Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ringing it in

Since I spent most of the week keeping the kids out of Dan's hair and then had what will heretofore be called "The Snoqualmie Pass Fiasco" or TSPF (psa: as much as kids like snow, some kids melt down if any part of their body gets not take such kids to a crowded snow park 2 hours away from home and then park half an hour away), it is a relief having a quiet night at home, even though it's New Year's Eve, which makes me officially boring. In my defense, we did have plans to have friends over this evening, but their week was as crazy as ours and needed to cancel. Such is life.

On the flip side, I've made my goals, we've had a nice break from school, I've had some recent scrap victories and I should get a chunk of time away from the family tomorrow. In short, I'm recommitting to following Christ, loving my family, and pursuing the truly important things in life.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's 5:40am.

I can't sleep.
I'm freezing.
My living room is filled with 3 rooms worth of stuff.
I'm going on day 2 of keeping the kids occupied so Dan can work.
As much as I'd like to, I can't say no to the chocolate cheesecake sitting in my fridge.
The bathtub faucet has been trickling for a full day now, in an attempt to drain the hot water heater.
No warm showers for me until tonight, unless I shower at the gym.

Ok, gripefest over. I'm sure it'll all be worth it once the floor is in and everything is back to normal, but right now I'm tired, and ready to get on with this vacation I'm told we're having!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Where's Jesus?

As I was driving home last night from a last-minute Christmas shopping marathon (and not the last one, either) , I found myself feeling empty. I'd given little (if any) thought to the birth of Christ this month. I'd gotten lost in the busyness, in checking things off the list, in making an adequate Christmas Eve dinner, and so on.

It's one of the challenges I think we all face every Christmas season. So many necessary and wonderful things to do, and none of them directly lead us back to Christ by themselves.

The conclusion I came to for myself, though, lies in the twofold commandment of the New Testament--Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. The Christmas season brings opportunities to love our neighbors that we don't find the rest of the year...and that's part of loving God. So my challenge for myself is to use all these opportunities to the fullest. To take a minute and chat with the neighbors when I bring them some cookies. To show love to my family when we have our Christmas dinner, not just hurry through all the preparations so we can eat. To thank God for an evening of shopping with my husband, for the opportunity to participate together in our giving, even if it wasn't as efficient as it could have been. And to keep the plans for the rest of Dan's week off from encroaching on our celebrations.

Jesus came to earth for me. That is worth celebrating. Next year I plan to get an advent wreath and do the readings and all that....but for this year, Christmas is what it is--a time of loving God, loving each other, and being grateful for the sacrifice made by Christ for all of us.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Home again, home again

There's DEFINITELY no place like home! We were only gone for about 20 hours but it felt like days...probably because it's been days since we've been fully functioning in our home. And we had the sense to clean yesterday before we left--mostly because I didn't like the idea of coming home to a full trash can, crumbs on the counter, food in the sink after what could have been way longer than 20 hours! They were quoting up to a week on the radio. And the people who live on the street adjacent to ours still don't have power.

Now that I've been cutting out bad carbs, when I do have them it makes me feel yucky. I had a piece of pizza at Costco tonight, and I have this weird headachey-headrush thing going on. I guess that'll teach me not to eat Costco pizza! I'm down 12 lbs. as of today...definitely noticing my jeans fitting more consistently.

Nothing of importance to share, so I'll post a layout (that I'm really hoping I haven't posted on my blog before, because that would be embarrassing.):

Monday, December 11, 2006

On to round 1!

Remember the Memory Creators Super Bowl of Scrapbooking contest I told you about? I'm one of 20 who just made it through the 2nd round--go me! Now we have 10 days to complete our next set of layouts...yes, I think they know it's the Christmas season! Actually, I shouldn't have any problem since I'm still in denial about Christmas and am planning to start my shopping when Dan gets his year-end bonus next week. Anyway, here are this round's layouts:

We're having some friends over for dinner tonight. They just got married 2 months ago, and she was in a Bible study I led when she was in Jr. High/High School and I was single. I figure if nothing else we'll be able to provide them with a compelling reason to delay starting their family! We're pretty good at that. ;)

Friday, December 08, 2006

14 hours and counting...

...until my eBay auctions close. If you're a fan of Stampin' Up! stamps, you can get some terrific sets for as low as $.99!! ;)

When I lived in Port Angeles, all the ladies at church were either scrapbookers or rubber stampers, and Stampin' Up! parties were huge. For some reason, home parties were a big thing there (really big). Fast forward to now, where I have (or had!) an entire drawerful of stamp sets, most of which I'd only used one of the entire set, and that only a couple times. Fortunately for me, the cash outlay wasn't huge, since I hosted a couple parties and got most of the sets cheap.

Anyway, a few of them sold within minutes of being posted, so guess what I bought with my newly replenished PayPal account??? MORE STAMPS!!! This time it's different though. REALLY! I have a much better sense of my style as a scrapbooker and the FontWerks stamps I just spent a fortune on (dang that exchange rate!) are perfect. How can you resist these?

Well, I'm off to stalk my e-mail for more closed auctions, and fill up that new empty drawer!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I think I've mentioned my rule about buying scrapbook supplies. I try to only buy things that can be used proportionally to their cost. $1 or less per layout is my rule of thumb. It keeps me from going overboard on stamps that I love but might only use 2 or 3 times.

Anyway, I broke my rule with a vengence for Around the Block Soft Charms (aren't they cute???). And at Fred Meyer, so I didn't even get my 30% discount (buying anything full price drives me crazy now, I've gotten so spoiled!). I did get them on sale, but I think they were $12, and I'll be lucky to get 3 or 4 layouts out of them, and that would be using very short words with few vowels. :) But the occasional splurge is good for the soul, in my humble opinion.

I got to use them on one of my contest layouts at Memory Creators...should be up in the gallery there in the next couple days.

Happy Thursday everyone!

p.s. Check it out! I'm on the Fiskateer blog!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

You'll be seeing a bit less of me soon...

because there'll be less of me to see! ;)

So far I've lost 6 lbs and have been working out for a solid month. The weight loss didn't come until I started dieting last week, but so far so good!

Once we made the decision not to have any more kids, I felt that as soon as I was back on my feet after having Esther, that I should lose my extra weight. I'm 50 lbs heavier than I was when Dan and I got together, and even then I was more than I wanted to be. However, some major dental issues got in the way...and then it just seemed too hard. I had so much on my plate, I didn't think I could handle the stress of dieting and exercising until after the New Year, and then after vacation, and then after all the birthdays, and then after summer, and then after we settled into our school routine....I was all set to get back on, AFTER the holidays (and then my birthday), and then was out shopping one day and got totally disgusted after trying on some clothes. I just couldn't live like this anymore.

That was 9 days ago. Yes, I have to raise my kids feeling less than great. Yes, I am lacking a coping mechanism (an unhealthy one, of course) that made my life more tolerable. Yes, I'm going to a party tomorrow night and one Thursday night at which I probably won't be able to stick to my diet. But it's ok! It's been easier than I thought it would be, I have the best cheerleader in the world, and progress is being made.

The most important thing, though, is that God wants me to do this. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and it's the vessel by which I carry out His plan for my life. And even more, He wants me to turn to Him when things get hard, not grab a handful of M&Ms. So now I'm seeing other areas of life get straightened out because I'm learning that self-indulgence doesn't solve my problems.

Speaking of which, it's time to get off the computer. ;)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What? Little ol' me???

You have NO idea how excited I was when Kah-Mei asked me if she could include my layout in the FontWerks newsletter. To some people this probably wouldn't be a big deal, but FW is one of my absolute favorite manufacturers of scrapbooking products. And Kah-Mei runs the company with integrity and humility, giving credit to God for its success.

So I got a mention in the newsletter, and my layout is on the website?

Wanna see?

Have a great day, and if you're in Western WA, be warm and filled. :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bullet points + 3

  • Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous. Pumpkin cheesecake is 100x better than pumpkin pie any day. And the stuffing...well, I hope to duplicate it next year, but cooking anything the same twice is a virtual impossibility for me, so I'll have to live with the knowledge that at one point in time I did consume the world's best stuffing.
  • And now, I think I'm finally ready to get serious about losing my extra weight. Trying on clothes today was the last straw.
  • I thought I'd hate having the big dinner at home with just our family, but it went well. We all dressed up and everyone was nice to each other.
  • I'm also thinking seriously about learning web design to add to the amount of business Dan is able to take on and do all of his dirty work (programming, resizing photos, etc.). Even just doing 5 hours a week would add significantly to our income, which could make it so one way or another we're not living in a 1100 sq. ft. house.
  • I'm not feeling very Christmas-y yet. We've had the music on, but I'm just not feelin' it. Even doing some Christmas shopping didn't put me fully there. Which wouldn't be that much of a problem, except that I have gifts to make that could take a few weeks, and I need to order photos, etc.
  • Maybe getting a tree will help.
  • I remember the last time Dan had a significant amount of time, I came to the conclusion that family life works for us if we're both home full-time and without any responsiblities other than the care and feeding of our children. I'm feeling that now, with our weekend 75% over and we're both feeling moderately rested but haven't had any time together since Thanksgiving.
  • They should put at least 6 episodes on the Gilmore Girls DVDs. 8 would be even better. 4 just isn't enough.
  • If you've read this far, I'm compelling you to add 3 bullet points.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Are you ready to rumble???

I supposed I had better be--I've just finished training camp for the Super Bowl of Scrapbooking! We're on to the draft now. If you're interested in watching, stop by Memory Creators between now and Super Bowl Sunday. I know they'll have a few rounds where MC members will be voting.

Also, I have to brag on Mariah--she hasn't worn a diaper since Saturday, and other than waking up wet, has not had any accidents!! Woo-hoo! :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ain't it the truth.

Found the link to "what's on your epitaph" a few clicks away from Elsie's blog. (though, of course, this is a tombstone, not an epitaph.)

Take this quiz at

On that happy note, have a great Monday!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If you've seen LOTR...

and especially if you've watched the appendices...

Don't I look like Gandalf with the hobbits? I knew as soon as the photo was shot I'd look like I was about 2x the size of the other girls. Really, my head is roughly the same size as everyone else's.

So I'm pretty excited about electricity today. Heat, electric light, computer, movies, the microwave, you name it. Reading a scrapbooking idea book by flashlight and taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon is nice and all, but I'm a slave to modern convenience and I'm not afraid to admit it!

Have a great, light-filled, warm-mealed, internet-connected day!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My little climber

I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself for using orange (coral? apricot?) for a background color. The cardstock was one of those this-is-gorgeous-so-I'm-buying-it-even-though-I'll-probably-never-use-it purchases. I'm also glad to be past the my-paper-has-to-match-my-photos phase, as I sure wasn't going to use dark burgundy OR pale green for a background!

A blustery day

Ever since February 17, 2006, I've been somewhat ancraophobic. That was the day that crazy windstorm knocked out the power in Bonney Lake for 15 hours (give or take). The only reason I remember the exact date is because I was in full-on birthday party planning mode, and had to stop cleaning, baking, decorating, assembling when I didn't have the necessary electricity to complete the tasks, and ended up spending the night an hour away at my mom's house, so I could come home the next day and do in 3 hours what normally would have taken me a day and a half.

FYI -- ancraophobia = fear of wind. Don't worry, I'm not one of those people who knows all the phobia names, I just looked it up on The Indexed Phobia List for the amusement of my faithful blog readers. If you check this list and realize you have one of these phobias (or a pseudo-phobia like mine), you have to let me know what it is! By the way, Spermatophobia or Spermophobia- Fear of germs. I guess I'm not spermophobic after all. ;)

Anyway, ALL that to say I get a little spooked when it's windy now after that fateful day. I'm not a huge fan of disruptions, and Lord knows I already have plenty of them with all these kids. So here's hoping for electrical stability, and safety for all of us who live near large trees.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

On my happy list...

(because Sara did it)

*Having comfortably tired abs after working out in the morning.
*A friend from church who wants to have the kids over.
*And thus, the hope of two hours in a quiet, clean house.
*My morning cup(s) of coffee.
*My new vertical file storage that hangs on the wall and holds my letter stickers. I just like to look at them. :)
*George Outline stamps by FontWerks.
*Bottled water.
*Precept upon Precept Bible studies.
*Bamboo flooring--we just got some for the dining room and kitchen.
*My husband coming home from work on time. ;)

and most importantly

*A God whose mercies are new every morning, who faithfully loves me, forgives me, and provides for me in every way.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 13, 2006

7 lovely years

7 years ago at this moment, I was sitting in the hairdressers chair, surrounded by 4 of my best friends, just having seen my fiance for the last time, wondering how on earth I would squeeze into the beautiful dress that had fit perfectly 3 months prior. At that point I was so sure that we were invincible.

I had no idea how much marriage would change me.

I had no idea how much I needed to change.

Now, 7 years, 4 kids, 3 moves, & 2 jobs later, we both have grown closer to the Lord. We listen better, take offense less easily, think less highly of ourselves and more highly of each other. We've learned to give each other space to pursue our interests and to stay close when things are difficult. We deal with issues when they come up and don't go to bed mad.

I've learned to be more careful, less demanding, more understanding, cleaner, more organized, more accomodating, less last-minute. I would have had a much harder time learning these things without Dan. And learning through our relationship is much less painful than learning on my own.

In the next 7 years, I don't anticipate 4 more kids (actually, I don't anticipate any more kids!), 3 moves (1 maybe), or 2 more jobs (Dan couldn't be happier at his job, and I couldn't be happier at home). But I do hope for the growth that the Lord has brought through learning to live with someone who is like-minded but completely different than me, through loving and being loved, and through having to share all of my life's experiences with.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Single socks...

...make me want to slam my head against a brick wall.

Really hard.

That's all. :P

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The view from my living room

Not really, but it's starting to feel like it.

Actually this is a photo from somewhere in Western WA. Crazy! Makes me thankful to live at the top of a big hill.

Wherever you are, o blog reader, I hope you're staying dry. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hurray for clematis!

I won 2nd place in the Simple Scrapbooks layout contest! Thanks SS--I was so excited! The funny thing is, the other LO I submitted took most of the day Friday (and part of Thursday evening), I loved the original concept but it wasn't anything super special by dinnertime, and I had to stop so I could take it to Kinko's before they closed. That one didn't place. This one took less time, and I think is more honestly and expression of who I am. Which, in my opinion, is what scrapbooking is about.

(Mimi, I had hoped to run into you! I remember last year we tried to get together and weren't able to! Next year, maybe?)

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm off to the CK convention tomorrow.

It always amazes me how long it takes to get ready for a day away from the kids! Totally worth it, don't get me wrong, but I've already been to the store to get a pizza for tomorrow, I need to get an oil change later, get the house reasonably cleaned up and put the folded laundry away so DH isn't frantically searching for matching socks or pants that fit. And I'm hoping to enter at least one of the contests, and of course it didn't occur to me to start early....

One happy thing though--Shiloh was practicing ballet/gymnastics stuff this morning, and lamented to me that we don't have a mat upon which she could practice her somersaults. Then I remembered our fold-up mat that I got for overnight visitors....and now all the kids are jumping on and over it. Fun for the whole family, let me tell ya.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Thursday morning, and....

  • The Great Clothing Swap is over, and was a success (though I still have a bag of single shoes that I know have mates.
  • I've worked out every day for the last two weeks, except Sunday
  • We're out of good coffee, we have this flavored stuff that was on sale and I'm refusing to drink it.
  • Mariah has glitter all over her hands and I don't know how it go there.
  • LOST just keeps getting crazier and crazier.
  • If Dan and I ever get more than 2 minutes together in our house, I'm going to have him help me make my blog pretty.
  • The garbage truck is REALLY exciting (for different reasons, depending on who you ask).
  • Esther has a cold.
  • I need a nap.

Here's a page I did a while back. :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Christmas pre-season is upon us!

Full-blown holiday decoration sections at Target and the like, the beginnings of shopping lists and holiday plans, Christmas play rehearsals...isn't it crazy that we spend 2 months preparing for one day? I personally wouldn't have it any other way, though.

However, I have one strict rule to keep it from taking over our lives and getting us all burned out: no decorations and ABSOLUTELY no Christmas music until the Thanksgiving festivities are over. Period. Dan e-mailed me yesterday with a link to the Sufjan Stevens Christmas boxed set, and I gently reminded him that if he's learned anything after 7 years of being married to me, it should be that he would NOT be allowed to play that music in my home for 3 1/2 more weeks. I'm not a controlling wife, really....but there is a time and place for Christmas music, and in my house any time between Dec. 26th and the 4th Thursday in November is neither the time nor the place.

The Sunday paper this week had the Toys R Us and Fred Meyer toy books. I made the mistake of giving them to Elijah and he hasn't put them down since. He pores over them, chattering non-stop about which toys he wants for his birthday (in February). I should know better than to feed the beast.

Anyway, we're off to Target later this week to fill up our Operation Christmas Child boxes, and I've got a couple handmade gift ideas brewing. I'm also teaching an advent calendar class next week (well, maybe) and a Christmas Cards class later in the month at Ben Franklin. Should be fun.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin update

(FYI--this was one of Shiloh's first pictures! I got the "Emily's mom lets her take pictures" and caved.)

So our "pumpkin" yielded 8 c. of stuff, enough for 2 pies, 2 loaves of bread, and 12 muffins. The white flesh + pumpkin pie spices yielded sort of a dingy brownish-grey result. I filled the muffin tins and one of the loaf pans too full and have yuckies all over the bottom of my oven. And I still have pots and pans all over the kitchen because I was too tired and lazy to finish cleaning up last night. But everything tasted decent.

Now I have some cleaning up to do before Babysitter Ashley gets here to let me go find someplace quiet (and hopefully warm!) and do nothing for 3 hours.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkin pie...mmmmm....

Every year we go to the pumpkin patch.

And every year we make pie. Yeah, it's a lot of trouble (and goo) to get something we could buy for $5 in the frozen food section at Top Foods. But one of my quirks is that I need them to know that pumpkin pie doesn't come from the store, that zebras don't live in the zoo, that Christmas trees don't come from the parking lot, and that wood doesn't come from Home Depot. Of course I could just wait until they're older and tell them. But it's so much more fun to show them. :)

Anyway, the lady at the pumpkin patch told us that the white "pumpkin" (I think they call it a Ghost Pumpkin) makes great pie "because of the dark orange flesh". I cut it open....and the flesh
was as white as the pumpkin. Hmmm....I'm sure with enough cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar it'll taste fine, regardless of the color.

So I think with the pumpkin pie making and the leaves changing and the sub-freezing temperatures (well, 29 degrees, anyway) and our church's Harvest Carnival, I'm declaring this Harvest Week at our house. Which means a few fall-themed projects and maybe we'll even get bundled up and go for a walk one of these afternoons.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thought I'd post this before I head off to bed.

Which means I'm a liar, since I had my second cup many hours ago.

On the other hand, I forgot to order decaf at Starbucks this evening, so I may be up for a while anyway. Dang it.

Anyway, I love the Autumn Leaves blogs! This is inspired by a challenge on the Designing with Color blog:

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting back on track with the old blogeroo

As some of you may have noticed (well, probably only Mimi, and maybe Cat), I've been a bit inconsistent in my blogging of late. I think I was getting to the point where I was just blogging for the sake of blogging, something most busy moms just don't have time for. Lately, however, I've been appreciating how useful blogs are for sharing, connecting, getting to know someone's thoughts that they might not share elsewhere. Because lets face it--blogging is talking about yourself/myself. When else do we have an unlimited amount of time/space to talk about whatever's in our minds? Dan's eyes would roll back into his head permanently if I tried to do that to him (which is probably why he rarely reads my blog....)


On the agenda for the rest of the week is the Great Clothing/Shoes Swap of 2006, part 2. For most parents who have more than one child of the same sex and/or friends with older kids, and who don't have an unlimited clothing budget, hand-me-downs are a fact of life. We are blessed to get PILES of clothes from a co-worker of Dan's every month, perfect condition Gap and Old Navy outfits that are only a couple years old, boy and girl, enough for about 5 kids. As well as clothes from my mom, and her neighbor, and a few other people. And of course we keep everything that Shiloh grows out of for Mariah, and then for Esther. Because things get ripped or stained or are the wrong season whatever.

HOWEVER, swapping them out every time we need to move up a size is right up there with getting my toenails slowly ripped out, one by one. Unloading the entire storage area to get to the boxes I need, sorting clothes into piles of "outgrown Shiloh", "new Mariah", "outgrown Mariah", "new Esther", "Goodwill", "wash, then Goodwill", "next summer-Mariah", "next summer-Esther", and on. And then the kids come and get into one of the piles the second I walk away to get the phone or whatever. And Dan's less-than-thrilled disposition when he comes home to the aforementioned piles (I won't list them again). Seriously, my house looks like the Goodwill kids section threw up in it for about a week every time I do the Swap.

So this week I have a plan that will hopefully minimize the kid clothes barf...we'll see if it helps. For perspective/sympathy, I've posted the closet in the girls' room, just so you all can see what three girls sharing a closet in a small house looks like on a good day.

And with that, I'm off. :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reflections on the first day of school...

  1. Elijah is happier and much better behaved when structure is imposed on him.
  2. Everybody is happier when Elijah is happy.
  3. Science is the funnest thing in the world.
  4. I have to remember that Shiloh is very much a kindergartener, even if she does first grade work.
  5. A fresh, unspoiled can of playdoh is good for an hour's worth of entertainment, and really doesn't take all that long to clean up.
  6. I hope the kids start taking more responsibility for keeping the house clean when it sinks in that they're going to be the ones cleaning it.
  7. I'm glad to live in a place where I can show the kids what a "habitat" is, not just tell them about it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

...and we come full circle.

I started this blog in anticipation of our first year of homeschooling. I spent days writing about goals, ideas, methods, etc.

Now we're starting year 2.

I'm feeling much more realistic about it. Excited, and yet aware of what some of my challenges will be. I know now that there's no easy way to homeschool preschoolers and a kindergartener at the same time. And I'm ok with it. Shiloh's ahead of where I hoped she'd be at this point, and I have few expectations of the others at this point. So really, we can't lose. :)

We have 4 days of summer left, and I couldn't be happier. Life is so much more orderly when we're on our schedule, and yet I just can't make myself do it when I don't have to. We'll be getting involved in a new co-op this year, and I'm finding that life is just a little easier now that the kids are getting older. Much easier to run errands.

Nothing else to say really, except that the Schlitzkus household is rejoicing that this website is live! Dan has been convinced that he needs to take a break from freelance work for the rest of the week, and while we will probably spend the holiday weekend close to home, I think we'll have a good time just being together.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ok, I have to

I have no idea if this will be funny or cute to anyone else, but it's one of our favorite little family movies.
 Posted by Picasa

I *heart* Picasa!

Just downloaded Picasa today, and I haven't learned all the ins and outs yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll never use Kodak EasyShare again, other than when necessary for uploading. Also, I found a movie of the kids from about 3 years ago that is one of my favorites. I had accidentally deleted it and thought I'd never see it again. Maybe I'll have to post it.

This photo collage of Mariah's birthday took me about 20 seconds to make. Nice! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I definitely feel like I spend the majority of my time keeping the plates spinning. I think many women tend to live our lives that way--we have a lot going at the same time. My husband works harder and faster than I could ever dream of...but when he's in work mode, he doesn't tend to be interruptable. That's how he gets so much work done. I, on the other hand, must always be interruptable, to the point that I have a hard time focusing now even when all the interruptions are gone! We call it multi-tasking, and we like to think we're good at it, but I think by definition if I'm doing more than one thing at a time, nothing has my full attention.

Anyway, I'm always happy to find things that make it easier to keep all the plates spinning...or to make them spin longer before falling off the stick. (you guys do what I'm talking about, right? That guy on the stage who spins all the plates at once and has to keep them spinning AND perfectly balanced so they don't fall off the sticks?) Here are some of my favorites:
  • Household wipes
  • Online bill-pay
  • Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches
  • Being the money nazi in our family (nobody, not even Dan, spends a penny without my knowledge)
  • iTunes
  • Netflix
  • Shiloh's morning routine
  • Protein bars
  • Our weekly babysitter (who is on vacation, and without whom my life has become considerably more stressful)
How about you? What helps you keep the plates spinning?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just call me Debby Domestic

...because I BAKED BREAD today! Normally I'm not one to put any more effort into anything than necessary (after all, I have 4 kids! Who needs more work?), but lately I've been on a money-saving kick, and have been going over and over our budget, looking for ways to cut costs. So I have a ridiculous amount of trail mix supplies (cheap and easy lunch snacks for Dan), am looking at breakfast options other than cereal (we spend $40/mo. just on cereal!)...and these just came out of the oven. Yum yum.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Giving myself 5 minutes

The house needs picking up, and I haven't started dinner, but I thought I should check in anyway. Since the randomness format has worked so well for me in the past...

  • It took me well over 2 hours to fold laundry today. I was watching a movie at the same time, but still. And it's not put away yet, which means if the kids get up soon I'm at risk for refolding it.
  • Ever feel like Dory on Finding Nemo? I do. I have at least 10 unfinished LOs in my little corner. I have these great ideas, then I have to stop scrapping for the evening, and by the time I come back to it the idea has fallen somewhat flat. One of these days I'll just take a day and finish 'em all up.
  • Had a terrific time teaching a class at Ben Franklin last night--Beccy and Shanna showed up!! Beccy, if you're out there you have to post! :)
  • 3 minutes already?
  • My stepdad is opening his own auto mechanic shop. If you're in the Everett/Mukilteo area, I can't recommend a better mechanic.
  • Ummm...any ideas on what we should have for dinner tonight?
  • I love summer reading programs at the library!! Getting that sticker every week has been enough to get us into the 20 min. a day groove. And my 3 older kids and I can now recite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom from start to finish by heart.
Have a great weekend!! phew

Friday, June 23, 2006

More randomness

  • Esther is impossibly cute. She's at that cute Frankenstein-walking phase, she walks around with her arms straight out babbling all day long.
  • I'm taking the kids to a free event at a local park w/a craft table, inflatables, concessions...and realizing that I love stuff like this, but I hate taking my kids to it! It's so hard being in an uncontrolled environment with 4 little ones...which explains why we don't go anywhere except the grocery store and church.
  • The photo shoot I mentioned in my last post...I made a LO for Dan with the outtakes. :) Photos courtesy of Emages Photography in Auburn.

  • That $50 nap I mentioned in my last post...still hasn't happened.
  • You know how your kids' idiosyncrasies can just drive you crazy??? Shiloh can't seem to do anything without making a huge mess, I have bright pink spots on my dining room floor to prove it. Elijah is so fast, loud and volatile that it takes me at least half an hour to relax every day when they take their naps (and I'm rarely totally left alone for the entire half hour). And Mariah...well, if she survives childhood and becomes a God-fearing, productive member of society it'll be a miracle. Esther has yet to show her hand, and I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
  • I'm glad God made parenting a joint venture...if I didn't have Dan to balance out all my weaknesses my kids would be very different people, and my home would be a very different place.
Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

(not so) Deep Thoughts

*Good babysitters are not easy to find. We have a girl who comes 6-7 hours a week, and she'll be gone all summer. She's like a member of the family. We need to find someone for the next couple months, but the moms I know around here use her primarily too....think I'm going to have to get creative!
*2 dentist appts down, probably about 8 to go. :)
*If you're in the Seattle/Tacoma area, you must check out Emages Photography. We had our first shoot there a couple weeks ago, and Nathan is a miracle worker! That he could get a decent, all-4-kids-looking-at-the-camera-with-no-scowls photo still baffles me. Because I was there. We'd get the kids into position, and then one would get up and walk away, or turn their head, or start crying. I'll be getting my proofs today, when I do some LOs with them I'll make sure to post them here.
*I'd pay $50 for a good nap right now. Maybe I'll try to squeeze one in while the kids watch Wallace & Gromit.
*I think what I love most about gardening is that it's so forgiving. If the weeds grow longer than they should, or I miss a day of watering, or something's in need of pruning, no worries! Not like quilting, where one needs to be ridiculously precise to get decent results. Bah. I love quilts, but making them isn't my cup of tea.
*Have you tried Diamond Glaze? I'm so not a techniquey scrapper, but this stuff is cool! Again, too lazy to post examples, but I used it on a couple things recently and will be using it again.
*Ok....I like pictures in blog entries, so let me see what I can dig up...nevermind. Off to sneak in a nap!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Taking care of oneself

I seem to have been learning the hard way about the importance of taking care of myself. I learned a while back (after many a meltdown) that life was just easier/better if I took care of my emotional needs, and I'm good about taking breaks from the kids whenever I can. I feel like I've found a good balance there. And I know that I can do nothing without the Lord, and that I need to walk in close fellowship with Him for anything good to come from my life (though I still have a long way to go on that one).

But my physical needs have always been at the very bottom of the list...and after this weekend I'm starting to think that needs to change somehow. I've been out of commission from a horrible toothache. Totally bummed out that I couldn't enjoy the extra time at home with the family. And mad that if I'd been taking better care of my teeth I wouldn't have been on the couch all day. I have weight to lose, I don't exercise, my hair gets cut about once a year on average, and on and on.

The problem I'm faced with is this: moving my physical needs up the list = moving something(s) down. So which of the important things I'm doing are less important than taking care of my body? What can/should I give up to avoid another disabling toothache (or worse, following in my grandmother's footsteps and dying of a heart attack at 51)? Or, maybe more important, is it really that big of a deal to schedule a few dentist appointments, or get up 20 min. early to go jogging? Put in those terms it seems so easy...and yet here I am.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Monday!

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE Mondays??? It's the beginning of a new week. Everything returns to "normal" after a busy weekend. I'm rested, I've had some scrapping time recently, and the house is usually in decent shape.

Today is an especially happy Monday because a) it's a gorgeous day here in Bonney Lake, WA, and b) I jogged this morning!! I made the discovery a few weeks back that exercise just isn't going to happen unless I get up at 6, and I've been better about getting to bed early (well, earlier)...exercise is so good for my mood. So is getting up early. I'll have to do it more often.

Anyway, off to make my list for the week! Here's a new one of Mariah...She's almost 3 now. How did I miss that I can add photos to my blog by dragging and dropping? Way easier than the way I'd been doing it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Parenting = an act of faith

It's been a long time in coming, but I think I'm finally starting to see the role of faith in my parenting:

*I can't save my kids--only God can.
*That means that their becoming the people He wants them to be isn't dependent on my best efforts, but on His work in their life.
*That means that the pressure is off of me to be the perfect mom, and I can love them, teach them, play with them, and RELAX.

Like I said, it's been a long time in coming. And the constant self-doubt and second-guessing is *exhausting*. And a joy-stealer. I am hoping that this realization is a turning point for me in my parenting. And yet, it will not make me a perfect parent. Because that isn't what my kids need. They need to need the Lord.

Deep thoughts for a Wednesday morning, eh? I'll end with a picture. It' s not a perfect picture, but this is the Esther I love:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Got Mother's Day plans?

If you're in the area and you're a scrapbooker, I'll be teaching a "Mom & Me" scrapbooking class at Ben Franklin in Bonney Lake! It's on Saturday, May 13th at 10:30, and I'm so excited about it! I love the project we'll be working on, and I think we'll have a great time!I'm also happy to announce that I won an honorable mention in the recent design team call at! I'll be a guest designer some time in the next few months, and I'm totally excited. They have great kits, talented designers and a super friendly message board. Stop in and say HI sometime!

In a related vein (sort of), Dan has freelance work coming out his ears! I think he's got 5 different projects going right now. All stuff he's doing evenings & weekends. Crazy. I will say that it's much easier to pick up the slack now that I'm not pregnant and don't have a little baby.

Finally, if any of you has heard of a potty training school that I could send my daughter to until she's fully capable of using the toilet, I'd be willing to pay good money for it. Or even if you'd like to hang out in my bathroom with her. I'm not picky. I just don't want to do this!! I think she'll get it pretty quickly once she figures out the connection between her bodily functions and the potty chair, but that hasn't happened yet. Seriously, I think a potty training boarding school would be a great idea.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Not really a Monty Python fan...

...though I probably could be without too hard of a push. But the guys I hung out with in high school quoted it ad nauseum, so I picked up some stuff by osmosis. And I did see this hilarious sketch about Olympic Hide-and-Seek that wouldn't be nearly as funny if I tried to explain it, so I won't.

Just sharing that so you understand the context for this layout. It's inspired by a song that wouldn't be funny to you if you weren't already familiar with it ("Always look on the bright side of life", since it's small and hard to read), but I was pretty proud of myself. Especially for including the whistling little birdie.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A pre-mid-life crisis???

Maybe because I'm 30, maybe because I'm tired of being broke all the time, maybe because I read all these professional designer mbs...don't know exactly what the reason is, but I've been thinking more lately about pursuing our goals. I think in the past when Dan and I have talked about his dreams of doing his art full-time, we've said things like "now isn't the right time" and dismissed it. But it hit me the other day that Dan could build his comic book career on his graphic design skills. Now, we're still years away from him being able to quit his job, not to mention that there's no possible way he could put in an 8-hour day at our house. But I think our focus is shifting. We're preparing for the next phase. Thinking about it, saving for it, talking about business plans and marketing and all that good stuff. The American dream, eh?

It used to bug me that I was married to a man that couldn't just work his job, come home, hang out with the family, and be happy with that. But I've come to appreciate his ambitious nature. He always wants bigger and better things. He's driven to achieve, to grow, to chase his dreams. And I've come to love that. I know some marriages where the wife feels the need to be the voice of reality. I want to be the voice of encouragement. To say "you can do this", not "you can't". To be his sail, not his anchor. And he's told me many times that he wouldn't have taken some of the steps he's taken if I hadn't believed in him.


Today's my "day off". Our babysitter comes for a couple hours and I spend the rest of my time at home doing as little as possible. Sometimes I'll pick up a movie at the library to watch in the afternoon. Or I'll scrap. Wednesdays make the rest of my week bearable.

Happy Wednesday to you all as well!

Monday, April 17, 2006

And it comes full circle.

Some of you may know that Dan and I dead set against anything having to do with TV. We didn't own one, didn't watch at friends' houses, I still to this day haven't seen an episode of Friends. I fully expected to live out my days this way.

But then Dan started seeing movies with friends again.

Then when we lived at our church, we would borrow their TV and watch movies.

Then we got a DVD player for our computer.

Then, after 5 years of marriage, we had our first movie date (LOTR Return of the King).

And so it goes. Now we own a TV, we have rabbit ears (no cable) and watch 24 twice a week (Monday + Saturday reruns). The kids watch PBS daily. And it does nag at me some. As much as we limit the content of what they watch, I feel that the act of watching TV is somewhat detrimental. And yet, the time of quiet it gives me every morning makes it so much easier to handle my day.

So it makes me happy to see this:

To some degree, it lost its appeal, and they'd rather draw or color or play outside. They still like to watch it, but they haven't lost their ability to entertain themselves doing things of value.

Hope you all had a great Easter. He is risen indeed!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wow, has it really been 13 days???

Sheesh. I'm such a blog slacker. Would that be blacker for short? Or slogger?

Hmmm...ok, here's a recap of the last almost 2 weeks.

*Held down the fort while Dan showed his work at the Emerald City Comicon. He got some great feedback from some editors and met many interesting people.
*We had his friend Dusty spend the weekend as well. Any single 30ish girls out there who are looking for a guy who's kind-hearted, sarcastic and a bit off-color, Dusty is definitely the guy for you!
*Took a few much-deserved breaks after doing double overtime while Dan got ready for the Con.
*Weeded my flower beds, planted a few new beauties and some veg seeds.
*Took the kids to the zoo and brought my sis home to spend the night.
*Kids got sick.
*Mowed the lawn.
*Ran out of money.
*Watched my cousin get married.
*Applied for a great design team.
*Taught a card-making class.
*Made a layout for a Mom & Me class on May 13th. If you're in the area, bring your son/daughter, your mom, or any other special person--I'd love to see you there!
*Had a few blissful moments where I was alone in my house and it was clean! There is nothing better than that in the world.

Don't have any deep thoughts about any of those, so I'll end with a song...

Particle man, particle man
Doing the things a particle can
What’s he like? it’s not important
Particle man

Is he a dot, or is he a speck?
When he’s underwater does he get wet?
Or does the water get him instead?
Nobody knows, particle man

Triangle man, triangle man
Triangle man hates particle man
They have a fight, triangle wins
Triangle man

Universe man, universe man
Size of the entire universe man
Usually kind to smaller man
Universe man

He’s got a watch with a minute hand,
Millenium hand and an eon hand
When they meet it’s a happy land
Powerful man, universe man

Person man, person man
Hit on the head with a frying pan
Lives his life in a garbage can
Person man

Is he depressed or is he a mess?
Does he feel totally worthless?
Who came up with person man?
Degraded man, person man

Triangle man, triangle man
Triangle man hates person man
They have a fight, triangle wins
Triangle man

Friday, March 31, 2006

Wow, has it really been 11 days?

Good thing I didn't gripe at my friends who haven't updated their blogs this week! (you know who you are!!!)

Let's see...

{she remembers why she hasn't updated her blog this week}

Being a SAHM, you would think a weekend day without a DH would feel like any other day. But for some reason it doesn't. I don't feel the same pressure to do housework, make food that doesn't come from the freezer, pry the kids away from the TV, etc. I think it's because I feel like it *should* be a day off, even if it isn't. The funny thing is, my Saturdays are usually far more productive than the rest of the week.

So I'll probably head to the store tonight and pick up some frozen food, some diet coke, a new LeapPad pen, and anything else that I can find that's cheap and could provide some entertainment for me or them, and then settle in for a day of scrapping, snacking, tuning out kid noise, and praying for Dan. He'll be at the Emerald City ComiCon showing his work and networking. I'm hoping for an enjoyable and productive weekend for him.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Reflections on a great day....

Normally there is nothing in the world that makes me happy to be awake for 20 hours straight. Yesterday, however, was an exception. I had the opportunity to attend the CK Convention in Portland, and I'll spare you the blow-by-blow, but there were a few highlights that I'm still smiling about today...
  • Taking scrapbooking classes isn't really my thing, but as a new teacher I thought it would be really helpful to participate in at least one and watch an experienced teacher work. The class I took, taught by my friend Courtney, was very well done! I picked up a few teaching tricks and now have a beautiful Christmas present for my sister!
  • Winning 2nd place in the Simple Scrapbooks page accent layout contest!! SO FUN!! Here is a picture of the winning layout (I'm hoping it's ok to post it!!). It really does look much better IRL--the ribbons and stuff don't look so, well, FLAT.
  • Even better than that, though, was getting together with the other Pubsters. It was a truly amazing thing to be congratulated so warmly by other people who get it, some of whom had entered the contest themselves. The way people cheer each other on, celebrate each other's victories, and support each other in the hard times is really, really cool, and I'm blessed to be a part of it.
  • Got to have dinner with these ladies, and it was like being with old friends, even though some I'd met for the first time that day. It was great to be able to put a face, a voice, and to some degree a personality with the names and thoughts I'm so familiar with.
  • Seeing Gina deserves it's own bullet point!! I've so enjoyed getting to know her better through planning the dinner together, and had a great time hanging out beforehand (win both of our wins were announced!).
Anyway, I'm feeling the aftereffects of the missed sleep, so I'll be on my way!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy Friday!!

Today is a great day! I have lots to do to get myself ready for the CK Convention tomorrow and Pub dinner tomorrow night. Also, lots to do to get my family ready for a day of not having Mom around! But it's early, my house is (mostly) clean, my to do list is full of fun things, the kids are parked in front of PBS and will be for a good while...

I have to be careful in moments like this to just enjoy. It's easy when things are calm and going well to feel like I need to go do something unpleasant, or to start thinking about whichever issue is plaguing me (or if there isn't one, to make something up!). So today I think before I get on with my day, I'm going to sit down w/a landscaping book I got from the library and my 3rd cup of coffee, and just enjoy a few quiet moments. :)

You never can tell in the PNW, but its looking like this crazy snow/hail stuff we've had off and on is coming to an end, and spring is on the way! And I'm *totally* excited to do some work in my front yard. And I know myself, that I have until about mid-July before I burn out. Which means I've got 4 months to plan, dig, transplant, amend, fertilize, plant, weed, water and watch. Last year my veggies sprouted and diet, so this year I'm buying starts instead of seeds.

Anyway, better get to doing nothing before one of the kids needs me again. Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 13, 2006

On any given day...

On any given day I wake up to kid noise.
On any given day I check my e-mail, some blogs and a couple message boards while I eat a bowl of cereal and drink (at least) two cups of coffee.
On any given day I sweep the floor, wipe down the dining table and pick up toys and clothes.
On any given day I pray to be the kind of wife and mom God wants me to be.
On any given day I drink at least two glasses of Diet Coke.
On any given day I don't drink enough water.
On any given day I answer a hundred questions from Shiloh, try to get Elijah to calm down, sing the Dora song or the Barney song to Mariah, and rub Eucerin cream all over Esther's body.
On any given day I wonder if my kids are eating well enough, watching too much TV, learning enough, getting away with too much and not being kind enough to each other.
On any given day I change at least 5 diapers.
On any given day I think about scrapbooking, things to do for Ben Franklin, new products to try or techniques to learn, and hope that I get a chance to do more scrap-related stuff than just clean my scrap area.

This post idea was brought to you today by sara*w's blog.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday randomness

  • Still on my spring cleaning rampage. I don't think I've ever been this into cleaning my house. The cool thing about organizing, though, is that everything *stays* clean longer! Dan is loving it.
  • Only 3 days until the next episode of 24! I think I mentioned before that I don't watch TV? All bets were off when Season 5 started. We had just finished Season 4 earlier that week, and I don't think the adrenaline had time to leave our system. We're hooked. We even watch the reruns on Saturday night. Anyway, the previews for this week sounded like they were going to kill off another main character??? It took me all day Tuesday to recover from Edgar's departure.
  • Dental work isn't a big deal to me. Paying for it sucks though. A lot.
  • PBS buys me at least an hour of peace and quiet every morning.
  • Waking up early for dental work also sucks. I can't grasp the fact that it's 10:11am on Friday morning. The whole day just feels kind of off.
  • 8 days until the CK Convention in Portland OR! Totally excited to see old and new friends, do some shopping, hit Powell's, etc.

Have a great weekend! I trust that my brain will return to it's normal, semi-functioning state by Monday.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A collaborative effort

Many of you know that my husband Dan is a graphic designer (an excellent one at that!). So I often will ask for his feedback on my pages, and then brace myself for his honest feedback. Unfortunately for me, he's pretty much always right, and unfortunately for him, I'm not working in Photoshop and can't always change what needs changing.

Saturday night I showed him a page I'd been working on. He didn't like the title. I loved the concept though, and couldn't redo the title, so I finished the page. I showed him again and asked him what he thought of the *rest* of the page. Of course he couldn't leave the title alone, and came up with some ideas he was sure would work, and offered to help.

This is what we came up with:

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Organization update

Since starting the HGTV challenge, I've:
  • analyzed my paper habits (mail, newspapers, catalogs, documents, etc.)
  • purged some paper from the filing cabinet
  • dealt with a couple piles on the computer table
  • copied a bunch of our CDs to the computer and boxed them up to go to the shed
  • reorganized our toy area and most of the homeschool area
  • purged some old dishes and some toys
  • bought a tie and belt hanger, so Dan has some place to put his ties other than 0ur shoe holder thingie (the times he's worn a tie since I've known him I can count on one hand)
I'm feeling pretty good about it, but there's a lot more to do, and of course the problem of keeping everything from returning to it's usual condition...

Ok, off to bed. :)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

ORGANIZATION MONTH!!!! at my house

I signed up for the HGTV Get Organized challenge and I am *so there*!!! Every chance I get to get rid of some of the disarray in my life makes me so happy. Because there's so much disarray and because I love looking at a surface with nothing on it.

So I just recycled two inches of paper from my filing cabinet this afternoon, and identified my problem areas and am thinking about how to solve them. I have an envelope for receipts, a goal to go through my inbox before it threatens to topple over every month-and-a-half (thus paying some bills late), and a plan to get one of those message center things with the little trough thingie and hooks for our keys. Which brings me to an important realization...I've never liked those from a decorative standpoint, but I'm realizing I like it better than having Dan's wallet, cell phone, keys and iPod on the counter! (I love you honey!!) Seriously, though, I don't live in a decorating magazine. I have 4 kids and we stay home all day and we homeschool and we have 1100 sq. ft. to do it in. We need something that works, that works for us, and that isn't chaotic.

In short, I'm finding that organization, even at its ugliest, is prettier than clutter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tagged again!

Got tagged by *Cat*, my asterisk buddy...

What scrapbook lines/products, etc. do you dislike?
  • Cheap cardstock--using the good stuff just seems to bring everything up a notch.
  • Anything thick/3-D--I like my pages flat
  • I tend to gravitate away from anything pre-made and expensive, though sometimes I'll pick that stuff for my DT work since it doesn't cost me anything! ;)
What is the hardest thing you have ever had to scrap?
  • My kids birthday parties are getting to be harder for me to scrap, since I have 3-4 a year!

What technique do you use more than anything else?
  • Uh...does inking my edges count???
  • Lately I've been doing more with acrylic paint.

What is the smallest scrap of paper you save?
  • It depends on the paper--with my FontWerks paper, no scrap is too small!!

Have you ever had any scrapbook related injuries?
  • Not unless you count the headache that resulted from my dropping 500 eyelets on the floor, picking them all up, sorting them, putting them back in their container--and then doing it a second time.

Finish this sentence, "If I wasn't a scrapbooker/stamper, I would spend my money on..."
  • Probably books--if I didn't scrap, I'd also have time to read!
  • Clothes
  • House stuff
  • Gardening stuff

Give us your best storage or organizational idea.
  • A clothesline-type curtain rod that hangs in my scrap area where I display my finished LOs. I also tie my ribbon onto it.
  • Even better--I have 6 Generations Craft Keeper envelopes that I keep projects in progress in. I have one for classes, one for DT stuff, one for my wedding album...that way it's not all sitting in piles on my scrap area. Also, if I'm feeling so inclined I can plan out 3 or 4 pages at a time and put all the photos and supplies, along with a sketch and journaling in one envelope, I find that it's good for me to take advantage of "idea mode" once I'm there!

When you received your first publication/DT notification, who did you tell?
  • I called Dan on his way to work, then e-mailed Cat and Sara.

After answering the questions, tag four of your buddies.
  • I don't think I know 4 people who haven't answered the questions! :P

In other news...
Esther officially has a milk protein allergy. She's had eczema since she was about 3 months old, and it has been pretty severe at times, but we went to an allergist and the screening test came up negative for 16 different allergens, so I thought it would be something she'd outgrow. But then we started her on cow's milk and within a couple days had nasty diapers, really red cheeks and was grumpy, waking up at night, etc. I stopped the milk and then tried it again a couple weeks later (the first time we'd had a virus going through our family), and got the same results.

So now she's on a soy formula--just at the time I thought we'd be able to switch over to milk and decrease our food budget by $50/mo.! Instead it'll be going up, at least for a while until I get it all figured out....she can't have plain soy milk yet because the fat content isn't high enough. I'm pretty bummed--allergies are so high-maintenance, and I've really appreciated the fact that my kids are fairly easy (when it comes to food/sleep/health issues) since there are so many of them so close together. Ugh.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Since you've all been waiting in breathless anticipation, I thought I'd let you know how I did with my list:
  1. prep for birthday card class (did the prep, did the class)
  2. clean scrap area (did it when I was waiting for Mariah to fall asleep so I could take a shower)
  3. take pictures of Elijah and Esther (didn't happen, and now Esther is having eczema issues again, so I'm taking her off milk again and not taking pictures until her cheeks are no longer yucky)
  4. make Thank You cards (HAHAHA! Told you that wouldn't happen.)
  5. dust (DID IT!! woo-hoo)
  6. develop a class concept I've been thinking about (this one is still stewing)
  7. gussy up scrap resume (nope, still looks pathetic)
  8. get a quote on a truckload of dirt ($120/12 yds., so now Dan and I need to decide if we want to do it now or later)
  9. and one other thing (didn't do it, but made some progress with it).
So like I said, the list gets me moving, even if it never gets finished. I'd still like a finished list. But I guess it's good to know that the important things happened. As well as all the daily/weekly necessities that I do without thinking about, and (most importantly) being available to my kiddos.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

To Do lists--what's the point?

I swear, I have a notebook full of to do lists. What they have in common is:
  • they're all for 1 week at a time
  • they all have about half of the items not crossed off
  • they also have stuff added throughout the week
  • much of what is on them isn't something I'm actually considering doing, it's just something I'd like to do
  • did I mention that I never actually complete everything on one?
  • some of them have the same thing on them 5 or 6 weeks in a row
Pathetic, I know. We're talking years of incompleted (uncompleted? noncompleted?) lists. Then again, I think I get more done with them than without them. Still, it would be nice to complete one once. I actually will add items after I've already finished them, just so I can have one more crossed off item on my list.

Anyway, this is what's leftover for this week (if anyone's interested):
  1. prep for birthday card class (this one's non-negotiable, the class is tomorrow night)
  2. clean scrap area (might actually happen, since it's in the dining room and I have to look at it)
  3. take pictures of Elijah and Esther (this is one of those ones that I don't really have any intention of doing, but I know I should. We celebrated their birthdays this week, which means I have one week to do a photo shoot before I lose "good scrapbooking mom" status.)
  4. make Thank You cards (another one that I don't honestly think I'll do. Yes you may send me to if you'd like. I suck at manners.)
  5. dust (I won't go there)
  6. develop a class concept I've been thinking about (this one is still stewing)
  7. gussy up scrap resume (pretty pathetic to spend $20 on something that not only says "yes, I have no credentials", but doesn't even look like an effort has been made to doctor it up)
  8. get a quote on a truckload of dirt (this might actually happen, if I can make the kids be quiet long enough to make the phone call)(because I really want to get some work done in the yard)(and if I don't do it now, my yard phase will run its course for the year and I'll have to wait until next year to make any gardening progress)
  9. and one other thing
So there you have it. All the stuff I can't pull off. But that's ok! Because somehow I'll make it through this weekend having taught my class, and the other stuff will either get done or it won't. And if it doesn't, the dust will still be waiting patiently for me Monday morning, all my brilliant scrap ideas will have longer to simmer, Esther will get a 1 year old + 16 days picture, instead of a birthday shot, and the yard will just look unkempt a little longer. Work in progress, eh?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Whistling in the Dark

That was me on Friday, minus the whistling. Those of you who live in the PNW know that we had a *crazy* windstorm late last week, that resulted in Bonney Lake losing power for 15 hours. Which for me meant:

  1. no vacuuming
  2. no music
  3. no internet
  4. no light + no TV to occupy kids = no scrapping
  5. no oven = no making b-day cake
  6. no internet = no finding cheap printouts for the b-day party
  7. no heat + drafty house + subfreezing temps outside = spending the night at Mom's

I'm sure you get the point. I'm not big on inconveniences, but when I have a scrapping deadline and a party to plan, they make me especially grumpy! However, the party ended up coming together really well and I had a blast that night at Ben Franklin. So apparently I didn't need anywhere near as much time to plan and prepare as I thought. Go figure. Maybe I should flip the switch on the fuse box every time I'm about to have a busy day and spend it eating fast food and driving around trying to stay warm in the car instead.

Anyway, I'll leave you with these words of wisdom from (who else?) They Might Be Giants:

A man came up to me and said
I’d like to change your mind
By hitting it with a rock, he said,
Though I am not unkind.
We laughed at his little joke
And then I happily walked away
And hit my head on the wall of the jail
Where the two of us live today.

There’s only one thing that I know how to do well
And I’ve often been told that you only can do
What you know how to do well
And that’s be you,
Be what you’re like,
Be like yourself,
And so I’m having a wonderful time
But I’d rather be whistling in the dark

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why is the world in love again?

Why are we marching hand in hand?
Why are the ocean levels rising up?
It's a brand new record for 1990.
They Might be Giants' brand new album:

Just in case there was any doubt about my being a dork, you all have proof now! I listen to TMBG Flood multiple times during the week! It's just so fun to listen to, and has the added bonus of getting me out of my computer chair to get housework done. And I think we've managed to convince the kids it's kid music, meaning we can put it on instead of Raffi!! Check back here for deep thoughts from TMBG every week.

So I'm 1 for 3 on the schedule this week. Not bad, eh? :P I'd be 1 for 4, but I have to go to Costco today so I'm not counting it as a failure. However, homeschooling took a turn for the much better this week when Shiloh started reading!! Strictly 3-letter words and short vowel sounds, but a huge accomplishment nonetheless. So nice to see the results of all of our hard work. And a friend from Ben Franklin said she'd give me her old readers, so we'll be able to start reading "real books".

Monday, January 30, 2006

Trying a new schedule today...

I've tried new schedules many, many times--usually with the same results (improved productivity/cleanliness for a couple days, then a return to the status quo), but I'm cautiously optimistic that this time will be different!! It's flexible, includes everything I hope to get done during the day, and works with my natural inclinations (sort of--I do still have to do housework!). My tendency is to put off the stuff I don't want to do until afternoon, and then I do that stuff instead of scrapping. With the new schedule I should have 2 hours to scrap every afternoon and still keep the house in relative order and do school with the kids every day. My house is doing pretty well today, and would actually be doing *really* well if I hadn't found Elijah's floor in need of carpet cleaning this morning.

In other news...

Shiloh finished learning her letter sounds this morning (actually she's known them for a while but I wanted to get all the way through to Z in our letter book), so now we get to start learning to read!! So cool! I'm totally excited about the world that will open up to her once she can read by herself, and about how our schooling will change when she doesn't need me to explain everything to her.

Mariah is 29 mo. old now, and it's about high time I start potty training her. I think the hardest thing for me about parenting is that they change so fast! I finally get used to our life, and then someone's needs change. Esther becomes mobile. Shiloh becomes more capable and therefore needs more responsibilities. Elijah and Mariah getting old enough to be rivals.

It's amazing to think that someday my life won't be about this.

Dan and I have been doing devotions together for the first time since Jan. 2000, when I found out I was pregnant and refused to get out of bed before 7:45am (and I only got up then because I had to leave for work at 8:00!). We're reading Romans together and I'm loving the discussions and prayer time we have--what a great way to start our day! And I think he loves that I'm up early enough to make his lunch! ;)

Ok--the schedule beckons...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The geriatric snowman

No, he doesn't have wrinkles, walk with a cane or have osteoporosis. But he's the oldest snowman I've ever seen (being that in Washington the average life expectancy for a snowman is about 3-5 days tops, and this guy's been around for months).

That's Alaska. Well, that's Fairbanks anyway. It was so different from anything I've ever experienced. People were totally undaunted by the snow/ice (which I know is to be expected, but not something I'm used to). Fairbanks is freezing or subfreezing for 6 months out of the year. My friends have a cooler on their porch that serves as their freezer--more effective than most deep freezers! People in Alaska drive like the roads are bare. The snow sticks to the trees, rather than just sitting on top of them. The buildings are much more spread out than they are here (even in Bonney Lake, where we still have a few stretches of forest on the main highway). A mall consists of 10 stores sandwiched between a Safeway and a Michael's. Crazy.

I had a great time--we stayed inside and scrapbooked for most of the weekend. We were working on my friend's wedding album, and she wanted my "professional opinion". Gotta love that! It was way simpler than anything I've done in a long time, but came together much faster and turned out beautiful. Beautiful pictures and a beautiful story do help a lot.

Now, my goal is to get started on mine, as my wedding was over 6 years ago...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Turning thirty

Yes, I had a birthday. No, I didn't tell anyone, so don't get mad at me! I'm weird about things like that, partly because I feel like I'm asking for attention if I tell people, and partly because it means so much when people who know me remember without being told.

Anyway, happy birthday to me! We celebrated by going to the Melting Pot, which was probably the most amazing food experience of my life. Everything was delicious, and fondue is just fun! Though really, any time I get alone with Dan is wonderful. :)

I'm not freaking out about getting older, but being 30 definitely feels different than being 29. First of all, I'm "in my 30's". I've been in my 20's most of my adult life. I'm not young anymore. And I'm 10 years away from being 40!! On the bright side, many of my "well-seasoned" friends have said that their 30's were the best years of their lives. Still young enough to be active and energetic, but without the constant change of the 20's. I can see that. I'm more mature, more secure, happier, more stable, better off financially than I was 10 years ago--by far. I know what my calling is and I've learned a little bit about how to live it out. And most importantly, I've seen God's faithfulness and am more sure than ever that I am kept by His grace, and that He will be faithful to complete the good work He's started in me. I have a loving, encouraging, supportive husband and a marriage that is constantly growing in understanding and communication, 4 kids that bring me joy and make me laugh every day, wonderful friends and family, a home that I love (and never want to leave), a church filled with great people, some enjoyable ministry opportunities, and a pastor who loves God's Word.

So I have much reason to believe the upcoming decade will be a blessed one.

Of course, that's if I survive my upcoming trip to Fairbanks, AK! It's -25 this week (that's Farenheit, btw)! I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about it. The idea of going someplace 70 degrees colder than it is here is unfathomable. Not to mention they only get an hour or two of daylight this time of year--and that's a relative term. Anyway, I'll be sure to post pictures next week, if my camera can handle sub-freezing temperatures!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tag--I'm it!

My asterisk buddy Sara tagged me (probably as a ploy to get me to update my blog!) Ok...

Four jobs you have had in your life
1. Admissions office caller (calling prospective students)
2. Delivery driver for Godfather's Pizza
3. Preschool teacher
4. and now, Stay-at-home-mom, with the recent addition of "homeschooling" to that title

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
1. LOTR trilogy (yes, I'm a geek)
2. Napoleon Dynamite (see above)
3. I'm kind of a once-is-enough person when it comes to most movies
4. Yeah.

4 Places You Have Lived
1. Everett, WA
2. Olympia, WA
3. Port Angeles, WA
4. Bonney Lake, WA

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch
2. 24
4. but I don't have cable so don't talk to me about Lost or 24--we watch them a year later on DVD

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
1. the Oregon Coast
2. Victoria, BC
3. does camping count???
4. uhhh....

4 Websites You Visit Daily
1. Two Peas
2. Pink Martini designs
3. my friends' blogs
4. does my e-mail inbox count?

4 Of Your Favorite Foods
1. coffee
2. diet coke
3. pizza
4. ice cream

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
1. Scrapping at my dining table
2. Taking a nap in my bed
3. Taking a bubble bath (but not in my bathtub, it's too shallow) (but not in someone else's either, that would be weird)
4. Shopping, but only if someone gave me money--much easier to spend other people's money!

4 Bloggers You Are Tagging
1. Tia
2. Mimi
3. Keisha
4. Dan


Thursday, January 05, 2006

A fresh start my favorite part of New Year's! That last week of the year, after all the Christmas stuff is done, lends itself so well to reflection, looking backward and looking forward. Dan is off work and we usually take a small trip (the last two years it's been to the Oregon Coast). I love it. Without the distractions of home, I'm able to get a quiet hour to think through what I want my next year to look like, what I've accomplished by God's grace over the past year, the events of the past year and how they've changed me, etc. Then Jan. 1st hits and I get to put it all into action.

So far this year...
  1. I'm committed to following God more closely, personally and as a wife and mom. It's been hard to make my time with Him and in His Word a priority as my life has become so full, but I need to. My relationship with God the most important part of my life, and it effects how I raise the kids...I have this great book that puts their behavior and attitudes in Biblical terms and shows what Scripture says about how to encourage/correct them.
  2. I'm committed to losing my extra weight. Part of me wants to make it my goal to lose it all this year, but the goal I set was 35 lbs. I think this is reasonable, and of course if I'm able to do it quickly I can keep going! I restarted the South Beach Diet (well, a modified version of it!) on Monday, and so far, so good!
  3. I'm committed to taking care of myself. We have dental insurance for me now, and I'm getting my teeth taken care of. 1 more root canal, and at least 3-4 crowns. It's really hard for me to spend our family's money on my teeth, which is an issue I'm working through as well--that my needs are as important as everyone else's. I'm committed to exercise as well, though that's been off to a rocky start! :P
  4. I'm committed to homeschooling. We've eliminated our morning movie time, and I'm making sure we do school at least 3x/wk. That gives me a day for errands and chores if I need it.
  5. I'm committed to growing as a scrapbook designer. I have some great opportunities as a teacher and Design Team member, and I believe my work is getting consistently better.
  6. I'm committed to new dish towels, lighting candles, using the good plates, lip gloss and date nights--those little indulgences that are so necessary for the enjoyment of life!
May your 2006 be full of God's grace as you seek to grow in character and accomplishments!