Friday, February 26, 2010

Today, I'm Excited....and I Just Can't Hide It!

Okay, so dorky song title today, but really, I am excited! My layout was selected as the layout of the week over at! Totally made my day. My layout was submitted for the weekly challenge: How has your daily life changed because of the Internet?

Come see my response here:

If you haven't been over there yet, I suggest you check it out ideas, fun challenges, and loads of inspiration and cool people, with a focus on documenting the story and scrapbooking our everyday, real life.

Hope your day is full of good surprises, too!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Same Chaos, Different Day or Finding Susan

Remember my little story of the kitty chaos at Christmastime? Well, that's not a special holiday feature. Oh no. This is an on-going game. Seems there are special "traps" in my house for little things like legos and kitty toys. One such place is beneath my stove. There is a nice little 2 inch gap from the stove to the floor which, for some time, has been the home of the items seen pictured above. Yes, that's right. Much like Sid in Toy Story, my sweet Dmitry cat is an enemy to toys. This is his story. This is his collection.
A few nights ago, Matt and Ana decided to see just what was trapped beneath the stove. Naturally, I supervised and the stove was off. Armed with a flashlight and a stick, the kids uncovered a treasure trove of goodies.

Dmitry was very interested in what the kids were doing. I like to imagine he was protecting his stash, but most likely, it was "out of sight, out of mind" and this was as exciting for his as it was for the kids.

In the end, we found 10 balls, 6 lego clone trooper helmets, a letter die, many legos, and the Fisher Price "Susan" character from the Fisher Price Sesame Street playset that I had when I was a remember Gordon's wife Susan, right? Given I didn't grow up in this house, finding Susan was the most interesting of our discoveries that night.

The biggest challenge? Keeping Dmitry away from the uncovered treasures long enough to shoot the picture!

Hope you find something you didn't know you lost!

Playing with Photoscape

I've been playing with Photoscape. It's easier to use than Photoshop, free, and fun. Of course, I have boxes of photos that are "naturally" old, but this was more fun. You can download Photoscape here and watch the YouTube tutorial here.

All photos were taken in 2009 by me. Ya like 'em, ya don't like ' big whoop. I like 'em.
Have a good one!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Another Layout....

Creating grids? Learned. Next?

Learned a new technique!

I learned how to make a steps......

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Testing, thing on? or Nope, not today

I’ve extolled my 13 year-old daughter impressive fashion sense before – most recently yesterday. She’s beautiful, inside and out. Most days, she looks like she stepped out of a teen magazine – hair perfect, makeup perfect, clothes chosen to express her sophisticated yet fun style. Things you’d never imagine would go together, on her, look effortlessly styled. Not many girls could wear a purple and black tutu to school and ROCK it. (Me, I’d look like the hippo in Fantasia). Her accessories are nearly, always spot on. What I’m trying to say is, the girl’s got style.
This morning, I just didn’t get it.

Maybe I was being conservative. Maybe I was being a mother. Maybe I just didn’t understand how this was cool.
I hesitated. It might be a trend I’m just not cool enough to “get”. Do I admit that I’m not as cool as her?
As usual, she’s the last one out of the house in the morning, so I was standing by the car when I saw it. The mother in me took over. I told her to reverse herself, go back in the house, and take off the gold lame high-heeled sandals over the purple and green slipper socks. I didn’t quite understand what she was going for, but it didn’t matter. I, the mother, wasn’t letting her go to school with the gold lame high-heeled sandals over the purple and green slipper socks. Nope.

They’d have thought I was nuts.

Not going down without a fight, she asked me, “Why not, Mom?”

“Because a) those look like “stripper” shoes which were never intended to leave the house, b) you are wearing them with slipper socks, and c) you are not wearing gold lame shoes with slipper socks to school.” Seriously, couldn’t be more simple than that!

Well, luckily, she laughed with me. Totally testing my boundaries, that girl. Teenagers. Of course, she let me out of the house with the floods on yesterday.....maybe I should have let her go?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Getting ready for the flood?

Photograph by Daniel Y. Go

So, I got all prettied up for work today. After a year of getting to wear jeans to work, I've had to pull out my dress pants again. Arghhhh!!! Let's just say, I've added some "fluff" to my middle since I've had to wear them. Also, they are getting a little worse for the wear. Half of my work pants have zippers with minds of their things like strategic scarf placement, long sweaters and tops are on order, since I'm really not up to spending the money to get the zippers replaced - so many other things to spend money, utilities, gas....anyway, I found a pair in my closet that fits, zipper works, la de da...all dressed up and shuffling the kids out of the house and off to school.

Drop Ana off at the bus, drive Matt to school, walk him in....Then I see it. I see why I don't wear these pants. Don't ask my why I didn't notice earlier. I catch sight of myself in the door window to the school wearing the floodiest floods I've ever seen! Seriously, my ankles were showing.

I looked around to see if anyone else noticed and my eyes meet another mom - a cute little petite blonde mom, who's pants are a bit too long over her high heeled boots, who looked at me and gave me the eyebrow raise.

Clearly, she was silently judging me in my floods.

This can't happen, I told myself. I cannot go to work like this. I ran home and changed.

Ughhh. I blame my daughter for letting me out of the house like that. She looks like a cool hip New York cool person, all layered and accessorized and cool, and I looked like Farmer Ted.

Yeah, I'm going to have to talk to her about this.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Burn Those Jeans"....Thanks, Patti, I needed that

This woman, Patti Digh, has been "speaking" to me lately. I first read about her book on the Skirt! magazine website and was intrigued by the title - Life is a Verb: 37 days to Wake Up, Be Mindful and Live Intentionally. Every page I've read, so far, feels like she's speaking directly to me and I recently checked out her blog, which you can find here. I'm very thankful when people are willing to share their insights on life, and remind me that no matter what I'm going through, someone else has too (this includes my dear friends who listen to me and then help me, as Cher said in Moonstruck "Snap out of it!" and my guy who reminds me everything happens for a reason).

While I'll let you discover what speaks to you (and please do leave a comment and who or what inspires you), I wanted to share this essay I found on Patti's blog called, "Burn Those Jeans", where jeans are a metaphor for whatever you are allowing to hold you back. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, dear friends!

I spent lots of time with my Valentine this weekend - we saw the new movie, Valentine's Day - I highly recommend it - it was a lot of fun.

I made some heart pancakes for the kiddos this morning (they got their 'valentine's' gifts last weekend - new Webkins since theirs "expired" last week).

I also created this digital layout for them as one of the challenges in the Sweet Talk Challenge (Write a Letter).

I'm planning on hugging and loving them up until they just can't stand it....of course, I don't need it to be Valentine's Day to do that!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet Talk Journaling Challenge #5....(but really I've only completed 1)

This digital page was created for a challenge. I'm still learning how to get Photoshop Elements to do what I want it to.

Looking at the 2 photos, about the only similarity I see is that I'm wearing the same necklace in both (more on my "default" necklace another time)!

I'm proud of both the girl and the woman, for without the 25 year-old me, there wouldn't be all the blessings that the 38 year-old me enjoys.

The Marble Story

marble madness
Originally uploaded by iMatthew
When I was a little girl, my Grandpa and I would go for walks, usually we'd go visit his father or go back to his old neighborhood. It was always a treat for me to have him all to myself and the special trips usually included seeing the big Indian statue, eating White Castle hamburgers (no onions on Grandpa's), and I would ALWAYS find marbles! No matter where we went, I would surely find them glistening in the gravel driveways or in a patch of grass. Man, I had a special gift - I could find marbles!

What I didn't know was that before we left on our trips, Grandpa would grab a handful of marbles from the terrarium and put them in his pocket. As we'd walk, and when my attention was trained on something else that delighted my 6 or 7 year-old self, Grandpa would toss a few marbles out in front of us. I never noticed that the marbles I found were the same as the ones I deposited into the terrarium when we returned from our walks.

When I was much older, though before I had my own kids, my Grandpa let me in on the secret. Instead of feeling tricked, I thought he was THE MOST Clever man. Before my daughter was born, he gave me "my marbles" so I could have a "marble girl" too.

Time has passed and with so many moves, I'm not sure which of the marbles we have are mine and which are my kids', but they are still there. My kids were more interested in finding leaves and rocks and little odd bits of nature; they never really felt the magic of the marbles that I did. Maybe when I have grandkids I'll bring back the marbles.

So much about my Grandpa and Grandma brought me joy, this is just one of the many ways. Being Grandpa's "Marble Girl" still makes me feel special to this day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Join Me For Some Sweet Talkin'!

We’re kicking off a month-long challenge at one of my favorite sites today (actually, I'm a few days late, it started February 1st...) … the Sweet Talk Journaling Challenge at Log Your Memory!

I hope you’ll come on over and check it out today … there will be an entire month of scrapbooking challenges with a focus on “real life” journaling, plus the chance to earn points and prizes along the way! And if you’ve never visited before, you’re in for a treat! We have a wonderful group of friendly, helpful scrapbookers just waiting to say hello and show you around!
Get started by visiting the Log Your Memory Blog HERE and get ready to journal your way to becoming a Log Your Memory Sweet Talker!
(And tell them ericksoc sent you!)

Agent Mustachio cracks me up!

Found these silly pictures of Matt taken after he got his SPY kit.....

Look at those MUSCLES!

He's very menacing in his Mickey Mouse pj's, huh?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Party Animal's Lament or that's what DVRs are for

A bit of advice...When your children ask you to let them stay up late, late, late on Saturday to watch multiple episodes of  iCarly...expect them to be sleepy, sleepy, sleepy in church on Sunday morning. Expect them to give you "the look"... the one that says, "Are you seriously going to make me get dressed and drag me out in the cold? I'm cold, I'm tired. I'm JUST a kid." But, sweeties, that's part of the deal....stay up late, no trouble in the morning...oh, and tonight, bedtime is 8pm.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Another Saturday Morning

Don't really know why, but I'm feeling a measure less tense that usual. Maybe it was the couple of days off work that I took to be 100% MOM, or having a good idea of what I want to focus on, either way, I woke up this morning with a renewed sense of hope that I would be able to make the most of this weekend. Nothing profound here, just living on a Saturday, which is profoundly wonderful.

I made breakfast this morning that didn't involve shaking the contents of a box into a bowl:

I laughed at Ana's attempts to raise both her eyebrows separately:

I finished the scrapbook pages that I started last night:

I did an assignment from Shimelle Laine's Blogging for Scrapbookers (this post, and the scrapbook photo set up).

Next, I get to take my little Karate Kids to their class, going to my mom's house to watch Pretty in Pink (because when I mentioned that Ana might be ready for John Hughes movies, she gushed that she LOVES those movies), then, who knows....saving cleaning the house for tomorrow after church....

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Little Professor

Last night I watched in awe as my 8 year-old, third grader helped his 13 year-old, 8th grade sister do her Advanced Algebra. I confess, I know they are both bright little bulbs, they run neck in neck with above average test scores for their respective age/grade levels, but I was more than a little proud that the little one was able to help the big one with something he had never learned.

Personally, I've reached the end of my Math Usefulness with my daughter - in 8th grade, she's already past where I got with math, and I could only suggest she take a step back from the problem and see if some clarity would come from a distance. This is when her little brother stepped in. He'd been working on his spelling words when she stepped away from the table in tears. He said to her, not in a mean way, but truly with the intention to help her, "Let me take a crack at it".

My daughter and I exchanged doubtful glances. You can guess what happened next.

"Oh, I think I get it, you have to find out who drove how long.....all you really have to do is....[insert confusing math jargon here]." Uh, yeah. Darn it if he wasn't right. He may not have known exactly how to write out the problem in proper math terms, but he knew how to solve it.....and while he proceeded to work the numbers out ....IN HIS HEAD....his sister shouted, "I get it now", jumped off the couch and tackled the problem.

Stunned, but proud Mom. Not only because they are both so bright, sure, but because of the kindness and the support he demonstrated and she accepted. The evening that had turned so tense, ended up in laughter. Good job, little brother.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Focus.....checking in

So, one month into 2010, and I'm checking in on the progress of my One Word. Remember, my word this year is FOCUS. I'm finding it a little odd that friends and family who have read my posts are reminding me to focus when I start to spaz out on the various aspects of my life - that I didn't expect. So, let me tell you how things are going....

First of all, this is on my desk.......instead of a calendar, I have a daily mood!

Second, I finished a whole book last month (in less than a month, really), I read Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. A lot of fun and one I couldn't put down. In the last few years, my voracious reading has taken a back seat to the other pulls in my life. Maybe with a little focus, I'll go back to enjoying this hobby. Next up for February, Eat Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I bought it last year when every one else was reading it, read about 20 pages and moved on to something else....I lost focus....I'll get through it now.

Third, I've spent some time learning something knew and here's where FOCUS meets digital:

And finally, last year, I accepted a tremendous amount of help from others when my work demanded so much more of my time and life threw me a curve ball. Now, as things have slowed down, the focus is once again trained on my wonderful kids, the love of my life, and my endlessly supportive family. These are the people that are most important to me and bring me immeasurable joy. My focus is once again .... MOM.

I hope you all are finding your WORDs are helping bring direction and ... focus ... to your lives.