Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween recap

Just a few more photos from tonight, pre-trick-or-treating :
Since Morgan's first Halloween we've gone over to our friends, Kevin + Erika's house, to adopt their neighborhood on Halloween night, because trick or treating is a little lame in our 'hood for really young kids. It would be lots of walking. And probably whining. 

The trick or treating tonight was fun (and plentiful)! In the beginning, Parker was taking candy out of his basket and trying to give it out. He eventually caught on and loved when he got to choose his own piece. By mid-way through the night he was saying "treat-treat" but never with good timing. Usually on the sidewalk on the way to the next house. As for Morgan, she wasn't shy with the nice + loud 'trick or treat's, or the 'thank you's. But, she wasn't much of a fan of having to wait, or share a porch with other kids. Her pail was getting so heavy for her that I was carrying it at the end.

We have way too much candy in this house. Oy!
Hope you all had a nice Halloween too!

Halloween Fun Day

On Saturday, we took the kids to downtown Farmington for a little trick-or-treating at the stores during their Halloween Fun Day. Morgan was pretty confused why were were trick-or-treating during the day and finally we had convinced her that this was like practice for Monday.
Parker was a knight (I so wish he had a matching hood - not like he would keep it up though) and for weeks, Morgan said she wanted to be Foofa again. What kind of lame mom would I have been if I let her wear last year's costume? Finally, she told us she wanted to be a monkey. Easy enough. I'm still so surprised she didn't want a ballerina/princess/Strawberry Shortcake-type costume. :) There were so many adorable Strawberry Shortcake (and friends) costumes on the streets downtown and she loved them too, but was still very happy being a monkey. "Maybe when I get a little bigger I can be Strawberry Shortcake" she'd say. :)
Of course they are only 3 and 1, but Morgan and Parker are SOOOO not fans of scary costumes. Especially masks. Frankenstein and gorillas topped the list as most frightening for them and they both gripped on to Mark and I for dear life as we walked by.
They got a nice little stash of candy to munch on and they are very excited for tonight's festivities!

In other news : the Etsy shop is a go! Last week, I got a big chunk of the details figured out, including choosing a shop name, putting together ideas of what to sell, and so much more. Man, last week flew by! My first item is in the works and I'm hoping to be open for business with a handful of goodies in the next couple weeks. Slow, but sure...

Plus, my 500th post is approaching. Perhaps a giveaway is in order?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Parker's first year album : bday boy

(click to enlarge)
At the end of Parker's first year album, I did a few pages from his birthday + party. The paper pinwheels are leftover cupcake toppers from the party. For the record, I can't photograph white layouts to save my life. Instead of tweaking it in Photoshop, you'll just have to take my word for it that the background is white. :)

Journaling reads : Happy 1st Birthday Parker! What an incredible year we have had. I am beyond happy you are my son. You have truly completed our little family. You are an amazing little boy + it has been so exciting to see you + your personality develop. We all love you so, so much. Have a super fun day, P-man!

The pinwheels were the cupcake toppers from the kids birthday party. They turned out to be the perfect little 'extra' to complete this layout.

Thanks for looking (all week long!) + have a wonderful pre-Halloween weekend.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parker's first year album : M + P

I couldn't complete Parker's album without creating a layout of photos that span his first year and his relationship with his sister.
This actually is not a digital layout. I had a ton of duplicate photos of just the two of them that I cropped and arranged to fill a 12x12 page (leaving just enough room for a short title) :
Photos of Morgan + Parker together are some of my absolute favorites. They loved each other from the very start. I'm so lucky to have both of them + they are so lucky to have each other.

All week long I am sharing layouts from Parker's completed first year album. Tomorrow's layout : bday boy : Parker turns one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parker's first year album : on his own

Here is another digital layout I made for Parker's album. There are a few stories, like this one when I thought Parker's sleep was starting to improve, that I wanted to include as it's own layout. I know I did a lot of griping, venting + crying on the blog about his lousy sleep for many months. This little challenge was a big part of his first year and I felt like it was important to document this turning point.

Photos + journaling was taken from this post.

Journaling reads : Sleep has been a bit of a struggle for Parker the last several months. Not really falling asleep, but staying asleep. And he hardly ever goes to sleep on his own. Until the last couple days.

His naps yesterday were particularly trying. Parker usually doesn't put up much of a fight when it comes to getting him ready to take a nap. He is a fantastic napper. But yesterday, we were all a little cranky, and chilly (we lost power the night before and it still hadn't come on) and Parker just pushed and pushed me. Literally. He was clearly tired, but did not want to be held. And I was getting frustrated. So I took a deep breath, gave him a kiss, put him in his crib, and told him I'd be right back to check on him.

He hardly fussed. Or cried. A couple minutes later, quiet. I waited a little longer before peeking in his room to find this.

He fell asleep. All on his own.

He did it again for his afternoon nap. And this morning's nap. Maybe it's just me that wants to hold and walk and rock my baby to sleep. Because I thought he wanted it. Or he needed it to sleep. He used to. It was hard to just put him in his crib awake and walk away. Especially because I'm not used to it. And I'm always second guessing myself. Wondering if I'm doing the right thing. As it turns out, this time it is the right thing. I know that when he wakes up happy, not crying. Full of smiles and waving to me as I walk in his room. Absolutely melts my heart.

We still need to work on his nighttime sleep, but (dare I say) I feel like this might be the beginning of the end of horrible sleep for Parker. And me. I hope this is more than just a phase.

Digital template freebie by Cathy Zielske
Patterned paper from Paislee Press Photobooth kit

All week long I am sharing layouts from Parker's completed first year album. Tomorrow's layout : M + P : a photo collage of Morgan + Parker during his first year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Parker's first year album : my sweet boy

This 2-page spread documenting Parker's first week was the first digital layout I made for his album.
(click to enlarge)
closeup of left side
closeup of right side
Journaling reads : At one week old, you are very quiet and content. You love to sleep in our bed. I've been letting you sleep with me after Daddy gets up and leaves for work in the morning and that can get us a couple more hours of blissful sleep. You are nursing like a champ, which warms my heart because I feel it is making our bond that much stronger. We are finding our rhythm + enjoying every day of getting to know each other. You are sweeter than words can describe. Love, Mommy.

Supplies :
Template : Ali Edwards Grid Template Pack No 2
Patterned (background) paper : One Little Bird Conversation Piece No 4
Number stickers : American Crafts Rockabye Thickers
Fonts : Bickham Script Pro + Cabin

All week long I am sharing layouts from Parker's completed first year album. Tomorrow's layout : on his own : the story of when Parker (gasp!) finally started to sleep better.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parker's first year album : welcome home

(click to enlarge)
The next paper layout I did for Parker's first year album is about the day we brought him home.

Journaling reads : At just two days old, Mommy and Daddy got to bring you home today, Wednesday, June 9th. We were discharged from the hospital mid-afternoon and by the time we got home, we were expecting Aunt Kristin to arrive with Morgan shortly after. We sat in the family room waiting for them to come through the door while you slept peacefully in your car seat. Morgan was a little timid at first, and admittedly, we were a little nervous about her reaction to you, and to us bringing you home. But, she was pretty happy to see you and I think she is just as excited to 'put a name to a face' as we are. She soaked it all in and watched your every move as you slept, quietly repeating "Parker, Parker." I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship with your protective older sister. She already loves you so, so much. Just as we do.

All week long I am sharing layouts from Parker's completed first year album. Tomorrow's layout : my sweet boy : photos + words from Parker's first week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

up + at 'em

TGIF, peeps! I'm feeling surprisingly chipper this morning. Maybe because it's Friday. Maybe because I'm looking forward to good things happening this weekend. Maybe because the thoughts + dreams that have been keeping me awake at night are starting to come together. Here's more :

This week : Morgan has a Halloween costume. Parker does not. Yet. Morgan has glittery purple nails for tomorrow (good choice!) and Parker pushed through tooth #10. Santa has been busy rounding up gifts for the two super good kids in this house and now (s)he needs a really good hiding spot. And, as far as completed layouts go, I can officially say that Parker's first year album is done. I do, however, need to have a couple of digital ones printed. My hope in the near future is to share the entire thing in video form. And maybe Morgan's too. Other than seeing it in person, I think that will be the best way to show it off. We'll see if I can pull it off. Like I said, it's a 'hope.'

Next week : I've got five layouts from that album ready to post on the blog. That's all I'll be blogging about next week. They are actually already scheduled, one a day, because I am going to focus my energy on either talking myself into (or out of) opening an etsy shop. I really want to have a one-on-one conference with my better half about it. Other than the logistics of starting this new venture, I need to decide if I have the courage + the support + the time to do it. I have been thinking about it forever. I just never knew what I wanted to make. Now, I have a really good idea where to start. Very exciting + nerve wracking at the same time. Thoughts? Advice? Encouragement? Am I nuts?

Today : my email box has been neglected this week so I'm hoping to go through that during quiet time. I have a couple simple little Halloween crafts I'd like to do with the kids today because Morgan has been dying to 'decorate'. And I have a to-do list to type. It's that serious!

Holy cow, I think I see sun! Have a great Friday + weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

his turn

Haircut + photo shoot on Wednesday, October 19, 2011
(He does not look like he is 16 months old)
Any votes for who he looks like?

doodled filmstrip frame from Paislee Press Photobooth Kit

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Field Trip : Fire Station Open House

Last Friday, I took Morgan + Parker to our local fire station for an open house. Last week was Fire Prevention Week - if you didn't know. Here are some photos from our tour :
Parker was SO not interested in having his picture taken with his sister,
so she did it solo instead.
There's a better picture together. Morgan was not a fan of the wind.

Inside one of our city's big fire trucks!
Morgan LOVED Sparky the Fire Dog. Parker liked him from afar. She even got a tattoo of him on her hand.
And a hug!
After sitting through a presentation on kitchen + fire safety, they earned their own little fire helmets! Parker's response? "Yee-haw!"
Funny story of the day : We watched an extraction demonstration outside (the firefighters used tools, like the Jaws of Life, to get an auto accident victim out of a car whose doors were inoperable) and although one of the firefighters was giving an explaination of what was happening/what they were doing, Morgan, my very inquisitive 3-year-old, was asking a lot of questions. 'Why are they using a dummy?' 'Why aren't they using a real person?' 'Why did they break the windows?' 'Why are they cutting the car?' 'Why is it so loud?' 'Why are they putting him on that board?'

After the demo was over, we watched the firefighters clean up and put their tools away. She asked, 'aren't they going to fix the car?' I tried to explain to her that it was important for the firemen to get the man out of the car, so they can make sure he isn't hurt after the car accident. People are more important than things, like cars. 'Well, who is going to fix the car?' Goofy kid.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Parker's first year album : proud papa

(click to enlarge)
Sharing another layout from Parker's album today.

Journaling reads : I saw a cute idea on the internet to stamp your new baby's footprints on the daddy's shirt. I remembered a t-shirt, but forgot the inkpad, so Grandma Frahm + Aunt Kristin got one for us. Before your first bath, Daddy stamped your feet perfectly over his heart.

Mark still had the t-shirt he stamped Parker's footprints on that day and said I could put it in his album. I cut the sleeves off and trimmed it down (using just the front of the shirt), wrapped it over white chipboard and slipped it into a 12x12 page protector opposite this layout. When I eventually post the complete album, you'll get to see it in context then.

Thanks for looking!

Today : we are hitting up the local fire department open house this morning and I need to pack a couple of bags and prepare to (fingers crossed) finish Parker's first year album this weekend. I am cropping with my mom and Kristin and am ready to be done with this project. The end of October is fast approaching and if I remember correctly, it's just about time to start thinking about a December Daily album. Eck!

Have a happy and creative weekend! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

just me : from a - z

I like looking back at these 'lately', 'currently', 'about me' type posts. Here are my notes from one I found that Vee did last week : 

a. age : 33
b. bed size : queen, but I can see the advantage of a king now that we have kiddies that like to climb in bed with us
c. chore that you hate : cleaning the bathroom
d. dogs : nope
f. favorite color : right now, green
g. gold or silver : silver
h. height : 5'8"
i. instruments you play : I played the clarinet for 8 years
j. job title : wife, mommy, teacher, CFO, memory recorder, keeper of the house
k. kids : two - Morgan (3) + Parker (1)
l. live : Metro Detroit area of Michigan
m. mother’s name : DeLynn
n. nicknames : I don't know that I have one anymore...
o. overnight hospital stays : 2, after my babies were born
p. pet peeves : something that I noticed really bothers me lately is mothers who take their kids to the park to play and pay zero attention to them. On Monday, I took Morgan + Parker to the park and a little 5-year-old girl approached Morgan asking if she wanted to play. The girl, along with her little sister, proceeded to ask me if I'd push them all on the tire swing. It took a few minutes for me to find out who/where the person that brought them there was. Poor girls. Apparently, mommy didn't want to be bothered and had to ask a stranger for help. They were kinda sad to see us leave too.
q. quote from a movie : from Office Space "The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."
r. right or left handed : right
s. siblings : one - my sister, Kristin, is 2 years younger
t. time you wake up : 6:30ish - getting up + mostly ready before the kids wake is a big goal of mine
u. underwear : oh, yes
v. vegetable you hate : cooked cabbage
w. what makes you run late : I usually blame it on having to wrangle two kids and all of their stuff out the door. 
x. x-rays you’ve had : just teeth I think
y. yummy food that you make : a few of my favorites right now are pistachio pesto, peas and cheese tortellini, congo bars + chocolate chip cookie oreo fudge brownie bars.
z. zoo animal : gorillas, chimpanzees + elephants

If you want to play along, link your post in the comments. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Many Faces of Morgan

Miss Thang got her hair cut yesterday. My big girl doesn't look like she's only 3! I can't for the life of me get Morgan to just smile nicely, yet she is still so full of emotion. Full of sass. Maybe because I was interrupting her while she was trying on some of her old newborn clothes. (She insists they still fit.)

And so it begins...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

bite 02 : start menu planning

Even though I've been planning our dinners in advance for many years, I chose this project as my second 'bite' because I really needed a refresher. Figuring out our meals and making the grocery list to go with it has become my least favorite chore. It was time to rethink the process and there were three things I wanted to do :

1. Clean out my recipe binder. The last time I purged and organized it was before Parker was born and there were so many recipes that I either never tried or didn't make anymore. Not only did I take out all of the unused recipes, but I took them all out of their page protectors. Yes, they keep the papers clean but they aren't conducive to making notes or modifications. Out they go.

2. Make a current list of all of our dinner options. My goal was to make a list of one months worth of dinners with no repeats. I don't like that feeling of "oh, didn't we just have that?", so I squeaked out 31 meals, including one pizza night, one new recipe and one dinner out. I'm going to try it out this month and see if I can make every single dinner, with no repeats and little temptation to go out. Another idea that I really like is to plan your dinners to be from the same category each week. Like pasta on Mondays or Mexican on Thursdays. We love pizza here and someday I hope to learn how to make my own pizza dough. I think it'd be fun to have a homemade pizza night each week.
3. Rework my chalkboard meal planner. After using it for several months, I was started seeing what wasn't working for me. I had forgotten some dinners when I typed the original magnet labels so I decided to make a new set and hand write them all. Now if I see that I forgot one, I can just fill in a new magnet and they will still match. No more inconsistent, some-are-typed, some-are-written magnets. I also didn't like storing the unused magnets in the business card page protector in my recipe binder. They would slip out of place and I didn't like digging through them to put the new weekly menu up on the chalkboard. So, now I'm storing them in an empty egg carton. I cut the top off and I'm using the divided sections to keep the magnets categorized - pasta, chicken, soup/chili, breakfast, etc. Cheap + easy! I could have done something crafty to make it pretty like spray paint it, but this is good enough for now. I just keep it in a cabinet anyways.
Hopefully tweaking these few things will make meal planning simpler and more enjoyable. Do you plan your dinners in advance? What works, or doesn't work, for you?

You can read about my first 'bite' : establish an evening routine : here.
You can purchase your own copy of Simple Mom's One Bite at a Time here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brain Dump Monday

Happy Monday to you! Is everyone loving this weather, or what? This is just part of the brain-full of thoughts I've had the past few days :

Paper Source is opening a store in Birmingham later this year. Very, very exciting! And very cool that Kelley, a friend + the owner of The Scrapbook Zone, is going to be the store manager. I can't wait to shop there.

Mark + I are thinking about what car to buy to replace our soon-to-be expire lease on our Subaru Forester (which has been my favorite car ever). Yes, we could just buy it, but we would really love something with a third row. Any suggestions? Foreign or domestic. Minivans not excluded.

Been thinking about what my next bite will be. I need to write about bite 02 and post later this week.

Mark did a lot of work in the yard last weekend (and a lot of sketching of backyard landscape plans). It is nearly a blank slate here. Now we just need to figure out what to do with it...within our budget.

Kal opened her ARTSHOP last Friday. So many amazing + inspiring pieces. This is my favorite.

I bought my first pair of Keens last weekend. And finally convinced Mark to get an REI membership. Their sale pretty much covered the cost of the one-time membership fee and I sold him on it. :)

I am completely addicted to Chicago-style hot dogs. So delish!

The Paislee Press 2012 Calendar Kit will be available tomorrow. Go here to leave a comment on Liz's for a chance to win it. I'm thinking these would make really nice gifts!

I made no-bake cookies (yum) + took another stab at a pumpkin spice latte recipe. It got rave reviews, but I wasn't a fan. :(

Loving what is coming out of the kids mouths lately :
  • Morgan : "Mommy, I don't want to get old. I want to be 3 forever."
  • Parker (when asked things like 'do you want a snack?' or 'do you want to go outside?') : "yeah, I do!" I love love love hearing his little voice. 
This week :  our fire department is having an open house on Friday. I'm very excited to take the kids to see the big, red trucks and learn about fire safety. I need to see what is going on around the city and beyond for Halloween activities. Morgan needs a haircut and I am expecting a box from Becky Higgins. Well, not from her, but it's a box of her stuff. So excited!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

photo tour : my scrapbook space

A few weeks ago I took over a wall in our guest room (or what we like to call Grandma's room) to set up a permanent workspace to scrapbook + craft at. I can't tell you how excited I am! It's still pretty bare, but here are a few photos :
This is the overall space. We already had the 30" cabinet, that I now keep some of my supplies in, and the countertop is just a painted door with a small L bracket at the wall. I've become accustomed to standing up while I work, so the top is at kitchen counter height, and just under 7 feet long.
My biggest purchase was two shelves from IKEA. I wanted to keep some of my most often used supplies out in the open and at eye level (so I remember to use them) and the shelves work out great. The lower shelf holds my alphabet stamps + some other wood mounted stamps, plus a small bin of tags + labels that I use a lot.
Right now, all I have on the top shelf are some colored pencils (that belonged to my Grandma + Great-Grandpa) + a glass jar I'm using to collect spare change to save up to buy Project Life supplies - a project I'm going to start in January. Eventually I'd like to frame some brush script + add a couple DIY art pieces.
Below the shelves are 5 hooks + bulldog clips. On each card is a note, a reminder, of the scrapbook projects or layouts that I want to work on. So when I do get 15 minutes, or a couple hours, to work on something, I'm not spending my time trying to figure out what or where to start. When I finish one, I just flip the card over and add a new note.
On the wall I added three clipboards to hang inspiration pieces + lists. Right now, I'm hanging a calendar, a couple brush script practice sheets and a list of journaling prompts from Ali Edwards. I think this will be a fun alternative to a bulletin board to have fun prints, photos, layouts + magazine clippings right in view.
The countertop is fairly clear - other than my sewing machine, laptop, cutting mat + paper trimmer. I filled an old wood clementine box with glass jars for my often used tools - markers + pens, scissors + exacto, adhesives, stapler, punches + cropadile. I'd love to find a vintage metal toolbox to fill with these supplies but this box works fine for now.
I need to jazz it up a bit but this is already a well-loved, well-used space. Most days, I open the door just to look at it. Morgan + I have spent some rainy afternoons here painting + cutting + gluing. I even made her a box of supplies - full of paper, stickers, small punches, glue, crayons + scissors. Hearing her say "Mommy, let's go scrapbook" is music to my ears.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Field Trip : Toledo Zoo

The weather was just too nice this week to pass up a trip down to the Toledo Zoo. We hadn't been there yet and Mark + I were really impressed! Every exhibit was well thought out and I've never been to a zoo where I've felt so close to the animals. And the kids, even Parker while sitting in the stroller, could see everything. These are a few of my favorite photos from the day :
the polar bears
we could watch their every move
the bald eagles
ELEPHANTS! Morgan has been dying to see elephants and freaked when she got to see a mama + her BABY!
the hippos
sharks in the aquarium
the gorillas
this isn't zoomed in - we were THAT close!
I love going to the zoo during the week when it's slower + quieter + fewer visitors. It was a long day of walking + running around, but both Morgan + Parker were rock stars! We had so much fun, Morgan didn't want to go home (well, she really didn't want to go through that drive again) and Parker was sleeping before we even got out of the parking lot. :) We will absolutely be back, especially next summer.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

workout of the day

Our cold weather firewood was delivered today. Ironic because it is sunny + warm + beautiful outside today. Mark jokingly told me from work to 'start stacking' so I thought hell, why not! With the help of my biggest helpers, we got almost half of it stacked on the front porch before Mark got home. Three face cords worth. 4+ feet high x 24 feet long. We burned through two face cords last year and totally could have used a little more.

Now we just need some fall-like weather. But I'm not complaining.