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!