Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30th......

Phew.  That's what I have to say.

Tomorrow is December 1st, ending my month of posting on Pink Shoes everyday.  I'm really good at finishing............weak. I start really strong, I rally through the middle, and then I deflate and just want to finish really quick and easy and sloppy.

Take, for example, baking cookies..........I'll roll out my dough meticulously, I'll cut out each shape with a cookie cutter and lay them on a cookie sheet with precision, they'll bake to perfection, I'll concoct some beautiful colors out of food coloring, and I'll get to it......and then.......about a dozen cookies in I just want the project to be done.  The mess of the kitchen starts making me itchy, I look around and feel like the project will never end and I just decide to quick slather pink icing on everything, because that's what's closest to me, even on Christmas trees. perfectly started cookies end ridiculously.

Or how about a huge cleaning project.  I'll empty everything out of a closet, sort through it all, organize the contents into perfectly categorized piles, decide what I want to donate, re-allocate some space to make everything work better and then.......the state of my living room with everything strewn all over it about makes me lose it and I quick just shove everything back into the closet so I don't have to look at the mess.

My husband calls me a motivated lazy person.  It's a good description of me.  I'm all guns a'blazin at the start and all flat tire limping along at the end.  When I decided that I was going to take part in this 30-day blog challenge from Blogher I thought long and hard (which entails about fifteen minutes of thinking on my part) before I added Pink Shoes to the blog roll on their site.  I didn't want to quit this.  I really didn't.  But to be honest, I didn't have a lot of faith in myself because.......well........see above.

But I started anyway.
And then I got the idea to write my lists of things I do, and don't do, and want to do and it was really fun to hear people's responses.
It kept me going.
And then someone who I didn't know gave me the Liebster award.
It kept me going.
And then I went to the library one day and got all up in arms about something regarding adoption.
It kept me going.
And I gained a few followers who I'd never met but they wanted to throw me their support and say, "I like reading this blog."
It kept me going.
And it went on like that, all of November.

And here I am.  It's the end.  And I didn't finish weak.
And what this exercise has proven to me is that I love writing more than I already knew I loved it.  I looked forward to being able to post every day. It was relaxing to me and peaceful and time for me.

I loved posting everyday because it helped me focus all day long on what was positive in my life, what I could learn from what was happening, and how I could turn it into something tangible to write about.

I loved posting everyday because it showed me how much easier it is to post with regularity as opposed to letting a whole week go by before I showed Pink Shoes any love.

And maybe I learned that I like writing more than decorating cookies and cleaning out closets.

So thanks to all of you..............

For reading.
For commenting.
For relating.
For deciding to follow me if you did.
For calling me crazy (in an endearing way).
For telling me the peach is cute.
For tolerating my ramblings.
For referring to something I wrote in conversation.

It's so appreciated--more than you know!

I'm taking a break tomorrow and I'll "see" you on Friday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We have this amazingly talented friend named Lisa.  I've known her since I was in kindergarten.  Our  moms met at a garage sale that my mom was having.......and the know how it goes.    Lisa grew up to become a wizard behind the camera and the pictures she takes of our family are some of my most prized possessions.

She can capture all of G's bigger than life personality through her lens and even when I don't know she's taking pictures at our shoots she's getting some of the best stuff yet.  She'll travel anywhere and come up with the most creative ideas you've ever seen.  Check out her website!

And check out some of my favorites from our session this past month!

One of the things that I value most about going and having our family pictures taken is how they freeze time in a very specific way.  They're just us.  They aren't about a birthday party that's happening, presents that are being unwrapped, a funny dive in a pool, a new puppy, a fishing trip, an under-dog at the park, or learning how to ride a tricycle.  Those things are all amazing and need to be captured because they define the moments of our life.........

But family pictures capture the love of a family, and just that.  Sure--maybe we were having a "discussion" ten minutes before the photos began, maybe I was cranky about too much laundry waiting for me back home, maybe I had a little head-ache, but when that camera starts clicking it has to fade away because gosh darnit we're here to have our pictures taken and we're going to make this good, after all, these are going to be hanging somewhere for........maybe the rest of time.

And then you get those pictures back and you don't remember all the little "things" that were happening before the pictures--they don't matter anymore--because there's you and the people you love most just loving each other and laughing and being caught in the moment of being a family.

Make sure to make it a habit to go and get caught in the moment of being a family, with no distractions, so that years from now you have these fabulous book ends to seasons of your life to look back on.  You won't regret it.  You'll love it..........and so will your kids.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Something to think about.......

I love this saying. I think it's so true.

I found this on Pinterest a long time ago and there are some projects rolling around in my head that involve this amazing little graphic--I just have to organize them a little bit before I pull the trigger.

What I take from this is that there are going to be things that happen to me--some will be beyond amazing, some will be heart-breaking, and some will be monotonous and mundane--but it's my responsibility to show up to all of them ready to go.  Sometimes I do-----but a lot of times I struggle to make my presence known in life's moments in any kind of significant way.  I trudge there in a grumpy mood and put in a lack luster effort, or I march to the moment full of fire and brimstone and am pretty unpleasant to be around because I think I should try and prove something, or I just don't show up at all and come up with a lame excuse of why I just "can't make it."

I can think of a handful of really big moments in my life where what I brought to them made them even more amazing than they already were or where what I brought to them made them better when they were about to really blow.  And that's sad. I should be able to think of bucketfuls of moments like that.  I'm 34 for goodness sakes (yikes--that's crazy).

I needed to find this saying today in my out-of-control "downloads" file on my computer (that baby needs cleaning out in a bad way) as I'm about to head into the crazy-land that is December.  When I'm overwhelmed, feeling stretched, or tired I don't always bring the best to a situation.  And I don't want to think back and know that something could have been fantastic, tolerable, or even interesting if I'd just come better equipped!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Tree {Part Two}

And.......the tree is up and decorated and twinkly and full of memories and conversations and laughs.  Georgia loved the decorating this year--loved it.  She wanted to hang every ornament on the same branch and she wanted to run with huge handfuls of glass and glitter and beads and metal hooks across the living room and throw it at the tree in excitement.  She was on fire.

Like I said yesterday....I really believe Christmas trees should be a representation of who you are as a family, a person, where you've been, what you did, what you've learned, and what is important to you.  It's an amazing conversation piece in your home for the next month and lends itself to countless stories and reveling in family the way you should during the holidays.

We danced tonight to the light of the Christmas tree (a little Cheetah girls Christmas--download it if you haven't already--I promise you'll love it). And we looked at some ornaments.  And we had breakfast for dinner and it was a wonderful kick-off to drinking up all that the holidays afford and the memories they'll create.

Here's a few of my ornament memories if you will..........

My husband loves fishing.  This is one of the first ornaments I can remember my mom giving him--before we were even married. I think it's beautiful and it reminds me of dating Chris............

Super creepy loon (right?  a loon?).  My friend Liz and I spotted these at Macy's one year.  For some reason I thought it was cool at the time.  She wrapped this little beauty up and gave it me at Christmas.  I laugh every time I put it on the tree--and you better believe it's going on the tree every year.

Also from Liz--....we've been canceling out each others votes for the last two elections with pleasure. But she was kind enough to demonstrate her friendship by getting me an elephant.  Ahhh--we have some great election memories, she's an amazing friend, and she deserves a place on my tree.  This one's a keeper!

From my friend Dawn who lives in Japan.  She sent me this in 2003 when she first moved to Japan to teach.  She's still there and I'm still here but I think about her whenever I hang this up and I told Georgia all about her today.  We've been friends since before I can remember and we always will be no matter where we live or how long it is between visits and conversations.

Georgia wanted to hang this up today and I snatched it out of her hands. It's maybe my favorite ornament.  My mom gave it to me right after college when I was into collecting bird-houses and I love the iridescent glitter, the color of the birdhouse, and the contrast of the bird.  No one hangs this up but me. It deserves a prime location!

"If you wanna be my lover......." The first time Chris met my parents I was wearing skin tight silver plastic pants, a red bikini top, six inch platforms, and had spray painted my hair red.  My floor-mates and I in college were the Spice Girls for our college Air Band competition.  My room-mate at the time, Cherith, who helped come up with costumes, critiqued our rehearsals, and assisted in creating a 50 lb. Union Jack flag out of glitter and a navy blue flat sheet made these for each of us.  It's not going anywhere.

Georgia's adoption day anniversary ornament.  Last year she loved bunnies.  This year she told us she wished she had a Dora to hang on the tree.  If only she knew what was tucked away in her closet for December 17th when we celebrate the second anniversary of her adoption day........if only.

My mom makes these awesome photo boxes.  The first one she gave to us the first Christmas we were married and she made the bottom one for Georgia to remember 2011.  These are a must do DIY..... and ornament.

Chris got this in Germany last spring.  She is amazing.  Her wings?  If only I could find pipe cleaners like that.  This was his first over-seas business trip and I couldn't be prouder of how hard he works and who he's become.

My sister gave us this as a "thank-you" for adopting her cat.  It's not cutting it El.  As cute as this ornament is.

"Baby's first Christmas" ornaments are pretty mediocre with all of their over-done pink and balloons and mice and white clouds.  My mom to the rescue.  She found a peach and made a Georgia Peach ornament and re-purposed this bottle to commemorate our first Christmas with G.

From our honey-moon.  'Nuff said. 

If you follow this blog and know my daughter--there is no explanation required.  2011= Hello Kitty EVERYTHING.

This is vintage from my grandma.  I love it.  Days gone by, the greatest generation--all that.

These were favors I made for Georgia's adoption day party.  It was near Christmas and I thought everyone needed an ornament.  We have about six on our tree. They're the best.  And what's cooler--Georgia can tell you exactly what they're from.

And every year my collection of memories grow and we try to make sure they are represented on our tree.  When I left home my mom gave me a handful of ornaments to take with me.......tangible examples of the memories we had as a family.....objects to look at and know how loved I was and what my parents had given me......a strong foundation with which to begin building my own life (and my own ornament collection).  And one day--I'll do it for Georgia.  Ornaments are souvenirs to life and they should be displayed prominently for the few weeks it's acceptable to have a totem pole of them in your living room.   And it's okay if trees are a little messy and haphazard and sometimes ornaments have to be picked back up and put on the tree--because that's what life is.  The life that created and warranted all those ornaments.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Tree {Part One}

Christmas trees are a big deal (to me).  I honestly don't mind if they're real or artificial, big or small, green or frosty white (one day I'll have a white tree--it's my dream)--they just need to look good, you need to have one, and I hold firmly to the belief that they should be covered in memories that come in the shape of ornaments that you made as a kids, your own children have made, people have given you as keepsakes, that you've picked up on family vacations, or that remind you of something fantastic in your life (more on this tomorrow).

But the first step--you have to get one.  Whether you get it from your basement or attic, your local nursery, or you cut it down yourself.....doesn't matter....just get one.

Today we headed up north for Chris's family Thanksmas (Thanksgiving + Christmas).  His grandma and grandpa leave for Florida next week so we always celebrate early with his side of the family.  And, conveniently they own a lot of land that they grow Christmas trees on that they sell to people in the area.  For us though--they're free, and I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say we found the perfect tree this year.

I'm a huge fan of the "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree variety.  I want big huge gaps in between my branches for all of my dangly ornaments and I want beautiful layers of piney smelling needles that fan out perfectly and due to the size of the space that the tree fits into in our living room,  it needs to be kind of skinny.  For me---a Frasier Fir is the way to go.

Chris spotted "it" this year while we were looking.  He deserves a Christmas tree medal in my opinion.

Look at those spaces just waiting to be filled with glitter and lights and beads and pipe cleaner angels and   macaroni hearts and feathery birds and glass icicles--it's going to be good!

Great grandpa wanted to cut it down himself--he had us mark our prize with some ribbon so he'd find it.

Georgia could feel my excitement.  We shared a moment about it.

And Georgia's moment....getting to drive.  And man did she have a death grip on that wheel according to Chris.  She was in control and wasn't letting go--look at that ten and two positioning!  She might want to work on keeping her eyes on the road.

Chris and his grandpa.  Howard is one of those grandpa's that epitomizes the word grandpa.  This guy has more fire and fiest than most twenty one year old's I know.  He works hard, loves his family, adores his wife, and puts his whole self into what he does no matter what it is.  He's pretty spectacular! And he's pretty fierce with a chain-saw too.

And tomorrow night.......I'll show you the finished version. I'm thinking I might go out on a limb and do colored lights this year.  We'll see.

"Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree..........."

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