Family photo shoot

On Sunday we found time to do a quick family photo shoot. There is a great local photographer that has this great deal where he does a 30 minute shoot for a modest fee. Then he burns all of your photos to a disc and you leave with the disc and a letter giving you all rights to the photos. That way you can have prints made, use them for Christmas Cards or whatever you want. The last time we did this we only had photos taken of our son. This time we did the whole family. Can you say Christmas presents??

A few shots from the day...

All photos taken by Todd Burnett

The end of marching band season

It's been a rough marching band season. We had a ton of freshman this year and it takes a while to get the hang of playing and marching at the same time. We were several weeks into the season before they even finished their show. The kids worked really hard though and last weekend had the performance of the season at the Regional competition which allowed them to go to the Semi State competition yesterday. After a 4 hour bus ride though, the kids were tired and grouchy and not too excited about marching. I chaperoned the bus yesterday and I know I was grouchy and tired so I can understand how the kids felt. They were competing against some really good bands from the northern part of the state and we knew going in that it would take some sort of miracle for us to go to state. It wasn't the performance they had hoped for, but they can be proud of the fact that they made it to semi state two years in a row.

The Green Brigade waits to take the field.

Performing their show "Dare to Dream"

The 2011 Drumline. My son is playing the smallest bass drum on the far right.

Regardless of the score, I'm terribly proud of this hardworking group of kids. They practice a minimum of 10 hours each week and their Saturdays are usually 12-14 hour days. The usually have to report by 7:30am, they practice for 2-3 hours, eat lunch and then spend the rest of the day marching at 2 contests with long bus rides in between. They finally pull back into the parking lot around 10pm where they drag themselves off the buses and into waiting cars. And then, bless their hearts, they do it all again the following week. Gotta love the band kids! They rock!! Gee, now they have a couple of weeks before jazz band, pep band and winter drumline begin...

An identity crisis

If you've stumbled upon this blog and are confused, it's okay. I am too. This blog was called Simple Things up until mere moments ago. Why? Because my heart yearns for a simpler life. A life where clothes are hung out on the line to dry. A yummy homecooked meal is on the table at 5pm every night. Evenings are spent playing board games, reading books and crocheting. Those are the things my heart desires but I've accepted the fact that what my heart desires and the reality of my life in 2011 are two entirely different things.

The reality of my life is that it is B-U-S-Y. My husband works full time as the guest room supervisor at a hotel. I'm an accountant for a commercial broadcasting company. We have a 15 year old son that goes to school, is a member of the drumline in the marching band and we are all involved in Boy Scouts. When we actually have a homecooked meal that we are all home for, it's cause for celebration. The laundry is piled up and the house is a mess. We often meet ourselves coming and going. It's hectic and stressful but in this season, this is what our lives look like. In 2 1/2 short years our son will be moving on to college. There will be no more band contests and our time with scouting will have come to an end. So, for the next 2 1/2 years I will embrace the crazy. Will I whine and complain sometimes? You betcha. However, I will strive to live in the moment and have fun instead of fighting it because I've realized that this is one fight that this mama ain't gonna win.

So buckle up because it's going to be a bumpy ride!

MYM - Week 3

I have just had the most productive four days that I've had in years! I took PTO time on Thursday and Friday in order to get the house in order and prepare for a weekend campout with the scouts. I was cruising through my housework on Thursday when I received a phone call telling me that we were postponing the campout due to the heat advisories. The heat index was expected to be over 110 on both Saturday and Sunday. Up until that time, we had been hearing that the excessive heat warnings would end on Friday night. Well, we've got some tough kids but camping in that kind of weather is just plain crazy. This gave me an extra three days to get some serious organizing and work done!

I reworked my schedule from week 1. Now this may seem a little nuts, but keep in mind that I have to have everything done and be out the door at 7:15 each day. (I would LOVE to hear from other moms that work 8-5 outside their home to see how they handle this.)

Week 1 - Morning Schedule
4:00-4:15 Wake up and put sweats on.
4:15-4:45 Quiet Time
4:45-5:15 Treadmill
5:15-5:30 Iron clothes
5:30-5:45 Shower
5:45-6:15 Hair & Makeup
6:15-6:30 Make bed & get dressed
6:30-7:00 Breakfast
7:00-7:15 Brush teeth and out the door!

Week 2 - Quiet Time
Start with a worship song - Selah on my mp3 player
Read one chapter per day starting at Genesis 1:1
Write down one verse that really stands out to me.
Devotion - Work through 30 days of Leading your kids to Christ
Prayer Daily-Prayer from Power of a Praying Wife/Parent
Monday-Parents and extended family
Tuesday - In-laws and extended family
Wednesday - School & Scouts
Thursday - City & State Leaders & Emergency Workers
Friday - Our country's leaders & military
Saturday - Friends & Co-workers

Week 3 - Exercise Plan
I'm keeping this really simple. I'm not too big on exercise indoors. I like to walk outdoors but at that hour of the morning it just isn't possible. I'm just going to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes each day. There is a tv by the treadmill so I can catch up on the morning news or maybe find something to record on the dvr. My goal is to lose 30lbs by Christmas.

Gee.....ambitious much? I'm hoping I'm not jumping into this too fast. I've been trying to manage quiet time in the mornings but haven't been doing too well. In order to add in exercise and everything, it's going to have to be early morning wake up calls for me!

I also spent a lot of time these last few days organizing chores, menus and calendars. I have master chore lists that include all the things we need to keep this house in order. I made a daily list for every member of the family so that everyone knows what they need to do this week. I've been to the grocery (needed a loan for that one...) and made menus for the week. This should keep us eating real meals instead of popcorn for dinner. It will also keep us from hitting the golden arches or the home of the fourth meal. I have a kid that hates fast food and having a home cooked meal on the table each night will make him a happy boy. All of our laundry is caught up too and everything is put away where it belongs. Amazing! Our white board is back on the fridge so everyone can see the day's activities and dinner menu at a glance. It gets a little tricky because my husband's schedule changes from day to day and week to week. My son now has block scheduling which means keeping track of whether or not it is a green or white day so he knows which classes he has. Honestly, you moms that have more than one child? Y'all blow. me. away! I don't know how you do it. I can barely keep track of the three of us. I have to mesh together our personal calendar, school calendar, hubby's schedule, band calendar and scout calendar. It's kuhraaazy!!!!

So, if you are still with me, throw out any ideas you have for getting me some more sleep and still getting everything done. Right now I'm feeling very organized, but I'm feeling like every minute of every day is scheduled. My goal with this was to free up time for my family. But, in order to have quiet time, exercise time and keep the house in order, I feel like I'm never going to get to sit down and enjoy my family, a book or a tv show again. I'm conflicted. I'm going to have a home that is company ready at all times, but I'm not going to have time to entertain any company. What's a girl to do?

Ten on the Tenth - 8.10.10

Hmmm...two tens in the date. Does that mean we have to do twenty? What's going to happen in October? (sorry, weird mood today)

I haven't participated for a while and now the tenth is almost over so I better get on it.

Top Ten Reasons I Hate Summer

10. Mosquitos. I'm a magnet for the little bloodsuckers and the bites sometimes end up the size of marbles.

9. Shorts. These legs just aren't suited for shorts ANY. MORE.

8. Swimsuits. If the legs aren't suited for shorts you can just imagine that the rest of me shouldn't be visible to the public.

7. Humidity. Here in the river valley the humidity is a killer. There is nothing worse than walking out the door at 7:30 am and feeling like you just stepped into a wet blanket. A hot wet blanket.

6. Sunburns. I can use spf 100 and still get burnt. People with black hair aren't supposed to do that are they?

5. Delayed Sunset. It stays light so darn late that I can't go to bed early. Because yes, sometimes I do go to bed with the chickens.

4. Electric Bill. We've had 90+ temps for over a month now and the A/C has been running nonstop. I'm going to have to take out a loan to keep the power on at this rate.

3. Fireworks after baseball games. Okay, now I just sound like a crabby old woman don't I? See, we live a few blocks from an historic old ball field. (It was in A League of Their Own) On the weekends they have fireworks after the game. Sometimes they don't start until 10:30 or 11:00 pm and if you've been keeping track (see #5) I like to go to bed early. When the fireworks start I suddenly feel like I'm in the middle of an old WWII flick.

2. Grass. I HATE yard work. I told my husband when we got married that I don't do yard work. I really should have put it in our vows. Fortunately our son now does most of the mowing.

1. Sweating. Yep, that's my numero uno! The A/C in our car went out some time back and at almost $1000 to replace it, in a 10 yr old car, it's going to stay out. So I don't get a break from the heat. There's nothing like driving to work at 7:30 in the morning and having your makeup dripping off your face. Gotta love it!

Taco Dip - I won an award!

I'm no food blogger, but this is a really simple recipe that's quite tasty so I thought I'd share.

I can now officially call this my Award Winning Taco Dip. Okay, so it wasn't a county fair or anything like that, and I won a flashlight instead of a blue ribbon, but I'll take the awards no matter where they come from.

Each year the district that my son's scout troop is in has a big fall kickoff party where they give an award for the best side dish and the best dessert. This year I won the best side dish category. Since I'm not much of a cook, this is big news in my house.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it yourself. It's really yummy!

Taco Dip

1 - 8oz block of cream cheese
1 - 8 oz container sour cream
1 lb ground beef
1 packet of taco seasoning
2 cups shredded cheese (colby jack or mexican blend)
1/2 bell pepper - chopped
1/2 small onion - chopped
2 small tomatoes - thinly sliced

Soften cream cheese in microwave. Mix cream cheese and sour cream together. Spread mixture into a 9x12 baking dish. Place dish in refrigerator until mixture is solid, about 30 min.

Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning. Prepare according to directions on seasoning.

Take the baking dish out of the refrigerator and spoon the seasoned meat evenly over the sour cream/cream cheese base.

Now begin layering. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the meat.

Spread the bell peppers and onions over the cheese.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the bell peppers and onions.

Arrange the sliced tomatoes over the top of the cheese.

Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

MYM - It's going.....okay

So, I had my plan and I followed it for all of 3 days. I didn't start until Tuesday and by Friday it all fell apart. Now it's Tuesday again and I haven't even attempted to get back on the wagon. School starts tomorrow so I will definitely try to get up early and have some quiet time before waking my teen up for his first day of high school. We all know I'm going to NEED to pray before that one.

This weekend I will be camping with the scout troop. This particular campground is gorgeous and one of my favorites. I'm going to pack a bag with my copy of MYM, a notebook, calendar, bible and whatever else I think I might need. By the end of the weekend I should have my plans in place (including prep for week 3...exercise) so that next week I can really get down to business. I really truly want this to work.

MYM - I Just Can't Say No

Okay, So I have this inability to say no to anything. It generally gets me into trouble, but I think this time it might be getting me into something that will be very helpful. See, I'm disorganized and have become an expert at procrastination. What I want most in this world is to have an organized home that runs smoothly, leaving plenty of time for family. I want to live in the moment rather than spending every waking hour worrying about what needs to be done, where I'm supposed to be, what I forgot to do... What I have is a home that looks like a tornado hit it and a calendar so full of commitments that my family is rarely in the same room together so quality family time becomes impossible.

I stumbled upon Kat's Blog, Inspired to Action, a couple of months ago. She has so many great ideas for getting organized and making the most of time with family. Last week I read a post about now another blogger, Michelle from So I Married a Mennonite, plans to do a weekly series using Kat's e-book Maximize Your Mornings. Well, how could I say no? I've never said no to anything! Getting my mornings in order is really important to me. I wake up early but waste my time. I really need to get my act together because in just over a week my son will be starting high school. He will have to be in the building by 7:30am each morning. Ugh! I despise mornings where I'm yelling, he's late and we part with scowls rather than smiles. I know that it's my job as a mom to set the tone for the morning and I want this school year to be different. I REALLY want this year to be different. You have no idea.

So, here I am. I've downloaded the book and read a little bit of it. I'm going to read more before going to bed tonight but I'm starting with the action steps from Step 1.

I'm going to wake up @ 5:30am. I already get up at that time so that shouldn't be an issue. However, rather than sitting in front of the computer or tv, I'm going to do something worthwhile with my time.

I'm going to bed (lights out!) at 10:00pm tonight.

I'm going to lay out my bible before bed. I've never really been one to study my bible so I'm going to just start reading the Proverb that matches the date and spend time praying. I'll work on coming up with a better plan for next week.

The alarm clock is always set so nothing new there.

I don't have an accountability partner. I think I will quickly post an "I'm up!" on FB before I begin reading. That will have to do for now.

This will be my plan for this week. Exercise will be added later. I will also finish reading the e-book and work on Step 2 so I'll be ready for next Monday's link up.

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

The post where I catch up on six months

Well I never intended to go quite this long between posts. It's a good thing I have no ambition of being one of those bloggers that makes a living at it. Life here at our house is just moving right along. I wish I could say that I've mastered the art of keeping my home and family organized, but as I look around right now and see dirty dishes and dirty laundry (in the living room??) I am assured that I haven't.

The Fall was very busy with Scouting. Lots of campouts and other events filled the weekends. We attended a family reunion in Tennessee and stayed in a great little cabin that my son and I decided we wanted to live in permanently. Christmas was hectic as usual. I made a promise to myself that I will do better in 2010. In fact, I promised myself that I would have all of the shopping, wrapping, card preparing and decorating finished by Thanksgiving. For once, I'd really like to enjoy Christmas without all of the last minute running around, trying like crazy to get everything done. January brought my 42nd birthday and audit season. I'm not sure what it was about this year, but I worked more hours than I ever have before. For 2 months I averaged 60 hour weeks. I tried to keep up with the house, PTA and scouts too but failed miserably on all counts.

Now it's Spring, not quite warm yet, but Spring just the same. Time to get this house cleaned up and forge ahead. Scout activities are picking up with the warmer weather and we are in full Philmont prep mode. PTA is winding down and I'm very happy about that. (I have not enjoyed these past 2 years. I took a board position because there was literally no one else to do it. I didn't want to, but I felt so sorry for the teacher that works with the PTA that I did it anyway. I'll never do that again. From now on I will not volunteer out of guilt, I will volunteer only after praying about it and know in my heart I'm doing it for the right reason.) Before I know it school will be out and we'll be preparing for...wait for it...high school. Time is just flying!

Even though I haven't been posting, I have been reading a commenting here and there when I have a chance. I've found some new blogs that I love and gave up some that weren't blessing my socks off. Just a few days ago I stumbled upon a blog with what seem to be very practical ideas for getting organized and being the best mom/wife a girl can be. I hope to spend some time reading this weekend and I'll share if it's as good as it seems.

I hear the laundry calling my name so I must tend to it. This evening is a scout swimming outing and tomorrow I will have lots of free time to clean and catch up while Dylan goes on a practice hike in preparation for Philmont this summer. Tons to do today and tomorrow so now I'm off with a pad and pen to make a list. Oh how I love a list!