Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crazy Cool Makeover

Ahhhh…. That feels MUCH better! Sometimes the best thing to get you motivated is a little makeover! :) And, well, call it the preschool teacher still in me, but I am a Seasons Gal. Many people spend tons of money making sure their home looks a certain way, captures a certain style or embraces a theme. But me? I like to keep people guessing.

Actually, it truly did begin when I taught preschool and I loved how I got to switch out the room every season, every holiday and make the room SPECIAL for the children. Help create a rhythm in our classroom that matched life and the happenings in the world outside. And I guess I sort of carried that with me. Even before my husband and I had children, I still was a seasons/holiday fanatic—and it was fun! But believe me, once children came onto the scene—funTABULOUS! I just love to celebrate life in general, and for me changing our home with the seasons is a reflection of that, and provides natural breaks in the rhythm of our daily life where we can just take a minute and say, “Yay! It’s spring! (or summer, or autumn, winter…or Wednesday :))

When I don’t change things up, I get reeeeeallly bored. (Hence my ADD hair color.) But for any of my readers who started out with me, please don’t think I just got bored with this blog. Life got the best of me there, with too much on my plate, and not even time to stop and celebrate TODAY. (Seriously, Friends…I didn’t even decorate for Fourth of July this year!!! …hangs head in shame.) But I’m back, Baby. Yes, I’m back in graduate school. Yes, I begin homeschooling next week again (check out my new homeschooling blog if you want to follow that fun! http://happyathomeblog.blogspot.com/ ) But I need to pause and make time for Me in my day as well. A creative person needs a creative outlet. Otherwise you will find me getting myself into trouble with my hairdresser again….(“Tweezers are not for playing arts and crafts time with your eyebrows!” was her exact quote.) Yep. I got banned from using tweezers. And so I’m back to blogging.

Hope you guys like the new fall festivities on this blog. I’ve been holding out on dragging out the fall d├ęcor in the house ‘til it actually turns autumn…but hey. Here-- It just had to be done. I think another part of me really didn’t like coming to this spot to blog anymore because my last serious post was about Miguel. And it just made me sad. But, it’s been a year now, since poor Miggle went to the big doggie park in the sky. He’s got a new leash on life. It’s time this blog did too.

Shine!
xoxoShiny

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shiny New Blog

Hey Crazy People! :)
I know it's been forever since I posted last; but you'll find out why and see what I've been busy creating on my New Dream (gotta love Tangled! :)) If you like what you see and want to show some love, please follow me on my new blog "Happy@Home!" It's rough still today, but am ready to fly with it. Check it out here: http://www.happyathomeblog.blogspot.com/.




Love you all!!
Still Shinin',
Shiny

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Miguel: One Crazy Chihuahua;15 Crazy Years


Life is a series of dogs, or so it was once said by the late, great comedian, George Carlin. And it’s so true! Dogs are a unique expression of God’s handiwork for the sheer fact that they absorb our emotions. Whatever we are going through in our lives, these furry companions are empathetic, sympathetic (sometimes simply copasetic) to our plights as humans. For our Crazy little family, no one was a bigger cheerleader, comforter, confident and Yoda-esque mascot for FIFTEEN YEARS, than our faithful friend, Miguel. He’s seen our story from the very beginning, and a little over a month ago we had to say good-bye. I thought it would be only fitting to dedicate this post to our buddy, Migs, who gave 105 dog-years to master the art of patience with this family, and all that’s come with it.


He wasn’t one for manners when we met. In fact, he was sitting in his food bowl, staring out at us from his mall pet store cage because his teeny paws were too little to allow him to stand on the wire floor without falling through the grate. From his cage, he looked out and saw a couple of dorky 23-year olds who were already in love. Both with each other…and with him. Seeing this bug-eyed, tawny little muchacho in the pet store window did something in both of our hearts. We laughed about him. Made voices for him (don’t ask). And once I held the tawny tuft of fur with the Mexican accent in my arms…game over. We had a dog. WE had a puppy. We were engaged to be married at the time, and yet somehow that single act of buying a pet together bonded the Hubster and I in such a way, we knew we’d be together forever. We had a bug-eyed baby, and his name was Miguel.



Miguel was with us for our wedding (we toyed with the idea of having him be ring bearer (did not go over well….:)) And he was with us for the crazy first years of marriage, a move out west...


...and loved becoming an official Mountain Chihuahua. As our family changed, he changed too. From a strapping young dog with a shiny coat of blonde hair…

...to a middle-aged dog who embraced the whole stay-at-home-mom look, complete with bags under his eyes, gray hairs, and extra rolls hanging off his little dog frame.


He weathered 8 homes in 15 years, and by the time Youngest Princess came along, he was a solid senior citizen. His nickname became Gramps or Pappy, as the Hubster and I adjusted to life with a new baby AND a geriatric dog.



This past year has been the hardest for our Crazy family, as we sorta knew his time was running out. Doggie senility was setting in. He’d get confused in the house. Became deaf, blind and rarely left his bed in the sun. As I’ve joked before, he pretty much became furniture that breathed. The news hit home hard though, after one of his last trips to the vet, upon discovering our little old dog had kidney disease, and chances for recovery with his age didn’t look promising. We knew Miguel was tired. We knew he was ready to go be with Jesus. But we weren’t ready. No one ever is.



We knew what we had to do and were determined to walk through this grieving process as a family Being Real, Being Love and Believing that God just has to have a special place picked out for these animals that seem to hold our hands through life. With Miggle’s life coming to the final chapter, we decided to have a Miguelebration the very next day. The day was filled with more hugs and holding than the old man could handle, special couch privileges, and a final ride in the wagon to his favorite park.


He couldn’t walk very well at that point, but he enjoyed the ride, and simply sniffing around checking his pee-mail a final time, and lounging in shade of his favorite tree. That night when the Hubster got home, we all had ice cream –special doggie ice cream for the Migs—and all lay together as a family in the backyard hammock with our loyal buddy, sharing our favorite Miguel stories. We stayed there up to the minute when we had to make the dreaded trip to the vet to say farewell.




The Hubster and I debated on how to handle the situation with our children. We toyed with the idea of lying, saying that we were going to take him to the vet to see what the vet could do to help him. …But I know my daughters too well. I knew if we did that, we’d only build up false hope in them. And that they’d be praying nonstop for their doggie to be healed—which was only going to end in them being bitter at God and wondering why God wouldn’t answer their prayers. We had to be Real. And we were. We all grieved openly and honestly. We let our children know it was OK to be sad. It was healthy to cry over losing a loved one. And it was good. Yes, that whole night was horrible in its substance…but at the same time, it was healing and comforting and good.

We all rode together to the vet that night, as a Family. Because that’s what we are. We all gave Miguel kisses and hugs and told him what a good dog he had been. The Hubster played the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the way to the vet (which, by the way, has ruined the song for me now. Thanks, Babe!), but it did help us dwell on the thoughts of our old, arthritic pooch being unleashed to run and roam as he did as a pup, perhaps with some of his doggie friends who have gone before him. Now I do know that none of this is Biblical. But I just have to believe that for as closely connected to the human spirit that dogs are, God will have a place that is just as good and lovely. The children clung to that hope, and laughed about the way Miguel would probably be so excited to see their grandparents’ deceased dog, and hoped maybe my Grandma who passed away last December might watch after him. The Hubster and I simply laughed over the thought of Miguel being so excited to…well…be “un-neutered”—(is that PG enough? lol!) :) Happy thoughts. Laughter. Tears. They all were a part of the grieving process. And I think it was all good.

Already the girls are planning our family’s next dog. For them it will be their first puppy. And I think I’m starting to look forward to that too. Because I know there will never ever be another Miguel. Just like none of you will have a dog ever exactly like the one you have now. Each dog is as unique as the people he/she belongs to. But if life is a series of dogs, Miguel was an opening chapter. He watched a young couple grow up … a little bit; got to stick around to see their children; and got to be put to rest with a peace that we’re all gonna be OK. He helped us through what he needed to help us through. And now…well, it’s time for a new chapter in life. And soon it will be time for a new dog.

We love you, and miss you, Miguel.
Shine on, Buddy.

P.S. So as not to end this post on a totally depressing note, update! As I said, I wrote this post nearly 2 months ago, and it has taken me this long to post it as it makes me cry every time. HOWEVER--A new chapter has opened in our crazy family. It's a chapter that sort of found us at the perfect time. There is a new joy in our household...and her name is Lady.

Lady joined our family 2 weeks ago. Story to follow! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

MY CRAZY SKYHIGH, MILE HIGH FAMILY FUN


(Don't ya just dig it when balloons fly sideways?! :))

Happy Friday, Friends! And Happy Labor Day Weekend, as well! As an update, sadly I did not win Donald Miller’s contest, but to rub it in, someone living in my city did—(she truly deserved it, though!) So…no Portland getaway- vaca for me and the Hubster. (Boo.) HOWEVER, we are squeezing every last ounce of summer from this weekend for the sake of Crazy Fun.

Yes, my Friends—don’t be jealous—this weekend my family is off to none other than the big Colorado Springs for…The Rocky Mountain Balloon Classic! Yes, it truly is as weird as it sounds. However, the Hubster and I have gone to a different hot air balloon festival every year of our 14 married years for the sheer mini-road trip of it all. That, and for having cool things to look at upon arrival. ;) Seriously. Where else can you see incredible sky art like?

Or this?!:


Yes, it is quite dorky. But it really makes for a Crazy Fun Memory. Last summer when this festival was going on, we were camping up in the Rocky Mountains. We remembered this was the last hot air balloon festival of the year coming up. So what did we do? Why, what any insane campers might do. Set our phone alarms for 4AM in order to make it 3 hours away to hit this crazy event! The best part, I think was the priceless look the night before on fellow campers’ faces as they asked about our plans for the next day. “Ohhhh…we’re getting up at 4 in the morning (to climb a fourteener?-No. To go fly-fishing? No.) to drive 3 hours away to look at hot air balloons…. Keep an eye on our tent, k?” And truly, it wasn’t about the destination. It was all about the journey. The Princesses still talk about how cool it was to drive down the mountain in the dark, and watch the sun rise along the way. To see the moon “follow” us, before it slowly disappeared into the distant mountain clouds rolling in. To experience the fun of traveling in pajamas. Stopping for breakfast (and coffee, of course!) along the way. Totally out of the ordinary. Totally Crazy. Totally fun.



Arriving there was a celebration in itself. Hot air artistry greeted us from a distance as they raised their groggy, colorful heads to stretch. As we drove closer, the sky began to fill with the look of inflatable crayons, and we all voted on our favorites. Once the car was parked, we were able to walk around among the many nylon rainbows, stretched across the ground, and talk to the owners who were getting their crafts ready for take-off. If you’ve never experienced the euphoria of walking in a meadow of hot air balloons blooming, and bursting their way up into the sky…you’ve never truly lived, in my opinion. ;)







So, I’ll keep you all posted on our hot air balloon adventures! Wish us safe travels! And ultra-cool balloon sightings!

Oh! And the Shiniest of 3-Day Weekends to you all!! Shine!!!
Xoxo,
SHINY

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And the Story Continues....



FRIENDS!!! I've missed you!! :)


Thanks for bearing with my mini-virtual-vaca while I tried to restore some small fragments of sanity after 3 classes of summer semester. (Summer. Semester. The two words just don't go together!) Anyway, fall semester starts up next week, and homeschooling begins in 2 weeks (after Labor Day...when school should start! LoL)...sooo I figure I better get back to writing now to be back in practice once the school year starts.




I'm starting this first post back with a bit of reflection on the story my life is currently telling and figuring out how it lines up with the story I want it to tell. I've heard other people's take on my/my family's story. I've heard we definitely have a Fun Family! And we do. I've heard we're a Fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants Family. And we are. I've heard we're Crazy. Hardcore. Slightly Irresponsible. Perhaps immature. ...Guilty as charged. However, I do feel like I've come quite a ways in my outlook on life. I used to be obsessively career-driven with a tunnel-vision only for climbing up the corporate ladder in the publishing world. THAT, I discovered, for me, was not truly living. That was called "marking time in a cubicle waiting to retire to THEN live a couple years before I passed on to true LIFE!" I do feel like I am living a better story now. I'm all about trying to be the best mom and wife I can possibly be and trying to live my own dream of being a writer. Unfortunately, there are just too many "weeds" in my life right now, keeping me from fulling living out my story to its fullest potential. --Things that are trying to suck the very life right out of me, encrouching on my dreams, dragging me down. So obviousy some things in my life have to go--and some that need room to be allowed to bloom.





What often helps me in my life are using frameworks, or tools to examine and re-examine my goals, dreams and what I feel called to do. So I'm using Donald Miller's blog contest as a tool right now. (If you haven't read his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I HIGHLY suggest you stop reading this post and run to your local bookseller immediately!) Anyway, Donald Miller wants to know what I want the story of my life to be like--in a year...5 years...where's the plot going? Who's involved?




Firstly, I LOVE this whole concept of living a great story. To me, it elicits the thrill of adventure, hope and purpose a life is supposed to have. If I were to categorize MY Crazy story, I'd like for it to be an epic adventure/indie/romantic comedy. Never dull. Original and artsy. Full of love. And overflowing with fun and laughter. (Laughter "with"...not "at!" :)) It's a story about followng a calling. Fulfilling the purpose of a greater destiny. It's about living a life of passion. Living richly, fully, loudly, joyfully.





In my story, I want to be the heroine. Or at least the underdog who rises to the top. I would like to be the one people are rooting for; cheering on. Because I want to be cheering others on in the process. I have a gift of Encouragement. I just could use a little encouragement myself. And that is why I am HOPING to win this contest! Haha! :) The other characters I HAVE to have with me in my story are my family. Both my family--immediate and extended, as well as a tightly knit group of close friends. (If you're reading this, you are probably already part of this story--sorry!)

So what IS the story? It's about a heroine who loves her family so much, she thrives on caring for them creatively while having fun in the process. But she also has a dream of "making it" as a writer in an attempt to rescue Childhood and Childlike Spirits everywhere. This heroine wants, and has ALWAYS wanted to write children's picture books, and to simply make children smile. Laugh out loud. And she wants the adults reading the stories to smile along with their children as they read together and to remember what it felt like to be a kid. I want these books to be bonding for parents and their children, and to serve as an encouragement to both. I also want to write books for parents to encourage them in regaining their own lost childhood joy and how to encourage it in their own stories. I simply want to empower parents to give their children a childhood, not stuff. To help them restore the joy of childhood to their homes and their children's lives. I would like to create children's books to inspire that childlike magic in families, and books geared toward parents to equip parents with creative ideas that bring that "magic" home. I want to write books that allow kids to be kids. And books that encourage parents to actually be parents with childlike spirits. Love and Creativity, Baby!





So, what am I doing to propel the story forward, Friends? Well, with my grad school work in ECE, I've realized that I'm simply learning to speak the language of the people I'm trying to reach. I'm doing what any good missionary would do--studying the culture and learning the language/the details. My goal is to write through many means a message that focuses on the joy and preservation of Childhood. And that's why I'm writing this post. I truly want to go to Donald Miller's conference to fine-tune the path my story is on; get some ideas on structuring my life better around the theme; and truthfully...to get a swift kick in the butt from Don himself to be motivated to write what I SHOULD be writing. I'm living it!..Just not writing it, as of the moment!




That's me in a nutshell...or the nuthouse. Take your pick. But I wanna know YOUR story! I love nothing more than reading about the cool stories other people are living out! Share them with me, Friends! And if you feel so inclined, you can check out more details about Donald Miller's conference here: www.donmilleris.com/conference.

Check out his video about the conference in the sidebar!


Thanks for reading my cover. Time to get some print on the pages!


As always, don't forget to SHINE!!!




xoxo,


Shiny

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MENTAL VACA--BACK IN 3 WEEKS!!


Sorry, Friends!

I promise I'm not trying to be a slacker, and truly even if you don't read my blog, just the fact that I have followers cheering me on keeps me motivated to pursue my passions. I love you all!! :)

Just wanted to give an update that I haven't abandoned this blog--i've just been caught up in homeschool conventions (which I HAVE to blog about later!! Haha!!), my stupid summer seminar at UCD, and then immediately following--family visits!! (which I love--visit longer!!!) Still--now we're beyond Normal Crazy. We're at Crazy crazy. So gotta get through these last couple weeks of my classes, then back to blogging, baby! :)

In the meantime, I'm off to make gingersnaps with my 2 Princesses. Perhaps a sugarcoma will numb the insanity?!?

Still Shinin'!

xoxo,

Shiny

Monday, June 7, 2010

CRAZY CATASTROPHE


A friend of ours once said it best, that “parenting is a lot like building a house of cards on a waterbed.” Think about it! Sooo true! You get one layer of cards down to stand steady, and then a wave of the foundation sets everything off kilter—even the smallest ripple can leave you playing 52 Pick-Up. That’s been my experience with parenting thus far. You get one age or stage down pact, and suddenly a ripple or a wave comes along and BOOM! You’re back at ground zero. We’ve now entered a new one of those stages—pet ownership. (A cat this time—yes, Miguel the Chihuahua is still alive; don’t be alarmed. But let’s face it—after 15 years, he doesn’t really cause a whole lot of waves in our lives anymore. He’s basically furniture that breathes. Sorry Migs.)


So last time I left you, I was off on a nightmare adventure to help the Hubster in his attempts to track down a wild barn-kitten for our girls. Pretty crazy! Felt like we were on a stakeout. Or in a horror movie. Maybe both. I was armed with the flashlight, holding it over the place we could see the kittens were nestled, while the Hubster was all decked out in extra thick work gloves and holding the pet taxi. Felt like we were up to something illegal! And the kittens thought so too. They HATED the flashlight, and all I could think about was what it must seem like from their perspective—some sort of alien abduction or something. You know—bright light glaring in their eyes, some giant, claw-proof/gnaw-proof hand reaching out for them. I kept laughing, thinking they must be thinking, “So help me, if I get probed—somebody’s getting their face clawed off!!!” I did feel bad for the kittens, not having a clue what was going on. But it truly was quite comical.


The procedure went something like this—Hubster would slowly, slowly reach his hand down behind the feeding trough where the kittens were hiding. One would dart out instantly, and run around back behind the barn, only to do a lap, and reappear a few minutes later back at home base. The 2nd kitten was the protector of the lot. When it saw Hubster’s hand approaching, the 3rd kitten, who appeared to be a tad slow, ducked down with those big Puss in Boots’ eyes, while 2nd kitten pounced on Hubster’s hand and chomped down with all its 6 oz. strength, hangin’ on and shakin’ Hubster’s gloved hand with all the rage its scorned kitten jaws could muster. We ended up, of course with Kitten #3. Which has ended up being a good choice thus far.


To be honest—I can’t stand cats. (Please—no offense to all my cat-loving Friends!) But I would never even have one in our house (especially our house!) if I did not have daughters. How we got to this place, I have no idea. The Hubster and I always SWORE we would never have cats in our home. The Hubster caved first. (Thanks, Babe.—Sucker.) But somewhere between, “Mommy can we plleeeaaasssee get a new kitty?” and the thought of mice (which I do not like even MORE than cats) invading our home—that’s all I know. We have a kitten. And I must admit—it’s kinda growing on me. Stupid big kitten eyes. Stupid cute little fuzzy thing. Stupid tiny purring. (Oh yeah. Tractor beam [imitates beam noise] sucked me right in.—Lloyd; Dumb and Dumber) Man!! Why they gotta be so darn cute when they’re little?! They do grow up to be cats, you know? And in my opinion, and my opinion only, if I need someone to warm up to me all lovey-dovey one minute, and the next minute be taking a massive hunk out of my arm like a scene from Zombieland or something…I’ll visit some of my menopausal relatives or something, thank you very much! …But for now…it’s a kitten. We own a kitten. And it is cute.


All of this is to say, this is what happens when I try to get organized. I began making my charts. I was creating a schedule. Our week was flowing smoothly. Life was moving forward! Progress was being made! And now we have a kitten. The house of cards has tumbled with the wave of a new responsibility being thrown into the mix. And children fighting over whose turn it is to hold said new responsibility. My day has become devoted to 5 minute increments of setting the timer for each Princess to take a turn holding kitten. Awesome! Let’s see what this week brings, my Friends. Next post, hopefully I will have good news on the progress of getting my crap together. Until then…I will be working on litter-training a kitten, potty-training a 2 ½ year-old, and slow-and-steady laying a new foundation for this house of cards again.
Keep shining, my Friends!
Xoxo--SHINY