Thursday, February 28, 2008

Out My Ears

In the spirit of clipboarding, I have decided to post some more of the many clipboards that have been created in my kitchen sweatshop. They are all going to new owners tomorrow, so my house will finally be free of the clipboard clutter. Not to sound negative, because I did enjoy each and every little clipboard creation.... but I am now ready to move on. Before I do, a little FAQ for those questions I have received on decorative clipboards, otherwise known as altered clipboards.

Q: How do you design a clipboard?
A: If you have ever scrapbooked, you can easily create a clipboard. Most of my designs are taken straight from scrapbooking layouts that I have done.

Q: Do I have to be a scrapbooker to make clipboards?
A: No! You can be creative and have fun. You can use paint, paper, stickers, markers, ribbon, and embellishments to help you design your clipboard. There is no right or wrong.

Q: How do you get them to look so shiny?
A: Oh, the wonders of Mod Podge. Just thin layers of Mod Podge over what you have placed on the clipboard and you will have a very durable and beautiful finish. You can also use Mod Podge to glue down the items to your clipboards. Thin layers are better. Thick layers of Mod Podge will take longer to dry and cause more wrinkling.

Q: Wrinkling?
A: Yes, the paper will probably wrinkle or bubble up a little (or a lot) when you apply the Mod Podge, but do not panic. Let it dry overnight and most wrinkles will flatten out.

Q: Do you sell the clipboards?
A: Um, no... but I will make them for very good friends. In fact, I am planning one right now for a very good friend of mine who needs a little lift.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clipboard City

Remember a few weeks back, I mentioned that I have been making clipboards for Teacher Appreciation at the kids' school? Well, I am finally and officially finished with the clipboards and wanted to post pics of a few of them. Most of the clipboards were decorated with leftover scrapbooking materials, so they cost me next to nothing to make. They are known as "altered clipboards" and you can do a google search to get more ideas about how to make them! They are a great teacher gift and are really pretty easy to make.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So Doggone Cute!

The unthinkable has happened: Kim's family has become..... a DOG family! She always firmly said, "Oh we won't get a dog until the girls are older, blah, blah blah," but today, she called, and said.... "you'll never guess what I just bought!!! And it's POTTY TRAINED!" Well, meet Tate, the newest addition to Kim's family. Isn't he absolutely adorable???

Our Bracket is Busted

Well, no scary music or silly posts. We lost. Our bracket is busted and our bubbles are burst. Losing by one is no fun. It would almost be easier to lose by 20. I know that sound ridiculous, but oh, the blood that was pumping through my heart about 4 PM yesterday as our players put up the last shot to win the game. The shot didn't fall, but our faces did. And I'm having a hard time fully recovering today. But hey, it's just a game, right?????

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Testing, Testing

*Cue Twilight Zone Music*

Just checking to see if there is in credence in my reluctance to post about the games. Could it be possible that somehow, writing a blog post about an upcoming basketball game mystically lowers our chances of winning that game? Could my blog actually cause us to lose?

*Music grows louder*

Well, here goes. ORU has been paired up with Creighton in ESPN's bracket buster game. We play the Bluejays at home and everyone is very excited about this matchup. And to be honest with you, I really want to win. Well, I always want to win, but I really want to win this game for this reason: even though we have had an amazing run through our league thus far, (13-1), our team is still not recognized by people as a dangerous team. Even though we have beaten 2 out of 3 of the state's teams this year, people poo-poo us because of our conference. This win would be a start in bringing us some more respect.

*Music begins that scary, shrieking sound*

Stay tuned for the outcome of this story!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Year of the Braid

She WON'T wear dresses, or bows or frills.
She WILL climb up tall trees and big, dirty hills.
She won't even think about cute clothes that are tight
they have to be LOOSE or she puts up a fight.
The older the better - she loves holes and stains
she feels best in sweat pants running through the rain.
She will pick a hand-me-down to wear any time any day
And those new clothes from Limited 2 just go to waste.
She WILL wear shirts printed with animals and do not you think..
that I am one lucky mom that she will even put on pink?
And one more thing she is happy to wear...
and that is two braids pulling back her hair.
It started as braids to make it a fun day,
but now she wants braids from Monday through Sunday!
No cool hairdos, painted nails, or earrings on this child,
just a great sense of humor and a streak that is wild.
She is who she is: a girl I would NEVER trade
even though every day she demands, "Mom, I want braids!!!"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Streak Has Ended

As much as I hate to admit it, I had a little superstition about posting about our win streak, which was broken tonight at 13. I wanted to say something about the wins, after all, the blog is called Having a Ball, but there's a weird little catch that said to me that I would be setting myself up if I posted about how excited we have been to go undefeated in conference play. How thrilled I was to see Moses score 40 points, a feat neither Ken nor Caleb accomplished. How actually NICE it has been not to deal with the baggage of losing. Like a silly blog post would do that: make us lose. But still, I couldn't do it. And, sure enough, it wasn't the blog posting that made us lose... oh no... I can blame something else! I usually don't read the article in the morning newspaper on the day of the game and I did today, so THAT must be it!!!

Used to, if the game was on TV, I might try to just catch the last few minutes of it. However, I now watch every stinkin minute of the games. I have no choice. Kami is our little play-by-play announcer who adds a lot of color (GET THE BALL TO JARVIS she screams to the TV) , and she will not miss a second of the game. So, we stood in the kitchen together and watched ORU go down tonight to IUPUI. After a terrible first half, the guys pulled it together and came back from being, I think, 11 down. The lead kept changing hands the last couple of minutes and A-Lib missed a shot at the end to win it. It was exciting, but I tried to keep my emotions in check. After 8 year of this basketballcoacheswifelife, I (think) I am learning what Patsy has wisely offered for years: don't get too up! and don't get too down! Keep an even keel. If you know me very well, you are laughing. You are surprised I can even type the words "even keel." Because you know my emotions often carry my away! But there is a part of me that is OK with this. I don't like it. I NEVER like losing... but it is OK.

And on another note, what about OSU beating Texas A&M at College Station tonight? They needed it, and they GOT it. I am really, really happy for Sean and his players. And most of all, Sean's WIFE! :) Speaking of OSU, I stumbled on to these Bill Teegins highlights a few weeks ago, and I have been waiting to post them. If you loved listening to Bill call OSU games, then you will enjoy these clips in a bittersweet way. Seven years after the terrible OSU plane crash, I still miss Bill Teegins. The basketball part is towards the end, and boy, Bill was FAN-TAS-TIC. Take a little listen!

Now that's a basketball post for ya!

Friday, February 15, 2008

All You Need Is Love

Sometimes, special days like Valentine's just kind of come and go. Between the box making, valentine signing and cookie baking, the day seems to slip too quickly into a perfect chocolate heart popped in the mouth and melted away.

We did lots this Valentine's Day and more, but for some reason, I had a revelation this year. Maybe just a moment of mental clarity. Whatever it was, it seemed to make all the little things more meaningful. It was like I had just had lasik surgery; the world was so clear.

I started really thinking. About the day. About Love. And it came to me that
God is Love. Why it never really hit me like this I don't know. But Valentine's Day should be a day about Him. A day about Jesus, who is LOVE.

So, making a Valentine's box with Luke (a very cool, rolling, blue car box), become an act of love for my son, not something that took up the only extra 30 minutes I had in my evening. And getting those Valentine's signed and stapled and licked and bagged and organized, while tiring, became too a little prayer, for each tiny name printed. I'm not saying I didn't get tired, cuz I did. But it just
felt different this year.

And let me tell you what happened next....I looked into the eyes of my Granny and I saw the
Love of God there. I saw 97 Valentine's Days shining through. And when she handed the red, pink and white, heart-covered quilt over to Hallie (yeah for Hallie - she won the drawing! Boo for us - we didn't win it!), I saw that her EVERY DAY is the kind of day I had this Valentine's. For her body surely gets more tired and pained than mine. Her heart is surely weary of the cares of this world. But she sews one stitch after another because God loves her and she loves Him and she does it as an act of love for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Simple stuff, I know. But it meant something to me.

Oh, and one more thing.... with Tom being out of town on Valentine's Day, I amazingly did not even feel sorry for myself, not one little bit. And then, that night, when I went to bed, there on my pillow, was a sealed, red envelope, just for me. And then the next morning, a purple one, on the magazine rack. And you're not going to believe this: but later that day, another one, a white one, tucked away in a drawer. Not bragging, just thankful for Love this year.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Awesome Arizona

Lucky girl, Ellie, got to go on a trip to Chandler, Arizona with Gran Carolyn to visit Uncle Jon, Uncle Matt, Aunt Gretchen, and cousins Sam and Kelly. She left last Friday and returned home early, early Monday morning. Before she left, I gave her a small camera and told her to make sure to snap a few pics. I had a feeling she'd take good care of the camera and would come back with a few shots. Sure enough, first thing this morning, she asked me to download her pictures. And I cracked up when I saw that in just over 48 hours, she took about 200 pictures. That's pretty attentive for a 7 year old girl! The first step is remembering to actually take the camera out of it's case and with you wherever you go, and then you have to take the pictures! There are some pictures of people , some pictures of the scenery (down to the minute details) and LOTS of pictures of dogs. She really likes dogs. I didn't post one quarter of the dog pics that she took. You will also see that she likes nature, specifically rocks. She took a lot of pictures of rocks and trees and plants. I couldn't resist sharing a few them with you, along with some of her comments. After all my talk about picture taking and how critical I was of my own pics, I have to say that these pictures are pretty close to perfect to me.

Uncle Matt and Kelly - thanks for having Ellie for the weekend!Kelly's dolls

Watch out for the really big cactus growing on the side of the house. The aloe vera plant growing out front. A nice, red rock.
Sam holding a really cool looking rock. Possibly from the moon.
This is the first picture in a sequence of pictures taken at the Renaissance Faire. Ellie was meant to live during the Renaissance period. She loved the fun to be had there and especially the bird shows.
Oh, and the danes. She loved the danes. The danes were everywhere. More danes.

A ride. Ellie and Kelly are riding it.
Another dane.

Ellie and Uncle Jon.
Kelly in her Robin Hood hat. Ellie got one too because she was sweating in that Arizona sun!
Another great dane.
And yes, another.

Some details in Matt's house. The chess game. Matt and Gretchen love games. Ellie feeling the water in Matt and Gretchen's pool. Glad she didn't drop the camera on this shot.
She likes rocks. She spied a star fish. Pictures of pictures. She took about 10 of these. The grapfruit, she said.The grapefruit tree. A lovely trip.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Not So Budding Photographer

Remember that I promised new-and-improved photographs on my blog? I am trying, but I tell you, it is not easy. Photography is kind of like learning a new language, and unfortunately, I am well past that young-and-moldable-brain stage where difficult things like new languages are easy to pick up. It's so funny to me, because Mom and Dad raised me to think I could do anything. I mean anything. They instilled a belief in me that anything I set my mind to, I could accomplish. Well, maybe as I get closer to 40, I realize that hmmm... maybe I can't exactly take the pictures I am envisioning in my mind. Of course, the standard I have in my mind is oh so high. As most of you know, I think Kelly's pictures are a thing of beauty. Look on her site for our kiddos, plus others you may know too. A year and a half ago, I went out and bought a camera like hers, ridiculously thinking... well, if I have her camera, then viola! my pictures will be incredible, like hers. Well, no, that's not happening yet... but I am picking up a few tips. One: never use flash. Natural lighting makes all the difference. You can see the difference in the picture above and the one below. Flash=washed out unnatural looking pics. (Who am I kidding... I will definitely be using the flash! But to get that just right shot, some people say to lose the flash.) Also, I saw these rays of five o'clock light and I decided to grab my camera to see what the rays could do for me. I think the indirect light really make a difference in the eyes. So though this picture is not perfect, would you rate it as "better" than some of my old ones?
Also: Photoshop. Photoshop. Photoshop. Another new language (barrier) that can work wonders on pictures. I am finally learning a few new tricks with layers, filters and saturation. I've been getting some ideas on this very cool blog. The pic of Ellie above was photoshopped. Cropped, darkened around the edges, and I increased the saturation of blue a little. I also added a filter that increased the sharpness. It only took me about a year and 1/2 to learn that. Imagine what I can learn in the next year and 1/2! Ha! I know, I know, take a CLASS you're thinking. I need to do that, but for now I am going to try to be satisfied while learning at a snail's pace. Every picture I take I need to look at as a learning experience, like the ones of Rhett and Ryker, below. My granny always calls me Rosebud, so maybe one of these days, I'll bloom. One more thing.... that gap in Ellie's mouth is pretty much history!