Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Hope all of you enjoy a Happy and safe Halloween today.

On a totally unrelated and somewhat funny note: My brother celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday, and I am officially 36 and a 1/2. We are exactly two and a half years apart to the day. For a long time, we'd get half-birthday presents on each other's birthday. Until the rest of the sibs came along and that wasn't really practical anymore. It was still a lot of fun, and makes each of our birthdays a little more special to us---like we are sharing a private joke or something like that.

Here's the funny part: Last year, when I designed my planners, I ended the month of October on the 30th. Left off Halloween completely. In my mind, my brother's birthday was the most important holiday in October. I must have made about 40 planners last year and never caught the mistake. AND NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT IT EITHER. I noticed it when I redid the planner master file for this year's planners. Now this may not be funny to you, but it made me laugh!

Happy Halloween! The pumpkin above was designed by H. and executed by Mom. This variety was grown by my in-laws, and is called "Big Mac." Easiest carving pumpkin I have EVER done. Start to finish, it took about 15 minutes. I totally saved seeds to grow our own next year. Most of the time I HATE pumpkin carving. This year it was quite pleasant. Here's J's:

Both pumpkins will be greeting any trick or treaters brave and bold enough to venture down to the end of our dark street where we have mostly retired couples who ignore Halloween. (Although our lovely widowed neighbor, Neighbor Jane, did get some special Halloween gifties specifically for our kids on our first Halloween in this house, since we were the only children on our street. Of course, that was the year Halloween fell on a Sunday, and we didn't go trick or treating. She was all ready for us, and we didn't show up. I felt a little bad about that, but also thought it was cool that she went to that much trouble for my kids. It worked itself out, and good feelings were shared by all)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Retraining myself

So when I was younger and living at home, I did a lot of house work. Felt like I did all the housework, but I know that can't possibly be right. It's just my child-size memory. So when I lived away from home, I did as little as possible. Lived in cafeteria dorms, cleaned only when necessary--and often had roommates who would clean before I got there. When I got married, we were so busy with school and jobs and then children and school and jobs that the household tasks got put off for later. And then that became a habit.

Now I am basically a SAHM. My website is slow to nothing, so I don't have to worry about inventory or shipping very often. I teach classes at Stampin Cat once or twice a month, so while I do have to work creating and prepping the class, it's not nearly the workload graduate school while working while dealing with an infant is. Yet I still put everything off, and then try to do as much as I can in a mad rush before DH gets home.

I've been getting the Fly Lady emails for years now, and usually I just delete most of them 'cause I'm not really following her "zones" or "missions", just trying to come up with a daily routine I can stick to. One thing I have had success with is her use of a timer, with the mantra, "I can do anything for 15 minutes!" She feels like we can make ourselves do even the most distasteful tasks for 15 minutes and then we are at least that much more ahead. My average time unloading the dishwasher: 6 minutes. Loading it? Another 6 or so. Yet I can leave the sink full of dishes ALL DAY LONG!

So for now into the holidays, I am retraining myself. I've gotten pretty good at emptying the sink and running the dishwasher before I go to bed at night, and doing a couple of loads of laundry each day--leaving the washing machine empty and ready for a new load in the morning. And our bathrooms are being cleaned weekly. The kitchen floor is swept and swiffered regularly as well. And I do like my purple FlyLady feather duster and I use it weekly as well. The thing is, I'm still putting these chores off until the last minute. With the exception of the laundry, I usually do these things late at night right before I go to bed, and I fret all day about needing to get them done. My goal: do them first. Do the dishes right after we are done eating, if I can. Sweep and Dust and Vacuum in the mornings. Give myself play time w/o the guilt. Retraining those habits of putting it off until later.

Another thing I like about Flylady? Her belief that "you are never behind." You just keep going. Start right where you are, and don't beat yourself up over what you messed up on. So even if I am not successful at this right away, it doesn't matter if I keep trying and making the effort. At least things will be neater around here--improving my peace of mind.

And that's the other side.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Look what I've been up to!

I am doing two different craft bazaars this holiday season. And while I did pretty well selling cards and planners last year, this year, I wanted to expand my offerings a bit. So I decided to make a bunch of bracelets. I started doing this about a year ago, and have been learning so much about it! What kind of beads are best, where to buy good deals, and the pain of inferior crimp beads and crimping tools. I've also found this to be very therapeutic. And I can do it sitting on the couch--something I've yet to be successful at while scrapbooking! I'll be selling these for $15 each. If you see something you want, and don't live near enough to make it to the craft bazaar, let me know and we can work something out! There are a variety of materials--crystal beads from Austria, Swarovski crystals, sterling beads, pewter beads, glass beads, and the like. It's all mixed together. Some also have semi-precious stones like rose quartz, alexandrite, and tiger eye.

Enjoy the sparkles! I know I am!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

YAY! An updated blog!

I know I've been away for awhile. It's been pretty hectic. First my Grandma died. Then we had family alight in our little spot of Oregon. Then we had the funeral. Then I found out it was my cousin's birthday the day after the funeral, and since he was staying with us, and wasn't heading home right away (he lives in Seattle) we just had to celebrate his birthday. Then it was Henry's birthday. Then he got baptized (in our church, children are baptized when they are eight years old, because at that point they should know right from wrong and can take responsibility for themselves). Then we had a surprise party for him. (we told him we weren't having a birthday party because Dad made a mistake with the budget. He totally bought the story, and then proceeded to tell EVERYONE that he wasn't having a birthday party because Dad "messed up our money." When he told the new principal {in my presence} I just about died of embarrassment. That'll teach me to tell lies!) And before I knew it, a month had flown by. I was in somewhat of a "high stress" mode, where anything NOT crucial to surviving the day and accomplishing the most basic and important of tasks didn't get done. My life ran me over, so to speak.

On top of all the business, I realized that I lived with or near my Grandmother for as long as I lived at home with my parents. I really miss her. I truly believe she's gone to a better place, and I don't really have any regrets about how I spent my time with her. She knew that I loved and cherished her. I got to serve her until the end of her life. I just wish we could hang out again, that she could be one of my grown up friends and we could talk and be as equals together. It's a good thing that I believe in the next life, because I fully plan on taking advantage of that. So along w/the chores of my life, I had to give myself time to really grieve for my grandmother--to do the grieving I didn't have time to do during the funeral preparations and the service.

I also spent some time watching the Terri Irwin/Ray Martin interview. (Google it if you want to see it--it's about an hour though, so be warned). I watched it about 3 times. I was struck by a couple of things she said. The first, when questioned about their "love at first site" between her and Steve, she agreed that it was corny, but that it was absolutely true. She also said that she had a fairy tale adventure life. And then she said the statement that will stay with me forever, "I knew it while I lived it." She elaborated that she wasn't just looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but that she truly loved every day of her life with her Croc Hunter husband and her family, and that she understood the magic of it all as it happened around her. The other thing she said that will stay with me was "you have to be thankful for what you can." She told about how her family wasn't with Steve when he died because there wasn't room for both the film crew and the family on the boat and how grateful she was that the children didn't have to watch their father die. She also talked about how Steve always thought he'd die young--either in a car accident or falling out of a tree or something like that, and how she wished that he would have been around for ten more years--for the children's sake. And then she said how grateful she was that it wasn't ten less years. Be thankful for the things you can be thankful for. Recognize the magic while you live it. What a great lesson.

How many times have you been in the moment and missed the magic? I think that's why I blog and I scrapbook. I want to remeber the small magical fairy tale adventures you find in every day. And when I'm having a day covered in the less magical parental chores of diaper changing and cleaning up vomit, I tell myself how quickly this time with them will go. How quickly they will grow up. My daughter will be twelve in about six weeks. Joel and I realized that her time at home with us is growing shorter every day. Most of her time with us as a child is already spent. My baby is really more of a little boy--and we probably won't have another one. Usually by now in our family cycle we are "cooking" the next one. Not so this time.

It's time for the next phase in our family life. When the kids are a little older, a little more self-sufficient. Tall enough for the fun rides at Disneyland. Time to create our own fairy-tale adventure.

I'm ready to know it while I live it.

And that's the other side.