30 September 2011


Saw this on another blog and laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face.

29 September 2011

a moment of honesty

It is almost 1am and I really don't have much to write about.  I know I said that I was going to work on sorting through photos from the last few months and would be sharing them here all week.  The truth is I have lots of great ideas and photos and other things to share.  I just can't bring myself to do it.

If I am going to be completely honest the reason is that I'm struggling.  I have come to the conclusion that while all deployments suck, I was much better at coping with them alone compared to with a toddler.  I am not trying to whine or compare my problems with anyone else's.  All I am saying is that this has been a total struggle for the last few months and I feel like I am losing the battle.

So please forgive me when you stop by here and things haven't been updated for a few days.  I'm trying, I really am.  It just seems that despite my best efforts my butt is getting kicked.

27 September 2011

master bedroom projects

The posts this week are probably going to be all over the place.  I have been dumping my camera cards into one folder on the desktop.  In my head I had only been doing this for a few weeks.  Turns out I have a couple of months worth of photos to sort through, edit and save.  As I do I will be sharing some of them on here.

Today I thought I would share a few little projects I have done for the master bedroom.  You'll have to excuse the quality of these photos.  It was a really gloomy, rainy day and no matter what I did I couldn't get the lighting quite right.

Some of you might recall that I had my necklaces hanging on a wall from nails that I had fancied up with some scrapbook paper and glass beads glued to the heads.  While I loved having my necklaces hanging on the wall, I never really felt like the whole nails thing looked finished.
I picked up a plain board from Lowes one day, brought it home and sawed it into several different lengths.  (I determined the lengths by cutting up a paper bag and taping it to the wall until I found sizes and a layout I liked.)  Then I sanded and stained each piece after knocking it around with a hammer to rough it up.  No, your eyes aren't deceiving you the boards are different colors.  I decided to go with a few different colors of stain instead of one.

Then it was time to hit up Hobby Lobby where many of their knobs were on clearance.  I had already decided how many knobs I wanted to use and where they would go on the boards, so the holes had been pre drilled during the whole sanding/staining process.  What I had forgotten to take into account was that the screw part on the back of the knob was a lot longer than the width of the board.  Thank goodness I had a hacksaw and was able to saw them down so everything was flush.

After that it was just a matter of hanging them on the wall and determining where I wanted each necklace to hang.

I also took apart the frame that had been hanging in my bathroom since we bought the house, slapped some yellow paint I had laying around on it and added some chicken wire.  Perfect for holding earrings.  Now to figure out what I am doing as far as recovering the barrel chair goes and my jewelry corner will be complete:
The next project, a planters box, involved some pallet wood, two more clearance knobs and a little bit of acrylic paint.  The word on the front means forever in Tagalog and that is my anniversary painted underneath it.  If I get tired of the box being on the dresser I can always move it out to the dining room table or put it on top of the card catalog and fill it with something other than candles.

The last project I did was to build a few shelves out of some remaining scrap pieces of pallet wood and other wood leftover from the board and batten project this past spring.  The pallet pieces were a little warped and give the illusion that some of the shelves aren't level, but they are (I double checked) and I kind of like that they are a bit wonky.  I already have plans for how I am going to fill the two empty frames.  One is going to have to wait until Dan gets home and the other is already in the process (my biggest embroidery project yet!).  I'll probably post photos of everything once it is completely done.  Maybe.  If I remember.
In case any of you are wondering, since I took down the picture in the bathroom I needed something to take its place.  I repainted a frame that had been in our bedroom a really pretty bright green and hung it up.  I love the contrast on the dark wall.
 Be sure to come back tomorrow when I share some random happenings from last week or month or earlier in the summer.

26 September 2011

suessical weekend

Over the weekend Mabry, A, L and myself went to Charlotte for our Dr. Suess weekend.  The kids had been counting down since Mabry's birthday and they were excited.  Every five minutes we heard, "You have to hurry!  We are going to miss the play!!"

Our first stop was to Pike's Old Fashion Soda Shop for lunch.  Mabry enjoyed her strawberry milkshake and I loved my Coke float.  Reminded me of visiting my Grandma Wanda and drinking them in the her kitchen as a kid.
photo 7
photo 10
Then being the brave ladies that we are, A and I drove over to a park and ride so that we could take the kids on some public transit in the form of Charlotte's train system.  L is a huge fan of all things train related and Mabry has become a fan in recent months too.  This was a big deal for them and a total surprise.  They couldn't stop smiling.

Of course the excitement for the play was also pretty heavy on their minds.  With each stop the train made we heard, "Is this our stop?"  "Is this the play?"

We made it into town and to the theatre with plenty of time to spare.  The Children's Theatre of Charlotte is actually located inside their library.  It was a great theatre with not a bad seat in the place.  I highly, highly recommend it to anyone.  The play (Suessical the Musical) was a little over the kids' heads, but all in all I think that they enjoyed themselves.

During intermission I had made the mistake of suggesting that if they sat really still through the second half they would probably be able to meet Thing 1 and Thing 2.  The theatre that I used to go to as a kid always had a meet and greet and autograph signing in the lobby after a show.  Turns out that this theatre doesn't do that.  The kids were crushed at the end when everyone left the stage and we had to explain that the Things had left.  So I talked to an usher who pointed out the woman who runs the place.  I explained that I had two very sad Things of my own.  So she went back stage and found the two actresses who played Thing 1 and Thing 2.  They had already changed but agreed to put on their wigs and come out according to the manager woman.  We waited for a few minutes and when they finally came through the backstage door they were back in costume, which was sweet.  They talked to the kids and took a photo with all of us.  (Thing 1 had already started to take off her makeup you can see.)

From there it was another train ride back to the car.  Then we found some dinner and did a little shopping.  A quick trip to Pinkberry for some dessert and we were on our way to the hotel.  Amber had been to Pinkberry before but this was my first time.  Apparently it is the little things that excite me, like knowing David Beckham and Marcus Mumford have eaten there as well.
photo 1
We got to the hotel a little later than planned, but Mabes and L insisted that they still wanted to go in the pool.  So we changed and went down.  The pool area was really nice and the kids were impressed that you could swim inside and outside without having to get out of the water.  However, the hotel had heated the water to roughly the same temperature as the fires of hell.  It was almost make-you-sick-to-your-stomach-hot.  Of course Mabry, being tired and not a huge swimming fan in the first place, cried as soon as she got in.  After awhile she sort of got used to it and calmed down.
photo 2
photo 5
This video should give you a good idea of what it was like being in the pool with her:
Needless to say we ended up cutting our swim time short and headed up to the room to take baths and go to sleep.

We spent Sunday morning searching for a place to get breakfast and then wandering around IKEA before heading home.

It was a fun little weekend.  It was nice to spend time with good friends and to get away from the computer and the housework and everything else for 24 hours.  More than that, it was awesome to see my girlie so happy.

21 September 2011

4 year photo shoot

Mabry 4 Year Photos 5
Mabry went with me on a photo shoot last week and I took the opportunity to take a few four-year-old photos while we were out.

Many of the photos she picked the location and the pose.
Mabry 4 Year Photos
Mabry 4 Year Photos 2
I love this little girlie to pieces.  She is too adorable for her own good.  
Mabry 4 Year Photos 6
This is my favorite photo from the whole shoot.  Lately she has been doing this thing where she wrinkles her nose and giggles when she is excited or embarrassed.  
Mabry 4 Year Photos 4

19 September 2011

i love dan, dan loves penn state

Just check the garage wall for confirmation on that.  You may recall last year I painted a gigantic "S" for Penn State on the back of the garage wall per Dan's request.

This football season he decided to up the ante and made another request (this time with a Power Point slide illustration) from half way around the world.  Apparently the "S" just wasn't cutting it in terms of Penn State Pride.

So while Mabry worked on putting up "signs" in my garden and striking poses for the camera, I worked on adding to the garage wall masterpiece.
photo 1
First stenciling the letters onto the wall, then outlining each letter with a tiny brush, and finally filling them in with three coats of paint.  I'm not done yet, I still have "National Championships" on the top line to finishing outlining and painting, but I am getting there.  After that it will be adding in the years that these honors(??) were won and then the wall will be complete.
photo 3
photo 4
At least until next year when Dan asks me to do a life-size replica of JoePa doing the tango with the Nittany Lion.

16 September 2011

still haven't fallen off the face of the earth

Out of the loop is something I am getting very good at it.  Things have been crazy (as usual) around here and I have just about reached my breaking point.  I'm happy to report that this is all going to be changing (fingers crossed) soon.

For any of you that don't follow my photography page on Facebook, here is the cover I did for a local magazine.  Sorry that it took me so long to post this.  Time sort of got away from me.

The day the magazine came out I showed Mabry and called her my little super model.  She responded, "I'm a super model because I am so good at it."
Cape Fear Parent Cover FB

Even though I am spending the majority of my time at the computer designing and editing I have managed to squeeze in a fun small project or two.  I plan to share all of them with you in the coming week.  (A promise I intend to keep.)

Have a happy weekend everyone.  Looking forward to some cold weather (they are predicting a 30 degree drop tomorrow!) here.  

13 September 2011

is it really almost 1 am right now?

I'm not trying to neglect the blog.  I am just neck deep in stuff I am trying to get accomplished this month which leads little time to do much else.  Looking forward to having a time when I can lay outside with Mabry and find things in the clouds.

(We did this a few weeks ago, can you spot the elephant like we did?)

As a peace offering I thought I would share a couple of videos taken over the last month or so from my phone.  Mabry has a thing for dressing up and dancing, anytime, anywhere.
When I write a random post, I really like to make it random.  So one last order of business for today, anyone have a suggestion on how to get Mabry to stop sucking on her fingers?  She is creating some painful looking sores:
Happy Tuesday, hope to see you tomorrow!

Ps.  I don't let Mabry watch How I Met Your Mother.  I had DVR'd an episode and when she heard the song playing at the end she came running out of the playroom and started dancing.

08 September 2011

mabry's fourth birthday

Warning: This is a very picture heavy post per the request of Mabry's Daddy.

Yesterday was Mabry's fourth birthday.  Something I am assuming most of you already figured out from my last post.  I am also assuming many of you were wondering what the story was behind the photo I posted yesterday as well.  I'll get to that.

This was the first birthday where Dan was gone.  We have been really lucky that he was able to celebrate with us for birthday's one through three and even luckier he was there the day she was born, so I am not going to complain.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
I wanted to really make this birthday fun and memorable for Mabry.  She wanted to share her day with her Prince Charming, L so he and A were there every step of the way.  We started with a breakfast of green eggs and ham (or turkey bacon) and a story.  The birthday girl loves her some scrambled eggs and being read to.  Since Dan was able to Skype with us during breakfast we thought we would go ahead and let her open our gifts.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
The big gift this year was a trip in a few weeks to see Suessical the musical.  We are going to be staying in a hotel and playing in the pool and eating out at an old fashioned malt shop.  It is going to be a blast.  Of course since this is still weeks away, I had to come up with a way to give Mabry something tangible.  I made her a Thing 1 t-shirt (my first time appliquéing anything ever--I didn't even practice first) and a countdown to the big day.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
After breakfast we had to run a couple of errands (including a stop for peach milkshakes) and then it was off to ride the carousel at the mall and then grab some "Mexico" for lunch.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday

For dinner we invited Baby Norah and her parents to come over and party with us.  Before they got there A and I did a little prep work in the dining room.  Doesn't this look like something out of a scene from Dexter?
Mabry's 4th Birthday
My idea for the meal was sort of a Where the Wild Things Are theme.

The kids weren't too sure what to think when we had them strip down to their underwear and I am pretty sure they all thought we were insane when we dumped a pot of spaghetti, a pot of Alfredo and a whole bunch of vegetables and dressing onto the floor.  Jason (Norah's Dad) was horrified and spent the whole time hiding under the table so as not to get dirty.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Lrefused to eat anything other than some shredded cheese that was near the edge of the plastic.  Mabry requested a fork.  Baby Norah took about .2 seconds and then dug in.  Go Baby Norah!
Mabry's 4th Birthday
It took a little coaxing and possibly some ranch dressing to the face and some spaghetti thrown on a torso by the big bully adults to get the older ones into it.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Thinking about it now, I guess it was more of a food fight theme more than anything.  The birthday girl had fun, which is all that really mattered and hopefully we made some good memories.  This morning she woke up and told me she wanted to eat spaghetti on the floor every night.  Um, no.
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday
After dinner and a dessert of strawberry lemonade cupcakes (the size of small planets) with little white chocolate squiggles it was time for a bath and then opening presents from her friends and playing, playing, playing.
Norah worked really hard to make a card for Mabry.  The front had a picture of the two of them from the beginning of the year.  Inside she colored photos and used her stickers to express her love.  
Mabry's 4th Birthday
Mabry's 4th Birthday
That pretty much sums up Mabry's birthday.  A little wild, a little all over the place, a little messy, a little chaotic and exactly the way a four-year-old should welcome in a new year.
Mabry's 4th Birthday

06 September 2011

Mabry BDay #1
Dear Mabry,

Today you turned four-years-old.  Where has the time gone and who said you could grow up so quickly?  You tell me all the time even when you grow up you'll still be my little girl, but if you want to do your Mama a favor and not rush becoming an adult for say the next 30 years I would appreciate it.

Three-years-old was a tough year for us.  You really started to develop your temper and attitude.  When pushed, you push back.  You get that from me.  My parents used to threaten me all the time that someday I would end up with a child just like you are turning out to be.  Want to know a secret?  I wouldn't want you any other way.  It is going to be a tough road for Daddy and I to raise you, but I know that you will never be someone else's doormat when do become an adult and that makes it all worth it.

You have one of the biggest hearts.  You are loving and kind, always wanting to cuddle and hug and kiss me.  You worry and care about others.  You have an opinion about everything.  You aren't very patient, but we are working on that.

Also, you never stop talking.  Ever.

Our time spent in the car almost always consists of you asking me questions about God and Jesus and the world.  I love that you have so many questions and that you have a believer's heart.  It also makes me wonder what exactly it is about the car that causes you to ask these types of questions only then?

You started dance class last month.  Any chance you get to show someone your ballet and tap shoes you do.  I can't believe how much you have already picked up and learned already.  I hope that you continue this love for dance well into your life.  We also promised you that when Daddy comes back from his deployment we will take you to the Nutcracker.  Every person you meet you inform them that you are going to be in the Nutcracker.  You also let them know you expect clapping and flowers.

Daddy being gone has been hard on you even if you don't show it much.  You sometimes crawl up on my lap and lay your head on my chest and say, "I miss my Daddy."  Then we sit  quietly for a minute or two and then you jump down and start to play again.  You also weasel your way into my room at night a lot more than you should.  This is going to have to stop when Daddy comes back because there just isn't enough room.  You sleep sideways, girlie, and tend to smack and kick all through the night.

Speaking of sleeping, can we talk for a minute about the whole nap situation?  You informed me a few weeks ago that you were too old for a nap.  This really stinks for me because my plan had always been that you would nap until you were eighteen.  Also, I really need that mid afternoon break.  Any chance of reinstating that?

This year you were the flower girl in Aunt B's wedding and you did awesome.  You held my hand and walked down the aisle and stood still during the whole ceremony.  At the reception you spent literally the whole night dancing with anyone and everyone.  You were an animal and everyone loved you.  Most adorable flower girl ever.

Ever since Aunt B got married your favorite game has been to play bride.  You hold pretend flowers and march down the aisle and have me pretend to be the groom or the preacher.  Your imagination runs away with you constantly.  Shoes become dragons and hands become a prince trying to rescue their princess on a daily basis around here.

You are a special little girl and you will never know how much Daddy and I love you or how proud we are of you or how blessed we feel to be your parents but that doesn't mean we won't try to show and tell you every day.

Happy 4th Birthday.

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