Saturday, January 31, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 28

Today I saw the beauty in our community. One of my 4-h'ers has started a small charity with the help a business in our community to help underprivileged children. Yesterday was his first major fundraiser. He asked my DD to help. They sold cookies that they had made themselves. They covered all their bases by getting the appropriate approvals and all and then did the footwork by just being out their. The community really responded nicely. The kids made $98 for the charity which will help them begin the process. They can open their checking account and start taking requests. The idea is that they will purchase school supplies, mittens, scarves, shoes, basically any non-food item that a child might need.

I am just so proud of these kids and the community that made an effort to support them.

Wow, that is it, the final post for January. How fast did that go by? The end of January 2009 already? Are you kidding me? It has been a busy month. What will February bring?

Until tomorrow.......

Friday, January 30, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 27

Today I finally have the pictures I needed to show you my beautiful DD with her brand new mouth of metal. Personally I think she is pretty cute. Well she was before too but now I think it has to do with her shy little smile. For what we are paying, this better all come out correctly in the end.

Until tomorrow.....

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 26

I was going to post a before and after picture of DD today since she got her braces on today but I have not taken the after one yet so I had to come up with something else.

As I sat in my chair this evening trying to come up with an idea to write about tonight when the news came on. There it was, the beauty for the day. A few days ago there was a shooting at an underage nightclub in Portland. It is a very sad situation. Several of the people shot were high school aged exchange students who are living and going to school here for the school year. They are from all over the world. One young lady, a high school sophomore who was looking forward to the opportunity to travel overseas to study next year, lost her life. This appears to be a truly random event. The shooter came around the corner, spotted the crowd and started shooting. He eventually turned the gun on himself. He has since died as well so there are no answers to the obvious question forthcoming.

So after reading all this you are wondering, where is the beauty in this story? The beauty is in all the people who came together tonight to give and share their strength in helping those effected to heal. I can't find the story on the local news website so I can't get all the details but I found the whole thing very touching as I watched it tonight. Even people completely removed from the situation came tonight because they felt it was the right thing to do.

Until tomorrow.......

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 25

My beauty for the day came when I stepped on the scale this morning. While the number is NOT beautiful, the fact that the upward rise stopped this week IS. I have upped my exercise a lot since getting my Wii Fit and I hope to see the turn around really soon.

Until tomorrow.......

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 24

Hmm, today I did nothing really. Oh I did laundry and played on the computer, working with some digital layouts getting them ready to print, took care of the kids, made dinner, did the dishes and knitted some but I didn't DO anything. I did not even venture further outside than my front step. So where is the beauty today?


I think it is in the normalcy of the day.

Until tomorrow.........

Monday, January 26, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 23

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that is never more true than with little boys. My little guy is my baby. He is challenging, entertaining, fun, perky, rascally and energetic. He has the most amazing personality. He is a monkey. Give him something to run around, climb over, crawl under or push around and you will be his bestest friend - for the length of time the activity takes. LOL. He is by far the most cuddly of my children. He will sit and cuddle while I read him stories or will just sit and watch TV with me. He still, at age 4, will come climb in my lap and fall asleep sometimes. The girls were so over that by this age. Rascal boy is way into trains. He adores Thomas the Tank Engine anything, toys, books, movies, etc. He also loves to play with the model electric train set that his daddy has been gathering up for him. He can sit for hours just running those trains around in circles. Of course he thinks it is hilarious to watch the kittens try to catch the trains too.

He loves to spend time with his daddy, his sisters and his friends. He loves preschool and is starting to look forward to Kindergarten in the fall when he will be at the "big kid" school with his sisters.

He does have a temper and is not afraid to tell you what he thinks is wrong with whatever he deems a problem but he is also the fastest one to give a hug to make it all better. He is such a little man and is growing up so fast.

He has the most expressive eyes and face so I always know what is going through his mind and to be on the lookout for the next devious stunt. I so look forward to what the coming years will bring with all of my children because they truly are the most beautiful things in my life.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 22

Today was a quiet day. We went for a ride with DH. He has a bug in his ear about converting his truck from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive. There are several factors contributing to this but the main one is that when we have a major snow event like we did in late December we can't get out of our driveway!!

So today we drove to Mist, Oregon to pick up (or so we thought) a transfer case to get his project off the ground. Unfortunately it turned out that there are 2 or 3 different sizes of transfer cases but only one of those will fit properly. This was one of the ones that won't.

So you are wondering where is the beauty in a wasted trip? Ahh, but it wasn't a wasted trip. It got us out of the house on a Sunday afternoon. It also fostered some togetherness. We saw some beautiful country that we normally have no reason to go visit. We met up with the in-laws and had dinner with them, which would not have happened tonight otherwise. So, it was a beautiful trip, even though the intended purpose did not pan out.

Until tomorrow.......

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 21

Today's beauty is my middle child. This DD is a funky, fun, emotional child. She takes everything to heart both good and bad. The slightest thing can set off an emotional storm. When she is happy, everything is roses and sunshine. She is willing to befriend anyone. She is happy to jump in and help with just about anything. She likes to have fun and is willing to find that fun in any situation. She loves to help in the kitchen but her favorite activity is arranging flowers. She loves to experiment with color, texture and design. At only 8 years old she is showing real potential. She likes to do the things her older sister does and tends to try to be older than her years.

DD loves school. She has a great time with her friends learning and growing. She adores her teachers and really works hard for them.

She also loves her pets. She has a great time playing with and showing her bunnies. She also loves her kitties and our crazy black lab.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 20

Today's beauty was a fun night out with my friends. A good friend hosted a Pampered Chef party tonight and it was so great to get out and have some fun. It was so great that shutterbug that I am, I even forgot to take any pictures.

The food was yummy, homemade chili and warm from the oven brownies but it was the company that made the evening. We laughed and chatted while we cooked together and then we laughed some more. Sometimes, laughter really it just what the doctor ordered.

Until tomorrow.......

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 19

Amazing that it is already the 22nd of January!! We are already nearing the end of the month and this blog challenge. Even more amazing is the fact that I have not done posts about my beautiful kids yet. So today I was thinking about all the beautiful aspects of my kids (I had to since my sanity was on the line with a sick, but not too sick, one who stayed home from school today) and I realized that I hadn't talked about them here yet.

After thinking about it some more, I decided to talk about each of them individually and to go from oldest to youngest over the next few days. (I made this decision because the oldest was the only one NOT here getting on my last nerve all day LOL)

I am told all the time how wonderful oldest DD is, how kind and friendly she is. I love that about her. I think her outgoing, bubbly, welcoming personality is beautiful. She can become friends with new acquaintances nearly instantly. When someone new comes to the school is the one that the teachers choose to show them around because they know she will make the new students feel welcome and comfortable.

Of course I think she is one of the most beautiful girls I know but I may be a bit biased.

She also works hard. She has lots of activities that she participates in within her 4-H club. She is an officer and a junior leader. She takes care of her goats and rabbit. She keeps her grades up and enjoys school. She loves to ride "her" horse each week at her lesson.

Of course there is still a bit of attitude but that is what makes her fun and spunky.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 18

I finally got it done. My January 12 of 12 layout. That is my beauty for the day, to have a completed layout ready to post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 17

No matter your political affiliations or ideation, today was a beautiful day. The sun shone, people gathered in a peaceful manner, one gentleman stepped gracefully aside and another took a step forward.

His politics and my politics are vastly different. I truly don't feel that all the hype, if you will, about his skin color is necessary. However, I do recognize the importance of today and this man's position in history.

My impression is that of a truly compassionate man with a deep love and devotion to his family and his country. The next four years will test all his fortitude. He has a job I do not envy. I hope he succeeds because if he does so shall we all.

Change is hard. For some, this is a sad day as President and Mrs. Bush stepped away. I believe that must be a huge transition. In a matter of moments, you go from the leader of the free world to a retired President and private citizen.

I took pictures of the TV to do a layout for our family album. Unfortunately, older DD and I did not get to see the actual swearing in because she was in the orthodontist's office getting her spacers, x-rays and pictures in preparation for her braces application next week. I am a bit sad that, though I have seen news reports and replays of it, she and I missed seeing it all live because this day will certainly go down as one of the most historic for this country.

God Bless America!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 16

Today's beauty was watching of very different children work together in a pleasant, productive manner to plan the course for their 4-H club for the next 8 months. These kids, varying in age from freshman in high school to as young as 5th graders worked together very cooperatively to plan activities and projects. It was a wonderful thing to see and be a part of.

Until tomorrow.......

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 15

I don't know what to write about tonight. I have not downloaded the pictures taken today. DD's 4-H photography group met today and practiced taking family and self portraits. They took some beautiful pictures and did a great job but I can't show you those yet. Maybe tomorrow.

I guess today I saw beauty in volunteerism, again. I get a lot of joy from spending time with these motivated, responsible, effervescent, fun kids. I love helping them learn and seeing them grow. This is DD's 4th year in 4-H and I am watching these kids grow up right before my eyes. It is gratifying to be a part of their maturing personalities and to help them to gain skills and new interests. Tomorrow I get to spend more time with some of these same kids as they have their officers' meeting and we get started with the knitting group's community service project. I know that my fellow leaders feel the same way about our "job" and our kids.

Until tomorrow......

Find Beauty - Day 14

Today I find beauty in a friend. She lost her father yesterday. Today she found the personal strength to allow her DD to play in her basketball game. Further more she found the strength to come watch the game. I would have been curled up in bed crying my eyes out and hugging my kids close, not going out into public.

I find her inner strength beautiful and amazing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 13

Winter morning beauty. I about froze my fingers off (laughable really since our temperatures are NO WHERE near what so many others have been dealing with this week) while getting these frosty shots of my neighbor's arbevida (sp?). We had fog and temperatures below freezing last night. That combination usually results in beautiful frosted white plants and trees. Evergreens are especially pretty.

The frosty pattern on my van window was interesting too. The picture did not come out great but you can see the pattern.

I tried really hard to get a good shot of this delicate spider web connecting branch to branch. The camera did not like focusing that close but I finally got something I was happy with.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 12

Sometimes, only a mother can find the beauty in a preschooler's artwork. I am not sure what he was doing to that poor bear but he was so proud when he handed it to me. DS is not an artist and truly I think art table is his least favorite part of preschool but when he presents his creations to me it is the sweetest thing in the world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Find beauty - Day 11

Wordless Wednesday - Find beauty version.

Beautiful girls and their beautiful horses.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 10

Oops, I went to bed without posting this last night. It was all typed and ready to go but I got distracted and forgot to hit publish. I guess I was more tired than I realized. I have adjusted the posting date to show as it should have been.

Today I wanted to follow up a little bit on a post from a couple days ago about Christmas decorations. I decided last year to take photos of all the ornaments we have because so many of them are from special people in our lives or are traditional gifts that we give to the kids each year and I wanted to document those stories in an album. So as I was taking the ornaments off the tree last year I photographed each one. Of course, that was a year ago and I have yet to DO anything with those photos but I HAVE them so that I can do something. So this year I only had to photograph the new ornaments we received.

Mostly it was the kids who got new stuff this year. Over the years my mom has found fun or funky ornaments that she has given to Matt and I but this year she was short on shopping time and did not find anything that really "did it" for her. I totally get that. But there is one set of ornaments that I treasure. Every year since I was in my teens, my Aunt has given each of the nieces and nephews a glass raindrop. These come in different colors and in two different sizes. They, literally, are just drops of colored glass but they are among my most favorite ornaments. They are beautiful in their simplicity and the tradition behind them. This year's drop is red. Sadly, the company that made these ornaments has gone out of business and this was the last one we will get.

The other ornaments that brought me a great deal of pleasure are these two that I received from my friend Carolyn. Carolyn is an "internet friend" from the other web community I go to, Dotties Weight Loss Zone. I have been a member there for years. I visit a lot of forums when I have time but there is one that I visit nearly every day. That forum is called We Can. We have a very tight knit group of regulars there that I count among my dearest friends. Like any web community we are spread far and wide. Like on Scrapshare, this is one of those places where you can meet and talk with so many people of different backgrounds and it is wonderful. The last two years the We Can group has done an ornament exchange. This year my giver was someone who ironically lives only an hour from me. We have met in person once and I would love to get together with her again when the stars align and we both have time. The ornaments she sent me prove that she knows me so well. They are beautiful and wonderful on their own but they are also beautiful and wonderful because of what they represent, friendship.

Until tomorrow......

I hate change

There I said it. I hate change. I hate uncertainty and upheaval.

Big changes are afoot at my DDs' school. The school is a charter. Matt sits on the charter board. Funding is based on enrollment. Enrollment is dropping. Why this is occuring is a matter of changing economic climate and who knows what else. With the down turn in the economy many have been losing jobs resulting in moves to find employment. This is completely understandable. The other part of the equation is not as easily defined. Some students are just leaving because ........

As I said, funding is based on enrollment. Dropping enrollment equals dropping funding which means changes, big ones. Like a teacher losing her job, closing a school building, reducing hours of support staff. Yuck. I hate it.

The teacher losing her job is my middle daughter's. I wrote about her the other night in one of my find beauty posts. The building is the one my older DD is in. The staff members are people I consider friends. Time to get ready for the PTC meeting.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 9

Today a beautiful, wonderful package arrived on my doorstep. I mentioned a while back that I was going to be the lucky recipient of the blog challenge prize at the end of Sherry's first blog challenge in November. We were to post daily about something we were grateful for. Well today I am truely grateful for this wonderful prize. It is beautiful and wonderful and I can.not.wait to have time to actually do something with it. My picture does not do these beautiful papers justice.

Thanks again Sherry. The challenges were a reward in itself, getting me to look for good things in spite of the stress of the last couple months so this is just icing and I love me some icing.

Until tomorrow.......

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 8

Today I started taking Christmas down. Yeah I know, what was I thinking leaving it all out so long. Well I love to be able to enjoy my decorations and usually decorate well ahead of the holiday and leave things up until at least the first weekend of January. This year life conspired against me and the decorations did not get put out until December 23rd. However, it is now time to put it all away. As I do, I am trying to take a few moments to admire the beauty of each thing I am putting away. Some things were made by my children and others were picked out with love as gifts for us. Still others I have carefully chosen for my family and myself. Often in the frenzy of holiday preparation, I forget to stop for a moment and enjoy the beauty I have created. Today as I started to put things away, I forced myself to take a moment to admire what I have.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Find Beauty - Day 7

Today I want to tell you about beautiful people.

Beautiful people show up at 9 in the morning on a Saturday to clean up storm damage at their kids' school so that the school does not have to pay that have that work done.

Beautiful people do a huge amount of work to move a large amount of stuff from one room to another in a school building that is getting work done on it due to damage from a tree falling on it as a result of the storm mentioned above all so that a floor can be retiled.

Beautiful people put out their time and energy to coach 3rd and 4th grade girls in basketball. Some of these girls have never played the game before and are clueless. These are some of the most beautiful people of all because frankly I would have been pulling my hair out if I was the coach today.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Find beauty - Day 6

After weeks of snow, ice and then flooding rains, today I woke to sun shining through the slats of the blinds. It was a beautiful sight. This is what I saw when I looked out my sliding glass door toward the creek. While it was glorious to look at, it was coooooold. Beautiful and wonderful all the same.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Find beauty - Day 5

Tonight I got some bad news. I am frustrated by the situation but it gave me the idea for tonight's post.

Today one of the teachers at DD's school (her morning teacher) was told that she is being let go effective the 16th. The short story is that our kids are in a charter school. We had a big influx of students in the younger grades at the beginning of the year (we have a prek-8th grade program) so to accommodate the needs of the students we hired a part-time teacher to teach 3rd grade the core subjects in the mornings. Now due to losses in our student body (particularly in the upper grades but really across the board because of students moving due to job loss as well as other issues) it is not in our budget to maintain this position we created. I am sad. I work with this teacher two mornings a week as her parent volunteer. I think she is doing a fabulous job. This is her first "real" teaching job. She did her final term of student teaching with us last year, ironically in my DD's class.

This teacher is a wonderful person. She was thrown into a situation where she had to set up a classroom from nothing the first week of school with no warning. She has done an amazing job. She has worked so hard to get students that are behind caught up while keeping the ones who are ahead moving forward. She is open and honest with parents too.

I am going to miss my time in her classroom. It looks like I am going to have more time on my hands because the other teacher does not seem to want my help in her classroom. I am sad about the whole thing.

Until tomorrow........

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Find beauty Day 4

Given all the rain and wind today it was difficult to find anything really beautiful. Usually I love the rain but today I was not feeling wonderful so the rain and wind were just dreary. So since outside was not beautiful and inside the house is a mess, I turned to an old standby. I went looking for beauty in my PSE organizer.

I did not have to look far to find this panoramic shot I took last weekend at the beach and stitched together in PSE.

And this

And this one too.

Oh and I can't leave this one out!

I love sunsets and am getting better at photographing them. Add in a visit to the beach and you have the makings of a beautiful shot. These shots give me the warm fuzzies just looking at them. It is fun to share them with people so I did. The last one was one of my Christmas gifts to my Dad. I love to look at these shots because they bring back wonderful memories of time spent with my family in one of my favorite places. I hope you enjoy them too.

Until tomorrow......

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Find beauty - Day 3

The beauty for today was the simplicity of the day. DS and I spent the day just hanging out. I did laundry and dishes. He and I played on the DS, or rather he watched me play because he likes that. We read books and made lunch. We played on the Wii. It was a quiet, beautiful day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Find beauty

Yikes it is getting late and I need to get my person to bed but then I remembered that I had not blogged today. Double yikes!!

The beauty I saw today does not include a photo. Well I am sure I have one of the subject but usually she has a child clinging to her that is not my child and therefore I can't post them here.

Obviously, this post is about a person. She is my son's preschool teacher. Nearly every teacher I have ever known, including my own parents, have been beautiful, wonderful people but preschool teachers and kindergarten teachers hold a special place. I mean really, I love my 4-year-old but to voluntarily spend 2.5 hours 3 times a week with 20 of them and then the other two days a week with 16 3-yos? Good grief! She is amazing! She truly loves each and every one of her students. She is so patient and kind. She works so hard and the kids really respond to her. She cracked me up today. Due to snow and ice the week before winter break was to start, school was canceled extending break for an extra week. Ms. Dianna was almost as giddy as the kids to be back at school. It was hilarious and endearing all at the same time. I am so glad this special lady is teaching my child.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Find beauty

As noted in yesterday's post, this month's blog challenge is to blog about (and capture with our cameras) all kinds of beauty. Today I was playing around with the camera trying to capture the images needed for the 52/365 challenge in the photography forum at scrapshare. This challenge is hopefully going to teach me how to get more from my camera. Really it is geared to those with digital SLRs, something I endeavor to have someday, but I am going to do the best I can with what I can.

So today I was playing around trying to capture the images for this weeks assignment which is to use all the auto modes our camera provides. I have one setting that is for "snow/beach". I know I used it yesterday but I am not sure which images are a product of it because I played around a lot trying to capture the beautiful colors and such.

So anyway, I was trying to find things to photography around here that I would not be embarrassed to post for everyone to see. Given the dreary January sky and post holiday clutter that was more difficult than one would imagine. I did get a good shot of flower my cousin gave me for Christmas. This used the completely auto setting on the camera so basically I pointed the camera and pushed the button. I know that flowers are an easy source of beauty but I really love the colors of this one. The paper whites will be out soon too so if the big blooms last that long, this will be really showy for a day or two.

It is now time to head off to bed because tomorrow reality returns with the kids going back to school. I have pulled preschool duty because Matt has a presentation to do at work. There goes my quiet, no kids home, Monday morning. Oh well, another one will come around next week.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January blog challenge - Post 1

It is time for a new blog challenge.

This challenge is issued by Tracilouwho at Scrapshare. From her blog:

A Contest, Looking ahead to 2009!

As you may have noticed, I've been participating in Sheri's (MidniteScrapper) month long blog challenge. This was her second month of hosting and she's done a spectacular job at it. I think that all participants have appreciate the little kick in the pants that it's given to our blogging. Well, January, I will be "hostessing" the challenge. I've been spotting a lot of beauty around me lately, snapping pictures whenever I can. Mostly inner beauty with the kids, beauty in nature... just the kind of thing that makes you stop in awe at God's creation. A lot of it is stuff that I don't have time to really scrap but it definitely brightens my day to be looking for the beauty even if I don't have a purpose for the pictures. Everyone always complains about how gloomy January can be, in the aftermath of the Christmas glow, so it's important to focus on the beautiful aspects too. My Theme for January will be a Search for Beauty. This beauty can be a combination of both inner and outer beauty and will include a photo contest too. The rules are as follows: Part 1: Blog daily about the people/places/things you find beauty in. A post can be a tribute to a special person that is or was beautiful to you. Or a post about something beautiful in the world around us. It could even include a beautiful plate of cookies that you bake, or a drawing hanging on your fridge. The challenge will run from January 3rd - January 31 Part 2: Post 3 pictures each week showcasing beauty. I'm not going to give you weekly categories this month because I want you to feel free to snap and post photos as you search for beauty.

Note: There will be 2 separate prizes for this challenge, one will be drawn out of the people who blog daily successfully, and one will be drawn from the people who post 3 photos each week. You can win one, or even both, but you don't have to participate in one to win the other, etc. Photography/Writing skills do not play a part in this contest so please jump in and participate even if your posts are short and sweet and photos aren't the best quality!

We went to the beach today on a whim. Mom called and asked if we wanted to join her and Dad in a day trip to the coast to play on the beach and have dinner to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Their anniversary was actually the day after Christmas but they finally got around to considering dinner out today.

We decided that a beach trip sounded like fun so we quickly gathered up extra clothes and cameras and jumped in the van. We met up with the parental set and tried to ignore Dad's grumpy, I-don't-really-want-to-do-this-today, attitude. After establishing our next meeting spot, we turned the vehicles toward Newport. After arriving in town, Princess smarty-pants (DD12) and I ran into Wal-mart to get my mom a roll of film (yes she still lives in the dark ages of film photography) and some sand toys. The film was an easy find but the sand toys were nowhere to be found so we improvised. We bought some cheap plastic measuring cups and plastic freezer boxes to use as scoops and buckets. It was the best we could do and it turned out that they worked pretty well.

There is beauty everywhere at the beach. There is beauty in kids getting down and dirty in the sand. There is beauty in the many facets of sand, sun and water working together. Today, there was also beauty in family togetherness. Here are a couple of examples:
My parents and DH. My mom and DS building "dribble castles".
My mom and two DDs walking back to the car.

And one of my many sunset shots.

We had such a pleasant day. The coast in January is unpredictable but the weather was beautiful and perfect for an afternoon excursion. Dinner was a wonderful seafood meal at Gracie's Sea Hag in Depoe Bay.

There is never a better excuse to go crazy with the camera than a trip to the beach.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Blog Challenge: Choose Joy

Well, I did not quite make it all the way with this challenge but I feel good about what I did get done. That was the point, to choose joy each day. I choose to find the joy of doing as much as I did and letting go of the fact that I did not complete it all.

Tracilou, another Scrapshare sister, has issued the challenge for this month and I will post the details in my initial post tomorrow. It is a photography challenge. I love it.

With the new year there are lots of challenges starting up. I am narrowing down my choices and deciding what I truly think I can accomplish this year. Of course in addition to scrapbooking/art challenges, I will also be working on weight issues, healthy eating issues, home care issues and parenting issues. I am looking forward to the new year and choose to find the joy in the possibilities.

Happy New Year everyone.