I love the smell of new school supplies in the morning. (and allusions to films that have nothing whatsoever to do with this particular blog post)

Today was the first day of the new school year--full of fresh, shiny, eager new freshmen faces. I love beginnings. Everything is new and full of hope. I've always connected this sense of rejuvenation and beginning with the fall season rather than spring; I guess because I've always loved school. I loved being a student and I love being a teacher. There's nothing that screams potential to me louder than freshly sharpened pencils and blank lined paper. I even love the smell of pencil shavings and book bindings. Yum!

One of my top all-time favorite romantic lines in a movie is when Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail that if he knew where she lived he'd send her a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils. Ah, bliss! :-)
Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what?

This year my mom sent me, not a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils, exactly, but pretty close. She got me these pencils made of recycled denim. What could be sweeter than your mom still buying you new school supplies when you're nearly thirty years old? hehehe. She said she saw them and thought of me. I knew there was a reason I loved that woman. Besides that she lent me space in her womb for nine months, of course. There's always that.

So here's to a brand new semester, with all its untapped potential!
Cheers! :-)


An album of favorites.

For Libby's birthday, I made her a fill-in album of favorites. It has pages for her to record 14 of her favorite things, with categories like tv show, quote or saying, school subject, color, etc.

Some pages have photos of her, and some are just paper and embellishments.

The last page says "favorite sister," and I've taken the liberty of filling that one out for her! ;-)

I used a chipboard album and covered it with "RockStar" papers from Die Cuts With a View. I've had this 8x8 stack of papers for a long time and have been wanting to use them on something, but just hadn't gotten inspired yet. Everything else I used was also from my way-too extensive stash of goodies. I keep saying I've got to use up some of the stuff I've got before I buy anything else, so I did that here. It was cool to go through all my stuff and pull out products I was excited about and then put away and never did anything with.

I think this album turned out really well. I always like the results when I just play around. It ends up being a great stress reliever and it seems like I come up with my favorite designs when I'm just messing around. :-)


My little model.

I worked on photographing and listing items on Mom's etsy shop yesterday, and Zayda was my helper. She held up all the items for me to photograph, ala Price Is Right.

Before we finished, I think she was beginning to get bored. Her facial expressions and poses started to get crazier and crazier. Here's one of my favorite shots. She's showcasing a Christmas peppermint garland:

Lovely, isn't it?!


When she and Elecia were leaving last night, I thanked Zayda for helping me, and she replied, "You're welcome, my buddy!"

What a crack-up. That girl's got personality.


And it only took sixteen months.


I've been trying to post a video, but haven't had any luck. I'll post again if I can ever figure it out.

So proud. So excited. So terrified. :-)


Eight great years.

Eight years ago today, Eli muttered to me, through clenched teeth, "My face hurts from smiling for so long." And I replied, with jaw also locked into place, "Well you better KEEP smiling."

Shutters shuttered and flashbulbs flashed, and we declared our love for each other in front of 200 of our closest friends and relatives.

Today is our anniversary.

We spent the day just being together as a family, lying on a quilt in the grass, enjoying the gorgeous weather, grabbing ice cream cones at DQ, and doing a little grocery shopping. I even found some time to scrapbook (*gasp*) while Eli surfed the Internet and Eliot played at my feet upstairs.
I was inspired to make a page, not only by the occasion of the day, but also by my mail, which included the new stamp set I ordered ages ago that FINALLY came and a beautiful card from my sweet sis, Elecia.

Here's the page that resulted, and a few pictures from our lazy, lovely day.
(Pay no attention to my 32 chins in that second picture. I was too lazy to photoshop them out.)


Lovey weekend madness.

Eliot is growing into such an awesome little boy. We spent the weekend at MaMa's house (so that Daddy could sleep) and had such a good time. At this age, he's learning new words and fun tricks every day. He grows and changes so quickly. On Saturday he said "MaMa," (meaning my mom) for the first time. It was easy to distinguish from "Momma" because he said it as she was leaving the room and he was pointing after her, wanting to follow. Then he said it a few more times over the weekend, always clearly meaning her. That makes "MaMa" the fourth person's name he has said, after "Momma," "DaDa," and "Zayda."

His linguistic repertoire also includes car, cat, dog, yes, no, bubble, cracker, nana (banana), go, and out. He also went through a brief phase where he was saying "I love you," but I haven't heard that out of him in awhile. Most of the time he keeps up a string of unintelligible gibberish, and every once in awhile Eli and I will look at each other and say, "Wait...did he just say_____?" Yep. He did. He's an amazing little guy. Who still refuses to walk.

Another first this weekend is kisses. He started giving big, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses at about six months old, which I think most babies do, but yesterday he gave his first puckered, lip-smacking kiss to MaMa. And then repeated it this morning for me and Eli. So funny and adorable! We'll have to get it on video.

He also watched some of the Olympics at MaMa's house and LOVED the synchronized diving. He laughed every time the athletes entered the water. He just sat right on the couch and watched like, "Dude, this is even better than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!"

On Saturday, I made a doll for Eliot. His name is Johnny. And when I say "I" made him, what I really mean is I cut out the pattern and the fabric pieces, sewed his arms and legs and head together under Mom's tutelage, and embroidered his face, all while inwardly swearing and spitting and flailing around. Then I got Mom to sew all his various parts together so that he would look nice and not like...well, like I had made him.

I bought the pattern from this adorable etsy shop, Bit of Whimsy Dolls. I really like how he turned out. I made him to look a bit more like Eliot, with the hair falling over his eyes. And I adore his cowlick, too. That part was already in the pattern.

Eliot seems to like him--he's given him several hugs and MaMa showed him how to clap Johnny's hands together for applause (or pat-a-cake, I guess)! I showed him how the doll's shorts come off (because he's always taking his baby dolls' clothes off), and then he stuck his little finger up Johnny's sleeve and pulled and pulled on his shirt. hehehe.

I asked if he wanted to take Johnny with him to daycare today, but he said no, so here Johnny is relaxing on the wicker porch furniture, waiting patiently for Eliot to get home.

I'm waiting too.

One thing I've figured out about this crazy journey of parenthood is that my relationship with my son alternates between severe frustration and exhaustion and heart-wrenching bouts of love. Sometimes I just want to get away from him, desperately need to get away from him to get my head back on straight and be able to breathe again. And other times I swell up so full of love for him that I feel like I might burst. And I just want to hold him close to me and kiss his little cheeks all day. This weekend was definitely more of the aching, loving madness. He's such an awesome little boy. Did I say that already?

He's such an awesome little boy.


Eat. Sleep. Play. Indy.

I just realized the other day that I never blogged about our getaway weekend back in July. Eli and I took off for what was supposed to be a romantic weekend alone, while Eliot stayed with Eli's parents. It didn't exactly work out as we had planned--Eli got sick that Saturday night and we had to cancel our dinner reservations and ended up coming home on Sunday morning without visiting the museum, doing any shopping, or exploring.

But at least I got to scrapbook about it. hahaha.

This is the one project that I've started and actually finished in ages. I have a ridiculous amount of projects and ideas and half-starts lying around here, and very few of them ever end up as finished products. So I thought I'd share this one that did.

I made this album out of cut up cereal boxes, and it's held together by a single jump ring (kind of like a keychain ring) in the top left corner. I used Photoshop Elements to create the photo collages and just printed everything on my home printer. Rather than giving the album a formal title page, I used this little journaling card and a postcard that I picked up in the hotel giftshop.

One of the things I really like about this album (other than that it's finished) is that it's a messy little informal creation. I stuck in postcards, a receipt, a hotel room key, and other little bits. I just punched through everything with Mom's Crop-a-Dile, which is one of my new favorite tools. It will punch through nearly anything.

I used the "eat, sleep, play, Indy" title to give the album a little bit of cohesiveness, to make all those little bits feel unified. (And to tell the story of our weekend getting hijacked by Eli's flu bug.)

I adore photobooths. We took these shots in a mall in Terre Haute on the way home Sunday. Eli perked up enough for us to stop and shop and have a quick lunch there. He really was trying to be a trooper.

The "play" page shows pictures of our horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown Indianapolis, which turned out to be the highlight of the trip (this was before Eli got sick). It was so romantic, and such a relaxing way to see the city.

The memorial had a penny squisher machine, so I got to add another squished penny to my collection. I used to pick these up all the time on the trips I took with my youth group years ago. I had all but forgotten about squished pennies until I saw the machine in the monument vestibule. Score!

Even sick, my husband is the hottest man I've ever met. Whew!
In this last picture, he's getting ready to go out to dinner because he doesn't want to disappoint me, but then he's sitting on the edge of the bed going, ughhhh....I don't think I can do it. I'm gonna puke.
And I'm like, that's cool. We'll just stay here in the hotel room and I'll take pictures of you and post them on the Internet.

And that was our trip.
A good time was had by all. (Especially Eliot, who had a blast hanging out with Grandma & Grandpa!) :-)

"Temper tantrums: a normal part of growing up."

This is the title of a brochure the pediatrician gave us at our last visit. Just browsing through it, though, I'm getting a weird feeling that it may pertain more to me than to Eliot.

"Your young child is busy learning many things about her world. She is eager to take control. She wants to be independent and may try to do more than her skills will allow. She wants to make her own choices and often may not cope well with not getting her way. She is even less able to cope when she is tired, hungry,
frustrated, or frightened."

Umm...okay...who wrote this? Do you live in my household? Possibly inside my head? I've gotta go now, because I need to eat a bunch of chocolate chips cookies and take a nap.


Eliot at fifteen months.

I want to remember everything about Eliot. He grows so quickly that I can't possibly scrapbook, or even write about all of the little details that make up his personality and the ever-shifting routines that make up our lives together. I have such an urge to slow everything down, to just live inside one moment of his laughter or his peaceful sleep, forever. But time marches on, and my baby keeps growing. (Even though he still adamantly refuses to walk.)
So for now, and so that I'll remember, here are fifteen little bits, glimpses of my son at fifteen months:

1. He is battling asthma again, brought on by an ear infection and cold that he's having trouble shaking.
2. It is nearly impossible to play quietly while Daddy sleeps during the day. We often resort to day trips to Grandma's or MaMa's house, visits to the library, stroller rides, long car rides, etc.
3. He is the biggest moocher of food I've ever known. If anyone is eating ANYTHING, he thinks he needs a bite. (But he's also very generous about sharing his own food, and loves to feed goldfish crackers to anyone who will take one.)
4. He still takes two naps a day, but often has to be driven around in the car to fall asleep.
5. He goes to daycare on MWF, since those are the days Mommy normally teaches. We've continued this schedule during summer for continuity and so as not to risk losing his place at Sandy's this fall.
6. His favorite word is "uh-oh."
7. He loves to chase Mumford, and has recently discovered the cat's hiding place on a closet shelf. He corners him there every chance he gets.
8. He loves eating cantaloupe and watermelon, usually with juice running all down his arms.
9. He has sixteen teeth. (The top two eyeteeth are about halfway in and the bottom two eyeteeth are just starting to break through the gums.)
10. He can walk along behind a pushtoy and walk holding onto someone's hand, but has only taken two completely unassisted steps thus far.
11. He's only had two haircuts, and one was just a tiny trimming of his bangs to get them out of his eyes. Mom and Dad can't bear to part with those gorgeous curls.
12. He watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse nearly every morning, and we all do the "Hot Dog" dance together and wave goodbye to Mickey at the end.
13. He wears a size 18-months in clothing. We've just started wearing shoes, but only every once in awhile. He's not terribly fond of shoes.
14. We've just graduated to a real toothbrush from the little finger brush, and he loves brushing his teeth and helping Mom and Dad brush their teeth.
15. He still takes a bottle before bed, and usually once during the night, and is VERY attached to his pacifiers, which we call "nuk," "nukkie," or "nukitron."


I never said I was proud of myself.

I received some surprising news yesterday, and my reaction was not as gracious as it should have been. I've been thinking about it ever since, and realizing how really childish I can be at times.

First off, I don't like surprises. Not really. I mean, I like when Eli brings me home unexpected chocolate chip cookies...but anything more substantial than that, I want to know about in advance. So that I can prepare. Mentally.

I don't handle change well. I'm 29, and I just realized this today. I don't. I have a continuously running, film-like progression happening in my mind of the way my life is going to unfold day by day, minute by minute, and when reality doesn't conform to this prearranged mental image, I get pissy. ("Oh," those of you who know me well are saying, "So THAT'S why she's so pissy all the time." Mystery solved.) Thus, being surprised is not a part of my gameplan; it screws with my head and often makes me angry.

Like at the gas station a couple of weeks ago. I was filling Eli's truck up with gas (for the first time ever--I rarely drive the truck), and I swiped my debit card, started the pump going, and then turned around to peek at Eliot through the window and make faces at him. Three years later, the pump clicked off, and I turned around to face the digital readout which said, "$92.07." My face fell off and broke into thirty hundred pieces on the oil-stained asphalt. "Ninety-two fucking dollars and seven fucking cents! WHaaa????" I screamed aloud. I could get a gently used kidney off ebay for that! With shipping! More obscenities followed as I hauled myself back up into the truck and gingerly pulled away, being careful not to gun it and burn $3.00 worth of that precious liquid gold I had just pumped into the tank. By the time I got home I was feeling stupid, thinking I was probably the only person in the country who had yet to smack up against the realization that gasoline is expensive. If you didn't know this yet, I'm telling you now, folks. Gasoline is expensive. Yessir. It is. This is not just a viscious rumor.

Moving on.

So the point is, yesterday my face fell off again, and when I put it back on, I was slightly uglier than before. Which is to say that I wasn't as nice as I should have been to someone whom I love very much, and who deserved the nicest of my niceness. And my only excuse is that I was surprised, and I am immature.

I did, after all, enjoy a DQ thin mint blizzard a few nights ago over webcam while IMing Libby. And I was totally licking my chops and falling on the floor in ecstacy on purpose, simply because I knew that poor Libby Lou, living as she does in my old hometown (indeed, my old bedroom), had no chance of procuring such a delicious treat at that hour. My hometown, The Middle of Nowhere, USA, has zero commerce after 9 p.m. Zero. (Well, unless you count scoring a dimebag off your cousin Jim Bob Daryll in exchange for a handjob. And you only might could get that if'n his momma ain't done smoked it up already.) So yeah, I purposely revelled in ice cream, knowing that my little sister was sitting jealous and ice cream-less on the other end of all the 0's and 1's. I was all, na-na-na-na-na-na. MMmmm. mmm. mmm.

Libby are you reading this? Did I mention I'm drinking a jamocha shake right now? A cold, delicious jamocha shake?

Ahem, where was I? Oh yeah, immaturity. Selfishness. Childish behavior. And extreme over-indulgence in ice cream treats, apparently.

And all of this pointless meandering is just to berate myself publicly for being an ass. It may not have looked like I was being an ass, but I was. Because I was pouting and not wanting anyone but myself to be happy. Sheer selfishness. I have to learn that other people's happiness doesn't have to subtract from my own. I should wish others well more often, and more sincerely.

And I should stop eating so much damn ice cream.