December 31, 2009

'Tis the Season...

... of waiting, and waiting some more, and each time we think we're getting closer, more waiting. My irritation in waiting has been compounded by the fact that the farmhouse is really acting up: never-before-seen-problems with the water have arisen, forcing us to run into the snowy yard in our bathrobes to reset the pump to take a shower; lightbulbs are burning out left and right and the heating coil in the dog's water is kaput (I believe these are due to some kind of power surges in the electrical "system", if you can call what's been done to this house in the name of wiring any kind of "system"); the insulating pane on the back screen door, which has been holding on by one last spring for the past many years, has given up, and now each time I open the door I am greeted by an icy whoosh of air. And you know, we're not going to fix anything because we're kind of pissed off, and hey, we're leaving, but we're not exactly sure when, so guess who's suffering from their own spite? There's a lesson in here somewhere.

But we had an excellent Christmas, quiet and family-filled with some very happy children. Claire received American Girl Doll Kirsten, who was the source of many a pre-Christmas meltdown in our home because she was being retired this year and if we didn't have to save to buy a stupid house and if her parents weren't so anti-consumeristic would be hers to cherish forever. I love laughing on the inside at such emotional outbursts; I know I already bought the freakin' toy and it's their bad karma in being so shallow and materialistic that's causing them such torture. But I totally remember being a kid and spending hours drooling over all the toys I had to have in the Sears catalog, so I wasn't totally without compassion for her.

Then we miracled Ben with Lego Star Wars for the xbox, which he was convinced did not exist and would require the purchase of a wii so that he could be a happy boy. Thank you internet. Got out of that pickle for $7 plus shipping and felt a little less pinched at spending the money for his sister's doll! I took him on a hike with me to the mailbox yesterday for a little vitamin sunshine; he's been glued to the tv since Christmas day and I was starting to feel a little guilty. But again I have some compassion. He's on Christmas break and enjoying himself, and I certainly wouldn't want some uninformed grown-up telling me to take a break just when I've gained four light sabers to secure victory in the battle of Dexter's Diner!

We're going bowling today and ringing in the new year quietly at home, although there are a few booze bottles with tiny amounts of liquid in them that we don't want to move. I finished my 12 Tags of Christmas Project and uploaded a photo of them to Tim Holtz for the grand prize drawing tomorrow. If you've got any luck to spare, please send it my way.

Have an excellent New Year's Eve.

December 20, 2009

23 Years

Being married to you is most often amazing, sometimes challenging, but ALWAYS worth it, even though you are hauling an elk out of the canyon with your buddies today.....

Happy Anniversary to us.

(p.s. I like elk.)

December 8, 2009

12 Tags of Christmas

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

I've been doing a lot of improvising on these tags.
There's no supply list and we don't know what the tag will be until the day it's posted, so it's impossible to gather supplies ahead of time.
You all know how far I am from the scrapbooking store, so I've challenged myself to make do or go without in order to make a tag each day.
It's really stretching my creativity.
But we could all use a good stretch now and then.

December 4, 2009

A Christmas Pantry

I ran across this photo while cruising my blog list this morning.

Who DOES this?

Here's a much more practical photo.
One of my decorating elves rediscovering Comet,
the moose or reindeer (we can't decide).

And my other little elf, looking so beautiful and festive.

Have a great weekend.

December 3, 2009

12 Tags of Christmas

Day 2

Day 3
I am having too much fun doing these tags.
Tim Holtz is a technique master!
I do wish he'd lighten up on the somber colors a little though.

Here's my living room this morning.
As you can see, holiday decorating is in full swing around here.

November 30, 2009

Hello Monday

I made it through the Thanksgiving holidays with only three extra pounds under my belt, which is amazing considering I pretty much tried to eat myself to death and spent the better part of the wee hours of one morning stumbling around an unfamiliar house in search of antacids.

This candidly captured moment of cousin Davina is an excellent example of how we all felt about Mark's famous smoked turkey. Thank you Jen for hosting and I will be sending a bronzed plaque to mount on the table proclaiming that I am the QUEEN of air hockey!

Tomorrow I will ring in the month of December with my completed December Daily album. I made it from scratch using chipboard for the covers and spine and then binding them together with Seven Gypsies gaffer tape. I covered the pieces with some Making Memories Mistletoe paper, painted the paper green and then rubbed off most of the paint with a paper towel. Then I gave the whole thing a light covering of clear glitter paint and added my embellishments. I cut the bird from SEI Wintersong paper and adhered it along with a little bling.

Inside pages made from whatever I had laying around.

I'll be adding lots more detail as the days pass and I add pictures and journaling to this base. This is the third year I've done this project and I absolutely love it.

And also beginning tomorrow, I'll be participating in this.
Anyone else?

November 23, 2009

Hello Monday

It was such a pleasure to sleep in this Monday morning. The kids are out of school for the week and Mark is on vacation, so there was no alarm clock to interrupt our sleep this morning, although I did lose a little bit of sleep from the squiggly boy who made his way into my bed for a snuggle in the wee hours of the morning. My father-in-law and nephew are visiting for a few days of hunting, so there might be some rooster pheasants in my freezer before long.

We're making our way to the Tri-Cities to meet up with the Jones clan for Turkey Day. I haven't seen most of them since Mt. Rainier in 2008, so I'm really looking forward to catching up and devouring one of Mark's delicious smoked turkeys. Our dinner will be gluten/dairy-free, which concerns me a little, but I'm keeping an open mind!!

I am almost finished with my December Daily album and will certainly be ready to begin recording come December 1. I made it completely from scratch, even trying my hand at book-binding the cover, and I am so pleased with the results. Just a few more details and I'll be ready to share.

And Ben ran in his school's annual Turkey Trot, receiving, along with everyone else, the coveted popsicle stick at the finish line. So important, that popsicle stick, but I totally get it.

November 17, 2009

Tuesday Challenge

The word was STOP.
So, in the spirit of keeping with the challenge, that's what I'm going to do.
Who was I to imagine long days of leisurely crafting leading up to Christmas?
I'm no Martha Stewart and I hear there's a shortage of elves this year.
So I'll STOP.
And pick it up again after we're settled in our new home.

November 16, 2009

Hello Monday

I'm hoping this week will bring less anxiety and more calmness to our lives. The holiday season last year was spent in the throes of cancer and preparing for Germany. This year will be spent preparing to move. So be it.
I can groove to any beat.

We're touring some houses in Pullman this morning. I LOVE doing that.

Christmas crafting is in full swing around our house. I LOVE that.

Claire and her schoolmates will be performing their winter musical on Thursday. I LOVE that too.

Both of my kids are turning out to be excellent spellers. I REALLY LOVE that.

I spent the afternoon yesterday in the company of women, making art with my friend Shawna and our daughters. Lots of stories and laughing and painting and gluing going on. I was finally light-hearted after spending last week pumped on adrenaline. It felt so good.

November 13, 2009

Embracing Change

It's not really my favorite thing to do, changing. In fact, it's really hard for me and I usually try to avoid it, choosing instead to stick with what I know. But inevitably change comes and rears its ugly head and I am forced to embrace it.

We are moving. Not something I expected to have to do right now, but things have gone from bad to shit here on the farm and it is no longer our home. It turns out that despite the words people may choose to say to you, you can never really know what's in someone's heart. And some people have really hard hearts. Now, I am in no way completely innocent here, I got fed up and said a few harsh words, but they were true and real. It's not the first time that speaking my mind has gotten me into trouble, but I just can't live inauthentically. The current adjective for me around here now is "difficult", but I prefer to view my actions in this situation as bold and passionate. It is my story, after all.

So I am ANGRY and SAD and HURT. But I am also EXCITED and RELIEVED and so very GRATEFUL for the outpouring of support from family and friends and our community. We will be moving back to town as soon as we find a place we can call HOME. And good luck to Box 4 Ranch, they're going to need it.

In the words of coach Eric Taylor from one of my favorite TV shows:
"Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose".
Good way to live, don't you think?

November 10, 2009

November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Mark

May the next year of your life be as magical and fortuitous as the last.
I love you babe.
Have a great day.

November 8, 2009

Words of Wisdom

When our lives become pageants, we become actors.
When we become actors, we sacrifice authenticity.
Without authenticity, we can't cultivate love and connection.
Without love and connection, we have nothing.
-Brene Brown

November 3, 2009

One Little Word Challenge

There is a blog I love called One Little Word. For the past couple of years they have been posting words on their blog and asking readers to link the art that the word inspires. They have completed 50 word prompts; I played along for the first 25 and then petered out, although I continued to visit and admire. I recently learned that they are calling it quits and it really saddened me because I always assumed I would have time to join in again. Well, I've decided there's truly no better time than the present, so each Tuesday I will post a word from the archives of One Little Word, starting at the beginning and continuing for 50 weeks. I'll share my layout the following week along with the new word. Anyone want to play along with me? Just share your layout (whatever size or shape or color you want, it's your art) as a link on the challenge post.
This week's prompt: GO
I'd love to see where you "go" with that.

November 2, 2009

Hello Monday

Unlike many people, I like Mondays.
It's my "gown down" and catch up on blogs day.
It's the day I make my grocery list.
It's the day I usually bake bread.
And on Mondays, there's a little bit of quiet at my house,
that is until I crank up the music,
which I inevitably always do.

Here's my girl with her pumpkin.
It turned out to be a cute kitty cat.
Not an ounce of horror in that one I tell you.

And here's the crew before heading to town.
We met up with some friends for trick or treating.
The boys ran full throttle to each and every house.
The girls walked nonchalantly far behind and talked.
We combed two neighborhoods and have plenty of chocolate.
And I've had my fill of Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

October 30, 2009

First Graders Are So Stinkin' Cute

Today I helped out in Ben's classroom for their Halloween party. The teacher let each student take a turn sharing what their costume was and why they chose it. One little girl stood up and said
"I am Robin Hood and I chose this costume because it was the only one for $9.95."
I love the brutal honesty of first-graders!

I'm mere hours away from the Design Team crop at Paper Pals tonight. It's been well over a year since I've scrapbooked with a group and I am giddily anticipating basking in all that creative genius. I'll (hopefully) be finishing my albums from Europe. And me, little thyroid-less, tired girl will be out past midnight. Woot! I hope I don't have to stop for a nap!

Happy Haunting!

October 29, 2009

It's Still Fall, Right?

It's a balmy 32 degrees and SNOWING on the Palouse this morning. Granted the ground is not frozen so it won't be sticking around, but need I remind Mother Nature that it's not even Halloween yet? I'm feeling a bit apprehensive about this little winter preview; girls without thyroids and cold weather are not the best of friends.

Crazy busy around here. We've had to turn the shop over to the new farmers, so we are in the middle of a forced reorganization that has left no part of our house untouched. And it's parent-teacher conference week, so the kids only attend school in the mornings. Seems like we just get them dropped off and it's time to pick them up again. They are so ready for Halloween; Claire is going to be a pirate and Ben will be a ghoul with a "screamer" mask. We've already made an agreement about Mama's share of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which is that if I have to stand out in the cold while they ring doorbells, I get them all.

I get to spend a couple of hours visiting with my friend Jill today, then watch Grey's Anatomy with my friend Laura tonight. And tomorrow night I will be cropping at Paper Pals with the design team. It's been way too long since I got my "scrap" on!

October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My friend Angela features Wordless Wednesday on her blog, and as I go about my Wednesday mornings I find myself wondering what photo she will post for me.
I'm totally stealing it.
Thanks Angela.

October 16, 2009

A Little Bit of This

From a basket of these

To jars of this

And a pan of this

And then there's this

Have a great weekend!

October 15, 2009

Art Share

Riding the laufrod full throttle down a steep incline and around a 90 degree corner without a helmet or any other protection. He's a maniac. Please don't turn me in to CPS.

Good friends visiting and laughing together in Olympia last summer.

What are you creating?

October 13, 2009

Living With Kids

Beside the noise level and the obvious "little people" contraband strewn about the house, I often find other small clues that children live here. I find that these little clues are welcome day-brighteners.

A can of homework pencils become weapons for Ben's robots after he finishes his work. This was a favored activity for a few days last week and I loved stopping to admire his formations on the kitchen table.

A little someone left a cache of chestnuts on a shelf in my office for me. These little piles of "things" that I find around the house are such indicators that Claire has been there. My little squirrel; she's always been a collector of "things".

Here's a sneak peek of this month's layout for Paper Pals Design Team, inspired by my children who love to wear santa hats and pose beneath the Christmas tree each year. If you're a scrapbooker, Anita is all about challenges right now over on the blog.

It's raining and I'm so relieved. It was a long, dry spell and I was starting to get cranky with all the static electricity. Fall is certainly exerting its influence around here: a fire in the wood stove, a bushel of apples waiting to be sauced, a deer in the freezer and steelhead running in the rivers (those last two make for a very happy guy, which makes for a happy me).

October 9, 2009

The Best Way to Have Horses...

... is to have horses who belong to someone else.

This is Snowball. He and two of his buddies, Royal and Count, are spending some time in our lower pasture, eating down the grass and being cute.

How would you like to be this ten-year-old? She loves these horses. And she's a natural. She helped brush and saddle Royal and was very easy around him.

This one is a little more timid, but also in love. He's trying so hard to take the riding seriously, but he wants to burst out and laugh.

I did get upon the horse and Mark gallantly lead us around the pasture, but I'm definitely the most timid of all. I'm getting used to them, feeding them apples out of my hand and scratching their noses, but I wouldn't call it easy.

You never know what new things you might have to learn in a day.

October 5, 2009

Feelin' Stronger Everyday

The "yuck" has moved on down the highway and let me just say how sorry I am for the next folks who catch it. It's times like these when I realize just how much Mark and I each do around here; it's so very hard for both of us to be down at the same time.

I did finish up my Big Picture Scrapbooking class with Cathy Zielske (on time) and I am so pleased with the results. It was a lot more work than I expected, but well-worth the effort and now I have this great little piece of me at this time in my life. I don't usually spend the money to take classes, but there was really no other way for me to do this project. I tend to leave projects without a timeline unfinished and I needed the parameters of the class to get it done.
So very glad I took the plunge.

My album, a 3-ring binder courtesy of Target.

My title page. I used patterned paper from the Early Bird line by Cosmo Cricket.

And the guts. All the pages followed this format, so once I completed the journaling it came together really quickly.

Trivia: does anyone know the band whose hit song is today's post title?