Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Well, its spring break for the kids at school, and it actually feels like spring weather-wise. The snow is melting but there is still a pile of it in the backyard - I can't quite get to my flowerbeds yet but if we have a few more days like this it won't be long.

DH brought the girls' bikes out yesterday - and we've been going for walks and rides in the wagon. We even tried to fit all five of us on the quad and took a little ride up to his grandparents' house. We do fit, but its pretty tight! Since we don't go very far or very fast, it works for now but if we are going to be doing this as a family more often, I'd like my own quad someday. He ordered a new rear seat from Cabelas and it will help out a lot in that department, plus it has lots of storage for my camera so I'll be able to take it with me when we go riding this spring. I'm probably the most annoying passenger ever because I insist on driving slowly so I don't miss any of the scenery - and because I am constantly stopping to pick flowers and take pictures. Its so beautiful out here and that's what I love about the quad - we get to see places we probably wouldn't see otherwise. I think DH likes exploring all of the old trails and the sand dunes and the hills and to tell the truth, its not really that big of a deal to get him to drive slowly because he doesn't ever want to get the quad DIRTY. When we didn't have the quad he'd always like to load all of us up in the van and go for drives all over the countryside. Even a trip to the dump is an adventure and he's disappointed if we don't all come along.

These are all reasons we wouldn't make good city people, I suppose! Who goes to the dump for fun? That's just crazy!

ANYWAY, spring is in the air here, and you might be able to tell from this LO that I'm excited about it. Its been a long winter and I'm looking forward to green grass, short sleeves and tulips blooming.

This is my first LO for Jennifer Howland, using her "Airy" paperpack, I also found Kathy Moore's "Essentials Stamped Alpha" tied in really well for the title. Full credits are in my DST gallery.

Monday, March 26, 2007

101 things...

My first posted LO with Kathy's stuff - her studio is now open at Scrapbookgraphics. I actually have three more that I will be posting as soon as I get the green light - I have two pages scrapped from the St. Louis trip that I can't wait to share.

Awhile back, DH put on a hockey-stick-taping clinic in the kitchen. I probably should have been paying attention, but the girls seem to be getting the hang of it. There was also a 'stick curving' lesson but it involved use of a blowtorch so we all stood back.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Digi update

With all the St. Louis excitement, I haven't posted much about what I am scrapping these days. I decided I had time to be on another CT and specifically wanted to work with a designer instead of a store this time around. Knowing my luck and probability with CT's, I applied for three hoping to get one - and was shocked to get three acceptances! All on the same day, too - so my head was spinning but now I have three fabulous ladies to scrap stuff for, and I'm jumping right in now that I am back.

Here is my first LO, using Emily Farnworth's "Cold Play" kit. When I was on polkadotpotato CT, I had the HARDEST time choosing between Emily's kits when I was assigned to her. I desperately wanted to do a winter page with this kit, and so now I did! Full credits in my DST gallery.

My other two CT's are Joyful Heart Designs (Jennifer Howland) and a three month guest spot with Kathy Moore at Scrapbookgraphics. com I am so excited - I have something done with one of Kathy's kits already but I can't share it just yet - and I have some ideas for one of Jennifer's kits so will hopefully have something up by this weekend. Not only that, Nina has some fabulous new stuff out right now - I just need more hours in the day!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Meet me in St.Louis - the great Mom's getaway!

The whole gang

So, we did a little bit of touristy sightseeing in St.Louis. First stop was the Budweiser brewery which is interesting to me, of course - because its a brewery, and I like beer. I had NO IDEA how fabulous it would be. There are chandeliers in the horse stables, fancy woodwork and tile work and beautiful brass trim and everything, everywhere. It was surprising for me because I expected to be touring a working brewery - something very sterile and industrial - but I felt like I was touring a fancy billionaire's estate or something. Its really worth seeing even if you don't like beer, which I can't imagine, but whatever.

So, what they say is true, you do get free samples when you tour a brewery. I was fully expecting they'd just hand us a dixie cup full of beer on the way out, but they actually have room set up sort of like a bar and you can have TWO FULL GLASSES of beer, for free. They even provide pretzels. Since I could have two drinks, I tried out the Bud Light knowing I'd probably like it, and then took a chance on this pink beer. No, your eyes are not failing - that is a glass of pink beer. Or a 'malt beverage' to be exact - it tasted nothing like beer, but it was still very very good. I hope we can get them in Canada, I'll have my summer beverage all lined up. Its a strawberry flavored "Peel" - highly recommended.

We went out for a nice supper at the St. Louis Fish Market which was very good but I was expecting to be able to pick out a whole live lobster and eat it, and that just didn't happen. It wasn't even on the menu so I had a steak. No surprise there! After supper we went for a night out on the town - at the Big Bang Duelling Piano Bar I don't have to tell you that we don't have piano bars, much less DUELLING piano bars, where I come from. So I really, really enjoyed this place. Great music, lots of dancing and singing along - we had a lot of drinks and a lot of fun!

(above) Beth, Kris, me and Michele at the piano bar,
(below) Me with Laura and Chris

The next day we went for a tour of the famous Arch, which freaked me right out the more I looked at the thing and realized that if I were go to the top of it, there would be nothing but 600 feet of air below me. That's different than going up to the top of the Eiffel tower or something where you are up high, but at least there is something substantial between you and the ground.
We travelled up in these little pods that look like something directly out of Spaceballs. They clunk and bang all the way to the top and if it wasn't for good company in the pod, I'd have probably been clawing the door to get out (and the door looks very much like I wouldn't have been the first to do that....) We laughed nervously (and boisterously) about elevator nightmares and such things, and before we knew it - we were at the top.

me at the top of the Arch, avoiding looking down
looking down from the arch, the city of St.Louis including their shiny new fabulous home-of-the-World-Series-champions stadium. :)
after the arch some of us went for lunch at the School Street Station in Laclede's Landing they had board games set up so we played Trivial Pursuit together
l/r: Beth, Julie, Kelly, Ann, Sue, Eleanor, Geri, Michele and Kris

So, with the touristy stuff out of the way, we planned to just stay in the hotel and hang out that evening - there were almost 20 of us and we came to St.Louis to spend time together - so we did. Our hotel rooms at the Residence Inn St.Louis - Downtown had lots of room and full kitchens, so we were able to make a potluck-style feast right there in the hotel room. We spent the evening laughing until we cried, or crying until we laughed. I did a lot of the latter I am sure there will be plenty of teary-eyed pictures of me posted all over the place, so I won't do it here.

Carrie, Sarah, Geri and Chris - dishing up supper
Christy laughing till she cries, behind her - Kris, Karen, Sarah and Bethany
(we were all wearing our ugliest PJ's for the night in)

Over the weekend lots of people asked who we were and why we were in St.Louis together. The best answer I have is that we are all friends, we've known each other online for years - some of us have kept in touch for almost 7 years since this all started when I was pregnant with my first baby, who will be turning 6 in a few months. They've asked if it was weird when we met for the first time, was anyone uncomfortable - did you like them as much as you thought you would? Were they how you thought they would be? You know, everyone was exactly how I imagined they would be, only even better. I already know who they are, but to see them in person - hear their voices and know what it sounds like when they laugh - its pretty amazing after all of these years. Sometimes I would just sit there and watch and listen - because I couldn't believe we were all there, together. It was fun, and amazing and I can't wait to do it again, someday. For all of you (you know who you are!) who couldn't make it this time around - I know it will happen again and I'll have the chance to meet you all. Its been so long it doesn't matter WHEN it happens, as long as it does happen, someday. And for everyone who shared this wonderful trip with me - thank you for being so amazing. I couldn't imagine having a better time, but I know we will manage it whenever we get the chance. :)

Okay, I lied. Here are a few pictures of me sobbing:

The realization that Heather really IS leaving, in a few minutes, for real


saying goodbye to Christy, forgot to get a picture BEFORE we both were crying

Me with Eleanor and Geri. The three of us are on Emily Farnworth's CT together now - I'm not sure if Emily knew what she was getting into!! :)

Home for a rest...

You'll have to excuse me,
I'm not at my best
I've been gone for a week
I've been drunk since I left
These so-called vacations will soon be my death!
I'm so sick from the drink, I need home for a rest!!!

Well, its not *quite* that bad, I didn't drink that much. But I did have a few and I had a wonderful time, and I am SOOOOO tired. I'm more sick and tired from the travelling, than the drinking! I flopped into my own bed just before midnight last night, and I left at 4 am on Wednesday, so its been a long haul. I had every possible trouble getting through the Toronto airport, and mark my words, I will NEVER EVER EVER take an international connecting flight out of that airport again. So help me.

Aside from airport issues, my trip was incredible. But I have to grouch about my flights for a bit before I can move onto the good stuff. I didn't make my connecting flight in Toronto, despite the fact that I got off the plane and RAN through the airport to baggage claim, and I only waited 5 minutes in front of the carousel before asking for help - they told me that my flight was boarded, my luggage would be another 20 minutes, and I would miss it. I fell apart right there because the lady who was 'helping' me also told me there wouldn't be another flight to St.Louis until tomorrow. There is no way in hell I was planning to stay in that airport overnight so I started to freak out a bit. Then she sent me a bunch of wrong places, I lost my purse (yes, that is right - LOST. MY. PURSE) and I knew exactly where it was but they wouldn't let me back through security to get it - etc. It was just a mess and people sent me to see people who said, you're not in the right place, go here instead, etc. And then I finally got to the woman who DID help and with a few keystrokes, got me on a flight to Chicago, which would get me into St.Louis by 10 pm. Not bad! I thanked her a million times and went on my way.

Until I got to US customs where the guy looking at my passport said "You're going to Chicago? Why would you go there? Its horrible! You will circle endlessly above the airport and never land. It is so huge, you will never, ever get out of there. I will take a layover anywhere before I will ever fly out of Chicago. Have fun!"

Me having no fun whatsoever in Chicago's O'Hare airport while I waited an hour for a plane to stop circling the airport and land, so that we could board it.

See? That sign says O'Hare airport. What the HECK am I doing in O'Hare airport?

Hrumph. So I went back slightly into panic mode wondering what I am getting myself into flying into CHICAGO when I couldn't even handle Toronto. But I made it to my connecting flight in Chicago with no problems - they just delayed the flight almost two hours and so I didn't get into St.Louis until after eleven, they lost my luggage of course, I waited in line for an hour dealing with that - ah, the JOYS of air travel. But I made it!!

And that was the last worry I had for four days, while I had the time of my life in St.Louis with my friends. Then it was back to the airport, and everything went smoothly until I got to Toronto, again. Another short international connection, with customs etc. I ran until I thought my heart would explode, I freaked out when the baggage claim took forever, I rushed through customs and security and ran my ass off for a few more miles and got to the gate just in time to board my flight. Sweaty and dying of thirst, I was one of the last to get on board but settled in for TWO HOURS of sitting on the plane waiting for it to move from the terminal. Which it did not. They didn't have a pilot, one would be running from the other end of the airport (how fitting!!) to fly our plane. Then when he got there, he discovered a problem and so they had to wait for mechanics. Then it couldn't be fixed so we had to get off the plane and haul ourselves and our luggage to another gate (and not a nearby gate, heaven forbid, but one far away!) and wait to board THAT plane, and THEN wait for it to fill with fuel and whatever, and FINALLY two hours after Iwas supposed to be in Winnipeg, my flight left Toronto. We got into Winnipeg at just after 4 am, and after waiting for luggage (mine was lost AGAIN!!!) and waiting in the freezing cold for a cab for 20 minutes - I finally got to the hotel at 5 am.

So is it just me, or is the Toronto airport quite possibly the Gateway To Hell?

I'm going to post this so that I can put all the good stuff and pictures in the next one, so it will show up on top. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Going somewhere!!!

So, at four in the morning I hopped on a Greyhound bus, and now I'm in the Winnipeg airport waiting for my flight to Toronto. I am ON MY WAY!!!

I'm nervous about this whole flight connection/customs thing that is going to have to happen in a heck of a hurry in Toronto but otherwise, things are going well so far. Apparantly the whole network of computers for the airline went down causing a 1 hour delay this morning but they seem to be working through it and predict that I'll only be delayed 10 minutes going into Toronto. Not bad - I am just so worried about missing that connection. I should have pretended I was an unaccompanied minor or something so they'd make sure I know what to do and where to go when I get there.

Ok, so hoping they'll call my flight soon. I'm sitting on the floor next to the only outlet in the boarding area. I wonder if people used to care so much where the outlets are in an airport. :)

The weather is clear and gorgeous in Winnipeg - well looking from the window anyway. I have a window seat on the plane so there should be lots to see.

WOULD they please stop calling every flight but mine 10000000 times? Its making me nervous that I missed something!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Meanwhile, in the bathroom....

The other day while I was busily posting my clean "after" pictures - the baby was being too quiet. The picture is fuzzy because she was caught in the act:


Mom, you look kind of angry. Here - have a pantiliner!

Friday, March 02, 2007

20 minute challenge

Today, I looked around the house at about 2 pm and as always, it was a disaster. It usually is relatively clean before we go to bed every night - the kitchen and the livingroom cannot be left like that overnight! The thing about being at home with the kids all day is - they make a mess. I remember when I used to work and in the morning I would drop the kids at a sitter, go to work until 5, and come home and it was like some miracle - the house was EXACTLY the way we left it in the morning. Which might mean some empty cereal bowls in the sink, but certainly not the tornado-effect that we have by suppertime when the kids are home all day.

Those of you who have clean houses all day never cease to amaze me. My sister in law, for example. She has an almost four-year-old son who is very busy, and a little baby girl. And her house is always clean. She will often call and ask if my four year old would like to come and play for the afternoon (crazy? YES!) and so I will be at my house with one napping baby, she is at her house with one baby, and two four year olds. At three thirty when I go to pick up my oldest from school, I go to get the four year old from SIL's house. And as I walk by I can smell clean laundry from the dryer vent, then I can smell something very good cooking for supper from her stove vent, and then when I get in the door she will be standing holding her 5 month old baby, with a batch of cookies or banana bread cooling on the counter, and whatever the heck it is that smells so good cooking in the oven for supper AND a clean house AND her son AND my daughter have been playing all day.

So, I know it can be done, I just know it can't be done BY ME. But today, I took a look around and wondered if 20 minutes of dedicated cleaning might be able to put a dent in it. I challenge anyone else to do this - take a picture of an untidy place in your house, then work at it for 20 minutes, and take another picture. Let's see what you can do!!!

Kitchen @ 2:40-ish

Kitchen @ around 3:00

With the kitchen looking better than it has in days, I walked into the livingroom to find this:

That is right, two children still in PJ's and a heckuva mess. So I decided to put in another 10 minutes or so before I had to get my oldest from school, and so by the time I got her home, it looked more like this:

So, that was well worth the half hour I put in but the sad part is that since she came home from school, there were demands for a snack and they discovered the neatly stacked coloring books on the island while they were snacking, so now the island in the kitchen is somewhere between the "before" and "after" picture. And, I have to make cookies and supper isn't started. So I can't say what its going to look like 20 minutes from now. But I have pictures to prove it *was* clean, once.