Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

This week’s prompt from Mama Kat is to, of course, write your New Year’s Resolutions. I really was NOT going to do it this year, but then I thought that the important part of resolutions is to try to meet them, thus making your life a little bit better everyday. So here goes…

1. Be good to myself.

In the past I have always written specific weight-loss goals, and usually fail miserably. I have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, on top of a rare, chronic disorder called Relapsing Polychondritis. With the two combined, exercise is often difficult, if not impossible, so while I HOPE to loose weight, I vow not to beat myself up about it. Instead, I will focus on BEING GOOD to myself. Not overeating is being good to myself. Going for a walk is being good to myself. Resting when I need it is being good to myself. Taking all my medicine is being good to myself. And so on!

2. Think of three good things.

I recently read “Family Tree” by Barbara Delinsky, and one of her characters advised that when you are mad or upset with someone, think of three good things about them. This seems a practical way to change negative thoughts, and I believe my attitude about my job and my marriage will be the better for it. My husband is a very good man, but often is the brunt of my frustration with other things. Thinking three good things will keep the reasons I married him at the front of my mind!

3. Complete Project 365.

Just because I am looking forward to this one does not mean it will be easy! I realize that taking a picture a day for a whole year is a huge undertaking, but I have been mulling it over since October, so I’m going for it! Check my blog on Mondays for the previous week’s shots.

4. Send cards out on time.

I am a card maker, and have everyone’s birthday and anniversary already on my 2010 calendar. I will try harder to get them in the mail on time this coming year!

5. Spend more one-on-one time with each of my daughters.

This one is a repeat from last year, but one worth working on some more. They are such fun kids, but often I am so tired, or busy, or distracted, that I fail to appreciate their unique personalities and needs. And let’s face it, sometimes siblings together just don’t make for a fun time. So I want to take a little time each week, or month, or whatever, just to be with each girl. I’m sure they will love it as much as I will!

P.S. As I am reading back over my goals, editing and so forth, I realize that I really want to do these things! So how about I make myself accountable and give myself a grade at the end of the month on my blog? Check back to see how I am doing!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Random Dozen of 2009!

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?

I find it most gross to drink after my kids. Cute little petrie dishes of germs! Tasting someone else’s drink, I am ok with that.

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)
I have learned to be more appreciative of the little blessings in my life. I did a “week in the life” album that contained three gratitudes for each day, and it really changed my perspective. See this blog post for a list from that album.

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?
Usually not until after January 1, but I was sick of them all this year so they came down on the 27th!

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:
I want to start the year fresh with a really clean house. During the holidays mail, laundry, and dust seem to pile up everywhere. The bathroom was thoroughly scrubbed yesterday, the mail pile sorted through today, and all the decorations are put away. I am halfway there!

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?
I liked winter much better when I was a stay-at-home mom. Especially the stay-at-home part. I love seeing the kids play in the snow, they just get so excited! But cold does not feel good to me, and I HATE driving in it.

Photo taken Jan. 2009

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?
Not this year. I have had enough of shopping and crowds for a while!

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
Every year my brother and his wife go out to dinner with myself and hubs, then back to one of our houses for an all-night party, sans children. This year we are opting for a more family-centered celebration. Just a nice dinner at our house, some good music, and letting the cousins play together. I am looking forward to the more relaxed plans!

New Year's Eve 2008

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?
One friend just had a baby on the 26th, a cousin had a baby in November, and one more friend is due soon. So I hope to get to meet some new little people!

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)
With two little girls in the house, one who has the nickname “Drama Mama”, it is definitely DRAMA around here! Then we had hub’s layoff, my illnesses, and practically every major appliance in the house going ka-put this past year. Good riddance, 2009!

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.
Actually blogging? Not much, maybe 45 minutes or so, and I don’t update my blog every single day. Now blog reading, I could do that for hours, and sometimes do!

11. Who runs your household?
Me. Me. Me. But don’t tell the 4-year old!

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.
2009 has not been very kind to me in terms of my health. I really really hope to get my issues under control and be able to function without pain.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Love to Sing" Layout

Finally getting around to a little bit of scrapping! These pictures are from last May, when my daughter had her spring concert at school. She had a solo bit, and never even told us! I was very surprised when I read the program and saw her name. She did a great job, and we were very proud of her!

Here are close-ups of some of the details:

I used the last sketch of the year, #52, from
52 Sketches...52 Weeks.

paper- CM and misc.
ink- Staz On Black, Tim Hotlz Peeled Paint and Broken China, SU Craft White
stamps- Unity Frame this Alpha; Whispers
tools- CM cutting system & heart punch
other- acrylic paint, colorbok chipboard button, thread, jewels, foam adhesive

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sundays in My City: Kickin' it Old School

Unknown Mami

We are traveling the world together with the Unknown Mami.
Click on the button to follow our photographic journey!
I am joining you from Middletown, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati.

Perhaps a better title for this post would be,
"Kickin' DOWN the Old School".
Today's photos are of our neighborhood elementary school,
both past and present.

Mayfield Elementary was first built in 1939. (Photo retrieved from

A few years ago the city demolished and rebuilt several elementary schools. One day I stopped and took a few pictures during the demolition. I had no idea why at the time, but I'm glad I did!

Here is the new building, erected in 2006:

I'm sure the new building has great air conditioning and is wired for new technology,
but I am a sucker for old buildings. I kinda miss the old one.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some last Christmas thoughts...and photos!

Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.
- Margaret Thatcher

Christmas, Christmas, time is near, time for toys and time for cheer.
- The Chipmunk Song

In the eyes of children we find the joy of Christmas. In their hearts we find its meaning.
- Leland Thomas

What a blessed place the world would be if we had that Christmas feeling all year.
- from "That Christmas Feeling" by Benjamin & Weiss

"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
- The Grinch

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
- Ebenezer Scrooge

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.
- Peg Bracken

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
- Burton Hillis

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sundays in My City: Light Up Middletown

Unknown Mami

We are traveling the world together with the Unknown Mami.

Click on the button to follow our photographic journey!

I am joining you from Middletown, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati.

One of my very favorite things to do in my town during the holidays... it's fun, it's festive, it's free.
It's Light Up Middletown, my city's drive-through light display!!

This one's for you, Bug!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Huge Blog Giveaway from my friend Emily

My blogging and in-real-life friend Emily is having a HUGE giveaway on her blog!! She is very talented and this is a generous package, I must say. Check it out:

For a chance to win all this awesomeness, visit her blog and become a follower!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Random Dozen

It's time for another Random Dozen Wendesday  Thurday with Linda!
Click on the button for more random fun!

1. Gingerbread: For or against? Discuss.

For, but mainly in the photographic sense. Pictures of my kids decorating gingerbread men are priceless. Eating said gingerbread men, laden with all varieties of candy and sprinkles, is a different story.

2. Is it important to you to always stay (live) close to family?

Moving back to my hometown when I was ready to start having my own children was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Having family close by to help out has really made a difference, and I feel good knowing that my children had the opportunity to have a relationship with my grandparents.

3. Which holiday pretend character do you wish really existed?

Santa. Duh.

4. Which holiday movie best represents how you feel about Christmas or life?

This will sound corny no matter what movie I choose, so how about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? (the one with the Island of Misfit Toys). I really dig the message that everyone has special gifts and talents. I work with children with disabilities, so that theme is very important to me throughout the year.

5. Is there a particular Christmas song that you're enjoying now? Any that you're tired of?

I really dislike that one about the Shoes. It is completely sappy and makes me cry, even though I think it’s ridiculous. I recently pulled out my old Harry Connick Jr . Christmas album and enjoy that quite a bit.

6. What is your favorite way to remember those less fortunate at Christmastime?

Every year my kids and I have a discussion about kids who don’t have as much as them. A few weeks before Christmas we clean out their playroom and donate a lot to Goodwill or some other organization. If feels good to teach my kids about generosity, and it makes room for the new gifts they will be receiving! This year we gathered 4 large bags of donations.

7. Does it upset you to see "Xmas" instead of Christmas? How about "Happy Holidays" etc., instead of "Merry Christmas?"

It does not bother me morally to see it used as an abbreviation. However, if it is on clothing or decorations, I don’t like it. Last night I was looking for a few last-minute gifts and saw these cute baby bibs at Target, in the Dollar Spot. Upon closer inspection, they said “Merry Xmas”, so I put them back.

8. How many Christmas programs are you attending this month?

None! Yea!

9. Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Any chance of that dream becoming a reality?

Snowing once over the kids’ Christmas break is ok with me, because I am off work and they enjoy it so much. Anytime after that, yuck! I hate driving in snow. We have had some flurries the past couple of weeks, but I haven’t heard of anything major on its way.

10. Tell me about a Christmas present you received as a child. Pics are always nice.

I think most of my childhood Christmas photos are with my maternal grandmother in Texas. But here are some gifts I especially remember:

Age 5- Strawberry Shortcake doll. I had chicken pox so our spots matched!
Age 10ish- keyboard
Age 17- coffee maker (no one else in the house drank coffee, so this was exciting to me!)

11. How many Christmas parties are you attending this month?

Work- 1
Extended family- 2
Cookie decorating party with friends- 1

12. How do you keep yourself centered on the significance of Christmas?

Christmas Eve church service always brings me back. The music, candlelight, and memories of my mother are very special to me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I {heart} Faces: Pets Only!

Click on the button to enjoy a week of Pets Only!

Here is Luna, our cat. Not the best picture, but I love it because she was such a playful kitten. My youngest daughter would crawl under the table with her and play ball! 
She called it playing "two kitties". I say, too cute!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sundays in My City: The Murals of Eric Henn

Unknown Mami

We are traveling the world together with the Unknown Mami.

Click on the button to follow our photographic journey!

I am joining you from Middletown, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati.

I am really enjoying this meme. It has encouranged me to seek out things I see everyday and really explore them. This week I am showing you the mural artwork of Eric Henn, an artist from my town. He has several large-scale murals here in Middletown, as well as in neighboring cities. The art in Middletown focuses largely on our history as a port on the Miami-Erie canal. Visit his website here to see more of his commercial work, including tanks, towers, zoos and aquariums all over the country.

Enjoy your week!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Writing Workshop: Fighting a Battle

This poem is inspired by a writing prompt at Mama’s Losin’ It. It is a reflection on living with a rare, chronic disease. Now that I read it, it seems really self-indulgent. I guess we all deserve a pity party now and then. Here's mine. For more information about Relapsing Polychondritis, please check out this article.

An army of One.

Fight the elusive disease

That may hit

With a surprise attack

Any day, any time.

An army of One.

Every day, make the choice.

Choose to be a wife, a mom.

Choose to be ME.

Not this disease.

An army of One.

Dizziness. Confusion.

Pain. Stiffness.

Ringing in my ears

Leads to madness.

An army of One.

Those that stand beside me

In battle cannot fight for me.

They watch. They worry.

They ask, How are you doing?

An army of One.

My body is the battlefield.

Each day I go to work, cook a meal,

Climb the stairs, tie my shoe

Is a victory.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I {heart} Faces: Sweet Dreams photo

This week's challenge at I ♥ Faces was to capture someone sleeping.
No problem there!
The hectic antics of an energetic four-year old are put into perspective
when I catch her napping. Sweet Dreams, Baby.

The editing was done at, using their Holga camera function.

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