Monday, August 31, 2009

The Magic of Sticky Foam (and other things)

At Walmart on Saturday, Jayden asked for a package of animal foam shapes that were self-sticking.

I’m not a fan of self-sticking foam. But honestly, he’s been making good choices and wanted badly to “make a project.”

So…we got the sticky foam shapes. He insisted that they be placed next to him in the front of the basket.

Then he asked for some graham cracker fish…he loves those fish crackers. And…since he’s not allowed to have much in the way of sugar, I am inclined to allow graham crackers.

So…we got the graham cracker fish. He insisted that they be placed next to him in the front of the basket.

Then, wandering down the bread aisle, we came across a sandwich cutter that cuts sandwiches into dinosaur shapes. It was a dollar.

So…we got the dinosaur-shaped sandwich cutter. He insisted it be placed next to him in the front of the basket. (Note to self – find the huge basket of cookie cutters and start using them on the sandwiches.)

Here is the deal…

My bouncing, rambunctious, highly energetic and talkative child was quiet, peaceful, completely occupied for most of the Walmart journey…something that is unusual.

He also had such focus on these objects that he had the afternoon planned about half way through the shopping trip, “Mommy…FIRST we will have a turkey sandwich and use my cutter! SECOND, we will have some fish! And THIRD we will make a project with my shapes! Ok, mommy? Ok?”

Ummmmm….well….yes…ok….

You see..the foam shapes were $1.50…the cutter was $1.00 and the graham cracker fish were around $2.00. So…for less than $5 I could have a peaceful shopping trip AND a peaceful afternoon…this child is all about planning and being in control…and so far…the plan was good.

So…home we go…he chattered all the way home about his “project” and what he was going to do.

We got home…we had our dinosaur sandwiches and grapes and some of those glorious fish…

Then it was project time. “What do you need for your project, Jay?” “Some colored paper and some markers and my other sticky shapes (he has a box of shapes from a previous project) and my animal shapes. You wanna do a project, Mommy? You could sit at the table with me!”

Seriously – TWO HOURS later…he was still trucking away. First the papers all had to be laid out in rainbow order…(I said he was about order!). Then the shapes were sorted by color and placed on their matching piece of paper. Then he commenced with peeling the backing off of each shape and sticking it down. Then out came the markers and he traced things in various colors, chattering away about what kind of noises a fish makes, and how big were palm trees really…And sat across from him, talking and answering his questions, helping him peel backing and doing a little bit of scrapbooking – a rare Saturday treat for me these days.

If I could pay $5 for peace like this every day of my life, I’d gladly do it.

If I could pay $5 to sit with my son and do art every day of my life, I’d shell out the money in a heartbeat.

If I could get a huge smile and a clean plate from two pieces of bread cut to look like something fun every day of my life, I’d be investing in every cool cookie cutter I could find.

I think I heard the angel choir singing, it was such perfection…

Of course, TODAY, he had six time outs before he even went to school….

SIGH….I guess the magic of sticky foam only transcends so much…

Peace, yall!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dressing Boys

I used to think that girls clothes were way cuter than boys clothes – all those ruffles and flowers.

But now that I’m dressing a toddler, I’m having such a blast buying clothes.

In preparation for school, I went through the bug’s closet to see what still fit and what had to go into boxes for child #2. Alas, EVERY pair of pants had to go…he could wear them around his middle – the skinny little dude - but they would be way too short by the time we got to cool enough weather for pants.

Boys clothes have two cool qualities that make dressing a boy fun for me. First of all, they are largely neutral or primary colors…no color matching required. Second, the colors you do buy tend to be the same saturation. Mixing and matching when color is like this is a BREEZE and fun for your toddler.

My son can literally go to his closet, pick out some random shirt and some random pair of pants and most likely have an adorable outfit. Boys can also layer things in ways that would look odd on a little girl…like a Henley under a t-shirt. Somehow it is inherently masculine for boys to dress like this.

And one other thing – clothes for boys never seem to go out of style. There is a green denim jacket in the closet awaiting the time that Jayden will be big enough to wear it…it was originally worn by HIS DAD and is still perfectly in style. As a thrifty mom, I can’t complain about something like that!

I tend to prefer Children’s Place for the “durables” when I buy clothing – jeans and pants, sweater and jackets. They have great pricing (especially on sale) and their stuff just seems to last forever. Luckily for me, there is a Children’s Place right across the street from where I work and I was in an out in 20 minutes, WELL under my budget. Jay got these things…some for now some for later:

Two pairs of cargo pants, one pair of regular jeans and the CUTEST pair of carpenter jeans:

I got him these two adorable t-shirts…he’s particularly fond of the green one:



And what rock mama could resist THIS shirt? He thinks its so cool because it has a guitar (my child likes RUSH people!):


There was also a Spiderman shirt (we are very into Spiderman right this second), a couple of striped T’s in greens and blues, and a couple of plain long sleeved T’s for layering when it gets colder. He was TOTALLY excited about the new clothes…which I think is absolutely hysterical.

I may still go back for these (although when its 90 and high humidity, I’m not overly motivated to by sweaters and hoodies!)



Oh, and perhaps the best part of dressing a boy? And entire new wardrobe for under $100...cannot beat that!

Happy day, everyone!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random Truths

***The only way to get your hubby really motivated is to purchase a 32 inch (or larger...in some cases MUCH larger) HDTV and tell him he can upgrade the cable...you will never see so much sweat come from a "home improvement" project as this."***

***When asked what he is doing alone and so quiet, you never want to hear your two year old son say, "Putting on my makeup!"***

***If you are the plan maker, and others have deadlines in order for your plan to be successful, you will be completely unable to motivate those involved unless 1) you hold the purse strings, 2) they are accountable to you in a way that matters and/or 3) you are highly skilled at manipulation. I am the plan maker. I have no leverage for motivation. Things are way, way not getting done on my plan.***

***Clutter is a killer...its stifling, its chaotic, its stressful, its overwhelming.***

***If your child ever sees you throw something over the bannister from the second floor to the first floor, he will copy you and heave over the bannister - in that very same spot - anything he can lift and carry. Forever. You seriouly need to glue down anything that is breakable. Because once he's seen gravity work, he'll want to watch it again and again...***

***Never underestimate the power of a hug, phone call or text message.***

***Cuteness is the saving grace of many a small and irritating creature.***

***Having your child tell you that saying "SHUT UP" to the dog isn't nice is the one of the most humbling experiences ever. Its beat only by the statement, "Mommy, you yell and it scares me."***

Peace, ya'll!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The power of the feminine…

It can be hard being a girl…no secret there to anyone who IS one.

We have been ordained by God with tremendous power…more power in many cases than men…we carry and bear children, we have the power to influence the flow of culture via the ways we nurture our children, we are by our God-created physiology able to multi-task (its how our brains are programmed to work!) and able to manage complicated relationships (between people, numbers, you name it!).

Most of us have been raised in a culture of feminism…a culture of striving to make us equal to men. There are some shocking women in our shared cultural past that have made it possible for women to do much more in society than they could just 20 years ago. What is interesting to me is that by striving to make women “equal” to men, we may actually have lowered ourselves to a place far below the place we once held.

The culture around the world still largely treats women as second class citizens at best and possessions at worst. The Bible is very clear about where a woman fits…unfortunately, the churches and religions of the world are not so clear. In most religions, including Christianity, the focus has been placed on the headship of men…on how the Bible and other religious texts say that a man should be the head of the household, church, business. For some, being the head is the most powerful position…everyone wants to be the top dog. And, to be fully honest, I believe that being the head IS a man's job.

Somewhere along the way, the concept of headship morphed into a concept that MEN are God, or all powerful or somehow smarter, bolder, more capable...that could not be further from the truth (although they can be physically stronger). Did you know that in the Bible being the HEAD over the woman is the CURSE of Adam - meaning that he didn't WANT the job...but God GAVE it to him and commanded him to fulfill his duty? Its an interesting concept...and accounts for lots of things, if you give it enough thought.

True to humanity, over time morphed the idea of a curse of headship, the responsibility of it all, became a fact upon which males applied their boasting and their pride. Rather that looking at it as a position of responsibility to which they must aspire, it became a special gift bestowed to those born with a penis...tragic, really. Because it created a precident of men being bossy or violent, mean or demanding, tyrants rather than caring, loving, protecting and responsible human beings.

What most people fail to see in the Bible is that women are given tremendous credit for their faith, strength, patience, perseverance, influence, kindness, intellect, cunning…Women were the first to find that Jesus was resurrected, they were called upon repeatedly to hide God’s chosen, provide shelter to home churches, help prophets...God mentions them in the Bible with GREAT significance at a time when women were not mentioned anywhere. By the very mentioning of them and the telling of THEIR stories, He gives clues to how important women are to the fabric of humanity - and not just for bearing babies, cooking and cleaning.

Even if we strip away the religious context, women are imbued with power beyond that which we recognize…the problem is that the power we have isn’t the beat-your-chest-beat-something-into-submission kind that men have…ours is about love and nurturing, about feeding the soul and creativity, about kindness and affection, trust and friendship…it is subtle and strong and solid…it is like the foundation of a building. Do you ever SEE the foundation of a building, except when it is being built? No. But without it, buildings crumble, and fall into decay. The power of the feminine lies in this very fact...we are part of the foundation upon which our very world is built.

What I find the most tragic about being female today is that we are conditioned by the world around us to doubt…we doubt our God-given gifts, we doubt our own strength, we doubt our purpose, we doubt that we look right, sound right, laugh right, feel right…we doubt that we are jewels in the crown, even in all our "equality" we doubt that we are enough to fulfill the needs of those around us…and in that doubt, we get tragically lost. We tend to get caught up in what we are not, rather than focusing on what we are.

I’m no different in this, but sometimes…sometimes, I read something or I hear something and my heart swells with a resounding “THAT’S RIGHT!”

I heard both of these amazing songs in one day…a day, I confess, where I felt utterly powerless, utterly lost and utterly unable to cope with the hand I’d been given. And in each, I recognized a strong message - hopefully they can give you the same shot in the arm they gave me.

Enjoy!!



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Would you think I was crazy....

If I told you I want to do the nursery in Tickle Monster?

Well....

That is what I'm doing...

The walls will be a nice calming blue.

The bedding will be this one (minus the teddy bear mobile):



Its called Domain and its by Sweet Potato. I found it at Target.com...LOVE it!

And the artwork will be of this charming little fellow:





Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett

My intention is to buy two copies of the book and use one for art and one to keep for the little peanut.

And of course both boys will be getting those amazing orange chinese lanterns...Jay is beside himself because he currently claims his favorite color is orange and he wants to have something just like Noah...tee hee!

Happy and Blessed Wednesday, everyone!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sometimes a girl just has to get on the train…

WARNING: All about scrapbooking!!!

I got up early and rode the train uptown for CKC Charlotte on Friday. I’d never been to the Charlotte Convention Center. Its GORGEOUS inside!

I trucked my happy little heart to the CKC Convention to take some Friday Classes. I had a blast!

I took a class on using acrylic albums sponsored by SEI. The project was super cute and I learned a lot about how to disguise items when using the fronts and backs of the acrylic pages. One word says it all: PLANNING – which, lets be honest, I’m absolutely great with except in scrapbooking…

I took a class to see the latest and greatest products. This one honestly didn’t impress me in terms of the projects…but I DID get to see the newest products from a couple of manufacturers.

My final class was on how to use the sheer albums by Maya Road. Imagine my surprise when none other than Jessica Sprague herself. Let me just say if you EVER get the chance to take a class from her, do it. She is witty and fun and super nice. It was totally obvious she had never taught this class before, and the supply kits were not complete, but she used humor and we just trucked right on through. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

On Saturday, Berta and Debbie and I caught the train again to go to the convention vendor fair to SHOP!

Now, shopping at the vendor fair is kind of a strange experience…its like going to a swap meet for paper crafters…one booth is gold and the line to the cash register wraps around the show room floor. And the next booth leaves you wondering “WHAT were they thinking!?!?!?!?” And…well…lets be honest… a lot of vendors go to these events and the just don’t bring their A game – they bring their overstock, extra junk, dollar bins, things that are not selling in their stores, out of date ideas – you know…like a swap meet.

I found four vendors at this fair (besides the Skinny Cow people…more on that at the bottom) who were just better than the rest. Intrestingly enough, they all have largely internet based businesses…so they can bring their whole “store” with them and not miss a beat.

The first was Embellish It. I don’t really know how she does it, but you can often get products from the owner of this store LONG before they arrive anywhere else as long as they are in the lines that she carries. I bought LOTS from her…the new Fancy Pants Christmas Magic line , the Fancy Pants Rough and Tough line, an awesome Fancy Pants mixed media album and some things from Imaginisce’s Teachers Pet Line. I’ll tell you right now, one of the greatest things the owner of this store does is package four colors of Bazzill cardstock that match each line she carries. If you want matching cardstock for a purchase, she has it already matched for your.

My second great find was a GLORIOUS store by a woman who has amazing vision called The Button Farm. This woman makes THE most glorious class kits I’ve ever ever seen. She develops an EXTRAORDIARY project, puts all the materials to complete the project (and then some) into a kit along with full color, very detailed instruction sheets. But let me tell you…the pictures on her site DO NOT give full justice to her class kits. They are the most sumptuous projects I’ve ever seen! I got this one with all Collage Press and 7 gypsies products…its stunning just in the package undone.



She does two retreats a year in the northeast…I’m thinking of saving my pennies to go to NEXT fall’s retreat. (cuz lets be honest...THIS fall and NEXT spring just ain't happening!)

My third find of the trip was a complete online store called Scrapbooks-N-Stickers. They had an incredible show special on the Bind-It-All…so…you guessed it…I now have a bind it all. The coolest thing about this booth was that they had a full Theresa Collins line up…Theresa Collins has done some partnering with Bind-It-All and adorable project kits created specifically to use the Bind-It-All…my wallet was DEFINITELY lighter after their booth!

My final choice for a great booth was Creek Bank Creations. They had up to date Jillibean products – the only vendor at the show! LOVED their whole booth, actually.

And the highlight of my day really – I won some FREE Skinny Cow products because I was standing in the right place at the right time. I LOVE free ice cream!

NOW I have a studio full of fun new things to play with and oodles of creative inspiration to get out…alas…I’m back at work this week…sigh…

PEACE and BLESSINGS, ya’ll!

Monday, August 17, 2009

And He's OFF!

To school that is...

I have no idea if this is the best picture of the day or not...Daddy took the boy to school for his first day. He exclaimed to me this morning at 7 am, "I get to go to the TWO year old room!"

I pray he's always this excited to learn...



Peace, ya'll!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scrappy Goodness

I spent some time in the studio yesterday finally finishing the scrap stuff part of the clean out. (The filing purge has yet to happen..ugh!)

After I had everythign put away, I turned on episodes of The Closer and went to town.

I have previously downloaded Ali Edward's 25 Days of December Photo Overlays from Designer Digitals. I also got THESE knowing I'll use them as I go.

Then I embarked on the foundation for my own December Daily Album. Nice to work ahead a little and think of things in advance..especially knowing that in December I'll be a bit preoccupied with baby.

I used a bunch of papers from my stash - October Afternoon, Cloud Nine, Scenic Route, Pink Paislee, Collage Press - mostly non-Christmas but in red, lime green, cream and black. I had some older Hambly Screen print transparencies and a new sheer that I used also...

This is my foundation - not much of a shot, but you get the idea...I'll be doing full 7" by 9" pages plus some half pages and some decorative edge pages as I go.



Today is sprinkler and paint day for the boy. I'm off to have my coffee and a shower so I can be ready for the day's festivities.

Peace, everyone!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Heard at Our House

Mommy! Dis is heaven in my mouf! (note to self - buy more cinnamon chex)

Hi, wittle fella! (speaking to my belly)

Mommy? Wanna smell my boooooooty? (uh....no....)

Mommy, wait! I wanna be da weader! I get in da fwont of da wine! (yes, sir!)

Do dose butterfwy kisses! An nose-nose-nose! An a TWIPPLE kiss! (ok...so thats butterfly kiss, eskimo kiss, and a kiss with daddy and Jay together...got it)

Its too wate. I alweady gode in my puwup! (after being asked if we should go use the potty)

What should we tawk about, Mommy? (at 6:30 am???? are you kidding me?)

Mommy - some kids don't have ceiwing fans, oh wights, oh windows. Some kids don't have fwesh watuh oh fwesh food, oh caws to go somewhere, oh stwolluhs to put da babies in... (working out in his mind what he'd seen on a Feed the Children commercial...where he figured out they don't have ceiling fans or lights or windows, I have no idea.)

I kid you not, this child has lightening quick observations...he misses very little, and remembers most of what he sees. I'm constantly amazed at what he puts together and how he works things out for himself.

I love this age.

Peace, ya'll!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Nursery Choices

Well...MOST of you know...our little peanut is a BOY!!!

WOOHOO!!

So...once again, I've been thinking about nursery colors...

This is the color pallet:



LOVING that little pop of orange.

I found these two on the Target.com site...The first one is called Sweet Potatoe and it has all my color pallet plus the rocker and crib will match BEATUIFULLY.



The second one is called Geo by Sumersault also found at Target (Target is such a great store these days! I love it!). Honestly, I like this one because in addition to the furniture and rocker matching, I can also use the existing artwork I have from Jay's nursery.



My third option is just to put together separate pieces in my color pallet - which would mean REALLY FUN shopping...

I'm also thinking about hanging 3 to 5 paper lanterns in the corner in orange...

What do you think?

Do you have a different suggestion with these cool colors?

Friday, August 07, 2009

15 in 15

So, I saw this on Facebook yesterday…my old (like 4th grade!) friend Derek put his up on his wall and I thought it would be fun to put here.

Name the first 15 movies that come to mind in 15 minutes. They will probably be the most memorable for you no matter what because they will come immediately to mind.

Don’t think too hard about it, just jot down the 15 that hit you right off the bat.

Here are mine:

1. Out of Africa – GORGEOUS movie!
2. Braham Stoker’s Dracula – yes…the one with Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder
3. City of Angels – oh, this made my heart ache
4. Mary Poppins – a childhood favorite
5. Finding Nemo – STILL a fave in our house, although we bought it LONG before Jay was born!
6. The Santa Clause – because I have a bit of a fascination with this fantasy
7. Matrix – unbelievable film making
8. Raiders of the Lost Ark
9. Star Wars: Episode I – waited in line for this one!
10. Bourne Identity
11. Lord of the Rings – another gorgeous and unbelievably well-made movie!
12. Shawshank Redemption – I think I’ve seen this move 100 times.
13. Memoirs of a Geisha – This movie is the most visually stunning move I’ve ever seen.
14. You’ve Got Mail
15. Top Gun

And a bonus movie for me: Gladiator.

I’ve come to realize I love epic films – stunning visually, great music, lots of plot and probably long. And…I appear to have a love of fantasy topics…well…nothing all that surprising there, huh?

Peace, y a’ll!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Best Thing Ever

When your two-year old son says, after eyeing you up and down,

"Mommy! NICE Dwess and NICE shoes! You look PWETTY! An you hair and gwasses too!"

Mommy...shocked as can be at the open praise from a two year old says, "AWWW!! Thank you, Bug! That's so nice!"

"You WEWcome, Mommy!"