Friday, December 21, 2012

a bunch of stuff

So I have like ten posts in the draft phase. Really. My brain's exploding with Christmas cheer and happy baby photos. So let's sort of try to hit all the bases and as a bonus include a giant photo dump or two:

1. Thank you to all who have stopped by my Etsy shop this week (or forwarded on my name). The response has been awesome, and my most favorite thing has been the little messages that customers from around the world leave me when they purchase an item. It has literally restored my faith and belief in humanity. In the wake of something so completely awful, it's been completely fulfilling to see that good is still alive and strong. And winning.

I will continue to donate 100 percent of my proceeds to the United Way of Western Connecticut through December 23, 2012. You last minute Christmas shoppers, check out the printables. Print one of these babies out, slap 'em in a frame, and there you go. :) (The above print is by far my best selling print. And happens to be my favorite as well. I'm giving each of my girls one for Christmas for their rooms.)

2. We've done a truckload of Christmas activities this season. I want to do a complete review of all of them, but let me just say:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Red Neck Christmas on Steroids. I'm so glad we went in November because I think it would've sort of ruined the Christmas spirit in December. It's cool in it's light and fire display sort of way, but not my style. And not very reverent. Also I don't have a mullet. Which is actually a completely relevant point. 

Hale Centre Theatre's Christmas Carol: As always, this was beautiful. This year, we had front row seats, which made it even more amazing. If I had to choose one Christmas event to attend, this would be it. I cry like a baby every time and always leave feeling a little bit changed for the better and reminded of what's really important.

Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo: So I've heard so many people poo-poo Zoo Lights and for that reason have never gone. But when my sister and mom came to town, we decided to give it a go. We happened to go on $3 off night (read: mass mayhem), but here's the thing: we loved it. Loved. So magical, so lovely. A week later, Jess and I took the girls again. Jess loved it and the girls were in twinkly heaven all over again. Seriously. (Although in these photos they look hilariously unamused. We die over their faces here because really, they LOVE ZOO LIGHTS.) Hogle Zoo does an awesome job in my opinion, and it's fun to see some of the Zoo animals snoozing (and a few nocturnal ones up and playing!).

Side note: It was SO FREEZING the night we went with Jess. I'm literally wearing an extra beanie (Lou's!) that was in the car. Trust me, it must've been freezing. I would never voluntarily wear a CAT on my head. Gag.

3. My sister is a saint. The Saturday they were here, we got a foot or so of snow. And the power was out. But don't you worry. Aunt Don Don built not one, but two snowmen with Annabelle. They were out in the frozen tundra land for a couple hours, and seriously. Look how cute they are - the snowmen and the girls. Love that Aunt Don Don.

4. Speaking of frozen tundra land. So most of my life, I've been hot. I'm just always sweating. When we figured out my thyroid, we realized that was a huge red flag that went unrecognized for a long time. Just recently, I switched my synthetic daily hormones to the name brand instead of generic to see if that might help regulate my thyroid (it's been yo-yoing along with my weight since I had Lou). Turns out, it made a GIANT difference. And guys HOW CAN YOU STAND BEING SO COLD ALL THE TIME? One day I said to Jess, "Is this how real people feel in the winter? Because I'M FREAKING DYING." So yeah, I feel ya. Winter is cold yo. I sleep in full blown sweats, hoodies, snow pants. What a cold world you've all been surviving in for so long.
5. Annabelle has taken to doing the dishes. SHE LOVES IT. Guys. Does she know that she'll be doing dishes for decades to come? I'm so not telling her. Sometimes having a daughter with OCD tendencies is AWESOME. She seriously does a bang up job. Granted, she's soaked from head to toe, along with my kitchen, but seriously. Love this kitchen helper. (P.S. Those counters won't live in this house much longer. Oh, the atrocity.)

Okay. "That's it" for now. I hope ya'll are having a lovely holiday season full of happy memories. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

crafting for cause

First, I want to thank any of you that have ordered your Christmas cards through me. It has truly been my privilege. I have honestly loved creating happy products for people I love. And for strangers. It's been lovely to see something I made become real.
And now, for those of you haven't yet found the motivation to put together a Christmas card (like me! ha ha!), I've teamed up with Crafting For Cause to raise money for those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting (donations will go to the United Way of Western Connecticut). If you buy a Christmas card (or anything from my shop) through December 23, 2012, I'll donate 100% of my proceeds to their fund. (For more information, and to see other vendors participating, check it out here.)
I've been wishing and praying for a way to do something to make a difference. This might be a little thing, but it's something, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.
Anyhow, I hope there are a few of you out who are procrastinators like me! And please feel free to forward this blog post on. :) Merry Christmas all y'all!

Monday, December 17, 2012


The type of grief resting on our country right now is the kind that sits heavy. Like a cement blanket, immovable on your chest, sometimes making it difficult to breathe. Even being so far removed, the pain is tangible.

It's one of those things that we'll all get through even though we'll never really understand. But it's one of those things that will keep me awake at night from time to time for a long time, awake enough that I'll wander into each of my babies' rooms and stare at them for a while, maybe lay beside them and just breathe their smell in, Belle like her curly hair and Lou like baby lotion. Because she's still little enough to be slathered in it. And it's one of those things that will cause me no end of worry, no end of what ifs.

There aren't really words. But I want Connecticut to know that my heart aches for you. And my prayers are with you.

And I want my babies to know that I'm sorry for the world that lays ahead of them. But I want them to know and always remember that my heart is with them always and that inasmuch as I can, I will protect them and defend them and pray for them with every ounce that I am.

Friday, December 7, 2012

the most wonderful time of the year

So it's that time of year was diet restrictions are forgotten and health goals are the things we make in January. It's that time of year when all the best foods make their appearances. It's that time of year when my muffin top becomes a stylish accessory instead of unwelcome flab. As usual, I'm doing my part in consuming-consuming-consuming. Also, I've stopped running. It happened when we bought the house. I just haven't started again. You should see the size of my Reeses Trees thighs.

Anyhow. You should eat these:
 Silk Seasonal Nog
1. Silk Seasonal Nog: I mention it every year. This year I've purposely not mentioned it until now because every year it sells out. And I'm pretty sure it's because all five of you rush to the store and buy it all after reading about how delicious egg nog can be WITHOUT RAW EGGS.
2. UNREAL candy. Guys, they're seriously, for lack of a better word, unreal. Try the chocolate peanut butter cups. For you Trader Joe's aficionados, these taste like their peanut butter cups.  And if you've tried those, you know what I'm talking about. Unreal. Unlike Reeses. BETTER than Reeses. Probably because TJ and Unreal make them similarly, without preservatives and junk, as they call it. I'd like to say that I initially tried these for all their good healthy unjunk benefits. But actually I just tried them because I'm a sucker for new chocolate. I hate their price tag because they're ridiculous and I just keep buying them anyway. But guys. They're practically HEALTHY.
3. Classic Tomato Soup, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Okay, so I've mentioned this blog like six hundred times. And I pretty much consider her my BFF. Even though she doesn't know me from Adam. Creepy? Maybe. But I just really love her recipe blog. EVERYTHING is good. And so many things are either gluten free or easily adaptable. This tomato soup is so delish. I've made it several times in the last few weeks. Hint: I use half an onion. But if you're a fan of onion, you'll want to keep the whole thing. I just like onion to be more subtle. We usually serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas. Oh, and it's really good the next day too. Just good.

So go forth and eat. Because January will be here all too soon. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

scenes from a move

Thanks to Veggie Tales, Blue's Clues, the Cheney Army, infrequent washings of my hair, Chick-Fil-A, and two air mattresses, we're in. Let me say that in other words: WE LIVE IN A HOUSE.
It's sometimes surreal, but we love it. It was perhaps the most chaotic week of our lives, but we survived. Let me lay it out for you:
Saturday, November 24: The paint is finished. It looks AHHHHHmazing. Later that day, the Cheney Army moves almost our entire apartment (save random junk, the kitchen, two air mattresses and the girls' beds) into the garage and tiled areas of our house. We (read: Jess) decided to do this last minute and we were literally throwing stuff in boxes the morning of the move. If you know me, you know this kind of chaos gives me ultra anxiety. I get acne just thinking about that day.
Monday, November 26: The carpet is installed. It too looks wonderful. We took a leap and chose a dark carpet. I couldn't love it more.
Tuesday-Thursday, November 27-29: We continue moving random bits of junk (seriously guys, JUNK, what is all this crap?) to the house. On Thursday, I take the girls to the house equipped with the Kindle and a mini DVD player. They allow technology to entertain - ah hem - educate them and I move everything that was stuck in the kitchen back down to the garage to make room for the appliances arriving the next day.
Friday, November 30: We (read: Jess) finishes moving EVERYTHING (save cleaning items) out of the apartment. He was a work horse. I made sure our children stayed alive. Lifting boxes? I'll pass. Later that day the appliances are installed. We sleep for the first time in OUR OWN HOUSE.
Saturday, December 1: Our Black Friday sectional is delivered. I spend five hours cleaning our apartment. Um yeah. I prefer to just block that out of my memory.
Sunday, December 2-current: We've been decorating for Christmas and unpacking and finding random bits of treasure in boxes. Like this lovely straw hat (from Annabelle's birthday party in July). And hanging curtains. Because the neighbors can see us everywhere. Except the hallway upstairs, which is where we do all our changing. It's kind of awesome. Like our own little changing room.
To say that this house is a blessing is a major understatement. I have waited for SO LONG to move. Until the right time, until everything was right. And this house, which we saw on a whim and threw in a ridiculously low ball bid, was seriously meant to be. It's a twin home, which isn't our ideal, but it doesn't seem to matter. It has the space we need. And it has views of the valley and the mountains. It's as though this house was made for us, and we couldn't be happier.

The girls can jump and dance and play without a thought. There are no downstairs neighbors ready to pounce (and seriously - our downstairs neighbors were awful). The girls are often getting lost in the deep corners of the rooms because, hey, there are rooms! I've found Belle asleep in the most random places, something she has never done in her life. Ever. And at night, even though we're still unpacking and their stuff isn't all located, they sleep. Soundly. Without blinds or curtains. Something Lou hasn't done for months. It's as though our souls have settled into home. There's a sort of peace that just rests about us, even amid the chaos.
It's such a beautiful relief to be here. I'm so grateful to have this holiday season with my family in my house. Happy holidays all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

blended up redhead

So I'd say we're 75% packed. (By the way, this isn't very impressive when you consider that we've been 50% packed for like a year.) The remaining 25% has been waiting until we're really ready to move. Which is this weekend. Yet, I just keep finding other really great things to do. Like online Christmas shop. Even though I'm technically done Christmas shopping. OR blog. Why not?
For those of you worried about blended up redhead on our walls, it remains. In the bedrooms. You see, it was actually a happy accident. Jess always wanted darker rooms. But I was like, dude, no. Not brown. And when we painted it on the main wall, it was most def too dark for the whole house, so we dismissed blended up redhead like a bad date with BO. And red hair.
Of course, then the painter somehow forgot that he'd taken our paint choices and stored them in his truck, and instead took the leftover rejects from the house and had several billion gallons of blended up redhead stirred up. Yuck.
We agonized all weekend over the walls. They'd finished the bedrooms and cut in the rest of the house. I've done enough painting (mostly the tanning salons I worked at, thank you Jim and Julie!) to know one thing: cutting in is the sucky, time consuming part. Rolling is the best, most quick part. There are few more lovely sounds in the world than the sound of a perfectly sticky with paint roller. Seriously. That and a can of soda popping open.
I digress. So we went back and got our carpet sample to decide if blended up redhead was "that bad." We stared and agonized and cried (me) about it. Neither of us could sleep. We finally decided we needed to ask for what we wanted. But with a compromise - we'd keep the bedrooms blended up redhead. (By the way, it's real color name is warm caramel. It's kind of caramely, milk chocolatey, which you can kind of see in the photos with Belle.) It does actually look nice in the bedrooms. Never what I'd choose right off, but Jess likes it, and I get my paint choices everywhere else.
Our painter couldn't have been nicer about the mix up. They got right to work fixing it. We went and checked it out Monday night and I'd be lying if I said I didn't do cartwheels. Actually, that's a blatant lie. Last time I was in St. George, Annabelle asked us to do cartwheels with her. My MOTHER is the only one who could do it. And with grace. Woman kills me.
Anyway. It looks great. I'm itching to see my paint up everywhere. And my elephant skin accent walls.
And also. I should probably pack?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

um yeah

We bought a house! It's official. WE ARE HOMEOWNERS. And we love this house. :)

But that's where the happy emoticons and jazz hands end. Let me tell you about the last week. We bought a house and...

+ My desktop computer died. It appeared that I'd lost everything including my design shop files. Actually it was some nasty malware making it LOOK like I had. It took TWO computer specialists to remove the crap. In the time that it was down, I had to re-create product on my laptop. My fairly ancient laptop. It was fairly comedic.
+ My cell phone's touch screen - the one required to do anything, you know - died. I'm not due for an "upgrade" until March. Thanks to and my Dad (for keeping me on his Prime account), I got a fabulous $20 flip phone circa 1997 overnighted to tide me over. Until I totally bite the bullet and buy an iphone.
+ We "interviewed" five painters and hired one. While they did the white trim and ceilings (the whole house was a lovely dusty pink, including the ceilings), Jess and I tried out SIXTEEN DIFFERENT COLORS on our main room wall. Sixteen little blocks of color. It got pretty ridiculous and we started giving them alternative names - baby vomit, the hole of nothingness, blended up redhead. Um yeah. We finally settled on Cafe Latte for the main color and Elephant Skin (their real names) for the accent walls. But then? Then, the painter got our paint choice backwards and put the one we didn't want - "blended up redhead" in fact - on our walls. I ugly-cried about it. I could ugly-cry about it right now if you'd like. I have the privilege of breaking this lovely piece of news to him tomorrow. So thrilled.
+ We bought a truckload of carpet. Turns out all that free time the installer had is suddenly gone. We can't get carpet for a week. The 26th in fact. We're supposed to be out of this apartment by the 30th. And we've "extended" our 30 day notice three times already.

In short, I'm one step away from voluntarily donning a straightjacket and leaping into a padded room quite happily. I've never wanted a month to end more than I want this month to end.

Happy fall ya'll.

Monday, November 12, 2012

slow down

Sometimes you just need a foot of snow. To make you slow down - literally - and remember the important things. My to do lists these days rival the length of a decent college entry essay. But the snow this weekend helped me to sort it all out, slow down and remember that even though I'm drowning a bit right now, the things that matter haven't changed. And that most importantly, sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy what's in front of you. Literally. Snow and snowbabies, and pure happiness.


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