Friday, November 27, 2009

Tis the season.....

Thanksgiving has come and gone and I, for one, had a wonderful holiday with family, good friends and good food.

And now...

The countdown to Christmas begins!

Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, knows that Christmas is MY holiday! I love everything about it. The sights, the sounds, the smells and the warm, fuzzy feelings that come along with all of that.

I'm much like a child when it comes to Christmas. I can't wait to put up our decorations, go hunting for the perfect tree (as long as I have breath in my body there will NEVER be an artificial tree in my home) and start baking all my favorite holiday cookies. I love the shopping and bargain hunting. I love wrapping the presents and look forward with great anticipation to the sight of my children's faces on Christmas morning when they see the tree all decorated and lit up surrounded by oodles and oodles of presents.

Christmas is the one day during the year where I REALLY spoil my kids rotten. And to hell with anyone who tries to tell me I'm making Christmas materialistic. I'm making it MAGICAL!! If there were not a single present under the tree for me I wouldn't care one iota. MY present is the joy and excitement I see on my kids faces. That alone is enough for me!

Have I mentioned that I CAN'T WAIT TIL' CHRISTMAS!!!!!! Let the festivities begin!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If you're a parent.. (and even if you aren't) simply MUST read Notes Left Behind by Brooke and Keith Desserich. Even if you're not the kind of person who likes to read.

So often we're all in a hurry. Have to clean the house, have to pay the bills, have to get to work early and stay late, have to run the errands. We get so caught up in the things we feel we have to do that we forget to do the things that matter the most in the end. We tell ourselves we'll play a game with the kids tomorrow. We'll kick back with our spouses over the weekend. We'll visit relatives soon. Only tomorrow, the weekend and soon come and we find some new chore or errand that needs to be done. Weeks and months pass and we've done none, or very few, of the things we should be doing every single day or at least with regular frequency.

Notes Left Behind chronicles the journey and struggle of six year old Elena Desserich, the daughter of Brooke and Keith, as she fights for her life against a rare form of brain cancer. DIPG (Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma). "Less than 10% of children diagnosed with DIPG will live longer than eighteen months from diagnosis. Survival is even more rare." (

Elena was just five years old when she received this devastating diagnosis. She turned six shortly thereafter. She was given 135 days to live. She made it 256 days.

The book is written in the form of a journal as it was originally intended to be a personal memoir for Elena's little sister Gracie. As I read the book I found myself smiling as often as I found myself crying. Elena's story is heartwrenching and yet heartwarming at the same. This beautiful six year old little girl, who suffered horribly for nine months, still managed to find happiness and joy in life.

Elena's story is a reminder that we all need to slow down and spend quality time with the people that matter the most. Particularly our children. Life IS too short and everything can change in an instant. Take pleasure in the small things. In the end it doesn't matter how much money we had or how much stuff we managed to acquire in our lifetime. What matters is that we cherished every moment with those we love.

One of the most poignant (and gut wrenching) moments in the book comes when Keith describes how he and Brooke laid in bed with their daughter as she left this world.

"Brooke and I lay by her side in bed until early this morning, when she finally relented and left us......

.....I carried Elena in my arms to the awaiting ambulance. She is still my daughter and I know she would appreciate being carried in my arms rather than being placed on a stretcher." 1

It was at this point in the book that I completely lost it. I can't even begin to imagine the grief and pain this family has experienced. No parent should have to watch their child die. No parent should have to carry their lifeless child to an awaiting ambulance to be driven away and gone forever.

Hug your children tighter. Spend every moment possible with them. Quality moments. Read to them, play a game with them, talk to them, listen to them. While most of us will never endure what the Desserich's have had to endure someday our children will grow up and go out on their own. And those moments will be gone forever.

1 Brooke and Keith Desserich, Notes Left Behind (HarperCollins Publishers, 2009) pp. 238-239 (

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bulldogs rock the house!!!!!

On Saturday morning my daughter's cheerleading squad, the Van Reed Bulldogs JV Mites, participated in a competition at our local high school. The girls worked their little butts off in the weeks leading up to the competition. They worked their routine to perfection. And it paid off because...

THEY TOOK 1st PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They did AWESOME!!!!!! And we are all so proud of all of them!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Doggy Days...

As some of you know my pooch Prince, a shepherd/lab mix thought it would be great fun yesterday to roll around in the mud during a rain storm. Lovely. The end result was a mud covered, drenched doggie.

Now no way on God's green earth was he going to run around my house in such a state so it was off to the tub for him. Since the warm days of summer are long gone my only option for doggie baths is to use the tub in the bathroom. Not my ideal choice but there's not much I can do about it.

It took three people to get Prince in the tub and KEEP him in there while being bathed. Myself, my almost twelve year old son Brendan and my oldest son Cody's friend Nick. WE ended up at wet as the dog. Nice. Prince tried valiantly to escape and when that didn't work he took to doing the doggy shake repeatedly. Thereby sending dog scented water all over us and the bathroom. Next time the mutt can stay out on the enclosed porch until Skip gets home and HE can give him a bath.

This morning I decided I needed to give our other dog, Tennessee, a bath as well. While she hadn't taken a frolick in the mud and rain she was still in need of a bath. Tennessee's breed is unknown. Though we suspect, as does our vet, that she is a rottie/cocker spaniel mix. She has rottie coloring and markings but her face, ears and body type resemble a cocker spaniel. Her also kinks up like a cocker spaniels when she's wet.

I gathered my doggie bath supplies, took them up to the bathroom and then came back downstairs to get Tennessee. She happily followed me up the stairs thinking, I'm sure, that she was going to get a treat and be allowed to hang out in my room with me. Her compliance ended the minute she saw the direction I was heading.

She stopped dead in her tracks and hightailed it back down the steps. I chased her down, laughing the whole way, because it was just so comical to see her running and looking back at me nervously.

I led her back upstairs, into the bathroom and lifted her into the tub. I knew she would never get in on her own.

I have to give the poor thing credit. She stoically endured the scrubbing while looking at me with those sweet puppy dog eyes as if to say, "Alright. I give in. But I'm NOT happy about it." God bless her, she didn't even do the doggy shake until after I'd gotten her out of the tub. And she sat still not trying to escape even once.

I rewarded her good behavior with some slices of cheese because she LOVES cheese. So I think she's forgiven me for putting her through such an ordeal.

Rainy Wednesday...

WHAT a morning!

Minutes after I dragged myself out of bed one of the cats upchucked half his body weight. Thank GOD for hardwood floors. Not long after that the kids started their school morning bickering amongst each other, then the dog came in from the yard muddy and wet, Logan couldn't find his shoes and my oldest, Cody, was moaning and groaning that we HAD to leave the house "now" because HE wanted to get to school early. Oh really??

This is the SAME kid who leaves us all hanging out in the van while he putzes around the house at the speed of snail doing this and that. AND had the audacity to get annoyed with me for beeping the horn to hurry him along.

This teenage, hormone induced sense of entitlement is getting really old!

To top it off it is a MISERABLE day. Heavy rain, dark and dreary. I'm fighting the urge to crawl back into bed and take a nap. Unfortunately that is just not an option today.

And on that note I'm dragging myself away from the computer to tackle some chores....

Playing with pictures...

I went from 35 mm film to digital eleven years ago. I have never looked back. I love the freedom a digital camera offers me. I can see my pictures before I ever spend a dime to have them printed.

I can also use Paint Shop Pro (a photo editing program) to fine tune pictures or alter them completely. I can change then to beautiful black and white photos, nostalgic sepia tones or even add frames and graphics.

I've been using PSP for almost as long as I've been using a digital camera. I started out with a free trial version and purchased the full program about two years ago. I know I haven't discovered even a quarter of what I can do with this program but I'm learning and discovering as I go.

One of the techniques I love is turning my pics to B&W and adding a pop of color. Pics like these are perfect for framing or using in scrapbook layouts.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Some recent projects...

It's been a little while since I've posted anything new. Life has a way of getting away from me sometimes. Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. And the older I get the faster time seems to move.

I haven't done a whole lot of scrapping in recent weeks but I did have a chance to attend an all day crop in September and managed to complete a few layouts.

Every week I swear I'm going to scrap when the weekend arrives but it gets here and I have so many other commitments that I never seem to find a moment to get down to it. I'm hoping to change that in the next few weeks. With the holidays fast approaching I want to attempt to make some gifts for family and friends this year. We shall see whether or not I'm successful.

Below are some of the layouts I completed at the above mentioned crop.

The layout above was done using a sketch. I love to work with sketches.

This layout will be part of an About Me album I've been working on. I was aproximately 2/3 years old in this picture.

A snowy day in 1976.

Me as a newborn.

Remembering Memom

My first Christmas. 1969

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A few more scrappy things...

Dog-Gone Cute.. Ashii and Logan. Summer 2008

Riley's 1st Grade End of the Year Party. 2009

Camping Warwick Woods 1996

Summer 2008

Boys will be boys.. Spring 2008

Divas Summer 2007

Halloween/Black and Orange Tags.. Memory Scrappers Swap

Poolin' Around July 4th 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

No not Christmas, though I do LOVE the holiday. I'm talkin' BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!! My kids have officially been back at school for three weeks and I am LOVIN' it.

For the first time in sixteen plus years I am KID FREE five days a week, seven hours a day. I ADORE my children but I SO need the downtime!!

I've been utilizing my newfound freedom to so some serious scrappin' and also attended an all day crop last Saturday with my best friend Deb. We have a FABULOUS time and I accomplished quite a bit. (BOUGHT quite a bit too, lol)

Our weather has finally turned chilly and I can smell fall in the air. This is one of my favorite seasons. I love the way the air smells, the anticipation of the upcoming holidays and the vibrant colors. I can't wait to take a road trip up the mountains to get some fab fall pics!

I hope everyone is doing well and being crafty!

I wanted to share a few of my most recent layouts with you:o)

This was done for a Sketch Challenge on one of my Yahoo Groups. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.

This is a layout for the 8x8 "About Me" album I am currently working on. That little darlin' is me! I was about 2/3 years old. (My parents didn't habitually date pics. GGGRRR!!! LOL!)

A snowy day in 1976!!! Me, my younger brother and our twin neighbors.

Another layout done for a challenge in a Yahoo Group. In Memory of Memom. My Grandmother who passed away in 2006.

My very first Christmas!! 1969. Also for the About Me album.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

National Scrapbooking Day Part 2

After a lot of running around taking care of some errands and "To Do List" chores I finally got around to settling down for some serious scrappin'! In honor of NSD our scrapbooking group held a "virtual crop" of sorts. Our mission? To scrap as much as possible. And also complete some special NSD Challenges by midnight CST (the time zone our group owner lives in). We were given five of them. I managed to finish four of the five and was spent! I tend to spent an inordinate amount of time on each layout so each of these took me 1-2 hours to complete.

One of the challenges was to find a sketch, any sketch, and use it to create a layout. I chose a sketch from the April issue of Scrapbooks, etc. One of my all time FAVORITE scrapbooking magazines. The sketch is pictured below with the layout I created underneath of it.

The picture is of my daughter and her Godfather, our nephew Joseph.

This is the layout I did for the "Quote Challenge". We were to use a quote within the layout or as our inspiration for the layout. I chose the quote.. "The only thing worth stealing is a kiss from a sleeping child" ~Joe Houldsworth. The sleeping child is my son Riley when he was still a toddler. My children have the uncanny ability to fall asleep anywhere and in any position. (They take after their father)

This was for the "Scrap a Song.." challenge. I chose Kenny Chesney's Don't Blink (like ya'll didn't see that one coming considering my OBSESSION with all things Kenny). I chose random pics spanning several years of my children, myself and my husband.

This next layout is definitely up there with my all time favorites. The pictures are from Thanksgiving in 2005. In October of that year my Grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the chances of her beating the disease were slim. We all knew it would more then likely be her last Thanksgiving with her. I put on a brave face for my children's sake but I remember how hard that day was and yet so very precious to me. I cherished every moment and took tons of pictures so we'd always have them to preserve the memories.

My Grandmother was my biggest fan and the most incredible woman. She passed away less then two months later. I thank God that he gave us the time he did with her and that we were all able to be together for Thanksgiving and later Christmas. She was two weeks shy of her 83rd birthday when she left this world. I miss her terribly and live each day in a way that I hope continues to make her as proud of me as she always was.

I love you Memom.. and I wish I could have just a little more time with you. I still feel your absence as sharply as I did three years ago.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

National Scrapbooking Day!!

Happy National Scrapbooking Day everyone! I've been a scrappin' fool as of late and haven't had much time to blog. Below are many of the layouts I've completed in the last couple of months. All but a few were done using sketches by Becky Higgins for inspiration.

I LOVE working with sketches!! I find I complete layouts much faster and can tweak a sketch different ways to come up with unique layouts over and over again.

All of these layouts were done with papers and embellishments I've had on hand for as long as TEN years! I'm a member of a FABULOUS on line scrapbooking group, Memory Scrappers, and each month we have a "Use It Up" challenge. Our fearless leader, Jenn, "assigns" us several challenges throughout the month and all must be completed using only materials we already have. (Participation is optional) Since Jenn started this I have been much more motivated to scrap and get all of my families precious memories preserved in albums.

I've probably done more layouts in the last three months then I have in the last YEAR! So THANK YOU Jenn for being my inspiration and getting me back into my beloved hobby! YOU ROCK!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Have I mentioned that I LOVE my Cricut Expression?

I went a little hog wild this past week buying new cartridges for my Cricut Expression. I found the Doodlecharms and Paper Doll Dress Up cartridges on sale for $29.99 at and simply couldn't pass them up. I also bought the Tinkerbell and Friends Cartridge via eBay. All three arrived before the end of the week.

So my daughter Sydney (9) and I have been playing all afternoon. Below is the cheerleader we made using Paper Doll Dress Up. I found the "recipe" at

We've also made two Congratulation/Baby cards for my cousins Tara and Todd who both had their first babies recently. (Haven't taken pics of those yet)

Tara and her husband are now the proud parents of twin baby girls! Caroline and Chloe. They arrived a little early at 33 weeks but are doing quite well. My cousin Todd and his wife have a bouncing baby boy. Ryan Jack. He weighed in at 7lbs 1 oz. I can't wait to meet them!

I dropped a small fortune at Babies R Us this morning buying clothes for our newest family members. But I couldn't help myself. Much like I have no self control when buying scrapbooking items I probably have even LESS when it comes to baby stuff.

And now Sydney and I are heading back to our scrappin' station to play some more.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Scrappy Weekend!

I've been a scrappin' fool for the last few weeks. Since getting my Cricut Expression I've found myself much more inspired to work on things. I absolutely LOVE this machine!

I thought I'd share some of my "creations" from the last few weeks..

These quotes are for a swap I'm participating in on one of my Yahoo groups. Total made=5.

Just a random layout of my daughter...

This is a Mosaic Inchie.. these were also made for a swap. Total made=9...

This layout is an 8x8 and I made it for a Challenge on one of my Yahoo Groups... we were to make a layout using the letter "M"...

Another random layout....

Another challenge... (do a layout of an inanimate object)

Challenge layout.. (use the #2)

Saturday, March 7, 2009