A Year of Bravery

date 1

Date night!

I am participating in Mara Glatzel’s lovely Hello, Wonderful series in September, and today she sent participants an email asking us to acknowledge our efforts. Looking back, I have so much to acknowledge in just this year. Since I started homeschooling, I’ve had to reach out past my typical social awkwardness and anxiety to join groups, meet parents and put together programs for my daughter. This is the first year that I’ve noticed it feels easy. It doesn’t feel easy all of the time, but it does enough for me to step back and notice it.

2014 has been a year of bravery for me. In this guts-filled year, I…

Went swimming for the first time in 13 years

Rode rides at Six Flags for the first time in 13 years

Participated in GISHWHES and pretty much left modesty and reservations at the door

Made online videos, one of which I was visible in

Truly did not give a damn about what others thought (most of the time, a huge jump from every other year of my life)

Entered a fair with an art project and won a blue ribbon

Painted all over the walls–quotes, characters, stars, you name it–with confidence

Took a whole lot of pictures that actually include me in them

Made some friends I would’ve chosen with or without homeschooling

Tried a bunch of new foods, music, date night locations and experiences

Painted in public

Adopted two dogs and trained them on my own (Still working on that! Thanks, YouTube!)

Stood up for what I believed in, even when I shook with fear doing it

Taught a PE class (something I never even considered doing!) Continue reading

Things I Love Thursday

gargoyles lamentThis week, I’m writing press releases, how-to pieces and, of course, singles resources. Come visit the singles pages to learn about various cuisines, vacation ideas, gift ideas and much more in your neck of the woods! They might be for singles, but they’re useful to anyone looking for that kind of information. There’s also chats a few times a week you can join.

In addition to my work, this week I am loving…

Date nights. Love our new babysitter and absolutely love my three hours with my guy every week. This week we went to a Cajun barbecue place we’ve always wanted to try and it was so much fun–the music, food and atmosphere. I am so grateful to have found a sitter that Sprite loves and we love, too.

Girls’ night with my good friend M! We had a wonderful time painting, laughing and sampling tapas.

Watching Wood Sprite grow. She has such height and muscles on her now. She looks so fierce and confident and strong. She’s outside most of the day, like kids should be during the summer months, riding her scooter or hanging upside-down in her tree and making friends. It’s just incredible and humbling to witness. I have never seen so many skinned knees and palms, though! She’s definitely got her papa’s genes.

Visiting the 250 Birthday Cakes in St. Louis! It’s so much fun to spot new ones and we just started taking pictures with them when we see them. We are meeting new people as we visit them, too.

GISHWHES! I am so excited to be a part of the largest scavenger hunt in the world.

Working on the house. We have the resources to do some of the major work now and we are hitting the ground running on it. We feel very grateful to be able to do it, and cannot wait to make both structural repairs and cosmetic changes!

kong treatThe dogs are a constant delight, as ever. We let them play together outside as much as possible when the weather’s nice. (I am loving the gorgeous weather, too! Best summer weather ever!) They are growing so fast! I found a puppy tooth and am keeping it. I’m such a dog mom now, and I wouldn’t have predicted it. Yesterday they played tug-of-war in my lap while I worked. I can’t believe they are 18 weeks old already. Has it already been 10 weeks since we brought them home? Where has the time gone?

Speaking of the pups–dog parks are so much fun! Who’da thought?

The amazing kindnesses of loved ones. My heart just swells with gratitude.

A bookmark one of my students sent me. She’s such a sweet and creative girl, and a good friend of Sprite’s, and it was a really nice surprise.

4-H projects and the county fair. Wood Sprite brought home 20 ribbons and has a project going to state fair! I entered a crayon drawing and got a first place ribbon, too, which was really cool. I’m including a picture of it above.

Our new secular homeschool support group is just amazing. We had a great mom’s night out last week and every day we chat a bit and share resources. We’ve had several playdates and it’s such a wonderful group of people. Thank you for starting it, again, M!

St. Louis parks. I wish the county had the cool water features, too! We do have creeks, though, which are pretty awesome. We love both.

Sprite’s growing independence. Whether she’s making her own breakfast or going off on an adventure with a neighbor kid, she’s just becoming more independent, auto-didactic and autonomous before my eyes. She is so angry about not being able to vote, though, let me tell you! She will go on and on about kids’ rights and lack thereof. Guess those are my genes! She’s becoming more interested in music, too. She did her own immersion study of Elton John last week and this week she’s into Billy Joel. She’s also taking guitar lessons with her sitter and learning to play one of her favorite songs, “Johnny B. Goode.”

“All of Me.” I’m not sure if I know of a more gorgeous song. Indy said, “If Robin Thicke sang this song instead, I bet his wife wouldn’t have left him! This is the song you sing for a woman.” Indeed. I’m not privy to other people’s marriages, but I can say that we’ve danced to this song together and it’s definitely one of the many “our songs” now.

Skin Game, the latest installment of the Dresden Files. I just love Jim Butcher! I just wish I’d read it slower and savored it, which I always wish when I finish one of his books. Now I’m reading the fifth Last Apprentice book. Those are really fun, too.

Green Goodness smoothies from Bolthouse. They are so good, and full of so much good. I have a little cup every morning.

Spending time with our friends B and H at library events, M, E and L at homeschool skate, and lots of other friends at park days. We’ve met a lot of new families this summer, and Sprite has made a really good friend in W, too.

Goofing off with Sprite. Whether we’re zombies or making voices for her pets or whatever, it’s so much fun. She’s even wanted to cuddle a bit lately, like she did when she was a toddler, and I’ve dropped everything to do it because I know it won’t be long before that’s gone.

Homemade lemon shake-ups! They only last five seconds after I shake them, though. Between the three of us, they are gone pretty quickly!

Swimming. Still loving it. Can’t believe I went that long not doing it!

Overtime. As much as I miss Indy when he’s gone, those checks are letting us fix up the house.

I could probably keep going for hours. It’s been a while! What are you loving this week?

 

Sunday Smiles

anniversary 2014It’s funny how I never notice how long I go between blog posts these days until I share my blog link around! I used to post every day, or nearly so, when I wrote for some companies. Now I’m doing almost strictly ghostwriting, which pays well but alas, cannot be linked to from my blog. This week I wrote a bunch of singles resource pages, medical blogs, and answers for Q&A sites, which are really fun to write. If you Google, say, the function of cytoplasm, I might have written the answer you find.

So what are you smiling about this week? I’m smiling about my brand-new touchscreen computer! Oh, I love it, although it takes some getting used to. But to be honest with you, I’d love any computer that holds a charge, isn’t losing its power cord every time you barely touch it, has all of the letters on its keys and is not wobbly when you type, like my old laptop was! Wood Sprite has the old one now, which she loves.

Our 19th anniversary was this Friday, and while I’m not loving that Sprite was sick and we had to cancel our plans, I did love this amazing dinner Indy made. He made tortellini, eggplant Parmesan and fried mushrooms–YUM.

I’m loving my new office, which was the playroom up until last week.

Wood Sprite’s art is amazing! She drew me the coolest dandelion today, and she’s been chalkin’ it up outside all summer on the sidewalks.

sugar skull

We are definitely loving our new pups! Molly and She-Ra are so different but so much fun. Molly is a spitfire and She-Ra is a total cuddler.

growin

 

Sunday Smiles

bright chalkWhat are you smiling about this weekend? I’m smiling because…

Indy is off for the first time in three weeks! We miss him so much, although we also appreciate all of the overtime. He’s sleeping in right now; after work last night, we stayed up to watch some shows on Hulu and snuggled.

Even though I had to miss a night out with the girls, I’m so glad that they got to see each other. Good luck on your new adventure, T! We will miss you and try to visit you in Texas soon.

We are loving this new bright chalk!

Having plenty of work is so nice. It’s tricky to schedule it now that Indy’s not around for Wood Sprite as much, though. Lately I’ve been writing lots of singles resources, plus Q & A pieces for informational websites. If you’ve asked a question about anything from the salaries of various careers to the habits of animals to how computer animation works, chances are I’ve answered it somewhere!

Bonuses. Bonuses are nice.

The library, as usual, makes me smile. I have so many gems from them between inter-library loans, regular books and eBooks!

Seeing family is always nice. I wish I could spend more time with them.

I also had two fillings done on Friday, and Indy and Sprite got haircuts, so we all look a little different. Plus, Sprite and I both had cleanings done in the last two weeks, so Indy’s the only one left to get one this week.

Sprite has chicken pox and she’s incredibly sad about missing her friends, but I’m so grateful for the weather. She’s at least been able to play in the yard.

Claytime

Playtime has been claytime lately at our house, especially when it’s cold. I am loving Wood Sprite’s creations. She filled a shadowbox with tiny clay furniture, a basketball hoop and ball and little creatures the other day. Here are some recent creations, including the pot-bellied pig she wants as a pet and Michelangelo (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
clay

April Fool’s Day

Normally I love April Fool’s and really get in the spirit with my loved ones but not so much this year. We are all grief-stricken and not up for pranks. I did keep my promise to Wood Sprite and made her a silly breakfast, complete with waffles with a grape face and blue milk.

Wood Sprite, on the other hand, tried to prank us all day. Then she ended the day with this lovely tribute to my cousin that I wanted to share. She made the fox out of tape and an old shirt, and the tiny flag out of tape and a toothpick. She is using the latter in her dollhouse as tribute to him, and she gave me the fox flag for my office.
Jays fox

What Dogs Do

This week I’m only ghostwriting: singles resources (movie dates and ideas this time), sports shoes, product descriptions and much more. That will probably be the majority of my work, if not all of it, for the next month or two.

My family is also grieving for someone we all loved very, very much. I do have one fun thing to share today. In an effort to cheer me up, Wood Sprite told me, “This is what dogs do,” and positioned her toys as follows:
butts