December 16, 2007

Oh My...

I'm in trouble. I've been fantasizing recently about (whispers...) paper scrapping. Yes, the old fashioned way. Not sure why - perhaps it's because all of my hybrid scrap supplies (read: alphas and embellishments) are in storage ALL the way back in the corner and I can't get to them - or maybe it's because I need something tactile and therapeutic right now. Either way, I've bitten off a lot to chew over the next few months.

I placed an order at scrapbookpictures.com for about 100 prints.

I placed WAY too many orders online with 2Peas, Scrapbook.com, JenniBowlin.com, and A Cherry On Top to build up my stash again.

Even went so far as to buy and assemble (while on the phone with Lulu - I'm quite talented you know) 4 storage cabinets for my new haul.

Except... I'm feeling intimidated. Just a bit. And broke. Definitely feeling broke.

Here's some of the goodies I'll be knee deep in when the postman finally finds our house under the 6" of snow we got yesterday.










December 11, 2007

More Mabel

I did some scrapping (finally!) over the weekend. I worked on a page for Halloween this year - it was a very tough page to make. I knew it would be. Anyhow, the layout I wanted to use needed two pictures, so I decided to put Mabel into her Halloween outfit one last time. That way, she can be included on the page - even if the picture was taken over a month late, even if she barely fits into the outfit anymore, and even if Halloween didn't work out as we had planned this year.

Here's our little spook looking yummilicious.




And, one of her hanging out in the Pack-n-Play.


Very Blessed

I finished my thankful journal (see earlier post for details). I used papers and bits that I found around, pages from some old childrens' books I found at Savers for $0.40 each, and a variety of stationery. It was a ton of fun to make and I can't wait to start writing in it. There are 52 pages - one for each week of the year.







December 6, 2007

Two WIPs

I have two works in progress to show you today.

First, this one.



And, second, this one.





December 5, 2007

Another Get To Know Me

This time from Simple Scrapbooks.

One thing I’d grab if my house were on fire: Aside from my children and my file box of essentials - my camera (Canon Rebel XTi)
One thing I wish I could throw away: Clothes that don't fit me
One thing I’ll never, ever throw away: The letters my husband wrote to me while overseas with the Navy
Something I’ve kept since childhood: My love of all things crafty
A food item I never run out of: Ketchup - I have to buy it by the gallon for the kids, it seems
A household brand I’m very loyal to: Jif
Something I sleep with every night: My prayers
One thing that’s on my wish list: A better paying job
Something I take with me wherever I go: My purse
Something that makes me smile when I see it: Mabel's grin
Something my children fight over: ANYTHING
Something I hate to clean: Windows. I don't do them. Period.
Something I show off when people visit: My pictures
Something I hide when people visit: Laundry
Something I collect: Craft works-in-progress, vintage Corelle cups
Something I avoid at all costs: Washing windows
Something that reminds me of my mother: Angels - she loves them
The best gift I’ve ever received: My husband got me my camera for my birthday/Christmas last year (though it was like pulling teeth to convince him how much I wanted it) - but the better gift (though I use it less) came a month later after I discovered I was pregnant with Mabel - a matching zoom lens for the camera - his "thank you for having my baby" gift to me.

I tag Lulu again!

December 4, 2007

I Bought For Christmas

These yummy things.... the patterns look easy enough. I really hope they will be!



I doubt I'll have the time to work on any at all before Christmas, but I bought the patterns to keep myself busy. You can get the patterns for these and other lovely softies from anapaulaoli.etsy.com here ----> http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=9639.

December 3, 2007

Who I Am

I am a mess, lol. I sat down to write this post about who I am (as a reminder to myself) and I feel like I don't really know anymore. Sort of lost. I also feel like who I am is due for some changing, either within my control or not.


I guess you could say that I've set about to figure myself out all over again. I don't know how long it's going to take me - an ongoing process, probably. It's important and good for me. It's good for my kids. I hope it will force me to do things to take care of myself on a regular basis (I'm making a hair appointment soon!). I think doing the 52-week thankful binder over the course of the next year will help as well.


I also remembered that Elsie Flannigan had a famous questionnaire on her blog, originally penned by Bernard Pivot. Here are those questions, answered by me.


  1. What is your favorite word? Today, it's "faith." It means SO much to me. "Mother" is a wonderful word, too. Incidentally, it also works beautifully (in some situations) with #5 as well. Oooh - and "Dude"- I use that one a LOT.

  2. What is your least favorite word? "Psychotic." It's an ugly, ugly word.

  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Creatively: Seeing someone else's memory keeping stash - like Emily or Cathy's thankful book I just mentioned... pictures of someone else's home decor. Spiritually: My best friend, Lulu... the fond and deep memories I have of my upbringing in a Christian environment. Emotionally: I find emotion in all types of things, some of them happy and some of them sad... Most things that I find intertwined with love and relationships with people are chock full of emotion... I am perfectly capable of displaying every emotion that exists within one single conversation.

  4. What turns you off? Lack of accountability, dishonesty, poor ethics/morals (yes, that makes me judgemental by accident)

  5. What is your favorite curse word? This is a no-brainer... the F bomb, of course. :) I find it to be a noun, a verb, and an adjective all at once - that's one effective word!

  6. What sound or noise do you love? Right now, the sounds my daughter makes while she's sleeping - it's a cross between snoring, breathing, and cooing and it's the most darling and relaxing sound I know.

  7. What sound or noise do you hate? The noise my boys make when they're fighting - like really onto each other about something stolen, unfair, or mean. It makes me sad that siblings must be so mean to one another sometimes.

  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I've always pretended to be a doctor. :) Realistically, I could teach if I went back and got my teaching certificate. I could also work somewhere in marketing, which I would also love. I am a chameleon, I tell ya.

  9. What profession would you not like to do? General manager or big shot at a big company. Big headache - no thank you. I would also not want to deal with anything that included abuse, neglect, or harm towards children.

  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? It does exist. "Welcome home."

Some others I thought of just for fun:

  1. Favorite color? I have a hard time with this simple question. I'll narrow it down to pink and orange - I can't pick just one!

  2. Favorite flower? Gerbera daisies.

  3. Longtime ambition? To be a wonderful mother. To succeed in raising my children to be moral, faithful, and compassionate people full of love, understanding, and creativity.

  4. With millions of dollars, what would you do? The obvious - pay off all of my bills and put money aside for the kids to go to Harvard if they want to. I'd buy a small house in a great neighborhood and pay for a lawn service. I'd put money aside for my retirement and my mother's retirement. I'd buy Lulu and Rog a big house with plenty of romper room. I'd take my kids, my best friend and her family, and my mother to Disneyworld. I'd take my mother to Holland to revisit where I was born. Lulu and I would spend a holiday in London trying to hunt down the entire cast of Love Actually. I'd also quit my job so that I could finally be a stay at home mom.

  5. Name one of the most influential people in your life. I choose 3. First, my mother. She raised me to be wholesome and naive in a good way, to not be ashamed of holding my head up and taking the high road. Class. She taught me to love Jesus and to go to Him with my every fault, blessing, and need. She taught me to be a wonderful mother and a great housekeeper, lol. Second, my best friend, Lulu. She appeared in my life by the hand of God. She is an absolute angel on this Earth. She inspires me to be a better woman, a better scrapbooker, a better mother, and a better Christian. She is inherently good and generous and I love surrounding myself with her friendship and love. Thirdly, my BeckAY. She has an extremely good and generous heart. She loves me for who I am and I love her right back. She (I hope) will help me to reinitiate operation: thong and reteach me how to be a single gal again, should I need that.

  6. Favorite television show? Grey's Anatomy, hands down. I also love Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and those true-life forensic investigation shows on Bio/A&E/Discovery channel. Oh, Dude - I almost forgot about The Golden Girls!

  7. Best compliment anyone ever gave you? I love that my best friend told me that my class was showing. Both of my best girls told me once that I was "funny ha-ha". I love to make them both laugh - makes me feel like I have been able to fill them up with a small ounce of the same joy that they give me.

I'm tagging Lulu. :)

That's it for today.

November 30, 2007

I Want To Eat Her

My daughter, that is. Still weird to say that. Anyhoo... on with the picture show (Mabel at 2 mos).


"You know, Nana... you're kind of funny.



No, I mean you're FUNNY.



Wow, that was HILARIOUS (Whoa! Catch me!)




(that's the pink hat my mommy made me - it looks goofy but it's totally snuggly)

Hey... what's on my shirt?




Wherditgo?



Wait... that was FUNNY (and so are my chins)!





Aren't I beautimus in my darling outfit? Yes, my mommy keeps me in a hat. She says I look scrumptious when I wear one. Eat me up!





Now here I am on a different day and my mommy is trying to make me smile at her. I'm too busy looking at ....wait....whoa... there go my eyes again!


Yep, I'm cute. Wearing a hat again.



Okay. No hat.



Here's one my mommy took of me and Nana last night for the sole purpose of exploiting my superfatness. Yes, I am only 9 weeks old and I already weigh 12 lbs. I am aware. I may be pear-shaped. I am okay with that. She keeps calling me her little hippopotamus. I think it's a compliment.



And finally, here I am with my big brothers. Isn't funny how they don't look alike at all but I look like both of them? Wacko, I tell ya.




Thanks for looking!"

Halloween, As Promised

I hate to even post something on Halloween for a couple of reasons. Our big family boat "tip" started the day before, so the kids celebrated Halloween differently this year. The boys enjoyed going Trick or Treating with their cousins in a different neighborhood (though they whined they wouldn't get to see their school friends). Mabel stayed at an Aunt's and I went up to the hospital for visiting hours.

Even the pumpkins that we painted never made it outside. They sat on the kitchen countertop for two weeks before I noticed they were still there. Poor things. I had to take a picture to proove to the kids that we did in fact try to celebrate Halloween this year. Andy said the pumpkins looked like a vampire, a princess, and George Washington, lol.

Here they are - the vampire, the princess, and George Washington (right to left):





And here are Darth Vader (can you see Andy's eyes in there, lol?) and the ninja (I personally dislike ninja costumes or anything violent, but he begged and begged).

That's it folks. Yes, really. I took 3 pictures of the boys before they left and they are all 3 exactly the same. Mabel wore an adorable Halloween print playsuit with pumpkin hat, but I didn't even get a picture of it. I have no idea how I'm going to scrap Halloween this year. :(

November 28, 2007

Songs

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was in the thrusts of what was happening to me (to us) and on my way to the hospital for another visit. I was feeling blue, out of sorts, like my life was happening TO me and I wasn't really "in" it. I flipped on the CD player in the truck and played one of my favorite songs. I listened to this song a lot last year when I miscarried our first girl - it helped quite a bit. But never has a song better fit a circumstance than this song to our present one.

Grace by Kate Havnevik (from the Grey's Anatomy Season 2 Soundtrack)

I’m on my knees
Only memories
are left for me to hold

Don’t know how
But I’ll get by
Slowly pull myself together
(I’ll get through this)

There’s no escape
So keep me safe
This feels so unreal

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it seems
Turn my grief to grace

I feel the cold
Loneliness unfold
Like from another world

Come what may
I won’t fade away
But I know I might change

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it was
Turn my grief to grace

Nothing comes easily
Where do I begin?
Nothing can bring me peace
I’ve lost everything
I just want to feel your embrace

I cannot explain to you what hearing this song does to me right now. It is such clarity, such grief for the changes that surround me, such utter loneliness that comes over me when I hear it. Those feelings break way to me praying, as if I am speaking directly with God Himself about my life. After all, He is in control of it and while I may be terrified beyond belief, I really must b.r.e.a.t.h.e and have faith.

Now, in the evenings I often send the boys downstairs to play and I watch some Lifetime. Me and Mabel really love Lifetime (how sad is that, lol). Anyway, I never watched the show 'Reba' when it was on, but I really like it now. The very first time I heard it come on I was hooked - the song at the intro had tears streaming down my cheeks. While the entire song (though good) doesn't speak to me, a certain verse does:

I'm A Survivor by Reba McIntyre

My roots are planted in the past
And though my life is changin' fast
Who I am is who I wanna be

A single mom who works two jobs
Who loves her kids and never stops
With gentle hands and the heart of a fighter
I'm a survivor

This is such a strange place to be standing. It really is. I am grateful for my three darling angels and for the man who gave them to me. I am grateful for my life, though I no longer understand it or its' direction. I have doubt about all those "plans" I made years ago. Things I thought I'd never be thinking again have crept in. Worries that I never thought I'd ever face. But I know God is good. He hears us and answers our plea. This just may very well be a time when He needs to carry me through.

This Is Making Me HAPPY

So, back to work means back to being able to read my favorite blogs (my new place only has dial up internet access). I found this today on Cathy Zielske's blog and I cannot WAIT to do it.






It's a gratitude journal or book of thanks. According to Cathy, the idea came from Emily Falconbridge. Some investigation led me to Emily's blog and her gorgeous photo of her journal (which she is writing in daily as opposed to weekly). Aren't they both beautiful? I want some green jump rings...



The thought is you grab up 52 sheets of scrap paper from notepads, scrapping, notebook pages, etc and then trim them as you see fit. Then you 3 hole punch them into a book (jump rings, I'm thinking). It is optional whether or not you number the pages (I will, I think - even if it's handwritten). Then at the end of each week, you write down what you're grateful for that week, what made you happy, what inspired you, or journal a bit. You add stickers or pictures if you want, staple them in or whatever.

I LOVE this. I love it because I feel like I NEED this so much. I need a constant reminder during all of this mess of all that I am thankful for, each and every week. I love that I can combine a journal with a scrapbook, with something to keep track of the cute little things the boys and Mabel do... and I will be forced to keep it out on a shelf so that I can write in it. So, that's something pretty to look at.

Wanna do it with me?



November 26, 2007

It Feels Brand New

Today is a brand new day. Part of a brand new week, which I think is part of a brand new life.

Today I went back to work following my maternity leave, and following the schlew (is that how you spell that?) of tips our family boat has taken in the past 3 months.

Today I dropped off my boys at their new school and left my little girl with my mother. There are changes all around me.

Today I found out that my job might be going away sometime between now and mid-January. Well, I guess that was enough of a kick in the ass to help me find a new one... fast.

Today I have to call my attorney and ask some really tough questions.

So, it's all brand new.




Also, as I am now back to work, I should be able to upload photos sooooooooon. You poor blog readers. I'm so sorry! My life has been turned upside down and while I am pleased to tell you I finally DID get out my camera to capture pics of my sweet baby, it has been far too catastrophic to even think of uploading until now. I will try to do so more often. Halloween pictures await!

November 12, 2007

Monday

I'm updating. Because I'm blessed to have people checking in on us.

Since this is a public blog, I am limited to what I can say really - and out of respect for our unique situation I won't be saying much. But I will say that things are changing in our household, out of anyone's control really. I don't yet know what that means, but it's going to be challenging and maybe exciting, sad and happy at the same time. It means living differently, maybe a different school for the kids, different lives. I could still use your prayers for strength and courage. And please send some for the kids, too.

I promise to publish those Halloween pictures soon - when I have time to sit down and breathe for more than just a few seconds. I am ashamed to say that life has been in such fast-forward that I haven't taken a single picture of my baby girl in more than 2 weeks. Seriously. That's really saying something, too.

An aunt took these of her last week, which I am happy to share.



October 31, 2007

Here, Just ... Here

We're all here. We're okay, but I haven't been able to blog in a while. That same roadblock the Lord saw in our path before has been placed before us once again... and we are battling it. Harder this time. And it stinks. We are all okay, but one of our loved ones isn't well. I owe it to this person to keep this vague on such a public place as the internet, but anyone who is willing with good and kindness in their heart, please pray for us. Pray hard for the Lord to reach him and heal him quickly.

We are handling this all as best we can, doing the schlepping, the logistics of daily life while at the same time trying to deal with caring for this loved one and more. But it is hard. Harder than I can explain here. I am lucky that I have such a strong family and wonderful friends to rely on to help lift me up.

I hope to post Halloweenie pictures later this week.

PS - In baby news, Mabel's umbie FINALLY fell off a few days ago - it held on for almost 4 weeks. I can't believe my baby girl is already over a month old. It's so sad how fast time flies. Hug your babies and your spouse, people. Do it now. It's worth it.

October 26, 2007

One of The Worst Days of My Life

So you probably know that I made an appointment for family pictures like... 8 weeks ago at least. I thought ahead and scheduled it before Christmas portraits swamped our local Penney's. Thought I was all big and bad, like I had it all figured out - this planning with 3 children thing. Yeah, right. Any mommies can start laughing at me right now. It was AWFUL. BAAAAAD. Oy.

To begin with, the studio was running one appointment behind. I had calculated how long it would take to change the kids' clothes (I was an idiot and planned an outfit change) and dressed them in the first outfit - only to have them sit and wait and roll around on the floor (the boys, not Mabel) for 30 minutes before our session.

When it was finally our turn, we were introduced to our photographer - she was brand new and had no experience photographing families. Which meant she had no experience coming up with casual poses on her own (I detest the Stepford poses they usually do), no experience photographing squirrely little boys, or managing a family photo situation at all. She was super sweet, but sweet just didn't cut it. Well, she was mostly sweet until she made a comment that she hoped she never had kids like ours. Nice, huh?

My heartache (and high blood pressure) began with the very first pose for the very first shot. One of the boys starting saying potty words and making the other one laugh. Then the other one made farting noises while we were trying to get them to hold still. Youngest boy wants to play Hide and Seek behind the hanging background. Oldest boy thinks it would be hilarious to body slam his brother mid shot. There was poking, farting (actual and fake), laughing (not by Dad or me), a potty break and clothing change, one dirty diaper and seriously starving infant, finally a second photographer to keep the boys' attention, and all around wrestling for almost 3 hours. Nope, not kidding. Our appointment was at 1:20. We left JCPenney at 4:00, Folks. Seriously. Part of the reason was that I refused to leave without decent photographs... because no way in hell was I going to do this again!

Some of the rejects that made me want to cry at the time, but now seem a little bit funny. Just a little bit:





Here's one the inexperienced photographer shot of my daughter's upper nostrils as I stood on the sidelines and tried to gently say, "shouldn't we sit her up more? I can see right up her nose... I'm not going to like this... please, can we move her?" to no avail:

This one would have been my most favorite if the photographer actually knew what she was doing - and that you DON'T SHOOT UP A BABY'S NOSTRILS. Seriously.


I did end up with this gem (I have NO IDEA how):

EDITED TO ADD: I am able to post our pictures online because I purchased the digital images from JCPenney for $5. It's called Smiles by Wire. I was told I would have a high-quality photo with which to scrapbook or make Christmas cards, etc. Folks, do not do it - well, don't do it with the hope that you'll actually be able to use any of the digital images for anything worthwhile. They appear to be perfect for blogging, but that's about it. They're lesser quality than physically scanning in a photo. I'm going to have to wait until the actual photos come in and do my Christmas cards the old fashioned way. Poo. So, my Smiles by Wire review is that it's a bit of a waste.

October 25, 2007

Little Boy Time

I spent some quality time with my boys yesterday. A couple of weeks ago I found a cute recipe in Parents' Magazine for little mini apple pies. So, we made them last night. Each of the boys had a turn rolling out the biscuits and filling them with the apple cinnamon mixture. It was lots of fun and delicious, too!


The two chefs:



Lots of fun!

October 19, 2007

Santa's Thinkshop

A blog is a great place to keep track of things. I'm going to keep track of my planned Christmas shopping this year. Some things I plan to pick up for the kids for Christmas this year...


First, Mabel needs this ballerina stocking



and I've been dreaming of getting her a Corolle baby


Hoping to find some cheap-ish beanbags somewhere less expensive than Pottery Barn Kids


A portable DVD player for Trevor's TV, which will also double WHEN we go on vacation next summer



And some goodies for the boys










I haven't bought one single thing yet, but these things are on my list to check out.