I have a friend, Courtney who has a son that is almost the same age as my Beck (6). He is adorable. He has this long, wavy hair that makes him look like a little surfer dude. They get along so well, and when he plays over here, it’s like free time for me. They are so involved with each other.
We have this planned arrangement where each week the boys get together to play at one of our homes. A while ago, it was my turn to have the boys at our home. They were outside jumping on the trampoline, using sticks for sword fights and climbing trees. Typical boy activities. When they came in for lunch, I noticed that Beck’s friend had tree sap all over one side of his head. I didn’t try to get it out, but I did point it out to Courtney, so she could handle it in the bath tub that night.
Cut to the following Sunday at church and that cute little mop head of a boy has a buzz cut.
Courtney just laughed. When I apologized she just said that this is exactly the type of thing boys should be doing, and it will grow back anyway.
Today is was her turn to have Beck over. I was happy about this because I had been planning on doing my long bike ride for the week (30 miles) and I would have the precious alone time to do it. Courtney sent a text while I was riding that included a picture of her sweet 4 month old baby girl. The baby had smiley faces drawn all over her head and face with markers in all the shades of the rainbow. The text read, “Just thought you would like to see what the boys have been up to!”
Again, she just laughed it off.
At dinner tonight, I told this story to my other boys and Tate asked, “Would you be mad at that?” I said, “Probably. I get mad at everything don’t I?” We all laughed, but I was thinking that I want to be more like Courtney in this way.
These are the stories that I will love to think about in the future, so why not enjoy them now as well?
The alarm goes off at 4:35 in the am. I hurry to hit snooze lest I wake up my slumbering husband. I succeed in keeping him asleep, but the border collie is awake and thinking I’m taking her for a walk. She is wrong this time. It’s an early morning spin class that has me getting up at this hour.
First thing I do is check my phone for texts. Maybe my spin buddy has changed her mind. I never mind when this happens because one half of me wants to go to the class, and the other half is already missing my warm bed. Only one of these dueling halves of myself gets to be satisfied at a time. This time it’s the go-getter.
We arrive early to secure a spot. I make sure to chose a bike on the side of the room by the fan. There is a bike directly in front of me which I can see in profile. The guy that chooses that bike seems eager to start peddling. I notice that he rides with his eyes closed and at 5:00am, I find this to be annoying.
Our instructor begins barking out orders (barking? Probably not, but at 5 am it felt that way). She tells us to increase the resistance to a level 9… That we are climbing a big hill. “Out of the saddle! Push! Push!”
But eyes-closed rider is still spinning his little legs as fast as he can possibly go. Why do I care? ’cause I’m grumpy in the morning, that’s why.
I look down at the floor. I tell myself to leave this poor guy to his super fast spinning and stop fixating on his 3/4 length sleeve spandex shirt. Why have I made this stranger my enemy? I just don’t know. But, sometimes I hate riding a stationary bike because my mind is not engaged the same way it is when I’m rididng on the road. Today this super-fast, 3/4 length sleeve wearing, closed-eye peddler was really making the minutes fly by.
Class ends. We wipe down our sweaty machines, guzzle water and head out the door. I am fully awake now and I am quietly repentant for picking on this innocent stranger. Especially because I am not in any position to criticize. But I think perhaps a later start time and some fresh air will do me some good.
So,yeah…I’m not much of a morning person.
Today I went on the first longish bike ride of the season. I rode 25 miles on the Legacy trail near my house.
I have decided to do my very first century ride (100 miles!) this June. I hesitate to even say that publicly, because I meant to do it two years ago, but I failed to train for it properly and I chickened out. The longest I’ve ever ridden is 80 miles, which I am still proud of, but it’s not a CENTURY.
This year I have an 10 week plan in place that will, according to my research, get me ready.
I am to go on one long ride per week that will increase in distance as the weeks go on, and then I have to get in a certain number of miles in for each week doing other short rides. I have broken my rides into three days a week, and as the day of the century approaches, it goes to four. I think I can commit to this plan.
This week, I am doing 25 miles for my long ride and then two short 15 mile rides. I am so out of biking shape and it showed in my ride today. That 25 miles really felt harder than it should have, but I pushed myself and I feel really good.
Maybe telling people will make me accountable and I will feel social pressure to do it. Or maybe I just want encouragement.
Or, maybe I just need a post topic.
No, probably more the encouragement thing.
I think I can! I think I can!
It feels so good to be back to normal!
I finished (well, I had tons of help) all of the jewelry orders and shipped everything that needed to be shipped. It feels great to be out of that pressure cooker. Seems like it’s been crazy like that since October when we decided to go to market. Getting ready, going to Atlanta, and then coming home and producing the product. Blah, blah, blah.
Guess what I’ve been doing this past week?
Enjoying the sunshine for one. I’ve been on my bike several times and even though my body is out of biking mode, it felt amazing to be on it. Sun. Air. Spandex. Pedaling. Joy!
I took a nap in the middle of the day. Yeah, me. I read a book till it made me sleepy and then I napped with my dog. Awesome.
I cleaned my house. Dove into that huge pile of laundry that I’ve been tripping over for two weeks.
I worked in my yard! This weather is like electricity in my veins. I was on my knees in the dirt. Inhaling the fresh earth as I removed leaves from fall and winter. I found little green fingers reaching up for the sun. It’s almost spring, and I just can’t wait for it. I have pledged not to neglect my yard this year like I did last year.
I watched a three day online photography workshop given by one of my favorite photographers. It was inspiring and amazing and so worth the time I invested. It got my juices flowing so much that I have been forcing my friends to do portrait sessions and oh, baby! am I getting good stuff.
I finished a book that I loved reading. If you haven’t read A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, I highly recommend it. I now think of myself as two people. Pre-Million Miles In A Thousand Years Kelly, and Post-Million Miles In A Thousand Years Kelly. It was just that good. I read that one a few months ago, and it made me want to read his other book Blue Like Jazz, which is the one I just finished. I really love his writing style and his humor.
I have been cooking again, yo. I made Indian food for the first time and I LOVED it. I might post the recipe, but I didn’t take pictures, so maybe I’ll make it again. I had to do some hunting for crazy spices that my grocery store doesn’t carry, but I think it was worth the trouble. I have instituted “Adventure Night” here at our house. One night a week, we eat something new and exciting. Maybe even exotic. I thought it might be a fun way to get the boys out of their picky eating food ruts. I think it’s working because instead of pulling faces, they have been eager to see where we “travel” to for dinner.
Now that things are back to normal, I might even post more often on my blog. It just feels so good to be back to normal!
Until July when it starts all over again.
Well it’s official. The Fish is no longer a cub scout. He is a BOY scout. Which, in case you don’t know comes with better activities, and cooler uniforms.
There was a ceremony during which one of the leaders told the native american story about what the arrow of light is all about. She did a great job. Josh got to sit on a buffalo hide right up front to hear the story.
Then he got to walk across the ceremonial bridge into his ‘boyscouthood’.
The best part of the night was when they told him to give his mom a kiss. Right there in front of everyone, which is something he would rather DIE than do. But I loved it.
Soon after this event, the scouts went on the Klondike, which is a wintertime, overnight campout. It was really hard for me to send him on his way with a bunch of dudes for the whole night to sleep in tents in the dead of winter. Who would make sure he was warm enough? This is what mothers are for!
Turns out, they scored heated cabins and one of the leaders sent a text of The Fish learning to play poker. Ha! The text said, “What happens at scout camp, stays at scout camp”.
He had a great time.
And, I survived too.
I just finished a book called 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It’s the first King novel I’ve read and I loved it. It’s historical fiction, which I find fascinating, and despite the length (864 pages!) I was captivated the entire time.
It’s a story about a guy who travels back in time to stop the assassination of J.F.K. That is it in a nutshell, but there are interesting historical nuggets, a love story, and little bits of mystery and intrigue throughout to keep you turning pages.
Today on the way home from picking up Tate from school, we were talking about the latest books we’ve read and I told him that I just finished this one. He asked what it was about, so I gave a quick summary. He asked me if the guy was able to save President Kennedy, and I answered him. I won’t tell you, in case you want to read it yourself, but I will share what I told him next. I told him that every little thing this guy did in the past changed the future in some way. Even the little things, like having breakfast in a restaurant.
This led to a discussion about the butterfly effect and how every choice we make affects our future in some way. I told him the story about when I almost didn’t turn in a job application to the place where I ended up meeting Kelly D. I was seriously in my boyfriends’ car debating about whether or not I was going to apply for that job. I almost didn’t.
Tate’s mouth dropped open and he said, “But I like Dad! Would you have met him somewhere else?” I don’t know, so that’s what I told him. Maybe, I guess, but probably not. What would my life look like now? Where would I live? What would I be doing? It blows my mind to think that way.
So then Tate said, “Would I still be your son?”
Oh, now that is certain. That kid was meant to occupy a very specific place in my heart. Same with the other two.
So, I answer, “Oh, yes. For sure. But you might look different.” He thinks for a moment then says, “Well I’m glad then because dad makes me look hot.”
“Well people are always telling me I look just like Dad, and I’m glad because he looks GOOOOOD.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I met a woman in Atlanta who went through a very intense personal struggle. She had cancer, and during her treatment, every possible negative side effect that could be experienced was happening to her. She became deeply depressed.
During this time, she received a note from a friend which contained these words: Trust your journey.
She told me these words were like a lifeline to her. Later, her co-worker and friend experienced a different kind of trial when her husband died leaving her with an 18 month old child. The first woman shared the message that had meant so much to her and it brought her friend comfort as well.
The two of them started a company as a way to get that message out to people who might need to hear it.
I have been thinking about those women and their message a lot since I got home.
Not all of our journey’s include the same kinds of trials and heart break, but they can all be scary at times and we can find ourselves asking why we are going through certain things. Why me? Why this? Or, we can feel unsure of change and be afraid to venture down new paths.
I remember once a couple of years ago, I wrote something on my blog about being sad. I don’t remember what I was whining about at the time, but I do remember a comment that a reader left me that I have always remembered. She said, that God has designed a rich and full experience for us all including hills and valleys. I really loved this notion. Especially the word designed. It is not just by chance that I am having the experiences that I do. It is by design. They are meant to teach me, to stretch me, or to prepare me for something in my future.
Trusting my journey, for me means making an effort to learn something of value from trials, to enjoy those thrilling hills and to trust that there is a plan in place that I may not be able to see with my limited perspective, but that will take me where I need to go.
See more about Trust Your Journey HERE. They are wonderful women!
My baby turned six yesterday. He lost his first tooth just in time for the big day.
How does it go so quickly?
We did our usual birthday traditions around here which include:
Waking up to the birthday banner hung in your honor.
Choosing the menu for dinner.
After dinner, we go around the table and tell what we love about the birthday boy.
This can be a little embarrassing.
The boys choose their birthday cake and my boys seem to choose the most random decorations that my limited cake decorating skills are shamefullly put on display for all to see. Still, though, I like them to see Mom making their cake just as they ordered it. Beck chose a layered chocolate and ice cream cake with vanilla frosting. The word ‘Beck’ and a brown squirrel on top.
Of course there are candles to blow out.
Next, it’s time for presents.
Such a happy part of the birthday!
Beck asked for a “spy suit”. Basically, all black from head to toe so he can sneak around outside and spy on people.
Beck was so excited for his birthday to come this year. He told me he feels older and bigger now that he’s six. I am feeling older now that he’s six too!
We love our Becker Boy so much, and our home just wouldn’t be the same without him.
Scene: Bathroom. Getting Beck (5) ready for kindergarten. I am fixing his hair into the perfect little rhino-horn just how he likes it.
Beck: “Mom. I feel like I want to say a word that I shouldn’t say.”
Me: “Well, you better not say it then.”
A quiet minute goes by.
Beck: “That’s it! I can’t resist! ……. BALL SACK!”
I swear to you, it was not my influence this time.
This is a photo courtesy of Beck (5) who was playing with my iPhone during one of the Wednesday night activities with my Miamaids. We were making chili for a contest that was judged by our bishopric that same night. We took second place. Now, I’m not one to question the outcome of that contest, but the panel of judges included a man who has a soft spot for Spaghetti O’s. I’m just saying…
Today as I was looking for a different photo on my phone, I stumbled across a blurry series of pictures of us cooking together and it made me weepy. I am no longer their leader and it makes me super sad. I feel like they’re my girls!
I just hate it when a chapter closes. Gets me every time.
Once, I was swamped with work and was feeling completely overwhelmed by list of things to do, so what did I do? I text Shelby and said, “Hey, let’s go out to lunch and then go look for Christmas ornaments at Tai Pan.”
Which, is the exact opposite of what I should have been doing, but sometimes that is how I cope with too much work and no time to do it. I shut down.
This is what is happening right now. I am looking at Facebook, taking cell phone pictures of my dog and writing this rather boring post on my blog. Don’t tell Kelly. He thinks I’m working. And, seriously, I should be.
Speaking of working.
Around Christmas time, I read this manifesto on Facebook. And, it really struck me for a variety of reasons, but most especially because of the fact that we are small, local business owners and there are so many challenges involved with being self-employed. At the time I read this, I was feeling the squeeze of the economy and our changing industry and basically I was just scared.
I have been trying to patronize small businesses around me since then. I know I’m only one person, but still.
So, now we have this little jewelry business going and I have many large orders to fill. I can’t do it all myself. In fact, I need to be removed from the equation altogether because I need to do the designing and dealing with the business side of this little monster we’ve created. (good monster!) We found a place in New Jersey that can produce my designs, but it’s expensive and slow. We could get it done overseas, but that is just not sitting right with me. (See above.)
One night as I was laying in bed, I had the thought that if we get enough work, I could pay local people to produce it. If I teach them how to do the simple techniques, then send them home with a box of supplies and a deadline, this little jewelry business could benefit me as well as someone else.
People have told me it’s just not cost effective to do it here in the states, especially locally, but I am going to try it anyway. I think it can work. The plan is to have a training session and make a few pieces together till people have the techniques down, and then they can take home the necessary supplies to make the jewelry on their own time schedule, as long as the deadline is met. I will do quality control and pay on a per piece basis.
If you or anyone you know is interested, leave a comment or email me and I’ll get in touch with you about the details.
It’s really not going to be a sweat shop. There will be better wages and, if you sweat a lot while making jewelry, you are doing it wrong.
It took nearly 12 hours to set up our booth at market. It was an ambitious booth, but we wanted to make a good impression.
During our time setting up, we met all of our surrounding booth neighbors and most of them were very nice, and the rest of them were either interesting or entertaining, so all in all, a good mix of folks.
There was this one guy, Dan, who was there alone, and after getting to know him that first day, I asked him to direct me to the food establishments so that we could grab a quick lunch. He handed me a twenty dollar bill and asked if we wouldn’t mind getting him a lunch each day as well since he was stuck at his booth. No problem.
His order: Just the sandwich. No drink or sides.
So, Kelly heads off to Chick-fil-a. (headquarters in Atlanta!)
Next day, Kelly is heading out for lunch and comes back with turkey sandwiches from a deli. They were good too! But, he made a special trip to get Dan his chicken sammy from Chick-fil-a. I asked Kelly, “He wants another chicken sandwich?” Kelly said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Ok, so now it’s day three. Kelly went a bit farther to get some yummy burritos from a mexican place. They were good too. After he delivered mine to me, he somewhat begrudgingly headed back up to Chick-fil-a to get Dan’s sandwich. Isn’t that weird? A chicken sandwich every day? That’s what I thought too.
So, day four comes. We are having pulled pork sandwiches and this time, Kelly had to wait in a huge line to get Dan’s daily chicken sandwich. At this point, the chicken run is starting to be kind of annoying. But, the guy is all alone, so what can you do?
The next day, I am going to get the lunch, so I walk over to Dan and say, “Hey Dan, I’m going to the Corner Bakery for some lunch, would you like a salad or something? Or do you want Chick-fil-a again?”
So, he says, “Oh geez. Please no more chicken. I think I’m starting to grow feathers. I don’t think I can stomach another chicken sandwich.”
Oh boy, did I laugh. And laughed and laughed. I’m laughing right now, in fact just thinking about it. Kelly had just assumed he wanted these chicken sandwiches and Dan, not wanting to seem ungrateful, kept choking them down, one after the next.
That day he got a Chinese chicken salad with all sorts of yummy things on it, including a spicy-sweet dressing and edamame.
Its true, guys. People in the south are so nice! Is nice too generic a word? Ok, how about these: helpful, friendly, polite, smiley, pleasant, chatty, personable.
But I have a question…
Why is it, that when I talk to someone with a southern accent, do I start to talk with a fake southern accent?
I keep catching myself mid-sentence and willing myself to quit because how big an idiot do I sound like?
But here is the thing… I wish I could talk like that all of the time.
Today was the first day of market. We worked our tails off all day long yesterday setting up our booth.
After we finished setting up, we had a quick dinner then headed back to the hotel to finish pricing all the product and getting our order forms ready. We didn’t get to bed until 1 am! It wasn’t bad though because at that hour, and after such a long day, everything is funny. We were laughing to the point of tears at the dumbest things, mostly the names I have given some of these jewelry pieces. Good times.
We were up bright and early this morning and headed first thing back to market. Want to see the booth? Ok, drumroll…………..
We used some old windows and a door to create this store front facade. Inside each window is a one of four different collections of jewelry I designed. Each collection was made with similar colors and materials or with the same feel so they look great together as a group.
The first one is called Route 66.
Think silver, turquoise and leather. I wrote little stories or thoughts to go with each piece so that people will have a more personal connection with the jewelry in addition to being drawn to the look. I want them to be meaningful. Here’s the intro to Route 66:
When I was in my early 20’s, I had a little red pick up truck. That truck, plus a full tank of gas was absolute freedom.
I used to go on road trips every weekend with my girlfriends. My mother gave me a McNally road atlas for my birthday, and I made a hand-tooled leather cover for it and carved the words “Live Free” on the front. It was always in the glove compartment of my little truck. We would take it out, choose a state, close our eyes and blindly point to our next destination on the map. We slept on the side of the road or in parking lots in the bed of that truck. We drove it to see bands play in small clubs, to Las Vegas, or during those bleak pre-spring weeks, we drove until we found the sun in California.
This jewelry collection is infused with that attitude and spirit. Stopping at Native American roadside jewelry stands, eating out of rest stop vending machines, wind in your hair, your favorite music on the radio, a road atlas, and of course…
a full tank of gas.
Next is Nature Inspired:
There is more inspiration for art in nature than anywhere else. Color, texture, metaphor and the changing of the seasons have inspired this collection of jewelry.
I hope that you feel my appreciation for the beauty of the earth in every single piece.
Then there’s Vintage Treasures:
I love old things. Objects that have a history are fascinating. If they could speak, they would tell tales of the lives of people that lived with and loved them. Vintage jewelry is especially close to my heart. Who wore it? Was it a gift? Where has it traveled and what has it seen?
With this collection of jewelry, I have tried to create pieces that you will be sentimental about. Pieces that look and feel like they have a history. Antiqued metals, lockets and pearls have all been used to this end. Wear them through your own life’s adventures and someday they will tell your own story.
And, lastly, I did a collection called Caribbean Getaway:
This collection of jewelry was inspired by a recent Caribbean vacation. Upon arrival, it was love at first sight. I was in love with everything I saw: water, sun, sand, shopping in street markets, even the buildings in the villages.
My hope is that you will love the colors and materials I have used in these pieces. That they will evoke the atmosphere of that magical place and that no matter where your daily grind takes you, in a corner of your mind, you’ll be somewhere in the Caribbean, a million miles away from responsibility.
People seem to get it. They are appreciating what I have tried to do with this product and we’ve written several orders today. I hear it’s even busier on Saturday and Sunday so I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings!
Helllllllooooo from Atlanta!
Long day of traveling, but we arrived here and had just enough time to head over to where the market is held and find out booth space.
I took a picture of it’s skeleton because see that sign hanging there that says Boutique? That means we got into the section we wanted, but thought we didn’t get into. SO happy about that. It’s a juried section, which means you have to apply, and be approved to be in there. They are also more picky about how the booth spaces look too.
We found our space and were relieved to find that our 600 pound eagle (box O’ stuff that we shipped) was intact and exactly where it was supposed to be. We began setting up tonight, but will finish tomorrow. Ours is a shallow 4′ deep but 25′ wide. Wait till you see what we have planned for it!
We walked around to check out some of the other vendors and found the center of the building which Kelly referred to as the Borg Collective. Do you know what that is? No? Ok, how about this: It also looks like that scene from Star Wars where Luke is fighting with Darth Vader and he finds out he’s his father (Luuuuuke…I am your faaaaaaather) and then almost falls off that balcony into endless space.
Why don’t I just show you the photo I snapped with my phone then.
I am a tiny, little fish in that giant pond. Look at that! I couldn’t even get all the floors in the photo. Oh, and this is only one of three buildings. It is an intimidating scene. But, Kelly is all pumped up about it, so it’s rubbing off. I always feel freaked out whenever I do anything like this. Boutiques, bridal expos, you name it. It’s like setting up a booth and sitting there asking people to like you. It’s brutal. But, exciting too. I will focus on that.
Lastly, I will leave you an iPhone photo of Kelly D. on the longest escalator I have ever seen. It is at the Peachtree subway station and goes straight into the earth’s core. I think the walls are actual bedrock, or magma, or wait, what’s in the center of the earth?