Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And another Christmas has come and gone…

So it’s hard to believe it’s all over, isn’t it? How is it that we take months (or weeks… OK, days in my case) to prepare for Christmas every year, and then in the blink of an eye, it’s all over? HOURS spent wrapping presents, only to be torn open within seconds. I often wonder why we all put ourselves through it. LOL!

But the bottom line is that this was possibly my favorite Christmas so far. At least since meeting Steve and having kids anyway. The girls were on their best behavior on both Christmas Eve at my FIL’s house and on Christmas Day here and then at my MIL’s house. After the “Great Thanksgiving Incident”, I think they were afraid for their lives (thanks to Daddy) if they misbehaved, so for once, even though our one nephew ran around like a little tornado and acted like the biggest ungrateful brat in the world, OUR kids remained calm and thankful for all they were given. Ahhh….

Everyone seemed to be in a good mood this year, which as we all know, when lots of family members are all getting together, is no small feat. I got such nice stuff. Steve bought me some really nice clothing, cool gloves (both “regular” gloves and snow gloves… because apparently, my excuse of not being able to come out with them sledding because I didn’t have snow gloves was getting old), and a cool stovetop popcorn maker for the family (since we don’t use a microwave).

My mom had already paid for my new photo printer, but also gave me lots of nice little stuff like candles, body sprays, lotions, soaps, (apparently my house and my body need help in terms of scent? LOL!), and THREE magazine subscriptions. WOOHOO!

My brother and SIL also gave us really nice stuff, like winter & Christmas shaped pasta, Bath & Body Works hand soap, and a gift card for each of us (I got Barnes and Noble and Steve got Cabela’s).

My FIL came through again and gave us all a nice present or two along with $100 in cold, hard cash. God, I love that guy. LOL!

Steve’s brother and my evil SIL also did pretty well by giving us each a gift card – mine being for my hairdresser. I’m thrilled since I’m in desperate need of a haircut, but given my past with my SIL, there’s that little part of me that wonders if she was trying to tell me my hair looks like shit. LOL! And I’m still a little confused as to why Steve’s gift card was for Eddie Bauer. A store he’s never shopped at in his life, and the place we often make fun of them for shopping at (0ut loud) since good old Eddie’s pretty plain, average clothing can be bought for half the cost at almost any other store in the world. Perhaps they’re tired of Steve and I dressing like teenagers who live at Aeropostale? LOL! It’s anybody’s guess, but it’s all good. I’m sure he’ll find something there he likes. :)

My MIL actually did REALLY well choosing gifts this year for us, and Steve and I both got really nice clothing, some other stuff, and the softest blanket I’ve ever felt in my life.

The kids, as usual, made out like bandits. They got everything from a Wii (from us), a guitar (from my brother), Wii games (from my sister), new American Girl dolls with accessories (from my parents), and lots of cool craft stuff (from my MIL). Now keep in mind that those were all of the “big” gifts from all of us. That’s not including the other bazillion gifts everyone felt the need to buy them. Sigh.

I still have no CLUE where I’m going to put all of this new stuff. And I’m dreading the after Christmas chores of undecorating the tree and house, taking all of the lights down, etc. But I can’t even complain, because it was such a wonderful holiday this year, that I suppose it’s all worth it.

The Wii is AWESOME! My arm is sore from bowling and playing tennis, and I don’t even complain when Grace asks me to play some games with her. SOOOO much fun and probably one of the best gifts we could have bought them. I see years of use in our future (which is totally unlike most of the gifts they get). Good stuff.

My favorite part of the holidays is always the visitors though. I love that we seem to have totally random people floating into our house in the evenings just to drink a bit and hang out. Steve’s mom and her husband and his aunt and uncle stopped by the other night… we’ve had a few friends drift in… and tomorrow, Steve’s friends since childhood are coming to visit with their two boys. They moved to Texas a few years ago, haven’t been home in years, and we’ve never seen each other’s kids. I talked to the wife tonight and we’re all really excited to get together! :)

Anyway, I hope ALL of you had a wonderful holiday! I’ve barely had time to look at my photos I’ve taken, let alone fix ‘em up to post here. But I’ll try to do that in the next day or two. I do have one or two I can post, but they’re aren’t even remotely exciting. LOL! And, as usual, I’m not in a single photo taken. But I suppose that’s the price you pay when you’re the only one who knows how to work the camera. LOL!

Steve on Christmas Eve at his Dad’s House


Grace on Christmas Eve at my FIL’s House


The Girls Playing the Wii Before My Family Arrived on Christmas Morning

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Grace Watching My Brother Playing the Guitar He Gave Her for Christmas


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hey gang! I’m pretty sure I won’t have a chance to pop in here tomorrow or Thursday, so I wanted to make sure to wish all of you a Happy Holidays! It’s been crazy around here with last minute things. SOOOO much to do and so little time to do it. We host Christmas for my family (around 15 people) here at the house, so on top of the usual Christmas stress of buying and wrapping gifts, I’ve also had to try to fit in cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Not going so well, my friends. LOL!

But we’ll manage. Tomorrow night, we’ll head to Steve’s dad’s house for food, presents, and total chaos with the “spirited” nephews. Then Christmas morning, within 2 or 3 hours of waking up, my family will start to pile into the house with WAY more presents than any child needs. Then it will be a day of eating, drinking, and playing the new Wii that the girls will find under the tree.

Around 3:30 or 4:00, we’ll head to Steve’s mom’s house for more food, gifts, and total chaos with the damn nephews. But we’ll get through it. LOL!

Today was the girls’ last day of school for 15 days (god help me… LOL!), so the teachers’ gifts went with them to school today. I made them each handmade, blank, all occasion cards with envelopes, CD calendars, a Dates to Remember notebook type thing, and a custom box to store everything in. I hope they liked it! The girls said they did, so that’s all I can ask, I suppose. LOL! Here’s what they looked like….

The “Dates to Remember” books:

Teacher Gifts 2008

Teacher Gifts 2008

The CD calendars:

Teacher Gifts 2008

The handmade cards:

Teacher Gifts 2008

Teacher Gifts 2008

Everything tied together to put in the boxes:

Teacher Gifts 2008

And the boxes themselves. The “C” and “K” are their first initials. :)

Teacher Gifts 2008

And with that, I’m outta here. I’ll be back after the holidays with lots of photos, I’m sure, and hopefully, a more “normal” schedule that actually allows me time to post here. Have a great Christmas everyone! :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Total Drive-By (Again)

Because it’s 2 AM, and although I’m not even remotely tired, I know I need to go to bed if I have any hope of waking up before 9 AM tomorrow (which is way too late). But this is a good thing. Because it means bullets and we ALL love bullets, right? :)

And we’re off…

* I’ve been so busy, my head is spinning. Work, Christmas stuff, the girls’ extracurricular stuff, school stuff, making gifts, etc. Can someone stop the world please? Because I’d like to get off, if even for just a day.

* My printer took a shit on me 3 weeks ago. It suddenly wouldn’t feed any paper other than normal copy paper. This probably wouldn’t be a problem for most people. But because I print out a lot of photos, scrapbook pages, special papers for hybrid projects, etc., it basically meant my printer was useless to me. So in swoops my mom and buys me the Epson Artisan 700 photo printer as my Christmas gift. Happy, happy sigh. Mom rules!

* However, after printing a bit tonight, using the same double-sided, PrintWorks matte photo paper as a few weeks ago, the new one wouldn’t feed it through anymore either. Uh, I’m thinking it’s the paper, not the printers. So that old printer currently sitting on my living room floor isn’t broken after all? Um. Oops.

* I’m currently a little obsessed with David Cook. Don’t worry. I’m sure it will pass. But for now, I’m a self-proclaimed dork. It’s all good.

* Grace is now officially a Brownie Girl Scout after her investiture ceremony last week. She’s so proud! :)

* Grace is getting a guitar for Christmas from my brother. I think that’s fucking awesome.

* I currently have a total of 3 gifts bought for my children for Christmas, and one of those is a joint gift. (Joint as in for both of them. Not a big bong.) Now granted, the big gift is a Wii. But still. Do you think I could possibly get off my ass and BUY them something? Sigh. My problem is that every other damn family member has already bought them everything they could possibly want or need, so there’s nothing left for me. Dammit. This happens EVERY year.

* I also haven’t bought anything for about 80 other people I need to buy for. I guarantee you I’ll be out shopping on Christmas Eve. I really should have a penis.

* Today ended the 2008 buck hunting season in PA, and I’m sorry to report that my dear husband didn’t shoot one. This is devastating on many levels, and I’m SURE I’ll hear about it for the next year. So if you keep me in your thoughts and prayers, it would be greatly appreciated.

* I’m lip-synching like a rock star right now, thinking I’m all sorts of cool and shit. Yeah Allison… drink another one. [rolls eyes]

* I made some big decisions the past few weeks and I think I finally decided it’s time to move on and forge ahead.

* Hannah continues to crack me up daily. The wit and sarcasm and attitude that comes spewing from that 5-year-old’s lips makes my head spin around (while secretly beaming with pride). She really IS a mini-me, isn’t she? ;)

* Both girls are kicking some serious kung-fu ass in both behavior and grades in school. That’s my girls!

* Grace is student of the month for her class for December. :)

* This Friday, I’m helping out at the school for half the day for some sort of celebration or something (the details are sketchy). The woman who called said it’s “Pajama Day” for the kids and that I, too, am more than welcome to wear my PJs to the school. I have to admit, there’s a very large tiny part of me that wants to walk in wearing something from Frederick’s of Hollywood, like a thong with garters and a bustier. But I suppose that wouldn’t be appropriate, would it? (I’d also have to go BUY garters and bustier, and since I can’t even seem to buy my own damn kids a few Christmas gifts, I’m thinking the chances of me going out and purchasing these items are pretty much slim to none.)

* I know there are about 8 billion other things I wanted to update y’all about, but I’m totally blanking right now. Why is this not surprising?

* Steve’s 34th birthday is on Wednesday and I bought him a kick ass salad shooter. Sounds stupid, I know. But I can assure you he will LOVE it. I don’t think he even knows that such a tool exists. But I will no longer have to listen to his incessant bitching every night when it takes him 45 minutes to make a salad due to the slicing of a billion vegetables (because I’m all about giving people gifts that also benefit me somehow.)

* For Christmas, I got him the mother of all topographical GPS’s. He’s wanted one for quite awhile now for when he goes wandering around the woods. I’m not sure why he thinks he needs one since he knows those woods and mountains better than he knows the home we’ve lived in for almost 10 years, but whatever.

* I never told you guys about “The Great Thanksgiving Incident” involving my kids and our spawn of the devil dear, sweet nephews. I’m not getting into it right now either, because it’s almost 3 AM, but let’s just say that I’m seriously dreading Christmas. I’m thinking of just fleeing the state that week and going down to visit Tink and Hoop. Hell, it’s not like my kids are getting any gifts anyway since I’m suck a slacker. So what’s the difference, right?

And with that, I really need to go to bed now. I need to be up in 4 or 5 hours to shower and pick the girls up at my parents’ house to take them to Sunday School. Later gang. :)

I’ll leave you with a lovely photo of the family when we went to cut down our Christmas tree. :)

(Oh, and while we’re here… isn’t that coat thing Steve is wearing the UGLIEST damn thing you’ve ever seen? I hate it. I tell him it looks like a Bill Cosby sweater. No one else seems to agree with me when asked, but I’m holding my ground on this one. His dickhead friend Grace’s godfather gave it to him because he didn’t want it anymore, so I’m not sure if I hate it because it really is ugly or because it came from Joey, who I have some serious issues with. But either way, I’d like it burned. In fact, I think that’s my New Year’s resolution this year. Burn Steve’s fugly coat thingy. It may be the first resolution I actually keep…)

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tink’s Christmas Meme

Hey gang! I’m alive! Just extremely busy! Christmas things for the kids for their school and various extra-curricular activities, decorating the homestead, and making lots of Christmas gifts for people. I’ll stop back later with a post of pictures and updates. But Tink made up a Christmas Meme, so I thought I’d at least post that for now.

1. What was the best present you've ever received? *** Probably my engagement ring from Steve. He gave it to me a week early on his birthday (the 17th), but I count it as a Christmas gift. It was awesome.

2. What was the worst? *** Probably the plastic microwave egg cooker from my FIL. You know… as seen on TV. We never even took it out of the box.

3. What is something you really want this year for yourself? ***I got it already, courtesy of my mom. She bought me the Epson Artisan 700 photo printer. Happy sigh.

4. What is something you really want this year for someone else? ***Just for the kids to have a great Christmas. They always do, but I always officially hope for it anyway. :)

5. What's your favorite Christmas memory? ***The candlelight singing of Silent Night every Christmas Eve in church. I have a lot of funny memories of Christmas growing up. But the Silent Night one was one that I knew would happen every year, and it always REALLY put me in the Christmas spirit.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where I’ve Been.

Sorry gang. I’m sure you’ve all been checking here to see if I’ve updated lately, right? Uh huh. That’s what I thought. Well, I’ve been busy. And, as per usual, not busy with the things I should be doing, but instead the things I want to be doing.

I signed up for a free online class that Jessica Sprague is offering. The class is called “Stories in Hand”. It started yesterday and registration for it was closed last night. But those of us that did sign up are having a blast! No one was even really sure what the class was about. Jessica simply said she was going to teach us the system she developed for telling her stories, organizing her thoughts, etc. It sounded intriguing and it was free, so I figured what the hell.

I’m SO glad I signed up! It’s fantastic! We had been given a list of a few supplies before the class started, so I had picked those up last week. Yesterday, for the first day, we were given files to print out for the cover and the tabbed pages for the binders we had bought. Here’s the cover:

IMG_6563FinalFinal And here are the tabbed pages we printed out and put into the binder. There’s one for “Roots”, one for “Self” and one for “Family”.

IMG_6572Final This is what they look like:

IMG_6568Final Within the Family tab, she told us to create sub-tabs for each member of our family. So I have one for Steve and one for each girl:

IMG_6569Final IMG_6570Final IMG_6571Final So that was it for day 1 of the class. Today, I got very excited when I saw what the next part was. We were given more files to print out for in the binder. And on these files are hundreds and hundreds of questions to ask yourself and then write/scrap/video/etc. about. Whatever way we decide to document it is up to us. The class is more about teaching us how to keep track of what we want to document, prompts for possible things that will be forgotten if someone doesn’t write them down, etc.

These are the contents and questions we were given for each of the tabbed sections:

IMG_6564Final IMG_6566Final There are at least 20 pages of those questions for EACH tab. My god, I’ll be writing and scrapbooking forever. LOL! I’m sooo excited though! I really DO think it’s important to document the things in your life. The things that will be long forgotten after your gone unless someone takes the time to record it forever. Think of how cool it will be for my kids to have the stories behind these types of questions. I wish I had one of these from my mom!

Jessica also gave us these pages to print out for the binder:

IMG_6561FinalFinal We were told to put at least one of those in each tabbed and sub-tabbed section, to write down the stories you want to eventually document. So cool!

I’m not sure what we’re doing tomorrow, but I believe Jessica mentioned making a small notebook or something. After that, we’re going to begin actually using the system, doing exercises, etc. I’m pretty pumped! I wish I would’ve posted about the class here before registration was over so some more of you could have signed up. It’s NOT for scrapbookers. There’s certainly a lot of us there, but many haven’t scrapped a day in their lives. The pages and files are as easy as clicking Print, cutting them down, and punching holes in them. So no comments here about me being creative. This is ALL Jessica this time. LOL!

If she ever offers this class again in the future, I’ll make sure to post about it here and I URGE all of you to sign up for it. Even if you don’t want to actually scrap/write/etc., it’s cool just having the hundreds of questions at your fingertips. I can see it being fun for your kids to pick one of the questions and let you tell them the story. Just awesome stuff.

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been the past few days. Printing, cutting, and punching holes. I’ll be back later though. I NEED to post the photos of my evil sister-in-law and my mother-in-law sliding down the ginormous slide at Bounce U over the weekend. Their facial expressions are simply priceless. LOL!

Later gang! :)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Year at a Glance Album

As mentioned yesterday, my custom deck of cards from Artscow arrived last week. There’s an option to turn off the numbers from printing on the cards. Since there are 52 cards in a deck, I thought it would be fun to upload a picture from each week for the past year and have them put on the cards. Then I had Steve drill a hole through the whole deck and I held them together with a standard office binder ring. (Note: I’ll be buying a smaller ring. This was just the only size I had in my stash right now. I’ll also tie some ribbons and stuff on the ring to “pretty it up”.

IMG_6437Final IMG_6440Final I had uploaded a design to put on the backs of all of the cards, so I just took a Sharpie marker and wrote a little bit about each photo on the back of them.



In Photoshop, I put a little “strip” on each photo and typed “Week of _______”.

IMG_6450Final IMG_6452Final IMG_6457FinalIt’s been fun so far. Just looking at it this week, we discovered that during this week last year, there was some snow on the ground. Far cry from the almost 70-degree day we’re experiencing today. LOL! The girls get a kick out of it and we end up talking about the picture and some stories from whatever event the picture is from. Good stuff. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

And once again, I disappeared.

Wow. I’m really slacking on this blog thing. I think it’s partly because I’ve spent most of my time over on Facebook again [waving to Facebook friends], partly because work has been busy (when I decide to actually work, that is), and I’m working on a bunch of projects for Christmas and stuff. I seem to have missed Halloween AND the big election here. Wow.

OK. So let’s start with a few photos of the kids on Halloween. I don’t have many of Grace because she decided she didn’t want to go Trick-or-Treating, so I only have the one of her on the day we tried out her costume idea (for now… I have some others of her I haven’t edited yet). She went to a bunch of other Halloween-related parties, events, etc., so when she didn’t want to trick-or-treat, I didn’t push her.

So here’s Grace. She’s a punk rocker.

IMG_5698Final Don’t you just love the attitude? LOL! (And obviously, when we went out in public, she wore a different shirt that didn’t bare her midriff.

And now, onto my little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. She had a BLAST trick-or-treating!

IMG_5707This was the day we bought the costume. She had red sparkly shoes for the Halloween events. See? She had to wear many, many layers because it was freezing, but you could still tell who she was supposed to be, so she didn’t care.

IMG_6367 copyIMG_6368 copyIMG_6372 copy IMG_6374 copy In other news, I got my Deck of Cards mini photo album thingamajig the other day and will come back later to show you pictures of that. It turned out pretty cool if I do say so myself!

And now, I need to enjoy the last 15 minutes before the girls come bounding through the door from school. So I’ll be back later!

OH! And I have to show you why my children have reaffirmed that they are indeed mentally disturbed freaks. LOL!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Um, hello?

Hey gang! I can’t believe it’s been 9 days since I last blogged. How very rude of me. In my defense, things have been pretty busy here with work, Halloween events, switching our house’s heating system from oil to coal (for purely financial reasons), school stuff, and extracurricular activities. But I’m here now, which is all that matters, right?

In glancing at my last post, I see I never posted my Sunday layouts for my Week in the Life project. So here they are for your viewing pleasure, as well as the 2 inside pages that sort of act like a pictorial “summary” of the week.

WIL-Sunday 10_19_08 WIL-Sunday 10_19_08_page2

WIL-Sunday 10_19_08

WIL-Sunday 10_19_08_page2

WIL- Inside Page 1 WIL- Inside Page 2

I just have to do the cover page and maybe one or two “outtake” pages, and then I’ll get it printed.

What else? Oh! I’m a redhead now! I went last Friday and got my hair done. It less “orange” (actually, it’s not orange at all IRL) and more “auburn” in real life, but you get the idea. I LOVE it and may never go back to another color. :)

IMG_6353 And yes, in the photo, I’m holding my shirt shut to avoid boobie flash. I had to use my self-timer and because it was sitting on our low windowsills, I had to sit on the floor and bend over. LOL!

Anyway, I need to go do some work now, but I’ll be back later. Tonight is trick-or-treat night in town (and no, I do NOT know why my town does it on the Wednesday before Halloween, but they do). So I’ll post some pictures of my little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and my punk rocker/goth girl. Later gang!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Weekend Report

So the weekend’s been busy, but fun, I suppose. Friday night was “Movie Night” here, so we made ice cream sundaes and watched “Finding Rin Tin Tin” (cute movie, by the way). Yesterday, I cleaned during the day and then we headed to the town’s Halloween parade. Grace walked with her Brownie troop again, and I walked with Hannah and her Daisy troop. They made me wear a stupid headband and a tail, but I shoved the tail into my back pocket about 2 blocks into the parade. I have some pride. And since the entire damn town watches the parade and I know over half of them, I had to draw the line somewhere. LOL!

I’m waiting for Steve to get home from walking around on a mountain somewhere so we can order wings and watch the Steelers game I’m taping right now. I’m soooo tempted to turn it on and at least see who’s winning, but I’m fighting the urge. Sigh.

Anyway, I have some more cleaning up to do, so here are my pages from the last few days for my Week in My Life project. I’ll be back later. :)

WIL-Thursday 10_16_08 WIL-Thursday 10_16_08_page2

WIL-Friday 10_17_08 WIL-Friday 10_17_08_page2

WIL-Saturday 10_18_08 WIL-Saturday 10_18_08_page2

I doubt you want to see ALL of these pages close up, but I will post the last two larger so you can see little Hannah has a cat. Unfortunately, since I was with Hannah for the parade, I didn’t get any photos (except that one) of Grace.

WIL-Saturday 10_18_08

WIL-Saturday 10_18_08_page2

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Halloween has officially begun.

Last night, Grace was in a Halloween parade in a neighboring town. She walked with her Brownie troop. The girls were jellyfish and their leader was Spongebob. I must say, their costumes were really creative and they looked really cute! They had umbrella hats and they attached strips of bubble wrap, colored cellophane, and some iridescent charms. They each wore a blinking, color-changing light around their neck and had different colored glow sticks in the umbrella hats. They looked really neat walking in the dark.

Grace had a blast! It was her first parade she was ever in. Hannah sat with me and Steve to watch it and loved getting all the candy that the parade marchers threw to the kids along the street. (Are we the only people that do that? It’s a big thing around here for all parades, and the kids LOVE it.

This Saturday is our town’s Halloween parade. Grace is in it again and Hannah is also in it with her Daisy troop. I’m walking in the parade with Hannah, although I don’t really want to. LOL!

I’m working on another little album project too. At Artscow, you can order a deck of photo cards, with a different photo on each card. I recently discovered that you can set it so that the actual card numbers and suits aren’t printed on the cards. Since there are 52 cards in a deck and 52 weeks in a year, I uploaded one photo from each week for the past year and put one on each card. Then I turned off the card numbers for printing. When I get them, I’ll somehow bind them (probably with a ring) and have a little album of a picture a week for a year. I’m excited to get them! I just need to create the “cover” card and then I can order them. Once I get them and see if the whole concept actually works, I may order another set or two for Christmas gifts for the grandparents.


And now, I must go do something productive. Here are my pages from yesterday for my Week in My Life project. Grace is on the right-hand side of the photo, holding the banner. :)

WIL-Wednesday 10_15_08 blur WIL-Wednesday 10_15_08_page2blur

WIL-Wednesday 10_15_08 blur

WIL-Wednesday 10_15_08_page2blur