Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello, my name is Amy, and I have a problem

I am an addict. I have invested far too much time and money into my vice. It has kept me up nights, caused me to spend money I don't have, and robbed my children of hours of my awesomeness.

So I quit. Cold turkey. Last year I decided, "I cannot keep this up. I am the mother of three, a wife, and a professional. It is not in my character to let something like this consume my thoughts and my free time." That's it...I'm done. Forever. And being the strong person that I am I haven't caved in over a year and a half. I haven't even touched the stuff.

And y'all...my life is comfortably boring. I am totally talking about scrapbooking!

So seriously...I was too far behind, had too many little kids, not enough space. Yada yada yada. Blah.

Then I ran across this amazing coupon from one of my favorite photo sites. Shutterfly is so easy to use, has fantastic quality items, is super fast, and gives great coupons. I'm hooked. I have spent hours making beautiful albums for my mom and mom-in-law. I made an amazing book about our beach trip, full of fantastic memories and wonderful pictures. I couldn't have been happier. That was it! No more stealing a day here and there to haul out all of my JUNK to spend sleepless nights while my kids are tucked in cropping out detailed spreads. I could do online in hours what I would NEVER get done in real life.

And I was pleased with this and myself. I felt so saavy and smart. Then one of my great friends invited me to a scrap party at her house. Knowing about my affair with digital scrapping, she suggested I bring my laptop and put together albums while she and the girls gut and glue. I was so cocky when I ran into her in Hobby Lobby the night before. "So...buying supplies? I guess I don't need to, huh?" ha. haha.

Brad loaded up up my car with my homemade snacks and laptop bag. That was it! No dragging suitcases full of equipment from under the bed. No pulling tote boxes from closet shelves. "I am so smart!" I think to myself smuggly. "Why in the world would anyone mess with all of that when they could do THIS?!?!"

So I got to her house. She had cleared me a super comfy corner of her sectional for me to curl up and "scrap" away. We ate, we talked, we looked at each others' books. Time to get this thing rolling.

Only....They were sharing papers and gadgets and stickers and trinkets. And they were discussing layouts and colors. And there was all of this talk about your own handwriting for your kids to keep. Sheesh!

And I miss my cutters and punches! I long to flip through papers and stickers and real photos. Not to mention I have scrapped hundreds of boy pages, and now I finally have a girl to create layouts about! Did you know that there are glittery papers? Come on, now! I need me some of that!!!

So I went home all caught up from being 3 years behind on 3 kids (which combined with our family album is, like, 12 years in scrapbook talk.) But I was also sad.

So after thinking it over, I have decided that my Shutterfly album is going to be beautiful. It is even better because it catches me up. But as for me and my house...we need mom-made books. And now that I am not so far behind, perhaps I can keep up? I may even fanagle my way into getting to go to the famous scrapbook weekend. I figure that if I can make myself work on books regularly from now on, I won't get so far behind that I feel like I can never get it done.

Besides...even if that happens....Shutterfly will always be there!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Puddles and Pig-tails

So I have this marvelous idea...not so original, but much needed (I think.)

I am kinda the garage sale queen. I love getting up early on Friday mornings in the summer to search side roads for bargains. Especially bargains that are in the form of clothes for my kids.

I don't think I have to tell you how expensive it is to outfit a kid-much less three. And surely you know our country is in the middle of a financial blurp right now (have you bought groceries lately? A gallon of milk? Yikes!)

And there are so many moms in town that have their kids dressed in the cutest outfits. Outfits that I envy and hope to find at yard sale prices someday.

Anyhoo...I was thinking about my growing pile of kids clothes that my own can no longer wear, combined with their never ending need for new things (that will soon be outgrown.) Combine that with the prep time required to properly host a sale of my own...and here I am back to my fantastic plan.

I am thinking that a huge Arkadelphia Mom's Shop and Swap would be so much fun. I have been planning it out in my head for months, and have finally come to the conclussion that it is totally do-able.

How awesome would it be for all of us great Arkadoo moms to get together on one Saturday to sale all of our kids' clothes, toys, furniture, and bedding at one location? Think Duck Duck Goose without complicated tagging systems, distance, and someone making money off of your items.

So here is what I am thinking....after hours of driving I have a plan!

One weekend we all pitch in a nominal fee (probably around 10-15 dollars to cover expenses and advertising.) Every one hosts their own mini sale at one location. Your stuff, your prices, your hard earned moolah....and maybe a few fantastic finds for your own kiddos in the end. Of course, for all of you super talented moms with businesses, you could peddle your goods there, too. This would be a great way to provide for our children while saving and making our families money.

I really think this could be super successful...and fun. I also think this is a worthy project, but I need your input. If you would be interested in selling at such an event (and sellers would get to shop first!) then give me some feedback in the form of a comment. Pass this on to your frugal minded friends. Enough interest and we'll give it the old mommy-saving-money try.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not my fantasy spa weekend

One of the "quirks" of my master's program is unconventional scheduling. Being aimed at teachers who CANNOT take a break in the middle of the day in the interest of higher education, most classes are scheduled one night a week, a ton are available online (or mostly online with a few meetings.) I am enrolled in two such courses, but in a lack of reasoning I enrolled in three graduate courses this semester. Because what else do I have to do?

This third course in particular is mostly clinical experience, logging hours weekly targeting one at-risk reader. Except for the face-to-face meetings which are held over three weekends. So tonight I headed up for my first weekend that shouldn't count as a weekend. And since I am getting this degree at UCA, I being in class from 4:30 til 9:30 on Friday with a brief nap before returning to a full day of sessions on Saturday seemed a little much.

My brilliant plan was to come up on Friday and stay in Conway overnight. Secretly I was romancing the idea of a night alone. By myself. No fighting, whining, crying. No begging for one last drink or snack before bed. No having wait for one little person to fall asleep before I could shut my eyes only to awaken to another crying to get into my bed.

Just me, with a People magazine, dinner wherever I drove through (no happy meals or ketchup needed,) drifting peacefully off to sleep and waking to the same tranquility. Bathroom all to myself, having to only worry about getting myself fed, ready, and out the door. Yeah, right.

Last night Parker and I had a talk about where I would be going and why. There was discussion about behavior and possible a bribe with a new movie he has been waiting on. Because, y'all, I am not above a good well timed bribe. Right as I got to the part about, "Mommy has to be away for one night, but I will be back the next afternoon..."

So after Parker's pitiful looks and moping, combined with Brad's worries of having all the kids all by himself (and you can't blame him-see above,) everyone woke up this morning with a great idea. WE ARE GOING WITH MOM!!!!

Because Brad didn't want me to have to stay by myself. Because my hotel has an indoor pool and we haven't been swimming in months.

yay. great. i am so excited you are going.....yippee.

My blissful, relaxing few hours turned into vacation madness.

But, seriously, we are having a pretty great time. I guess my professor thought we looked tired after only 3 hours, so she let us go. And the kids had already eaten, so I got to pick where I wanted to go without their influence. Now they are happily swimming away, getting along. No crying. No running and wrestling and tearing up the house I just cleaned. And breakfast is on Comfort Suites in the morning, so no cooking or dishes.

This might not be so bad after all!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Minding my own (business)

I am a mommy and a teacher at heart. This gives me three really important ?gifts?
1. I am really (good at faking) patient.
2. I can multi-task with the best of 'em.
3. I want to mama everyone.

It is really the last one that gets me in trouble. I have this need to fix things for people. Even if the things are out of reach of my fixin', need to be fixed by the person themself (even if they would be happy for me to take over,) or are just flat out none of my business. And even if the item at hand is none of my business...I generally have an opinion, especially if it is someone important to me and I KNOW I AM RIGHT!!!

So there is a person right now that I love that is making a tough decision. I am not talking about which socks go with those shoes. I mean one of those life-altering, forever changing, once you made it you can't go back kinda deals.

Technically it is none of my concern. But as a person who is almost 30 and is still going to school because I changed my mind about what I want to be when I grow up, I want her to avoid those kind of errors in judgement. I want her to make this decision based on what is best in the long run, not what is easiest right now. Because, as some of you know, you just can't go back to certain parts of your life and take a do-over. Especially after the majority of your choices turn from what will I do to what is best for me and all of the little people who depend on me.

I was blessed to work for a wonderful person a few years ago who gave me possibly the best advice of my life, applicable in almost every situation..."You can't always say everything you think." And right now I am trying to practice that preachin'. So I am turning it over to the One in charge, because I know she listens to Him too, and she is His business. Not mine.

But I do love her, and I am praying for her. Because I want her to be and do all that she is and never settle.

P.S. You know who you are....So now I guess my opinion is outta the bag...but you are always in my prayers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I was a winner...if only for a day

So I am a faithful blog follower of about 10 fabulous ladies (as seen in my "Who I'm Keeping Up With" scroll.) I love to log on and catch up with my friends-some real-life pals, and others only in bloggy world. Big Mama is one of my favorite pretend buddies-I think she is just hilarious, and I have been inspired by her scarf-tying.

side-tracked note: This week I implemented "Scarf Tuesday" at LEP, because we are always on the cutting edge of trendy as primary teachers, and this particular "in" didn't involve Hannah Montana or anything sparkly. Except for my AMAZING sequin blue scarf that had no takers...fuddy duds. And because it is so fun to hear C.S. make brilliant statements, like, "You didn't tell me outright it was Scarf Tuesday. You could have spelled it out...S-C-ARF..."

Anyhoo...I was bopping along my blog catchin-ups the other night when one of my faves posted a contest for some of my faves...free books and a Target gift card. Bliss. Dutifully I entered (along with about 500 other readers.) Sunday I logged on to read the results, and BEHOLD!!! Amy with a gmail address is the grand prize winner! I am Amy! I have a Gmail address! I am already spending my $50 in my head!

The only problem was that the winner was picked by random number generator, and the comments weren't numbered. And there were about a kazillion Amys posted. Hmmmm......

Wishing. And hoping. And thinking. And praying. Planning. And dreaming.

Checking my inbox every 10 minutes for a long 20 hours or so.

I am Amy. I have a gmail address. So does another Amy, and she is the winner. I am super happy that someone in my name family won the big prize (the second place winner was also an Amy. Who'da thunk it.) Either way it was very exciting to have won something, even if I am not bringing home the goods in the end.