It’s Thursday again… gotta love Thursdays. And, it’s a Thursday in front of a three day weekend. Color me happy! This is one of the last weekend’s Steve has off with me (his days off rotate) so, I’ve given him full rein on Saturday. He gets to decide what we’re going to do with the day – the only exception being the CR-V’s oil change that afternoon. The day promises to be full of interesting moments – that’s for sure!

Other than an exciting Saturday afternoon, I am going to be BUSY this weekend in my studio! My friend, Heather, has been selling a lot of my extra scrapping supplies for me through her eBay store – and I’m determined to clear out the stuff I love, but just am not using. So, I’m going to give the whole studio an overhaul and get things packaged up for her. I know that she’s getting at least one full box of idea books and probably two of magazines. All of that in addition to what she already has and what I’m going to have ready for her after assures that her business will be healthfully running for ages. Of course, that’s in addition to the items that others have asked her to sell too. I’ve passed the word onto a few of our scrapping friends, and they’ve loaded her up! The best part is that it’s not just scrapping stuff – its clothes, household items, and office stuff too! LOVE her business!

So, with the deep clean, I’m planning to overhaul my studio. I have a few things I’ve wanted to make/create to hang, and I’m going to do it! There’s nothing better to get me feeling inspired than a clear space – and this weekend is going to be the time for it to all happen!

I’m on the search for some great quotes to have cut into vinyl so I can put them onto my walls. I have other places I want to put them in the house, but I have specific spots in my studio to put them. Any ideas? What quotes inspire you to create your masterpieces?

A few of you have asked how I store my plethora of ink pads. Well, I bought a couple of wall shelves on the Bay and painted them black. They hold all of my full size inkpads. The smaller ones (cats eyes, mini pads, etc) are all stored in a white plastic drawer unit. It’s full. I think I have a problem! With over 200 inkpads – I think it’s reached beyond an addiction level.

*** argh.... for some reason I can't post photos today. I'll try tonight from home. Here's the post from December when I started getting my current studio set up though!



Another Celebratory Occasion...

Today marks another celebratory occasion – it’s my father’s birthday! He is one heck of an incredible guy! After serving in the US Air Force in various groups (hospital administration, and the Office of Special Investigations – OSI, among other things), and after helping my mom raise 4 kids - he set out to retire. I imagine retiring to be something like an extended vacation; cabana boys, frosty beverages, lots of downtime and relaxing, traveling, lots of art time and definitely oodles of fun.

My Dad, however, had other ideas. After going back to school to get another Master’s degree he is now a professor at San Juan Community College, a Counselor with the Farmington LDS Family Services office, a Gospel Doctrine instructor (LDS Sunday School class), and plays in 3 different bands. Just thinking about how his schedule is, exhausts me. Seriously – and I am an energetic gal!

My dad continues to amaze me. Every time I talk to him, he shares insights, helps me with issues, and has a great listening ear. He’s always there (with my mom normally) to help me out when things are tough and I just need to understand why someone is the way they are or why they’re acting as they do.

My dad is an incredible cheerleader for me when I’m struggling and gives me just the right amount of oomph to get me going again. He’s the best dang tenor and bass that I’ve ever had the joy to sing with – and harmonize with as he plays his guitar.

I’m so glad he chose to make me his daughter! I wouldn’t be who I am today without him!

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

Back on the Wagon...

Now that I’ve had my fun gorging, it’s time to get back on the wagon. Here’s what I’m hoping I can do…

Cut out all soda. This is going to be SO hard for me! I’m a major Diet Coke drinker. I visit Sonic almost daily for my fill, and will have to find another way to get the taste without the bubbles and caffeine. Also, with the news about Crystal Lite (my FAVORITE non-carbonated drink other than water) this is going to be especially difficult.

Cut out all processed sugars. This is also going to be very hard for me because I’ve grown fond of chocolate (who knew) and all matters of sour candy.

Cut out most processed foods. This is going to be interesting. I try to make sure that our food has beneficial content and not just empty calories. It’s loaded with fiber, vitamins, and/or other natural ingredients.

Eat foods high in protein but low in fat. I’m not an Adkins or South Beach diet follower. But, I have taken parts of each diet/eating plan and have incorporated it into my eating style. I don’t agree with eating all the meat you want, and including the fat too. No one needs more fat. So, it’s lean meats (chicken, fish, and some red meats) and low fat cheeses for me.

Eat foods low in carbohydrates. I am a girl who loves potatoes and corn. I can’t cut out all carbs, especially since I’m a vegi lover at heart. But, watching what the carb content is in my food is going to become more prevalent again.

All of this is going to be a challenge for me. I know I can do it; I’ve done it before and have seen the results within my body. Breaking the habits I’ve redeveloped though is going to be where my challenge lies. The holiday eating season is right around the corner, and if I’m not back into my zone – it could mean major disaster for me!

WOW... busy Ohio weekend!

{Photos to come later...}

WOW… what a weekend! It was a lot of fun and full of good times. Not a single calorie was spared - our bodies loved every minute of it but will get us back this week at the gym!

Steve and I traveled out to Ohio so that he could see all of the fun places I’ve talked about over the years. We flew in on Friday, and met up with my friend Daryl and his girlfriend Trish. What a fun couple! After picking up Daryl’s car (thanks, man!) we did a little gallivanting around town before we needed to meet up with my friend Belynda and her family. We stopped by Dorothy Lane Market and gorged ourselves on Killer Brownies. Oh.my.goodness – I had forgotten how incredibly delicious they are. (By the way – they do offer mail order!) I’m going to figure out how to make them myself. I knew someone who worked at DLM and he let a major secret out about how they’re made. With the remembrance of that information, I’m going to give it a few attempts.

We met up with Bel and had a good time reminiscing and enjoying wedding photos. We all went over to Skyline to enjoy a typical Ohio Cincinnati style chili delicacy – and did we ever! I had chili cheese dog, chili cheese fries, AND a 5 way (spaghetti noodles, chili, onions, cheese – dang I can’t remember what the 5th ingredient is). Talk about calorie overload! Afterwards, we drove around down town Dayton and enjoyed seeing the changes that are slowly coming to town. We also had to make a true to Heather style trip to Wal-Mart for socks and a sweatshirt (I’m ALWAYS cold!).

We then went over to our hostess/host’s home of Michelle and Steve Horton. What an incredibly hospitable couple! They were incredibly kind and generous to us even though it was already a crazy busy weekend for them with birthday parties and family in town. They had us sleep in their master bedroom while they slept upstairs with their family. They went above and beyond to see to our comfort. It was completely unnecessary but very much appreciated.

Saturday we spent some time at Malena and Madison Frazer’s birthday party which was held at Pump It Up. Talk about a LOT of fun. Steve enjoyed himself more than I think I’ve seen him do in quite some time. I hope I captured his grin on camera because it was adorable! After the party (and after eating cake and cupcakes --- more calories!) we went to Marions Piazza and completely enjoyed ourselves with pizza and salad. I had the sauerkraut and ham pizza (it’s REALLY good… they rinse and spin the sauerkraut dry so it’s crisp and not vineagery). Steve went with a safe bet of pepperoni and sausage. Marions has the BEST pizza in the Dayton area, and I miss it terribly!

After gorging ourselves, we stopped by Marco’s paper which was my favorite papercraft supply store. I always make sure to stop by their booth when they’re in town at the Grapevine Stamp Show. I spent a small chunk of money, but can’t wait to play with everything in my studio when I get a chance! We later met up with Belynda again and spent some time running around. While we were out, I was fortunate enough to find some “seasoned laver” to enjoy once we get back home. Seasoned laver is dried seaweed that has been roasted with a bit of salt. It sounds gross, but it is incredibly tasty. I love to eat it with a bit of sticky rice. Seriously yum – and GREAT for you.

After all of the running around, we went to Fricker’s for dinner where we met up with a bunch of friends. Daryl and Trish came, and so did Andrea. Rivka and her family, Michelle and her family, and bunches of others too. We (again) gorged ourselves on all kinds of food. Steve and I ordered “frickin’ chicken chunks” in addition to mini corn dogs, fried vegetables, and brew city fries. We definitely enjoyed Daryl and Trish’s nachos too. (See, I told you NO calories were spared!) After dinner we went back to Michelle’s to change clothes (we’re sloppy eaters) so that we could go out and meet up with more friends at the Yellow Rose.

More to come…..

What I Love About You: You Support Me

I love that you're willing to spend a weekend with me, in Ohio, where you don't know a soul - just to see the places I've talked about and meet some of the people I've talked about. I love that you're willing to try the foods I remember - even though they're totally not your style.

Why the Reminiscing?

I'm heading out to Ohio in a few hours. Why? Why not? I've wanted to bring Steve out to show him some of the things I talk about (Frickers, Skyline, Youngs Dairy, etc) I talk about from time to time, and to show him some of the places I used to hang (the Rose, etc). We're going to meet up with a few of my friends, namely Bel and Michelle. Rumour has it that a few others will be joining us for our night on the town (man, will I have the energy and stamina?), and I'm looking forward to a weekend of no drama with lots of fun.

Speaking of drama... good GRIEF. Teenagers I tell ya. Major drama - mainly with thinking they should be able to do as they please. Come on... if you live with us, you follow the rules. Ya know? Am I out of my mind? Here's the list of "living arrangement stipulations" that we discussed (months before she came) - what do you think?

Responsibilities:
- Keep bedroom clean and tidy. On a daily basis, this is to include making bed, putting clothes into appropriate basket or hamper, and having no garbage on the floor or other surfaces. Additionally, the light must be completely off when not in bedroom.
- Keep guest bathroom clean and tidy. On a daily basis, this is to include nothing on countertops, sink and countertop to have no makeup or other items on them, sufficient toilet paper on roll, nothing on the floor, shower curtain closed, and towels hung to dry. The hand towel displayed must be clean and folded correctly. This is the bathroom guests to use and must be maintained as such.
- Responsible for cleaning up own messes, including cooking dishes, countertops, and food that has fallen onto the floor.
- Responsible for cooking dinner at least one night a week.

Food/Kitchen Privileges:
- You are responsible for purchasing your own food, with the exception being the dinner meal. When dinner is cooked, you are welcome to join us. Otherwise, you are responsible for your own meals.
- No eating in bedroom. Absolutely no food stored in bedroom or anywhere other than designated kitchen space.
- All food is to be stored in either pantry basket or in refrigerator drawer. Food stored must be closed and/or stored appropriately (i.e. lids on bowls, no “loose” food, etc)
- You are responsible for cleaning up your own cooking mess. This is to include loading the dishes you used dishes into dishwasher, cleaning used countertops, and picking any and all food dropped onto the floor – and disposing of it appropriately.

Automobile/Parking:
- Please park your vehicle so that others can park in the garage. Do not block the driveway.
- Must pay for car insurance, and maintain vehicle on schedule.
- If you park in the driveway, park close to the garage door so that another car can easily park behind you.

Other:
- Absolutely no smoking, drinking of alcoholic beverages, or partaking of any illegal substances in our home or on our property.
- Must participate in weekly rotating household chores with other house occupants.
- Must be respectful of us, our home, and our belongings. Must treat guests with respect and politeness.
- Must obtain cell phone, and maintain service.
- When not in school full time, must obtain employment.
- Must be home for family dinner each Sunday evening, with the exception being work schedules. You are welcome to invite friends to join us.
- Laundry is to be completed on scheduled day. Date may be rescheduled due to work or school schedule.
- If you’re going to be out late (after midnight), let us know. You don’t have a curfew.
- No guests/friends are permitted in the house while Steve is sleeping.
- Your guests are welcome in our home. However, you are responsible for their behavior and actions when on our property. Please have them park along the curb, and not in the driveway.

In my opinion, these are things that would normally be considered condiderate roommate behavior. They aren't outlandish, ridiculous, or unheard of. It appears however, that to one who has moved away from home for the first time, it is competely ridiculous.

Drama - will it ever end?

Then and Now... a Comparison

Have you ever looked back at your life, even over maybe the last 5 years, and realize the changes, possibly huge changes that have occurred during that time? Today I thought for a bit on the changes I’ve had occur in my life, and am honestly quite shocked. Some of them were changes I made subconsciously or unintentionally. Others were made very deliberately. For some reason I’m shocked at the difference of who I am today, compared who I was then. I live my life differently in many ways, but in others I’m still very much the same.

For instance here are a few comparisons:

Then:
I lived in Dayton, Ohio.
Now:
I live in Roanoke, Texas – part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and about 3 miles from the Texas Motor Speedway.

Then:
I ate anything and everything I wanted, in whatever quantity I craved. I would gorge without a moment’s thought. I didn't give much thought to my body, or it's health. I was overweight and very much in denial.
Now:
I watch what I eat, and tend to curb the urge to eat. I do splurge here and there, but it’s VERY unusual for me to gorge. I give a lot of thought to my body and it's health. I am actively participating in many activities, and work/strive to get/keep myself in shape. I am not overweight (but am bottom heavy). I plan to participate in a marathon - what a difference!

Then:
I spent money as if it would never stop coming in. I didn’t save for a rainy day, and I was very frivolous with purchases I made.
Now:
I work hard to not stop myself from purchasing everything my heart desires. Oftentimes, the purchases I make are thought out and planned instead of spontaneous. I do make some spontaneous purchase, but they are not as common or often as they once were. (Though Steve will be the first tell you I still buy things I/We don’t need. He’s right…)

Then:
I would walk out of the house, to work, in whatever. There was no thought, rhyme or reason to many of the outfits I chose. I didn’t spend time doing my hair, or makeup. Au natural was very much the way I lived.
Now:
I care about myself physically. I take the time to put the effort into myself and into my appearance and attire.

Then:
I was willing to sacrifice the things I wanted most in life, for things I wanted at that moment.
Now:
I work hard to make sure that my life goals and plans are on track. I am not willing to sacrifice them for things that seem fantastic at the moment.

Then:
I did not plan to get married.
Now:
I am happily married, and to a man who is absolutely fantastic. We are so different in SO many ways. But, we also have strong similarities and common things too.

Then:
I loved doing crafty things.
Now:
I still enjoy crafting items. I’ve stream lined the crafting items I regularly participate in rather then doing so much. I spend most of my time focusing on paper crafts and home d├ęcor crafts than anything else.

Then:
I went out every weekend; dancing, karaoke, and partying the night away.
Now:
I hardly ever go out. We go out to eat, but I haven’t been out dancing or karaokeing in ages. I get my groove on while dancing around the house.

Then:
I was focused on myself and on what I wanted to do.
Now:
I’m focused on my family, and on our goals and future plans.

Then:
I taught crafting classes to my friends.
Now:
I design and teach classes for manufacturers. I travel around the country sharing the joy with those who understand and enjoy the same passion.

So many things have changed, but many things are still the same. I am still an early bird. I still love to cook and have dinner parties. I continue to enjoy stimulating and intellectual conversation. Although we have our differences (and sometimes they are quite massive) I still love and enjoy spending time with my parents and siblings.

Ahh the joys of deep thoughts!

Taking the Scenic Route

I love what I do. I love meeting the awesome enthusiasts across the world who share the passion for paper crafting with me. I love seeing the creativity that other artists (yes, you’re an artist too) release on their work. I also enjoy shopping for the supplies I feel inspired to use when I create. The supplies I use are not always found within the standard paper crafting arena, and I find that using alternative supplies spur my creativity to places I hadn’t dreamed of.

Wednesday evening, a package arrived from Scrappers Bliss loaded with new products I had been drooling over. One of the lines I was most excited by was released at CHA Summer by Scenic Route – specifically the Cape Town line. The “Which Way Black” and “Table Bay Floral” were two that as soon as I saw them I immediately wanted to have. I decided to shoot a message over to Sarah Milne (Scenic Route Creative Genius and owner) to share my excitement and thrill over them. They really are incredible papers.

The following morning, with my new purchases on my mind, I looked at their site, and realized how much of the different Scenic Route products line I love and own. I love to create. I love to create for manufacturers. I decided to enter their Design Team contest. The deadline for submissions is today, yes the day after I decided to enter. To submit, three layouts need to be sent in.
I sketched out 5 layouts, and decided what elements I wanted to incorporate into my design from work (all on break and lunch time - of course). I went home after work, got dinner ready, ran a few errands with Kimberlee and got my Sonic groove on (Large Diet Coke, extra ice) so that I’d be set to jam on my layouts.

I sat down in my studio, popped in a movie (The Producers), and started my marathon. I finished the first one (Loving You) and loved it. I finished the second one and started on the third. As I was cutting my papers down to match my sketch... I had the most unusual thought – at least for me. “Why are you doing this?” was the thought I had. The other was, “Why are you entering a Design Team contest?”

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t find an answer to either question. I know that for many, it’s the free products that draw them in for design teams. Although the free (or discounted) products are a great bonus, it’s the joy of seeing the products and my work together in a way that promotes the product that rings my bell. The free product just isn’t a draw for me. It’s not the notoriety either. I know that for some crafters, it’s seeing their name on the manufacturer’s or online store websites – though it is nice, it’s not a draw for me. Sometimes it’s the thought of (and sometimes imagined) prestige that draws them in. It’s not something I crave either.

Realistically, don’t have a lot of extra time. In fact, if you’ve read my blog recently, it’s something I really don’t have at all. I’ve started to lose the passion for paper crafting over the last little bit. It saddens me. It’s something I love – something I have a true passion for . Sometimes, when you’re focused on creating for others, and you don’t incorporate yourself or your personal life into your work – the work you want to do for yourself tends to go by the wayside. So, you’re focusing on creating for them and not for you. Your albums sit empty. There isn’t anything created for yourself.

With this new found thought on my mind, I finished the third layout, turned out the lights, and went to bed. I didn’t submit for the team.

I’m going to focus on creating for my family – for us. I’m going to focus on our life, the different little memories I have of us, the memories we share and that if they don’t get documented will go by the way side. I’ll continue designing for the companies I currently work with, but I’m not going to look for additional work. If it comes to me, I’ll think about it, but I’m not going to search anymore.

I will continue to love products. And I will continue to purchase the products I love that inspire me. I will continue to create and share my love of this incredible hobby with others. I’m going to change my focus – the focus I imposed upon myself – and create for a different reason. This is something new for me – something I haven’t done (my own fault) in at least 3 years.

If it just so happens to be that something I’ve created fits a publications call – FANTASTIC. If it doesn’t – FANTASTIC! I’ll have albums loaded with layouts and memories that I love. Albums I can look through with my family and friends and relish the fun times we’ve had together, and the fun memories we share. I'm going to work on taking the scenic route through my albums!

The End.

What I Love About You: You Leave me Voicemail

I love that you call and leave me voicemail messages to tell me you love me.

Relief.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. I work my day job anywhere from 10-12 hours a day. Before coming to work, I try to hit the gym (at 5am) and get my work out in because I know that once I’m off from work, it’s full speed ahead to get thigns ready for Steve to go to work and to get dinner on the table. Then, it's doing the small/quick cleaning that absolutely needs to be done. After tha, it's a nightmare if I have other things (NYOBC, Enrichment Night, etc) or any design assignments to do (the world seems to fall apart if I just want to sit down and relax for a rew moments).

Normally I jet home from work, cook dinner, get Steve’s lunch/dinner packed, get him out the door to work, then tidy/clean the house before I crash into bed (sometimes around 1 or 2 in the morning). Each of us have chores in our house, and they change every other week based on the chore cards pulled (with the exception of Kim always having her bedroom and the guest bathroom. Steve and I always rotate our bathroom with our bedroom.). It’s become an increasingly difficult challenge/battle for everyone to get their chores done so that our house maintains some sense of cleanliness and decorum. I don’t invite people over for lunch (coworkers) because I never know what our house is going to look like when I get there. I don’t have time to sit and relax after work because there’s too much to do around our house. The state of our home isn’t due to one culprit – it’s 3 of them (sometimes 4), US. It’s everyone’s fault.

50 years ago, expectations of wives were so much different than society places on us now. But, I still feel the obligation to meet the needs of a 1950’s wife. Have a perfectly immaculate house. A hot, nutritious and incredible culinary delight on the table fit for a king. All of the laundry clean, folded, pressed (if necessary) and put away on a daily basis (doesn’t happen at my house). Each room of our house immaculately cleaned, and the floors shining. Beds made, pillows fluffed. I’m sure there are grundles of other things that were expected back then too, but those are the ones most pressing on my mind at the moment. Reality is, as much as I would like to be able to do all of those things – I can’t. I tried. Believe me I tried. I don’t know how mothers with children do it. I know some women who accept the tings that fall, and move on continuing to strive for perfection. I know others who let it fall, and blame it on others. I know some women, who accept how things are, work to get better, and live life how it was intended. The latter is who I would like to be.

So, I decided to roll with the punches and hired a cleaning assistant (cleaning lady, cleaning staff, home hygiene assistant… it’s all the same). Honestly, I feel relieved. I’m relieved to know that I won’t have to worry about whether the guest bathroom toilet is clean. I’m relieved to know that the kitchen floor will be scrubbed. I’m relieved to know that the things I simply don’t have time for will be done for me. I’m relieved to know that I won’t feel like I need to bitch and remind people (sometimes myself included) to do their part to maintain our home. I’m REALLY looking forward to coming home from work on Monday to a clean home and to being able to relax and just do a few things that I enjoy – or even absolutely nothing. The cost is quite a lot less than I expected it to be, and it’s going to be equally split among everyone. In reality, it’s a small amount for the peace that I think it will help bring back to our home!

So, I’m accepting OUR faults, have found a solution (although all of the individuals aren’t happy with the solution) and can’t wait to see how it goes. Yay to me!

Blast!

My friends have talked to me for ages about getting onto myspace.com. I denied their requests because I thought it wouldn't go anywhere. And, I have my handy blog.

I succombed.

Here's my "my space" spot. Please be my friend! :)

ETA: Thanks Heather for letting me know I dropped part of my post! :)

The Itchy and Scratchy Show...

Oh.MY.GOSH... I itch SO bad. Seriously... like the worst itch of my life. Any tips? I've moisturized every hour.... on the hour.... and am now begging for light back scratching on a regular basis.

This weekend was VERY full! Saturday, after getting up at the crack of dawn, I got the laundry caught up and then Heather B. and I were off for our day of fun! We went and did the Polka Dot Potato classes (learned the basics of Adobe Elements - which I needed) in Richardson. It was good to sit down and take a computer class instead of teaching one. When I worked at Key, I was a corporate trainer, and one of the classes I was responsible for was our new hire training. It was VERY systems intensive. I did some of the same when I worked at FHHLC too, but only for our new department employees. Anyway, so nice to be able to sit and take a computer/software class and not be teaching it.

I made a snazzy layout, but didn't follow instructions and save it as a .jpg. So, I can't post it here until I get home tonight and open it up in Adobe. I made my snazzy header too, what do you think? All of the elements were designed by Rhonna Farrer - love that girls wicked awesome digi skills! You can get the elements on Two Peas. I was super excited after my class to get some new digi elements. You can get some really awesome ones at PolkaDotPotato.com, but the site was down. I was in a super itch to digi - so I managed to buy a chunk of digi stuff at TwoPeas. Spent more than I intended - but I'm sure I'll use it all eventually! :)

Saturday, after our class we went to the Lewisville Scrapbook Warehouse to crop with some of our Texas friends. It was awesome to catch up with Paula, Josiane, and Gloria. They're all So talented! Heather was my favoritest person in the whole wide world though! She scratched my back for a long time while we were at PDP. The joke of the day was that I was leaving my DNA everywhere because of my flaking skin. I must admit, it was REALLY disgusting to see flakes of me on my bum. It was like bum dandruff.... and I promise that I wiped down my crop chair!

The weekend was an overall winner. We made it to church, and stayed the whole time. It was great to see our friends and quickly catch up with them too. Steve get's presented in Stake Conference this coming Sunday so he can take the next step in his ordination. Then, it's full steam ahead to October 28th when we'll be sealed! CAN'T WAIT!

Over the last 11,500+ days....

My friend Krista recently posted a list of things she's done over her lifetime. She's also a cancer survivor but has posted an incredible journal as she's gone through her journey. Her journal has really inspired me, and has provided much food for thought. Kristas list really inspired me to create one of my own. I know there are lots of other things I can list, but these are the ones that are on the forefront of my mind at the moment:
  • I’ve owned 5 vehicles.
  • I have attended 5 different colleges.
  • I lived in Germany for 17 years.
  • I got to travel to dozens of European countries.
  • I watched the Berlin Wall fall – while living in Berlin.
  • I survived traveling to New York City over the disaster known as 9/11.
  • I was reunited with my birthmother after 26 years, and got to find a whole extra awesome family as a result.
  • I moved to new homes no less than 29 times.
  • I’ve survived cancer twice.
  • I’ve performed in choral groups for US Presidents and other dignitaries. With them, I performed in Las Vegas and in Disney’s Street Parade.
  • I had tanks follow my school bus to school and back home.
  • I’ve planned large scale events, and have pulled them off without too much of a hiccup.
  • I’ve had 100+ pieces of paper arts published.
  • I’ve designed products for paper crafting manufacturers and have seen them produced and distributed.
  • I’ve practiced playing soccer on Berlin’s Olympic Field with my soccer team.
  • I’ve been a caller on talk radio show (The Russ Martin Show) and on 3 music radio shows. I also called into a “special” radio show on adoption.
  • I was president of Future Homemakers of America (which is probably not shocking, and only solidifies my friends and coworkers thinking that I'm the whitest white girl ever.) I won all kinds of cooking contests and challenges too!
  • I went to school with Mayte Garcia (Prince’s first wife), and worked with her mother for two summers.
  • I became a department manager at the age of 21 (KeyBank’s AnswerBank).
  • I’ve spoken to hundreds of potential birthparents and adoptive parents about my adoption experiences.
  • I’ve had three stories published (or will soon be published) in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
  • I have witnessed miracles. I know first-hand the power of faith, hope, charity, and prayer. (Good one Krista!)
  • I’ve gained my own personal testimony of Jesus Christ, and of my Heavenly Father.
Wow! I've done a lot. But, there is still so much left to do!
~heather

Ahhhh Thursdays...

To me, Thursday is the planning day for the weekend. It's the day I [normally] plan out what I'm going do to for the next three days. It seems that for the last few weeks, it's been JAM packed with travels, appointments, and other items that aren't part of my ususal routine. This weekend, Saturday is jam packed. I made it a point to be in town, without any appointments, so that I could go to church. I haven't been to my Ward in a number of weeks for the whole 3 hours (Yep 3 hours), in ages. So, this week I'll (we'll - trying to remember to include Steve in everything... being married and all ya know) be there - with bells on and snacks in my scripture tote (no, we still don't have kids, and I'm not pregnant. I just like snacks.)

Saturday is going to be FUN filled as I spend it with my scrappin' pal, Heather B. We're taking some digi-scrapbooking classes at the Polka Dot Potato Lounge in Richardson, TX. Then, we're going to spend the evening at the Lewisville Scrapbook Warehouse with some of our other scrappin' friends gettting our crop on (how lame of a line is that anyway??). I'm really looking forward to the day. Of course, it means I'll be getting up early to clean the house and have it ready for the upcoming week (chore charts arn't working so well for everyone in our house. There really isn't an enforcable consiquence when things aren't completed. ARGH!!!). The laundry has piled up over the last week, and honestly I really do enjoy wearing clean underthings. I'm on my last ones (with no emergency pairs to spare) and HAVE to get things tidied. The sunburn has really put a damper in my normal schedule of things!

Anyway, Amy tagged anyone who reads her blog. I read it almost daily. She's incredibly talented, and I love her photography skills! She can do some wicked talented stuff! here's my answers to her tag:

  1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be? OK. This is a hard one to answer....because I love so many places! It would have to be somewhere between mine and Steve's familes. It would also need to be somewhere that had all of the seasons and not just one constant heat wave. :)
  2. What's your favorite article of clothing? Warm- yoga pants. Cold - flannel pj bottoms!
  3. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex? Smile and BUM (at least my husbands!)
  4. What's the last CD that you bought? I repurchased Bon Jovi's "Have a Nice Day" cd. I think I left it in my old job's computer. Dagnabbit!
  5. Where's your favorite place to be? At home, with my parents and husband - where ever in the world that might be. Or out getting a pedicure!
  6. Where's your least favorite place to be? In long traffic jams, or in groups of people (parties) where I don't know anyone but the host(ess).
  7. What's your favorite place to be massaged? My back/upper shoulders/head. OOoh I'm due for a massage too!
  8. Strong in mind or strong in body? Definitely mind, but I'm getting stronger in body!
  9. What time do you wake in the morning? Either at 4:30a (gym days) or 6:00a. Ugh is RIGHT!
  10. What's your favorite kitchen appliance? If I had one, it would be a Kitchenaid mixer. But, until I decide on a color, I'm without. Otherwise, the oven/stove!
  11. What makes you really angry? Inconsideration. Seriously. REALLY irritates and infuriates me. Liars. Theievs. All forms of dishonesty.
  12. If you could play any instrument, what would it be? Definitely the piano. I also should've stayed with it, dangit!
  13. Favorite color? Hmm well I have a lot of black and white clothes - they're so neutral. But, I guess technically they aren't colors. How about blue?
  14. Which do you prefer, sports car or SUV? Between the two, SUV's. But a lot of people around here who drive them act like they own the road and have ZERO courtesy...but that's beside the point huh. lol AMEN AMEN AMEN!
  15. Do you believe in afterlife? Most definitely!
  16. Favorite children's book? "Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein and
    "Never, Never, Never Will She Stop Loving You" by Jolene Durrant.
  17. What is your favorite season? Spring! The newness of life, the beautiful spring flowers. Flip flop season starting... :)
  18. What's your least favorite household chore? Dishes, and cleaning toilets. I HATE THEM.
  19. If you could have one super power, what would it be? The ability to read peoples minds. Being able to make things happen with wiggle of my cute nose would be awesome too though!
  20. If you have a tattoo, what is it? None. I'm too much of a wuss. Although, I've always talked about having "The Hills Are Alive" Tattooed on my hip.
  21. Can you juggle? I can try, how's that?
  22. The one person from your past you wish you could go back and talk to? I'd love to talk to my birthmother's grandfather. He was with her when I was born. They timed her contractions with his stop watch!
  23. What's your favorite day? Saturday. A day of doing what I choose (normally)!
  24. What's in the trunk of your car? I don't "technically" have a trunk either. Costco purchases (toilet paper, paper towels, and bottled water.)
  25. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger? Sushi!

Now, if you're reading this... consider yourself tagged too! I know there are lots of you who read, but don't comment - I can see it on my tag count! :) I'm also going to tag 3 others... Hmmm who might that be? How about Heather White, Teresa McFabulous (errr I mean McFayden), and Caroline Lau! Copy & paste the questions into your blog and tag three friends! :)

What I Love About You: Nicknames

I love it when you call me Mrs. Ales....

Lessons I've Recently Learned (again)

  • Although the sun is awesome, it isn’t always my friend.
  • Sunscreen doesn’t always work.
  • Umbrellas don’t always stay put.
  • While not wearing a bra in public is awesome, wearing a camisole instead isn’t much better.
  • Not wearing pantyhose is awesome, but realizing your legs are hairy – is gross.
  • Aloe Vera doesn’t do much.
  • Solarcaine doesn’t do much either.
  • Naproxyn (Alleve) will help to take the pain edge of the sunburn off.
  • Pain is your companion when you have a bad (really bad) sunburn.
  • Sleeping in the nude is not a good way to keep your husband away.
  • People think sunburns are funny. Unless they make you cry. Then they feel bad for laughing (but they still think it’s funny).

All in all, it's slowly starting to get better. I'm still in pain and the nerves are starting to come back to life. I'm getting the sharp pointy poky pains as they do which TOTALLY sucks, but I guess it's a sign that I'm healing.

My Weekend: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Wow… what a weekend! Seriously, SO much happened and I had to actually take a day off to recover (more about that later). I made it out to McAllen, TX to visit my sister and her family. They are SO darn cute. Arissa has a growing vocabulary and is testing out new words as you say them (note to Aunt Heather: It is IMPERITIVE that you watch what words you use around her. She does pick up the bad ones… and quite quickly). Michael is a bundle of boy energy and a constant stream of emotion (of course what would you be when you’re surrounded by two sisters and a mommy?). He’s learning the fine art of going potty, and not getting the stinkies EVERYWHERE. (Seriously… EVERYWHERE). Ainsley is as adorable as a one year old can possibly be – and is the definite attention grabber. Rather, if you don’t give her attention, she’ll fake cry until someone (anyone) does. So cute!

As with life, there’s a good side and a bad side to everything. Here are a few of my outtakes from the weekend (it really was wonderful).

Seeing the Kids
The Good: They love me. I love them. They love to cuddle with me. Arissa insists that I sleep with her (awwww!). They love the presents I bring them.
The Bad: They want to be ON me all the time. They always ask if I have more presents (note to self: saving kids meal toys is a GREAT idea. May need to rethink the doling them out in shifts though.)
The Ugly: Arissa kicks ALL night long.

Food
The Good: I let myself eat whatever I want to when I’m visiting family. Enjoying tasty food, and relishing the moment. Enjoying it with Bekki and her family. Finding the recipe for Olive Gardens San Remo Dip!
The Bad: I don’t eat ½ of what I buy.
The Ugly: I do it EVERYTIME I come to visit.

Faith of a Child
The Ugly: It started pouring buckets on our way to the beach. It doesn't rain very often in Texas, so this is a BIG deal.
The Bad: We had already been driving for an hour when the rain started
The Good: Arissa said we should say a prayer for the rain to stop so we can go play in the water. She said a prayer to Heavenly Father, and the rain literally stopped.

South Padre Island / The Gulf of Mexico
The Good: beautiful water, gorgeous beach, lots of fun, great food, lovely nap on a beach chair on my tummy, umbrellas and beach chairs. Frosty Beverages. Watching the kids have such a great time in the water and playing with their father.
The Bad: forgot to put sunscreen on the backside of my body.
The Ugly: Arissa's prayer worked TOO well. The horrible sunburn I have from my neck to my ankles – all along my backside. (Seriously, I’ve never been burnt THIS bad in my life – and I’ve had some doozies over my 29+ years)

K-mart
The Good: The fact that I can shop at K-mart, get work clothes that no one else in Dallas will have. Even better, no one knows I bought them cheap at Kmart. AND that it was on Texas’s Tax Free Weekend. Having my sister (the RN of the family) with me.
The Bad: Long LONG lines, hot store, and Tax Free Weekend.
The Ugly: Basically passing out in K-mart while having a lovely Heat Stroke episode (no seizure)

Tortilla Factory
The Good: Haven’t ever been to a real Mexican tortilla factory. Bought lots of great tortillas to bring home. Had an awesome barbacoa taco.
The Bad: Forgot to pack up the sweet stuff to bring home.
The Ugly: Once I got home, the tortillas tasted the same as the ones I buy here do. Oh well.

Ainsley’s Birthday Party
The Good: So fun to watch her devour her first birthday cake in true Beste tradition (basically, they normally sit on a sheet and do whatever they want to the cake itself after everyone has gotten a slice – or in her case after everyone had gotten a cupcake). She flipped the cake over, ate the cake and THEN discovered the frosting.
The Bad: I was craving chocolate frosting in the worst way. But, I was FREEZING (related to the Ugly part of Kmart).
The Ugly: Cake was EVERYWHERE in every crevice the poor girl has! But, it was SO fun!

Arissa-isms
The Good: She recognizes that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight.
The Bad: She likes to play with my saggy arms (specifically my church lady wings), but tells me they are soft (while laughing).
The Ugly: She starts to laugh hysterically when she sees me leave the bathroom (after putting on my swim suit and shorts) and says “Heather, your arms are SOOOO skinny, but your legs are SOOOOO fat!” (Note to the world: I have VERY saggy legs [thighs}. I admit it, it’s gross. But, there’s nothing I can do aside from having them lifted, and honestly, I really want to see if working out harder will fix it).

So that’s about it folks. I had a lot of fun, but am seriously paying for it now. Thankfully, I finally made it home. I can’t wear a bra (hard life), it’s incredibly painful to sit, and my family is teasing me incessantly (something about the whitest white girl trying to get a tan… which is SO not what happened). I had to call in to work because I honestly can’t sit in a chair and couldn’t possibly make dress code without the bra issue. All in all, it was a great weekend. I loved on my nieces and nephew and will continue with the title of “Best Aunt Ever!”.

Another weekend... wahoo!

Ahh the weekend. I’m SO looking forward to this weekend (almost as much as I was last weekend, but I can’t get my hopes up again. I hate it when I get crushed… so sad!). I’m flying to McAllen, TX to visit my little sister (well, younger… by 9 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days!) and her cute cute family! My youngest niece, Ainsley, is turning one year old. What fun! I believe the plans include hanging out at the beach, and soaking up some rays. WaaaHOO! This white girl could use some serious pigment enhancement if you know what I mean.

Arissa (my oldest niece) has a burgeoning vocabulary. She’s 5 years old, and loves it when she learns big words. She called me other day at work, and our conversation went something like this…

Heather: Hello?
Arissa: Hiiiiiiiii Heather!
Heather: Hi Rissa! How’s it going? Whazzup?
Arissa: Nothing, just playing my game.
Heather: Cool…..
Arissa: Heather, I just realized something.
Heather: You just realized something? What did you realize?
Arissa: I just realized that you are my mommy’s sister.
Heather: That’s right! I am your mommy’s sister.
Arissa: I know. I just realized that.
Heather: You know what?
Arissa: What?
Heather: Because your mommy is my sister, that makes me your Aunt.
Arissa: Nooooo. Silly Heather, you are not an ant. I squish ants with my feet.
Heather: I am! I am!
Arissa: Nooo you are not.
Heather: Are you being a stinker?
Arissa: No! Heather, I’m not stinky. Micheal is stinky. He has stinkies ALL the time. Gross!
Heather: I agree, that’s pretty gross.

Other rambles continued on as our conversations generally do. It cracks me up that she “realized” something and that she was able to pair it up with Bekki and I. Kids, they’re pretty amazing sometimes!

I know there's a scrapbooking shoppe that we pass on the way to the beach. Hopefully we'll get to stop in, and I can do some scoping. I'd love to pick up a few more things to add to my stash! Tee hee hee! I have PLENTY of luggage space this time! I'm loaded with fun for Bekki, Shaun and the kiddos! I am SO looking forward to some of the new products being released. I'll do a seperate post on them for your oogling pleasure!

I’ll catch you back on Monday when I return with oodles of photos! I’ll be chillaxing on the beach with a frosty beverage to keep me cool!

~heather