Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dead Cat Story

Three nights ago....

At about 1:30 in the morning, I woke up as I tried to roll over in my sleep. I woke up because the blankets were tight around my legs, and I couldn't move them very well. I glanced down and saw a dark, round blob laying at my knees. Well, this is where Lilly usually sleeps when she chooses to hop in bed with us, so I assumed it was her. I pushed against her, which is typically sufficient to send her the message to move. She did not move. I pushed a little harder, bending my knees slightly and shoving her toward the size of the bed. No response. I reached my hand down and patted her to get her to move. Something was wrong. She not only did not move, but she was hard and stiff and not breathing. Crap. The cat was dead.

So, I poked at Lucas, who was sound asleep, because I was tangled up in the blankets with a dead cat. He grumbled and rolled over, but showed no signs of really responding, soI persisted. "Lucas, you have to wake up. There's a dead cat in the bed beside me."


Again, "Lucas, there's a dead cat in the bed beside me."

Pause.... buffering.... buffering.... "What bed beside you? We have a bed beside you?"

"NO!! THE CAT IS DEAD BESIDE ME IN THE BED!" Surely this would prompt a coherent response. Right? This is what I got....

"Then go get a bag and throw it away."

"WHAT! No, get up. You have to get up."

So, he reluctantly and slowly got up out of bed, making a pit stop in the bathroom before taking further action. While he was in the bathroom, however, something interesting happened. The 'dead cat' MOVED! It popped straight up in the air, and went flying across my legs and moved up toward the pillows. It was MEAGAN! The 'dead cat' was her head. Oops.... I had been kneeing her in the head, and smacking at her trying to get her to move.

"Never mind, Luc. It moved."

Now, keep in mind that, by this time, Meagan was now laying on the pillows in the middle. So when Lucas came back to bed, there was a new lump on his side of the bed that had not been there before. So, not knowing it was his daughter, he starts shoving the lump, and smacking at it and poking at it trying to get it to move.

"Why is my blanket lumpy?"

"It's Meagan. She was the cat." We cracked up laughing for a few minutes, then went back to bed. Poor Meagan slept through the whole thing and never knew she had been so poked and prodded. As for the cat, she is doing just fine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sale - Shanmomto4 Designs at ahhh scraps!


Digital Artist Magazine

I was notified today that a layout of mine has been published in the September '09 issue of Digital Artist Magazine! I am in disbelief actually! This magazine is always crammed full of GORGEOUS layouts, and it seems surreal to have my layout be in the mix this month. If you're interested, it might be worth the purchase... the $6 includes not only the magazine with lots of amazing inspiration, but also 2 kits, a template and a brag book that you can download as part of your purchase.
Here's the layout I did that has been included in this month's issue... it's a few pictures from our trip to Meijer Garden. In the Story Telling Garden, they had this BEAUTIFUL display of a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

Journaling: 'Down the path in the story-telling garden, we came upon a beautiful table, set with ornate detail, beautiful dishes, and fantastic attendants straight out of Wonderland. It was magical, and I was captivated.'

Sunday, September 20, 2009

After School Checklist

Yup. I'm tired of finding 2-day-old leftovers in the book bags when I got to get their bags ready on Sunday night. I'm tired of hounding them about homework. I'm tired of telling them to put their stuff away. This is my reminder to them, so maybe I can help them develop good habits.


Today was Sebastian's first hunting trip with Daddy. He got all decked out in his camo shirt and orange everything we could find to put on him! LOL! They went out to sit in the tree stand and see what they could see. When they got back, I asked him if he had fun. "About 50%," he said. He was being bugged by bees, it was hot, and he couldn't see any animals. But I think he liked being with his Daddy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Bugs

Lucas asked me if I ever do layouts of the boys any more. Yes!!! I do! I love my boys! It's just that lately the kits that have been coming out have tended to be a bit more on the girly side. Here's a layout I just finished yesterday that has all 3 of the kids in it. That's better than nothing, right? It's just a bunch of pics from this past March (ooops... will have to update the date to '09 before printing...LOL) of the kids playing with their bug maker. The kit is a brand new one called Play by Sahlin Studio.

I got my hair cut...

Monday I got my hair cut. I told Cassie she could basically do whatever she felt like doing... this was the result. It was shockingly short, but it's one of those hair cuts I have always admired on others but have never been brave enough to try. She just helped me get past being a scaredy cat I guess!

I tried to get a picture of the back, but it is incredibly difficult to photograph the back of your head, apparently. LOL!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Album Additions

It's been a while since I've posted any layouts... I sort of took a break from scrapping for a bit so I could try to keep up with life in general! But I have been accumulating layouts here and there, and have six new ones to share!

Apple Orchard - From our October 2008 trip to the orchard for Meagan's preschool field trip. Still today, these are some of my favorite pictures. Maybe because it was such a fun memory! Maybe because I got 2 good shots her she and I together. Maybe it's just her cute black & white coat against the crisp fall colors. Who knows... I was just happy to finally get them scrapped to my satisfaction. I used a new kit by Sahlin Studios called Explore.Learn.Grow.

Today is Friday - I posted the guts of this layout last week. I took my Friday experiment and stuck it on a layout to document it visually. I used a cute kit by Roben-Marie at The DigiChick and some Sahlin Studio templates that she did based on a few of my own layouts... that was definitely something new for me! I swear the templates look better than my layouts did! LOL!

You - I LOVE these photos of Meagan. I snapped them the first day I had my new camera at one of Sebastian's baseball games. I swear I did NOT touch up her eyes to make them look like that. They really, truly photographed that blue! I did this layout, oddly enough, using a kit called BROWN-Eyed Girl, LOL! I have been holding these for a while to find something that I really liked to show them off.

All Dressed Up - A few pics of Meagan all dolled up for her very fancy tea party she had at Grandma H.'s house during the 2008 summer vacation. She might not always ACT very girly, but that girl sure does love herself some fancy dresses! She is such a contradiction sometimes! Again, oddly enough, the name of the kit I used was 'Contradiction'.... which is how I ended up with these pictures, because the name of the kit immediately made me think of my daughter!

Sunshine - This picture is of Isaac when he was only about 3 days old. He had jaundice after he was born, and the CRAZY doctor at the hospital went nutso on me and was NOT going to let me bring Isaac home because she said I would just sit him in a corner and let him get brain damage... someone should have jerked her license right out from under her... anyhow, she finally agreed to let me take my child home with me if I PROMISED to keep him in direct sunlight as much as possible - a tricky thing to do in the middle of December/January, some of the gloomiest months of the year. So this is our little corncob baby basking in what little sunlight we could find.
I used Dreaming of You by Shanmomto4 Designs

New Crayons - I swear one of the best 'little things' about childhood was a fresh box of crayons and a new coloring book! That was always such a treat! I remember opening the box and just admiring all of the fresh, sharp, colorful points, imagining all of the beautiful things I could create with them. Something about fresh art supplies.... anyway, Meagan apparently has the same fascination. We went to Wal-Mart one day for a few things & came home with a new box of crayons & coloring book. She was in 7th heaven all afternoon! Eventually every crayon was dumped out on the floor so she could see the colors better. LOL
For this layout I used Colors of Life by Cardamome and Everyday Play Alpha by Krystal Hartley

Inspiration Lane

One of the things I LOVE to do **WHEN*** I have some free time is to sit and browse through online galleries to see what others are doing. There are some amazingly talented ladies out there, and so many of them inspire me! But sometimes there is just something specific - or maybe something I can't quite quantify - about a layout that really triggers my creativity. Those layouts I like to tuck away for safe keeping, to draw from when I need a creative boost. I thought it would be fun to post a few such layouts from time to time so that I can look back later to see what has inspired me over time. And too, you can get a peek into some of the things I weigh into the whole process of making a layout.

So, here are a few layouts I found tonight that I really really like for one reason or another.

Handle with Care by SeattleSheri:

Holy buckets! This is just beautiful! I am so completely drawn to neutral backgrounds with vivid colors layered on top! This layout is full of stuff I love - gorgeous shadows, lots of brush work, and fantastic color combination!

All I need is Love by prisalles:

I love the way she used the same photo and cropped it 3 different ways. Love the black & white photos with the fun, bright colors. And I love the arrangement within the heart shape.

Sweet Candy Shoppe by JenJ:

I really like the paper & color she chose for the background. I think I am so drawn to it because it is something way outside of my comfort zone. I struggle to put patterns as the base of a layout, but she has done it so seamlessly. And the whole layout just oozes with the feel of her candy shoppe experience. I love that when the whole layout comes together to convey the memory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day of Drama

The first 2 days of school went off without so much as a tiny little hiccup. We were on time. Everyone was happy. Everyone was cooperative. No rushing. No problem!

Today, we had our first morning with any hint of stress. Maybe it was from the entire bowl of cereal & milk that was spilled all over the kitchen floor, requiring 1/2 a roll of paper towels to clean it up. Maybe it was the food squished & smeared all over the lunch box (that had been left in the book bag instead of taken out & put away properly). Or maybe it was something else... like the fact that the kids left the breakfast table at 8:00, with a good 20 minutes left to get dressed & brush teeth, yet when I went up to check on Isaac (who had yet to come back downstairs) at 8:16, I found him in his room with his PJ shirt on and his bare bottom hanging out.... clearly had NOT been getting dressed or brushing teeth for the last 16 minutes.... I suspect a Pokemon Card distraction (which is often the case when the boys get sidetracked)! Since the bus is schedule to pick them up at 8:20, we had 4 minutes to throw his clothes on, scrub his teeth, and rush down to grab shoes and his backpack.

I told him that if it happens again, he is losing his Pokemon cards for 3 days, among other things. If it continues to be an issue, I suppose their bedroom will have to be gutted and left completely void of all toys and books. I don't want to have to do that (mostly because it will cause a serious crowding problem in the basement), but I would rather do that than have to rush to beat the bus in the mornings!

Now, moving on with the day..... here's hoping for a stress-free morning from this point forward!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

So How'd It Go?

Isn't that the question of the day on the 1st day of school? Especially being in a new school, with new classmates and teachers that are completely unfamiliar? I know I was eager to find out, as I'm sure you are!

I went to the school to pick the boys up today. We had to be at gymnastics by 4:30, and I just don't trust the busing system to run on-time the first day! Isaac came running out with a great big smile on his face. He told me he has the best room ever in the whole building because it's the newest room (apparently an addition?). He said he doesn't know anyone in his class, and he forgot to eat the snack I sent (so he ate class graham crackers instead), but he had fun. Lunch was good (hot dog). His special was Music. Generally good report.

Sebastian, on the other hand, walked out with a kind of sulky look on his face. He got in the van & didn't say much. When I asked about his day, he answered with a nonchalant "good." Hmmm... Mom's suspicions are up. He really didn't offer up much info, even when I asked specific questions. I did find out that he remembers the name of one classmate he met today; it was kind of weird to have 2 different teachers (they switch teachers mid-day... one teaches a few subjects & the other teaches the rest); the ceilings are lower than they are at his old school (leave that one to Sebastian to observe); and he tried carrots with lunch but didn't really like them (he prefers crunchy, uncooked carrots). That was about it from him.

I suspect that he is missing his friends, some of whom he had been in class with for 3 straight years. I suspect he is missing the familiar and feeling a bit displaced. Please keep both of the boys in your thoughts & prayers over the next few weeks of adjustment. Things that seem so small and insignificant to us as adults can seem insurmountable as a child. All in all, though, I think they'll do just fine. It will just take some time to settle in.

School Pictures!

We had a great morning! The kids got up bright and early, ready to get back to school! They got themselves dressed before breakfast (although Isaac had to change pants twice, once because he 100% did not match, and once because his 2nd choice didn't even fit him). During breakfast Sebastian lost his front tooth (he lost his other front tooth a few days ago, so now he has a big giant gap in the front of his face!! lol!).

As we were finishing getting ready, Isaac started acting really funny - being very quiet and moody. I talked to him for a minute and realized he was getting nervous. Honestly, I had expected this from him, but I had expected it would have happened much earlier than this. We talked, and he asked me to pray with him, so we prayed. He seemed to settle, and he perked up quite a bit. Then we rushed outdoors to wait.

We did the picture thing, of course! LOL! Have you ever known me to pass up a photo-op?! The bus was actually on time, surprisingly! And I, of course, got choked up as I watched my big boys climb up the steps and onto the bus, on their way to a new year in a new school.


Back to waking up before 7:00.
Back to a morning routine.
Back to back packs and packed lunches.
Back to bus routes.
Back to school.

I'll be back later to post some pictures & details of the morning. We have a busy morning ahead of us still. Have a great day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bald Spot

Tonight Lucas gave the boys hair cuts to get ready for their first day of school tomorrow. To keep it clean, they did it out on the back porch. At dinner, Lucas said something about how the birds can use the hair for their nests, or something like that.

Sebastian made a funny face, rubbed his head, and said, "I can't imagine the birds taking all my hair. Then I would have a bald spot."

Isaac laughed.

"Then I would need a wig" Sebastian continued.

Isaac laughed harder.

Then silence.

"What's a wig?" Isaac asked. Apparently after laughing, he realized he didn't know what he was laughing at.

"A wig is fake hair for people who don't have their own,"answers Sebastian-the-know-it-all. "Like Grandpa. He could use a wig."

That was it. Isaac lost it! Clearly, the jokes are funnier when he actually understands what they mean!

C'mon October!!

I am beyond excited!! Last night we officially made plans to do something we've never done before! On October 3, Lucas and I are going with his dad & his grandpa on a fall colors train ride!! It's an all-day event, from 9:00 in the morning until 7:00 at night. I am just SOOO super happy to be able to do this! The only bummer is that his mom has to work, so she won't be able to be with us. But she has made me swear to take lots and lots of pictures and video!! Now we just have to figure out arrangements for someone to watch the kids... not spending $125 per child to have them couped up on a train all day complaining that they're bored! Eeek! I'm sure we'll figure something out!!

Less than a month to go!


So I thought that after eating virtually nothing for dinner last night, Meagan would be HUNGRY for breakfast. We had a special McDonald's family breakfast. She ate about 1/2 of her sandwich, gave Isaac the rest of her sausage and threw the remainder away. What are we going to do with that girl?!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You may be excused.

Again tonight Meagan was sent away from the dinner table for complaining and being disrespectful. She didn't like what we were having, and made it known in about ten different ways, from "I hate this" to "this is gross" to "I can't eat this." The list goes on. After a few moments of trying to redirect her and encourage her to try it, I gave her a warning. She continued, so I did what I told her I would do. She was simply excused from the table to go sit on her bed until everyone else was finished. No other food. No desert. No snack. She quickly started in with promises of "I won't complain...I won't whine anymore." But it was too late. So, her collective dinner consisted of about 4 bites of salad, one bite of baked potato, and a bite of garlic bread. She will be hungry for breakfast tomorrow!

Friday, September 4, 2009

From Start to Finish

I woke up today, and before ever getting out of bed, realized that there were about a million things I could possibly do today. I also realized that I had absolutely no plan. I think because I have so many open items on my list of things to do, lately I've been getting to the end of the day feeling as though I've done nothing. I know I've been busy doing something for almost every waking minute, but if I were to try to articulate where my time had gone, my explanation is most unimpressive. And at the end of each day, there is still a list that feels like it's a mile long of things yet to be done.

This morning, I decided to try something. I thought, If I am going to get to the end of my day and wonder if I've even done anything, I should at least be able to give myself an answer. So, I grabbed a fresh, never-been-used spiral notebook and a pen, and began. I jotted down everything I did today, just to see what my day actually entails. I realized a few things very quickly... 1) I get interrupted a lot, which pulls me off task, or gets me distracted... this is part of being a mom I think, but it's also a weakness of mine; 2) I do a lot of things automatically without even giving them a second thought. In the end, this was a fun, eye-opening exercise. I think what I liked the most about it, though, was that it shifted my perspective to what I WAS doing rather than what was still left to be done. That little shift can make all the difference in a day!

So, if you're interested, here are the results:

  • I woke up, started my day off with a good-morning prayer, which quickly got interrupted by Isaac & Meagan, who were fighting about who-knows-what. I helped them regain peace & composure, then got out of bed.
  • Headed downstairs, quickly checked emails & CT forums. I did a quick post on Facebook, then, determined NOT to waste my day on the computer, I moved on.
  • Next was breakfast. The kids and I talked about the day while I made a general to-do list & picked a few things to try to focus on. After breakfast I took a few minutes to flip through a new magazine.
  • On to bath time. Ran bath water for Meg & plopped her in for a good long soak. While she was decontaminating, I sorted kids' clothes and started the 1st load of laundry for the day. At one point during laundry, I had to stop and smile, as Meagan was humming Zippity doo dah. Love that. After getting laundry rolling, I scrubbed Meg, got her out of the tub & dried off. Added some fresh water to the tub for Isaac's turn. Then, another switch, as Isaac got out & Sebastian got in (since I don't have to do much for them during bath time anymore, I took that time to comb & dry Meagan's hair...always an experience).
  • On to the kids' rooms. I sorted through Meagan's mess, putting it into piles for her to clean up. Then did the same for the boys.
  • Next, helped Meg vacuum her bedroom.
  • Switch laundry, start a new load (stopping mid-stream to get Sebastian a band-aid to cover a puncture wound on his palm from one of his toys).
  • After giving the boys some encouragement on finishing their room, I started my own shower water. While I waited for the water to get hot, I straightened up the bathroom. Hurried through the shower, and short-cut the hair & make-up... it was time for lunch by then.
  • Lucas was already home from work for lunch, so I threw some shoes on, loaded Meg in the van, and we headed to Taco Bell to get lunch. Lunch with the family - lots of laughing... our kids are funny stuff!
  • Quick clean-up of sorts in the kitchen...left most of the mess for later, whenever that might be. Quick check of email and a quick blog post, then off to switch laundry & start the last load of kids' clothes....note by now my pile of things to fold is growing!
  • Throw some socks & shoes on & head outside to start planting some mums we got the other day. First, transplant a few existing plants to make room. Pull weeds. Plant mums (Meagan helped for a while, but lost interest when I wouldn't let her dig wherever she wanted with the big shovel). Brief pause to answer the phone & get a drink, then back to planting (it's 2:00 by this time... and I had made the choice to ignore the laundry for the time being... it could wait, right?)
  • After the mums were in the ground, into the kitchen to do a better job of clean-up - wipe down the table & chairs, sweep, load the dishwasher, clear off recycling. By now, it was snack time - hate to mess up the kitchen I just cleaned, but this is life w/ 3 kids at home I guess.
  • Quick straightening of the downstairs bathroom. Then the living room - more piles of toys in the middle of the floor for the kids to put away.
  • Decided I better run errands before it was too late - back into the van. Then to the bank. Then to Wal-Mart for a few groceries for dinner.
  • Unloaded the groceries while the kids cleaned their things out of the van -- oops, got sidetracked by email & Facebook again (lost about 20 minutes there)
  • Back to unloading groceries, and getting a start on dinner - made homemade pizzas & fresh fruit & veggies.
  • Cleared off recycling (again)
  • Loaded dishwasher (again)
  • Changed laundry to dryer (again)
  • Made our bed while I was up there
  • Waiting for Lucas to get home from work, I took a minute to download some new scrapping supplies to be put to use this evening.
  • Dinner - more funny stuff from the kids.
  • Then clean up (again)

It was then 6:45. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! Almost done with my stuff for the day. Just another quick shower (to wash off the dirt & grass from planting). Then we got to chill with the kids for a few before getting them ready for bed. They laid down to watch a movie around 8:00, and I officially went off-duty. Plopped my butt in the recliner with my laptop and played.

It was a good day. And even though my to-do list is still a mile long, I have come to the end of this day knowing that I used my time well. It was a good balance of working, playing & talking with the kids, and taking a few breaks here & there. Plus, now I have one very-specifically documented day that I can look back on years from now. It may seem very trivial today, but in 10 years, I know I will cherish being able to peek into this day, near the end of summer break, when my kids were 8, 6, and 4, and see what I did from start to finish.


Doing an experiment today. Will share later. Maybe I'm the only one who will have gained anything from it, but I guess at least that is something. I'll check back later.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

more and more

More and more I am noticing a fork in the direction of Meagan and the boys. More and more they are playing together and leaving her out. More and more they are unwilling to play girly games, and require her to play their "boy" games if she wants to play with them. More and more she is feeling the effects of being the only girl, and she is desperately wanting someone to play with her. Until this time, the boys have been very patient, very willing play mates. She has had very little trouble finding someone to play with her. Lately though, she has come to me to be her playmate. The only thing is, she keeps coming to me right at the time that I'm getting ready to do something or I am right in the middle of something. Sometimes it is something I can't put on hold. Other times, I have been able to make the choice to stop what I am doing and give her my time and attention. I feel bad, though, because I can only give her bits and pieces, or nothing would ever get done around here. What she really wants is for me to play at her side from sun up 'til sun down. What she really wants is a sister. Poor girl. She just needs to find a friend who can come over and play... a lot. (Just a note, I notice that her behavior gets most difficult to deal with when she is feeling the most frustrated about having to play alone. Interesting the way we have such a need for relationship and companionship even at such a young age, and how, even at four, that has such an impact on her mood and attitude. Amazing what can be learned about human nature by being a mommy.)

Bonus Food

Just a fun little thing. Yesterday for lunch, I ran through Arby's and got a bunch of sandwiches for us. When I got home and started unpacking the bags, I realized that they had given us 5 extra roast beef sandwiches and an extra box of fries. For a second, I thought of taking it back, but then realized they would just throw it out anyway. So we stuck it in the fridge and had them for dinner! Love a free meal every now & then!