Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santa's Workshop

My scrap space has turned into Santa's workshop as I am busy making lots of gifts, although I don't have the luxury of all the little elves. My little elves are fast asleep in their beds because that is the only time I could possibly manage to get anything done. I have tried to make a quick card during the day, and it nearly never turns out well. Usually, it results in my youngest climbing all over my lap reaching for anything sharp, messy, or delicate. Once his hand lands in the ink pad and smears over the cardstock and his arm bumps the mini brads all over the berber rug I generally decide it's not worth a little creative time. Instead I retreat to the table with him and the playdoh and take my frustrations out on the smushy clay--very therapeutic! Anyway, I totally digressed here. The purpose of this post is to show some pictures of what I have been busy making the past few weeks (ok days, what can I say, I am a procrastinator).
Teacher gifts:

These are 5x7 and 4x12 acrylic frames turned upside down. The monogram is a chipboard letter covered in patterned paper. The name is computer printed and fit into a bookplate from Stampin' Up!'s hodgepodge hardware kit. Ribbon fastens this to the frame. The calendar, stamped post it notes, and monogram are adhered with Terrifically Tacky tape.
Gift Card Holder:

I made a slew of these cute little holders using coin envelopes (sized perfectly to fit a gift card). Cut cardstock to 2 3/4 x 11; score at 2 3/4, 3, 6 7/8, and 7 1/8. Image is 2 1/4 x 3 3/8 matted on 2 1/2 x 3 5/8. Fasten the coin envelope to middle inside panel. Stamp, and fold sandwiching the smaller end between matted image and longer panel.

All these gifts have been delivered/handed out. Whew--check that off the enormous "to do" list!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Big Snow

Today, after a few small snowfalls, we had our first big snowstorm of the season with over 9 inches of snow. There was no PM preschool, and they released school 2 hours early, something that hasn't happened in over 20 years. It started around noon and by 2:00 there were several inches on the ground. My oldest got off the bus at around 3:20, and of course the boys wanted to go right outside in the smack middle of the flying snow to play. There were five minutes of gathering up all the gear: hats, mittens, coats, snow pants, boots, extra socks, and scarves times 3. Ten minutes for figuring out how to fasten the straps of the snowpants so they actually stay fastened instead of sliding out of their buckles. Seven minutes of cramming feet into boots while keeping pant legs pulled down and tucked in the boots and snow pant legs up and pulled over the boots. Jackets on, and zippers pulled. . .uh-oh forgot to ask about the bathroom. Zippers down, jackets off, snow pants unfastened. Now, snow pants back on, jackets on and zipped, mittens-check, hats-check, scarves-check, hoods-check. All this times 3, plus me. Thirty minutes later we head out into the nor'easter. The older boys had a blast, sledding down the backyard, shoveling, falling in the snow, and catching flakes on their tongues. The youngest was content to sit in the sled quietly watching as the snow just drifted down on top of him. Good thing I was paying attention or he may have been completely buried in a matter of minutes. In less time than it took to get all their gear on, the two younger ones wanted to go back inside. But not my oldest, he stayed out until it got dark. And he didn't catch flakes just on his tongue, he caught them on his lashes people refer to as "rakes". I guess they're also shovels, too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Note to Self

Last week I spent an afternoon at my parents' with my children acting like wild animals (isn't it funny how they choose just the right times to act up--the sermon at church, the checkout at Target with a teacher from your child's school behind you, a playdate at a friend's whose children could have played the roles of Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins). Anyway, this time my boys' crazy antics paid off. My Mom, having total pity on me, called to offer me every stay-at-home mother's dream--an afternoon off! Well, today was my big day. I dropped the two youngest at my parents' and walked (ok, ran) out the door. I found myself humming the tune "Born free, as free as the wind blows. . ."as I started my car engine.

Where to go first? My finally finished Christmas cards sat in a shoe box on my front seat, so I headed to the post office to get them off in the mail. The line was out the door, but that didn't deter me. I had no one whining at my side that they were hungry or to pick them up. Life was good. And after about five minutes of not moving a single step, I was beginning to wonder if this was the best use of my precious time. I didn't even have a magazine to read. Five more minutes ticks by, and the line has finally moved a couple feet. I tick off my mental list of the other stuff I want to get done in my afternoon, check out my options for stamp designs on the jumbo wall poster, daydream about what all the packages everyone is having shipped out might contain. Fifteen minutes in line. I'm beginning to think that standing in line with my kids would have helped pass the time, or at the least kept the other customers entertained. Finally, after 20 minutes, it is my turn at the counter. I assuredly request two books of stamps and an extra ten to mail my 70 cards, pay, and head to the counter to start afixing the postage. Wait a second, did anyone else just catch that? Did I just stand in line for 20 minutes only to buy the wrong number of stamps?!? I shove the 50 stamps I bought into my shoebox and walk out the post office door the line is still spilling out of. Note to self: If I find myself standing in line at the post office for 20 minutes with nothing to do, don't spend it daydreaming. Calculate the correct number of stamps I will need so I can get the darn cards in the mail!

Back to the car, and onto stop number two: Walmart. I generally don't shop at my Walmart--it's dirty, smelly, and always messier than my kids' playroom on its worst day. But something I saw on Amazon had me in a panic the night after Thanksgiving. A few of the toys on the boys' lists were nearly double what they were advertised at Target and Walmart. I decided to be a smart shopper and order the items from and have them shipped to the store free of charge. I received email notification just yesterday the the items were ready for pick-up. I wait in, surprise!, another line. My turn comes quickly and the clerk goes into the depths of the back room to retrieve my packages. I pick at my fingernails, read and reread all of the safety recall notices on the bulletin board, examine the array of gift cards, and wish I had brought a magazine to read. Fifteen minutes later she emerges with my boxes. Note to self #2: The whole point of ordering online is to not have to stand around waiting for your packages to arrive. Next year, just pay the money to get them shipped to the house--it's worth it!

Well, by now I am over an hour into my afternoon, and all I have to show for it is five toys. I'm feeling a bit disgruntled. I scury home, hide the boxes, and contemplate whether or not to drive three towns away in search of another Christmas gift: the ever elusive and out-of-season sand and water table before my 6:30 PTO meeting. Yeah, I have enough time, and when would I get another time without the kids to do this. Back in the car, and back to more waiting--this time in rush hour traffic. Are we seeing a theme here?! I walk into Toys-R-Us, and wow, no line at the customer service desk. I head over to the outdoor toy section in the next aisle to find the item I want in the catalogue, and then go back to customer service. Two minutes, that was all it took me, and now the line at CS is 4 customers deep. This is just not my day. Waiting and more waiting as I am shuffled from one clerk to another. And nope, they don't have the table in stock and can't get one for me from another store. One cell phone call to my husband and that table is ordered online. Note to self #3: Skip the stores, and just order online or let Perry do all the shopping next year!

Now, I'm rushing off to PTO with a quick stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a bagel and coffee dinner. My afternoon of freedom wasted on waiting. I can look on the bright side, at least my kids had fun with their grandparents!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Digital pictures

After I put the kids to bed tonight, I braved the freezing 20 degree temperature to snap a couple of pictures (ok 40 or so--it's not easy to hold a camera when you're shivering) of our home lit up for the holidays. Here's one of the shots after a little digital doctoring: This is not the first time I braved treacherous elements for the sake of a photograph. This summer, in the midde of a fantastic lightning storm I grabbed my metal tripod and metal camera, went out my front door and snapped photos of the lightning. My heart was racing, adrenaline pumping, and after I got this shot I thought, "Yeah, now I'll get struck by lightning and be killed and everyone will wonder what the heck I was doing outside in a storm. But then they'll see the picture I got and they'll say it was all worth losing my life!" Alright, so I didn't die, but I did get one of the coolest pictures:

I am just loving my digital camera that we bought earlier this year. My husband thinks his basketball hoop is the best 200 bucks he's ever spent. But I have to say my camera is the best money I've ever spent (okay, the best thing I've ever bought with his money, seeing as I am a volunteer, not-for-profit, stay-at-home mother who gets paid in kisses and high fives). Granted out of the hundreds of pictures I take every month, only about 20 are any good. The amount of money that we've saved in film developing alone has more than paid for the camera. The boys have become quite the budding photographers. My middle has taken photos of everything from his Pokemon cards, to his artwork, to you guessed it, the toilet while it was flushing. Now even my youngest will walk around asking "Where's the camera? I wanna take a picture of you." In 25 years, we'll be glad that we've captured so many moments on film. Now, if I could just get the video camera out a little more often. . .

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I was born in the 1900's

Top Five Signs You are Getting Old:

5) Your children have to remind you of your exact age because you always seem to knock a couple years off your life.

4) Cutting the greys out of your hair is just not, well, cutting it. It may be time for a dye job.

3) You take a 50 minute exercise class and feel its effects for an entire five days.

2) Your four-year-old tells you while you're flossing his teeth "Oh, Mommy you're getting a little beard!"

and the number one sign you're getting old:
1) Your six-year-old asks you if you used the word " 'tis" when you were young because "you lived a long time ago, in like the 1900's."

These last two happened just this evening as a matter of fact. . .from the mouths of babes!

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Trash Talk

This time it is my four-year-old. For a little thing, that kid sure has a fresh mouth--and I'm not talking minty-fresh! "Stupid" is a regular part of his vocabulary: "stupid table" when he bumps his head on it; "stupid Maddox" when his little brother hits him with a toy; "get that stupid car out of here" when he trips over a toy that his little brother left on the floor. Oh, and today it was, "If you don't let me play Gameboy, you're stupid." Yeah, let me tell you, I'm ready to take that Gameboy and throw it to the North Pole where Santa can give it to a little boy who speaks nicely to his Mother. He has even coined his own bad words. This summer, when potty talk was all the rage in the neighborhood, he came up with "Butt Weeder." I have no idea what a Butt Weeder is, but it can't be good. Now that his big brother has gone to first grade (and is coming home with a few choice words of his own), he has learned that a "wiener" is another name for, well, you know. This of course undoes all the years of teaching them the anatomically correct parts of their little boy bodies. Naturally, "Butt Weeder" has evolved into "Butt Wiener" which he doesn't pass up the opportunity to call me or any other person who crosses him. I haven't played the "Santa's watching" card nearly often enough this year. I'll have to pull that one out, dust it off, and give it a try (after all I only have a few more weeks to get out of it). If that doesn't work, maybe I'll get out the duct tape--good for 1001 uses, including curing Trash Talk!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Not having to plan, prep, clean, host, and cook Thanksgiving dinner is such a treat. Every year, we go to my parents' for dinner, and every year, at least for the past 6 or so, I thank my lucky stars for an entire two weeks before the big day that I don't have to host. I host my share of holidays, and while I love doing it, it is a lot of work. It's nice to have those holidays when you just don't have to do a darn thing. My mom is a bit of a control freak when it comes to holiday dinners. I am usually good for a dip or maybe even a dessert (although pie is just not my thing), but this year I was able to wrangle two vegetables out of her, and it did not even involve me tackling her to the ground and ripping the bag of potatoes from her white-knuckled fist. And in the end my sister, either feeling like she wasn't pulling her weight with the dinner, or feeling left out of all the festivities of the day, took over the potato peeling and cutting--works for me!

The dinner was wonderful. Somehow everything always tastes better when you don't have to shop, prep and cook it yourself. After dinner and a bit of rubbing of our overstuffed bellies, we headed outdoors. My sister tortured my two nephews with a never-ending photo shoot to capture just the right shot for her Christmas cards, while my boys ran races from one end of the yard to the other. I even joined them in a lame attempt to burn off the 4800 calorie dinner I just ingested. When everyone tired, we headed inside for a friendly competition of A to Z Jr, a game where you have to think of a word in a certain category for each letter of the alphabet. My dad didn't actually play the game, he just stood over our shoulders shouting out answers, most of which contained the word Zebra (i.e. things that are red: zebra with a sunburn). Ha, that Dad is a funny guy. As an aside, my Dad has taken up juggling and the fashioning of animals from those long skinny balloons. Luckily, he has a pump to blow them up because if his brain is deprived of any more oxygen the results would be catastrophic.

To end the day, much to my husband's dismay, (and probably my sister's husbands, and my kids, and my sister's kids, and my dad, and my aunt, and anyone else who isn't tone deaf) my Mom got out the old karaoke microphone. There was a lot of singing, if you can call it that, going on in that little kitchen. The poor dogs in the neighborhood must have been in agony. A little Celine, some Irene Cara, an Eric Carmen hit (which by the way is not a very easy song to sing: "All by my se-e-elf, don't wanna be, all by my-y-y-self, any-moooooooore"). Oh yeah, good times. And for the record, I held the second best score, topped only by my 17 year old niece who has sung solos for huge audiences, has had voice lessons for the past 4 years, and could make it to the top ten in American Idol if she would only try out! I'm only pointing out my win because I know my sister reads this blog. Really, the only places I'm fit to sing are the shower when no one is home, and the car with the windows rolled up tight, the radio at full blast, and for the sake of the passengers, well, no passengers, at least not any that aren't deaf!

But isn't this what holidays are all about: good food, no stress, family, having fun, and happy memories. Cheers!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Four Things About Me

I received this from my good and dear friend Kayla today. Would make a great scrapbook page. Here goes:

Four Jobs I've Had:
1) Cashier at a grocery store
2) Front desk security (ha!) at my college dorm
3) Teaching kindergarten
4) Mom

Four People who e-mail me: (regularly)
1) My mom
2) Jenna (my sister-in-law)
3) Perry (when he forwards all the Land's End specials to me)
4) Jen

Four of my favorite foods:
1) Fresh crusty bread dipped in roasted garlic olive oil
2) My mother-in-law's meatballs (no better meatball on the planet!)
3) Crab Rangoons
4) Candy!

Four Places I would rather be (all with my family):
1) Seeing our country by land
2) Traveling Europe: Ireland, Italy, France
3) African Safari
4) Walt Disney World

Four movies I would or have watched over and over:
1) Beaches
2) Say Anything
3) My Best Friends Wedding
4) There's Something About Mary
Nothing deep here. What can I say, I love chick flicks!

Four Places I have Lived:
Only one, and I'm still here!

Four TV Shows I Watch:
Who has time for tv?! But I like any of the criminal shows and can catch one usually once a week
1) CSI
2) Law & Order
3) Without a Trace
4) Cold Case

Okay, there I am in a nut shell. Take some time and answer these questions for yourself. Or forward it to a friend that you are curious about.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lessons from Geese

I first read this when I was working at a start-up company in the late 90's. It was as pertinent then to keep the employees focused on the goal of building a successful company, as it is now as I work in various teams.

As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.
It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong.

Just a little something to reflect on. And whoever coined the term bird-brain obviously never knew a goose!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What's in a name?

It's been a busy weekend without a whole lot of time for any creative juices to be flowing. Here's a fun little thing to do and then send on to your friends, courtesy of CD's blog:

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)- Tigger Freestyle
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)- Mocha Chunk Milano
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name) - M-Ned
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)- Purple Monkey
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)- Christine Worcester
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 3 letters of your first) - NedMic
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)- The Green Lemonade
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)- Roger Alfred
9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)- Lemon Licorice
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names )- Noreen Louis
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)- Goldman Gainseville
12. SPY NAME/BOND GIRL: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Summer Daisy
13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)- Blueberry Jammie
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)- Strawberry Mini-Wheat Hydrangea
15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)- The Scrapping Rainbow Tour (rocking!)

Be sure to post some of your fun names for me!

I'm determined to not let the weekend be a total loss for getting anything done--off to work on my holiday cards.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Trash talk from my 6-year-old

Well, it has happened. This afternoon while discussing the plan to wear flip-flops the entire time in the Y locker room with my 6-year-old (in order to avoid contracting Staph), he blurts out the phrase "piece of s#*t." Now for that brief moment in time I had stepped away from him to retrieve his jacket from the closet, so there was a possibility that I had not heard him correctly (crossing fingers). Instinctually, I replied, "What did you just say?" "The floor's a piece of shit." Me: "Where did you hear that word, who says that?" "John*," he respectfully replied, "it means something's a piece of trash or dirty." At least he used the word in the proper context. Trying to muster all of my control and calling on all of my best parenting skills, I attempted to not let him get too much of a reaction out of me. "There are some words in the English language that are offensive, which means they bother people. That is one of those words. If you mean that something is dirty or is like trash, then please say 'dirty' or 'trash'." Of course during my mini-lecture he tried on the word a few more times, and even spelled it out. When I had finished talking, he replied, "Well, John says it." "Yeah, well, I'm not John's Mom, and he's very lucky I'm not because if I were I would be washing his mouth out with soap." So, there you have it. It has happened: my children are forcing me to sound like my mother.
*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Very first blog post

My middle child started preschool this year, and my youngest still naps--bless his heart. One child in first grade full time, plus one child in preschool part time, plus one napping child equals two whole hours of child-free time for me. It amazes me just how much one can get done in two hours with no interruption. I have checked and replied to email, folded three loads of laundry, unloaded and reloaded a dishwasher, washed last night's dinner dishes, and made a bed that I just couldn't get to this morning (growing up, my mom drilled the importance of bed-making into me). It leads me to reminisce about those pre-children days when I was "oh so busy." Remember those days? When you could clean your entire house in one Saturday morning and it would pretty much stay that way until the following Saturday. The days when your entire weekly laundry amounted to one load (two if you sorted by lights and darks--another thing Mom taught me).

I am also in the middle of my busiest card making time of the year. We have a total of 8 birthdays in October and November in my family: two nieces, three nephews, my dad, my sister, and my husband. Needless to say, I have been using my precious two hours in a birthday card-making frenzy, not to mention the holiday cards I have yet to work on. Anyways, here are the cards I made for some of those birthdays.

Gatefold card for my oldest nephew:
Card inspired from SU! catty page 86 for two nephews:
CASE'd from Split Coast for my two nieces:

Another gate-fold for my dad:

Well, figuring out how to shrink these photo files, post them, and add captions took way longer than I expected. So another night of no creativity and no scrapbook pages to show for it. Guess there's always tomorrow. . .