Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't be doubtin'

Aha! Y'all didn't think I did any Alaska pages, did you? I actually got 32 mostly done, except for journaling. This album is going to be super simple, just photos on white cardstock. I know, right?? It's a scrapping travesty. But it will be done and I can move on with my life. Speaking of the white cardstock, I ran out and drove 75 miles to the scrapbook store today to get more. Naturally, they were out too, since white Bazzill is such an esoteric item and nobody ever asks for that so why would we keep it in stock?? I ended up buying a pack of cheap white cardstock at Michael's but I feel sure it is going to be an unsatisfactory substitution.

About the journaling. Ron and I were determined to keep notes about the trip while it was happening, so we summarized each day on the laptop. Ron did most of the typing, and his writing style is, shall we say, very detail-oriented. Here's an actual excerpt from his recounting of our first evening:

"We were pretty hungry, so we asked at the desk for a casual place to eat and they suggested Keg Caesar’s, which is a steak and ribs place a block from the hotel. We hiked over and had a wonderful meal, along with several glasses of water and half a liter of red wine. I had roast beef; Cyndi had a grilled chicken and seafood dish. We walked back to the hotel and turned in."

Several glasses of water?? I would have written "We had dinner and went to bed." Something in between the two is what is required, since my style is boring and Ron's would require several volumes. So that is my current challenge, editing the journaling to something manageable and hopefully maybe even interesting.

I was a bad, bad scrapping mom in Knoxville and didn't take a single photo. We took the kids to tour a local dairy (very cool) and Mary Beth and I went to see Mamma Mia (LOVED IT!) and had a kids-free dinner thanks to MB's sweet husband Brad (who also won Annamarie over by showing her surgery photos on his iPhone). Mary Beth, I have just three words for you: MOVE BACK HERE. What were you thinking moving so far away?

Michele has asked me if Annamarie drove me crazy talking on the 7-hour drive, but she is a surprisingly good traveler. She brings her iPod and a big bag of jewelry, hairnets, a stethoscope or two, a stuffed horse and wolf, 64 ink pens, and she entertains herself. I won't say that I never ordered her to please just stop talking until the clock says 7:15, but mostly she was great. It helped that there was no brother to fight with, but she missed him too. (Michele, I am too old to text with one hand so I couldn't respond to your texts well while driving 80 65 on the interstate.)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And we're off again

Annamarie and I are headed out to Knoxville, TN (about a 7 hour drive) to spend the weekend with my BFF Mary Beth and her family. MB and I are planning to do some scrapping, so I will publicly announce my goal: I want to make some serious headway on my Alaska album. We took this trip three years ago and the sheer number of photos we took, about 4000, has overwhelmed me. I finally narrowed it down to just over 200 and had them printed, and it's time to get crackalackin' as my kids say.

Somebody needs to hold me accountable, so ask me next week how many pages I got done, OK? Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Meme me

My friend Michele pointed out that my blog posts have been few and far between recently. I'm afraid my life at the moment is just so routine that I even bore myself, but that is actually a blessing compared to many of the alternatives. I give you a meme passed on by BooMama, and if you feel called to use it to avoid actual writing on your own blog as well, have at it.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago we had just adopted Thomas from Bulgaria. He was the most beautiful, happy, delightful little 28-month-old boy, and I was having a ball with him. I had left my job to stay home with him and we were having a grand old time playing in the sandbox, swimming in the neighborhood pool and playing with friends.

Favorite Snacks
Believe it or not, I am not a big snacker, but at night I do love to have microwave popcorn. And wine.

To Do List
1. Laundry
2. Pack for Knoxville
3. Go to the post office
4. Clean my scrapping area
5. Listen to Beth Moore CD

Jobs I Have Had
Record store employee (Way back when there were actually records! Vinyl!)
Video store clerk
Room service captain/front desk clerk/night audit supervisor at a Marriott Hotel
Front desk manager at two different hotels in Orlando
Assistant to the president of a manufacturing company
Conference planner for a nonprofit professional association
Mom (I was really good at all my previous jobs. I am very glad that this one does not require annual performance reviews.)

Places I Have Lived
Charlotte, NC
Raleigh, NC (college)
Orlando, FL
Charlottesville, VA

Bad Habits
procrastination, yelling at my children, eating too much, exercising too little, impatience

5 Random Things People May Not Know
My husband and I met on the internet way back in 1992 when it was just text on a screen. I wasn't looking to meet anyone, but he was.

I have been to over 100 concerts and met lots of famous people back when I was young and (relative to now) hip. As a scrapbooker, I cringe when I think about all the concert ticket stubs I didn't save and the photos I didn't ask someone to take.

I teach 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday School at my church.

I have terrible social phobias, but people say I hide it well. I would rather swallow a spider than go to a cocktail party full of strangers.

I have a weird talent for remembering song lyrics. My friends used to tease me about it and now it amazes my son.

CDs I would want if stranded on an island
(naturally, this answer might be different next week)
John Mayer, Continuum
Colbie Caillat, Coco
Eric Clapton, The Clapton Chronicles
Kenny Chesney, Live Those Songs Again
Sade, Diamond Life

What I’d Do if I Were a Billionaire
Buy my sweet husband an airplane (He used to be a private pilot but can't afford such an expensive hobby now.)
Build clean, cheerful, modern orphanages for the children left in Bulgaria
Buy my mom a Jaguar
Repaint every room in my house, but I don't think I'd move
Give loads of money to our church and to Smile Train
Travel, travel, travel
Buy matching albums to replace my hodgepodge of scrapbooks

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mixed Up Mini Album

I bought this cool Mixed Up album from Magistical Memories a while back and finally got around to creating something with it. I used photos and MOO cards from three years' visits to the Virginia State Fair. My favorite embellishment is the star tag on the cover, which came off a pair of Converse sneakers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Posts without photos = no good

So here are a few from last weekend's trip to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

Cooking with The Whiny Chef

That's what I'm going to call my spin-off blog. The unvarnished truth is that every time I cook from scratch, I remember why I hate to cook. Everything takes me ten times as long as it should, my back is killing me from standing, and chances are at least one of my family members will refuse to try my lovingly (and whinily) prepared meal. My children know two styles of dining: drive-thru and "one where the lady brings your food." And the lady in question is not their mom, just in case that wasn't clear.

However, we are having friends over tomorrow night and we did the picnic from KFC thing last time so real food seemed appropriate. I made Pioneer Woman's lasagna and also her chocolate sheet cake. I'd made the lasagna before and while I don't know whether it really is the Best Lasagna Ever, as PW claims, it is pretty darn good. It has a higher meat and cheese to noodles ratio than most lasagnas (lasagnae?), and I like that about it.

I was trying to be efficient and work on both recipes at the same time, and naturally I discovered I was missing a major ingredient. I had to send Ron to the grocery store for sugar, which he had assured me we had plenty of while we were at the store yesterday. To be fair, we did have a half canister of sugar, but I did not have the time or energy to chisel 2 cups off the solid block it had become. Ron made sure I knew that in colonial times, they would have never washed out that sugar with hot water like I did because it was very valuable. Like gold. Or gasoline.

Anyway, I was melting butter and browning meat and my back was beginning to hurt so I asked Ron to fetch me a stool from the garage so I could sit down to melt and brown. Apparently this handy folding stool was missing the pin that prevents it from folding when one is planning to sit on it, and fortunately I did not grab either the pot of melted butter or the sizzling pan of beef and sausage as the stool and I crashed to the kitchen floor. (How does "Cooking with the Clumsy Whiny Chef" sound?)

I did get the cake and the lasagna finished without further misadventure. I had been pondering on what, exactly, was the difference between "sheet cake" and brownies, so I performed a scientific analysis on the cake. Oh my, definitely not brownies. It is moist and rich and seriously, I don't think I could eat a regular cake-slice sized piece of it without a gallon of milk to wash it down. I should have stopped pondering then and just continued with the moaning, because further thought led to the realization that since the cake contains FOUR sticks of butter--two in the cake and two in the icing--then the one-sixteenth of the pan I ate contained a quarter of a stick of butter. Whatever doesn't get eaten tomorrow night is going home with our guests. That is Satan right there in that pan, with pecans sprinkled on top.

In other news, I went to a baby shower today and was feeling right proud of myself for having two social engagements in one weekend, and then my mom called while I was cooking and whining. She and my dad went to a funeral, a wedding, and a 50th anniversary party today. In my mind, this is a good reason to live five hours from where I grew up, because I would have been unable to escape attending at least two of those events if I didn't have the excuse of distance. Whew.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Someone's watching too much "Baby Story"

As we were walking through the grocery store tonight, Annamarie said, "I love you Mommy, and if you were pregnant I would rub your belly and get you some Pitocin."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Come on down to Funky Town

Henceforth in the Michener household, Summer 2008 shall be referred to as The Summer of Puberty. Because one of my children is a bit of a late bloomer and the other is a bit of an early bloomer, they seem to be hitting this milestone at the same time. Add to that the fact that we live in a small house without much room for privacy, and you come up with the conclusion that everybody is all up in everybody else's bidness. This leads to lots of interesting questions and lots of interesting discussions, and lots of "Ewww" from the boy.

Given Annamarie's developmental delays, I was really hoping to have one more year before having the feminine hygiene talk with her. Mainly because she is prone to overshare with classmates, old ladies at church, and strangers on the street, but also she's only ten, for crying out loud. Unfortunately, circumstances forced a hurried delivery of that talk in a truck stop restroom in Arizona, and she handled the whole thing with the same cheerful attitude she has about everything. I love that girl. Even this morning when she stuck her armpit in my face and declared indignantly, "Mom, I smell like Dad." (Please don't picture Ron as a smelly guy. I would never marry a smelly guy.)

Coincidentally, just yesterday when I picked Thomas up at camp, he got in the car and I thought, "WHAT is that smell?" It was the delightful aroma of 12-year-old boy. They are now the proud owners of Axe deodorant (I can't decide whether it's an improvement or just a different kind of funk) and Secret Sparkle.

Even the dog has found something rotten to roll in at the far reaches of the back yard. I hope it's not something she killed herself. Every time she comes back in from her visits outdoors she has freshly applied Eau de Dead Things and we can't bathe her for two more days since we just applied her flea and tick goo. Now that I think of it, that stuff smells so awful that she's probably trying to cover it.

This all probably makes you want to come over to our house for a visit, doesn't it? I knew a day would come when I'd really need the dozens of yummy smelling candles I've been collecting.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New articles are UP!

Take a look at what the Booya Girls have done this month. So many awesome ideas and fabulous layouts and cards!! Here are the two layouts I created for Debbie and Shawna's articles.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vacation moment

We stayed at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, and they have a cheesy "pirate" show out front several times a night. We went on our first night there, and Thomas (bless his little pre-pubescent heart) wanted to know why anyone would want to see a bunch of GIRL pirates. Annamarie watched for a few moments and said to me, "If this was on YouTube, you'd say it was inappropriate for us." Well, kid, what happens in Vegas....

New friends

Annamarie and I met Maria, Faith, and Daniel (and their mom Kia) at the pool where we swim in the winter. The kids were super nice to Annamarie, and Kia is a wonderful fun, bubbly Christian woman. We had a nice visit with them at their house one afternoon, and then got together for a picnic just before school ended. We haven't seen them since we got home from vacation but I promised Annamarie I'd call today. Kia homeschools the kids and they are all just so sweet.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Scrapping

At church today the sermon was replaced by short talks by a group of church members who just returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica. Ron and I went on a similar trip to Mexico two years ago, and this morning's talks made me wish we had gone to Costa Rica. I'm thankful that the team is home safe and sound, and inspired by their testimony. Wonder where the next trip will be...

I'm hoping to spend this whole rainy afternoon scrapping and watching "Fool's Gold." Yeah, I have heard that it's lame, but does anyone really care when Matthew McConaughey is on the screen?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy 4th

Note to self: Next year, take a wide-angle lens or don't sit so close. :)

Happy 4th of July, everyone. It was about a perfect one here, starting with seeing the president in my pjs and ending with quite a few tiny bottles of wine.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The thing with the stuff

Last week Thomas asked me, "Mom, have you seen those new kind of shorts with the, you know, the different kind of...not jeans and not silky, but like all the cool boys are wearing?"

Me: "What color are they?"

Thomas: "They come in all colors."

Me: "Are they plaid?"

Thomas: "No. They're just, you know, they have those stripes and they're cool. What's plaid?"

Yesterday I bought him some plaid shorts at Belk (40% off woo hoo), and when I showed them to him after camp, he said, "YES. Those are exactly the ones I wanted." Yeah for mommy mind reading.


Annamarie, when I picked her up at camp: "Lady is at Rubber Chicken's house."

Me: "Huh?" Turns out Lady is a horse she liked last year at camp, who has been retired. Rubber Chicken is a counselor. What were his parents thinking?

Annamarie: "Rubber Chicken asked if I had a fence in my yard and I said yes and he said maybe I could bring Lady home because I love her. So you should call Libby about it."

Thomas: "MOM, TELL HER SHE CAN'T HAVE A HORSE IN THE BACKYARD!" We do indeed have a fenced-in backyard, which covers about half of our one-third of an acre lot. It's great for the dog, but I believe the homeowners' association specifically prohibits livestock.

Me: "I'm sorry, sweetie, we can't have a horse in our yard."

Annamarie: "If we had a barn would you let me?"

Me: "Of course."

Thomas: "That's not fair!"

My life is filled with nonsense conversations.

Ten years later

My fellow Booya Girl Kristi Hellyer posted a thread asking us to share one of our first scrapbook pages, and so far I have been the only one brave (or foolish) enough to do so. No one has commented on it, not even a, "Hoo boy, you've come a long way." I'm imagining them all nodding their heads and thinking, "This explains a lot."


Sure, it's pretty bad (sticker sneeze, anyone?), but I had never taken a class, or read a scrapping magazine or idea book at the time and I was really proud of that first page. I had walked into MJDesigns, which became Michael's later, looking for craft supplies for my Sunday School class, and noticed a trail of cute diecut shapes taped to the floor. They led to a wonderful aisle full of cute (at the time) papers and stickers and markers and punches. I walked out with what I thought I needed to get started, which for me has always meant jumping in with both feet and buying way too much. I had bought an album and page protectors that didn't go together, and a bunch of other stuff I really didn't know how to use.

So I like to think I have come a long way. I still buy way too much stuff, and the same mean little raspy-voiced longtime smoker rings me up at Michael's ten years later, but I have taken a class or two and read an idea book or fifty. Twenty-nine completed 12x12 albums sit on my shelves. I think the only thing I have stuck with longer is my husband, and much like him, this wonderful hobby keeps me sane. It reminds me of my priorities and provides evidence that our life together is fun and loving, no matter what future psychotherapists might be told to the contrary. And of course I can't forget the many talented and amazing women I have met through scrapbooking, both "in real life" and online.

Happy 10th scrappiversary to me. Maybe I should buy myself something...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I think I have been suffering from Post-Vacation Depression or something; whatever the cause, I seem to have a serious case of the blahs that is keeping me from posting or scrapping or doing laundry. Never fear, though--the PVD has not impaired my ability to nap or eat. I intended to post more details about the end of our vacation, but I am going to skip over the $77 speeding ticket I got in Colorado, the missed flight out of Vegas, and Ron's making us visit the Great Meteor Crater (We paid approximately $60 to see a hole. A great big hole, but a hole nonetheless.) and just direct you to the photos, if you're so inclined. It was a really nice trip, and man I'm glad to be home.

The kids started camp yesterday, so I am a free woman from 8:30 until 4:30 every day this week, ironically more free time than I have during the school year. Today Sandy and I put the top down on her little Bug and drove up to Fredericksburg, VA, to visit The Cropper's Corner and Scrapdoodles. I picked up lots of cute stuff to scrap all those vacation photos, now where can I find the inspiration to get started??

I'm off to post the new articles from the fabulous Booya Girls...be sure to check them out! Heather's got lots of cool new stuff in the store, too.