Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Friday, December 31, 2010

Here Comes the Sun and the Year 2011

I am excited about the upcoming year and about these:

The sketchbook challenge


You can click on either to find out more. These are my tools toward exploring creativity. I like that they are low pressure, but will provide me some much needed inspiration.

Now here's my last submission for the Top 2000 Blog Party.

I would like to thank the many people who have left posts on this blog over the course of the year. I have had over 7000 visitors since August 2008 when I started using ClustrMaps. The other counter at the bottom is not reliable because I think it counts when I come to the page, too. I have just never bothered to delete it.

A lot has happened over the course of this year. I got my first passport. My husband "lost" his former job and was required to relocate to his current job. I played single mom over the summer and am doing it again. I went on a long awaited sabbatical from being a mommy for two weeks and did something people thought I would never do by going to Norway with a new travel buddy. My son started school. I changed from teaching gifted students and began teaching inclusion students. I cleaned my house company clean twice okay maybe three times. I decided to be happy and to be grateful.

Next year should be great with a planned move in June and Caitlin becoming a high schooler.

What are you looking forward to next year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Message in a Bottle

As a girl, I loved The Police. I still do. Part of it might have had to do with the fact that my friend Renee used to sleep with the radio on and The Police was really popular at the time so I probably got a lot of it poured into my subconscious during sleepovers.

When I saw Message in a Bottle on the TOP 2000, I knew I had to do it but couldn't figure out what I wanted to do. That's usually the case. I got this picture in my head and here it is:

Lots of little circles.

There is still one day left at Marit's play-along for the TOP 2000. Go on over and hear some good music and check out the great work everyone is displaying over there. Marit has some very creative friends. Just click the blinkie at the top of this post.

I am done creating for this project. The last one was emailed last night. For once I was ahead of the game. I only missed one day of playing along. But this has given me the kick start I need to work on my word for the year: CREATIVITY. I already have in mind my post for January. I am only requiring myself to make one post toward this word each month so as not to overwhelm myself. But I am also participating in a Sketchbook Challenge (see the blinkie in the sidebar) for this coming year also. Fortunately, this is also a monthly thing.

Hope you all have plans for New Year's Eve to spend it with someone you like, even if it is yourself. I will be making milkshakes with the kids and eating popcorn and, I'm sure, playing LOTS of Wii.

Oh, and don't forget to come back tomorrow to see my last page for the TOP 2000.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fun With Paper, Paint and Paste

I decided that other than spending time with my kids, the one thing I wanted to do was expend some creative energy. My computer being down gave me the opportunity to do some things I would neglect like painting and drawing.

Marit invited us to follow the TOP 2000 songs of 2010 as is her tradition every year. She said we could make ATCs or scrap or draw or whatever comes to mind in response to different songs on the list.

Below are mine submissions and can seen over at her blog.
MacArthur Park by Donna Summer (paper)

Everybody Wants to Rule the World, by Tears for Fears (mixed media, tissue, acrylic)

I Just Called by Stevie Wonder (collage)

If You Love Somebody by Sting (Yes I know I wrote "something"...once you put something in ink...) (acrylic painting)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Part 1

Quick! Take a read before my husband finds me on his laptop. :-)
I took some pics and videos yesterday and today, so here goes...

This kid is the goofiest kid ever, not that this is news to most of you.

We were hanging out at my mom's house last night and started our new "tradition" of KFC for Christmas Eve dinner. Really mom was too cold to go to church and didn't feel like cooking so Andre suggested we have KFC instead. (Who knows? It might catch on.) We then played an old game I found in my childhood bedroom closet.

After finally convincing James that Santa won't bring presents to boys that don't sleep in their own beds, Gary and I got to wrapping. And let's not get into the argument of whether Santa wraps presents. The point is moot.

This morning, oddly enough, the kids didn't get up until 8:3o even with the tv on and Gary and I talking in the living. It was kind of nice. Finally, they woke up and emptied their newly made stockings to find chocolates, oranges and mini gifts like kaleidescopes, harmonicas and puzzles.

James, trying to figure out what he got

Each kid got one present from their wish list and Caitlin got some long needed dance clothes. I had wrapped up new mugs with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows for them to have with the long awaited gingerbread house.

And while James entertained us with his harmonica melodies, we watched The Christmas Story.

This afternoon we will go over to my Aunt Rose's house and open more presents and eat some yummy food. I am sure there will be more pictures to share.

Just don't tell my husband.

Friday, December 24, 2010

No texting while driving was done in the sending of this post.

Yet another cell phone post from western front. I could wax Quixotic about the joys of Christmas. Instead I will share this lovely photo.
One could take this downpour many ways, so I will quickly share with you where my mind went this Christmas Eve.
It started pouring like crazy while I was grocery shopping so immediately I began thinking how I was going to get to my car. At first I was annoyed. Then I found a place in HEB to wait out the storm rather than crowd with the other frightened rats on the front porch. When the rain slowed, I ran to the front to the checkout to get out before the rain came back but it was no use. The deluge began again. This left me with the drowned rats.
That's when I saw humanity in action. A woman with an umbrella saw a man with a cart and offered to walk him to his car. It made me smile. Kindness in the midst of chaos. So as I sit in traffic in the pouring rain, I watch the rain refresh the land and bring cheer to someone - all because of an umbrella.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

I know this is sideways, but I just had to show you what I have been doing. I finally pulled out the sewing machine and made the kids christmas stockings. Caitlin chose the red one and James gets the green one.

I don't have a computer right now. (Waiting on a motherboard on one and a power cord on the other.)

Been having fun making candy cane reindeer with the kids, visiting with brother and lunching with friends. I don't think I want Christmas break to end.

Merry Christmas everyone and a very happy new year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brain Under Construction

I am not sure where my brain is right now. Don't have much to say. Haven't taken very many pictures lately. I guess my brain is experiencing renovations right now. See you when renovations are complete.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Year in Status Updates of Facebook

I enjoyed this. I used an app that allowed me to post the following image of a compilation of my status updates on Facebook. If you want to read it, click on the picture and it will show larger when you click the magnifying glass.

It let you pick the statuses you wanted to include. I thought that it was funny that a good number of my updates were regarding allergies and lack of sleep. What does that mean?? I am not sure, but it makes me want to work on posting more positive updates next year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Tale of Unexpected Expenses Leads to Recognition of Self-Worth

I have an interesting outlook on life, but I don't think it is much different from many other American moms out there. We feel we don't have enough money. Now I am not including those out there that truly don't have money. I am speaking of the middle income American with a home and two cars and 2.3 kids (the 0.3 is the dog in our case.)

Every payday, I plan where all the money will go - $75 a week for groceries, $40 a week for fuel, mortgage, utilities, insurance, dance school, eating out once a week because we aren't home, entertainment for the kids (entry to zoos, museums, fairs), etc. There are two things missing from this mix: the first being a tithe of my income (we can discuss that later) and the second is putting anything away just to dress myself. I have not purchased clothes for myself since before my trip for Norway and even that I had saved for 3 years to do. (My trip budget included travel clothing.)

Why is it that I have no qualms over dropping money to clothe my children or to take them to a street fair, but when I need a new pair of pants or shoes, I hem and haw and put it off and then just never buy them? Case in point: I was looking at my favorite trousers this morning and realized that I got those in 2004 when I received a scholarship to go to California for an educators conference. At that same time, I bought a tan pair of cropped trousers, a brown dress, a jacket two shirts. Those things are still in my closet and I still wear them to this day.

This in no way is a cry out of poverty. It's just about a certain mentality that prevents me from valuing myself enough to spend even $20 on a new shirt or $40 on a pair of pants and CERTAINLY NOT $100 on a pair of boots even though winter is coming and I could use them. This is just me realizing that somewhere there IS money because just this week, I had to drop $450 on car service when my car broke down last week. Meanwhile, I will more than likely have enough money to feed my kids for the next two weeks.

So where does this money blindness come from. I am pretty sure when I added everything up at the beginning of the month, I allowed for everything that we needed, and when I got to the end of the mental ledger, the final balance was zero. How is it then that I can drop a huge chunk of change on this car and still make it to the end of month? Do you realize how many pair of boots I could have bought with that?? Yet, here I stand bare legged.

I just say this because, this month the large sum of money went to a very important piece of equipment so I am glad I didn't buy a pair of boots. But when do I finally say yes to myself and give in and buy something for myself? When do I decide I am worth a shirt, a pair of pants or (dare I say it?) a new pair of boots? When??

This next payday is dedicated to Christmas, but after that I would really like to show how important I am to myself by setting aside money to buy things for me. 'Cause truly, what am I teaching my children about valuing themselves if I am only showing them that mom is only here to take care of them. This goes not only for money but also for time...but I could write another whole post about how I budget my time shows I value my children far more than I value my mental health.

So until next time, ask yourself this, how much do show appreciation to yourself? What do you do to show yourself that you are valuable?

And now for some photos from yesterday's Krist Kindl Market and last night's Salado Stroll.
Didn't buy that either even though I liked it.

I was fascinated by this lady's sand jars that were really votive holders.
Wish she used other colors though.

Mmm! Street food.

A couple singing John Lennon's "So This is Christmas"

Carriage rides going down the streets of Salado.
This unique lady caught my eye. Hmm, I wonder if they'd notice her missing?

Yes, this duo's name is really Dazzling Weasel Faces
They were playing some Moody Blues

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire??
No, just some great smelling burgers.

A live nativity from First Baptist Church

James finally worked up the nerve to talk to Santa

Hey, act like you like each other.

My little street urchin

I will end with this last video taken outside the most popular house in Killeen. She started setting up October 1 and finished this weekend. She does it every year.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's December!!!

Although I love fall, I have decided that December is my favorite month and since fall doesn't officially start for a couple of weeks December still lands under the autumn category, especially in Texas. The leaves are just now changing color and falling from the trees. My poor son is dying to live where we can pile up leaves and he can jump in them. I don't think our new townhouse in Kansas City has any trees, so he will have to wait a little bit longer until we get a house. I will have to make sure it has lots of trees with leaves that fall off. (Note to self: Tell husband to buy a rake.)

This morning is just beautiful. The sun is streaming through my large picture window in the living room. Even though it reminds me that I should get outside and clean off the dog prints, it brings a smile to my face. The wind is strong enough to wave the branches of the strange little ash tree out front but not so bad that you want to stay inside. I was talking to a girl last night who moved here from Michigan last year and she commented on how surprised she was of the amount of wind there was last winter. When I asked if it was along the lines of a Chicago wind, she agreed. It kinda made me smile because most people who live up north snub their noses at how we complain about the cold here in Texas. Granted, we get very little snow. However, considering that we spend three months of the year approaching the 100°F, our 20° to 30° is pretty unbearable to us and add the aforementioned wind you have some pretty unbearable weather, at least for us Texans.

Regardless of the cold, I look forward to December because my profession allows me 2 weeks off each year. I get paid early to cover Christmas presents. AND most importantly, this year my brother gets to come visit for a good portion of the break. I can't wait!

This December I plan on taking a least one memorable photo a day. Some of my friends are doing a daily journal or scrapbook page, but I won't be so bold as to say I will do that. Maybe when I am done with December, I can gather all the photos and make one mini album like this or this, but certainly not as much work as THIS. Maybe more like this. Simple, to the point, photo with journaling. I can't do anything that adds more stress to my life, no matter how fun it appears.

So here are the two photos that begin my month. (Yes, I know it's the fourth, but I didn't start until the second and today is not over, yet.)
From the "Cozy Christmas Coffee" at church. Table decorated by Leslie Petty. Cup made by her daughter.

Me, headed to our staff Christmas part. Had some fun editing and Picnking it.

Well, I hope you are all enjoying your December. I will be back tomorrow with one or two more photos for my December Daily.
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