That's it. I'm Moving Out.

Dear Friends and Blogspot:

It has come to my attention that Blogspot has been a bit irresponsible. My post about Mother's day AND several pictures that I have posted over the past few weeks are gone. Kaput. Finito. Lost in space. You get the picture.

Therefore, I'm moving. I will not stand for this type of injustice any longer. My new home is:

Come say hi. And please wipe your feet before you come in - I have new carpet.

Project 24

Ever grab your cheap, five setting digital camera and run around taking pictures like you were the world's long lost top celebrity photographer?


Ok, well I have.  And now, I get to post the poorly-shot-but-nicely-edited photos on a  group Facebook page specifically created to house Project 24. 

What is this Facebook phenomenon, you ask?  Good question, my friends.

If any of you have children or at least remember what it was like to be a child, you know the joy of opening a brand new box of crayons.  The smell of wax and paper wrappers, the sight of un-scribbled crayon tips, and most of all.... the array of colors, just waiting to burst out of the cardboard crypt and be the subject of something creative and magical.  One undeniable truth of the world:  crayons are awesome.

So we have decided to create art with crayons..... without coloring with them.  

White.  I just painted the trim outside - what can I say... I'm proud of myself. I wanted something really simple for white and I love taking close up pics of the crayons! They are the stars of the show!
This week's color was white.  Not my favorite picture, either, but it is acceptable.  Next.

Blue Green.  I've been looking all week for something and these feathers have been sitting in front me the whole time!!  No editing - this came straight off my memory card. 
Blue-Green was week 3 in Project 24, and these feathers are at least eight years old. They have been part of a centerpiece that has been on my mantle, on the counter, and now they are on our media tower in a vase.  Only a few have been chewed on by the cats. 

The project will last for 24 weeks - one color each week.  Crayon in or out of picture is artist's choice, but each pic must be the color of the week.  

Violet.  Out of the (seems like) hundreds of Columbines I planted last year, this is the only one that bloomed this year. At least it matches the crayon.
See, the idea behind the pictures is to photograph an object that is the same color as the crayon of the week.  A different member of the group picks a new color out of a 24-count box of Crayola on Sunday, and we have all week to create our best paparazzi poses with the crayons. 
Yellow.  I bought this garden hose because it was yellow - I wanted something bright in the garden even in the winter time.
While this photo did involve a bit of enhancement, it's proof that my cheap, little, red point-and-shoot won't let me down too often.  It was for week 1, but I came onto the project a little late, so yellow and purple were both in the same week.  It's my favorite. 

I will continue to post my photographs as they are taken and posted to the project here, considering not all of my fans have access to Facebook yet.  Amazing, I know. 


Farmer's Fable and Bin Laden

When I heard the news of the death of Islamic bastard, Osama Bin Laden, the only thing I could think of is this:

The Farmer's Fable

A poor farmer had only one horse and one son.  One day, his horse ran away.

All the neighbors came by saying, “I'm so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”   The man just nodded and said, “We'll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses.  The man and his son corraled all 21 horses.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”   The man just nodded and said, “We'll see.”

One day, one of the wild horses kicked the man's only son, breaking both his legs.

All the neighbors came by saying, “I'm so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”   The man just nodded and said, “We'll see.”

A few months later, the country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer's son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”   The man just nodded and said, “We'll see.”

Is justice really served?  I think so - but we'll see. 


Puling on the boot straps

Is this really coming back around?

The problem with an unstable mood, which I'm likely convinced that I have since giving birth to my little monster, is when the mood heads south, the nerves kick into high gear.  The fear of falling back down into the darkness that consumed me only a year ago is more terrifying than screaming newborn triplets. 

That fear sometimes keeps me up at night.  The times that I spent depressed, dejected, and frightened during JJ's early months are truly terrifying and just the mere thought of them coming back is.... well.... you get the picture.  Sometimes I lay awake thinking about all of the things that I have to do, all of the things that I don't have time for, all of the things that I can be doing better and all of the... other things.  Sometimes I fall asleep fine at night, but awaken several times at night.  My theory is that I'm waking when JJ turns over in the middle of the night.  I've since been turning the monitor down a little and that seems to help.  Doesn't stop the mind, though...

Lack of sleep makes me a little crabby a total monster.  I mean that quite literally; just ask anyone that has been around me in the past five days or so.  It's not just lack of sleep that makes me miserable, because if I were to not sleep in a round, white room with nothing in it except a bed, toilet, and tv... I would probably be fine.  After a few days, I would probably start stressing over how I am going to wash the sheets and clean the toilet, but I doubt that the Mrs. Hyde would make an appearance.  At least for the first week or two...

JJ has taken to expressing himself quite loudly and with many new body language cues.  He is practicing new limits, pushing buttons, and testing boundaries.  It's also testing the strength of my nerves and the threshold of my patience.  Combine this new challenging phase of JJ's development and my own sleeping problems and the Mrs. Hyde is getting dressed for a night out on the town.  She's getting dressed to the nines...

So now my nails have been chewed to nubs and I'm quick to snap.  I hate it.  Passionately.  Why?  Why is this happening now?  

Let's itemize this whole situation, shall we?

Work is stressful.
My allergies are horrible right now.
The yard looks AWFUL because I have an 18 month old baby and terrible allergies.
My car is half waxed.
Litter box is stinky.
Dog is stinky too.
Water in basement.  Still.  
I need to go to the grocery store.
Dirty dishes in the sink.

I'm so on top of the laundry.  No pile ups.  No back ups.  Fab new washer.
Clutter in my kitchen gone = quicker to put away dishes.
Clutter in my upstaris gone = more likely to have guests.
Bathroom always clean = less stress when people drop by.
My car is clean on the inside.  Sort of.
The roomba is earning his keep.  He runs every day.  Does a good job on most of those days.
My bed is made.
JJ is healthy.
I'm a righty.
I don't have to take off my clothes to make a living.
I have five unopened bottles of wine in my wine rack.
I have a wine rack - in my de-cluttered dining room.
My car rocks.
My husband rocks.
My kid rocks.
My cat's foot is not going to fall off.
My windows are able to be opened and let the spring nighttime air in.
I survived watching "Paranormal Activity 2."

*steps back from the computer screen*  hmm.  Interesting.

So how often to we put our lives into perspective?  I think I should do it more often.  I will have to agree with myself (which could be a problem itself) that I do probably have some kind of mood de-stabiliztion issues since JJ arrived, but I have no idea how far from normal this is.  It could be completely understandable and normal for a new mom.  I don't know - I've never done it before. 

Perhaps a massage is in order.  Perhaps a nice weekend with my family and some good Easter food will do the trick.  Perhaps some time with the girlfriends will help.  Whatever it is, I will be sure to figure it out, because I'm willing to do anything to keep from the black hole again. 

Tomorrow is Friday, I'm awesome, and it's going to be great.  I'm determined. 


Digging Out


Do you know what clutter really means? Does it make you nervous? Does the sight of the word make you immediately think about that pile in your bedroom that you've been meaning to get to but just haven't had time?

Clutter, as a word, is really a verb, meaning to jumble or garble or become disorganized. It is NOT a noun. It does NOT mean "stuff." It is quite possible to BE cluttered, but not to have clutter. That's like having jump. It doesn't make any sense. To say "I have clutter" means nothing. To say "I clutter my house with useless junk" means everything.

Ever notice that when you read or type a word often in a short amount of time, it starts to look like it belongs to a different language? Is the word "clutter" starting to look funny to you now?

So. Now. When you think about that one (or many) places in your home that you hate to go into, does it make you angry? Or nervous? Or ashamed? Or all of the above? Me too, my friend.  Me too.

I hereby put my house on an official diet.   It's getting way too fat. 

Over the past two weeks, when I have actually been home and not on the road, I have eliminated 12 bags of stuff - no wait - 18 bags of stuff including the ones sitting in my living room waiting to go to the thrift store. 18!! All of the stuff that I got rid of were things that I wasn't using, including old pots and pans, place mats, clothes, cloth napkins (who uses those anymore?!), jewelry, old ratty socks and underwear (an excuse to go shopping for pretty new unmentionables!!) and stuff. Lots of it. With more to go. I didn't donate it all - the socks and underwear hit the trash along with anything that was broken/badly torn or stained/otherwise unusable.

It's a trek. And it's hard. Voices that say things like "I might use that one day." or "So-and-so gave that to me, I can't get rid of it!" pop in my head often while I'm on a purging binge. I've recently employed another voice to counteract the nagging one. The new voice says things like "Yes, but you're not using it now." or "Yes, but you're not donating so-and-so, just that useless thing she/he gave you." My favorite encouraging voice says, often "Someone else will love that much more than you are." and "That will surely make someone else very happy." I'm attempting to keep in mind that if an item does not make me happy, it needs to go.

A prime example:  when I was a child, I owned a talking Mother Goose that told stories.  You'd put the tape in under her wing, and follow along in her book as she told the story.  When she honked, you'd turn the page.  She made me SO VERY HAPPY when I was a child.  My mother recently gave her to me, but her beak doesn't work very well and two of the tapes were not working properly.  I was very sad and even got a little teary to see my childhood book reading friend in a state of disrepair.  I tucked her away in my closet for a while, but every time I opened my closet and saw her, still in her original box and teetering on top of some other random things, I became sad all over again.  Mother Goose, who once made me very happy was now making me sad.  I knew she needed to move onto someone who might use her for something else.  She would make a lovely addition to an Easter scene in a window or something just as creative.  She would surely make someone else happy and not simply clutter my closet.   I wished her good luck as I handed her to the thrift store employee and left her.  But, as I handed her over, I didn't hand over the memories that I had.  I will hold on to those forever, and when I think about her, I won't think about the broken toy that she is now.  I will think about how she and I would hide in our fort and tell stories for hours.  I think about the times that she made me happy.

The Great De-Clutter 2011 is an ongoing effort in my house until it's DONE.  It may take a few months.  Perhaps a year.  It will be fab when it's finished and I will no longer wonder "whatever happened to" something, because I will know exactly where it is.  I'm super excited.

P.S. I'm all caught up on the laundry.  And it will stay that way, too.  Only now we need a new washer...


Give a Little Thanks

I wrote this email to the director of our preschool today. I wanted to share with all of you how awesome our preschool is too!

Good morning,

I’m writing this morning to let you know of something very serious that is happening in your daycare center. As you know, when my son, JJ, first started attending school,I was crushed by the way he cried when I left him. Although I realized that it was completely normal (and through your reassurance, too!), my mornings were still filled with dread leading up to his drop off every day. Sometimes, I would cry before I even dropped him off and almost always after. I was miserable at his apparent “misery.” I knew that the crying was only superficial, but that little red face with big tears welling up was not what I wanted to ever see when I left my child. It left me heartbroken until I came back to pick him up each afternoon.

I began praying for JJ’s morning comfort a few weeks ago, thinking it couldn’t hurt anything. It seemed kind of silly to me at the time, because I knew JJ would grow out of the crying eventually.

Let me tell you what happened today! Today, JJ was THRILLED to be at school– because of Ms. "E". For the past two weeks, I have noticed a significant change in JJ and the way he responds in the morning. When we enter the front door, he sees Ms. E and plasters on a wrinkle-nosed grin, full of shiny white teeth. Today, he laughed out loud (we both did!) and jumped up and down in my arms when he saw her playing peek-a-boo around the corner– and then he reached out for her. My heart sang when he did that. It’s still singing as I write this email.

I’m fairly certain that it is normal for a child to find an attachment to a staff member. However, the very serious thing I see happening here is that Ms. E sees how important this situation is to me. She doesn’t coddle JJ, nor does she offer him special “baby” treatment. She has shown me with her actions and JJ’s reactions, without even meaning to, that JJ is having a fulfilling, enriched experience at the center. She smiles at him and me, she calmly talks to him and me, and she makes brilliant eye contact with him and me. Most importantly, she makes sure to do these things so I can see them. She doesn’t scoop him up and run away to stop the crying. She gives him time to blow kisses (his favorite thing!) and say bye-bye. She greets and supports both of us in the morning. That makes me feel great; more than that, it makes me feel peaceful. I don’t know if the change is coincidental with time or if something did happen with JJ’s perception and he found his “safe spot” with Ms. E.

God listened to what I wanted and gave what I needed. My prayer has been answered two-fold; not only is JJ comforted, but so am I! It happened through your staff,
right inside your front door! Don’t you love it when that happens?

When I see something good, I just have to tell about it! A huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to you, Ms. E, and your staff for being truly wonderful. The impact that you
and your center has had on our lives the past three months has far outreached JJ’s morning comfort. You may never know the significance that you and your center have
had on our lives and how different we are since JJ started attending. You and your staff have been a true blessing to our lives and I can’t thank you enough.

Have a wonderful day,
Kristen Stone


Need a Life Raft?

Hey folks. I’m looking for volunteers to come do my laundry for me.
Cause this is what I am right now:

I have not had a weekend to do laundry in at least three weeks. Luckily, I’ve been able to do JJ’s laundry, and I have seen Jerry do a load of socks and underwear. But that’s it. The dishes have been done, too. BUT THAT’S IT.

Why is laundry such a…. chore?! It’s so easy just to throw the dirty laundry into the basket and let it overflow, cascading into a dangerous pile of clothing and towels that prompt you to look under it for the missing cat (he was outside the whole time!!) Then when it gets washed, it’s so easy just to leave it in the basket and bellyache about it being wrinkled the next day when you want to wear something out of it. I mean really folks, where is the joy in all of this? I can’t find it, but I can’t stop it either.

I need a maid who will do nothing but my laundry. I have way too many other things to do instead of laundry. My garden is in close need of being planted, so the laundry can wait. JJ needs to go outside and play, so the laundry can wait. Of course, I need to work, so the laundry can wait. I need to fix dinner, wash dishes, clean up the kitchen, snuggle with my honey, clean the bathroom, vacuum the Cheerios off the floor, sanitize toys, clean out the car, sleep, plant bushes, entertain my parents when they visit, be sick, watch House, sit in traffic for an hour, clean out the fridge, take a shower, dance across the kitchen with my kid in my arms, go to the grocery store, and type award winning blogs. The laundry can wait. It drives me crazy. It taunts me from across the room like a cute little penguin that knows that you’re lazy and a procrastinator and that you’d rather avoid the problem than do something about it. I hate laundry.

The only solace I have is that, surely, I can’t be the only one who has drowned under a sea of laundry before. There must be others who have lived out of a laundry basket for several weeks because they just have too much to do. Right? RIGHT?!


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