Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our *dream*....

These pictures may look like a whole lotta nothin' to an every day overgrown piece of land not worth a second glance......but to us they represent our dream.

These pictures are of a nearly 2 acre piece of land that Ron and I are in negotiations to purchase, and possibly build our dream home on.

The land is *FABULOUS*, nearly flat and perfectly is something that we never thought we would ever find, but also something that we have talked about and daydreamed about since building our first house 9 years ago.

We are currently on .28 of an acre.....a very large sized lot if you live in overcrowded Southern California, but not so impressive in Eastern Pennsylvania. We feel cramped and want to spread out a bit....and this will be just the remedy for that desire.

I look at these pictures and I get lost in that daydream of what it will be like for my children to grow up there. I can see in my mind the house....the garden.....the swingset....and maybe even a pool!

So....if you happen to catch me lost in a thought or daydreaming away in the next year or so, you can place a sure bet that these pictures are what is running through my mind.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Donna Downey!!!!

Ever since I started scrapbooking 3 years ago, there have been numerous people whom I have seen in magazines and in online forums who I think are great scrapbookers, but there have been two people that really stand out and that I totally admire for their talent and creativity.

The first one is Karen Russell who is a fantastic photographer and great scrapbooker to boot. I read her blog every chance I get and would love to take her online photography class one day.

The second is Donna Downey who is just a very creative and artistic person. I admire her because she doesn't seem to let boundaries get in her way when she scrapbooks. She doesn't follow "rules" of what is supposed to be, she just does what she likes and what she thinks looks good. She is so creative with the mediums that she uses and does tons of acrylic and watercolor painting on canvases and in her scrapbooking. Love that about her. Makes me want to go to art school.

Anyways, a few months ago MLPA announced that Donna was going to be there giving classes last weekend and I JUMPED on the chance to learn a new technique from one of my scrapbooking idols.

So last Saturday I showed up at the store at 9 AM with my watercolor crayons and my workable fixative, with no idea what to actually do with them.

I was calm, cool and collective when I got there (because Donna hadn't showed up yet).

Then.....she walked into the room and I caught a glimpse of her.


Ummmm......that's DONNA DOWNEY standing 4.7 feet away from me!!! I thought I might pass out or pee myself.

Then I totally lost control of myself.

The giggling ensued, I turned beet red, I made an ass out of myself when I forgot to take the protective cover off of one of my acrylic pieces and painted over it (which Donna thought was funny, so there is that)......and in the end I got a picture with her (thanks Colleen!!!).

So here I am......with Donna Downey....only minutes after I completely solidified in her mind that I am a complete and utter dork. ACK!

First day of school - first grade

This morning I was sleeping (very well I might add) until I thought I felt a presence in my room.

I cracked open my eyes to look at Ron's clock, which is on the other side of the room, and I saw that it was 6:33 AM.

Whew!!! Not time to get up yet, my alarm clock was set for 6:45 AM. I get a few more minutes of sleep......

I thought for sure I was just dreaming about the presence, so I stirred a bit and turned around.

That is when I saw it.

A tiny little person, only inches from my face, staring at me with a big toothy smile accross her face.

She was dressed from head to toe.

Her hair was combed.

She had already eaten breakfast.

She had already brushed her teeth.

The tiny human spoke.

She said: "I'm ready for the bus, Mommy."

I said: "Steph.....the bus doesn't come for another hour and a half."

I could tell this stunned her....she wasn't prepeared for that answer. Her toothy smile faded.

I could see that she was willing me out of my bed with her beedy little I got up early.

I got dressed and ready for work and we still had 45 minutes to wait for the bus. So, I did what any good scrapbooker would do.

I took her outside for a nice, long photo shoot. Well......nice if you don't count the 15 times I had to tell Jen not to walk in front of the camera while I was taking pictures of Steph....and nice if you don't count the 750 times I had to tell Jen to look at the camera and smile and don't pick your nose and put your hands down and stop making silly faces and don't poke your sister in the eye............

I'm glad Steph was ready for the first day of school.....but she better start sleeping in a bit longer (or letting me sleep till my alarm clock goes off) if she knows what's good for her!!!!! *laughing*

I took 191 are just a few.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"Mommy, what time is it?"

Lately, Jennifer has been obsessed with asking me what time it is and is always asking me to look at my watch. She will come into a room and ask me where my watch is, and if I don't have it on she wants me to go find it.

Last night I was sitting at my scrapbook table and Jen came meandering in.

She said: "Mommy, what time is it?"

I said: "I don't know Jenny, I don't have my watch on."

She said: "Can you go look in the kitchen?"

I said: "Why don't YOU go look in the kitchen and come tell ME what time it is."

I said that knowing full well that she is only 3 years old and that she can't tell time yet, but I wanted to see her reaction. Her eyes got big and she darted off in the direction of the kitchen. In a few seconds she was back at my table and she declared to me....

"'s Z and a half."

That's what I love about Jenny. She never says "I can't do it" or "I don't know how".........she just makes crap up right on the spot.


Friday, August 1, 2008

The Diaper

Let me preface this story by explaining to you that my brother is........well........a little bit of a sissy when it comes to what comes out of the "other" end of a baby. I halfway think it is the entire reason that he does not have kids himself........he is THAT grossed out by the idea of even getting a glimpse of it.

When I had Stephanie, my brother lived with us for a little while until he got on his feet. Ron and I took every opportunity possible to call him into a room when Steph had pooped in her diaper and waited until he got a whiff of it.....then laughed until we cried at his gag reflex which would kick in automatically. It was funny. So funny that we did it over and over and over again.

Once that lost it's amusement factor, we moved on to trying to make him actually see it. This was way more tricky....but we did accomplish our goal on more than one occasion. He would run from the room devastated and close to being physically sick. We peed our pants laughing at him each time.

That brings me to the story below. Bubba wrote it a few years ago about his first experience with a poopie diaper. I can't read it because it makes me laugh so hard that my head starts to hurt. I can still remember the frantic phone call like it was yesterday. So here it is.....the diaper story. Enjoy:

I was a new uncle.

Stephanie had been introduced into this world and with her came an education into life that I will never forget. Learning how to hold a small baby and nurture her with affection was something I had never really experienced, or cared to, until she came smiling into my life. I never understood the meaning of "new baby smell" until I found myself spending minutes just breathing her wonderful fragrance into me. I think its natural to wonder what kind of parent you would be, and if my time as an uncle is any indication, I think I will do just fine. Of course, the loving came natural, it was the responsibilities of uncle hood that challenged me.

My training complete.

My sister had recently included me on some of the finer points of baby care. I learned quickly the skills of changing "pee-pee" diapers and bottle heating. It all made sense, I mean, it felt natural. There were rules and little tricks to make things easier along the way. Like giving Stephanie her favorite toy to play with while she is on the changing station so she doesn't fuss so much. Afterall, the origami diapers already require enough focus, no need to complicate things with a squirmy toddler. And if a toy isn't working, silly songs and faces can help calm the kicking legs. Once the baby is calm, you undress her and tear away the diaper. This of course is made easier with the "two legs in one hand" move, which to this day amuses me in its simplicity. You know the move, grab both ankles with your non-dominant hand and lift the little baby legs straight up. This move helps you acquire proper elevation of the baby-butt, effectively allowing you to easily perform all necessary diaper changing functions; area cleansing, diaper removal and diaper replacement. The order here was important too, I was quickly taught that if you left the dirty diaper in place while you wiped the hiney you could drop the dirty wipes into the dirty diaper and make once nice and compact "diaper burrito". All the while maintaining your "two legs in one hand" move you could quickly slide the new diaper in place, release the legs and perform "diaper origami". Your diaper maintenance cycle is now complete and play time can resume. I felt my confidence grow as I learned the finer points in baby care, little did I know that my training would hardly prepare me for one of the most horrifying moments in my life.

My orders received.

Ronnie (brother-in-law) and Andy (sister) needed my help watching the newly-born miracle as they were away at a doctors appointment. I accepted this mission and felt an overwhelming sense of pride that I was deemed worthy enough to care for my niece, alone. Sure, there was a little apprehension, but I was quickly reassured that the appointment wouldn't be more then an hour or so. Ready to put my new training to the test, I agreed and actually found myself looking forward to some one on one time with precious little babyhead. There were a few details that were laid out, she would need a bottle, and there was the chance that the appointment would run long in which case I would need to put the little baby to bed. And of course, if a diaper got messy I would have to change it. Out of all the details, the only one that made me nervous was the potential for the dreaded solo "poopie-diaper". I had changed plenty of "pee-pee" diapers on my own and even helped my sister out on a couple of poopie ones. Just simple stuff like handing her wipes or carrying the dirty diaper outside to the garbage. I knew from my limited exposure that I was not prepared for a poopie diaper, sure I smiled while assisting, but underneath I hurled in revolt and suppressed gags. Poopie diapers scared me.

The day had come.

Andy left really detailed instructions on how to care for my precious little babyhead and I felt ready. My biggest concern at this point was to provide as comfortable and fun a time as I possibly could for my young niece. Andy went over the instructions and asked if I had any questions. With the formalities out of the way her and Ron prepared to leave the house. Just before parting Andy informed me that today was my lucky day, babyhead had just recently made a poopie diaper and Ronnie had changed it. This came as a huge relief, it appeared that I would not have to face my greatest enemy today, yes, lucky indeed. They soon left, and I was quickly entertaining my precious babyhead.

Something isn't right.

I understand now why God made babies so cute, we as adults are naturally drawn to their yummy faces and edibles bellies. It's natures way of ensuring that our young don't go without attention for too long. I realized this lesson as I dove in nose first for some soft baby body and was accosted by a horrid smell. I paused for quite some time, looking back I'm not sure if it was the shock of the smell or the realization that this was not simply the product of a fart, probably a little bit of both. Suddenly I snapped out of my confused state and remembered my training. Step 1, get the baby to the changing station, "Oh GOD why does this smell burn my nose!". Step 2, now that the baby is on the station remove clothing, "Ok, holding my breath seems to help, I wonder how fast I can change this thing."

Suddenly the reality of what I was about to do hit me, I was facing the dreaded solo poopie diaper, my worst fear was now realized. I considered for a moment leaving my niece in her condition and when my sister returned simply feign ignorance and say something like "Wow, she must have JUST pooped!" But I felt a tinge of guilt imaging my niece staying soiled for what could be over another hour. Besides, if Stephanie stayed soiled that meant I couldn't get close to her and that meant no more baby loves.

I would have screamed.

But that would have meant letting go of my breath. Step 2 should have been as simple as unsnap babies jumper, unsnap babies onesy and perform the "two legs in one hand move". I had just unsnapped the jumper and pulled it down when I nearly lost my dinner. We had leakage. Something had horribly malfunctioned in the diaper department. The primary seal between the leg and the diaper had malfunctioned and we were now experiencing toxic contamination. I don't quite remember which happened next, it was all a flash, but in the next two seconds I did the following in some undetermined order; I panicked and I gagged. I had no idea what to do next. Was this grounds for a bath? Do I strip the baby clean and get her to a tub? What do I do with a soiled onesy? Where do I even find a new onesy around here? Oh god, I need to breathe again, GAG.

Forget your training.

I sat there stunned for a minute, turning my head away from the destruction hoping the few inches in distance I gained would prevent the smell as I breathed in, I was wrong. In between gags and breaths I was trying to think of the next logical step and the only thing I could come up with was call my sister. Luckily she picked up pretty quickly and I could hear some concern in her voice. I explained the traumatic situation to her and awaited her response, which I admit I was not prepared for. She laughed. "Wow, outside her onesy Bubba? She's never done that for us before, you must be lucky." Somehow the humor escaped me at the moment, but looking back on it now and having some insight to mine and Stephanie's relationship, it was quite fitting.

Andy bailed me out and gave me all the instruction I needed to tackle this dilemma. I regained my composure and set to work quickly. It didn't help with the smell much but I tucked my nose under my shirt, surprisingly enough Stephanie found this entertaining enough to let me start cleaning her. A few gags and a couple of minutes later I had a cleaned up baby with a fresh onesy and a new diaper.

Hiney hindsight.

I mentioned before that in retrospect this event is quite fitting for mine and Stephanie's relationship, let me explain. I love my babyhead and will do anything for her in this world, including cleaning up one of the most explosive poopie diapers in history. However, we both share an affectionately evil streak filled with teasing and joking. There have been many a times I have been yelled at for going a little overboard on my affections, "NO UNCLE BUBBA!" However, now as I think back on this day, this single event serves as a reminder of the very first time my sneaky little babyhead got one over on me, and I loved every minute of it.
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