Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Shannon and I had a craft happy weekend, and we loved it! She finished her amazing box project, which we can't show you yet because it's going to win us the grand prize! And I crafted my December Daily, an ornament, and a Christmas planner for Rosie.

At the end of this paper blitz, Shannon had the brilliant idea to photograph it and post it on Two Peas. Well, the response has been incredible. People love knowing that there are other sloppy, disorganized, too-small, non-custom, perfectly imperfect scrap rooms out there! We've been in the top ten since Sunday; we even spent a long time at number one yesterday! Too fun.

It gets better. I logged on to Facebook yesterday, checked the Cosmo Cricket page as I always do, and found my Early Bird layout with Rose and I posted as their Fan Creation of the day! I've been waiting for weeks, and finally yesterday was the day! It's so thrilling to see my work being viewed and celebrated by other CC fans. Awesome!

So this afternoon with my students, we worked on Thanksgiving poems and reflecting on the things in life for which we are most grateful. During our brainstorming session, I came up with a wonderful list of my life's blessings. I'm not always the most positive person, and I often lose sight of just how many gifts I've been given. The lesson was for my sixth graders, but they weren't the only ones learning.

So here's my list. I hope we all take time this week to really pause and reflect and count those blessings, even the ones that like to disguise themselves as annoying burdens most of the time.

For my home - warm, turkey-scented, full of love, and all mine

For my job, and its endless give and take

For the inspiration to craft and create, document and remember

For Aunt Rita's soup and keeping family traditions alive

For naps after dinner

For the 33rd Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade I will watch with my daddy

For the chance to again gather around the table with the people I love most

For Zach and Kenzie, who own my heart and are just starting to realize what that means

For Rosie, who keeps me grounded and still lets me float away with my dreams sometimes

For Shanni, my life and my life line, my purpose and my sanity

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Highs and Lows

Life really seems to be full of them right now.

Highs... crafting, prepping for the holidays, planning the beginning of our family, time with dear friends. Today had a particularly sweet high point. I allowed one of my favorite students to turn in an assignment late today, not because he's a favorite, but because he is a very responsible, conscientious, and high-achieving student. This forgotten assignment was definitely out of character for him. So he turned in his vocab flashcards one day late. Problem is, I didn't have a special today and didn't get a chance to grade them. I found them in my turn in basket after school, but the vocabulary test is tomorrow. So I called his mom and offered to drop them off on my way home. When I arrived, they were so welcoming and so excited. My student gave me a complete tour of his home, including his room, his cat, and his gorgeous backyard. He even invited me to come back again to have dinner with his family. Not your typical 12-year-old behavior! You'd think I was royalty the way they treated me! Too sweet.

With the school year I'm having, I needed a reminder of how awesome students and their families can be.

But the lows seem so numerous right now too. One of my dearest friend's mother was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and my heart is just broken for him and his family. Cancer seems to be everywhere right now and it's petrifying. My best friend's SO is going on dialysis because his kidneys are failing. Scary. Shannon is so worried about the economy, as am I, and wants to consider postponing (again) the start of our family. This may be the first year my whole family won't be together for Thanksgiving and I can't bear to think about it. Stupid blended family bullshit.

And my school year is kicking my ass. I have never had so many high maintenance students, or parents, in my career. Every day is just exhausting.. meetings, phone calls, voice mails, emails. I just want to scream, "What do you want me to do?!!!" I didn't cause the problem, I can't fix the problem. Like it or not, your child is going to *have* to function in the real world someday and it's our responsibility to start preparing them now. And I won't apologize for that.

Eh. It will all work itself out eventually, right? With hope, love, forgiveness, and prayers (though He's on my shit list right now), this too shall all pass. There's Glee on my DVR, Shannon on her way home to me, and this darling little project going into the scrapbook. It ain't all bad....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holy Moly! October was an absolute blur! Sometimes life is so busy, so frantic, at times downright chaotic, that I cannot fathom how people with children handle it. Right now it's just Shannon and I, a small handful of pets, 2 incredibly demanding jobs, and a pair of aging parents, and I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water. I'd better take a deep breath though, because we are diving headlong into the holiday season.

October did end with a fabulous Halloween party. I wanted to throw a good ole fashioned backyard party, full of classic fall charm. So Rose, John, Matt, Kenzie, Zach, Kori, Grace, Joel, Deb, Bianca, Angelica, Chrissy, Steve, Crimson, Mom, Dad, and of course, Shannon and I, had a wonderful time carving and painting jack-0-lanterns, bobbing for apples, and decorating cookies. The biggest hits were the basket full of random masks people enjoyed trying on and the barfing pumpkin centerpiece.

After enjoying the bounty of autumn, we look now toward the upcoming Holiday season. I love Halloween, and hosting Thanksgiving brings me joy, but there's absolutely nothing better than Christmas. I'm sure many of you feel the same way. The tree, the lights, the music, the shopping, gathering with loved ones, traditions.... All my favorite things. This charming little snowman card is kicking off the most wonderful time of the year, for family, friends, and crafting!