Sunday, December 27, 2009

Things I’ve learned in the last few weeks.

*My son’s coat is really slippery.
*When we have all the jackets and coats on our door hanger, they all fall off.
*Having slippery coats at the top of your stairs is not a great idea.
*Trying to walk down the stairs in the dark is also not such a great idea.
*Sliding down a full flight of stairs is not as fun as when I was 4 and did it on purpose.
*And it results in a really nasty bruise all over your behind.
*I cry a lot when I’m pregnant.
*Being at the point where I have doctor appointments every 2 weeks can be a blessing, especially if you don’t feel your baby for 7 hours after falling down the stairs.
*I’m in love with medical technology.
*Unborn babies, just like the real ones, magically stop having any problems once you get to the doctor.
*According to the old wives tale about heart beats, I’m having a girl (!!!)
*The old wives tale is only 50% accurate - same as anything else :(
*Bruised behinds and squats are not compatible.
*Even when you’re married and a mommy yourself, nothing feels better on a hard day that to have your Mommy give you a big hug.
*That spending 6 hours in the car will make your bruised behind hurt again.
*That my dad is the best grandpa ever.
*If both you and your hubby don’t get home until 4:00 Christmas eve, trying to cram the dozen or so traditions into those 4 hours will make everyone cranky.
*That all your hard work can be worth it when you see your daughter twirling around in her “tattoo”, so happy because Santa remembered to bring a doll - and that doll even has a “tattoo” too!
*That my girl comes up with really strange names (her doll has been dubbed “pink smells flowers and roses”, and yes, she actually uses the whole name each time. I think she needs a nickname!)
*That every single thing in a stocking makes my kids happy - even the 10th roll of smarties.
*That after 6 years of Christmases together, when your hubby finally gives a very thoughtful gift it will make me cry.
*That my hubby really is just cute.
*And he’s capable of being really truly thoughtful when he wants to be.
*That slowing down and not stressing if Christmas is perfect helps it to be much more perfect.
*That falling down a flight of stairs will make your hubby paranoid about you walking anywhere.
*That if my hubby is paranoid, he’s a lot better at remembering to offer to help, follow through with the offers, and even do things without being asked.
* That I”m officially bigger front to back than side to side so turning doesn’t make it easier to fit in a small space.
*That the latch on our shower is really poky.
*That a poky latch leaves a nasty belly scratch that can hurt like the dickens.
*That getting a scratch from your shower makes you feel really really stupid.
*That at 8 months, if I’m absolutely beat every day by 4:00, I’m trying to do to much.
*That maybe I need to learn to not try to do everything myself.
*That I’m surrounded by love, joy, and peace, I just need to recognize it.
*That life is just plain good.

What have you learned recently?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh don't I wish

I know I've mentioned before that I really want a new computer. The relic we are currently using is full, and slow, and driving me crazy. So I just have to try to win this one.


My own laptop. Pardon me whilst I wipe the drool from the keyboard. (Sorry, whilst just HAD to be in this post at least once today. Because it's just that kind of day!)


Of course, there are over 1000 entries already. But here's to dreaming, right?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ta Da!



Wow. This was the most labor intensive gift I've ever done. Of course, most of my gifts have been either store bought, or at if homemade something that I've done before and started by July. I am so happy how she turned out. It honestly wasn't as hard as I worried it might be, but it's not the easiest craft in the world.

My hardest part was all the different places I had to look for instructions. Since I'd never made a doll before, it was a bit confusing. I decided to put all the links I looked at/needed here in one place, along with what I actually did and tips for other first time doll makers.

Stuff I bought:
1 bag poly fiber stuffing
1 crib sized cotton batting
3.5 oz skein brown cotton yarn
3 inch doll needle
1 pk tea bags

Stuff I used but already had:
1 old trouser sock
embroidery thread
size 5 kids white turtle neck shirt
old shirts
newborn sized clothes

Total cost of all supplies: $11.74 (of course I have enough stuff to make a dozen more dolls now!)

The head is THE most important part for this type of doll. I used THIS tute, THIS one, and THIS picture set to really understand what to do. The first one is the one that gives instructions for that adorable nose. I honestly needed all three - each one explained just a little different to make it better. When I actually complied the doll, I used the picture one the most since I could see what to do for each step. (in case you are wondering here's the link for the dollar store version - great picture, but no instructions!)

I used an old trouser sock for the inner "stockinette" that they talked about. The doll skin is all from a white turtle neck shirt that I tea dyed skin colored. Dying the shirt worked perfect.

* for the first timer: Plan on doing the head at least 3 times. Just keep reading the tutorials. They do a great job of explaining, but re-reading them helps a lot in understanding what to do! My first 2 times I tried just regular stuffing-IT WON'T WORK! You just can't get it firm enough. Then I went and got Cotton batting. I think regular quilt batting might have worked, but I didn't want to spend more money to not have it work. The sleeve from the shirt was perfect for the outer skin layer.
* The cotton batting was super hard to go through with my 3 inch needle. I wish I could have found a 5 inch one. I ended up using a regular needle and just going through the top of the head (you can actually see a little bit of the string through the skin, but life isn't perfect!)

The only place I found a body pattern was that second tutorial. Her pattern was fine, but I didn't do my head as big as hers. So after I got the arms sewn on, body stuffed and almost put on, I realized it was way out of proportion. Which meant I got to rip it all apart and make it smaller. Actually, in hindsight, I wish I would have made the doll a bit bigger - it would have helped with the clothes part. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

THIS picture set was the best instructions I found for the hair. It does use crocheting, but it was really easy, and the whole head is covered. My 3.5 oz cotton skein was plenty for my doll. I think it would be enough to do two full dolls.

I think making the clothes ended up being the hardest part of the whole thing. I couldn't find online free patterns that actually worked anywhere, especially not for the size doll I had. I tried to just design my own based on my dolls proportions. Um, let's just say I'm not going to be a professional tailor any time soon! I did make 1 dress from a library book that was pretty good - but again, had to do a lot of changing because of the small size. Actually, the best and by FAR easiest way was to grab some old newborn sized clothes that I never really liked and re-size them for the doll. Way easier than trying to make those tiny sleeves!

So there you go. That's my first timers look on making a doll. I did the head about 5 times, the body twice, the hair once, and between once and 4 times for each article of clothing (grumble grumble!) Was it worth it? Well, I guess I'm going to have to wait until Girly-Lou opens it up on Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

grrrrr

THIS

+


THIS

+

THIS

=

One not so happy Mommy and one REEEEAAALLLLLYYY hard to clean mess.


The crazy thing to me is he had to pick our outrageously textured colored walls, and not the amazingly smooth white ones 3 feet away.

And yes, I do believe he's going incognito with those too cool shades.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The first diaper bag I've ever actually drooled over

Actually, I'm not sure if that's true. If I was anything like my kiddos, I bet I drooled and chewed my mom's bag. But this one is for sure drool worthy.

Check this out: Mrs. Smith's Diaper bag


Features lots of space, all the extras like a key fob, places to hold your junk and the kids, etc. But the most brilliant thing of all: it's like two diaper bags on top of each other - WITH A DRAWER! Ack! I love it. I could actually find stuff this way.

Give away a day is giving one away (wow, that's a redundant sentence!). If I don't win, I think I'll make Hubby buy me one for my birthday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fun little kid bag tute

Today, in an effort to actually be able to save my scrapbook (kind of an important step!) I was dejunking our hard drive. (man I wish I could just spring for my own computer!). I found these pictures to make cute little bags for your kids. I really thought I'd already posted this tute, but I couldn't find it on my blog, so I guess I never did!

Supplies: one sheet of stiff felt (from your favorite craft store) - I think it's about 11 x 17 inches, but I honestly don't remember any more! I know I found mine at Hobby Lobby for something like 80 cents
permanent marker
sewing machine
Time!

Ok, please remember that I did this LAST November, so the exact details are going to be a bit fuzzy!

The bag is sewn with the seams on the outside (since felt doesn't fray, and it's cute that way!), with 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step One: If you like patterns, make one out of paper. (for me this means a bit less measuring)
My measurements:
handles: 1" x the width of the felt (11inches?)
Front and back: 6.25"x7"
Side panels: 3.25" x 7"
bottom: 6.25" x 3.25"
I cut the handles out first, and then arranged the rest of it like this:

If your felt is different, just adjust accordingly!
cut everything out:


Step 2: If you want something cute on the front, draw it on with the marker.

Step 3: Attach the handles to the front and back. I like to do an "x" and then a square around it for a bit extra stability. THIS IS ON THE OUTSIDE of the bag.

Step 4: with a 1/4 inch seam, sew the bottom to both sides.

so it looks like this:

Step 5: Now sew the front and back to the bottom:

Step 6: Sew the sides to the front and back. This step is a bit tricky at the corners, but just keep working with it, it really will work! Trim all the extra strings.

And Ta Da! a cute little bag, just the perfect size for church, for 79 cents and 20 minutes of your time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

*Warning: serious time suck alert!

So we're sick here in Euless land. Glorious head colds abounding. My plan was to put the kids down at 8:00 and then head to bed myself.

But first I wanted to check a blog . . . .

Oh. Dear. Me.

Have you ever been to Sew Mama Sew? I found their site last year. If you like to sew, or like new ideas for sewing type crafts (with some crochet/knitting thrown in), they are a great source.

Right now they are doing a give away day, where hundreds of crafters are giving away stuff.

That is not an exaggeration. There are three posts worth, each one has a crazy amount of stuff.
So instead of nursing my cold in bed, I just sat and entered a bajillion contests. I'm tempted to take a picture of the HUGE pile of tissues I went through, but I don't want to gross you out.

It took me just over 2 hours to go through the whole list (What? The kids are in bed and Hubby is flying. What would you do with that much free time every night?). All the contests are open until Dec 6 for those of you not crazy/bored/obsessed enough to sit for 2 hours going through posts.

There are seriously some AMAZING offerings in the crop. But thank heaven for tabbed browsers! I'd open about 10, but usually ended up only entering one of those (Because who really needs a tea bag wallet?) It was nice to just look at what was offered and say "I WANT THAT" or "Ooo pretty, but what would I do with it" or "um, yah, I'd want that out of my house too!"

Because I really don't need a bajillion fat quarters of fabric. But some of them are rather tempting!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

DONE!


It's done, it's done! Hooray it's done!

Actually, I've been done for a week or more, but struggled to find a time when Hubby was gone so I could take a picture.

7 afghans in 11 months. Whew!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Maniac sadness and joy!

I have done "real" maniac shopping exactly once. After Buddy-boy was born, we really needed some not pink blankets (since he would spit up all over 2 or more a day!). Joann's typically has flannel for $.99 on black Friday, and I did the whole get up at 4 am thing to wait in line. It was kind of fun - since Hubby could stay home with the little ones!

Since then, I have usually gone shopping on Black Friday, but never that early again. I just didn't have it in me to go with my little ones.

But this year there were so many things I REALLY wanted. I made a list, and decided to do my shopping online! JOY!

Except, then I found out the all the things I wanted were being offered in store only. But I was celebrating Thanksgiving with my Mom, a full hour drive away from a Target, and a good 20 minutes away from Walmart. Despair. No goodies possible.

JOY! Happy Mom was going to to Target early and could pick up my "just-for-me" Christmas presents!

Despair - she called and said that our Target didn't have it.

JOY! Mom and I decided to go to Walmart to try for the awesome card table deal!

Despair: they sold out 10 minutes before we got there.

Joy! I did at least snag the $3 pjs (for next year's presents) and $4 blankets (also for next Christmas), and party favors for Buddy's birthday party in July. So nothing great for this year, but I've got a great start for next year!

But I was really bummed about Psych. Have you ever watched that show? The. Best. Ever.

And then today, JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm a fan on Facebook. And they happened to post that Amazon had some great deals. And I just checked - ALL THREE SEASONS FOR 12.99 EACH!!!! The same amazing price that Target had. And they included the first season too. Seasons 1 and 3 won't get here until after Christmas, but since it's just for me, who cares!

Slight despair: I spent too much at Walmart. If I buy all three life is going to be tight. But we're spending a lot of time at family's in the next few weeks, so I did some great justifying.

We may need to eat a bit more Ramen, and get rather creative with some other meals, but I'm getting three seasons of Psych for less than the cost of one.

Life is good!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winners!

Ok, first of all, I feel the need to give a giant raspberry to all.

Pththththththththththttththth!

Seriously, guys! I know I don't have a lot of readers, but only two of you even tried this contest?!?!?!? What is up with that! I was really hoping for some great names to wow my hubby with.

Well, since only two people entered, and I didn't want to be accused of nepotism, and since I wouldn't even have to pay for postage if I send one to Happy Mom (and I had all the stuff to make two), both of you guys are winners!

Thanks for playing along. At least I know two of you wanted to play with me!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My new goal


Oh yah. I'd love for that to be about me!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

100th post!

Whew! We made it guys! Thanks for sticking around with me. I know my blog following is tiny, but hey, it's fun to have a place to spill your guts and people actually still talk to you.

As apposed to if I was to talk this way in the real world, where people would at best meet me with blank stares and at worst start talking very slowly about "special places" to put someone like me.

I've totally wanted to do a 100th post contest for a while. Especially after InkMom's (which was so fun!). Of course, I don't have something near as tricky to figure out. I've been racking my brain for what to do, and finally decided on a name contest.

See, in case you didn't recall, I'm having a baby sometime in the next 2 months. We're hoping for full term here, but there is some precedence for early. Like, maybe born new years eve early.

But I digress. For the first time, we did not find out the gender of this little one. It's driving my hubby crazy, but the gender wasn't even written down on my chart, so at this point we can't even ask. We also don't have names picked out.

Well, let me clarify that. I have a girl's name I LOVE, and a boys name I really like. Hubby just can't agree with me. He also can't come up with anything he likes better.

So here's the contest: Submit two baby names (1 boy and 1 girl). You also must do an ounce of research and figure out what the names actually mean ('cause that's important to me) Also, your best idea for a "blog name" since we're attempting to keep things private around here. I'll draw a name out of a hat for the winner (and hopefully can convince Hubby of some great name ideas!)

Oh, and the prize.
Last year, I posted instructions for how to make this: (sorry Paily, I know you already have one!) I am giving away one put together mini muffin tin advent calendar (which would be all the squares already assembled, a cute little bag to hold them, and a ribbon to hang it up with) This does NOT include the actual tin, since I'm cheap and don't want to spend that much to ship the puppy!

It's really cute (cuter in person than my lousy camera skills show). And fun, and the kids love the whole thing. You know you want one.

Contest runs until 10 ish on Monday November 23 . . . . .(or just before I go to bed), and I'll announce the winner the next day. That way if I actually remember to ship it, it can get to you in time to be actually used for THIS Christmas.

Unless of course I end up going into labor or some crazy thing. Then you guys are going to have to wait.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tell me what I want . . .

Being married is an awesome, strange experience. I love my Hubby - he's the best. But there are times that the whole blending traditions thing gets a little strange.

Growing up Christmas was a big deal. We had traditions for EVERYTHING - special plates and cups for Christmas eve, and again for Christmas morning, certain foods at certain times, the treat jar, Mom crying as she told stories, everything was done each and every year. But presents themselves were almost secondary. We tried for thoughtful, often homemade (all though at times the result was just silly and cheap!). The spending time together and remembering all the traditions was more important than the what.

Hubby's family is pretty much opposite. Growing up they would go as a family to the mall, where mom and dad would hand each kid a BUNDLE of cash and they'd go their separate ways. It apparently wasn't uncommon for them to spend $75-$100 on each present. But the only tradition they have is they usually watch Ben Hur Christmas Eve.

I know. I think it's a strange tradition too, but it works for them.

Getting used to that whole "spend a ton of money on everyone" from that side of the family is still a work in progress. We don't spend that much on them, but they do tend to shower us with stuff.

A few years ago they asked us to start wish lists. It was originally just for the kids, but then Grandma and Grandpa asked for lists for me and Hubby. It's kind of fun. I try to have a big variety of price ranges, needs, and just silly stuff on it. I keep a file with ideas running all year long, and we've gotten some very fun things.

Hubby's Dad called today. They had received our wish lists, but he has a better idea for a present for me. (which, if I pick, I'm supposed to act very surprised and like we've never discussed this whole process). But it's pricey - REALLY pricey, and I don't think I'd get anything else on my list if I chose it.

What is it you ask? It's a Cricut.

Now, Cricuts have to be one of the coolest things on the planet. The possibilities of craftiness are endless. But they cost way too much for me to have ever really considered getting one. And on my wish list are a several things I need, and several more that I want (Memory mixer upgrade anyone!?).

I don't know which to choose. Really, I'm so torn here. I've already come up with 5 projects I could actually finish if I had one, and a dozen more ideas to start. But the wish list (that sander so I can refinish some furniture, speakers for my mp3 player, all of those books) . . . .

So, help me decide. If you were in my shoes, which would you choose. Help my indecisive pregnant brain function here please!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I think I might be crazy . . .

in more ways than just one. I have such great ideas, but this one is scaring me a tad.

So here's the story: I won a blog contest about a month ago - a $25 cert to Crafty Moms, home of the most awesome binky clips I've ever seen (and only $3!). They also have these really cute tutus. Well, Girly-Lou had been asking for a tutu for a few weeks, but I was too lazy to go to Joann's and buy the fabric to put it together. So I picked one out. Originally I was thinking birthday present. However, the color I picked was on back order and wouldn't come until the end of November. So I switched my thinking to Christmas and said great!

Then I started talking to Happy Mom. We started talking about how great it is to do cheap/easy/homemade presents for Christmas. She mentioned that she made a doll for her oldest girl one year. That got some wheels a turning. What if I made a doll for my girl? And picked up a little bit of tulle the same color as her new tutu so it was all cute and matchy? That would be lots of fun, right?

I started googling doll patterns. I found some ugly ones, some ok ones, and some I thought were pretty cute. But the cute ones meant buying a $10 pattern plus fabric. As much as I love my girl, the point of me making this doll was to save some cash, not spend the same amount as just picking up a doll.

But then I discovered Waldorf dolls. I think I'm in love. I found this one first. How adorable is that! But still, I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. But I kept on looking. And then I found this version. Supplies from the dollar store! That I can handle. I've also been reading a lot about re-purposing old clothes. I went through a charity pile and found some awesome possibilities for clothes. And then I found instructions to dye a t-shirt with tea for the skin material. So in reality, all I'm going to need to buy is some stuffing.

It won't be a true Waldorf doll, since those are supposed to only use natural materials and I've got a great conglomeration of stuff, but they are so flippin cute!

And then the more rational thoughts start pouring in. "You've never made a doll in your life. You've never made ANYTHING that had to be stuffed. And these aren't the easiest dolls for a first timer. Are you sure you can do this and not have it look like a stuffed potato? You already made 7 afghans this year, shouldn't you take a bit of a break? Plus you're pregnant, and to the point that you need to take a nap every day. And it's only 5 1/2 weeks until Christmas., 4 1/2 if you count the week you'll be in California and therefore unable to work on this. You'd only be able to work on this at night after the kids are in bed, and usually the only thing you want to do after 8:00 is read a bit and then sleep. And whenever Hubby is home, you usually feel like you should do something with him. All this means you have approximately 20 nights to work on this. Happy Mom admitted that she was up way late Christmas Eve sewing hair onto her homemade doll. Don't you think you'd end up in the same situation? IS IT EVEN WORTH IT?"

I'm honestly not sure. I guess we'll see. But I think I want to try. I'm off to pick up some stuffing . . . . If I produce something non-potatoish, I post some pictures.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a bit of nostalgia

I come from a big family. There are 8 kids divided into two sets of 4. I'm part of the younger crew. In my half of the family, there were 4 of us born in 6 years. Combine that with a Dad who worked SUPER hard at two jobs to put food on the table (and often put in 12-16 hour days), one on one time with a parent was a rare commodity.

I suppose that's why I always loved school shopping so much. Even as I got older and school wasn't something I looked forward to starting so much, I always enjoyed the shopping part. It was a day just about you. Just you and Mom, gone for the whole morning. You laughed together. You got NEW clothes (not hand-me-downs!). New paper, pencils, crayons THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO SHARE. And you even got to eat out with Mom.

My favorite place to pick for school shopping lunch was Hunk of Bread. Sadly, this wonderful shop has now gone out of business, but it was the best. The premise was simple: luscious homemade bread, sliced super thick (at least 1 1/2 inches), smothered with butter, then topped with either jam or ham and melted cheese. It melted in your mouth. They also had the best doughnuts ever.

I'm not sure what it was today. Maybe the drizzly weather. Maybe the lack of sleep. Maybe the 13 four year olds I teach at church that all acted as if they had been injected with caffeine and then brainwashed to forget any good behaviors they had ever exhibited. But today, I NEEDED to feel 7 years old again, kicking my heals against that vinyl booth, melted cheese dripping down my chin.

This was a fantasy too good to pass up. This must be done for dinner tonight! I made some bread - oh, it was just perfect too. Not to tough, raised like a dream. Perfect melty homemade bread. We were out of ham, so I voted for just melted cheese.

Look at that gooiness. The kids decided to go for the sugar route. Judging by that schmear all over Buddy's face, I think they're fans.

And yes, I even kicked my feet back and forth. And just for a minute, I was 7 years old again, the biggest worry in my life which box of crayons to splurge on.

Life is good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wow, is has it been that long

Girly-Lou-Who turns 5 today. 5!?!?!?!?!? I can't believe that she could be that big.

Because she was so tiny for so long. She started out so little (and early too). It was like a miracle when she would open her eyes.

(I don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I'm a little bit of a closet scrapbooker. I hate paper scrapbooking, but I love the digital stuff. I don't do anything fancy, but I've had some fun putting books together for my kids. Someday I'll actually have the money to print them out!)

This scrapbook page shows a bit of what I'm talking about:

Happy birthday, my silly, crazy, wonderful girl!

I'd LOVE to win this one.

Over at the shopping momma, they are giving away an awesome convertible car seat. I would LOVE to win this for little #3 coming. Of course, the contest started yesterday and there are already over 1000 comments. So my odds are really slim, but hey, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Go check it out.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick update

Some days are lousy. Really stinkin lousy.

Some days are in-betweenies (that's most of my life around here)

And some days really. freak'n. rock!

That would be today. I finally got a decent night sleep. I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise I've seen in months. The kids were semi cooperative as we drove Hubby to work. I had a great exercise class. I got a rockin deal on a bunch of pork roasts.

And then my Hubby called. I think the birds started chirping a bit louder as the sunlight streamed through onto my awesome couch - maybe even a doe and fawn stopped to smile at our happiness.

He's changing bases effective December 2 again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, all those agonizing stressful things are now gone. Life looks beautiful. At least for today.

Cross your fingers. He was also told that this could change on a daily basis. If he makes it to December 2 and does 1 flight in the new base he's locked in for good. They can't change him back. So here's hoping for 19 more days

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ack! I want to tell all!

I know I've previously mentioned, but I really do love finding other people's amazing ideas. The majority of the blogs in my reader are ones that feature cool crafts and stuff. Most of the ideas that I find, I go "Oh, that's so fun, I want to do that."

And then I found The. Single. Coolest. Thing. On. The. Planet.

Seriously, this is the coolest thing EVER. It had my jaw on the floor. So simple, so easy, so cheap, with such possibilities for true awesomeness.

But I can't tell you about it!

That's because I think I'm doing on for every single one of my sisters, and mom too, for Christmas. And since every single one of my sisters reads this blog, they would all know how cool it's going to be. I don't want to ruin the surprise, but it is SO COOL!

On the bummer side, I need a color printer to really make it work. And ours died a month ago. Otherwise, I would be working on this right now instead of blogging.

I need to go hit up some friends and see if they'd be willing to let me print off about 4 colored pages . . . .

I promise I will tell all after Christmas. Sorry to make you wait!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

last day: 14

Day 14 was a combination of days 11-13. The nice thing was she had us just use the same collage as day 13. I'm fairly happy with the results.

Day 13

This was similar to day 12, but on a grander scale: a full on collage. You were supposed to use brushes to add some punch, but my version of photoshop is too old to add cool brushes to. So I stuck in a flourish png all over and erased portions.

Day 12

This was about creating a story board - you know, the awesome really expensive sets they try to sell you when you bother to get pictures done professionally? Now I can to it for super cheap.

Oh, he's cute! (even if he's the reason I'm up at 4 am!)

Finishing up projects

Do you remember back in (cough) JULY when I was taking that photo editing class? Um, so yah, I never finished doing the projects. But since it's currently 4:06 AM, and I've been awake since 1:30 (grumble grumble), I figured I might as well get up and do something semi productive.

Day 11 was selective spot recoloring. I wish I had a perfect photo like she always does, but this one works.

Man, my little girl was SO tiny back then! this is her clutching her precious giraffe, which has been her favorite since she was about 4 months old.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

12 days of Junkies

I think I've mentioned before how much I love tip junkie. Hundreds of crafty/cleany/inspirey ideas every week all in one place.

And giveaways too.

Right now she's doing the 12 days of Junkie, with awesome giveaways every single day. But you have to actually check every day because they only last 24 hours!

Be still my little heart - I love this stuff!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wow.

I think it's finally happened. A skill I have been developing for at least 25 years just might be fully developed. Others have tried to help me with this. I've felt guilt over my lack of ability to accomplish this task. I've been bothered, annoyed, frustrated, even given up multiple times. But I think I can finally say . . .

I now make my bed every single day.

It finally actually bugs me to not have my bed made. I no longer find it more annoying to actually make the bed than to see it rumpled. I find joy in straitened covers.

Of course, now it bugs me at how lousy the rest of my room looks when my bed is made (and the serous need of some actual decoration done in that room!), but today I'm finding happiness in the little things.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Language

Have you ever thought just how amazing language is? The fact that we are able to communicate with others, through voice, through print, through electricity, through touch, through hands?

In college, my major was Communicative Disorders. For those not in the know, this is the undergrad for either audiology (hearing specialists) or Speech Language Pathology (speech problem specialists). You pick which on to specialize in, and then go on to grad school to be able to actually do anything with the degree. While I did not do the last step, I learned some amazing things about language.

One of the most fascinating classes I had was our voice disorders class. There we learned, in great detail, just exactly what is involved to talk. There are such minute differences between different sounds. For example, the difference between and long e sound and a short i sound. They are produced in the exact same place in your mouth, your tongue is in the same position, they are the same length, same intensity, same everything. Except for one small thing: there is a very small muscle underneath your chin that is tightened for the long e. This results in a very small harmonic change, which our ears are able to pick up, change into an electric signal, send to our brain, which then correctly interprets the difference. All this happens in less than a blink of an eye, for the myriad of different sounds used in our language on an hourly basis. English has 18 different vowel sounds. The actual difference between different sounds is minuscule, but we can understand.

I have been fascinated by sign language ever since I watched Linda on Sesame street. I always wanted to be able to sign. When I was 17 (ish), I started to learn. A good friend of mine knew a woman that lived close by who was an interpreter. Together we took classes from her for over a year. I never was proficient, but I could get by.

In college, I was able to take two more classes. I learned syntax, vocabulary, culture. I still was not even close enough to interpret for someone, but I loved every minute. One of my favorite classes was a conversational ASL class. This was taught by a grad student that I knew fairly well. He was hearing, but had been raised by deaf parents, and actually learned English as a second language - his first was sign. He was able to give such a unique perspective.

Now, as an adult, I've had little opportunity to use my sign language. I have forgotten so much of it. I will admit, that's one of the many reasons I was happy to move here - my sister is good friends with a deaf woman. As I have also become friends with this amazing lady, I have had the opportunity to brush up on this amazing language. While I am still very limited in my vocabulary, and really lousy at actually interpreting into full ASL, I love the ability to communicate with her, to feel my understanding grow.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to interpret during Sacrament meeting. It was hard - really hard at some points (you try interpreting computer code into a different language!), but so fulfilling. To help someone be able to understand, to grow, to communicate with another person, is a great gift. One that I'm excited to have and develop even more.

What gifts do you have and develop?

Monday, November 2, 2009

rants

I had planned on this wonderful uplifting post about my amazing experiences over the weekend. Well, that post is going to have to wait. One of the reasons I started this blog was so I could talk about whatever I wanted without everyone and their dog talking to me about it - which is why I'm semi anonymous here. Of course, that backfired just a touch, since I'm related to most of my followers. Not that I'm complaining that people read me, just know I need to rant for a minute.

I'm trying really hard today to be grateful. I mean, at least Hubby has a job, right? There are thousands of people out there, especially pilots, who have found themselves out of a job. We even know a few. But I am so ticked off at his company right now I could scream.

Moving across country was supposed to be the best thing for our whole family. We got to live close to family, buy a house, meet new people, and Hubby's schedule was going to be so much better since he would have twice the seniority. The commute wasn't going to be bad because he was also changing bases. Hubby started that process clear back in April. It took until middle of August for us to FINALLY get word that he would be changing, starting October 1. Which got pushed back to November 1. And then December 2. But we were getting close. We've been counting down, getting so excited that this was his last time to bid for Dallas.

Until today. Hubby just told me he's been put off, AGAIN! Now his start date isn't until, get this MARCH 1 ?!??!?!?!?!?!? "'m more irate than I have words for. He can't hold a line any more in Dallas, but they won't let him change to the new base because "staffing reasons". What? You don't have room for him where he is, but he can't move because they might need him where he is right now. Um, yah, that makes sense.

This messes up Christmas (because his training will be all messed up). This could mess up Girly-Lou's birthday. And I'm pretty sure this means our chances of him being here for the baby being born are next to zilch now. He has to spend even more time away from the family, just when we thought it was going to get better.

On the plus side, he does have two ways to fight this, and he promised to do all he can to get this changed back. But right now I'm so angry I could just hit something. Maybe I should go bake some bread. There is something very therapeutic about knocking some dough around, and the smell might help me calm down.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

try this one at home

Take one huge stack of scrap paper:

Combined with an adorable girl who refuses to use "yucky" paper.

Figure out that she will use it if it's little.

Hack up the whole pile into 4ths.

Clothes pin into bundles.

Squirt some Elmer's all over one even-ish edge

Spread it around with your finger.
Let dry. Repeat the glue if you want to make it a bit stronger.
And Voila! A dozen really simple easy home made note pads.

Now obviously, if I wanted to make this look cute, I'd take the time to measure the cuts to make it all even, and make a cute little cover out of card stock. But this was just so my girl (who single handily could go through a ream of paper in a month if I'd let her) would have something to color on that didn't bug me.

*Also, I totally saw this idea a couple of years ago, only they made money books with 20 dollar bills glued together. I have no idea where I found this originally, but there's my attempt at credit where credit is due!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways . . .

An Ode to clutter

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways . . . .
You are merciless, relentless, in your desire to stay.

You’ve taken over my bedroom, creeping across the floors
The closets would be overflowing if we could see the doors.

Like rabbits, you seem to reproduce, covering everything I see
The dishes are doubling, tripling, exponentially.

As crumbs grind between my toes (my children seem to feed you)
an unseen diaper smell creeps along (Oh, what shall I do here!)

Back my enemy! Victory will be won.
I’ll vanquish you somehow. This mess will be undone.

Room by room you’ve conquered, now you’ll win no more
Room by room I’ll clean you, until I can finally see this floor!

Now vanquished, I triumph, my victory complete.
Nevermore will I see thee (at least until next week!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My new obbsession

I know I've said it before: I really love to blog hop. And craft. I've been so busy crocheting (only one more blanket left!), that I haven't done much else this year. As I've found other blogs, I think my new thing just might be quilts. At least sewing.

Just look at some of the free patterns I've found lately:

Now that we actually bought a house, I really want to do some "real" decorating. Like where it looks like you actually planned for the room to look that way instead of just shoving stuff in and never thinking about how ugly it looks together. I really would love to make the bedspreads for my kids rooms, a girls room with this, and a boys with this. *or maybe the other way around!

The are so flippin cute!

I'd have already started on this one, but I know I need to make two of either the boys or girls quilts. But I won't find out which until January (I hope!), so I'm holding off on buying fabric yet.

Then there is this site. Don't go look at it unless you have 37 hours of free time. Seriously! I'm astounded by all the patterns on this one. The really fun thing, if you sign up, you get a whole heap free. Plus, go to this link and you can get a free tutu and vest pattern. They give some ideas to use them for Halloween costumes, but I've got visions of Christmas dancing in my little head.


Especially if I get really ambitious and do the vest with this tie pattern . . . .
Humm. I know I spent more on afghans this year than I probably should have. I wonder just how much I'll find myself spending on fabric in the next year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If I had a million Dollars

You know, I sing that song a lot. A REAL lot. Like almost every time I go to any store other than the grocery or gas station. Even the dollar store. As I've said before, Hubby is a pilot. He flies the little puddle jumpers for a regional airline. Many pilots make insane amounts of money (ex. captain for FedEx STARTS somewhere around $200,000.00). Some make really great (ex. Captain for Delta starts at $120,000.00). Regionals make . . .um less. Captains still do ok. First officers . . .get there. I've surprised more than one person when I tell them that Hubby made less his first year than my sister did her first year teaching. Seriously. Less than a teacher. We've gotten great raises each year, but he's only been flying for 3 years. In other words, we are not rolling in dough (except for sugar cookie, but that's only because I use them as bribes to get my son to use the toilet. Anyway. Moving on.)

Our budget is often tight, which is why I sing that song. I spend 95% of our money on necessities, like toilet paper and milk, 7% on almost necessities, like pancake mix, and 3% on extras, like Christmas presents, Halloween candy, or gum. (I don't know why, but I've honestly been craving gum for weeks now.)

Wow. I'm really rambling here. I promise I'll get to the point. Today, I sang this song for the 10 billionth time, I thought, "What would I do with a million dollars, really". So now I'm here to answer that question.

This assumes that I inherited a whole bunch of money or something, and taxes have already been taken out. It also has a bunch of rounding to make easy math, and a lot of estimates that I don't really have a clue how much it would cost in reality.

#1. Pay tithing (100,000) Remaining: 900,000

#2. Pay off all debts (mortgage, student loans, credit card) (195,000) Remaining: 705,000

#3. Buy a car for hubby (yea for 2 cars!) (7000). Remaining:698,000

#4. Set aside a nice chunk for each kid, with some extra for future ones (150,000). Remaining: 548,000

#5. Fix our really sad pathetic fence (5000). Remaining: 543,000

#6. Buy real bedroom furniture for our room. (4000). Remaining 539,000

#7. Decorate the kids room with real furniture and accent pieces that don't look like crud (3000) Remaining: 536,000

#8. Fix my sad outdated bathroom (2000). Remaining: 534,000

#9. Change out my yucky lousy flat top in my kitchen with a real stove + fix the pealing wall paper, scratched linoleum, and new dining table. (5000). Remaining: 529,000.

#10. Buy a freezer and a whole bunch of food storage (3000) Remaining: 526,000.

#11. Um. Er. Buy some warm clothes for my boy (100). Remaining: 525,900.

#12. I've honestly got nothing. As of 4:35 October 14, that's really all I would want to get. Most of the things on my list will happen, but not as quickly as I'd like. But there's a few fluff stuff on my list that I don't need, which I'm learning to just deal with. I guess I don't really need a million dollars to be happy. I could get everything I want for less than 500,000. And everything I really need with a trip to Goodwill.

Some days it really helps to put it all in perspective.

What would you do with a million?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Um, what do you say to that?

For the last two days in our neck of the woods, it's rained. And I mean RAINED. It didn't stop for a full 36 hours, just went from light sprinkles to Noah-like proportions and back again. My kids were going crazy been cooped up, and I was right there with them.

And then this morning, we woke up to glorious sunshine. Seriously, not a even single wispy cloud in the sky. The birds were singing, the temperature a perfect 64 degrees, the trees are kissed in vibrant colors, and you could sort of kind of see it all through my dirty windows. (ahem)

I spend the morning cleaning my kitchen, and then we all headed out front to soak up some wonderful vitamin D. I spent a few minutes weeding some flower beds, Girly-Lou rounded up every leaf she could find, and Buddy tried very hard to climb our tree.

Then he got adventurous. He walked over to me with a tiny snail on his finger, asking what it was. "oh, a sthnail! It's so cute. I wuv sthnails." This was quickly dashed when it fell off his finger into the grass. But soon he came over with something else.

"Wook Mom! What's this?" It was a tiny bug of some sort. "Oh, Mom, it's my favorite. I wuv the tiny bugs. Deay are my favoirte animal ever." Of course, the bug also fell into the grass. Massive disappointment followed. "But Mom, I don't have any animals. I wuv to hod all da animals. Dey are my favorite, and I need to hold another animal."

Lunch helped. After lunch, they kids headed out back to play some more. I stayed inside to check my hubby in for his flight.

"Mom! Guess what I founded outside!"

I'm afraid to ask.

"Wook Mom!" he shows me his hand proudly. Clutched firmly inside his little paw are dozens of dried up worms. All crunchy in their curliness.
"Wook how cool. I founded dem all by myself. What is it?"

"dried up worms" I reply, trying very hard to be calm and not grossed out, and not stressed out that he'd drop them all over the freshly vacuumed carpet.

"Oh, yah. Dried up worms. I wuv dem Mom. Dey are my favorite animal. 'Cause I can hold dem and dey don't go away. Dey are so cute!"

Um, yah. Right. But part of me was so happy he was finding joy in nature. Especially insect life. That's just such a boy thing. And something he loved until Aug 2008. That's when he was attacked by fire ants, and ended up in an urgent care center getting treatment for his more than TWO HUNDRED bites over his hands, forearms and lower legs. He's been rather terrified of bugs since then. So while I'm really NOT ok with dried up worms all over my house, I will try to not show him how gross this is. Because I'd rather he grew up to be a "normal" boy than that traumatized one I've seen for more than a year.

*picture snapped after ushering him upstairs to the freshly swept and mopped floor. That way I could at least quickly clean it up if he dropped it! Fourtunatly, I was able to pursuade him that they belonged BACK outside!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A little help?

I may have mentioned before, I really like to do crafts. My problem is I have very little natural talent, and even less inspiration. But I'm getting better at copying other's amazing ideas.

A full year ago, I found this post. I was inspired! My daughter spent the entire month of October asking how many days until Halloween. A countdown would be perfect. However, I couldn't find the little pumpkins, and I didn't really have the energy to hunt, and blah, blah, blah.

Long story shorter, I didn't make it. For a year. But FINALLY the end of September, I threw this together.
(Obviously we're already using this one - it does actually have 31 pumpkins to take down)
Mine is a bit different: I didn't' have a cute clock, but I did have a crummy old cookie sheet. I spray painted it black, and then fake modge-podged some scrapbook paper on. I forgot to get numbers for the pumpkins, so I got really creative (I printed out the numbers, rubbed pencil all over the back to make it like transfer paper, traced over the numbers to transfer the outline to the pumpkins, and then went over it with a sharpie. Very annoying. Just buy numbers!). Then I stuck some magnet strips on the back.

The ribbon I got last year at Hobby Lobby in November for like 10 cents a spool or something. And the little bag next to it I just threw together.

Cost breakdown:
Cookie sheet: free
Black spray paint: 3.49
Scrapbook Paper: .88
Pumpkins: 24 for 1.99 (on sale for 1.19)
Magnet tape: on hand
Ribbon: .10

Total: $6.85

I love the idea of this countdown, but I also feel like there is a big space screaming for some help.

So I have a question: Should I add something to the "Trick Or Treat" paper? A word art thingy? What should it say? Should I do black or orange? Or is it good enough? I'd love some input here!

Friday, October 2, 2009

My education

There are days I want to go back to school. I miss the learning, the feeling of knowledge, the moments on tests when you suddenly remember the answer.

But this is not the season for formal education. So instead, I thought I'd think a bit about what I've learned in my informal school. The school of being a mom, wife, daughter, and just a human.

This week I've learned:
*What it feels like to have a frail looking 80 something year old woman decide you're the one that needs help picking up a jug of milk from the bottom of the cooler.
*How much easier it is to toilet train an over 3 year old than a not quite 2 year old.
*That said 3 year old is capable of reaching absolutely anything in my kitchen.
*That if anything is left out in my kitchen, that same 3 year old will find it and devour it every time he walks through.
*how much more homey your front room feels when you finally get a couch. (!!!)
*How much I can accomplish when I wake up (on purpose or not) 2 hours before anyone else.
*How to empathise with my own mom when she would get so frustrated as her kids bickered.
*Driving 40 miles in one day now seems like no big deal
*That watching home movies shows so much clearer how much your children have grown instead of just pictures
*I'm addicted to crafting blogs, even though I rarely have the time/talent/money to actually make any of the 8 zillion pages I bookmark.
*The likely hood that I will end up delivering this baby without my husband near scares me more and more each week.
*How close I can feel to someone I've only met digitally.
*That sitting down to think about all the ways I grow feels me with gratitude that I can still grow in so many ways.

How about you? What have you learned in the "real world"?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ugg!

In a world filled with disease, war, poverty, and really uncomfortable bras, I need to just take a moment to vent.

Top of my list takes place in my Kitchen.

I think we own the most sensitive smoke detector, IN THE WORLD. I'm not kidding here. First of all, it goes of almost daily (at least 5 times a week). Second of all, 99% of the time, guess what sets it off. Any ideas?

Yup. My toaster. I toast more than 2 slices of bread, it will go off. From toast! No smoke, no steam, and not really much heat. And the smoke detector is around the corner 9 feet away (I measured). Since my I-have-to-snack-on-something-cause-I'm-STARVING body has really been into peanut butter toast lately, this really bugs.

While I'm here, let's just make a list of other incredible important rants in my life.

*Incredibly LARGE fly which find your way into the house after the kids left the side door open, AGAIN, and then decide to buzz around your bedroom at 2 am.
*Needing less than 1 yard of yarn to finish an afghan.
*making 2 special trips to the only store that carries said yarn, only to have it out of stock BOTH TIMES.
*Discovering a trilogy when only 2 books have been published, especially when book two leaves off with everything BAD possible happening, and no apparent way of how to solve it.
*My kids begging to eat something I told them we'd have for dinner ALL DAY LONG, and then taking 1 bite before declaring they are both full. (no wonder my almost 5 year old is only 36 lbs!)
*Weeks that Hubby only has one day off in between trips. Only one day out of 8 days of flying!
*My paranoid pregnancy brain. Just because this pregnancy is being identical to my first (when my water broke 5 weeks early . . .) does not mean I need to put together the crib yet. OR install the car seat. OR wash every newborn thing we have (in both colors since we didn't find out what we are having). Seriously, can someone help my hormonal brain that installing a car seat 4 months before I'm due will not help me stay pregnant longer?

Ok, in reality, life is really great right now. We've had AWESOME weather (lots of cooling wind, which tends to make me hyper), my kids have been very helpful with my projects, my house has been semi clean for more than 2 hours, my son is FINALLY getting this toilet training thing (again), I get to talk to my hubby almost every day, and my mood couldn't be better. It actually took me a long time to come up with that list. But I do have to admit, I think I might need to take out the battery in that alarm!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Can you say AWESOME!

Do you like to read?

Do you like awesome books?

Do you like it when those books are . . . FREE?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I just found out that Deseret book started a free download section of books. The deal is, they release a chapter at a time, and then at the end the whole book. But they are only available for a limited time. Go check it out. And then bookmark it, 'cause you know you want more!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching up

So after bragging about my amazing haircut, I had requests to post some pictures. I may be slow (like 6 weeks slow), but here they are. (We just got a web cam and I was having way too much fun figuring out how to use it!)

My basic cut:

Love it love it love it! But I have hair issues, as in I can't STAND it when my hair is in my face. So I never wear it just down. Sometimes I pull it back in adorable homemade headbands like this:

But my fall back is half pulled back like so:

I'm loving that it takes about 7 minutes from shower to done. So fun!

Also, I recently won an amazing pair of cilia forceps. Now there's an awesome phrase for you. It's right up there with lingual frenulum. After hearing of their amazing tweezing ability, I was so excited to get them in the mail. When I opened it, I was a bit disappointed. I mean, they just look like tweezers. Hearing that I was holding an actual surgical instrument, I expected . . . more. I don't' know what, but more. But then I tried them. Wow. So much easier to actually get a decent plucking job. I love them. I may even have to research how to actually shape my brows (since all I ever do is prevent my uni brow from showing up!

So InkMom, is there anyway regular people can order some? Or do you just have to know someone? 'cause these things rock!

And now I think I hear something delectable calling my name in the kitchen. Or if not, I'm going to go create something delectable that can call my name . . . .

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sighs

I have officially given up a wish.

See, when I started this blog, I wanted a place where few people knew me. A place of my own where I could pretend that I'm really cool. A place to rant, a place to whine, a place to glory in the mundane-ness of my life presented in such a way to not be so mundane.

I have done that. But reality is, I'm a slacker blogger. There are so many times when I should blog, but get distracted (pardon me while I go play Cariboo with my kiddos), times when I'm too tired to blog, and even more when inspiration is sorely lacking. Thus long periods of time go by with out a word from me.

Sigh. This wouldn't be a problem, except I sort of had a goal. As I read other blogs, I noticed people having 1 year blogiversaries, or 100th post contests. I thought it would be so cool to do both- for my 1 year blogiviersary have a 100th post contest!

However, it's already September.
And my blogiversary is the middle of October.
And I'm only on post 74.

Something is telling me I won't write 26 posts in the next 5 weeks.

Sigh. I thought of doing a dozen or two fluff stuff posts. But I'd rather not subject you to that. Instead, I'll try to post more often, and see how many I can get in before October 13. And that contest will most likely show up like next May.

Any requests for an awesome contest prize? Keeping in mind that I will be funding this myself and do not own a money tree. What kind of things do you guys like? Crafts? gift cards? used chewing gum?

The afghan project

Did you see the new afghan pictures? In case you missed it here's a bigger one:



Aren't they lovely? They represent way WAY too many hours sitting, wasting time, instead of being really productive.

I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I'm a reader. A HUGE reader. I think I'm averaging 2.5 books a week. Mostly because of these afghans.

For the whole 3 of you that aren't related to me, you might wonder what these are for. Back in January, I decided I needed to really learn how to crochet. To accomplish this, I was going to make afghans for my hubby's side of the family for Christmas. One for each person. And that would be 6 full afghans in 12 months. Crazy I know.

But then I figured out how to read and crochet at the same time. If I read on my bed, I can lay the book open on the bed and prop it open with my unmade sheets. That way I can read and crochet at the same time. So I pretend that I'm productive by sitting for hours reading (because if I'm working on Christmas presents, that counts, right?).

The delightful news: I've got 5 finished. That thrills me to my core. That fifth one was really fussy and time consuming. I'm so glad to have it done. The crazy news: I decided to make one for my Hubby. See the first two I made were for his Dad and brother. The whole time I worked on them, he would make comments like "well, if it was for me I'd like it this way" or "if you ever wanted to make me one I'd do this . . ." It didn't take too many hints for me to get the clue. And this 6th afghan is amazingly fast and easy to work on. So when Hubby is home, I work on that one. When he's off flying, I work on his. I'm pretty sure I'll get both of them done in the next 5 weeks or so. (Which will leave me plenty of time to work on a baby blanket for my little one!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

My struggle with mommy rage

I feel like I need to apologise for my lack of blogging. I feel like I'm being a bad bloggy friend. I promise I've been reading your blogs, I just haven't felt profound, or inspired, or even remotely funny - all things I try to do when I blog. Just part of my goal to pretend that I'm cool like that. I have planned on writing some posts requested by some comments. I've done a lot of mental drafts, just haven't sat at my computer long enough to do more than that.

But this post got me thinking today.

Like Besty, I struggle to decide where all my anger comes from. As my siblings can attest - I had a lot as a teen too, especially certain times of the month. I remember how great it was when I got my own room, and could just hide in there for a week. Everyone was so much happier when I could withdraw myself from life, including myself.

But I haven't struggled this much with my temper since I hit 20. So why to I go from mildly upset to a lunatic in 3 sentences?

I really did NOT like the idea that mommy rage could be some form of "buyers remorse." I love my kids, and have never once regretted the decision to have them. I have however really hated their actions, or my reactions to them.

Yes, I have a raving demon within me. Personally, 90% of the time it’s manifest because of the kids - something they did. For me I don’t think it’s ever been “buyers remorse”. With me it’s all about control.

Think about it: for the past X # of years, you were in control of everything you did. You decided where you wanted to go. You decided what to wear. You decided who to play with, what to eat, how to behave. Especially after high school, you had almost complete control over everything in your life.

Did you want a clean room? That’s your job. Did you want straight A’s? You can control that too. Hate the feel of your place? Just move somewhere else. Your success (or lack of it) was mostly a product of your effort.

Having kids changes that completely. No matter how much I clean, someone else is there to mess it up. No matter how much I play with my kids, they want more. No matter how nice I am to them, they will fight with each other. I no longer have complete control over the environment I live in. I can be as nice and wonderful and clean and perfect as I can try, but these other creatures inflict their own wants and needs and emotions directly on my life.

For me the monster usually surfaces when that control is completely lost - kids trying to kill each other over a toy, painting walls with diaper contents, breaking something after they’ve been told to leave it alone. I still want the control over my life I had 5 years ago.

But the joys of having my children are worth taming this monster. To hear them giggling together as they have a water party in my basement, even when it's over our very nice new carpet - isn't that worth the effort of cleaning it up? It's only water. Or watching them discover a strange new bug - does my need to get milk really demand them to come this very second away from the fascination?

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I am happy to be a mom. There is nothing more rewarding. My lack of control over myself (let alone everything else), is very disturbing to me. But since one of the reasons we are here is to gain control over our bodies, I just have to keep on trying. Eventually, I will be able to let the frustrations roll off my back with ease. There IS a good chance that that will not happen until my kids have left the house and aren't there to test it so frequently. But I won't give up trying until I succeed. Because I owe it, to my kids, to my spouse, and to me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A momentous occasion

At last it has happened. I've been waiting for this for years. I've checked over, and over, but until now have been denied this opportunity. But finally I can rejoice with those around me.

I haven't posted for a while because I was partying in Utah. Had some HORRIFIC non-rev adventures (like 27 hours in DFW, with two hyper pre-schoolers and myself that had to go find a bathroom every 30 minutes), an AMAZING fun time at my high school reunion, a blast playing with my sisters and nieces (and the one nephew I saw), re-connected with some amazing friends, and got the best hair cut I've ever had in my life (thanks sis!).

It was because of that haircut that this momentous thing has happened to me. A life long goal has been accomplished. This sense of completion has filled my being.

I discovered my first gray hair.

So, in case you haven't noticed, I'm weird. Really. In all honesty, I really am happy to find this little hair. I've been expecting a gray hair for years now. My mom was really young when she started going gray (mid 20's I think). That could partly be the 4 kids she had in 4 years by the time she was 24. I thought I'd follow her footsteps. I have a sister that found a gray arm hair when we were in high school. Several times I thought I'd discovered one, only to be disappointed and decide it was a blond highlight. But there I was, standing in front of my mom's mirror playing with my seriously cute hair, when it popped right out. Totally gray. And about 3 inches long. Obviously been hiding for a while now. I love it.

I have never dyed my hair in my life. My biggest reason: I'm too lazy/cheap to keep it up. And I really hate the way it looks when dye jobs are growing out. My mom wasn't allowed to dye her hair. My dad had a thing for pure white hair and really wanted my mom to get that way asap. I kind of like that attitude. And if I don't dye it, I'll never be one of those weird 72 year old ladies with pink hair the end of the month and shocking auburn 3 days later.

So here I am. Rejoicing that I'm all grown up and produce gray hairs all on my own. It really gives me this little sense of satisfaction.

'Cause I'm weird like that.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Writing to relieve my guilt

I am prepublishing this so far in advance I'll probably forget all about it by the time it comes out (hah! yah right!)

You see, today something occurred that has left me filled with guilt. Racked with torment. In endless agony. Well, not really. But I feel like it should.

Because I'm pregnant.


Yup! After 23 months of wanting to be, it finally happened.

But today (June 9) I'm only barley six weeks along. I've only known for 3 days. The only person in the world that knows is my husband.

And my dentist.

Yuck! My dentist is the next person I get to tell?!?!?!? Before my friends? Before my family? BEFORE MY MOM!?!?!?!?!?!?

But I had a dentist appointment this morning. And they wanted to take Xrays. But they first ask if any medical conditions have changed so they are still safe. So I had to tell them the news.

But man. As much as I like the guy, he wasn't the next person I wanted to tell!

Sorry Mom. You know I wanted to tell you next. But most likely I'll end up telling Happy Mom, since I'll need her recommendations for a new OBGYN. Since my first appointment will need to be just a few weeks after we move across the country. (insert feelings of apprehension here)

And I really, REALLY hope I told everyone in my family before this comes out. But if I missed you, please don't be offended. Just know it's my crazy mommy brain coming out. Again. And I still love you more than my luggage.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Did my girl have a lobotomy?

'cause I swear she's a completely different girl since we moved.

Maybe this needs some background information. You see, Girly-Lou is a wimp. That's not the nicest thing to say about your stinkin cute daughter, but it's also the truth. The first thing she was ever terrified of- bubbles. Now, granted, she was only 10 months old, but still, what kid is scared of blowing bubbles. She has a very hard time with perseverance, and in all honestly, most days would make a perfect queen. To be able to sit there and have every whim granted by servants so she never had to lift a finger - yah, she's all over that.

Other things she has been scared/terrified of:
the vacuum
sand
dogs
birds
cats
skunks (not that she's ever actually seen a real one)
failure
new shoes
anyone with a beard
any stranger
any family member she hasn't seen in more than 2 days
anything that can move on its own, especially if it has 4 or more legs, including on occasion, crawling babies.

You can see some of these are normal things. But others (new shoes anyone?), not so much.

Which would be why I was totally shocked when this happened:

That would be my scared-of-babies daughter holding a hermit crab. She was in heaven. No fear whatsoever. Let him crawl all over her and just sat there with that satisfied smile on her face. Buddy was fascinated, but was not going to touch that thing with a 10 foot pole.

And then last night, when I thought they were asleep, she comes downstairs holding something between two fingers. "Mom, this was in my hair." Me, thinking it was a rock or a leaf or something said, "what is it". "Um, I don't know", as she shoves it in my face. It was totally a bug. Some flattish brown kind the size of my fingernail that I've never seen before. And the legs were still moving. No fear at all, just calmly showing me this bug that was sleeping with her.

Maybe I can grow a spider smasher yet.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Imagination: a play

Scene: two kiddos, playing in the bathroom, after examining their sucker coloured tongues in the mirror.

Boy, pointing with his blue sucker: Wha! Wha! Wha! Mommy, it hurt me!

Girl, pointing back with her red one: Baby! hang on, you can make it!

Boy: Momma! Buddy hurt me. He bite me.

Girl: It will be ok. Mommy is here.

Boy: Ahh! My head fell off!

Girl: Then die! Just go die now. Go put the stick in the garbage, and that's how you die.

Boy: Oh, Ok. ahh! I die now. I go die.

Yes, my kids have discovered imaginative play. I don't ever remember making my suckers into Mommy and Baby characters. And I really don't know if at 4 I would have thought that if my baby sucker was now headless, it must be dead. At least Buddy is willing to go along with it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 10

Whew. Finally caught up. I love that I actually sort of have a clue how to make my pictures cool now. Photoshop is so much more annoying to use than my usual program, but it also has a lot more possibilities.

Girly-Lou actually took this picture. Pretty good, huh!

Day 9

9 was edge burn. I'm not too sure I like it on this photo. I think I still need to play with it a bit.


And yes, this is my cute family. This was a year and a half ago, the day of Girly-Lou's 3rd birthday. So now you have an actual picture of me. (although I really hate my nose in this shot. It doesn't usually look quite that . . .big. Does it?)

# 7 and 8

Lesson 7 was just a review. 8 was adding text. This one made me laugh:

Day 6

This one was doing a vintage "through the viewfinder" look. It was kind of fun to combine some techniques.

Catching up

I'm totally behind in my photo class. So if I can swing it, you might get 5 days of pictures here.

Day 5 was textures

Here's my finished:

And here's the one I like better. The frame totally was weird with this one.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I really hate locks

Can I just say, I really love my house? It’s old, but has been (mostly) updated very nicely. The basement is gorgeous, nice landscaping, decent layout,. . .I really do like it.
I really love the new vinyl windows. They don’t leak, slide easy, and have these tabs so you can’t break into the house.

Of course, being locked out isn’t the best way to figure that part out. It’s also not the best time to find out that your side door has a different key than your front door.

We had such an adventure today. Finally found a park WITH playground equipment (tried two on Tuesday that didn’t!), got lost trying to buy more yarn (did you notice the new afghan picture?), and finally arrived back home, all three of us tired and hungry and cranky.

We don’t park in the garage yet. The previous owners used it as their personal smoking room. So we always go in the front door. The only problem is our beautiful rock solid storm door - complete with lock that my kids love to play with. Unbeknownst to me, Buddy had locked the storm door. And of course there is no key to that door. So I walked around the back of the house, through the garage to the side door. Where I discovered that wonderful other key tidbit. So now here I am, with 16 skeins of yarn in my arms, two hungry tired kids, and no way to get into the house.

So I got to play cat burglar. I did remember the tab thing with the windows. But I also remembered that there was one that stuck closed. I made the kids sit down (I really didn’t want to chase them out of the street at this point), and went hacking through our “jungle of plants”.

I was very lucky. It was surprisingly easy to open that window. Too easy, really. I think I better start locking it. I hoisted in Girly-Lou and Buddy, and got them to unlock the front door. (4 year olds are not the best and understanding which knob to turn to unlock doors. Describing it to her through the door took a very, VERY long time)

So now I think I might take that stupid lock off the stupid storm door. I don’t see an occasion in the next million years that I will actually wish I had it, and that way I know for sure my kids will stop turning it. My other option would be constant time outs, and I just don’t have the energy for that one.
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