Friday, December 31, 2010

Not to be forgotten

Sweet Memories from 2010
  • Celebrating New Years exactly a year ago and Brylly was still small enough that we let him crawl around on the dining room table as we all surrounded it and took turns calling his name.  He is way to big to be doing that now!
  • Filling a whole door with envelopes to save money for our trip to St. Louis
  • Getting a visit from the Loofah Fairies!
  • Back and forth debate on whether or not we are cut out to be dog owners
  • 2 Nicholas Sparks movies in 1 year
  • Most amount of snow I can remember seeing in a very long time, including a snow storm on the first day of Spring!
  • The tulips I planted in the fall bloomed on Easter morning!
  • Hours upon hours spent looking for tiny bottles hidden in the woods with Shelly and Troy.  We fell in love with geocaching in 2010!!!
  • Brylly turns one and 2 days later Emery is born :)
  • Levi got baptized
  • 4 days of acting like newlyweds in St. Louis
  • Girls day at the K with Shelly
  • Brian and Vicki got married and we all celebrated in their back yard
  • Dad's chosen seat in the corner on Father's Day
  • Husband Appreciation Day with an action movie, bowling, and pizza
  • We built a deck
  • Watching fireworks from our driveway
  • Groupon
  • Becoming local celebrities when an article was written about us for the paper
  • Troy's schedule got changed and we start getting home a whole hour earlier
  • I discovered 3 Girls Cupcakes
  • Played at Coco Keys with Levi and Issac
  • Race for the Cure on a hot Sunday morning
  • Mini golf and Karate Kid outing with the boys before Issac headed back home
  • I attended cupcake camp and won the cupcake eating contest
  • Grilling mini burgers on our new deck with Brian and Vicki
  • Double date night with Shelly and Bryan at a kids water park
  • Built a fence
  • Babysat Emery for the first time
  • Family time in Iowa to celebrate birthdays
  • Awards banquet for work at Ameristar
  • Jack-o-lantern pancakes with Levi
  • Emery as a chicken :)
  • Starting this blog
  • Applying for the Good Mood Blogger
  • Trying 7 new cupcake places this year
  • Volunteering at Della Lamb
  • Random dinner nights with my parents
  • Christmas Caroling
  • Watching movies on the loveseat with Troy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Continue on

Flowering Tree from imgfave

I had Spring on my mind today.  I wanted to look at pictures of green grass, flowers, and budding trees.  I daydreamed about blue skies and chirping birds.  I'm not sure why I had the sudden fascination with a season that is still 3 months away, but perhaps it was because Spring symbolizes new beginnings, much like the beginning of a new year.  We are about ready to put up a new calendar and for many that is a reminder to let the past go and focus on the excitement that comes with the beginning of a new year.

I had a pretty great 2010 filled with lots of love and plenty of laughter.  I had bad days, but they were far outweighed by the good ones.  I am so thankful to be living such a blessed life. 

2010 has thrown plenty of dreary days into my sunny mix.  I remember days that I sat in the bathroom at work and hoped no one would hear my crying.  There was a time this year I was so upset with Troy that I had to take a couple days to calm down before I could even talk to him about it.  For about a month earlier in the year I went to bed every night and cried and prayed that I would find what I needed to fill the hole I felt in my heart.  There was a particularly hard month where we ate pancakes for dinner a couple times a week because the box of pancake mix cost less than two dollars and will provide at least 10 meals for the 2 of us.  I may write a blog about the sweet moments in my life, but that doesn't mean that my life is exempt from the rotten moments too. 

Those moments are like the raisins in an oatmeal cookie.  I do not like raisins, but if the cookie is sweet enough I don't mind a few raisins mixed into the dough.  I would prefer to replace them with sweet chocolate chips, but we don't always get what we want.    My year had plenty of raisins in it, but I would still say that it has been a very blessed (and sweet) 2010. 

I am not going into 2011 looking for a new beginning.  I do not want to put this year behind me and start fresh again.  I have learned from my hard times and need to take those memories with me as we go into a new year.  I do not want to make the same mistakes or forget the lessons I've learned and so I will gladly keep those moments tucked away in a safe place to be pulled out as needed. 

The calendar may come to an end, but for me 2010 is still to be continued...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Already in progress

Photo from imgave
I read somewhere that December 28th is the day that most people will begin thinking about their new years resolution.  Little time will be put into the thinking process and many people will end up making the same goal they failed to achieve last year.  Are you one of those people?

Do you make new years resolutions?  I make some from time to time, but am not consistent.  I think my only semi-success was the year I gave up pop, and I started drinking it again the following year, but I did go a full year without it.  I rarely make new years resolutions because it’s my opinion that the reason so many people fail to complete them is because they are not passionate about their goal.  It’s the “thing to do” on January 1st and so we all make promises that deep down we know we may not keep.  Better to make a goal when you have the passion to make it happen!

That’s why this year I made a Thanksgiving resolution.  In November I was passionate about making something happen in my life and so I decided to spend the next 12 months working on it.  No waiting until New Years, I would start right then. 

Troy and I both felt like we attended a fair amount of church activities last year.  We knew we did not attend everything, but we didn’t think we were too bad either.  The Sunday before Thanksgiving a video was played with pictures of our congregation from the past year.  It was a long video with a lot of pictures and our congregation is not that large.  We were only in one picture.  Not only were we missing from the photos but we didn’t even know what people were smiling about in a good portion of the pictures, because we were not at the activity.  We want to be more involved and see our smiling faces on the big screen next year and so we set a goal. 

The number one reason people fail to achieve their new years resolution is because they set vague goals.  It is a pet peeve of mine when people set goals, but fail to make them SMART goals.  Why set a goal that you are not serious about?  If you are serious then make it easier on yourself by making sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.  This way you will have clearly defined what it is you want to do and will know when it's time to celebrate your success! 

Here is our SMART Thanksgiving goal:

Make time for church!  We will step outside of our previous self imposed boundaries and say yes to church sponsored activities (excluding Sunday morning services, those are a given) at least 10 times in the next year.  When we see our sparkling smiles lighting up the big screen at the end of 2011 we will know that we have been successful in reaching our goal. 

I left the time frame a little open by using the generic “end of 2011” because I don’t know when a video will be shown, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one will be shown at all.  Even if no video is made next year we can still view our success by seeing our smiling faces on the big screen throughout the year.  There are always several camera's flashing away and there are pictures being shown before every service of recent activities the congregation has done and we are going to be in them this year!  We will no longer be that couple that shows up sometimes on Sunday morning.  People are going to know who we are!

It’s been just over a month since we set our goal and we have attended 2 activities so far!  I have no need to stress over setting a new years resolution Friday night because I am already on the path to success!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sparkling Christmas

May your day be full of Sparkle and stress free.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas on weheartit

I had a little bit of free time today (ok, a lot of free time) and I was obsessively looking at Christmas photo's on weheartit.  Here are some of my favorite photo's I wanted to share. 

I enjoy wrapping presents, and putting pretty bows on top.  I am guilty of spending more time choosing a wrapping paper than I did choosing the gift.  There have been years that I have stood inside Target for close to an hour trying to make a decision on wrapping paper.  In the end it all gets thrown away with barely a glance at the paper.  This year I only spent 15 minutes picking out paper and it looks just as pretty under the tree as each previous year did.  Saved myself a lot of time/stress :)  Will I remember the less stressful wrapping experience when next year rolls around?

Isn't this gingerbread house beautiful?  I made a gingerbread house with Levi several years ago, but it looked nothing like this.  I imagine it would be a fun tradition to decorate one of these houses every year.  It would be fun to show them off at the family Christmas party and see the creative ways everyone decorated theirs.  (I just loved this picture too much to not include it in this post!)

Hello Sparkle!  I love the super sparkly ornaments that have been all the rage the past couple years and would love to decorate my tree with lots of glitter!  After focusing on "find the sparkle without the stress" this holiday season, sparkly ornaments have taken on a whole new meaning for me. 

We were so excited when we moved into a house with a (fake) fireplace.  We were so disappointed when we couldn't figure out how to hang our stockings on the odd shaped mantle we have.  For now we hang them on our entertainment center, and it just doesn't have the same feel as those hanging by the glowing fire.  I think our huge mantel is great, until it comes time to decorate.  One of these years we will get it figured out and then we will look back and laugh at where we have them now. 

This is the best use of candy canes I can think of!  Turn those toothpaste flavored candies into a symbol of love!  Pass them out as you stand under the mistletoe ;)

Did you leave cookies and milk for Santa when you were a kid?  We always did, although I don't believe Santa was ever lucky enough to get something this fancy!  These are the kind of cookies professional cake decorators leave out.  Normal people like me whip up a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies, or maybe even some of those ready to bake cookies in the refrigerator section at the grocery store.  Plenty of people just leave oreo's out so Santa can dunk them in the milk.  I'm sure he appreciates the extra effort that went into these little masterpieces.  I just hope he never expects to see them at my house. 

Troy and I are celebrating our family (of 2) Christmas tomorrow, on Christmas Eve.  I am very excited to have a whole holiday day just for us, to celebrate the way we want to.  Saturday and Sunday will be spent with our families, but tomorrow is for us.  I feel pretty confident there will be another blog post tomorrow evening, so check back!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa T. Claus

Santa T. Claus

When Troy was a child Santa conveniently arrived at his house right after he got in bed and would proceed to stomp around on the roof.  When he heard the footsteps and the deep laugh that could only belong to jolly man in the red suit he would rush to sleep so that Santa could come in and deliver the presents.  In the morning he would go outside to find the bootprints that would have been left behind the night before. 

Santa is pure magic and happiness and we could all use a little more of that in our lives, no matter what our current age may be. 

Mr. Santa T. Claus (T standing for Troy) made an appearance at the annual Argosy holiday party for all employees and their families last night.  Unfortunately I do not have a good picture to show you, so you will have to look at the above picture and use your imagination a little bit to see the gray eyebrows, rosy cheeks, twinkling eyes, and a round little belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly. 

This is the second time in our marriage that Santa T. Claus has put on the red suit and invited wide eyed children to sit on his lap.  He absolutely loves this task and has been thrilled each time he has been asked to take on this very important impersonation.  Representing Santa is a responsibility that he does not take lightly and he spends significant time thinking about what he will say to the children and the best way to respond to their wish list request.  There was an abundance of products used in front of the bathroom mirror trying to figure out how to make his eyes look older (because that’s really all you can see after the beard goes on).  I imagine “Ho Ho Ho” was rehearsed numerous times as he was alone in the car on the drive into work that day.  I feel it is important for you to know that he does have a mighty convincing “Ho Ho Ho” and loves to break it out at random times throughout the year.  I wish I had a sound clip to accompany the photo so you could hear it for yourself. 

Santa T. Claus embraces this honor with a sense of pride and responsibility.  I have not had the opportunity to pay him a visit while he has been hard at work…yet, but I’m positive he is very convincing.  I don’t need to see it to believe it: Santa T. Claus is amazing at what he does.  This is something he loves to do and the excitement level is just as high for him as it is for the kids who get to sit on his lap. 

It may be time to seriously start searching for a nice Santa outfit that can be kept and used year after year.  Perhaps even a Mrs. M. Claus outfit to match?

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.  But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, Happy Christmas to all and to all a good-night! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stepping up

Levi wrapping the presents he bought

The past couple days my mind has been swirling around the thought that one of the many responsibilities I have in life is to be a role model to Levi.  As one of the numerous adults in his life, and more importantly, as his sister he will naturally look up to me as an example of how he should be living his life.  I am one of many role models Levi has, but that doesn't make my job any less important.  I need to live my life in a way that I would be proud to see Levi mimic in his own way.   

Levi is a sponge that absorbs everything around him.  He has a never ending thirst for knowledge and constantly amazes me with how much he knows.  He teaches me things about science and history (my worst 2 subjects) and about being kind to one another.  He has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. 

After church on Sunday we took Levi out so he could do his Christmas shopping while we attempted to cross off the rest of the things on our list.  We sang Christmas songs together in the car and listened as Levi told us stories about what has been going on in his life.  He told us all about the “behind the scenes” stuff that took place for the church Christmas program, and explained how hot wheels are made.  We sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer together.  We laughed at the jokes that only 8 year olds see the humor in, and were in awe when that same 8 year old used a word that neither one of us could have provided a definition for.  Levi carried every bag to the car without ever being asked.  He did not complain once during the whole day, even though we went to Walgreens three times.  He looked at the food choices for the kids meals and chose oranges and milk instead of fries and soda.  When we got back to our house he went straight to Mya to let her outside. 

“People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.” – Tyron Edwards

I am supposed to be a role model for this amazing 8 year old?  I guess I better step up my game! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Good Morning

Hot Chocolate with mini marshmallows on weheartit

This morning I am watching Miracle on 34th Street, drinking hot chocolate, and typing this blog by the glow of the Christmas lights.  I typed up several blog entries this morning and deleted them, because none compare to the simple pleasure I have right now in this moment.  Lots of great things to write about, but this morning they are all being outweighed by the small things. 

A black and white Christmas classic and chocolate soaked marshmallows are making my morning complete.  I hope your Sunday morning is treating you just as well. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ten words for 2010

I just took advantage of this fun application on Facebook to discover the top 10 words used by me in my status updates. 

10. Morning - I'm not really sure why morning would be in here, other than I am a morning person so perhaps that has reflected in my updates.  Most likely I was probably writing about what I would be doing in the morning in most of those posts. 

9. Love - No complaints about having love in my top 10!  I just wish it had ranked a little higher.  There is always room for more love!

8. Know - Probably because I KNOW everything...or like to pretend I do.  Maybe because I want to know things? 

7.  Night - This one makes me laugh because I often say "good night" to the facebook world, like anyone really cares that I'm going to bed.  Thank you facebook for letting me pretend that people actually care about my sleeping patterns.

6. Cupcakes - I have fallen in love with sweet treats this year which is no surprise to anyone around me.  Considering that two of my top five most viewed blog posts are about cupcakes, I think some of you have joined me for the sugary ride.  Cupcakeries are popping up all over Kansas City, but I have a feeling my cupcake craze will come to a close in the next year.  For now I am still in love with the variety of flavors in these personal sized cakes. 

5. Cupcake - See above!  Thank goodness I added the "s" every once in a while so that these would stay numbers 5 and 6 instead of taking over the top spot!  Yes, I'm pretending that they are two complete different words, because I don't want to admit I talk about them THAT much (even if I know it's true). 

4. Don't - I'm not really sure about this one, but my first thought was that it was such a depressing, negative word to have so close to the top.  Then I started using "don't" in a variety of sentences and realized all of my sentences were positive, so I guess....don't judge a word until you've heard the whole sentence. 

3. Eat - Eat cupcakes?  Perhaps I think about food a lot... 

2. Need - this is because I'm an exaggerator.  I NEED things all the time.  I need a nap.  I need a massage.  I need a cupcake.  I need a day off.  I need a book to read.  I replace the word want with need a little too often. 

1. Troy - I would have been shocked if any other word had been in the top spot.  Troy is often the one causing my laughter, reminding me to celebrate the sweet moments, and putting a smile on my face.  He is the best part of my life and I would have been disappointed to see him anywhere but in first place!

Words I am a little shocked didn't make the list:

This list made me think about what I am putting out there for the world to read.  I would like to see need, don't, and know move down, or off the list.  I hope that when I take this next year Troy is still at the top and that love has moved up the list.  I would also love to see the word sweet make my list.  Overall I am happy with my top ten and there is nothing that I am embarrassed to discover about the words I, perhaps, overuse. 

Wouldn't it be amazing if there were a list for the words we actually speak?  I would like to see and review that list once a month to check in with myself and see if my glass has been half full or half empty. 

It is very rare that I participate in any facebook applications or games, but I KNEW this one was promising and that I NEEDed to take it.  Sweet moment: seeing Troy's name in the top spot!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Operation Santa

Volunteers, presents galore, and families in need

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

I think many people would agree that the "Christmas Spirit" is about giving back, and doing for others.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the shopping, decorating, and baking that we forget and think that we are in the Christmas Spirit because we have turned the tree lights on, have cookies baking in the oven, and are wrapping presents with shiny bows. 

Troy and I joined a group from church and volunteered at Operation Santa, sponsored by Della Lamb, in downtown Kansas City.  This was our first time volunteering with this organization and we had no idea what to expect.  We were a bundle of nerves and excitement. 

Nervous for the unknown.  Would be helpful or just in the way?  Would this experience live up to our expectations?  What were our expectations?  What were we about to experience?  Who would be meet?  Excited for the possibilites...

Troy and I decided to work together as "shoppers", because we fit the qualification as "strong minded people"...or maybe because it sounded like the most fun!  This meant we would be assigned a family, usually represented by either the mom or dad, and would be their personal assistants/shoppers for their experience.  There were so many opportunities to volunteer in a variety of ways, but in the end we felt like we choose the right experience for us. 

I met a lot of people today, including a 4 year old girl who was picking out her own Christmas presents, but one woman really touched me and made me think.  This elderly lady was alone, so she got to choose a gift for herself.  There were 4 long tables of adult gifts, but this lady didn't need to look around.  She knew what her gift would be as soon as she saw it, and no amount of persuading by me could convince her to look any further.  She wanted lotion.  No fancy Bath and Body Works lotion, just a plain bottle of moisturizing lotion.

How many bottles of lotion do I have sitting around my house?  I have several scents piled up on the top of my dresser, a couple more in the bathroom, and a few random ones laying around the house.  A shortage of lotion around here is when I have no more NEW bottles of lotion.  I take lotion for granted.  I can't always afford the latest scents from Bath and Body Works, but I have something to keep my skin moisturized in the dry winter months.  She just wanted a simple bottle of lotion. 

Another lady I shopped with said she had been in line since 5am, and we didn't start until 9am.  She stood in the cold for 4 hours so that she could get some Christmas presents and a bag of groceries for her family.  Four hours in the freezing weather so that her children would have something to open on Christmas morning.  I don't need anything to open...those kids do. 

For the past couple weeks I have been complaining that I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas Spirit, and kept hinting to God that perhaps some snow would help.  Today I gave up my morning to sleep in, filled the car up with gas AGAIN, and drove an hour to volunteer at Operation Santa.  I spent my morning with amazing people who are truely appreciating the small things in life, like  lotion. 

When we left I saw my first snowflakes of the season.  I spent the rest of my day admiring the light, white dusting that God finally sent down.  I didn't need snow to get me into the Christmas Spirit; snow was the reward I experienced for finding the Christmas Spirit.

Getting ready to shop with our first family!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Going crazy

There has been an issue at work building up for several days.  This morning it was back to back annoyances with this issue.  I remember, at one point, declaring that I was losing my patience. 

A while later I ran into a small metal basket and proceeded to continue kicking it until it was out of my way.  I went psycho on the poor basket...guess I had a little more built up frustration than I wanted to admit. 

Looking up and seeing the jaw dropped, wide eyed stares of my coworkers....totally worth it! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remember me

Sweater Suicide

Do you see those tiny pink fuzzballs in the above picture?  I work on the 12th floor but frequently visit the other floors throughout the day.  These hot pink fuzzies were last seen by the elevator on the 17th floor. 

Today I wore a new bright pink sweater that I am in love with.  The sweater does not seem to be in love with me because little pieces are jumping off me and falling to their death.  I first noticed a tiny sweater ball on the stairs early this afternoon and it made me laugh.  I wondered if there was more and kept an open eye for more pieces of my latest clothing purchase as I went about my day. 

Let's just say that if someone needed to track me down all they would need to do is follow the hot pink trail.  

I wonder if there will still be hot pink fuzzies floating around the office tomorrow? 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Emotional Fingerprint

Fingerprint on imgfave

I have had a blog post roaming around in my head for a few weeks, but haven’t sat down to actually type it out.  Today the thoughts in my head were said out loud…by someone else.  I think that is a sweet sign that I need to finally sit down and type it all out. 

We know that our physical features are unique to each one of us.  Even identical twins have their own look...just ask their mother.  The emotional side of us is just as unique...a unique emotional fingerprint.  The way you react to something, or the way it makes you feel, are unique to you.  I believe this is partly because of the way we are hardwired and partly because of our unique background that has lead up to that exact moment. 

I am a crier.  This is the way I am hardwired and I have come to terms with it.  Someone once told me that my parents named me appropriately because my eyes are always misty.  I have heard stories about my non stop crying when I was baby and my aunts taking turns trying to shut me up.  My earliest memory of crying was in Preschool when my mom decided to let me stay for a full day (instead of the half day I was used to) and I cried because they made me eat peas, brush my teeth, and take a nap. (I wish someone would make me take a nap now)  I loved school and looked forward to going back every fall, but that never stopped me from crying on the first day, every year, even though I was excited.  I cry when I think about losing a loved one (even though they are all healthy) or imagine a great moment that might someday happen.  I cry when I’m happy or when I’m sad.  I cry when I’m angry.  I cry because other people are happy or sad or angry.  I cry at commercials and I cry when I read books.  I am hardwired with leaky faucets and this is a part of what makes me unique. 

I was very involved in Residence Life when I was in college and it played a huge role in shaping who I am today.  When I hear about someone becoming involved and taking on a leadership role I get very excited, because I know what an amazing experience that can be for them.  At the beginning of my college experience I struggled to adjust and cried every day (imagine that).  I would not have made it without the wonderful women on my hall; those residence life leaders who made it their mission to make me feel welcome and wanted.  When I hear stories of people having a hard time at college I feel for them and pray for them to find the people who will help them create wonderful memories.  I have a soft spot in my heart for people who are struggling at college and for those people who wake up every day focused on helping the struggling get through because I have been on both sides of that fence.  That is part of my unique background that gives me a little bit of a bleeding heart with college students.  My background has made me more compassionate of those struggling freshman and a little prouder of those upperclassmen taking on the leadership roles.  When I see people in each of these roles the level of admiration I have for them is one that many people would not understand.  My college experience is a part of my background that makes me unique. 

Everything you do, everything you experience, every opinion you have plays a part in shaping the way you will react to something.  Everything that has happened in your life effects the way you will react to the next obstacle/opportunity/conversation/moment that comes your way.    You are unique and you express yourself in your own unique way.  You do not have to be upset or happy about the same things your neighbor is upset or happy about and you do not have to show your anger or happiness in the same way they do. 

Imagine this: Your boss sends out a memo stating that the office will be closed on Friday, so you get the day off, but will not get paid for it.  Do you scream, kick, and call HR about the situation?  Do you thank your boss for the additional day off, thus creating a 3 day weekend?   Do you silently accept it and go about your day?  Are any of those responses right, or wrong?  We each respond in our own way based on our personalities and our background.  As long as we are not intentionally hurting others (kicking) we are entitled to be upset, happy, or indifferent about the memo.  One persons anger may be screamed while another persons anger may be quietly kept inside.  Each person is entitled to express their emotions in their own way.

Next time you see someone who is expressing (or seeming to not express) emotions that you don't understand remember that they too are unique and have the right to react in the way that is appropriate for them.  They are showing you their emotional fingerprint. 

I do not believe that it is ever appropriate to express your emotions in a way that will intentionally hurt someone else.  With that being said I think it is important for us to remember that the way people react is because of who they are and when you see someone responding in an inappropriate way we need to remember that there are circumstances leading up to that.  It's not ok to hit someone, but when it happens it makes me wonder what has happened in that person's life that they feel like physical violence is the answer. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rockstar Christmas

Poodle Skirt Pattern imgfave

My inner rock star wears a poodle skirt. 

During the month of December Crown Center brings in bus after bus of children's choirs to belt out the holiday classics.  If you are looking for peace and quiet, go somewhere else, because no place does Christmas as well as Crown Center.  

In elementary school each grade had a different program they performed year after year.  Third graders got the Christmas program.  My class got to sing Jingle Bell Rock, which was the coolest Christmas song there was.  To make it even better the girls all got to wear poodle skirts.  I say we got to wear them because I was a kid; the parents probably said we HAD to wear them because they had to find/make one for the program.  I don't know if I ever felt cooler than I did that night.  My class got to sing a "rock and roll" Christmas song and spin around in our super cool skirts.  I was sure every other class was jealous of us.  To this day every time I hear Jingle Bell Rock come on the radio I swell with pride thinking about the time I was the cool kid. 

We were pretty much just singing and dancing for all the third graders parents, but it was exciting and it still stands out in my list of childhood memories.  The kids here at Crown Center are singing for hundreds of strangers and I imagine this is a big moment for some of them.  There are cameras flashing everywhere and you can see people on the 2nd and 3rd floors looking down on the choir.  What a rock star moment! 

Thank you, Crown Center, for allowing all of these kids to have their moment in spotlight. 

Found it!

I found some sparkle.

Yesterday I slow danced with Troy - in the middle of the living room - in the middle of the day - to Christmas music.  Pretty hard to even remember what the stress was about when you have moments that sparkle that bright! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Making progress?

My first attempt at making my own wreath

Find the Sparkle without the Stress....that's the goal, remember?  Christmas is getting closer and while I am doing a good job of ignoring the stress I am struggling to find the sparkle.  I can not find the motivation to put up our tree, or get out any of the decorations.  The above wreath is the only Christmas item I have out and that's just because it's new and it made more sense to hang it up than put it in the garage with the rest of our decorations.  My cup is 1/2 full (or is it 1/2 empty?) and I'm still working on filling it up the rest of the way. 

I have begun my Christmas shopping and am about 1/2 way done.  I have been listening to Christmas music in the car and singing along, even when I'm not feeling it.  I bought some cute HO HO HO paper because I love wrapping presents and thought this would help with my motivation.  I walk down the holiday aisle every time I go in a store and force myself to look at all the cute, festive things on display.  I've researched Christmas cookie recipes, and given some serious thought to what we are going to eat for Christmas dinner (I want mexican). 

I am not stressed, but I am still not sparkling.

I am declaring tomorrow C day.  I will put up the Christmas tree and hang each ornament with care.  The nativity scene will come out of it's box and be put on display where it belongs.  That random strand of red Christmas lights will find a home on top of my fireplace, and I will do my best to plug them in every night.  I will start using my Christmas plates for dinner time and make hot chocolate just so I can drink it out of a snowman mug.  Christmas will find it's way into our house tomorrow.

The sparkle hasn't found me...yet.  It's coming, I know it is. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Judging a book....

I am terrible about judging a book by it's cover....literally.  I love to read but I have to be drawn in by the cover of the book before I will even give the words inside a chance to be read.  I prefer books with light colors (they seem happier than dark)  and a pretty font and/or picture.  I am also partial to hard back.  A paperback just doesn't feel right to me and when given a choice I will almost always go for the hard version. 

Troy brought a few books into this marriage; plays, history stuff, and John Grisham.  I have many books and have read them over and over (lots of love stories, but other stuff too). Every time I go to the bookshelf to look for something to read I quickly skip over the dark paperbacks by Grisham.  That's not my style!

A few months ago I was desperate for something to read and didn't have time to go to the library.  With a scowl on my face I shoved the dreary black book into my bag and went to work.  It would get me through my lunch hour and then I could go to the library after work and get something more cheerful to read. 

I loved the book.  I wanted to cover it rainbow stickers to brighten up the outside, but the inside was great!

I have had a small collection of John Grisham books sitting on my bookshelf, begging to be read for years.  They smell musty and the pages are not a bright white anymore, but I am looking past the physical and finally enjoying what's been waiting for me inside.  Today I started reading my second Grisham book and am ashamed to admit I still questioned my choice as I looked at the cover.  I am 25 pages into it and smacking myself for once again judging a book by it's cover. 

If I judge books so quickly and find it this difficult to break the habit, how much am I doing it with people and how hard will that habit be to break?  I'm breaking down those walls one book cover at a time, because you have to start somewhere.  Today I smiled as I finished up two short chapters and remembered that I do like John Grisham. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Mya's new toy

Troy and I are the world's worst dog trainers.  Mya is 3 years old and we are still trying to figure out how to stop the way too frequent "accidents".  We can say down, sit, and stay all we want but Mya acts like she doesn't hear us.  I keep a glass of water on my nightstand and Troy tells me that as soon as I get out of bed Mya gets herself a drink of water out of my glass. In fact she will help herself to any glass of water that is left unattended for very long.  This evening Mya helped herself to a tater tot right off of Troy's plate as he was eating dinner (she only does that to him because she knows he is a sucker and will let her).  Every single morning I have a silent argument with her because she doesn't want to go outside and I insist that she's a stare down, a little begging (by me), some reverse psychology, and even a little bribing to get her out that door.  We do not have a future in dog training!  Our house is full of love...the rules we are still working on. 

This evening we discovered that Mya knows the word toy.  "Get your toy" actually sent her running across the room and she brought her toy to us for some playtime.  We tested this over and over just to make sure it wasn't a coincidence the first, second...or third time. 

Doggy accidents on the carpet suck and eating dinner off of Troy's plate is annoying, but discovering that we have one word we all understand is priceless!  We will work on convincing her that she is supposed to drink water out of her dog dish another day.  Today we are celebrating the word toy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

All in the name of love

Troy has bad feet.  I don't know what's wrong with them (depends on which doctor you ask) but they suck.  He especially has trouble with his heels and they are easily injured.  The man loves sports, but he can't even play a game of catch without regretting it the next day. 

Most of us would have sore feet after a couple hours of standing/walking.  Troy sometimes struggles to make it through a trip to the grocery store.  Maybe if we could take some of the fat out of my butt and put it on the bottom of his feet it would solve his problem!  Like anyone else he has good days and bad days and not every experience effects him in the same way, but he does have more than his fair share of foot pain.

I am telling you this so that you will understand how much today meant to me. 

I've wanted a laptop for quite a while, but since I've started blogging my desire for one has gotten even greater.  It would be so nice to be able to work on my blog in the living room and still be able to spend time with Troy, or to take it with me to Crown Center on those nights Troy has to pick me up late from work.  I am using the computer a lot more often now and a laptop would be so convenient.  While looking through the black Friday ad's Troy found a good deal on one and offered to get it for me.  I didn't ask for it, or even have to do any persuading, he just offered. 

Troy left the house around 3:30am.  Around 5:00 he got to the store and joined the long line, outside, in the below freezing temps.  The store didn't open until 7am.  Shortly after 8:00 he called me and said he wasn't able to get the laptop, but that they had another one available and he would try to get me one of those.  He had been standing in line for over an hour just to find out that he would not be able to get the item he went after.  Thank goodness that put him towards the front of the line for option #2. 

Another hour later he finally joined the very long, very slow checkout line.  It was going on 11:00 when he finally told me that he had successfully paid for the laptop!!!!!!! but now had to get in yet another line to actually pick it up. 

He was on his feet for almost 6 hours...for me.  He must really love me!  I owe him one heck of a foot massage! (especially since he is going back to the store with me tomorrow to get a couple more items)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving on weheartit

25 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving
  1. My husband
  2. My family
  3. A job
  4. A house
  5. French Silk Pie
  6. Trying new recipes
  7. Playing games
  8. Heated car seats
  9. A big glass of ice water
  10. The invigorating first breath of cold air
  11. Turning on that station that only plays Christmas music
  12. A house full of people you love
  13. Laughter
  14. Vegetables topped with marshmallows (hello sweet potato's!)
  15. Looking through the Black Friday sale ads
  16. Watching kids circle everything in the sale ads
  17. Laughing at Troy as he attempts to keep all of our dishes safely held in his lap on the trip across town
  18. Using paper plates because let's face it...there are enough dirty dishes already
  19. Blogging
  20. Hugs and Kisses from little kids
  21. No questions asked when you take a nap after lunch
  22. Driving by a house with lots of extra cars parked in front of it.  They are celebrating!
  23. The smell of all that food
  24. Mya begging for us to go back to bed and sleep just a little longer
  25. Paid time off work for the holiday
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks

Give Thanks on weheartit

November is the month of giving thanks.  I have many facebook friends that have been posting one thing they are thankful for each day from November 1st through the big turkey day tomorrow and I have greatly enjoyed reading what they have to say each day  As we have gotten closer to Thanksgiving it seems as though everyone is creating a list (and checking it twice) of joyful things.  At church on Sunday we were given the opportunity to stand up and share with everyone what we are thankful for and one guy stood up and said that he is thankful for the good and the bad things.  (yes, he is smart...that's what a  Graceland education will do for you!)  I instantly knew that I agreed with him and that I would blog about it, but why?  Why do I need to be thankful for the bad things?  I want to forget the bad things, not search for a reason to be thankful they happened. 

The obvious answer to me is because without bad moments there would be no good moments.  You wouldn't know what a good moment was if you didn't have those bad moments to compare them to.  How can I appreciate the days where everything seems to be going my way and I can't stop smiling if every single day was like that?  The reason those days are so good is because I am able to remember the days where nothing seemed to be going my way and I had to force myself to smile. 

I have been thinking about this for four days now and I still feel like that is the weak answer.  There has to be something deeper that I am missing...right?  As I have struggled with this question in every quiet moment I've had I have started to think about my own personal bad moments and why I was thankful for them. 

Bad Moment:  Some wrong numbers hit on the calculator resulted in not being able to pay a very important bill.  Thankful for that moment because it provided me an opportunity to face a weakness and come out on top.  I am stronger because of it. 

Bad Moment: Having my feelings hurt.  Thankful for that moment because it started a new personal tradition that I now enjoy.  (more on that another time)

Bad Moment: Being sick.  Thankful for that moment because it forced me to listen to my body and get some much needed rest. 

Bad Moment: Tripping and falling in the middle of a restaurant.  Thankful for that because now whenever I trip over something I remember the time I fell on my face in front of a room full of strangers and know that this time can not be as embarrassing as that time.  Plus it helps when you do something embarrassing like that and can follow it up with an even more embarrassing story of yourself and have a good laugh with everyone. 

So, in the end, I have decided that while my first thought was true, it is more about what we learn in those bad moments that we need to be thankful for.  Look at the negative thing in front of you and decide what you will take away from it.  Be thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow.  (I know...easier said than done.) 

As I was driving home last night, talking to myself about the bad moments I realized that I was not struggling to find the positive spin.  Finding the positive spin is easy, believing it is whole other story.  Sometimes it's easy to spot and believe in the good that will come out of our bad moment.  Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months, or even years to be able to even find the positive and even longer to truly be thankful for it.  Take comfort in knowing that the positive spin is coming and keep your mind open to new possibilities.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crafty Blogs

Pinecone Garland from designvagabond

I always enjoy reading other peoples blogs and am constantly on the look-out for new (to me) blogs to save to my favorites.  The past couple of days I have spent quite a bit of time looking specifically at craft blogs.  I love to see the creative things people come up with and am envious of those who are so good at it that they have made it their full time job.  Here are some of my favorite crafty links from the past couple days...

  • Confetti does a variety of crafty projects, but parties in general seem to be her favorite.  I particularly love the party invitations she has created.  The mall scavenger hunt , amusement park, and football ticket are some of my favorite invitations.  I also love this candy themed birthday party (part 1 and part 2) for a little girl. 
  • Daily Dose of Spazz created this super cool Christmas Countdown book.  Perhaps I will someday get around to making one!
  • The Wired Angel makes the most beautiful cards!  I love that she adds some sort of embellishment to each one.  This Christmas card is stunning!  If you thought that was awesome, wait until you see this card
  • I just discovered Sprinkle Bakes (thank you Rachel), and while it's not a crafty blog in the traditional way, I still consider it to be crafty in a food/photography way.  These pears look super fancy, and super cute at the same time.  Baby Doughnuts...OK!  People always want to feed you soup when you have a cold.  Next time I'm sick would someone please make me some of this soup?  And for those of you with way too much time on your hands, how about edible spoons
I'm so glad other people like to blog about their crafty projects because I love to read about them and daydream that I too will someday have the time/resources/patience to put all that inspiration to good use and come up with my own creations.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A full moon

Framed Moon on imgfave

As we were driving home tonight I pointed out the moon to Troy.  It was a fiery orange ball, low in the sky.  Ten minutes later it was a bright white light, high over our heads. Both versions of the moon were beautiful and equally worth our time to stop and admire them, but I couldn't get over how fast the scenery changed. 

When I get in the hot tub in the mornings I always look for any constellations I can remember from elementary school.  At this time of year the big and little dippers are hanging out just over the roof of my neighbors house.  I can't see Orion's belt because it is only visible from our front yard.  In a few months the view will change and Orion's belt will be back in my viewing area and the dippers will be much higher in the sky. 

The stars and the moon do not go anywhere.  They are always there, but our view point is constantly changing.  We are on the move, and as active people in this world it is up to us to open our eyes and take in our surroundings.  There is beauty all around you just waiting to be seen. 

George Bailey: You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.

Mary: I'll take it!  Then what?

George Bailey: Well, then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve, see... and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair...

Take in the beauty of your surroundings and maybe, just maybe, moonbeams will shoot out of your fingers and your toes.  I don't know about you, but I'll take all the help I can get in creating a natural glow!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's a heat wave

Seventy degrees in the middle of November calls for a walk.  Mya loved it, and so did we!  I hope you enjoyed your Sunday, no matter what the temperature was in your part of the world. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good Luck Kate

Playing dress up!

Sometimes when I eat cupcakes I lick the extra frosting off the bag.  That would not be considered appropriate etiquette if I was a princess.

I have never had much interest in William or Harry, the Queen, or even Princess Diana.  It just wasn't my thing...until William proposed to Kate.  Now I read and watch everything I can about the newly engaged royal couple.  Kate Middleton is about to fulfill every little girls wish of becoming a princess and I'm all over the news stories like ducks on a June bug!

Someday she will have a crown (or tiara?) to wear on her head and more diamonds, rubies, and sapphires than any girl really needs.  Designers will make clothes just for her and she will have a new fancy dress for every big (and not so big) occasion in her life.  She will pass out toys to the children at orphanages and smile with over sized scissors at ribbon cutting ceremonies.  Little girls will look up to her and think she is the most beautiful princess ever.

Kate will be spending the next several months planning her wedding with the very best wedding planner, florist, dress maker, and cake decorator vying for her attention. While she will have some say in the details of the wedding, she must plan a wedding that meets (or even exceeds) the expectations that so many have set for the royal family.  Any dreams she may have had for a small beach wedding disappeared 8 years ago when she fell in love with William.  From now on all her decisions must be made with the public view of her new family in mind.  That's a lot of pressure to appear perfect! 

Kate will never get to experience the frenzied shopping on Black Friday.  She will never know how exciting it can be to find designer clothes for less at TJ Max (and she looks like a person who loves to shop).  Never again will she be able to fade into the background at a party.  All eyes will be on her, even when she is having a bad hair day or even the flu.  She can not publicly show that she is upset, or heaven forbid, mad at her husband!  A princess must always seem to radiate kindness and beauty from the inside out. 

Why did it take 8 years for William to finally get down on bended knee?  Perhaps it was cold feet.  Maybe he wasn't sure he was ready.  He said he wouldn't get married until he was 28 and maybe he is just so stubborn that he was determined to stick by that.  I like to imagine that he did it for his princess, Kate.  You see, William has always been in the public eye and had the pressure of living up the image that society has for a handsome young prince.  Kate has had her share of paparazzi as Williams girlfriend, but nothing compared to what she will experience from now on.  The romantic in me chooses to believe that he loves her so much that he waited to put that ring on her finger because he was protecting her.  I hope those two live a very happy life filled with a crazy amount of love. 

Today I am thankful that not all wishes come true.  Now that I am an adult I realize that the life of a princess is not for me.  I wish Kate all the luck in the world and I hope she finds a quiet corner where she can lick the frosting off the bag. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Some days I'm just thankful for Ibuprofen to get me through my day.  Today is one of those days.  Thank you to the wonderful men and women who invented this amazing pain killer and thank you to the people who worked to make it available as an over the counter drug.  Today, you are all my hero's. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today is for sharing

I was recently contacted by Pam at Present Magazine and asked if she could repost my blog about 3GC on her website.  (Read it here)  Someone I don't even know thinks my blog is worth sharing?  The answer is, of course, YES!  Thank you to Pam and Michael at Present Magazine, and thank you to each one of you that has shared my blog with someone you know. 

In the spirit of sharing, here are some of my favorite websites to share with you.
  • We Heart It is a collection of photos from all over the web.  I could spend hours looking at all the pictures and saving my favorites.  Imgfave is a similar website I use as well. 
  • Makes Me Think is full of short (2-3 sentences) stories that "make me think" 
  • I recently read 70 Things to do Before Having Children and realized that if we lived by this list there would be very few children in the world
  • The Nest is a fun website by the same people as The Knot.  This one is aimed at married couples and has articles on just about everything you can imagine you would need to know when starting your life out together. 
  • 1000 Awesome Things always makes me smile :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Agree to Disagree

photo from imgfave

Be patient and have faith that the answers you are seeking will become known when the time is right. 

The other night we were slowly making our way through rush hour traffic when I spotted a pro-choice bumper sticker that I thought was very witty.  Troy disagreed.  How had we made it 4 plus years together and not known that we are on opposites of this issue? 

It wasn't long after we started dating that I noticed Troy was agreeing with every opinion I had.  It was amazing how we had the exact same taste in everything, until I realized he was reading my facial expressions so he could give me the "correct" response.  I remember the exact moment this all became very clear to me.  I was holding up a pair of earrings, asking for his opinion, and when I looked over at him to see why he was hesitating in his response I knew right away that he was trying to figure out if I loved the earrings, or if I was being sarcastic and really thought they were hideous.  I love that he wants to make me happy by finding things we agree on, but I knew I could not have a relationship with a man who would not voice his true opinion.

Troy has come a very long way (and me too).  He still politely agrees with me when the time is right (yes, that eyeshadow does make you look just like Jennifer Aniston), but also knows that it is important to voice his (and mine) own opinion.  It still catches me off guard when he disagrees with me, and at first I am often stunned and a little hurt, but overall I am thankful that he is voicing his real opinion, and not just giving me the answer he thinks I want.

Why did it take us 4 years to find out we would be holding up opposing signs at a pro-choice protest?  Our personal (just for us) views on the issue are the same, and when it comes down to it, we are neither one going to be the first to throw stones at someone who makes a decision that we disagree with.  While we both believe that abortion would never be an option for us, we disagree on whether or not others should be allowed to make that decision for themself.  I respect Troy's opinion and I do not judge him for it, just as I hope he respects mine and thinks no less of me for it.  When it comes down to what really matters (the two of us) we have the same opinion, and that is much more important than which bumper sticker we agree with.  We agreed to disagree and moved on to another topic. 

Today I am thankful for those moments that Troy chooses to disagree with me because it reminds me of how much I prayed for him to do just that in the beginning of our relationship.  I could choose to see a disagreement as a bad sign in our relationship, or I can see it as an answer to a prayer.  Our relationship is secure enough that we can agree to disagree without holding it over each others heads.  It took me four years to see the answer to my prayer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Perfume Lady

Perfume on WeHeartIt

Every day I get on the service elevator at 4:15 and ride it up to the 17th floor for my last rounds of the day.  Every day at 4:15 the normal scent of the cold dirty elevator metal has been replaced by the smell of someones perfume.  Every day I spend my elevator ride wondering what the mysterious perfume lady looks like.  Every day I wonder if she is going home to someone that she is in a fairly new relationship with, or if she still puts on perfume at the end of the day for the man she has been married to for 40 years. 

One of the great things about marriage is knowing that even on that day when you haven't brushed your teeth - or your hair, a warm shower is only a dream, and getting out of your pj's is just out of the question, you know that your spouse is still going to be there.  When I'm sick and my nose is red and my lips are beyond chapped and my eyes won't stop watering I know that Troy will still let me lay my head on his chest and he will wrap his arms around me and kiss my forehead like I am still the beautiful bride he saw on our wedding day.  He sees the beauty in me when the rest of the world would have a hard time finding it.

Every day at 4:15, when I spend my elevator ride thinking about the perfume lady and I imagine she is going to home to her husband of many years and that they are still crazy in love.  I imagine that although he has seen her at her worst, when he thinks back on their time together he remembers the smell of her perfume.  Every day at 4:15 I get on an elevator and wonder if someday, someone will smell my perfume and daydream about where I am going that requires me to smell so nice.  In my daydreams the perfume lady is going home to see her husband, and that alone is a big enough reason to pull out the perfume and make sure she smells nice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A tale of 2 wish list's

Puppy in Pink on weheartit

Nika and Shawnie are twins....age 5?

Me: Shawnie, what do you want for Christmas?
Shawnie: EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!
Me: Everything???  Tell me one thing you want the most. 
Shawnie: I can't, because I want EVERYTHING!
Me: Do you want a Barbie?
Shawnie: NO! I want everything, but not a Barbie!

The conversation with Shawnie is a lead into the more important conversation with Nika, because I have drawn her name for Christmas and need to find out what she wants.

Me: Nika, what do you want for Christmas?
Nika: A puppy!!!!!!
Me: ...........................a puppy? ......................what else do you want? 
Nika:  Ummm, probably gum. 

Dad gave me some good advice as I retold this story to him.  It's probably better if I don't tell Nika's parents that she wants me to buy her a puppy.  They will be just as surprised as Nika when she opens up her gift.  I wonder if they will become suspicious when the box has air holes and wiggles around on the floor? 

Perhaps I better stick to the original plan and find her something pink (and not living)...with a side of gum. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Grey's Window Treatments

This afternoon we put plastic on all of our windows so that we will hopefully be a little more successful in keeping the cold air outside this year.  It felt like we were on Grey's Anatomy as we worked away.  Troy was like the intern (a smokin' hot intern) and I was like the master surgeon (I'm kind of like the Chief). 

Troy prepped the area for surgery.  He moved furniture out of the way, took down the curtains, and used an alcohol wipe to sterilize the surface.

I was the surgeon who came in and skillfully cut the appropriate amount of plastic and adhered it ever so carefully with the double sided tape. 

As I moved on to my next patient Troy would sweep back in and put the room back together again.

Surgery or plastic on a window, it's always easier when you work as a team.  I heard there is a chance that Mother Nature will bring us some snow flakes on Monday and to her I say "Bring It On!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lights out at lunch

Yesterday my office was closed for Veterans Day.  A large percentage of employees took today off as well to make it a 4 day weekend.  The above picture is what the lunch room looked like today....lots of empty chairs.  It was just me and my book for 60 minutes of uninterrupted silence!  (It's amazing how I never noticed the oh so cool pattern on the floor until I took this picture)

When I first started here and was told I would be getting a 60 minute lunch break I panicked and wondered what I would do with a full hour.  Now I enjoy every last minute of it.  This is my quiet time where I read or write and block out the rest of the world.  I purposefully sit facing the windows so that no one can sit across from me and so that I have no distractions in front of me.  Unless it is window cleaning day the only thing I see is the Kansas City skyline.  For some people their lunch break is their social time, and I respect that.  I have become a master at blocking out the chatter in the background and focusing completely on my book.  

Walking into the lunch room and finding out that I had it completely to myself was a very sweet moment today!