Sunday, March 30, 2008

He's off the hizzy

This poor kid. I don't scrap stuff about him as often as I'd like because he refuses to cooperate with the photo taking, and I don't blog enough about him because we're so often butting heads. Thomas is a really cool kid. Sometimes I lose sight of that fact when he's being a typical 12-year-old butthead and picking at his sister.

Last week we during parent teacher conferences I met with the school psychologist, who sees Thomas weekly. The conversation led to a discussion of how Thomas views me, and I immediately tensed up, imagining the stories he must have shared about his mean, abusive mother. (He has several times threatened to report me for "child labor." Hah.) Many nights I go to bed feeling certain that I have failed him yet again, that I have not hugged him enough, or have been too hard on him. I often wonder whether he really knows that I love him, even though I tell him often. I tell him, "Actions speak louder than words," but are my own actions showing him that I love him?

We have always believed that God gave us exactly the children we were meant to have, just via a different delivery service than we had planned. Nonetheless I worry often about whether another mom would have been more wise and more nurturing. A different mom might have known instinctively how to raise Thomas to be respectful and honest and kind.

You can imagine my surprise when the psychologist said that Thomas sees me as "stalwart" (her word, not his), as the glue that holds the family together. She said that in his eyes, I can do no wrong. I cried then, because I do so much wrong where he is concerned. The most important, most moving thing she said to me that day was that in almost 30 years of working with children, the ones who were adopted almost always wonder whether their parents really love them, and she sees none of that doubt in Thomas. It feels, at least temporarily, like a thousand pounds has been lifted off my shoulders. And it makes me want to do better, to be more patient and less control freak-y.

I'm appreciative to the psychologist for lightening that load, just in time for Thomas to hit puberty and decide that I am an idiot. :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Before Photo

On April 3rd, Annamarie is having surgery to graft bone into her upper jaw where her cleft palate ran through her gum. One of her adult teeth is actually in the roof of her mouth, and they will at some point move that tooth into the grafted site. Of course braces will come later this year after the graft heals, assuming it "takes." The bone cells will be taken from Annamarie's hip, and everything we've heard leads us to believe that it's the hip, and not the mouth, that will be painful afterward. Annamarie is a tough cookie and I have faith that she will get through it all as cheerfully as she handles everything else.

Her recovery will feature lots of soft foods, lots of good dental hygiene to keep the site clean, and lots of guarding her mouth from accidental injury. Please send prayers and good vibes to my scatterbrained family that will enable us to follow the care instructions to the letter.

Annamarie is both nervous and excited about the surgery. She is fascinated by medical procedures and equipment, so she is stoked to get to see them up close. She has a ton of questions about what the scalpel will look like, who will be in the operating room, whether her bed will have rails, what kind of controls will the bed have, and on and on. Her favorite TV show--really the only one she watches--is TLC's Baby Story, and she can quote entire episodes from memory. She's a little disappointed that she won't be having an epidural, but is cheered by the fact that she might have a catheter.

We hope that this is the last required surgery in her cleft repair process. If she chooses to have cosmetic surgery in the future to fine tune things, we will support her in that, but it will have to be her choice. We think she's perfectly beautiful as she is.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thinking of turning pro

I think it's great that many scrapbookers have been able to turn their love of photography into business ventures. My mom and my sister-in-law both think I take great photos (although their standards are pretty low), so maybe I should consider becoming a portrait photographer. I could really use some extra money. I thought I'd spend a few minutes practicing with my son this afternoon. He insisted that I include the dog, but I figured it would be good practice for dealing with difficult clients.

Hmm, first I should probably remove distracting items from the background.

OK, everyone look at me.

How about a nice hug?

Well, hello.

Let's quit goofing around and get serious here. Show me your best side.

Now that's more like it. Whew, this is work better left to a trained professional.

Now I have been tagged

My fellow Booya Girl Shawna Webster took pity on me and tagged me. :) Shawna is an amazingly talented scrapper with two adorable little subjects. Check out her blog here: 2 Kids and Some Paper

Here are the rules: 1. Link to the person that tagged you and leave a comment on their Blog. 2. Post the rules on your Blog. 3. Share 7 random facts about yourself on your Blog 4. Tag 7 random people, linking to their Blog. Let each person know by leaving a comment on their Blog.

I wrote 5 random facts for my Booya Girl page, so I'll try to think of seven different ones.

1. I love to play word games, with other people, on paper, or on the computer.
2. I won my school's spelling bee in fourth grade.
3. I believe dh and I would make a great Jeopardy team. He would take the history, geography, and political questions, and I would take the questions on pop culture, word origins, and the Bible. We would kick butt.
4. I despise talking on the phone, except to my closest friends and family.
5. I have serious social phobias, but I usually hide it pretty well.
6. I get totally starstruck and tongue-tied when I meet my scrapping idols. Donna Downey and Tara Whitney probably saw me as a babbling idiot. I am seriously having a few drinks before my upcoming classes with Karen Russell and Heidi Swapp.
7. I love to be in my house alone.

I don't know whether I can come up with seven folks to tag, but I'll try.

OK, four is good.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

And two more layouts

These are the two pages I created for my March article at Busy Bee. Check out all the wonderful articles from the Booya Girls here.

Not tagged.

Since my blog is followed by approximately zero readers, no one has tagged me, so I stole this meme from Alissa Fast's blog. :) Let's just say I tagged myself.

You're feeling: fairly chipper
To your left: a pile of new Pink Paislee stuff I got in the mail today, oh yeah!
On your mind: my messy house
Last meal included: pizza
You sometimes find it hard to: do what I should be doing, rather than what I want to be doing
The weather: dark :)
Something you have a collection of: primitive antiques
A smell that cheers you up: the hyacinths blooming in my yard
A smell that can ruin your mood: wet dog
How long since you last shaved: yesterday
The current state of your hair: pulled back with a barrette and way too poofy
The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): Clip-It-Up
Your skill with chopsticks: nonexistent
Which section you head for first in a bookstore: trade paperbacks
Something you're craving: a Diet Coke from McDonald's
Your general thoughts on the presidential race: I'll keep that to myself
How many times have you been hospitalized this year: none (thank goodness!)
Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: my bathroom
You've always secretly thought you'd be a good: attorney
Something that freaks you out a little: being trapped in small spaces
Something you've eaten too much of lately: french fries
You have never: flown in a helicopter
You never want to: eat fried scorpions

I'm going to tag Tanya and Michelle.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


If you're not a blog junkie like myself, you might not have heard of NaBloPoMo. It was started by the amazing Eden Marriott Kennedy of Fussy (I am not worthy to mention her on my blog) as a way to get bloggers in the habit of daily blogging. Each month there is a theme, and April's theme is "letters."

Since I have been composing a mean, catty, and hopefully funny letter in my head for several days anyway, I thought this might be an appropriate time to join NaBloPoMo. There is a person in my life who deserves a nasty letter, but I hate conflict so I will post it on the internet instead of leaving it on her porch beside a flaming bag of dog poo. (Several days ago, I expressed to Ron my desire to do just that, and he said, "When people ask 'What would Jesus do?' bags of flaming poo seldom feature in the answer." Party pooper.)

Anyway, I will be encouraged in my efforts to blog every day in April by any comments you might leave. (Unless you're a spammer.) Comments are like crack to me.

(I love parentheses.)

Look! I Scrapped!

I adore K&Co's Wild Saffron line. And I'm pretty pleased with this page I did last night. Maybe my mojo is finding its way home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Perfect Gifts

Gift giving is something that I both love and despise. I am not very inventive when it comes to finding the right gift for a loved one, and I want to be one of those people (like my friend Sandy) who always find the most darling, charming, perfect thing. Both Sandy and Annamarie have birthdays this week, and I am in the unusual position of having come up with gifts for each of them that I know they are going to love. I can hardly wait for them to open these perfectly perfect presents. Like that alliteration?

For the past several years I have made something scrappy for Sandy-- a clock, a frame, a clipboard, a couple of mini-albums. And she is gracious enough to love them. This time I have actually commissioned an actual artist to do a painting for her! Doesn't that sound sophisticated? I found Diane Duda's website through another blog several months back, and fell in love with her whimsical paintings. I've been waiting to buy one for myself until just the right time, and I showed her site to Sandy the other day. She loved Di's work as much I do, and mentioned that she'd love to have one her paintings. I later sent an email to Di and asked if she did custom work, fully expecting her to politely decline. To my great joy, she is willing! And she was so sweet in her email. I requested something with bunnies, which Sandy loves, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with. If you haven't already clicked that link above, visit Duda Daze for a dose of happiness.

As for Annamarie's gift, it's another weird one. Her favorite gifts in the past have included dental tools, a cane, a stethoscope, a gooseneck lamp, and a mannequin head. She has eclectic interests. About two years ago she came home from school talking about getting in trouble for not keeping her hands off the Elmo. I was puzzled because she doesn't watch TV (except for Baby Story, a whole 'nother post), and she doesn't care much about stuffed animals. I eventually discovered that she was talking about this:

It's an overhead projector. By controlling her urge to put her hands on the Elmo, Annamarie eventually earned the privilege of being the student responsible for wheeling the Elmo back to its storage closet. Occasionally she will relate excitedly that she actually got to project something on the Elmo. When we are in the car and something on the dashboard is casting a reflection on the windshield, she exclaims, "It's like an Elmo!"

So guess what I found on eBay? An actual, working, used Elmo, for the princely sum of $24.95. The shipping approximately doubled that, but those things retail for $600 and up. She is going to be so excited.


Yesterday was a glorious sunny Easter Day in Virginia (still a little chilly) and I didn't get a single photo of my beautiful children in their Easter clothes, or our church's flower-covered cross, or the Easter lilies. I am a little sad that my kids are really too old for Easter Egg hunts. I did take a few shots of Annamarie dyeing eggs. I think I enjoy it as much as the kids do.

I neglected to post about Annamarie's birthday extravaganza weekend, an annual tradition where we meet my friend Mary Beth and her three kids in Charlotte. We stay at a hotel with free breakfast, an indoor pool, and a hot tub, and just hang out together. We use Annamarie's birthday as the excuse for the gathering, but it's just a great end-of-winter getaway for all of us, and a chance to catch up. I am so happy that we have maintained our friendship since Mary Beth's family moved to Knoxville five years ago.

Because of Annamarie's developmental disability, she doesn't have any friends at school. Normal conversation does not come easily to her, and most kids don't have the patience to wade through the nonsense talk to see her sweetness and joy in everything. (It breaks my heart every day, especially now that she is getting older and more aware that she is different.) Mary Beth's kids have known her since they were toddlers, and they accept her and love her for who she is. That might not be the case if they were around each other every day, but for this one weekend every year, my beautiful little girl has two girlfriends. And another brother to annoy. I don't know if I've expressed to Mary Beth how much that means to me. Thank you, MB and Jackson and Jennifer and Kemper, for being our friends. We love you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Girls' Night Out

My friend Sandy and I went to see Michael Buble at The Jack tonight. I didn't know much about Michael Buble before Sandy said, several months ago, "If Michael Buble ever comes to town, I definitely want to go." I am the ticket buyer for everyone I know, apparently. Something to do with my misspent youth and the hundred or so concerts I've seen. Anyway, I went along because Sandy is the kind of friend who would truly give you the Ralph Lauren shirt off her back or even keep your kids for two hours so you could have your haircolor disaster repaired, and she really wanted to go. As of tonight, though, I am a FAN. I knew that he had an amazing voice, but he is just an all around great performer. He is hilarious and sexy in a slightly dorky way, and I love to watch a performer who is obviously having as much fun as the audience is. This first photo is my favorite because that light flare is just too cool, but I got a surprisingly large number of decent shots.

More photos at My Flickr, and I will refrain from bitching about how my husband spoiled my American Idol viewing by announcing who got voted off as soon as I walked in the door. What was he THINKING??

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Things are hoppin' at Busy Bee

There are some new articles up by the Booya Girls at Busy Bee. I tell you, these talented ladies never cease to amaze me. My own article will be up in the next couple of days. Heather has been slammed with orders, which is a good thing. I created this little altered tin for Chrys' altering article and I've been dying to share it with my fellow Doodlebug lovers.

We're also having a sketch contest this month. You have until March 30 to enter to win a $15 gift certificate to Busy Bee. And with all the cool new stuff in the store, spending it will be no challenge!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

And another one

This one makes me want to trade in my big kids for a little one. :) But not really. It's also on eBay.

I *heart* mini-albums

I also heart Daisy D's fun vintage-y stuff. I just posted this one on eBay, working toward the goal of raising money to pay for the scrapping cruise I'm going on in January 2009. If it doesn't sell I will give it to my Mom for Mother's Day.

After saying many times that I wouldn't do a scrapping cruise because I wouldn't be able to decide whether to crop or enjoy the cruise, I am really excited about this one because of the amazing instructors. Well, and the whole getting away from the family (my bff Mary Beth is going with me) and sailing the Caribbean thing, but mostly the instructors. I have taken classes with Donna Downey in the past, and she's lots of fun. But Heidi Swapp will also be teaching! And Margie Romney-Aslett from Making Memories, and the most personally exciting to me, the fabulous Karen Russell! I am a serious stalker of Karen's blog, I love her Narratives products, and her photos just blow me away.

Next month I am attending Scrap Etc. in Nashville with my superfly friend Michele, and I'm stressing a bit about the experience because (please don't tell anyone!) I haven't exactly been keeping up with the homework assignments they've been sending for months. OK, I haven't exactly done ANY of it. They say it's optional, but I was mostly a straight A student and I just don't know if I can show up to class without my homework done. I want extra credit, dammit! I want to be the teacher's pet!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Did I say that out loud?

My last post was obviously too great a temptation for fate. Remember my question about the wisdom of coloring my hair during a week where everything has gone wrong? Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a long overdue color touch up at an actual salon instead of taking the risk of doing it myself. I will not post the tedious details of the young stylist turning my previously dark blonde hair first platinum (I looked dismayingly like Billy Idol for a frightening half hour), then orange, then a blotchy sort of tan/orange/yellow/grey. Here's a photo:
Of course that's not an actual photo of me--I was too depressed to take one--but it was closer to that than you might imagine. FIVE HOURS after entering the salon I had to leave to meet Annamarie's bus, still looking like a tabby cat. There might have been tears shed in the car, but I was determined to remain positive for the kids' sake. I picked Annamarie up, collected Thomas from school and Ruby from doggy daycare, and went home to hide for the weekend.

When I sat down at my computer to check email, it refused to boot up. Twenty-four hours later it still won't start. I'm posting from Ron's computer. You don't believe me, do you? All of this can't possibly have really happened in one week. Oh, please please let me wake up and discover that it's been a dream I can laugh about.

The good news is that the lovely manager of the salon worked on my hair today and got it to a more natural looking shade, although much more blonde than my usual color and still pretty fried. Huge thanks to my friend Sandy for taking the kids out for ice cream while I went to the salon today.

Holy cow, I just realized what caused all of this. It's those emails that my Aunt Betty sends me every day. I was warned that bad things would happen if I didn't forward them to 12 people within a half hour. And I must have ignored dozens of them! The madness may NEVER end!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Balance seemingly restored to the Universe

In contrast to the rest of the week, today totally rocked. My house is sparkly clean, including my scrapping area, which never happens. Both kids went to school, and I got the dreaded grocery store visit over with before 10:00am. I DESPISE the grocery store. Evidence of that fact: we ran out of toilet paper yesterday and I dragged out some tiny rolls of camping toilet paper rather than making a run to the store which is three quarters of a mile from my house. I did the dog's daily training using potato chips. But now we are totally stocked with Charmin Ultra, dog treats, tampons and cheese, so life is good.

I really should use my good camera and try to get some better photos of my scrap space tomorrow. But this is where I spend the bulk of my "me" time and it's rarely ever this tidy so this photo will do for now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

OK Universe, it's not funny anymore

Ron left on Saturday for a week of research in England, which is great because he so seldom takes any time for himself. Ordinarily things run very smoothly in his absence, or despite his absence, but this week (and it's only Tuesday), that has not been the case.

On Sunday the garage door malfunctioned and wouldn't close. We had to leave it open while we were gone to church and lunch for 4 hours, but thankfully the rest seems to have healed it. Later on, while the kids and I were playing a game, the dog escaped from the fenced backyard and spent an hour or so out in the dark doing who knows what, probably hanging with the wrong crowd and smoking clove cigarettes, before scratching at the front door. Annamarie's cold turned into an awful deep chest cough. I kept her home from school to take her to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia. We went off to the pharmacy with two prescriptions for her and one for Thomas' ADHD meds. We only had two of those pills left, and seriously, we'd rather run out of air to breathe. After waiting a hundred years or so at CVS, they informed us that they couldn't fill the ADHD prescription because the doctor hadn't signed it. (Controlled narcotic substance, blah blah blah.) We made the 40-minute round trip back to the pediatrician and yet another visit to CVS.

I kept Annamarie home again today, although her cough is much improved. Anyone who knows me knows how deeply I adore Annamarie, but spending 24 hours a day with her is just exhausting. She talks nonstop and asks the same questions over and over. And over. When she takes a bath, she talks to her imaginary friends Stephanie and Isabel, telling them the same things she's told me all day.

So 4:30 rolled around and I decided to leave a little early to get Thomas at soccer practice because I am always screeching in 5 minutes late. On the way, I tried to call Ron in London from my cell phone but apparently you have to spend 20 minutes with customer service to get your phone set up to make international calls. I was able to do that without driving unsafely because of the accident that had me completely trapped at a standstill for the next 45 minutes. I was within 100 yards of my exit, naturally, but couldn't get there. When I picked Thomas up half an hour late, his ears were "killing him". After a stop at Wendy's, we spent 90 minutes at the Urgent Care Center and another 45 at CVS, where they now recognize me.

We finally got home at 8:45 and in my usual patient and nurturing style, I hollered at Thomas because the constant whining for three hours had drilled all the way through my skull. But they're in bed now, all dosed up, and they're going to school tomorrow unless blood is shooting out of someone's eyes. Crap, I shouldn't have said that.

So now my question is, do you think it's a bad week to try to color my own hair?