Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reality Check

My hero, the UPS Man, brought my new camera, a Canon 40D, today. While I was charging the battery, I decided to rearrange things in the Hoosier cabinet that sits in my kitchen. I moved a birdhouse and noticed something rattling inside. I now present the first photo from my new camera:

That's my son's ADHD medicine and his vitamins. Some days he seems so out of control, and I ask my husband if he watched Thomas actually swallow the pills. He gets very annoyed with me for being suspicious, but I remind him of all the pills we've found on top of the cabinets, in the back of the pantry, and on the floor in the past. I inevitably end up feeling terrible for not giving Thomas the benefit of the doubt, and wishing I could be more like my loving, generous husband.

Our pastor gave a sermon on Sunday based on Matthew 6:24-34:
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I took the sermon as a personal message to me, telling me to chill the heck out. I spend way too much time worrying about tomorrow, and imagining that every bad choice Thomas makes is going to lead right to prison or a life of misery. Every small, dumb 12-year-old thing he does takes on much greater importance than it deserves and I become consumed with fear that he is ruining his life before it's really even started. I vowed on Sunday, for the 347th time, to trust him (and Him) more and start fresh.

So it breaks my heart even more to find evidence that my suspicions were not unfounded, that my struggling child is sabotaging himself and making his life harder than it has to be. Making all of our lives harder than they have to be. Puberty is approaching fast, and it feels like a speeding train headed right for our house. If we have not been able to get his issues under control by the time the testosterone and the normal trials of adolescence arrive, there's not much chance things are going to improve.

We are seeing a psychiatrist Thursday for some testing, but it already feels like we have visited every mental health professional in our town over the past 5 years. If you pray, pray for my son who is so obviously in some kind of pain that a loving family alone can't touch. Tomorrow is his "Gotcha Day," the tenth anniversary of the day he joined our family. So much hope and joy on that day, and I just want to feel a little bit of that again.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Mix of Anticipation and Dread

Our big summer vacation starts in just 11 days, and to be honest it is freaking me out a little bit. We are flying to Vegas, renting a van, and driving around the Grand Canyon, which is all fine and dandy except for the inevitable nonstop squabbling from the back seat. (Has anyone tried taser guns for this purpose? How's it working for you?)

The problem arises on Day 9 of the trip, when we climb onto a pool toy and float through the wilderness, which is actually outside. For FOUR DAYS, during which we will be required to pee and poop outside where snake and scorpions live, and to bathe in the RIVER using only biodegradable soap and shampoo. Seriously, "anticipation and dread" perfectly describes my feelings about this part of the trip. It's not the possibility of "accidental injury or illness or permanent trauma or death" (from the release form) that worries me--rather, it's the certainty of my looking like a complete dumbass. Western River's website includes many photos of fit and attractive families having the time of their lives, and not a single one of them is overweight or disabled or tragically frizzy-haired like me. Ron swears he has informed them fully about my limitations and they are all "hakuna matata" about it, but has anyone warned the 24 other people on the trip? (More anxiety: strangers!)

I'm getting myself worked into an state just typing about it. I'm going to take a deep breath and hope that those 24 undoubtedly lovely people won't see me as a floundering dumbass who's slowing them down, but rather as a mom who is out there doing stuff with her kids even when it's challenging and humiliating and there's not a scrapbook store withing a hundred miles. I'm going to smash my hair down and sleep under the stars and take fabulous photos and enjoy my children's amazement at the beauty of Desolation Canyon, and just hope I don't get voted out of the tribe on the first day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


That really ought to be the title of my whole blog. But today even more than usual.

To start with, my mother is an amazing gardener who tends an acre or so of flowers year round. When we were in Charlotte last week, Annamarie took these photos around Mom's house (I think she has a great eye for her age).

Those gardening genes clearly died out with me. I love to have beautiful flowers in my yard, but I would really prefer that they grow and flourish with no intervention on my part. (If I must be outside I want it to involve a lounge chair, a cabana boy, and service of adult beverages with umbrellas. Now that I have uttered that sentence, tomorrow's post will seem very ironic.) I have discovered a few types of plants and flowers that meet those qualifications and I'd like to publicly thank them for being so cooperative. Thank you, euonymus and hostas and especially you, peonies that bloomed this week. You are big fat showoffs and that's a good thing for flowers.

Another beautiful thing that happened this week was that I received a copy of Memory Makers' Oh Baby idea book. It's an awesome book, and coincidentally contains my first published layout. Pretty cool. I love this photo of my nephew and my mom, which I took on our first big family beach trip last year.

And lastly, I can't leave without a few TV-viewing comments. I loved the American Idol finale, and I am totally smitten with David Cook, despite being old enough to be his mother babysitter. I can't wait until his album comes out. I might be crushed by the end of the Idol season, if not for the fact that tonight was the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance. And man, was the Grey's Anatomy finale good, despite the ENORMOUS ratio of commercials to actual show. What do you want to bet that Derek will be horribly injured on the way to talk to Rose?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who could stay mad?

I ran across an old photo of myself and some friends*, and kept it out to show Annamarie my long hair. (Which--what the hell?--was apparently the world's longest mullet.) She's growing hers out and had asked recently if I ever had long hair.

Annamarie said, "Mommy, you were ugly back then." I told her that that was not a nice thing to say (true or not) and that she hurt my feelings. A little while later she came back in the room and handed me a note.

* By "friends" I mean people I cared about who stabbed me in the back and ripped my heart out and stomped on it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

At least as cute as Ruby

This is my sweet nephew Ford. My sister-in-law asked me to take pictures of him in this little outfit, which was sewn by Kim's great-grandfather (just noticed a typo in my journaling ARGH), and has been worn by four generations of baby boys in their family. I'm impressed that they actually remembered to photograph him in it before he got too big. I know I would have forgotten. Ford is almost 18 months old now, and we don't see nearly enough of him, being five hours away.

The kids and I are going to visit my parents for my mom's birthday this weekend, and I understand that Ford is going to stay overnight at Grammy and Papa's as well. He's such a happy little guy...I'm looking forward to getting some more pictures to scrap.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Well, she IS cute.

Is it bad that I am more excited these days about scrapping the dog than my children? They seem to be at a gawky pre-adolescent age where it is hard to get good pictures of them, and they're way past the stage where everything they do is adorable. Maybe I'll go back and redo some of their baby pictures.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Scrappy Goodness at Busy Bee

I created these two layouts for May articles at Busy Bee. The second one uses the inchies I created on National Scrapbook Day. Once again the Booya Girls have outdone themselves...go have a look!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

New articles up at Busy Bee

The Booya Girls have eight fabulous new articles up at Busy Bee. I am truly honored to be part of such a talented team, and you really need to go check these articles out. Seriously, I spent 14 hours coding those articles. GO LOOK.

Two more to come later this week, one about the super cool Luminarte products I mentioned earlier and a really fun one with a focus on the photos.

Give 'em an inch

Yesterday was National Scrapbooking Day, and I intended to spend the day scrapping. I did complete one layout, but I spent a huge amount of time making "inchies." I had never heard of inchies until this weekend, and I am hooked! Basically, inchies are one-inch square pieces of cardstock, patterned paper, glass, canvas, whatever-- that are decorated like tiny layouts. For a 12x12 scrapper like me, that's a minuscule amount of space to fill!

I created the backgrounds using Luminarte's Twinkling H2Os, which are the most fun watercolor paints ever. I can't get enough of these rich, sparkly colors. Heather has a fantastic selection of them individually and in kits at Busy Bee. They also come in dauber bottles and spritzers, which I am definitely going to try.

I started by painting random colors on watercolor paper. I stamped over some areas using foam stamps and the Twinkling H2Os. When the paper was dry, I cut it into one-inch squares. I inked the edges of some of the squares and used them just like that on a layout for a Busy Bee article that will be up later this week.

I embellished some of the others with whatever tiny things I could find in my stash. The more I made, the more ideas popped into my head. It's somehow very satisfying to create a stack of these tiny perfect pieces of art.

Unfortunately, by the time I made these 13, it was 2AM and I had to get up for church at 7:30, so I reluctantly stopped making inchies. I will definitely be making more later today. After my nap.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


I am cracking up because I mis-typed the word "beautiful" so badly that the spell checker's suggested replacement was "portraiture." I am a typing ninja.

Friday, May 2, 2008

End of an era

I went to my first Richmond Braves game about 15 years ago when Ron and I were dating. We've been to at least a couple of games every year since, now with kids in tow, and we've spent many 4th of July evenings watching America's pastime and the fireworks that follow at Braves Stadium. The stadium is just about an hour from our house, just far enough that our kids would arrive home sound asleep when they were younger. The home games are one of our favorite family outings, even when we've gone years without seeing the Braves win a game.

Because of a dispute over who should foot the bill for a new stadium, the Braves are leaving Richmond after this season. I hope that Thomas will always remember the last game we attended last year, where the second baseman had a terrible game and redeemed himself by hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game. I will always remember the first game we took him to, at two years old. He was awestruck, and for several years he lived for the seventh inning stretch. He has a much more sophisticated understanding of the game now than I do. For Annamarie, it's all about the Cracker Jacks and lemonade.

We will be here for as many games as we can manage this year, but next spring and summer there will be a hole in our hearts.