Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Fun Ball

Somehow, in talking about Christmas presents, we decided it was time to introduce the kids to this:
*Please excuse the ad at the beginning. There was no way around it.*




...because they just don't make toys (or TV) like they used to. 
"Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."



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Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: An Explanation



**Yes, I know it's been two weeks since I've last posted. I know I long ago fell off the NaBloPoMo wagon. Such is life, and I'm not going to beat myself up about it. There's always next year, and it's good that I've made the right priorities the priorities this time of year.**



This may come a little late, but I didn't even think of posting it until I saw so many people saying, "What's the deal with Black Friday?"
"It's not worth it."
"Why do people put themselves through this torture?"
So many tweets, a few conversations... and I realized maybe I should put my own thoughts out there.


When Black Friday rolls around, you have one group that goes nuts. Absolutely nuts.
We know this. We watch the news and see them screaming at each other... ramming one another with shopping carts... hollering as one lovely woman did in Toys R Us two years ago, "Get outta de way! Mah babies need toys! MAH BABIES NEED TOYS!!!"
They see something marked "sale" and they pounce, almost not even caring what it is.


Then you have another group of people that will in no way, shape or form engage in anything having to do with Black Friday. They see the chaos on tv, they hear the stories, and they think, "Is saving 30% on a talking doll really worth going through that?"
This group either has their shopping already finished, OR they just do it online and pay a little more because they can't stand the chaos.


I didn't think any of it was worth it either... until we had children.
And a budget.
And hardly any money in that budget.


I remember being stationed in Montana. We were on a 1st Lieutenant's salary and had three young children. Between still paying off student loans and two car payments, we looked at each other and wondered what in the world we would do for Christmas.
Scooters were such a huge deal then, and Taylor had been wanting one so badly.
When Wal-Mart came out with an unreal deal on them in their Black Friday ad, we knew we'd be able to get them for both the boys!
And we did.


We're the people that comb meticulously through the ads looking for good deals on things that are already on our list.
Usually our list is made up of if-we-find-it-for-a-good-deal items.
We're not we're-going-to-buy-this-no-matter-what people.
We're more opportunists who know what they're looking for.


So I'm not going to hit Kohls to buy jammies sets for 50% off, because they aren't on my maybe-list.
But I will brave a store amidst chaos to get something on my list that doesn't usually go on sale but is 50% off of Black Friday.
(ie, Legos... none of which went that cheap this year. Boo.)
And if the deal is online? Awesome! We'd much rather do that. But, truthfully, you don't always find deals as good online as you do in stores.


We know what we want. We comb through ads. We map out a plan.
We do our research so we know exactly how good of a deal we're getting... or not getting.
We know when to move forward (last night at Wal-Mart), and we know when to throw in the towel because the line is just too long (last night at Target).
We also don't pout (too much) when we don't get what we're after.
We mentally rate the deal we're going to get with the hassle of getting it.
And, over the years, Black Friday has enabled us to get some awesome things that we know the kids will love (and wouldn't have gotten otherwise) and still stay within our budget.
That makes it worth it.
Even if it means putting up with the lady pushing us aside while yelling, "Mah babies need toys!"


I do need to add that my husband is a genius.
And two years ago (with the babies-needs-toys lady), when Toys-R-Us was crazy at midnight and it would have taken four hours to check out, my awesome hubby "placed" our obtained loot-on-sale atop a high shelving unit.
We left and came back the next morning to find our items still there, out of sight of everyone.
He got them down and we went through the checkout line with everyone saying, "Where in the world did you get those? They ran out at 3am!"
Yep, they did. *wink*


And last night at Wal-Mart when everyone else was combing the aisles for a certain item marked "promo" that was already gone, my awesome hubby walks over to where they're usually stocked, grabs an unmarked one, and scans it to see if it was the same price as the marked ones.
It was.
Score.


Oh, the things people don't think of that my husband does.
So, maybe Black Friday also requires good teamwork? *wink*


The bottom line:
*Know exactly what you're looking for.
*Comb the ads carefully.
*Map out a plan.
*Do your research. (Stores often mark up "retail" prices and then take the percent off.)
*Weigh the shopping torture with the payoff... and keep that in mind when you're in the thick of it.
*Think outside the box when dealing with crowds.
*Never feel entitled to the deal.
*If there aren't any deals you're after, don't go!!!


When we enter in with those guidelines under our belt, it's worth it every time.
Besides, we always come out on the other end with great stories.
"Mah babies need toys!"


Here's to Black Friday 2012!




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Friday, November 11, 2011

Awaken Sleepover!!!


AAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!
Awaken is HERE!
And we are crashing at my house and laughing and having a blast.
If you're NOT here then you can STILL be here tomorrow.
Ch-ch-check it out at awakenconference.com. Just show up and pay at the door and join the rest of us!

And now I'm going to go laugh some more and paint some fingers and make some t-shirts and eat some junk and probably stay up waaaaaayyyyyy too late.







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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Expectant


I am expectant.
Of great things.
Of miracles.
Of movements.
Of growth coming through difficult situations.


I am expectant because I know I can be.
Because I live for Someone who specializes in great things.
Who does miracles.
Who raises up movements.
Who brings the growth.


I am expecting to hear the sound of the Holy Spirit
To see food multiplied on my counter.
To see flyers multiplied in a girl's hand.
To see gas stretched in a gas tank.
To see my son healed.


It's difficult for me to be around people who are not expectant.
Who are unexpectant.
That's not a word, but it should be.
So many of us are unexpectant.
They don't think great things can happen anymore.
They don't believe in miracles.
They are tired of movements because they've seen the corruption and the dilution.
They're stagnant.


I want to grab them by their shoulders and shout, "You're missing LIFE!!!!!"
I want to hug them until they smile.
I want to help them see the impossible become possible when we live by a standard that is not of this world.
I want to spur their hearts to passion, conviction... MORE.
I want to share, because as I share my expectation maybe theirs will grow.


Some ARE stirred.
And some will never be stirred.
They will die in mediocrity and half-heartedness.


Oh, the agony of being on the other side and realizing there was a life you could have lived, but did not.
A Creator you could have known, but chose to believe did not exist.
People you could have helped save, but thought they weren't worth it.
The agony.


So, I live expectant.
Expectant that YOU reading THIS will have a realization of the LOVE that is held for YOU.
Expectant that YOU will SEE MIRACLES.
Expectant that YOU will join the GREATEST MOVEMENT of ALL TIME.
Expectant that YOU will finally let go, face what you've not wanted to face, and find FREEDOM in giving it ALL over to the ONE who created you.


"They overcame... by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."
Revelation 12:11


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Loving Lately


*Knee-high socks and leg warmers.
No, I haven't actually been wearing the leg warmers as, well, they're intentioned. (Not usually, anyway.)
I've been letting them peek out of my boots so they LOOK like socks.
Heh-heh. Tricky me. (Now you know.)


*Claire's 10 for $10 sale...
where I get many a knee-high sock and leg warmer. *wink*


*The Awaken Conference.
SOOOOOO excited for this weekend!
Lives changed. Hearts awakened. Popcorn eaten and toes painted at my house. T-shirts made.
Barlow Girl and Everyday Sunday and Holly Wagner and Katie Luce and Hannah and Melissa and old friends and new friends and... aaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!
(You can still get tickets online until Thursday at 5pm MST. After that you'll have to get them at the door.)
Worth it.
WORTH. IT.
"I'm so excited! And I just can't hide it!"


*Oatmeal.
I KNOW! Crazy. I used to hate this stuff as a kid. Then we had a free coupon for some at McDonald's last winter. And if it's free... well... you HAVE to try it.
So I did.
Love. Lo-uhve. Lurv.
Then Starbucks.
And now Coach's Oats from Costco, mixed with brown sugar, raisins and pecans. They don't get soggy.
(It just occurred to me that maybe it's more the brown sugar, raisins and pecans. Whatever.)


*My iPhone.
My life.
Simplified.
(My wonderful hubby loves me so much!!!)


*Photos from over the last few years.
It's just fun to look at the kids, our expressions, walk through the memories...


*Scarves. SCARVES, PEOPLE!!!!!
They change up any outfit in an instant. I mean, just look...


How.




"I can't! I have little arms!"




Look at me. I'm in Qatar. Wait. No, I'm not.


Ian wanted in. Evidently, so did Nate.



Okay, so maybe not THAT outfit. Especially since today was Sweatpants And No Makeup Day.
But, scarves change up OTHER outfits.


*Silly pictures.
Wait.
I always love those. That's not just lately.






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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I have a hard time...


...deleting photos off of my computer, because I think that *even if they're not very good* someday I'll want to have them as a memory.

...leaving message conversations on facebook, because I don't want someone to think I'm rejecting them or what they're talking about.

...asking anyone for money for anything.

...leaving things in the thrift store that I know could potentially be SO GREAT for someone else!

...going to bed at a reasonable hour when my hubby's out of town because there's so much to get done.

...parting with clothes I think I *may* wear again someday, unless they're going to someone I know will really use them!

...keeping up on the laundry, because it's never ending.

...with people who use foul language, because there's just no need. 



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Monday, November 7, 2011

...singing as one...


...clinging... believing... standing firm...

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Random Outfit Post


I wore this today.
People seemed to like it, so I thought I'd post a couple of pictures.
Not too many, though, because my usual camera's battery was dead, so I enlisted Nate to take them with the iPad.
But he really wanted to be watching the football game instead.
I get that. So we took two and were done.
I don't think the outfit comes across too well here, but you get the general idea.
(Fyi, I'm super particular with the length of my pants. They look a little shorter in the photos than I thought they actually were when I wore them. Hmmm...)



pulling it all together...
Shirt: Thrifted, says from Vietnam
Tank: Best tanks EVER!!! My awesome hubby just brought me a whole new batch of colors from the awesome little boutique in San Luis Obispo called The French Quarter. $5 each. I die.
Denim: Citizens, via awesome Tammy, via Goodwill (Those are buttons down the bottom third of the leg.)
Shoes: RSVP, via Goodwill
Belt: Asos boyfriend belt. I drooled over this forEVer on ...love maegan and hunted for a similar one for a year in thrift stores to no avail. So when she tipped her readers that it was on sale I freaked a bit. It's actually a God-loves-me story, because I found out right before heading to bed one day and was super tired. So I thought, "I'll wait to order it 'til morning." Went to order it right away the next day and they were OUT. Of ALL sizes!!! De.va.stat.ed. I kicked myself over and over and... I prayed. Yes, seriously. This is the way I operate. Me and God. I went back about fifteen minutes later, still so disgusted with myself, hunted around some more, and all of a sudden there was ONE in the size I wanted! It let me put it in my cart. It processed the order. I jumped around the kitchen laughing and dancing. And when I went back to see if I could order more they were gone again. SO HAPPY!!!!! He knows things like that mean SO much to me, because He's the One who made me this way! Love that He loves us in our own love language.
(I just checked, they don't have the exact one *obviously*, but do have a skinnier version here for only $14.98 or a super thin, plaited version here.)
Necklaces: Uganda paper beads, thrifted gold beads
Bracelets: Leather ones I always wear, gold cuff (and ring)from Grams
Earrings (that you can't really see): Kenya
Hair: Loose braid


One of my friends told me today, "I hope this isn't offensive. Don't take it the wrong way. But, your hair looks like Pocohontas. That's good, though! That's a good thing!"
It made me laugh.  =^)


And, fyi, Asos has a great selection of clearance in ALL price ranges, and free shipping both ways!!! I haven't ordered anything else yet to see how their other products are, but I'm glad they're now on my radar!













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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Night Musings (complete with an odd but cool fact)


*Once again, I'm getting my post in just under the wire, but getting it in nonetheless.


*Brit had her home gymnastics meet today. I love how she always has a smile on her face and is encouraging those around her, no matter how she's doing herself.
I sure adore that girl.


*She didn't break her foot this year, which was a bonus... as opposed to last year at the same meet.


*I admit I was watching her feet on the balance beam, holding my breath hoping nothing happened this time around.
Then I realized how silly it was to worry and was able to enjoy the second half of the routine.  =^)
She scored a 9.25.
We're a *little* proud.


*We had a small group leaders appreciation dinner tonight at church. I am so thankful for these people who are willing to give their lives in the middle of the mess because they know they are called!!!
(Now, if more of us would just realize this truth and DO something about it. Some of you know... you know you're supposed to open your home and have people over on a weekly basis. But you keep thinking that life is messy and busy and crazy and full. If that's your excuse, then you're never going to wind up doing what God is calling you to do.
Because life will ALWAYS be messy and busy and crazy and full!!!
We are called in the MIDST of that.)
*steps down off the soapbox*


*Funny to stand around afterward and quote movies with some friends.
I tend to think we're the only ones that do this to a seemingly abnormal fault.
I guess not. *wink*


*Now we're home and I'm going over Christmas music at 11:30pm... which is actually 10:30pm... because fall BACK is way better than spring FORWARD.


*Which reminds me that fifteen years ago on daylight savings time I gave birth to Taylor. He was born on the first 1:14am... and then it hit 2:00am and rolled back to 1:00am... and 1:14am came around again... so Taylor lived his birth time twice.


*File THAT under odd things you didn't need to know but find kind of interesting and humorous anyway.
(Because we all have a file in our brains that is named such.)


*And now, because it's my blog and I can do things like this, I present you with my adorable daughter and the gold medal she was presented with today because of her outstanding beam routine.




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Friday, November 4, 2011

Red Old Man Shoes


I wore this outfit a while ago (that seems to be a theme lately) and realized I've *gasp* never posted on these shoes!!!
I mean, I don't think I have.
I can't find a post.
And they're so awesome!
(I know some of you are going to be all, "Ummm... they're actually super awful." And others of you will be like, "Why, oh, why did you find these instead of me?")


So, I now give you what I affectionately refer to as my red old man shoes:






I KNOW!!!!!! I found them at one of my fav thrift stores (the one up on the Air Force Academy) last fall and kind of freaked. I seriously think they were $1.50.
The funny thing is I wore them back to the store a few weeks later.
Woman at the counter: "Oh! I used to have a pair of shoes just like that!"
Me: "Well, I got them here just a bit ago."
Woman: "Those were my shoes!!!"
Love it.


She said they're from some long-since-closed shoe shop in Colorado Springs that made all their own footwear.
They're such a soft suede and so lightweight that I feel like I should be skipping and dancing every time I wear them.
(Truthfully, I often do.)


I can just TELL ya that they are a BLAST to wear. 
(blast.)
BLAST!!!!! 
(I maintain that every woman needs a pair of red shoes... even if they aren't red old man shoes.)

Here's what I wore with them on this particular day:


pulling it all together...
Gray Skinnies: Sqin from H&M (Which opens next week in Denver! Aaaaaaa!!!!!!)
Gray tee with girls face, brand unknown: via my amazing friend Tammy, via Goodwill.
Lace Cardi: Target clearance last winter
Accessories: The ones I always wear, with Kenya earrings.


I think I'm showing you my accessories in this next pic, as well as my nail polish.
For a while I was painting my ring finger a different color than the rest of my nails.
Here they're black with a gunmetal kind of color on that one finger.
Doesn't quite come through in the picture, but I do look intrigued and mysterious.


Note I'm laying on the floor. I used my iPhotoBooth camera because, evidently, I couldn't be bothered to use the actual camera.
It also seems I didn't want to stand up.
I guess we all have days like that.



As a side note, my red old man shoes also came in handy for my daughter's use in a nerd costume this Halloween...



...and as Shakespeare last spring for a school event...



Now that you're totally inspired to go find your own old man shoes, run to your nearest thrift store!
(Or you could find them brand new, since this style is evidently all the craze right now.)
I will wish upon you good hunting and bright colored finds. *wink*

(Yes, I realize this should have been a Sassy Shoe Thursday post, but today is Friday. I didn't want to wait another week. I'm labeling it as such anyway.)



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Thursday, November 3, 2011

On community and silly pictures...


We are called into community.
Did you know that?
That we weren't made to "go it alone."
We weren't made to walk this life out by ourselves.
We were created to need company... companionship... camaraderie.
That's why we process better if we can talk it through with someone.
We laugh more if we laugh with someone.
Our silliness makes sense if we're silly with someone.


We need each other.
God made us that way.
To need each other.
Not just as a husband needs a wife and a wife needs a husband...
but as friends who needs friends...
people who need people.


I came across these while looking through my iPhotoBooth pictures.
It got me thinking of this.











Who are you being silly with today?
Talking with?
Crying with?
Laughing with?


If you're not doing that with anyone, what walls do you need to let down so you can?
And if you're not willing to take silly pictures with friends, I think you're missing out on a great joy in life.
It makes me wonder what other simple joys you're missing out on.
Because, really, if you can't be silly with your friends, who can you be silly with?


Life is full... and we are called to embrace it together.
(And also to capture it in silly pictures. Why else do you think God gave us the knowledge to invent cameras? Sheesh.)



...love you girls. so much. so much. so much...






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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snow Day Musings


*Today is an actual snow day... as opposed to last week's snowy non-snow day.


*There's probably only about four inches in our backyard, but it's blowing around in such a way that we have about two feet on our deck.


*It was nice to sleep in.


*About 30 minutes ago we watched the fox trotting around out behind our house. He paused, seemingly acting non-chalant. Then suddenly pounced on something in the snow.
I grimaced and cried out, "Oh, NO!"
But the boys thought this was hilarious and laughed even harder as the fox trotted away with some little thing dangling from its mouth.


*I guess foxes have to eat, too.


*Ian is walking around right now with the camera taking random pictures of each of us... and Rosie the ferret... and the snow... and of picture books, which he declares is very funny. I almost told him to put the camera away so it didn't wind up broken.
But I stopped with the realization that 20 years from now those pictures will be the ones we look at, laugh about and tell stories of.


*He seems particularly interested in the camera's zoom feature.


*Ian is quite a sight. Now not only does he have an extremely long mullet, glasses and an insulin pump, but he also is missing one of his upper front teeth. He lost it two days ago while at school.
Its neighbor is super wiggly, too. For Christmas I think he's really going to be able to sing the song true to form.


*He wanted to take a picture of the computer taking a picture.
My family is seriously the best form of entertainment.



Happy snow day! Or for some of you a snowy non-snow day. Or for still others of you, a normal everyday day.
Hoping you find something to celebrate and something to laugh at in the middle of it all...

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tips & Tricks: Wearing Sports Jerseys


***Today kicks off NaBloPoMo, which is a really super cool psuedo acronym for National Blog Posting Month. This is my fifth year participating, with only one NaBloPoMo failure in my brief blogging history.
If anyone want to join me in posting every single day in November, just go here and register! There are cool prizes, but I've never won anything. I just do it for *sigh* the love of blogging. (And bragging rights.)***


I am Mom.
I am also a sports fan.
Sometimes I am more of the second because of my status as the first.


Those who know me know I kind of go all out in supporting things I'm passionate about.
They also know you do not have to tell me a theme twice for me to take off running with it.
What does this mean?
It means I WEAR SPORTS JERSEYS, PEOPLE!!!


But, always up for the fashion challenge, I am not willing to just don some baggy, brightly colored awkward sack and let it be what it is.
Oh, no, no, no...


So, I give you (Drum roll, please?)
*pause*
(Drum roll???)


Tips & Tricks for Wearing Sports Jerseys


1.) A belt goes a long way for creating some kind of shape out of that shapeless thing.


As you an see here, I belted and then "mushroomed" the jersey up over the top of the belt. This will not work, however, if the numbers are too stiff to let the jersey move. This is the case with the Tebow jersey shown later.
(Brit had on a belt earlier, but lost it before this picture was taken.)

2. If the jersey is huge (as are the ones I seem to acquire), pair it with more fitted pants. If it is fitted, go with a looser shape on the bottom. This follows the rule of not wearing tight head to toe or baggy from head to toe. One is trashy, the other is frumpy. There is a wonderful balance, friends... a wonderful balance.

3. Mix it up by layering! In the above photo it was pretty chilly that day, so I put a long sleeve tee under and a chunky infinity scarf over.
I love the thought of wearing the teams' contrasting color as an accent, too! (If this was a UofO jersey, I'd go with yellow sleeves and a yellow scarf.)

3. With bulky jerseys, you need more substantial footwear to visually balance out the whole.
The example above is fabulous.
But in the one below I did NOT do this, and while the outfit was okay, it looked a little off-balance.
Those big, poofy shoulders really needed more anchoring than the slim Toms, but that day was warm and I was running late. (Me? Running late? Shocker.)
I think even some converse would have had a better effect.


4. Do your makeup. No, you don't have to if you don't want to. But one of the reasons some of you aren't wearing your teams' attire is because you feel frumpy and boy-ish.
For some reason, you think putting on a jersey means you have to look sloppy. Not true!!! Doing your makeup will keep you feeling spunky and yourself.

5. Accessorize!!! Like the scarf shown earlier or the rhinestone earrings shown here (which is why I paired the sparkly Toms), don't stay away from these just because you're wearing a jersey!
In fact, accessories really punch the This-Is-FUN factor and make your outfit unique to YOUR style.


6. Going somewhere other than the game? Want to look a little more polished? Throw on a jacket and heels! This Tebow jersey doesn't work well belted. But, I was wearing it to church (on the platform) and wanted it to look pulled together.
The jacket brought in enough contouring that I didn't feel too box-ish, and it also kicked up the polish factor. The substantial ankle boots kept it all anchored and in proportion.
With adding the large hoops and a gold cuff, I was good to go!



(I have to brag on this. I've wanted a Tebow jersey ever since he was drafted by the Broncos. But, I didn't want a cheap-y one, and yet didn't want to pay the $130, either!!! Nate found this at Goodwill... tags still on. Reebok pro jersey. God sure loves me.)


Don't feel like you have to sacrifice your style or your femininity just to support your favorite team or athlete! Go dig out that jersey you've been wanting to wear but have maybe been a bit afraid of. Embrace your inner fan!


Life is full of passion and fun and adventure... may we live it as such.


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