Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Non-Traditional Christmas Letter

I actually love getting Christmas letters with Christmas cards. I enjoy getting to know my friends' kids through these yearly letters and hearing about their jobs and vacations. However, I often wonder about everything that is left out of these letters. I didn't do a Christmas letter this year but here are some things I would have probably left out...

  • We got our first call from the principal last month when Carson punched a schoolmate, causing him to bleed (OK- so this kid had been teasing Carson for months but my first grader did hit someone and this is never excusable).
  • My eldest son, i.e. the offspring of an English teacher, made a D on a book report he worked on in class for three days. The worst is that it was barely a D. He said he got "distracted" and I was thinking "for three days?" He is going to have to rewrite it over the holidays. I am such a witch.
  • All of our animals are somewhat crazy. One of our cats now uses the sandbox as a litterbox and we can't use the sandbox anymore. It is about to be remodeled into a playhouse with the sand dumped into the woods behind our house.
  • We went to the Gulf Coast this year and that's it. No wild vacations, no romantic getaways, no pictures with Mickey Mouse. We stayed in Prairieville. We go to Baton Rouge every few weeks; does that count as a vacation? I didn't think so.
  • Lila is really cute but she must be held 90% of the time and she poops like there's no tomorrow. She also drools.
  • I am a housewife. That means I do a lot but talk about a big yawn to describe in a newsletter! And what woman doesn't do all that I do? It's kind of like writing "this year our whole family breathed and had pulses every day!!!" Big whoop-de-do.
  • Our hobbies... well, that's always hard because we really don't have any hobbies that truly count. Is child-rearing and all that it entails a hobby? Kevin goes to the LSU games but that couldn't really be counted as entertainment this year (at least not for LSU- maybe for the opposing teams). We watch TV together and like reality TV... wait, are you falling asleep as you read about our sad existence? I am going to start making up hobbies. This year it will be tornado chasing and sky diving.

Here are some of my other favorite things I have read in people's newsletters in the past that made me chuckle: one described their son as "trying his hardest" at T-ball (read: he sucks), another described their job as challenging (read: I am not up to my job title), yet another described their job as "comfortable" (read: boring as heck). I also know that anytime someone describes their child, husband, or life in general as too perfect that they are lying.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Not a creature was stirring except two little mice!

Carson and Despereaux
Both boys and their mice in their little exercise balls. Jake also had to be part of the photo! The mice make him nervous.

Cool place for two little mice to live! They sleep in the upper level.

Here are some shots of the boys and their mice. Despereaux is white and is Carson's mouse. Darth Vader is primarily black and is Cullen's mouse. Both are girls despite their masculine names.

Merry Christmas

This Christmas I took very few pictures. This one of Lila is actually one of the few I got. I actually was enjoying everyone and everything so much that I forgot to get out the camera! I also cannot seem to get a good shot of the boys' "big" Christmas present (by big I mean most exciting). They wanted pets this year (like I don't have enough creatures to take care of already) and as we decided what to allow Santa to get we went from an iguana, to a bearded dragon, to a gecko, back to bearded dragon, then to mice. The pros of mice are as follows:

  • Cheap. Both the mice and their habitat would have cost about $80 but of course Santa got them and we all know children view Santa's pockets as bottomless. Bearded dragons and their habitats cost Santa upwards of $400 and Santa likes to keep things even for all of the children all around the world.

  • Short life span. Why is this a good thing? Well, if I were a nice mom I would want my children to never experience the pain of losing a pet. However, I am a practical mom and I know their attention spans are still short. Therefore a pet that dies in 2-3 years is a good thing. Bearded dragons live over 20 years! I do not want to retire with a "beardy" in my house.

  • Easy... yes, mice poop and they will probably stink a little too. However, the boys' room already stinks of little boy sweat all the time anyway so a little more odor doesn't bother me. I have thought of keeping the kitty litter and Lila's diaper pail in there as well to make it where just one room in the house stinks. Also, bearded dragons need to be misted with water and be fed live food. If I did that daily for an animal then that animal would then be getting more attention than my husband, which is not quite right. I only mist Kevin every other day and he never gets live food. He's lucky if he gets chili dogs and oven fries.

  • Mice also don't gross me out or scare me. I don't like reptiles and am still confused about where my reptile lovers came from. I think it may be part of an evil experiement. Or maybe it's God's way of keeping me versatile.

  • They are funny. I like the way mice run around. Call me simple minded but it's cute to watch them in their little wheels.

So Happy Holidays to everyone as we begin the real twelve days of Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Cullen and his good friend from the neighborhood. We love him and would keep him if we could!

I cannot believe that it is snowing! No, we haven't moved... we're still in sub-tropical South Louisiana. The boys have really been wanting to see snow and we had thought about going on a vacation somewhere where there is snow. Now we don't have to! God just saved us thousands of dollars. He also probably saved us some frustration as well because after about an hour the boys were inside playing with Legos, having deemed the snow "too cold" (duh). Kevin has gone to work despite the winter warnings so we're just hanging out at home! It is amazing to look out of the window and see this.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Tis the Season to Wrap Gifts

I love wrapping presents. I usually have some wrapped before we even get our tree up and the tree just doesn't look complete without presents. In fact, I think it looks kind of sad and empty after Christmas is over and there is nothing but empty space and maybe a few birthday presents for me underneath! Here is the top of the present I have wrapped for my newest little niece, Cecilia. The ribbon and felt snowflake are from Stampin' Up! and the little fleur de lis spoon came from You R Invited in Geismar.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Baby is Seven

I can't believe that Carson is seven today! He will always be my baby. My friend Angela Whitaker has read up on birth order information and she says that if there is a five year or more gap between children the birth order starts over. That means Carson will have the tendancies of a last born (i.e. "baby" of the family) and Lila will have characteristics of an only child. It makes sense if you think about it! That is what I try to remember when Carson still comes and gets in our bed at night (scared) or asks me to rub his back until he gets to sleep (just with one finger- he is very specific). Two nights ago he fell asleep on top of me on the sofa and at sixty pounds and over 4 feet in length it was comical. Reminds me of a big Golden Retriever puppy... they just don't realize how big they are and neither does Carson! He was hanging off of me but he was happy as a clam. I was smushed. He says he is going to live with me forever but he adores girls so much that I doubt it, unless his wife moves in with us too.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Where the heck does Cullen sleep?

Lila has been sleeping for TWO HOURS straight and I have done more work in those two hours than a team of Merry Maids could do in an entire day. I was going up to Cullen's bed (top bunk) to try to change the sheets when I saw this (see photo). Good Lord, where does this child sleep? Why does he need to sleep with so much junk? He and Carson both remind me of little crows or Gollum (sp) from The Lord of the Rings series because of the way they covet and shelter their little treasures. I have no such love of all of their junk and I am the opposite of a pack rat. I am a Throw-that-crap-away rat. There has been more than one occasion where they have happened upon something "special" of theirs (which can sometimes be confused with ordinary trash or junk) in the trash can. When that happens and they get upset I'm always up and arms saying things like "Oh my goodness! How did that get in there? I am so glad that you found that piece of lint/broken toy/nasty rock before the garbage man came!" What I am REALLY thinking is "Man, I need to use garbage bags they can't see through." Needless to say I have decided not to change Cullen's sheets until he tidies up his bed. He will be very sad indeed if I end up having to tidy it for him.

Happy Birthday Kevin

Today is Kevin's birthday. Poor Kevin gets little celebration these days with Carson's birthday being the very next day. I don't think he really cares that much but I feel a little bad that the last time we had a real celebration was the night before Carson was born when I had his family over to celebrate Kevin's 30th. Now I won't come right out and say how old Kevin is but Carson is going to be seven tomorrow. I can hear your wheels turning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Gifts Class

Every year I do a Christmas Gifts class and this year is no exception! Here are photos of the projects. One project is not shown because I don't have all of the supplies yet. The project not shown is a gift card tin. We will use a stainless tin and decorate it with gender neutral holiday paper and add ribbon and an adorable felt snowflake. I will be using these tins for my teacher gifts this year (with a gift card inside, of course!). They are also a good way to wrap jewelry. The total cost for the class is $14, which is an absolute steal! I really don't know what I was thinking. It is at my house on Friday, December 12 from 4:30-8:30 (open house- projects should take under an hour). Please let me know right away if you'd like to join me as I do have limited spots available.

Glass ornament with stamped image... classic!

This will be my Christmas card this year as well as a class project. It's a card that can double as an ornament. It comes with a dark brown square envelope. I checked with my postmaster and it won't cost extra postage to mail these! I am putting a photo on the back of mine.

A classic set of informals. I did my sample using red ink but you can use whatever color ink you want. The ribbon and layering paper will be olive (no options there). Of course I have the whole alphabet set so you can use whatever letter you want! Instant gift.

This is perhaps the simplest but also maybe the best little gift. It uses a while tile from Lowe's and black Staz On Ink. That adorable little chef is from the set "Voila" and "Bon Appetit" is stamped on the bottom. I simply colored in his scarf with a sharpie. This is meant to be used as a kitchen menu or notes dry erase tile. You can't scrub/clean the stamped images but you can clean all around them.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My New Life

A picture's worth a thousand words. Rarely do I believe this but this is one prime example.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stinkin' Cute

Lila deserved her own post. I didn't want this adorable picture to get swallowed up in the other Thanksgiving photos! She is wearing a dress I ordered from Mary Walker, who has a sewing business ( Mary's mom did the smocking by hand and did it just as I requested. I think Lila looks so sweet in her little Fall dress!

Thanksgiving 2008

My three babies! Lila cannot keep her hands out of her mouth! Hampton, Carson, Hannah, Lila, & Cullen watching the racoons eat. The bunny is not real, though. My mom likes wildlife statues.
I thought this was so clever! Cullen made it out of some pinecones that my mom saved as well as a few other odds and ends he found on the ground.

We started our Thanksgiving celebration a day early this year by driving to my parents' house in Folsom to meet up with my friend Michele and her two boys, Jon and Ben. The boys all had a good time once we stopped trying to keep them out of the river and let them get wet and sandy despite our best intentions. Then my brother, his wife, and their two kids arrived Wednesday night from Mobile. Today we saw most of the Broders family with the exception of my other brother, Leo, and his family. Leslie and Mark even came with their new baby, Cecilia. We had a great time hiking on the trails, riding on the John Deere Gator, and of course eating. We took lots of pictures trying to get a photo worthy of our Christmas card. Above are a few that are NOT contenders for the family card but are still cute. We feel so blessed to have been with so many family members Thanksgiving day and can't wait to do it all over again with the Phillips family on Saturday!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just some cute pictures

This is what Lila looks like when she fusses at me.

Lila and my firstborn... the formerly evil Macon. He looks like he's about to attack but I promise he's not.

I wanted to post some of my new pictures of Lila. There is no theme except our adorable baby girl. I am not taking pictures of the boys until they get their haircuts.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lila Has Rolled Over

After working hard at it for a few weeks Lila rolled over tonight. She was actually kind of PO'd afterwards. It was as if she didn't realize that the end result of all of her hard work would entail her being on her belly (not her favorite place to be). She must have missed the memo about the opposite side of one's back being the belly. I am not sure if she will do it again because she was crying quite loudly, hence the lack of photo of the event. After all of Carson's muscle issues and late milestones I am thrilled every time Lila does anything. She already bears more weight on her legs at 4 months than Carson did at 14 months and we feel very appreciative and blessed with this attention hungry girl child with the smile that makes us melt. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Hostess Club

For those of you who don't know this, one of the things I do with my stamping business is have a set group of ladies come over once a month. I have projects for them to do and they place a Stampin' Up! order with me. We always have fun and I love having a chance to visit with "the stamping ladies" as the boys call them. The ladies take turns being the hostess, which entails bringing the snacks for the month and getting the free merchandise that our hostesses get. Here are photos of the projects that we did this month. Both of these card ideas were copied from the presentations at the mini regional conference in Jackson a few weeks ago, although I changed the colors for the ribbon flower card.

Project One: Sunset Card

Punch a circle out of a sticky note and put it on a piece of white cardstock. Sponge Summer Sun, Pumpkin Pie, Tangerine Tango, Ruby Red (in that order- lightest to darkest) ink one at a time on white cardstock. Remove the circle, exposing the white area underneath. Dab more of the Summer Sun on the exposed white area. Stamp an image in black on top of this "sunset" background and layer with various colors of cardstock.

Project Two: Ribbon Flower Card

This card is harder to explain in writing. I stamped a snowflake on the back of a small piece of pink cardstock. This snowflake simply served as a guide for punching the holes to thread the ribbon through. We sewed taffeta ribbon through the holes to create the flower; the back looks terribly messy but the front turns out cute! Add a flat backed pearl from the embellishments kit from the Stampin' Up! catalog (adhere with a glue dot). If you need more details for this card please let me know!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dressing Cheesy for a Reason

There are some occasions that call for one to dress their child in somewhat cheesy clothes. Game Days are one of those occasions, especially game days when your team can use all the help they can get! Lila was wearing her LSU clothes by 5:45 a.m. today. Geaux Tigers!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Med School Here We Come

Carson wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up (he and Cullen already have an arrangement where Carson will treat all of Cullen's future snakes). Since Carson aced his Skeletal System test I am sure he will exceed in Vet School one day as well. I think he may have done better on it than I would have. I am very proud and a little ashamed that all I remember doing in first grade is reading and writing in "script" that I presented proudly to my teacher. It turned out it was really scribble scratch and she was unimpressed. I don't write too much better to this day.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stampin' Up! Mini Regionals

Me and Linda Hansen, who is famous in Stampin' Up! World! She was one of the ladies in charge of the regional in Jackson.
After a fun afternoon of stamping we had worked up an appetite. A few of us met at Louise's (a hole in the wall south of Jackson) for dinner. L-R Top row: Laura and Erica, bottom row: Tracey, me, and Tanya.

Yesterday I drove to Jackson, Mississippi with several of my downline to attend the Stampin' Up! mini regionals there. About twenty two other members of my group (all the way down to level four downline) were also there. We had a great afternoon listening to some business tips from other demonstrators and the ladies who were there representing Stampin' Up! corporate offices. One of my level two downline, Melanie, presented how to use the new "Big Shot" and did a fantastic job. I also was asked to speak and to share some business boosting tips. It was very exciting to be chosen to talk to such a knowledgeable group of ladies! Most of all I had fun hanging out with other people who enjoy stamping and love Stampin' Up! as much as I do! It was the longest I had ever been away from Lila but Kevin did a great job and even went several places with all three kids. :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat!

This year Cullen was the grim reaper for Halloween since he decided he was big enough to be something scary. Carson was a cartoon character named Ben 10 (one of the lesser known characters amongst adults but he loves Ben 10!). Lila was going to be Princess Leia but she went down for a nap at 4:30 and as of now (8:30 p.m.) she is still sleeping. Being the smart mom I am this time around I let her sleep. We can stick her in her costume any day but naps are not a sure thing every day. The boys had fun and now I get to slowly get rid of their candy while they are sleeping. Seriously, what does the average family need twenty pounds of candy for? I wish I was still teaching because I would just give it to my students.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting so big!

Here is a picture of Lila on her belly (laying on the quilt Cathy Gaubert made for her... thanks, Cathy!). Doesn't Lila look so big? She is getting very long and heavy. I'm curious to see how much she weighs at her four month check-up! I tried weighing her and me while I was holding her on the scale then weighing me without holding her but I felt the need to take about 18 pounds off of MY weight for clothes and breastmilk and got distracted by all of that math...

First Grade or Med School?

Carson has to study a drawing of the human skeleton tonight and be able to name the following parts: skull (easy), ribs and elbow (easy), mandible, clavicle, humerus, femur, patella, phalanges... what the heck!?! I didn't know we were prepping for med school three months into first grade. I guess I will need to send up a stethoscope tomorrow and will be on the lookout for a permission slip allowing him to operate in a learning hospital. As I type this Carson is laying on the floor playing with Lila (per my instructions) and I hear him saying in a singsong voice "Lila, your skull protects your brain" and "Lila, your ribs protect your heart". That's good because at this rate in the Ascension schools she'll be expected to know that when she enters kindergarten.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

November Classes

After two October classes, two October hostess clubs, and one adorable but needy baby, I need to take a bit of a breather so I won't be having any extra classes (beyond hostess club) in November. Please feel free to ask me if you need any ideas or help as you get ready for the holiday season, whether you plan to make your cards, tags, or gifts or if you just need a cute way to wrap something. Don't forget that if you wrap even the smallest present in a cute manner it will "wow" the recipient. Keep watching for gift ideas over the next few weeks. I will be stamping a lot of Christmas gifts this year and am also using a Simply Scrappin' Kit to make the most adorable baby gifts. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Card Class

Here are the cards we did at my most recent card class. We did one more but I didn't get a good picture and I got tired of trying to get one. It was fun and I enjoyed making the extras to keep on hand for myself. I love having a stash of cards to pull out when I need them!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lila's Deepest Desire

Trying so hard!
Beyond frustrated
Then back to normal!

Lila's deepest desire is to figure out how to suck her thumb again. Kevin took pictures of her sucking her thumb ten minutes after she was born so we assume she was sucking it in the womb as well. She's having great difficulty finding her thumb now, despite her admirable and never-ending efforts. She tries one fist at a time, she tries both fists at a time, she sucks her arm (in case she was totally wrong about the original location) and then cries. The $30 worth of pacifiers we own don't cut the mustard; she wants her thumb.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I have to share what I did today!

The mural is located to the side of the crib. She can look at it when she wakes up!

I painted a tree on Lila's wall today. The idea was my sister's; she painted a tree in her baby's nursery (she's due in November) with more of a jungle theme. I took her great idea and ran with it. It took me the whole day off and on during Lila's cat-naps and even some while she was awake. I can get about 20 minutes out of her if I talk and sing to her while she lays nearby (she likes various Elvis songs). Anyway, this is the result! I am pleased.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ribs and "Frinch Fris"

Someone told me that I don't have enough posts about Carson. This is ironic because several of my students told me that I talked way more about Carson that Cullen last year. Carson is very funny and pretty bright so he cracks us up a lot. This was a recent essay of his in class "My favorite food is ribs. I get my ribs at Chilles. I love ribs with frinch fris and barbe cyuw sase on it." I love that he was so specific and that he made such a good attempt at spelling barbecue sauce. "Cyuw". Sound it out. Above is his drawing of his plate of ribs and french fries, including a spoon and a fork. There is no knife because Carson always asks us to cut the "chicken" off of his ribs.
However, this is not my very favorite example of Carson's schoolwork. In pre-school when asked what his dandelion wish (if he blew on a dandelion and got awarded a wish) would be he said "I would wish for a clone so I wouldn't have to go to school." This was in pre-K. I knew it was going to be a long 13 years of pre-college education when I read that answer.

Birthday Dessert

I have to admit that I didn't bake Cullen a cake for his birthday. I didn't even buy one! I did bring snacks to school that day, even though Lila was screaming and I would have much preferred to find the closest open bar (Sweet Home Alabama- Reese Witherspoon "You have a baby... in a bar!"). Back to the cake... I have to give Cullen kudos and also acknowledge yet again that this is my child because he wore his "Birthday Boy" ribbon pinned to his shirt just when we went out to dinner because he knew it might help him get free dessert. I think Kevin would crawl under the table if waitresses sang him "Happy Birthday" but Cullen is OK with the singing if they are carrying something sweet while they're doing it (just like me). So even though I didn't make or buy Cullen anything he did get dessert at Ralph and Kacoo's and they sang to him and they gave him a place mat to color on. Plus there were swordfish and other dead creatures mounted on the wall and full fish tanks. We have none of these things so it was quite a hit. Happy Birthday, sweetie. When you look back on your ninth birthday you will remember that we fed you and let you walk around and look at dead animals.

Halloween Scrapbook Pages

These are the scrapbook pages (the top photo is of the left page, the bottom photo is the right) for my October hostess clubs. I usually offer a card option as well upon request and it's just a variation of the scrapbook pages. These pages use basic black, pumpkin pie, and kiwi kiss as well as Creepy Crawly designer series paper. The Big Shot machine was used to cut out the pumpkins, which are just mounted on lollipop sticks I bought for an ill-fated treat idea for one of the boys' classes and never used. It's simple to create this project but I think everyone's Halloween snapshots will be really easy to show off using such a great color combination!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Big Boy is NINE

Baby Cullen

It's so hard to believe but Cullen is nine today. His party isn't for a few weeks so today will be pretty low key but he did open his presents this morning and was thrilled with his new Wii game from Kevin and me and a Pokedex (book about Pokemon) from Carson. Nine years ago from this moment I was in Wal-Mart thinking I had three weeks until the baby would come and Kevin was in New Orleans at a meeting. I jokingly assured him as he left for New Orleans that I "won't have the baby today". Five hours later my water broke. Here are two pictures of Cullen; one of him at Lila's age being held by Kevin and one from this morning before school. He tried to talk me into letting him miss school today but I said no. I may give in one day when he gets older!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Three Months Old (almost)

A little hint of a smile; it's hard to get her to smile AND take the picture!
How cute is that? These little bloomers were a gift from DeNea. The gift card said it was something "every little girl needed" and she was right!

Here are some new pictures of Lila, who is almost three months old. She is getting a little less colicky and she is sleeping through the night 2 out of 3 nights. I consider sleeping 8 hours or more in a row to be "through the night" even if her 8 or more hours don't coincide with when I go to bed. She has slept as many as nine hours straight. She was also Baptized last weekend at our church in Prairieville (I am sure I will post some pictures once I get them from my mom). In addition, she is trying very hard to roll over and suck her thumb (although the thumb is proving to be elusive so far). The boys are loving her so much and having a lot of fun. Cullen often helps when I am trying to clean the kitchen by making her smile and gurgle.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blog Candy

The first five people who post a message/comment on one of my October posts and tell me which project is your favorite get a hand-stamped card that you can use (i.e. I won't be writing on it!!!). This applies to anyone... customers, downline, family, friends!

Halloween Sweets and Treats Class

These are the projects for my Halloween Sweets and Treats class. The class is full but I can tell you where to get all of the supplies if you'd like to copy them! All projects use the Chills and Thrills rub ons ($10.95 for two sheets). The class is next Sunday, October 12 at my house.