Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Project Life Tuesday - August Week Four

Welcome once again to Project Life Tuesday! I am taking a photo every day in 2010 and putting them together in an album to create a unique keepsake of this year for our family. Be sure to check in on what others are doing with their project over at The Mom Creative!

Sunday, August 22nd - (Evan's photo)  Evan was in the middle of making dinner when he turned around to find Isaiah had taken his hunger into his own hands. 

Monday, August 23rd - Silly baby.  Big blue eyes.  I love this kid.

Tuesday, August 24th - Anyone want to take a guess at which kid is going to be my drama queen?

Wednesday, August 25th - I brought the boys to the Henry Vilas Zoo today and Isaiah's favorite animal was the giant tortoise, of all things.  Although he couldn't actually ride the real one (and he wanted to) this ended up being a decent substitute.

Thursday, August 26th - (Evan's photo)  Game Day!  Before the Packer's preseason game that evening, Micah took a little cruise on Lightning McQueen.

Friday, August 27th - I got a haircut.  Yup, it's short.  I'm really digging it though!  Thanks to a gift card I received for my birthday, I was able to rid myself of the Susan Boyle eyebrows
Photo tip - If the color in your photo isn't too great (like this one taken in my bathroom was), try turning it to black & white!

Saturday, August 28th - One of the layouts in my recent issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine really caught my eye, so I scraplifted it and made this layout of Micah on a swing.  I just love how it turned out!

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Local Car Crash - Prayers please!

As I was driving home from work today, this terrible car crash happened literally minutes before I arrived at the location.  It's always scary when you see an accident scene, but to know that maybe 2 or 3 minutes later....it could have been me. When I drove by, they were still working on trying to get someone out of one of the cars.  The white car (not sure which of the models it was) that was still up on the road, looked like only half of it was there.  The entire driver's side was smashed to pieces.  It was really, really scary.

Please pray for the momma, daughter, and gentleman who were hurt in this crash.  The man remains in serious condition, but (Praise God!) the mother and daughter had non-life-threatening injuries.

Click here to read the news release from Madison.com.

Yahoo Picaboo!

My free Picaboo photo book is officially finished and ordered!  Woohoo!!  Granted, it took me a LONG time to get it done, but that has nothing to do with Picaboo.  It's not their fault my computer is possessed by evil demons that make it freeze up every 12 seconds. 

After staying up until dang near 12:45 am last night and then burying myself in the office for another 3 hours or so tonight, I finished putting together a photo book of a collection of photos from Isaiah's first birthday to his second.  See, I do a traditional scrapbook for each kid for their pregnancy and the first year of their life and then I just do a regular yearly album for the family.  So, my scrapbook shelf currently looks like this:

Of course, a good majority of the 2009 album consists of layouts of Isaiah, but that's not the point.  The point is that I thought it might be nice to put together a photo book of some of my favorite photos for each year after that first year they get the exclusive scrapbook just to supplement my memory keeping materials.  Plus, it will be great to have them out for birthdays!

So, I sorted through literally thousands of photos from November of 2008 to November of 2009 and narrowed it down to 75 photos (Yah....I know!) to put in my free Picaboo photo book.  Again, it took me so dang long because of my computer.  The software was remarkable easy to use and although I didn't love that it resides on my hard drive (which I'm already having issues with storage on), I found it very user friendly and easy to customize.  What I ended up with was a simple, streamlined collection of some favorite photos of a very cute kid.  All I did was label each page with the month the photos were from, but the options for additional journaling were very impressive.  I just chose not to use a lot of journaling in this particular book because I do so much of it in the scrapbooks, but that's just me.

The other cool thing about the Picaboo software is that it allows you to share your album via email and Facebook!  I'll definitely be doing this, but I had to blog first.  Priorities, you know. 

The best part?

Look at that beautiful screen shot of my order confirmation.  A glorious total of $0.00 thanks to the code FREEBK (which you can still use until 8/31 for a free 20 page hardcover book!) and my Groupon I scored in July!  Now that, my friends, is a good deal.  HURRY!!!

Have you used Picaboo before?  Are you taking advantage of this deal?  What will your photo book be about?  How do you organize your scrapbooks/photo books?  Do you like cabbage?

I know....I'm disturbed.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sunday Smile and Cars

My desktop computer is so slow that I was able to complete the first layout you see here from start to finish in the time it took to install Photoshop Elements 8.  I used a sketch by Valerie Salmon as the inspiration for the very simple design.

My goal is still to get Micah's scrapbook up to date before his birthday party on September 12, but that's going to be a tall order if I'm still only up to April!!  Gotta get a move on!

This second one is for our 2010 family book.  Don't let the fact that it too is from Easter Sunday fool you.  I only did this one because I was looking at that stack of photos for Micah's page.  If we're thinking chronologically, I am still only up to early March in the family book.  Too many to do and too little time!

What are you scrapping lately?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Micah's Birthday List

It's very difficult to make a wish list for a soon-to-be one year old when he's already growing into all his big brother's clothes and it's hard to tell what sizes he's going to need in upcoming seasons!  So, for those of you who have been asking for it, here is my best attempt at a birthday list for Micah's 1st birthday.

Clothing:  Fall and winter appropriate clothes - size 24 months and up (especially needs sweatshirts, sweaters, long sleeved T-shirts, and socks)
Shoes size 6 and up
Winter mittens

Books to read at bedtime

A plastic picnic table like this one: 

Cash is wonderful because I can use it for whatever he ends up requiring as the needs arise

I'm really struggling to come up with more because we have so many of Isaiah's clothes for him to wear and a playroom full of toys.  Really failing to live up to my birthday list reputation here.....

Any suggestions on what to give a one year old second child for his birthday???

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As You Like It

You're probably starting to notice that I mention American Players Theatre a lot.  Sorry, but it's one of the great loves of my life.  If you live in the great state of Wisconsin (or even Iowa - it's within driving distance!) and haven't yet experienced this theatre, I cannot rave enough about how wonderful of an experience it is.  Something truly magical takes place up the hill under those stars. 

As Shakespeare would say, "I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it." (As You Like It)

For just a brief taste of the Shakespearean fare up available for your viewing pleasure this season, enjoy this video from Act III of As You Like It: 

Video is from the APT blog, so it's totally ligit!

Now, go buy your ticket and you can thank me later.  It will probably be right after Matt Schwader takes his shirt off for the wrestling scene that you say to yourself, "Yup.  This was a good idea.  Thank you, Sarah!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Project Life Tuesday - August Week Three

Welcome once again to Project Life Tuesday! I am taking a photo every day in 2010 and putting them together in an album to create a unique keepsake of this year for our family. Be sure to check in on what others are doing with their project over at The Mom Creative!

Sunday, August 15th - My 27th birthday!  I celebrated my birthday at American Players Theatre!  We saw As You Like It, which was wonderful, and the guy next to me gave me a birthday brownie.  We also saw Jimmy Groban in the lobby. 

Monday, August 16th - Since we ran out of time to go out to a nice dinner before the play on Sunday (we went to Culver's), Evan brought home some New York strip steaks for dinner tonight and grilled them to perfection.  Thanks honey!

Tuesday, August 17th - I don't know what it is about this face, but this is not a typical Isaiah face.  It had me melting like butter.

Wednesday, August 18th - During a playdate at the park, I took some photos of the boys.  Learning how to use my camera has been so fun and I'm really anxious to move toward full manual mode!  To see more of the photos from this little shoot click here!

Thursday, August 19th - In a moment of temporary insanity, I bought these shoes today.  What else can I say?

Friday, August 20th - Someday I'm going to miss these afternoons of a messy living room, toy cars, sippy cups, puzzle pieces, and cartoons. 

Saturday, August 21st - When my mother's chocolate cake hit that table at my birthday party, Isaiah actually paused for a moment and folded his hands to pray.  I'm assuming he was thanking God for the incredible dessert.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Friendship Algorithm

Believe it or not, I sometimes struggle to make friends.  I tend to be pretty quiet when I first meet new people until I get a feel for the level of sarcasm they can handle and how much snarkiness (is that a real word?) I can get away with without coming across as....well....snarky.  Thanks to the Internet, I've had the opportunity to meet some wonderful new people like Jessica Turner, Delane Blair, and Dustin Reichman among others.  Of course, these wonderful folks are still just online buds in my world.  When a woman contacted me recently through the blog and introduced herself as my neighbor (4 houses down my street!!), I had a unique opportunity to make a "real" friend from an online connection. 

If only I had followed the simple flowchart presented here by one Sheldon Cooper, fictional theoretical physicist, this whole making friends with our new neighbors down the street thing would have been a piece of cake!

Thankfully, our neighbors are just plain awesome so becoming friends with them and their children has been a great experience.  I'm always up for a little dose of The Big Bang Theory though, aren't you?  Blast CBS for moving it to Thursdays this fall!!

So, apart from using a friendship algorithm, how do you "break the ice" with a new friend, be it online or in person?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Kind of Birthday Party

My kind of birthday party....

is held at someone else's house so I don't have to clean

has a bountiful supply of my favorite wine

doesn't interfere with a Packers game

lets my kids be as loud as they want to be

has my sisters in attendance

includes a menu high in carbohydrates

must have more than one dessert

features a sweet toddler running up to me and yelling, "Happy Birthday Mommy!"

is filled with the sound of laughter

ends before 8:30 pm

Thank you to my wonderful family for the perfect birthday party this weekend.  I couldn't have asked for more.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

GAP Groupon - $50 for $25!!

When's the last time you got to shop at the GAP for 50% off?  Yup, that's what I thought.  Today, and today only, Groupon is offering $50 from the GAP for only $25!! This is a nationwide deal and is sure to go quickly, so get yours while it's still available.  The site might be running a bit slow from all the savvy shoppers, so keep trying.  I scored mine this morning!  Yay for cheap back to school shopping!  Click here to get your Groupon!

Playdate Photography

Isaiah was nearly bursting with anticipation all day long on Wednesday because he knew he was going to get to go to the park with his new friends (our neighbors) to play on the playground.  The park is one of my favorite places to take photos because the conditions are friendly to even the most novice photographer such as myself - natural light, bright green grass, organic elements, and stuff to keep the kids entertained. 

I shot all of the following photos in Aperture Priority mode with my Nikon D40 with its kit lens.  Really, nothing fancy. 

And probably my favorite shot of the day (and one of the few with Isaiah).....

I wish I could have taken more photos of Isaiah, but Micah wasn't really letting me get too far away from him.  We had a great time, though!  Thanks again to Julie, Josh, Caleb & Mollie for a wonderful afternoon!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jimmy Groban

When we were at American Players Theatre on Sunday night, we saw a guy who looked like he could have been Josh Groban's brother.  Seriously, he looked a LOT like him, only way taller.  My pointing out this fellow to my husband led to the following conversation.

Me:  Can you imagine what it would be like to be Josh Groban's older, yet way less talented brother?

Evan:  Yeah, people would mob him and say, "Oh my gosh!  You're Josh Groban's brother!  Can you sing too?"  At which point that guy would be like, "No.  I work at McDonalds."

Me:  Poor Jimmy Groban.

Evan:  Maybe he could play the piccolo or harmonica or something?

Me:  Not likely.  Can I have a gummy bear?

Evan:  Just not a red one.

It's conversations like this that make me realize once again that I married the only man on the planet who can match my neurosis.  I'm a lucky gal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My "Aha!" Moment

Angie Smith over at Bring The Rain never ceases to rock my socks off with her wonderful posts.  Her recent reflection on prayer was exactly what I needed to hear right now.  I don't know about you, but I often struggle in my prayer life because I'm so concerned with doing it right and making sure that God hears me.  And oh, how embarrassing is it when you venture off course and start rambling right in the middle of your conversation with the Lord? 

Reading "Lamb" was like a wake-up call.  Thank you, Angie, for writing exactly what my heart needed to hear.  Go read it for yourself and join me in breathing a bit easier the next time you're feeling a bit insecure about your prayers.

Project Life Tuesday - August Week Two

Welcome once again to Project Life Tuesday! I am taking a photo every day in 2010 and putting them together in an album to create a unique keepsake of this year for our family. Be sure to check in on what others are doing with their project over at The Mom Creative!

Sunday, August 8th - As it turns out, Micah is quite buoyant!  His brother was being a stinker about swimming in Ashley's pool, but Micah loved every moment of it.

Monday, August 9th - Crews were out working on the gravel shoulders on our road this week and Isaiah really enjoyed watching the big trucks from our living room window.

Tuesday, August 10th - I've been encouraging Micah to try to use a spoon and fork to feed himself and he's shown a lot of interest, but certainly still lacks the skill! 

Wednesday, August 11th - I brought the boys to the Alto Fair and the highlight for Isaiah was definitely this model train that was set up in the community center.  It was hard to drag him away from it.

Thursday, August 12th - By shopping the sales, using coupons, and using Register Rewards, I was able to purchase all you see here from Walgreens for a total of $2.13 out of pocket.  Not too shabby!

Friday, August 13th - He had outgrown all his gear from last year, so with the first preseason game only a day away, Isaiah tried on his brand new Packers hat I got him.  He loved it so much he slept in it.  Go Pack Go!

Saturday, August 14th - Next year, this sweet boy will be running around with the rest of the boys in the pack at the Glewen Weenie Roast.  Oh my.  Just stay small a bit longer, Micah.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dinosaur Crawl

FYI...Snapfish is offering FREE SHIPPING today and tomorrow only with the code GRANDSHIP.  Just a fun little tidbit for you.

I'm using my Mellow Monday (the day I typically relax and let my body recover a bit from a four-day stretch of work) to try to get caught up on some photo editing, a lot of uploading to Snapfish, and some transferring of photos from my laptop to the desktop downstairs.  This sounds pretty easy, but it has actually been exceptionally frustrating because my laptop is equivalent in age to that of a T-Rex and sometimes just typing a blog post is a bit too much for it to handle.  Evan gets a kick out of watching me work on it sometimes because of the contorted facial expressions, frustrated grunts, and murmured curses I tend to employ. 

(20 minutes later.....after the laptop has frozen up and had to be restarted....twice.)

I'm this close to throwing it out the window.

Repeat with me:  It's not in the budget....It's not in the budget....It's not in the budget...

I still have presumably hours of work ahead of me, so if you are one of my Snapfish people who has been waiting patiently for a photo album from July to order prints from, bear with me.  I'm trying!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

27 Things

Bob surveyed his handiwork with pride. If only the Society of Delicate Penmanship and Context-Appropriate Color Coordination could see him now!  (http://www.cakewrecks.com/)

Today, on my 27th birthday, I'm excited to share with you twenty-seven things that rock about my life.  Sure, I've been pretty anxious about this birthday and how dangerously close it is to 30 and how it so does not help my whole "I'm Old!" complex, but when you get right down to it, I have a lot to celebrate today! 

  1. I'm not 30 yet.
  2. My kids are amazing and make my live unpredictable and wild.
  3. My husband thinks I'm hotter at 27 than I have ever been.  Right, honey?  Honey?  Bueller?
  4. I weigh WAY less at this birthday than I did last year!!  (Yes, I realize I was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time.  I'm still celebrating.)
  5. American Players Theatre is only 10 minutes down the road and I have two tickets to "As You Like It" waiting for me at the box office.  This is my absolute favorite thing to do on my birthday.
  6. My birthday = I get cake!
  7. School starts in only a couple weeks and I get to go back to work!! 
  8. My in-laws gave me a gift certificate to my salon so I can go rid myself of my Susan Boyle eyebrows.  Can I get a "Hallelujah!!"
  9. I have the entire series of "Gilmore Girls" on DVD so I can watch it whenever I want.  What?  That's something to celebrate!
  10. My dog hasn't puked on the carpet in a solid three days. 
  11. Only one of my kids wears diapers now!  Yay!
  12. Winter is still a solid two months away.  *Knocking on wood*
  13. Now that I'm 27, I can finally upgrade to the current WI drivers license design. 
  14. I still can never spell "license" correctly on the first try, but I can laugh about it.
  15. We recently met some neighbors for the first time who are really great people and I'm hoping we (and our kids) get to be good friends.  (Keeping my fingers crossed that the blog doesn't spook 'em.)
  16. My baby turns ONE next month. 
  17. I want another baby.
  18. Noodles sent me a coupon for a free dish of noodles for my birthday.  It's like they really know me.  Free food speaks to my soul.
  19. I have a full jar of Dove Dark Chocolates stashed away in my cupboard.
  20. As it turns out, being a good waitress has its perks (other than tips, that is).  One of my regulars hooked me up with a 10% discount when I went in to buy new shoes for work.  That rocks!
  21. Isaiah likes to spend a solid 20 minutes cuddling with me every morning.  It's a great way to start the day!
  22. There is a stack of Pampers Points sitting on Micah's dresser just waiting to be entered.  Free photo prints from Shutterfly, here I come!!
  23. My RA is manageable.  Sure, I have my bad days here and there, but it's nothing I can't handle.  That's a victory in my book.
  24. I'm so going to pull the "It's my Birthday!" card and go to my scraproom when I get home from work today.  Diet Pepsi, closed door, Norah Jones.....bliss.
  25. We just paid off our second credit card and are very close to paying off Evan's student loans.  The TMMO is totally working for us! 
  26. It's Sunday so that means coupons in the newspaper!
  27. I'm happy, healthy, and blessed beyond measure.  What else could a woman ask for on her birthday?
Ready to give it a try?  Try to come up with a list matching your age of things that are great in your world right now.  Trust me, it will make you smile. 

Cake photo courtesy of "Cake Wrecks"
(Not my actual birthday cake....but wouldn't that be a hoot!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Heidi-Ho Neighbor!

Remember Home Improvement?  I loved that show.  Never mind the fact that I had a huge crush on Randy (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas), but the show was just genuinely funny and it was something my whole family could enjoy.  I swear, I thought my dad was Tim the Tool Man's long lost twin brother.  Of course, the other quirky little gem of Home Improvement was the Taylors' relationship with their neighbor, Wilson.  Whenever Tim (or sometimes Jill or the kids) needed advice, he turned to the wisdom of the man behind the fence.  There was a trust there and Wilson could always be counted on in a pinch.  Home Improvement wouldn't have been the same without Wilson and the top half of his face.

Now, I can't remember far enough back to recall if there was an episode that showed how Tim and Wilson were introduced, how their neighborly relationship first began.  If there was, I sure could use it.  We've lived in this town for just over two years now and really haven't established relationship with any of our neighbors.  Recently, I was contacted by one of my neighbors who stumbled across this blog only to discover she lived on the same street as me and that our children are of similar ages!  Amazing, huh?  She and her hubby were promptly kind enough to invite us to dinner.

This is where I started to panic.

What are the rules here?  Was I supposed to bring a dessert?  Casserole?  Bottle of wine?  What if they were anti-wine and found that offensive?  What if I brought a dish with an allergen of some sort in it and their son swelled up like a pufferfish and had to be rushed to the ER because of my stupid attempt at a gesture? 

In the end, I baked a veggie casserole and brought a bottle of my favorite local wine.  We had a wonderful dinner, the kids played well, and Isaiah screamed the whole walk home because he didn't want to leave his new friends.  We promised him to invite them over to play in his playroom as soon as possible.

Then I did something stupid. 

On my way to Target on Thursday morning, I made a spur of the moment choice to stop in and see if there was anything I could pick up for them.  In a classic tale of "action before thinking," I failed to actually process the fact that it was 9:00 am and I hadn't called first!!  Oh mylanta.  After I rang the doorbell and that horrifying fact finally reached my brain, it was too late to turn back.  I stammered and stuttered like a fool and eventually returned to my car feeling like a prize idiot. 

Clearly, I have no idea what I'm doing here.  Evan and I both think this family is great and we would love to get to know them better, but I don't know the proper protocol here!  Is there any hope of recovery from my idiotic move?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old at 27

I'm having a real hard time with this birthday.  It's just sitting there, looming at the end of the weekend like a storm cloud.  Wait, scratch that.  I'm going to American Players Theatre that evening so all storm clouds need to stay far, far away!!

Where was I?  Oh yes, the birthday and how it's got my undies all in a twist.  See here's the thing.  For as long as I can remember, I have been described as being "older than my years."  As a teenager, I tended to gravitate toward friends who were 2-3 years older than me, even choosing to date boys who were two classes above me (including the guy who would become my husband).  At the time, I loved being considered "mature" or "older."  What young woman wouldn't love that?

When I was 24 years old, a guy at work (age 21-ish) guessed my age at 30.  Ouch.

This is not out of the norm.  When people take a stab at how old I am, the number is usually about three or more years above my real age. 

Lately, I have heard many different people use the following terms to describe me - mature, soccer moma sixty-five year old woman trapped in a young chick's body, old.  Old.  Am I really old beyond my time?

I suppose it makes sense.  Married for six years, college degree, two kids, desire to own a minivan, rheumatoid arthritis.  Yup, add all that up and none of it says "young."  Where I take issue is that there seems to be a certain stigma attached to all this.  I have no problem rolling my eyes at all the young men I work with who go out drinking 5 nights a week.  Doesn't interest me in the least.  It's easy for me to get on my soap box about budgeting, couponing, and being frugal and the next thing I know, the poor busser is getting an earful from me when all he wanted to do was share his excitement over buying a T-shirt at the Iron Maiden concert.  I despise most rap music because all it does is pump negative energy and hateful words into the brains of its listeners.  My idea of a night out does not involve an $11 martini, a case of Milwaukee's Best, or any illegal substances. 

And this makes me "old." 

Of course, there are many who are insisting to me that it isn't so much that I come off as "old," but it's more about maturity.  The choices I make and the behavior I engage in tend to be those of an adult who, on average, as clocked a few more years.  I guess I'll take that as a good thing and continue to roll my eyes when those young whippersnappers are discussing what's "poppin'" on a Friday night.

Just do me this one small favor.  Please, pretty please.....the next time I stop at the liquor store or order a drink with dinner, for the love of all that is good and holy.....CARD ME!!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"If I Die Young"

I'm obsessed with this new song that's been blowing up my radio.  It's haunting.  I love it.

Happy Birthday (In)Courage!

Do you read the (In)Courage blog?  If not, I cannot say enough about how much I love it.  The collection of women writing at this blog have created something truly special.  I rely on (In)Courage for my daily dose of faith-style "pick me up."  It's kind of like Jesus-flavored coffee.  Well, to me anyway.

Now's a better time than ever to get caught up and get hooked on the (In)Courage gals because in celebration of the first birthday of the site, they are doing not one, not two, but THIRTY giveaways!!!  Yup, they are going to be doing a giveaway a day, every day for the next thirty days leading up to the big birthday bash!

Today's giveaway is a "By Grace Alone" Lisa Leonard necklace and I enter nearly every giveaway I can find for this woman's jewelry because it is just so fabulous. 

What are you waiting for?  Go enter!  Then go back tomorrow and enter again for a new prize...and the next day....and the next day...etc.

Happy Birthday (In)Courage!  Thanks for the presents!

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