Dear January

20 Jan

It’s a “Birthday Month Smorgasbord!”

Though this month has had quite a few things I would change (like Logan’s recent eye junk), compared to how the boys and I rang in 2017? I think so far the new year has been a happy one for us! Before the Loganator came along, January was just a cold-ass month we had to get through, but this month has become something the boys and I look forward to. I mean, we celebrated Logan’s 5th birthday at Disney World! This time around the three of us have plans to go to Monster Jam in a couple of weeks, and our wannabe monster truck driver could not be more psyched!

Originally Gabe and I were hoping that by Logan’s birthday we’d have the basement all set to be his new playroom, but it turns out we were a bit too optimistic. Maybe by Logan’s half birthday in July? 😛 At least with some help from some family members, Gabe got the drywall up and the mudding process underway. Though it was no mild heart attack like what he experienced on NYE last year, Gabe had some dental issues come up over the past few weeks and taking care of that became the top priority.

My maternal grandparents, unfortunately, have also had some health issues as of late. Their business is not mine to share, but I will tell you that my grandma is now getting the care that’s best for her, and my grandpa is working towards gaining his strength back. As much of a relief it is to have these updates, I wouldn’t wish either of their experiences on anyone, and hate that they had to go through them. My mother deserves many a kudos for going through this ordeal with them no matter how physically and emotionally straining it became.

But back to happier topics! In addition to already reading the first three Captain Underpants books with the Loganator this year, I have read the first two books in A.G. Howard’s Splintered series. Howard has created such a twisted version of Wonderland as well as a worthy suitor for each side of Alyssa, and I’m in a cocoon I don’t want to find my way out of once the books come to an end. As for shows, I’m anxiously anticipating the return of Jane the Virgin in about a week, and am grateful This is Us and How to Get Away With Murder are already back to help tide me over, hehe. Other shows I’m watching this month include the sophomore season of American Crime Story and competition shows like Ink Master, Top Chef, and Hell’s Kitchen. I promise I sound like more of a couch potato than I really am.

For the record, things are going pretty well with my resolutions. Sure, there are things I mentioned before that I haven’t gotten around to for one reason or another, but a year is a marathon not a sprint, right? Anyway, I not only have been reading every day I have the house to myself for a few hours, but have been writing some fiction of my own on those days, too. For the most part I have been using prompts from the book Write the Story to familiarize myself with my characters a bit and have as source material should I need it. The very first short story I wrote, for example, may very well wind up being reworked into the second chapter of my book so I hardly feel like I’ve been doing this in vain. Thankfully!

While we’re on the subject of writing/hobbies, I want you to know I won’t be talking about my incoming mail nor the ATCs I affectionately call Little Cards and Change Cards in this “Dear…” series. Those things are already prominently featured on Sincerely Kate so I want to focus on other aspects of my life when I talk as if we have met up for coffee. Thanks, by the way, for indulging me! Please let me know what you thought of this post, and I’ll touch base with you again– same time, same place– in February!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

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Little Cards: December

17 Jan

As soon as I have all of the Little Cards per January’s Legendary theme, I have a slightly different way I’m planning to blog about the ATCs I receive on this adventure. The cards from the Clothing/Accessories theme from last month, though, are still from last year so I’m not changing things up like they’ve gone out of style quite yet, haha.

Vikki recently suggested that we should do this fashion-friendly swap, by the way, and in December we were 2 of the 5 people who participated in it. These were the 5 ATCs I personally acquired:

oct1

My contribution, for the record, is the one that says “Get your merry on,” and Vikki’s is the purple one on the top left! In hindsight my ugly sweater might have been too odd of an idea compared to some of the others, but overall the cards are all fun in their own ways– I still can’t believe Heleen knit teeny tiny sweaters!

I’d just like to take a moment, by the way, to thank the members who have been as reliable as a favorite sweater over the past couple years. I thought my recent post drummed up some new interest, but it wound up being as frustrating for me as it was fleeting for them. Their loss, right?

I, for one, love all of the Little Cards I have received on this adventure, and I know the ones to come this year will be loved a lot, too.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Hail the Snail #1

15 Jan

I have been doing these “Hail the Snail” posts for about 4 years now, and mail calls in general a bit longer yet. That said, this is hardly the first post of its kind, but from now on the New Year means the count starts over. Welcome to the second “Hail the Snail #1” post– it won’t be the last 😉

January 2nd: 2018 started with happy mail from both of my mailboxes. Pablo (my P.O. box) had a batch of Little Cards, while Manolo (our regular mailbox) had letters from Jody, Krista, and Sarah, as well as this amazing edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland thanks to my mom.

January 4th: Although it was my unbirthday, the contents of the Amazon package that arrived won’t officially be mine until March 1st is a bit closer.

January 8th: More unbirthday presents arrived thanks to Sarah.

January 9th: I got a letter from Kayla, though the contents in the envelope from my dad could be considered unbirthday presents, too.

January 10th: When it comes to Manolo love, Kristy was nice enough to send me cookies to have with Justine’s letter. As for Pablo, I was gifted with the last batch of Little Cards per December’s theme.

January 11th: The little letter streak continued with one from Sarah.

January 12th: And then it ended with one from Jody.

Whether I received a bunch of happy mail at once like on the 2nd, or it was spread out over a few days like last week, I’m ecstatic that 2018 has started off on such a high note as far as my incoming mail is concerned! Logan’s birthday is about a week away, so I’m sure between the two of us the high will continue as we move into the second half of January.

I hope the first half has treated you well, by the way, and that 2018 gives you many a reason to be ecstatic, too.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

26 Letters- New Year Edition

5 Jan

It’s been over two years since I’ve done a blog post like this, so allow me to tell you how this works! I take a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet, and build a paragraph around it (e.g.”a” is for alphabet). Since this is the “New Year” edition, the following will mainly be about things we have done in 2017 and things to come in 2018.

First and foremost, know that the boys and I have been doing well! Logan has been doing great in first grade; Gabe’s cardiologist recently decided he needed fewer medications since his mild heart attack last NYE; and things remain pretty “no news is good news” with me. Our Christmas, for the record, also went very well. Logan says his favorite part was getting his favorite presents like the guitar that was on the top of his list, but we had a handful of really nice visits that included some really yummy food, too.

Speaking of Christmas, since I barely found any time to make Change Cards before the 25th, I wound up making some festive ones after our festivities thanks to a handful of Christmas cards we received. Hopefully I remember they exist come next December, lol. My goal for ATC the Change in 2018 is to stop fretting over weekly phrases and coordinated sets to potentially sell, and just make what I want to make when I want to make it. As much as I’d love for other people to get involved, the key to my happiness belongs in my own pocket like the ATCs below suggest. The hope is that I’ll now make and distribute more Change Cards since I’ll feel less restricted, and therefore have more to share in my monthly “Two Cents” series here.

Another series is coming to Sincerely Kate. On the 20th of this month I’ll be posting “Dear January,” and the other months will follow suit. This series will basically be a take on those “If We Were Having Coffee” posts, but in a more pen pal-friendly format. At least that’s the plan!

If you’re curious about this sporadic series, here are the links to the Ghosts of Editions past:

As for this specific edition, I’m posting it today of all days because I wanted to start posting on the fifth of every month again. Though I haven’t missed the obsessive schedule where I posted on the 5th, 10th, 15th, etc. of every month, I never wanted my blog to just be home to mandatory series. Having one day each month where I blog for the fun of it–but just one day– will hopefully help make the blog more fun to keep up again. Posts about Little Cards or Postcards from Wonderland may show up on the 5th in some of the months to come should the timing work out, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

Something Gabe has recently gotten to with the help of his dad, brother, and maternal grandfather? Putting the drywall up in the basement! Sure, there’s a bunch of mudding and sanding yet to do, but considering the boys and I have lived in our house for over five years, we’ll take any progress down there we can get! I think I’m more excited for Logan’s upcoming playroom than he is, lol. I’ve made it no secret to my pen pals how much I’d love for the upstairs to stay more presentable!

Thanks to my Hail the Snail series, by the way, it’s no secret how much happy mail I tend to when I’m not tending to the house. I’ll continue these mail calls at the same regularity, though I’m omitting numbers like 2.43 because I think that count has become absurd.

I have now talked about my blog quite a bit, but for the letter “i” I thought I’d share with you my Instagram handle: sincerelykaterz. For the most part my page is full of a lot of posts per ATC the Change, but Logan and I make several appearances as well as Bridget, my Build-a-Bear buddy. Looking forward to seeing all the additions 2018 will have to offer, and you’re more than welcome to come see them, too!

I was hoping to have a few “kodak moments” to share via Instagram already this January, but sadly my mom needed to cancel her plans with me and the Logantor. We’re a bit bummed, but my grandparents’ needs are more important than our wants right now. There will be other opportunities to go to my mom’s, especially with Logan’s birthday around the corner.

Oh, if you were hoping for a fun NYE story, you’re about to be a bit bummed, too. The boys and I didn’t even try staying up past 10, nor did Gabe and I make a point to kiss at midnight. Our celebration basically consisted of having food at Gabe’s aunts’ for dinner on the 31st, and then during the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day– thanks Marilyn and Jennifer!

Though my post about Little Cards last year didn’t drum up much interest, we did get a few new members! There are 6 of us currently participating in the Legendary theme–a bonus “L!” Any day now I should have the rest of the ATCs from December’s Clothing/Accessories theme. Not that I’m expecting anyone to notice (or mind if they do), when I start sharing the Little Cards I receive in 2018, instead of including the month in the title, I will use the theme itself now that there are no longer two swaps a month.

While you’re excited for those upcoming posts ( 😉 ), Logan is excited for his 7th birthday less than 3 weeks away, and the Monster Jam show we’ll be going to in about 4 weeks in honor of it! Technically this adventure is his birthday present from us, but because of how big of a deal it is, spilling the beans was a Christmas present, lol. Should you like to read about that, I’m sure it’ll come up come my “Dear February” post next month.

Around the same time I’m posting that, I’ll also be preparing for the March of Postcards soon to follow. Once upon a time this endeavor consisted of me sending daily postcards to one of my pen pals, but when I did a postcard-friendly take on NaBloPoMo this past November, I decided to mesh that challenge with the March. I still have other pieces of the puzzle to fit into place yet, like whether to answer novelty questions rather than write about day-to-day happenings, but I still have a little while to figure that out.

As cool as it might have been to sell more of my Change Cards online, ultimately I’m glad I didn’t put the time or energy into setting up an Etsy shop. If you’re reading this, I adore the crap out of you, but you’re a member of a very minute fan club. It seems like no matter how many blog posts I publish, pictures I upload to Instagram, or Facebook groups I run, my audience will remain a small one– at least it’s loyal!

But enough melancholia– let’s talk about pizza since I have 3 things to say about the stuff, lol. 1) When Logan goes back to school next week, his reading calendar from December will go with him so it can be traded in for a BookIt coupon. For every month of reading we log, he earns a free personal pizza from Pizza Hut, and he has done so twice already. 2) The school’s annual Box Top contest is also about to begin. The class who brings in the most Box Tops by the end of it wins a pizza party, so we’ve been stocking up since last year’s contest. 3) Whether Logan’s class wins or loses, they’ll still get at least one pizza party. Logan isn’t into sweets so his Papa brings pizza for his class as his birthday treat, haha.

How Gabe and I celebrated our 7th anniversary last July? We saw Queen with Adam Lambert in concert! It was easily the best concert I have ever been to. Going in I was a bit worried that it was going to feel like Adam Lambert singing Queen covers, but not only did he gel brilliantly with Brian May and Roger Taylor, they incorporated past footage of Freddie Mercury seamlessly into the show so in no way, shape, or form did Adam come across as an imitation. I’d see him perform with Queen again in a heartbeat!

Technically I have used “resolutions” for “r” before, but this is a New Year post so I think a little cheating is warranted here! As you’ve already read, I have plans for this blog as well as ATC the Change. Other goals of mine include doing a deep clean of the upstairs once the majority of Logan’s toys move into the basement; writing fiction(!)–even if it’s just a paragraph–every day I have the house to myself for a few hours; and something else I’ll elaborate on when I get to the letter “w.”

But let’s get back to that goal about fiction. For a while now I have been wanting to flex my creative muscles via writing, but because of my other hobbies, it was never very high on my list of priorities. At least it wasn’t until I got an idea for a story. I’m not ready to give too many details away just yet, but I was inspired by a cute road name we drive by from time to time, and I managed to tie the characters in with my affinity for the Seven Deadly Sins. I have a pretty solid first draft of the first chapter, and the motivation to add to it once Logan goes back to school on the 8th.

The inspiration along with the motivation for the above was definitely a highlight last year; my mom taking me to Troy, MI the weekend before my 30th birthday was another. Knowing how much I wanted to A) go to a Wonderland-themed bistro called Mad Hatter’s and B) make a celebratory stuffed animal at Build-a-Bear Workshop, she arranged for an epic overnighter full of  yummy food, a handful of fun stops, and even 30 presents! We enjoyed the getaway so much…

We’re going back for another Unbirthday celebration! We have yet to finalize when exactly we’re going back to Troy, but so far we know that Mad Hatter and Build-a-Bear are musts again. For the record, I don’t plan on making another stuffed animal since there’s no topping Bridget; I just want to pick out another outfit or two for her. Here are a few cute pictures of her in some of the cute outfits she has already acquired:

I was hoping to have a visit from Sarah earlier this week to write about now, but sadly she hasn’t been back since Labor Day weekend 2016. With any luck she’ll be able to make the trip in 2018, though it’s hard to stay optimistic when all of our plans in 2017–mainly the one for this past Labor Day weekend–never came remotely close to fruition. At least we have our own stuffed animal, Chester the Dino, who can travel back and forth. He is currently visiting me and so we’ve been sending Sarah pictures so she can live vicariously though him.

Pen palling and my other hobbies will have to share me soon. Months ago my oldest brother encouraged me to offer my proofreading services on Wyzant, a tutoring website. I have since signed up and aced their little quiz, but that’s the furthest I’ve gotten. Since I’ve never proofread at any official capacity, I struggled writing a sales pitch because I don’t have experience to list, or know what sets me apart in this department, if anything. My mom has offered to help me, though, and so hopefully that means I’ll be able to help others in the near future and make a little money.

Though this girl with a knack for English isn’t one to write “Xmas” instead of “Christmas,” I think the letter “x” calls for a little more rule-bending 😉 I have mentioned some Christmassy things already, but one thing I didn’t share is what I received. For the most part I just asked for clothes for Bridget, but she’s not the only one who got new clothes since I got some Lularoe as well as a couple Wonderland-friendly tops. And oh, the other Wonder-ful presents! I received several ornaments, a 3D Cheshire Cat puzzle, and the Splintered series by A.G. Howard to name a few new treasures.

I won’t get this treasure until my 31st birthday, but my mom has been making me a temperature afghan that she started on my 30th. Usually these projects feature a rainbow of colors, but the yarn we picked out for mine include shades of pink to represent warm weather, shades of blue for the cold, and a light shade of purple for in between. Though it’s not the best picture of the corner-to-corner WIP, here is the most recent picture I took:

Bonus: my nephew Jack is with his daddy in the background, hehe.

It’s fortunate that “z” is the last letter of the alphabet because I have zip, zilch, nada left I think I need to add to this! I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together with a little help from my mom and Nicole. I also hope 2018 will be an amazing year for you and yours. Cheers!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Hail the Snail 2.43

31 Dec

December 15th: It might have just been a postcard, but it came from Kira over in Finland which automatically makes it awesome, hehe.

December 19th: Some Christmas goodies came next– a card from Kristy and presents from Logan’s Uncle Doug and Aunt Jessica!

December 20th: And of course no Christmas is complete until we get something from Figi’s, courtesy of my dad.

December 21st: A few more Christmas cards came (and one of those came with a Chipotle gift card– thanks Erik and Mindy!), and I also received a new series to read. The timing was perfect because I finished Before I Fall that same morning!

December 22nd: In addition to yet another Christmas card was a letter from Jody and a batch of Little Cards per the Clothes/Accessories theme.

December 26th: Logan received a Lego set from his Uncle Erik and Aunt Mindy, while I received two pieces of mail from Krista… though the one with Box Tops was basically for Logan, too 😛

December 27th: Both mailboxes had a Christmas card for me. Manolo’s was from Allison, and Pablo’s was from Charmaine.

December 30th: The last letter I received this year was from Sarah!

And this will be the last blog post of mine this year! Over the past couple months it became apparent to me that though I’m no longer interested in having a strict posting routine, I do need to have some sort of schedule or Sincerely Kate flounders a bit. That said, I have quite a few plans for this blog in 2018! This Hail the Snail series is safe, for the record, though the number accompanying the title will change since the 2.40-whatever has gotten ridiculous, lol. Take care, Bleaders, and I’ll talk to you in the new year!

Sincerely, Kate ~!~

Two Cents: December Edition

27 Dec

The purpose of this Two Cents series is to have a monthly “show and tell” per ATC the Change– a RAOK cause I cofounded. Each edition will feature many of the Change Cards I’ve made, along with other things I’ve done to make the world better one Change Card at a time. Change. Cents. Get it?

Usually these posts go on to share my highlights since the one that came before it, and if I would have written this last Wednesday, there would have been nothing to share aside from using up ATCs from before December started. I was worried that that might still be the case this week, but after making new cards this past Friday, this edition felt worthwhile after all.

On that note, here are my highlights–however few–since November.

1. Like I mentioned above, I left several older Change Cards. When Gabe and I saw Coco a couple weeks ago, I officially used the last oldie in my arsenal.

2. Using a treat bag Logan got from school, I made these 5 ATCs and managed to leave a few when we were out “getting our merry on.”

3. Other ATCs I managed to make this month include 4 with Thanksgiving-friendly phrases, 9 that say “Give your dreams the wings to fly,” and these 4 using note cards I recycled:

4. Though I sadly haven’t sold any more of the sets I’ve made, I have given several Change Cards away. Sets, for the record, are groups of 9 cards each that I make for people unable to make them themselves for whatever reason.

Whether I’m more successful selling sets in the new year, or I just make Change Cards for my own use from now on, I’m excited to see what 2018 has in store for ATC the Change. Personally I think I’m going to steer away from using weekly phrases, and just make whatever speaks to me– maybe then instead of January’s Edition being a whisper, it will be a bang.

Happy New Year, Bleaders!
Sincerely, Kate ~!~

A Little Interested in Little Cards?

21 Dec

If you like making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), or have been wanting to give them a try, why not make joining ATCs: Little Cards on Big Adventures one of your resolutions? 😉

A little taste of each of our active members’ work.

If you are, in fact, a little interested in Little Cards, here is what you need to know as we move into 2018:

-To participate, you must be a member of our Facebook group.

-On the first day of each month, I will post a theme. I do this as an event that only members are invited to.

-If you’re interested in making ATCS per the respective theme, you have a 48-hour window to click that you’re attending the event. This isn’t an in-person event, for the record, but an online one.

-If you don’t care for a certain theme, or there are months you just don’t have the time to make anything, you’re under no obligation to participate. Close out the event window and that’ll be that!

-When the sign up period is over, the number of people attending the event is the number of ATCs each participant will make. For example, the 5 of us who signed up for the current Clothing/Accessories theme are each making 5 ATCs.

-ATCs are 3.5 x 2.5 inches. We don’t require your cards to be identical each month, but we do want them to be of similar quality to keep things fair.

-Once your ATCs are made, they are all to be sent to me so I have them by the end of each month. My address will be available via the events.

-As soon as I receive all of the batches, I make sets so each person will receive an ATC from all of the participants, including one of their own.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t always get all of the batches by the end of the month, so please be patient. I will continue to send the sets as soon as possible!

And in case you’re wondering, the most ATCs we make per theme is usually around 7. The record is 12, but that was a long time ago and has since become a fluke.

Well, I think that is everything, but if you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to ask. Here is the link one more time for our Facebook headquarters. Hope to see you in there in the New Year, and to maybe find your Little Cards among the others in rotation.

Sincerely, Kate ~!~