Tuesday, December 16, 2008

my favorite part...

this year i just didn't have it in me to do a snazzy tree (i really do miss the smell of pine in my house, but then again...it might make me sick! who knows these days) ...so i let the kids go to town on our little fake tree that usually goes on the front steps. they totally had more fun this year b/c they got to do whatever they wanted without me saying, "oh, but those are too close together." and somehow my favorite part was the clump of all the ornaments "too close together". we got those snowmen last year at Kmart. they change color...the kids LOVE them. well, our christmas is a bit different this year (without any other decorations up), but it's good. i'm sure from now on we'll have to have a tree they can do with no stipulations.

Friday, November 7, 2008

i wish...

i took this picture of my friend's cute baby

{the good ole' mister stork brought babies to us}
because this whole pregnancy thing is REALLY hard
we have a baby on the way and due to arrive June 19, 2009
it's gonna be a LONG winter,
but it will be worth it!

things i remember about being pregnant:

*the nausea! YUCK! (all day EVERY day!)
*i want nothing to do with chicken
*cereal always tastes good
*i'm in bed by 8pm or the next day is bad news
*every task seems daunting
*i can't wear perfume or scented lotion or i'll never wear it again
*getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom
*i'm ALWAYS "thinkin' Arby's!"
*i pretty much want to die from 3pm until i fall asleep around 8:30pm
*i kind of want to die the other times of the day
*my stove is the only thing in my house that is clean (i don't use it!)
*i have to say "no" to lots of things, when i'm always a "yes" girl
*i cry a lot
*i pray a lot

things i forgot or didn't know:
*i'd show a lot sooner with my 3rd baby (i look way more pregnant than my friend who is 10 weeks further along than me)
*crocheting can help me muscle past the urge to vomit
*a 3-year-old and 5-year-old can do many things they claim they can't do when forced upon them
*i miss my moms! (i wasn't embarrassed to have my mom come help me clean or come help me with J, and just give me moral support...it's not the same over the phone)
*i have wonderful people in my life here that are like sisters. it's been amazing and it makes me feel so good that i have friends who call, email, take my kids, and even bring me dinner. it is SOOOO hard for me to accept service, but i really appreciate it! thanks for being my ohio family.
*it's amazing how messy a house can get only after one day of not picking up after the kids

all in all, i'll take all the bad with the good. when i look at my two little ones now, and on wednesday when i saw the heartbeat of my little-one-to-be, i'll suffer all that i have to for a healthy, beautiful baby. just the fact that our Heavenly Father entrusts the lives of these little ones to me is humbling and it gives me faith and strength to do hard things...and pregnancy is a REALLY hard thing for me.

so, no i haven't fallen off the face of the earth...i'm just growing a baby!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

how we told our families

{we sent our immediate families this postcard}
the other side of the postcard said:

Trick or Treat,
Trick or Treat!
Our 8 foot family
Is growing 2 feet!
We're so excited
We could scream!
Our baby will be
Here on June 19!

Friday, October 17, 2008

3 ingredients to goodness...

{1 - 15oz jar of pumpkin}
{1 box spice cake mix}
{1 cup of mini chocolate chips}
{3 dozen yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies}

no joke! that's all folks...i like to call this kind of recipe a "fake it" recipe...like you are faking that you are exactly like a perfect, martha stewart, homemaker.
here's how you "fake it":
blend cake mix and pumpkin until cake mix is all mixed in.
add the chocolate chips.
spoon onto a greased cookie sheet.
bake at 350 for 15 min.
{and they are super low-fat! so you can eat 5 instead of only 1! and believe me, you'll want to!} thanks steph for the recipe!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

i love pumpkins

did i mention how much i LOVE the fall??? i love it so much! i love to go to the store and buy the cinnamon scented pine cones. i love that the kids can go to the park and collect acorns and buckeyes. i love that the sun is shining and that the air has such a clean, crisp feel. i love the smell of wood-burning fire in the air. i love roasting marshmallows in our backyard. i love making hot chocolate and sitting by our fire in the evening when daddy comes home. i love making holiday crafts. i love sweaters. i love cute boots. i love making treats with pumpkin in them. i love making caramel dipped apples. i love making halloween costumes. i love going to clam bakes {something that ohio-ans like to do}. I LOVE IT ALL!

so i found these super cute pumpkins on holly's blog, and had to make some myself. since this is the first time i have had a mantle, i love to decorate it!!! we've got the pumpkins, acorns {thanks to J & G}, buckeyes, cinnamon scented pine cones, and some cute beaded garland. i can honestly say that i feel giddy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

oh dear, is it really that time again??

{don't worry! you didn't miss it!}

just simply click here

and go to 'pictures with santa' for AZ or OH.
due to time crunches, i only have one day in each location open this year, so sign up quick!

{be sure to sign up so santa will know EVERYTHING on your list}

***for my OHIO fr
iends...i will be taking pictures with this santa this year for the first time! i'm very excited about it!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

bigger pictures

i've had a couple people ask me how to make the pictures on their blog bigger like i have....so here are the directions: just click here.
good luck, and have fun!

Friday, September 5, 2008

ode to fall

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. If I knew your address I’d send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.
- Tom Hanks in “You’ve Got Mail”

today was a little cooler, a tad bit overcast, and i spotted several leaves changing
...and even some falling, sigh...this is hands down my favorite time of the year. ever since our move to ohio, and after one fabulous fall...i'll never be the same person, and when i don't get to experience this beautiful time of year when we move back to az {or wherever else we may end up}, my heart will long for my ohio falls. to top it all off, when i went grocery shopping today, the store had honey crisp apples...mmmmm, my favorite! they are the perfect blend of sweet and tart...and when you bite into them, the juice trickles down your throat. so the picture above is my "bouquet" of apples. {before these apples, i really wasn't an apple person}. also, don't you just love that quote from you've got mail? {i know you do, sarah b. remember how obsessed we were with that movie!??} maybe it's the teacher in me, but i love newly sharpened pencils and school supplies...one more fun thing about fall.

J went back to school on wednesday, and little G starts on Monday...i love, love, love their school and teachers. jack has already reported back with several friends, and his behavior has improved drastacally! i think he just needed more to keep him busy...here's hoping the same thing works for G!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

much needed...


i took my first ever road trip without hubby...
here are a few things i learned:
1. i can drive for 7.5 hours by myself {with 2 kids}
2. i really get bugged when people don't use cruise control
3. the portable dvd player revolutionized car travel with kids
4. ring pops are awesome
5. only give the kids a drink when they are dying of thirst
6. i don't want to use a public restroom for a VERY long time
{we stopped 7 times on the way there!}

matt left for a dental conference, and i couldn't bear to be alone, especially because it was in arizona {and i'm so lonley for az and the people there! it will be an entire year before i get back there!} well, i talked to my mom, and she was lonely because my dad was going to be out of town for 3 weeks on business...so we decided we could help ease our lonliness by being together. so i packed the kids up, and headed for virginga. i was really nervous b/c i hate driving for long periods of time, but it wasn't that bad. the kids did really well. we had so much fun being with nana. she is such an involved grandma, and it was nice for me to have some help. the kids loved to sleep in her bed and snuggle with her in the rocking chair. i feel so blessed to have such a wonderful mom that i LOVE to visit. this whole move to virginia is working out great for me! now that i know i can do it myself, i'll go more often!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

warm fuzzies

my kiddos are really into "projects" right now. they love working on their table and coming up with many fun crafts and ideas all on their own. i just have a big box of paper, glue, pipe cleaners, pom poms, popsicle sticks, toothpicks, feathers, googly eyes, etc... they will really spend hours coming up with new things...it's great. the other day i peaked over and saw this {the picture above}, and J and G told me that they were called "warm fuzzies". well, not only did i think these little creatures were amazing, but i instantly recalled a story my 4th grade teacher read to me, and i found it on the internet so that i could share it with you. maybe we will have to give some of our "warm fuzzies" away.

{i know this looks like a ginoramous post, but it's a great story...so share it with your family, and make your own warm fuzzies}

The Warm Fuzzy Tale

The Original Warm Fuzzy Tale
By Claude Steiner

Once upon a time, a long time ago there lived two very happy people called Tim and Maggi with their two children, John and Lucy.

To understand how happy they were you have to understand how things were in those days. You see, in those happy days everyone was given, at birth, a small soft Fuzzy Bag. Anytime a person reached into this bag he was able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy.

Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever somebody was given a Warm Fuzzy it made him feel warm and fuzzy all over. People who didn't get Warm Fuzzies regularly were in danger of developing a sickness in their backs which caused them to shrivel up and die.

In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, "I'd like to have a Warm Fuzzy." You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a little girl's hand.

As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large shaggy Warm Fuzzy. You then would lay it on the person's shoulder or head or lap and it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.

People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem.

There were always plenty to go around, and as a consequence everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.

One day a bad witch became angry because everyone was so happy and no one was buying potions and salves.

The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan.

One beautiful morning the witch crept up to Tim while Maggi was playing with their daughter and whispered in his ear, "See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggi is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up, eventually she is going to run out and then there won't be any left for you."

Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and said, "Do you mean to tell me that there isn't a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?" And the witch said, "No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that's it. You don't have any more." With this, the witch flew away, laughing and cackling.

Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggi gave up a Warm Fuzzy to somebody else. Eventually he got very worried and upset because he liked Maggi's Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggi to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and on other people.

He began to complain every time he saw Maggi giving a Warm Fuzzy to somebody else, and because Maggi liked him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often and reserved them for him.

The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give up Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it.

They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely, and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they also began to object. They began to feel worried whenever they gave away too many Warm Fuzzies.

Even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag, they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy. Soon people began to notice the lack of Warm Fuzzies, and they began to feel less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up, and, occasionally, people would die from lack of Warm Fuzzies.

More and more people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn't seem to work.

Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch didn't really want the people to die (since dead people couldn't buy salves and potions) so a new plan was devised.

Everyone was given a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch's bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy, but made them feel cold and prickly instead.

But they did prevent people's bag's from shriveling up. So, from then on, every time somebody said, "I want a Warm Fuzzy," people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, "I can't give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly?"

Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they could get a Warm Fuzzy, but one or the other of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies. So while very few people were dying, a lot of people were still unhappy and feeling very Cold and Prickly.

The situation got very complicated. Warm Fuzzies, which used to be thought of as free as air, became extremely valuable. This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to obtain them.

Before the witch had appeared, people used to gather in groups of three or four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other exclusively. People who forgot themselves and gave a Fuzzy to someone else would feel guilty because they knew that their partner would probably resent the loss. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Fuzzies and they worked long hours to earn the money.

Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies.....which were limitless and freely available..... coat them white and fluffy, and pass them on as Warm Fuzzies.

These counterfeit Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional difficulties. For instance, two people would get together and freely exchange Plastic Fuzzies, which presumably should have made them feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. Since they thought they had been exchanging Warm Fuzzies, people grew very confused about this, never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were really the result of the fact that they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.

So the situation was very, very dismal, and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.

Not long ago, a lovely, strong woman with big hips and a happy smile came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. People called her the Hip Woman and some disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies.

The children liked her very much because they felt good around her. They, too, began to give out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.

The grownups became concerned and decided to pass a law to protect the children from using up their supplies of Warm Fuzzies. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner, without a license.

Many children, however, seemed not to know or care, and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked.

Because there were many many children...almost as many as grownups...it began to look as if maybe the children would have their way.

As of now it is hard to say what will happen. Will the forces of law and order stop the children? Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?

Will Tim and Maggi, recalling the days when they were so happy and when Warm Fuzzies were unlimited, begin to give away Warm Fuzzies freely again?

The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right where you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and by being as loving and healthy as you can.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

remember when...

{you used to get all the sheets out of your mom's linen closet and set up all the chairs and stools and make a fort?}
well, friday night when matt got home from school...he was pooped!...i was pooped {G has another UTI, and both kids have colds}, and the kids were just excited to have daddy home. it's just going to be one of those "couple months" where we don't get to see dad very much. so matt came up with this idea that we build a fort and have a family movie night {like last week, only we didn't build a fort} and let the kids stay up till 9 pm rather than go to bed at their normal 7 pm bed time {i'm done being a mom at 7 pm!} i know, this staying up late thing goes against all logic of having them get more rest b/c they are sick, but for cryin' out loud, they missed their daddy, and we were all up for some out-of-the-ordinary-fun! for our movie, the kids wanted to watch "mommy and daddy's wedding video". they love to see our wedding day and the pics of matt and i growing up. they always ask where they were, and then before we can answer, they say, "oh yeah, we were in Heaven." and i add, "and you were so excited that mommy and daddy got married because that meant that you got to come to earth to our family." then jack says, "yeah, and our other brother and sister were there with us," hmm...does he know something i don't? {or maybe he's just wishful thinking!}

oh we had a good time snuggling on the floor. and the thought came to me...these are the memories that last. no amusement park or new expensive toy can top this. love is free, and i relish in it.

{and with a little self timer action on the camera...here is our moment captured}

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a little patch of heaven

i LOVE my bed! it's a spring air with a pillow top...firm underneath + soft on top = perfection! we made our headboard out of an old door, and i found those zany pillows at TJ MAX {love that store!} at night i absolutely love climbing into a made bed {for this reason i make my bed almost every morning, even if i do nothing else}, into cool sheets, and under my goose down comforter! my body instantly relaxes and an audible sigh escapes my lips. then i grab my latest book on my nightstand and read until my eyelids become heavy. then comes morning where my kiddos come in {yes, i know i'm pathetic...my kids wake me up}, and say, every morning, "good morning mama". they used to come in and whine for chocolate milk or to turn on cartoons, but it was driving me cRaZy! so, matt had a talk to them and told them to come in and wake mommy up in a nice way...now i LOVE waking up. then usually they end up in my bed for about 15 minutes just snuggling and giggling with me. then, i make my bed with the kids in it, and they carefully climb out so they don't "mess it up". i think when i look back to having small children, mornings will forever be a warm memory to my soul!

Monday, August 18, 2008

"mommy-made oreos"

so for jack's preschool get-together i was assigned to bring a "fun dessert". i thought i'd ask jack what he wanted me to make...knowing full well this is what he'd pick. he loves "mommy-made oreos" {not the ones in the package he clarifies}. this has been jack's favorite "mommy-made" treat since i can remember. a little over a year ago i had a beautiful platter of these yummy cookies sitting in the middle of my counter, all ready to take to a BBQ, and when i came back into the kitchen after getting ready, i found evidence of the top ten missing cookies on jack and gracie's face and hands. i'm sure many of you have at least had a variety of these...aka {cake mix cookies}. we just add frosting. so go make some "mommy-made" oreos today!

*1 box chocolate cake mix {just the powder}
*1/2 C. oil
*2 eggs
*1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all together. Spoon cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake @ 375 for 7-10 min. After completely cool, frost with:

Vanilla Butter Frosting:
*3 C Powdered Sugar
*1/3 C softened butter
*1 & 1/2 t vanilla
*2 T Milk

Mix pwd sugar and butter. Stir in vanilla and milk. Beat until smooth.

*use mint extract instead of vanilla and add green food coloring for mint oreos
*use cream cheese instead of butter for cream cheese frosting
*use a tub of vanilla frosting from the store if you must {i'm such a frosting snob! i only like homemade!}

{for those of you who didn't read the comments, my friend heather said for the fall she likes to use spice cake mix for the cookie part, and adds pumpkin to the frosting: YUM!!!! thanks heather!}

Friday, August 8, 2008

the twists and turns of life

{I Matthew John Ellingson having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. That I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.}

so, when we first got married matt and i wrote down and mapped out a 5 year plan. from planning schooling, to jobs, even down to when we wanted children. as for that 5 year plan, which planning and working towards a goal are great, the only thing sthat truly happened are that i became a kindergarten teacher, and matt is in dental school. i guess we should have done it in pencil so that we could erase and add changes as they came our way. also, to leave room for all the wonderful life's lessons learned and relationships gained along the way who help shape you into the true person you really become. even though jack came 3 years early, and my sweet husband joined the army...i would have it no other way.

well, as we embark on a new chapter in our lives, the military chapter, we go forth with excitement. if you asked me a year ago if this was even a possibility, let alone the army, i would have screamed NO! matt was always on board. with the military paying for all our school plus giving us a substantial monthly stipend...we figured that after all was said and done, and after paying off our student loan for the next 30 years, the military will save us over 1 million dollars. huh, it's a "no-brainer" if you ask us. plus, matt and i both like to consider ourselves patriots and are happy to serve our country in this way. matt will give 3 years back as a dentist for the US Army.

after many prayers, and 100s of questions, hearing the good the bad and the ugly...the army was a better fit for our family. if the opportunity arises, we hope to spend our 3 years in Europe. we'll see where life takes us at that point.

{jack and gracie sitting by matt while he signs the paperwork}
{jack and gracie sneaking in a squeeze...jack wanted to wear his camo pj's like the "solider" and they were both very excited about the "soldier" coming to our house}
{matt taking the oath written above}
{matt and major Riggle}

Monday, July 21, 2008

drumroll please.....

k, so i just got back in from chicago ( i was at {cha}, the scrapbook mega trade show ), and i thought, i've got to draw some names!!! let me just tell you ladies, that i was so excited to hear what your ideas were. i even shared them with my team for ideas for the next release. we want to design what you want!!! so thank you so much. i have to say that most of you are DYING for some boy paper, 78.2% to be exact. (i took the percentage from your comments) so, hmmm, i thought to myself...let's see if i can get a TOTALLY RAD boy paper in the works! although, i have to say that i got some FABULOUS ideas from you all. i'm tucking them away in my back pocket. i always am working on several lines at once, so stay tuned for a new release in january!

so here are the 2 lucky ladies:

CONGRATS LADIES!!! just email me with your address, and i'll get that stuff sent out! laraellingson@gmail.com

thanks again everyone who posted and gave me tons of ideas that i hope to incorporate into many of my papers. keep scrapping!

i know for my az friends that scrapbook etc (on lindsay and university) bought CARMA, and for those who need to order online, go to:
A Cherry on top
**it might take a week or two for them to get it in, so check then! i can't wait to see what you come up with!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

a new line.....

****keep reading, there is a prize involved!********
twice a year, i get to design a line of paper for a scrapbook company called dream street papers. i like to name each line after someone important to me in my life. this time i chose the name CARMA - my mother-in-law's first name. she is a very important person to me, not only for the wonderful grandma she is to my children, but most importantly because she raised the most important person to me in my life, my sweet matt. i LOVE her for raising a wonderful man, and 5 other wonderful children that i not only call family, but also dear friends. if i could use one word to describe carma lee, it would be BRIGHT - thus the collection of bright colors in this line. all of my lines thus far have been created to fill a need. i wanted a cute zebra pattern, and couldn't find one...so here is what i came up with! this line was so fun to work with! hopefully you will see it in a store near you! if not, tell your store you WANT it!!!

also, now is the time for me to start my next line...but i'm a little stumped, so this is where the prize comes in. i want everyone to leave me a comment of what you would LOVE to see in your local scrapbook store that is not already there. at the end of july, i will put all the names of the people who comment on my blog into a bowl and pull out 2 winners. i will send you a goodie box full of dream street stuff! also, if you leave more than one comment, your name will go in the drawing for as many ideas as you leave! thanks, and i look forward to hearing what you are wishing to have! check back on july 21st for the winner!

i took these pictures of my neighbor's baby

our family picture on the beach

gracie and her sunglasses

swinging at the park

you have your papa's {john's} smile

my little poser

Monday, June 30, 2008

jack's temple talk

{i distressed this picture of the mesa, arizona temple to hang in my house}

jack was asked to give a talk in primary (sunday school for kids age 3-12) about temples, so as i was coaching him through the talk, i would whisper things in his ear, and he would say them. he was doing a great job with speaking clearly into the microphone, and was not shy at all. we brought in pictures of temples all around the world, and told the children all about the special things that we use temples for...
*learn about Heavenly Father's plan for us
*perform special ordinances for our ancestors
*get married for forever, for eternity
then, at the end of the talk i whispered for jack to repeat, "i know that temples are special places and someday i want to get married in one like my mom and dad." well, jack started by saying, "i know temples are special," but then he stopped. so i repeated the rest of the statement thinking that he just forgot the rest of the words. but jack just stood there. so i whispered it a third time a little louder, but this time he squished his lips together and shook his head. i prodded him to say it, but he turned around to me and said, "i'm not saying that!" by this point the audience started to chuckle because they could hear my "loud" whisper, so they knew what i had wanted him to say, and it was funny that he wouldn't say it. so i took the liberty to say in the microphone, "and someday jack wants to get married in the temple." then jack says, "no i don't, i don't ever want to get married." i couldn't help but laugh, and the audience thought this was quite funny. after we sat down, i asked jack why he didn't want to get married, and he said, "girls have cooties, and i don't want to marry one!"
i'll just have to tuck this story away for later when he is 16 and thinking that girls don't have cooties!

Monday, May 5, 2008

"every day things" every day

(matt took this picture a little over a year ago because he wanted to depict life as it really is. this shot is so typical of my life with 2 small children, one in hand, and one on my hip!..a t-shirt, jeans, and tennies or flip flops)

last week i was talking to a mom of a little girl in jack's preschool class. we were letting our kids play for a little while on the playground before we put them in the car to go home. we were talking about the things our children loved at the time. jack, i said, was obsessed with super heroes. he loves dressing up as spider man or super man and captain jack sparrow! i told her that gracie wanted everything to do with babies. she carries her baby doll everywhere. she said that her daughter was very much into dollies too and that her daughter is always talking about the day when she can become a real mommy. then she went on to say that it bothered her because she didn't want her daughter to think that motherhood was glamorous....and that she needed an education and a career path to make a difference in the world. she didn't want her daughter to be "just a mom". well, i wish i could say that i stood up for mothers. quite frankly, i didn't know what to say. i can't even remember what i said, if i said anything at all, that comment sent me into deep thought and introspection at my life. the comment, "just a mom" haunted me.
then a few days later, i was nominated to be the histo
rian for the board of parents over the school both my children will attend next year, and i was at the first meeting of the new board. i was talking to the women sitting on both sides of me. the women were talking about what they "do". one woman was a lawyer, and one was the ceo of public relations for key bank (the tallest building in downtown cleveland and largest bank of the state). when they asked what i do, the thought popped into my head, "i'm just a mom". but i said that i stayed at home, but i was a graphic designer and photographer. i also went on to say that i was a teacher for 5 years. WHY COULDN'T I STAND UP FOR MOTHERS?????
i was totally wrapped into society in thinking that unless you get a paycheck, you don't have a real or otherwise important job, which is so NOT TRUE!!!
the world would say that unless you
-increased sales by this much
-closed that deal
-won that case
-climbed more more rung up the corporate ladder
- gave that speech
-or received some sort of tangible reward
that what you do is not important. motherhood is not that way, aside from God Himself, no one sees what we do. most, if not all of the work we do, is behind closed doors. there is no bonus for doing 14 loads of laundry a week, and no award for the cleanest refrigerator...no one to cheer when you picked up the last toy or used the hand vac for the 17th time that day!
however, mothers are indeed important, and though the world devalues our "job", we must not. the poet william ross so eloquently wrote, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." i found this quote in the book titled, "I am a Mother", by Jane Clayson Johnson. we are reading this book for our book club this month and i have found it to be uplifting and inspiring.

as mother's day approaches, i wanted to have this week to feel
what i do counts, and that being a mother although so tiresome and many times thankless, is indeed a job, and not something to feel like less of a person because that is my "chosen career path". maybe it is just a day that the greeting card companies make a ton of money, but it's not so bad to have one day a year to pay homage to our mothers, and feel good about being a mom.

so although a baby on your hip, and a child in hand may not be glamorous, it's my life, and i love it (most of the time!)

may we teach our daughters that to be a mother is not to be "just a mom", but a true person who holds the future in her hands (or on her hip), and mothers make the BIGGEST difference in the world. i truly have a legacy of wonderful women behind me, and may the legacy i leave be just as wonderful.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

first lady's luncheon

well, i wasn't very good at journaling about all the fabulous "stuff" we got to do as kids to a congressman, so i'm trying to be detailed in this experience so that i'll have something to share with my posterity of my experiences with the government "perks".
so, every year in april, the congressional club puts on a luncheon for the first lady. anyone who has ever been in congress (or married to a congressman) is a part of this club. my mom has been to this luncheon several times, but it has never worked out for my sister and i to go. it was easier this year since i'm in ohio, and my sis-in-law, sarah, is in virginia, and kate had to be flown in from good 'ole utah.
we all anticipated this event for many months and each of us got a new dress for the occasion, and thanks to jergens sunless tanning lotion (it's the best one out there b/c it doesn't have that funny smell), i got a tan! my wonderful friends agreed to watch my kids for 2 days while matt was at school, and i was off!
we drove into d.c. (about 40 min from my parents house) and arrived at the hilton where the luncheon was being held. it was a site to see when we walked into the hotel, hundreds of women all dressed up for the occasion as well, many were wearing big fancy hats too! it was fun to see all the spring suits and dresses adorned on a variety of women. we purchased cook books with some of the first ladies' recipes in it (Jacquie Kennedy's spinach quiche looks super YUM!) and mingled with ourselves as my mother ran into an occasional acquaintance or friend.
when we walked into the banquet hall, it was absolutely lovely from floor to ceiling. the tables were decorated with colorful floral table cloths, flowers, and center pieced with a metal dress form (that we bought so I could use it in my next craft show). there were 2 sets of forks, 2 knives, and a desert spoon and knife. the meal was absolutely divine too. The menu read: Spring Southern Salad (with roasted sweet potatoes, glazed pecans, red beans, green roasted tomatoes, & pumpkin seeds), Spicy Shrimp and Grits (with roasted sweet potato, caramelized lemon, green tomato compote), Bread presentation to include (sourdough rolls, seeded flat bread, jalapeno corn bread), Peach Sunrise (ginger crust with peaches, red currents, dulce de leche, and passion fruit glaze)....SUPER YUM!
we were entertained with a poem reading (i felt a bit like anne of green gables), a very candid and real speech from laura bush, and a musical presentation from frederic yonnet.
i LOVE laura bush. i have met her before at the republican nominating convention in philadelphia in 2000, and when we met she asked me my name, and what i do. i told her my name and that i was going to school to become a teacher. she said, "well, 2 lara's who are both teachers, we must be kindred spirits". i've liked her ever since. this time we did not get to go up and see her, but we got to hear her talk. she was funny b/c she had to come out on a catwalk escorted by a military man, and she told us that the first time she was to come to the first lady's luncheon she was debriefed and told a little about the event. she said she was not warned that she would have to come out on a catwalk in front of a thousand pair of eyes! she said that the thoughts went through her mind, "is my dress wrinkled in the back?, do i have on new pantie hose?, and how much do i actually weigh?" i love that she didn't ever put herself above us, but seemed very human and had the sames thoughts that the rest of us would have and totally owned up to them.
so this picture will have to do as my up-close-and-personal with laura bush! and katie pricked her finger on the washington monument (people were laughing as they walked by, but we still did it any way).
we all relished in the awesomeness of the moments at the luncheon, and had fun too! it seemed as if this was all second nature for most of the ladies there, but to us an anomaly...and i'm glad because it made the day more special and out of the ordinary.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

i wash my hands of this snow stuff

so this is what i've got (see above), and this is what i'm longing for (see below)so i know that i haven't been as good as a blogger as usual, but seriously...i've got nothin! we are stuck in the rut of winter...STILL!!! nobody told me that the sun don't shine for 6 months out of the year here!!! i've realized just how much of a sun baby i really am. and it doesn't help that this is hands down my favorite time in arizona right now because all the orange trees are blossoming, and it is the best smell in the world, not to mention, the weather is FABULOUS and not FREEZING! yeah, today was a whopping 30 degrees...i was boycotting the cold and wore a pink skirt with no nylons to church...and all my leg hair grew back in the short walk from the car to the church b/c my goose bumps wouldn't go away!

so i'm sorry about the griping, but i miss the sun, and i miss my arizona! i'm ready for this weather to CEASE!!! but the locals tell me that we should get at least one more big storm before spring actually hits...and there is usually no gr
een until mid may, arghhh!

on a good note though, i made a new years resolution to exercise at least 4 days a week, and i've been sticking to it. i actually crave it. i know when i'm getting cranky with my kids, that all i need is a good work out. so here's the deal...we were signed up with a community center, but with an address mix up, we got kicked out...so i decided that i wanted my own elliptical. so costco.com had a $75 rebate on this baby in december, so i bought this for myself for christmas. it was $350...but my community center pass was $290 a year, plus extra for babysitting, so pretty much this is worth paying for
a year at the community center.
I work out Mon-Friday at 4 pm, because that is when this awesome show, SUPER WHY, is on PBS, and it's educational (Jack is actually sounding out words because of it)...so no guilt there, and this is the only show that my kids stay glued for the full half hour. so i put 30 of my fav songs on my new i pod shuffle (thanks mom and dad), and have a full half hour to myself, not to mention the burning of 300 calories! i totally can't quit until the calorie meter says over 300 calories...I always want to quit right around the time the meter says 215, but i keep going.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

i am

so i am now at the beginning of my 28th year on this earth. i love birthdays...at least for now anyway...and every year i try to recap my life thus far, and somewhat define who i am and try to figure out how my next year can be better- my own "personal progress" if you will. my 27th year of life was filled with many opportunities for growth and change in not only my life style and living conditions, but in me as a person. as i take a moment to reflect on me (something that really NEVER happens - with my sweet husband, lovely kiddos, church calling, jobs, and keeping house, constantly filling my mind and time), i'd like to write down, if only for my posterity, who i am...
i am:
* a wife, like 99.9% of the time, matt falls asleep before me. i always look over at him sleeping and thank God that matt is my companion in
all things.
* mommy, after i look over at my husband, even after i've already gotten all comfy, cozy...i get out of bed to see my children one last time before i sleep. it's always the culminating event of my day...and it gives me a sense of accom
plishment. i also feel unconditional love for these two little souls who made me mommy.
* finally okay with who i am, the other day someone made a comment that a year ago would have hurt my feelings or at least make me think that i needed to change, but i didn't feel that way at all...in fact, the thought came to my mind: LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME!
*happiest when i serve others, i love to make people happy, especially through service. i love to cook a dinner for someone who didn't feel like making dinner that day, cheering people up over the phone, giving compliments, or just making someone smile. i recently took a friend that i go to church with dinner b
ecause it was the anniversary of her mother's death, and in the thank you note that she wrote me she said, "it's been said that a good deed is a reflection of a person's soul. you are beautiful." i have to say that is just about the best compliment anyone has ever paid me.
*not the best at "picking up", i let the kids play all day and then do a 10 minuted quick clean up right before daddy gets home. sometimes, wh
en i get a really short warning that someone is coming over, i have put pans in the oven, and...sigh...shove things under the beds or in the closets! my philosophy is that if you want to see me, you can come any time, but if you want to see my house - you'll have to make an appointment! i love to have a clean house, but let's face it...it's just not possible unless i follow 2 steps after my kids all day long...and i just don't want to do that.
*a project person, i LOVE to finish something
and look at it and think: I DID THAT. that's why scrapbooking is so wonderful for me b/c i get that sense of accomplishment after only an hour or two of work.
*a chatter, i'm usually one of the first to show up (because i HATE being late), and almost always the last to leave. i LOVE talking to people and having real conversations...skipping past the small talk, and getting to real things. i'm not afraid to tell people anything they want to know about me.
*an avid reader, i totally started a book club here in OH, because i wanted to be in one, and chat about books. i read EVERY night. i can't go to sleep unless i at least read a page. if i forget to take a book on vacation, i only go through one night of lying awake for 2 hours before i can fall asleep until i go buy one the next morning. amazon.com is my FAV place to shop...i NEVER check books out of the library (for one thing...i think of people's sweaty, dirty hands holding the book, and it totally grosses me out that the dirty book is the last think i touch before i go to bed.) for another, more logical, reason...i love to own books. i dream of someday having my own library with a ladder that rolls across all the shelves and a plush chase lounge in the corner. some great books i have read this year are: these is my words, gifted hands: the ben carson story, the twilight series, harry potter and the deathly hollows, princess academy, austenland, goose girl, the wedding, the alchemist, christmas jars, fabelhaven, the 5 love languages, the sisterhood of the traveling pants, anne of green gables (i read this series like every other year!), and many more...but this is the "tops" for my list.
*a horrible dancer, but i LOVE to dance! my ring tone for my phone is abba's dancing queen. i love to get fun songs off i tunes, and the kids and i dance around the house. we do this at least once a day! they are always saying, "that's a good one, mom!" or "teach me that move!" so, they think i'm fabulous! our latest favs are ob-la-di (by george and henry chadwick), life's what you make it (by hannah montanna), cha-cha slide (the kids version: kids sing imagine album)...my kids love the clapping part and all the "left stomp this time!"
*camera shy, i LOVE to take pictures, but hate to
be in them! i had my sister take a picture of me b/c i needed one for a layout for a tradeshow, and i was SO EMBARRASSED the whole time....i seriously think this is the first pic of just me that has been taken since my wedding day.

so here is a page torn out of my life here in ohio, in my 27th year...
i am: wife, mother, photographer, designer, crafter, teacher, house cleaner, chaos manager, worrier, movie lover, cook, friend, personal shopper, counselor, strong, spiritual, prayerful, playful...i am me.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

i've been having fun!

so i know that it has been all about scrapbooking lately...but that's what my life is about lately...so it works out. the first 3 layouts are from my {RUE} paper, and the 4th one is from my friend Audrey's, and the 5th from Dana's. i LOVE when this time comes around...it's totally like christmas for me..but better, b/c it's twice a year! i have some more lay outs, i just need to take some pics of them...