get carey-ed away

Monday, June 27, 2011



noun \ˌfa-shə-ˈnēs-tə\

Definition of FASHIONISTA

: a designer, promoter, or follower of the latest fashions
I am a self proclaimed fashionista. I will be completely transparent...I probably shop too much (if that's possible), have way too many clothes, and have piles of InStyle magazines stashed around my house...consequently none of these things necessarily make you a fashionista. So what makes a person a fashionista besides the formal definition above?  A fashionista is someone who ROCKS THEIR OWN STYLE.  But be prepared for some kick back.  I've been questioned a time or two about whether or not that was a necklace I was wearing or Betty Rubble costume jewelry, or if a black dress with a brown scarf really "worked".  When you are a self proclaimed fashionista you have to be prepared for the self proclaimed "Fashion Police" to arrive on occassion.  
You don't have to be a designer for Chanel or a promoter of Gucci to be a fashionista.  Everyday you look into your closet and design with your wardrobe what you will look like that day. This in turn promotes a certain style to the world and maybe, just maybe, grabs someone's attention and you start a new trend...fashionista AND trendsetter...impressive. 
I'm no Rebecca Bloomburg (Confessions of a Shopaholic) or Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada).I haven't joined a Shoppers Anonymous group and I definitely don't work for Miranda Preistly at Runway...but even if you think you might be a should check them out on your next movie night :)
So all definitions are a few "tips" that I've put together and my next blog post will be a second installment of my "HOW TO" series which outlines how to mix and match...basically making multiple outfits from just a few articles of clothing. This can be especially helpful when you are packing for a summer stay posted :)

1. Charles Gordy reminds us that, "A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks." So smile- it looks good and doesn't cost a thing :)
2. Wear heels because they make every pair of legs look longer.
3. Wear flats because they are comfortable and give your bunions a break :)
4. Buy clothes that fit.  Too small is scary and too big means your hiding.
5. Have a "go to" piece of clothing for the days where nothing is working.

6. If you haven't worn it in 6 months get rid of it.

7. It's not necessary to be matchy matchy. You do not need to have your shoes, handbags or belt matching. Matchy-matchy honestly can add at least 20 years to your look.
8. Don't be afraid to buy from a second hand store.  I bought a Nanette Lepore cardigan at a consignment shop the other day. It's not about where it's been, it's about where you can take it :)
9. Don't be afraid to buy from Nordstroms (etc.)'ll never regret quality...that never goes out of style.
10. Attempt to make your looks effortless, meaning it never looks like you tried too hard. It's you.
11.Share clothes with responsible friends- it could double your wardrobe :)
12. Or if sharing hasn't gone well in the past, hold a clothes swap. One person's trash is another person's treasure!
13. Bad hair can = bad days. Don't skip on the's worth the money you may loose in the wardrobe budget.
14. Wear a cami under will change your life.
15. Accessorize- an inexpensive necklace, earrings, scarf or hat can change the outfit in an instant.
16.  Own more tops than bottoms. People will notice your top half more than your bottom half.
17.  Rock your own style. If you like it...WEAR IT!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Made My Dad...A Dad

As I was browsing through an old scrapbook that my mom made and gave me upon graduating from high school, one particular page brought a tear to my eye and captured my heart considering it is Father's Day. I got to thinking about the fact that I got to make my dad, a dad.  The day I was born everything changed...he forever became a father, not just a son, husband or friend...but a daddy. But back to the scrapbook. The title of this page was, "RUN FOR FUN", and it contained 2 ribbons, a newspaper clipping, a short "remember when" story written by my mom, and the most amazing picture of my dad and his three girls...holding our trophies proudly after a summer of "Run for Fun" races. 

The newspaper clipping was printed in 1981. It highlighted a 2 mile cross country "Run for Fun" race where my dad came in third with a time of 11:35. I was later mentioned in the list of kids that ran the 1 mile race. I was just 3 years old with a time of 16:35 :)  The two ribbons had dates of 1983 and 1984, all races I was now running with my little sisters.  But it was the story that warmed my heart, gave me a whole truckload of parenting advice, and reminded me that I absolutely had and have the BEST dad.  Here is the story/excerpt from my scrapbook:

"I (my mom) remember a race Dad went to at Greencastle High School where they decided to run a 400 meter race for the kids.  You and another boy were the only ones brave enough to accept the challenge. Dad said the boy looked confident that he could beat a dumb 9 year old girl, but Dad also said that you had that determined look in your eye and when the gun went off that boy was eating your dust, your pony tail flying straight back in the wind!! Dad was ecstatic. We heard that story 100 times over the next few weeks. You've never lost that determined spirit and I pray you never will."

Wow, I just sat there staring at the picture, tears rolling down my cheeks. Like a movie, my mind went into rewind and started replaying all the moments, the memories, the distinct opportunities where my Dad made more than just an impact on me, but he literally molded me into the person I am today.  I know for a fact that he encouraged me to run that 400 meter race that day.  I know he told me I was awesome, I could do it and that I could beat that boy.  I know he laid all inhibitions aside as he stood on that gravel track and cheered like a maniac for his little girl.  I know he scooped me up, gave me a huge hug, and smiled at me not with just his mouth but with his sparkling blue eyes as well.  I know he made me feel like a superstar, because with every retelling of the "story" I was reminded of how proud he really was. 

What if this scenario from my past had gone different? What if he had not even taken me with him that day? What if he never gave me the nudge to step out among all the other kids and run the race? What if he hadn't believed in me, cheered for me, or told me I could do it?  What other opportunities, challenges, "races" if you will, would I have chosen not to run in the future if it had not been for my Dad?  Determination in a 6 year old translates into a determined 13, 20, and 33 year old.  Fear, unless uprooted, translates into a fearful 13, 20, and 33 year old. My dad understood that his children were the only "natural resource" he could take with him. He understood we were a treasure on earth that would lead to generations and multitudes of others in heaven someday...and so he protected and valued this "treasure", us, like the irreplaceable natural resource it was.

My dad never had a hefty stock portfolio, but one immense investment he did make was into me, my siblings and honestly anyone else that was in need of a Father.  I remember the discussion we had while sitting at the end of my bed where he encouraged me to try a new sport, or all the nights before the first day of school that he reminded us of two things, sit in the front and be nice to the kids no one else will be nice to.  I remember him chasing us around the house playing a made up game called "Better Run Better Run", and swinging us around in a sleeping bag.  I remember seeing him and my mom kneeled by their bed every single night saying their prayers.  I remember him sitting in his chair for hours, sorting through a plastic baggy of bible verses, focused...committing them to memory.  I remember when he on the spur of the moment came to help me pick up a love seat that I found at a garage sale (this was huge considering I probably interrupted something he was working on, because he's always working and taking breaks is not his style...interestingly enough, it's not mine either :) And who could forget the time he spoke during chapel at LMH and to "wrap up" his talk, he flexed his muscles...seriously, what a legend! 

The list could go on and on...taking us to the rescue mission to serve food and sing songs to the homeless, picking up hitchhikers and bringing them to dinner (another blog post for another time), building an underground house and then humbly saying "good-bye" to it in order to say "hello" to a new calling of pastoring a church.  I mean construction worker turned pastor...not the most likely career change.  Driving bus and passing out candy every Friday, creating the world's largest bobsled track in the backyard, fostering good dental hygiene by brushing his own teeth for like 10 minutes or until the foam reached his elbow, establishing chocolate chips as a new food group, promising to scare off boyfriends with a baseball bat, but upon meeting them being the most genuinely kind person you could ever come in contact with, locking the doors every night before going to bed, working his guts out to provide, hitting a man on a motorcycle with his bus...but making it up to him by letting him live in our basement for months, cutting off his own cast, being the most incredible CHIEF (grandfather) any kid could ever have, and loving people more than they thought was humanly possible. WOW, what a man...what a dad. 

That's it...I'm calling Webster, because truly the name Randy Martin should be found beside the definition of FATHER in the dictionary. I love you Dad! I loved you as a child, a teen, and now as an with greater appreciation than ever...and someday as a parent I can only imagine the gratitude I will have for the responsibility you took to raise a family that would one day rise up and call you blessed...and that you are.

"My children rise up and call me blessed. " Proverbs 31:28

"Children's children are the crown of
old men, and the glory of
children is their father."
Proverbs 17:6

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cinderella had a Swarovski Slipper

Cinderella had a Swarovski slipper. I glanced down to see bare feet and chipped nail polish. Cinderella had a pumpkin that turned into a carriage, and based on that little transformation I figured anything was possible, right? I squinted out the window. Nope, the old "sled" was parked where I left it.  Cinderella had a fairy god mother. Hello...anyone there? Silence.  She must be busy.  Cinderella had retired from the scullery. I was still unloading the dishwasher. Cinderella had Prince Charming. I had a husband. 

We were still newlyweds. Reagan and I had been married for maybe 8 months...long enough for the school loans to appear in the mailbox after the generous 6 month "grace" period concluded.  We had dated forever...since high school. We were engaged for longer than forever, and that summer our dream had come true...we were finally married! On June 17, 2000 I was Cinderella and he was Prince Charming.  We were embarking on our very own fairytale, living under the same roof, making 2 incomes, buying furniture, hosting know being really grown up.  But here we were 8 months later and I wasn't feeling so much like Cinderella anymore.  Yes, there were 2 incomes, but there were also 2 sets of debt.  Those last few months of college had been rough for "Prince Charming". He ran out of money...but hey there was always know buy now, pay later...and we were paying alright!  Our castle was an 800 square foot apartment with walls that felt like they were closing in every day.  I was teaching, he was playing pro soccer and needless to say "Cinderella" was going one direction and "Prince Charming" was going another.

So that night as I unloaded the dishwasher and sobbed because our checkbook balance read less than $50.00, I wasn't feeling very confident that this fairytale was going to have a happy ending.  No, I'm not talking about divorce. Divorce never crossed my mind, we loved each other.  It was just this devasting realization that we were living LIFE together not a fairytale.  It wasn't easy. It wasn't perfect, like I imagined.  I knew I had said for better or for worse...but when you are standing there looking at one another on your wedding day it's hard to see beyond the big dress and the bowtie (as you can see from the pictures, I'm speaking quite literally :).

But as I put the last glass away, shut the cupboard door and slowly slid my back down the refrigerator and rested on the floor, I looked at the ring on my left hand.  I remembered what it meant. It meant I was his. No matter what dreadful balance was on the ATM slip, how small our apartment was, or how many more soccer games I would have to endure, I was his.  He chose me.  He chose me to live this life with. He chose me to be his Cinderella not just on our wedding day when I felt like one, but he also chose the girl that scrubbed the floors and picked up his dirty underwear.  I woke up and realized right then and there that we had to live beyond the fantasy and walk each day of this fairytale called "Life" out.  In a book called Wild At Heart, author John Eldridge describes a man's desire to have a battle to fight and a beauty to win.  And the beauty, that's you, does want to be won, but we can't merely stow away in the tower.  We have to leap on the back of that white horse and hold on tight to our Prince.  We have to slay the dragons of selfishness, ward off the darkness of temptation that creeps in, and ride resiliently through the forest, dodging the branches to escape the jaws of mediocrity that want to eat us up, that want to make us another statistic, that want us to be like the rest of the world.

I also couldn't forget that I had chosen him. I couldn't forget that I had promised forever. I needed to change my attitude from the "I have to love him" attitude to the "I get to love him" attitude.  I needed to see my husband for the man I knew he could be, but love him for the man he was right now. I needed to be his beauty...a woman that depended on him, and yet could stand on my own two feet. I know this sounds contradictory, but it's not.  Your husband, like mine wants to take care of you, but that requires a willingness on your part.  Personally, I have an incredibly independent spirit...Im a go-getter type if you will. I can get things done, many times on my own...but that's not what either of us signed up for.  We decided to forgo our individual sports to play the team sport of marriage.  I had to learn to let him lead me, and I anticipate this will be a stretching statement for some, but I decided to be one of his best students. I could learn from him, follow him...I could (brace yourself here comes that despised word) SUBMIT to him. I could submit to him when I learned that submission didn't mean I was robbed of an opinion, it just meant I was not going to be in rebellion.  Ladies, it such an incredibly peaceful way to live your life.  It releases the straps of those ginormous bags of stress that we were never meant to carry.
But a man also appreciates a capable woman, a woman that has her own backbone, a woman that can think and make decisions.  Do I like taking the trash out? No. Do I like taking my car for an oil change? No.  But can it do it? YES!  I'm not suggesting that you're less of a wife if you aren't willing to take the trash out or whip into Jiffy Lube for an oil change, but what I am suggesting is doing what needs to be done.  Reagan and I have the privilege of running our own business together, and while we do each have individual roles we are also both 100% partners. You've probably heard the story of the two Clydesdale horses. Each horse can pull a 2 ton wagon, so naturally you would assume when hitched together they could pull a 4 ton wagon...but you're wrong.  Together they can pull up to 10 tons.  They are better together.  You have to stay hitched together, you have to run together in every pursuit, whether it be marriage, business, raising a family, or building a ministry.  I wanted my husband to be confident in my abilities, trust my instincts and most of all be proud to call me his wife.

Furthermore, I could not forget that on that sunny, humid June day when we said our marriage vows we also invited the Holy Spirit to be the tie that bound us.  And if we get back to the Cinderella story, whether you are married, have a desire to be married, or are happily single at the moment, you have someone far greater than a fairy god mother on your side. You have a Father in heaven that loves you, sent His son Jesus to die for you, and left His Holy Spirit here to lead, guide, and direct you.  He is not waving a wand around saying magical words...He doesn't operate that way. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords...He is all knowing and always present, and He created within us the ability to choose.  He wants us to choose him because He has already chosen us and let me promise you one thing, no matter what your slipper size, His slipper that He desires to place on yor foot will fit every time!  That slipper is His love, a love so great that once we choose to accept it every sin is erased. A love so great that it's all we really need. It conquers every giant, every dragon, every evil that that will ever try to pursue your heart, your marriage, your family, your life. 

His LOVE heals, His LOVE forgives, His LOVE releases authority and is the source of ALL joy. And I would say that is a very happy ending.

So here's to 11 years of marriage to my "Prince Charming".  I'm so glad we have a battle to fight together and thank you for making me your beauty to be won.  You continue to win my heart every day with your love, your generosity, your passion and your commitment to me, our future, and the calling the Lord has put on your life.  You've always made me feel so needed...from the days in our freshman year of high school being your human "Cliff Notes" to the boxes of handwritten letters confessing your undying love in college...and of course today, 11 years later your dependence on my ability to find everything you are in search of :)  We have something beautiful together and like a fine just gets better and is worth an even greater price with age. So here's to many more years of leading, laughing, loving and riding off into the sunset together.  I LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One of those weeks...

"You have granted me life and favor, and your providence has PRESERVED my SPIRIT." Job 10:12

A few nights ago a friend locked his keys in his car.  Someone suggested a crow bar, someone else responded to the incident by generously offering their Triple A card.  Most of us continued to watch the NBA Finals.  But in what seemed like the blink of an eye, Onel returned into the house, with keys in hand to round up the kids to head home.  That was fast.  Either the crow bar took the entire door off or was used to break a window with intentions of going Dukes of Hazard style or Triple A was hustling more than the Miami Heat happened to be that night...because WOW... that was fast. But it was neither. Onel chuckled and explained that our other friend Josh went out to the car, prayed that it would open and with the gentle pull of the door handle it opened! The Lord intervened in one of those hum drum annoying situations of life and proved once again that He's willing and wanting to take care of the big things and the little things in life. 

I of course was stoked...and kind of jokingly said, "Josh, I've got a few things you can pray for. "  Everyone laughed...but the more I got thinking about it...what a lesson to be learned.  Why in our humanness, our small unexpecting minds do our independent spirits rise up and we try to be our own first line of defense?  We try to take care of things ourselves. We try to fix things, mend things, repair things...whether they be a broken ice maker or a broken heart.  Don't get me wrong...we've been given the ability to use our God-given minds to think through and take care of situations, and of course He lives inside us and asks us to support and love one another through tough times...but it really got me thinking about whether or not I've been putting on the armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) that the Lord has provided me with and asked him to be the bearer of my heavy load. Or have I been aimlessly trudging through the battle ground called life, armor less...just dodging every landmine possible? Quickly this question was put to the test...

It's been one of those of those weeks where your patience is tested, your positive attitude is stretched till it feels like it can't be stretched anymore and you are hit square between the eyes with the question of, "Will I rise above the little things?" For instance, we've officially made one of our spare rooms our "summer home" because our bedroom in the attic is an actual sauna...walk up 2 stairs and you are standing in a pool of your own sweat.  We obviously need to have some air conditioning rigged up somehow in those cute, quaint, but totally impractical windows in our bedroom...annoying when you are not handy and can't just do it yourself.  As well this week, my car decided to blow a belt, my ice maker kicked the bucket, the sub pump in the basement stopped working which caused flooding, the electricity went out, my cat peed on the couch twice, and someones little fingers decided to pull the keys off my computer.  FABULOUS...all of it just fabulous!  It's one of those weeks where you feel like if you turn around to one more little mishap you may be driven to tears (because a few have already leaked once or twice).

But this is life...and truly these have been just little things...but remember God wants to meet us in ALL things, big or small. He wants to meet us....that means we need to make time for Him. If a friend wants to meet we'll jump in our car and head straight to FIVEBUCKS... I mean STARBUCKS. But sometimes when God wants to meet we have another load of laundry to do, or an e-mail to answer or a cat to kill (kidding...just pee to clean up :)  My brother shared a few weeks ago a quote that read, "Praying and reading God's word may or may not strengthen you. BUT talking to GOD and meditating on His word will ALWAYS strengthen you."    How true.  We so often look at each other's lives and jump to conclusions, many times assuming things are just "perfect" for someone else, because as they say the "grass is always greener on the other side".  And even as frustrated as I get with those that like to constantly make their life mishaps news worthy across Facebook the fact of the matter is life happens to all of us.  It's how we handle it that makes all the difference.  Will we go to God first? Have I talked to Him about the big things and the little things?  Have I let His word be my guide and my strength? 

So I believe I made it quite obvious that my life's not perfect.  There's a laundry list of things I could have done without this week... and just like you I have some of those "big" things too- those unanswered prayers...those tough questions, but put HIM on the front lines of those battles as well. Armor Him and let Him give you the game plan, and know like the verse in Job says, He will give you life, He will give you favor, and my favorite part HIS PROVIDENCE, His ways, WILL PRESERVE your spirit.  No one's life is perfect, but every one's life does have purpose...and believe it or not all those little imperfections tend to play their part in our purpose.  The imperfections do not define us, but they do spur us on to greater heights as we RISE above them. Take an airplane for instance... it's critical for the plane to be "pressurized" in order to fly at high altitudes...just as life's pressures give us the opportunity to soar as well. So while the water dries up in the basement and the Gorilla Glue works it's magic on the keys of the computer...take every thought captive and bring your mind back to the greater things and how HE uses EVERYTHING according to His purpose. 

...and while being thankful in all circumstances... a friend suggested that after this week I consider, getting a horse, using ice trays, creating an indoor swimming pool in my basement, saving on the electric bill and going "Amish style", and throwing the cat and the couch in the garbage. Hmmm...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dumper or Dumpee...that is the question.

So yesterday, while traveling to Erie, PA and back with 3 of my best friends, we had 12 hours to cover every topic imaginable...and that we did. And while I truly love them each the same, I couldn't have picked 3 more different, or so I thought, people to put in the car with me.  Here's a lil' piece of each of their stories...and the "thing" I discovered they all had in common :)

Me, Luz, Michelle & Rachel

Michelle is Lancaster that is.  She married her "Italian Stallion"...Johnny, which meant she sacrificed and went from being a BENDER to the more exotic LOCICERO the day she said " I DO".  They meet at  a James Madison University football tailgating party and she was smitten with his luscious locks (10 inches of which were later donated to Locks of Love) and his skinny legs...both attributes she today prays her future children will inherit.  He charmingly gave her his number while attempting to drive away the classic over zealous, drunk fraternity brother that was seemingly also interested in Michelle...knowing his rescue efforts might score him a date. And that it did...a romantic one...a trip to the theater to see SAW II...LOL!

Luz, was born in Puerto Rico...her beautiful accent still fastens itself to every English word.  She went from being a Rivera to a Garcia after dating her brother's best friend Onel for many years.  We found out that their long term relationship that eventually lead to marriage did not come without some break-ups, fights, and the ultimate deal sealer...the transitional, psycho significant other that drives you back to one another, which they both had simultaneously at one point :)  Luz went to Penn State, with Onel eventually following her to Happy Valley, not as a student, but to work and live there and definitely would agree to it being four really FUN years :)  And today they are amazing parents to their equally amazing mini-me's Janice and Onelito (little Onel). 

Rachel, who is from the wild west...Nebraska, was the only single girl in the car last night, which is always fun, because what friend doesn't like being the live version of eharmony and playing matchmaker. She is still looking for her "fish" in the great big sea, that may not be the best analogy...but we know that she will find him because she is a true "catch" with a heart of gold and a background in Kitchen Management...this makes her absolute future "wifey for lifey" material :)  Although after hearing a few of her stories, I became more cautious of my speed...because with Rachel in the car our chances of being pulled over increased greatly once we found out she has been a law enforcement "magnet" once or twice in her life...and I'm not referring to her bad driving record...but what I am referring to is her ability to get the "sirens roaring" of a few police officers in the past. (I'm trusting you are picking up what I'm laying down :)

So after many laughs and stories of first loves, what we thought were real loves and then of course true loves I popped the ultimate question.  Are you a DUMPER or a DUMPEE?  I think this would make for a most interesting case study.  What about you?  Did you do the dumping or were you the one to always get dumped?  Is there a pattern to this?  Does it depend on your personality?  Why did you tend to dump...and why did you always get dumped?  So a poll was taken while cruising down the turnpike and it turned out to be a 3 to 1 ratio.  Three DUMPERS to one DUMPEE.  And as different as I thought my three friends were...I came to find out that they all had this one thing in common...they were all DUMPERS.  I was the only lonely DUMPEE.

It never failed...of the few boyfriends I had before Reagan, who I married...I always got dumped.  When I loved...I loved big.  Maybe I was too naive to see my destructive behavior...but I really don't think I followed in the footsteps of Andy Anderson (the character in HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS). I never brought them love ferns, or matching shirts...I mean I'll admit to making a a corny homemade card or two (maybe this was my downfall) ...but why? 

Why was I always the DUMPEE?  Sometimes I got dumped because there was a better "prospect" on the horizon, and one time I was even told I was too "good" he was at least honest and said he was looking to travel down a more unwholesome road and just knew I wouldn't be up for the ride.  Respectable in some twisted way I suppose?  And then there was Reagan, who of course I ended up winning back and marrying, but not with out being dumped at least once for maybe not another girl (or at least one he was willing to admit to) but to soccer...that might have been even worse...LOL :)  Either way at the end of my relationships, being the dumpee I was, I should have wised up and taken stock out in tissues...because for a few days after a heart to heart with my boyfriend turned DUMPER, I'd stow away in my teal colored bedroom, and shed a few tears while listening to FIREHOUSE and torturing myself with past memories.  But I'd always get back up again after giving a self diagnosis of being a hopeless romantic...committed, loyal and a believer in long love ;)

So understandably I had questions for my DUMPER friends.  Why did you always dump? Well I came to find out it was usually because they got annoyed with the them, found out something disturbing through the "grapevine" about the guy...or sometimes it was because they were getting the "vibe" that a break-up was coming down the pike and so they decided to do it first! Genius! Why didn't I ever think of this?  Because I could never see it coming.  I had those darn "rose colored" glasses on. Being the dumper kept them in control, protected their hearts, and kept them from wasting their time...based on the fact that they saw the relationship was going no where.  Interesting. 

I'm not sure that we came to any great discoveries or conclusions...and a case study was most definitely not completed based only on the experiences of 4 gals...but the infamous question did lead to a lot of great laughs, some never before heard stories, and overall a gratefulness for all the people that we have each crossed paths with, some just making a small imprint into our hearts and others who have stolen them forever.  Relationships are truly what makes the world go round...they define life's most tragic and most wonderful moments and in efforts to keep this blog posting "light"...we know this all to be true because in the words of Justin Beiber...everyone needs "somebody to love" :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Carey vs. The Kiddie Pool

We've all heard the saying, "Where there's a will, there's a way."  This is the phrase you use to respond to someone who says that something...

a. can't be done
b. shouldn't be done
c. will not be done immediately

I believe I have a relatively "strong" will to see things happen that I want to see happen.  The other day I noticed there were heaps of sticks and debris on our garage roof and it looked messy and I wanted it cleaned I ventured up onto the roof and got the job done...and even cleared a few gutters while I was up there :)  I could give you countless examples of how the old adage, "Where there's a will, there's a way" has unveiled itself over the years, but my most recent example was Tuesday morning when I began another series in the saga of "Auntie Carey's Adventures in Babysitting." 

It was 7:15 am and all the residents of South Prince Street were either already at work, or still sleeping...because it was quiet and the streets were empty, which meant Reagan's bumper was going to escape the wrath of my parallel parking skills meeting the sidewalk!  So that Malia and Noa could sleep longer I was going to start the day off at their house, but had transferred car seats so if we wanted to be bop around town or head back to my house we could.  I was so sleepy that morning, so after my sister-in-law left I cranked out on the couch under a cozy blanket being lulled back into a full R.E.M cycle by the roaring air conditioner.  And although I was seconds away from a critical moment in the dream I was having the minute I heard, "Mommy?"...I sat straight up as if I had never fallen asleep. I went to the steps to greet Malia and remind her that Mommy had gone to class and she gave me a big smile, her green eyes still glassy and asked if I wanted to watch a movie.  She wasn't wasting anytime.  This kid would watch movies all day if you let her.  We chatted it up a bit downstairs. She told me all about "last night" and how they went to Eden & Kiah's, ate tacos and took pictures.  Before long we heard Noa's desperate cry for help...she wanted to be rescued from the attic closet (no need to call child services, this closet is basically the size of a small bedroom :)  As I climbed the steep steps I could hear her jabbering and as I pulled back the door I got another beautiful greeting...this one a grin, with those Chiclet like teeth and a faint, "Auntie" as her eyes adjusted to the bright light. 

I served them an impressive breakfast of Cocoa Krispies and after most of Noa's cereal was slopped onto the floor we headed upstairs to get dressed. After rummaging through the drawers of clothes I came to the conclusion that I was going to need to make a decision rather than trying to find the perfect outfit...and why was it that I was feeling inclined to have them match...and maybe even coordinate with what I had on? So normal people do this?  WOW- this dressing more than just yourself deal is too much, I need to start therapy now. Noa showed me her latest trick of removing her own diaper and Malia told me everything there was to know about Tinkerbell.  Their bathing suits were laying on top of the dresser, which gave me the brainy idea to go on a search for a kiddie pool...and this is where the real adventure begins.

While loading into the car, Malia became enthralled with a mole on my back and wanted to engage me in a game of 20 questions about it.  What was it? How did it get there?  Do I have a lot of them?  Does she have some?  I wouldn't consider myself the most "moley" person in the world, but apparently that morning my moles became the subject of her inquisitiveness. Noa wanted to know where Uncle Rea-GUN ( she says it with a cute) was and I explained he was at work, and Malia informed me that her Daddy was at work too.  As we were cruising through the city Malia asked if she could read my rainbow book. I had know idea what she was talking about, but I reached behind my seat and pulled it out of the pocket to find that yes, this book had a rainbow on it, but it was none other than "Master Key to Riches"...not exactly a picture book.  I gave it to her anyway and she seemed quite pleased to browse through it and make up her own story, but then of course Noa wanted the other book.  What book was that? Again I reached into the pocket to pull out a small binder that holds all of Reagan's business cards.  This is where I made such a rookie move.  I handed her the book, only to look back seconds later to find that she had pulled every last business card out of the darn little book...but nonetheless they were both content...until Malia had her routine morning explosion (aka a HUGE SNEEZE) that sent snot rockets dripping from her nose.  I HAD NO TISSUES. No wipes, no nothing! I told her I would wipe it with her bathing suit and then wash it later...but that suggestion didn't go over too well. I rooted through my purse...the closest thing I had to a tissue was a receipt...and that wasn't going to do.  I looked back to find her face paralyzed, she was trying so hard not to move in efforts to keep the snot put.  I could reach back there and grab it with my bare hands, only to wipe it on....? Reagan's seat? NO, not a good idea. My pants?  There had to be another option.  And then it appeared, like a beam of light from heaven....TURKEY HILL.  They were always good for a few napkins so I grabbed a need to be unprepared :)  It was just a little detour...and remember, "Where there's a will there's a way." I'm getting back to that. 

Next stop Target. After unloading and strapping them into this monstrosity of a shopping cart, it looked more like an amusement park ride...we zipped into Target to buy our kiddie pool...only to find out they didn't have any, well the plastic kind at least. I wasn't in the market for the blow up kind. I wasn't prepared to give myself a perpetual headache and take the chance of passing out on the girls while trying to inflate a pool.  This was Target...I thought I was to EXPECT MORE. PAY LESS? Next stop Christmas Tree go! I couldn't believe it, CTS usually has everything...but not a kiddie pool, although we did find the world's biggest box of Goldfish in which the girls felt very strongly should be opened in the store.  I put my stern face on and told them they had to wait until we paid and got into the car. But the most unbelievable part is while I was explaining all of this to them in line the cashier took advantage of me in my weakened state and tried to upsell me these pool balls that were...just $1.00.  Knowing we were seconds from a melt down I promptly said "Yes", to the stupid balls so we could get out of the store, into the car, and get these starving children some gosh darn goldfish.

Remember...where there's a will there's a way. At this point let's take the time to define this saying...
Will (noun) = strong determination, desire
Way (noun)= path, method

I was not going to be denied. I had made two stops attempting to find a kiddie pool and if it was going to take a third stop...than a third stop it would be.  I was beginning to wonder if we were going to hit every store along Lincoln Highway.  Now, no offense to those of you that love a good "blue light special", but KMart, doesn't tend to be my store of choice, and especially the one located in East Town Mall... let's face's the ghetto KMart. But my judgements may need to be put to rest because believe it or not, 3 stops later this is where we found a plastic kiddie pool.  But my "will" was going to be tested one last time when I discovered that the pool looked a lot bigger than what I was anticipating.  I was in a Chevy Malibu for crying out loud, not a Silverado.  But it had to be done.  I had found a pool and I wasn't stopping one more time. My brow had beaded with sweat and the thought of getting in and out of car seats one more time was not how I anticipated spending the entire day.  I checked the pools flexibility. It was can't really expect too much from their choice of plastic and in this case I was really glad.  I carried the pool through the store as the girls ran ahead of me only to run into a lady signing customers up for a "rewards card" and for some strange reason had two huge stuffed animal Snoopies accompanying her.  I thought Snoopie was so a character of the past...but apparently he still tugged on the hearts of children because both girls grabbed one and wouldn't let go.  After much coaxing and painting a picture of how much fun it was going to be to swim in the plastic pool in freezing cold water on my back deck...they decided to release the "Snoopies" and get into line with me.  I got Malia and Noa strapped into their car seats...again...and now the wrestling match was on. Carey vs. the Kiddie Pool.  Where there is a will there is a way!  This pool was going to fit into my matter what.  So I literally stepped, folded, punched, bent and SHOVED the pool into my trunk, slammed it shut and the deed was done!  Ding, ding, ding. I had won.  Three stores, some goldfish, an almost stolen Snoopie later...we were headed home for a afternoon of lounging around our luxurious blue plastic, mangled kiddie pool...and to play with our $1.00 water balls.

Of course when you have the will to find a's always worth it.  I mean just look at these faces :)

can't have a pool party without some Doritos :) Check out the orange face stain :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How To Series...Creating a Home Office Space

Another name for my home office is mission's where most calls get made, e-mails get answered, paperwork is completed, supplies are stored, and our life (the parts I'm responsible for :) are organized.  There are many things about the house that we live in that I would change, but the one feature I do love is the space I created into my home office.  Eventually it may need to serve dual purposes, but today it's just my office and I've been able to set it up just the way I like it :)  Some of you may not have the space for a designated office, or may not even feel the need to have one, but if you like to be or would even like the idea of being organized, setting up a home office space/area is the secret.

Now I love organizing.  I always have.  As a child it was my job to set up and organize the Barbie houses, style the Barbie's and even on  occasion would give one of them a haircut to make her look more like a "mom".  When I taught 3rd grade, everything was labeled...everything had it's place. I felt like we were all so much more productive and most importantly it was never as difficult to get them to clean up because they knew where things belonged.  Let's face it organizing takes, space, time and honestly money...and I haven't accomplished Martha Stewart status, heck some of you probably have many handy dandy tips you could share with me, but yesterday as I was "purging" my office space I thought that maybe a few of the ideas I've implemented could be helpful to you, especially since most things were done in a thrifty here it is, my first installment of my HOW TO series...

HOW TO...create a Home Office Space

1. Figure out where it's going to be. You may have ample space for a separate office, or it may need to be a nook that you carve out in the corner of another room.  It doesn't need to be a big space, it just needs to become known as the designated work space in your home.  Here are some creative ideas; set it up in a closet, this would require adding shelves, but shut the door and it "magically" disappears. I have a friend who has done this, I will try to get a picture.  Use a corner of your living room or kitchen, or if you have a dining room that you rarely use, set it up using the dining room table- but organize it so things can be moved easily if you need to use the table for special occasions etc. 

2. Establish some kind of desk area, whether it be an actual desk (you can find these very inexpensively at Goodwill, Salvation Army), a card table or some other kind of portable table, counter space, or an actual table (that's what I use, it was $99 at Walmart), or even TV trays with 2 table leaves across the top (this works I've done it in the past)

3. Clear the clutter. Go through paperwork and toss out anything that is not needed. Organize necessary paperwork into stacks by relevance. I have file folders on top of my desk with paperwork that is needed regularly. All other paperwork is kept in a filing cabinet (again these can be found at  Goodwill, yard sales, etc.) I found mine at Salvation Army, brought it home, slapped some black paint on it and made it perfect for my space. I also keep a 3 drawer set beside my desk.  The top drawer has 2 boxes, one for receipts that need to be filed, and one for important paperwork that I need to respond to.  The second and third drawer houses catalogs, CD's and other materials for my business.  The drawers pull out so that if I need to take those supplies with me I don't need to transfer them into another container, I can just pull the drawer out and take it with me. 

4. Find something to use as a desktop organizer. I found this actual organizer in the clearance section at TJMaxx- it had a few scratches on it... I didn't care :)  You could also use a plant pot, mason jars,a silverware or other type of drawer organizer if you would rather have it in a drawer ( i don't have drawers since I use a table, so had to get something for the desktop) really anything that is tall enough for your pens, highlighters, scissors to fit down into. 

5. Have some type of calendar nearby.  I keep a small desktop calendar out so that I can easily scan an entire month at one time and it's nice to include activities, events that happen on a regular basis, but then of course I keep a daily calendar with me for more specifics.

6. Depending on the amount of space you have , but even it's limited space, find a place for a picture or some important memento.  It makes the space more personal and will bring a smile to your face.  I keep a few pictures, and other small mementos on my idea that worked really well is using a piece of class to keep notes, verses, other important pictures or things you love flat and visible at all times :)

7. Bulletin boards are also a great place for keepsakes or important papers.  You can use a regular bulletin board and splash it up by covering it with fabric or scrapbook paper, or you can make one like I did.  Take the glass out of a frame you like, cover cork board squares with fabric, glue them down to a piece of sturdy cardboard and then place into the frame.  It's fun because you can personalize it.  An old shutter also makes for a very fun display/bulletin board.

8. I have an obsession with little drawers!  They are the perfect organizing tool!  I use them for paper, labels, cards, markers, stamps and other office supplies.  The best part is you can stick a label right on the front of each drawer and WOW-- you are getting close to the looks of a Martha Stewart "REAL SIMPLE" magazine spread :) 

I found this drawer set at Goodwill for $4
9. Fresh flowers- everyone can find a place to squeeze some fresh flowers- it will add a splash of color, style and happiness :)

10. Keep magazines, catalogs in...hmmm I'm not sure what they are called...magazine :)  I also keep a book/file stand on my desk for all my "go to" books, my bible etc.  Things being easily accessible is the key.

Last but not least just a few overall organizing tips...

* Since many of us now print recipes from the Internet, use a 3-ring notebook to house your recipes.

* Have a 2 pocket folder that travels with you everywhere. I put mail or other paperwork that I need to take care of that day and always have it with me .

* I'm a huge list maker.  I do have things that are "every day" type of tasks so I made document up with the 5 every day activities and then lines for specifics for that day. I made copies of them and use that as my "to do" list and keep it in that folder that goes everywhere with me :) You can personalize your "to do" list just for you!

* Invest in a small fire proof safe to store your most important documents.
* Tidy up your office space at the end of each day so the clutter will not return and you will not be greeted by a pile of junk the next morning. 

more lil' drawers...yeah :)
For some organizing is a DIY project that could practically disguise it's self as a hobby, where for others it's sounds like absolute torture. Hopefully a few of these tips helped...and if you need encouragement or even a little manual labor from a friend...don't hesitate to call :) Oh...and please leave any of your organization tips in the comments section...THANKS :)

my office picture wall