Thursday, January 31, 2013

Goodbye, January.

 I searched high and low after Christmas for the perfect art calendar for the chalkboard frame in my bedroom,  and then my sister pointed out this Mara Mia desk calendar at Target.  I had purchased the Mara Mia red wood grain candle with the spot on tree scent, in addition to receiving it for a gift, as well as many of the other amazing red and white pieces in the collection.  So, "it" had been under my nose the whole time.  And it is perfect.
 So before I flip the page of my calendar, I soaked in the last day of the first month of the year.  I love me my winter whites.  This sweater mug has warmed me thru several winters, this year I added the adorable Fred Flare Matroyska measuring spoon set, to make adding my honey that much sweeter.
 Oh, who is this adorable snowman?!  Wearing another adorable buy found at Target by Auntie.
It felt like a day to bake muffins for my little muffins, so I painstakingly followed my Moist Banana Muffins recipe, warmly thinking about how happy my boys would be to come home to melted soy margarine gooey goodness.  That would have been sweet, but instead, the middle child said he didn't want so much!! and the oldest said they were crumbly, and his throat was dry so he didn't want it.  Sometimes, the scenes I imagine in my mind are much more rewarding.
 Here is me all dressed up with my burn wrap.  Mark found me some pink non-stick wrap at Big R.  It's really for horses, but you can't beat pink.  This was during the Pro-Bowl Sunday and I was really needing something sparkly and girly, so I decided to paint my nails.  And yes, I know my roots are really visible.  I am having a much overdo cut and color tomorrow.  Oh, am I in need of some pretty after two weeks of pretty ugly. 
Here is the polish, given to me on my birthday from my sister, with a reminder to stay sparkly.  Will do!  Most months I feel a twinge at leaving it behind, not so with January.  I have no problem breaking up, moving on and happily waving farewell. 
Happy February, and stay sparkly!
~Hollie Joy

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Other Top Ten of 2012

 Happy New Year!
2013 has been hanging around for about a month now.  January and I have a bit of a complicated history, what with celebrations and holidays and my birthday and anniversary all rolled into December, January hasn't had much of a chance.  This year I had been giving it time to grow on me, to enjoy the cold, white landscape and the quiet of the post celebrating season.  Many of those around me, including myself, have not had an easy time of it this January however, so I would like to take some time to look back at 2012 for a bit.  What follows is my biggest of, happiest of, best of, most life changing of 2012...enjoy!
1. Pinterest.  I always tear out pictures and articles from magazines to keep for later reference.  That is the digital genius of Pinterest.  Last January in my bleak mid-winter, I plunged in and joined Pinterest.  I. was. hooked.  In a word. Pinterest is therapy.  It is the perfect way to take a break, read a little, laugh, look at pretty pictures, recharge, grab some creativity and connect.  It also finds it's way into real life conversations, so Pinterest is just another piece that women are stitching into the modern version of the Quilting Bee.
2. Downtown Abbey.  For this section you may pull out your British accent.  Go ahead, it's ok.  I'm going to.  Last January when my mom broke her ankle, she ordered a little series on DVD called Downtwon Abbey.  She said I could watch them after she was done, and she was soon raving about them.  It only took one episode to know why; the the theme music, the setting, the story, the is crazy good and addicting all in that magical way that great stories are.  It helped me weather a stressful, emotional late winter last year and  I said earlier this month on my Facebook page that "Every winter needs a British drama=) Thank heavens for Downtown Abbey!!"  That it does.
3.  Blogging.  I have had the privilege of blogging for several years, first under the name of my previous business, and this year I transitioned out on my own with new wings as HollieJoyInTheMorning.  I have always loved writing, but haven't made or had much time to pursue it, and I am so thankful for the platform of the blogosphere where so many, including me, can write on our time, in our voice and share with so many so instantaneously.  It pushes me to embark on projects I might not otherwise try (seeing above: Pinterest;)), to grow in my photography and writing, to share something on my heart and to meet so many amazing people publishing their own blogs.
4.   Parties.  I couldn't decide what to call this one, because I love so many things about celebrating: the getting together, the food, the laughter, the sometimes gifts and the creating that goes into making a party special.  Decorating and crafting and making and the celebrating; all of these go a long way back on both sides of my family, so I suppose it's no wonder that I love to do it so.  Each of our family get-togethers this year was special, but I especially threw myself into creating a memorable baby shower for my youngest sister, who was on bedrest, expecting her first child.  I loved the party prep as much as the party itself.  I must say, it is also just as lovely to attend a well thought out and beautiful party, so thank you to those who hosted this year too!
 5.  Baking.  This year after my job change I flung myself into making sure my boys had an amazing, fun and food filled summer.  Part of that required me to try a new recipe, new project and take the family to a new park each week.  This experiment guided our summer at home and made it much more exciting and well, filling.  And the searching for recipes on Pinterest and magazines and checking out countless cookbooks from the library and subsequent baking, cooking, and trying fed our family with memories, and connected me back to something which nourishes me too.
6.  The Explosive Child.  This is not an easy part to write, but ultimately this was the biggest game changer for our family this past year.  When I changed occupations and transitioned back to being home in an even more full time capacity, it wasn't particularly smooth.  We had our family photos done this fall because it had been two years and the boys have grown so much since our last set.  (Thank you Cary Burnett!!)  They have not grown of course, only physically, but have each entered a whole new stage of development.  And with that, we had a perfect storm.  Much of the summer we, as the parents, raged to and fro with our oldest, who responded as his personality would, in explosions.  It threw our family into chaos.  We were at a loss and kept praying for some way, some thing, to help.  It was then that I returned some books to the library and lingered at the "just returned books" rack seeing a book that I almost didn't check out.  But Someone urged me to pull it back out, check it out, and as I began to read the book that weekend at a community school garage sale, I texted my husband and said, "I've found it, there is a way to save our family!".  That book is titled "The Explosive Child" by Ross W. Greene, Ph. D.  It has completely changed how we parent, back to the basics and how we envisioned doing that and being a family from the start.  There have been hard days and much, much better days, but the whole workings of our family is forever altered.  Picture perfect? Hardly.  Every family, every person has a story that is made up of many moments we never see from the outside.    We are just forever grateful to the author of the book that has helped us mend our picture frame, and to the Author of our family who led us that book, just in time.
7.  Scrap Retreat.  There is a place I have had the great pleasure to get away to for several falls called Camp Lutherhaven.  It is nestled in a bay of Lake Coeur d' Alene, ID.  They run camp all year round and I had the pleasure of going to a different scrapping retreat with a dear friend the  miscarriage and broke my ankle. It was there that I emotionally began to heal, and discovered that Lutherhaven had quilt/scrap/craft retreats twice a year. I then asked my sweet husband for that retreat as a Mother's Day gift and there is now no other Mother's Day gift from him that can compete! I seriously love those long four (now maybe five!!) day weekends away where I can sit for hours (!!) and organize my stash, work on pages, and talk to friends, new and old.  I get to do yoga (which gave me my health back) and stretching, get served meals (and not do dishes!!), eat what I want, go to bed when I want, talk with friends new and old, take invigorating, stunning nature filled walks, shower when and if I want to...see what I mean! It is a re-fueling retreat that I can't say enough good about.  It is such a blessing and the staff in charge treat us royally, serving and ministering, just as the weekend itself does.  And due to scaling back on my old work, I may even get to do the spring retreat this year!
8.  Hudson.  My list really doesn't have much of an order, it is sort of chronological, part one thing led to another, but it is always the people that are first in my heart.  My family are gifts I thank God for daily, and this fall we had a beautiful new member join our ranks.  My youngest sister gave birth to sweet Hudson Michael on October 29th.  You can tell in this picture how loved he is by his two Aunties, Heidi and me.  In truth, we are all quite taken with him, including his cousins and Rudy, our dog.  I love him in a way I didn't know love existed, that of an aunt.  I am blessed.  Thank you Angela for sharing your sweet boy with us.
9.  Project of the Year.  I have completed more projects for our home and my enjoyment this year.  It has gone along way to balance years of  having no time for anything of my own.  And I think when all is said and done, ta-da! This is my most favorite project that I completed this year.  Funny, it was also the easiest, the one Mark helped me with and the most impactful.  I found six of these amazing minty green former school science lab table bases this summer.  I sold several, but kept two for, something.  It finally clicked when Mark and I decided to put my vintage door on top and install it in my scrapbook room/office as my work surface.  Is my room completed? NO.  There is much to sort and organize and decorate.  However, my room, the long neglected, storage dumping place, last room to conquer finally has structure.  And some fine bones at that.
10. 40.  No, you read that right.  I turned 40 this past December.  And contrary to what I thought I wanted, I decided I just wanted to have a low key birthday; no huge parties, no big look at me I'm 40 anything.  And so I spent my milestone quietly celebrating with my family, enjoying them and the sweet surprises they gifted me with.  I love presents and I quite loved all of the thoughtful and kind gifts and gestures, cards and hugs I received.  One gift, does stand out a bit though.  My oldest son gave me "40 hours of Shopping" to complete by December 31st at midnight.  At first I thought it was a 40 joke, but it was REAL! I used each and every minute of guilt free shopping, both alone and with my mom and sisters, in all sort of wonderfully configured hours.  And you can bet I can some incredible deals and finds out of that bargain.
So there they are.  My Other Top Ten of 2012 list.  There are many compolations out there, thanks for taking the time to read mine.  I hope your 2013 is filled with as many joys as you can stand, and until my next blog, I'll be scouting out more to bring back to you!
Hollie Joy~