December 27, 2007

Christmas Pictures

New pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Opening the first gifts.

The teddy-bear hamster from Santa.

Awe-inspiring Transformers!

American Girl Ivy.
Getting ready for our big round of company for New Year's. Hope your holidays were delightful!

December 24, 2007

The Christmas Program

On Friday Ben participated in a Christmas program at his preschool. Like any good scrapbooking mom, I sat right in the front row so I could get good photos. The kids filed in with their little santa hats on, smiling and waving at their parents. They got up on stage and the teacher asked them if they were ready, to which Ben replied, "No, wait, my mama has to take a picture of me first!"

Good friends for gingerbread making and gourmet pizza gobbling tonight, and then the big guy will be here. Last night when I told Ben that it was only one more day until Christmas, he said "I have been so patient." Yes you have, little man.

December 20, 2007

December 20, 1986

21 years ago today, at 2:00 in the afternoon, we said our "I Do's" in the company of our family and friends. We were young students, on break from college; some dear souls thought I might be pregnant because it was such a quick decision. But that wasn't the case. We just wanted to be together and we had a little time between semesters, and there was that break in car insurance thing too!
Here we are, 21 years later, and I would choose him again. It hasn't always been easy, in fact sometimes it's really hard. We've been out of money, out of patience, out of work, and out of sync. But we've always been in love. He is my partner and best friend and has helped me create the most amazing and beautiful children. I couldn't be where I am today, physically or in my head, without his help all of these years. Something to truly celebrate.
We're going out tonight. We hardly ever do that, but my friend Erin and her family have offered us a night on the town. We're going to sit at the Thai restaurant and catch up, and I'm going to tell him how much I love him and how happy I am to have him in my life. Because I am.

December 18, 2007

30-Minute Thursday

But it's Tuesday you say. I say better Tuesday than never. So refreshing to create something that wasn't red or green or holiday themed!

December 17, 2007

It's Happening

The tile is going up! I picked it up on Friday and Mark spent most of the weekend mixing mortar and arranging tile. He's doing a fabulous job and I can't wait to see it complete. I don't know if we're really going to be finished for our New Year's company; we still have to paint and lay linoleum, but I'm so happy with the progress and happy to have a fresh bathroom!
Finished wrapping all my presents last night. I am now ready for Christmas. Have to make one last thing for our white elephant exchange on New Year's, but that can wait. My brownie troop is caroling at the retirement village today and both kids have Christmas parties/programs at school on Friday. Here comes the slide into Christmas day!!!

December 13, 2007

On A Lighter Note

Watch us. So funny!


I'm struggling, just like I do every year at this time. I love to make Christmas gifts for my family and friends, but it always leaves me feeling very inadequate about what I'm giving. Like there aren't enough presents or they didn't cost enough money, or I didn't do my duty as a good American consumer and buy all the crap everyone thinks they want but don't need. It all leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. Then this morning a friend sent me a link to a little video about "stuff". The clip discussed how we got to this apex of consumerism and it's resulting destruction to our planet. This is what Eisenhower's Economic Advisor said at the beginning of our post-WWII economic boom. "Our enormously productive economy...demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption...we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate." WHAT? Seek my spiritual satisfaction through consumption? NEVER.

Thanks for the wake up call. It's not about the buying, it's about the giving. I do not want to be a part of the 5% of the earth's population who consumes 30% of the earth's resources, just to have 99% of the stuff I buy or give end up in the landfill within six months. My homemade gifts are a piece of me crafted for the people I love. Let everyone else work themselves to death to have the money to buy the crap. I will seek my spiritual satisfaction somewhere else!

Check out Heifer International. Now here's a worthwhile cause on which to spend your hard-earned dollars.

December 11, 2007

Into the Wilds

of Idaho we went and what a gorgeous day to be walking in the woods. It smelled so good and there was lots of sun on our faces. Big change from last year; used our umbrellas for that one!

The hike back to the truck after we found our perfect tree and did a little butt louging back down the hill we'd climbed to find it.

All decorated and ready for Santa.

A little candy-making action on Sunday afternoon. New recipe for butter mints that turned out great. We added cinnamon to half and mint to the other. Delicious.

Our predicted less than 1 inch of snowfall for Sunday night turned into 5 inches, so the kids had a nice slow Monday morning waiting for school to start. It really threw me off having everyone home on Monday morning, which is when I usually work on all my Brownie stuff. But it also made for a very relaxing start to a hectic week ahead, the last one before Christmas I hope!

December 7, 2007

I'm Dreaming...

of our new bathroom. It's been well over a month since we destroyed our downstairs bathroom for a remodel. I had absolutely no appreciation of what it feels like to live in a home with four people and one bathroom, especially since the toilet in that useable bathroom sits right in front of the door and little kids keep walking by while you're doing your business. But our tile is finally here and I assume we'll be putting it up this weekend along with getting our Christmas tree, making candy, and finishing making and wrapping presents to ship by Tuesday. I often think of my life as a river; meandering along for a while until I start to hear the rumbling of some rapids ahead. Then we're setting up for the rapids and running the rapids, and then before I know it, we're eddying-out again. Little periods of intense activity and then calmness again.
Here's my two silly munchkins after they serenaded us with their own little version of Jingle Bells. I wish I could share all of the lovely things I'm working on, but alas my family reads this blog and it would spoil their surprises. Needless to say I've been drinking a lot of coffee and staying up later than is usual for me, but feeling and loving that creative bug.

December 5, 2007

The Long Awaited Acrylic Album

I jumped on the bandwagon with this acrylic album after I saw Ali's version and then again when my friend Erin completed hers. It's just about the funnest project I've ever worked on. I'll be using it to record the daily happenings and traditions in our lives during the busy month of December.

Busy, busy, busy. Presents to make, wrap and ship. Cookies to bake for my brownie troop and a Christmas tree calling my name in the forest. Also working at Crop Paper Scissors tomorrow. Stop by and say "hi" to Ben and me if you're in the neighborhood.

November 30, 2007


I've been visiting the Scraphappy blog and am loving what she's doing there, so I decided to participate in Lain's 30-minute Thursday challenges. This week's challenge was to use products from one manufacturer's line, so of course I had to choose Scenic Route. This is the Salem line, used for a layout other than Halloween. Really like it when you can cross over with holiday paper.

Here is Ben's version of playing badmitton.

And while I had the Scenic Route out on my desk, I was inspired to do one more layout. Here is Claire on her first day of 3rd grade. Loving this Roxbury line.

Also made quite a few Christmas cards yesterday after Ben and I shoveled out of our latest snowstorm. We were all hoping for a snow day, but it rarely happens here. These inland northwesterners are a tough bunch.

November 28, 2007

Love it when...

I'm a good mama and do what I promised to do. Not only did I get ALL the Christmas decorations out yesterday while Claire was at school, I made her a pan of chocolate chip cookies and her favorite potato soup for dinner. I feel like she's been getting the short end of the stick lately; sometimes it's just plain hard to raise her. She can be so dramatic one moment and completely delightful the next. Maybe that's all girls. Any guys want to pipe up on this topic? Anyway, it was my small contribution to show her I really love her and was thinking about her.

Ben was delighted to find the electric blow-up snow globe which was given to us with loving thoughtfulness by Mark's boss last year. Not only does it spit out styrofoam balls to mimic actual snow, it has a motion activated repertoire of songs that begins to play whenever you walk in front of it. The kids think it's a hoot.

Claire and Ben carefully arranging the little people and sprinkling snow on the Christmas village.

Love my little village. Just makes me happy.

November 27, 2007

Let It Snow

Got bunches of snow and wind here last night; so lovely when we woke up. It's supposed to continue all week, so we might have quite the accumulations. Having snow on the ground really puts me in the mood for the holidays. I promised Claire I would get out our Christmas decorations while she was at school today. And I think some warm chocolate chip cookies would be nice too. Take a look at my friend Erin's blog; her husband is so sweet!
A layout I completed before Thanksgiving with my CPS November kit.

And the samples for my Life Occasions card class. Felt so good to be making cards again. They're such a nice little artistic palette.

November 26, 2007

Family Festivities

Had a wonderful, family filled Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law's house. It was also a celebration for Mark's Grandma, who turned 85 last week. She didn't know that all of the family was going to be there, so we gave her a nice little surprise. Isn't she gorgeous?

Here's my guy with his famous smoked turkey. It was absolutely delicious yet again. I don't know how he does it; maybe has something to do with the Mike's Hard Limeade in his pocket!

All 26 of us gathered for a family photo. This was taken in the basement/rec room of my sister-in-law's house and I will try to recap a statement made by Mark that pretty much summed up our weekend. Imagine this: guitar hero played very loudly on the big-screen tv on one side of the room, boom box with music being played very loudly on the other side of the room, second tv with nintendo games going in the middle of the room, the constant hum of the air hockey table, people playing pool, people playing foosball, people playing ping-pong, people playing darts, little children running around, and always a child launching missles from the nerf missle launcher. No one can say we didn't have fun, but I admit I spent most of my time upstairs and out of harm's way.
Taking the brownies on a field trip to the Safeway Bakery today. And how 'bout those Cougs?

November 20, 2007


Woke up this morning to an eerily quiet house; no power. From the lukewarm water that came out of the hot water dispenser, it appeared that the power had been out for quite some time. I wasn't the least bit concerned until I realized that I had not ground any coffee and my grinder was not going to work without electricity. For those of you who know me personally, making coffee is the first thing I do in the morning after peeing. Yikes! I cursed for a while and then found some old Taster's Choice from my mom's last visit, and I must say it tasted really delightful with the lukewarm water and a little hazelnut creamer. Claire kindly reminded me that the pioneers did not have electricity. I guess I'm ill-prepared for the life of a pioneer.

This is a picture of the missing tip of Mark's index finger, which he lost last night to a hungry jointer. In true Mark fashion, he kept his cool and finished talking to his aunt on the phone about the nitrogen-fixing properties of soil, running cold water on the wound until he could hang up and treat it. We might have been able to have the tip sewn back on if it had not been shredded!

A layout of Ben from last summer using the supplies in my CPS October kit. I was a little behind and didn't get it done in time for the meeting last Saturday.

A layout of Claire's dance recital last spring, completed with this month's CPS kit. And thank you Erin for the lovely glitter. My studio is all a-sparkle!

November 19, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Awoke to find it had snowed during the night. When you're a kid, there's nothing quitel like the first snow of the year. The kids were up at 7:30 asking for boots and hats and it's now almost 9:00 and they're still out there sledding. Love it.

Here's one of my class samples; an advent calendar made from a cookie sheet. Fun!

And a couple of pages of another class sample; a 2008 calendar. It is made from scratch and I used the Bind It All system (my first time) to put in the spiral binding. Love how it turned out.

Just going to hang around for the next couple of days catching up with housework and working on some Christmas projects. The kids are out of school for the week and I'm looking forward to just spending quiet time with them. We're heading to the Tri-Cities on Wednesday for some family fun and feasting. Mark makes a mean smoked turkey and his mom is an awesome cook, so I'm anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving dinner.

November 15, 2007


Came home today to find this in my mailbox.

It was from my father-in-law. We don't get the newspaper and I covet these coupons. Not only did he send the coupon to me, but he sent some money to use with it. Out of the blue. So kind. So generous. So appreciated and welcomed. Especially today. It's the Great American Smoke Out and I am failing miserably. I've been taking the "wonder drug" for the past week and trying to psyche myself out, but I cannot get my head around it. And my shoulder pain is back, almost worse than before. May be heading back to physical therapy. So thanks Ray. Your random act of kindness really made my day!

Days Go By

I can and cannot believe it has been almost a week since I posted to this blog! Days go by so fast and I have been diligently working on my teaching samples. Not a lot of time to scrapbook these days but I did create this layout (with the supplies for my November KOTM from CPS; two birds with one stone) for the Tag, You're It Inspiration Relay, hosted by Lain at the ScrapHappy blog. I am on the Potato Latke team and am the third person on the relay list; we turned around 3 layouts in about 6 hours yesterday. Unfortunately, we are not first across the finish line. The Peanut Butter Kisses turned around all 5 layouts in 24 hours! Amazing!

Our bathroom is still gutted for the remodel, but Mark has the drywall and mortarboard up as well as the plumbing connected. We spent yesterday afternoon trying to pick out tile, but couldn't reach a consensus. There are far too many choices out there!
Hosting a crop at Crop Paper Scissors tomorrow night. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say hi!

November 9, 2007

Happy Birthday to You

It's my honey's 42nd birthday today. This is the 25th birthday I've celebrated with him and I have to say that he's only improved with age. He's still as smart and funny and kind and sexy as when I first met him. He took some friends and Ben and I to lunch at the mexican restaurant yesterday and we made him wear the big hat. He didn't want to wear it, but he was a good sport and so for his birthday I will mortify him and post the picture!

November 8, 2007

Hooray For Fall

We have two wonderful maple trees in our yard that produce an (over)abundance of leaves each fall. Mark and I thought it would be fun to create some sort of art that would follow the kids through the years as they played in the leaves, so we came up with this idea. Each year we'll take a picture of them laying in the leaves inside this old window frame holding the picture we shot from the year before. Next year the picture will be laying in the leaves holding the picture of holding the picture, and so on for as long as we can go. Fun project for us to do together.

Spent about three hours in my studio last night trying to put together a class project that just wasn't working out the way I envisioned. Went to bed totally frustrated, but this morning I am full of fresh ideas and excited for the project again. I love how a little "sleeping on it" can completely change your perspective. It was a good lesson for me to learn to trust the creative process and go with the flow.

November 7, 2007

Pics From Our Trip

A big THANK YOU to my parents for all their time and energy while we were visiting. I really make my family run when we're there because it's such a big city and there's so many fun things to see and do. I'm sure they sleep for a week after the Wildung clan vacates!

My sister Callie and Claire on the train at the Houston Zoo.

Ben's green tongue after a lime snowball at the Zoo.

Ben and Grandma on the Ferris Wheel at Kemah Boardwalk. It was our first ride of the day and Ben was giddy with anticipation.

The kid's favorite ride; the Bouncer. It takes you up a ways and then drops you back down. I rode once and that was enough for me, but they kept riding it over and over.

Highlight of the afternoon; running through the sprinklers.

And the infamous Heidi Swapp room at By Design Scrapbook Boutique. It was really lovely and creepy at the same time.

Getting everyone psyched for flu shots. Not going to be pretty, but oh so necessary. Ben is a freaker kid when it comes to shots, and this past summer it took me plus two nurses to hold him down for his boosters. Breaks my heart, but what's a mom to do? Maybe make the dad go?

November 5, 2007

Feeling the Bite

of a Monday morning after vacation. Left so much undone because, hey, I was going on vacation. Now my week is looming large and my mind is scattered around money and brownies and art and chores. Hate that out of control feeling; I know if I just get through today my outlook will be much sunnier!

Here are my little goblins on Halloween. A little late, but oh well. They had a blast trick or treating in the warmth and seeing all the hundreds of other children in my parent's neighborhood. They didn't last for too long, but we got plenty of candy and they gave me all their Reese's and Butterfingers.
Spent some time with my friend Erin down in Lewiston yesterday prepping for upcoming classes. Feeling the love for that, but also getting a little nervous to meet my first students and share my ideas. Hopefully I'll be able to post my samples later this week; going to do some serious dabbling in the glitter.

October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween! Would love to post some photos of all the fun we're having here, but alas my camera is not compatible with my dad's software, so you'll just have to be happy with my words.

Went to the Houston Zoo on Sunday. The weather was and is gorgeous here. The zoo was having trick or treating day, which was really fun for all the kids that were there, but not so great for me, who gets a little claustrophobic around lots of people. Ben got to see the tigers and Claire and I loved the Okapi, which looks like a cross between a giraffe and a zebra. Nature is amazing.

Got to visit Archiver's on Monday. It was like being a kid in a candy store! Walls of acrylic stamps and an inventory that pretty much covered all the products out there. Hung out for a long time while my mom took the kids to Target. Bliss.

Yesterday we headed down towards Galveston to visit By Design Scrapbook Boutique. This place was like a shrine to Heidi Swapp; pink walls and mirrors and bling everywhere, and in their pink classroom was the word SHE painted in giant white letters on the wall. They carry pretty much everything Heidi makes plus tons of other inventory and I found a few gems. Took lots of pictures for the gals back home.

Then we went on to a place called Kemah Boardwalk, which would remind me of Coney Island if I had ever been there. We had the amusement park all to ourselves and spent most of the day riding rides. Claire even rode the Bullet with me, the fastest wooden roller coaster in the country. She did have a little meltdown when we first got on, ripped off her seatbelt, stood up and screamed "I am not riding this thing!" But I got her calmed down and it turned out to be a good ride. Also met up with my brother Ray on the way home and got to hang out at his apartment for a while and meet his roommates. One of the guys was playing Guitar Hero on Xbox and Ben was fascinated watching him. He thought the guys were really cool and told them all about his new transformer Bumblebee!

Today we're hanging close to home and working on costumes and pumpkin carving. I might head down the road to check out another scrapbook store, but I also need to get some laundry done. I'm a light packer and need clean underwear. Hope your Halloween is spooktacular!

October 26, 2007

I'm Leaving...

on a jet plane. Tomorrow. Bags are packed. Boarding passes are printed. Alarm is set for 3:45 a.m. (yikes!) Texas here we come!

The kids have been bugging me to get a gerbil, which I have been resisting because we have quite a menagerie of pets already, all of whose care has somehow fallen to me. But, in the last month we have lost 2 of our cats; one stray who strayed somewhere else and recently, our 12-year-old kitty Booger is no where to be found. This morning when I told Claire that I thought Booger may have died, she replied "Two cats gone. That should at least be worth one gerbil." All we could do was laugh because it made sense in an 8-year-old, sadistic kind of way.

Here's the last layout I completed with my Kit of the Month from Crop Paper Scissors. Do you suppose Mark is jumping for joy at the thought of being single, sans kids for 8 days?