Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Made It and Two Great Days of Christmas

I know with it being the 28th of December this is now a non issue...but I just had to share.  Remember, the revised deadline I gave myself of the 22nd to have packages wrapped and safely delivered under my parent's beautiful tree?  I did it!

Hard to see, but trust me....they are there!
I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I was doing a bunch of crafty stuff for small office gifts and a couple of out of town friends, but didn't want to share before I presented the gifts.  As they are.

Gift bags, small treat bags, gift box and a Christmas card.
Close up of the gift bags and gift box (my first "blog friend" loved her gift box)
Close up of the treat bags

The best part of Christmas was that I got my sweet boy back.  He spent the first part of his holiday break with his dad and I was dying to see him.  Zach's dad was kind enough to snap a photo for us when he dropped him off so we actually have one with all four us.  Unfortunately, because it is just the four of us we rarely have a complete family photo on Christmas and I just hate that!!!  This one is definitely a keeper....

Our little family
Zach and I spent the whole day at my parents.  My mom cooked two wonderful meals, we opened packages....

Mimi and Dad Dad gave him 4th row tickets to Mythbusters
A new printer
and we somehow convinced my sweet mom (who is more of a non violence, no bad talking, sweet story kind of movie lover) to see MI 4: Ghost Protocol.  It was awesome!  She was quite the trooper and went along for the ride.

Day 2 of Christmas began with an early morning trip to Best Buy.  Zachary asked everyone for money for his birthday and by early November he was well on his way to having enough money to buy a new laptop.  Last year, I got him a rebuilt one but it definitely left a lot to be desired.  So, even though there was an error on the Best Buy website and we arrived 40 minutes after the store opened - he found exactly what he wanted and all was well in new laptop land!

The eagerly anticipated new laptop.....he loved that I whipped out the camera in the middle of BB - you would think he would have learned by now
Zachary's Uncle Tommy was in town from Boston for the holiday so we all (Zach's dad, Uncle and I) decided to take Zach to Holiday in the Park.  I am so glad that we can all get along so well and do things together for Z.  I think it is good for him and I feel very blessed that we are at a place where outings like this are not only doable but also enjoyable.  It was a little cold and a little damp, but we really had a lot of fun. 
Zachary sledding on the snow hill
Zachary and his dad...Z finally got to actually drive the go karts and he had so much fun!

Robert, Zachary, Me and Uncle Tommy

I am know officially exhausted...I have literally been fighting with Blogger for hours.  Every time I tried to enlarge a picture and add a caption, my picture would be moved to another place on the post.  Success at last!  It appears that I fought Blogger and I WON (well except for that one paragraph that won't left justify even though it says it is...GRRRR)!  I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas....night!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What A Party and Not Quite As Expected (Wraptastic)

Yep, it is hump day (barely) and I am just filling you in on the weekend.  Saturday was a whirlwind.....haircut and Christmas shopping, and then getting ready for a surprise 40th birthday party.  My dear friend Jan was planning her boss' wife's party.  After planning my mom's party earlier in the year, I was more than happy to help.  I can't take much credit....she did virtually all of the legwork, but my crafty side kicked in to help pull things together.  I did table numbers, the seating chart and drink tickets. 
Drink coupons

Not a great pic, but you can kind of see the table numbers
The party was a huge success....she was totally surprised and everyone had a great time.  There was dinner, a lot of dancing and of course some adult beverages.  Jan hired a great photographer (Jesse was already booked for a wedding).  Winn Fuqua was all over the place and I think that he literally took hundreds of photos.  We are expecting the discs any time now and I can't wait to get a glimpse.  There is a good chance that he will show up on my "Photographers That Rock" page very soon.  My photographer freak flag was definitely flying!  I am doing a scrapbbok for the birthday girl and because of all of Winn's hard work that night, I am pretty sure that it is going to rock as well!  Stay tuned for crafty updates.

Here is where the "Not Quite As Expected" (or Wraptastic) part comes in.  I had every intention of having Christmas "wrapped" up by Sunday evening.  Shopping done, packages wrapped and decorated and ready to go to my parent's house.  And, if I was feeling really productive I would get that craft table from really....back to a state where you could actually see that it was made of wood.  It has been buried for weeks.  Late last week a FB friend posted that she needed help wrapping presents for the less fortunate.  Without much thought at all, I responded back that I would love to help.  Although, I didn't get my stuff done, it was a wonderful day spent with good friends.  In the midst of all the hussle and bussle of the holidays it was good to focus on those less fortunate and in return remind myself  how very much I have to be thankful for.  Thank you to Jason and Michelle for letting me share in your generosity and amazing giving spirit, in the true spirit of Christmas!  So, the goal of getting everything done has been pushed back a bit....tomorrow at the latest, but if you know my procrastinating nature you will know that will still be quite an accomplishment.
This was my second pile.

Everywhere you looked there was elfin magic!
Wraptastic 101

In closing, Zachary has picked up a bit of a photography bug - momma AND  her freak flag are thrilled!  Just had to share these photos he took of our less than camera loving Jack....he is very proud.

Yes, those hanging down lights are a result of Jack...he is just one really good bite away from a Christmas Vacation incident.

Jack's close up!
Night All!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Recap

It was a good weekend.  Nothing really exciting happened and no big plans, but none the less it was good.  Zachary and I creeped ever closer to getting Christmas shopping done.  He did a lot of reading for school and this evening he and I plunged into "The Hunger Games" together.  Me for the second time, he for the first.

The Hunger Games (Unabridged) (Unabridged  Fiction)

I am so excited that he has finally gotten interested in them.  I have already read all three books in the series and cannot wait for the first movie to come out in March.  I have not looked forward to a movie opening like this in I don't know how long.  I see a midnight showing in our future!  Even if you don't have kids, I highly recommend these books....great read and they definitely keep you engaged. 

I am making good on my promise to fancy up my Christmas packages this year and really wanted to post a couple of pictures, but I don't want to spoil any surprises so I will keep it under wraps until the gifts have been received.  I am striving to have pretty much everything wrapped and ready by this time next week.  For me that is a tall order.  If you know anything about me, you know that I am a bit of a procrastinator, so if I can make that happen it will be quite the fete!  Stay tuned for updates!

Zachary was horsing around this evening with my readers - yes, my eyes are that old and they are pretty much mandatory these days! I can't resist sharing these fun pictures even though Z said "Mom, they better not show up on the world wide web".  I just can't help myself....

He is too funny

Just love this one!!!!

Night!  Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Good Things Come to Those (Me) Who Wait

Just thought I would drop in for a quick post.....even though my eyes are telling me I should call it a night.  Over the last couple of weeks I have been working with Christine at Smitten Blog Designs to give my little blog a facelift.  Even though my blog hasn't been around that long, I am not blog savvy enough to really jazz it up the way I wanted without a little professional help.  I  am so excited for the installation and I can't wait for you all to see it and hear what you think.  I have only seen a mock up so far, but me likey!!!!  I really didn't have a strong idea of what I wanted it to look like, but Christine exceeded my hopes and expectations.  I seem to be having a lot of luck with very talented "Christines" in the last few months...more on that really soon - I PROMISE!  Hopefully, barring any complications the new and improved "A Beautiful Day", will be up and running sometime tomorrow.    A few extra pages have been added, but have not been completed.  I am making no promises since work is crazy busy right now (translated into "some evenings I can't bring myself to get on the computer"), but I hope to have those finished in the next week or so.  Please stop by and let me know what you think.

And finally, because you know I can't post without at least one......

Jesse Leos Photography

Night all, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Is Overflowing With CRAFTASTIC

Just wanted to do a short (or not so short) post and let you all know that although I haven't posted much lately....I have a bunch of stuff going on that I am super excited about.  I have finally gotten around to taking photos of all the scrapbooks that I have done for my mom, and loaded them on to Shutterfly tonight.  Why is this exciting you ask?  Well because that means I am one step closer to getting all the photos ready for my new Facebook page for Pictures & Pens.  I know, it is about time isn't it?  I currently have a fabulous website, but there is nothing current on it - as in NONE of my scrapbooking.  I am trying to move to a format that my non-techno savvy self can handle - all by myself (at least as far as updates).  I also hope to add some of the photos and information to my blog once it has it's face lift.  That is another area of great excitement.  I got my first mock up today on the new blog.  Christine, over at Smitten Blog Designs and I are not quite on the same page yet but I think we are definitely moving in the right direction.  I cannot wait for the big reveal!  Lastly, a friend at work emailed me yesterday and asked if I would be willing to print names on place cards for her family Christmas celebration.  Apparently, on the down low, she has started a little party planning business.  If you are on Facebook, you should be able to find her here at JR Events and Celebrations.  Anyway, she said in return for the place cards she would mention me on her FB page with a little shout out and pictures of the finished table as well.  Jennifer told me that she just wanted a plain red card with black writing.  I started out making a sample to her specifications, and then the crafty part of my brain kicked in.  Needless to say the samples came out a little fancier than what she had asked for.  After sending a couple of photos, Jennifer jumped right on the bandwagon and gave me the OK to give those place cards a little bling!  She is of course the brains behind the design of her family's celebration, but I am truly honored to be making a tiny contribution to making her vision a reality.  With inspiration from the place cards, I have also decided to fancy up my Christmas packages this year.  Believe it or not, my package presentation is usually pretty ho-hum, but this year I am raising the bar.  In closing, my life right now is overflowing with CRAFTASTIC and I couldn't be happier!

And because I don't like a post without at least one picture, here is another one from Zachary's latest session with Jesse.

Love that he catches expressions like this one!

Monday, November 28, 2011


With November quickly coming to end, I decided that now would be a good time to list all the things that I am thankful for.  I guess it would have been more appropriate to do this last Thursday, but you know me....always running behind!  So without further delay and in no particular order - ok, there may be a little bit of order.....

1. My amazing parents....their strength is overwhelming (in the dictionary next to "Wonder Woman" there should be a picture of my mom - NO REALLY!)

2. My smart, handsome, loving son(ok, at least usually...he is 11 after all) and for now, budding marine biologist - I truly cannot imagine my life without him

I am also thankful that I have this rockstar of a photographer....who is capturing my "not so little man" growing up!  Jesse Leos -

3. My job....I am so very blessed to have been with the same company for almost 10 years

4. A roof over mine and Zach's head and food on our table (or couch,  since that is where Zach prefers to eat because it is so much cooler than the table)

5. Honestly, some of the best, most supportive and giving friends a girl could ask for...I can only hope that I am the same kind of friend to them in return

6.  In light of the last week it would be a tragic mistake not to be thankful for Dr. Hebeler (heart suurgeon) and the freakishly handsome anesthesiologist than got my father through a 5 and a half hour surgery with flying colors.  Although, my daddy may argue with you about the flying colors part because apparently he is not feeling like a million, he was home three day after surgery walking around the neighborhood 4 days later.  Pretty amazing in my book!

7.  That I am part of an awesome church that accepts me just the way I am.....warts and all!

8.  This last one may be hard for you some of you to believe....but I am thankful for our fur child "Jack".....most of the time he is more than a handful and thinks this apartment should revolve solely for his benefit, but he also brings a lot of fun into our home.  I came home to all the ornaments still on the tree tonight, not to mention the tree still in an upright position.  And for some reason, Zachary loves him even though he tends to give him the most grief.

Although, in true fashion I had to throw in a little humor, I am most grateful for all of the things on my list as well as anyone who takes time out of their day to drop by and read my blog.  I still haven't managed to be consistent, but I am truly coming to love blogging and I hope that in the coming year I can get on a more regular schedule for posting and maybe gain a few followers.  I can't wait to reveal the blog is in fact in the works....hopefully before Christmas!

Night all....and remember, we all have so much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Crazy Week......and Happy Thanksgiving!

It is only Wednesday, and the past week has been a blur!  Zachary and I had a really good weekend.  Friday night ended with a pretty serious game of Flashlight Tag / Kick the Can.  I had no idea what to expect, but there was a good turn out and the kids had a great time.  I am not going to explain it, because I tend to be a little long winded (no  Suffice to say, if you have children and they mention it, don't hesitate, just do it!  I wanted to take pics, but it was just too dark even with the parking lot lights.  Zachary left for Boston on Tuesday and because Sunday was the last time that I would see him until next week, I decided to put the tree up a little early this year. Hold on, before you start sending hate mail.....I have never done this before.  It is usually Thanksgiving weekend or later for me and Christmas decorations, but I made an exception this year so that Zach could be part of the festivities.  Although he really only hung about four ornaments, including the all important angel tree topper, he was a huge help getting the tree out of the box, put together and conecting the light strands.

Zachary after his first round of Christmas tree handiwork

All decorated, but missing the all important tree skirt

Our mischievous cat is doing his best to undecorate every day while we are gone.  I get home and decorate all over again and hope for a better result the next day......I know, I will never learn! 

Doing our best to keep Jack's mind off all the tree lovelies
Sunday, we met some friends that we hadn't seen in quite a while for church and lunch afterwards.  We had a really nice time and it was so good to see them!

Monday morning came way too early.  I was on the road on the way to Baylor Hopsital in Dallas at 4:25....yes that is AM.  My dad had heart surgery Monday morning.  It was a long surgery - more than 5 hours, but thankfully the result was awesome.  His doctor said we couldn't have had a better outcome and he is recovering nicely.  We have our hearts hopeful and fingers crossed that we will be able to get him home tomorrow.  If it doesn't work out, we still have so much to be thankful for so either way we will make the best of our day of Thanksgiving!

On a MUCH lighter note, I received the materials for my first paying scrapbook project this morning.  I even got the funds for supplies upfront.  I am so excited!  It isn't exactly the kind of scrapbook that I am used to (more details later), but I going to embrace it and rock the heck out of it!!!!!  Pictures & Pens is officially off the ground and I am so proud!

I contacted a company today about redesigning my blog and possibly incorporating Pictures & Pens.  I can't wait to see what comes of my inquiry.  A facelift could be in the near future for A Beautiful Day!

Sending BIG LOVE out to my sweet Zachary....I know that he is having a great time in Boston (he cannot get to that aquarium fast enough!), but it is hard having him sooooo far away!  I love you, sweet boy!  Wishing everyone a blessed and relaxing day tomorrow.....HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Birthday Celebration

As is customary for me....I am running behind.  Things at work are crazy busy right now and honestly sometimes when I get home at night the last thing that I want to do is fire up the laptop to blog....or really to do anything computer related for that mattter.  But finally, here I am and here it goes.

Being that it is Monday, if I was on top of things, I would be blogging about my weekend.  So, I am going to write about a weekend but it is going to be two weekends ago.  My "baby" boy turned 11 on Novemeber 2nd.  Per his request we celebrated at Summit Rock Climbing in Grapevine, on Saturday the 5th.  Now usually, I make the plans and run it by him to make sure that is sounds good.  This year however he had a very specific plan about what he wanted to do.  I have to hand it to him....he hit a home run with this one.  His dad and I took him and five of his friends to Summit.  All that they do there is rock climbing ranging from beginner to intermediate walls.  Although all the boys were at different levels they all had a great time and want to go back....that is when you know that the party was good!

Zach's dad, Gabe, Zachary, Reid, Jacob, Anthony - missing one.  He arrived late due to a football game
The whole gang.  Anderson made it- he is second from the right. Zachary truly has great friends - I am one proud mama!
Zachary making his way up one of the walls
To finish up the afternoon, we headed back to Zachary's grandparents for pizza and cupcakes. Instead of cake this year, I splurged on cupcakes. If you have never had a Sprinkles don't know what you are missing. I opted for Red Velvet with a scull and crossbones. They were too cute and delicious as always! 

Zach ready to blow out his candles!

Happy Birthday!!!!
I cannot believe that he is already 11!  How fast the time flies.  Have a wonderful night!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

State Fair 2011

Here is my overdue post on the State Fair of Texas.  Two weekends ago, I took Zach and one of his soccer buddies for a day at the fair.  As a general rule, the fair just really isn't my thing. I think I have lived in Texas now for about 35 years and with the exception of the year that I worked a few weekends for my friends at one of their stands, I have attended the fair a grand total of one time.  I decided this year that good or bad, Zachary should at least be able to say that he had experienced it.  We got an early start to avoid the initial crowds and by 9:25 AM were already scoping out the midway.  Zachary tackled a huge slide to start off and the boys rode a few more rides before we decided to move on.

Monster slide to start the day

Bumper cars

Gabe on the TX Tornado - it was a favorite.  Even I got on - twice!
Z enjoying the TX tornado
 Zach's friend Gabe was eager to get to the petting zoo area.  Apparently, he had never seen a pig in real life only on that even possible????  We spent quite a bit of time there, but it was so crowded.  I loved the baby goats, but there was a wide array of different animals to experience. 

Gabe finally got to see those piglets
From there we headed to the Centennial building to see the boy toys - cars, motorcycles, ATVs. 

Zach's new ride....NOT!!!!
The boys really enjoyed this stop and I got a quick visit with my sweet friend Megan, her husband Justin and her mom Melanie.  They were gracious enough to treat us to lunch at their restaurant which was a HUGE boost to the fair budget!  I wanted to take a photo, but they were pretty swamped.  As a side note....Justin's creation "Fried Bubblegum" was awarded "Most Creative" fried food at the fair this year.

Zach with the Fried Bubblegun
At this point, the boys wanted to go back to the midway.  I told them after the Midway we were going to be headed back home because the midway was where we started and it was very close to the entrance where the car was parked.  They did not object and off we went.  The only down side to the day was the approximately 12 minutes in which we became separated from Gabe while we were trying to navigate through the one million people in the Fletcher's corny dog line.  I don't know if I have ever been so freaked out in my entire life.  It is one level of panic if you misplace your own child but something all together different when you misplace someone else's pride and joy.  Zach and I quickly beelined for one of the many police stands and gave the officer Gabe's pertinent information.  In the midst of my panic the officer reassuringly told me that they hadn't lost a child yet and didn't plan to start with Gabe.  He was quickly located and back with us, but it was quite a scare.  Although it seemed like I was much more freaked out than he was, the rest of the afternoon Gabe held onto to Zach's backpack whenever the crowds got thick.  I still consider myself a really great mom, but I would be lying if I said that experience didn't shake me to the core!

I don't believe that we saw even a fourth of all there is to see at the fair, but you know what?  The boys had a great time and to me that was what it was all about.  On the way home Zach said to me "Mom, that was a lot of fun, but it isn't like we have to do it every year!"  You gotta love that boy!!

This super cool sign was carved out of an actual pumpkin
Another addition to "TINTKRM":

Just a friendly reminder.

We have a super busy weekend coming up....haircut, soccer game, Zach's annual pictures with our favorite photographer and if we are lucky maybe a movie and a little R & R on Sunday.  Hopefully, the cool weather is finally here to stay for awhile - I know that I am enjoying it!  Hope everyone has a great weekend - night!

Oh, as a final note...I AM NOT a huge baseball fan at all.  BUT, the Rangers are two runs up and two innings away from clinching their first ever World Series.  I have to is pretty exciting!!! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

FINALLY - The Scrapbook Complete

As I am sure most of you know, last week I finally finished the wedding scrapbook that I have literally been working on for what seems like forever. Truth be told, I was still making little additions up until the day that I gave it to Lindsey. That is just what I do....I wanted it to be perfect for her. I am happy to say that she was thrilled!

Lindsey and I on the patio at Anejos
She told me that it was better than she ever could have imagined (which is a huge thing considering she is a scrapbooker herself) and as I was driving home she called to tell me that she didn't know how she could ever repay me. Lindsey said that it was the best wedding present that they received. Well, as a person who truly loves to scrapbook that was repayment enough....that short phone conversation had me beaming and that made all the work seem more than worthwhile. There is something truly special about doing something from the heart and genuinely knowing that the recipients treasure what you have created....PRICELESS!

And finally, another addition to TINTKRM:

Hope that you enjoy the scrapbook....I welcome your comments.  Good night, all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weekend Recap

It was a pretty low key weekend.  Saturday morning started out with a soccer game - another tough loss.  The Patriots are really struggling this season.  There are quite a few new kids and it just seems like they are not used to working together yet, but I have not given up hope.  Although I had every intention of going home and being productive the rest of the day, that side of my brain that was screaming "take advantage of the quiet time and relax" won out.  I had a lazy afternoon including a fabulous nap - PRICELESS!  The whole day was not a wash though.  I finally finished THE  scrapbook that I have been plugging away on, literally for months.  It is such a weight off of my shoulders and I cannot wait to share it, not to mention present it to the recipient.  I am going to try to get the pictures taken tonight and will try to share it  on the blog soon. After I finished my last huge book, I was soooo ready for a break but this time I am ready to jump into the next one already.  I am going to try to get Halloween stuff done this weekend and then get going on the next project.  Maybe, I am eager because I am finally going to keep one for myself!

Sunday I went to the show with my friend from work and saw "Moneyball".  I am not a huge baseball fan but seem to be drawn to baseball movies....For Love of the Game, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham etc.  It was really good and definitely worth the $7.50.

We followed with lunch.  Her husband met us and as always we had a great time.  Jan was in the market for a new comforter.  She asked her husband, JR, if he would go over to Macy's and check out the sale with her.  He replied with an emphatic "no, but take Jules with you".  I rarely turn down shopping so we headed over.  Jan had a budget in mind - we doubled it and a little more...OOPS!  I am thinking that JR will never send me out shopping with his wife again.  They ended up with the gorgeous Lauren Home bed ensemble below:

 That was the short....ok maybe semi long version of my weekend.  A little laziness mixed with some accomplishment.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I tackled 6 loads of laundry and cleaned the apartment including dusting and bathrooms.  That had to have more than made up for the mega nap on Saturday!

Finally, another addition to my TINTKRM:

I might just paint this on my scale.

Hope you are having a great week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Weekend and A Little Help

Since it is now closer to this weekend than last I guess that I better get to posting.  The weekend was full, but not so much that we were running ragged.  I had my sweet boy for the second weekend in a row and enjoyed every minute of it!  The weather was beautiful  - mid to high 80s all weekend.  Saturday morning started out with a soccer game.  It was a heartbreaking 1-0 loss, but the Patriots gave it their all!

Zach warming up with his dad

Post game huddle

Saturday afternoon we went to see "Dolphin Tale".  I am a sucker for animal films and this one did not disappoint!  I am amazed by dolphins and am not afraid to admit that I was teary through most of the movie.  It had a great cast  - Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freman and the two kids that were in the movie were really good.  I give it a Two Thumbs Up!

Sunday was the day for the eagerly anticipated "Nerf Gun War" at a local park, organized by Zach's PE teacher.  It was a very nice day and there was a great turn out.  The boys (and one very serious and overly armed girl - see below) had a blast!

Zachary, Andrew, Harold and Reid (in the tree)
Have no idea - camera started acting crazy, but I thought this was a cool picture

I did mention well armed didn't I?  The little lady, posted a couple pics below, provided the arsenal.

Zachary ready for battle
Miss Kathryn - keeper of the arsenal.  Armed and dangerous!
The Yellow Team
The red team - worthy opponents

A great time was had by all!!!!  It was a great finish to an awesome weekend.

And finally, Zachary was working on a little essay for school tonight and someone felt like he definitely needed some assistance:
Jack is such the little helper!

Good night, all!