Saturday, December 15, 2007

I Heart the springtime

The bright lights, colossal buildings, the sights, the sounds, the hurricane force winds! My first trip to the Big Apple has been put on hold thanks to some nasty winter weather. I had been anticipating this trip for some time, and was looking forward to experiencing everything NYC had to offer...with the exception of 50MPH winds. Now, I had prepaired myself for some bitter cold, and tracking the weather, even convinced myself that I could withstand high winds, but the truth is, I would have been miserable. How do I know this? I ventured out today in Texas winter weather, and couldn't wait to get back home so I could put on my polar fleece pants and thick, fuzzy socks, and enjoy the warmth of my heated home. The "freezing" Texas winds topped a whopping 15 MPH making our tempature feel like an "icy" 40 degrees. So, although I'm a bit bummed that I'm not going to enjoy the big city all dressed up for Christmas, I'm looking forward to seeing the cherry blossoms adorning the trees in the spring.

Here are some pictures from the "Christmas portrait session." I hauled the kids to a beautiful old house turned historic museum in our town. The front porch on this house makes a pretty setting for pictures, but trying to get an active toddler to sit on the steps for more than a few shots was nearly impossible. I probably ran a mile, camera in hand, chasing Finn around the trail that surrounds the house. He finally found his niche on the run down back stoop of the house, and Audrie was prepared to jump in at any photo op moment, so the majority of the pictures were taken in front of an old screen door.

I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season.
Love to all,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

IF: Little Things

It's the little things in life that mean the most, like enjoying a beautiful day with your best friend.

This was a mixed media painting that I did a while back. I didn't have time to do something new, so this will have to do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

IF: Excess

Excess of mattresses!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Stinky Cheese? Yes, please!

Every year since our first Christmas together, the only thing I've ever asked for from my husband is the book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. I fell in love with this children's book in high school, but never got around to buying it. So, when that first Christmas as a married woman rolled around, I thought I'd ask for the book, and that would be it. Simple, cheap, easy, done. A husband's dream, right? Wrong. Christmas passed and no book. "It just slipped his mind," I thought. The next Christmas came, and The Stinky Cheese Man topped the list, and again, no book. It soon became a running joke that at every gift giving occasion my husband would not get me the one gift that I asked of him. Sure, I could have bought the book for myself, but after several years, you start to wonder what would actually warrant the giving of this book. Well, yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday. My in-laws stopped by on their way back to Houston, and my husband came home a couple of hours early from work with two cakes in hand. We all ate cake and visited, and then my in-laws had to get back on the road. At the same time, I noticed my husband slipping his shoes on. I asked him where he was going, and he apologetically told me he had to get back to work. Now I'm usually pretty easy to please and knowing he was very busy, the fact that he came home early meant so much, but I had no idea that he was going to have to go back. My visions of celebrating my birthday with takeout, silly movies and my best friend were soon replaced with feelings of disappointment. I ate supper with the kids, went about the nightly routine of baths and bedtime prayers, and I sat down to watch TV alone.
Well, at 10:30pm Jonathan pulled into the driveway, Barnes and Noble bag in hand. And there it was, that one little book, the one I had been waiting 8 years for, tucked neatly in the green bag. An end to an era. We spent the rest of the evening in bed laughing as I read him the story. It was perfect.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

IF: Zoo

The great escape!

I don't know exactly how they fit into that basket, but they managed it. For some reason this was the image that popped into my head when I read the topic. I was pressed for time, so it is not as neat as I would have liked, but I got it done!

Have a great week!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap

I meant to get out a "Happy Thanksgiving Post" on the actual day, but I missed it. Here I am, four days late, and finally getting around to it. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Mine flew by, and most of the projects that I wrote down on my to do list for the "week off" did not get done. Why? I spent the majority of the time laughing, talking, stuffing my face, and playing dominoes with some of my favorite people; and spending time with my family trumps marking something off of my list any day! Here are a few highlights from last week:

11/17-11/18: We met my dear in-laws at a resort outside of Bastrop for a spontaneous adventure since we wouldn't be spending Thanksgiving with them this year, although judging by our outfits, we could have planned this get together in advance.So the red family spent the day strolling the grounds and enjoying the many amenities, including a butterfly garden complete with spiky caterpillars.....which were judged to be slightly creepy. Although it rained the majority of the night, it made for a wonderful backdrop to roasting marshmallows, drinking hot chocolate and delighting in the reading of The Little Red Hen. The rest of the trip was spent talking, playing checkers, warming up by the fire and partaking in the decadent variety of food that somehow found its way into our room via room service.

11/19: I drug out all of our boxes of Christmas decorations, determined to have them put up before the arrival of my cousin that afternoon. Ha! Who was I kidding? The decorations remained scattered throughout the house until Wednesday night when I was forced to pick them up so we could do some long overdue vacuuming.

11/20: While my brother and grandparents made their trek into the Austin area, my mom, cousin, daughter and I headed off to Tyler for a presentation of my mom's books, Grace Falling Like Rain and Mercy's Face. The presentation was held at the church of my former youth minister which I had not seen since 1995. He and his wife graciously opened their home to us for the night, and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reminiscing and catching up. It's funny how so many memories can be filed away until someone helps retrieve them.

11/21: We left our hosts without waking them to beat Thanksgiving traffic and meet up with the family waiting to greet us at our own houses. Once we arrived home, we ate and headed back out for some last minute Thanksgiving prep shopping while awaiting the arrival of the rest of the holiday brood. We topped the night off with some pizza and domino playing until 2:00 AM when the turkey was to be put into the oven.

11/22: Thanksgiving Day! Turkey, dressing, homemade biscuits, a cold front, and my Gangy's famous butterscotch stuff (as we call it). Need I say more? Yes. More domino playing, stuffing, goodbyes to part of the family, and keeping each other awake for a midnight madness sale at our local outlet mall. How do you keep a group of sleep deprived people awake? Stupid pictures, of course!

11/23: You heard me right, MIDNIGHT madness. I do think you have to be mad to participate in something like this, but my brother had to have 30% more off the jacket that was already marked down 66%. I can't complain, though. I happened to find a few good buys of my own and I crawled into bed a 2:00AM. After awaking, I said goodbye to the rest of the crew making their trip home by car, and went to the airport to bid farewell to my brother. And then....more shopping! I usually don't even venture out on Black Friday because I get really anxious and annoyed in large masses of determined shoppers, but for some reason my mom and I made our way into the frenzy. I have to say that I am almost a convert. In one day, I pretty much changed my whole wardrobe from "tired mom" to "New York sophisticated" with a minimal amount of money. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but I did find some great buys and treated myself to some early birthday gifts unbeknownst to my husband. (Thank you, Jonathan!)
So, there it is, my Thanksgiving week. Restful? Not quite. But there is not another group of people I'd rather be sleep deprived with than my relatives. I have so much to be thankful for, and my family tops the list! I am very blessed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tricks, treats, and tractors

For Audrie's very first Halloween, I decided that I would make her costume, a fairy, so she would have something unique and sentimental. Since then it has been my mission every year (for reasons that escape me) to create homemade Halloween costumes for my children. Each year I watch as other parents stroll through the costume aisle picking out a ready made outfit, complete with all of the necessary accessories, purchasing it, and leaving with all of the ease and relief that comes with that process, while I am scrambling to figure out how in the world I am going to fashion a pink and purple dragon out of felt and hot glue! As each October rolls around, the temptation grows stronger to just give in and buy one of the zillions of costumes available to trick-or-treaters, but every time, that little voice in my head guilt trips me into believing making homemade costumes is my obligation. In actuality, I think it’s just my stubbornness that keeps me in this fall frenzy. Since I made my “costume making mission” public knowledge, I have to forever stick to my guns and tough it out even as the costumes become more elaborate. So over the past years I have sewn, hot glued or duct taped together two fairy outfits, a pink bird, a pink dragon, Puss in Boots, and a cowboy and girl. This year, the costume making time was very limited, and the younger child was very resistant to wearing anything that didn’t resemble normal clothes, so the costumes weren’t very elaborate. Audrie went as Little Red “Funky” Riding Hood complete with argyle tights and Converse shoes, and Finn was the Big Bad Wolf. (He wouldn’t wear his ears, so we had to get creative with his hair and lots of hair gel!) Trick-or-treating proved to be a bit of a challenge at first because Finn had not taken his nap and was starting to take on the personality of the Big Bad Wolf. After watching his sister, though, he decided he needed to get in on the action and get some candy, as well as give some away! Audrie took her time in soaking every bit of Halloween night up. She noticed every decoration, played to the hauntingly spooky houses, and relished all of the fanciful costumes. The night ended with the sorting of the bounty, as always, and the hopes that I wouldn’t polish off the chocolate in a couple of days.

The next day we headed off to Crowe’s Nest Farm for our scheduled November field trip. We learned the process of modern day cow milking, went on a bumpy hayride, and saw a variety of animals. After a self-guided tour around the facilities, a few interesting finds, and a short rest, Audrie was ready to do it all again. But alas, the mom was exhausted, so we called it a day and skipped to the car.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007


OK, I've let two weeks go by without posting our goings on, and a lot has happened. Here is a quick (or not so quick) re-cap of the past 14 days:

1. We visited the Elgin Christmas Tree Farm for a fun-filled day packed with hayrides, pumpkin decorating, animal feeding, and of course, lots of photo ops!
Finn was fascinated with the tractors, and I couldn't get him to look at me for more than a half a second, so most of his pictures include a tractor and the back of his head. He spent the majority of the time sitting on a variety of antique tractors, to which I snapped about a hundred pictures before I noticed the sign right in front of me stating: DO NOT CLIMB ON THE TRACTORS! Audrie had to take in every bit of the farm, and busied herself trying to complete each and every activity that was offered. She especially enjoyed feeding the animals and showing her brother how to do the same. Finn's animal feeding consisted of offering the goats some grass, as well as his fingers, and ended with a quick rescue of pointer and middle from the tightly clenched jaws of a very determined goat.We left the farm with pumpkins in hand, covered in hay, and a little sunburned.
It was a good day.

2. Audrie attended the last two classes of the Children's Book Illustration course I was taking and ended up presenting her own illustrated version of The Tortoise and the Hare to the whole class. She is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming an author/illustrator.

3. We went to the annual fall festival for our homeschool group where I was in charge of the football toss game. While Audrie ran around playing games and accumulating candy, I spent the majority of the time chasing footballs thrown by kids who must have eaten their Wheaties that morning! If I'd known I would have been running so much (while holding a toddler), I would have skipped my morning workout and slept in. Thankfully Finn fell asleep after an hour, and I was able to enjoy watching Audrie in the production of The Pilgrim's Arrival: The First Thanksgiving. She played a Separatist, and although it was a non-speaking role, she had me convinced that she was truly enjoying the feast of plastic food!

4. While Daddy stayed home from work to watch Finn, Audrie and I went on a field trip with our homeschool group to the Blue Moon Glassworks Studio. While there, we were taught how fused glass pieces and stained glass windows were made, as well as shown a demonstration of glass bead making by one of the artists. We also created our own glass pendants which will be fired in the kilns and returned to us when ready. My pendant reveals my passion for the color red, while Audrie managed to fit a hummingbird and a flower on a 1"x2" square. Her creativity never fails to surprise me!

5. Finally, over the weekend we were joined by some of my favorite people for some fun, quality time. Spending time with my mom, mother-in-law, Aunt Susie and my daughter always yields lots of laughs, inspiration, and chocolate intake! This time, between talking, eating, laughing, bubble blowing, eating, and more laughing, we managed to junk three pumpkins and a gourd for Halloween. The result?? Pumpkinstein, Ghoulie, Broom Hilda, and Mebraska the cat.

Whew! So there it is....a quick update.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

IF: Grow

"Growth Spurt!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall Portrait Session

Every couple of months I decide it's time to get the kids dressed up, and have their portraits taken. Being a picky mom with an artistic eye, I just can't haul my kids to the nearest department store and get their picture taken seated neatly in front of a "blue clouds" backdrop. Nope, that would be too easy. Also, being very cheap, the idea of shelling out $500+ for a professional photographer to come out every time I need to update my photo albums doesn't seem too practical. The solution? Convert my breakfast room into a makeshift studio, and take the photos myself. This process involves removing furniture, stacking chairs on top of the table, draping fabric over the chairs to create a backdrop, and trying to convince a toddler to stay in the "studio" for more than a minute so Mommy can take his picture. On this particular occasion, I chose a set of chocolate brown curtains as the backdrop to offset the outfits the kids were wearing. Within the first 2 minutes, the backdrop fell. After I re-draped the curtains over the chairs, this time using clothespins to affix them to the chairs for extra support, I got the kids situated and start again. One picture later, the backdrop came tumbling down for the second time. At that point, I decided to move the backdrop over to the wall, using duct tape to hold it up. The duct tape proved to be too weak. So I threw out the backdrop idea entirely, and with that out of the picture, I was freed to focus solely on the picture taking......and that is precisely when the sound of the lawnmower buzzed by the window. The portrait session was over. After 2 hours of fighting cheap backdrop solutions and trying to get a 1 year old to look in my general direction, we decided to go outside and watch Daddy mow the lawn, and I managed to snap a few extra photos. Now, if only someone would print them out in a nice portrait package and deliver them to my door!