Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 End of Year Meme

This is my sixth year doing an end-of-the-year meme here!

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

Took on the exciting challenge of homeschooling all six of my children.

Got an exercise partner and got going with a regular workout plan that is working great 7 months later!

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Yes I did, and yes I will.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Friends from church just had twins last week! Other friends at church had their second child.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Gram died in July. It still hurts. She was awesome.

Our rescue dog Marlee died two weeks ago. Knowing and loving Marlee has changed me forever.


5. What countries did you visit? None, as usual.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? Brain space.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Last year's meme mentioned something really difficult that our family was experiencing. The day that was resolved for us (which took all the way until June) was important.

I traveled to visit my Gram in May, taking a special trip there because we knew she was declining in her health. I knew it would be the last time I saw her. It was a good visit. I'm glad I went.

Seeing our dog Marlee through to the end of her life is something I will remember forever.

My brother and his girlfriend, my sister, and my mom and her husband all came here to spend some days with us after Christmas, and it was great to spend that time with them.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Surviving and thriving through some really tough stuff. And embracing homeschooling all six kids. And losing 30 pounds!

9. What was your biggest failure? I've had too many blessings to recall any failures.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not that I remember.

11. What was the best thing you bought? The best thing I "bought" was No Regrets, by following my heart on many things, from the travels I took to spend time with much-loved family members, to the way we continued to care for our sweet dog until she died. Peace of mind and soul is a very valuable thing to possess.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? (same answer as last year) Mine! Saying yes to homeschooling, and being fiercely committed to what I feel is the right thing for my kids, even when difficult, is something I celebrate.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted? Thankfully I cannot think of who that would be.

14. Where did most of your money go? Living!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My oldest son choosing to be homeschooled again, and the way he is loving it. I am so blessed to be surrounded by my fabulous kids every day!

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? The first is a good one from the radio, and the FF5 is a fun memory from when I went to Ichthus with my teenagers in June!



17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? definitely happier
b) thinner or fatter? 30 pounds thinner!
c) richer or poorer? richer!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? I don't know if I wish I had, but it would have been nice to rest more and read more. For some crazy reason I don't have much time for those items....

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? I could say crying, except the amount of crying I did is only because of how deeply I love. And I wouldn't want to change that.

20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Going to a dear friend's birthday party, and then playing games with the kids, and then hanging out with my hubby. :)

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? I'm always in love.


22. What was your favorite TV program? Deadliest Catch, Castle, Survivor

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't do hate.

24. What was the best book you read? Stretching Lessons by Sue Bender. Wonderful!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Family Force 5 (discovered at Ichthus)

26. What did you want and get? A wide flat screen computer monitor. (thanks honey!) Now I can see two browser windows at once!

Also, help cleaning my house. Yay! A longtime dream of mine that last year I wrote about as a thing I wanted but did not get. This year I decided to get the help when I could afford it, and it has been absolutely lovely. In 2010 I hope to get even more help. I sure could use it!

27. What did you want and not get? Can't think of anything.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? The Proposal

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 38 this year, and I didn't have a cake because I had stopped eating sugar a month before. :) 38 has been sweet nonetheless.

30.What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? Spending more time with my extended family.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? Improving!

32. What kept you sane? Remembering the reasons why I have chosen the path I'm on.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Can't think of any fancies...

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Politics doesn't stir me much.

35. Who did you miss? My Gram. I miss her every day, but thankfully have a zillion excellent memories to reflect on.


36. Who was the best new person you met? Right now I can't think of a totally new person, but there are several people in my life that have been wonderful to get to know better.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. This wasn't a new lesson, but am important one to be reminded of: Make decisions based on your solid beliefs, and live them out in the best way you know how. You will be blessed.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. From Michael Franti: "I love you! I love you! I love you!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

A few thoughts on the Law of Love and the ceasing of oppression Share

Today in church we sang Oh Holy Night. The third verse says:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

I had so many thoughts going through my head:

He taught us to love one another: How many of us hold back our love for others? I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to give love to our dog Marlee as well as the people in my life. I learned a lot from that experience and will always be thankful for the opportunity she gave me, and the time we shared together. Sometimes people treat their love like a commodity that might run out if they spread it around too much. I think giving love away helps us have more love. If you don't believe me, how about if you try it and get back to me?

The law of love and gospel of peace: How simple. And simply beautiful. I wish more of us could let the law of love guide us, and that we would all choose peace any time it can be possible. What would our decisions look like if we let the law of love guide us?

The slave is our brother. In His name all oppression shall cease:

I thought of the precious, innocent little children used a human slaves for sick perverts, and organizations like gozoe.org that serve and save these children. It's amazing how small an amount of money you can give that will literally save a child's life.

People living as immigrants in foreign lands, far from their families, suffering, struggling, at the mercy of others who take advantage of them, with little or no hope of return.

I also thought of the 20 families represented that came to the food pantry last Thursday, and how sad it made me to see so many people in such need.

God, help me find ways and strength to reach out and be a source of comfort and assistance to others!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Win-Win

One of the things I've been learning about and growing in is being more aware of how I'm feeling, and not being afraid to make decisions that feel right for me, instead of constantly putting myself second to other people and issues.

Today I got on a roll with tackling some household projects that needed to get done. It was one of those elusive days when I had the energy and focus to really make headway on something. As the day went on, several emotional issues came up. By this evening, I feel tired and sad. I was supposed to go to our church Christmas party tonite. It would mean that I had to stop the thing I was enjoying making progress on, to make dinner, clean up the kitchen, straighten my hair (a lengthy process), and find something festive to wear (not too easy for me--owner of the USA's smallest female wardrobe).

While I was rotating some laundry before getting ready, my husband came along and noticed that I looked out of sorts. "What's wrong?" "I don't want to go! I'm comfy in the clothes I'm wearing, I'm making progress on my project, and I don't care about the party. I'm sad and tired and just want to take care of myself."

"So don't go."

How simple. (I was already thinking that, but did not expect him to be so supportive of it.)

I already had a babysitter lined up. What were my options? Greet her at the door with a check for what I would have paid her had I gone? Could there be something else?

I decided to let her stay and play with the kids while I do whatever I feel like doing. She'll probably go home earlier than expected, but I'll pay her the full amount.

A win-win situation, in my mind. And it feels good to be able to say no to something I wanted to say no to, and not have to work myself up to some social obligation that I've built up in my mind.

*It's been several hours since I wrote the above thoughts. Right now I'm intrigued by how difficult it is for me to take good care of myself, even in the midst of trying to be mindful and purposeful about it. I overdid it on the project, and now my back is hurting. For some reason, even though what I mostly wanted to do was lay down and read a nourishing book, I watched most of a boring documentary before finally telling myself to stop it and go get that book. It's weird, really, how much within me (maybe what I'm conditioned to do?) fights against simply saying yes to what I'd like the most.

A beautiful way to give, and give some more

My 17 year old son told me about TOMS shoes. For every pair you buy, 1 pair is given to a child in need. What a beautiful thing. He asked for a pair of TOMS for Christmas. You betcha!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Buy Handmade: The Melting Pot Candle Company

I just love candles (who doesn't?!) and when I can find
ones that are handmade by a mom, I like 'em all the better.

The Melting Pot Candle Company is owned and operated
by Natasha, a 31 year old wife and mother of 3 (plus one on the way!).

She was kind enough to send me some sample products
to check out, including bath salts,
mini melts, a tart warmer,
a soap sample, and some little tea light candles. PLUS
She's offering a giveaway..be sure to read all the
way to the

bottom of this post for details!
The mini melts are really cute, some even having
sprinkles on them
to make them more festive, and the scents are really
nice and yummy. :) I'm looking forward to giving
some of these
great items as gifts for Christmas. The prices are
bargains--you can really get a lot for your dollar,
and put together a beautiful,
useful, as well as economical gift here.

Natasha shares about how she got started in
her business:

I started making soy and palm tarts because my
favorite tart maker decided to no longer sell her products.
I was on a mission to make the best tarts for the best price.
I love making homes smell great and people happy.



What inspires you?  
My customers inspire me!
I get a lot of feedback from my items and I am grateful
for each and every one of my customers.
I try my best to make sure each and every order to
every person is perfect.
I get a lot of joy trying new things and sending them
as freebies or having particular customers try new products.
I appreciate their thoughts and take them all very seriously.


What are some of your favorite items in your shop? 
Some of my favorite items are my new ones!
I love handmade soap.
With the economy getting tighter and pressing on my
own wallet I could no longer afford to buy from other WAHM's
so I created my own and offer them at the lowest possible prices.

Some of my favorite scents are Oatmeal Milk and Honey,
Wild Mountain Honey, Pink Sugar, Cotton Candy and
Sweet Orange and Chili Pepper!


One of my favorite things about The Melting Pot
Candle Company is their
Random Act of Kindness program.
If you know somebody who needs a "pick me up" or deserves
a little special something, you can send in your story about them.
Once a month
someone is chosen to get a special goodie
package from The Melting Pot for FREE! How sweet is THAT?!
This sort of
thoughtfulness and heart is the kind of thing that makes me
LOVE supporting mom-owned businesses.... Heart!
You can read more about that here.

As I looked through the Melting Pot site I saw over
and over again the sort of thoughtfulness

and heart that goes into this business. From
conscientious shipping policies, and being mindful

of pricing and speedy service, I am impressed and
pleased to recommend The Melting Pot

Candle Company to you. :)



GIVEAWAY:

Natasha is offering one lucky winner a candle burner, tea lights, and
5 tarts of their choice of wax (soy or palm) and scent! (photo below shows details)


To enter:

1. Visit The Melting Pot Candle Company and look around.
Come back here and leave a comment, letting me know which 5 scents you'd want to win! Be sure that your email address is included so that I can contact you if you win.

2. To get an extra entry, join their facebook fan page by clicking here. Leave a comment letting me know that you joined and your name as it appears on the fan list.

3. To get another entry, blog about The Melting Pot Candle Company. Leave a comment letting me know you did this, with a link to your post.

1 winner will be randomly chosen on Saturday, December 12.

Buy Handmade: Anise Mouette

Anise Mouette is a super-fun place to shop for retro-inspired handmade goodies. Check these out:

Felt Plush Toys!

How cute are these scarves with little animal friends?!
I love these birdies! (Anise sent me a tote bag with this design.
Love it!! Nicely made, and great for a reusable grocery bag!)

Itty bitty finger puppets that are SO sweet!
(I got one for someone on my Christmas list! It is well made and totally adorable.)

Tell a bit about yourself:
My name is Anise and I live in Altadena, California,
with my 22 month old son Cyan and husband Biff.

My Etsy shop is anisemouette.etsy.com.
The name makes up my first and middle names
which are French, though I’m not French,
at least not entirely.

I’m a native Angeleno, though I did live
with my parents in Paris for a brief time in the
early seventies when I was just a baby.


How did you get started creating your products?
When I was a child I loved to draw and over
the years I've taken more art classes than
I can count.

In college I enrolled as an art major, but
I eventually majored in English literature

and then went on to pursue a master's in
creative writing.

Following, I taught collegiate English for
seven years, but with the birth of my son,

I decided to take a break from the working
world and spend more time at home.

In doing so, I was inspired to pick up the
pencil once again.

Memories of my childhood and the playful
nature of my son became the focus of my
work and then,

after stumbling upon Etsy and the Handmade
Movement,

I was immediately inspired to take my
designs to the next level

and create Anise Mouette - a line of
retro-inspired handmade wares

that include toddler & adult tees,
canvas totes, “kitsch”en magnets, utility aprons,

and now felt goods.
What inspires you? 
As mentioned, both my son and memories
of my childhood inspire me the most,

although I am always up for a challenge
and often try my hand at craft challenges

such as those held on Craftster every month
which allow me the opportunity to

work with new ideas and mediums on a
regular basis.


What are some of your favorite items
in your shop?

Recently, I've started working with felt,
so my newest items are my current favorites.

My "record player" tee and tote come in
at a close second while my customer base
seems to love

my "family fun" items most.

One thing I love hearing about is the
ways that businesses share their
profits with others.

Here's what Anise does:
Since I've taken a break from teaching,
I'm using a portion of all my sales

to purchase baby formula for infants in need
so as to keep contributing to my community.

Once a month I purchase formula locally and
then donate it for immediate distribution

at the Foothill Unity Center in Pasadena, California.

If you're a crafty gal yourself, and want to try your hand
at making some of the

items that you see at Anise Mouette, you can
check out her blog,
where she spreads

the crafty goodness, with her “Kitschy Crafts” section.
Anise posts fun how-to

craft tutorials regularly! Pretty cool, eh?
(I know my 13 year old daughter will be loving this!)

Here's a picture of Anise and her son. Awwwww! :)


Keep up with the latest and greatest at Anise Mouette by joining their Facebook Fan Page here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Happiness Lists

Recently I read a series of articles about happiness. Or, more specifically, about why women are reporting less happiness in their lives than ever in the past 30 years, and what we can do about it personally. You can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 by clickety-clicking. The articles came to me about a week apart from each other, so it gave me time to think about my own happiness, and what I thought contributed to the things I feel happy (or not) about.

In the final article I really liked the suggested lists to make, such as to name the top 20 things that bring you happiness, and the top 20 things in your life that take away happiness. The idea is basically to first identify what activities and people bring you more or less happiness in your life, and then work to cultivate the positive items and reduce the negative ones. I had already taken some steps toward that before even getting the first article, so this was mostly a confirmation for me that I was on the right path.

Tonite I worked on my lists. I'm not good with "top 20" types of things, but I did make some quick lists of whatever sizes came to mind. I don't know if I learned anything new. I think I already know what things I enjoy the most. I do think that identifying those things as strongly as they came across when I was making my list, it gives me some ideas for making time for more of that.

Anyhow--just wanted to share about it here since it seems like a worthwhile activity for many of us. :)

What's something that brings you happiness that you'd like more of in your life?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Buy Handmade: Julie the Fish Hand Stamped Personalized Keepsakes

Julie the Fish offers a fabulous variety of hand stamped, personalized keepsakes, and I think she literally has something for everybody! Whether you are looking for a gift for a man, woman, teenager, child, coworker, or a special occasion, she has just the thing. And if she doesn't...guess what. She does custom work too! So you can let your imagination loose and get something completely unique. Awesome! The prices are very reasonable, and Julie works fast, considering how much of her work is custom. You'll want to get over there right away to make your purchases, because December 7th is the cut-off to ensure Christmas delivery.

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom of this post, because Julie's got a GIVEAWAY for you!!

I think the first thing that caught my eye at Julie the Fish was these custom guitar picks. With a 17 year old rocker in my own home, I loved it that I had found something mom-made, handmade, and cool enough for a teenage boy. :) The finished quality is very good, and the size works perfect for us because my son prefers the smaller jazz picks, so he is going to love this.


These leather bracelets are another unique find that will work well for guys or girls:


I just love these necklaces. Such a great gift for a new mother! I got one for a new mommy on my Christmas list, and I'm very pleased with the quality and look of it. So sweet!


This sort of creative piece is right up my alley. I love swirly trees, and anything that can be personalized with a larger number of names.

Julie sends out her products in sweet be-ribboned gift boxes, and I love that. It's all done and ready to give!


Here's my interview with Julie!

Tell a bit about yourself:
I'm a mother, teacher, and artist.
I stay home to take care of my two little boys during the day.

I love my guys and enjoy all the funny realities of being a mom.
At night I teach English as a Second Language.
My students are native Spanish speakers learning English.

I have fun using both of my fluent languages every night.
I'm also an artist/crafter.

I love to create just about anything.
My newest passion is hand stamped jewelry.
I just can't get enough!


How did you get started creating your products?
A friend of mine had a simple stamped necklace and I loved it.
I thought, "I can make that!"

so I started creating custom pieces.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by my customers, their lives, and stories.
I love creating a custom keepsake piece that someone
will cherish for years to come.
When someone has a special occasion
I feel honored to create a piece that helps them celebrate.


What are some of your favorite items in your shop?
My two favorite pieces in my shop right now are the
square name necklace

and the love necklace.

All of the pieces in my shop
can be personalized with your information.
Also, if you have an idea of a piece
you'd like created I can make it happen.


GIVEAWAY!
Julie is giving away one of her
hand stamped initial necklaces!
The winner will get to choose
what letter you want on the necklace,

plus can choose from an assortment of crystals
or other adornments to go

with it. Sweet!



Want to win?! Here's how:

1. Visit Julie the Fish and browse around. Find your favorite item.

2. Come back here and post a comment, telling about your favorite item. BE SURE that I have your email address with your comment, or else there's no way for you to win. :)

3. Get an extra entry to win by becoming a Facebook Fan of Julie the Fish! (let me know in comments that you have done this, and your name as it would appear in her fans) Julie's Facebook Fans will get an extra 10% off their purchases in November. (hurry!)

4. Get an extra entry to win by placing an order with Julie the Fish! (let me know you have done this in the comments section)

5. Blog about this to your peeps! (send me a link to your post in the comments section)

6. Tweet about this post! (let me know in the comments section)

7. Winner will be chosen on Saturday, December 5. (I'll send you an email if you're the winner)

Buy Handmade This Holiday Season!

As all of you who shop (and browse!) at The Baby Boutique know, I love-love-love to promote handmade, mom-made products. There are SO many talented women and mompreneurs around now, and I just love to support those businesses. This year I have decided to tell you about some of my favorite mom-made products, to encourage you to Buy Handmade for all of your holiday gift-giving. Tune in over the next few days to see what great stuff we have in store. There will be giveaways!!! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am reading an absolutely inspirational book right now. It's called Stretching Lessons, by Sue Bender. It seems that nearly every page offers me something fresh that resonates with me, and speaks to where I am in life. So often this is my experience with books that find their way to me, and I am always grateful when it happens.

I could (and might!) share many quotes from this book. Tonite it's this one:

There are times
when it is a strength
to move inward--
to trust oneself enough
not to push out there in the world
by sheer will or effort.
And there are other times
when taking on something difficult
can be a worthwhile stretch.

Once I give myself permission to say "NO,"
I can imagine saying "YES"
with less effort and more trust.

How will we know how far we can stretch if we don't try?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

On the Desire to Create

I'm not Mormon, but found this to be extremely encouraging and felt it was worth sharing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It serves no worthy purpose
for me to minimize my gifts, my ideas, my heart,
to make others more comfortable.

It serves no worthy purpose
for me to pretend to be less
so others can pretend to be more.

I will not stop moving forward.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

How To Live

My friend Babz had this on her status and I loved it so much I decided to share it:

1. Live humble, transparent lives
2. Stay open to correction
3. Audit your actions regularly
4. Stay in touch with the real world
5. -wash some feet
6. Make your family a priority
7. Live modestly and give extravagantly
8. - build a team
9. Develop keen discernment
10. Maintain your spiritual passion - daily appointment with god.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Wisdom from the past

“It is not difficult to see why … the female became the emblem of the universal … Nature …. surrounded her with very young children, who require being taught not so much anything as everything. Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment … is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. … How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”

GK Chesterton

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I remember a few years ago when I was homeschooling only two of my sons, and things had been rather bumpy. I walked into a church event and a friend there asked the fateful words, "So how's homeschooling going?"

My answer?

"If I talk about it, I might start to cry."

And then I talked about it.

I told her that sometimes it was intensely hard. I told her that I was struggling. And I told her that although homeschooling can be intensely hard and a struggle, that doesn't mean I'm not where I'm supposed to be.

There is a lot in our society that tells us that if we are not happy and enjoying everything that we do, that we should feel free to go choose something else that would make us happy or be more enjoyable. I think that concept is wrong. There is a lot of value in struggle, suffering, perseverance, and commitment. Don't doubt it.

I really liked this article on this subject. Good stuff. Enjoy.

P.S. Later on that friend at church thanked me for my candid honesty. She told me that she had been thinking about homeschooling her own kids, but that every homeschool mom she ever talked to about it got all Stepford on her and acted like it was the most wonderful, natural, positive thing they could be doing. And she wasn't buying that. She said it made her nervous to only hear glowing reports, that she knew in her gut were probably not entirely true. Hearing what I had to say hadn't scared her off from homeschooling. She said it helped her feel like she had a more realistic idea of what it can be like, and what it takes to stick with it. I was glad I wasn't afraid to be transparent that day.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Raw Almonds for Sale!


Almonds are a delicious and nutritious snack, but the ones we get in the grocery store have been pasteurized, so the greatest health benefit has been heated right out of them.

This fall we are trying something new. Get in our our big bulk buy of fresh, unpasteurized almonds from California! At just $6 per pound, you can get these wonderful almonds in increments of 20 pounds.

Since these almonds are fresh, they will stay nice at room temperature for 9-12 months or more. If you store them in the fridge they'll last for years, and in the freezer they'll last for a really, really, really long time. :)

These almonds are not certified organic, but the farm that they come from has not used any pesticides in at least 15 years.

The almonds are shelled and fresh!

This is a pre-order. That means that you will order and pay for your almonds now. I will be placing our large order (many hundreds or even a thousand pounds or more) around October 15-20. Once they arrive here I will be shipping them out to you.

Feel free to go in on this order with a friend if you like. Almonds are great for Christmas gifts too!

This is a one-time opportunity. These almonds are just sold once a year when the fresh harvest comes in. There is a slight possibility that I may be able to take another order in November, but for right now this is the only time I can be sure of that there will be enough supply to fill the orders.

Click here to order.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New song from Steven Curtis Chapman

Losing My Footing

7:15 get up, dressed, eat, check email/business
8-8:45 walk/exercise
8:45-9:15 make smoothies and try to get the day going
9:15-12 homeschooling
12-1 lunch break
1-2+ homeschooling
2-4:25 This is my time for a shower, nap, business, dinner plan, errands
4:25-8:45 my new part time job ("only" 2 nights a week)
8:45-10ish finish picking up the house, laundry, business, pack orders, spend time with kids and/or husband, any leisure, etc.
10ish try to go to bed, but more likely all of the above takes til much later than 10.

Rinse. Repeat. Daily.

This is my life these days. I am struggling. Within this schedule I am finding it difficult to add in:

-driving to/from my oldest son's classes that are 45 minutes away (thankfully, I usually only have to do this once a week)
-having any personal crisis, illness, or need
-anyone else that I care about having any personal crisis, illness, or need

Last week included the death of a friend from church, calling hours, 20 extra hours of working at the not-quite-so-part-time part time job, a stressful situation with a family member, a personal problem that was stressful, some health issues for me, fatigue, PMS in all it's glory, trying to get a handle on the house mess/laundry/grocery shopping/meal plan/discipline/etc. etc. etc. Oh..and did I mention that my 17 year old is now homeschooled, which means that I'm needing to keep up with the reading for Sonlight 300? And try to discuss all of the reading with my son? Who is almost always on the go with his friends? Oh boy.

Today has been spent trying to catch up. It seems like every time I cross one thing off my list, 3 more items take it's place.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Loved This

I loved this new video from Taylor Swift. Made me think of my own awesome mom, as well as all of the memories I'm making with my children each day.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Dream

Dreams can be amazing. Stir up all your conscious issues along with the subconscious and the peripheral things in your life, let your brain get quiet enough to puzzle-piece it all together, and you get a movie. Sometimes it's just weird. Other times it's powerful enough to shake you to your core.

A week or two ago I had a dream. All of my immediate and extended family was celebrating some holiday at my Gram's house. It was as it is today, remodeled and with the belongings and style of my uncle and his girlfriend that now own it. We were all milling around, and then I caught a glimpse of Gram, standing in the front entryway.

My breath caught. I moved slowly for a closer look, thinking she was a ghost that could just disappear if I moved too fast. My grandfather was there, standing behind her, hands on her shoulders. They had a great view of what was happening both in the dining room and the living room, and they looked radiantly happy. They took my breath away.

I heard my uncle come up behind me. He quietly said, "Wow. They look so real." I had the quick thought that if he and I were both seeing the same thing, then it had to be real! And they heard it and looked at us. I ran to her and threw my arms around her and was overcome with hysterical crying. She was real! They were there! They were so happy to be together again, and to see how their family had grown. They were drinking it all in. All was well. Family members came running from all corners of the house, reaching and hugging and crying. It was powerful, all of us unified in our surprise and joy at them being with us.

The realness of that dream shook me from my sleep. I had not even been aware that such raw emotion was still hanging out under the surface of my heart. The desperation I felt for the opportunity to hug and kiss my Gram again was huge. The relief at being able to see her again was palpable. Seeing my grandfather so clearly was powerful. He died when I was 7, so it's been a long, long time since I've seen how tall he was or how broad his shoulders were. But there he was, and it seemed like there could be no doubt that I was seeing it all exactly as it was.

Every time I think about that dream it shakes me up again. For now I prefer to let myself believe that somehow it was true, that Gram and Papa met me in my dreams, gave me another chance to show my love and feel their warmth again.

Friday, September 04, 2009

These Kids Keep Me Laughing

One of the things I love most about young children is their secure faith in how much they are adored.

The other night I was snuggling with my youngest and it went something like this:

A: I love you sooooooooooooo much!

Me: I love you too! I love you HUGE!

A: You are the best mommy in the whole wide world!

Me: You are the best six year old in the whole wide world! I am a lucky mom to have such a great kid as you.

A: Yep! I'm the best kid God ever made!

I laughed and laughed. What a delight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yesterday while doing school with the kids something came up that caused my daughter to jokingly say, "That's because I'm mom's favorite!"

My youngest turned toward me urgently, saying, "WHAT?! I thought *I* was your favorite!!"

He was completely serious.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Get Your Tissues and Take 9 minutes for this

5 Years of Blogging

5 years ago today I started blogging. Which seems fairly significant, actually.

5 years ago my kids were ages 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 12. That sure is different landscape from today when they are 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, and 17. Lightyears away, it seems.

Blasts from the past:

5 years ago I
explained how I came up with the name for this blog
vented about AOL (never have heard anything better about them in all these years, either)
shared a manifesto I wrote (and still think about often)
told about the 4th day of school

4 years ago:
I was wondering what the proper and appropriate response is for the victims of Hurricane Katrina

1 year ago
I was dealing with an avalanche of business catastrophes that I eventually bounced back from, plus we had a new family member: our rescue dog Marlee (We love her! Such a sweet soul!)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Child's Grief and Loss

The other day we took a short drive through the cemetery, on the way to pick up my oldest. My 8 year old immediately started thinking of Gram.

"I wish Gram was dead HERE so we could go and see her."

I explained that although Gram is not buried near us, we would not be able to see her even if she was. I reminded him that Gram is in heaven now, with Jesus and God and her husband. We talked about how great it is that we have so many good memories of her, but he seemed unmoved from the pain of not being able to see her.

At home I immediately got the children gathered at the dinner table, but my 8 year old was a no-show. Thinking he was in the bathroom, I just called to him to say it was dinner time, and didn't worry about it. He'll be along soon.

Nope. He was on his bed, sobbing into his pillow.

When I found him there I gave him a hug and asked what was making him sad.

"It's all too much! Gram is dead and I will never get to see her again. And Ono and Oyeah* live far away and I have not gotten to see them for a long time either. Gram is dead and it is all too much!"

Wow.

It was hard to see his pain. I was stricken to hear him describe it the way he did. One of my less verbal children, always fascinating me with the deep things he shares.

*Ono and Oyeah are what my kids call my mom and her husband.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Marriage Advice from 1946

When going through my grandmother's things in July we came across this precious letter sent to my Gram by her aunt a week before she was to marry my grandfather. I loved both the style it was written in, the delicate stationery, and the frank practicality of some of it. It must've been special to my Gram to have been kept for so long. The advice seems timeless to me.

May 23rd '46

Dear Ruth and Ivan,

By the time this reaches you, you will be enjoying your last week of freedom. After the 31st you will be under heavy obligations one to the other. It works both ways. I have not lived 83 yrs without learning something about men and women. None are perfect so you will do well not to expect too much.

I've been wondering for days what I could say that might be useful to you in the future but I seem to be up against a stone wall. Every couple has to meet their own problems. I hope yours will be few and far between.

Forgive freely. There may come a time when you will appreciate the same considerations.

Needless to say I would love to witness your marriage but distance forbids. I'll be thinking of you.

God bless you. Much love and the -best- of good wishes for your future happiness.

I am enclosing a copy of Edgar Guest's poem on marriage. It covers a lot. Again much love.

Aunt Frances

Happy Marriage by Edgar Guest

A man who has a mind to hold
His home secure against the cold,
and free from bitter speech and word,
will ask no Judge that he be heard.

The wife who makes her home a place
Of safety, happiness, and grace,
And keeps the children round her knee,
Will ask no Judge to set her free.

Where two unite with heart and soul
To make the home a common goal
Where, in contentment, loved ones dwell,
They'll bear both joy and sorrow well.

When home is first in thought and pride,
and is not lightly thrust aside,
and faith is high and love is sure,
Fear not! that marriage will endure.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Homeschool Kickoff Party

A few of our local homeschooling families got together recently for a kick-off party. The kids enjoy the pool, even though it was pretty durn chilly for August! Here are a few pictures:




Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weight Loss Report

I have now lost 26 pounds since December! Just wanted to share my happy news. :)

New School Year

After being inspired by Stephanie Nielson's annual Back-to-School feast and theme, I decided to employ a theme for our own school year. I picked Let Love Lead You. I made a theme card for each member of the family, and included a personal note on the back. I think they turned out really cute, and I am happy to have an easy catch phrase for what I urge the kids about so often.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jonas Brothers Concert

Last weekend we had an unexpected surprise when we found out about some Jonas Brothers concert tickets that could be had relatively cheaply. I hadn't even been aware that the Jo Bros were going to be in our area, but having a 13 year old JoBro fan in the house, I knew it was an opportunity too cool to miss.

I took my daughter and 11 year old son, and had fun taking pics of their faces at key moments. These were taken as the Jonas Brothers were about to show up on stage, and the S-C-R-E-A-m photo was, of course, when she finally saw them. It was really cute to see how excited she was. (I even screamed! The excitement was contagious.)







Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Dance

Our church had a fun dance night earlier this month. It was an oldies theme, so we had a fun photo booth as well! Thought you all might enjoy seeing some of the pictures from it.

Me and my hubby:

Twistin' the night away:

A friend and I got the Dancing Queens awards, and trust me, we earned it!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Horrible true confessions:

Minutes ago my husband came downstairs to ask when I was coming to bed, and ended up telling me that he has been concerned about something for 18 years and has finally decided to mention it. (!!!) He said he would like to buy me some new bras because very often it is easy to see my nipples. Awesome. Nice to let me go around with THAT booger hanging out of my nose for nearly two decades without saying anything! Ugh. I do not think it is about the bras, seeing as how I have had quite a few different ones in 18 years. I guess maybe some different shirts, except the way he makes it sound is like no shirt can hold back my mighty nipples. Oh brother. Now I can feel self conscious about THAT while trying to figure out how to solve this problem. Awesome.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I took this past week "off" to rest. This meant that I did zero non-essential business items, did no thinking about business or homeschooling (except a teeny bit that came up at the end of the week), took naps liberally, and in general just chilled out around the house. Started reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes for perhaps the 3rd or 4th time, because the NEXT book in the Outlander series is coming in September, and I wanted to get caught up and reminded about where the story left off.

Today my husband and I were supposed to go out on a date, but honestly I was so tired and was also feeling a fresh wave of sadness and loss about my Gram, that I just didn't have it in me. Thankfully my hubby was ok with that. Instead of going out I took a fat nap, and then woke up to discover that we had plenty of garden items available to make a mighty nice dinner. We had corn, zucchini, green beans, and mashed potatoes all from our back yard, plus our own sunflowers in a vase on the table. I used my Gram's tablecloth, cloth napkins, and beautiful plates and serving pieces for the entire thing. It all looked gorgeous, and although I burst into tears no less than 4 times while making everything and setting things up, I also felt happy that I could be using and enjoying these things and sharing them with my family and a few guests that were with us tonite.

Now we're getting kids settled into bed and then my husband and I will be playing Racko and watching Life, season 1. (new series I discovered recently)

Interestingly, although cutting back on business doin's this week, there has been just a small amount of stuff to leave. I may take an hour or two on Monday to tackle loose ends, and then proceed to take another "week off" next week as well. I don't feel completely rested yet, and think that less work and more family time is just the thing for me these days. We'll be back to homeschooling soon, so I better get my snooze on while I have the chance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Control is not the goal

Happily, Saturday brought a peaceful resolution to the schooling decisions for our oldest child's upcoming school year. It was important to me that my husband, son, and I, could all find a way to be unified in the choices being made. I was very happy to see that happen quite easily.

Today I got my Brave Writer newsletter and in it she had written about not needing to have "control" over family members, and I identified strongly with what she had to say, since I've been living it out for quite some time now.

Although it may take more work or be less convenient than families that run their homes like boot camp or with "benevolent dictatorships," I'm quite happy to continue to maintain a family where each person is respected, and their opinions about their own life get the appropriate weight. Family is forever, after all. Keeping the big picture in mind helps me stay focused on the right stuff.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Very Tired

So I went to New York for my grandmother's funeral. It was a long drive there and back, and it was a tiring trip in just about every aspect of the word. I did enjoy a fun stop at a dear old friend's house where I attended my first-ever wine tasting party (still don't like wine....) and got to do some socializing and talking about the old days. )We have been friends for 26 years! How could I be old enough for that?!)

At my gram's former home I spent hours with other family members going through boxes and bags full of her things. The dust, mold, mildew, and moth balls were rather unpleasant, to say the least. But it was fun to come across treasures and memories every here and there, and to laugh and say "I remember when...."

I was blessed to be able to carry home just about every item that held sentimental value and particularly distinctive memories (for me) of my grandmother's house, and that is already a joy. Just about everything already has a place where it can be seen, used, and enjoyed often. We have already eaten off the plates, I wore a piece of my gram's jewelry tonite, a special blanket is wrapped around two of my little boys tonite, and several other items are on display and in use. (It was interesting to see how different items meant "Gram" to each of us. It seemed like everybody got the things that were important and meaningful to them, and somehow those things didn't really overlap, which was really cool. I have such a great extended family. Everybody was so sweet and kind to each other.)

It doesn't seem real that my gram is no longer with us. She has been such a strong presence in my life. I still know just how she looks and feels and smells, and she is very present with me in my mind. That is a wonderful thing, but also seems very sad and at odds with the loss of her.

I was able to speak at the funeral service, which was not easy, but I'm glad I did. As I've already shared here several times, knowing how many of the greatest loves of my gram's life came to her in her 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s is pretty inspiring to me. That's one of the main things I spoke about.

I've rarely known anyone as loved as my grandmother. She really did bring out the best in others. She was the best. I wish I could have done even more for her. But I know she knew she was loved and cherished, and that is worth a lot.

Since getting home I've been on the run. Orders to fill, customer service issues to deal with, interviews to conduct, and other business needs have been beckoning to me, while my children need me to lifeguard them at the pool and make some food and give them hugs and reassure them that Mommy is not going on any more trips anytime soon. I have had stuff I had to do every day since returning, and tomorrow am supposed to go to a wedding that I feel almost too tired to attend. I have a little boy with a birthday coming up Monday and I need to plan a party for him, which will probably be this Sunday. Nothing like planning a party 24 hours in advance, right? (sigh) My brother and sister also have birthdays this coming week, and I have no idea what to do for those. Once again the birthday curse befalls me! I wonder if a Lego set would do the trick for either of them, because that is what I still have to get for my 8 year old birthday boy. And don't forget groceries! We need those too, and I'm just the person to go out and hunt them down. (my husband would be happy to do it, but I don't know that my brain would even allow me to think through everything that I need to get in order to make a list for him. Staggering through the store, dropping things into the cart seems more likely...)

We are also having some upheaval about this year's homeschooling plans for one of the children, so there is all of THAT to wade through, trying to evaluate and consider all of the angles even though the timing doesn't seem good for it. There is a time-sensitive issue that is forcing this on us, but the good news is that if I can get through it this weekend, it should (hopefully) be put to rest by Monday. Please, Lord, let it be so. It would be helpful if all parties involved could be in agreement about the best decision. (prayers appreciated)

A close family friend of ours that was with my sister and the rest of us for the funeral and days before and after has had a tragedy in her family. Her sister was in a terrible car accident just the other day. This 18 year old girl was merely slowing to turn into her own driveway when rear-ended by an SUV. She is now in very serious condition and it is quite concerning all the way around. If you think of it, please pray for Kayla and her family.

So many things both big and small, important and urgent to fill my mind and my time.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Maternal Guilt: Inevitable

I've never had trouble feeling guilty when doing things that I felt were important to do for my children, but taking care of myself even when they want me not to sure does cause me some difficulty.

Today my 11 year old came to me tearfully to ask if he could accompany me to my grandmother's funeral. My husband and I had already made the decision for me to go alone for several reasons which include an out of state trip, not very good accommodations for our size family, my husband's work schedule, finances, my daughter's pet sitting gig which is ongoing during the time we'd need to be gone, and so on. In addition, in nearly 17 year of parenthood I've never gotten to visit with my mom, siblings, or extended family without my children around. Not that having my children around is a bad thing, but I have been looking forward to doing some visiting that is all adults and without me having to constantly be doing or thinking about doing for my children. Meals, clothing, sleeping arrangements, entertainment, supervision, etc. all take a lot of energy. I was already low on that, and grieving for my grandmother doesn't exactly energize me. Nor will a 13 hour drive to New York.

So it all makes sense. I'm going alone. The kids are staying home.

Except that I have a tearful little boy that loved his great grandmother and feels that he would like to attend the funeral.

And then I feel guilty. Perhaps I should be willing to do the extra work to give my kids this opportunity. Perhaps nothing should stand in the way of every family member making the journey to the funeral and participating. Perhaps I am too selfish to not want to have to play whack-a-mole at bedtime while trying to stay in my uncle's smallish home with 6 other people.

I could say yes to this one child. Except that there is no way that would be the end of it. Other children would want to come as well, and next thing you know I'd be on the road with the back seats full of squabbling children asking how long til we stop at Cracker Barrel. (ask me how I know. I took three kids with me to visit my grandmother in May. I'm glad they got to see her one last time, but it was an experience that left me saying, "Next time, No Way. I'm going alone."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In trying to explain to my husband that I just need a break, he says he understands, yet doesn't really seem to accept it. Once again I find myself wondering why it is that it is not automatically taken for granted that normal, healthy, decent, good, loving mothers and wives would also like some time off. When a single person or pair of childless yuppies wants to get away from their normal life that is seen as normal. When a mother wants to get away from her normal life, she is seen as "wanting to leave" her family. What the heck is up with that?

My husband actually said to me, "I'll try to figure out how to help you get some more breaks so you can get away from us."

Don't you just love the passive aggressive message embedded in there?!

(I will give credit where it is due: He called to apologize and said that he really did understand. I will try to believe him.)

It is crap like this that causes me to remember that it is no wonder that mothers suffer from depression, exhaustion, and similar ailments. So many messages tell us that once we are mothers we are on lock-down, no longer free to care for ourselves without a hefty price tag of guilt. It makes sense to me that I, like so many others, have gotten to the end of my rope at times. The whole thing turns into a warped scene where you can't get a break unless your life literally depends on it. (Hopefully your break won't need to be at Shady Acres. But it might.)

I have been thinking a lot over the past couple months about being a warrior as a mother. Fighting for what is best for my children, even when it is costly, frightening, and exhausting. I've done it. I do it. I will continue it.

For the past several days I have been looking toward my grandmother's funeral and have been thinking of needing to be a warrior to speak up and offer a tribute worthy of this amazing woman who has meant so much to me and our entire extended family. I may stand up there and cry like crazy, but I'm unwilling to let the opportunity go by.

Today I am thinking that at some point I have to be able to stand up with confidence and be a warrior on behalf of my own needs. Yes, it always has to be couched with wisdom and the realization that once you are married and a parent your life is never really your own any more. But I know that there have got to be ways for me to care for myself without having to get to the end of my rope. It will help me be a better version of myself, and better for everyone that is in my life.

And still I feel conflicted about saying no and driving away solo...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Great Love Still To Come!

Today as I was remembering so many things about my Gram, I had the thought that it is amazing to me to think that I have not yet have met some of the people that could love me the most in my life. Grandchildren are still a long way off for me, and I found it very exciting to think that more great loves will come my way in life.

Friday, July 03, 2009

My Mother, My Hero


My mom is an incredible woman for many more reasons that I am going to recount tonite. What I do want to say is that she has done an amazing job of caring for Gram in her home for the past several years.

It isn't easy to have other people in your home for an extended period of time. My mom has not only had her elderly mother's care to consider, but helpers to hire, fire, and deal with constantly, while running her own business and working full time besides, and then coming home at night to take over the care herself.

Elder care is a tough gig no matter what. Add in varied health problems, and a large side dish of dementia, and you've got a real challenge. My mom has handled a really tough situation so well. I am very proud of her.

It isn't always easy to do what we think is right or best. My mom has been committed to keeping Gram at home with her unless it became impossible. There has been a large cost financially, emotionally, physically, time-wise, personal-comfort-wise, and probably every other category you can think of. It has been a tough tour of duty. I understand it, though, because I would do the same for my mom or other loved ones as well. Some things in life require the warrior in us to show up and stay fighting for a long time.

I have been concerned about my mom for awhile now. Her schedule is beyond busy, and her stress load has been very high for a long time. I am praying that things will soon settle down for her and allow her to experience more peace and rest.

(photo of my mom and gram from a few years ago)

Tears, Memories, and Blessings

My Gram passed on during the night.

Thankfully my brother, who had been in China for a year, returned this week and was able to get to see her last night and be with her right to the end. He told me about it this morning when we talked on the phone. His care with her pain management, peaceful music, and his comforting presence make me certain that he did a wonderful job seeing her through to the other side.

My Gram was sick for a long time. There have been many times that I thought she would not live long. Every time I have spent time with my grandmother for the past many years I have been mindful that it could be the last time. I have been thankful for every visit, every phone call, every hug and kiss.

Several years ago Gram was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and we never knew if she would really know us any more when we could visit or call next. Yet she always did, which felt like a double blessing every single time. One more Christmas! One more birthday! Always a bonus to have a real visit with her.

My grandmother has been a constant presence in my life and has been very important to me and my family. Every one of my children has gotten to know her and have memories of her, which I think is really wonderful.

My grandmother's circle of love didn't have limits. If we had a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or anyone else around they were embraced by her kindness. And if it was at our family Christmas Eve dinner, she would quickly stick some money in someone's hand and send them out to the closest store to get some gifts for our special guest to open, because she never wanted anyone to not be included in the festivities. :)

It is hard to imagine life without my grandmother. She has been a constant. And constantly loved.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Random Proof that I Do Not Totally Stink, and some possible proof that I have not completely lost my blogging mojo

Since I vented about some of my shortcomings last night, tonite I will toot my own horn a bit.

Good things I did last week:

Took kids to VBS 3 nights

We got our pool set up and I did lifeguard duty every single day since then

I took my kids to the county fair even though my husband was unable to come with us (We tried to go together on his night off, but it was raining, so I took them the next day solo)

We had a family movie night, and I resisted the temptation to leave the room and go do something else

I played board games and cards with my kids

I stayed up late with my daughter two nights because she seemed like she wanted the company

I created a pretty area in the front of our house with two wicker chairs, a table, and some potted plants (much better than the junkfest that had previously been in that area)

I continued my no-sugar healthy-eating plan last week even though it was very hard to do so

I continued to do my 3 mile workout with my friend Kim

I pressed on to obtain much-desired birthday gifts and made a very happy birthday come together for my 11 year old

I discovered kittens under our deck (neighbor cat that thinks it lives in our yard) and shared the secret with my 13 year old daughter



Today has been better in my brain, and I have made a lot of domestic progress, which I needed. The kids swam. I did a boatload of weeding in the garden and yard that desperately needed to be done. Everything looks so much nicer now, and I am thinking of ways to beautify the place. We were blessed to get a nice new shed last week, which is significant because we have no garage, and previously only had a rickety old 3-sided lean-to barn-type structure way at the top of our hill which was never very good for the kind of storage we needed. For 9 years of living here we have not had proper storage space for tents, bikes, lawn mowers, large tools, garden tools, outdoor toys, our pool, etc. We have had A LOT of stuff stuffed into our house, and a lot of stuff in our yard looking very junky. It was fairly much impossible to improve, even when we downsized how much stuff we had, and tried to get the kids better at parking their bikes in certain areas of the yard. Now it all has a place to be put away, and the yard is so much more pleasant. We are also gaining some space in the house, which is great just for the visual relief of empty space, or at least less crowded space in some areas.

About 3 years ago we created a brick patio out of free bricks that we got. (We still have a bunch, too! What will we make next?!) Up until now this area has largely been relegated to a parking spot for every bike, toy, and deflated soccer ball in our back yard when mowing was needing to get done. Add in a few empty water bottles, soggy paper plates, abandoned socks and winter gloves, broken wooden swords or water guns, stray legos, etc. and a plethora of very strong and tall weeds determined to live in the cement jungle, and you are starting to get the idea of how this has been looking. U-G-L-Y!

Well, now that patio is clear of toys and junk. I spent some time weeding it today. (almost done!) My plan now is to create some sort of living space there to hold the spot and help it not regress into junkville ever again.

I find myself wondering about these people whose blogs I read who drive off to the library and on their way happen upon an estate sale where they find the most adorable wrought iron table and chairs set that will be just perfect for a niche in their back yard, for the bargain price of $7. I want to know where they live, because I never find such treasures at the yard sales and flea markets I come across.

Around these here parts you can find plenty of ugly bank mugs, mostly-used candles, Christmas tins (with rust inside), old tools (but not cool ones), and a whole lotta clothes. (that usually smell like smoke) Apparently we're a little lacking in cast off vintage coolness in central Kentucky.

On Saturday I took a little mental health break, driving somewhat aimlessly to the town south of mine. I decided to pop into the new Goodwill to see if I could find any treasures. Nope. And even the new Goodwill still has that donated clothes weird smell thing going on.

I will give props to the one yard sale that I saw and checked out. I walked away with a Michael Koors belt (50 cents!), and two cute new purses. (I have recently become a purse enthusiast)

Also, I would like to say that since stopping eating sugar back in March I have now lost 10 pounds. (on top of the 5 that I lost between November and March) And the Michael Koors belt fits me. And also I bought fitted tshirts yesterday at Target, and they do not look bad on me, and I did not have to buy them from the plus size department. Which I am pleased about.

As you can see, it is possible for me to become so busy with life that I give nary a cursory blog post, let alone anything interesting or the least bit well-written for ages upon ages, and then all of the sudden in one night I have a whole bunch of random bloggety goodness to spew out at you.

Sorry. I suppose this is one of the risks of being a regular reader (dare I say fan?!) of this blog.

I haven't thought of my life in blogging perspective for quite some time. It feels really nice tonite to be sharing all of this with you. Maybe I'll be back again before the spell breaks....