Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why I buy Q-Tips in bulk

fix·a·tion: (fĭk-sā'shən) n.
1. The act or process of fixing or fixating.
2. An obsessive preoccupation.
3. Psychology A strong attachment to a person or thing, especially such an attachment formed in childhood or infancy and manifested in immature or neurotic behavior that persists throughout life.

Some time during junior high school, I adopted the habit of cleaning out my ears with a Q-tip daily; it is part of my showering/getting dressed routine, and is as common to me as brushing my teeth or putting in my contacts. You could say I am a little obsessive about this practice. I bring Q-tips with me on vacation, or fashion a lame substitue if I've forgotten (you wouldn't go a week without toothpaste, would you?). My husband has heard me say, "Oh, no! I forgot to clean out my ears this morning!" I have now convinced him that he should adopt a similar habit, and have trained my children to expect having me regularly clean out their ears. (Incidentally, a couple mornings ago, I was rudely awakened by my two-year old putting a Q-tip in my ear and saying "My turn!).

And now I'm going to tell you why.

I was at Centennial Beach one sunny summer day in my teen years. My best friend Liz and I were sitting on one of those green floating things in the middle of the deep end waiting out the no-swim break, or catching some rays, boy-watching, or something equally lackadaisical. Then out of nowhere, and totally unprovoked, Liz looked over at me and said something that has changed my life forever. She said, "Ewww, Jenny! Your ears are disgusting! Don't you ever clean them?" Lets just say I was impressionable. I promise you that until that day, I was completely ignorant and unselfconscious about what was in my ears; I have never been the same person since.

So now it's your turn. What do you do? What comment did someone make to you once upon a time that you still remember vividly and that still impacts you on such a regular basis?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Anti-Atkins (non)Diet

For breakfast I had cereal with milk. For lunch, I had an all-fruit smoothie. In between I snacked on strawberry yougurt, a handful of LIFE cereal here and there, a glass of juice, a handful of popcorn, a tasty treat with my daugther as she celebrates having gone potty. I did have a redeeming dinner of chicken pot pie, and I even ate all my vegetables. Then, just for the fun of it, I thawed some cookie dough and did some baking. Now I can tell that this is not exactly a well-rounded (or should I say well-squared) diet, and my digestive system is not exactly rejoicing. And I know this is not the way to shed the baby pounds, which I've professed as an important goal. And for the record, I don't eat like this every day. But here's what I want to know: What is it about depression that makes it seem like too much work to cook or eat right? Or get dressed, for that matter? I knowingly missed lunch and sat there for over an hour listening to my growling stomach...willing myself not to eat? I don't understand.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Calling all Stampers!

Join me for a night of stamping!

Friday, June 20 at 7pm.

We'll be making cards like the ones shown above, featuring the eScape Bundle, plus two additional full-sized, embellished cards including the one shown on the right. The cost of the card night is $3.

eScape Bundle. The stamp set Circle of Friendship, prescored Love Notes (Rose Red, Very Vanilla, and Soft Sky) and envelopes, Very Vanilla wide grosgrain ribbon, and Rose Red inkpad are included in the bundle at the discounted price of $30. Plus, for my customers that attend my event and purchase the bundle, I'll give you any FREE package of your choice of Designer Series Paper! (that's a $9.95 value!). You don't want to miss this!

Click Here to RSVP>

As always, you can get more information about this and other great promotions by visiting my Demonstrator Business Website. Also, don't forget to check out the list of retiring stamp sets! These sets are only available until August 10, and then they will be gone forever!

Images (c) Stampin' Up! 1990-2008

Family Portraits

We finally got some new family portraits taken, and they turned out really great. If you'd like to see the pictures from our sitting or to place a portrait order, follow the link below.
Use my name as the customer name.
Access Code: LTPP0722107170JCP
The portraits will be available on SmilesByWire until August 14.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

All in a Day's Work

Today was a neighborhood yard sale. In a close condo-type community like ours, it works very well for everyone to put their own sale out in front of their house and let the customers just shop from street to street. I didn't have all that much to sell, but for some reason I decided to have a bake sale. I made cinnamon rolls, rice krispie treats, and banana bread. I also put out a plethora of fabric that I inherited from someone in the ward--everything you can fit in a plastic grocery sack for $2.

Chris bought me a $2 chalkboard from someone else's sale to be my advertising, I traded 3 rice krispie treats for a coffee table, inherited a free TV, and traded fabric for baby boy clothes. It turned out to be a successful sale, based on the fact that I sold all my baked goods. And at 50 cents a pop, I came out with $40. I was going to say that I broke even, considering that in the process of trying to make a triple batch of chocolate chip cookie dough last night, I broke my hand mixer, but Mom pointed out that through my efforts, I got a TV, a coffee table, baby clothes, and a new mixer. I can live with that. Incidentally, hand mixers have a life span of approximately 2-3 years. This was my second mixer in 5 years.

Unfortunately, I've been eating junk food straight for 3 days, created a war-zone in my kitchen, and totally ignored my children. Tonight for dinner I had a simple, sugar-free club salad. I guess it was a good day, but man, I'm tired.

In the rest of my world, we finally got our laptop up and running, thanks to a terrific computer service in Orem I would recommend to all my friends (she even made a house call!) all for only $49 and the cost of a new hard drive. Leah is mostly potty trained but is consequently a sugar-aholic. My baby is 18 pounds. This week I traded in my babysitting money from the past month for a CHI! And, it is finally hot enough to need the swamp cooler running.

Until next time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

To be as a little child

Okay, first off, lets put aside our list of things that little kids do that are naughty and that drive us crazy and that we work so hard at teaching them not to do. This post is about what I learned from my two and a half year old daughter and how she is an example to me. Remember that Christ commanded us to become as a little child:

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God." (3 Nephi 11:38)

Here are a few traits about my little Leah:

She believes everything I tell her. She is 100% trusting. If I told her the sky was purple, she would believe me. Today she asked me where her food went when she swallowed. I told her that it went into her tummy and that it would make her eyes see, her hair grow long, and her muscles strong, and her toes grow, etc, and the poopy come out, too (can you tell we're still in the potty-training phase?). Throughout the rest of the meal, she excitedly repeated how her hair would grow longer and her toes and eyes too, and did not forget the part about the poopy. She was so excited to learn something new, and she has absolutely no disposition to question anything I tell her. I'm sure that someday this will not be the case, but for the time being, that sure gives us parents a lot of power.

She is totally innocent.

She has an unlimited supply of energy and imagination. She'll talk my ear off about anything, she'll literally run circles around us, she can make a toy out of a box, a pen, a piece of thread, an empty toilet paper tube, even a few sheets of TP themselves. Then, she'll take that new toy and...

She is a nurturer. She'll take any real or imagined toy and comfort it, saying "it's okay, thread," and pretend to feed it. Then she'll carefully tuck it in for a nap. Another example of her compassion is her unstoppable need to hug any child that is crying. Hugs and kisses just make it all better, and she wants to be the one to fix it. She is so loving.

And today I learned about complete forgiveness. We had a rough evening, after defiantly missing her nap, refusing to eat dinner, followed by at least an hour of intermittent tantrums (from her, not me, although I may have shed tears also). I would have just put her to bed and let her cry it out, but Chris encouraged me to at least let her try again with dinner. I reheated her dinner and stood at the bottom of the stairs, unable to lure her from the top landing. She was standing there bawling, completely unreasonable and uncommunicative. The ultimatum was to eat dinner or go to bed. Did I mention I was really mad and that generally I'm pretty tough, leaving the room to let her sob? She finally let me sit on the stair next to her and she took a bite or two.

As instantaneous as you can turn on a light switch, her countenance completely changed. She was done crying, was smiling again, giving me unsolicited hugs, chowing down on her dinner, and asking me where the food goes when she swallows. Our battle of wills completely forgotten to her. How can one forgive and forget so quickly and easily and so perfectly? Usually when I sit outside her bedroom door listening to her wails, I guiltily picture her in therapy as an adult reflecting on my neglectful and abandoning parenting. I tried to ask her why she had been upset, but aside from "I'm happy now," she gave no reminiscence whatsoever of our power struggle. She wasn't regretful or penitent, and she wasn't ashamed or embarrassed. She was simply herself again, and she saw me as simply Mom, not awful, mean, Cruella deVil who should apologize soon and rectify hurt feelings.

As one who dwells on hurt feelings, its hard for me to forget anger so quickly, or sometimes at all. But I just melt when after an emotional battle, this three-foot tall brown mop runs up to me with a hug and a kiss and a tickle just because she adores me. I just have to give in and hug back because there is no point dwelling on my anger--it's not like we can exactly talk it out. It simply doesn't matter. Today I learned about forgiveness from my two year old daughter. It didn't matter that I may have behaved badly, it only mattered that "I'm happy now."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

This will make you smile :)

Moms, you will love this. Dads too. Come to think of it, I think kids might even crack a smile. You know, its just really funny, I think you all will like it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Scratch & Sniff and Paper Purse

I taught a scratch & sniff class this weekend using the Tart & Tangy set from the Mini and the coordinating Summer Picnic Designer Series Paper. How fun! It was a great class and everyone's projects turned out super cute. The scratch & sniff turned out great, although it is a little messy. We also made paper purses-that Crop-a-dile is great! Colors: Real Red, Old Olive, Bashful Blue, Pumpkin Pie. I also used jumbo eyelets, ribbon, and die-cut flowers. Here are a few pictures of what we made:

I made some extras and they are now for sale on Etsy in my cousin Nancy's ChicMade shop. Check it out!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The stars have aligned over DeKalb, Illinois

When I started college in 2001, my mom made a playful challenge with me regarding which of us would finish our degree first: me my undergraduate, and she her dissertation for her PhD. Well, in the 7 years since then I not only finished my undergraduate degree, but I also got married, had two babies, and moved four times. It's taken mom a few extra years, but not because she hasn't been working hard: she has been doubling as a dutiful daughter for her parents when they have been in need and a dutiful parent to her own children, she has faithfully served in the church and learned college-level Spanish in the process, has married off two children and welcomed 5 grandchildren, gone on countless trips, made two additions to her house, and so much more, all while working full-time.

Over the course of the past year she has truly "put her shoulder to the wheel" and dissertated day and night, hardly stopping to eat and sleep. Dad has been an ever faithful background hero, stepping in to do the laundry, dishes, shopping, cleaning, and so many more unsung duties. The past two months have been up and down with emotion of whether she would finish her dissertation in time, with deadlines, approvals, and revisions, and her committee members summer plans ultimately determining whether she would be able to defend her dissertation in time for August graduation.

And then the stars aligned. Mom has all the paperwork signed and is scheduled to defend her dissertation on June 17, only days after her advisor gets into town and mere hours before she leaves again for Europe. Mom has testified to me again and again that it is truly through the aid of the Lord that she has been able to overcome each obstacle as it has arisen. She is finally seeing the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. She truly is Supermom!

This is a shout out to Mom! Congratulations! And to Dad, you are truly a hero to help make this possible! This is the greatest gift that Mom could give Dad for Father's Day: herself!