Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A weekend update and something to read & think about

I am up this morning and on the stationary bike, ready to update my blog while spinning & sweating. I love being able to multi-task :) It has been over a week since I have forced myself out of bed to get on this silly thing and it was a struggle; but the bike finally won the battle this morning even though it will be just an hour spin. Yet, the way things are going an hour on the bike is better than nothing.

Anyway...time to catch ya up on some of the goings on around here...

The weekend's activities...
Both Saturday and Sunday I worked in Store #1 (Saturday DH had to work up at store #2 and Sunday he enjoyed going to Robert's hockey game in the morning, but did come to store #1 around noon). Last weekend was a wedding we were making favors and arrangements for - this was the first time since DH & I purchased the business that we ever did anything to this level. While we have created large fruit arrangements for receptions, this wedding "job" had a lot of componets to it and DH & an employee did go and deliver it all in the van and helped to set up. Here is what we created for the wedding:

The Favors - Table Assignments
The bride and the groom decided they wanted to tie name tags onto our favor boxes - tags had guest's name and their table assignment...

And inside the box...
Chocolate covered strawberries - either a groom in a tux or a bride in a wedding dress

The Dessert Table
The bride and groom wanted to add some healthy alternatives to their dessert table and this is what they ordered from us
Banquet Size Delicious Party arrangment
Sweet Indulgence Platters - includes chocolate covered strawberries: dark chocolate, white chocolate, some dipped in coconut and some in crushed almonds; chocolate covered apples and chocolate dipped oranges
When everything was set up on the dessert table, this is what it looked like. While most of the arrangements we produce are ordered as gifts, which we do deliver and see the excitement on the recipient's face...DH was excited about seeing all the things we produced for this wedding set up in the reception hall...I am glad that they took photos of the set up, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see it.

So working at the store pretty much dominated the weekend once again. However I did manage to put the finishing touches on the ornament for Lisa V's Ornament Swap. It really turned out nice, I think. Now I just need to make sure and get photos before I set it on its long journey to Australia.

Before I go, I wanted to share you something that my mother forwarded me. Normally, I don't care for all those forwarded email messages - those change emails - and normally I don't read them. But I read this one and instead of forwarding it to other friends and family via email, I thought I would post it on my blog. Giving you something to read and think about as well as allowing me to save it in the archives.

It's not what you gather...it is what you scatter!

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes... I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr.. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

'Hello Barry, how are you today?'

'H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'

'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'

'Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'

'Good. Anything I can help you with?'

'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'

'Would you like to take some home?' asked Mr. Miller.

'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'

'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'

'All I got's my prize marble here.'

'Is that right? Let me see it', said Miller.

'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'

'I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?' the store owner asked.

'Not zackley but almost.'

'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.

'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about..They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt.'

'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho ..'

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself...
An unexpected phone call from an old friend..... Green stoplights on your way to work....
The fastest line at the grocery store....
A good sing-along song on the radio...
Your keys found right where you left them.
Send this to the people you'll never forget. I just did...
If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur.

Until next time...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Friday, August 26, 2011

First week of school (for the boys)...catching my breathe today!

Ahhh...let me catch my breath today, that is all I ask.

The boys have gone back to school this week and I have gone back to work.
The boys have had hockey practice or some sort of hockey related activity every evening and, in a way, so have I.
Due to the boys' hockey activities in the evening, they have had to stay up late to complete their home work...and so have I.
It really has been an exhausting week.

Today, Friday, is my day off from my job and I have been moving in slow motion, or so that is how I feel. I did get the boys around and out the door to school and DH off to work. I did get all the hockey bags emptied of all that stinky hockey gear that the boys forget to take out - and it is all washed and packed for the next hockey practice (which isn't until Sunday).

I did muster up the energy to go out on a 8.9 mile jog, which felt really good. And after I finish with this blog update, I will probably jump in the shower and finish picking up the house to ready it for the weekend.

Getting back into the school routine with hockey practice in the evenings hasn't been too bad, but I just can't believe all the homework the boys have brought home. I, somewhat expected Robert, who is a sophomore in high school this year, to have an hour or so of something - Math, World History, English...but every night this week he has been up working until 12:30am. And even Matthew, who is in 7th grade, has had about 2 hours or so of homework as well.

Now, you have to understand that every evening this week we have had to go down to San Jose (about a 45 minute drive each way) for either a hockey practice or a conditioning exercise activity and thus don't get back home until sometime between 8:30pm-10pm depending on the activity. So that does put off the start of the work until late in the evening. But even so, it is crazy. Tonight, though, we are void of any hockey activities...although Robert will be gone until late this evening due to a high school cross country meet.

Aside from school and hockey, I have been able to find time to finish the stitching of the ornament for Lisa V of the Ornament Swap Group. Lisa's ornament has to be finished and in the mail before Sept. 30. With the stitching complete, I just now need to finish it into an ornament and then get it in the mail. It will be nice to have it completed well in advance of the deadline because life is getting busy again and I don't want to miss a deadline. And the other reason it will be nice to have it completed is so I can get back to Family Sampler :)

Well, before I ramble your ear off, I will close this post for now. Until next time...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off to School...and a Happy Birthday Wish for a very special person

Well, it has been a long time since I have posted. Last week was dedicated last minute dentist and ortho appointments, shopping for sneakers and hockey travel clothing, registration for school and any other last minute school-prep/end of summer activity. Today is the boys first day of school - Robert will be a sophomore and Matthew in 7th grade...my has the time flown by!
Left to Right: Matthew (age 12 & in 7th grade) and Robert (age 15 & in 10th grade)
I just got home from walking to school with Matthew - Bruno, our 95 pound mutt walked with us too. Now I need to take Robert to school and then get into work. However, before I sign off I would like to wish some one very special to me a Happy Birthday...

Happy 93rd Birthday Grandma
We love you very much and wish that we could have been there to celebrate this wonderful occasion with you!

Until next time...remember,
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Reflecting on Saturday morning

I wake each morning with the thrill of expectation
and the joy of being alive. And I'm thankful for this day.
~Angela L. Wozniak

Up and moving on this early Saturday morning. Darkness still blankets the sky and so does a thin layer of clouds - and the full moon provides enough light to see the roses in the backyard. Fog and Full moon do not create a good situation for one who wanted to view a flyby of the space station or try to catch a glimpse of the meteor shower. Bummer, it is! However, since I am up I will get in my early morning spin on the stationary bike while catching up on my blog reading and posting. Why not, right?

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now
without wishing it were different;
enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will);
being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won't).
- James Baraz

The last 9 days of summer break are here for the boys; August 22 they go back to school - Robert will be in 10th and Matthew in 7th. I look at them everyday (basically I look up to them as they both have surpassed me in height) and I am in awe of how they change daily. Physically they have gotten taller, have filled out, look more "manly" and less "boyish". Mentally they continue to mature, to ask about "grown up" things and have discussions that seem more "adult-like" versus "kiddish". Little by little, they take steps toward independence - not needing their mommy or daddy as much as they use to; yet upset if we aren't there to help out when they need it.

As mentioned in a previous post - this summer wasn't like other summer for there seem to be no "down" time. With both boys signed up for different activities, DH working in *The Stores* and I working my part-time job as well as playing taxi driver...gone are the days of the long family vacations, the days of little boys going fishing with their daddy & grandfather in Colorado; the day trips to the beach where little curious fingers try to pick up a little crab only to get pinched. While it is ok to look back, to open all those photo albums of summer vacations and times spent looking for dinosaurs...it is ok to know that those are memories to last a life time and those that we make now are just as important.

Yes, the summer break activities change - they change with the times, they change as the boys change and as DH and I change. It isn't a bad thing at all...it just is. And talking with the boys, while they miss a day trip to the pond for a little fishing or to the beach for a little exploring, they said that there wasn't anything that they would have changed this summer (except the fact that Robert had some summer homework, which he wishes he would have started earlier in the summer).

Robert enjoyed the hockey clinic that he participated in, which took up much of the summer vacation as it ended July 28th. He not only got to play with some of his hockey teammates, but enjoyed playing around with some of the older boys who have moved on to Junior leagues and were home for the summer. He also has enjoyed getting back into the school track program during the last few week (although his feet, I am not so sure they were happy about it, as blisters tell that story). Matthew enjoyed being a junior camp counselor, working with 3-5 year olds as well as elementary school age kids. He learned responsibility - calling the director if he was going to be late or asking for more volunteer hours when he wasn't scheduled. I am proud of my boys!

So as Summer Break 2011 comes to a close - this last week will be filled with school registration days, ortho & dentist appointments and evening hockey practices. I will be taking vacation days from my part-time job to get all the school preparation activities complete as well as work in some time to do some things that we haven't made time for yet - get in a little bowling, maybe work  in a trip up to the pool, sneak in a hike at a nature reserve or just have a quiet lunch together.

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. 
When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.        
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Well, I will conclude this post. I am grateful that you stopped by for a visit. Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thinking Thoughts on Thursday

Up early and going on this Thursday morning. Still dark outside at 4am, as I am typing out this post while spinning on my stationary bike. I am not a stranger to this time of the morning, but as I age it gets harder to get my bottom out of bed and on the stationary bike on a consistant basis - so I am definitely grateful when it occurs...like on a day like today when life is going to be one craziness after another. So if I can get in a good sweaty spin, I seem to have a better outlook on things, which any help I can get it wonderful!

What is different today than other days in my crazy-busy life? Well, Matthew (younger son) was invited at the last minute to a hockey practice with the team that is one year older than he due to missing some kids - either due to last minute summer vacations or the early start to their school year. Anyway, it is an honor to be asked to these kind of situations, so it was hard to pass up. But it does add to the already crazy schedule.

We have also been dealing with DH's car this week. It has had some electrical issues on and off since we purchased it; however when the break and turn lights became effected and DH started to get pulled over and handed warnings about the lights from highway patrol men, we knew it was time to address the issue. So there have been a couple of days lately where we have been down to one car - which posses a challenge of getting the boys to/from their activities, me going to work and DH helping out with *Store #1's* deliveries. Supposively today should be the last day of being a one car family. After the morning hockey practice, we will have to follow DH over to the car place to drop his car and then take him back to *Store #1*. I will have to keep the car because of the boys' activities. Hopefully they can install the last part and have the car ready around 4pm so we can pick it up before I have to drive back down to the hockey rink with Matthew for his evening practice.

Stop...deep breathe...

Friday and through the weekend should be a little more low-key...be able to rest a little before heading into the last week of summer break. But I am not going to think of next week right now, want to live in the moment and enjoy the rest of this crazy week :)

The nice thing about hockey practices starting up is the time at the rink that allows for some needle & thread to hit fabric. So, that is the benefit of me also getting in my early morning spin - I can sit, relax and stitch this morning while Matthew skates.

Well, I have probably mumbled long enough this morning. I hope that you have a good Thursday! Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Serene Sunday...well, at least it was at 6:00am before my brain got to thinking

Good morning...or afternoon...or evening.
That is the beauty of blogging, anyone anywhere at anytime can read what you journal. Anyway, it is Sunday morning and I am up and on the stationary bike this morning - hence, that is why I have time to post an entry this morning (multi-tasking and it's best - getting in my spin on the stationary bike while catching up on my facebooking, blog reading and blogging!). Lately I have been doing a lot of running, combining it with my stationary bike spinning, which is why I haven't been getting in as much time for blog posting (hard to run and be on the computer at the same time :)). The last 2 weeks I have put in over 80 miles - 40 per week - I really enjoy it, but I do feel it in the ol' body when I am doing too much. So I think today will just be a spinning day.

Yesterday the mailman brought me the 2011 Halloween edition of Just Cross Stitch
I immediately took it into the house and found a quiet corner to relax and look at all the fun things. There are some really cute halloween projects to stitch; but I am on the fence about halloween items. Back in 2009, I found a pattern called "Trick or Treat" in the October 2009 issues of The Cross-Stitcher Magazine by Designer Ursula Michaels. I fell in love with it - bright colors, glow-in-the-dark Krenik, cute...I started it Sept. 9, 2009 and finished it October 24, 2009

For 2 years this stitched piece has sat in my "done-stitching, but-not-yet-finished" shelf. I came across the fabric I was going to use as the backing, for my intention was to transform this stitched piece into a pillow to display around the fall & Halloween months. I am not the best pillow maker and I am scared to take this stitched piece and the fabric...and ruin them both. So in my closet, with all my stitching stash, they lay -waiting...for me to find courage and take them to the sewing machine...SOME DAY. But the question remains...how many "done-stitching, but-not-yet-finished" pieces to you have?

Well, while the Halloween design still lays awaiting, I have been working on both Family Sampler and the Ornament Swap ornament for Lisa V. I have decided to keep them both out on a little table that sits by the couch in the main room where my family congregates. With all the supplies ready to use, I can just pick which project I want to put some stitches in...this has been working well. And while I can't show you photos of the Ornament, I am hoping to have a status photo of Family Sampler soon.

Today will probably be family day at Store #1, for we let everyone at this location have the day off. I will be going in to work in a few hours followed by DH. There are only about 4-5 arrangements to make so far for the day and one delivery, which is what DH will do. Today is also the start of  "Health & Happiness". Take the Pledge of Health & Happiness at any Edible Arrangement stores and get a FREE Pineapple Daisy Pop.

What is the Pledge? Pledge to live more healthy by taking the first step of adding more fresh fruit and vegetables to your meals. According to the new USDA food pyramid, which is the shape of a plate, 1/2 of the plate should contain fresh fruit and vegetables. Come to our store, if you are nearby and Pledge:
  • to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
  • to incorporate a 1/2 plate of fresh fruit and vegetables into every meal
  • to make this change for the rest of the summer and beyond
What is a Pineapple Daisy Pop? To celebrate your life change pledge, we are rewarding everyone who comes in our store (all Edible Arrangement stores are also offering this), signs their pledge card a FREE Pineapple Daisy Pop which is a Daisy shaped Pineapple piece with cantalope melon ball center on a stick. Yummy and good for you!

I wish that you all lived nearer to me to get this yummy treat...and then I could also meet you :)

Well, got to get going. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thoughts on a Thursday morning

Up and slowing going this Thursday morning. It is early - 5:00 am - and still very dark outside; but I am up and after 30 minutes of putting in some "X's" on my ornament for Lisa V (September is her month for the Ornament swap...and I am trying to get it stitched and finished not only because it has a long way to travel, but because I know once school starts for the boys and hockey practices, my time for such things will become somewhat limited) I finally got my butt on the stationary bike. I am working my way into the school time routine - up at 4:30am to spin before having to wake up Robert at 6:30am.

This week has fallen into a new routine pretty quick - I go to my part-time job early so that I can leave a little after 12noon to pick up the boys. Matthew has been working as a Junior camp counselor at the afternoon preschool camp again and Robert has started back up with his high school cross country track team now that his hockey clinic is over. While Robert is running and working out with his track team, I have taken that opportunity to dress in my running gear and go for a run around the high school. Tuesday I went 10.5 miles, doing a walk/jog combination and Wednesday I went 13.88 miles. I have to say that going outside to run between the hours of 1-3pm is very warm and probably crazy...that is why I have been including the walking part to my run. I start out running about 7 miles and then get pooped. But it is nice to be outdoors and enjoy some different trails and neighborhoods that I don't normally get an opportunity to investigate.

That should bring all up to date with the goings on here. I hope that you are enjoying life where you are at and whatever you are doing!  Until next time...remember...

Gratitude is one of the great positive emotions because it creates magnetism.
A magnet is that which draws things to itself;
therefore, by giving heartfelt thanks for all the good we now have,
through the magnetism that gratitude creates,
we will start attracting more good into our daily life.
~Elaine Hibbard

Appreciate life instead of resisting it.
~Judy Tatelbaum

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy August...and an Ornament Swap update

It is August 1...Happy August!
It is my parents 46th wedding anniversary - Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad
21 days left of summer vacation for the boys
That is only 3 weeks...yikes and yay, depending on how they are behaving :)

First up...Ornament Swap news!
My month to receive ornaments has come to a conclusion with the receipt of the last one -
this one is from Lori:

Bent Creek Tag Series
Fabric: 28ct Raw Opal Cashel
Fibers: GAST & DMC of her choice
Isn't he cute! I love the way it looks like a stamp, that was the first thing that the boys pointed out when I showed them. They, like me, love to see what each Orament Swap Member stitched and how they finish it...as where it is being sent from. Unfortuatly we all use these animated postage machine stamps on the pacakges, so no more collecting stamps from different countries. Oh well, I got something better - hand stitched and hand made beautiful ornaments to place on my Christmas tree in December.

Here is a recap of the 5 ornaments I received from the Ornament Swap Group this year:
My 2011 collection of ornaments from Ornament Swap Group - aren't they beautiful!
Next...just random topics to bring you up to date on life in my household -
as mentioned above, with the coming of August, our summer is winding down. However with all the hockey clinic Robert attended all summer and Matthew's being a Jr. camp councelor and dealing with the growning business and my part-time job...DH and I look at eachother and *sigh*.

"It just doesn't feel like a true summer vacation"

Summer vacations use to be filled with vacations to Colorado or Whistler BC
or across the country to visit family.
Summer vacations use to be filled with day trips to the mountain or the beaches
or just to the zoo to walk around and look at the animals.

Many of the things we "use to do" were when the boys were smaller and not as busy in their different activities. But I know, you can pinpoint it all on the boys' activities - for we could say "no" and not sign them up. But they enjoy doing what they are doing and would miss being with their friends and fellow hockey players.
Many of the things we "use to do" happened when we took vacation from our respective jobs - which I can do from my part-time job, but it has been hard to totally get away this summer due to having the responsibility of 2 stores and not ready to have manager(s) yet.

LIVING LIFE is like a living book
It is made up of various chapters
When one chapter ends another begins
That isn't to say that you can't bring back some of the same subjects/activites from previous chapters...
but, for the most part, things change and there are new things to do, to accomplish and/or to explore.

While it is always nice to go back and reread chapters,
to think about them
to remember them
it is important to live in the NOW, to continue with the current chapter
because you don't want to miss what is happening NOW
for it might be something you want to reread later, but you won't be able to unless you live it NOW!

Anyway...enough of the heavy stuff - it is only Monday and we have a whole wonderful week a head of us.  Robert finished up his hockey clinic last week and will use the next 3 weeks to finish up the summer homework that was assigned for his upcoming AP History and Honors Engligh class. The first day of school they have homework to turn in and a test to take. He has started working on it, but has a ways to go. In addition to working on this, he will be reunited with his track team for some cross country practices. These practices have been going on all summer long, but it was too much to do with the hockey clinic. So he chose to participate in hockey for the summer and then pick up track in August.
Matthew will be finishing up his Jr. Camp Counselor experience which lasts until August 12. He has really enjoyed this experience. This week he goes back to volunteering in the summer preschool camp, where he works with 3-4 year olds.
Me? I will go to my part-time job followed by cartting the boys around to their afternoon activities and then deal with anything that comes up throughout the day/week.
DH? He will go to the stores and deal with all the stuff that surrounds running them.

It's obviously more fun to write about the stitching and the ornaments...and probably more fun to ready about them..so before I bore you all to tears I will wrap up this post by saying:

Thank you for visiting and remember,
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!