Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas - Choose Joy

Today was a wonderful day filled with fun, gifts, family and good food. It was wonderful to have everyone together and to experience again Christmas through the eyes of a child.

Our family means the world to us and we are so thankful that everyone is safe, healthy and happy this holiday season.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

I am trying. I really, really am trying to find the joy. It has been a long day. Tomorrow will be another. I am not sure I can do it. I know there is joy in the day but I have to be honest and say that I see a whole lot of unjoy versus joy right now. I know that I just made up a word but it is what it is.

For now I am going to go move the laundry and contemplate whether I want to stay up for a while longer working or just crash and deal with it all tomorrow.

Until next time..........

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Today I choose to find joy in being able to do laundry.

Huh? Laundry??

Yep, laundry. You see my family (this week's theme by the way family) has been spending a lot of time playing in and shoveling snow. Consequently we have had lots of wet clothes to deal with. But since we did not have power for nearly 2 full days the laundry had started to pile up. But due to the power company crews and their hard work, I now have lights, heat and a working washer and dryer.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

My joy today is the fact that I have a generator. Because if we didn't we would have been in the dark and cold all day. This storm is just amazing. It is the most frozen precipitation that I have seen at one time here and it is getting old particularly since we are now in the dark and cold if we run out of gas.

But the fact that we DO have gas and can get things done because of the generator is a joy. We will continue to get ready for Christmas and hope that soon the promised warm up comes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Saturday's joy was spending time with our 20 month old nephew. He is such a little boy now. My sis-in-law and brother-in-law live in Seattle so we don't see them as often as we would like. Yesterday we headed out in the yucky nasty weather to pick up DD#1 and then head north into the eye of the wind tunnel known as Troutdale. This is where my inlaws live. Troutdale is at the mouth of the Columbia Gorge and it is notorious for it's winds. When we got there it was blowing around 40 MPH and blowing the snow into amazing drifts.

The kids had a lot of fun playing with our nephew and Matt and I had a nice time visiting with his parents, sister, brother-in-law and eventually his brother-in-law's sister. It is a joy to spend time with family. Dnephew is growing so fast. He is walking/running everywhere and starting to talk. He and DS share a love of Thomas the Tank Engine and had fun playing with the trains together. It is always sad to leave after such a short visit but we had to head out to beat the freezing rain home. So even though it was a short visit, it was a joy to see our precious family.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

There are so many things going on that could get me down. The season is so busy. The tree just got put up tonight and it stands there naked right now. The gingerbread house is still rather naked. Only one batch of cookies and one batch of fudge have been made. I have not finished my shopping. The weather is horrible and DH's father's birthday dinner is supposed to be tomorrow. The Christmas bear I am supposed to be making for Dnephew is only half completed.

But thanks to this blog challenge I can find the joys in the day. There are several. DD#2 and DS had a fabulous time playing in the icky, frozen white stuff that fell from sky last night. Oh and the icky white stuff started to MELT!!!! The tree is in the house. For that matter the tree is upright, watered and has the star on it. The star is on it because it is just easier to put it on while the tree is laying down rather than try not to knock the whole thing over once it is decorated. Another joy today was getting all my fun and fabulous new candle things out to look at and set up. They are wonderful and the new scents I got are fabulous. Finally, DD and I spent the afternoon making a batch of fudge and a batch of cookies. There are several more to do but it was fun to spend the day with her.

Yep there is a lot to get down about but now I find myself looking for the joys each day. Now I better get to work on that Christmas bear.

Until next time.......

The rest of the story

Last night I said I would tell the rest of the story after getting some sleep.

What started out as a quick trip to a neighboring town to meet my mom turned into something much bigger. The weather is funky weird here with lots of snow (for us) that has lasted for most of the week. Finally yesterday the temperature stayed above freezing all day so the roads were good and the girls went to school for the first time all week. Turns out it will be the only time this week as school was called off due to a pending storm.

Mom and I talked about it after I got the email from school saying they were canceling for today. Mom and DD#1 are working on a project together that will be DD's gift to her dad. She needed to get to Mom's to finish it. Originally we thought about having my hubby take her to work with him this morning and Mom would meet them there but we got nervous about the freezing weather predicted. We decided to go last night and I decided to do double duty by picking up a couple more Christmas gifts.

We headed out about 5:15 or so to pick up hubby so he could distract a couple of the kids while I bought something for them. The temps had started to drop and a bit of snow had started to fall when we headed out and I almost turned around to call the whole thing off but I didn't. It took quite a long time to get to hubby's work but we made it. It snowed most of the way but was just ice in the town he works in. We proceeded on to the neighboring town where we were meeting Mom. Got there no problem, dropped off DD, picked up the gifts we needed and then made the fateful decision. We decided to go get dinner instead of just going through the drive through and going home because the snow had stopped and things looked quiet.

By the time we were done eating some yummy Chinese food the snow had started again with a vengeance! But we were still able to travel without putting on chains or anything. So we started the slower than normal but still safe ride home until we came around a particularly bad corner to find flares burning ahead of us. We quickly came to a halt on the banked corner to wait while the police finished cleaning up an accident. Unfortunately it turned out that we were not going any further without chains. So hubby got the chains out and proceeded to get them put on pretty easily but they were to big and required a bunch of futzing and adjusting to get them "just right". Unfortunately that left a tail that banged on the inside of the wheel well so we had to drive at about 10 miles per hour to avoid doing damage. Consequently a trip that normally takes about 30 minutes or less took 3 or more times that hence why we finally pulled in the driveway at just before midnight.

And that is whole sad tale.

We currently have 3.5 inches of new snow on the ground and I am NOT going anywhere today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Tonight I choose to find the joy of just making it home in one piece. What started out as a quick trip to drop DD off with my mom and pick up a couple more Christmas presents turned into a 6 hour event. One I am too tired right now to share. I will get back to it in the morning.

Until then.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

I am not sure what is causing me the most joy right now, the fact that after three attempts today we finally got the gingerbread house pieces baked or the fact that it is currently above freezing, the snow is melting and the kids are going to school tomorrow.

Actually I have enjoyed having them all here this week and I would rather have school just be canceled for the rest of the week because really what is the point of going for one or two days this week anyway and my mom wanted one of the girls to come down so they could finish a project they started a couple months ago.

So I guess that leaves having the gingerbread done and baked to be the joy for the evening. DD #2 and I spent several hours trying to get it right. We made the first batch, following the directions explicitly and the dough was way to dry because of too much flour. The second batch worked but stuck to the baking sheets and broke when we tried to take them off though we were able to salvage a few of the pieces. The third batch was a bit on the dry side too but we got the pieces we needed. This time I baked them on parchment paper to avoid the sticky situation. So now all the pieces are waiting for the girls to get home from school tomorrow (assuming they actually go since it could freeze again overnight making the roads impassible) to be assembled and decorated. I will post the glitz and glimmer pictures when the house is all set and standing.

Until next time.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Today I choose to find joy in the fact that I was able to get to town, shop and get home without incident. I avoid driving in nasty, freezing weather as much as I can but today I just had to go. I am so pleased that I made it. The stores were packed as many people prepare for another incoming storm. The forecasters are suggesting that we may get up to 6 inches of snow, or we could get freezing rain, or we could just get rain or we could get a combination of all three. Today the sun glittered and shone on the ice on all the side streets and in all the parking lots. I almost fell more than once. However it is joyful that I got what I needed, people were being polite and friendly rather than getting angry at the long lines and waits and that I got home safely. Assuming school is canceled again tomorrow (after seeing the roads in town I don't see how it won't be), the girls and I are going to bake up a storm while we watch the storm rage outside.

Until next time......

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

This week's theme is glitter/shine. I am choosing to find joy in the glitter and shine of the snow we have on the ground here right now. The kids were out of school today because of it and they won't have school again tomorrow because of the slick ice on the roads. That could get me down if I let it because there is lots I need to do and it would be easier if they are off at school. Instead I am choosing to find joy in the situation. I am finding joy that I got a great photo taken that I can use for cards and gifts, assuming I get time to do those things. If I don't, I still have the shot to make a memory page of the day for the scrapbook. I am choosing to see the joy the snow day created for my kids. They had a great time playing in the cold, white stuff. And I choose to find joy in my DS's first trips down the sledding hill this year.

As for the glitter/shine part, the sun shines and makes the snow glitter, sparkle and shine. It is so pretty to look at.

Until next time.....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Tonight I choose to find joy in the fact that there is no school tomorrow due to the 4 inches of snow outside. I will just hang with my kids, maybe make some cookies or fudge if I have what I need on hand. Hopefully the power stays on because it is supposed to be bitter cold (for us). But for tonight I choose joy in the prospect of hanging out with my kids.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Darn it, I was doing so well getting these posted daily but yesterday started early and ended late and I literally was not on the computer all day. So I am post dating this and moving on.

I have two joys to post about. The first one is what got me up early and kept me out all day. The second is what got me back out in the evening and kept me out late.

Today DD#1 and I had the chance to volunteer at a lego robotics competition. I have never been involved in anything like this and it was really fun. Groups of kids work in teams to design, build and program lego robots to do tasks. They also have to make presentations in front of judges on a project, on teamwork and the technical aspects of their robot (I think, I need to find out more about all this) and then table competitions where they earn points based on how well the robot performs the tasks of the table. These kids are really fun and the teamwork they showed was amazing. These are middle school kids. They have learned to do the programing themselves. They have to because the coaches are not allowed to anything besides give advice once they get to the competition venue. DD was a timer, she and two of her friends sat outside the judging rooms and kept times for the presentations. Each group is given 9 minutes with a 2 minute warning. I was a "floater". My job for the day was to make sure that the next team for each judge and table competition was in place and ready to go in on time. It was challenging at first until all the teams got in the swing of where things were but it was fun. I never had to go watch any of the actual judging or competitions but I did get to watch the kids working with their robots on the practice tables. Let me tell you, the tasks these kids were programming these robots to do were not easy.

My second joy was my DH's company holiday party. DH started at this job back in October after leaving his previous company where he had been for 8 years. Up until now I had not been able to get over to meet any of his new colleagues. Tonight we all got together to celebrate the holidays and the company's success for another year. This is a little company. They increased their staff by 33% this year and are up to a grand total of 24 employees. All of the people I met last night were nice, funny and engaging. I also found out that one of the co-owners of the company has grandchildren who go to school with my DDs. It was just a fun night. I did not take my camera because I tend to hide behind it when I am in uncomfortable situations and I had to force myself to not do that last night so I don't have any pictures to share.

Until next time.....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

It was hard to find the joy today. In fact the only real joy I can find is that I am here and all of my family is relatively healthy. It was a rough day but tomorrow will be better.

Until then.........

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Today, I choose to see joy in the mundane, totally normal day I had. It is a joy not to stress about the season and all the endless details involved. I spent most of the day working on a knitting project I am trying to get finished and it is a joy to have that time to work on it. Hopefully my nephew will find joy in the finished product. I will post pictures when it is done because right now it is not looking like much but different colors of yarn but I will tell you that one of those colors is RED.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Today I choose to enJOY spending some money.

Let me explain......

I love candles. I love all kinds of scents and styles of candles. My current favorite brand is Party Lite candles. My friend is a consultant. A couple of times a year I decide I need to pump up my candle supply so I have a party. Since I live in the middle of nowhere, parties at my house rarely turn out well so this time I went the catalog show route. It is a joy to be able to do this for my friends. I take a no pressure, let me get you what you need, approach to this because really I do it cause I want to help them and get me some things too. So tonight I enJOYed an hour on the phone with my friend getting caught up with each other while we put in my order. I am so excited to have all my new stuff heading my way. And the bonus is that we ordered well before the cutoff for pre-Christmas delivery so I will have all my pretty things to decorate my house while I host my family for Christmas.

Until tomorrow......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Okay, finally I can do a post within the theme of red today. Few things say Christmas to me quite like bright red poinsettias. I love them. I usually have two or three or even four of the bright cheerful plants in my house over the holidays. I have even tried to keep them alive to get them to bloom again the next year but that did not work so well. Poinsettias bring a sense of joy in the season to my house. However the down side is that poinsettias are poisonous. We have three rambunctious kittens in the house this year and the little stinkers are into everything including my plants. So this year I decided that rather than taking the chance of the kittens knocking over a poinsettia and eating it, I would get fake flowers to decorate with. I was excited to find a nice selection of colors at my local super store last night. So today DD Emily and I arranged them in the three vases I have been given over the last couple of years. The two little ones are from Arizona, one from my brother and one from parents. Each of them bought these as gifts when they came back from trips there to watch an Oregon State football bowl game. The third is my gift from DD Jessie/my mom following their trip to Alaska this summer. It is a joy to be able to use these vases as I will not put water and live flowers in them because I do not want to damage them. So tonight I have the joy of my favorite Christmas flowers to enjoy, secure in the knowledge that these flowers will not hurt the kitties.

Until tomorrow......

It's starting to look a little bit like

winter around here. I like winter in Oregon. Yes it can be dreary, foggy and gray a lot of the time but since I detest the cold and snow, this climate is perfect for me. I like to sit in the glider rocker with a nice hot cup of cocoa, coffee or tea and watch the rain fall. Today is a drippy, foggy day just like a good winter day should be. However, the weather forecaster on my evening news is trying to spoil this enjoyable day with talk of that yucky, cold four letter word.....snow. I like snow well enough, when it is up in the mountains so I can look but not touch. It is pretty on Christmas cards and in my new blog style but not in my front yard, not right now. And don't get me wrong I like a good snow day about once a year but right now is NOT a good time. I have things to do this weekend and they do not include slipping and sliding around on the roads. So if any of you have any power with the one in control of such things, could you ask him/her to do me a favor and keep the snow in the bag for a few more weeks? I am thinking that February is looking good.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Hmmm..... still no red to show yet. But there is a lot of joy. I found and ordered the family gift for this year. I spent a bunch of money too. DH and I have been trying to come up with something, ANYTHING to give the kids for Christmas. Really they need NOTHING other than some clothes and we are so sick of all the STUFF in this house. It spills out everywhere and the kids are really not very good at picking up after themselves. Well, neither is DH.....errrrrr or me either, at times anyway, so what results is what I have right now.......a big ol' mess. But I digress, back to the joy.

As I said, we have been struggling with just what to get them for Christmas. And they really have not been giving us much in the way of ideas. Apparently all the advertising is failing the retail outlets if it is aimed at my children. Except for one thing.... and of course that one thing would have to be the hottest electronic gadget on the market. Yep, you guessed it. They asked for a Wii. The PTC at their school had a raffle for one. I tried to win it but I didn't. So then it was time to start searching all over. Where does one get a Wii these days. I never have a moment to shop that at least one of them is not with me so I could not hit the local stores and besides, I like doing my shopping online so I have been stalking the Wii tracker sites for a week now, as well as Ebay and Craigslist looking for a deal. So far, all I have found are a few bundles waaaayyyy out of my price range (i.e. priced well above the posted Nintendo price, just cause they can) or "deals" on the auction sites or sales sites posted by people out to make big bucks on their acquisition. Until today......

Today I was up early and decided to check the tracker site just in case. And there it was........ had a Wii bundle in stock ready to leap into my cart and be driven to my house by my nice man in brown. So now the knot in my stomach can unknot and I can go on with my Christmas preparations knowing that I might have broke the bank but the kids are going to jump for joy come Christmas morning. They are going to be so excited because they are convinced (with a little help from me) that there was no way I was spending that much money on... on.... a GAME system. Uh-uh, no way, no how. Snort. Yippee. I was so excited that I fairly bounced off to work at the preschool and I had to be snack helper..... I intensely dislike being snack helper....especially on a Monday morning!

So today I chose the joy of my children over the bank account which is coughing and snorting and begging me to not got near another store or website for at least 6 months. But the joy, it out shines the bank account any day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Today starts a new week for the blog challenge so we have a new theme. This week's theme is red. While I wore my pretty red sweater today, I will blog about it another time. Today's post has nothing to do with the theme. Today was a weird day. I had a lot of fun but got some bad news too. The fun (and the joy part of the post) was at the girls' 4-H club holiday party. The kids are a lot of fun and always have a great time but the parents are often working hard on some project or another so these parties are a great time to relax a little and have a different kind of fun. Today was joyful in the laughter of kids and parents alike. There was joy in sharing food and fun, breaking bread together and exchanging white elephant gifts. There was joy and laughter during that gift exchange because we played the open or steal game. It is fun to watch someone try and decide if they want to steal a cool gift from a friend or take a chance on getting an even cooler one from the pile. There was also joy in gathering our gifts of food and toys for the family of 6 the group adopted for the holidays.

I can't post pictures of our fun because I don't have a single picture that does not have someone else's child in it.

The sad/scary news of the day though is that a friend has a mass in her lung. Please hold her in your prayers that she can find enough peace to rest so she is ready for whatever lies ahead.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Today I find joy in my daughter's pygmy goats. The darn things are so cute. They have cantankerous, funny personalities. Today we dropped them off for a visit with their "special friend" and hopefully in 5.5 months we will have more little cuties to play with. Isn't she cute?

And her too?

They get so excited when we come out to the pen. Particularly toward the end of the summer when we start pulling the corn stalks. They do love them some corn stalks.

And grain. They love grain too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Joy tonight is listening to DD and DH work together to make dinner. It always warms my heart when they work together. It does not happen extremely often. They butt heads a lot but when they do manage to work together, they do it remarkably well. Tonight is one of those nights.

The photo above is from a few months ago when they were building model rockets together.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy Day 2

Today's post is difficult. It has been a mundane day with little to make it stand out from any other day.

So today I choose to find joy in hearing the Christmas bells on my door handle chime. It is the only decoration up at this time. It is such a nice sound. It reminds me that the Holiday Season is upon us and while things might be stressful, it is a joyful season. I found that when I heard those chimes ring, I paused for just a moment and remembered that it is the holidays. So I choose to hear joy today.

Until next time......

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Choose Joy is the theme of this month's blog challenge.

My first bit of joy came last night when I found out that I was selected to receive the prize from last month's blog challenge. Thanks so much to Sherry for her generosity. I never win things like this so that made it extra special. But the real joy comes from looking back at all those blog posts.

There is an added wrinkle to this month's challenge. Sherry has selected themes for each week and we are supposed to post 3 pictures that fit each week's theme.

  • Week 1 (Dec. 1 - 6) - LOVE
  • Week 2 (Dec. 7 - 13) - RED
  • Week 3 (Dec. 14 - 20) -GLITTER/SHINE
  • Week 4 (Dec. 21 - 27) - FAMILY
  • Week 5 (Dec. 28 - 31) - PEACE
So this week's theme is love. Love and joy go hand in hand. There are many things that bring joy and love to my life. Hmmm, which one to choose.

There are so many....

Today I choose to blog about my loving husband. I love him and he brings me joy.

My husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary in July with a trip to the coast. We just spent the day together remembering all the great times we have had over the years. I won't lie and say that every day has been sweetness and light but we are good together most of the time. I love him unconditionally. He is my strength and my light. When things are tough, he will let me rant and rave on and on. He is calm in the face of emotional upheaval. He is also a wonderful father. He loves our kids. He is really good at getting down and playing with them. He will sit and put puzzles together with one and then break out the electric train for the other. He is incredibly patient when he needs to be. He also gets up with the kids every school day and fixes their breakfast, supervises and takes them to school. Some days, like today, I do not even see the girls until they get home from school. For this I am incredibly grateful because frankly they make me nuts in the mornings. He also puts up with and gets along with my family which frankly can be kind of crazy.

I love my husband. He is my love and my joy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December Blog Challenge

This month's blog challenge by Sherry (Midnightscrapper in Cali) is a good one.

You can get all the details at Sherry's Blog. The title for the blog challenge is Choose Joy. The challenge officially begins on December 3rd. The goal is to blog about one thing each day that brings you joy along with pictures if you have them, either your own or stock photos. I thoroughly enjoyed last month's challenge and am looking forward to this one. I hope you will join us.

Until next time......

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude

It is December 1st. Where has the month of November gone? With the beginning of the new month it brings an end to the Gratitude Blog Challenge. Sherry, a wonderful woman I met on Scrapshare, issued the gratitude challenge at the beginning of November. I started making a daily gratitude post on November 3rd and continued through the entire rest of the month. Today she promised to post another blog challenge for the month of December. I can't wait to see what she comes up with. This has been a fun challenge that has made a lot of us slow down a bit each day and find something good out of the most crazy events.

So today I am doing a bonus gratitude post because I missed November 1st and 2nd. Today I am grateful for Sherry who started this whole thing. I am so grateful that Sherry issued this challenge. Some of the days really made me think to find my gratitude. It was a real blessing to have to do. I am grateful for the effort it required. I am grateful for the positive things that I found to post about. I am grateful for Sherry and her challenge because it made me write on my blog every day, something I have been trying to find a way to do for a long time. Thanks so much Sherry.

Until next time........

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 28

Today I am grateful for the internet. I just spent 4+ days at my parents for the long weekend. They do not have internet.... I was having some serious withdrawal issues. Now that I am home with my trusty wireless connection I can get back into my normal routine. I can check my email again and check on all my fabulous internet friends. The time with my family was great but I am really glad to be back in touch again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 27

Today I am grateful for falling gas prices. Here in Oregon we are now firmly below $2 per gallon in many places. Earlier this week I was able to fill the mini-van for $25. I have not done that for literally years. Because of where we live, driving is something one or both of us must do every day. Obviously DH must go to work but he is in a carpool a couple days a week. I must go pick up DS from preschool 3 days a week and get groceries, etc. We, like many, adjusted our driving habits when prices were at their highest but now I am quite thankful that putting gas in the car is not such a strain on the budget.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 26

Today I am grateful for leftovers. As good as the turkey is on Thanksgiving, the leftovers are in some ways even better. I could, and have, eaten stuffing cold right out of the bag or bowl. I love turkey and swiss sammies with cranberry sauce. But my very favorite meal using leftover turkey is Turkey Enchiladas. This meal has become almost as big a tradition in my family as the traditional meal on Thanksgiving. My mom found the recipe in an old recipe book she had and decided to give it a try one year as something different. That had to be when I was about 10 or 11. And we are still using it to this day. Mom makes her own corn tortillas which makes the whole dish even better.

Mmmmmmm......... I can't wait for dinner tonight.

Until tomorrow.........

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 25

On this day that is set aside for us all to give thanks for the blessings in our lives I am full of gratitude for so many things. First and foremost is that all my family is healthy save age-related issues. Our family has suffered the loss of several elder members this year so it makes me all the more thankful and grateful for the good health of the remaining members.

I am also grateful for the laughter and lighthearted moments that we share. Thanksgiving day is a day of play. My family enjoys tuning the TV to a football game and getting out the cards or board games to pass the time while the turkey cooks. We have a lot of fun laughing and playing together.

I am also grateful that my daughters enjoy helping with the components of the day. Emily loves to arrange flowers so her job is to make the centerpiece. Jessie is learning to cook and bake so she helps with a number of aspects of the meal. She will help with whatever we ask her to do.

Finally, I am grateful that my parents were willing to open their home to host my inlaws at our holiday meal this year. It is so difficult to split holidays and figure out who is going to host what so this is the best of all worlds.

May your holiday be blessed, happy and healthy.

Until tomorrow......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 24

Today I am grateful for my kids. Today was an unusual day. Today they did what I asked mostly when I asked without argument. That is not usually the case. They usually ignore requests for help (like yesterday) or argue about what needs to be done and in what order, etc. But today, they must have sensed my anxiety about having everything ready to go when DH gets home so we can get on our way to my parents, or perhaps they figured out that if things did not get done, I was going to blow. Who knows what motivates them at odd moments but I am grateful today was one of those moments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 23

Today I am grateful for all the nice comments I have gotten about the layouts I made for the Sketchapalooza class. Every now and then we all need a boost to our egos. This class did that for me. I so appreciate the other participants taking the time to look at and comment on my layouts.

We've come to the end.

Yesterday was the last day of Sketchapalooza II. I had a lot of fun working with all the sketches designed by Jayne Jones, Amy Bell, and Stacey Lokovic. This is the first time I have ever taken a class like this and I was really impressed with all the creative energy that was flowing. You can find my layouts of the first eight sketches by clicking on the sketches label over there in my sidebar.

I really appreciate all the hard work that went into the "behind the scenes" stuff it takes to put on a class like this. I would encourage anyone to check out Sketchapalooza III coming up in March. I am looking forward to it.

The best thing about this class is that it got me scrapping again. I wanted to do some traditional pages to mix with my digital but in the end the digital won out. I just did not have the time to get a space cleared out to be able to get out the paper, punches and cutters to do some traditional pages. But I did stretch myself and learn some new techniques with my digital scrapping.

Sketch #9.Credits: Sketch by Stacey Lokovic
Paper and swirls by Broken Jar Creations.
Photos enhanced with Orton action by PSEFrank
Sandedaway action by Atomic Cupcake

Sketch #10 Credits: Sketch by Jayne Jones
Journaling: Lucida Handwriting.
Title: Magneto
Papers from Betsy Tuma's Ready4Spring kit
Actions used: Color Pop by PSEFrank

Journaling reads:
I have known America Sayer for a major portion of my life.
Amy and her brothers, Matt and Austin, and my brother, Randy, and I were the only kids in the neighborhood. I was the oldest of the five of us and Amy was the youngest. We all played away many a summer day together, splashing in the creek, swinging from make-shift rope swings in the barns and riding bikes for hours. Eventually we all grew up, graduated and went on to college. Then one by one we each have found someone to love and marry except Amy and Randy. Focused on careers and families, we are rarely all together anymore. Despite the distance and limited contact, I still think of the three Sayer siblings as members of my extended family, as surrogate brothers and sister. So it was with great excitement that I reserved Saturday September 6, 2008 on my calendar to celebrate with Amy as she married the love of her
life, Kevin. I have only met Kevin a small handful of times but I know that this is the man that Amy is meant to spend her life with. They were so generous to share their wonderful, beautiful wedding day with all of us. Amy was radiant and Kevin all smiles on that gorgeous, sun-drenched day in September. As they danced their first dance the sun shone on them brightly, making Amy’s dreamy expression glow and her gown sparkle. I love Amy like a sister and it was such an honor to share her special day. The only sadness was that my brother’s job kept him away. He made a point to call Amy and wish her well. The day was so special in so many ways, bringing together not only two lovely people in wedded bliss but bringing old, true friends together again too.

Sketch #11 Credits: Sketch by Amy Bell
Polka dot paper by Debra Fisher in her Spring is Sprung kit.
White paper is by Emily Giovanni in her White Essentials kit
Floral stamp from ScrapGirls
Stitch brush by The Scrappin Cop
Notebook paper by Luminicity

Journaling reads:
Jessie worked hard this year in 4-H. She had a great time working with her rabbits, goats and other projects. That hard work has paid off in many ways. She earned lots of awards and blue ribbons at fair. But the biggest reward is an invitation to the 4-H Awards Luncheon. To earn that reward, her records had to be completed, turned in, judged and selected for a special award. This year she earned the special award in Foods. It was a real pleasure to attend the luncheon with her where she accepted the award presented to her by the Perrydale Goodwill Club. Judy Peters, the 4-H agent, had many nice things to say about Jessie in the award presentation. She talked about Jessie’s hard work and dedication to her club and projects. We are very proud of her.

Sketch #12 Credits: Sketch by Stacey Lokovic
White background paper by Emily Giovanni in her White essentials kit
Blue paper by Blind Sight Designs
Red paper created by me using PSE 6 textures
White/pink paper Designer unknown, color adjusted.
Font is Impact

Sketch #13 Credits: Sketch by Jayne Jones
All papers and elements are from the Sunshine Sweets Easter Blog train freebies. Designers are Rita Massela, Franziska Altman and Amanda Kay.
Flourishes are PSE brushes.
Font is Lucida calligraphy

Sketch #14 Credits: Sketch by Stacey Lokovic
All papers and elements by Booland Designs (Kellie Puddy).
Fonts: Title - Goudy Stout and Journaling - Harlow Solid Italic

Sketch #15
Credits: Sketch by Jayne Jones
This was a single page sketch that I mirrored to make a double page layout
Blue papers from Booland Designs 100freebies.
Red paper from Pamela Gibson Designs StanleyPark kit
Font: Title - Broadway and journaling - Harlow Solid Italic

Journaling LHS reads:
Jessie participated in the Favorite Foods Fair in February 2008. This is a fun filled foods related day. Member bring a dish to be judged, a place setting to be judged and if they choose can partiicpate in a foods judging contest. Jessie took a knock off, easy version of Chicken Cordon Blu and got good reviews from the judge. She also got compliments on her place setting.

Journaling RHS reads:
Part of the day was spent helping set up for the Fair Improvement Auction. As a group they rolled plasticware in napkins and decorated tables. Later in the evening the club helped serve beverages at the Auction.

Sketch #16 Credits: Sketch by Amy Bell
Green background paper, peach background paper, dark green tag and flowers by Ellie Lash.
Swirly paper and ribbon by Amanda Kay
Blingy photo frame by Boutique Cute Doll
Font is Harlow Solid Italic

Sketch #17 Credits: Sketch by Stacey Lokovic
Red, blue and cream papers and word art from Digital Scrapbook place welcome kit
Brown background paper by Ruby Rynne given in the Trash to Treasure hunt.
Stitching and apple elements by Mimilou
Font: Curlz MT

Journaling reads:
Graduation from the 3’s class marks the triumphant end of David’s first year of preschool. The year was a whirlwind of activities, learning, field trips, play and fun. Ms. Dianna is a great teacher and David loved his days with her. At graduation she presented him with a book about, what else, Thomas! He did not take more than one or two things for sharing time that weren’t related to Thomas. Now it is on to the 4’s class next year!

Sketch #18 Credits: Sketch by Jayne Jones
Alpha by Karen Jones of Kjoi Designs
Papers all by Betsy Tuma except vellum and dark blue background paper.
Vellum is a paper from Emily Giovanni’s White Essentials Kit with a blending mode applied and opacity reduced.
Dark blue background paper created by me.
Flourish is a PSE brush
Font is Goudy Old Style

Journaling reads:
Emily broke her wrist when she fell off a piece of play equipment at school in May 2008. Luckily as injuries go this one was fairly mild. She basically bent the bone at the wrist causing a “bone wrinkle” or a green stick fracture. However, no matter how mild the break is, the doctor says it needs a cast. Luckily, though, Emily only had to have the cast on for about 3 weeks. On June 12th we headed over to the doctor’s office to have the cast removed so she could reclaim her summer. Even though it was in the cast such a short time, the arm still needed a good washing when we got home.

Grad Sketch #1 Credits: Sketch by Stacey Lokovic
All papers and elements are from Raspberry Road's Beach Bliss kit

Grad Sketch #2 Credits: Sketch by Jayne Jones
All papers and elements are from Raspberry Road's Beach Bliss kit
Font is Harlow Solid Italic

Journaling reads:
With all the kids off playing in Sunriver with Grandma Beasley, Matt and I decided to celebrate our anniversary with a trip to the coast. We went to Newport for the day. After spending the day visiting the Yaquina Head lighthouse, the Ben Johnson memorial bridge and having dinner at the Chowder Bowl in Nye Beach, we headed to the beach to watch the sunset. We found a spot at one of the waysides to walk down. We stopped on the bluff and set the camera up on the tripod to get a picture of us together in front of the panoramic view of the ocean and sinking sun.

I had a great time with this class and got 23 pages completed. I am well on my way to having 2008 caught up which is a huge accomplishment. I am so happy I decided to take this class. Now I truly "get" sketches and hopefully that will keep my scrapping mojo going.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 22

Today I am grateful that my girls have a hobby that they love. Today was riding lesson day. Yes it costs us a small fortune but the girls love it and they are good at it. There are so many benefits. It builds their confidence. They have fun. They work together. They learn to look out for each other. It is a proven fact that kids who ride horses are better, more aware drivers, something we have to look forward to in the next few years.They learn to be competative and respectful at the same time. They learn to take constructive criticism. They learn self control. They learn to keep pushing through tough situations. They learn perseverance.

So today I am grateful for riding lessons, all the things they teach my kids and that I can afford to continue to give the girls all those opportunities.

Until tomorrow......

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 21

Today I am grateful for living away from the Columbia River Gorge so I don't have to deal with the infamous east winds that are cranking up. It was absolutely beautiful today after the fog burned off and it was pleasant to be outside. The temps were crisp but still pleasant. Closer to the gorge wind chill dropped that pleasant right away. Incidentally my inlaws live right at the mouth of the gorge and they said it was a bit lower than "crisp" out today.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 20

Today I am grateful for a huge Oregon State comeback and win to keep us in the hunt for the Rose Bowl. It was an amazing display of poise on the part of our kicker who missed a PAT that would have tied the game all up at 17. He came back on the field with 4 seconds left with the weight of that miss weighing on him to kick the game winning field goal. It was heartstoppingly scary and incredibly exciting all at the same time.

*Note to those who might note that this was not posted by midnight, I adjusted the date this morning because I was so tired when I got home at nearly midnight from my parents house (who don't have internet, can you imagine!!!!) I forgot to hit the publish button.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 19

Today I was grateful for:

But tonight I am grateful for the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy headed so you can sleep medicine.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 18

Today I am grateful for grocery stores that are open late. I just got home a little bit ago from getting the last of the things that we need to make Thanksgiving dinner for around 60 to 65 people tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 17 and an update to Day 15

Today I am grateful for the teacher at DD's school that willing went out of her way to take care of an errand that needed to be done for a project I am working on saving me lots of time and gas expense. Thank you Ms. C.

And a sad update to the story in gratitude blog post day 15. Unfortunately the boys' bodies were found a few yards from shore and just downstream from where their fishing poles were found. The younger boy was autistic and did not swim well. It appears that the younger boy fell in the river and the older boy tried to save him. This happened in Independence, Oregon. Please keep the family in your prayers over the coming days.

Until tomorrow............

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 16

Today I am grateful for our three little kittens. They are so cute, loveable and hilarious. They keep me in giggles daily.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 15

Today I am grateful for dozens of people putting their lives on hold to search for two missing people in a small town near me. One little boy and one 20 yo young man went missing yesterday while fishing along the Willamette River. Today dozens of searchers dropped whatever they needed to do today to help look for them. Unfortunately nothing has been learned yet so please keep this family and the searchers in your prayers. I do not know the missing kids personally but I am worried for this family and grateful that there are people to help them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 14

Today I am grateful for the opportunities that 4-H provides for my kids. My daughter Jessie is learning poise, personal responsibility, animal care, record keeping, leadership and public speaking skills. There are many other thing she is learning as well. On Friday she was rewarded for her hard work with a special award for her records and today she was elected vice-president of her club.

My second DD Emily is not old enough to join 4-H yet but she is involved in the pre-4-H program, learning many of the same things that her sister is learning so she will be prepared next year when she is able to fully participate in all that 4-H has to offer.

I am also grateful to 4-H for giving me the opportunity to have contact with many talented and personable youth in my community and allowing me to participate in their growth as people and 4-H members as a leader in the club.

Until tomorrow.........

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 13

Today I am grateful for college football, specifically Oregon State University football. From the pregame tailgate party with my family to the excitement of a big win, I just love football. I am grateful for the chance to connect with my extended family, my aunt and uncle and my cousin and his kids, as well with my parents. I am grateful for a fun, fairly safe environment to take my kids to. I am grateful for the chance to meet and talk to interesting people that share a common interest with me.

**I have pictures but blogger is not uploading correctly right now so I will try to update this post tomorrow.

Until then......

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 12

Today I am grateful for my house. It is a safe haven to come back to each day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 11

Today I am grateful for the other moms in the PTC. I juggle a lot of responsibilities in my volunteer positions with the Parent Teacher Club at school and sometime it is hard to keep all the balls in the air. So I am grateful for the other moms who willingly step in and talk me down from the edge when I am ready to jump.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 10

Today I am grateful for volunteer rescuers. I am posting this really late tonight. I have been trying to figure out what to post about today. As I was sitting here watching a mindless sitcom and organizing awards for tomorrow's assembly, news previews came on discussing the following story. Northern Oregon and Southern Washington have spent the last couple of days getting hammered with two strong storms that have brought high winds and lots of rain. On the coast that combination always, always causes problems but tonight a very scary event occurred. There have been many reports over the years of devastation from storms like these. Flooding, mud slides, damaged roads and homes are only a few things that we often see from these storms. But usually people have enough warning to get out of the way, batten down their homes and hunker down to ride out the storm. Tonight's story was different. Tonight a bridge gave way over a creek that was rising and rushing. On that bridge was an SUV carrying a mom, her daughter and two foster children home from a church event. The SUV ended up in the water where it floated around a 1/4 mile down river before coming to rest against the bank. The 11-yo girl in that car was able to get out, help her mom and the younger children out on to the roof of the vehicle and then climb a tree, get to a neighbor's house and call for help.

The volunteer rescuers and even a TV crew jumped into action. They donned safety equipment and climbed out onto the same tree that the little girl had climbed to get out and got that mom and those little kids off the roof of the SUV and on to dry ground. The TV crew helped hold a ladder that the rescuers had to manuever into place and climb to get to that family. Thankfully everyone was pulled to safety and while cold, wet and terrified, all those involved are safe and being evaluated by medical personnel as I type this.

So tonight I am thankful for volunteer rescuers, TV crews that are in the right place at the right time and brave 11-yo girls.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 9

Today is Veteran's Day. The day set aside to thank all the veterans who have helped to keep our country safe and free. We honor them with parades, breakfasts and dinners in their honor. Today I am grateful for all the veteran's in DH's and my families as well as those in everyone else's families. This is my cousin's son. He is currently serving in the Navy out of San Diego. I am so grateful that he is willing to sacrifice 6 months out of each year watching his son grow up to keep our country safe. I don't see him nearly often enough considering that he is gone half of each year and he lives over 1000 miles away so this photo of him in uniform is a real treasure. As is this one of him laughing at my constant picture taking.

Through out our family trees, DH and I have many relatives who are veterans. My Grandfather fought in WWI and my own father was in the Army during the Korean war. In fact in DH's family there are even Generals. These men sacrificed a great deal to their chosen career of service to our country. I cannot imagine making that sacrifice but I am so grateful that there are men and women who, along with their families, can and do.

On this Veteran's Day, all I can say is THANK YOU to all who willing sacrifice to make my family feel safe.

Until tomorrow......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 8

Today I am grateful for random days off from school when I can just hang out with my kids. Right now they are out playing with each other and the dog. I worked at DS's preschool this morning and then came home to hang out with the girls and DS. We get to enjoy this togetherness again tomorrow too but there will be more running around because of an orthodontist appointment and riding lessons.

Yep, random teacher days and holidays are nice.

Until tomorrow.............

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blog Challenge: Gratitude Day 7

Today I am grateful for all the digital designers out there that give of themselves so freely. Most of my digital supplies are freebies that I have picked up because of these designers and their generosity. As with paper scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking can suck up a lot of money quickly if you let it. If it were not for the generosity of these designers, I would not have been able to get into digital scrapbooking nearly as quickly as I have. DH and I are working hard to pay down our debt so there is simply not a lot of extra money to pay for lots of scrapbooking supplies, paper or digital, so these designers have enabled me to continue to preserve my family's memories and stay within our budget as well.

These are the layouts I have done over the last few days for the sketchapalooza II class I am taking over at Feeling Scrappy.

This is my rendition of sketch #4. The inspiration for this layout was my kids. I have never worked with a round sketch before and this one was a challenge that I enjoyed.

Credits: Sketch by Stacy Lokovic
Papers, heart elements and buttons by Michelle Bennett in her Stupid Cupid kit.
Rickrack element by Britteny of Britt-ish Designs in her Sunshine Sweets mini-kit.
Font: ReservoirGrunge.

This is my version of sketch #6. Carving pumpkins is a tradition for Halloween. That is another thing to be grateful for with digital scrapbooking, I can take pictures and the very next day scrap them. With paper the delay is much longer particularly since I have not made a paper layout since February.

Credits: Sketch by Amy Bell.
Background papers:
Orange paper from MimiLou's Kit Acidule'
Brown paper is a black paper from Emily Giovani's Essential Black kit with the orange over top and blended with the blending mode soft light.
Title created with font Showcard Gothic and cutting letters from a paper by Moon Scraps given as a freebie in the recent Scrap Orchard/Sunshine Studio Halloween blog train.
Button elements and Word Art by Gingerscraps in her Jackolantern kit.

This is my take on sketch #7.

Credits: Sketch by Stacey Lokovic.
Papers by Pamela Gibson.
Frame action by PSE Frank
Font is akaFrivolity(OT1)

This is sketch #8.

Credits: Sketch by Jayne Jones
Blue background paper from Flergs
Red background paper from Pamela Gibson
White background paper from Flergs
Stars cut from white background paper
Blue rubber band from Blind Sight Designs

I want to thank all of these designers for their generosity.

Until tomorrow.......