Thursday, August 30, 2012


Yesterday was the hardest day of my life to date.

Yesterday, my parents and I said goodbye to my little brother. He was our "furchild", my only "sibling", the reason my dad is still alive today, and a member of the family. Kayle-Boy gave us 17 years of joy, frisky playfulness, happiness and laughter. He was a champion snuggler, a loud snorer, a chewer of socks, lover of hot dogs, and protector of everything in his realm.

As he got up in years, he slowed down, little by little. It was harder to get his attention as his hearing went. He ran into things a bit more as his eyesight waned (it was never good, we teasingly called him Mr Magoo on many occasions), and soon he couldn't "dance" for treats anymore. That was ok, he still got treats, because he was our boy. We started noticing these growths appearing on him. Assuming it was old age, we didn't worry until one got quite large. Dad took him to have it removed, where the bomb dropped - the big C.

Our boy had cancer.

They didn't think he would make it through the surgery, but he did. We were blessed with about 3 more months of having him in our lives. Over the last two weeks, the cancer has taken over. Our boy, best friend, brother, was in pain every moment he was awake. He had pain pills, but they couldn't take it all away. Yesterday, we gathered as a family, broken in many ways, heartbroken together, and loved on him until the end.

I have tears in my eyes writing this - and here I thought I was all cried out. Kayle-Boy will always be in my heart, and while I honestly don't know if animals go to Heaven, I have prayed fervently that they do. I need to believe he is there, whole again, running and barking and having the time of his life in the fields of Heaven.

Goodbye little brother - you are loved so so very much.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Organizing: My Closet

So, after a week of vacation from work (yay!) I took some time to start putting away laundry and such...and found that it's time to purge some things from my closet. Matt and I share a closet, and my half was piled with shoes against the sliding doors, and the clothes...well. The clothes will be another day!
I sat down, and started making piles. A keep pile, and a donate pile. A bonus of being as cheap as I am, is that I never feel bad about not using shoes. When I pay less than $8 for any pair, I'm fine donating them if they don't end up in regular rotation in my closet!
After separating out the shoes, I decided my heels deserve the shelf space, as I don't want the patent being dinged, the shape being crushed, or anything. Staggering the shoes in the boxes, with the toes pointing out, makes it look neat, AND like my shoes are marching out to greet me!
While putting the keepers back in my closet, I noticed that some of my longer clothes were in the way of the taller shoe shelves, so I did a quick rearrangement - all the long clothes are now in the far right of the closet, so they don't interfere!
Shoes after organization - The ones on the floor are my every day/grubby
shoes that see more action than my heels
Closet with clothes a little more orderly - clothing purge coming soon! (yes, that is a giant tutu on the far right. No, I don't know if I'll keep it yet.)
Heels marching out to meet me!
 Donate pile - found a random laptop bag that we've never used hiding in my shoes!

All the empty hangers that were hiding in with my clothes
That sure felt great, but it will feel a lot better when Matt and I go through our clothes. We just celebrated 10 years of marriage, so it's probably time for both of us to let go of those clothes that we've held onto since college (or before!). We've agreed to do it, but it will probably take a while. As you can see from my organizing posts, I have a terrible time remembering to take "before" pictures, so I might go ahead and take some shots of our closet before we start The Great Purge.
Yesterday was the kidlet's first day back to school! She's in 4th grade this year, and has several good friends in her class. Thank goodness too, she's in a new school this year, but many of her old classmates switched as well. Kidlet is on the right, and her good friend B is on the left - they had the fun surprise of learning they even get to ride the same bus!
After the bus left, Matt and I saw this lovely rainbow, and I think it's just the perfect little sign of love from God as she starts off for a new beginning at school.
 How has the new school year affected your life? Does fall make you want to clean more than spring (like me)? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

10 Things I've Learned About Marriage

After 10 years of marriage, I've learned a few things about my husband, but mostly about myself:

  1. He cannot, in fact, read my mind, or yours. Speak up! This saves resentment building, and frustration coming out over something stupid like the blankets on the bed being crooked. Trust me on this one.
  2. Spending time together is never, ever a mistake, even when it's something miserable like taking samples of your daughter's poop. (yes, really. The couple that gags together, stays together.)
  3. The sex gets better. It really does!
  4. I avoid confrontation and arguments, in all forms. I hate arguing. I hate it to the point of physically avoiding it - I will leave the room or the house. This is not a good thing, I know, but putting my head in the sand is just so much easier!
  5. I have childish tendencies and they work against our relationship sometimes. He calls me on my crap, like leaving the house during an argument, so we can work things out and not let them fester.
  6. He shows his appreciation rather than saying it. He appreciates my housework (the little I do), and pitches in, in his own way. Just yesterday we bonded over the magic of the Magic Eraser!
  7. The harder life gets, the deeper our relationship is. Sounds cheesy and cliche, but it is so true! Having someone go through the darker times with you helps you see the silver lining, and walk with you through it all. That's a strong bond on its own, and when you already have a bond, it just adds more threads to that weave that keeps you together.
  8. Never stop trying to be romantic, sweep your partner off his or her feet, and taking care of yourself for them. Yes, they may be your partner/spouse/long term SO, but continually doing these things keeps the sparks alive in your relationship. When I say "taking care of yourself for them" I don't mean trying to achieve visual perfection for your partner, I mean taking care of yourself. Eating well, staying healthy, etc so you can be around with your partner for the long term. So you can be there for them.
  9. Argue in front of your kids. Seriously. Show them how adults can disagree, and work it out. You're human, and it's important that your kids understand that, and while you guys are a parenting team, sometimes you'll disagree and need to talk about it. Obviously, there are things that don't need to be talked about in front of your kids, but once in a while, let them see the other side of relationships. It helps foster healthy relationships for them with their peers and future SOs later on.
  10. Pray for your spouse and kids. The "power of prayer" is an overused phrase, but prayer is powerful. God is all-powerful, and He does amazing things. We need but ask. I am so incredibly thankful for this man that came into my life and swept me off my feet, little by little. My mom has reminded me over and over that she and my mother-in-law prayed over their children as they grew up, for a Godly partner to be raised for them. I can think of no greater gift for my child than this.

What have you learned from  your relationship?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

There She Goes...

It all started with a Pin. You know what I mean, those innocuous little pictures on that one website. That one that sucks you in for hours of browsing eye candy and dream homes. The one that makes you imagine that maybe, just maybe, you could be the Super Woman version of Martha Stewart.

Yeah, that one.

I saw a Pin of a woman with a minivan, whose trunk is incredibly organized, and very prepared for any emergency. While I don't drive a minivan, I have been carrying around loads of extra junk in my trunk (ha!) for months. TIME TO GO!! So, after reading about her system, I looked at my tiny hatchback trunk, and knew that I couldn't use a shower caddy to organize my trunk, but that I -could- piggyback off her idea to make one of my own.

So, to the dollar store I went, and nabbed four shallow plastic baskets, and a set of bungee cords. Total of $5 spent. I headed home, sent kidlet inside for a snack and rest, and sorted through my trunk. I was super gung-ho and completely forgot to take a before picture, sorry!

After getting rid of a lot of garbage (who put that there??!), too small kidlet items, and random things that needed to go inside, I'd pared it down to several essentials:

  • Scarves, hats and gloves
  • books
  • concert blanket
  • sun shade
  • tire chains
Seeing as I only have the one kiddo, it might seem odd to carry around winter accessories. However, our city has a large homeless population, and I prefer to have these on hand, as we often see people on the corner right by our car. When we have two of us, sometimes we're able to hand out hot water for instant coffee or tea, but in any case, I prefer to have something on hand that can help. As it's summer, and still unbearably warm even at night, these are living the trunk for now.

The books were given to me by my best friend, and our bookshelf at home is overflowing. So my trunk is my mobile library, and as I typically only read a book once, I'm donating them to my actual local library when I'm done! So, soon my trunk will be even lighter, when the 6 or so books are gone.

The concert blanket is used regularly, and lives in the car, along with the chains and sun shade, for the ever changing weather of the Pacific Northwest!

Concert blanket, scarves, hats, books, chains. Sun shade is on top of the trunk cover thing.

What you can't see here, is that the bungee cords are hooked to a steel loop on each side of the trunk, and daisy chain hooked to each other through the webbing of the baskets. These babies aren't going ANYWHERE

I'm really proud of myself for rigging this one up, those chains are heavy and I had to find a way to keep them from sliding around and beating up my nice baskets. 

As good as cleaning my trunk felt, I knew that wasn't enough. Oh no, that was just the tip of the iceberg!! After an impromptu craft store "date" with a friend of mine, I came home with scrap paper, a small frame, and good intentions. Thanks, once again, to a Pin...I made myself a nice bright post-it holder for my desk!

That spot of yellow just wasn't enough. Much of my office is gray, and I really like the gray and yellow trend in color combinations I've been seeing. So, basically all I have to do is add yellow to my office, and it's trendy and bright! To the supply cabinet, where I lucked out and found sunny yellow paper. One sheet later and...

New filing cabinet labels!

Fancy collage...woooooo!

I'm changing things up in my life, and it feels good. Cleaning out, streamlining, and revamping things - it's like spring cleaning, but I'm never on time. So, it's quite fitting.

Happy days, folks!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Oh Tony!

Last night I had the most vivid, real dream I've had in a long time.

I was back in high school, but the "cafeteria" was outside, partly covered, with a big lawn to hang out on. I was still me as I am now, 31, a photographer with a daughter, but for some reason it wasn't weird that I was in high school. Tony Danza (from Who's The Boss, if you're not familiar) came and spoke very briefly during our lunch time. I grabbed a print out of a picture I wanted him to sign, chased him down, and found him playing a game with his daughter at one of the lunch tables. I handed him the picture, and realized it was the wrong one. It was very important to me to have him sign this one particular picture, and after promising him I'd be *right back* I ran to grab the right picture.

School security had cordoned off the lawn where my stuff was, and they wouldn't let me in to get my bag. There were other kids still on the lawn, wandering around, so I begged one of them to nab my bag for me. She did, reluctantly, and I ran back over to Tony. He wasn't there anymore. He'd promised he'd wait for me, and I looked everywhere, and shouted his name a few times. Finally, I had given up and grumbled about how I hate when people do that, and I turn around to see him over in a corner, waiting just like he'd said. I grinned, ran over to him, and started going through my backpack to find the picture.

My stuff had been strewn on the lawn when I'd left it, so someone had stuffed it all back into my bag without much care. I rifled through *everything* but couldn't find the picture. At this point, I really should have just had him sign whatever and let the poor man get on with his day. But no, just before I woke up, I wanted to have him give me an address that I could send the picture to, so he could sign it and return it, and I'd handed him some ruled paper, hoping he might write me a little note as well. I could tell he was so ready to leave, but was very very gracious with me about the whole thing.

And then I woke up.

While I do like Who's The Boss, and Tony sure seems like a genuinely nice guy, I'm not this huge fan of his. I still don't know why it was so very important to find this one group picture I'd taken for him to sign.

Oh Tony, why are you haunting me?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Drive by Saturday

Today I'm playing soccer for the first time in my life. I'm terrified and excited beyond belief.

Last night I hit my sister in law's parked car at a very low speed, and I still feel like a big jerk.

My sister in law is pregnant with her second baby! Hooray!

There's a bottle of random alcohol on our nightstand....was he drinking without me? Dangit, I missed out!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things I've Learned

Over the last couple of weeks, I've learned a few things about myself:

  • If the sun is out, no matter how early in the day, I must wear sunscreen
  • Shorts are a terrible idea for mud/obstacle runs
  • I'm having an OCD cycle, which I didn't realize until I was straightening/organizing the craft store. Again.
  • I actually really like the color yellow.
  • I only have a month until Warrior Dash, and I think this is the perfect time to set impossible goals for it.
  • I will still work my butt off to meet the goal of being one of the first three finishers at the Dash.
  • Instability triggers panic attacks.
  • I'm much, much happier in ignorance.
  • Kiddo is growing up, and maybe, just maybe, I've done an okay job as a parent.
  • Wanderlust grows stronger the older I get, but the wallet has yet to get fatter to accommodate this.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012