Monday, October 25, 2010

Just a Quick Photo Share...

I'll spare you the apologies for not posting in a while. Suffice it to say nursing school is going well, but trying to balance work, school & family is difficult, to say the least.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share this photo of Ella that has had Anthony & I laughing every time we see it. I'm considering buying the print just for future blackmail material.

It was taken by a photographer that comes to her daycare every fall/spring (like regular school photos). I rarely buy them because I don't like the photos with the fake backgrounds & usually forget to even dress her in non-play clothes (hence the purple crocs that don't match the shirt that isn't even hers - one of her teachers must have felt sorry for her & switcher her shirt with someone else's because she was wearing a tinkerbell shirt that day :)

Her expression is hilarious! This is not a normal 'Ella' expression unless she is being a little toot & is annoyed with us. She looks like she's thinking, "Okay, let's get this photo business done with so I can get back to playing. I'm going to stand her her like you want me to, but you can forget about me smiling."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Too Many Irons in the Fire

Or rather too many craft projects in progress. How do you know if you have too many projects in progress?

Well, when you have two quilt tops spread out on your pool table (which hasn't been used as an actual pool table in years) waiting to be quilted, a 'found' pallet in the back of your car that needs to be torn apart to use the 2x4's to build closet shelves, a coffee table you built (plans from here) waiting in your husband's shop to be stained (just need some electricity & a little cooler weather for that one - the power has been out since a storm about a month ago knocked down the building next door to the shop we rent), and you've started filling one of your precious few laundry baskets with sewing projects (cloth diapers ready to sew in the replacement elastic & aplix, my sister's quilt that I mentioned here, a few clothes that need to be patched up, etc.) just so you have some room to work. Add to that all the ideas for furniture, baby gifts & Christmas gifts that I have swirling around in my head. In case you can't tell, I skipped right through the decluttering part of my plan to the finishing projects part. Only I've done very little to complete projects I already had going & have started about five extra ones. Help me, Rhonda! How am I ever going to finish all these before Aug. 28th?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tales From Toddlerhood

I picked the kids up from daycare this afternoon & was trying to sit Ella in her car seat when she did what I call her 'stiff as a board' trick. Anyone with small children knows what I'm talking about. She will straighten her body out & I cannot wrestle her into a sitting position no matter how hard I try. Usually she does it so I can't buckle her in. This time she wiggled out of my grasp into the floor of the car, said something about 'up', crawled up in the seat all by herself, turned around, sat down & just looked at me like, 'now you can buckle me in.' Obviously she is getting to the 'I can do it all by myself' stage. I alternate between feeling frustrated (b/c of impatience), tickled at how funny it is, downright proud about her learning to do so many things without my help, and sad that she doesn't need/want my help as much anymore. How's that for an emotional rollercoaster? Hee, hee.

Then there are the really adorable things that go along with having a toddler. Like yesterday in the car on the way home hearing her 'read' The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. It went something like this... "[indecipherable jibberish] baseball, baseball, baseball, [flip page], bye-bye [jibberish], [flip page], Mommy, Daddy, Wesley, Pops, [more jibberish]. I wish I could catch her doing it at home so I could record it - it's adorable.

Or there's tonight when she took two of her finger puppets in the living room & gave one to Anthony. He put it on his finger and said, "Hi, Ella," and she said, "Hi, Daddy."

Then there's her vocabulary that is growing so fast it's unbelievable. Up until yesterday she would almost always say "uh-huh" for yes & only occasionally repeat us and say "yes," which came out sounding like 'sess.' Suddenly she doesn't say "uh-huh" anymore. Now it's "yeah" every time. She almost sounds Canadian the way she says it.

I could go on with more little stories about the joys & trials of having a toddler, but it's midnight & my eyelids are getting pretty heavy so I'll have to save them for another day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Household Matters...

I’m on a mission to get our household running like a well-oiled machine before nursing classes start at the end of August. It seems like every time I go through a season of life when I am overwhelmed, the state of our house reflects that & looks like a tornado hit it. I am not embarrassed to admit that I’m not the best housekeeper to begin with (okay, maybe I’m a little embarrassed to admit that). My house is not one that you can just drop by unannounced & expect it to be presentable enough for company. Though I have the best intentions, I fail in execution. But, when I am overwhelmed, the house looks even worse than normal, with piles everywhere and everyone playing a sort of Russian roulette every day with whether they will have clean clothes to wear or dishes to eat on or food to eat for that matter. Sad, isn’t it? Granted this sad state of affairs has only happened a few times. One that comes to mind is the weeks that I was plagued with all-day nausea in the first part of my pregnancy with Ella (before I gave in to my doctor & starting taking anti-nausea medicine). I am determined to not let that happen again. One of the ways I’m heading off that situation now is by implementing some checklists & chore charts for all of us (except Ella – although I'm teaching her to clean up after herself & help with simple tasks, I think it’s a little early for a checklist for her).

Anyhow, the point of this post is to share some of things I’m using/planning on using in the hopes they might help someone else and also in the hopes that I’ll follow through since I’ve written it down & put it out there.

Household Chores: Motivated Moms has several different versions of planners. I’m using the full page per week one (the first one on the list).

Wesley’s checklists: This is something we tried for a bit right after Ella was born. It seemed to work okay then. Amazingly Wesley actually requested that I make these for him again the other day. I thought it was both funny & endearing that he wanted a checklist – evidence that he must be my child after all. If you are interested in my template just email me.

Meal Planner: E-Mealz. I used this for about 6 months when Ella was an infant & liked it overall. Some of the meals were a little unusual for our tastes (and I would say we’re not picky eaters), but I loved not having to think up meals & already having a shopping list made out for me. I’m planning on using this in conjunction with some of our family favorites that I can make in batches & freeze (things like PW’s Chicken Spaghetti) or that can be made in the crockpot without too much work (like this recipe for a whole chicken that we can make into two meals by having taco soup the next day).

And, lastly, printing out my calendar from Entourage (the version of Outlook for Mac) each month to post at home so it will have game schedules, my classes, birthdays, etc. already on it & all I will have to fill in is the day to day things that come up.

I also have big plans to go through every nook & cranny of our house during the break between my spring classes (last final is May 12th) & my summer class (starts July 13th) and get rid of a bunch of junk + get the rest of the stuff organized. I’ve already gone through one desk, one dresser, part of one storage closet & started on my scrapbooking closet/area. Then, during the two week break I’ll have between the end of my summer class & the start of nursing school I’m planning on getting some projects I’ve been working on for a loonngg time wrapped up – namely Wesley’s baby book (almost ten years in the making & I’ve completely started over twice) & finishing a quilt that I started in a quilting class I took in the summer of 2003 that I ‘gave’ to my sister, Megan, for Christmas that year in pieces (I had all the blocks made & some of the quilting done) – she has been reminding me to finish it for her almost every time I see her. I think I might have good excuses for not getting it done yet. Some of the big ones are moving twice, getting engaged/planning a wedding/getting married, buying a house, finishing two degrees + starting another, starting a new job, remodeling our one bathroom, having a baby (all in the last seven years, but not necessarily in that order).

Credit for finding the meal planner & household chores list goes to Susan Wyatt. I found both those from her sharing them on her blog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

4 people 12 times

I love Tara Whitney's photography. I visit her site & her blog on occasion for inspiration. She is doing something so neat with her family of six. Once a month she's taking a group shot & jotting down some things about her family from that month - what they've been doing, listening to, favorite dinner of the month, etc.

I have not had much time in the past year or two (let's be honest, I haven't had time since little miss Ella came along) to do much in the way of scrapbooking. And, in the last year since I started back to school I haven't done much in the way of blogging either. So, my solution is to copy Tara's idea for my little family of four. Anthony, consider yourself warned.

With any luck I'll be able to keep up with it for the next year then print it out into a little coffee table book, sort of like a yearbook for our family.

And, because I think posts look funny without a picture, here's one I took of Ella & I a couple weeks ago with my iPhone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ella & the train

Ella LOVES trains. It started with her receiving "The Little Engine That Could" book from the Reading Railroad program they have here in Tennessee (she gets a free book each month until she turns five). That book became her favorite, and she carried it around with her everywhere.
We live near a train track & now every time one goes by she runs to the storm door to watch it. Anthony sometimes shows her train videos on youtube to keep her entertained. It works magically until he tells her they're all done watching them.
We just happened to be outside playing a week or so ago & one came by. You can see in the first few seconds of the video how excited she gets about them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

McSweeney's Lists

I'll spare you the 'it's been a while since I posted' stuff & just get to the very important, random bit of internet gold I found. I'm using 'important' rather loosely here, and while we're being perfectly honest, I really didn't find it myself either. I saw it linked from a post on Cathy Zielske's blog.

I love lists. I make lists for the usual things like grocery shopping or to-do lists and also for more unneccessary things like movies I want to see, things I want for my kitchen (springform pan, anyone?... no, just me?... okay then), or crafty things I want to make (like a doll for Ella similar to one I had as a child with the buttons, zipper and snaps for her to learn to dress herself). Anyways, because I love lists, I love this site/blog - McSweeney's Lists. Here's some examples of some of the lists: Common Sense Problems to Alt-Pop Song Problems, How to Put on a Sports Bra (I was laughing so hard at this one I was in tears. Sorry, men, but you probably won't get it), My Personal Netflix Recommendation Categories or Toddler Super Powers (one especially applicable to my life right now). So, if you need a good laugh, take a look around. Oh, and tell 'em I sent you. On second thought, don't. They might not let you in if you do.

P.S. Happy Birthday shout-out to my sister, Megan, who is back in the Middle East for her second tour of duty (for the next 12 months) & to one of my oldest friends (not in age, just in how long we've been friends), Justin. Hope you two have a good birthday.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Meet the newest member of our family

Introducing Buddy, a 7 month old dachshund and the newest member of our family. We're doing a trial run with him for a couple weeks to make sure he's a good fit for us and vice versa. The kids are loving him. We just picked him up today and so far he's been very well-behaved. He likes to cuddle - my kind of dog.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Fitting Final Resting Place

This little exchange happened between Anthony & I the other day while watching the Fiesta Bowl on tv. First, a little background. Anyone who has been around Anthony for any significant amount of time knows how much he is into cars, trucks, motorcycles, really anything that has the possibility of going fast since his interest crosses over into boats and airplanes on occasion. I don't know if there is a proper adjective to describe his interest in vehicles. He's more than enthusiastic, some days I might call it obsessed (depends on what mood I'm in). He can explain in detail how some part will increase the horse power of a motor (or gas mileage - his go-to choice of results for swaying me on the advantages of purchasing said component). I usually lose him about halfway into the very technical explanation & just have to nod along.
Anyhow, for those who know him, this conversation will not sound the least bit odd, but for those who don't, I had to preface it with that explanation or you would think my husband was a bit nutso.
He's relaxing in the recliner, flipping through a Moon Eyes catalog. Some people read the paper or a novel for bedtime reading. My husband 'reads' automotive parts catalogs.
Anthony: When I die, I want to be cremated & put in this.
He leans over & points to something on the page that looks like a big metal container of some kind.
Me: Huh?
Anthony: It's a limited edition Moon Eyes fuel tank. Look it has a spinner cap.
Me: You want to be put in that?!
Anthony: Yeah, it would be cool.
Me: Uh, what if I just take you to Bonneville and spread your ashes there?
(aside: the Bonneville Salt Flats are the site of Speed Week & other car enthusiast related events. Apparently every serious hot rodder must make a pilgrimage there at least once in their life & respectable drag racers will eventually become a member of the 200 mph club)
Anthony: That would be good, but you would have to take me in this fuel tank. C'mon, it doesn't cost that much.
I glance at the the price. His 'not that much' & my 'not that much' are not the same.
Anthony: Okay, so it's not cheap, but it's less than the cost of a casket.
Me: True...