Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Here are the necklaces I started last night and finished tonight. Almost all of the "hardware" for these came from Urban Arts and Crafts. The dogtags set relates to the kids. I cut the 7 of hearts card out of some Design Originals paper and brushed it with some paint, layered it with rubons (7 Gypsies and MM) and stickers that related to the kids, and then covered it with Diamond Glaze. The kids' photo is also edged with paint, then coated with the glaze, and I used really large jump rings to attach the tags to the silver ball chain.

The corded necklace is all about me. I layered the charm with things I like... a stampsticker (Pebbles), a compass rub-on (Making Memories) , a playing card sticker (Deluxe Designs), numbers (7 gypsies...I really like symbols), a J sticker, and a family rub-on(7 Gypsies), then coated it with the glaze as well. I went with double strands for this one, and I tied them around the large jumpring to keep the pendant in place on the cord. I actually attached the clasp with split rings instead of jumprings because they aren't as likely to slip off the clasp.

These were fun and easy to make. I had the pendants put together in less than an hour, and then left them to dry overnight. I have some other ideas floating around in my head for some ideas for the other things I picked up, but those will have to wait until I get home.

I am leaving in the morning to head out to Orlando for a three day show. I am looking forward to spending the weekend with Johanna. I am spending my birthday working, at least I get to spend it with a best friend! I have an IEP meeting for Matt before I go in the morning, so I doubt I will be back on before I go. Have a great weekend and I will be back on Monday!

Very nice, slightly modified

Kansas City was fun, even with a few oddball curves thrown in there. We arrived at our hotel on Wednesday night to find the doors sealed shut and signs announcing it was closed due to asbestos removal. Our reservation had been transferred to a a "very nice" hotel with a "very nice" breakfast, according to the front desk clerk. Our "very nice" room had porn mirrors all over the wall behind the beds, and "very nice" became our catch phrase for the weekend. Then on Saturday night we went to dinner, where Ann sent back her French Onion soup and asked for it to be prepared in the traditional manner. The server brought her back a bowl of broth with a piece of swiss cheese floating in it, thumped it down on the table, and said, "French Onion soup, slightly modified." As grating as her poor attitude was at the time, we all thought that "very nice, slightly modified" was a very catchy phrase and used it as much as we could the rest of the time we were there. We had such a fun crew this weekend. The first photo is of Kara, Katherine, Ann and I at the airport on the way home, then Kara and I, then Gayle and Ann. Kara and Katherine have other photos as well that they might post, especially the really funny ones of Kara stalking certain scrap celebrities. I laughed all weekend long... Kara is a riot to be around!

We went to Urban Arts and Crafts on Thursday after set up, where I was gifted with this lovely little basket of treasures. Thanks Jo and Katherine! I have already started to make a couple of necklaces with some of the pieces, but they are still drying so I will have to take shots of them later and add them. On Friday we headed to Kansas to the Overland Park mall so Katherine could use her Coach coupon, and we got there early enough that we didn't have to do the paparrazi dash this time. I love shopping with Katherine... it is always fun!

This sign in the airport cracked me up. How do they know they can fit 1508 in that little family bathroom? How small are those 1508 people? And why 1508???

Anyway, I got home safe and sound, and spent Sunday and Monday (which was a staff development day) hanging out with the kids and grocery shopping. Didn't do much of anything else, but yesterday was a happy day. Let's see...

I got to spend the day cuddling with my little ones.

I got to make jewelry just for fun.

We had homemade fajitas... mmmmm.

I received messages from Jessica that started with "Hi Mom"

I went to Lowes and picked out paintchips to match fabric samples.

Oh.... and did I mention.... that we were approved for the financing for our house???? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Anyone up for the happy dance with me??

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Woohoooo Matt!

Matt entered an art contest at his school last week. The kids entering had to create a bookmark, and Matt used all of his own drawings to create his. (He is so incredibly good at drawing, especially comic book figures or characatures) Today he came home with the proud news that he won first place with his artwork, and his prize was a $25 giftcard from Target. I took him over there tonight so he could spend it on something to celebrate his day! I haven't seen the winning artwork yet, but if he brings it home I will post it.

We are really proud of you, Matt! Congratulations! I just know that this is just the first of many times your art will be recognized and rewarded as the best! Love you!

Here is a page I finished of the girls today. I made the background a few days ago when I was working on a City Planner page. (I started out making it a two page spread and changed it to a single) I turned the page so the strips of paper and cardstock ran vertically for a slightly different look than the other one I made. I love symbolism in layouts, so I thought the black paperclip with the three flowers was perfect to symbolize the three girls. I just let the title be my journaling for this one, and I loved those ingredients stickers when I saw them so I was glad to get to use the sisters set for these. I thought they went with the title perfectly. I used a pair of those jumbo deco scissors too.... I find myself enjoying some of those again these days!

Patterned papers: Rusty Pickle and KI Memories
Embossed Paper: Frances Meyer
Black letter stickers: Sonburn
Rub-ons: Basic Grey
Paperclip: Carolee's Creations
Paper flowers: Prima
Brads and photo turn: Creative Impressions
daisy ribbon, black marker, black paint, brown ink

(For my non-scrapping friends and family... I list the products I used so if the page ever gets published I have the supply list handy to submit with it.)

Good morning!

Well, today is looking to be a nice day! I have to go to Kyle's IEP this afternoon, but I think I will spend the rest of the day scrapping. I have picked up some new stuff at the last couple of shows that I would love to play with. I think I might even submit some things to see if they can get published. I haven't really done that in a while.

My friend Johanna has a brand new blog, and we are working on making it look pretty this week. Please stop by there and say hi! If you are in the Arkansas area she has a really cool little traveling scrapbook store full of lots of great stuff including some of my personal favorite products, 7 Gypsies. (I think I used something from 7 Gypsies on every single one of my HOF pages!) She makes some really nice layouts as well, so we have to get her to start posting those as well!

This is the quote of the day in my sidebar, but I wanted to copy it here because I like it so much.

“Who could refrain that had a heart to love and in that heart courage to make love known?” Shakespeare

Today is the day the Make It Meaningful calls are supposed to start going out! I wish all of you who are waiting for those calls the best of luck! It was really fun to get mine last year, but I can completely relate to the agony of waiting to hear the phone ring that all of you who are waiting are going through!

I am off to Kansas City tomorrow. If you will be there please stop by the Deluxe Designs booth and say hi! I am really looking forward to the show. Katherine has plans for shopping (it is always a blast to go shopping with her) and I saw over on Steph's blog (I don't know her personally but I love her blog) that there are people selling homemade tamales on the streets... mmmmmmmm.... my favorite! I am going to have to track those down!


Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday check-in!

I got home from Portland yesterday, and I spent the day vegging on the couch with the kids. We watched some of my Tivo'd shows, they sang some songs to me, and we just spent the day together. Todd went outside to bounce on the tramp, and managed to hurt his leg a little bit. He came inside and told me he needed pancakes to make it better, so we had pancakes for dinner. :0)

I got to spend most of my freetime in Portland with Sarah which is always fun. She signed up to be my TA on Saturday as well which gave us a little more time. we talked all weekend about taking our picture, and then we kept forgetting to actually take it... LOL... how do 2 major scrappers forget to take a picture like that??

I kept my fingers crossed all weekend that I might get a Hall of Fame call, and after they went out I held my breath for an honorable mention call, but neither one came for me. I had a moment, though, where I thought I did get one. I was waiting for the other ladies I worked with this weekend to get into town, and a couple of them are from Utah. Teresa called me the first time, and her name came up on my ID so I knew it wasn't CK calling from an 801 number. About 20 minutes later, though, an unidentified 801 call came, and I held my breath as I answered it. It was Teresa calling me from Ashley's phone because hers had died. Bummer... LOL. Congratulations to everyone who did get those calls!

Here is my entry if you would like to see it. I can see where I could have made it a stronger entry, but I still like it.

This was the altered project. I made name blocks, and each of my blocks is decorated with things that have some kind of personal meaning for me. The judges probably wouldn't know that by looking at them, though.

This was one of the four extra assignments.

This was my journaling assignment.

This was the ten photo assignment

This was the favorite candid photo assignment.

This was the product usage assignment with ribbon, patterned paper, and rub-ons.

This is another of the four extra pages.

Another of the four extras... It is hard to tell here, but I trimmed the top and bottom edges of the page with deco scissors for a different look.

One of the four extras.

This was the assignment where we are supposed to tell something about ourselves. I made this entry before we knew where Jessica was. At the time we were looking at maybe moving to Nebraska.

The kids were in a parade while I was gone, so I am going to take the film in and develop it today. I will post some pics later!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Home safe and tired

We spent every minute that we could with Jessica the whole week we were there. It was precious time, and we tried to make it count. It was everything we hoped it would be, and still not enough. On Friday we took her out to dinner and then to see the Shaggy Dog. Afterwards, we had to say good-bye. It was one of the hardest things we have ever had to do. We all kept hugging her goodbye, and we were all crying. I haven't been able to post about it because it is still so raw. It was so wonderful to see her, and we cannot wait to all be together again. I think it was good for all of us... I don't think it was just a reconnection, I feel like it was a strong bonding for all of us as a family. We cannot wait until June so we can see her again, and hopefully by then we will be able to all be together on a really regular basis. It was so wonderful to have had this time together.

On Thursday we went to the park again to take some new pictures. I have a lot of others on my SLR, but I can't get to those discs right now. I am just uploading some from my digital camera at the moment. The next time we are there, we want to get a really nice family photo where we are all wearing coordinating clothing!

There is very little to do in the town Jessica lives in. We drove around the historic downtown one day to see the old buildings and sites. Todd loved the "Superman phonebooth." We took the kids back to play at the park while we waited for Jessica to get out of school one day, and I caught this one of Jack and Beth on the slide.

On Saturday morning we headed up further into Arkansas to visit our good friends Billy and Johanna. We got to their house, and then took the kids into town to meet up with Billy for dinner. We were tired from the drive and the emotional week we just had, and I think having a chance to spend some time with such good friends was exactly what we needed at that moment. (I am sorry we didn't call yet, Johanna! Time got away from me today!)

On Sunday morning the kids had a blast playing in the mud with Sarah and Rachel while exploring Billy and Johanna's acreage.

Driving home was an ordeal of sorts. The kids did NOT want to get back in the truck for another 20 hour excursion. Mapquest gave us the wrong directions, so we ended up popping into Missouri for a few minutes before we could get turned around the right way. We drove through some high winds and thunderstorms that became a couple of tornadoes a few hours later. When we got into Oklahoma, there were wildfires that were making the air thick and hard to breathe. We pulled over for the night, and when we went through Texas the next morning there were still a lot of residual fires that we passed being brought under control. We crossed over into New Mexico and found piles of snow and the roads covered with a lot of black ice. We pulled over again for the night since it was so hard to see, and finished coming home today. Before we left this morning, I let the kids go out and play in the snow a little bit. It was funny to me that I had taken pictures of them making mudpies one day, and snowballs the next. Maybe I am just too tired... :0) We are so glad to be home safe and sound, and now that the crazy weather is behind us we are laughing about it. A tornado hasn't been in that area in 36 years, and the day we make an offer to buy a house there one makes an appearance!

I had an assignment due tonight, so right after we got home I got to work to get it done. I still have to pack and get all my paperwork for my job in order to leave tomorrow. I am heading up to Portland for the show. I am anticipating sleeping all the way to Oregon! :0) I am looking forward to seeing my friend, Sarah, and I am hoping she has her baby Elise tonight or tomorrow so I can see her too!

The page I made today will be up on Scrap Village in a day or two most likely. I used some of the photos I took of Jessica this week, and it was wonderful to scrap about her again using current photos! It will be in the City Planner feature if you want to check it out while I am gone!

Have a safe weekend! See you when I get back!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Happy afternoon

We got to spend this afternoon with Jessica after she got out of school. (We will get to spend everyday with her while we are here.)She took her album to school today and showed it to her friends... but only the side with us... LOL. She wouldn't let anybody see her little kid pictures! I need to fix some info on it... that happens when I have to rush through a project like this! I will probably end up making another one for her down the road once I can get to the rest of my photos, which are packed away right now. I have a lot of extended family photos and other misc childhood photos, but I put them away a long time ago. I couldn't bear the thought that I would get to a point where I had nothing left to scrap about her, so I just stopped scrapping them so that day wouldn't come. (I did the same thing with Chet's pictures when he got sick... just too much grief to deal with.)

We had a very nice visit today. Jessica has lost her voice, so she whispered to us the whole time... :0) The conversation ranged from deep issues to funny things the other kids do. Beth has taken to calling her "Yessa", and as Jessica was driving away Beth started yelling "Wuv you Yessa!" while she made her "F" handsigns. (I think a part of me will be sad when she develops the fine motor skills well enough to make the "I Love You" sign properly!)The shy boys are coming out of their shells around her more now, and I think we are all feeling more comfortable with each other. We had all the photos we took yesterday developed so she could have her own set. Before we leave we are going to ask somebody to take one of all 9 of us.

We have been in Arkansas for three or four days now, and I was teasing Jack about just needing to cross the stateline in the South to bring on his drawl. Tonight we were pulling up to see Jessica and Todd pipes up in the backseat with "What we doin' here?" I just know the kids are going to be saying things like "all y'all" before we leave here... LOL

At last

Nearly ten years with no word of where she was or how she was. A month of waiting for the courtdate to arrive. 48 hours of driving and traveling. 24 hours of waiting in the hotel room. 4 hours waiting in the courtroom. And after all the years and all the tears, here she is. There are no words to express what it meant to see her, to hug her, to hear her voice, to see how she has grown. And there is no way to measure how proud we are of her, how beautiful she is, and how much it means to know that we never have to be out of contact again. After court yesterday morning we got to spend several hours with her in the park. What a perfect backdrop the park was for these photos.

To sum up what was determined in court... she will stay where she is now so she can complete her education and move on into the field she wants to in college. We have to take care of some paperwork and have a home inspection done, and then she can come spend her breaks with us. We are going to spend as much time with her as we can for the rest of the week, and then stay in touch afterwards. Jack comes back in June for the next courtdate.

Let me start the photos with this one... the first picture we have ever been able to take with all of our children.

This photo is significant to me. The last time we got to take family photos it was just Jessica, Matt, and Chet (you can see the portrait in the album below). They sure have grown a lot since then!

Jessica picked up Beth and Beth just laid her head on her shoulder and cuddled with her every time she held her. So sweet.
We always want the people we love to be happy. It meant so much to me to see how happy Jack was yesterday. Jack and Jessica crack me up with their identical half-smiles!

Our favorite photo of Matt and Jessica when they were little was the one where Jessica grabbed Matt's face and turned it to the camera when he wasn't cooperating. She had the funniest little smirk on her face, and Matt was throwing a fit. They posed for this one for me, and I love it just as much! (The original is in the album below.)

Aren't the three of them just so gorgeous?

Sometimes life is just so good.

The album

I made Jessica's album using a 4.5x6.5 Rusty Pickle gate-fold album. I had to work fast to get it put together, but I tried to not make it look just thrown together. I ended up spending two straight days and one afternoon getting it done. The left side features the pictures we had up until we didn't know where she was anymore. I also scanned the pictures and letters she wrote for us, and added some of her schoolwork and awards from when Jack had custody of her. I printed her hands and feet out in real size. We gave her the album when she got to come see all the kids in the courthouse. She brought it with her to the park to look it over some more, and we got to talk a little bit about some of the stories in it. I have given a lot of albums as gifts, but none were ever as important as this one!

Here is the left side

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