Monday, March 31, 2008

Random bits of cuteness that must be blogged.

We have been crazy busy. My husband has kicked the whole art/school/office construction into high gear and we are all surviving the chaos. We're excited, yet very tired of the mess. There have been some tantrums, kid versions and grownup. Clutter does that to us. I have been collecting photos to blog and unfortunately every one of my husband has a sarcastic look on his face. He even told my stepson not to get involved with a girl who blogs. The nerve!

Anyways, I am not posting pictures of the "new" art/school/office room yet. Except for a couple elements of the remodel that feature my kids' wacky cuteness, but those won't ruin the surprise. Once it is totally done then I will do the typical before and afters. I am a perfectionistic dork with a vision. Just ask my husband. He will heartily agree, especially after this weekend.

On with the cuteness...

Kids in boxes.

Manicure fun.

My son kept asking me if boys wore lip gloss and I kept telling him yes. Then he asked me what lipgloss was and I explained chapstick to him. He then wanted to know what it was that my daughter was putting on. Nail polish. He then wanted to know if boys painted their nails too. Ever truthful, I told him yes. So guess what he did, "all by himself" too, and he had a blast. He wants to be a drummer anyways, so it works for him.

The boy just hanging out.

Tooth fairy love. My daughter told me she had a new loose tooth, but told me not to worry because she had everything all ready for when she lost it. Later I stumbled upon this.
Tooth fairy house from here. And blogged about before here.
Her new thing is to try to write without asking me how to spell stuff. So she does a combo of sounding out, code and pictures. Here is her note to the tooth fairy. ILU = I love you, (in her written language). The other things are pictures of a tooth and a fairy. I love you tooth fairy. Melt my heart. When that tooth comes out, the tooth fairy is going to be very nice to that little girl. (I don't know how the tooth fairy will write her the usual note back this time since she always used to borrow my photoshop to do so. With the computer that has photoshop on the fritz that chick is going to have to figure out something new.) Hmmm....

Friday, March 28, 2008

Girl practicing piano.

The girl let me record her practicing tonight. The feedback is awful. Sorry about that. I cannot figure out how to get rid of that. Maybe I need a real microphone or something. She picked the keyboard "voices", she was going for haunting and ancient. "Like ancient Egypt," she said. That makes me laugh for whatever reason. Sometimes she takes herself very seriously. She's my sweetie.

The mess.

I like things very organized, I always have. I just breathe better when everything has a home. It is how I survive living in a small home with five people. But I am flawed. So very flawed.

The planning stages and the end product of my organizational projects are usually done quite well, thank you very much. However the middle is a big mobbish mess. When I was little, at room cleaning time, I couldn't just straighten the bits that were out of whack and call it done. No. I had to dump the toy box, drawers, closet contents all into one big bonfire pile and stew about the mass of it all for awhile. Building a plan for optimal placement. Having the occasional breakdown. Finally, wrapping it all up in a day or two of cleaning brilliance once my parents started threatening with garbage bags.

My problem is, I haven't changed much over the years. The middle part is still a free-for-all of chaotic strife that I could truly do without. Only now I get to share this part with my family. No one in my crew seems to have been born with the magical middle portion of organizational brilliance intact to help me progress.

So we started this project to get a nice craft/project area set up. So exciting! We even have a really cool friend who also got excited about the project and offered to build the base shelves for the counter. How amazing is that? The problem is I got a little overzealous and started moving everything around to accommodate the new area, but then all the stuff that will eventually live in said area currently has no home. Then I get overwhelmed by the mess and I let laundry pile up. (Any excuse for me when it comes to laundry.) Then, I find myself blogging about it rather than tackling it. I might as well be back in my childhood bedroom facing the threat of my stuff being hauled to the landfill... as much as I've learned.

Oh, I usually do pictures right? Gee, I would love to share the disorder that is my home, but my camera is lost in the mess. That is my story and I'm sticking to it. I'll post some pictures of the finished project, and you can picture it all mucked up, fair?

I've added some organizational bloggers to my google reader. Seeking the missing link. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I love swap-bot.

I have been procrastinating with a purpose lately. I have rediscovered swap-bot and committed myself to no less than seven swaps. I am as excited as a kid in a toy store. I am going to get mail! Packages and fancy letters. Of course that means I have to mail them too. I'm sure there will be some interesting conversations around here soon about why I am spending money to send strangers stuff. Guys don't understand anything.

I even went out and bought myself the new permanent Bic colored marker sets here (oooo, pretty...) to help make my swap entries. I mean I had to. As in, I needed them like food, chocolate food. At least that is what I told dh. Hey, I lost my computer today... I needed something to fill the void of losing photoshop. Right? (I have an old version of photoshop that won't work on my new computer. Like photoshop six... so seven years ago.)

So I am happy. I have future mail coming to me. I have new markers. Oh, and they were able to retrieve the files from my computer. So I will actually get paid for the freelancing I did. Someone even got the dumb thing to start and is trying to fix it. It will probably work, that thing will probably outlast my newer imac. Sigh... 

(I don't mean to sound ungrateful. That thing has just given me so much stress over the years. I feel ready to move on. Even if it means losing photoshop until I can afford to upgrade.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No. No. No.

Newer imac... Old horrible computer from the island of headaches.

My old computer died. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It has lived a long, prosperous life. It has caused me enough headaches over the years and runs loudly enough, that its passing is not a weeping and wailing sort of experience.


Remember the freelancing project that I have been griping about for weeks now? Bad karma, all that complaining... Bad, bad, bad. I was just about to write a cd to turn in the whole project. It is done, you see. Done. BUT...

When switching between operating systems (OS 9 to OS X, yes it is a dinosaur), suddenly it decided it didn't want to start in OS X. And it didn't want to go back to nine. It actually is quite content sitting there, staring at me with one of those rare cryptic codes across the start up screen. (Rare in Macs. When you see one on a Mac you know your mood has turned dark.) And right now, my day is dark baby. Dark, dark, dark.

Okay, so after talking to the tech guy at the paper that I am freelancing for, where luckily I worked for awhile before joining the SAHM world, so at least they are being pretty cool about a freelancer dumping their faulty computer on their laps. Of course that might be because the deadline is today. And I have seen insane things done in order to keep a newspaper deadline. Way more insane than random freelancer computer surgery. Deadlines suck that much.

Anyway, I ended up carrying the whole stupid tower for them to toy with as they wish. Hopefully pulling the totally completed articles from the innards intact. The rest of the thing they can recycle for all that I care about it right now. And I will throw in the monitor for free. Just pay me for the freelancing, k? 'Cause mama needs a new computer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Love of all things Spiderwick

Spiderwick isn't high literature but it is fun. We read the books before bedtime and just finished the series last night. We saw the movie awhile back and it was very different from the books, but still enjoyable. Now the kids are somewhat obsessed. They make their own field guides often and fill the little books with mysterious drawings of creatures they've discovered. Playmobil and Lego sets are used for acting out scenes from the previous night's chapter. The girl child is always coming up with different costumes that she feels fit the female version of Arthur Spiderwick. I wish I would have photographed the one she came up with about a week ago, the hat rocked. Here's today's version... (oh, and forget you see the messy house behind the children. We are switching rooms around to get ready for my NEW CRAFT AREA! YAY!)

A girl and her field guide

Capturing all the creatures on paper

A boy and his monsters

Monday, March 24, 2008

Because he is mine...


When my guy and I got married the last thing on our minds was Easter falling on our anniversary. Actually, the main thing on our minds was whether or not we would get the hallway painted before the ceremony. (We opted for a wedding at home and of course wanted everything to look nice. I wanted to elope. But I am not bitter. Painting the hallway on my wedding day was fun. Kind of like egg hunts on my anniversary. But different.) We were a bit surprised when Easter rolled around this year on the big day but unless lifespans change with the advancement of stemcell research, then we won't see it again. So we bought a lottery ticket to celebrate the coincidence. Could happen...

But due to the shared holiday I missed my "Happy Anniversary" post by about a half an hour. That is not so bad as we were sort of crazed with the chocolate and plastic eggs and ham. But I had to post anyway because he makes me so happy. I so love the guy that the cheesy, lovey, sappiness of how I feel inside would instantly turn your eyeballs to cotton candy if I were to express it properly. Even after nine years together.

So Happy Anniversary to us. And here's to many more (non-Easter sharing) anniversaries to come.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Time for a change...



I forgot to take a picture of the branch we have hanging in the corner of the entry when it was covered with paper snowflakes. Today, like the true weather, only a few of the flakes remained. I had intended to lose the branch after the winter, but it looked so bare and hopeful in the warmer yellow light. Happy Spring!

Friday, March 21, 2008

De, do do do, De, da da da


They're here! Sunday is our anniversary and it will sort of get glossed over with Easter and all. So this is a perfect Happy Anniversary to me! And the concert is actually on Mother's Day. So Happy Mother's Day to me too!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Baby Dress


This project started out very fun with the baby leg warmers (that can later serve as arm warmers). It stayed fun through the skirt of the dress (that can later be a shirt). The last bit gave me some grey hair. I like it. It is sort of a baby salute to the eighties, with the mint greens, pinks and the whole leg warmer thing. I think it needs a hat or a big eighties hair band with a bow.

I am not even a decent knitter. For me it is all about effort and the mindless rhythm of the knit stitch. I finally learned what it is that I do as I have never knitted correctly. Using this site knitting help I have figured out that I use the "combined method" of knitting. Which is why some of my decreases look twisty. I haven't figured out how to combat this, though I have watched the video and know it is possible. Something for another day. But it was cool to know that my method had a name other than "wrong".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Freelancing makes me grumpy...

I am a few weeks into a freelancing project writing advertorials. This is when I start to feel all snarky inside about advertising and the writing that feeds it. So I have created a list of sorts, to temper my evil feelings surrounding the project. The you that I use in my list is a general you, definitely not aimed at the bright and brilliant few that frequent my blog. 

Suggestions from a freelancing grunt:

1. If you write 3,000 words for me to squeeze into a 250 word maximum word count article -don't get angry and mean when I edit it. If you really need a novel to describe your business, pay for a larger space.

2. No matter what your ad rep tells you, she is NOT the one who is writing your article or building your ad. Do not write cute, sick or perverted little notes to her in the margin of your copy. These notes will be seen by others, remembered, and made fun of for years to come.

3. No one actually cares about all the organizations, churches, group of fellows, secret societies and specialized groups that you belong to. Don't feel entitled to break the word count to include all your clubs. If you are that well known and involved in society - people know you. They see you at these functions. You don't need to tell them you are there.

4. The redundancy applies to awards too. Big awards sure, mention them. But every stupid little blue ribbon ever bestowed upon you will not make people want to frequent your business.

5. Don't break word count by listing all the charity work you do. Giving five dollar gift certificates to a hundred different causes will not win you a ticket to heaven, nor will it get you customers if you brag about it. Charities tend to give ad space in return for donations, which means you've already been compensated for your generosity. Don't milk it. If you are genuinely driven to help a cause, then use some of your personal ad space to educate the public about said cause. Don't just say how much time and money you gave to it.

6. If you are a marketing consultant (different creature from the ad rep in #1, and in my opinion a type of pimp - the moneysucking middle man) then stick to what you know. Which tends to be making phone calls and strange demands. However, those strange demands should not include advice to copywriters and graphic artists who have actual training in the writing and design that goes into ad building. Okay, this is just through my personal small town experience here. I am sure there is a useful place in the business world for marketing consultants. Just not the ones who take time out of their day to give me headache.

7. In a continuation of #6. If you don't know the proper punctuation that is used in paid media, then don't insist on breaking those guidelines. It is fine to use "quotations" to express yourself in a Dr. Evil sort of way on message boards or blogs, or if you are feeling all e.e. cummings and need to get your mad poet on. However, this is not done in an article unless it is a title or someone is actually saying something. As in - "This marketing consultant is such a complete moron," said Candy. "She completely uses quotations incorrectly and is forcing me to do the same thing, and it is driving me to drink beverages best saved for more fun things, like dental surgery." Oops, run on sentence. Oh well, it is blog - see I can be free like that in the "correct context".

8. Finally - on the flipside of the word count killers. Don't just write "we care", expect me to fill in the rest of the 248 words about your business and then get angry with what I come up with. There are a whole slew of ways an article based on pest control can go. If you have a strong vision about that particular direction then please share it in the beginning stages of our relationship.

Whew! If you made it through all that, then welcome to the darker side of me. I feel much better now thank you. Oh, and if you are wondering how in the world can this chick get paid to write stuff when her blog is so full of amazingly horrid grammer mutilations and cliche writing... I sometimes wonder the same thing too. :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mail Art




I made these for my mom to send out. (You have to mail them to people mom - otherwise it lacks a point.) I love mail art and letters (and mod podge!). Over the years I was a penpal to a few people, however the marriage/childbearing years proved the breaking point of my ability to write faithfully. Now that my kids are old enough to give me freedom to use all my various appendages, I am once again feeling the pull toward snail mail. I just might have to dig out my non-computer address book.

I used to have a roommate in college who wrote with pen nibs and ink. I thought is was so odd, and a waste of time until I tried it and was completely hooked. I walked around for years with the inside of my index finger stained black from ink. I even accidently tattooed myself with a sharp pen point and ink when writing once. A small dot on my thumb, my only walk on the wild side of body modification. While I love the internet, there are times that an image of sitting in a garden, writing letters (that will get replies) and drinking tea sounds so peaceful that I would be willing to jump generations. Only for a brief moment however. I am way too fond of indoor plumbing.

These are a few of my favorite things

I was at a loss this morning when I brewed a pot of coffee and couldn't find my favorite coffee mug. It was sitting with the load of unwashed dishes in the dishwasher. What to do? I handwashed it of course. It just seems wrong to drink from a different mug. Here is a photo of the beauty. It is tiny by regular mug standards, but keeps my caffeine addiction in check. Not to mention it is fun. I found it at a thrift shop last year.

How cute is this?

As for tea, my favorite mug of late is my handthrown earthen colored mug which sits in direct contrast of my daughter's sweet girly pink cup - made for a princess. How well these mugs reflect our personalities.

For use during tea time, where my kids had full reign in picking the snacks, decor and reading material. How's this for a spread? Sugar cubes, cookies, Yogos, Fruit by the Foot, Doritos, cinnamon almonds. Holy sugar coma. Oh well - it's in the name of loving literature right? Someone pass the Doritos...

My favorite of favorite things? They throw a good party.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ding Dong, the t.v.'s dead...


See the beast of a t.v. that is behind the girl (posing for her haircut earlier this year). It has always been a lemon during it's short life (two years) and has had two stints in the shop already. It was my husband's dream t.v. and it was so fun to buy the thing he always wanted that he researched for years over, agonizing over buying just the right one. I have lived many of my years without t.v. so I was rather indifferent to the purchase. But it was important to him, and so I supported it - and I have enjoyed it as well.

It died last night in the middle of watching a movie. I suspect the fan quit and overheated the thing that kicks it on. This model has a history of problems online. It is still under warranty, and I fear it is still fixable, so it isn't like it is gone for good.

But something wonderful happened today. Even though the teenager was here this weekend and hubby was too of course. There was no huge t.v. blaring and intruding into the space and flow of the day. Wonderful. So wonderful that even my t.v. loving man mentioned that in hindsight he wished he would have bought a gaming computer and a small tv THAT COULD BE PUT AWAY (he said this, it really came out of his mouth), because the day without t.v. was so productive and the kids were so creative.

The days the kids and I are home alone the t.v. generally doesn't ever come on, so we were already privy to this fact. It was nice to have it come full circle. This is one of the reasons I love marriage. Watching the other person grow and change and falling in love with them even more for it.

Creative Space

This is my attempt at an artsy picture that is supposed to depict me dreaming about the future crafting space that will inhabit the wall behind me.

We live in a small space which we actually like, but it makes for reworking our living spaces whenever needs change. Needs are currently changing and we are looking at turning our computer/office/piano/kidcraft/kidgaming room into more of an official crafting/office area. This of course has me EXCITED, HYPER, happily scouring the internet for ideas to cram all my crafting room hopes and dreams into a small space friendly, small budget friendly area.

Right now the idea is to take a prefab 8 ft. countertop and lay it across one end of the room in question (9 ft room). We picture it would rest across a couple kitchen counter type bases which would serve as some craft storage. The walls above and beside would also serve for storage whether through shelving or cabinets (not sure yet.) Any ideas or links from outside sources would be appreciated.

I am so ready to dive into this project. The idea of having a place where we can craft and leave the projects out until completion - a place to do lessons all spread out next to each other - to reclaim my dining room table! Wow, to dream.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

First Violin Lesson


Reviewing the pictures on my camera today I noticed that daddy caught the first violin lesson on film. Good daddy! I was out of town so I was happily surprised to find this shot. The girl LOVES violin and her new teacher, Miss Lauren.

New favorite breakfast


Scottish steel cut oats, apples, raisons, maple syrup and cinnamon. Tastes like an oatmeal cookie!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Soundtrack

Okay, I have a lot of work to do. Insane amounts. I am bad with deadlines, whenever they near, I get really busy. But not with the things I am supposed to be doing. Procrastination is somewhat of an understatement. So I am going to get this post out of my system then go dark for a couple days to catch up. I will be back with many posts because I keep getting blog ideas. Not ideas for the writing, picture making and knitting (babyshower gift) I am supposed to be doing. Try not to miss me too much.

Recently, the kids and I did an art lesson about using art as a visual, universal language and it got me thinking about how music is a very rich language. How one song can encompass a time period, a memory, an ideology. So I started making note of different songs that say something for me. And visiting youtube (procrastination at it's finest), and collecting them here. What I came up with is an soundtrack that sort of maps out parts of my life. Some of the songs were actually attached to those times, others just bring them to mind.

But anyways... A Challenge!
To all brave enough (or bored enough) to play. If you are a music junkie too... feel free to play along and do something similar on your blog. I've had fun with it.

My life in music:

John Denver
Teen Years
Young Adult
Devil In the Kitchen
One Hand In My Pocket
Flowers Are Red
The Freshman
Send Your Love
Empty Walls
(I listened to this for 24 hours of labor to everyone elses's dismay.)
Mummers Dance
Motherhood, Lullabies
Lullaby to an Anxious Child
Why my kid takes piano and violin lessons...
Ashley MacIsac
Funky Fun Mama
Songs we turn on to brighten our day.
Professional Pirate
Marriage (cliche, but actually pretty right on the money for us.)
Still The One

So there you go, a quick autobiography.

So darn cold...

I don't know if the cold is bothering me so much because the sunlight has taken on the yellow spring color but the temperature is still very much winter. I am also eating more raw fruits and veggies, therefore less warm stuff in, and I walk about craving hot cocoa and soups. But wow, I am freeeeezing!!!!

I started taking cayenne pepper supplements and that helps quite a bit, but wears off after only about seven hours. I don't know if taking more would be bad for me, as the dose is a once daily thing. Must google. I can't wait until the ice and snow melts and I can take long walks with the kiddos and get the metabolism fired up daily. Soon. Until then you'll find me under the big pile of blankets and kids.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Warning: Poetry ahead

Disclaimer: Poetry geek here. So if you choose to read this blog, you might get some on you. You have been warned. (Not that I am a good poet or knowledgeable in any real way about the poets I like. The right words just make me breathe better. So who can fight that?)

I like poetry and posting poems but I haven't in a long time. I sat and tried to write one, but my brain is burned out from knitting. (I'll post on that drama later.) But I wanted to support Regularmom, here., in her call out to bloggers to share some poetry. So I pulled out an old creative writing class poem I wrote. It is timely actually.

Spring Malaise
While the non-green, shiny cars
Passed indifferently in the bright, bright sun
The ground soaked into my sloppy March feet
My weather-scratched eyes
Annoyed with the tattering trees
Mistrusted, narrowed, shifted
Over non-green houses and dogs
Chilled me; Myself non-green
Felt winter old and February sluggish

I was actually in the place this poem describes a couple weeks ago. But I am feeling a bit brighter now. The sun seems to have a warmer cast to it these days. And there is more of it. So cheers for the sun, and for sharing poetry.

Monday, March 3, 2008


My husband got a new computer game and is now pacing so he can get on here. The boy child is on the old computer. Sometimes I feel like a little kid and want to stomp my feet and yell. It's mine! It's mine!

I guess I should be a good example. Sigh...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

See the creepy trippy picture?


That is how my head feels right now. We saw Spiderwick Chronicles today and it was good. But I really don't like how loud movie theaters get. I always end up with a headache. Add to that a kid who also doesn't like loud movies who ended up on my lap half the time, about 20 loud youth groups. (For like a hundred or so total teenagers doing teen like things all around us.) Whew, I needed some decompress time after that. But, instead my guy decided that going to Burger King to eat inside by the playfort thing sounded better. Um, okay. We NEVER do that. It was so strange and not really the best of all possible plans in hindsight.

Then... I went shopping for new jeans with my mom. It was one of those huge sales that was 'over in 40 minutes and gosh you'll be so mad if you don't go' sort of things. Sigh. Trying on jeans after eating theater popcorn and fast food does not make you feel like looking in the three way horridly lit mirrors. No, no, no.

So, I am now finally decompressing and feeling a bit overly dramatically blue. I think I will knit and pretend that tomorrow is not actually Monday. I feel like I need a big change for spring. Like going back to raw food. Talking to the father-type person yesterday brought all that back to mind. I wonder if I could swing that on my budget. Hmmm... something to think about. I will ponder it while I knit and pretend tomorrow isn't Monday.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

A link to last year's video as well here.

Last year's video was peppier, but my kids have transitioned from making fun dancey, hyper videos of themselves to squeaky voiced puppet shows that make punch and judy look gentle. I had no material for the birthday celebration genre. So this year is all photo montage. The pics are sort of blurry too, but you get the basic idea. We had a fun year of firsts. First missing teeth, first dance performance, first haircut, babysitting, end of babysitting, and just generally hanging out having fun. Hope your birthday is the best and is the beginning of a wonderful year. We love you dad (grandpa)! You're the best!

We still have...


So I made these...
Cinnamon rolls for morning.

I went to the freelancing doldrums and all I got was a cluttered desk.

"She says her work is like eating cold oatmeal. Yesterday's oatmeal. Day after day. She said her work is like eating cold oatmeal. Day after day, and she's right." - Poi Dog Pondering

Like the duct tape that is holding the bottom of my ancient monitor together? It has held it for years. Amazing stuff.

Haven't heard of Poi Dog Pondering? Click here.
And welcome to my hippy past. I actually think upon watching this video that I don't know if I would have grooved to Poi Dog if I had actually seen them. Sometimes youtube isn't a good thing.

But you can't deny the lyrical gems they offer like: "Drunk on margaritas and full of food, it's hard to be with one when you're in love with another." True, how true. Not applicable now with my lovely guy I'm hitched to and all that. But I was a hippy, remember. I mentioned that earlier? So hey, that was so deep back then. Don't worry mom, I am sort of kidding.

Oh, I signed the girl child up for violin lessons last week. I know, I know, piano and violin at age six may seem a bit pretentious maybe, but it is so not like that. I just want to set her up so that when she hits her hippy days, she can be a one of the cool people in the band. And I think she will dance a bit better than the lead guy in Poi. Though he does play a mean tin whistle.