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1.31.2014

my week in review: 1/24-30//2014

Sharing the photos and the stories of my past week. Right here. Every Friday.

Sarah made a snowman in the dark all by herself. She has superpower snowman-making abilities.

I squeezed in some time for this contraption this week. Or, they squeezed me in. Either way. If you know what this is, you feel my pain. If you don't, you are probably younger than 40.


Sarah had her first basketball game of the season on Saturday. She was a superstar rebounder.

After Sarah's game, we watched Kaitlin's team take a silver medal at her volleyball tournament. When we got to the tournament after Sarah's game, one of the parents in the stands told us that Kaitlin was dominating in serving. She was 42 for 43 serves, he said. And then added that she's fun to watch. *Proud momma.*

Parking your van on the sidewalk by the backdoor might seem like a good idea when there are no parking spaces left at the volleyball center. Unless the wind blows the snow in drifts over the sidewalk so deep that your van gets stuck in the snow. Then it's not such a good idea.

I'm making progress - slow, but sure - on Sarah's room. I finished the darker purple, now I need to paint the trim white before we recarpet. She says that she doesn't need new carpet, the sweet girl. But I beg to differ.

This was my drive to work on Thursday morning. I know, I know... I shouldn't have taken a photo while driving in this blizzard. But, look at it! It's crazy. But it's kind of beautiful in a white-knuckle sort of way.

I'm @annebickle if you want to follow me on Instagram. Linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

life rearranged

1.24.2014

my week in review: 1/17-23//2014

My weekly post of what I took pictures of and the stories behind them. It's not all that happened, just what I took pictures of with my camera phone and put on Instagram.

I'm @annebickle if you want to follow me.

The house projects continued this week. We're painting Sarah's room lilac purple.

Oops, I spilled a bunch. That's okay because we're replacing that ugly burnt orange shag carpet. The rest of the house's carpet really needs to be replaced, too.

That's what prompted all these painting and stairwell projects -- the carpet replacement. The current carpet causes me to reconsider inviting anyone over to our home because I'm so embarrassed. The carpet is practically white (except for Sarah's). We have a chocolate lab and kids who spill and track in. Okay, the adults do that too. That and I do not like vacuuming. It's bad, yo.

Fortunately I know a carpet guy. One of the perks of being in property management.

I took a break from painting to watch a little football. I could barely see the TV for the mountain of laundry in front of it. At first I was frustrated, but then I was so thankful for my husband who does the laundry. He's the reason we have clean laundry.

And then I folded the laundry while watching football. That's how we do it in our house. He does the laundry and I fold it while watching TV.

Wow. I'm highlighting all my housekeeping inadequacies in this post. Well, not all of them. I have plenty more.

It snowed this week. Sarah snowboarded down the "hill" in our backyard on a plastic sled. She's resourceful, that girl. And a future snowboarder apparently.

[bonus feature:]

Sarah loves to play in the snow. She's the only one of my kids who asks to go play in the snow. The others, when they were little, I would have to tell them to go play in the snow. 

A couple times I looked out the window to watch her and she was laying face down in the snow, motionless. I watched her closely. She laid there so still. After a while I became concerned. She wasn't moving, was she injured? I was about to throw on a jacket and boots to check on her when she got up and started digging in the snow. I could see her talking to herself. Or maybe to whomever she was imagining. I admire the sense of play in that little girl.

[end bonus feature]

Speaking of little girls, I had to get in touch with mine this week for the Brene Brown class. Our assignment was to find a photo that resonated with "the essence of us." I'm not sure what the essence of me is, but after narrowing it down to several pictures I decided on this one, which was taken when I was about seven or eight. I chose it because I see vulnerability and confidence. And because I remember thinking I was pretty cool with my t-shirt tied like that.

The lesson was on authenticity. Knowing our story. And then being true to it. I had to answer some questions about that little girl in the picture. Good stuff.

Here's my new mantra for authenticity: Don't play it safe. Play it real.

It's easy to play it safe. It's courageous to play it real.

life rearranged

Linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

1.17.2014

my week in review: 1/10-16//2014

My week in grainy pictures and the stories behind them.

Friday night we sent these two off to a youth group retreat in Iowa.

A couple things about that:
  1. Someone anonymously paid for them to go, which was a huge blessing to us and, of course, to them because they probably couldn't have gone otherwise. So may God bless whoever did that.
  2. They weren't allowed to have cell phones the whole time! Which was awesome.... but also.... I was going into withdrawal a little bit. I need me some texts from my kids telling me what is up.
  3. When they came home, Kaitlin blasted worship songs instead of KROC. Not that KROC is bad, I'm just saying that's cool that Kaitlin was listening to worship music instead.
[bonus feature:]

After seeing a bunch of Statigram video slideshows being posted on Facebook, I got an email telling me that I could see my very own slideshow of my big moments of 2013.

The results amused me.

You guys. All my big moments were other peoples' big moments because I hashtaged them so that they and their friends could find the pictures. I don't usually hashtag just to hashtag. I try to keep my instas on the down low. That's why all my big moments of 2013 were other peoples' big moments. And probably why my love rate is so low. A stat I found really funny.


Kaitlin and I have a running joke that my instas don't get enough likes to have numbers instead of names. Maybe if my job depended on my social media presence I might care, but as I tell Kaitlin, "it's not about the #numbers."

[end bonus feature]

I spent some time this week painting the walls along the stairwell. This color is a nice change from the darker yellow that was on the wall before. I still haven't painted and stained the actual stairs. We've been busy painting the second floor rooms. It's funny how one project morphs into so many more projects.

We celebrated my cousin and her daughter's birthdays at the Hubble House in historic Mantorville. By the looks of this picture, my sister was really excited about it.

The class with Brene Brown started this week. To get ready for it, I transformed the desk in the living room into my art-journaling space. I usually keep my art stuff down in the basement or inside of cupboards. It's kinda fun to see it sitting out there on the desk, inviting me to do something with it.

Because it's an eCourse, they encourage us to share our assignments online. If you follow my insta feed, you will get to see all my assignments (sorry about that).

This was one of the assignments. I had to write "I'm imperfect and I'm enough" on my hand, take a selfie, put it in my journal and decorate the page. I decided to decorate the page with quotes that struck me from the instructional videos.

I took a personality class this week after reading Jeannett's post about personalities. I was curious to find out what personality I am and what it says about my personality type. According to the 16 personalities test, I am an INFP. The description of the personality is pretty close to mine, I think. It also explains why this creative class is so good for me.

In related news, I took a personality test of a different kind this week too. Which Muppet Personality Are You? I got Miss Piggy because I'm such a diva. It's obviously a very scientific test. (I'm so not a diva.)

life rearranged
I'm @annebickle on Instagram if you wanna follow me, linking up with @jeannettg for InstaFriday.

1.10.2014

my week in review: 1/3-9//2014

It's been cold this week all around the country.

The Polar Vortex and all.

I'm kinda tired of hearing about it. 

Really tired of experiencing it.

Seriously, unless you're looking at a forecast like this, I have no sympathy.

I finished knitting this Century High School colored scarf just in time for this recent deep freeze.

When temps get that cold, the name of the game is: Covering Your Skin.

When temps get that cold and you are a property manager, the name of the game is: Making Sure Your Tenants Have Heat.

[bonus feature:]

On Monday, which was the coldest day of the week, I got a call from a tenant complaining of having no heat in her apartment. I sent the maintenance guy up there to check on her heat and he found her sitting on the floor in front of the fridge with the door to the fridge open. He checked her heat and it was working fine. Later that day she called again to say that she was cold, and when I went to check on her, she had no pants on. Sometimes I think I should write a memoir of my experiences working there. You can't make some of this stuff up.

[end bonus feature]

Although the cold temps were pretty much the story of the week, some other things happened this week:

Sarah was looking over my shoulder while I was reading Jessica's InstaFriday post last week.

Right away Sarah got out her rainbow loom bracelets and wanted a photo too.

JD sent me flowers at work. For no reason except that he loves me.

I love him.

"It's going down, I'm yelling 'timber'..."

I took down the tree this week. And while I was doing it, I had that song running through my head. Top 40 earworms are one of the side effects of having teenagers, I guess.

Sarah and I played Clue on Thursday night.

She was talking incessantly to me about silly stuff and I was getting a little annoyed.

"Sarah, I'm trying to concentrate on this, please be quiet!"

Still, she was at my feet, asking me questions, telling me 4th grade jokes. Ugh. Then I looked at what I was trying to concentrate on, this blog post, and it hit me:

She is way more important than this.

"Sarah, would you like to do something with me, like play a game?"

"Yes!," she replied quickly.

And that is how we came to play Clue on Thursday night. Just two games, that's all she needed to satisfy her thirst for my attention. Playing Clue with Sarah was way more fun than InstaFriday. Not that InstaFriday isn't fun, because it is. I love recollecting the stories of the pictures that I chose to capture with Instagram. But the thing is, I still got this post done. AND I played with Sarah. Bam!

FYI: Never trust a man named Mustard with a knife in the dining room.

I signed up for Brene Brown's eCourse on The Gifts of Imperfection. I'm so excited!

I've never done an eCourse before. And I've never art-journaled. So I'm a little nervous.

I read the book and I know the content is good stuff. It's also stuff that I need to apply to my life. It incorporates art, which is something I've been trying to incorporate back into my life. I need to feed my creative bent. And it is journalling, which is something I stopped doing and need to start again. I journal to process my feelings, and when I stopped journalling, I stopped being in touch with my feelings.

Pretty much this course is a TRIFECTA of things I want to incorporate in my life.

A Facebook friend of mine -- well, actually I don't know her but I've met her, she knew my parents when they lived in Prague -- signed up for it and we are going to Skype with each other as we go through the course. I'm looking forward to that.

Registration is still open if anyone wants to join me.

I'd love for you to join me.


life rearranged

I'm @annebickle on Instagram if you want to follow me there.


1.03.2014

my week(s) in review: 12/20/2013-1/2/2014

I forgot to post last week.

Things got pretty crazy with Christmas and crises and such.

It's been a hard couple weeks, but it sure is nice to look back on some of the fun moments:

I went over to my sister's to knit with her and her friends. I need to knit more. It's therapeutic.

[bonus feature:]

Each Christmas Eve my kids get one present to open. The presents are delivered by the elves because Santa is busy. The elves' presents are always new pajamas. I started that little tradition because I wanted to make sure that the kids were in cute pajamas when I took pictures on Christmas morning.

I was sweetly surprised by how much they were looking forward to getting their pajamas from the elves this year, even though they are older now and they know it's me who puts the presents at the front door and rings the doorbell.

[end bonus feature]

The kids pose in their pajamas on Christmas Eve.

They were trying to recreate this photo taken back in 2006.

On Christmas morning I woke up on my own, no kids to wake me up. I enjoyed a couple cups of coffee while waiting for two of my kids to wake up and my other one to come home from doing her paper route with JD. So strange to have to wait for the kids to open presents on Christmas morning. Usually they have to wait for me. I guess that's what happens when they grow up.

Christmas Day game of Skip-Bo.

Kaitlin took some selfies on my phone again. The front facing camera on her iPod doesn't work, so I get loads of Kaitlin on my camera roll. I don't mind.

I was given a gift card and bought myself some curlers. (Does this make me an old woman?) When Kaitlin saw me in them, I told her she could borrow them if she wants because, shoot!, she borrows all my other stuff. She quickly told me that she was "not about the curlers!"

I wanted to get a photo of myself after curling my hair with said curlers, but I was getting frustrated. Kaitlin gave me some expert tips...

Kaitlin's Pro Selfie Advice:
1. Hold camera at an angle.
2. Crop off top of the head.
3. Smirk.
4. Filter excessively.

I think I got it?

Sarah and Kaitlin went over to Oma and Betty's to bake cupcakes and scones with them.

The Cupcake Boss.

I found a new way to display my snowflakes.

The artist trading cards came in the mail. It was fun to see what everyone came up with. I have to say, I am so glad that I decided to participate in this even though I was very nervous about doing it. I don't know why I am so hesitant to jump in and put myself out there in the creative community. But I am always glad when I do.

I agreed to host a slumber party for Sarah and her friends on New Year's Eve. I wanted to have some fun decorations, so I painted a simple message.

And displayed it on our mantel with Kermit the Frog, who was sporting a mustache for the occasion.

I thought it would be fun to have a photo booth, so I cut out the numbers and had Sarah help me place them at just the right height. I thought this silhouette looked cool.

There they are, the little goof balls. They had fun with all the dollar store props.

They played Just Dance, a party favorite.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was when the musicians played songs during the broadcast of the Times Square coverage, the girls would get in a circle and dance. One by one, each girl would go in the middle of the circle and the other girls would cheer her on as she danced. Then they called me into the middle of the circle and cheered for me as I busted a move. I haven't laughed so much on a New Year's Eve in a long time.
John pretty much spent the entire night in the basement avoiding the girls, but I got this rare shot when he emerged to get some food.

Reggie was a pretty good sport about it too. He's such a diva.

life rearranged

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