Finding Gratitude in a Week of Highs And Lows

Finding Gratitude in a Week of Highs And Lows

It’s been a strange week. And by “strange,” I mean it was like there were an extra six really-high highs and kinda-sucky lows stuffed into it without much of a breather between one or the other. So, for posterity, here are the highlights, and a moment to be grateful, too.

If I'm Going to Save the World Today, Maybe I Should Put On Some Pants

If I'm Going to Save the World Today, Maybe I Should Put On Some Pants

When everything extraneous has been stripped from your life by a loss, and you are left naked and broken, sometimes just getting your pants on in the morning is a big deal. But you look for those moments that you see progress, too. Moving forward, whether in small steps, or giant leaps--in the end, that's the only thing I can really ask of myself.

Things I Would Rather Be Doing

I am entering into the final phases of my first self-publishing venture.

Which means that today, I am reading user agreements. Other than a 1-hour webinar and occasional breaks for eating and playing with Levi, this is what I have been doing all. freaking. day. Oh, besides when I ran around on the deck, checked my email every 30 seconds, signed up for a new social network, made some notes about some immediate changes I want to make to improve my customer care, texted my friend about something we're planning together, and wandered aimlessly around the house, I mean.

My right brain is screaming for escape. As the day wears on, I have been looking for more and more excuses to NOT read another freaking boring page of legalese. So, a few minutes ago, it threw up a sign in front of my eyes: "Blog About Stuff You Would Rather Be Doing Than Reading This".

So, since my self-control has weakened considerably since the sun started shining in the window, here it is. :-)

Stuff I Would Rather Be Doing than Reading Legally Binding Contracts

  1. Eat Brussels sprouts.
  2. Do laundry.
  3. Iron clothes..
  4. Watch SpongeBob Squarepants. (No, not because I like it.)
  5. Clean toilets.
  6. Change a poopy diaper.
  7. Read a Nicholas Sparks novel. (No, not because I like it.)
  8. Talk to a telemarketer.
  9. Watch Avengers for the 20th time. (No, not because I am that in love with it. I liked it the first 3 times my kids chose it for Family movie night. Now? ... )
  10. Stab a plastic spork into my thigh.

Happy Wednesday, friends! What is your favourite way to procrastinate?

March Whirlwind

Luigi wasn't done in time for Noah's party.

In fact, he's still not done. I've been working on him as I have had time, which I haven't had a lot of.

This past week, I was running a combination online auction (on Facebook) that culminated in an in-person Silent Auction at my church yesterday as a Heart4Children Canada fund raiser. It was a huge success, which I am thankful for--but it did not leave a lot of time for handicrafts. Or cleaning my house. Or sleeping. So guess what I have been doing today? (Well, not a lot of the sleeping yet, but that's coming soon!)

Noah still doesn't know that he is getting Luigi, so it will be a nice, "late birthday" surprise. And he had a blast at the party, anyway!

Now that the fund raiser is done, I have three big tasks next up on my plate:

  • Choose an accounting software to use - after 10 years in business, my fingers are in enough different pies and my time has become limited enough that I can no longer justify the time required to manually enter everything into an Excel spreadsheet. Any tips on your favourite multi-currency software that imports and exports CSV files?
  • Finish formatting and publishing "The Friday Night Date Dress" - Yay! I finally finished the "Getting Started" tutorial on my new software, and can finally get going on/finishing this project. My next story has been burning a hole in my brain, and I have been feeling severely hampered by my lack of familiarity with the software!
  • Prepare a presentation on online marketing for the upcoming "Women in the North" conference, for which I was flattered to be invited to do a breakout session on the topic.

And that conference is one day before Levi's 3rd birthday. Whee!

Despite the mild weather, it doesn't look like the typical whirlwind on my calendar is going away any time soon. :-)

What have you been up to for the last week, friends?

We Interrupt This Craziness

Wow. I have been trying for the last two weeks to get a post up here about the craziness of the last two weeks. But said craziness has kept me pretty busy.

So, in brief, I have:

  • run into a snow bank and ripped up the front bumper of my van
  • had someone in Malaysia try to use a copy of my debit card to withdraw from our account. Exciting stuff. I have only forgotten the PIN on my new card about 6 times.
  • had a couple of puking kids. I am SO sick and tired of the kids being sick and tired!!
  • nearly finished with the Snow for Lorelai pattern. Seriously. Maybe I'll even be done tonight, depending on how long I want to stay up.
  • Got invited to hit the road with my mom to go visit my brother. This week. Circumstances aligned and I can actually go!
  • Did a down-and-back-in-one-day trip to Edmonton to get Levi's passport.
  • Finally (mostly) finished my website at Winters Distributing. Not a moment too soon for that January 31 deadline, either!
  • Not gotten enough sleep...

... but then, what else is new?

Snowman made by Jude, his friend Andrew, and Jabin last Sunday.

Pretty impressive, right?

Sweet (healthy) Jude comforting sick, tired Levi on a day off of school Friday.

The other boys celebrated the home day by breaking out the Monopoly game before breakfast!

Happy Sunday night, friends! How have you been, lately?


A rough sketch of one of the designs featured in my new book, "The Friday Night Date Dress"

I have been revising my first novel, "The Friday Night Date Dress", over the last week.

So, naturally, I decided that it was a good time to revise my web presence by taking all my varied interests and centralizing them into a new website (because I almost don't have enough to do with my time ;-D). Trying to maintain all my various creative websites and blogs has been driving me a little batty... When I am finished, my personal blog here at Winters' Day In [on Blogger] will be combined with my music and crafting stuff, as well as my author's site, under the URL, which currently only  hosts my music [on Bandzoogle]. (Also known as "the make-work project that will save my sanity.") I am SO excited.

Of course, this is on top of the website that my eCommerce platform is forcing me to create because they are closing down their service. (The one I operate at The deadline on that is February 1st, and since it only took me three months of 3-a.m. benders to make the first one FROM SCRATCH, I figger I have plenty of time to make a second one now that I don't have to rebrand and recreate all my images, etc. Right? Right?

What fun is making just one website when you can make two? (Tongue planted firmly in cheek, in case you didn't notice.)

So, my fall projects? (Besides co-planning an awesome Comedy Night fundraiser for the orphanage?) Build two websites. Get my first novel published. And figure out how to store the copious amounts of potatoes I planted so they will last the winter.

What are you up to in September, friends?

Noah Turns Ten

Two weeks ago today, Noah hit double digits.

Hard to believe that this "little man" is now passing the decade mark. In honour of the occasion, I decided it was high time for a list.

Ten Things I Love About You

  1. Your smile.
  2. Your sensitive spirit.
  3. Your goofy sense of humour.
  4. How affectionate you are.
  5. Your love of music.
  6. Your imagination.
  7. How, once you learn how to do something, you always try to do your best and get it right.
  8. Your artistic side.
  9. The comics you create. (Sub-topic to #8. :-D)
  10. Your hugs.

For Noah's birthday, he wanted a pirate party (costumes optional--YAY! I didn't have to sew anything new!), so the Saturday night after he turned 10 our house became the centre of activity for all kinds of scallywags.

Jude helped make some party decorations, including a bang-up Jolly Roger. The boys all blew up and hung balloons. (Well, Jason did most of the hanging. And Levi mostly chased balloons and popped them.)

Jude and his Jolly Roger

As per usual, I left things until too close to the last minute (thanks to an unplanned, last-minute trip to Lacombe the weekend before to visit my grandmother, when I was planning on completing all the party preparations), so I actually had to put my mother and Amanda M. to work helping me finish the birthday banner when they arrived! Oh, well, at least the food was ready, for once! :-)

Kid's got "'Staches and Tats" galore, and ended up covering foreheads, hands, and arms. Jabin thought a beard was in order. Darryl thought Groucho Marx was in order. :-)

The activity that surprised us with its popularity was that all the kids got to decorate a white balloon with a permanent marker before they went home. They were very intent on it, and got really creative.

'Twas a fun night had by all! Argh, matey!

"Argh!" says Pirate Noah

Adding to the Fun...

Last Saturday, while Jason and our two friends Brian and Darryl spent the entire day risking life and limb getting our addition from There to Here, the kids and I got to go on buggy rides.

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Brian's wife, daughter and grandson got to go with us. I know it doesn't really seem fair that we were having fun while the guys were working harder than they usually have to on their days off. However, it helped take all of our minds off of worrying that something might go wrong a little bit.

On a one-horse buggy.

The lovely lady driving the buggy is Irinel Agapow, and the noble steed is a young Halflinger she is training named Simmel (I think?). The buggy is an antique belonging to my step-dad, and we were invited on the whole adventure by my mom (who was holding the camera, therefore not pictured.)

Since it was really only a one-seater buggy, which we still managed to squeeze two adults and two children onto, the rest of us were entertaining ourselves while we waited for our turns. While he was waiting, Noah found a frog, which he decided needed to go into his pocket. This is him, pointing to the frog's location inside his pants:

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Later, Jenn and Laverna took the frog to their place, where they have a little aquarium for him to live in. We get to pick him up the next time we go. (Assuming he is still alive, I guess!)

As far as the men-folk, they made it home safely, racing the setting sun to get the addition off the trailer before dark. On the next two days, Brian graciously came back to help Jason in sucking the addition in next to the trailer and getting it levelled.

So, that means we now have our addition. Last Friday, Mike and his friend Jerry had brought up our deck, stairs, and fuel tank (the trailer is set up to run on diesel heating fuel), which are laying in random places in our yard (still). The addition is not "hooked up" yet, meaning no power, and we are climbing in and out on a stepladder, but AT LEAST IT'S HERE!!

The walls in there were circa-1970s dark faux-wood panel board, never painted, so this week in between the +30C heat wave and getting started schooling my younger two boys, I also managed to prime the porch. That's about as far as I got, though!

I am feeling the pressure of the impending and unknown date that it will get cold and miserable and white outside like an unknown but inevitable execution date. My head is constantly filled with all of things that I have yet to do, and knocking off the in-essentials that I simply won't have time for this year. I didn't get much canning done, since I rarely had time to go to the store to buy fruit, and didn't have much time to can, either! I managed to keep on top of the plentiful crop of peas I had, which is good, since last weekend the neighbour's horses got out and destroyed most of the vines. Fortunately, I will get a few seed peas for next year from what is still remaining. (The horses also ruined all but about 5 stalks of corn and ate quite a few of my sunflowers. It was a tearful moment for me when I discovered that.) Most of my garden is still in the ground, so as soon as it cools back down to fall weather I need to dig that up.

So, here are a few things still on my "before-the-snow-flies" To-Do list:

  • Finish the permanent chicken run we began in May
  • Winterize my chicken coop
  • By the first week of October, butcher about 12 Rhode Island Red roos
  • Finish painting the addition
  • Finish moving in to my house
  • Finish harvesting the garden
  • Clean up the holiday trailer we borrowed to live in while we were "in transition" this summer

I'm sure there's more that I have temporarily forgotten.

On Jason's To-Do list:

  • Skirt the trailer (huge job)
  • Hook up the addition
  • Attach the deck
  • Build new stairs, since we have the trailer blocked significantly higher than the previous owners did
  • Plus more...

However, on the more positive side:

At the end of August, I had only a few tomatoes on any of my plants--the plants were strong and lush from all the rain, but there had not been enough heat to produce fruit on many of them. I was disappointed, but since this is my first year growing tomatoes, I tried not to take it too personally. However, there are now tomatoes on nearly every plant I have. Even the lone rare strain of Oxheart that I received from my friend Doug F. produced one lonely, large, though misshapen fruit. I hope the seeds are fertile. (It looks like it grew around the clover, or something!)

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No Place Like Home

No Place Like Home

As much as I enjoy travelling, and visiting, and adventuring, by the time we pulled into our yard at 11 p.m. last Friday, I was VERY ready to be home, and so were the boys.

However, we all enjoyed our week at Tony and Candace's. Jabin actually refers to their place as "Naomi's house"--you can tell who he sticks like glue to while we visit there. Something about them both being five--they get along like two peas in a pod.


Favourite Blogs

A Day In The Life Of Dawn - Guess who?
All Things Hamlin - Beth
Captain Cat's Diaries -
Caveat Emptor - Scott
Gimme Five! - Clare
Graphic Designer Nerd - GrafxGurl
Hanging Out The Wash - Angela
Heather Anne Hogan - Do I need to say it again?
Just Swingin' A Cat Here... - Logan
Kelly Well - Bet you can't guess!
A Little Bit Crazy - Anne
Mama Says So - Rohini
Momma of 4 Blessings - Stacey
Peefers Home - Peefer
The Pancake Chronicles - Colleen
Perennial Effervescence - Aakanksha
Susan Hated Literature - Fence
VixterG - Vicki

More Great Blogs

Chief Executive Mom - Annie
Cunning Quotes - Fence again
Corpus Christi - Jason
The Deutschers - Laurie
Following The Herd - Peggy
My Part of Colorado - Paul
Oh No You Didn't! - Sarah
Ponderosa Pinings
Sentiments by Denise - Uh, duh?
thoughts from the deep recesses. - Cathy
Vander Meander - Dixie


Amanda Magnusson
Ang Winters
Dagies Life In A Day - Christa
egg in spoon - Jill
One day at a Time! - Candice
Simply Me Jen

Knit Up A Storm!

The Brown Sheep
the blue blog - Alison
Yarn Boy
Yarn Harlot -Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Scrap It!

Ali Edwards' Blog
{Bits and Pieces} - Cathy Zielske's Blog
My Favourite Close To My Heart Consultant - Robin Berreth

Musical Heroes

Shaun Groves' blog
Steven Curtis

On A Mission!

The Juhlins
Impact Asia--The McIntosh's
Share The Word Ministries

For Hum-Drum Days

Creation Science Evangelism
Ooparts (Out Of Place Artifacts)
Institute for Creation Research

Take A Stand!

United Mothers And Fathers


Winters Distributing - Store
Winters Distributing - Blog
Saddle Pads 'N More--Spot the Best Deals Here!

Today, I Learned...

  • Shredding paper is fun. (I got a new office paper shredder yesterday.)

  • Using essential oils really can help improve my mood. After applying Young Living's Release blend after lunch, my mood went from I-just-can't-seem-to-snap-out-of-it-BLAH to much-more-at-peace-with-myself-and-the-world-Stable. (The paper-shredding might be helping, too.)

  • That in a four-year-old's mind, the shortest distance between the muddy back yard and the muddy front yard is through the house. With your boots still on, of course.

  • That in a three-year-old's mind, when you realize that pooping in your pants lands you in a not-so-pleasant shower, the alternative is not to poop in the potty, but rather to try and change your own diaper.

  • That the Canadian Cancer Society is actually more concerned with the fulfillment of it's intended purpose than I thought. They have just announced a national program to use vitamin D supplementation to actually prevent cancer! Amazing, eh?

  • That when you hit "Control-P" by accident when typing a blog post, Blogger thinks you actually want to publish it already. Good to know the new keyboard shortcut, but I wasn't actually ready yet!

  • That even a little bit of bumper-car action can leave you stiff and sore.

  • That no matter how much paperwork I get done, there is always more to do.

  • That most things in life are made better by a hug from someone who loves you.

What have you learned today, friends?