Thursday, January 31, 2008

First haircut!

Today Owen got his first haircut! He was quite due for it but I had a hard time parting with his hair and mostly I was hesitant to do it myself or take him to one of those kid shops. However, after the last crop I hosted I ran into the mom of some former students who is also a stylist. And it occurred to me that I could have her do it. We were going to be at school (my old school) today and we decided it would be the perfect time to do it!

Here is a before shot.
The beginning. He climbed up on the chair and let her wet his hair and comb it and then start clipping. He was actually happier than he looks here!

I did have to sit down with him so she could get the parts over his ears. He was hesitant about having her touching his ears.

And here is his after shot. The back is trimmed up over his collar now! Such a little boy.
He did a great job of staying still. Nikki took most of the pictures and I did some video during the cut so Morgan could see.

We were at school today so I could teach a couple of elective classes for Nikki. The kids got to sign up for a couple different classes for Catholic Schools Week. I taught Personal Collage. The kids basically did a collage using a picture of themselves. It was fun and they did a great job. It was fun being back in the classroom and Owen enjoyed spending time with Nikki and the kids and visiting all the classrooms. I forgot how tired my feet can get when I'm not on them all day!

Now I've got to get some things ready for a crop tomorrow night. I'm excited to have some girl time! Morgan and Owen will be spending the evening with Morgan's brother who is a bachelor this weekend. It worked out perfectly! Hopefully Owen will feel better by then. He's come down with a bit of a cold. Coughing and runny nose. Poor guy is so tired but the coughing is keeping him from resting well. I just hate seeing him not well. Although it doesn't keep him down too much!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Clothes?? Who needs em!

Even though it's subzero outside Owen sees no reason to wear clothes while he's in the house. Fortunately, he did leave his diaper on! What you can't see is his "old man" navy blue socks! I changed his diaper after his nap and he ran off without his pants on. So I just let him. Then he was tugging at his sweatshirt so I just pulled it off of him. Then he was tugging at his onesie so I pulled that off too. He seemed all happy then. Rubbing his tummy like a little man! He spent the rest of the day happily playing in just his diaper and "old man" socks. I tried putting his sweatshirt back on when he got some goosebumps but he wanted nothing to do with it. He reminds me of my cousin who spent a good deal of our childhood in nothing but underwear. I spent a lot of time waiting for him to get dressed! When my mom and my aunt would shop together he would undress between stores in the car. My mom took to calling him "shortsman". I wish I were a good cartoon artist. It would make for a very funny cartoon.

Maureen's challenge for today is: Sit quietly for a minute. Then ask yourself what needs to be expressed thorough your writing today. Begin there.

Mmm. Well, while I was listening to MPR (MN public radio) yesterday they were discussing NCLB (No Child Left Behind). I cannot find a direct link to what I was listening to but they had people on both sides of the fence. People who were part of writing this piece of work. One man had a point that I totally agree with. It is not possible to write a law or legislation or standards to blanket education. You cannot account for all the variables that a child may or may not come to school with. Socioeconomic, cultural, medical etc. As an educator I have seen children come to school ahead of their grade level and bored, hungry, dirty, speaking a language other than the one I taught in, abused, spoiled, indulged and ignored. I have news for the people who wrote NCLB. CHILDREN HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND! And in some part because of NCLB. My school participated in a three year program called Reading First. We were poorly informed of this program when we (the teachers) signed on. I did not participate in year two or three. However, year one was like having my hands tied behind my back and being expected to teach children to read. This program was designed to comply with NCLB. As an educator I have an education. My job is to teach. And as an educator I feel I should be allowed to do that job without politicians telling me how and to what standard OR test. This is a deep and weighty issue. There are people across the spectrum of the issue. However, I can say as a teacher my primary goal was to teach my students in a way that both challenged and rewarded them. ALL of them. Not just the ones who struggle or fall below the grade level cut off. All children deserve to be taught in a way that works for them. This cannot be written into a law or a policy. It can only be done by well trained, qualified and competent educators and the parents of their students. After all, education first begins in the home. When parents are expected to parent and teachers are qualified to teach and allowed to do so with quality curriculum at their hands and good administrators supporting them then perhaps we will see the results that the politicians are asking for.
As always, it is not my intent to offend anyone with my soap box rant. These are just my humble opinions.


Happy Tuesday from the Frigid Upper Midwest!
This is me staying warm in my favorite sweater by the heat register!

Today I'd like to share with you a little bit about our beloved dog. Some of you know him (and fear him!) already. His name is Ludwig. He will soon be 8 years old. He is a retired greyhound. Here he is lounging on one of his 3 dog beds. He spends most of his days like this. Please don't take note of the rug. It desperately needs to be vacuumed but I don't like to disturb Ludwig to do that. So it goes unvacuumed. (which isn't a word!) Anyway, what you can't see, and what I wish to share with all of you is the stench this dog puts out! I'm not sure why he stinks so bad but WOW! Can he fart! And it's silent. Except for a slight escape of air that you can only hear if you are quiet and listening. Otherwise it just assaults your nose and over powers until you practically feel like you're going to pass out. SERIOUSLY! One day I was driving to work and I would have sworn he had been in my car. It was imprinted in my nose and I smelled it all the way to work. We feed him dog food. Expensive dog food. And still he farts. Maybe he's still getting too much people food from Owen. I don't know. But it's bad. My sister can attest to it. His room of choice just happens to be our study where the computer is and so I spend a lot of time with "stinky".

Hope you are staying warm wherever you are!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Random life...

Today's post is a mish mash of stuff going on in my life right now.

This is a collage I finished last night. It's 12x16 and hangs on the bathroom wall above the toilet. Which I think is sort of funny because it's viewed most often by Morgan! First are details and then the full painting.

I am my own worst critic. I don't like the flowers on the side. And when I applied the gel medium to seal it the ink from the text stamp I used on the bottom had not dried completely (or at all!) and it smeared. I tried to let this go but it's still bothering me. And I'd like laugh to be bigger. But Morgan said I need to be happy that I did it and completed it and now I can move on and make another one that I might like better.

Today I had an apple. Not a big deal. But I just thought it was a beautiful apple. Golden Delicious. What a good name for an apple.

This is a lime bunny. Not a real lime. My uncle gave it to me for Christmas. It makes me happy when I see it.

Today we started our Toddler Class. I'm trying to just call it school since I was so used to calling it baby class and Owen is not a baby anymore. This is the artwork they created. Of course we would paint on the first day of class! Especially since I had dressed Owen in a nice sweater! He did well though and we only got paint on our fingers. He was a bit apprehensive about the class at first. I think he views change similar to how I view it. Scary! But once he saw his familiar classmates and fun stuff to do and play with he was okay. And I was too!

Today the postal carrier rang the door bell which can only mean that the mail won't fit in the box. Which also means it's good mail! And it was! Noelia sent me this Ansel Adams calendar. I love it! It's a perfect size. Not to big, not to small and has lots of space for writing stuff. Thank you Noelia!
The challenge for today from Maureen is: Is there something you have seen with CHA release previews that you can not wait to get your hands on.....

I think that would be the Crop-a-dile Big Bite. It actually came out on the Home Shopping Network earlier this month but I don't have that channel and I didn't know you could just go to the site and buy stuff (probably good I didn't know that!) so I didn't get one. But I found out about it from my friend Lisa, the enabler, and now I feel it should be mine. I love my regular CAD. I punch stuff just to see what I can punch through. I'm waiting for Morgan to get fat or skinny so I can punch a few holes in his belts because it should be able to do it like butta! EDITED::: Ginger Kitty posted a link to the Cosmo Cricket Blog where I viewed their new stuff. AND I have to have ALL OF IT! Thanks GK! Really, if you've not seen their stuff, check it out. So cute! And this release will be great for boy pages.

The other cool thing I saw on the CHA website was some kit thing that you can make your own acrylic stamps. I didn't look at the website but I think that would be cool. There's always new paper and embellishments but I need those like a hole in the head. Whatever Basic Grey or Cosmo Cricket comes out with I'm sure I'll need!

Lastly, a little thing that has been on my mind. I took Owen to the doctor last week because he sort of walks differently. He drags his right toes a bit and his foot turns in slightly. He also is clearly left-handed and up until recently didn't use his right had as much as I thought or the books said he should be. So we wanted our doctor to check him and see what she thought. She watched him walk and grab things and asked me questions about his birth and check his muscle tone and flexibility. She then told me she didn't think there was anything wrong like a disorder or something but she wanted to have an MRI done and have us see a pediatric neurologist to be sure there aren't any cognitive reasons this may be happening. Which is the part that has been on my mind. Owen will have to be sedated to have the MRI done. He is after all 21 months old and won't go through a snug tube and stay still! My mom asked me all kinds of questions about it and if I asked the doctor those things and of course I didn't ask her a thing! I just shook my head and agreed and basically acted like a deer in headlights. My mom looked at me and said, "Heather, you went to college for 8 years! You are supposed to be a critical thinker!" Yep, I am. And I taught others how to do that too! But I guess I just froze up. And to be honest, I think it's what I wanted to hear, now that I've had time to think about it. I am worried about how it will go for Owen. I don't want him to be scared. I don't want him to be sedated or have to have an IV to do that. I'd rather do it for him. But I can't. And I need to know that he's okay. Or if he's not. And I trust this doctor. She's the one who thought Morgan's chest pain was a PE and she was right. Maybe she is a bit of an alarmist. But so am I. She's the one who wanted Owen to have a heart scan done when he turned blue. He turned out to be fine and the cardiologist said sometimes kids do that. But we also know he doesn't have the mitrovalve prolapse that Morgan has. Morgan and I have discussed this and weighed the options and decided we have to give Owen the best care we can and in the end regardless of what other people think, we have to decide. Being a parent is hard.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Maureen posed this challenge today:

Find a quotation that moves you and write it down. Why does it move you?

There are three that have been sitting in my inbox for a while now. I get these from Runner's World (everyday) and they are called "daily kick in the butt".

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."

Liane Cardes

"No matter our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born."

Dr. Dale Turner

"Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately and don't eat like a pig."

Dr. Ernest van Aaken

Why do they inspire me? Well, I suppose they give me hope that I can still be whatever or whomever I'd like. That even though I am not fast I can still call it running! And hard work or at least continuous effort can get me where I want to go. If I ever figure out where that is!

Congratulations to Janay and Rachel. I'm choosing both of them to be winners because Janay guessed first and Rachel described what it was doing! Please e-mail your addresses at and I will get a little prize out to you!

We went for a walk a couple weeks ago at the arboretum by our house. The place is swampy and filled with cattails or bulrush and they had all gone to seed by hadn't blown away. I took a bunch of pictures of the because they were just so interesting looking. I have always loved cattails. My grandma used to cut them when I was younger and I liked the way they felt.

So Aimes, it's not lint! You don't have cattails in Texas???

I'm off to work on a painting while Owen naps and then we are going to take a walk outside! It's already 41˙! But tomorrow it will be dropping and then by Thursday we will be in a deep freeze again.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Let's play...

What the HECK is that?
If you can guess what this is you will win a little assortment of scrap stuff that I have created myself. Alphabet tags, journal spots... stuff like that.

And as a side note, as I was posting this Morgan looked over and said "what is that??" So if you want to have a go post a comment on this post. The prize will go to the first person who correctly guesses. Good luck!

Friday, January 25, 2008

a few more...

Aperture 1.7Aperture 3.5
Aperture 8.0
All with 50mm lens and custom set WB. The WB is a bit off though (the light hearts are silver) as I used the table to set it rather than a piece of cardstock. But it's actually pretty close to the lighting in the kitchen. I'm going to try and get outside today while Owen is napping and get some shots in natural light.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I enjoy chocolate. Scratch that. I LOVE chocolate. Today I got a bag of Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate hearts while at Target. (Why do they say smooth? Does someone make rough milk chocolate??) And the wrappers always have a little something to say on the inside. I thought the one above was worth sharing. It reminded me of how Owen laughs with such abandon and as adults we just don't do that enough.

Have a great weekend! We are going ice skating with my sister and her BF. Owen will be spending some time with Grammie. Sunday we may take him to Rock the Cradle. It's a cool concert sort of thing put on by MPR at the Mpls Institute of Art. I love cultural events that are free!


I taking a photography class over at 2P's called 12 weeks to better photos. I started a bit late but it was not difficult to catch up. Here are the assignments for the last three weeks.

The first week was working in aperture priority mode.

Aperture 1.7
Aperture 4.0
Aperture 7.1

Week 2 was working in Shutter priority mode and adjusting the ISO setting. Using this mode you can blur or freeze action.

Shutter speed 1/80
Shutter speed 1/320
Shutter speed 1/1000

Week 3 is light settings.

Auto White Balance Setting
Tungsten Setting
Custom Setting
The class has been very helpful for me thus far. While these are all concepts that I know I don't use them often and I haven't practiced them much. So to go about it in an organized way with assignments and notes is very helpful. I've read the manual for my camera throughly several times but it's not the same as having some walk you through it with visuals! If you are interested in the class or just checking it out you can go HERE. This will take you to week three as well as several articles. You will need to do a little searching for the previous two weeks. Oh, and it's free!

Since I had the camera out the other night Morgan had me do a few photos for a powerpoint presentation he's working on. He needed some jicama shots. So he set up his scene and I did the photos. This is the one he chose to go with.
If you've never tried jicama it's very refreshing. It's texture is similar to an apple but pairs well with citrus fruits. Hence the clementine!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Craft room peek...

Renee asked for a look-see of my shelf. So here are a few photos of my work table in my craft room.

The shelf above the table is 48" long and 8"deep. I bought a plain board at Lowe's and painted it with some light green paint and them mounted it with simple white brackets. The whole deal cost like $8. The hardest part was mounting it to the wall by myself while keeping it level!

This is the rod and cups I got at Ikea the other day. The rod was $1.99 and the cups were 99¢ each. I think it's about 15" long but I'm not sure. There was one that was double or so the length of this one too.

And here is Owen playing in his tent last night. I love it when I upload pictures and find that Morgan has actually taken some!

Morgan always talks about learning to use the camera. And I wish he would. But I wish he'd read some of the baby/child rearing books we have too. He's bringing home the bacon though so I can't complain. The funny thing about the camera is that before he was doing what he does now he was a newspaper reporter and photographer. At one paper he wrote, photographed, and edited. It's not like he can't take a picture!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today's challenge...

Maureen posed this challenge over at 2P's:
If you keep your photos on your computer. How often do you put them on a disk to back them up?
Well, a few weeks ago I spent three days sorting, deleting, and burning photos. I hadn't done it since the previous December. I had 4500 pictures to go through. I have to mention here that I take pictures of almost anything and everything. If I see a neat thing shopping, I take a picture of it. If I see some inspiration, I take a picture of it. I didn't do a very good job of editing out the bad pictures during the course of the year so I had to do it at the end of the year before burning them to disk. I also take pictures in RAW format a lot and this requires editing before printing. However, I discovered that when I burn photos to disk with iPhoto it will keep the original RAW file and also a modified file of the photo in jpeg format. So after I did all that burning I uploaded almost 400 pictures to snapfish to be printed and I didn't have to go through and edit the RAW ones because they were in jpeg too! (So there Morgan, my MAC is good for something!)
This year I've vowed to edit, delete, print, store and burn in a more efficient and timely manner. So I don't spend a week doing it at the end of the year. The majority of the 400 pictures I had printed are going to go in photo albums. When we were in Kansas for Thanksgiving at my SIL Morgan and I were looking through the photo albums she has. She isn't a scrapbooker but does a nice job of printing and storing her photos in albums. And I just really liked sitting there flipping through them and seeing how the kids have grown and decided I needed to do that. I've already decided not to scrap all the photos I take so it only makes sense to put some in an album. I loved looking through the albums my mom has when I was a child and I'm sure Owen will too. He already loves the first year album I made for him. It's been sitting on the dining room table since I finished it (I haven't decided where to keep it yet) and he climbs up on the chair and sits there and flips the pages saying "baby" "baby" "daiy" "daiy" (which is his word for me and Morgan).
I'd like to invest in an external hard drive so I can store pictures on there instead of always on the computer. A DVD CD can hold a lot of photos so I don't want to have to worry about losing them until I have enough to put on a disk. I don't like to waste space, even on a CD!
Lastly, Owen and I went to Ikea yesterday. It was a great trip. They have fun carts at Ikea. The wheels spin 360 degrees. And they have a small cart with a child seat that holds one of their reusable plastic bags. So we had fun perusing the store and spinning down the aisles. Then we had lunch in the restaurant (a little tricky with just me but we worked it out) and then finished up our shopping. I found a cute igloo tent for Owen. It was only $10! I also found a wall mount bar that holds plastic cup things for my craft room. After putting up my new shelf I tried to whittle down the drawer organizers on my table and this holds all my pens and some decorative scissors so they are within reach but not on the table.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This one's for you Mag!

Maybe some of you have seen this before. I received it once as an e-mail. But in light of recent events (my time of the month) I decided to find it on the internet and share it here on my blog.


Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core(tm) or Dri-Weave(tm) absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favourite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants. Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse"? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my ‘time of the month’ is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills." Isn't the human body amazing? As Branch Manager in the Feminine-hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from "Aunt Flo". Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behaviour. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants... which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: "Have a Happy Period".

"Are you f…..g kidding me?" What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness - is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong", or are you just picking on us? Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will keep... Always.


Wendy Aarons

Austin TX

I told Morgan last night that no feminine hygiene product should EVER say "have a happy period". It will after all, just piss someone off. Obviously!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stupid people...

shouldn't breed. And this is one of the reasons why.

Incidentally, I am reading a book titled Making Children Mind without Losing Yours by Kevin Leman. He also wrote an excellent book titled First Time Mommy. Anyway, I just finished a chapter where he talks about how experts have scared people into NOT parenting. His answer is this. STEP UP. When parents don't step up and be parents and do the hard work, their children run wild (and become people who shouldn't breed) and drive the rest of the population nuts.

I believe in raising children to be who they are meant to be and also be responsible, well mannered, self-disciplined members of society. Our job as parents is to raise our children to be adults. Not just manage them until the are 18 and not our responsibility anymore.

And now I will climb down from my soapbox because my little man is awake, and needs some parenting!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Finished at last!

I got very behind in my DOM cards. I was finally able to finish them up today! The dates are not accurate on the cards but rather reflect when the card should have been done! My date stamp years end at 2007 so I couldn't do 2008 and didn't want to write it in. You can view the entire collection by clicking on the link in the side bar.

Week 45 Self-realization
Week 46 Rejuvenate

Week 47 Your happy place

Week 48 Ideas

Week 49 Time Flies

Week 50 The Greatest Gift

Week 51 Reminded me of you

Week 52 Art

I love when a project is complete. I enjoyed working on the cards each week and I will miss the little challenges but I love having the completed cards all on the book ring hanging in my craft room. I enjoy the creative process but I also really like to sit back and look at what I've accomplished. Now I need to finish up some last details on Owen's first year album and that will be complete too!

Tonight I have my book club meeting. It's always fun to get together and discuss a book and chat about whatever. I've also got a special little something for each of the girls and some articles to share that I found for each of them. Well, two articles. One for my friend who is looking into preschools and the other is for Maggie, Lori, and Nikki to read and then pass on to someone at school who may need it. It's about keeping this short and sweet!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Some creations...

Below is the blessings book I made for the year. The cover and back cover are packaging chipboard and the majority of the pages are scraps from my stash.

I cut scalloped circles with my cricut and then stamped the numbers with the CTMH playful numbers. One of my favorite alphabet/number sets.
This is the quote from Ali's blog that I posted a few posts ago. I put inside the front cover.
Here's another view of the inside pages.
This is the calendar I created for my girlfriends for Christmas. The months are by Jessica Sprague and I used brushes from various artists. All found on the internet and most were free for personal use. The pages measure about 3.5x4 and sit on a tiny easel from Dick Blick. I was so excited to find them again when Owen and I were there in November. I bought a bunch at the time not knowing what I would make the use them for but then I decided on a little calendar. The pages are printed on a shimmery cream colored cardstock that really work well with the designs. I think it looks rather elegant. The most painful part was rounding all those corners! My corner rounder doesn't seem to make a clean cut so there were fuzzy edges which I was not happy with.

Below are all of the pages of the calendar.

Today I am working on getting all the laundry done and put away. There have been piles of clean clothes sitting on my laundry room table for a couple of weeks and it just bugs me when they aren't put away. First, I can't easily fold new loads. And second, Morgan is always asking me if something is clean. If it's all put away then there aren't any questions or digging in the piles and creating not so neat piles! I also love the satisfaction of everything being clean and put away except for what's on my body. Owen even helped with the laundry by pushing his clothes basket into his room and putting his socks in the drawer. We also depilled a sweater vest together which he then put in his drawer! He loves to help.

The sun finally seems to making an appearance today. I was skeptical but there have been peeks of it on and off throughout the day. We are having a bit of a January thaw right now so I've stopped wearing my coat and switched to my down vest! I love vests. No bulky sleeves to deal with or bunchiness in the armpits!