Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Red Balloons

To hand make or not to hand make, that is the question.

I have been meaning to write about this subject for a while now. I have had a reoccurring discussion amongst several of my friends regarding this very thing. Some don't like handmade things, because they look handmade. Other's like the look of handmade but don't enjoy making things whatsoever, and then there are those who love handmade, love to make handmade, and will proudly display handmade in their house. That is me- though it has to be the right kinda of handmade- it needs to fit my style,can't look like crap. I like to look at things that other's have made and gleam inspiration from it- how can I do that, how can I change it to make it my own? I do this all the time. During Christmas break, it was pretty quiet in blog land and in friend land- everyone had gone home for the break except us. So I did what I usually do on the computer when no one is posting, I search for crafting ideas. I really reconnected with the crafting side of me this past break. I have a million ideas floating around in my head, where in truth only about 3 or 5 will actually come to fruition. But that is the fun of it for me- the planning. The implementing doesn't always come together as I like, but that never stops me. I really get energized just thinking about it. So during Christmas break I decided to start being more active on all those million ideas- try new things, get things done when I can.

So here is the first thing that I did.

Claire is really into helping me cook, which I think is really fun and awfully cute. So I made her an apron, one of those half aprons that really don't keep your clothes that clean, but look oh, so cute.

She loves it and I think it looks pretty cute. I didn't have a pattern so I made it up as best as I could. Don't look at the finishing, because it is ghastly (as if you could, most of you live hundreds of miles away).

Here are some of the blogs that I look at for inspiration. What I love about these blogs is that they are just average people who love crafting, who are incredibly creative and talented, and who actually put all their plans to action, everyday. Fantastic!

Dandee Designs (she has a cute Etsy Shop)

Chuckles and Grins (also has a cute Etsy Shop)

Angry Chicken (no Etsy shop but her own book and website)

Life at the Chicken Coop (I admire her because she is fearless in her style)

And if you don't know what Etsy is, you need to go there and spend some time admiring others people's courage. I love it! One day. . one day I will have my own Etsy shop. Until then, I will keep living vicariously through others.

Did you figure out the title? It leads to a doosy of a post for next time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

27 Candles

Today was my birthday. I turned 27.

It was a good day. Very lax, which I liked. We had a fun little birthday party with my little fam, which was perfect for me. Some pulled pork sandwiches, a little Texas Sheet Cake (major, major yum) and some cookies n cream ice cream. One of the best moments of any birthday to date was watching Claire so excited as she sang happy birthday to me, anticipating helping me blow out the candle. It was an emotion I had yet to experience and it rocked! Cody came home early from school with a bundle of roses and some yummy chocolates. He works really hard to make my birthdays special and today was sensational.

Let me give you a play by play:

Here I am about to open my present. Yes, I do realize Claire clothes don't match, but at least she is wearing clothes. Morgan seems a bit shell shocked, but don't be concerned. After all this is her first family birthday party. I can see how it can be a bit confusing for someone who has never been to one before.

Here I am opening up my birthday card from Cody. Inside it contained a sweet message and a 1$ bill. Cody threw that in there because he feels it is a lot more exciting to open a letter that has money in it. Very True. Claire is eager to help, while Morgan is trying to figure out why there is only 1$ in there (what, is this like 1955?).

Here I am saying "Adobe Photoshop, I LOVE IT!" Claire didn't quite understand the brilliancy of the gift, while Morgan seemed down right skeptical that the package was so small.

Here I am blowing out the candle on my birthday cake. The little dash of powdered sugar is courtesy of Claire's culinary skills, and Morgan seems to be so hungry that she is eating her pajamas.

And for the grand finale, here I am snuggling with my two favorite girls of all time. Yes, I realize Claire's hair isn't done and looks like a mushroom. But at least now she is wearing the shirt that matches her pants. And Morgan, well, she is still underwhelmed by it all. As for me, I was one very happy girl.

Birthdays aren't quite like they were when I was younger- I didn't get to wear the birthday crown, have the feather pen on my desk, and get chased around by a dark lipstick-wearing Ms. Spellman today. But as I get older, I think birthdays get more special. It's more about a day of appreciation rather than of partying. I loved getting phone calls and emails from my friends and family today. It meant a lot to me this year. My friend Libby, dropped by some cookies and a card. Cody wrote me the sweetest note. My sister, Michelle, even dedicated a whole post to me on her blog. To know that there are people who really know me, who love me, makes me feel wonderful. It makes me a very happy 27 year old.
On a final note, President Hinckley passed away yesterday. I am a little surprised how not very sad I am about it. I loved him. I enjoyed listening to him speak. I knew he was a prophet of the Lord. I knew he was a good man. I will miss his leadership, his inspiration, but I am so happy to think that he is reunited with his wife, his loved ones, his Savior. He worked hard and now I know he is peacefully resting, excited to watch the gospel continue to roll forth on the earth.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Good Laugh

Here is a good laugh for you to start your week out on the right foot. Turn up your computer and listen, especially around minute 1:04. There is a special soundbite there for you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

To My Man

There are many things I love about Cody and his ability to find humor in all things is one of the things that I love most about him. It keeps us laughing. The posts that I write about him are for pure enjoyment sake- for both our enjoyments. I am not ragging on him, I am teasing him. They are things that Cody and I have talked and laughed about. He gets me. I hope you get me to.

Hunting has been a big change in our lives, but mostly for the positive. Sure, I am a bit prejudice against the whole image thing, but Cody finds happiness in being in the outdoors, and he enjoys the sport of it all. I can excuse and laugh at his redneck foibles, because it is the hunting that makes him happy.

So let me take a brief minute out of my teasing posts (because you know they will be back- Cody just gives me too much good material) and tell you some wonderful things about Cody.

Cody hates to walk past a certain sample lady at the mall. It is always the same women, no matter what time or day we go. He always feels so bad to say no when she offers us a sample. He always says she is the hardest working person in Pittsburgh. So every time we go to the mall, we cut through the tables to avoid walking past her.

Cody will watch a good chick flick with me. He has a gushy side, that will sustain him through all the love story movies I watch with him. After we watched the The Notebook, Cody turned to me and said that he will love me like that always, that if I get dementia, he will take care of me. He is also a sucker for a good love song. He is always having me listen to a new song he heard on the radio because it makes him think of us. How sweet is that? If you think that any of this diminishes his masculinity, remember that he likes to shoot, kill, and then eat animals. He is all man and isn't afraid to access his softer side.

He thinks he is really funny. And most of the time I agree with him. Whenever I am reading a Jane Austin book (which happens quite a bit) he always walks by me and in a steely, Harlequin romance book kinda way, says "Quoth the raven evermore." He thinks that's funny, even though I am reading Jane Austin, not Poe, and its 'quoth the raven nevermore'. It doesn't make much sense, but he repeatedly says this thinking he is funny, which makes it funny to me.

He loves, loves, loves to cuddle his three girls. One of his favorite things to do it cuddle up with Claire on the couch and take a nap together. A couple of days ago, Claire was wanting to cuddle with Morgan, so I put Claire in Morgan's arms, and Claire said, "Look , I'm dad. I cuddling with my little girl." He also likes to hold Claire's hand when he is driving. He reaches back and she reaches forward and they just drive holding hands. The stuff to melt hearts!

He also likes to sing to his three girls. He doesn't really have a showy voice, but that doesn't stop him from singing the best nighttime songs. And because he doesn't have a showy voice, I know that he isn't just singing to hear his voice, he is singing to share the song with us. It is lovely.

Cody thinks that I am beautiful. He lets me know it all the time. I stress about the wrinkles around my eyes, but Cody tells me that he thinks they are cute. It makes me feel good inside. It makes me not worry about getting older (as much!). He is really patient with me. It makes me believe that when we are old, he will still love my wrinkles, he will still sing songs to me, he will still laugh at my jokes, and he will still love me like Noah loved Allie. . . from The Notebook, people!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Too Far

So it's no secret that hunting is really transforming Cody's life. To say that he is passionate about it is an understatement. I don't mind the hunting, so much as I mind the change in life style. I have already said my peace about it several months ago on my blog, so I won't rehash. I just thought I would update.

Cody took the post in good fashion. In fact, I think he was down right proud of it- he printed it off and showed it to some of his hunting buddies- I have no idea if they appreciated it as much as he did. Cody has always adamantly maintained that he is a smart, educated hunter--'classy', if you will. "I am not one of those hillbilly, redneck hunters," says he.

Okay, he's no hillbilly, I will give him that. But I have proof positive that the red neck he wants me to believe is no more than just a blush, is getting brighter by the day. Sure he is educated; sure he speaks eloquently (his lexicon is one to be invidious of). But as we all know, once the infection starts turning red, there's no stopping the spread (that rhymed, maybe I have a future in the redneck bumper sticker business, you know how they like their bumper stickers).

And just what is this proof positive?

Country Music- two months ago we never listened to country music. I mean, here and there a good, tame country song we fell in love with, but to listen to a country music station was almost unthinkable. Fast forward to today and we have two dials in our car programmed to country stations. Whaaattt?? It helps him relax and de-stress, he tells me. WHAAATTT?? Oh, well. I guess I can live that.

If that wasn't conclusive enough for you, I have photographic evidence. He says he hasn't lost touch with reality, but this picture shows the opposite. A double negative that leads to proof positive. I am afraid he gave himself away.

He bought Claire a 'hunting' shirt, for her basically to go walking around in the woods with dad, pretending she is hunting. I actually find that a little cute, a fun bonding thing she can do with her daddy. But then one day he dresses her up in her special shirt and I ask him where he is taking her and he says "to the mall." TO THE MALL??? In camo. Au contraire, mon frere. No daughter of mine is going to be paraded around the mall in her red-neck, my-father-might-be-my-brother, viva-la-nascar, camo shirt.

It's starting to rub off on Claire. Several days ago I found her with a wet wipe, stroking her fairy princess wand. And she says, in her sweetest princess voice, "I'm cleaning my gun, mom." Good grief. "It's my princess gun with sparklies."

At least she still prefers her 'gun' with sparklies, because I think I would cry if she wanted to cover it all up with camo duct tape.

(Yes, it does exist, and yes, we own some)

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Long and Short of It

On December 18th, 2007, Morgan Joy rolled over for the very first time. She was a 4 months and one day old. She rolled from her back to her stomach first and within a couple of days was rolling over from her stomach to her back. Now she is a (ya-ya) rolly polly. Yesterday I put her down in the living room and she rolled herself into the dining room. I assume she was on her way to the kitchen to make herself a ham sandwich. I would say I am proud of her, but really rolling over is an instinct in every baby. So I will just say it is delightful to see her growing up.

In other news, I finally went and chopped my hair. I like it. I wish she would have cut the front sides a little different but overall, its a fun little change.

And thirdly, Claire started Sunbeams yesterday! She did an okay job for her first singing and sharing time. She did a couple of spontaneous twirls, took a little rest laying on some chairs, and shouted out answers at random, all while I taught sharing time. I think sunbeams is going to be really good for her; I just don't know how good it is going to be for her teacher!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thinkin' Lofty

For some reason this picture reminds me of the photo on The Village. You know, the one where all the village elders are together outside a street in New York City. It a picture of them 30 years earlier. I can just see me looking at this picture in 30 years, reminiscing about how Cody and I looked so much younger, how we have lost touch with so and so, how little Claire now has three little girls of her own. Can't you just see it. Our grand kids will ask questions like, who is the angry white rapper?, and what's with the glamour shot guy? Good times.

On New Years Eve, we had a get together with our friends to celebrate. This would be the first time since I was single that we have celebrated New Years Eve, meaning that I wasn't asleep or reading a book when the clock struck 12. It was a lot of fun. I always have grand plans of playing games when we get together with friends, but we had such a good time talking that we never got around to it. I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and it felt sooooo good.

Of course, when I get around a group of my friends, I get a little carried away, say about 5 things I wish I could take back, 2 things that came out wrong, and 1 thing that I totally didn't mean that way. But hopefully my friends forgive me, or else this year might be pretty lonely for me.

I read a blog today of a perfect stranger who listed all that she wanted to do this year. She listed some pretty grandiose and challenging things. I thought that was fun. I think I am always being too careful, too frugal, too procrastinating, too lazy. Not this year baby!

Here is my list:

::play more board/card games (oh, yeah, if that's not daring, I don't know what is)
::become scuba certified
::take a photography class
::try new outside-my-box recipes
::expand my vocabulary (a.k.a my lexicon)
::play capture the flag
::take some cool weekend trips as a family
::go to the Caribbean
::host a badminton tournament
::speak kind words

I am excited to revisit this in a year and see how many of these 10 I tackle. Wish me luck because I don't want any of your critical doses of reality. I know you are thinking the Caribbean thing just ain't gonna happen. Well, we'll just have to see about that. Let the games begin!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Christmas in Years Past

I don't know why I haven't sat down to write about our Christmas yet. It could be because I have been checking everyone elses blogs about 12 times a day, cursing everyone for not posting with frequency! I know, it seems hypocritical, doesn't it?

So here goes. We had a great Christmas here in PA with just our little family. Truth be told, I missed my family, as I do every Christmas we spend a way from them, but I also get a certain joy out of having Christmas at our house. Of course, I was a totally lame parent this year and didn't do hardly any of the traditions that I have had floating around in my head. I have never been a big fan of the open-christmas-pjs-on-christmas-eve thing, but I did buy Claire a really cute pair of pjs that I wanted her to have on for Christmas morning pictures. So I gave them to her the night before. And that would be about where it ends for us on any type of christmas traditions. We didn't even read the nativity story on Christmas Eve. I know- I am lame. Everything just came toooo quickly.

And for those of you who know me really well, you know I am not the biggest fan of the whole Santa Claus aspect of Christmas. I honestly think I would leave it out if Cody wasn't so dead set on it. He thinks its what makes Christmas so magical for little kids. But as I was loading Claire up with a bunch of lies about the S-man and all his tiny reindeer, I had the distinct feeling that if we left him out, that she would be just as excited anticipating the gifts she would receive on Christmas morning. In fact, as I put her to bed that night, telling her that Santa was coming in the night to leave presents, I thought what a horribly, frightful concept that is- having a fat, hairy, strange man sneaking into our house while we are sleeping, making himself quite at home, eating our food. Please, that singular idea is what keeps me awake and scared the other 364 nights of the year. But we tell this to our kids to make christmas magical?? Please. Plus, the whole "you better be nice or santa isn't going to bring you presents" seems pretty manipulative to me. Like you are really not going to give your kids gifts because they are naughty. I'm just saying. You can say bah humbug to me all you want, but I can always pull out the trump card- Santa isn't what Christmas is about anyways!

Whoa! Me and my extremist opinion need to calm ourselves down.

Anywho, Santa came and dropped off some nice presents for the girls. It was real exciting to see Claire's excitement at all the gifts that she recieved (and I can tell she didn't really care which ones were from santa and which ones were from us or her grandparents). Claire loved all her toys- even the cheap dollar store stocking stuffers. She really liked her doll house and the rocking horse that she got. Morgan, well, it was just like any other day to her. She smiled and raspberried all day long. She doesn't know it yet, but she loves all the clothes that she got!

I received some great gifts from Cody-my favorites being a pair of pearl earrings, and a vacuum- both equally correct ways to a woman's heart. And I am also still loving my new bernina!!!!!

Cody, he didn't have as many gifts under the tree because he likes to purchase his own in the several months preceding Christmas. As he kept buying things, I kept telling him to stop, so I could buy him gifts to unwrap on Christmas- but he doesn't like it that way. He has no desire to be surprised. He wants to pick it out. I am completely the opposite. I go to great lengths to ensure that I am suprised on Christmas day. Cody's favorite gift of the day was a little back massager that Claire picked out for him [well, it was his favorite, until later on Christmas day when he ordered himself a bow (as in arrow) online]. IT NEVER ENDS!!!

So to make a long and detailed story free of run-on and tangent-filled thoughts, that was our Christmas.