Thursday, March 27, 2008

Arizona Birdhouse

I have lived in the desert my whole life, and sometimes am still taken aback by the beauty of it. This year I decided to get out and get a few pictures before summer sets in (by about mid-April, no doubt) and it gets too warm to be out. I found this bird hanging out on the Saguaro cactus, which make great homes for birds and are also very pretty to look at when they bloom.

Below is a picture of flowers growing in the most random place, a pile of rocks. But that shows the wonder and surprise that takes place in the desert.

And this is something that I love. No matter where you look in the valley, there are mountains everywhere. It makes for a beautiful view! You can see the mountains in the background as I stood on a different mountain. The only drawback to living amidst millions of other people is the resulting air quality, which can be seen here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Amazing bubbles

I just *had* to share these photos. We bought a bubble generator, and it has been one of the neatest things my boys have ever had. They never get tired of the bubbles, and I never get tired of watching them explore and chase and pop and dance in a rainbow of bubbles. We even got it out for a little while Easter day for the kids to play.

There aren't too many bubbles in this picture, but I just love the "movement" it shows of her trying to get that bubble she's got her mind set on:

Again, just a great shot of a little boy as he oohs and aahs over those mysterious things appearing and disappearing before his eyes:

And here's my littlest guy, dancing, laughing, joyous, not a care in the world!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

As promised, here is the picture of my Easter cake. It didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped (for better results, don't decorate the cake when you can barely keep your eyes open!) but it didn't seem to have a problem disappearing!

Since I did the bunny last year, I wanted to do something springy and fun, and I think this hit the mark. :)

Hope everybody had an "eggcellent" day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter bunny

This busy mom didn't realize until yesterday, when my mom mentioned Easter, that it was already upon us. I had some cute projects planned, but they will most likely go in the file folder for next year. Things got too chaotic with Braeden returning to prekindergarten this week after his spring break, and with Mama's online class starting this week as well.

So instead, I will share with you the cake I made last year. This cute easter bunny is a carrot cake, of course. What else would you expect??

This year I plan on trying out a cute flip-flop cake I saw in the current Woman's Day magazine. I'll post pictures when I get it done.
Happy Easter!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tell me how you found me, win a set of cards

From now until the end of March I have decided to run a small contest. Between today and March 31st, all you have to do is comment anywhere on my blog, and make sure you tell me how you found me here. On March 31st I will collect all the posts and randomly draw one of them to win a set of five handmade greeting cards. I can surprise you with the designs, or you can place a request for colors and themes. So easy and so much fun!

Make sure to include your email address, so I can email the winner!

Thanks and have a great March!

Mongo the Bull

Just want to share this with a few friends...

This is my three-year-old petting a bull named Mongo. I'm sorry, but I can't remember the breed of bull that he is. He is small, but a very real bull. My son actually hand fed him and petted him!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My first Upcycled card

This is my first small attempt at an upcycled card. I love the idea of upcycled products, and plan to continue learning more and more ways to do them.

I got a present from a friend that was wrapped in this bright and fun flip-flop design wrapping paper. I wish I had taken a picture of the gifts before I opened them. She is the absolute best at gift-wrapping (an art I have not mastered- most people think I let the kids wrap our gifts!). I was in no hurry to open the gifts because the package itself was so darn adorable!
So I got an idea for her thank you card: I cut out some of the flip-flops, put them on cardboard (that would have otherwise gone in the recycle bin) that I cut in the same shape, used 3D mounting squares, and hand printed thank you at the bottom.

So it was handmade, upcycled, and personalized in a way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Keeping me busy

I haven't posted a new blog sooner because I've been a busy bee with special orders. Somebody contacted me about doing a picture frame for her, and that took much longer than expected! While it was a simple frame, it was detailed and took some time. She asked me to match the "Big Rigs" theme in her son's room.

Because I have learned from experience that too much detail takes away from the picture once it's placed inside the frame, I now do the frames a little simpler than I have in the past. But I do want to note very quickly that I do all of my own drawing free-hand and do all my writing by hand with paint pen. Some people have mistakenly thought I just used stamps, but I actually don't ever use stamps on my work. Here are some examples of other frames I've done:

I've also been working on some specially requested cards, but that is a post for another day. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I had an epiphany today

A trip to the gym today brought on an unexpected epiphany; I realized that I do indeed have that youngest child/baby syndrome about Tanner. I never thought I would be "that" mom, and I didn't realize until today that that's exactly the kind of mom that I am. I'm terribly overprotective of both of my boys (honest, I'm working on that!) but I tend to be more so with Tanner than Braeden.

When he was born I blamed it on his small size. He was born six weeks early, and was a super skinny 5 lbs. 12 oz. He was so teeny that I had to put extra blankets around him whenever he was in his baby seat or stroller or swing to make him a little more snug.

But he was very healthy, coming home three days after he was born and he absolutely thrived. By the time he was nine months old, his pediatrician said to me that he had a hard time remembering that he had been a preemie baby because he was topping the height charts for full-term babies.

Tanner will be two in May, and I still look at him as my little baby. When I dropped him off at the gym today I told them, as I always do, that he needed a "dot." This means that he's restricted to the toddler area and cannot go play with the rest of the big kids on the basketball court, on the jungle-gym, or on the outside playground. Tanner's still timid about a lot of things, and I think that might keep him from doing something potentially dangerous, but sometimes I don't know.

Yesterday at the park I all but had a heart attack when I saw Tanner at the top of the play structure. It must have been about eight feet where he was and he had gone right to the open part for climbing up the rock wall. I stood at the bottom, as if I could actually catch him if he fell.

But he's full-on into toddlerhood now. Running a million miles a minute and trying his best to keep up with his big brother as he climbs the play structures and kicks the soccer ball and goes down the slides. Almost every day he says a new word. Today the word was, "want."

Perfect for a toddler's vocabulary. (He already has "me," "my" and "mine" down pat!) One day I will have to face the fact that my baby is growing up, and hopefully I will grow out of this.

After all, I cried the first day I dropped my three-year-old "baby" off at prekindergarten, and now I'm glad when he goes, because I know he is making friends, going on new adventures, and learning all about life in a new way I can't show him. (And because I will see him in a short two-and-a-half hours!)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The disappearing walls

This is what happens when your three-year-old starts prekindergaten- But at least my walls and fridge are full of love! This is an art project Braeden did at school for Valentine's Day.

This is our kitchen/garage door. It has exploded with his class stuff. It has his daily and monthly schedule, his own picture, pictures of the centers in his classroom, the letters, colors and sounds that he is working on that week, and whatever other interesting things his teacher sends home with him.

It has worked out really well hanging the things, though. When Braeden can't express himself verbally he can point to the pictures. Although he can almost always tell us what he wants to now. He has made gigantic strides since he started his speech therapy last June and then pre-k last October. When he started therapy in June, he could barely put two words together. It was a struggle for him to do that much. And most of what he said was unintelligible to anyone else. Even my husband had a hard time understanding him about 50-60% of the time.

The sign language was our biggest form of communication before then. Now he can speak in full sentences, and most other people can understand him about 75% of the time, even over the phone.

For those who don't know and may be wondering, I started teaching Braeden sign language when he was 11 months old. He wasn't saying mama or dada at that age, and was barely doing the usual baby-babble. Despite everyone telling me just to be patient, I knew deep down there was a problem. It took me more than two years and finally demanding a speech evaluation from the pediatrician to find out that he has phonological and articulation disorder.

Just another example of how moms should trust their instincts.

Lastly, here is our fridge. I used to like the look of a nice clean fridge, with nothing on the front but maybe a couple of decorative magnets. Now, I'm quite happy with this look: