Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stress | Word Clouds

When I'm stressed and overwhelmed, I'm not gonna lie - I snap at people, I get emotional, I lose my self control.  Once I've completed these tasks in a span of 15 minutes, I realize the need for a deep breath and try to pull myself together. 

Just recently, my emotional pressure valve released steam and Greg asked "Why did you get so mad about that?".  As I thought about it, a picture emerged in my mind, everything in my life that was demanding my attention or a piece of my day was large & looming.  The ME part of the picture was so insignificant that it was nearly invisible, emphasizing this feeling of "Can I just have a minute to myself, please??". 

As I visualized this, I remembered an online tool that generates “word clouds” from text that you provide. I needed a stress reliever, so I went to and typed out everything stress related in my life. I repeated certain words like "Nathan" to make them larger in the picture representing, the more demanding or stressful areas in life right now.

It worked.  After typing everything out and using a creative outlet, I felt better. Now, deep breaths and on to the next task at hand.  :o)

Blog Post Amendment

After Greg read this post, he visited and created his own word cloud. It was just the laugh I needed after my rough morning-I love him for that.  Here is Greg's word cloud, which also prompts me to say "Welcome to my life".

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Evolution of the Hey! picture. And how to successfully create your own.

 Hey! 2002

I call it a 'Hey!' picture. The picture above, with friends Amy and Stacy was technically the first 'Hey!' picture taken.  Just seconds before the picture was taken, I told them, yell 'Hey! It'll be cute.'  And the 'Hey!' picture was born. 

 My hardcore scrapbooking buddies in Dallas and I continued creating 'Hey!' pictures (below)

Hey! 2003
Shortly after, we moved to Arizona.  We joined a church, gained new friends and I integrated the 'Hey!' picture in every photo opportunity there was and there were plenty opportunities.  This is the year that it evolved to include a hand motion.  Now, it's a 2 part process, yell 'Hey!' and throw your hands in the air.
SSCC Women's Ministry Team

SSCC Women's Retreat
As you can see, the 'Hey!' picture works really great in large groups.

SSCC Scrapbooking Nights
However, it works equally well with small groups also.

And of course, medium size groups work perfectly.

SSCC Youth Flood Event
The key to executing a successful 'Hey!' picture is simply participation.
The more that participate the better the picture will turn out.

Thanksgiving at the Norton's
At times, it might be necessary to modify the hands due to space limitations,
this is perfectly fine, the picture will still turn out well.

Hey! 2004

SSCC National Scrapbooking Day Event
At times, you may be required to drag out the 'Hey!' to 'Heeeyyyy!' if the photographer is taking to long to snap the picture.  If your subjects aren't aware of this hardfast rule the 'Hey!' will got lost in the picture and it doesn't matter how many fun props you have, the picture won't have the same 'fun' effect.

Hey! 2005
In 2005, I introduced the 'Hey!' picture to a large group of coworkers.
It was risky but they totally got it and the picture turned out great. 

New Year's Eve
You may wonder if just 2 people can take a successful 'Hey!' picture.  Yes. 
Here's an example of  just 2 people carefully pulling it off, it worked out great.

Hey! 2006
Just a word of caution.  Always get the 'Hey!' over the hands.
Hands without the 'Hey!' will look just like that.  Alot of hands with no 'Hey!' For example:

Hey! 2007
Family Birthdays in Texas
Tired of the same old boring family pictures?  Need something different to spruce family pictures up?
Try a 'Hey!' picture.
'Hey!' picture goes International.
My Korean Aunt who doesn't speak any English totally understood the concept!

 Hey! 2008
Eventually, the people you've trained in 'Hey!' pictures do it by themselves with no coaxing! 
Hey! 2009
Be mindful that if you incorporate the 'Hey!' picture into your picture taking, you'll have to train the new people! 

'Hey!' picture variation.  If you happen to be taking a picture of a #1 winning championship team,
include the 'Hey!' but modify the hands, it works just as well.
Hey! 2010
About kids and the 'Hey!' picture.  Like many things with kids, they pick it right up.
You'll never even have to explain it a second time to them.
In an eerie way, it's almost a natural instinct for them.
 I sincerely hope you enjoyed the brief history and tutorial on the 'Hey!' picture.
Please don't hesitate to comment, should you have any questions.
Hey! Incorporated 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A good week indeed!

This was a GREAT week in grocery shopping - I got everything in the picture above for Free!  You read it right, FREE!  The grocery sales and coupons all synced up for some amazing freebies, here's how it worked.
  • Lawry's Taco Seasoning: On sale for $.50 - $.50 coupon for 2 packets = Free. I had 4 coupons because I get 4 Sunday Papers so I got 8 packets for Free.
  • Nivea Body Wash: On sale for $3.99 - $4 off coupon = Free. I had 4 of these coupons so I got 4 bottles for Free.
  • Bugles Chips: On sale for a $1 - $.50 coupon which is multiplied to a $1 off b/c the store is multiplying coupons = Free.  I had 4 coupons so I got 4 bags for Free.
  • Chex Mix: On sale for $1 - $.50 coupon multiplied to a $1 off = Free.  I had 8 of these coupons so I got 8 bags for Free.
  • Valley Fresh Steamers: On sale for a $1 - $.40 coupon which was multipied to a $1 = Free.  I had 4 coupons so I got 4 bags for Free.  Only 2 bags are pictured b/c we already ate 2 bags!
  • Suddenly Pasta Salad: On sale for a $1 - $.40 coupon multiplied to a $1 off = Free.  I only 1 coupon printed from the internet.
  • Cover Girl Eye Liner & Eye Shadow: 
    • Eye Liner: On sale for $1.09
    • Eye Shadow: On sale for $1.24
    • I had a $2.50 coupon for 2 Cover Girl products. ($1.09 + $1.24) - $2.50 = $.17 credit
    • I had 4 of these coupons so it was a $.17 credit x 4 = .68 credit
    • There was also a store promotion, get $4 off your final bill if you buy any 4 Cover Girl products
    • The total taken from my final bill was $4.68.

I also got these 3 cake mixes for free b/c one of the grocery stores ran this promotion: Buy 2 Betty Crocker Cake mixes and get 3 cake mixes for Free!  I used a $1 off  (1) Betty Crocker cake mix + (1) frosting coupon and got these 3 cake mixes for Free.

As I stated this was a good week!

This was last week's freebies...
  • Snuggle Dryer Sheets: On sale for $2.99 - $3 off coupon = Free.
  • Flipz Pretzels: On sale for $ 1.00 - $.50 coupon, multiplied to a $1 = Free.
That was it for last week, not the quantity of items as this week.  This week was like hitting the mother load!

Did you find this interesting or was more like a painful math lesson?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Comic Relief...

This is a funny 8 minute clip of a Comedian by the name of Russell Peters on the topic of "Beating Your Kids".  Don't you just love the irony that this post follows the Mother's Day Post? hahaha!  I think what gave me such a chuckle in this video was the broad representation of different races & ethnicities regarding the topic. It was a good laugh, so I just thought I'd share it.  There's some bad language, sorry!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to ME. And maybe to you.

Happy Mother's ME.

Here's to a toast to ME - for being a GOOD mom.
To ME - for the hours I've watched Backyardigans. 
Dora the Explorer.  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Chuggington. And more.

To ME - for playing along with "You, the kitty cat, I'm the Lion".
"You the David, I'm the Goliath."  "You the good guy, I'm the bad guy."

To ME for knowing the difference between Percy, James, Toby, Gordon and Thomas the Train.

To ME - for waking up at 4:30 am again because that's when YOU wake up.
To ME - for cleaning up the nasty floor under your chair for the thousandth time.
To ME - for remembering your snack, your drink, your clothes, your baby wipes, your game and your books - every time we go out. 

Here's to me - for the mom I never thought I could be.
Here's to me - for the patience I never thought I would have.
Here's to me - for the selfless love, I never thought I'd understand - 
until now.

(Metaphorically raising my glass)
Here's to ME.  Happy Mother's Day!!

(And to offset any thoughts you may have about my being completely self centered,
here's a toast to some other moms I am fond of.)

Happy Mother's my mom, a survivor. No matter what circumstances she's ever faced, she has always forged ahead fighting the good fight, never giving up - not in her faith and most of all, not in people.
She has shown me what faith means, not because she talked about it but because she lived it.

Happy Mother's my stepmom, a bulldozer.
Even though she has a petite 4'11" frame and barely weighs 100 lbs, she's a bulldozer
and she can take you out! She loves her kids and grandkids with a ferocity that only a mom can have.

Happy Mother's my mother-in-law, who exemplified unconditional love, no exceptions,
no matter the distance, no matter the inconvenience, no matter what.
(This picture was taken just 2 months before Jacque's stroke.)

Happy Mother's my friend Donna, a very wise mom.
You can bank on any advice she gives, she will always point you in the right direction.

Happy Mother's my friend Elaine, who is so considerate and thoughtful.
It's always in the details - the little things that are not so little at the end of the day.

 Happy Mother's my friend Becky, who speaks from experience as a
working mom and understands a side of my life that others cannot.

Happy Mother's my friend Randi, the Doc.
She knows how to fix and treat every ailment or illness a kid will come down with.

Happy Mother's my friend Courtney,
who displays a tenderness and sweetness with her children that is unrivaled by anyone I know.

Happy Mother's my friend Traci, who does not apologize
for disciplining her kids and teaching them to be responsible for themselves. 

Lastly, Happy Mother's Day... to my online friend, CK. 
Author of Bad Mommy Moment's who brings gut level honesty
intertwined with humor to this life of mine as a mom.

Happy Mother's Day everyone
I hope you have a nice day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

JimBob and Kelsey Strothers, man and wife, man and wife!!

 This weekend, we attended Kelsey Norton's wedding to Jim Bob Strothers.  It was so sweet in so many ways, here's some of the things that made this wedding so special...

One reason is it's the Norton's, our surrogate family in Arizona.  Everyone knows how we feel about this family.

Another reason this wedding was special is because of Kelsey. Beautiful yet humble.  Intelligent yet funny.  Confident yet down to earth.  She is just the right mixture of all the right qualities.

Gary walking Kelsey down the aisle...

Elaine watching her daughter...

All of Kelsey's ideas down to the smallest of details made this wedding so sweet and simple, so personal and intimate.
Jim Bob and Kelsey released two balloons that represented each other's pasts.  Letting the past go and coming together as one, new life.  I loved this - wished I had thought of it when I got married but it wouldn't have worked as well, we were married indoors. hahaha.

As many weddings, as I've attended, I can't remember one where the couple actually wrote their own vows.  It was so touching, so moving, so personal, so intentional and both of them prepared their thoughts and words so beautifully.  It was by far the most special part of the wedding to me.  I told Jim Bob he made me cry and he said "You always cry." hahaha!

From their engagement pictures, to their wedding invitation, to their non-existent gift registry, there were so many unique factors to this wedding. Jim Bob and Kelsey did not ask for any gifts as most couples do, they simply asked that we share the day with them but  I wanted to give them something.  This engagement picture that gave me an idea.

Cute, huh?  So right after the ceremony I gave them a box of 20 hand made mustaches.  I made two different mustache styles and painted the sticks their wedding colors. Uber fun for the pictures.

Not one to miss a photo opportunity, I grabbed a couple of frames of Nathan and I because the setting was just to pretty to pass up.

Before the reception, Sloan Photographers, photographed the bridal party in downtown Tempe. The pictures will be urban and cool. Like everyone else, I can't wait to see them! I happened to catch this shot of the bridal party walking down the street to the reception.

Also special - the two toasts that were made in honor of the newly wed couple.  The best toasts, I've ever heard, honestly.  Again, intentional-personal-well thought out, just superb.  Afterwords, Jim Bob and Kelsey thanked everyone for being there and someone asked for the mustache pose, gracefully, they obliged.  Too cute.

It was such a remarkable day, with so many special details.  For a  very special couple...wishing you more joy than you can imagine, just enough trials to make you stronger and an everlasting love to carry you through your marriage.  Congratulations Jim Bob and Kelsey!