Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kaylee is 4!

We had a very nice little birthday celebration for Kaylee here at home yesterday – just the four of us with the traditional cake, presents, etc. Kaylee got a couple of Dora games, a few small toys, a new plush Dora chair, and lots of clothes, which she desperately needed, since she’s grown about 3” in the past year. She got to “talk” on the phone with all of her grandparents; her version of which is mostly listening on the extension while running around and giggling, and then nodding when asked questions. LOL She did talk a little bit, but not nearly as much as when she pretends to talk on the phone. :-b

We went to Target today to get some new shoes for Matthew, since he had a 5-inch split along the side of one of his old ones. While we were there, Kaylee tried on some Dora sandals that Grandma had mentioned on the phone. Kaylee decided she didn’t like them and didn’t even want to try on any of the others that I pointed out to her. She was in a bit of a “mood”. She perked right up, however, when Daddy suggested we go look at toys. (Insert eye roll from Mommy here.) She found a large Dora doll that she obviously really wanted, but it was $20, and since she just got a bunch of new stuff yesterday for her birthday, it was a no. She was not happy. We tried to get her to pick out some stickers (which she loves) or hair bows or any of the other various doodads from the dollar bins, or little toys by the registers, but she was having none of it.

We finally left with just the shoes for Matthew, and headed over to McD’s, intending to pick up lunch and head home, until Matthew commented about playing inside, and Kaylee got super-excited. (Insert second eye roll from Mommy – McD’s play area is normally very noisy, and I usually end up with a splitting headache.) So we stopped there for lunch. It turned out to be unusually slow, only a few other kids, so it wasn’t too bad, even though Kaylee didn’t touch her lunch, other than a few sips of juice.

Anyway, after we’d been back home an hour or so, Kaylee suddenly started in about the Dora shoes, saying we forgot them. I explained to her that she said she didn’t like them, and that we didn’t get them, and we weren’t going back. She started sobbing and saying she loves those shoes. She was completely inconsolable. {deep sigh} She’s done this before, and it always frustrates the heck out of me. If she likes something and wants it and we offer to get it for her, why does she turn it down and then turn around later and just have to have it? Can someone explain this to me?

In other news, the contractor came by on Thursday to check out the damage to the house, but hasn’t gotten back to us with the estimate yet. He didn’t seem to think there was any structural damage, and also didn’t think it would be enough to meet our $1000 deductible. How far below that it will be though, we don’t know yet. If we have to, we can handle the garage stuff ourselves (with the help of a couple friends), since it doesn’t need to look perfect (it would match the patched hole Mark’s leg put in the ceiling during the garage door opener installation LOL), but the interior stuff is trickier, especially since we have textured walls, so I’m hoping Mark will leave that part to the pros.

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself right now. I finished up my May Mega Kit contribution last night. I need to do my sponsor layouts, but don’t have any particular photos that are calling out to me to be used with the kits. This would be the perfect time for me to work on that elusive first commercial kit that I thought was “done” ages and ages ago but that I keep changing my mind about, but I’m just not in the mood to work on it. What to do, what to do?…

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oops, I did it again.

Yep, vehicular wall-icide. I was pulling the truck (actually SUV, but we call it the truck) into the garage after picking Kaylee up from school this morning and was going to back up and straighten out, and somehow my foot ended up on the gas instead of the brake. We were not hurt. It smashed the hell out of two small empty wooden filing cabinets, a 20-year-old electric fan, two of our old kitchen chairs, and Matthew’s pedal tractor (ripped it in half), and slightly bent a brand new electric grinder (still in the box). The front license plate on the truck is bent and there is a very small dent in the bumper. The filing cabinets, tractor, and chairs went into the sheetrock and made two holes and a crack in the interior walls in the house. I still have no idea how it happened. I just remember pulling into the garage and being confused as to why the truck wasn’t stopping.

I called Mark, completely freaking out, and my heart pounding. He had just left his doctor’s office after a physical, so he came home. He was mostly great about it, and we were both laughing about it before he left for work (what else can you do?), but I still feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.

Kaylee was the funniest. When I went to get her out of her seat, she said “Whee!!! That was fun, Mommy! Do it again!” As Mark and I were cleaning up the mess, she was running around the garage completely giddy, saying “Mommy crashed!” and giggling, over and over.

We’ve got a contractor friend (actually, friend’s dad) we’ve worked with before coming over tomorrow to check it out and give us an estimate. I’m just hoping there’s no structural damage. I wish he’d been able to make it out today. I feel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I just really can’t believe I’ve had two of these accidents this year after having only ever had one incident before in the past 22 years! It just doesn’t seem possible. I want to be able to rewind this morning and make it not happen. :-(

Well, that’s my big news. In other smaller news, the TAOM program was finished this weekend, and now I’m just trying to get caught up on all the stuff I let slide while I was slaving away on that, like my RAKScraps stuff and some things around the house. I actually whipped together a mini-kit in an afternoon yesterday as a part of a surprise for the RAKScraps admin team. I think it was a new record for me. It was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing, and we only had about 3-days’ notice, and I didn’t have time to work on it the first two days, but I really wanted to contribute. Melinda has the full preview up on her blog. Here’s my part:

Digiscrap land has been going topsy-turvey with digital piracy stuff this week (illegal redistribution of free and/or commercial kits). RAKScraps and also a couple of designers at Scrapdish are among those most recently affected. It all just is so upsetting and frustrating, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to get anywhere with those who knowingly do this stuff, but have every (completely whacked out) justification under the sun. And they’re really nasty about it too. :-( Anyway, I’m not going to get into rehashing that, because I wasn’t one of the ones most directly affected, and many have already gone into it, but it’s been occupying my mind and taking up a lot of my time the last few days.

Kaylee’s birthday is coming up on Saturday. Normally when the kids are this age we haven’t mentioned the birthday thing very far ahead of time, because we know they have no sense of time, and the wait will be agonizing for them (and us). This year, however, Matthew’s totally excited about Kaylee’s birthday and has gotten her all revved up about it too. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through the explanation of “what kind of things on my birthday?” with her now. It seems that she asks at least every hour. It will just be the four of us here at home with a Dora theme just like last year, since that’s what she wanted, and it happens to go with the fact that 90% of the gifts we have for her are Dora-related. LOL

Guess that’s it for now. And a plenty long enough post anyway! :-)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

April Mega Kit is here!

The RAKScraps April Mega Kit preview is up and the first pieces just came out – not mine, but I can show you my preview. This is the one that Nat supplied the flower photos for. Have you died from suspense, Nat, or did you forget all about it? LOL Thanks again for the inspiration and the photos! :-)

Here it is. Hope you like it. :-)

By the way, my readme file as well as the preview on my website contain the following credit line "Flower images provided by the incredibly generous and talented floral photography goddess Natalie Bullock."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sugarfest 2006

Happy Sugarfest!  Er, I mean Easter! LOL  We had a really nice day.  The Chief Easter Bunny Assistants (CEBA’s) filled 10 eggs each for Matthew and Kaylee, with each egg containing a piece of chocolate and assorted jellybeans.  We won’t mention that while the bag of jelly beans was under the supervision of the male CEBA, it somehow managed to leap off the table and spill all over the kitchen floor.  Apparently, the female CEBA had psychically known this was going to happen, since she had purchased two bags of jellybeans, which is way more than would have been needed if this incident had not occurred.  The baskets also contained a few large hollow chocolate eggs filled with m&m-type candy, marshmallow peeps of the yellow chick variety, smarties, and a toy.  Matthew’s toy was a rather involved fantasy battle game, and Kaylee got a Disney princess toy “CD” player and prettily embellished fairy wand.

Matthew was up at 6:10am, but I somehow managed to convince him to let the rest of us sleep a bit longer, so we got up and got started at about 7:20.  The kids had a great time hunting around the family room for their eggs, and Matthew was great about helping Kaylee and divvying up their haul evenly when it was all done.  The toys were a big hit, and so was the candy, of course.  In fact, much to my chagrin, Kaylee’s diet today consisted almost entirely of Easter candy, with the only additions being cinnamon rolls we had for breakfast and the ice cream at McD’s we had after spending half an hour or so at the entirely too hot park this afternoon.  She didn’t touch her lunch or supper, even though I had cut her off on the candy with what I thought was sufficient time for her to regain her appetite.  I’m amazed that she was only a bit contrary this afternoon and did not have a complete sugar meltdown.

Most of the rest of the day was spent playing with the kids.  Mark and Matthew tackled the game and engaged in many battles, while I climbed into Kaylee’s bed (getting out was much more difficult) so we could have a “sleepover”.  I even managed to sneak in an actual nap before lunch. :-)

As far as the TAOM program stuff I’ve been working on, it’s mostly finished.  Mark is proofing the pages for me now and making a few small changes.  My main concern now is whether the photos will print too dark.  I have no idea how to prep those for a printer that I can’t actually see the results from.  I’m going to have Mark print off some on their laser printer at work tomorrow and compare those to the ones from our printer here and then hopefully get some knowledgeable feedback from the guy in charge of the program.  Anyway, I’m feeling much more relaxed about that now, but I’m glad the deadline got postponed, because I think I would have combusted trying to meet it, and I think I’ve actually been much more productive since the pressure was taken off.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Stress has been the dominant factor of the past week for me.

Factor A: There was a whole bunch more “emergency” TAOM ad work. Someone’s failure to follow through and communicate created a “crisis” situation for TAOM, and therefore for Mark, and therefore for me. Fortunately, it was “just” a matter of taking the ad I had designed back in February, making a few changes, and then adapting it to fit the size specs of several different publications.

Factor B: The TOPS convention was a mixed experience. I really enjoyed hanging out with some of my chapter members and getting to know them better. However, due to poor organization/planning/circumstances-beyond-their-control/whatever, what was supposed to have been the highlight of the convention turned into major upset, anger, frustration, and disappointment for our chapter and many others.

Factor C: The agreed upon due date for the TAOM program layouts I’m doing was this coming Sunday. Well, I, of course, hadn’t included the time spent on the ads (since I didn’t even know I was going to be doing those at the time), and I had completely forgotten about the TOPS convention when I agreed to that date. Now I knew the date wasn’t set in stone, but I’m the type of person that when I say I’m going to do something, I get it done. On time. No excuses. But the layouts are just not coming together as quickly as I had hoped.

I finished up my creative team assignments on Sunday, and have been working on the TAOM layouts every spare minute since – no boards (other than bare minimum check-ins at RAKScraps), no email, no blogs, no Soduko, and only just this afternoon have I gotten to the point that I would even consider them half done. There are just too many distractions for me to get very far in one spurt during the day, and I’ve been so darn tired since the $^*$# time change, that I haven’t been able to stay up as late as I normally would.

So I have been just over the edge with stress the past few days – mentally cursing Mark for getting me into this in the first place, barely holding it all together, and trying with all my might to not lash out at everyone around me, not always successfully. So this afternoon, Mark talked to the guy doing the program and got me another week. I am relieved, but haven’t quite wound down yet.

And then, just to add a little heart attack to my day, as I was getting the mail just now, I was greeted by a ginormous gecko in the mailbox. I think I screamed and jumped back about three feet. Good thing there wasn’t a car coming.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Full circle

ScrapDish has a sort of retro diner theme for their categories and such. The April newsletter came out on Tuesday, and I was officially announced as the new kitchen help! ROTFL This struck me as especially funny, since my first actual job was as… kitchen help! I basically did dishes, cleaned vegetables, scrubbed pans, served meals, and mopped floors in a retirement center kitchen when I was in high school. It seems I’ve come full circle! I think designing will be a heck of a lot more fun though! :-)

So, we had a wonderful visit from Alain Nu on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. He was a very nice guy and had a lot of really interesting stories to tell, especially about all the people who contacted him asking for help after his TV shows aired. I got a very quick demonstration of his ability to bend spoons with the “power of his mind” before I had to run out to pick Kaylee up from school. Her teacher wanted to know where I’d gotten the cool bracelet. :-) And, yep, this started out as a regular old straight spoon and that’s my signature in the bowl of it to prove he didn’t pull a switcheroo. Although how he could have six inches from my face, I have no idea anyway.

I discovered a few things while taking these pictures… First, it is very difficult to take a picture of your own right wrist. I had to hold the camera upside-down and close enough to me that I could get my arm out far enough into the shot. Very awkward. Second, if you take a picture of just your wrist without the hand showing, it looks very odd and is not easily identifiable as a wrist. Third, at that range, the hair on my arms photographs much darker than it appears in real life. At least I hope so; otherwise I need to run to the nearest hair removal service, as I am one step away from a gorilla. LOL (I did a little tweaking in Photoshop to minimize the effect here.)

By the way, the reason that Kaylee’s teacher had a chance to even notice the bracelet is that Kaylee’s been having a rough week at school. She was crying when I went to pick her up yesterday, and the teachers couldn’t figure out why. When they would ask her what was wrong, she would sob “nothing”. She had a similar episode on Monday. This is very unlike her, and we don’t really know what’s going on. Later, yesterday afternoon, Kaylee did say something about a girl at school not giving her a turn on the slide (which seems to be her favorite thing to do there), but why she was just so completely overwrought about it and unable to calm down is disconcerting. :-(

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with stuff I have to do right now. I haven’t even had time to start those last two CT layouts or my reviews yet. I need to get the ball rolling on the May prize stuff; I should have done that a few days ago already. I had to do some “emergency” work on the TAOM ads last night, and I don’t think I’ve seen the last of that. I haven’t started the remaining TAOM program layouts yet. I haven’t gotten to do any more work at all on the kits to sell. I really HAVE to do a couple of loads of laundry today. I need to make a run the store to pick up a few things we’re out of. The TOPS State Recognition Days are here in Dallas this year, so I’m going down for that Friday night and all day Saturday. I would really like to color my hair before I go down for that, and I still need to coordinate details with the gal I’m carpooling with. Matthew really, really needs a haircut, and Kaylee at least needs her bangs trimmed. I haven’t picked up anything for Easter baskets yet. Need to get started on a little shopping for Kaylee’s birthday, since I have some ideas for things to get her, but am not sure how easy they’ll be to find. And then there are a couple of dozen nagging little smaller things I need to take care of too. Ugh. I need a staff – a maid, a chauffer, a cook, and a personal assistant should do it. Any volunteers? :-b

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Autism Awareness

So you may have noticed the Autism Awareness blinkie on the right, but I just thought I’d point it out in case you happen to have blinkie-blindness. ;-) It’s a great kit and a wonderful cause. I didn’t get a chance to contribute to the kit, since it was done before I came on board at ScrapDish, so I feel the least I can do is give it a little plug. And it’s 20% off right now – 10 coordinating mini-kits for just $8! There’s also an 8x8 mini album that Correen put together if that’s more your thing, and it’s on sale too!

Robin surprised me and very sweetly moved all my Day Old Donuts over to “my” area at ScrapDish the other day. So now my little icon on the front page actually goes somewhere! Thanks, Robin! :-)

The guy in charge of the TAOM program and his wife came over today, so they could see the drafts I’d done for the program. They offered some suggestions, but were really happy with what we showed them and told me I could do whatever I wanted for the remaining pages. Apparently, just about everything else for the program is completely done (ahead of schedule), and they’re mostly just waiting on this. So I said I could have them done in two weeks. Hopefully, that will be plenty of time, and still allow me to get my CT stuff done and work on another kit to put up for sale and do some housework and take care of my children every now and then. ;-)

We had a minor event this afternoon. I went to get the kids a snack and discovered a rather large puddle of water on the kitchen floor, stretching from the cabinet next to the fridge across the room to the stove. Turns out the filter on the fridge water line had a small hole rusted through it. Fortunately, we had another filter on hand that we’d intended to switch out months ago, so it was just a matter of pulling out the fridge, changing the filter and cleaning up the mess. I’m really glad the leak started during the day instead of in the middle of the night. I can’t imagine what a mess that would have been.

Not too long after all that, I quite suddenly started feeling just completely drained, like someone had flipped my “off” switch, so I laid down while Mark gave the kids a bath. Then he ran out and picked up dinner. I inhaled an entire 12” sub (I can normally only manage half) and some of Matthew’s fries and still could have eaten more, but felt much better. Apparently, I was hungry. Which is odd, because I hadn’t really felt hungry. I guess being busy with housework and the little meeting this afternoon, and therefore not snacking, threw me for a bit of a loop.

The kids are in bed now, and actually got to sleep with less trouble than I expected. I just hate this time change. We start getting the kids ready for bed around 6:15-6:30 most nights, so that we can read and such, and they’re asleep by about 7:30-8:00. Since they get up at 6:00am, they really need to be asleep that early. I thought we were doing good with that 10 hours of sleep for them, but in a newsletter from Kaylee’s school it said kids age 3-5 need 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day. She doesn’t nap, so I don’t know how on earth we would ever manage that. Anyway, it’s very hard to get the kids, Kaylee especially, to settle down to sleep when it is still light out. It doesn’t help matters that the kids’ rooms get the west sun. Matthew’s room has a blackout shade on the window that gets most of the light, but we don’t have one for Kaylee’s room, since sometime after we got Matthew’s, they stopped making them that long as a standard length (we have very tall windows). I haven’t checked to see if we can get a custom one made. Must add that to my to-do list.

Speaking of to-do lists, I did get my prize kit done, which is supposed to be a back-up if they run through all the other prizes, but with the number they used last month, I have a feeling it will be needed. That events team is just busy, busy, busy! They really keep RAKScraps hopping! I also did 3, count ‘em THREE, of my sponsor layouts yesterday. Yep, three in one day. That’s huge for me. So, I have two to go, and my reviews to write. Oh, and another magician is coming on Tuesday, and, of course, I’ve done no cleaning yet. I’d planned to do some of that this afternoon, but between the meeting running longer than I’d expected and the fridge mess and my little collapse, that obviously didn’t happen. So, hopefully, I can get a big chunk of that done tomorrow while Kaylee’s at school. Fun, fun, fun! :-b