Archive for January, 2010

Had this photo of my dad and my little guy working on an ancient car. Really wanted to scrap it, to tell the story about how these two guys hang out and do stuff. Also wanted to cut into my big pack of Sweet Pea DSP for the first time!
(all supplies Stampin Up!)

Excuse the poor lighting but you get the idea. I somewhat simple LO on kraft, with a few embellies, and lots of story in my own handwriting. And while the journaling was what I wanted and told the story–the important part of scrap booking. It wasn’t very nice to look out. Now I’m not trying to win a scrappy contest, get published, or get on any design teams. I just want my pages to tell the story and look sort of nice. You understand right?

So here was my triage process.

1. Cut off the kraft background. Lay on white clipboard, try different color backgrounds.

2. Bermuda Bay background, not bad. And now that I look at it on the computer I like it.

3. End up choosing Chocolate Chip cs. But still needed something in that bottom rectangle. So I add a piece of pattern paper.

4. Finally end up using my Scallop envelope die to make a little spot to tuck in the journaling cards.

And there’s the final product. Much better huh? I think the kraft would have been fine if I hadn’t journaled right on it.


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Allow me to take the podium for a bit.
Mean girls, ever known one?
I bet as you read that one phrase, you could think of several different examples in your own life of mean girls. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, we’ve all experienced mean girls in some way. I would even add that we all have had at least one (or more) mean girls who seemed to follow our every day. Right now I can think of one in girl in particular who for one reason or other singled me out from a very early time in elementary school to pick on me nearly every day we rode the school bus together. I could tell you her name, where she lived, members of her family, but I cannot to this day tell you why I was one of her favorite people to pick on. Can any of you out there relate?
Here I am, about 1st grade in a cute polyester jumper made by my grandma.

This went on for years, until in jr high I just told my dad I really would rather walk the nearly 2 miles to school (even in the below zero winters) than ride that bus again. He asked me why and I finally told him. My dad was a bit stunned that this had gone on for so long, then he asked if this was so and so’s daughter and I said yes. And he told me: you are bigger than her, taller than her and that next time she does anything to knock her on her ass. I was worried about getting in trouble with the bus driver but my dad assured me it’d be okay.

Here is a great shot of me showing one of my 4-H pigs, about 6th grade.

So one day in 7th grade after having this girl sit behind me and kick my sit and say nasty things, I’d had it. I got up, turned around and asked if she wanted to fight. (You should note that I had reached my full height of 5’4″ and I was a hearty farm girl who rode horses, did 4-H and FFA, worked cows, sheep, pigs, hauled hay, and all other sorts of farm things. My nemesis was a couple inches shorter, probably 20 lbs lighter and not a farm girl.) I can still remember that day. She got up, said some nasty things, and I knocked her on her ass. This pretty much ended it, she would from time to time say something and I’d just challenge her and she’d back off. Of course, not all the mean girls I’ve know in my life can be dealt with so easily. Because let’s face it girls can be very sneaky and clever-especially when they are mean.

Now, fast forward nearly 20 years. I am in my mid thirties, mommy to the cutest set of boy/girl twins you’ve ever met, a college graduate, a chemistry teacher who took time off to raise these sweet babies, and now have “mommy friends”. Here’s where you think, finally! All that mean girl crap of the past is gone. We are all mature, intelligent, women, who are all in the same boat: Trying to raise our kids the best we can, juggling housework, marriage and bills. And still trying to keep a little bit of our identity as women intact by having some “big girl” time together.

(july 09)

But little did I know, the mean girls had grown up to be “The Mommy Guilt Club” (MGC). If you’ve been fortunate enough not to encounter this club allow me to give you a few examples:
-pregnancy difficulties
-labor and delivery (horror) stories

Let me be clear, I do not want to make light of the difficulties some of us have had in getting pregnant (been there), staying pregnant (done that), or the difficulty of L&D. But what I’ve found is that no matter how difficult your struggles, or how heart breaking: The members of the MGC have had it worse, had it longer, had more etc. That’s not to say that some of these members haven’t had it worse, it’s just that they never allow anyone else tell their story.

-Breastfeeding– It’s like guys comparing their high school glory days or the size of their, shoe. For women, if you couldn’t breastfeed a pack of wolverines while juggling, you really weren’t trying hard were you?
I will admit that breastfeeding was hard to do. It is a natural thing, a wonderful thing to do for you and your child. Being a farm girl and science teacher I think it’s the best thing for a new baby. However, it was not, at least for me, an easy thing to do. It did not come “natural” to me in spite of the many books I read while pregnant. I know that trying to figure this out with a newborn is difficult, but with two? Yikes! It was the hardest thing for me to do, I didn’t make a lot of milk, and having babies who were born at 35 weeks (which our pediatrician said made them “lazy suckers”) made it even harder.
But please, before you throw your bras at me, I do know women who were champs and were able to breast feed twins very well.

-SAHM vs. working moms
Before ever getting pregnant I was adamant about staying home to raise my children. I thought, and still do think, it was the best thing for our children. That being said I know there are families who cannot afford to give up an income, or single mothers who have no choice but to work. I refuse to judge the choices or circumstances of women doing what they feel is best for their families.

And now my dirty little secrets: Staying home with kids is hard. And there are days I wonder why if my kids would be better off with a sitter who maybe had more patience than I had that day. And selfishly, I miss working. I miss being a teacher. And yes, as the members of the MGC will tell me, I know I am teaching valuable things to my own sweet little kids. But I miss being a chemistry teacher. I miss the mental challenge of trying to stay ahead of really bright kids. I love science. I also miss working in a professional environment, with other professionals. I know that my kids are only going to be little for so long and that this stage will go quickly. But still.

But as of today, I resign my membership in the Mommy Guilt Club. I am trying to be a good, Christian mother and wife. I am working to raise children who love God, who are loved, secure, confident, and kind people. Maybe I’m not doing it the way you would, I’m sure I could do it better. But I’m working on it and I refuse to let mean girls dictate how I should take care of my family.

And that is the end of my little speech.
I’d love to hear your comments.

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Finally getting back into making things. I’ve finished my yearly calendar Christmas gifts for my family. I know that January is nearly over but they are done and in the mail. Better late than never or as the postman said yesterday, “at least you’re early for next Christmas”. A nice way to look at things. I’ve been playing with my new goodies from the new Occasions Mini from Stampin Up. The clear mount stamps are wonderful to use and I love the storage!

I love butterflies, so when I saw the new butterfly embossilit, I had to have it!
So far I’ve taken my favorite in colors (bermuda bay, dusty durango, and rich razzelberry) and made several sets of butterflies to use on various projects. These combined with the vintage vogue wheel are becoming my favorites!

A birthday card

And a thank you tag

Next up will be scrap booking with these lovelies!

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I think January has to be one of the best months of the year. Sure, we are all a little hung-over from the Christmas madness of buying gifts, making stuff, mailing more stuff, decorating, and coming off of a pure sugar high. But it’s also signals the official start of a new year. A time we can close a chapter of our lives and hopefully start over new. Personally last year was a bit rough. (more than actually) But I’m working on not being a “poor me” whiner since things could always be worse. No matter how bad things might look, I know that there are always others who worse off than I am.

Yesterday the hubby and I watched a pbs special on “Happiness”. A two hour special that looked at what is happiness, what makes us happy, what keeps us happy, and the various research to explain all of these areas. It was a pretty good show, I’d recommend it if you are looking for a bit of inspiration. The program looked at traditional science/physiology, self help books/programs, workshops, Buddhist monks, and people who had endured or were enduring something really terrible.

Bottom line as I saw it:
1) The things we think we need to be happy (new purses, crafty supplies etc) only give us a brief bit of happiness. And then we are on our way to our next “fix”.
2) Happy people had a strong faith and a core set of beliefs.
3) People can and do overcome really awful circumstances/events/childhoods etc.
4) and those who are resilient (and have lots of #2) are able to be happy
5) We need strong, positive interconnections with others to help us be happy. Someone to share our experiences with.
6) Happiness is contagious. A Harvard study of a small town over many years found that happiness travels up to 4 degrees of separation.
7) The older we get, the smaller our circle of people gets. And we get happier as we get older. Sweet! Something to look forward to!

But for me, as a Christian woman who struggles with happiness and contentment this really brought home some big ideas I’ve been neglecting. When I’m not happy or content with my life it’s because
I am pushing myself away from God. The closer I am to God-prayer, studying his word, worship, music- the better off I am.

So for this new year, I am working on a closer walk with God. Trying to avoid buying stuff to make me happy, being thankful for what I have, for the blessings I have in my family and friends. I am not going to spend time on projects that I don’t really love. I will not spend time with people who are negative, non-supportive, or are just plain a waste of time. That last may seem harsh but time is precious, why waste it with people who are going to drag you down or who are just shallow! Instead of the traditional resolutions to get organized and lose weight I’m going to work on this:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful
-Psalm 139:14

-taking care of myself, my family, my home, my friends

I need to spend more quiet time with these two!

And I should also work on this disaster before my hubby calls for a crime scene investigator!

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