Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Is Here!

Fall is here!
At least on my dining room table.
Outside it's 95 degrees.

Our little cactus is going to town with another beautiful bloom. 

The sky is prettier once the heat and dust of summer die down a bit.
Can you see the birds that flew into my carefully framed shot?

In spite of the cooling weather and the gift of the gorgeous natural world,
I've been pretty discouraged lately.  My fatigue level has been high, and my digestive
system is not happy.  It's hard to keep my emotional equilibrium.
My parents knew I was struggling and sad, and they sent me this huge bouquet of glorious flowers.

Nothing takes it away, but feeling cherished and precious is a big help.

On to happier news,
On Sunday, Greg was COVERD IN CATS during his nap!!!

Claude has been following me from room to room lately
and even crawling in my lap.  It's weird and lovely.
She used to be completely anti-social.

Juvy is as cuddly as always, though she would prefer to be outside all the time.

I am making some adjustments to fine-tune some of the Chirp Curriculum lessons,
and I've ordered all sorts of resources materials.
I'm FULLY enjoying learning more about Jesus and His character.
He is completely loving, non-violent, and enemy-loving.
Even if my body is misbehaving, I can expand my mind and my heart!

A bunch of recommended resources if you're interested 
(some are a little dense):

The Jesus-Centered Bible
The Jesus Driven Life
A More Christlike God
The Nature Of The Atonement

On Sunday, I wore this outfit and felt good in it.
skirt: Calvin Klein (Macy's)
camisole: JKY by Jockey (Target)
blouse: I forget!
bag: ABage (Amazon)
shoes: Bandolino

Better view:

That day, my little friend J drew a picture of me (the tall one)
with him (the little one).

And on the way home, I saw a roadrunner,
standing under a bush, waiting for me!

 I came out from the shower yesterday and saw Stephen, 
all comfy on the dining room table!

When I came over to get him down, he started rolling around as if 
he was the happiest kitty on the planet.
It was so cute that I had to take a bunch of pictures before making him get down.

 And then my beans exploded!
I thought I had them sufficiently covered, but the cover blew off, too.
All cleaned up now, though!

I had a couple of great meals of 
corn tortillas
brown rice
black beans
green olives
shredded carrots
and mild salsa

I'm also planning a fun trip to Minnesota to see my extended family and a few friends.
As usual, I'm a little nervous about the energy requirements, but I'd like to squeeze in as much time with my loved ones as possible while I'm there, even if I come home worn out!

I look forward to the chilly weather!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"Kaaaaaahn" And It's FINALLY Cooling Off

The weather around here has been beautifully cool in the mornings.
It's still getting into the high 90s in the afternoons, but when I'm walking in the mornings
it's been in the 70s.  I am always happy and energized this time of year.
I seem to get the "spring cleaning" bug in the fall in the Arizona desert!

In fact, I got inspired to clean out our kitchen pantry
for easier access and better storage visibility. 

The laundry room and hall closets are next on my list!!!

Here are a couple of outfits from the past week:
top: Target
skirt: Rekucci (Amazon)
bag: ABage (Amazon)
shoes: Target

wow - same top two Sundays in a row!
top: Target
skirt: GAP
shoes: Target
bag: ABage (Amazon)

Greg and I (along with Jen) went to see "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn,"
which was back in the theaters for its 35th anniversary.

We all wore appropriately-themed shirts.
Star Trek shirt: Amazon (I got men's medium because t-shirts always run way small)
skirt: GAP

Greg wore this shirt (it's not very funny if you aren't a William Shatner fan):

Greg got compliments on the shirt (but I did the shopping, 
so I applied the compliments to myself, too!)

Here are some cute heart-warming fuzzy babies to make you smile. 
Stephen, who is part sloth - he loves to droop off everything

Allistiar's widdle pink nosey!!!


two brothers: Stephen & Allistair

I've been having lots of inspiration lately and have decided to start the process of moving away from the software program the Chirp Curriculum has used for the visual symbols in each lesson.
The symbols are fantastic and I am grateful they exist, BUT I have to go through the licensing process regularly to use them AND I am not able to distribute them digitally.  This means I can't easily distribute the Chirp Curriculum internationally due to extremely high shipping costs for heavy items (like curriculum binders!)  
Instead of using the software program, I'm going to be using illustrations by my very talented illustrator friend Jihae.  This has the added bonus of adding consistency throughout lessons and the curriculum as a whole because all the visuals will be in the same style.
I am excited about the progress I'm making figuring all this out!
More interesting technology will be required to make things work the way I'm envisioning;
thankfully, I like to learn!!!
I'm praying God provides the energy to keep chugging along and that I am content to inch along if that's required.  

Here's an example of the Main Idea Strip, this one for lesson 1 ("God Loves Me").
The students "read" along with the presenter multiple times throughout each story to help implant the spiritual truth deep in their precious little minds.

I've also been continuing to post videos on the Chirp YouTube channel every week.
This one is a health-related one that may interest you if you are looking into ways to become healthier (my new lipstick takes a starring role!!!):

I hope you had a great week so far!!!

After a lunch meeting last week, I saw this SAD box in a dumpster!
I was temped to "rescue" him.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Home Again! Catching Up

After getting home from our summer vacation, we had the opportunity to enjoy the many
beauties the desert has to offer!
Our cacti have been blooming A LOT this summer,
and the flowers are big!

We're still loving our pretty backyard.
I spruced it up because we were planning to have special visitors:
Greg's Mom and sister!

They were going to visit and spend one night with us,
so I set up the guest room for two.
Juvy helped!

There's Greg with his Mom and sister, Jennifer.

Here we all are together. 

The babies were glad we were home, too!


so pretty!


sleepy Stephen

Allstair is helping me read some thick theology books!

or are his sleepy vibes just making me wanna take a nap . . . ?

doesn't look comfy to me, but Stephen sleeps like this often!

It certainly has been HOT this summer!
This was from late August, and this week it's been 108 today and yesterday.
Whew!  I'M THANKFUL for our sturdy air conditioner!

I'm also thankful for our roof . . . even though it had a leak (now fixed).
We had QUITE a monsoon storm!!!

Here are Greg (and Juvy!) sopping up the water that came in through the hole.

I captured a few recent outfits for you . . . 
blouse: Per Seption Concept (Ross)
camisole: JKY by Jockey (Target)
skirt: Rekucci (Amazon)
bag: ABage (Amazon)
shoes: Target

blouse: Maison Jules (Macy's)
skirt: GAP

sheer dotted blouse: Victoria's Secret
camisole: JKY by Jockey (Target)
skirt: GAP
bag: Nine West (TJ Maxx)
shoes: Target

shirt: Target
skirt: GAP
shoes: Target
bag: ABage (Amazon)

blouse: Karl Lagerfeld (TJ Maxx)
skirt: Rekucci (Amazon)
bag: ABage (Amazon)

Look again at the adorable bag!!!

It matches Juvy!!!!

Here's a close-up of the Nine West bag (it was $10!)

I also got this cute bag (for $19.99) at TJ Maxx.

See them in motion here:

We also enjoyed the recent eclipse!
Greg made me a little viewing box because we weren't sure we trusted the special glasses.

Look!  You can even see the clouds!

It wasn't a full eclipse; the sun was only covered about 35-40% here in Arizona.
Still it was exciting!

I tried a delicious new recipe lately - lentil sloppy joes!

I need to make this again - maybe tomorrow!

On Labor Day it's far too hot here to do anything outside as I grew up doing . . . 
so we went to a movie! 
We saw "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" in a fun theater where I was able to get vegan gluten-free pizza DURING THE MOVIE!!!  And sparkling water, of course.
The food was way more expensive than it should have been but it was surprisingly good.

Before the movie they were showing hilarious previews (interviews with the director, for example) PLUS these cute dancing aliens!!!

Here's what I wore that day (in the bathroom of the theater):
blouse: Eden & Olivia (Ross)
skirt: Recucci (Amazon)
bag: ABage (Amazon)

You can see that I wear the same things in HEAVY rotation!!!

As far as the 1:1 (special needs) program that I run at our local church,
I have recently discovered a really fun new sensory toy!

See then in action here!

Thanks for hanging out with me, and here is your reward!

This is a little rock, painted like a penguin, that I saw outside Macy's a couple of weeks ago.
Isn't he adorable?!  I love it that he's just sitting there, making people smile.