Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just Checking in...

Hey gang! I just wanted to check in (briefly). Hannah's been sick all week (but is finally getting better), Steve's been hunting all week (which means we see him 10 minutes a day, tops), and I've been trying to keep my head above water. LOL! Anyway, I'll be back later with a longer post, but I'll leave you with a picture of us in front of the tree we cut down last weekend. :)

hpim5988 cropWow_1

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone had a nice holiday. Ours was nice, but kind of boring and anti-climatic. I dunno. Every year, Steve and I go into the holidays hoping for Normal Rockwell, and end up with them just feeling like another day. Maybe our expectations are just too high. Don't get me wrong... it was a nice day. Just nothing exciting or some sort of wonderful memory we'll look back on in 5 years and smile about. [shrug]

But tomorrow, we're going to go cut down our Christmas tree. It's only supposed to be 34 degrees which is going to totally suck ass. But we'll live. Hopefully, it'll be a fun, memorable day for the girls. :)

Anyway, here are a few photos from today. I didn't take that many actually. And these that I'm posting haven't been proofed at all, other than sharpening for web, so excuse their general crappiness. LOL!

First, we have Hannah in the outfit she went upstairs and put on at 8:00 this morning, and then came downstairs and declared she WAS wearing it whether I liked it or not. [sigh] (And excuse the messiness. That's our sunroom/mud room and all of their clothing from playing in the snow last weekend is still lying there (because I suck.))



And here's the outfit she actually wore today. I realize that stripes and leopard print still don't match, but once I convinced her to put on the denim skirt instead of the camouflage one, I declared myself the winner. LOL!



Here's one of Grace, making a somewhat dorky face.



And here's one of my incredibly hot husband, just because. :)


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ahhh... much better.

OK. So I sounded a little whiney earlier today. Sorry about that. My day took a turn for the better. Yes, my tooth still hurts on and off, but some tea tree and clove oil mouthwash has totally eased the pain. There's something to be said about those natural/holistic remedies.

Anyway, beyond that, I could've kissed the mailman today. He brought me all SORTS of goodies that made me smile. First of all, I got my latest "Digital Scrapbooking" magazine. Good stuff. Then, I got my new "Real Simple" magazine. I totally love that magazine. Good recipes... great tips... good ideas... Awesome. But the best part was the package from Amazon. I was confused. I hadn't ordered anything. What the hell?

I opened the box to find Frank Warren's (of Post Secret fame) "A Lifetime of Secrets". Oh my GOD! A note on the invoice told me that my good friend Tracey had sent me an early Christmas present. Words cannot describe my excitement. I LOVE the Post Secret blog and have always wanted Frank's books. I just never got around to buying them... didn't think about it on the rare occasion I was in a bookstore... couldn't afford it at the time... etc. And now, I own his newest one. [Happy happy sigh.] I cannot WAIT to sit down and read it. And I know I'll read it to cover to cover in the first sitting even though it's a huge, thick, heavy book. Thank you soooo much Tracey! I don't even know how you knew I wanted it, but you have totally made my day week year. Smooch!!!!

So if we add up my reading pleasure, plus the fact that House and Cain are on TV tonight, and I'm on cloud 9. Now if I could just get these kids to go to bed... ;)


* It's now raining instead of snowing, and it's completely dreary and foggy which totally depresses me.

* My dreaded tooth ache is back with full-force and I've been wanting to claw off the entire right side of my face for two days now. I even broke down and popped a Percocet in the middle of the night last night so I could try to get some sleep. (I NEVER take strong pain killers like that.)

* I just want to sit in my house today, but I have to run to the grocery store and a bunch of other places.

* I NEED to do laundry today or we'll all be swallowed up by mean-spirited stained and smelly clothing piles.

More later... I need to go like, shower or something since it's noon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's still snowing...

It's still snowing here. It did stop for about an hour today, when it turned into a light rain, but it's back to snow again now. Luckily, it's warmish though, so it's not accumulating at all on the roads and sidewalks. There's about an inch or so on the ground. I can live with that. LOL!

Grace had a 2-hour delay for school this morning, which she loved, but was pissed school wasn't canceled. LOL! God, I remember being a kid and how excited I'd get when school was closed for a snow day. Poor kid. LOL!

I took some pictures at the bus stop this morning.

Watching Grace Leave


Walking in Snow

Making a Snowball

Throwing a Snowball

Holy crap...

I've sucked at this blogging thing lately. Sorry guys. I've just been so obsessed busy with Photoshop, editing photos, trying to make our Christmas cards, and working on some stuff for other people lately, that blogging kind of got bumped down the To Do list. I woke up this morning to find that it was snowing. I wasn't quite ready for snow (although I should be at this time of year and considering where we live), but it kind of shocked me. Not necessarily in a bad way, because it totally put me in the mood for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it surprised me all the same.

Hunting season officially starts tomorrow. For the next three weeks, I will be a hunting widow. Steve will wake up around 3:30 AM and drive to wherever he decides to hunt for the day. Then he'll wander into the house around 7:00 or 8:00 every night, and will proceed to eat something small, pack his lunch for the next day, and then wander upstairs bleary-eyed so he can go to bed and do it all over again the next day. I hated hunting season when the girls were infants, screaming in their reflux-induced pain. I remember pacing back and forth with a screaming child, desperately trying to get them to sleep, and being pissed off that when Steve finally walked in, he pretty much went right upstairs to bed.

But these days, I kind of like it. I adore Steve to no end, but it's nice not having to cook three-course meals for the family. And he's in the best mood ever during hunting season, so that's cool too. The man works his ass off all year long. I truly don't know how he does it. So if he wants to take three weeks off to forget about work and his business and the everyday stresses of life, then more power to him. If anyone deserves it, he does.

But to catch you up on the last week or so of our lives...

* My sister has officially moved into my parents' house with her 5 pets.

* I'm seriously contemplating getting Grace a puppy, and although I don't think it will happen, those of you that know me well know what a HUGE thing that is for me to even consider.

* I just picked up a brief freelancing assignment proofreading crossword puzzles. How friggin' COOL is that? So sorry Facebook friends that I haven't been taking my turn in Scrabulous lately, but this other crossword puzzle gig pays me money and stuff, so I'm afraid you lose out over them.

* I've decided I'm dying. There's no rhyme or reason behind it. I just figured I am.

* I decided that drama is not my friend. I don't like drama. I don't "do" drama. And if you're one of those people that thrives on drama, then I'm afraid we can't be friends.

* That same sentence above, but substitute "drama" with "catty, arrogant, self-righteous bitchiness".

* I was informed today that it would be greatly appreciated if I would prepare pierogies and beef stew for Thanksgiving at my mom's house this year. Huh? Pierogies? Beef stew? For Thanksgiving? Now don't get me wrong, because I HATE turkey and traditional Thanksgiving food, so I'm all for pierogies and beef stew on Turkey Day. But well, it's just an odd combination and one I would've appreciated knowing a few days ago (or today, right before I went to the grocery store) so I could've bought the stuff and had it here for Wednesday night when I'll chuck it all in my crockpots. LOL!

So anyway, I need to head up to bed myself right now, but here are a few pictures from today. Two of Hannah preparing to head outside into the snow (which never really did accumulate until much later) and then actually outside. And there's one of Grace being, well, Grace. God, I love that kid. LOL! I'll try to blog more this week. :)

Hannah in Stripes

Hannah in the Snow

Grace Being Grace

Thursday, November 08, 2007

That's My Girl!

Grace_CloseupOct1003Sharp copy

So, I had Grace's parent/teacher conference last night. Leading it up to it, Grace kept saying she was going to be grounded, confessing all of the times she'd gotten in trouble in school, etc. It was kind of funny actually, but there was a party that was getting a bit nervous. I was like, "What the hell? Do I have a problem child on my hands here and not know it or what?" LOL!

So I head over to the school at 5:00. Steve had every intention of coming too, but the floor he poured yesterday wouldn't set up and he wouldn't make it home in time. No big deal. So anyway, as soon as I sit down, Grace's teacher tells me that Grace is doing great. Whew. HUGE sigh of relief. LOL! She said that Grace had a bit of a rough transition in the beginning of the year, but that about a month ago, everything just "clicked" and she finally "got it." She's been doing great ingrace_hayride_oct 13_002sharpVignette copy math (and got an A! WOOHOO!). And that in Language (i.e., reading, writing, etc.) she missed an "A" by one point, but that in the past few weeks, she had seen Grace's reading improve immensely and that she's pretty sure Grace will get an "A" on her next report card.

There's one section of the report card that has skills like Cooperates, Works Well with Others, etc. The teacher said she only had three or four students that got all "+'s" in those and that Grace was one of them. And that Grace had become one of her best students. That's my girl! We're so proud of her.

It was funny though, because when I went to pick her up at my mom's house afterwards, she ran into one of the bedrooms and hid because she thought she was going to be grounded. LOL! Now where she got this idea is anybody's guess, but I suppose it's good to know that she at least worries what we think of her performance in school, right? LOL! The kid kills me.

(Oh, and P.S., in that photo over there... that address on the back of the carriage seat is NOT the town I live in. So trying to stalk me is useless. Mwaahaahaaa!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

WWC Photos

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm late. Better late than never, right? LOL! So here are my photos for the Weekly Word Challenge. This week's words were OLD and BLUE.


An OLD barn...

Old Barn


Hannah and her BLUE eyes. EVERYONE comments on those eyes...


Answering Mamatulip's Questions...

OK girl. I'm going to answer your questions about digital scrapbooking. First of all, I definitely print out my layouts. Basically, I have scrapbooks just like a traditional paper scrapper would. There are a few ways you can do this. I do two things.

The first way I do it is to print out the layouts at home and slide them into an album. I bought an 8" x 8" album at WalMart for like $7.00, but you can get REALLY cool ones in all different sizes. I scrap my layouts to be 12" x 12" (because that's the size of the digital scrapbooking "papers"), but since I want to print them at home and only have a standard printer, I reduce the entire image to 8" x 8" and just slide them into the album. I print them on regular ol' 8.5"x11" photo paper and then just trim them down to 8x8. A bunch of online photo websites are now printing layouts out for you, so if you don't want to/can't print them yourself at home, you just pay these places per layout, the same way you would if you were ordering normal 4"x6" photos.

So anyway here's a layout, printed on my printer at home and trimmed down:



Then I just slide them into my album, which is just like any other photo album, except it's square:



So I have some albums all filled like this with layouts I printed at home:



The other thing I do, usually for gifts for Christmas and stuff, is get them printed into actual bound books at Shutterfly. Shutterfly totally caters to the digital scrapbooker these days and has templates and everything to make sure your layouts aren't cut off around the edges when they print full bleed pages (pages where your images go all the way to the edge). They print them in all different sizes including 12"x12", 8"x8" and 6"x6".

For example, I made one for Steve for Father's Day this year. Here's the front cover. I scrapped the cover (and back cover and spine) and then uploaded them to Shutterfly the same way I would upload my normal photos. This looks and feels just like a real hardcover book.




And here are two shots of the inside. The pages look and feel just like a regular coffee table book would feel. Everyone I've given these to LOVES them and I really need to get my ass in gear and start uploading to Shutterfly for the grandparents' Christmas gifts this year. LOL!



So basically, there are a bunch of ways you can get them printed out so you can actually look at them when you're not on your computer. LOL! But yes, I also scrap my desktop backgrounds. LOL! You can also scrap layouts to use in calendars (at Shutterfly and many other places), and some people have their layouts printed out (or print them at home) and then frame them and hang them on the wall. What I like about it compared to traditional scrapbooking is that I can scrap a layout and then print it out as many times as I want to for gifts and such. I could make a bazillion albums if I wanted to, ya know? Plus, I can go back in later and change anything I decide I don't like, etc. Oh yeah, and there's the fact that I don't have to drag out glue, scissors, paper cutters, rulers, etc. like I used to have to do when I did paper scrapping. What a royal pain in the ass. LOL!

So anyway, there's the scoop. Everything you wanted to know and more. Aren't you glad you asked? ;)

Some layouts...

What I've been doing the past few days to keep my mind off other stuff.




Lost in the Corn Maze



Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Much better today...

My sister's situation isn't really any better, but I am. I finally got some stuff done today. And I kind of decided I need to seperate myself from the situation. Not that I'm not here for my sister, or that I won't help her. Just that I can't let myself get caught up in the drama. I have a family and a house to take care of, and I have my problems and issues to deal with. So I'm wiping my hands as clean from the situation as I can without being a bitchy, horrible sister.

So enough about that crap. LOL! I'm off to start dinner now (chicken fajitas... Mmmm....). Then I'll snuggle with my kids, help Grace with her homework, and settle in for some "House" and "Cane" viewing pleasure. Sweet.

The one good thing about recent situations is that I haven't felt like doing anything productive, so I've gotten a shitload of scrapbooking done. I'll post some of my layouts later after I upload them to Flickr. It's that time of year now and the requests from friends for collages and Christmas cards are starting to come in, so I'll have that to take my mind off things. Thanks again everybody!

Thank You (and other stuff...)!

I just wanted to take a few minutes and thank those of you that commented here or emailed me with sympathy about my cat, teeth, sister, brother, etc. It really does mean a lot to me and I truly, truly appreciate it.

But it hasn't gotten any better around here. In fact, it's gotten worse... Well, not in terms of my toothache, because that's gotten a slight bit better... And not in terms of my brother because I haven't had any sort of contact with him since Friday, so I don't know if that whole thing is better or worse... And not in terms of my PMS, because that ol' visitor has come and gone for the month.

But in terms of my sister? Yeah. Worse. Way, WAY worse. And I'm not getting into details right now. Not because I'm being secretive and mysterious. Just because if I have to type it all out again for the 5th or 6th time today, I swear to god, I'll blow my brains out. (I may blow my brains out anyway, but if I do, rest assured it's not because I typed out my whole "sister drama" again.)

Anyway, I'm OK, but I just wanted to take a second to say thanks to you all. You're all very sweet and I appreciate the concern for me. I'll be back again soon, and hopefully, I'll be my usual, chipper self (LOL!). It may take another day or two though. :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

What are the fucking odds?

Seriously. I feel like I'm living in the twilight zone today. I'm so very sorry I haven't blogged lately, but it's been one hell of a week. But anyway, back to this odds thing. Without getting into detail (because I'm tired and ready for bed), I had to put our other cat, Cooter, to sleep today. I swear to god, I didn't even know he was sick until the middle of the night last night when he started wailing and crying from midnight until the morning. He woke all of us up and kept us up half the night. I took him to the vet this morning and he was severely jaundiced (indicating liver failure) and the vet could feel "a huge mass" in his stomach. It was painfully obvious he was in pain and had something wrong with him that wasn't fixable, so I agreed to send him to a better place. But it was kind of a shock since we had no clue anything was even wrong until less than 24 hours ago.

Anyway, so I get home from the vet and send an email to my brother and sister telling them about Cooter just to let them know. My brother emails back saying he just put his cat to sleep this morning too. He's devastated. Absolutely devastated. But seriously, what are the odds that my older sibling and I would have to put our cats to sleep on the exact same day, within an hour or two of each other? That's just fucking creepy, and I don't care what any of you say. It has to be a curse or something. Which one of you out there is performing hocus pocus on my family? Because it's rude and I want it to stop.

Oh, and my sister is here right now, sleeping on my couch with two VERY large horses dogs lying next to her on the floor. Why you ask? Oh, because my BIL that she's divorcing is apparently a fucking psycho lately and we didn't think it was safe for her to stay at her house tonight. (Like seriously not safe.) Since Grace and Hannah are sleeping over at my parents' house tonight (and Hannah's terrified of dogs), and my sister only lives about a mile down the street from me, it made more sense for her to come here tonight than go to our mom and dad's house. So here I am, the self-proclaimed non-lover of canines, with two gigantic German Shepherds on my living room floor, a sister who needs to wake the fuck up and realize that it's time to pull out the can of whoop ass sleeping on my sofa, and a brother who has been sobbing all day because his best feline buddy is now "in a better place".

Never mind that I also put my own cat to sleep today, leaving us completely petless for the first time in over 12 years.

And that I went from having 2 cats to having no cats within 2 months.

And that I have a friggin' toothache that would send a grown man to his knees, but  that I'm ignoring because I don't have dental insurance and because the last time I went to the dentist he seriously wanted to pull out all of my upper teeth and give me a full set of dentures, which I guarantee you is going to happen in the next few years, but that I don't want to deal with right now.

And that I'm flat broke.

Oh, and that I have my period.

Yup. Life is big fat bowl of cherries right now, lemme tell ya.

Is it 2008 yet? Because I'm really looking forward to 2008.