Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Fashion

Talk about an easy topic. I've got this one in my pocket. No pun intended, really.

When it comes to fashion, I've got ONE word: COMFORT.

If it's not comfortable, I won't wear it. I have one pair of heels that I like and will wear, but only for a few hours. I love to wear knit. I love jeans. I'm not overly concerned with fashion, but I do like to have some of the current styles. I would not say I'm trendy. I don't have a favorite store. I'll shop anywhere from Coldwater Creek to Wal-Mart, Talbots and Target to Lane Bryant. I'm working in falling in love with flip-flops this year. I have several pairs of Yellowbox flip-flops and really like them.

I probably dress a little too casual to work, but excuse myself by saying that I spend so much time on the floor with my students or use so many art supplies that I don't want to ruin my "good" clothes. The funny thing is I don't really have any "good" clothes.

In the warmer months, I tend to wear nice t-shirts, capris, and open-toed shoes, flip-flops this year. I do have a few shirts that are not t-shirts. In the cooler months, I prefer sweaters and dress pants, which I've had for 3 years at least.

I do not love to shop for clothes, so when I find something I like, I buy a few of that item in multiple colors. This spring I happened upon 6 shirts at Wal-Mart that I really like. Each one is unique and I'm proud of my selection. Not to mention, each shirt was less than $10. That's my idea of fashion: something I like and it's cheap!

I do love to shop for pocketbooks and shoes. My closet floor is littered with shoes. Pocketbooks hang on our coat rack and fill the shelves in my closet. No matter how I feel about the size of clothes I must buy, I enjoy shopping for the perfect purse or a fun pair of shoes.

But they must be comfortable. Because my fashion word is comfort.

My Habits

Today's challenge (well, really YESTERDAY'S challenge) is to write about my habits. Here are the posed questions: Do you have any habits? What are they? How long have they been a part of your life? How did they start? Have you tried to break the habit? Do you have any habits you are proud of?

This is NOT an easy challenge for me. I truly can not think of any habits I have--all I can think of are things I don't do! Where does that leave me???? I have one funny habit that is from my childhood. Actually, two. I'll write about those first and then another list. I'll decide which one to use later.

I have two habits that are left-overs from childhood. Each still plays a large part in my life.

When I was a little girl, I used to read by nightlight in my room. Each Christmas I would get a new book, usually several. By New Year's Eve, I would have read all of my new books and I would be exhausted. I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning reading. I still read by lamplight in my bed long after I should be asleep. At my age, I know the consequence of my reading "habit," but I can't seem to help myself. When the words on the page ensnare me, I can't break free. My eyes will ache and burn, but I can't close the book. I'll tell myself that I'll stop at the end of the chapter. Then another chapter and another. Finishing that chapter or that book is the most important thing to me in that moment, regardless of the consequences when the sun rises. And I am so very familiar with the consequences: a foggy mind, headaches, grouchiness. The very next evening will find me curled on my side, starting a new book or finishing the one I was working on.

"Ding." "Beep." "TeTeTeTe." Whatever the signal, I know when a timer goes off. There is a huge feeling of relief when my allotted time is finished. I remember when I was five or six years old, my mother would set the timer about 30 minutes before my dad would come home from work. She would assign each child a specific task (pick up the dolls, put away the cars, straighten up the art supplies). When we were finished with that task, we would race back to her to get our next assignment. By the time my father pulled in the driveway, the house was back in order and we looked angelic. Now whenever I need to get a dreaded task accomplished, I use the timer as a motivator. I'll set the timer for 10 minutes to get the kitchen counters clean. I can vacuum the downstairs of the house in less than 20 minutes. Often I set the timer for 15 minutes and tell myself that whatever I get done in that time is better than if I spent no time working at all. When I need to clean the house, I work in 15 minute intervals. I'm motivated to work the entire 15 minutes, then I either take a break for a few minutes or restart the timer. I'm passing along this "habit." When M hears the timer end, she says, "It's done!"

Second selection. Not sure which one I'll use for my book yet.

I wish I had a list of wonderful habits. I wish I could say I exercise every morning before work, drink 64 ounces of water, floss my teeth before bed and put the dishes in the dishwasher so the sink is always clean.

Instead, I sleep until the last possible second every morning before school and then rush around to get ready.

I treat myself to Starbucks whenever I need a pick-me-up.

I do laundry only when it overflows from the laundry basket or someone runs out of clean underpants.

I only vacuum the carpet when it looks dirty or we're having company.

I use all available flat surfaces in our home as storage, including the dining room table.

I love to eat dinner in front of the TV, but try to eat at the table for M's sake.

I could go on and on with this list, but I'll leave it here for now. Let me know which part you like better.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not Me Monday, sort of

M and I are enjoying a nice vacation with my parents this week.

I don't normally do a Not Me Monday, but I'm going to give it a little try today. More like a Not One of Us...

One of us did NOT give M sour milk and allow her to drink the entire cup.

One of us did NOT throw up all over our bed in the middle of the night.

One of us did NOT sleep through the entire clean up even though every light was on and the throw upper had to have a bath.

One of us did NOT sleep with her knees in her mother's back the rest of the night.

One of us did NOT color on the pew while her uncle was being ordained.

One of us did NOT whisper very loudly in the middle of the church service, "When are you going to give me a spanking???"

One of us did NOT did not wake up in the middle of the night last night and talk her grandparents into letting her sleep with them.

All of us did NOT crash and take a nap this afternoon. (All of us would NOT include my parents, both brothers, a sister-in-law, two daughters, and me.)

All of us did NOT pack up two cars with beach paraphernalia, drive to the beach, and leave ten minutes later because a storm blew in. We did not decide to leave when we saw the neighboring family lose their entire tent, including support poles. The storm did NOT cause about three minutes of rain and then the sun returned. No sirree...that did NOT happen. We did not then put the girls in the pool on the driveway and let them play for 30 minutes.

I do not miss my husband and wish he was here with us on this grand adventure.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Health

Not a fun assignment for me! I'm supposed to write (you know when I say write, I mean create a scrapbook page, right?) about my health. Lisa Day, our teacher, posed these questions to us: Are you healthy? Do you exercise regularly? What is your exercise routine? Do you take vitamins? Do you see the doctor on a routine basis? Do you eat a special diet? What does "health" mean to you? Do you wish you could get in the habit of eating better or exercising?
What I want to write is no, no, no, no, no.

If there is one area in my life where I am painfully aware I need to improve, it is my health. I'm fairly healthy if you consider blood pressure and cholesterol.

However, I hate to exercise. In the past two years, I've joined a gym. I went for about a month, then only sporadically after that. I bought Wii fit and loved it for a while. Just last week I bought another Wii exercise program. H and I love playing on the Wii together, so hopefully we will do this one more often.

I know all the right ways to eat. After all, that's why I paid Weight Watcher's hundreds of dollars and MediThin even more. But when it comes time to eat, I reach for whatever is easy. I'm not a good cook, so we eat out a lot.

As the mother of a daughter in a culture that is so body conscious, I need to make drastic changes. I don't want our home to be hyper-aware of fat and thin, plain and beautiful. I want our home to be healthy. I want M to enjoy all types of healthy foods. I want her to know what a balanced diet is and desire to eat it. I don't want to be the fat mom. I want her to be proud of me when she's older.

My Role Models

This was a tough assignment for me. The assignment is to think about someone who has impacted your life in a significant way. As I thought about my life, there isn't one person who jumped out, but several who have changed me in small, but significant ways.

My role models aren't people I necessarily want to emulate, but people who have challenged me, encouraged me to be more than I am, pushed me beyond what I thought I could be, carried me when I was unsure about the future.

Mrs. Sutton, my 11th grade AP English teacher. There is not enough time in this world to describe Mrs. Sutton. She was every students' dream teacher. She was compassionate, but tough. She didn't accept anything less than the very best. I was average; she made me excellent. I was cautious; she forced me to take risks. I saw black and white; she showed me all the shades of gray. She made me a better student, a better person.

Debbie C., my friend and co-worker. Debbie didn't laugh at my seventeen year old self when I walked in wearing blue eye shadow. She, a grown woman, befriended me and took me under her wing. She encouraged me to see beyond the moment, to consider the impact of my actions on my future, to think about what I wanted from my life. She made me a better friend, a better person.

Jim C., a college professor. In one conversation, Jim showed more compassion and understanding than I'd ever received before. I was overwhelmed, frightened, unsure about what to do. School had never been difficult for me before, but I couldn't handle the pressure of that semester. Jim told me to drop his class. "What harm can it do? You can pick it up next semester. Trust me." He helped me see my limits; he made me a better person.

My students: all of them. Over 9 years, I've taught approximately 225 2nd and 3rd graders. They have taught me about compassion, understanding, unconditional love. They've taught me to be patient, thoughtful, precise. They've shown me how the world is different for them, that the place they come from is not the place I come from. They made me a better teacher, a better person.

Sue and Donny, my parents. How can anyone ever say how their parents have impacted their lives? Everything in me that is patient, kind, thoughtful, helpful, and creative comes directly from my parents. I am my father's daughter when I make lists, need a plan, and analyze things. I am my mother's daughter when I create something, allow a bit of chaos to rule our home, and try something new. They made me a better daughter, wife, mother, a better person.

Friday, June 26, 2009


I'm taking a class at BPS called The Challenge of Me. The challenge is to create a scrapbook about myself. This will be a place where I document all sorts of things about myself. Perhaps one day M will read it and learn a little bit more about me in a different light: as a woman, a wife, a friend, my hopes and dreams, etc.

Today is our first "assignment." We're going to visit my parents for 10 days. In order to keep up with my "assignments," I'm going to do my writing on this blog. Then when I get home, I can just print off my words, add my picture and my assigned embellishments. So, here goes.

1. the act or state of fulfilling: to witness the fulfillment of a dream; to achieve fulfillment of one's hopes.
2. the state or quality of being fulfilled; completion; realization: a vague plan that had no hope of fulfillment.

The definition of fulfillment definitely causes me to pause and consider what it is in this life that fulfills me. Completion, realization. At the end of my life, when I have completed this journey, what is it that I want to have accomplished? What dreams do I want to see come to realization?

So many of these wonderful dreams I live every day: I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a friend. I am a teacher. Those roles fulfill me.

There are other things that fulfill me: creating, taking pictures, documenting, knitting, sewing. These things satisfy me.

There are still things I strive for as I search for fulfillment. Some are major. Some are tiny.
I want to love Jesus more. I want others to know I love Jesus.
I want to be thankful in the calm and in the storm.
I want M to come to love Jesus.
I want to travel to other parts of this world. I want to see how other cultures live. Not the tourist attractions, but the real people of those cultures.
I want to understand my small part in this big world. What impact am I making?
I want to take a photography class at a local college.
I want to knit a pair of socks.
I want to run in a 5K.

At the end, when I am looking back, I want to say that I have done all that I've been called to do. That I didn't hide from any challenge. That I have completed the race set before me. Then I will be fulfilled.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A tribute to my dad


It's hard for me to write this after this week. I want to rewind to 16 years ago and make everything strong and healthy. But where would we be if that happened? What would our family look like if things hadn't happened exactly the way they did? I don't know the answer to that question. If I had a magic power, I'd make you feel better.

I know you are the most amazing father I could have asked for.

I remember standing up in the front seat of the car, driving to a restaurant to have breakfast. (That was way before seat belt laws!)
I remember looking for Star Wars figures after seeing the movie.
I remember you calling the figures to wrong names to tease me.
You always were a bit of a jokester, in a silly kind of way.
I remember running across your bed into your arms. And one time into your dresser because you weren't ready for me.
I remember you getting up before the crack of dawn and working until dusk.
I remember how you smelled when you got home from work. That's the smell of hard work.
I remember learning to ride my yellow bike with the banana seat.
I remember my 12th or 13th birthday when you and Mom let my friends and I sit at a table by ourselves. I remember feeling so grown up.
I remember being trying to feel grown up when you were quoting Robert Frost to me before delivering me to my husband.
I remember your call asking how to get to the hospital when M was born, shocked that you and Mom were there already.
I remember you crying when you held M and seeing my childhood wash across your face as you held your granddaughter.
I remember you cuddling with, reading to, loving M in a way that only grandfathers can love their granddaughters.

I love you, Dad, more than I can ever tell you.

Happy Father's Day.

A tribute to H


There are so many things I'd love to tell you about how much I love you, but words fail me. Thee are no words to tell how I search for you in the night, when I wake up, my hand reaches across the bed to feel your body. There are no words to tell how you are the FIRST person I think of when I need something, anything. There are no words to tell about the happiness that is in core of me because we are one.

There is something else:

There are no words to tell what a wonderful father you are. From the moment M entered this world, I saw that your calling in this world is being a father. As an infant, you were never scared of her the way other men might be scared of their fragile babies. You would hold her for hours. You were never scared when we went to all those doctor's appointments for her foot. My heart was racing; your contenance peaceful. I am uptight; you are calm. I am emotional, hard on her; you are slow to anger, allowing her to be a child.

M is the luckiest girl in the world to have you for a father.

We love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

got the itch

There are plenty of things I don't reveal on here about our family life.

For example(s):
M slept in her crib until she was three and a half.
H and I fight. Well, I fight. He ignores me. It works for us.
I'm selfish.

Here's another one. Hold your breath for this one:
M still has a baby room.

Even though she's in her "big girl" bed, I haven't changed a single thing in there. Her crib is still up (waiting on a baby...who knows if that will happen!). The changing table is still in there. The wall art is still the same.

I still like it.

But today, all of a sudden, I got the urge to make some major changes in there! I'm still going to leave the crib, for a few more months. You never know.

She LOVES her butterfly sheets, so I'm going to give her a little butterfly make over. I'll post before and after pictures.

I'm going to make her a cool butterful mobile to hang over her bed. There are 6 picture frames making a mural on her wall. I'm going to use those frames and put some butterfly "things" in them. Luckily, I've got tons of scrapbooking paper that I can use for these projects.

If you see any neat ideas on line, please post them in the comments. When I'm creating, I'll work on a little give away project. I'm also looking for some butterfly fabric to make M new curtains. I don't want cartoon-ish butterflies. This is some of the inspiration. You can see that it's not "little girl" looking. I'm not too concerned about colors. M's walls and comfortor are a light, almost mint-y green, but I'm willing to buy a new comforter. H is NOT willing to paint the walls, so I'll just work with what I've got!

YEAH! I've got the itch!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Right now

Right now M is playing with buttons. Yes, I'm a terrible mom, but she LOVES them and who am I to tell her no? (Don't answer that.

Right now Mocha is banging on the back door to go outside. I always wonder how she makes it all day when we're not her. I get plenty of exercise letting her in and out.

Right now the exhaust fan is running on in the kitchen. Why is that significant you ask?

Because our new stove was just delivered
and it has to be "conditioned" before you cook in it the first time! YAHOO! It's beautiful. M and I are going to make ourselves something delicious for lunch in 42 minutes, when the sweet litte timer gives us the ding sound.

Pictures will follow soon. Our new dishwasher will probably be delivered Monday. I'll give the entire story later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday morning photo shoots

Here they are, finally. The teasers from the Saturday photo shoots.

8:30 Saturday morning: One precious girl.
For some reason, I love these three images in black and white. She's got plenty of color to choose from, but these are three of my favorites.

9:00 Saturday morning: Two brothers

7:00 Saturday evening: One sweet-toothed boy.
There are PLENTY of other great ones of this little guy. The light was perfect, absolutely perfect, for about 30-40 minutes while I played with this family. He was very serious and was only willing to take a few pictures because his parents promised him a sucker. Somehow, he was able to sneak the sucker out of his dad's pocket. That as when the fun started. We played hide and seek with the sucker and got some of the best smiles. I'm not putting those up because I want his mama to see them first!

There was one other shoot, but it was a tiny baby. I'm going to reshoot with that family at their home in the next week or so. I'll post some of those when I do the next shoot. The light was just too bright for those precious baby eyes.
Now I'm off to deliver discs to these wonderful families!

Friday morning photo shoots

Last Friday and Saturday, I did a series of mini photo shoots. My goal was to capture as many images as possible in 15 minutes. Most shoots went over 15 minute, but not by much. I got some great images. These are from Friday morning. I'll post Saturday morning and evening later today.

I've already posted the 8:15 appt.

8:45 Friday morning: Two sisters

9:15 Friday morning: A brother and two sisters
They should look familiar to you. I've taken LOTS of pictures of this family and they are one of my favorite families ever! This mama had a goal, but we didn't get what she wanted, so I'm going to reshoot them very soon. Not to mention, trying to take pictures of two toddlers and an infant at the same time is NOT easy!

9:30 Friday mornng: A sister and two brothers.
This is my Huckleberry Finn family...the one with the guest appearance. I have a wonderful picture of the sister, but I want to be very cautious of posting it because she's a "tween." Just trying to be super cautious.

As soon as I finish editing Saturday pictures, I'll get those up. C'mon by later!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hot off the press

So tonight we had a friend over for dinner. H and I tucked M in around 8:15. He and H played a few video games before leaving to catch a movie. I thought I heard the sound of pitiful crying, but it was hard to tell over Guitar Hero. When the guys left at 9:30, I was certain I heard sobbing, so up the stairs I climbed.

I walked in to a snotty, tear stained face. When I hugged M, I was greeted by a VERY wet bottom. V.E.R.Y. W.E.T. As in, someone forgot to put a diaper on a certain little girl who still soaks her overnight diaper, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. She was DRIPPING wet, from the top of our nightgown to her toes. Her sheet was probably dripping on the floor she was so wet.

I, ever gracious and thoughtful and kind and patient (dripping sarcasm), almost lost it. Before she could get off her bed, she was de-gowned and tossed into the tub. Not my greatest mommy moment.

Perhaps I was feeling particularly frustrated because M only has two sheets for her bed. The spare was ON the bed and the other is on the floor in the office, waiting to be washed. Now they are BOTH on the floor waiting to be washed while she is cuddled in my bed.

ARGH!!! Not quite how I had envisioned my night to myself. I thought I'd be finishing up a few gifts, editing some pictures, finishing a book. Instead, I'm washing and folding laundry, breathing deeply through my nose so I don't cause bodily harm to my toddler who thinks this is just H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S. as she was telling "jokes" while she was scrubbed in the tub and now she gets to sleep with Mommy. (As I oh-so-patiently turned off the light to my room, she said, "I'll sit right here till your eyes get tired and you decide to sleep with me.")

I think I'm going to pour myself a warm mug of milk and wait on the couch for my eyes to get tired. Perhaps her sheets will be done before I'm ready for bed and I can move her to her own bed.


MBS: Guest Appearance

Last weekend, I did a series of mini photo shoots at a wonderful park with lots of water features (pictures of that will be up tomorrow). Apparently, this little guy wanted in on the photo action. I indulged him, of course.

Luckily, he appeared in the middle of a photo shoot with the most Huckleberry-Finnish family ever. The sister discovered him and her brothers thought he was pretty impressive. He didn't hang around long when M started her famous "I'm scared because a bug is too close to me" screech.

Despite having over 400 pictures of adorable kids, I just had to choose this for MBS.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I didn't mean to tease you. I had the best intentions ever and will (yes, I WLL) follow through on them.

I post this post. With this title: Photo Shoot 8:15 a.m.

And then I posted those really precious pictures.

My INTENTIONS were to post teasers from each mini session I did over the weekend. Then other stuff...like, LIFE, sort of interrupted my plans.

So, here is the scoop. I had 8 (EEKKK: EIGHT!) families let me practice my photography skills on them. We meet at a couple of locations and I snapped away while the kids posed (sometimes) and played (more often). I had a great time!! I am so thankful that these precious families let me take up some of their time and let me play with their children. I'm falling more and more in love with the "genre" of children's photography. I want to learn more about the processing part so I can do fun things with the actual images.

In the next few days, pop by for the mini session series. I'll wait until I'm ready to post them all at the same time. I took over 500 pictures in about 4 hours, all together! Super fun!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I love three and a half. The first part of three was a tad difficult for me, maybe difficult for M, but definitely difficult for me. Now we are having so much fun. I'm not sure how the transition came from butting heads to holding hands, but I am so thankful that it happened.

M is into:
knock-knock jokes
being "friends"
beginning to pretend
talking (lots and lots of talking)
watching TV
watching movies
being melodramatic
playing outside
one more
repeating the same questions
Sesame Street Live CD
quick, spontaneous snuggles or hugs
a hug and kiss from Mama and Daddy at night
tag, you're it!
sometimes independent, sometimes needy
"I'm the helper"

This is a true, genuine smile from M. I don't often capture this on film (ah...memory cards), so I was thrilled when I saw it come up on the screen.

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

My precious girl!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Photo Shoot 8:15 a.m.

Yes, I know how you feel. I wanted to gobble her up, too. I had to restrain myself from snatching her and running away as fast as I could.

Can anyone say HEART THROB? He has the most precious personality EVER.

This could not have been any more fun. The mom brought along the umbrella and dressed him in his rain boots. This is one of my favorites from this session.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I interrupt your regularly scheduled blog reading for this from M:

"Mommy, I'm coughing a lot and it is interrupting my talking!"

And this complete foot sweetness. Gobble away!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aubs!

Yesterday was my dear friend, Aubs, birthday. She is one of the most amazing 20 year olds I've ever met. She is wise, compassionate, honest.

I wanted to make the day special for her (and her mother, who is one of my dearest friends ever) and to keep it a surprise. So, while she was having breakfast with her family and enjoying time with her adorable six year old cousin, I was setting up shop.

This was my view from my kitchen. Computer up and running, picture and directions for the cake I was going to attempt.

Cake was baked and iced. I did mention I was ATTEMPTING a cake, right? I'm not the best icer in the world. The cake: iced.
Now the fun times began. There was wrapping to be done, dots to be added. Not too bad, if you don't mind a not-so-great icing job or a bow smudged with icing!
After M woke up from her nap, we scurried downtown to drop off balloons, a tiara, and the cake. The waiter and waitress at the restaurant were awesome. They hid the goodies for me so Aubs wouldn't have any idea what was coming. (Aubs, you didn't know, did you? It was a surprise, RIGHT???)

When we got there, I whispered to the hostess that we were the birthday group. She found the balloons and tiara and delivered them to Aubs.
So, we ate. And drank. And it was good.

And then we ate some more. And it was GOOD.
When we were done eating, the waiter and I gave each other "the look." Our table was so tiny that he set the cake up in the wine cellar, so he invited us back there. I'm sure Aubs knew something was up then, but she played along. We enjoyed the cake and visited for quite a while longer.
I was so honored to be invited to be part of the birthday celebration. Aubs, you are an amazing young woman. You've got so much to offer this world, in your sweet, quirky, unusual sort of way. I'm so blessed to be along for the journey.
Happy birthday!!!!!
Natalie, Aubs, Andi

Monday, June 1, 2009

Feeling better?

She's still in bed. This is what I hear:

"Mommy, mommy,
mommy, mommy...
Daddy, daddy,
daddy, daddy...
John Jacob Jinglehimer Schmidt
His name is MYYYYYYY name, too!
He was walking all about (ah...that's not right)
Jesus loves me this I KNNNNOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!"

I think she MIGHT be feeling better. I haven't been serenaded in quite a few days.