Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In the Mood

I'm in the moooooood (said like a ghost) to spooooooooook. hu-huhuhuhuh (evil laugh). Too bad the weather isn't going to cooperate! Last year we almost froze our sparkle shoes right off, this year there is supposed to be crazy storms and tornado watches. So unless we feel like going to Halloween as Dorothy we should stay indoors. Apparently terrible weather for the 31st is no new news here... the city decides when you are "allowed" to trick or treat and there's a chance they are going to postpone it until Friday. Postpone Halloween? Kinda feels like calling off Christmas... I mean, how weird is that?! ---Maybe it's not so weird in some cities, but this SoCal family wants it's candy.. I mean, er, the kids just wanna have fu-un. ehhhhhheheheheheheh (evil witch cackle). My fingers hurt from sprucing up a costume I ordered in the mail that Ev deemed too, "lame," today --and now it's, "coooool."So either way we are ready to get our treats.

And here's a Halloween layout...

I'm also in the mood to eat an entire tray of my famous caramel apple dip. Mmmm.
The End

Monday, October 28, 2013

Feeling Lucky

Hello, my name is Lucky Harms, and I am addicted to roller derby...

This past Saturday I was given a chance to skate during evaluations. I had to pass the skills test at 100% in order to qualify to move up to scrimmage status. I will never forget this day. I was doing my laps (we have to do 27 in under 5 minutes) and I just couldn't get my act together. There was no good reason for it, I had completed this successfully a few times before. I felt strong. I had been prepping and visualizing and eating well. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of great excuses for struggling... my left skate felt extra slippery (I swear every time I put my skates on they feel different).. the track was slick because it had been cleaned.. it was super cold in our warehouse.... I wasn't warmed up enough.. I was with a bunch of fresh meat... blah blah blah. Excuses.

What really happened was I couldn't get out of my head. Even though I had told myself I could do it I had this doubt in the back of my mind... the timed laps were the only element I was unsure of. So when I skidded out early on I thought, oh shoot, that's not good. I tried to laugh it off and calm down. Then I fell again.... uh oh, time to get my act together, I thought. Then again. NOOO! I thought, this can't be happening! I HAVE to do this!!! Then I slid totally out of bounds and I knew it couldn't be done. I had eaten too much time... but I kept going anyway hoping I could settle into the stride and speed up enough to make up the difference. Time to stop screwing around... everyone was shouting, "come on Lucky, calm down! you got this! focus!" ... I could barely breath, asthma kicked in, panic struck, doubt took over. What if I don't make it? I want to scrimmage SO bad before our move!

When the time was called I fell down to my knees, screamed one very simple obscenity, and spiked my helmet in anger. Five minutes were up and I had only competed 25 laps. I bawled into my hands.... I felt embarrassed... for not being able to pull myself together enough to finish in time.. and for behaving like a child afterward.

Not a great way to start the evaluation day.

Luckily for me I have some amazingly supportive teammates, who are more like family at this point. One of them came over to me and explained that, yes that really sucked, and it was not supposed to play out like that, but it's not the time to dwell on it... she told me to pick myself up and murder the rest of the test so that I would leave no doubt in anyones mind I AM scrimmage ready... "We all know you can do this, Luck. Now go do it."

I thought my chances for scrimmage may be dashed, but that doesn't mean that I can't make myself proud during the rest of the day. So I shake it off, calm down, and do everything to 100% capacity. I leave no doubt.

When all of that is done I decide it's now or never.... I will be leaving this team in no time, I have to ask if I can do the laps again, even though I'm not sure my body will cooperate. I don't make excuses for the first round, I just simply ask for another chance. This is an unorthodox request... typically when doing these tests you get one shot.... they talk it over as a committee and tell me yes, but I have to do them now.

Ok. This is it. There was no way I was going to leave without trying a second time. I have to do this. But will my body let me? At this point my breathing is questionable.. I haven't quite figured out how to manage my sports asthma yet... and I have been skating hard for three solid hours. I'm exhausted.

I decide that none of that matters. I have to try.....

So I stepped up to the line and told myself, you got this.... then I start skating and quickly realize I had nothing.... I mean, my tank was empty (and I have to mention I am a pretty decent judge of my endurance level... having run a full and several half marathons). Every single crossover was painful, every breath a strain.... but I was moving forward, the laps were ticking off... and I wasn't stumbling anymore. I am not a quitter. Leave it on the track.

My teammates began to scream, "hurry up, Lucky! You have to move faster! You're so close but you have to pick up the pace!" I thought, really?! I'm not gonna make it again?! There is just no way I can move any faster! I tell myself to refocus... but I really wanted to start crying.... could I handle two failures like this in the same day? Why am I doing this again? This is crazy! Impossible! I don't have it in me... I choke up.....but somehow I keep up the pace..... I tell myself no one is going to hand this to me. now is the time to reach out and take it. It's not going to be another failure.

Just when I would think about being tired I would hear a teammate yell something encouraging, pushing me. more motivation. It's almost over, I think. This is it. You're so close. I pick up my feet, move forward, stay low, breathe. Near the end I hear someone shout that I have five left but I have to move my ***.... so I do. I pick up my feet faster.  I focus on getting the most out of my stride. I begin to tell myself, this is going to be a victory. you are going to do this. this will not be defeat. take it. take it. take it now. you can do this. you are going to cry when it's over... from pride, not defeat. make yourself proud, right now, today.

The last two laps I can tell it's going to be close because everyone is on their feet screaming for me to hurry up.... I can hear them but I remind myself to stay on your feet, don't do anything crazy... sprint to the finish..... I come around that final turn and literally make a run for the finish line throwing myself across helmet first at the end......

I hear cheering and screaming and clapping and I am crying, and coughing, and can hardly breathe. I look up, did I make it?! "5:00 on the nose," a teammate says. "That's the closest I've ever seen anyone come without going over... you fought for every single second, Lucky. I'm so proud of you."

I cry some more and someone helps me to my feet reminding me to take deep breaths. I get hugs and high fives and, "that was awesome's." I feel like a million bucks.... I did this.... against the odds of the day. I took that self doubt and worry and a threw it out the window and chose my own outcome.

This is why I love roller derby.

Some days the victories are smaller... almost unnoticeable.. but they are always there.... and it's all for the taking. I'm lucky to have the chance to play this spectacular sport that suits me so well. I'm lucky to be a part of this team. I'm lucky to have a family who supports this all consuming hobby. I'm lucky to be referred to as an athlete, even as a 31 year old Mom of four. I'm Lucky...

and I will be getting my *** handed to me during Monday nights scrimmages from now on!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Let's Swing

Around these parts we choose which park we're going to visit based on what type of swings it offers. My kids LOVE to swing. They are nuts for it. So naturally I have lots and lots of photos of them doing so....

I'm sure all too soon I'll be looking back on these days with a longing for the time when they would beg me to keep pushing, "higher, higher, high up to the sky, high as it goes Mom!"....
It struck me that I should scrap their favorite activity....

These swing excursions are so funny because Dez is usually perfectly happy hanging out in his stroller while Ev switches from the big girl swings to the baby ones like Goldi-locks. She has yet to find the perfect fit since she finds that the big ones are hard to hold on to, and while she doesn't want to be seen as a baby, she realizes that I will push her MUCH higher in the baby swings.

Then at some point she'll instruct me that Dezmond needs to swing too. "He really, really wants to Mom!"--she points towards him and he just looks at me like, huh? me? what are we talking about?-- So of course I comply and she gives up the baby seat to him (now that's love)... then she tells me I'm not pushing either of them high enough.... he giggles his head off. I push harder but get nervous that they are both going to fall out..... but then I figure if they do at least they'll learn the importance of holding on. ;)

sometimes Nakiah gets in the mix when I drag him to the park as well. He fluctuates between helping push (MOooooM. Do I have to?!) and teaching Ev how to pump her legs. Then he hops in one himself, goes so high he makes the set shake and flings himself off of the thing at top speed.. Sometimes landing on his feet.. Sometimes, not. So that's how it goes. Swings for the win.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October Mini

Thanks to those who left some nice comments on my last post. I'm taking good days with the bad and will continue to do the best I can. (and I'm feeling a bit more sane with Hottie in town) Now back to the scrappy crap :) ....

Each year I make a mini book for October. Think December Daily, but without the daily part.. and the December, obviously. I typically love the time of year. I spookify the house, the kids wear Halloween tshirts and jammies, we wip out The Nightmare Before Christmas and other scary-ish kids movies. We usually even throw some sort of soiree... even if it's just for our little family. Not sure how all of this will play out given our circumstances this year, but I'm ok with that. At the very least I figured I would have lots of shots of the kids in costumes on the 31st.

It's nice to have a place to put them all...

So what I did was create the foundation for pages, adding some embellishments here and there. Once I have photos from the day I will add them in and embellish and journal around them. This way it will be finished rather easily and quickly.

It's fun to be able to compare the albums from year to year too. My what can happen in a year!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Keeping it Real

This whole holding down the fort thing is harder than I expected.. which is quite a statement considering that I expected it to be a total nightmare.

I'm having a really hard time keeping it together.

I cry multiple times a day. I lose my temper. I get really overwhelmed (even more than usual). I don't really want to get dressed or put makeup on. I can't seem to fit a shower in before 11pm.

The days fly by but stand still all at the same time.

If you follow this blog you know that I don't like to be a big Debbie Downer.. at least not on here. This is where I post about the stuff I make and little things that are fun to share about my life... not where I vent until my fingers fall off..... I don't want to bum anyone out. But this is real life.... and I'm giving new meaning to scrapping through it.

Right now I'm on day 7 of Hottie's 8 days in a row working out of town. Even though he's coming home tomorrow (finally. hallelujah. thank you baby jesus, and all that.) I can't seem to snap out of my funk. Maybe it's because I know he has to just turn right around and leave for another 7... and I'm still waiting for our house to sell, so I don't know how long this will go on for.

This week was out of control. It was more than I can handle. I need some things to change so that I can continue to do this for our family. I tried my hardest to be patient and loving with the kids. I gave my all in keeping the house as clean as possible (and then there were no showings. grrrrrrr.) I tried to reach out  when I felt I had no one to talk to, was at the end of my rope. But the truth is it wasn't good enough. I feel like I'm floating on an island.... (oh man. floating on an island alone sounds kind of amazing... I meant that in a totally negative, lonely & desperate kinda way.)

Looking after 4 kids, puppy training, selling a house, worrying about what's next, trying to take care of myself... it's too much. Were there ok moments? Times when I felt like, hey this isn't so bad, I might be able to handle this for a bit.... sure. But then something random would happen and the day would crumble into teeny tiny pieces. I described it yesterday to my older boys, telling them to envision we are a family of dominoes.. if one falls out of line it's going to knock all of us down. Somethings gotta give.

I try to remember this is only temporary. I picture what it will look like once we are settled in OH, together. I remind myself over and over that there are people that have it SO much worse than us. SO much worse. I try to take it one day at a time, not put too much pressure myself. I try to tell myself that I am strong and determined and that I can get through anything. I try. I'm trying. I guess that's the best I can do.

So that's it. Sorry it's such a bummer of a post. I'm just keeping it real. This is whats going on in my life right now. I promise to keep it to fun scrappy stuff and happier family times in the future (mostly)... because I'm pretty sure you don't read blogs to be brought on down to Bummertown. Thanks for listening reading.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

this is how I roll: Quick Layout Edition

I'm finding more and more with Hottie out of town (Jesus take the wheel. Seriously. More on this later.) that I have to find little 5 minute snippets of time for scrapping.... especially since I have to keep putting allllll of my stuff (clutter) away every time the house gets shown. (and half of it is currently in boxes in the garage) 

Generally I consider myself a fairly tidy crafter. I make my creative mess while in the middle of a project but promptly put away everything all neat and in it's place once I'm done. Sometimes a layout will take a few days and it just sits on my desk, waiting for completion, in the middle of what might look like a product explosion. Not anymore. Now I'm at the mercy of potential house buyers (puh-leeeze someone buy my house!!). So it's extra important that if I start something I need to finish it, pronto... 

I did this one, start to finish during a 35 minute time span when Ev was at preschool and Dez was taking his morning nap (the stars aligned for that one!).... 

The cool thing about completing a layout in this short amount of time is that there isn't a lot of time spent second guessing yourself. No, "oh, do I like my title better here? Or there? Maybe I need a different font. Where is that yellow washi?" --ain't nobody got time fo dat.... at least not me, right now. I'm actually pleased with the outcome. To be honest even if I had more time I don't know that I would change anything.... except maybe getting the date on the sticker right (since these photos were taken in 2012) ;) Have you scrapped fast lately?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mr. Snicklefritz

I thought it was about time for an update on our little (not so little) pup. Fritz is now almost 6 months old. He's a really good dog, and too smart for his own good.. or maybe too smart for our good. He's mostly behaved with the kids. Although when they (Evareaux) see him they get a bit over excited (Evareaux) and run across the room like a wild animal (Evareaux) with their arms flailing, screaming and giggling (Evareaux).. this make him do the same thing... minus the screaming and arm flailing... and it usually results in someone getting nipped in the butt (Evareaux)... then someone getting yelled at (Evareaux and Fritz)

So we decided that it was a good time to start puppy training. (I mean, why not? With Hottie out of town for 5-7 days at a time, whats one more thing on my plate?) (!!!!!!) But really, he needs it, and even though I don't feel all that excited or capable of working diligently with Fritz I know if I put the time in now I will be happy down the line. 

So we called a company that comes to your house to work with you and your pet and I have to say... they. are. incredible. Our trainer (I say, "our" because I am fully aware she is training me even more than Fritz) was here for 3 hours yesterday. After she left I felt a little overwhelmed and like I sounded ridiculous while saying, "bahhhhhh," in a growling tone at Fritz... but after working with him last night I was shocked at the strides he was already making.

I'm excited at the things this means for our family, and for our little puppy.

and this will even mean no more Weim crime.... 

I promise to share the company we are using (as it's a national company that some of you may be interested in using) after some time, and our 4 initial visits, has passed. The proof is in the pudding so I have to first make sure that Fritz and I can train each other I can train Fritz and keep him that way. :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Project Life Baby Album

I did it! I finished Dezmond's baby photo album. The fact that he has a completed one, as the fourth child, and my others don't is a bit funny to me. (I plan on fixing this in due time.) I owe it all to the Project Life format of scrapbooking. It makes putting things into an album quick, painless, and certainly less intimidating... 

I will say that once I printed out a years worth of photos and started the undertaking of organizing them into chronological order I thought, oh boy, this will take forever.. but once I completed that task the rest came together easily.

I pulled some supplies together along with my baby core kit and hit the ground running.

Project Life is actually intended to be a simple, bare minimum version (you can hear creator Becky Higgins intention here).. I take it up a little notch when I do it. I like to add embellishments here and there, alter journal cards, throw in a bit of texture... I do think her kits are an easy jumping off point, and they help keep continuity in an album, so I always start with them. 

For this particular book I kept things super simple. In the interest of completing the project, but also because I don't want an album full of cheesy trends and things that I would look back on years from now and feel silly about. This was all about the journaling and capturing Dezi's first year in a way that felt organic, complete, and most importantly, heartfelt.

So here are some (too many probably, sorry for photo overload) peeks into his album...

So that's it! What do you think? 

I also want to say, I know I probably sound like a commercial for Project Life, but I'm actually not affiliated with it in any way. (although it is my dream to be, one day) I just really believe that simplifying the scrapbooking process helps get it done, and I'm all about that... especially for this kind of project. This method also allows the photos to be the star as well as opening up spaces to add journaling, notes to baby, milestones recorded, all of the important stuff. It can all happen in one place, and it can all be completed in a weekend if you so desire... that is pretty cool.