is coming home today, so that is exciting. He will be here through the weekend. The girls are really excited about that, too. Alex will be o.k. once her huge world history test is over today. Then she can feel thankful. Alyssa is in the top two for the spelling bee in her class, so that is continuing today to see if she competes for the 8th grade spot in the school.
I started a book at Creative Escape called The Good Book, where I write something I am thankful for every day. It helps keep me focused on the good things in my everyday life. Sometimes it can be hard to think of something original each day, but that is part of the process. The other part of this book is that I have to write down 5 strengths of mine each month. I only have a few days left in November to think of some. I have already listed ten, between Sept. and Oct. and I am not sure I have 15 strengths, let alone the 60 I will have to come up with for the year.
Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this blog (all 5 of you!)- think about what we really have- it is amazing!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight- Midnight Showing

Somewhere I am either getting a mother of the year award for taking my daughters to be among the first to see this movie, or someone is making notes to take my kids away for keeping them out until 2:30 a.m. to see this movie on a school night.

At this point in their teenage lives, my girls enjoy a homemade t-shirt to commemorate every event- concerts, movie openings, whatever- here is the shirt for twilight-

Yes- I wear one, too. I am also a fan of the books, so it was fitting. Here is the back of the shirts- a quote from the first book-

I enjoyed having others ask us where we bought them! (Oh, the poor mother needs more of a creative outlet, don't you think?)

My review of the movie is four stars- mainly because of this:

I actually just read a review that said his eyes (and the fact that you can see the white of his eyes under his irises) are what make him attractive- apparently Marilyn Monroe and JFK both had this type of eye. I am not sure that is all of the appeal, but it does make his vampire stare more effective! I will leave you with an image that illustrates the longing inherent in this movie- (insert sigh here)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grey Skies and Yoga Pants

Well, we have a rainy day here, which plays nicely into my plan to stay in yoga pants and do things in the house today. Mark was home on Monday and Tuesday- Happy Birthday Marines, and Happy Veteran's Day. We did a lot of good stuff around the house, then I subbed yesterday afternoon. That means today is the first day I have been home all day BY MYSELF since last week. Until I don't have that, I don't realize how much I need it. Actually, many days I spend a lot of time talking on the phone in an effort not to be alone. Not today. I am thrilled to be in comfy pants and hanging out. (there will be no photos of this, but I did do my hair and put on makeup, because at my core I am still from Atlanta.)

Catching up on my design class, some shows I dvr'd, and laundry folding. Whee- but today will be a good day, even though it is raining. I am also in heavy planning mode for the holidays- not actually doing, but trying to get the big picture in my head so I can begin to do.

Monday was Parents' Day in Alex and Alyssa's jazz and prepointe classes. I took the camera, much to their dismay. Here is a layout I did about it:

Off to get more design knowledge...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not a T-shirt wearing girl

Since I am not a t-shirt wearing girl (at least not the kind that have writing on them) and I got a really cool catalog with some clever t-shirts, I thought I would write the quotes here, so I could keep them and enjoy them, and maybe use them as scrapbook page titles later on...

Life is short- Read Fast!

Lead me not into temptation- especially bookstores.

I am the Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.

I'm just here for the Savasana. (that's the corpse pose in yoga you do at the very end to relax.)

Vocatvs atque non vocatvs deus aderit (translated, Bidden or not bidden, God is present.)

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate. ( a chemistry take on the quote I always use on the kids)

When I was your age, Pluto was a planet.

At what age am I old enough to know better?

She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain. - Louisa May Alcott

Have a good Sunday!

One of my favorite comics is Big Nate- and this is one of my favorites in the past couple of weeks. I so remember going over having a good attitude whether you win or lose countless times over the years.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fall and Monticello

Fall in Virginia is the most beautiful season. I just love all of the leaves- when I was little (in Georgia) and read about the four seasons, I didn't realize anywhere actually got all four- but they do in Virginia.

This is a shot of Monticello- I think this is technically the back of the house.

This is from the kitchen. TJ obviously learned how to stock a kitchen during his time in Paris. Look at that divine copper cookware. sigh...

O.K.- this is one of my favorites. I think it looks like a painting.

Trying to enjoy fall- I hate that winter is coming, so I will concentrate on fall.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I love to read- time can really fly by without me noticing that I haven't edited photos, or done laundry, or cleaned up the kitchen from breakfast. Right now I am reading Bitter is the New Black- it is pretty funny. It has allowed me to successfully avoid all of the above as well as the piano practicing I need to get done before choir tonight. A brief break here on the computer- the danger of the computer being one of the places you need to work- and then I am really going to accomplish something before everyone gets home. I did get a crown this morning, so I am milking that for a day of lying low. Post soon with photos--

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts on a Democracy

Well, I just have to say how grateful I am to live in a country where everyone can vote, someone wins, and we have a peaceful change of power. The definition of democracy- majority rules. It was exciting to take Alyssa with me (Alex had to be at the school) to vote. Even if my guy didn't win, the political process was fabulous- lines to vote!- this from a country where some years half of the eligible voters didn't bother to make it out to the polls. Tony voted for the first time, too- yikes!-I am old!

I spent the day today with our third president, Mr. Jefferson, at Monticello, and I will have pictures soon- I took enough, I will have to sort through them and share some good ones. Because I don't like posts without some pictures, here is one of the new voter- taken in August when Summer was a little smaller.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween- the day after

I am really having a hard time getting going doing anything this morning. I thought I would add my Halloween photos to the blog. DeAun, I expect to see photos of the slutty fairy as well.

Well, folks, this is what you get when a Disney freak of a kid with her own DVD player picks her costume- Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Not so unusual, you would think, but this is Ariel from a very specific scene in the movie- the one where she gets her legs, is spit up onto the beach and scuttle dresses her. In case your Disney mind isn't quite as sharp as Alyssa's- here's a reminder of the scene:

I had to have her pause the DVD so I could make the costume. Here is our take on the lovely white dress that Scuttle threw together with some rope:I did make her wear some type of shoe, and Matt gets major kudos for putting up with her. She was really glad to have a Prince Eric, though. Oh the power of the mouse- what would Halloween be without Disney characters?? I saw lots of them last night.

I took some other pictures yesterday, too. The light was really perfect as I walked in from subbing, so I made the girls brush their hair and come outside. I got some really good ones. Here are a couple:

Alyssa took that last one. Happy Fall Y'all and Happy Birthday, DeAun! (I didn't think you'd want me spouting your age all over the internet!!)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Time

Well, we managed to get our pumpkins carved for Halloween.

Mark cleaned out the pumpkins- I am just here for inspiration people, (and to help Alex finish carving when homework looms).

The girls were excited to do their princesses- Alyssa started hers while Alex worked on homework.

Alyssa had a little helper- Summer was very interested in the pumpkin carving- and in eating the little pieces of pumpkin that fell out. I got her to pose for me and look at the camera-Hasn't she gotten big? Sometimes I can't believe how big she is.

Alex got to get to work on her pumpkin after finishing some drama class work.

And here are the finished pumpkins- first, Alyssa did Belle:Alex did Ariel-And here are the princesses together- aren't they pretty (not really scary at all, but that is o.k.)Happy Halloween! Hope you all get lots of treats and no tricks tonight!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good Idea/Bad Idea

I had a great idea to send a little Halloween treat to my son in college. Yesterday I packed a small box with fun size Skittles, sour patch kids, swedish fish, some pop rocks (Yes, I found them in Michaels), a Batman Pez dispenser, and a cute little card. I was pleased that I actually got it in the mail in time to get to him by Halloween. Unfortunately, this involved opening the Halloween candy. Hmm- fun sized Reese's anyone? Halloween candy should come with warning labels because something so small can't have any calories, right? I held out until the 29th- does that get me any awards?
Went below 32 last night, so the impatiens just gave up the ghost. I will try and pull them all up in the morning before I go to the school. I am subbing tomorrow afternoon- Friday/Halloween/8th graders- does anyone else see any attention issues here? Then I was called today to sub at the high school tomorrow afternoon- high schoolers vs. 8th graders- I think I have the better deal.
Tonight is pumpking carving- I found Disney princess stencils, and my girls are thrilled. No, they are not preschoolers, they are teenagers- why do you ask?? If I could have found Jonas Brothers stencils- which probably do exist on the web somewhere if I wanted to look- they might have been happier, but I don't know for sure.
Need to finish Alyssa's costume- working on the glittering starfish for her hair- and start dinner. will try to have pictures of the pumpkins tomorrow. Too bad I have to walk right by that Halloween candy on my way to the kitchen- 3 whoppers never killed anybody, right??

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


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This is hysterical- had to share after seeing it on Shellie's blog!
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Friday, October 17, 2008


I am now officially the mother of three teenagers. I knew this day would come, long ago when they were very small and I thought of it with some trepidation and with some hope for the days when they would leave the house for long stretches of time without me...Here it is. They do indeed leave my house for long stretches of time without me- and only two of them need me to drop them off and pick them up when they do. I am going to try and get a picture of all of them together tonight, on Alyssa's birthday. Here is Alyssa just before leaving for school this morning:

Thirteen years old. Wow. Got her some balloons, made some chocolate mousse (a cake will come later for the party) and wrapped several things in gift bags. She stayed after school for a field hockey game (several of her friends play on the team), so she isn't home yet. Hope she is having a good day now that the Geometry test and the Spanish test are over.

Happy Birthday, Alyssa!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lots to Say

Well, once again life has gotten in the way of the blog updates. I did a Week in the Life project from Ali Edwards' blog. It was really cool- but taking photos of everything all day took up a lot of time. I will share some of those later this week. It was fun- I used the timer on the camera to take pictures of me throughout the day, too.
This last weekend was a good one- homecoming at the high school and Tony came home from college for the weekend, too.

Doesn't he look nice? He is cracking me up with how he and the guys on the hall cut each other's hair. I sent clippers with him to school, and apparently, some other mother did, too. They take care of each other. He shaved his roommate's mohawk off the night before school started.

Alex looked beautiful for homecoming:

Here is a better picture of the dress:

And here is the group of girls she went with- no dates. We never would have gone to our Homecoming without a date- I am glad that has changed.

Loved all of the colors in the dresses- several of the girls had mentioned making sure not to get another black dress, but Alex had never had a black dress, so hers was a novelty to her. I really loved her dress- it was very nice. The other girls who were trying on dresses that night at Dillards were a bit scary. Some pretty slutty dresses, and I couldn't believe the moms were buying them and saying they were cute.

Alyssa got glasses, but I cannot find the picture I took of her in them, and she isn't being cooperative for me to get another one right now. She is constantly saying Wow- I can see that! She will lift her glasses and look without them and say, Boy I am blind. She mentioned how pretty the trees were now that she can see individual leaves. It is a miracle she has been as good of a student as she has been without being able to see the board in class. I feel a little guilty that I didn't notice how bad her eyes were sooner.

Yesterday I spent several hours backing up all of my photos to an external hard drive. I try to print a lot of them, and I store on external drives, and this is a backup to my other storage external drives. I am glad that is done for now- I am going to try and get on a monthly system of backing up and organizing- the digital photo thing can quickly spiral out of control.

Enjoying my design class with Cathy Zielske. She is very funny, and I think her class just might be the most professionally done one I have taken at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I love the fact that the practice is making layouts, so I am getting some of that done as well.

Finished all of the Twilight series- enjoyed them for the most part. Alex and Alyssa have both read the first one (Alex has also read them all). Alyssa is waiting to read the others until she finishes a book she has to read for school. I need to finish The Innocent Man by John Grisham for Book Club on Wednesday night..

Off to enjoy the rest of the day off from school and Mark from work. Won't even mention that I will try and do better, the guilt goes without saying...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Learning Digi Stuff

See this cool frame on the photo? Totally digital. Love it. It came in a pack (file) of about 10 frames- all in various states of age. I like how it sets the picture off, so you may be seeing more of them in my blog. This is one of my favorite photos of Alyssa- it is from vacation in August. Her response? I don't even have any make up on! (She's 12!) If I could look like that without makeup, I would never wear it.
I am working on an album called 30 Days Hath September. It is supposed to be helping me be more "in the moment" as I scrapbook everyday. Wow- I am really trying to keep up, but I end up having to print the photos every few days, which means I am writing things in a notebook and then transferring them to the album, effectively ruining the "of the moment-ness." Yesterday I decided that I did not have to follow every prompt exactly as layed out for me, and that has helped immensely. I should be all caught up and ready to go on in the moment as of Friday, I would think. I printed pictures today, and I will see how far I get tonight. I decided only to use the prompts if I can't think of something else I want to do.
Spent 20 minutes cleaning in the scrap room today. About 60 more days of 20 minutes a day ought to do it. Put away all of the things from Creative Escape, except the projects, and I plan to photograph them as I finish them to show you all. I did get the work space cleared off, so that will help get the album done as well. The sectional was not a good place to scrapbook.
Working a half day tomorrow and then continuing on the great clean out- community yard sale is Saturday morning. Not much time left.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yoga Monday

My 21st anniversary was on Friday. Mark and I went out to dinner at Mike's American Grill- excellent food- I had the Virginia Trout- yum! When we got home, I was feeling bad about the fact that I had only gone that day to get Mark some clothes and a card, but I did have them in a gift bag. Mark then told me that he got me a card, but left it at work. Since he left today for California, I guess I won't be getting my card for a while. Oh well, the food was excellent. (Glad I made him spring for dessert!)

This is DeAun and me in Arizona after registering on Thursday. They had set up this lovely photo shoot by the fountain in the lobby of the hotel. I actually like this picture of the two of us. People would start talking to us and then suddenly say- hey, are you two sisters? It was quite funny. Looking at this picture, I can kind of see why. You can sort of see the aprons I "altered" by covering the pockets with different fabric and adding some ribbon. We really liked them, and they were not too over the top. And they were practical- some of those supplies we used would not have been kind to clothes. Some ladies really go for the gaudy at these things (how many things can you tie to a flip flop and still walk?- you'd be surprised.) DeAun was pleased that I didn't offend her style asthetic (sp?) and make her wear something hideous out of guilt.
Subbed a half day today for 6th grade. Boy, sixth grade in September is way different than sixth grade in April, which is when I subbed for them last year. These guys are still learning how to go to their lockers. Subbing again tomorrow, but I only have to do it for an IEP meeting, so I am probably going to have to spend some time in the counseling office filing or something.
Yoga tonight for the first time this fall session- actually this one will go through June. It was so lovely. Just as I thought after the marvelous massage we had at the Aji Spa- I do not relax enough in my daily life. I really need to work on that. (Work on relaxing? Does that sound right??)
Tomorrow starts the Biggest Loser, and I am embarrassingly excited about the start of a new season. I don't watch much real TV, and that is a favorite for sure. I love to see those people lose that weight. And they work so hard, all while I sit on my couch watching them. I'll be looking for favorites right from the start. Makes my 5 lbs seem like I am just not trying (and some days I am not), but I love to see these people drop 17 lbs in one week. If only.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home Again

DeAun and I returned home safely late last night, and I wanted to check in on the blog quickly tonight. My trip to Arizona and the Creative Escape convention was incredible. Inspiring, fun, relaxing (at least after the classes ended-)- it really was an escape. Today it was right back into the swing of things with Summer's first vet appointment, and a physical therapy appointment for Alyssa. I have an appointment tomorrow to get my hair colored- hooray! It is really starting to show its true colors, which is not at all the beautiful auburn color I enjoy after a session at the salon. And so the craziness creeps back in...
I was planning to blog from Arizona, but the internet didn't work in our room, and it cost $12.95 a day. DeAun and I were wondering why the cheap hotels can offer free internet in your room and free breakfast, while the expensive places charge you for everything??
I will share some of the projects we did at CE once the box of them arrives at home. I did appreciate the chance to ship some things and not worry about them in my suitcase. Also, I did get the album that I am completing right now called 30 Days Hath September. It is all about scrapbooking in the moment, which I hope I will be able to keep up with this month. I have to do some catching up from the time I was out of town.
Hopefully I will be able to keep up on the blog, the September album and my Gratitude Book from Creative Escape all at the same time.- wish me luck and focus!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

We survived the first day of school- Alyssa is excited she has some friends in all of her classes. This is a first for middle school. Alex was interested to learn she will be writing in photojournalism, not taking pictures as we thought she might be. I think she will enjoy it, so I am glad. The writing comes really easily for her, and she seemed to think the class would be fun. This is a good thing, as the loss of Honors Art was a real blow.
On my way to Phoenix tomorrow. Cannot wait. Did so much today- sent a package to Tony, went to the fabric store, went to the commissary, cleaned in the house, finished all of the laundry, packed, edited and uploaded my last photo job, notified the last two clients about their galleries, went to the library, took a 2 mile walk with the puppy, and fixed dinner. Normally the commissary wears me out, and that is all I can accomplish in a day. Love the motivation of a trip!
Need some sleep and to weigh my luggage (I'm a little scared!).
On a product placement note, you should try the Olay Thermal Pedicure. I saw it in a magazine on vacation, and it really does smooth out your feet.
Have a great Wednesday- I'll be in the air! Hooray!

Monday, September 1, 2008

September 1st and the real New Year's Eve

It is Labor Day evening and my daughters are in a dither about what to wear tomorrow for the first day of school. I cannot believe that summer is over and school is starting. Unlike many mothers, I am not looking forward to the end of summer. Starting tomorrow we have dance classes and homework and practice and games to perform at. I enjoy the more relaxed days of summer time. Maybe school starting will help me form a few new habits. Like blogging at least 5 days a week. I have some ideas, but I plan on spreading them out at bit. I am on the computer enough to be on my own blog that much.

Once again, I have a chance to start my self improvement plan- and anything can be aided by the purchase of fresh school supplies! Loving all of the unopened paper and pencils and neat packages of pens. That is the only good part of school starting. Nothing like a blank notebook to get the motivation going.

I am going on a trip to Arizona on Wednesday with my sister to Creative Escape. I am very excited about that, now that I have finished all of my homework. It was a bit daunting to pull and trim pictures for unknown projects. I really am most looking forward to spending time with her, and extending my summer a bit, although 113 degrees may be a bit too much summer for me.

Have established a good walking habit this summer, adding a weekly yoga class this fall, and at some point hope to get to a weight workout. So much maintenance for this body!

The real guilt- I only got through two weeks of my bible study- I am hoping to pick that up next week after returning from AZ.

Will blog soon about Tony at college, some product reviews- love to help you spend money, maybe some scrapping/photo stuff, vacation on Emerald Isle (say it together...aaahh...), and more! Stay tuned- if any of you are still out there listening.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's a Girl!! About 7 lbs.

Here is Summer! Isn't she the prettiest little girl puppy?? I am loving her so much, except at 3 in the morning while she cries. I can't take it, especially since Mark is gone. I was up most of the night- of course Summer has been sleeping most of the day- but I haven't -so tonight should be fun again!!
With a face like that, she can get away with a lot, I am afraid!! She is so blond- I think she looks like a seal pup (with ears!)
I spent today doing a set of senior portraits- I am pretty happy with them. I have quite a few for them to look at. I have one more swim meet to do- I'll get that done tomorrow. Then I can finally get to some great pics I took of Alex and Alyssa, and they really want me to spend some time on the Jonas Brothers pics I have (from all three concerts I have attended this year!)
Tomorrow I have a mammogram, so think about me after lunchtime. I am really nervous- which is why I set an appointment soon. I don't have time to chicken out or stress too incredibly much.

Bible Study Day Two

I really like all of the verses that give voice to my feelings. I never give Bible study enough of a concerted effort to make it stick. Also, skirting around the commitment to study allows me the freedom not to change. I am in the non-existent / inconsistent chick with dashes of quick fix. I hate to admit to the open the Bible randomly practice, but I have so done that. That, or going back to the books I studied for Bible Quiz Team (so I am very familiar with them.) I am really enjoying being opened up to the Psalms- I didn't know David and I had so many similar feelings. Relating to an Old Testament king, who knew??
Going to pick up the puppy today!! Can't wait to see her!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bible Study Day One

O.k. not on time with the posting, but I did do the study on time. I think the main thing I took away from today's lesson was that I am scared of changing. As committed as I am to self-improvement, God-improvement is a really frightening thing. (not that I am doing such a stellar job, but I know I am not going to require very much of myself.) It is a comfortable delusion I am working with. Apparently, this is not how God would have me work on things. Hmmm... my other revelation for myself was that the guilt of starting and stopping is more painful than the guilt of not doing Bible study at all. Maybe as I continue to pray for the ability to do this, the commitment will come.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yoga Again

O.k. maybe yoga does something to me that makes me able to blog. Relax me a bit, perhaps??
Tonight's class was really nice. I hope they continue these classes in the fall- I could get used to a bit of weekly peace.

Tomorrow I am headed to Hershey Park, PA for a day at the amusement park followed by a concert by the Jonas Brothers. Not peaceful, but it should be fun anyway. The girls are thrilled about the concert, and I am pretty excited about the chocolate. Haven't ever been there, so it should be a fun day and a half. Mark has secured me a pair of ear plugs in an effort to drown out the screaming so that I might actually hear the music. (What a thought) My voice is almost gone, which is probably not ideal in that no one would be able to hear me even without the screaming, but I have no shot of being heard now.

Our puppy has been selected and she is adorable- see below:

We will be able to pick her up next week. I can hardly wait to snuggle with that little one. Her name is Summer, and she is a very light golden.
If everyone has purchased the bible study book, I would love to start lesson one on Monday, the 28th. I'll try and post as part of my study. (accountability, you know) Business has been busy, which is good, but it has kept me away from my blog. I will try and find a specific time each day to do my blogging- for the next few weeks it will be in the morning during my devotional time. (note the confidence!)
Off to Chocolate World- there is actually an attraction named that- how fabulous!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


On Monday night as I pulled in to the dance studio to pay off my girls' summer classes, I saw that they had added a Thursday night yoga class for adults. On a total whim, I asked if it was full. It was not, and tonight I went to yoga. I love how you feel when you leave yoga class; I don't know why it is so difficult for me to get into the habit. I think I am going to buy a new yoga DVD (since my best yoga tape is just that, a VCR tape- yikes!) at Target and try to practice a few more times a week. I have the walking pretty well ingrained into my schedule, now it is just adding yoga and some strength training. (just!)
Do you ever feel like if you actually did all of the things so called experts tell you to do everyday (floss, exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, take a vitamin, moisturize, eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, daily devotion- still a sticking point-, etc.) that you would need more than 24 hours in the day? Sometimes that is what I think, usually as I am trying to rationalize my way into bed without flossing.
Sometimes I wonder what I have done all day, but today, I know. Not much. I took the swim team photos this morning and it stressed me out a bit before hand, so I didn't plan anything for this afternoon. We are dog sitting for our friend's Bichon, and he and I did some resting together for a while. The girls and I watched last night's So You Think You Can Dance on the DVR, and that about sums up my day, along with eating an entire carton of grape tomatoes and 2 white peaches (so sweet!). The dog sitting is reminding me of what is to come in the puppy department- I had kind of forgotten that panic of thought- where's the dog? and its implied meaning- what is the dog destroying at this particular moment? Nordstrom (don't ask) is 5 years old and very calm, so that part is not puppy like, but being used to a 70 lb. golden retriever, the Bichon is puppy sized.
Tomorrow Alyssa gets assessed by the physical therapist, and I am looking forward to having a plan to help her shoulder get better. More news after that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Scrapbook Inspiration

Today I was trolling the internet in search of something, I can't remember now, and I came across these bios that they have of the teachers on I loved the format of the lists and thought I would answer the same questions and (eventually) turn it into a small scrapbook. Getting it on the blog gives me a "permanent" place to record it, so pardon my indulgence, but it is a blog about me, right?? Kind of cool to think about...

Ten Essentials I cannot be without:

paper towels
Excedrin (when you need it, you need it)
iPod (for walking)
chocolate chips in the pantry
books and magazines
phone- either home or cell

Nine Words I Love

y'all (and please punctuate it correctly)

Eight books I have loved (only eight is hard, and these are in no order)

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Tortilla Curtain by TC Boyle
Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
Shopaholic (the series) by Sophie Kinsella
Harry Potter (the series) by JK Rowling
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
How to be Good by Nick Hornby

Seven things I love about my everyday life:

Sunday- the sermon is always good and the Post Magazine find the difference pictures
Monday- a fresh start, new to do lists
Tuesday- crossword puzzle and sudoku in the newspaper
Wednesday-watching As The World Turns on my DVR
Thursday- my kids are old enough to entertain themselves, yet still like for me to participate occasionally
Friday- pizza for dinner means I don't have to cook
Saturday- preferably a no-schedule day with time for projects and reading and scrapbooking and all sorts of stuff that can't actually fit into a 24 hour day.

Six Places I Would Like to Visit Before I Die

Italy (Rome and Venice)
Alaskan Cruise
Paris (again!)

Five Things I do Everyday

Read (something, anything)
Crossword Puzzle (most days anyway)
talk on the phone
eat something chocolate
go on the computer for some reason

Four stores/websites I frequent
Target (the actual store)

Three Ways I Relax


Two Decisions I Have Never Regretted

Finishing College before I got married
having children (not that I haven't had my moments, but I haven't ever truly regretted it)

One additional Thing You should know about me:

I am addicted to self-improvement and the ability to re-invent myself frequently (doesn't always take, but I keep trying.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I have been struggling with my productivity for a little while now. I think part of my outlook is dependent on my productivity, and so when it is low, I am low. Also, we had a weekend of no air conditioning, which also affects my general mood. Yesterday and today, I did some stuff. Lots of business stuff that really needed doing. I am feeling slightly better now, less like the ship is going to sink. I have made plans for improvements (a recurring theme in my life) and hope that they will help me be more consistent. In other news, the air conditioning was fixed today (AT NO CHARGE I MIGHT ADD) so that will help my mood as well. A good night's sleep is always beneficial to me, and I don't sleep well hot.
The last project I had to do for my photography class was a photo essay- it needed to have an "establishing shot, a mid range shot and a detail shot." Here was my entry:

They weren't my favorite photos of all time, but I had a difficult time picking a theme. I may try and do a few more of these photo essays- they help focus your efforts. I tend to shoot randomly at times, and this aids in organization. You can pick almost any theme, or it also plays into event photography, setting the scene, getting the details, etc.
I have a senior photo shoot tomorrow morning- I am looking forward to it. I got out my studio lights and backdrop tonight and I practiced my lighting. My class really helped me with a few things, especially moving people away from the background- you get less shadow that way- you should try it. My instructor was big on the shallow depth of field for a blurry background. I like those, too, but you have to be very careful of your focus points. I am taking this particular girl downtown in Fredericksburg and then back here for some studio shots after we use the morning light outside.
This part of my job I love- taking photos and processing them. The business side of things not so much, but it must be done, or you no longer get to do the taking and processing part.
In other news, I am trying, once again, to establish a daily devotional time. I really stink at this, which is why I am putting it out here into the blogosphere. I have always been one to cram my homework for Bible Study into one or two sessions before class. (I know, I know, for shame...) I have just finished reading A Modern Girl's Guide to Bible Study by Jen Hatmaker, and I really want to put it into practice. So, Shellie and Susan and DeAun (the only readers of this blog as far as I know), would you like to join me? The book is quite entertaining, and I need some accountability here. Let me know-

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This is Love

This is my birthday cake- made for me by my youngest daughter Alyssa. It was a labor of love, and only someone who decorates cakes can truly appreciate that. It involved two trips to the store, a miscalculation on doubling ingredients that resulted in four times as much frosting as was needed, and a lot of stress over writing with an icing tip. Considering she is TWELVE- I think it is awesome. Probably my favorite birthday thing this year. Most adult women couldn't make a cake this beautiful- and she even thought to line the back of the stamps with parchment paper so they didn't get greasy! And, if you could taste it, you would be even more impressed- it is so light and delicious- I have a hard time walking by it in the kitchen and not tasting it. mmm- thanks honey for a great birthday cake (and we all know I am in it for the cake- if you have to get older, it is the only thing that makes it bearable). We'll be making some fourth of July cupcakes to use up all of that frosting!!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Catching Up as I Turn 42!

Today is my 42nd birthday- I do not feel the slightest bit different, so that is good, I suppose. I have already received flowers from my friend Shellie in California, and Alyssa is upstairs making my birthday cake- so it should be a good day.
In an effort to start MY new year off not running behind, I am going to attempt an update of what has happened since June 4th, when I last posted.
1. Getting a kid out of high school takes a lot of time- we attended something almost every other night for the last two weeks of school. Awards nights, baccalaureate, senior banquet, etc. It was fun to see all of the kids frequently during those few weeks, but it was pretty all encompassing. Tony's biggest award was Male Athlete of theYear. We were very proud, and a little surprised- he was up against some really talented guys.
2. Tony did actually graduate from high school on June 14th. I did not cry- one friend said that was because it was my first, and another said it was because he was a boy (so I guess I'm in trouble when it is Alyssa's turn!) I didn't cry at my own graduation, either, and I had a lot of friends that did, so maybe graduations just don't do it to me. I do know I will be an absolute mess when I drive away from CNU and Tony isn't in the car with me. Count on me to lose it then.
3. Tony and I went to Christopher Newport University for his orientation. We both stayed overnight in the dorms- I enjoyed only having one bag of stuff with me. Nice to travel light for a change. The sessions were all pretty good- only a few were not necessary. The campus is really beautiful- a lot of new buildings, and it is very walkable. Tony left pretty excited for the fall. I am glad he enjoyed it- one of the girls was crying, and I felt so bad for her. Tony has no trouble meeting people, and he was vaguely amused at some of the kids inability to mix with people they don't know.
4. The girls had their dance recital, so dance is finished for the year. They did a great job- I even ordered a DVD of one of the performances- at $39 a DVD- what a racket!! The week of recital is so intense that you are counting the days for it all to be over. Summer dance starts next week, so it isn't a long break, but it is something. Both girls want to work more on their technique this summer, so they are going to take some "privates" with Alyssa's ballet teacher. They are addicted to So You Think You Can Dance, and they have aspirations of greatness.

5. We had a graduation party for Tony with way too much food and way too many drinks (of all kinds). The party was fun- lots of people came, so that made me happy. Our backyard made for a lovely party venue, and the weather even held off, even against the power of Typhoon Mary!
6. Summer Swim Team started, and the first two meets are already under our belt. Hard to believe- four more to go!
7. Alex did decide to dance on dance team, so she is going to work hard all year to ensure that she makes varsity next year. I am proud of her for continuing, and for committing to working hard. I Hope she gets what she wants out of it.
8. I've been working hard on a photography class I am taking online. Having a deadline every week really makes you get out there and use the camera (even if sometimes it is the day of the deadline!). One of my favorite pieces of advice from that class is to Practice with the Camera- she says you would not only pull out an instrument only to play it on recital days, but we often only pull out the camera on the days of big events. So I am trying to make that a practice of mine- using the camera more. My manual work has improved significantly.
9. I have finally incorporated walking into my routine again. I hope I never totally drop out of exercising again, because the amount of energy required to overcome that amount of inertia is incredible. I don't know if I have it in me to start over again.
10. I did manage to get the house all cleaned before the company came- up next- the garage and the basement. I am still in the mood to get rid of things. I need to strike while that mood it hot.
11. Waiting impatiently for my new puppy- she has opened her eyes!

O.K., posting everything that has happened makes me think that I really wasn't that busy! What's up with that?? I will try and do better on my posting. Here's to summer!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Winding Down

The school year is definitely winding down- we are counting the days, and I have subbed my last day! I love that, because this time of year it is really babysitting more than anything, and I don't enjoy babysitting 13 year olds. The students are done, the teachers are done- it really isn't pretty.
Tomorrow I continue on my cleaning up and out project that I hope to finish in the next 7 days or so. I don't know if it can be done, but if it can, I will do it. I cleaned out under the bathroom cabinets- can you say medication that expired in 2006??- on Tuesday, worked on the linen closet organization, etc. I am ready to move on to the other rooms, because I am taking over the kids rooms on Monday morning if they have not sufficiently cleaned them by then. Having company always makes me motivated to get the house cleaned, and since moving here, we really haven't had much overnight company. (could be the lack of a guest room, but I don't know- that would be a reason Mark would say not to have a guest room, and I would say the opposite.)
Alex tried out for dance team today, and when I picked her up, she wasn't pleased with her performance and was claiming there was no way she would make varsity. She, unfortunately, was right. She made the JV squad again, and since she was captain of the JV squad last year, she is thinking of not dancing this year and swimming instead. That would be fine with me; I am just upset that she didn't get what she wanted. She is definitely not happy, and I hate it when my kids aren't happy, or don't get what they want. I know she will enjoy swimming, and anything else she chooses to do, but that is not the point tonight.
Alyssa doesn't have to go to school tomorrow because of the testing schedule. She is my best hope at cleaning help, so I am optimistic about what we can get done, with the bribe of eating out for lunch, or something. We shall see. I want to walk in the morning, but the tornado warnings will have to stop first.
Alyssa came down already tonight complaining about the lightning waking her up, and I know I won't sleep well with all of this racket going on. For some reason, this house howls with wind. It really freaks me out- I feel like I am going to wake up to big pieces of siding lying in the grass. When Mark is gone, it is really bad. Maybe I am tired enough to sleep through it tonight.
Off to bed to get some rest to be ready to work tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Today was Memorial Day, well, I guess technically, it still is, but for my intents and purposes, this day is over. I am onto tomorrow in my head, planning all of the things I need to do and plan for this week and next. Only about 14 days of school left total, and my kids probably won't have to go the last few days of exams. Yikes!!I was quite productive this weekend, and so was Mark! Yippee!! My desk is cleaned off, my photos now have a back up hard drive in addition to the hard drive they are stored on, the graduation announcements are ready to go, party invites went out, I read two books, and worked on Tony's album. Really coming to the end of that- ordered some more pics for it tonight, and I hope to finish it by this weekend except for the graduation photos, that I can't put in until the end. I will build the pages for those shots first, so I know what I need to take for the book. Mark did all kinds of outdoor work, including trimming the giant holly bush that was taller than the house- he used the upstairs as a ladder, leaning out the window of our bedroom with a polesaw to cut the bush. He also repaired the sectional in the basement, and recaulked the kids' bathtub. Yay for us. Now we really need to have a garage sale next weekend. I had been holding onto stuff for the swim team sale, but when I asked where I could drop it off, they never got back to me, so I still have it all, and it is taking up quite a bit of room in my garage. Not like the rest of it is super neat, either. I figure we'll drag everything out to sell, and while we are waiting on buyers, we will clean out the rest of the crap. Is that a plan for success or what?I am energized by the amount we got done this weekend, so I am ready for the week. I am going to read a book the rest of the evening. Doesn't that sound wonderful??

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend. The unofficial beginning of summer. I think the forecast here is actually for a warm and sunny day- very unusual. The pool in the neighborhood opens tomorrow- so hard to believe it is time for that already. This weekend has the advantage of having nothing on the schedule. I was supposed to have to play for the choir this week, but that got moved because the soloist was going to be out of town, so for now, no real commitments. Mark wants some help in the garage and in the yard (trimming the holly bushes), and of course I have plenty to do, but I like the fact that we are not on a time crunch.

Took the girls to Target today to let them buy some clothes. I gave them each $100 and told them they were in charge. Well, Alex managed to spend most of her money, but both girls were a little shocked at the sizes they required. Aren't we all. Hated to hear them saying how fat they were, but we all need to get in better shape. I did manage to walk this morning. They are trying to adjust to living without so many hours of swimming each week.

For my photography class, I posted an environmental portrait- I used one of Alyssa in her bedroom. It is the kind of photo I have been wanting to take, so that you can see her Jonas Brothers posters on her wall, but also see the stuffed animal she sleeps with each night. The tween stuff is fleeting, and I wanted to capture it. This assignment gave me the deadline to get it done.

You can also see her beautifully straightened teeth in this photo. I took a whole bunch all in a row, and she liked this one the best. It is a little posed, but I am glad I have it. I can't believe I managed to take a photo in the house with no flash! So proud of myself. Really learning some stuff about my camera and how to manipulate it to get the pictures I see in my head.

Have a wonderful weekend. I hope to achieve the balance of free time doing fun things and accomplishing some things.