Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Card OUTTAKES

I dread taking the holiday photo.
I just want them to look as good as I know they really do. But with 3 kids, someone is always in a mood. Or they all happen to be in a mood. As they all were last Wednesday, when I learned that it would be the last time we would have a partly sunny day for a while. Good as any time, right? So here are my fave outtakes. Going through the 200 shots on my Camera just killed me. I laughed and giggled. These are some crazy people I am raising.
Teagen refused to have her picture taken unless she could hold a little kitty toy. Which is fine except kitty kept getting in the photograph.

In Summer's defense, there was a cold wind making her eyes water. and this is really the only "bad" pic of her. Except that I kinda did her hair weird and couldn't tell until I went through the pics.

I have nothing to say. He is one funny boy. I got 1 only half way decent picture of this kid(out of at least 60). I will try again;)

Also not cooperating....

So cute, and then there is Grady's ear. What a frame hog!

Seriously I have no idea what happened here. It looks like I told them that Christmas was canceled. Or that someone died. This is truly the greatest weird shot ever.

Again, whats with the scowls? Look at just Teagen. It like she's turned to stone.

I promise, I got a few OK shots. But I absolutely had to share these. There is just too much personality here to pass up.
I love these people.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Winners and Loser

Remember this? EDITED
Dude, I won! I won my 1st blog challenge! Got to to see my my 5 seconds of fame;) They are sending me a box of goodies this weeks:)

This had really good timing for me because I was totally kicked out in the 1st round at Cocoa Daisy's Daisy Diner Scrap Off. I really think its because I submitted kinda cruddy photos of my layout. But they also passed up some other work that I really thought was superior to the 8 they did choose. To each there own. But I was bummed. I was ready to stop participating in any online forums, challenges, blogs or what ever. I like my work and am proud of it. But the talent out there blows my work out of the water.I realize that it is not the point. I must be searching for some kind of validation. You should see peoples faces when I tell them I am a scrapbooker. Oh, you know what they are picturing! I'll never forget telling my dad I was attending a scrapbook convention for the 1st time several years ago. He laughed so hard(which is pretty bad considering he carves exact replicas of ducks to enter in world competitions! What a nerd;) )
But he is picturing a bunch of perm-haired, 300 pound women wearing tapered leg jeans and sweatshirts with kittens embroidered on them. yeah, they are out there. In hoards! But there are also really cool hip artist who just love paper and photography and love to journal. I try to identify with the latter. I let my perm go in 1990.*

I gotta throw out some props to the MONTAGUE Wildcats football team for winning their 1st ever State Championship! My cousin Cody Kater is the quarterback and he was amazing today. I actually watched the entire game on TV. SO fun. The kids loved it. My parents were there as was Gary and most of Cindy's family. So we tried to spot them in the crowd. Wishing them all safe trip home tonight.
Here's to being a winner!(and a loser)

*please take no offense if you happen to have a perm/kitten sweatshirt/tapered leg jeans. However I will be submitting your name to my favorite show,What Not to Wear. Stacy and Clinton will take good care of you and your sweatshirt.;)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The List

I am admitting to writing this list more than once. The 1st time I was feeling bad and kept going off on tangents not related to what I was thankful for. Then I wanted to keep my list to the top 10 best. Well, it came out kinda dull and really didn't tell anyone anything interesting. Of course I am thankful for my kids, my amazing husband, and my friends. How about some slightly more random items? So here goes...

I am thankful for-

The coffee pot I bought Jason for HIS birthday. That I use everyday and he only uses on the weekends. Hey, he has girls at work who make coffee.

For Tide to Go

For lint rollers

For Lake Michigan. There is nothing like it.

For remote controls and cordless phones

For Blogger-my blog friends are the best friends ever.

For the incredible body heat that radiates from Jason and keeps me so warm at night. That bed was COLD when he was at deer camp!

For paper. Oh the joy of paper.

For uncontrollable tickle giggles

For boo-boo that are fixed by kisses

For fights that end well;)

For my dishwasher

For sippy cups

For Tylenol

Great googly moogly, for DIET PEPSI

For thursday night TV with Jason on the couch

And even if they fill landfills- for disposable diapers

For decent neighbors-we have had WAY worse

For our soldiers and vets and their families

For Sponge Bob

For cheese and all the people willing to pay the big $$ for it, ya'll keep a roof over our heads

For Nice n' Easy number 99

For paper towels

For pop tarts

For Jack Johnson music **sigh**

For Date Nights and the wonderful people who watch our kids so we get this special time to be just Jenn and Jay

You know that this can go on forever, and I love that. I feel all warm and fuzzy:)

Thanks to my friends and my family. In my life, I have surrounded myself with the most incredible people.And I didnt even realize it! We are raising some pretty incredible little people, too. This life is really, really good. I really cannot ask for anything more.
My pies even seem to have turned out!

Happy Thanksgiving

I hate to say it...

But I was right!
She is totally fine, eating and drinking and playing. She metioned something that I have noticed about myself too. That she thinks if she is over tired, she feels ill. I have had this same thought about me! And we let her stay up watching the Peanuts Thanksgiving special last night. I cannot believe a 7 year old is so insightful to her body's need for rest:)

Hope to post a thankful list later, for now I am baking pies!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Its gonna be a long night...

So an hour ago I was snuggled in with J in bed watching an old tape with an Office episode we never watched. Well a night changes quickly when a little person comes in sobbing that she thinks shes going to be sick. My poor Summer Jaye has inherited my weak stomach. When we are sick, we puke. What hasn't helped is the note that came home from school saying that several kids in the school have been diagnosed with Shigellosis. I was like, "what on earth..." that's a new one to me. Apparently I am behind in the local news. Symptoms include: diarrhea,fever,chills,cramps and nausea/vomiting. And its sweeping all the schools. Pretty much my usual when I get sick. So we just go over proper hand washing(it makes me so mad that schools do not MAKE these kids wash before lunch!) and using the "magic soap" in her classroom.

So here I am, 11:30 with a little girl with her head in a bucket. She has not actually gotten sick. I am going to say it now that I believe its in her head. That talking about this illness at home and at school has put it in her head. I can guess this(I may be wrong) only because its the story of my life. I have had nausea issues my entire life. Car sickness while trying to read on road trips was my biggest downfall. But it really kicked in for me after my first pregnancy. I seriously feel a wave of nausea every day. Usually at night as I am laying down for the evening. But the computer monitor gets me(especially while shopping) the car and flights get me. As do 3-D movies,roller coasters, and even rocking chairs. I sometimes think its blood sugar related. Or hormones. Or just genetic. Our Mom suffered more than anyone I have ever heard with nausea and vomiting while receiving treatment. and now with Summer showing similar signs,I really do believe we have weak stomachs. Poor kid. Poor me.
I'm sleeping on the couch tonight.
And no, she's not going to school for the silly half day.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Oh. ya know. A lot of the same ol, same ol, here. But here are some highlights. It's snowing, AGAIN. Yes, beautiful. But with the salt shortage, roads are hell. Bad. So bad. My father in law was in a crash over the weekend. Everyone is fine(although the PT Cruiser that hit him has seen better days!) And as a the officers were writing the report, apparently several more cars slipped through the stop sign(At Lakewood and Russell)followed by another crash. Always a bad area, but even worse with no salt on the roads.

I went scrapbooking Friday night and actually got a few pages (almost) done! I'll post more later this week, but I wanted to share this one that I finished this morning for a challenge at Cocoa Daisy. It's a four week "last scrapper standing" kind of contest.Gradually weeding out contestants that make a layout to a certain "recipe". There is some amazing work in their gallery so I will be suprised to make it to next week. We'll see...

Let's see...what else...
Summer received a speaking part in her school's Christmas program. She is so excited and has her part down! I can't wait to watch it:)
I am hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for my In-Laws. That will be fun, so I'm working on the baking/cooking timeline.
And speaking of the Holidays, we are already booked at least 1 day out of every weekend until New Years. I am OK with this simply because I like to know what is happening when.
Ya'll lovin my Christmas Playlist? I had to decorate here, because Jason is not interested in decorating the house until after Thanksgiving.
Jason got his 2nd deer on Saturday.
And instead of doing my regular Black Friday shopping, I will be working. Younker's asked if I would work this Friday for 10 hours! I suppose it could turn into a regular job, but it will be nice to make a couple bucks that day instead of spend money:)
And if you know me, you know that this is such a messed up time of year for me, emotionally. I really have been working on not allowing it to affect me (too much) this year, but it must have reared its ugly head yesterday, because I was in a nasty mood. And I could just feel it. I was set off by anything and reacted poorly. I knew it as it was happening and couldn't do anything about it. Man, it came out of nowhere! I've got to either get really good at ignoring it or just face it all HEAD-ON. Get that crud out of the way. It all comes back to finding balance. Balance between good memories and sadness/loss,balance between friends and family and ME time. I am realizing I really can have all those things and it is good for my mental health. And trying to find happiness with what we have. That Christmas does not need to be as big as I really dream it to be. This is so hard for me. I want to do more more more. More GIFTS! More food, more events, more special,more decorations, more lights, more GIFTS GIFTS GIFTS. Why cant I shake this? I am done for my kids. But do I still brows the toy dept every time I enter a store? Yup. I have yet to add, but I don't know how much longer I can hang on. To be honest, the money just isn't there. So I guess that will keep me good. It just stresses me out:)
Whoa, long post. Sorry. I leave a pic from yesterday. Reminds me of the Heart song"Dog and the Butterfly" Yes, I realize its a ladybug costume(Mya do you recognize?) but there is no song about a dog and a ladybug...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Downtown Holiday Jacket and Pant GIVEAWAY!!!!

OK guys this one is STUNNING! I am really hoping to win one of these days. But it looks like she may make these for her store, so I may just splurge and buy that Jacket for Teagen. Check it out here:
Downtown Holiday Jacket and Pant GIVEAWAY!!!!

Oh, how I wish I could sew....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Like a Slap in the Face

If you didn't get the email, American Girl is offering free shipping on ANY order until November 25th with the checkout code GIFTSHIP.

So I guess I could have avoided dragging 4 giant packages through the streets of Chicago, and burdening my friends with them:)
And paying 10.5% sales tax...:(

Monday, November 17, 2008

Note to Self

This delights me in so many ways. Remember, naughty is actually good! They are exploring the world and constantly learning. Happy and brilliant children do very naughty throw entire rolls of toilet paper in the toilet that's has not been flushed:)

I must have the next Einstein on my hands!

All I want for Christmas...and Some Lake Effect

What a weekend. Season Opener means I was on my own all weekend with Jay sleeping in the woods. Sorry to report that I saw more deer(3) than he did. Oh well. he did get one during bow season. And of course there are couple more weeks left, and then there is muzzle loader season...{SIGH}
To make a very long and negative story short,The kids were monsters in Target, I nearly got shmucked by a giant truck merging onto the highway, and then my shoes were stolen(accidentally) at Reid's birthday party in Montague. I drove home in my socks. With 3 crying kids. That is the very condensed version.
But later last night as I was heading to the grocery store(at almost 9pm) Jason took one matter into his own hands: Yep, he pulled it out. The last tooth was a bear to find under all the stuffed animals she sleeps with, so I suggested taping her tooth to her door and then she wrote the tooth fairy a note on the chalkboard part.
Oh you should hear her talk! Too Cute. Its so much better now that both fronts are gone! And no, she's not flashing a peace sign, she's actually telling you that she got $2! Which is odd, because when I got home from shopping at 10:30, I was certain there was only a dollar taped to the door;) The MAN tooth fairy must have doubled her $$ before he headed out.
And here is what we ventured out into this morning. PRETTY. I totally forgot how to put my jeep into 4x4. This is our 3 or 4th vehicle with 4x4 in like 5 years. and they are all different. I figured it out for the trip home, which is a lot of slick uphill so it was all good. I just was not ready! Summer is wearing rain boots today. That's how unprepared(in denial) I was.

But the nice thing about lake effect snow it that it is usually still warm enough to enjoy it for a bit. I love how we all look like hobo's in the morning:] And that T decided to wear legwarmers instead of pants. And with CROCKS! ha!

As far a Grady is concerned, snow is a totally new experience for him. He loved it! Until he fell...

Friday, November 14, 2008

method playground challenge #31

This last challenge was to use paper pleating on a layout the way you might use fabric. The photos make it hard to read the title which is"Shes my Butterfly" after Teagen's favorite Donovan Frankenreiter song.

The letters in "butterly" are flocked.

And I am in love with these glitter alphas from Making Memories. nice and tiny. Just hard to see in photos.

Thanks for peeking!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Second Grade ROCKS!

Photos of Summer playing in the leaves last week when it was bea-u-ti-ful! It was 70 degrees. Today its barely 40. Anyway, we had Summer's conferences last night. Thanks Cindy for dropping by to watch the kiddos so we could go. One thing I can say for Summer's teacher this year is that she is organized and specific. She explained every grade on Summer's report card. No one had done that before. The way her school does it, is they are graded 1-4, 4 being exceeding requirements. We actually had been told by a teacher in the past that they usually do not give out 4s the 1st marking period because then its like the child has nothing to learn. While I understand, that completely stinks if you have a child that is ahead and bored! Not giving them proper credit! But luckily it does not seem to be the case this time around.

What did surprise me is that her report card is based on assessment tests. Or as I have always known them to be... FINAL EXAMS! For real. So she got a 2 on telling time because she mixed up am and pm twice, even though she's has been able to tell time for almost 2 years. I thought that grading was based on an average of their work, but I suppose for 2nd grade this is a better way. I can only think what could happen if a kid was having a really bad day.

She is reading at a nearly 4th grade level, which we knew. But I really thought she was struggling with math. According to the exam she scored a 4, and her teacher said they never give 4s on math unless the kids do more work than asked. Example: solving a story problem and showing the work multiple ways. Most kids just do it one way. Summer thinks differently than most kids.

She has had a 15 word spelling test every week since school started. She has gotten 100% on every one. She studies hard for those. We practice a couple times a week.

The only "bad" report we get on her is what we already knew. She is very emotional. She gets worked up over small things. Frustration. She cries. She freaks. But what is a parent supposed to do with that one? "Stop being a crybaby"? I don't think so. All I can think of is trying to give her the tools to chill. How to deal with anxiety(heck, I could use a lesson in that one)and how to deal with disappointment. So there is no plan. It would almost be easier if she was naughty!
If you are still reading, thanks for allowing me to brag a bit. I absolutely adore this girl and she amazes me every day. We are so lucky to have her:)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crafty Goodness

I have decided to take on a big-ish Christmas project. So completely inspired by Ali's( ) December Daily Album. The point behind it is to have it ready to go by Dec. 1st so that you can spend the holiday capturing the moments. Finding something to record even on the ordinary days of the month. I am going thru Jan 1st(I think). This is also meant to be very simple, words and photos, keeping embellishments to a minimum. I wanted to stay up and watch Leno last night and here is what I got done: I used a Tim Holtz Grungeboard tabbed album(5x7) and added lots of extra pages to get 31. I used felt, transparencies, tags and pieces of other albums(all different sizes) for all my pages. I am sure I will also just use entire 5x7 pics as pages too. Each page will be numbered for the day of the month.
A couple inside pages.

A bunch of inside pages.

Besides the album, this is all I purchased specifically for this album. I liked the classic and graphic nature of this line(Theresa Collins) and used it as a guide to pull out supplies I already had.

Which this is only a sample of.

But I am trying to keep organized! Stuff for the book will spend the month in this holder. The point is to not spend all day on each page.
What I want to document:
The big stuff(Cookie Day,School Xmas Program,parties, gifts and opening,family pics etc)
holiday movies
cards received
reading holiday books
Xmas music
and more, but I am still brainstorming.

And while I'm at it, here are a few other things I've been creating....
This is a Jenni Bowlin project. It has much more sparkle in person! Everything shimmers...

As always, her projects have fabulous vintage elements. this one came with some old ledger paper, crepe paper, vintage wallpaper, seam binding(a personal fav)and German glass glitter. Stunning!

Photo credit goes to Donna, my mother-in-Law. She took these as an anniversary gift when we left her with the kids for Wheatland. They are simply beautiful.

And lastly(for this post anyway) is my new kitchen banner. I actually made 3 of these and gave 2 away. Sorry about my pics, I am not sure we will see the sun again this year.

This one is all Grady. The kit was supposed to include a few pages out of an old book, but I didn't get them. So I improvised and tore out a page of a baby name book(actually found Grady's name!)And used it on the chipboard that has Grady's face in it.

Lots of fun cutting up and sparkle and vintage and just good stuff on this one.

Thanks for looking. I have another banner I'll share later so I don't bore you to death;) Its more of a Thanksgiving theme.

I am wondering if my house is starting to look a little crazy with all the banners everywhere!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Is anyone else having issues with downloads on blogger? These photos are in no specific order because I cannot figure out what the deal is with blogger. So please excuse the random order of pics:) Saying we had a great time would be a huge understatement! The 5 of us clicked so well, even if we haven't been together since high school(or never if you're Mya!) But Mya was like a missing link and it was perfect.
like I said, random order on these pics. That me(the shiny one) and Theresa. Theresa was a huge help for me. I was buying for 3 other people at American Girl Place and had 2 giant bags and a giant BOX. If it wasn't for us all helping each other, I would have been in big trouble. I couldn't even get through revolving doors! So thanks you guys!

Mya and Mandy at dinner...

The Christmas windows at Macy's. Amazing. Kristin was looking for ideas for her windows at work, but we didn't think she could get the same effect on a $100 budget.

We spent a little time searching for Garrett's Popcorn. You know, one of Oprah's Favorite Things. We ended up in the 'hood, but it was worth it. YUM.

One of our 5 cab rides. This one was funny because when we got in the cab, there was a trainee in front so all 5 of us went in the back seat. That's Mya's hair. She was sitting on Kristin's lap:)

The Lego store. I could have spent a lot of $$ here but since it was one of the 1st places we went, I didn't want to lug the giant packages around.

Me and Mya in a cab.

Lego girl.

We tormented all the cabbies. I should say that Mandy and Kristin tormented all the cabbies. Mandy asked each one where Oprah was that day. One told us that he saw Brad Pitt last Tues but I don't believe him. Kristin asked if it was OK for her to call him "Mr-cab-driver-sir" But he said that he actually considers himself a construction worker. And then went on to tell us that he installs hardwood floors. Another cabbie got to hear Kristin's love of certain bras. Seriously K- you could be a talk show host with the way you can get complete strangers to talk about their lives.

One of my favorite places. Everything there is Hello Kitty. Kristin,Mya and I all bought these grab bags for $30 that had $125 worth of stuff in them. Then we went out in the mall and tore them open. I think we did OK. I had one pretty Ghetto-Fabulous item that's a chain that hangs from your belt loops with lots of BLING. Look for it in my Christmas attire this season.

I will explain the story of the $$$.
So, we are all at American Girl. Kristin and Mandy are done so they go across the street to The Cheesecake Factory to get our name on the list for dinner. There are 2 choices for dinner, eating upstairs in the cafe(20 min wait) or downstairs in the restaurant(hour wait). They put our name on the list for both and gave us a buzzer for the restaurant. So the rest of us arrive and we park it on their stairs with a mountain of packages. There are at least 100 people waiting for tables in the restaurant. We wait. finally there is a spot opening in the cafe for us and we are told we can leave our stuff behind the hostess desk. While they are getting our table ready, Kristin decides that she is giving our buzzer for the restaurant table(which must be almost open) to the next people in the door. I think she's nuts and they will never allow it. So this older couple walk in and it seriously has to be a 2 hour wait for a table. Kristin goes up to the gentleman and ask if they are eating in the restaurant or the cafe. The man mistakes her as the hostess and she says"oh no, I don't work here" He is looking totally confused and she explains that we have waited an hour and finally got a table in the cafe, but the table downstairs is opening any minute and all he had to do was say he was Kristin and he could have that table. They thanked her and off they went. So we are sitting and had ordered when he comes looking for Kristin, whips out his wallet and starts throwing $$ on the table, thanking us!! He says Kristin's mom raised her right:) So he gave us $29 and even came back later to try to give us more $$.
So Kristin taught me that it pays to be a little nutty and to really go out of the way to do a good deed. And for the record, Kristin is the reason we all got 20% off at Sephora, even if we were not supposed to. That girl's got some persistence. I will not shop WITHOUT her again;)

Mandy and Kristin at dinner at the Cheesecake factory.

We spent a lot of time(and a pricey cab ride) here. Great shop.


At dinner....

Between us, we have 15 children 10 and under(most are 5 and under!)We ALL needed this. I have not laughed so hard in a very long time, and it started at about 5am and I didn't get home until 2am. I can still feel it in my stomach. I couldn't have dreamed of a better time. NO one complained, everyone helped. Everyone paid more than they needed to. Everyone had FUN. I have learned that some of the best experiences are the ones when you develop some inside jokes. And we certainly have few. Which may or may not have something to do with tripping drunk people and retired federal agents.
Love you guys, thanks for the great time! Can't wait to do it again:)