Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Learning to Cast

Journaling: After Sebastian's birthday party, we had an evening of family time, finished off by a night of fishing. The boys got a lesson in casting out in the yard from Uncle Shane before they left for the lake. They didn't end up catching anything, for which I think Isaac was a little disappointed. But still, they had their first lesson on learning to cast.

(Click here to view full credits)

Today's Adventure

After a conversation yesterday morning with the registrar at the new school, I realized that I was short one birth certificate - specifically Meagan's. I checked online to see what I would need to do to get said birth certificate. Three choices: 1) standard request - return time 6+ weeks, 2) expedited request - return time 4-6 weeks, 3) in-person request - return time same day. Seeing as registration is required prior to the 4-6 week time frame, I thought option three sounded like the way to go.

Unfortunately, that meant a day trip. So, today we loaded up DS's, Leapsters and the DVD player, a few dragons, dinosaurs, and stuffed animals, and we headed north. We had to go to downtown Lansing to the Office of Vital Statistics (nice name) to make our request. Other than having a bit of a tough time finding the little side street the building was on, it went rather smoothly. We were in and out within five minutes to make the request. A two-hour wait, so we decided to leave, go get lunch, do some running, and then come back. So we had lunch at Red Robin, did a few errands, visited with a few friends in the area, and then went back to pick up her birth certificate. Again, in and out in less than five minutes. Love that! Every government office should be so efficient!

It was funny, I hadn't been in a downtown mid-day setting in quite some time. All the people in their suits, walking fast, talking on cell phones with coffee in their hands. Ahhh, sigh of relief, I don't miss that at all. It was a good reminder of how blessed I am to be sporting a mini-van and hauling kiddos. Wouldn't change it for the world!

Anyhow, we had a safe, uneventful trip. Ordered pizza for dinner, and it's gonna be an early bedtime for the kids, as they are a little edgy.


I think some of the most precious gifts I am given as a mommy are the funny, unexpected conversations I get to have with the kids, or the things I get to overhear.

The other day, Meagan had been playing out side with our little neighbor boy... we'll call him BB. It's important to know that the very first time we ever met BB, he declared to me that he was (is) in love with Meagan. He has decided he is going to marry her, and she, apparently, has decided she will also marry him. It's also worth mentioning that Meagan has never paid attention to boys pre-BB. She has never given it a though. Sure, she has had the little girl "I'm a princess and I'm going to grow up and marry a prince and be a mommy, yadda yadda" but nothing related to a specific boy... until now. But the two of them remain totally infatuated with each other. Besides that, they also just play really well together. So it kinda works out I guess.

Anyway, the other day, they had been playing outside together for quite some time. She had to come inside for a rest / movie down-time. After it was over, she ran up to her room, got her necklace out of her drawer and put it on. Then she put on her very fanciest white dress shoes. She even checked her hair in the mirror. Then she went running out the front door, full of excitement.

But she stopped dead in her tracks on the front sidewalk. She just stood there and stared over at their empty driveway, which meant that BB and his mom were not home. Her head drooped, her shoulders slumped. She looked utterly devastated.

"What's the matter?" I asked her.

With a sigh she replied, "I was going to get married today." Then she moped off toward the garage.

Well, we needed to run a few errands, so I loaded the kids up in the van. Meagan was still feeling a bit sad (it really had only been a few minutes though, and she can be drama for quite a while when she wants to). I buckled her in, got in the driver's seat, and started to back out of the garage. Then a tiny, sweet little voice says, "Momma, I was going to ask you.... When I grow up, and after I get married, can I have one of your rings, because I don't have a ring for being married."

"Sweetheart, when you are old enough to get married, we'll talk about the ring." That seemed to be enough for her, and she forgot about it for the rest of the night.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Photos Today - 6/27/10

Several pictures from today...

McDonald's Sweet Tea on the way home from church... I tried a new church today. It is such a weird feeling to be a stranger in the crowd again. I haven't felt that for a long time. Starting over...

Bacon spinach salad and bread sticks for lunch. Yum.

Hot. 'nuff said.

Made this castle for the hall tree in Isaac's room. He chose dragons and castles for his room, and the one thing he asked for is a sign that says "Isaac's Castle." We found this little castle at Hobby Lobby, although it was all pink and purple. Nothing a little paint can't fix!

Playing in the sprinklers with the neighbor boy and two other little boys. Six kids, 6 sword-like weapons, two sprinklers, and wild imaginations. I think they were all secret super spies who were fighting bad guy aliens or something like that. It always makes me smile to overhear their play.
After getting our 1/2 bath painted yesterday, today I semi-decorated. I decided to refinish the mirror since it didn't match anything else that was in there. Gonna do white paint as the base and then go over it with crackle paint. Hope it turns out...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Check Some Off the List

Well, tonight we checked a few things off of our summer list already! We went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant that we've never tried - 2 things off the list (Go Out for Mexican, Try a New Restaurant). Afterward, we spent almost 2 hours wandering through Bass Pro Shop. At first the kids weren't so excited about the idea of going to a 'hunting store' but once we got there, it was like the adventure of a lifetime. They had a ball exploring and seeing what they could find. The whole evening was going wonderfully!.... until a crossbow fell on Isaac's head. No kidding. He was in the middle of the aisle, looking at the animal tracks on the floor, when a bow fell of the display and slid right down the left side of him. He has a big goose egg on the side of his head and scrapes on his arm. The employees who were nearby nearly apologized me to death! They kept asking me if I wanted to file any paperwork, or if there was anything they could do for us. Lucas said later I should have tried to get a new gun out of the deal. LOL. He's such a goofball. In all serious, though, Isaac is fine. Nothing he couldn't have done on his own. By the time he got home, he had totally forgotten about it and had moved on to other things. No worries.

Although Meagan was getting very tired and crabby toward the end, the general consensus is that we should go there again. They have a free family summer camp on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. We may look into that this week. Could be fun!

The List

I saw this idea on one of the blogs that totally inspires me: whatever. I thought, since we've just moved to a new place and there is lots we have not experienced about our new town, a list of our own would be a fun tool to help us stay creative and adventurous throughout the summer. So, here's our list:

We've got plenty of room at the bottom still to add new things as we get new ideas. Not sure if you can read it all, so here's what's on the list so far:
  • Swim in Grandma & Grandpa's Pond
  • Photo Scavenger Hunt
  • Visit the Farmers' Market
  • Bake a Surprise Treat for a Neighbor
  • Zoo Day
  • Go See a 3-D Movie
  • Walk to Mr. Freeze to get Ice Cream
  • Swim in Grandma and Grandpa's Pool
  • Get Library Cards and Check out Reading List Books
  • Go Out for Mexican Food
  • Catch Fireflies in the Bug Jar
  • Slip-n-Slide in the Backyard
  • Paint / Refinish Dressers and Drawers
  • Plant Flowers
  • Popcorn & Family Movie Night at Home
  • Back yard Sprinklers
  • Hershey's Ice Cream
  • Read 30 Hours Each this Summer
  • Organize Basement Toys & Art Supplies
  • Try a New Restaurant we've never tried
  • Feed the Horses at the Farm
  • Visit the Science Center Downtown
  • Picnic Lunch
  • Walk to Get Fresh Donuts
  • Kids Chef Night
  • Build & Launch a Model Rocket
  • Play at the Park
  • Ice Cream Party at Our House
  • Visit an Aquarium
  • Stepping Stone Art Project
  • Visit a Children's Museum
  • Lego Land
  • Walk UT's Campus
  • Eat a Meal Using Chopsticks
  • Bike Ride through the Park
  • Go to the Community Pool
  • Play Miniature Golf
  • Go Fishing
  • Explore Bass Pro Shop

Some Girly Layouts to Share

I've had to steal scrapping time here and there after kids' bedtimes and between painting and projects. So even though I've been semi-productive, it doesn't seem like it because it has been so pieced together. Anyway, it completely slipped my mind to post them here once I was finished with them. Here goes. Two layouts, both girly ones. Actually, both are pictures from Meagan's birthday party last month. I promise to work on some boy layouts soon... I hope.

Journaling: You got this costume for your birthday, and you ran and played in it all day on the day of your party. I love that you felt so special on your special day. Plus, I love that I got a few precious pictures of you.

(Click here to view full credits)

Journaling: This is Meagan's friend who lives by Grandma and Grandpa H. They don't play together often, but when they do they have a blast. It's fun for Meg to have a girl her age to run and play with and just be girly. With 2 big brothers in the house, she doesn't get much of that. Whenever she does get 1-on-1 girl time, she just eats it up.

(Click here to view full credits)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hog Wild

My little cupcake piggy oinking out on her birthday cupcakes this year. Love her and her funny faces!

Journaling: Who can resist pigging out on birthday cupcakes? really, why even try?

(click here to view full credits)

I was excited today to see that this layout was featured on the Creating Keepsakes Magazine blog for gallery spotlights. Thanks CK!

About Today

Another day come and gone. I spent much of the day sorting through paperwork that had been all jumbled together pre-move. Paid some bills. Made some phone calls. Looked into getting the kids registered in their new school.

The highlight of the day was that our friends came over for dinner. Super good friends. Haven't seen them for several years. I was a little blown away at how grown up their kids have gotten... I guess time will do that, huh? We had a good time just hanging out and catching up. I love that. They are leaving this weekend to move out to the west coast. I am excited for them, but sad that they are moving so far away. Maybe some day we'll all actually end up in the same place at the same time. We can hope.

The most precious thing about today for me, though, came this evening. I was sitting here doing a layout, and Meg came downstairs. Couldn't sleep and needed some snuggles. We tried the couch, but she just couldn't settle. So we moved up to our room. I just love little baby girl cuddles. She is so sweet, always pulling my arm over her and hugging her little arms around me. Can't get enough of that. It will be gone too soon. I have to eat it up while I can. *sigh*

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dining In

Finally! We have rediscovered the kitchen! It has been a long time since I've had a fully-stocked kitchen and time to cook. But we have finally gotten settled in enough that I was able to make my first grocery trip and plan out a few meals. Tonight it was WAY too hot to cook indoors, so I planned a meal on the grill. We had chicken, Italian veggies, and cinnamon apples on the grill as well as steamed corn on the cob. YUM! The veggies are a basic staple in our summer diet. We basically chop up fresh broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, and whatever else, coat it with olive oil and Italian seasoning, and grill them in a grill basket. Delicious and simple. The apples are the total opposite of a staple. In fact, I just made them up today *LOL*. I was talking to Lucas' mom, and she said something about eating apple crisp. I thought, "Mmmm, that sounds great. Maybe I'll make some for dinner," at which point I realized that would incorporate heating up the oven, which I was trying to avoid at all cost. So, I decided to experiment. If it worked out, great! Cinnamon apples for dinner. If not, we were out five apples and a handful of spice. No big deal. Here's what I did: Pealed & diced 5 apples. Threw some sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch (although I think next time I'll use more cornstarch than I used tonight... they were a little thin) on them and mixed it all up. Then I put the apples, 2 ice cubes, and 3 pats of butter into a foil pack and threw them on the grill. I think they grilled for about 30-35 minutes... they were very tender and tasty. Worked like a charm! Will definitely be doing that again. Sounds like a great topping to some vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Boxed In

Help! We're trapped in here... under all these boxes!

Seriously, though... Moving went well. Unloading was smooth, and they were out of here by 3:45. Now we are left to all the unpacking and sorting. Finding that an extra 600 square feet and a finished basement doesn't always mean extra room... not sure yet how that translates? Oh well. We'll figure it all out. I've spent ALL afternoon / evening trying to solve the Rubik cube-like challenge of fitting everything into the kitchen cabinets. If I can just get the tupperware containers stuffed away somewhere, I will be calling it a night.

I promise, I have pictures and stuff. I'm just way too tired to mess with them right now. So I will blog out of chronological order by posting pics days later... and you will still love me. For now, back to cabinet stuffing. And then maybe a little '24' on Netflix before completely crashing. 'Night.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Little Too Packed?

Well, the movers have come and gone for the day. Got the whole house packed in one day. Nice! So tomorrow morning they'll be back to finish the stragglers - like the bedding, the laundry supplies that we were still using as of 5:00 this evening. Once the stragglers are tucked away, they'll load the truck. As long as all goes well, they will be delivering our stuff to the new house on Wednesday. Yea!!!

So here's the thing.... they told us first thing this morning that whatever was on the beds they would not pack... so the beds are like a "safe-zone." Sure, makes sense. So, we started loading up the beds with stuff we needed to keep out for tonight and tomorrow. What I did NOT realize, however, was that somewhere in the mix of the day, our actual PILLOWS made their way off of the bed and onto the floor. We made this discovery tonight as we were clearing out the "safe-zone" and straightening out the blankets to get ready to actually lay down and crash. "Where are the pillows?" Lucas asked. As we are both fairly exhausted, it took a short moment for either of us to realize that the pillows must be safely tucked away in one of the many boxes stacked around the house.

Instantly, we both looked at the pile of stuff we had just cleared off the bed to see what might be useful for pillows. Jackpot!! In a laundry basket of kids stuff, there were some pillows and stuffed animals that had been set aside. My brat of a husband calls shot-gun, so to speak, for the only semi-normal looking pillow thing in there. "I get the monkey pillow!" Crap! That leaves me with Pikachu (a little 10x10 throw pillow) and a stuffed husky dog. Oh well, I guess we'll make it through the night. And live to laugh about it another day.

As for now, I don't care what I sleep on, as long as sleep is involved. This time tomorrow, we should be settling in for a (good) night of sleep in our new house!!

Bright and Early

Bright and early this morning, the movers were at our house for packing day. Our front porch is currently full of packing supplies - boxes, paper rolls, packing tape. Our kitchen is EMPTY (which I don't entirely mind, as it means NO cooking for me for the next few days!.... only problem is, it also means no snacks, no drinks since there are no cups in the cabinets... hmmm... maybe i could have thought through that a bit more on the front side? oh well).

Anyhow. Kitchen is empty. Basement is packed up. Living room and Meg's room are currently in progress. So far today, we've had McDonalds for breakfast and Wendy's for lunch. We may need to detox after this is all said and done. The kids have already ridden their cars/trucks/jeeps in circles around the house until the batteries wore out. Now the boys are playing DS, and Meagan is snuggled up on the couch feeling a little crabby.

Everything is in a bit of disarray, but I am resting on the fact that it is temporary! The OCD in me is struggling a bit at the moment :) Tomorrow or Wednesday will be load-the-truck day. Then we head out. Bittersweet. But I am very much looking forward to the new home, the new adventure, and the return of the sense of being settled. Just a few days.... I can see the light!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scrap Catch-Up

Well, I am VERY behind on posting, as my husband daily reminds me. He has been waiting rather impatiently to see a few stories from the past few weeks find their way to my blog... we'll see if I can get those up soon. For now, I'm taking the easy way out, and I'm catching up on a few pages I've yet to post.

My friend Krista (aka Sahlin Studio) is guest designer at Shabby Pickle this month, and she has got some C.U.T.E. stuff in her shop there! For the first 2 layouts, I used her guestie goodies.

1. Flag Football - I LOVE a good grungy boy kit! I've had these pictures for over a year & a half, waiting for a good boy-ish kit to come along. Finally! I used GRUNGE by Sahlin Studio for this one...

Journaling: Sebastian played flag football this fall. He scored the first touchdown of the season. He had a blast, and showed off not only his speed, but also his determination and grit!

(Click here to view full credits)

2. Something New - One thing in my scrap stash that I can never have enough of is alphas!! I am an alpha junkie! I LOVE them! The right type can really make (or break) a page. There are a few designers I consider go-to's when it comes to finding a cute new alpha, and Krista is one of them. On this page, I used 2 of her new alphas - Plastic Tile Alpha and Candy Coated Alpha. I also used some cute new goodies from TLP.

Journaling: We're off on an adventure... a new chapter in our lives. We're closing the door on Michigan, and looking forward to what lies ahead. A new state, a new home, a new set of friends and neighbors to meet and get to know. Sure, it's a little challenging to face the future, not knowing what's to come. But I know we're gonna be good, and that this will be a positive change.

(Click here to view full credits)

3. Dad (Just Like You) - These pictures are a few years old... Lucas teaching the kids to shoot a bow. Very cute! For this, I used a new kit by Leora Sanford called Just Like You, full of cute dad stuff in honor of Fathers' Day.

Journaling: True, we don't have a daddy who wears suits and ties or drives a fancy car, but we are so lucky to have a daddy who takes time to teach us & invest in our lives. We love the time he spends with us. It's these times that shape us into who we are.

(Click here to view full credits)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mower Madness

Have you ever regretted something? I mean, REALLY regretted it? I'm not talking about the mortal kind of regret that changes life as we know it. A step down from that. The kind of regret that makes you say, "Why did I do this?" or "This really sucks" or "I will NEVER do this again." That kind of regret.

Tonight I can say with all sincerity that I have spent the past hour and fifteen minutes in the midst of such a regret. But to tell the story properly, I have to back up a few days.

This past weekend, Lucas and I loaded up both vehicles with tools, supplies, clothes and kids (and a cat... a whole different story to be told later) and headed down to the new house for a weekend of painting and maintenance. Maintenance, which included mowing the lawn, thus requiring that we take along our one and only mower and matching gas can (the mower, I realized we were taking... the gas can, I had not thought about... more about that in a minute). We got there; Lucas mowed the lawn; all is well... in Ohio. However, we still have one lawn in Michigan that is very much in need of mowing. The only problem is that Lucas is staying in Ohio this week... the kids and I were the only ones returning to the unmowed Michigan lawn... and we were in the mini-van. As we were loading up, Lucas and I had a quick conversation about whether or not to transport the mower back to Michigan in the van with the kids and the clothes and no real place to put it or way for me to unload it solo. We decided to leave the mower in Ohio, and I would "figure something out" when I got home. Thus begins my regret.

SO. Yesterday evening, around 6:00, I went to my neighbors, explained the situation, and asked if it would be to much to ask to borrow their mower. After some discussion, she agrees. She leads me to the garage where there are 2 mowers... one looks very nice; the other, not so much. She reaches for the 'not so much' one and wheels it over to me. But, beggars can't be choosers, so I thanked her and pushed the mower down the sidewalk and back to my driveway. I wheeled it into the garage to fill it up with gas, at which point, I discovered the lack of gas can. Nice. So, I checked the gas status... I could SEE some gasoline down in there. I was hopeful that maybe I could get more done than I thought. So I began.

It took me only about one and a half passes to discover that, in cases of mowers, you apparently CAN judge a book by its cover. It really lived up to the 'not so much' assessment I had initially made. Only three of the wheels turned, so it had a very nice 'bad shopping cart' effect in which the mower would sort of just pull off to one side, making it rather difficult to mow in a straight line (a trait generally valued by mowers across the nation). Also noted was the complete LACK of self-propulsion, meaning I had to do some SERIOUS pushing. I mean, my body was at an obtuse angle to the mower at almost all times... resulting in some serious calf cramps, but who's complaining? I think, however, my most favorite feature was the grass guard thingy (you know, the cover that directs the shooting grass and shrapnel AWAY from you when functioning properly) with a pin that wouldn't stay in, which meant that it vibrated out about every 1 1/2 passes, causing the guard to fall off and grass to spray directly at my face and chest. Then I would stop the mower, put the pin back in, and start again where I had left off. Regret level seriously increasing moment by moment. (Let me just add at this point that I did finally bust out the duct tape and tape the pin into the guard to keep the stupid thing from falling off... it didn't exactly stay in place the whole way through, as it still bounced around much more than I'm sure it was originally designed to do, but at least I was no longer ducking for cover as random pine cones and other debris flew at my face... I still took a few hits to the ankles.)

Like I said, I was hoping that I would get more done than I expected. I didn't. I finished the biggest portion of the front yard and a few strips down the side when the mower ran out of gas and died. Yard status: striped. Not attractive. At all.

So I went back to my neighbor and explained that I was out of gas and was going to keep the mower until the morning, when I would go get a gas can and be able to continue. She didn't seem to mind that... honestly, I think she was just relieved that I didn't ask to borrow her gas as well. Anyhow, it seemed like a suitable plan, so I wheeled the crazy mower back to my garage and parked it for the night.

This morning, my mowing morning, it poured. I mean rain dumped all over us, with a little thunder and lightening mixed in just for fun. It rained until at least noon-ish. Even when it stopped, it was way too soggy and saturated to attempt to push-pull-drag the crazy mower through the mini jungle. So I waited. Yard status: still striped.

Finally, tonight, after church, I decided to make the most of what daylight was left and give it another shot. It was 8:50. I told the kids to get a shower and then go to bed on their own (which, by the way, doesn't really work out so well, in case you were wondering). Then I threw on my mowing shoes and headed out to finish. I noticed a slight difference in heights from yesterday to today... apparently grass grows rather quickly, which, I guess is the reason I need to mow so often anyhow. I decided, though, to ignore the slight height variation and just move on. It was late. I was tired. And it only took a second to refresh my memory on how much I really regretted NOT bringing our mower home and borrowing this crazy mower instead.
Okay, so I speed-mowed. I pushed with all my might as fast as I could. The grass guard still flapped around like a flag in the breeze, but the duct tape held on. Somewhere along the way, a spring fell off of it and just rolled around on the top of the mower. Still worked, though, so I moved on. I finished at about 10:00 ... zero daylight left. Plenty of mosquitoes, though. To be honest, I don't even know if I actually got all the grass, as I was sort of guessing at where my lines were on the last few passes... it was that dark. I guess when the light of tomorrow morning rolls around, I can take a look to see just what the damage is. For now, though, I am thankful that it's done and that the crazy mower is back in its rightful garage. Let's just say, I have sworn about two hundred times that I will NOT do that again. Next time, I don't care what it takes, I am bringing my own mower home with me. And if that can't be done, I'm hiring someone!