Two more months slip away

Aside

(WordPress has been wonky so it took me a WEEK to get this posted).

February turned out to be pretty busy. We got some solid work finished on the house.  The porch is now screened (thank goodness). It looks SO much better.  We need a door still but hey, improvement is improvement.

Hunter is working on a shelter for a shop. We (he) considered a lot of different routes there and even considered borrowing money to do a rent-to-own thing. But, in the end, we (he) decided to keep the container he uses now and then build a shed of sorts around that. So, he got the roof up and on and he’s used some leftover retaining wall blocks from a job to put a retaining wall in so he can get the floor level. Next will be adding more dirt, gravel and then concrete. This summer, he wants to put walls up and a door so he can close it in.  Then he’ll have a nice, dry place to work and a place to put all his tools. It’s been on our “plan” since we moved and was on the list from the other house. It’s time for him to have a place to work that is his I think. He deserves it.

In the middle of all the shop progress, we also hope to get a small coop built and get ourselves some chickens again. I’m pretty excited about that. Our plan is 8-10 layers and then 10-12 meat birds. We’re gonna do it. Try the meat birds thing. I’m a little apprehensive about it but it is worth a shot. Growing our own just makes sense.

As far as a garden, I just don’t know where we can put one so I guess I’ll take the leftovers from my family’s produce business when they have it. I do plan to put a few peppers in somewhere though and I’d love to do some green bean tepees and try a potato box. Just for the fun of it. I also need to add some new herb plants this year. I would like to figure out a nice permanent place for the perennial herbs like the rosemary, chives and more oregano. That would give me more room in my galvanized pot garden. There’s this little gully that runs the top of the backyard. It’s mostly for drainage but I am thinking that I might be able to plant along the banks of that. Or build some beds that come out from it a bit. I don’t know.

March is almost over already and we’re completely out of firewood. You’d think, being in Georgia, it would start being warmer at night but not so much. As much as I love a fire, I’m ready for spring. (And hoping we can afford a furnace so the ugly window AC units don’t have to go back in. I truly hate them. They block so much light).

Baseball has started (and t-ball) so we spend 2-4 nights a week at baseball. It’s madness and the sheer coordination astounds me. 26 ball games between March 18 and May 9.  Madness.

Life rages on. I do promise to try to get some pictures of the screened porch. I took them. I Just haven’t downloaded them from my camera yet. Who has time?!?

Carrie

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Blissdom 2012 Recap: When Internet Friends Become Real Friends

Blissdom.

Wow.

It was everything I expected and more.

Warm and friendly.

A learning experience.

SO much fun.

Blissdom was what I hope isn’t to be a once and a lifetime experience.  I consider myself blessed to have gone. God definitely had his hand on my going.

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I had the best roommate. (Seriously, go check Nancy out!  She’s an amazing photographer).

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I met Alli.

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and Dedra

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and Erica

and so many other ladies (Bridget, Casey, Lisa and her sweet, sweet daughter Anneke, Hannah, Linda and her daughter Maggie (who didn’t tell me her blog!) to name a few)  that I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome they are.

The Opryland Hotel was gorgeous.  I must have walked 150 miles in 5 days because I know we got lost at least 2 dozen times.  It’s huge.  And confusing. 🙂

Mostly, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what I brought home with me from Blissdom.  And not just all the freebies.  We had amazing speakers, performances and workshops.

The Opening

Jon Acuff was the Opening Keynote speaker and let me tell you, listening to him speak was like having the words taken out of your head and put out there for everyone to hear.  He really gets those of that have these online lives that we love but also that distracts us.  He made several points during his time on stage but what stuck with me was “Hang Up from Arrive.”  Meaning, when you get home, get home.  Don’t bring your work home and if you work from home, turn it off when its time and just let it be.  There’s a time to be selfish and it’s not during the precious hours you get with your kids.  Be selfish after bedtime or at 5 a.m.  Hanging up and arriving means that you won’t miss the “hinge moments” that will change your life.

As a blogger, Jon’s most resounding comment was to “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  Stop and think about that. It’s more than just for bloggers who want to grow their blog and stare covetously at other blogs all day long, trying to figure out how to do it. Our preacher put it to us another way when we were in pre-marital counseling: “We want right now what it took our parents 30 years to get.” hmm, right?

Another awesome statement: Having something 90% and out there is better than 100% perfect and in your head.” Just get it out there. I can’t tell you how many drafts I have sitting, waiting to be published. It’s time for me to start hitting the publish button.

Like I said. Wow. Jon also gave everyone a copy of his book, Quitter. I’ll share my thoughts when I get through it.

Blissdom Workshops

I found myself choosing the Life Development more than the other tracks (Writing, Business or Photography). I guess you could say I’m trying to better focus myself while still doing this thing that I love to do. Instead of learning more about blogging, I found myself in workshops on Being Present, Not Monetizing Joy and Living With a Purpose. I walked away with specific things to work on. I also sat in on a writing track and have a list of tips on improving my writing. I didn’t take any pictures during the sessions.  I wanted to be tuned in so I didn’t even bring my computer.

Blissdom Performances

Friday night was an awesome night with two performances.
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First there was Joe Jonas.  I am obviously too old to have been a Jonas Brothers groupie, but Joe did a really great job.  I snapped some awesome pictures using Nancy’s camera (look at that arm!)

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Rascal Flatts also performed a few songs and they did SUCH a good job! When else am I going to stand where I can lay my head on the stage and listen to such a well-known group? It as amazing. We also heard Nathan Pacheco (Thursday night) and Chris Mann (from the Voice, Saturday lunch) sing–two more amazing voices.

Saturday night we watched a full sneak peek of Oprah’s new show, Oprah’s Next Chapter.  It was a great show and really funny!  After that, the fun got going with the Famous Footwear shoe spree (Nancy was a lucky girl and won FIVE pairs of shoes) and then karaoke began.  Don’t worry,I didn’t sing.  hehehe.

Swag

(My niece laughed at me for using the word swag…how old does she think I am???)
Y’all. If you ever want to be overwhelmed by the free stuff you are given by sponsors, you need to come to Blissdom. I came home with FOUR bags of free stuff!

Some of the fun stuff I brought home:

  • A canvas Blissdom bag
  • New shoes from Famous Footwear and a t-shirt
  • Lorax t-shirt, book, bag and mustache (can’t wait to take the kids to see it!)
  • 2 free Hallmark cards and a t-shirt
  • Numerous bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hairspray from V05
  • Go-Go squeeze samples
  • Juice samples
  • SimpleHuman soap dispenser
  • DeWafelbakker and YoCrunch coupons for free food
  • Aprons and coupons from Birds Eye
  • Amy Giggles book from ConAgra
  • Vitamins from Centrum
  • A coffee mug from Microsoft
  • Full size samples from Glade
  • More reusable grocery bags that I care to admit

It’s taken me a week to “recover” from Blissdom and to put into words all the fun I had. I worried about not knowing anyone “in real life” and being lonely but I met awesome people and had the best time. If you’re considering attending a blogging conference, I highly recommend Blissdom.

I have so much more I want to tell you about my experience at Blissdom but this post could get really long! What I can tell you is that Blissdom isn’t just about blogging.  It’s about meeting people who have become your friends, and laying in bed talking for two hours after you swear you’re exhausted. It’s about a team clicking together when it needs to in order to launch something exciting. It’s about putting voices with the words that speak to you on a daily basis.  It’s about laughing.  And crying.  And sharing things that you might not share with the everyday folks in your life.  It’s about those “internet friends” becoming your “in real life” friends.  Blissdom was all that.  And much, much more.

(I don’t have many pictures uploaded but you can see my Flickr stream here, Nancy’s here and the Blissdom stream here).

a new me!

Sunflower

If you’re seeing this and you were reading Blue Ridge Mountain Mama, don’t worry!  You’re in the right place!

Blue Ridge Mountain Mama has changed to Life Imperfectly!  I’m so excited about this change. There’s a lot of reasons behind my changing my blog (you can read my thoughts here) but mostly, I changed to WordPress and changed my name all at the same time.  It’s been a nail biter, let me tell you!

And there’s a lot of things wrong I’m sure but we’re here.  Whew! We’ll brush the dust off the place as we go.  It may look a little wonky here and there, but I’ll figure it all out (or save up the money to hire someone who knows what they’re doing!)

Welcome to Life Imperfectly!

Quiet

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I’ve had a hard time coming back to this place.  This home of my thoughts and feelings.  Many of my feelings are so…scattered…up in the air.  I’m not sure what I want to share anymore.

This barn is close and I love it.  The stories it could tell

We’ve gone through a lot of changes the past few months.  A lot of trials.  A lot of happiness and a lot of sadness.  We’ve had those days when we’ve laughed at it all and when we’ve cried.  Hunter and I, we’re stronger as a unit and when our unit is stressed, we are frazzled at the seams.

Hold my hand forever.

Our boys, they continue to be constant sources of amazement, amusement, love, frustration, delight, confusion, hurt, joy, swelling of pride and again, most importantly, love.

My baby picking pumpkins

I think I’m coming back slowly.  I see changes in my head for this place that reflect changes in our life.  My life. Finding the time to make changes happen is a hard sought item.

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But we are home.  Moved.  Settling in. Laughing in wonder at this baby that has filled another void we didn’t know we had.  Sighing in frustration at this (now!) six year old little version of me.  Scratching my head at the four year old version of Hunter (Dear Lord, his mama was patient if Hunter was this slow and meandering).

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I think I’m coming back.  Missing my home.  My place for my thoughts.  There is, as I’ve said, so much to tell you.  So much to share.

How are you?  I’ve missed you! 


Carrie


Being honest…if there’s no caption, you can thank Flickr for the lovely pictures.  Click on the picture to see more.

2011: New Year, New Goals

For our family, 2011 is going to be an eventful and interesting year.   I won’t say it is what we had planned or that we are completely happy with what we think is going to happen.  Plans are just ideas after all, but Hunter and I have hard decisions to make in the upcoming months. 

I’d started this post light-hearted with rambling goals but now I don’t know if I even want to post it.  I’m not in a very “positive mood” right now.  I’m feeling down and sad and I’m dreading going back to work tomorrow because I have truly enjoyed the time I’ve had off this year with my family.  It’s been the most relaxing Christmas and New Year’s I feel like we’ve had in a long time.  Things have been settling down and we know that’s about to change.  Hunter and I are dragging our feet, pep-talking one another and holding back when we want to just yell for quiet sometimes.  It’s been a great Christmas.  And going back to work tomorrow means going back to reality…to life. 

(Trying to send Debbie Downer out the door).  2011 holds a lot of changes for us.  Things we’ve been preparing for and I’m SURE things that we have no idea that we’ll be hit with.  The most exciting thing is that we KNOW we’re having a baby in March. MARCH!  We’re so excited.

We KNOW we’ll be moving this year.  Which means we’ve got a lot of work to do.

We KNOW our first babe will start Kindergarten this year (WHAT?!?  How did THIS happen?  He was born yesterday!)  The younger will be a Pre-K kid too!  I could cry.  (I WILL cry).

Needless to say, there’s a LOT going on behind the scenes at BRMM that just isn’t getting blogged, what, with 2 kids, a business, a full-time job, and trying to keep my head above water!  And in the background, there’s a lot of concern and worry that I’m trying very hard to keep at bay as worry gets you nowhere.  Absolutely nowhere. 

So, I’m keeping the goals light this year.  I know that my focus is going to be on keeping us sane and helping the boys adjust to having a brother or sister (and mama and daddy adjusted to having THREE…we’ll be outnumbered folks, OUT numbered).  There are several purchases that I’ve listed as goals too.  I thought about separating them out but that just seemed way to complicated.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1.  Sew a few things for the baby before he or she gets here:  burp cloths, bibs, a blanket, cloth wipes, wash cloths, etc .  Also, knit new baby a blanket once he or she is here as is my tradition.  🙂

2. Have a baby!

3.  Renovate my parents old house with Hunter and get us moved by the end of summer.

4.  Have a garden at our current house and start prepping soil at “new” house for garden next year.

5.  Get all of the animals moved and settled (requires building new chicken coop, moving rabbit, fencing in backyard for dog).

6.  Get boys enrolled in 4-H to show livestock (not sure yet which one…pigs or sheep).

7.  Save up down payment for bigger family car (a must have).  We’re looking for decent mileage, larger SUV (Expedition, Excursion or Suburban) and the right price.  Not asking for much, right?!?

8.  Read one non-fiction book each quarter of the year (I’m being realistic…we’re having a baby).  I’d like to read some books on small scale farming , sustainable practices, spiritual and also more sewing/knitting books.  As an obsessive reader and re-reader, I read a lot of fiction books and I feel like I need to expand my brain so to speak.  I have a full list of books on my Amazon wish list that I keep adding to.

9.  Buy an SLR camera with cash.

10.  Buy a pressure canner with cash

11.  Build the emergency fund up before winter hits us again

12.  Purchase 2-3 more hens…I would like to buy some Buff Orpington hens to add to our little flock because, well, they’re beautiful.  See?

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LOVE this caramel color!

13.  Blog at least 3 times a week.  I haven’t been very consecutive and I have completely missed documenting some family events which makes me SAD.

(and last but not least, this is a completely personal one…)

14.  Lose the baby weight with a healthy diet and exercise
        I’ll add a bullet here of buying a bike to help with this and starting to save up for a Wii for more exercise opportunities (plus the boys and Hunter would love those hunting games you can buy for them).  Hunter, either of these sound like a GREAT Mother’s Day gift as that’s post baby!  love ya!

I will throw out one dream that Hunter and I have. I don’t want to put it as a definite goal because we have a lot going on this year but its a family dream goal I guess.

2011 Family Dream Goal:  We would like to find a few acres to rent so we could purchase some calves and hogs to raise. 

What about you?  Goals or resolutions?  If you’ve got your goals/resolutions/plans posted on your blog, leave me a link! I’d love to read what you’re working on this year and send out some encouragement.  Or, if you’re not a blogger, post a few here.  I’m setting myself a reminder to re-evaluate my goals in 3, 6, and 9 months! 

Carrie