More scrapbooking goodness.

A clean table makes me want to get messy! Here's what I created today.

And a close-up of the journaling card:


The page that Rachel built.

We have a family reunion coming up on Sunday, and every year we hold an auction to raise money to throw the next reunion. Everyone brings something for the auction--things they made, items that have been passed down through the family or have some kind of family significance, or items that don't. Whatever.

Last year, my mom bid on and got a scrapbook album, with a cool catch. Each year the person who wins the album is supposed to make new pages to add to it, then offer it up for auction at the next family reunion. So Mom's had this album since last year, and guess how many pages we've made for it? That's right--zero.

Today I finally finished my assigned page. And voila! Here it is.

This page has a much higher level of phloonf than is normally my style. If you ask Elecia, though, she'd probably say that there's barely any phloonf here at all. And if you don't know what the hell "phloonf" is, well...I'll have to defer to Elecia on the definition, as she is the reigning queen of all things phloonfy.

I wanted to use some vintage style paper, to give it sort of a heritage feel, but that just didn't end up happening. Sometimes my pages have minds of their own. The tabs on the left-hand side of the picture of all of us say "pull," and if you pull the card out, it looks like this:

Yeah, that's my carpet surrounding the card. I was too lazy to resize the picture.
The flip side looks like this:

And here is the workspace in which I created such a masterpiece:

This is my CLEAN work table! Okay, I know it doesn't look clean, but it is by my standards.
And...this is Eliot lying on the floor of the craft room, probably calling Adriane. "Hey Aunt Adriane, I'm bored! Mommy keeps scrapbooking and blogging!"


Zen and the art of toyota corolla maintenance.

Yesterday was a day. Eliot had his fifteen-month well baby visit in the morning, and my car was scheduled for an afternoon oil change. Simple enough, right? Two appointments to keep, completely spread out, none of the rushing around, going crazy.

We go to his appointment, and all is smooth as can be--in and out in twenty minutes, which has to be some kind of world record. And he was weighed, measured, physically evaluated, and innoculated, all in that time frame, of which at least ten minutes was me getting him in and out of the car, across the parking lot and up a flight of stairs to the second story office! I'm still amazed. This is not usually what happens when we visit the pediatrician's office. Not by a long shot.

I'm so discombobulated, apparently, from the lightning fast morning appointment, that I take Eliot home and proceed to attempt to keep him quiet so as not to wake Daddy, who's recharging his batteries for another third shift. All I'm thinking of is what we're going to do for the rest of the day, now that the appointment didn't keep us out of the house nearly as long as I had planned.

Eliot gets cranky, eats, takes a nap, wakes up, we play outside in the backyard, etc. We come back in the house and he's megacranky, maybe hurting from the shot? And I hear Eli calling out from the bedroom: "Raaaachelll...Raaaaaachel," in some voice like an elderly man who's been trekking through Death Valley without any water for days. It was so pathetic, and I'm thinking, great, he can't sleep because Eliot's making too much noise and he's going to keel over a third of the way through his shift tonight and it will be my fault and what the hell am I going to do to keep this kid quiet this time? Cause Eli's been on thirds for several months now, and believe me, I've pretty much run through my repertoire of "fun and stimulating things to do with/for toddler while Daddy is sleeping."

So I venture into the bedroom, already cringing in anticipation of the sight of my poor husband doing his best pity act, but instead he's looking at the clock like he's all confused about what time it is. Night or day? What day of the week? And he looks up at me and says, "Did you already get the oil changed?"


It's five minutes until two, and the Toyota dealership is at least fifteen minutes away (the way I drive, anyway). And I haven't packed a diaper bag for Eliot. And he isn't wearing any pants.

It takes me about thirty seconds to throw a few necessaries into Eliot's bag, grab the kid, grab a pair of pants, and I'm wrestling him into the pants as I'm heading out the door (and I totally wish I had some video of that, because frankly, I'm surprised it was even possible); I snap him into the car seat and zoom down the driveway, taking several long moments to pause and look for traffic, of course, so as not to hit any passing cars, AGAIN. (That's another story, for another day.) And off we go.

Now, there's no way we aren't going to be late. No way. And being late is one of my biggest pet peeves and one of my greatest fears. I am never late for a scheduled appointment. I am always, always, early, for fear of being late. (And I know, Elecia, you're saying, "What the hell," here and you're about to publicly proclaim me a liar in my comments, but notice I said "scheduled appointment." A casual, "I'll be there in five minutes," but I don't show up until three hours later doesn't count. Not really.) Where was I? Oh, yes, so we're going to be late. And I hate being late.

But magically, we hit every light green. Every light. I'm not kidding. And I'm pretty sure this is because of my Personal Legend. Because you know, when you're trying to follow your Personal Legend, and you want something really badly, the universe conspires to help you achieve it. And by god(s) [whatever], the universe was going to get me to the dealership on time! The Alchemist told me so.
[Sorry, I'm making fun of a book I just read here. Please completely disregard this entire paragraph, unless of course your name is Kate, and then you're supposed to chuckle and roll your eyes in recognition.]

So we got to the dealership and we were more than ten minutes late. Told you we were going to be late, green lights or no! And if you're ever late for an oil change, and you suspect they may not be able to work you in, here's what you do:

Cue up harried, overburdened Momma persona, diaper bag and baby in tow, both dangling precariously from your person as though you might drop either or both at any moment. Hustle up to the service desk, out of breathe, if you can manage it, and make a big show of smoothing baby's hair out of his eyes and straightening his clothing, whilst sacrificially ignoring your own unkempt appearance and windswept hair. Apologize profusely to the clerk for your tardiness, referring to yourself in the plural form, i.e. "I'm SO sorry, but WE'VE just had a crazy morning. And WE didn't sleep well last night, did WE?" This last should be directed to the baby, who should be instructed to coo and grin shyly at the service technician. This shameless act should not only ensure that your car gets serviced after all, but should also cause one or more employees to open the door for you, usher you kindly into a plush waiting room, and then personally escort you back to your vehicle when it is finished. You know, so that you don't have trouble finding it in the lot, ma'am.

Where, oh where has my dignity gone?

What, I'm supposed to think of a title, too? You have to be kidding me.

So it's 3:30 in the morning, and I'm lying in bed thinking about my blog post labels. You know, because that's what normal people do at 3:30 in the morning. I lie there and toss and turn and think about how really, truly unorganized my blog is.

(Wait. What? My blog? Not my house? Every room of my house, where there's clutter reaching to the ceiling and oozing out the rafters? Wait, does my house HAVE rafters? What ARE rafters, even?)

But yeah, I'm worrying about how unorganized my blog is, how I USE blog post labels to sort my posts into categories, but those categories are somewhat randomly applied and effectively useless, like a certain person's moving box labels that read "stuff" and "crap." A certain person who shall remain nameless, in the interest of privacy. Ahem. *coughs with hand over mouth* Elecia.

So I toss, and I turn, and I try to get back to sleep, but something won't let me. I have to get up, turn on a light, fire up the computer...and blog. Either this is a serious addiction that wakes me up at night, unable to return to sleep until I get a fix, or I really shouldn't have drunk that green tea energy thingy that Eli bought and then didn't want.

But I'm thinking this obsessing over labels and organization is indicative of something more than just an Internet addiction, spiraling out of control. To me, it seems to signal a more general displeasure with my inability to organize (and therefore control) ANYTHING in my life, even the little things that should be a cinch, right? I can't keep my house clean. I can't get my shit together at work. I can't settle on any kind of important, definitive, life decision, and I sure as hell cannot sort my blog posts into any kind of coherent organizational scheme. I might as well label them all "stuff," "things," and "farfignuggen."

So where was I going with this? Because it seemed like I was about to make some kind of point, followed by a nice, spiffy ending. You know, so that I could go back to bed. Because it's now 3:51 am. Hmmm....

Nope. I got nuthin.

Goodnight, Internet.


My wordle.

Another fun waster of time: delicious little word clouds. It was fun to see what I mention most often on my blog. Not surprisingly, "Eliot" is one of the largest words. And "shop"? Do I really say "shop" all that often? Hmmm...guess I just said it twice, anyway.

title="Wordle: Stop. Drop. Roll."> src="http://wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/83760/Stop._Drop._Roll."
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd"


Beautiful, easy digital scrapbook pages.

I found a great new resource for digital scrapbooking, scrapblog.com. It's great for those who are new to digital because they have tons of seriously easy-to-use templates. It's all a matter of drag and drop and you can edit and crop your photos, too.

I put these pages together in no time at all. I just used one of the ready-made themes, but you could also get much more creative with the program by starting from a blank page. Definitely something I'm going to be returning to soon to exercise my burgeoning digital prowess. (Okay, actually I only wish I had even a drop of digital prowess, but at least these easy pages make it look like I know what I'm doing!)


Beauty shop.

On Saturday we visited MaMa's house and played one of Zayda's favorite games--beauty shop, which, when she says it, comes out "booty shop."

This is Zayda and Eliot working in tandem to give me a nice comb and curl while I browse through a new scrapbooking magazine.

And this is me smiling because "booty shop" is also one of my favorite games. It means I get to sit on my booty and relax and the kids are still fully entertained. It's so much more low impact than, say, horsey, where one is required to romp around the house on hands and knees with a 20+ pound kid astride one's back. Yep, I'll take booty shop over horsey any day.

This game isn't a Zayda creation, either. We've been playing beauty shop for generations. I remember Mom sitting patiently on the floor (most likely reading a Woman's Day or Good Housekeeping) while Elecia and I, and sometimes Adriane, would fill her hair full of every clip, barrette, and pin we owned. The doorbell would inevitably ring in the middle of the process, and she'd have to get up and answer it looking like some kind of whacked out nut job. Ah, the memories! ;-)

And Eliot, who ALWAYS shakes his head "no" when asked ANY question (Do you want a cookie? Are you a good boy?, etc.), nodded an up and down "yes" when Libby walked in and asked him if he liked playing beauty shop. Gasp!

Once my hairdo was complete, it was my turn to fix Zayda's hair. This is what she got.

Isn't it "booty-ful"?!
This last picture was taken with my phone, so it's probably a bit fuzzier.
We had to have one to send to Daddy in Minnesota, so that he could see his boy's beautiful locks all fixed up! Eliot looks a little concerned in this picture, like "Hey! Nobody said this was getting documented!"

Face it, my boy--Momma's a scrapbooker--EVERYTHING you do is getting documented! ;-)


Buy handmade!

I've been working on Mom's etsy shop this weekend, and she had her first sale yesterday, so I'm thrilled! If you haven't visited etsy.com, RUN, do not walk, over there immediately and check it out.

Okay, why are you still here? You're supposed to be at etsy.com. Checking out this shop in particular. Go! Go now!

I am completely addicted to etsy and have spent many hours browsing fabulous art, handmade journals, supplies, baby clothes and toys, and just everything under the sun.

I may set up my own little shop soon...with some lovely scrapbooking related creations I've been working on. But until then, go here. Now. Or, if you want to see some of my favorites, go here. But mostly just go here. Now.


Utility meets beauty.

We're still looking for a new place, although moving plans have been put on the back burner for now. I think Eli and I are both a bit burnt out on the search for real estate. We feel like we'll never find exactly what we want for a price we can afford. But the upside of this process is that in getting this house readied up to put on the market, we've made improvements that we really enjoy.

I love the new porch furniture--it makes the porch space a useable, liveable space in a way that it really hasn't been since we moved in. When it's cool enough out there, I love to lounge on the wicker love seat or push Eliot in his swing.

The patio space for the new grill is great, as well, and the garage is looking fabulous.

I've also been trying to rearrange some things upstairs. A week or so ago, Eli and I were out antiquing and found this great little dresser to help organize my scrapbooking supplies.

I'm putting it to use holding my stamps, inks, and paints, and I think it looks great in between the two recessed shelves Eli built. I love the battered, well-used look of it, and the top area makes a great display spot for my upcycled license plate card holder, a few books, and my jar of buttons.

I read somewhere recently not to have anything in your home that you do not find to be either beautiful or useful, and I've been thinking a lot about that lately. This little gem happens to be both beautiful AND useful, so I think it's definitely a keeper! :-)


I scream, you scream.

Well, I caved. Once again. I let Eliot eat a vanilla ice cream cone at Dairy Queen--his first ever ice cream cone.

And, he LOVED it. He ate almost the entire thing. I only licked it every now and then to keep it from dripping all over the place. Otherwise, it was all him. He even ate the cone itself.

After he had had enough of gnawing on the cone part, he used the iconic red spoon to dig the ice cream out and eat more of it. I think he got brain freeze a couple of times, because he shivered!

Could anything be more adorable than this kiddo?!

He had a great time yesterday playing with his cousins Hannah, Kami, and Amelia. We all walked to the park and hung out and then had a long, hot walk home in which I carried Kami piggyback because she had a blister on her foot from a pair of new shoes. Most exercise I've gotten in ages!

It's so cool to see him interacting and playing with other kids, although he's still in the side-by-side playing phase pretty much. He just does his own thing rather than playing WITH anyone. But I can see him watching them and thinking about what they're doing. And totally showing off! He definitely watches people and is aware of them watching him. He'll do something silly and then turn to make sure we're looking and appreciating the full extent of his cuteness. That's my little hambone.


Riveting product update.

This past weekend Eli and I perused Babies 'R Us, which is very unlike us, because Babies definitely are R not Us, but I had remembered Elecia telling me they carry these things called Snack-Traps that I should try for Eliot. They're little cups that hold tiny toddler delicacies like Cheerios, Goldfish and the like. The idea is that toddler fingers can reach in to grab said delicacies, but the food won't fall out when they start turning the cup upside down and banging it on the highchair tray, floor, coffee table, what have you.

We were skeptical, but decided to check it out anyway.

So we located and picked up a few Snack-Traps.

They look like this:

And lo and behold, the darn things work like magic. I was sure that Eliot would simply reach in, grab a handful, and then throw them all over the floor, but so far he hasn't. He's apparently awed by the brilliant design of the "Trap." And has too much respect for it to override the design via his usual hijinks. He does delight in banging it on the floor and watching how the fish do NOT fall out of the cup per usual. As do I.

Another recent fabulous find is this vintage Fisher-Price toy that I picked up at a local antique shop:

And it seems weird to call this "vintage," but technically, I think anything more than 20 years old classifies, and this is that old. We had one when we were little, so it appealed to me off the bat, and Eliot seemed to like it, so I couldn't resist adopting the little dune buggy and bringing it home to live. The little people's heads wobble when you pull it along the floor.

Fun stuff.

Making messes more manageable and life more fun! :-)


Red, white, and blue.

Eliot and I went to our town's 4th of July parade today. I wasn't sure how he would react to the firetruck sirens, the crowds of people, the candy flying through the air, and so on, but he seemed to enjoy the spectacle.

Here he is taking the task of flag waving very seriously:

I was amazed at how many people threw candy at us. We were there with a friend and her 4-month-old son, and I kept wanting to say, "Seriously, you think these two babies are going to start chewing on Tootsie Rolls and Jawbreakers anytime soon? Really? Quit throwing candy at my baby!" But I did pocket some of the good peppermints and popped a few Jolly Ranchers. You know, because they were just lying on the ground there.

Eliot was so good all afternoon. After the parade, we strolled through the park looking at the sidewalk chalk art, listening to a band play, and just meandering. I shared a few bites of my strawberry ice cream (since it's a holiday and all), and my little boy fell asleep in the stroller on the way home, all tuckered out from a big day!

I love carrying Eliot in from the stroller or car when he's fallen asleep. (It reminds me of all the times I would fall asleep during car rides as a kid, and I'd always pretend not to wake up when we pulled into our driveway, knowing that my dad would carry me inside. I liked how his big arms wrapped around me made me feel small and safe, even when I was really too old to be carried.)

I love the warm weight of my son's little body against me, his legs dangling ever longer. I love kissing his head and lowering him gently down into his crib. I love sneaking out of his room and pulling his door closed, but never all the way, leaving it open just a crack so that I'll be sure to hear him when he wakes.

Early this evening, after his nap, my dad and stepmom picked Eliot up and took him back home with them, where they'll later drop him off at my in-laws' for the rest of the weekend. He's staying with Grandma & Grandpa while Eli and I run off together for a "romantic" getaway. But sitting here now, looking at that picture of him clutching his little American flag, I already miss him so much. I want to smooth those furrowed eyebrows and kiss those little cheeks.

I know I'll wake up a hundred and one times tonight, thinking that I hear him stirring. But if I go into his room, his crib will be empty, with its fresh new sheets waiting for him to return. My arms will be anxiously waiting for him to return as well, biding their time until they can encircle him again, lift the little weight of him again, and hug him back to me.

Uncle spam, and my 100th post!!!

Stop skin damage from smoking.

Holy hell! I didn't even realize my skin damage WAS smoking! Shame on it! For shame, for shame.


Spam me up, scotty.

Your love may already be waiting.

Yeah, no kidding. He's always waiting. "Rachel, hurry up! Get around! Are you ready yet?!"